Mondays with MacDonald (on internalizing God’s goodness)

The Lord cared neither for isolated truth nor for orphaned deed. It was truth in the inward parts, it was the good heart, the mother of good deeds, he cherished. It was the live, active, knowing, breathing good he came to further. He cared for no speculation in morals or religion. It was good men he cared about, not notions of good things, or even good actions, save as the outcome of life, save as the bodies in which the primary live actions of love and will in the soul took shape and came forth. Could he by one word have set at rest all the questionings of philosophy as to the supreme good and the absolute truth, I venture to say that word he would not have uttered. But he would die to make men good and true. His whole heart would respond to the cry of sad publican or despairing pharisee, ‘How am I to be good?’

…There is one living good, in whom the good thing, and all good, is alive and ever operant. Ask me not about the good thing, but the good person, the good being—the origin of all good’—who, because he is, can make good. He is the one live good, ready with his life to communicate living good, the power of being, and so doing good, for he makes good itself to exist. It is not with this good thing and that good thing we have to do, but with that power whence comes our power even to speak the word good. We have to do with him to whom no one can look without the need of being good waking up in his heart; to think about him is to begin to be good. To do a good thing is to do a good thing; to know God is to be good. It is not to make us do all things right he cares, but to make us hunger and thirst after a righteousness possessing which we shall never need to think of what is or is not good, but shall refuse the evil and choose the good by a motion of the will which is at once necessity and choice.

George MacDonald (from his sermon “The Way”, published in Unspoken Sermons, Series 2, 1885)

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  • Jeremy

    I love this man! Every time I read him I feel lighter; as if years of religious baggage sloughs off. His words are a breath of fresh air that so many in the church need these days.

    • I couldn’t agree more, Jeremy. I am consistently challenged by his single-minded focus on the aspects of faith that actually matter. It’s energizing and brings home the importance of the Christian faith viz-à-viz other systems of morality that treat behavior without trying to make us holy.