In the past few months I have read two of George MacDonald’s books: At the Back of the North Wind and Lilith.
Both have profoundly impacted my soul. If Phantastes was the most beautiful book I have read, At the Back of the North Wind was the most innocent, and Lilith the most profound. As I said to my friend, “George MacDonald takes away all my words.” He said in response, “Isn’t it great to read someone who takes away your words instead of giving you a million new questions?!” I wholeheartedly agree with this assessment of things. MacDonald is truly one of the most profound authors I have read. He puts words to things and makes concrete ideas that have only been shadows in my subconscious until now. He says what is in my heart so well that when I am done reading, I have nothing left to do but smile. I see now why Lewis says that reading MacDonald was to him a ‘baptism of his imagination.’ It has certainly dunked my imagination (and soul and heart) in the rivers of the divine.
I highly recommend MacDonald to anyone seeking the truth, and to anyone who knows in his heart that God is beautiful and just and merciful. MacDonald expresses these truths profoundly. A few quotes from Lilith.
“He is a glutton, and there is no hope of him. — It makes me sick to see him eat.”
“Could not some of the boys watch him, and not let him touch the poisonous things?”
“He may eat them if he will: it is all one — to eat the apples, and to be a boy that would eat them if he could. No; he must go to the giants!”
“Surely, I thought, no suppression of their growth can be essential to their loveliness and truth and purity! Not in any world could the possibility exist of surch a discord between constitution and it’s natural outcome! Life and law cannot be so at variance that perfection must be gained by thwarting development!”
“The part of philanthropist is indeed a dangerous one; and the man who would do his neighbor good must first study how not to do him evil, and must begin by pulling the beam out of his own eye.”
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