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“The Wind from the Stars”

2014 March 17
by Gordon Reid

In 1992 I compiled an Anthology of 366 quotations from the works of George MacDonald illustrating his Christian teachings and called it “The Wind from the Stars”. I was inspired to do this because C.S.Lewis had done the same in the 1940′s and testified that MacDonald was his “Master” in teaching him  the Faith. Lewis had been constrained by war-time paper rationing to keep his selection short, but I was under no such constraints. It was Harper Collins who published my anthology, as they had published that of Lewis.

I wrote an Afterword, explaining why I had made the anthology, and here are a few quotations from my apologia.

“(MacDonald) hated piety of the type that set Sunday aside with ostentatious strictness and then saw the rest of the week as somehow less under the eye of God. He had a particular dislike of calling church worship ‘Divine Service’. For him the only divine service was love and care for one’s neighbour. He held that since it is impossible for a man to do anything immediately for God, God has placed him among his neighbours for whom he can do many things. As Jesus made clear, God regards what is done for the least of them as being done for him. It is from this basic principle that two of the ever-recurring themes of MacDonald’s stem: that man’s only way of knowing God is to do his will; and that the good pagan will enter heaven more readily than the disobedient Christian.”

“One of the clues to George MacDonald’s hatred of doctrines such as election, adoption and predestination, which involve blind submission to the inscrutable decrees of a distant God, lies in the epitaph which struck him with the force of revelation when he first saw it, and from which came the character and novel ‘David Elginbrod” It went:

‘Here lie I, Martin Elginbrodde:    Hae mercy o’ my soul, Lord God;   As I wad do, were I Lord God,   And ye were Martin Elginbrodde .’                                                                                                 Could a man be more loving and forgiving and understanding than God? A thousand times No, says MacDonald”

“George MacDonald’s view of the Incarnation is that in becoming man, God did not become anything that he was not already. Man had been made in the image of God, and God had used his only Son as the model. So the eternal Son became visible, concrete man very naturally. And it will be just as natural for his brothers and sisters to become God, to ‘partake of the divine nature’ as St Peter put it”.

“If the shortest verse in the Bible is ‘Jesus wept’, then Annie Anderson in ‘Alec Forbes’ is sure that the second shortest should have been ‘Jesus laughed’. She cites his tender attitude to children as proof of this. But she could as well have mentioned other moments of our Lord’s ministry when (however solemnly we read or chant them in church – and maybe that makes him smile too) he may have kept a straight face , but his eyes and his voice must have been full of laughter. ‘Dear faithless friends, the hairs of you heads are all numbered!’ Yes, even Andrew’s, for whom a barber might have charged a search-fee if later iconography is to be believed! And what laughter must have been provoked and shared by Jesus with his ‘solemn’ assurance: ‘Ye are of more value than many sparrows!’”

“George MacDonald did what has been done by all who have met and loved Jesus Christ: he took his picture of a Father who literally didn’t give a damn about the arrogance, the selfishness, the promiscuity and the defilement of his prodigal son, but saw him ‘while he was yet a long way off’ – of course he did; he had never stopped scanning the brow of the hill, hoping his dear one would reappear some day – ran to meet him, shared the tears of his confession and threw a great party to welcome him back”.

 

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