If a man ask, “How can God bring this righteousness about in me?” I reply, let him do it, and perhaps you will know. Help him to do it; God originates the possibility of your being his son, his daughter: he makes you able to will it, but you must will it. If he is not doing it in you—that is, if you have as yet prevented him from beginning, why should I tell you, even if I knew the process, how he would do what you will not let him do? Indeed, how should you be able to know? For it must deal with deeper and higher things than you can know anything of till the work is at least begun. Perhaps if you approved of the plans of the glad creator, you would allow him to make of you something divine! To teach your intellect what has to be learned by your whole being, what it would do you no good to understand save you understood it in your whole being—if this be the province of any man, it is not mine. Let the dead bury their dead, and the dead teach their dead; for me, I will try to wake them. To those who are awake, I cry, “For the sake of your father and the first-born among many brethren, for the sake of those he has given us to love the most dearly, let patience have her perfect work. Clay on the wheel, let the fingers of the divine potter model you at their will. Obey the Father’s lightest word; hear the Brother who knows you, and died for you; beat down your sin, and trample it to death.”
by George MacDonald
An excerpt from The Disciple
What is his will?-that I may go
And do it, in the hope
That light will rise and spread and grow,
As deed enlarges scope.
I need not search the sacred book
To find my duty clear;
Scarce in my bosom need I look,
It lies so very near.
Henceforward I must watch the door
Of word and action too;
There's one thing I must do no more,
Another I must do.
Alas, these are such little things!
No glory in their birth!
Doubt from their common aspect springs-
If God will count them worth.
But here I am not left to choose,
My duty is my lot;
And weighty things will glory lose
If small ones are forgot.
I am not worthy high things yet;
I'll humbly do my own;
Good care of sheep may so beget
A fitness for the throne.
Ah fool! why dost thou reason thus?
Ambition's very fool!
Through high and low, each glorious,
Shines God's all-perfect rule.
'Tis God I need, not rank in good:
'Tis Life, not honour's meed;
With him to fill my every mood,
I am content indeed.