The Lord gives us the will wherewith to will, and the power to use it, and the help needed to supplement the power; but we ourselves must will the truth, and for that he is waiting, for the victory of God his father in the heart of his child. In this alone can he be satisfied. The work is his, but we must take our willing share. When the blossom breaks forth in us, the more it is ours the more it is his, for the highest creation of the Father, and that preeminently through the Son, is the being that can, like the Father and the Son, of his own self will what is right. When my being is consciously in the hands of him who called it to live and think and suffer and be glad—given back to him by a perfect obedience—I thenceforward breathe the breath, share the life of God himself. Then I am free, in that I am true—which means one with the Father. When a man is true, if he were in hell he could not be miserable. He is right with himself because right with him whence he came. To be right with God is to be right with the universe; one with the power, the love, the will of the mighty Father, the cherisher of joy, the lord of laughter, whose are all glories, all hopes, who loves everything and hates nothing but selfishness, which he will not have in his kingdom. Christ then is the Lord of life; his life is the light of men; the light mirrored in them changes them into the image of him, the Truth; and thus the truth, who is the Son, makes them free.
by Jess Lederman
"The Lord gives us the will wherewith to will...but we ourselves must will the truth..." This is one of MacDonald's core beliefs, that our will must cooperate with God; there is no irresistible grace at work. We work out our salvation with fear and trembling, because, as Jesus said in Matthew 24:13, it is "the one who stands firm to the end [who] will be saved." Now, one could argue that, if there is no "irresistible grace," how is it that all will ultimately be saved? I think perhaps we can find here the distinction between what is sometimes referred to as "Calvinist universalism," and the belief in universal reconciliation of George MacDonald, Thomas Talbott, Robin Parry, and others. The chess Grand Master, playing against an army of amateurs, will most assuredly win every match, even though he does not command his opponent to lose. Deprived of the presence of God--read the Consuming Fire entries for May 25th and 26th, from The Last Farthing--and aware at long that no faintest trace of happiness can be found except through Christ, God's love wins every soul in the end. Talbott's universalist apologetics is titled The Inescapable Love of God; at last, every soul turns to Him, and every knee willingly bows.