A thing being so, the word that says it is so is the truth. But the fact may be of no value in itself, and our knowledge of it of no value either. Of most facts it may be said that the truth concerning them is of no consequence. For instance, it cannot be in itself important whether on a certain morning I took one side of the street or the other. It may be of importance to someone to know which I took, but in itself it is of none. It would therefore be felt unfit if I said, “It is a truth that I walked on the sunny side.” The correct word would be a fact, not a truth. If the question arose whether a statement concerning the thing were correct, we should still be in the region of fact; but when we come to ask whether the statement was true or false, then we are concerned with the matter as the assertion of a human being, and ascend to another plane of things. It may be of no consequence which side I was upon, or it may be of consequence to someone to know which, but it is of vital importance to the witness and to any who love him, whether or not he believes the statement he makes—whether the man himself is true or false. Concerning the thing it can be but a question of fact; it remains a question of fact even whether the man has or has not spoken the truth; but concerning the man it is a question of truth: he is either a pure soul, so far as this thing witnesses, or a false soul, capable and guilty of a lie. In this relation it is of no consequence whether the man spoke the fact or not; if he meant to speak the fact, he remains a true man.
by James House
Our Lord loves a true heart. He cares more for the truth in our hearts than for the truth in our minds, words, and actions. The Lord cannot accept the hypocrite - he who prays where he can be heard, blasts a trumpet as he gives alms, or displays a sick face while fasting.
If our hearts are true, we can still err - but we can't go so wrong that things cannot be repaired, and we can accept (gratefully) the correction that will certainly come. If our hearts are true, then our minds and actions will be on the path to being true.
What follows is a collection of quotes from George MacDonald's works that relate to the subject of today's reading:
"even genuine argument for the truth is not preaching the gospel, neither is he whose unbelief is thus assailed, likely to be brought thereby into any mood but one unfit for receiving it." (Paul Faber, Surgeon)
"when the longing heart finds itself able to hope that the perfect is the fact, that the truth is alive, that the lovely is rooted in eternal purpose, it can go on without such proof as belongs to a lower stratum of things, and can not be had in these. When we rise into the mountain air, we require no other testimony than that of our lungs that we are in a healthful atmosphere. We do not find it necessary to submit it to a quantitative analysis; we are content that we breathe with joy, that we grow in strength, become lighter-hearted and better-tempered. Truth is a very different thing from fact; it is the loving contact of the soul with spiritual fact, vital and potent. It does its work in the soul independently of all faculty or qualification there for setting it forth or defending it. Truth in the inward parts is a power, not an opinion." (Paul Faber, Surgeon)
"Let a man have truth in the inward parts, and out of the abundance of his heart let his mouth speak. If then he should have ground to fear honest misunderstanding, let him preach again to enforce the truth for which he is jealous, and if it should seem to any that the two utterances need reconciling, let those who would have them consistent reconcile them for themselves." (Thomas Wingfold, Curate)
"They that lie doom themselves to believe lies as well as disbelieve truths" (There and Back)
"The capacity of the old man for taking in what was new, was wonderful, and yet not to be wondered at, seeing it was the natural result of the constant practice of what he learned—for all truth understood becomes duty. To him that obeys well, the truth comes easy; to him who does not obey, it comes not, or comes in forms of fear and dismay. The true, that is the obedient man, cannot help seeing the truth, for it is the very business of his being—the natural concern, the correlate of his soul." (Warlock o' Glenwarlock)
"The communication of truth is one of the greatest delights the human heart can experience. Surely this is true. Does not the teaching of men form a great part of the divine gladness?" (from Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood)
"The imagination is one of the most powerful of all the faculties for aiding the growth of truth in the mind" (The Seaboard Parish)
"It is God who gives thee thy mirror of imagination, and if thou keep it clean, it will give thee back no shadow but of the truth." (Paul Faber, Surgeon)
"Some of the grandest things in the whole realm of truth look repellent to us, and we turn away from them, simply because we are not—to use a familiar phrase—we are not up to them. They appear to us, therefore, to be what they are not. Instruction sounds to the proud man like reproof; illumination comes on the vain man like scorn; the manifestation of a higher condition of motive and action than his own, falls on the self-esteeming like condemnation; but it is consciousness and conscience working together that produce this impression; the result is from the man himself, not from the higher source. From the truth comes the power, but the shape it assumes to the man is from the man himself." (The Seaboard Parish)
"Peace is for those who do the truth, not those who opine it. The true man troubled by intellectual doubt, is so troubled unto further health and growth. Let him be alive and hopeful, above all obedient, and he will be able to wait for the deeper content which must follow with completer insight." (Paul Faber, Surgeon)
"Not to be intellectually certain of a truth, does not prevent the heart that loves and obeys that truth from getting its truth-good, from drawing life from its holy factness, present in the love of it." (Paul Faber, Surgeon)