The Hardness of the Way

Children, how hard is it!

— St. Mark 10:24

It is imperative to get rid of the tyranny of things. If you ask, “Will not Death ransom us from this tyranny? Therefore why hasten the hour?” I answer, only when a man begins to abstain, then first he recognizes the strength of his passion. When the fetters of gold are gone, on which the man delighted to gaze, though they held him fast to his dungeon wall, when the truth begins to dawn upon him that those fetters were a horror and a disgrace, then will the good of saving death appear, and the man begin to understand that having never could be well-being; that it is not by possessing we live, but by life we possess. In this way is the loss of the things he thought he had, a motioning, hardly towards, yet in favor of deliverance. It may seem to the man the first of his slavery when it is in truth the beginning of his freedom. Never soul was set free without being made to feel its slavery; nothing but itself can enslave a soul, nothing without itself can free it.

When the drunkard--free of his body, but, retaining his desire, unable to indulge it--has time at length to think, surely there dawns for him then at last a fearful hope! Not until, by the power of God and his own obedient effort, he is raised into such a condition that, be the temptation what it might, he would not yield for an immortality of unrequited drunkenness—all its delights and not one of its penalties—is he saved. 


The Tyranny Of Things
by Jolyn Canty

What owns me? What tyrannizes me?  Is it things that I own or desire, or is it an addiction I hide or with which I wrestle?  For our souls to truly be set free of being owned by things or habits, we must realize the depth of our slavery to them. As MacDonald states, “Not until by the power of God and his own obedient effort” is a man saved.  May the Lord reveal to us those things to which we are enslaved and give us strength and His power to flee and resist them.

MacDonald’s description of the Laird in What’s Mine’s Mine describes this imprisonment with which we each must wrestle: “A man unable to do without this thing or that, is not yet in sight of his perfection, therefore not out of sight of suffering……….He was like a soaring eagle from whose foot hung, trailing on the earth, the line by which his tyrant could at his will pull him back to his inglorious perch.”  What’s Mine’s Mine, vol. 2, ch. 32