The Golden Key

Home to the George MacDonald Society

Home to the George MacDonald Society



"In February"

Now in the dark of February rains,
Poor lovers of the sunshine, spring is born,
The earthy fields are full of hidden corn,
And March's violets bud along the lanes;
Therefore with joy believe in what remains.
And thou who dost not feel them, do not scorn
Our early songs for winter overworn,
And faith in God's handwriting on the plains.

"Hope" writes he, "Love" in the first violet,
"Joy," even from Heaven, in songs and winds and trees;
And having caught the happy words in these
While Nature labours with the letters yet,
Spring cannot cheat us, though her hopes be broken,
Nor leave us, for we know what God hath spoken.

Poetical Works, Vol. II



It has been well said that nobody ever sank under the burden of the day. It is when tomorrow's burden is added to the burden of today that the weight is more than anyone can bear. Never load yourselves so, my friends. If you find yourselves so loaded, at least remember this is your own doing, not God's. He begs you to leave the future to Him and mind the present.

(Source not located)

John M


Everything, in truth, which we cannot understand, is a closed book of larger knowledge and blessedness, whose clasps the blessed perplexity urges us to open.

"The Voice of Job" Unspoken Sermons II



He came to himself in the arms of a strange woman, who had taken him up, and was carrying him home.
The name of the woman was Sorrow ---a wondering woman, a kind of gypsy, always going about the world, and picking up lost things. Nobody likes her, hardly anybody is civil to her; but when she has set anybody down and is gone, there is often a look of affection and wonder and gratitude sent after her. For all that, however, very few are glad to be found by her again.

From 'The Parson's Parable',
Chapter 21 in "There and Back"



I believe she read a chapter of the Bible everyday,
but the only books she read with any real interest
were novels of a sort that Augustus despised. It
never occurred to him that he ought at once to have
made friends of this Momus of unrighteousness, for by it he might have found entrance to the sealed chamber.
He ought to have read with her the books she did
like, for by them only could he make her think, and
from them alone could he lead her to better. It is
but from the very step upon which one stands that one can move to the next.

Gifts of the Child Christ



"The Giver"

To give a thing and take again
Is counted meanness among men;
To take away what once is given
Cannot then be the way of heaven!

But human hearts are crumbly stuff,
And never, never love enough,
Therefore God takes and, with a smile,
Puts our best thing away a while.

Thereon some weep, some rave, some scorn,
Some wish they never had been born;
Some humble grow at last and still,
And then God gives them what they will.

Poetical Works, Vol. 2



Some day God will, I trust, reveal himself to me as he has never done yet, and I shall be as sure as St. Paul. I must try not to stand in the way of his redeeming will with me --- for he is doing his best for me as for us all.
Once I repeated to my lovely child --- "Let patience have her perfect work that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing" --- and I delight to think that he asked for it again a minute later. Patient indeed he was --- I think as quietly trusting as boy could be. May God make me a better father
by the time I find him again, for my boy he must be to all eternity.

From a letter to Mrs. William Cowper-Temple, 1879. An Expression of Character, Sadler, ed.

Birthday of Maurice Macdonald (1864)



"You have tasted death now", said the Old Man. "Is it good?"
"It is good", said Mossy. "It is better than life."
"No," said the Old Man, "it is only more life."

The Golden Key



"I thought I liked the place so much," said Diamond to himself, "but I find I don't care about it. I suppose
it's only the people in it that make you like a place,
and when they're gone, it's dead, and you don't care a bit about it. North Wind told me I might stop as long as I liked, and I've stopped longer already."

At the Back of the North Wind



When a man dreams his own dream, he is the sport of his dream; when Another gives it him, that Other is able to fulfil it.




The common-minded man always calls the man who thinks of righteousness before gain, who seeks to do the will of God and does not seek to make a fortune, unpractical. He will not see that the very essence of the practical lies in doing the right thing.

A Rough Shaking



Never wait for fitter time or place to talk to Him. To wait till you go to church or to your closet is to make Him wait. He will listen as you walk.

"Righteousness" Unspoken Sermons III



I found cheerfulness itself to be like life itself --- not to be created by any argument. Afterwards I learned, that the best way to manage some kinds
of painful thoughts, is to dare them to do their worst; to let them lie and gnaw at your heart till they are tired; and you find you still have a
residue of life they cannot kill.




"Love is Strength"

Love alone is great in might,
Makes the heavy burden light,
Smooths rough ways to weary feet,
Makes the bitter morsel sweet:
Love alone is strength!

Might that is not born of Love
Is not Might born from above.
Has its birthplace down below
Where they neither reap not sow:
Love alone is strength!

Love is stronger than all force,
Is its own eternal source;
Might is always on decay,
Love grows fresher every day:
Love alone is strength!

Little ones, no ill can chance;
Fear ye not, but sing and dance;
Though the high-heaved heaven should fall
God is plenty for us all:
God is Love and Strength!

Collected Poems II



The true child, the righteous man, will trust absolutely, against all appearances, the God who has created in him the love of righteousness.

"The Voice of Job" Unspoken Sermons II



It is more absurd to trust God by halves than it is not to believe in him at all.

The Vicar's Daughter



Christ is our righteousness, not that we should escape punishment, still less escape being righteous, but as the live potent creator of righteousness in us, so that we, with our wills receiving His spirit, shall like Him resist unto blood, striving against sin.

"The Last Farthing" -Unspoken Sermons II



"Upon occasion," said the sexton at length, "it is more convenient to put one's bird-self in front. Every one, as you ought to know, has a beast-self--- and a bird-self, and a stupid fish-self, ay, and a creeping serpent-self too --- which it takes a deal of crushing to kill! In truth he has also a tree-self and a crystal-self, and I don't know how many selves more --- all to get into harmony. You can tell what sort a man is by his creature that comes oftenest to the front."

Lilith, ch. 6 'The Sexton's Cottage'

Lip Yeow


All true love makes abler to love. It is only false love, the love of those who take their own meanest selfishness, their own pleasure in being loved, for love, that shrinks and narrows the soul.

A Rough Shaking



Let the world-sphinx put as many riddles as she will, she can devour no man while he waits an answer from the world-redeemer.

"The Voice of Job" Unspoken Sermons II



But love is the first comforter, and where love and truth speak, the love will be felt where the truth is never perceived. Love indeed is the highest in all truth; and the pressure of a hand, a kiss, the caress of a child, will do more to save sometimes than the wisest argument, even rightly understood. Love alone is wisdom, love alone is power; and where love seems to faint it is where self has stepped between and dulled the potency of its rays.

"Paul Faber, Surgeon"



God could not be satisfied with himself without doing all that a God and Father could do for the creatures he had made --- that is, without doing just what he has done, what he is doing, what he will do, to deliver his sons and daughters, and bring them home with rejoicing.

"The Voice of Job" Unspoken Sermons II



"Yes it would. So you see how good God is to us-to go on working, that we may be able to love each other."
"Then if God works like that all day long, it must be a fine thing to work," said Willie.
"You are right. It is a fine thing to work-the finest thing in the world, if it comes of love, as God's work does."

Gutta Percha Willie



"But," persisted Barbara, with Richard in her mind, "how are you to be sure of a thing you can't prove?"

"That's a good question, and this is my answer," said Wingfold---"What you love you already believe enough to put it to the proof of trial. My life
is such a proving; and the proof is so promising that it fills me with the happiest hope. To prove with your brains the thing you love, would be to deck the garments of salvation with a useless fringe. Shall I search heaven and earth for proof that my wife is a good and lovely woman? The signs of it
are everywhere; the proofs of it nowhere."

There and Back



When the wind blows; the ship goes;
When the wind drops; the ship stops;
but the sea is His all the same, for he made it;
and the wind is His all the same too.

Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood



The one eternal, original, infinite blessing of the human soul is when in stillness the Father comes and says, "My child, I am here."

"Alone with God "- George MacDonald in the Pulpit



As she grew up, everybody about her did his best to convince her that she was Somebody, and the girl herself was so easily persuaded of it that she quite forgot that anybody had ever told her so, and took it for a fundamental, innate, primary, firstborn, self-evident, necessary, and incontrovertible idea and principle that she was Somebody. And far be it from me to deny it! I will even go so far as to assert that in this odd country there was a huge number of
Somebodies. Indeed, it was one of its oddities that every boy and girl in it was rather too ready to think he or she was Somebody; and the worst of it was that the princess never thought of there being more than one Somebody --- and that was herself.

The Wise Woman



Pilgrims from near and from distant lands
Will step on you lying there;
But a wayfaring man with wounded hands
Will carry you up the stair.

From "Tell Me" Poetical Works , vol 2



What in the heart we call faith, in the will we call obedience.

Thomas Wingfold, Curate