The Golden Key

Home to the George MacDonald Society

Home to the George MacDonald Society



Don't you think God is sometimes better to us than we deserve?

Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood



The lapels of his coat flew out, and the lappets lifted, and I thought the metamorphosis of homo to corvus was about to take place before my eyes.  But the coat closed again in front of him, and he added, with seeming inconsequence, "In this world never trust a person who has once deceived you.  Above all, never do anything such a one may ask you to do."

"I will try to remember," I answered; "-- but I may forget!"

"Then some evil that is good for you will follow."

"And if I remember?"

"Some evil that is not good for you, will not follow."

The old man seemed to sink to the ground, and immediately I saw the raven several yards from me, flying low and fast.


Lip Yeow


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 , Second Series



May the Lord come and see ye every day sir.

Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood



Twilight of the transfiguration- joy,
Gleam-faced, pure- eyed, strong-willed, high-hearted boy!
Hardly thy life clear forth of heaven was sent.
Ere it broke out into a smile and went.
So swift thy growth, so true thy goalward bent,
Thou, child and sage inextricably blent,
Wilt one day teach thy father in some heavenly tent.

Diary of an Old Soul

Death of Maurice MacDonald, 1879


She had not learned that the look of things as you go, is not their look when you turn back; that with your attitude their mood will have altered.  Nature is like a lobster pot ; she lets you easily go on, but not easily return.

What’s Mine’s Mine



It is with the holiest fear that we should approach the terrible fact of the sufferings of our Lord.  Let no one think that those were less because he was more.  The more delicate the nature, the more alive to all that is lovely and true, lawful and right, the more does it feel the antagonism of pain, the inroad of death upon life; the most dreadful is that breach of the harmony of things whose sound is torture."

“The Eloi” Unspoken Sermons, First Series



Love me, beloved; Hades and Death
Shall vanish away like a frosty breath;
These hands, that now are at home in thine,
Shall clasp thee again, if thou still art mine;
And thou shalt be mine, my spirit’s bride,
In the ceaseless flow of eternity’s tide,
If the truest love that thy heart can know
Meet the truest love that from mine can flow.
Pray God, beloved, for thee and me,
That our souls may be wedded eternally.

Part of a poem he gave her as wedding gift- From George Macdonald and His wife- by Greville MacDonald

George and Louisa’s wedding day


If a dream reveal a principle, that principle is a revelation and the dream is neither more nor less valuable than a waking thought that does the same.  The truth conveyed is the revelation.

Thomas Wingfold, Curate



Love which will yield to prayer is imperfect and poor.  Nor is it then love that yields, but its alloy.  For if at the voice of entreaty love conquers displeasure, it is love asserting itself, not love yielding its claims.  It is not love that grants a boon unwillingly; still less is it love that answers a prayer to the wrong and hurt of him who prays.. . . For love loves unto purity.

"The Consuming Fire"- Unspoken Sermons ,First Series



There is a great difference between I wish I was and I should like to be.

Thomas Wingfold, Curate



He was a servant of the church universal, of all that believed or ever would believe in the Lord Christ, therefore of all men, of the whole universe ---and first, of every man, woman, and child in his own parish.   But though he was the servant of the boundless church, no church was his master.  He had no master but the one Lord of Life.  Therefore the so-called prosperity of the church did not interest him.  He knew that the Master works from within outward, and believed no danger possible to the church, except from such of its nominal pastors as know nothing of the life that works leavening from within.  The will of God was all Wingfold cared about, and if the church was not content with that, then church was nothing to him, and might do to him as it would.  He did not spend his life for the people because he was a parson, but he was a parson because the church of England gave him facilities for spending his life for the people.  He gave himself altogether to the Lord, and therefore to his people.  He believed in Jesus Christ as the everyday life of the world, whose presence is just as needful in band, or shop, or house of lords, as at what so many of the clergy call the altar.  When the Lord is known as the heart of every joy, as well as the refuge from every sorrow, then the altar will be known for what it is ---an ecclesiastical antique.

There and Back



"It is not good at do everything for those you love and not give them a share in the doing.  It's not kind.  I'ts making too much of yourself my child"

At the Back of the North Wind



Happy the man who shall be able to believe that old age itself, with its pitiable decays and sad dreams of youth, is the chastening of the Lord, a sure sign of his love and his fatherhood.

“The Gifts Of The Child Christ



Nothing is ever so mischievous in its own place as out of it; and, besides, these mischievous creatures were only the children of Fairyland, as it were, and there are many other beings there as well; and if a wanderer gets in among them, the good ones will always help him more than the evil ones will be able to hurt him.

The Golden Key



Alister, if we were right with God, we could see the earth vanish and never heave a sigh; God, of whom it was but a shimmering revelation, would still be ours.

 What's Mine's Mine



Let us first ask what is the use of this body of ours.  It is the means of Revelation to us, the 'camera' in which God's eternal shows are set forth.  It is by the body that we come into contact with Nature, with our fellow-men, with all their revelations of God to us.  It is through the body that we receive all the lessons of passion, of suffering, of love, of beauty, of science.  It is through the body that we are both trained outwards from ourselves, and driven inwards into our deepest selves to find God.

“God of the Living”  from Unspoken Sermons, First Series



"Oh yes, I do, well enough," answered Diamond; "but I never just quite liked that rhyme."

"Why not, child?"

"Because it seems to say one's as good as another, or two new ones are better than one that's lost. I've been thinking about it a great deal, and it seems to me that although any one sixpence is as good as any other sixpence, not twenty lambs would do instead of one sheep whose face you knew. Somehow, when once you've looked into anybody's eyes, right deep down into them, I mean, nobody will do for that one any more. Nobody, ever so beautiful or so good, will make up for that one going out of sight."

At the Back of the North Wind



Think, brothers, think, sisters, we walk in the air of an eternal fatherhood.  Every uplifting of the heart is a looking up to The Father.  Graciousness and truth are around, above, beneath us, yea, in us.  When we are least worthy, then, most tempted, hardest, unkindest, let us yet commend our spirits into his hands.  Whither else dare we send them?  How the earthly father would love a child who would creep into his room with angry, troubled face, and sit down at his feet, saying when asked what he wanted "I feel so naughty, papa, and I want to get good"!  Would he say to his child "How dare you!  Go away, and be good, and then come to me?"  And shall we dare to think God would send us away if we came thus, and would not be pleased that we came, even if we were angry as Jonah?

“ The Hands of the Father” - Unspoken Sermons , First Series

Bob -  (for the feast day of  St. Joseph, Our Lord's step-father)


The universe would be to me no more than a pasteboard scene, all surface and no deepness, on the stage, if I did not hope in God.  I will not say believe, for that is a big word, and it means so much more than my low beginnings of confidence.  But a little faith may wake a great big hope, and I look for great things from him whose perfection breathed me out that I might be a perfect thing one day.  The more we trust, the more reasonable we find it to trust.

From a letter to Lady Mount-Temple, 1888  - An Expression of Character, Ed.,Sadler



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 of 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 fail, it is where self has stepped between and dulled the potency of its rays.

Paul Faber, Surgeon




Son of man, the Word of God liveth and abideth for ever, not in the volume of the book, but in the heart of the man that in love obeyeth him.

Thomas Wingfold, Curate



The Gospel is no gospel till it gets into the heart, and it sometimes wants a torpedo to blow the gates of that open.

Vicar's Daughter



He took my part against myself, for He waits to be gracious.

Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood



 “Go down that stair, and it will bring you to (the old man of the earth)” said the old man of the sea.. 

With humble thanks Tangle took her leave.  She went down the winding stair, till she began to fear there was no end to it.  Still down and down it went, rough and broken, with springs of water bursting out of the rocks and running down the steps beside her.  It was quite dark about her, and yet she could see.  For after being in that bath, people's eyes always give out a light they can see by.  There were no creeping things in the way.  All was safe and pleasant, though so dark and damp and deep.

The Golden Key



O wind of God. that bloweth in the mind,
Blow, blow and wake the gentle spring in me;
Blow, swifter than blow, a strong warm summer wind,
Till all the flowers with eyes come out to see;
Blow til the fruit hangs red on every tree,
And our high-soaring song-lark meets thy dove ---
High the imperfect soars, descends the perfect dove!
Blow not the less though winter cometh then;
Blow, wind of God, blow hither changes keen;
Let the spring creep into the ground again,
The flowers close all their eyes and not be seen
All lives in thee that ever once hath been!
Blow, fill my upper air with icy storms;
Breathe cold, O wind of God, and kill my canker-worms.

Poetical Works



"Lost But Safe" 

Lost the little one roams about,
Pathway or shelter none can find;
Blinking stars are coming out'
No on is moving but the wind;
It is no use to cry or shout,
All the world is still as a mouse;
One thing only eases her mind
"Father knows I'm not in the house!"

Poetical Works, Vol. Two



Painful the will of God may be - that I well know, as who that cares anything about it does not! but dreary , no!  Have patience, my love. Your heart's deepest desire must be the will of God for he cannot have made you so that your heart should run counter to his will; let him but have his own way with you, and your desire he will give you.  To that goes his path.  He delights in his children; so soon as they can be indulged without ruin, he will heap upon them their desires; they are his too.

 Weighed and Wanting



"Gien ye mean by that, sir," cried Donal, forgetting his English, "onything to come 'atween my God an' me, I'll ha'e nane o' 't.  I'll hae naething hide me frae him wha made me!  I wadna hide a thoucht frae him.  The waur it is, the mair need he see't."

Donal Grant



It is not by pressing our insights upon them, but by bathing the sealed eyelids of the human kittens, that we can help them.

“The Gifts of the Child Christ”




Came of old to houses lonely
Men with wings, but did not show them
Angels come to our house, only,
For their wings, they do not know them!

Poetical Works, Vol. 2