Sunday, July 22, 2012

Doubts

From George MacDonald and His Wife, by Greville MacDonald. 
Page 494 ff 


After the death of her daughter, Louisa MacDonald, struggled with doubt...


[George MacDonald] took to himself the mother's own misery, namely, that the old conventional forms of religion's comforting were failing her utterly.  In this present renewal of 'Death's terror' we find the victory over it.  Just as death's denial is forced upon us by its fearsome evidences -

Have pity on us for the look of things
When blank denial stares us in the face -

and declares our utter dependency, so is life's triumphant affirmation of its immortality, independently of any evidences, the essence and truth of all religion.  Death and its trappings we may know of, Life and its resurrection we believe in.  Just as we will not, cannot put our trust, our belief, in Death, so we cannot know - in the way we know the beloved body lies dead in that box - that the darling life has realized Love's own immortality   Small wonder - with battalions of braggart facts ranged before our senses and souls in denial of Him who is the Resurrection and the Life - small wonder that, in days of this poor mortality, we have always, day by day, year by year, to fight 'the Apollyon of Unbelief.' [A phrase MacDonald used more than once.] For us to doubt that my father and mother did in the spring of 1879 triumph over the enemy, while still they must remain in the fighting line, is to throw down our arms and turn traitors.  Yet proof of immortal life, as proof is counted by the scientist, can never be given.  Nor shall we ask for it when at the last we are delivered from the body of this death; for we shall understand that such faith as George MacDonald's was not other than divine knowledge.  This he puts very definitely:

To make things real to us is the end and battle-cause of life.  We often think we believe what we are only presenting to our imaginations.  The least thing can overthrow that kind of fatih.  The imagination is an endless help towards faith, but it is no more than a dream of food will make us strong for the next day's work.  To know God as the beginning and end, the root and cause, the giver, the enabler, the love and joy and perfect good, the present one existence in all things and degrees and conditions, is life; and faith, in its simplest, truest, mightiest form is - to do his will.  [From the novel, Donal Grant, 1883 pg 14]

Do you ask [again writes my father] why no intellectual proof is to be had?  I tell you that such would but delay, perhaps altogether impair for you, that better, that best, that only vision, which by its own radiance will sweep away doubt for ever.  Being then in the light and knowing it, the lack of intellectual proof will trouble you no more than would your inability to silence a metaphysician who declared that you had no real existence...The mists and the storms and the cold will pass - the sun and the sky are for evermore.  [from the novel, Paul Faber, Surgeon, 1879, pg 217]
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