Tuesday, 10 September 2013

George MacDonald on the Bible.

This quote is taken from the film "George MacDonald" by Charles William Seper, Jr. (The quote comes originally from the biography by MacDonald's son Greville.) George MacDonald replies to a woman who asks why he has fallen away from the Christian faith. He replies:

"Have you really been reading my books, and at this time ask me what have I lost of the old faith? Much have I rejected of the new, but I have never rejected anything I could keep and have never turned again to gather what I had once cast away. With the faith itself to be found in the old Scottish manse I trust I have a true sympathy. With many of the forms gathered around that faith and supposed by the faithful to set forth and explain their faith, I have none. At a very early age I had begun to cast them from me; but all the time my faith in Jesus as the Son of the Father of men and the Saviour of us all, has been growing. If it were not for the fear of its sounding unkind, I would say that if you had been a disciple of his instead of mine, you would not have mistaken me so much. Do not suppose that I believe in Jesus because it is said so-and-so in a book. I believe in him because he is himself. The vision of him in that book, and I trust, his own living power in me, have enabled me to understand him, to look him in the face, as it were, and accept him as my Master and Saviour, in following whom I shall come to the rest of the Father's peace. The Bible is to me the precious thing in the world, because it tells me his story; and what good men thought about him who knew him and accepted him. But, the common theory of the inspiration of the words, instead of the breathing of God's truth in the hearts and souls of those who wrote it, and who then did their best with it, is degrading and evil; and they who hold it are in danger of worshipping the letter instead of living in the Spirit, of being idolaters of the Bible instead of disciples of Jesus….It is Jesus who is the Revelation of God, not the Bible; that is but a means to a mighty eternal end. The book is indeed sent us by God, but it nowhere claims to be His very word. If it were - and it would be no irreverence to say it - it would have been a good deal better written. Yet even its errors and blunders do not touch the truth, and are the merest trifles - dear as the little spot of earth on the whiteness of the snowdrop. Jesus alone is The Word of God.

With all sorts of doubt I am familiar, and the result of them is, has been, and will be, a widening of my heart and soul and mind to greater glories of the truth - the truth that is in Jesus - and not in Calvin or Luther or St. Paul or St. John, save as they got it from Him, from whom every simple heart may have it, and can alone get it. You cannot have such proof of the existence of God or the truth of the Gospel story as you can have of a proposition in Euclid or a chemical experiment. But the man who will order his way by the word of the Master shall partake of his peace, and shall have in himself a growing conviction that in him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge….

One thing more I must say: though the Bible contains many an utterance of the will of God, we do not need to go there to find how to begin to do his will. In every heart there is a consciousness of some duty or other required of it; that is the will of God. He who would be saved must get up and do that will - if it be but to sweep a room or make an apology, or pay a debt. It was he who had kept the commandments whom Jesus invited to be his follower in poverty and labour."

Image courtesy of dan /FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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