tonight, we have two selected passages from the 'father of us all' (according to madamme l'engle), and from the man whom 'C.S. Lewis' called 'his master'. we have here two pieces from the master 'George MacDonald':

Stories by George MacDonald

--| Lilith - The Journey Home |--- IT had ceased to be dark; we walked in a dim twilight, breathing through the dimness the breath of the spring. a wondrous change had passed upon the world--or was it not rather that a change more marvellous had taken place in us? without light enough in the sky or the air to reveal anything, every heather-bush, every small shrub, every blade of grass was perfectly visible--either by light that went out from it, as fire from the bush moses saw in the desert, or by light that went out of our eyes. nothing cast a shadow; all things interchanged a little light. every growing thing showed me, by its shape and colour, its indwelling idea--the informing thought, that is, which was its being, and sent it out. my bare feet seemed to love every plant they trod upon. the world and my being, its life and mine, were one. the microcosm and macrocosm were at length atoned, at length in harmony! i lived in everything; everything entered and lived in me. to be aware of a thing, was to know its life at once and mine, to know whence we came, and where we were at home--was to know that we are all what we are, because another is what he is! sense after sense, hitherto asleep, awoke in me--sense after sense indescribable, because no correspondent words, no likenesses or imaginations exist, wherewith to describe them. full indeed--yet ever expanding, ever making room to receive--was the conscious being where things kept entering by so many open doors! when a little breeze brushing a bush of heather set its purple bells a ringing, i was myself in the joy of the bells, myself in the joy of the breeze to which responded their sweet tin-tinning, myself in the joy of the sense, and of the soul that received all the joys together. to everything glad i lent the hall of my being wherein to revel. i was a peaceful ocean upon which the ground- swell of a living joy was continually lifting new waves; yet was the joy ever the same joy, the eternal joy, with tens of thousands of changing forms... --| Phantastes - Chapter XXV |--- "Unser Leben ist kein Traum, aber es soll und wird viellicht einer werden " -- NOVALIS. "Our life is no dream; but it ought to become one, and perhaps will ." "And on the ground, which is my modres gate, I knocke with my staf; erlich and late, And say to hire, Leve mother, let me in ." CHAUCER, The Pardoneres Tale. Sinking from such a state of ideal bliss, into the world of shadows which again closed around and infolded me, my first dread was, not unnaturally, that my own shadow had found me again, and that my torture had commenced anew. It was a sad revulsion of feeling. This, indeed, seemed to correspond to what we think death is, before we die. Yet I felt within me a power of calm endurance to which I had hitherto been a stranger. For, in truth, that I should be able if only to think such things as I had been thinking, was an unspeakable delight. An hour of such peace made the turmoil of a lifetime worth striving through. I found myself lying in the open air, in the early morning, before sunrise. Over me rose the summer heaven, expectant of the sun. The clouds already saw him, coming from afar; and soon every dewdrop would rejoice in his individual presence within it. I lay motionless for a few minutes; and then slowly rose and looked about me. I was on the summit of a little hill; a valley lay beneath, and a range of mountains closed up the view upon that side. But, to my horror, across the valley, and up the height of the opposing mountains, stretched, from my very feet, a hugely expanding shade. There it lay, long and large, dark and mighty. I turned away with a sick despair; when lo! I beheld the sun just lifting his head above the eastern hill, and the shadow that fell from me, lay only where his beams fell not. I danced for joy. It was only the natural shadow, that goes with every man who walks in the sun. As he arose, higher and higher, the shadow-head sank down the side of the opposite hill, and crept in across the valley towards my feet. Now that I was so joyously delivered from this fear, I saw and recognised the country around me. In the valley below, lay my own castle, and the haunts of my childhood were all about me hastened home. My sisters received me with unspeakable joy; but I suppose they observed some change in me, for a kind of respect, with a slight touch of awe in it, mingled with their joy, and made me ashamed. They had been in great distress about me. On the morning of my disappearance, they had found the floor of my room flooded; and, all that day, a wondrous and nearly impervious mist had hung about the castle and grounds. I had been gone, they told me, twenty-one days. To me it seemed twenty-one years. Nor could I yet feel quite secure in my new experiences. When, at night, I lay down once more in my own bed, I did not feel at all sure A valley lay beneath me that when I awoke, I should not find myself in some mysterious region of Fairy Land. My dreams were incessant and perturbed; but when I did awake, I saw clearly that I was in my own house My mind soon grew calm; and I began the duties of my new position, somewhat instructed, I hoped, by the adventures that had befallen me in Fairy Land. Could I translate the experience of my travels there, into common life? This was the question. Or must I live it all over again, and learn it all over again, in the other forms that belong to the world of men, whose experience yet runs parallel to that of Fairy Land? These questions I cannot answer yet. But I fear. Even yet, I find myself looking round sometimes with anxiety, to see whether my shadow falls right away from the sun or no. I have never yet discovered any inclination to either side. And if I am not unfrequently sad, I yet cast no more of a shade on the earth, than most men who have lived in it as long as I. I have a strange feeling sometimes, that I am a ghost, sent into the world to minister to my fellow men, or, rather, to repair the wrongs I have already done. May the world be brighter for me, at least in those portions of it, where my darkness falls not. Thus I, who set out to find my Ideal, came back rejoicing that I had lost my Shadow. When the thought of the blessedness I experienced, after my death in Fairy Land, is too high for me to lay hold upon it and hope in it, I often think of the wise woman in the cottage, and of her solemn assurance that she knew something too good to be told. When I am oppressed by any sorrow or real perplexity, I often feel as if I had only left her cottage for a time, and would soon return out of the vision, into it again. Sometimes, on such occasions, I find myself, unconsciously almost, looking about for the mystic mark of red, with the vague hope of entering her door, and being comforted by her wise tenderness. I then console myself by saying: "I have come through the door of Dismay; and the way back from the world into which that has led me, is through my tomb. Upon that the red sign lies, and I shall find it one day, and be glad." I will end my story with the relation of an incident which befell me a few days ago. I had been with my reapers, and, when they ceased their work at noon, I had lain down under the shadow of a great, ancient beech-tree, that stood on the edge of the field. As I lay, with my eyes closed, I began to listen to the sound of the leaves overhead. At first, they made sweet inarticulate music alone; but, by-and-by, the sound seemed to begin to take shape, and to be gradually moulding itself into words; till, at last, I seemed able to distinguish these, half-dissolved in a little ocean of circumfluent tones: "A great good is coming -- is coming -- is coming to thee, Anodos"; and so over and over again. I fancied that the sound reminded me of the voice of the ancient woman, in the cottage that was four-square. I opened my eyes, and, for a moment, almost believed that I saw her face, with its many wrinkles and its young eyes, looking at me from between two hoary branches of the beech overhead. But when I looked more keenly, I saw only twigs and leaves, and the infinite sky, in tiny spots, gazing through between. Yet I know that good is coming to me -- that good is always coming; though few have at all times the simplicity and the courage to believe it. What we call evil, is the only and best shape, which, for the person and his condition at the time, could be assumed by the best good. And so, Farewell. George MacDonald, from: i) Lilith, Chapter XLV - The Journey Home, ii) Phantastes, Ending. --| charles williams - all hallow's eve |--- in all hallow's eve, charles williams elaborates in some detail the post-mortem condition of two woman, lester and evelyn, the victims of an aircraft accident. their death occurs in the city of london and close to the river. the story opens with one of them standing (as a ghost) on westminister bridge. lester wanders through the deserted streets until she comes upon her friend evelyn who is in similar condition to herself. however, while lester accepts life as it comes, with a spirit of loving interchange, evelyn tends to be full of fear, self-pity and resentment. together they continue to wander through the city in the slow process of death (bardo), and the changes in consciousness that will result in their natural passing on from the shadows of earth life toward a greater awareness of "the heavenly city" in a fuller dimension. into this situation comes a black magician "simon" who has raised a slave (betty) to be his instrument with which he can propogate his infernal activities into the realm of the otherworld. his maxim is "love is the fulfilling of the law". lester interjects, and corrects him by saying, "you'd be wiser to say that the fulfilling of the law is love". through the loving actions of lester, a chain of events comes about which allows the fullfilment of the verse "bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of christ." (galations 6:2) --

these books are available from eerdmans publishers. order them here: 616.459.4591. ---


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