Friday, July 28, 2006

George Macdonald & The Inevitable Failure of Mere Morality

Though the below quote has to do with one man, its resonance keeps reverberating.... In this age where Muslims are shooting missiles, Christians are dropping bombs, Jews are building concentration camps, and everyone is intent on morality being "Ours" vs. "Theirs," the quote startles and scalds. (Bolding added.)

I will attempt no historical or theological classification of [George] Macdonald's thought, partly because I have not the learning to do so, still more because I am no great friend to such pigeon-holing. One very effective way of silencing the voice of conscience is to impound in an Ism the teacher through whom it speaks; the trumpet no longer seriously disturbs our rest when we have murmured '..Thomist', 'Barthian', or 'Existentialist'. And in Macdonald it is always the voice of conscience that speaks. He addresses the will: the demand for obedience, for "something to be neither more nor less nor other than done" is incessant. Yet in that very voice of conscience every other faculty somehow speaks as well -- intellect and imagination and humour and fancy and all the affections; and no man in modern times was perhaps more aware of the distinction between Law and Gospel, the inevitable failure of mere morality.

... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), preface to George Macdonald, an Anthology

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