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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Diary of an Old Soul, May 21 - May 27

21. But he who would be born again indeed,
Must wake his soul unnumbered times a day,
And urge himself to life with holy greed;
Now ope his bosom to the Wind's free play;
And now, with patience forceful, hard, lie still,
Submiss* and ready to the making will,
Athirst and empty, for God's breath to fill.

22. All times are thine whose will is our remede**.
Man turns to thee, thou hast not turned away;
The look he casts, thy labour that did breed--
It is thy work, thy business all the day:
That look, not foregone fitness, thou dost heed.
For duty absolute how be fitter than now?
Or learn by shunning?--Lord, I come; help thou.

23. Ever above my coldness and my doubt
Rises up something, reaching forth a hand:
This thing I know, but cannot understand.
Is it the God in me that rises out
Beyond my self, trailing it up with him,
Towards the spirit-home, the freedom-land,
Beyond my conscious ken, my near horizon's brim?

24. O God of man, my heart would worship all
My fellow men, the flashes from thy fire;
Them in good sooth my lofty kindred call,
Born of the same one heart, the perfect sire;
Love of my kind alone can set me free;
Help me to welcome all that come to me,
Not close my doors and dream solitude liberty!

25. A loving word may set some door ajar
Where seemed no door, and that may enter in
Which lay at the heart of that same loving word.
In my still chamber dwell thou always, Lord;
Thy presence there will carriage true afford;
True words will flow, pure of design to win;
And to my men my door shall have no bar.

26. My prayers, my God, flow from what I am not;
I think thy answers make me what I am.
Like weary waves thought follows upon thought,
But the still depth beneath is all thine own,
And there thou mov'st in paths to us unknown.
Out of strange strife thy peace is strangely wrought;
If the lion in us pray--thou answerest the lamb.

27. So bound in selfishness am I, so chained,
I know it must be glorious to be free
But know not what, full-fraught, the word doth mean.
By loss on loss I have severely gained
Wisdom enough my slavery to see;
But liberty, pure, absolute, serene,
No freëst-visioned*** slave has ever seen.

This was written quite a while ago, and in poetry, hence I don't always understand fully. Here are my notes on three words above:

* I assume he means "submissive"

** Remedy. I guess he means that following God's will is the remedy for our problems.

*** I'm guessing that this simply means a slave who longs for freedom.

The above is excerpted from George MacDonald's A Book of Strife in the Form of The Diary of an Old Soul (Public Domain, 1880). For further information see this post. These are the entries for/from May 21 through May 27.

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