George MacDonald.

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how nice it was, the better. It might make them
ashamed of the other at last.

There were many little bits of conversation I over-
heard, which I should like to give my readers ; but I
cannot dwell longer upon this part of my Annals. Espe-
cially I should have enjoyed recording one piece of talk,


in which Old Rogers was evidently trying to move a
more directly religious feeling in the mind of Dr Dun-
can. I thought I could see that the difficulty with the
noble old gentleman was one of expression. But after
all the old foremast-man was a seer of the Kingdom ;
and the other, with all his refinement, and education,
and goodness too, was but a child in it.

Before we parted, I gave to each of my guests a sheet
of Christmas Carols, gathered from the older portions of
our literature. For most of the modern hymns are to my
mind neither milk nor meat mere wretched imitations.
There were a few curious words and idioms in these, but
I thought it better to leave them as they were ; for they
might set them inquiring, and give me an opportunity
of interesting them further, some time or other, in the
history of a word ; for, in their ups and downs of for-
tune, words fare very much like human beings.

And here is my sheet of Carols :


O blessed Well of Love ! O Floure of Grace !

O glorious Morning-Starre ! O Lampe of Light I

Most lively image of thy Father's face,

Eternal King of Glorie, Lord of Might,

Meeke Lambe of God, before all worlds benight,

How can we Thee requite for all this good?

Or what can prize that Thy most precious blood ?

Yet nought Thou ask'st in lieu of all this love,

But love of us, for guerdon of Thy paine :

Ay me ! what can us lesse than that behove?

Had He required life of us againe,

Had it beene wrong to ask His owne with gaine!


He gave us life, He it restored lost ;
Then life were least, that us so little cost.

But He our life hath left unto us free,
Free that was thrall, and blessed that was baun'd
Ne ought demaunds but that we loving bee,
As He himselfe hath lov'd us afore-hand,
And bound therto with an eternall Dane),
Him first to love that us so dcarely bought,
And next our brethren, to His image wrought*

Him first to love great right and reason is,
Who first to us our life and being gave,
And after, when we fared had amisse,
Us wretches from the second death did save ;
And last, the food of life, which now we have,
Even He Himselfe, in His dear sacrament,
To feede our hungry soules, unto us lent.

Then next, to love our brethren, that were made
Of that selfe mould, and that self Maker's hand,
That we, and to the same againe shall fade,
Where they shall have like heritage of laud,
However here on higher steps we stand,
Which also were with self-same price redeemed
That we, however of us light esteemed.

Tnen rouze thy selfe, O Earth ! out of thy soyle^
In which thou wallowest like to filthy swyne,
And doest thy mynd in durty pleasures moyle,
Unmindfull of that dearest Lord of thyne ;
Lift up to Him thy hcavie clouded eyne,
That thou this soveraine bountie mayst behold,
And read, through love, His mercio manifold.

Beginnr from first, where He encradled was
In simple cratch, wrapt in a wad of hay,
Betweene the toylfull oxe and humble asse,
And in what ratjs, and in how base array,
The glory of our heavenly riches lay,


When Him the silly shepheards came to see,
Whom greatest princes sought on lowest knee.

From thence reade on the storie of His life,

His humble carriage, His unfaulty wayes,

His cancred foes, His fights, His toyle, His strife,

His paines, His povertie, His sharpe assayes,

Through which He past His miserable dayes,

Offending none, and doing good to all,

Yet being malist both by great and small.

With all thy hart, with all thy soule and mind,
Thou must Him love, and His beheasts embrace ;
All other loves, with which the world doth blind
Weake fancies, and stirre up affections base,
Thou must renounce and utterly displace.
And give thy selfe unto Him full and free,
That full and freely gave Himselfe to thee.

Then shall thy ravisht soul inspired bee

Witn heavenly thoughts farre above humane skil,

And thy bright radiant eyes shall plainly see

Th' idee of His pure glorie present still

Before thy face, that all thy spirits shall fill

With sweet enragement of celestial love,

Kindled through sight of those faire things above.



Behold a silly tender Babe,

In freezing winter night,
In homely manger trembling lies ;

Alas ! a piteous sight.

The inns are full, no man will yield

This little Pilgrim bed ;
But forced He is with silly beasra

In crib to shroud His head.


Despise Him not for lying there,

First what He is inquire ;
An orient pearl is often fonnd

In depth of dirty mire.

Weigh not His crib, His wooden dish,

Nor beast that by Him feed ;
Weigh not his mother's poor attire,

Nor Joseph's simple weed.

This stable is a Prince's court,

The crib His chair of state ;
The beasts are parcel of HLs pomp,

The wooden dish His plate.

The persons in that poor attire

His royal liveries wear ;
The Prince himself is come from heaven

This pomp is praised there.

With joy approach, O Christian wight I

Do homage to thy King ;
And highly praise this humble pomp

Which lie from heaven doth bring.



I. Where is this blessed Babe

That hath made
All the world so full of joy
And expectation ;
That glorious Boy

That crowns each nation
With a triumphant wreath of blessedness?

2. Where should He be but in the throng,

And among
His angel -ministers, that sing

And take wing


Just as may echo to His voice.

And rejoice,

When wing and tongue and all
May so procure their happiness?

3. But He hath other waiters now.

A poor cow,
An ox and mule stand and behold,

And wonder
That a stable should enfold

Him that can thunder.
Chorus. O what a gracious God have we 1

How good ! How great ! Even as our misery.



Away, dark thoughts; awake, my joy;

Awake, my glory ; sing ;
Sing songs to celebrate the birth

Of Jacob's God and King.
O happy night, that brought forth light,

Which makes the blind to see !
The day spring from on high came down

To cheer and visit thee.

The wakeful shepherds, near their flocks,

Were watchful for the morn ;
But better news from heaven was brou^^t,

Your Saviour Christ is born.
In Bethlem-to\\\\ the infant lies,

Within a place obscure,
O little Bethlem, poor in walls,

But rich in furniture !

Since heaven is now come down to earth,

Hither the angels fly!
Hark, how the heavenly choir doth sing

Glory tu God on High >


The news is spread, the church is glad,

Simeon, o'ercome with joy,
Sings with the infant in his arms,

Now let thy servant die.

Wise men from far beheld the star.

Which was their faithful guide,
Until it pointed forth the Babe,

And Him they glorified.
Do heaven and earth rejoice and sing

Shall we our Christ deny?
He's bom for us, and we fur Him:

Glory to God on High.




NEVER asked questions about the private
affairs of any of my parishioners, except of
themselves individually upon occasion of
their asking me for advice, and some conse-
quent necessity for knowing more than they told me.
Hence, I believe, they became the more willing that 1
should know. But I heard a good many things from
others, notwithstanding, for I could not be constantly
closing the lips of the communicative as I had done
those 01 Jane Rogers. And amongst other things, I
learned that Miss Oldcastle went most Sundays to the
neighbouring town of Addicehead to church. Now I
had often heard of the ability of the rector, and although
I had never met him, was prepared to find him a culti-
vated, if not an original man. Still, if I must be honest,
which I hope I must, I confess that I heard the news
with a pang, in analysing which I discovered the chief


component to be jealousy. It was no use asking myself
why I should be jealous : there the ugly thing was. So
I went and told God I was ashamed, and begged Him
to deliver me from the evil, because His was the king-
dom and the power and the glory. And He took my
part against myself, for He waits to be gracious. Per-
haps the reader may, however, suspect a deeper cause
for this feeling (to which I would rather not give the
true name again) than a merely professional one.

But there was one stray sheep of my flock that appeared
in church for the first time on the morning of Christmas
Day Catherine Weir. She did not sit beside her father,
but in the most shadowy corner of the church near the
organ loft, however. She could have seen her father if
she had looked up, but she kept her eyes down the whole
time, and never even lifted them to me. The spot on
one cheek was much brighter than that on the other,
and made her look very ill.

I prayed to our God to grant me the honour of speak-
ing a true word to them all ; which honour I thought
I was right in asking, because the Lord reproached the
Pharisees for not seeking the honour that cometh from
God. Perhaps I may have put a wrong interpretation
on the passage. It is, however, a joy to think that He
will not give you a stone, even if you should take it for
a loaf, and ask for it as such. Nor is He, like the
scribes, lying in wait to catch poor erring men in their
words or their prayers, however mistaken they may be.

I took my text from the Sermon on the Mount. And
as the magazine for which these Annals were first written


was intended chiefly for Sunday reading, I wrote my
sermon just as if I were preaching it to my unseen
readers as I spoke it to my present parishioners. And
here it is now :

The Gospel according to St Matthew, the sixth chapter,
and part of the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth verses :

" ' Ye cannot serve God and Mammon. Therefore I
say unto you, Take no thought for your life?

" When the Child whose birth we celebrate with glad
hearts this day, grew up to be a man, He said this. Did
He mean it? He never said what He did not mean.
Did He mean it wholly ? He meant it far beyond what
the words could convey. He meant it altogether and
entirely. When people do not understand what the
Lord says, when it seems to them that His advice is
impracticable, instead of searching deeper for a mean
ing which will be evidently true and wise, they comfort
themselves by thinking He could not have meant it alto-
gether, and so leave it. Or they think that if He did
mean it, He could not expect them to carry it out.
And in the fact that they could not do it perfectly if they
were to try, they take refuge from the duty of trying to
do it at all ; or, oftener, they do not think about it at
all as anything that in the least concerns them. The
Son of our Father in heaven may have become a child,
may have led the one life which belongs to every man
to lead, may have suffered because we are sinners, may
have died for our sakes, doing the will of His Father in
heaven, and yet we have nothing to do with the words


He spoke out of the midst of His true, perfect know-
ledge, feeling, and action ! Is it not strange that it
should be so? Let it not be so with us this day. Let
us seek to find out what our Lord means, that we may
do it ; trying and failing and trying again verily to be
victorious at last what matter when, so long as we are
trying, and so coming nearer to our end !

" Mammon, you know, means rictus. Now, riches are
meant to be the slave not even the servant of man,
and not to be the master. If a man serve his own ser-
vant, or, in a word, any one who has no just claim to be
his master, he is a slave. But here he serves his own
slave. On the other hand, to serve God, the source of
our being, our own glorious Father, is freedom; in
fact, is the only way to get rid of all bondage. So you
see plainly enough that a man cannot serve God and
Mammon. For how can a slave of his own slave be
the servant of the God of freedom, of Him who can
have no one to serve Him but a free man ? His service
is freedom. Do not, I pray you, make any confusion
between service and slavery. To serve is the highest,
noblest calling in creation. For even the Son of man
came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, yea,
with Himself.

" But how can a man serve riches ? Why, when he
says to riches, 'Ye are my good.' When he feels he
cannot be happy without them. When he puts forth
the energies of his nature to get them. When he
schemes and dreams and lies awake about them. When
he will not give to his neighbour for fear of becoming


poor himself. When he wants to have more, and to
know he has more, than he can need. When he wants
to leave money behind him, not for the sake of his
children or relatives, but for the name of the wealth.
When he leaves his money, not to those who need it,
even of his relations, but to those who are rich like
himself, making them yet more of slaves to the over-
grown monster they worship for his size. When he
honours those who have money because they have
money, irrespective of their character; or when he
honours in a rich man what he would not honour in
a poor man. Then is he the slave of Mammon. Still
more is he Mammon's slave when his devotion to his
god makes him oppressive to those over whom his
wealth gives him power; or when he becomes unjust
in order to add to his stores. How will it be with such
a man when on a sudden he finds that the world has
vanished, and he is alone with God? There lies the
body in which he used to live, whose poor necessities
first made money of value to him, but with which itself
and its fictitious value are both left behind. He cannot
now even try to bribe God with a cheque. The angels
will not bow down to him because his property, as set
forth in his will, takes five or six figures to express its
amount It makes no difference to them that he has
lost it, though ; for they never respected him. And the
poor souls of Hades, who envied him the wealth they
had lost before, rise up as one man to welcome him, not
for love of him no worshipper of Mammon loves an-
other but rejoicing in the mischief that has befallen


him, and saying, 'Art thou also become one of us?'
And Lazarus in Abraham's bosom, however sorry he may
be for him, however grateful he may feel to him for the
broken victuals and the penny, cannot with one drop of
the water of Paradise cool that man's parched tongue.

" Alas, poor Dives ! poor server of Mammon, whose
vile god can pretend to deliver him no longer ! Or
rather, for the blockish god never pretended anything
it was the man's own doing Alas for the Mammon-
worshipper ! he can no longer deceive himself in his
riches. And so even in hell he is something nobler
than he was on earth ; for he worships his riches no
longer. He cannot. He curses them.

" Terrible things to say on Christmas Day ! But if
Christmas Day teaches us anything, it teaches us to
worship God and not Mammon ; to worship spirit and
not matter ; to worship love and not power.

" Do I now hear any of my friends saying in their
hearts : Let the rich take that ! It does not apply to
us. We are poor enough ? Ah, my friends, I have
known a light-hearted, liberal rich man lose his riches,
and be liberal and light-hearted stili. I knew a rich
lady once, in giving a large gift of money to a poor
man, say apologetically, ' I hope it is no disgrace in me
to be rich, as it is none in you to be poor.' It is not
the being rich that is wrong, "out the serving of riches,
instead of making them serve your neighbour and your-
self your neighbour for this life, yourself for the ever-
lasting habitations. God knows it is hard for the rich
man to enter into the kingdom of heaven ; but the rich


man does sometimes enter in ; for God hath made it
possible. And the greater the victory, when it is the
rich man that overcometh the world. It is easier for
the poor man to enter into the kingdom, yet many of
the poor have failed to enter in, and the greater is the
disgrace of their defeat. For the poor have more done
for them, as far as outward things go, in the way of sal-
vation than the rich, and have a beatitude all to them-
selves besides. For in the making of this world as a
school of salvation, the poor, as the necessary majority,
have been more regarded than the rich. Do not think,
my poor friend, that God will let you off. He lets no-
body off. You, too, must pay the uttermost farthing.
He loves you too well to let you serve Mammon a whit
more than your rich neighbour. ' Serve Mammon ! ' do
you say ? ' How can I serve Mammon ? I have no
Mammon to serve.' Would you like to have riches a
moment sooner than God gives them ? Would you serve
Mammon if you had him? 'Who can tell?' do you
answer? 'Leave those questions till I am tried.' But
is there no bitterness in the tone of that response ?
Does it not mean, ' It will be a long time before I have
a chance of trying that T But I am not driven to such
questions for the chance of convicting some of you of
Mammon-worship. Let us look to the text Read it

" ' Ye cannot seme God and Mammon. Therefore I say
unto you, Take no thought for your life}

" Why are you to take no thought ? Because you
cannot serve God and Mammon. Is taking thought,


then, a serving of Mammon ? Clearly. Where are you
now, poor man? Brooding over the frost? Will it
harden the ground, so that the God of the sparrows
cannot find food for His sons? Where are you now,
poor woman ? Sleepless over the empty cupboard and
to-morrow's dinner? ' It is because we have no bread ?'
do you answer? Have you forgotten the five loaves
among the five thousand, and the fragments that were
left ? Or do you know nothing of your Father in heaven,
who clothes the lilies and feeds the birds? O ye of
little faith ? O ye poor-spirited Mammon-worshippers !
who worship him not even because he has given you
anything, but in the hope that he may some future day
benignantly regard you. But I may be too hard upon
you. I know well that our Father sees a great difference
between the man who is anxious about his children's
dinner, or even about his own, and the man who is only
anxious to add another ten thousand to his much goods
laid up for many years. But you ought to find it easy
to trust in God for such a matter as your daily bread,
whereas no man can by any possibility trust in God for
ten thousand pounds. The former need is a God-
ordained necessity ; the latter desire a man-devised appe-
tite at best possibly swinish greed. Tell me, do you
long to be rich ? Then you worship Mammon. Tell
me, do you think you would feel safer if you had money
in the bank J Then you are Mammon-worshippers ; for
you would trust the barn of the rich man rather than the
God who makes the corn to grow. Do you say ' What
shall we eat ? anil what shall we drink ? and wherewithal


shall we be clothed V Are ye thus of doubtful mind 1
Then you are Mammon-worshippers.

" But how is the work of the world to be done if we
take no thought? We are nowhere told not to take
thought We must take thought. The question is
What are we to take or not to take thought about 1 By
some who do not know God, little work would be done
if they were not driven by anxiety of some kind. But
you, friends, are you content to go with the nations of
the earth, or do you seek a better way the way that the
Father of nations would have you walk in 1

" What then are we to take thought about? Why,
about our work. What are we not to take thought
about ? Why, about our life. The one is our business :
the other is God's. But you turn it the other way.
You take no thought of earnestness about the doing of
your duty ; but you take thought of care lest God should
not fulfil His part in the goings on of the world. A
man's business is just to do his duty : God takes upon
Himself the feeding and the clothing. Will the work of
the world be neglected if a man thinks of his work, his
duty, God's will to be done, instead of what he is to eat,
what he is to drink, and wherewithal he is to be clothed?
And remember all the needs of the world come back to
these three. You will allow, I think, that the work of
the world will be only so much the better done ; that
the very means of procuring the raiment or the food will
be the more thoroughly used. What, then, is the only
region on which the doubt can settle? Why, God. He
alone remains to be doubted. Shall it be so with you i


Shall the Son of man, the baby now born, and for evei
with us, find no faith in you 1 Ah, my poor friend, who
canst not trust in God I was going to say you deserve
but what do I know of you to condemn and judge
you ? I was going to say, you deserve to be treated like
the child who frets and complains because his mother
holds him on her knee and feeds him mouthful by
mouthful with her own loving hand. I meant you
deserve to have your own way for a while ; to be set
down, and told to help yourself, and see what it will
come to ; to have your mother open the cupboard door
for you, and leave you alone to your pleasures. Alas !
poor child ! When the sweets begin to pall, and the
twilight begins to come duskily into the chamber, and
you look about all at once and see no mother, how will
your cupboard comfort you then 1 Ask it for a smile,
for a stroke of the gentle hand, for a word of love. AH
the full-fed Mammon can give you is what your mother
would have given you without the consequent loathing,
with the light of her countenance upon it all, and the
arm of her love around you. And this is what God
does sometimes, I think, with the Mammon-worshippers
amongst the poor. He says to them, Take your Mammon,
and see what he is worth. Ah, friends, the children of
God can never be happy serving other than Him. The
prodigal might fill his belly with riotous living or with
the husks that Oie swine ate. it was all one, so long as
he was not with bis father. His soul was wretched. So
would you be if you had wealth, for I fear you would
only be worse Mammon-worshippers than now, and might


well have to thank God for the misery of any swine-
trough that could bring you to your senses.

" But we do see people die of starvation sometimes ?
Yes. But if you did your work in God's name, and
left the rest to Him, that would not trouble you. You
would say, If it be God's will that I should starve, I can
starve as well as another. And your mind would be at
ease. ' Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind
is stayed upon Thee, because he trusteth in Thee.' Of
that I am sure. It may be good for you to go hungry
and bare-foot ; but it must be utter death to have no
faith in God. It is not, however, in God's way of things
that the man who does his work shall not live by it.
We do not know why here and there a man may be left
to die of hunger, but I do believe that they who wait
upon the Lord shall not lack any good. What it may
be good to deprive a man of till he knows and acknow-
ledges whence it comes, it may be still better to give
him when he has learned that every good and every per-
fect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father
of lights.

" I should like to know a man who just minded his
duty and troubled himself about nothing ; who did his
own work and did not interfere with God's. How nobly
he would work working not for reward, but because it
was the will of God ! How happily he would receive
his food and clothing, receiving them as the gifts of
God ! What peace would be his ! What a sober gaiety !
How hearty and infectious his laughter ! What a friend
he would be! How sweet his sympathy! And hi*


mind would be so clear he would understand everything.
His eye being single, his whole body would be full of
li^ht No fear of his ever doing a mean thing. He
would die in a ditch rather. It is this fear of want that
makes men do mean things. They are afraid to part

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