Lilith By. George MacDonald

August 9, 2008

Here is an excerpt from the book my parents got me for our graduation. It is by the man that most influenced C.S. Lewis’ writings as it related to discovering Truth in fantasy. It is a really beautiful book and rather poetically written.

"Some of the people who used to pray there, go to the ruins still,"
he replied.  "But they will not go much longer, I think."

"What makes them go now?"

"They need help from each other to get their thinking done, and
their feelings hatched, so they talk and sing together; and then,
they say, the big thought floats out of their hearts like a great
ship out of the river at high water."

"Do they pray as well as sing?"

"No; they have found that each can best pray in his own silent
heart.--Some people are always at their prayers.--Look! look! There
goes one!"

He pointed right up into the air.  A snow-white pigeon was mounting,
with quick and yet quicker wing-flap, the unseen spiral of an
ethereal stair.  The sunshine flashed quivering from its wings.

"I see a pigeon!" I said.

"Of course you see a pigeon," rejoined the raven, "for there is the
pigeon!  I see a prayer on its way.--I wonder now what heart is that
dove's mother!  Some one may have come awake in my cemetery!"

"How can a pigeon be a prayer?" I said.  "I understand, of course,
how it should be a fit symbol or likeness for one; but a live pigeon
to come out of a heart!"

"It MUST puzzle you!  It cannot fail to do so!"

"A prayer is a thought, a thing spiritual!" I pursued.

"Very true! But if you understood any world besides your own, you
would understand your own much better.--When a heart is really
alive, then it is able to think live things.  There is one heart all
whose thoughts are strong, happy creatures, and whose very dreams
are lives.  When some pray, they lift heavy thoughts from the
ground, only to drop them on it again; others send up their prayers
in living shapes, this or that, the nearest likeness to each.  All
live things were thoughts to begin with, and are fit therefore to
be used by those that think.  When one says to the great Thinker:--
"Here is one of thy thoughts: I am thinking it now!" that is a
prayer--a word to the big heart from one of its own little hearts.--
Look, there is another!"

This time the raven pointed his beak downward--to something at the
foot of a block of granite.  I looked, and saw a little flower.  I
had never seen one like it before, and cannot utter the feeling it
woke in me by its gracious, trusting form, its colour, and its odour
as of a new world that was yet the old.  I can only say that it
suggested an anemone, was of a pale rose-hue, and had a golden heart.

"That is a prayer-flower," said the raven.

"I never saw such a flower before!" I rejoined.

"There is no other such.  Not one prayer-flower is ever quite like
another," he returned.

"How do you know it a prayer-flower?" I asked.

"By the expression of it," he answered.  "More than that I cannot
tell you.  If you know it, you know it; if you do not, you do not."

"Could you not teach me to know a prayer-flower when I see it?" I

"I could not.  But if I could, what better would you be? you would
not know it of YOURSELF and ITself!  Why know the name of a thing
when the thing itself you do not know?  Whose work is it but your
own to open your eyes?  But indeed the business of the universe is
to make such a fool of you that you will know yourself for one, and
so begin to be wise!"

But I did see that the flower was different from any flower I had
ever seen before; therefore I knew that I must be seeing a shadow
of the prayer in it; and a great awe came over me to think of the
heart listening to the flower.

2 Responses to “Lilith By. George MacDonald”

  1. aslade Says:

    Hey buddy! I miss you too! Can’t wait to stand on the wall together in AC! Woohoo! I’m praying for you brother. I had a terrible couple days…but God is healing some wounds that have needed healing for a long time. Its been awesome! Have a wonderful rest of the week!

  2. lovedrivenson Says:

    That was an amazing excerpt. It really awoke some thoughts of my heart. “Why know the name of a thing when the thing itself you do not know?” Gah, *gawks in thought*, I need to know God. I miss you man. Keep posting I love the things you write.

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