George MacDonald: God does not “oppress us with His will”

“God does not, by the instant gift of his Spirit, make us always feel right, desire good, love purity, aspire after him and his will. Therefore either he will not, or he cannot. …. The truth is this: He wants to make us in his own image, choosing the good, refusing the evil. How should he effect this if he were always moving us from within, as he does at divine intervals, towards the beauty of holiness? God gives us room to be; does not oppress us with his will; “stands away from us,” that we may act from ourselves, that we may exercise the pure will for good. Do not, therefore, imagine me to mean that we can do anything of ourselves without God. If we choose the right at last, it is all God’s doing, and only the more his that it is ours, only in a far more marvellous way his than if he had kept us filled with all holy impulses precluding the need of choice. For up to this very point, for this very point, he has been educating us, leading us, pushing us, driving us, enticing us, that we may choose him and his will, and so be tenfold more his children, of his own best making, in the freedom of the will…”

 –       Scottish pastor/poet/novelist/mystic George MacDonald  (1824-1905) Unspoken Sermons, Vol. I “The Eloi”

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