Transcending symbolic intellect with transforming action
by George MacDonald
Do not think that God is angry with you because you find it hard to believe. It is not so; that is not like God; God is all that you can honestly wish Him to be, and infinitely more; He is not angry with you for that. And He knows perfectly well what the scientific human calls truth – although you will observe that the ‘scientific human’ is always constantly and everywhere changing theories – that what the scientific human calls truth is simply an impossibility with regard to God. And God knows it.
Your brain, the symbol of your intellect, cannot, concerning Him, if He exists, receive that kind of proof which you have when you read a proposition of Euclid. It commends itself to your mind and your understanding. You say, “So it is, and it cannot be otherwise.” But with God you cannot receive that kind of proof; there is no such proof with regard to the Mighty God. And therefore I say if you doubt the existence of the living God, He is not angry with you for that.
But I am speaking of those who would fain believe if they could; I ask you, have you been trying the things not seen? Have you been proving them? This is what God puts in your hands. He says, “I tell you I Am. You act upon that; for I know that your conscience moves you to it; you act upon that and you will find whether I Am or not, and what I Am.”
Do you see? Faith in its true sense does not belong to the intellect alone, nor to the intellect first, but to the conscience, to the will, and that person is a faithful one who says, “I cannot prove that there is a God, but, O God, if Thou hearest me anywhere, help me to do Thy will.” There is faith: “Do this,” and he does it. It is o, friends, that is faith; it is doing that thing which you, let me say, even only suppose to be the will of God; for if you are wrong, and do it because you think it is His will, He will set you right. It is the turning of the eye to the light; it is the sending of the feet into the path that is required, putting the hands to do the things which the conscience says ought to be done. You will notice that all this chapter from which I have taken the text is a list of people that did things. Some of them were made kings, and some of them were sawn asunder for it; but it was all for faith, and nothing but faith. There was a truth; there was a live truth; a truth that had welled through and called the knowledge of truth up in us, nay, called up in us the very possibility of feeling truth; and according to this law these men walked through all the world, and all the worlds together set themselves against them, and in the name of the original vital law of the universe-- namely, the living God--they walked right on and met their fate. Yes; victory and the participation of the Divine nature, that was their faith.
George MacDonald, "Faith, the Proof of the Unseen," a sermon preached at Brixton Congregational Church, June 1882.