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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThomas Wingfold, Curate - Volume 3 - Chapter 8. An Examination
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Thomas Wingfold, Curate - Volume 3 - Chapter 8. An Examination Post by :wordsworth Category :Long Stories Author :George Macdonald Date :May 2012 Read :1490

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Thomas Wingfold, Curate - Volume 3 - Chapter 8. An Examination


The acquaintance between the draper and the gate-keeper rapidly ripened into friendship. Very generally, as soon as he had shut his shop, Drew would walk to the park-gate to see Polwarth; and three times a week at least, the curate made one of the party. Much was then talked, more was thought, and I venture to say, more yet was understood.

One evening the curate went earlier than usual, and had tea with the Polwarths.

"Do you remember," he asked of his host, "once putting to me the question what our Lord came into this world for?"

"I do," answered Polwarth.

"And you remember I answered you wrong: I said it was to save the world."

"I do. But remember, I said _primarily_, for of course he did come to save the world."

"Yes, just so you put it. Well, I think I can answer the question correctly now, and in learning the true answer I have learned much. Did he not come first of all to do the will of his Father? Was not his Father first with him always and in everything--his fellow-men next--for they were his Father's?"

"I need not say it--you know that you are right. Jesus is tenfold a real person to you--is he not--since you discovered that truth?"

"I think so; I hope so. It does seem as if a grand simple reality had begun to dawn upon me out of the fog--the form as of a man pure and simple, _because the eternal son of the Father."

"And now, may I not ask--are you able to accept the miracles, things in themselves so improbable?"

"If we suppose the question settled as to whether the man was what he said, then all that remains is to ask whether the works reported of him are consistent with what you can see of the character of the man."

"And to you they seem--?"

"Some consistent, others not. Concerning the latter I look for more light."

"Meantime let me ask you a question about them. What was the main object of miracles?"

"One thing at least I have learned, Mr. Polwarth and that is, not to answer any question of yours in a hurry," said Wingfold. "I will, if you please, take this one home with me, and hold the light to it."

"Do," said Polwarth, "and you will find it return you the light threefold.--One word more, ere Mr. Drew comes: do you still think of giving up your curacy?"

"I have almost forgotten I ever thought of such a thing. Whatever energies I may or may not have, I know one thing for certain, that I could not devote them to anything else I should think entirely worth doing. Indeed nothing else seems interesting enough--nothing to repay the labour, but the telling of my fellow-men about the one man who is the truth, and to know whom is the life. Even if there be no hereafter, I would live my time believing in a grand thing that ought to be true if it is not. No facts can take the place of truths, and if these be not truths, then is the loftiest part of our nature a waste. Let me hold by the better than the actual, and fall into nothingness off the same precipice with Jesus and John and Paul and a thousand more, who were lovely in their lives, and with their death make even the nothingness into which they have passed like the garden of the Lord. I will go further, Polwarth, and say, I would rather die for evermore believing as Jesus believed, than live for evermore believing as those that deny him. If there be no God, I feel assured that existence is and could be but a chaos of contradictions, whence can emerge nothing worthy to be called a truth, nothing worth living for.--No, I will not give up my curacy. I will teach that which IS good, even if there should be no God to make a fact of it, and I will spend my life on it, in the growing hope, which MAY become assurance, that there is indeed a perfect God, worthy of being the Father of Jesus Christ, and that it was BECAUSE they are true, that these things were lovely to me and to so many men and women, of whom some have died for them, and some would be yet ready to die."

"I thank my God to hear you say so. Nor will you stand still there," said Polwarth. "But here comes Mr. Drew!"

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