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Life Essential: The Hope of the Gospel

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  144 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
"... I know hardly any other writer who seems to be closer, or more continually cloxe, to the Spirit of Christ Himself. Hence his Christ-like union of tenderness and severity. Nowhere else outside the New Testament have I found terror and comfort so intertwined.
"I have never concealed the fact that I regarded him as my master; indeed I fancy I never written a book in which
Paperback, 102 pages
Published December 1st 1978 by Shaw Books (first published 1978)
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Jan 15, 2011 Seymour rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some clay and a lot of gold here. I copied swathes of this book into my journal, I cried a little, and I breathed the air of my first love again. Would I like to have it tattooed onto the inside of my eyelids? Yes please!
Mar 06, 2012 Bryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Christians, Spiritual Seekers, Anyone and Everyone
Recommended to Bryan by: [C.S. Lewis]
This book is one of the most powerful collections of spiritual discussion that I have ever read. MacDonald writes about the gospel and about what it means to be a Christian in a way that only a man who spent his life trying to understand it possibly could.

It's full of truths that are simply stated, and profoundly introspective such as,

'Who truly owns a house? The man who owns a hundred mansions scattered throughout the countryside? Or the man who owns no house, but a knock on any door in his v
Aug 07, 2011 Ruth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although not in full agreement with MacDonald's interesting theory in the last section regarding the redemption of the animal kingdom (which shows disappointing touches of Darwinian influence), I found myself vastly encouraged by the rest of it and comforted once again by the hope of the Gospel.
Reagan Ramsey
Sep 16, 2014 Reagan Ramsey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books
I checked out this author because both CS Lewis and GK Chesterton credited him in their journey to, obviously I was expecting something so intellectual that I wouldn't be able to read it. Surprisingly though, MacDonald's writing style was really approachable, even emotional in its descriptions. I loved it.
He goes through the beatitudes (blessed are they who mourn, etc) and it was a beautiful picture of the ways God blesses us while turning worldly wisdom on its head. He surprises us,
What does it mean that God became man? What does it mean that Christ conquered death, and the he is the new leader of the world? These are the questions George MacDonald asks in this short little books, and with examples from Jesus' life, the Beatitudes and St. Paul's letters, he answers them very eloquently. His mode of communication is outdated, and he repeats himself quite a lot. Still, he is not hard to understand, and as usual MacDonald writes well. If it wasn't for his devoting the entire ...more
as always, macdonald's writing is clear, logical, smart, and insightful. imo, he was a man ahead of his time; this book (from librivox) is one more example of why that is so.

george macdonald may not be well known nowadays but he influenced g k chesterton, tolkein, c s lewis, and madeleine l'engle ... and possibly even mark twain (go figure!)

he also wrote a delightful children's book The Light Princess which i would recommend to any young child even though it is primarily a cautionary tale again
Mar 26, 2014 Tara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
George MacDonald makes my heart into a balloon. A balloon with tears streaming down its sides, but a joyous balloon sailing up and up into the endless heavens nonetheless.
Kevin Finelli
This review is based on the public domain reading by Jordan available at

At first I feared this would be a recapitulation of Unspokem Sermons, but quickly I found that this was not the case. In this book, MacDonald takes on the task of describing what Christian life looks like, primarily through a detailed look at each verse of the sermon on the mount. The book covers practical matters and is less concerned with theology on the whole. Overall, I recommend this to people who have alr
Tom Nysetvold
Oct 04, 2014 Tom Nysetvold rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some good short sermons by George MacDonald; some excellent, and one or two that didn't quite do it for me. I read the free Project Gutenberg edition.
Aug 22, 2014 Caleb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Went through this slowly but will take several readings to fully grasp. I think the thing that hits me most about MacDonald as I read him is that he seemed to have such a bigger and grander view of God than I'm used to. Like he wasn't afraid to think the very best of The Lord. Some of his ideas are strange to me and I don't fully understand where he's coming from on certains points, but there is a genuine sense of holiness woven through this book. Recommend.
Sep 06, 2014 Gretchen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a great summary of MacDonald's basic views. If you've never read any of his theology, this might be a good place to start, though I do like his Unspoken Sermons better.

MacDonald is always so brilliantly, simply insightful. He has been a wonderful spiritual guide for me, and this volume was great Sunday reading for me.
Dec 27, 2011 Vaughn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great encouragement to professing followers of Christ and a useful resource for those yet to bend the knee and put their faith in Christ. Though MacDonald isn’t well-known today, his influence (e.g., on CS Lewis, GK Chesterton and others) is still being felt.
Cynthia Voortman
Worthy of every moment reading and rereading MacDonald's connected heat to the Father. Understand Jesus understanding of His environment and calling helps me to rest in my in mine!. A priceless read.
Jan 09, 2013 Watergirl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-reading
Excellent book for those seeking to understand more about God, as well as insights into the journey of life. George MacDonald is a beautiful soul.
Debby Kean
Nov 10, 2010 Debby Kean rated it it was amazing
This is a book that can be read over and over again.. I am reading it for the umpteenth time! Awesome!
Nicolas Valin
Jan 27, 2016 Nicolas Valin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cristianos
Hermosas reflexiones que te llevarán a conocer mas profundamente el corazón de Dios.
Lynda Newman
Some interesting topics were discussed, interesting views, not your norm.
Dec 24, 2013 Marc rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religious
great except for the last chapeter. not sure what to think of that one.
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George MacDonald was a Scottish author, poet, and Christian minister.

Known particularly for his poignant fairy tales and fantasy novels, George MacDonald inspired many authors, such as G.K. Chesterton, W. H. Auden, J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and Madeleine L'Engle. Lewis that wrote that he regarded MacDonald as his "master": "Picking up a copy of Phantastes one day at a train-station bookstall, I
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“It is vain to think that any weariness, however caused, any burden, however slight, may be got rid of otherwise than by bowing the neck to the yoke of the Father's will. There can be no other rest for heart and soul than He has created. From every burden, from every anxiety, from all dread of shame or loss, even loss of love itself, that yoke will set us free.” 10 likes
“As the love of him who is love transcends ours as the heavens are higher than the earth, so must he desire in his child infinitely more than the most jealous love of the best mother can desire in hers. He would have him rid of all discontent, all fear, all grudging, all bitterness in word or thought, all gauging and measuring of his own with a different rod from that he would apply to another's. He will have no curling of the lip; no indifference in him to the man whose service in any form he uses; no desire to excel another, no contentment at gaining by his loss. He will not have him receive the smallest service without gratitude; would not hear from him a tone to jar the heart of another, a word to make it ache, be the ache ever so transient.” 8 likes
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