Humility and Manhood

My boys & I recently read George MacDonald’s Phantastes. C. S. Lewis famously said this book baptized his imagination. I can’t say our experience was so lofty. It is a challenging book to follow, though there are beautiful and wise comments along the way. The last portion of the book is quite good as the young man who is the main character accomplishes his quest for maturity and finds true manhood not in his conquests or his prideful pursuits but in humility, service and work.

The quote below captures the point of the conclusion of the book and is worth contemplation.

Then first I knew the delight of being lowly; of saying to myself, “I am what I am, nothing more.” “… I learned that it is better, a thousand-fold, for a proud man to fall and be humbled, than to hold up his head in his pride and fancied innocence. I learned that he that will be a hero, will barely be a man; that he that will be nothing but a doer of his work, is sure of his manhood. In nothing was my ideal lowered, or dimmed, or grown less precious; I only saw it too plainly, to set myself for a moment beside it. Indeed, my ideal soon became my life; whereas, formerly, my life had consisted in a vain attempt to behold, if not my ideal in myself, at least myself in my ideal.

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