But while the imagination of man has thus the divine function of putting thought into form, it has a duty altogether human, which is paramount to that function—the duty, namely, which springs from his immediate relation to the Father, that of following and finding out the divine imagination in whose image it was made. To do this, the man must watch its signs, its manifestations. He must contemplate what the Hebrew poets call the works of His hands.—George MacDonald, A Dish Of Orts*
*’Orts’ is a Scottish word meaning a scrap or morsel of food left at a meal.
In his book, A Dish of Orts, the Scottish clergyman and novelist, George MacDonald, wrote about literature, inspiration, and the human imagination. One chapter, entitled “The Imagination, Its Function and Its Culture,” he goes on to say: ”
The man, then, who, in harmony with nature, attempts the discovery of more of her meanings, is just searching out the things of God. The deepest of these are far too simple for us to understand as yet. But let our imagination interpretive reveal to us one severed significance of one of her parts, and such is the harmony of the whole, that all the realm of Nature is open to us henceforth–not without labor—and in time. Upon the man who can understand the human meaning of the snowdrop, of the primrose, or of the daisy, the life of the earth blossoming into the cosmical flower of a perfect moment will one day seize, possessing him with its prophetic hope, arousing his conscience with the vision of the “rest that remaineth.”
For MacDonald, it is the hope which possesses, the vision which seizes the attentive man. Comments welcome.