by George Macdonald
The Gospels contain what the Apostles preached -- the Epistles, what they wrote after the preaching. And until we understand the Gospel, the good news about our brother-king -- until we understand Him, until we have His Spirit, promised so freely to them that ask it -- all the Epistles, the words of men who were full of Him, and wrote out of that fullness, who loved Him so utterly that by that very love they were lifted into the air of pure reason and right, and would die for Him, without two thoughts about it, in the very simplicity of no choice -- the Letters, I say, of such men are to us a sealed book. Until we love the Lord so as to do what He tells us, we have no right to an opinion about what one of those men meant; for all they wrote is about things beyond us. The simplest woman who tries not to judge her neighbor, or not to be anxious for the morrow, will better know what is best to know, than the best-read bishop without that one simple outgoing of his highest nature in the effort to do the will of Him who thus spoke.
--George Macdonald, Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood