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WHAT IS THE "GIVENNESS" OF YOUR LIFE?

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a givenness not to imagine a big silly picture of a whale

"On Saturday I saw two exhibitions of pictures.

The first was the Royal Academy, where I went with Salter.  There was one picture there, though the walls were decorated with frames very prettily.  

As to the one picture, if you look at an Academy catalogue you will see “Jonah” by G.F. Watts, and you will imagine a big silly picture of a whale.  


But if you go to Burlington House, you will see something terrific.  

A spare, wild figure, clad in a strange sort of green with his head flung so far back that his upper part is a miracle of foreshortening, his hands thrust out, his face ghastly with ecstasy, his dry lips yelling aloud, a figure of protest and defiance.

As a background (perfect in harmony of color) you have the tracery of the Assyrian bas-reliefs, such as survive in wrecks in the British Museum, a row of those processions of numberless captives bowing before smiling kings: a cruel sort of art.  

And the passionate energy of that lonely screaming figure in front, makes you think of a great many things besides Assyrians: among others some words of Renan; I quote from memory: “But the trace of Israel will be eternal.  She it was who along among the tyrannies of antiquity, raised her voice for the helpless, the oppressed, the forgotten.”

Maisie Ward, Gilbert Keith Chesterton




Raised her voice for the helpless, the oppressed, the forgotten.

…I have a givenness not to imagine a big silly picture of a whale.

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a givenness not to put a pine tree half way up on the left

"The mountains praise thee, O Lord!  But what if a mountain said, "I praise thee; but put a pine tree half way up on the left; it would be much more effective, believe me."

It is time that the religion of prayer gave place to the religion of praise.”

Maisie Ward, Gilbert Keith Chesterton





The religion of praise.

…I have a givenness not to put a pine tree half way up on the left.