Yes, that IS true, but we NEVER focused on the work leading up to the conversion, now did we?
Another thing that made me ponder was MacDonald's concept of"natural" goodnes as opposed to "righteous" goodness. If I am not mistaken, we usually considered a person who was naturally "good" as being harder to win than one who was miserable in behavior. I think our rationale was that only if a person was close to rock bottom would he then consider God as an alternative. MacDonald, on the other hand, puts great importance on those who are "naturally" good as being blessed by the Creator with more of His character than the down and out-er who more approximates the devil.
This idea opened up new trains of thought for me in considering how people come to Christ. MacDonald believed (at least as I interpret his stories) that the "good" has a shorter path to God because they are naturally doing those things that a Godly character would exhibit. That is, of course, unless the "good" person did not consider himself to be the source of that goodness. In THAT case it would be the works of man that are elevated, and NOT God.
Below is a picture of where I attended the retreat in the mountains just south and east of Los Angeles, in Big Bear, California.