GOOD, to forgive;
Best, to forget!
Living, we fret;
Dying, we live.
Fretless and free,
Soul, clap thy pinion!
Earth have dominion,
Body, o’er thee!
DRAW the curtain of night upon injuries, shut them up in the tower of oblivion, and let them be as though they had not been. To forgive our enemies, yet hope that evil will punish them, is not to forgive them enough.
Sir Thomas Browne
IT is only by removing ourselves from charity that we withdraw ourselves from God.
IN taking revenge a man is but even with his enemy; but in passing it over he is superior, for it is a Prince’s part to pardon.
IF I am even with my enemy, the Debt is paid; but if I forgive it, I oblige him for ever.
WHAT man is he, that boasts of fleshly might
And vaine assurance of mortality,
Which, all so soone as it doth come to fight
Against spirituall foes, yields by and by,
Or from the fielde most cowardly doth fly!
Ne let the man ascribe it to his skill,
That thorough grace hath gained victory:
If any strength we have, it is to ill,
But all the good is God’s, both power and eke will.
DO not those of us, who have been mercifully prevented from damning ourselves before the whole world, who have succeeded and triumphed — do we not know, know as we know hardly anything else, that our success and our triumph were due to superiority in strength by just a grain, no more, of our better self over the raging rebellion beneath it? It was just a tremble of the tongue in the balance; it might have gone this way, or it might have gone the other, but by God’s grace it was this way settled — God’s grace, as surely, in some form of words, everybody must acknowledge it to have been.
THE very privative blessings, the blessings of immunity, safeguard, and integrity which we all enjoy, deserve a thanksgiving of a whole life.
AH, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what’s a heaven for?
WE treat God with irreverence by banishing Him from our thoughts, not by referring to His will on slight occasions. His is not the finite authority or intelligence which cannot be troubled with small things. There is nothing so small but that we may honour God by asking His guidance of it, or insult Him by taking it into our own hands; and what is true of the Deity is equally true of His revelation.
TAKE away the sublime symbolism from our material existence, and let it stand only for what it can make good on its own account, and what is there to redeem it from selfishness and insignificance? The home sinks into a house, the meal into a mess, the grave into a pit; honour and veracity are appreciated chiefly as instruments of trade; purity and temperance, as necessities of health; justice, as the condition of social equilibrium; mercy, as the price of a quiet time.
LET no man think that sudden in a minute
All is accomplished and the work is done;—
Though with thine earliest dawn thou shouldst begin it,
Scarce were it ended in thy setting sun.
F. W. H. Myers
BEWARE of the damnable doctrine that it is easy to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. It is to be obtained only by the sacrifice of all that stands in the way, and it is to be observed that in this, as in other things, men will take the first, the second, the third—nay, even the ninety-ninth step, but the hundredth and last they will not take.
LET no man think to kill sin with a few, easy, or gentle strokes. He who hath once smitten a serpent, if he follow not on his blow until he be slain, may repent that ever he began the quarrel, and so will he who undertakes to deal with sin, and pursues it not constantly to the death.
TAKE all in a word: the truth in God’s breast
Lies trace for trace upon ours impressed;
Though He is so bright and we so dim,
We are made in His image to witness Him.
RESTORATION to spiritual health, or conformity to the Divine character, is the ultimate object of God in His dealings with the children of men. . . . The sole object of Christian belief is to produce the Christian character, and unless this is done nothing is done.
TO develop and perfect and arm conscience is the great achievement of history, the chief business of every life, and the first agent therein is religion, or what resembles religion.
RELIGION is a fire which example keeps alive, and which goes out if not communicated.
WHERE are your books?—that light bequeathed
To beings else forlorn and blind!
Up! Up! and drink the spirit breathed
From dead men to their kind.
READ not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
LET not the authority of the writer offend you, whether he be of great or small learning; but let the love of pure truth draw you to read.
Thomas à Kempis
SERVE God before the world; let Him not go
Until thou hast a blessing; then resigne
The whole unto Etim; and remember who
Prevailed by wrestling ere the sun did shine.
Pour oyl upon the stones, weep for thy sin,
Then journey on, and have an eie to heav’n.
CAN you then declare to us in what manner you have taken thought for your soul? For it is not likely that a wise man like yourself, and one of repute in the State, would overlook the best thing you possess, and use no diligence or design about it; but leave it neglected and perishing? Surely not.
THOU dost excite us to delight in praising Thee; for Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our heart is restless till it find rest in Thee.
GOD’S gift was that man should conceive of truth
And yearn to gain it, catching at mistake,
As midway help till he reach fact indeed.
ALL opinions, properly so called, are stages on the road to truth. It does not follow that a man will travel any further; but if he has really considered the world and drawn a conclusion, he has travelled so far. This does not apply to formulæ got by rote, which are stages on the road to nowhere but second childhood and the grave. To have a catch-word in your mouth is not the same thing as to hold an opinion; still less is it the same thing as to have made one for yourself.
Robert Louis Stevenson
CLEAR, impartial insight requires, not that we have no preference, but that we have right preferences; not that we shut ourselves up with one faculty, but that we be free through the harmony of all.
THAT day of wrath, that dreadful day
When heaven and earth shall pass away,
What power shall be the sinner’s stay?
How shall we meet that dreadful day?
When, shriveling like a parched scroll,
The flaming heavens together roll;
When louder yet, and yet more dread
Swells the high trump that wakes the dead.
Thomas of Celano
EVERY day is a day of judgment—every day is a Dies Iræ, and writes its irrevocable verdict in the flame of its West. Think you that judgment waits till the doors of the grave are opened? It waits at the doors of your houses—it waits at the corners of your streets; we are in the midst of judgment—the insects that we crush are our judges, the moments we fret away are our judges—the elements that feed us, judge, as they minister—and the pleasures that deceive us, judge, as they indulge. Let us, for our lives, do the work of Men while we bear the form of them, if indeed those lives are not as a vapour, and do not vanish away.
THE world is full of Judgment Days, and into every assembly that a man enters, in every action he attempts, he is gauged and stamped.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
LORD of all being! throned afar,
Thy glory flames from sun and star;
Centre and soul of every sphere,
Yet to each loving heart how near!
Oliver Wendell Holmes
AMONG the children of God, there is always that fearful and bowed apprehension of His Majesty, and that sacred dread of all offence to Him which is called the Fear of God; yet of real and essential fear there is not any, but clinging of confidence to Him as their Rock, Fortress, and Deliverer; and perfect love and casting out of fear; so that it is not possible that, while the mind is rightly bent on Him, there should be dread of anything earthly or supernatural; and the more dreadful seems the height of His Majesty, the less fear they feel that dwell in the shadow of it. “Of whom shall I be afraid?”
GOD accounts a flight to the strong tower of His name to be the most excellent valour.