August 31

NO fable old, nor mythic lore,
Nor dream of bards and seers,
No dead fact stranded on the shores
Of the oblivious years;—

But warm, sweet, tender, even yet
A present help is He;
And faith has yet its Olivet,
And love its Galilee.
John G. Whittier

THE whole interests of the human race depend upon one question—the question of Belief; as again Belief is summed up in Christianity, and Christianity in Christ. He is for us the true Alpha and the true Omega. . . . Every measure and every movement in matters of religion, without any exception, ought to be tried by its tendency to bring mankind nearer to Christ, or to remove them further from Him.
William E. Gladstone

A RAY of heavenly light traversing human life, the message of Christ has been broken into a thousand rainbow colours, and carried in a thousand directions. It is the historical task of Christianity to assume with every succeeding age a fresh metamorphosis, and to be for ever spiritualizing more and more her understanding of the Christ and of salvation.
Henri F. Amiel


August 30

A RACE of nobles may die out,
A royal line may leave no heir;
Wise Nature sets no guards about
Her pewter plate and wooden ware.

But they fail not, the kinglier breed,
Who starry diadems attain;
To dungeon, axe, and stake succeed—
Heirs of the old heroic strain.
James Russell Lowell

THERE is many a Christian bereaved and stricken in the best hopes of life. For such a one to say quietly, “Father, not as I will but as Thou wilt,” is to be a martyr. There is many a Christian who feels the irksomeness of the duties of life, and feels his spirit revolting from them. To get up every morning with the firm resolve to find pleasure in those duties, and do them well, and finish the work which God has given us to do, that is to drink Christ’s cup. The humblest occupation has in it materials of discipline for the highest heaven.
Frederick W. Robertson

IT is easier far, as a rule, to die morally, nay, even physically, for others, than to learn how best we should live for them.
Maurice Maeterlinck

MEN, whether lay or clerical, suffer better the flame of the stake than a daily inconvenience or a pointed sneer, and will not readily be martyred without some external circumstance and a concourse looking on.
Robert Louis Stevenson

August 29

THO’ sin too oft, when smitten by Thy rod,
Rail at “Blind Fate” with many a vain “Alas!”
From sin thro’ sorrow into Thee we pass
By that same path our true forefathers trod;
And let not Reason fail me, nor the sod
Draw from my death Thy living flower and grass,
Before I learn that Love, which is, and was.
My Father, and my Brother, and my God!
Steel me with patience! soften me with grief!
Let blow the trumpet strongly while I pray,
Till this embattled wall of unbelief,
My prison, not my fortress, fall away!
Then, if Thou wiliest, let my day be brief,
So Thou wilt strike Thy glory thro’ the day.
Alfred Tennyson

FOR no man did ever heartily pray against his sin in the midst of a temptation to it, if he did in any sense or degree listen to the temptation; for to pray against a sin, is to have desires contrary to it, and that cannot consist with any love or any kindness to it.
Jeremy Taylor

AND somewhat on this wise also it happens in the affections of the soul; certain traces and scars are left in it, in which if a man do not wholly eradicate, when he hath been again scourged on the same place, it shall make no longer scars, but sores.

THE giving way to the law of sin in the least is the giving strength to it. To let it alone is to let it grow; not to conquer it is to be conquered by it.
John Owen

August 28

IF stately passions in me burn,
And one chance look to Thee should turn,
I drink out of an humbler urn
A lowlier pleasure;
The homely sympathy that heeds
The common life our nature breeds;
A wisdom fitted to the needs
Of hearts at leisure.
William Wordsworth

TO be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust. … I learned this at least by my experiment, that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
Henry D. Thoreau

IT may be argued again that dissatisfaction with our life’s endeavour springs in some degree from dulness. We require higher tasks because we do not recognize the height of those we have. Trying to be kind and honest seems an affair too simple and too inconsequential for gentlemen of our heroic mould; we had rather set ourselves something bold, arduous and conclusive; we had rather found a schism or suppress a heresy, cut off a hand or; mortify an appetite. But the task before us, which is to co-endure with our existence, is rather one of microscopic fineness, and the heroism required is that of patience. There is no cutting of the Gordian knots of life; each must be smilingly unravelled.
Robert Louis Stevenson

August 27

THE hero is not fed on sweets,
Daily his own heart he eats;
Chambers of the great are jails,
And head winds right for royal sails.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

ONLY he deserves freedom who has day by day to fight for it.
Johann W. von Goethe

TALK not to me of scandal and offence. Need breaks through stone walls, and recks not of scandal. It is my duty to spare weak consciences as far as it may be done without hazard of my soul. Where not I must take counsel for my soul, though half or the whole world should be scandalized thereby.
Martin Luther

REBELLION to tyrants is obedience to God.
John Bradshaw

IF necessity breeds no heroism, the people are not worth their own redemption.
Henrik Ibsen

August 26

SOME have too muche, yet still do crave;
I little have and seek no more.
They are but poore, though muche they have,
And I am ryche with lyttle store:
They poore, I ryche; they begge, I gyve;
They lack, I leave; they pyne, I lyve.
Sir Edward Dyer

IT is always a consolation to incapable people that their lack of success is due to the absence of chances. From the time of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram—who accused Moses and Aaron of taking too much upon themselves, because every man in the congregation was as holy as his God-selected leaders—it has been a theory, one may even say a religion, with those who have been passed over, that their sole reason for their super-session is an election as arbitrary as that by the Antinomian deity, who, out of pure wilfulness, gives opportunities to some and denies them to others.
Mark Rutherford

LET Age, not Envy, draw Wrinkles on thy Cheeks; be content to be envied, but envy not. Emulation may be plausible, and Indignation allowable; but admit no Treaty with that Passion which no Circumstance can make good. A Displacency at the good of others because they enjoy it, altho’ we do not want it, is an absurd Depravity, sticking fast unto humane Nature from its primitive Corruption; which he that can well subdue, were a Christian of the first Magnitude, and for ought I know, may have one foot already in Heaven.
Sir Thomas Browne

August 25

YEA Thou forgivest, but with all forgiving
Canst not renew mine innocence again:
Make Thou, O Christ, a dying of my living,
Purge from the sin but never from the pain.
F. W. H. Myers

IF soldiers lie dead upon the battlefield there is an end of them; new armies may be raised, but the enemy is at any rate weaker by those who are killed. It is not quite the same with our ghostly foes, for they rise into life after we think they are buried, and often with greater strength than ever.
Mark Rutherford

OUR guilt as well as our goodness, once contracted, is ineffaceable. No power within the circuit of God’s providence can blot out an idea from the pages of the secret heart, or cancel a force of desire that has once gone forth.
James Martineau

August 24

STRONG Son of God, immortal Love,
Whom we, that have not seen Thy face,
By faith, and faith alone, embrace,
Believing where we cannot prove.
Alfred Tennyson

TRUST is the belief of another’s goodness on the inspiration of your own. The moment you ask for other ground than this, and withhold your reliance till it can rest upon external proof, you cease to trust, and stipulate for knowledge.
James Martineau

THE faith that stands on authority is not faith. The reliance on authority measures the decline of religion.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

A MAN lives by believing something; not by debating and arguing about many things.
Thomas Carlyle

August 23

AND ever o’er the trade he bent,
And ever lived on earth content.
(He did God’s will, to him, all one
If on the earth or in the sun.)
Robert Browning

WE all suffer ourselves to be too much concerned about a little poverty; but such considerations should not move us in the choice of that which is to be the business and justification of so great a portion of our lives; and like the missionary, the patriot, or the philosopher, we should all choose that poor and brave career in which we can do most and best for mankind.
Robert Louis Stevenson

SUCH things, and so much of them, as each man can use are well for him, or Wealth; and more of them, or any other things, are ill for him, or ilth.
John Ruskin

August 22

FEAR death?—to feel the fog in my throat,
The mist in my face,
When the snows begin, and the blasts denote
I am nearing the place,
The power of the night, the press of the storm,
The post of the foe;
Where he stands, the Arch Fear in a visible form,
Yet the strong man must go:
For the journey is done, and the summit attained,
And the barriers fall,
Though a battle’s to fight ere the guerdon be gained,
The reward of it all.
Robert Browning

FOR neither in war nor yet at law ought I or any man to use every way of escaping death. Often in battle there can be no doubt that if a man will throw away his arms, and fall on his knees before his pursuers, he may escape death; and in other dangers there are other ways of escaping death, if a man is willing to say and do anything. The difficulty, my friends, is not to avoid death, but to avoid unrighteousness; for that runs faster than death.
Socrates (to those who had condemned him to death)

MEN are disturbed, not by things, but by the principles and ideas which they form about them. Death, for instance, is not terrible, else it would have appeared so to Socrates. But the terror consists in our idea that death is terrible.