January 31

A ROBIN Redbreast in a cage
Puts all Heaven in a rage . . . .
He who shall hurt the little wren
Shall never be beloved by men.
William Blake

I AM not ashamed nor afraid to declare the tenderness of my childish nature, which is such that I cannot well reject my dog if he chance (although out of season) to fawn upon me, or beg of me to play with him.
Michael E. Montaigne

AS the art of life is learned, it will be found at last that all lovely things are also necessary; —the wild flower by the wayside, as well as the tended corn; and the wild birds and creatures of the forest, as well as the tended cattle; because man doth not live by bread only, but also by the desert manna; by every wondrous word and unknowable work of God.
John Ruskin

I WOULD give nothing for that man’s religion whose very dog and cat are not the better for it.
Rowland Hill


January 30

I SAY, the acknowledgment of God in Christ
Accepted by thy reason, solves for thee
All questions in the earth and out of it,
And has so far advanced thee to be wise.
Robert Browning

“I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Without the Way, there is no going; without the Truth, there is no knowing; without the Life, there is no living. I am the Way, which thou oughtest to follow; the Truth, which thou oughtest to trust; the Life, which thou oughtest to hope for. I am the inviolable Way, the infallible Truth, the endless Life. I am the straightest Way, the supreme Truth, the true, the blessed, the uncreated Life. If thou remain in My way, thou shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make thee free, and thou shalt lay hold on eternal life.
Thomas A Kempis

JESUS astonishes and overpowers sensual people. They cannot unite Him to history, or reconcile Him with themselves. As they come to revere their intuitions and aspire to live holily, their own piety explains every fact, every word.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

January 29

THE Spirit breathes upon the Word,
And brings the truth to sight:
Precepts and promises afford
A sanctifying light.

A glory gilds the sacred page,
Majestic like the sun;
It gives a light to every age;
It gives, but borrows none.
William Cowper

IN the Bible there is more that finds me than I have experienced in all other books put together; the words of the Bible find me at greater depths of my being; and whatever finds me brings with it an irresistible evidence of its having proceeded from the Holy Spirit.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

“BRING the Book,” said Sir Walter Scott, when dying. “What book?” asked his friend. “There is only one Book—the Bible,” replied the dying man.

SOMETIMES in reading of the Word, God makes a man stay on something that cuts him to the heart, and shakes him as to his present condition.
John Owen


January 28

IN brief, acquit thee bravely, play the man;
Look not on pleasures as they come, but go;
Defer not the least virtue; life’s poor span
Make not an ell by trifling in thy woe.
If thou do ill, the joy fades, not the pains;
If well, the pain doth fade, the joy remains.
George Herbert

THERE are three things to which man is born—labour, sorrow, and joy. Each of these three things has its baseness and its nobleness. There is base labour and noble labour. There is base sorrow and noble sorrow. There is base joy and noble joy. But you must not think to avoid the corruption of these things by doing without the things themselves. Nor can any life be right that has not all three. Labour without joy is base. Sorrow without labour is base. Joy without labour is base.
John Ruskin

A MAN shall and must be valiant; he must march forward and quit himself like a man —trusting imperturbably in the appointment and choice of the upper Powers; and, on the whole, not fear at all. Now and always, the completeness of his victory over Fear will determine how much of a man he is.
Thomas Carlyle

January 27

SERVANTS of God! or sons
Shall I not call you? Because
Not as servants ye knew
Your Father’s innermost mind,
His, who unwillingly sees
One of His little ones lost—
Yours is the praise, if mankind
Hath not as yet in its march
Fainted, and fallen, and died!
Matthew Arnold

AND do not be offended at my telling you the truth: for the truth is, that no man who goes to war with you or any other multitude, honestly striving against the many lawless and unrighteous deeds which are done in a State, will save his life; he who will fight for the right, if he would live even for a brief space, must have a private station and not a public one.
Socrates (to his Judges)

A SAINT’S life in one man may be less than common honesty in another. From us, whose consciences He has reached and enlightened, God may look for a martyr’s truth, a Christian’s unworldly simplicity, before He will place us on a level even with the average of the exposed classes. We perhaps think our lives at least harmless. We do not consider what He may think of them, when compared with the invitations of His that we have slighted, with the aims of His Providence we are leaving without our help, with the glory for ourselves we are refusing and casting away, with the vast sum of blessed work that daily faithfulness in time can rear without overwork on any single day.
John H. Thom

January 26

THE lost days of my life until to-day.
What were they, could I see them on the street
Lie as they fell? Would they be ears of wheat
Sown once for food, but trodden into clay?
Or golden coins squandered and still to pay?
Or drops of blood dabbling the guilty feet? Or such spilt water as in dreams must cheat
The undying throats of Hell, athirst alway?

I do not see them here; but after death
God knows I know the faces I shall see,
Each one a murder’d self, with low last breath.
“I am thyself,—what hast thou done to me?”
“And I—and I—thyself,” (Lo! each one saith,)
“And thou thyself to all eternity!”
C. D. Gabriel Rossetti

LET each day take thought for what concerns it, liquidate its own affairs, and respect the day which is to follow, and then we shall be always ready. To know how to be ready is at bottom to know how to die.
Henri F. Amiel

TIME is scytheless and toothless; it is we who gnaw like the worm; we who smite like the scythe. It is ourselves who abolish, ourselves who consume; we are the mildew and the flame, and the soul of man is to its own work as the moth that frets when it cannot fly, and as the hidden flame that blasts where it cannot illumine.
John Ruskin

January 25

THE soldier armed with sword and gun
Palsied strikes the summer’s sun;
When gold and gems adorn the plough.
To peaceful arts shall envy bow;
The beggar’s rags fluttering in air
Do to rags the heavens tear.
William Blake

CHARITY rendereth a man truly great, enlarging his mind into a vast circumference, and to a capacity nearly infinite; so that it, by a general care, doth reach all things, by an universal affection doth embrace and grace the world. . . . Even a spark of it in generosity of dealing breedeth admiration; a glimpse of it in formal courtesy of behaviour procureth much esteem, being deemed lo accomplish and adorn a man.
Isaac Barrow

COMFORT the poor, protect and shelter the weak, and with all thy might right that which is wrong. Then shall the Lord love thee, inul God Himself shall be thy great reward.
Alfred the Great’s Last Words

THE nobler a soul is, the more objects of compassion it hath.
Francis Bacon

January 24

LET me not deem that I was made in vain,
Or that my being was an accident
Which Fate, in working its sublime intent,
Not wished to be, to hinder would not deign.
Each drop uncounted in a storm of rain
Hath its own mission, and is duly sent
To its own leaf or blade, not idly spent
’Mid myriad dimples on the shipless main.
The very shadow of an insect’s wing,
For which the violet cared not while it stayed,
Yet felt the lighter for its vanishing,
Proved that the sun was shining by its shade.
Then can a drop of the eternal spring,
Shadow of living lights, in vain be made?
Hartley Coleridge

THE man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder: a waif, a nothing a no-man. Have a purpose in life . . . and having it, throw such strength of mind and muscle into thy work as has been given thee.
Thomas Carlyle

BE inspired with the belief that life is a great and noble calling; not a mean and grovelling tiling that we are to shuffle through as we can, but an elevated and lofty destiny.
William E. Gladstone

January 23

WISH not, dear friends, my pain away—
Wish me a wise and thankful heart,
With God, in all my griefs, to stay,
Nor from His loved correction start.
John Keble

ALL is well as long as the sun shines and the fair breath of heaven gently wafts into our own purposes. But if you will try the excellency and feel the work of faith, place the man in a persecution; let him ride in a storm; let his bones be broken with sorrow and his eyelids be loosened with sickness; let his bread be dipped in tears and all the daughters of music be brought low; let God commence a quarrel against him, and be bitter in the accents of His anger or His discipline: then God tries your faith. Can you, then, trust His goodness, and believe Him to be a Father, when you groan under His rod? Can you rely upon all the strange propositions of Scripture, and be content to perish if they be not true? Can you receive comfort in the discourses of death and heaven, of immortality and the resurrection, of the death of Christ, and conforming to His sufferings?
Jeremy Taylor

TO have suffered, nay, to suffer, sets a keen edge on what remains of the agreeable. This is a great truth, and has to be learned in the fire.
Robert Louis Stevenson

January 22

SO to the calmly gathered thought
The innermost of truth is taught,
The mystery dimly understood,
That love of God is love of good, . . .
That to be saved is only this,—
Salvation from our selfishness.
John G. Whittier

EVIL consists in living for self—that is to say, for one’s own vanity, pride, sensuality, or even health. Righteousness consists in willingly accepting one’s lot, in submitting to and espousing the destiny assigned us, in willing what God commands, in renouncing what He forbids us, in consenting to what He takes from us or refuses us.
Henri F. Amiel

FOR God will have us perfectly subject unto Him, that, being inflamed with His love, we may transcend the narrow limits of human reason.
Thomas à Kempis