HERE, while the tide of conquest rolls
Against the distant golden shore,
The starved and stunted human souls
Are with us more and more.
Vain is your science, vain your art,
Your triumphs and your glories vain
To feed the hunger of their heart
And famine of their brain.
Your savage deserts howling near,
Your wastes of ignorance, vice, and shame,
Is there no room for victories here,
No field for meeds of fame?
IF you think that it is a more grand, a more beneficial, or a more wise policy, to invent subtle expedients for increasing the revenue, to multiply our naval and military force, to rival in craft the Ambassadors of foreign States, to form skilful treaties and alliances, than to administer unpolluted justice to the people, to redress the injured, and to succour the distressed, and speedily restore to every one his own, you are involved in a cloud of error; and too late will you perceive, when the illusion of those mighty benefits has vanished, that in neglecting these, which you now think inferior considerations, you have only been precipitating your own ruin and despair.
THAT which is not for the interest of the whole swarm is not for the interest of a single bee.
AND so I live, you see,
Go through the world, try, prove, reject,
Prefer, still struggling to effect
My welfare; happy that I can
Be crossed and thwarted as a man,
Not left in God’s contempt apart,
With ghastly smooth life, dead at heart,
Tame in earth’s paddock as her prize.
THE Situation that has not its Duty, its Ideal, was never yet occupied by Man. Yes here, in this poor, miserable, hampered, despicable Actual, wherein thou even now standest, here or nowhere is thy Ideal: work it out therefrom; and working, believe, live, be free. Fool! the Ideal is in thyself, the Impediment too is in thyself thy Condition is but the stuff thou art to shape that same ideal out of: what matters whether such stuff be of this sort or that, so the Form thou give it be heroic, be poetic?
OF nothing may we be more sure than this; that, if we cannot sanctify our present lot, we could sanctify no other. Our heaven and our Almighty Father are there or nowhere. The obstructions of that lot are given for us to heave away by the concurrent touch of a holy spirit, and labour of strenuous will; its gloom, for us to tint with some celestial light; its mysteries are for our worship; its sorrows for our trust; its perils for our courage; its temptations for our faith.
I HAVE gone the whole round of creation: I saw and I spoke:
I, a work of God’s hand for that purpose, received in my brain
And pronounced on the rest of His hand work— returned Him again
His creation’s approval or censure: I spoke as I saw:
I report, as a man may of God’s work—all’s love, yet all’s law.
THE wise and good man, having investigated all these things, will submit his own mind to Him that governeth the whole, even as good citizens to the laws of their State.
LET not Fortune, which hath no name in Scripture, have any in thy Divinity. Let Providence, not Chance, have the honour of thy acknowledgments, and be thy Oedipus in Contingencies.
Sir Thomas Browne
PRAYER is the burthen of a sigh;
The falling of a tear,
The upward glancing of an eye,
When none but God is near.
“FOR everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” But neither days, nor hours, nor seasons, did ever come amiss to faithful prayer. Short passes, quick ejections, concise forms and remembrances, holy breathings, prayers like little posies, may be sent forth without number on every occasion, and God will note them in His book. But all that have a care to walk with God, fill their vessels more largely as soon as they rise, before they begin the work of the day, and before they lie down again at night: which is to observe what the Lord appointed in the Levitical ministry, a morning and an evening lamb to be laid upon the altar. So with them that are not stark irreligious, prayer is the key to open the day, and the bolt to shut in the night.
A LITTLE lifting up of the heart suffices; a little remembrance of God, one act of inward worship, though upon a march, and sword in hand, are prayers, which, however short, are nevertheless very acceptable to God; and far from lessening a soldiers courage in occasions of danger, they best serve to fortify it.
Be sure that God
Ne’er dooms to waste the strength he deigns impart!
Be sure they sleep not whom God needs!
Their holding light His charge, when every hour
That finds that charge delayed, is a new death.
I TOO could say myself: Be no longer a Chaos, but a World, or even worldkin. Produce! Produce! Were it but the pitifulest infinitesimal fraction of a Product, produce it in God’s name! ‘Tis the utmost thou hast in thee; out with it then. Up, up! Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy whole might. Work while it is called To-day, for the Night cometh wherein no man can work.
CHRISTIAN life is action: not a speculating— not a debating: but a doing. One thing, and only one, in this world has eternity stamped upon it. Feelings pass: resolves and thoughts pass: opinions change. What you have done lasts —lasts in you. Through ages; through eternity, what you have done for Christ; that and only that you are.
Frederick W. Robertson
IF Thou be one whose heart the holy forms
Of young imagination have kept pure,
Stranger! henceforth be warned; and know that pride,
Howe’er disguised in its own majesty,
Is littleness ; that he who feels contempt
For any living thing, hath faculties
Which he has never used; that thought with him
Is in its infancy. The man whose eye
Is ever on himself doth look on one,
The least of Nature’s works, one who might move
The wise man to that scorn which wisdom holds
Unlawful, ever. O be wiser, Thou!
Instructed that true knowledge leads to love,
True dignity abides with him alone
Who, in the silent hour of inward thought,
Can still suspect, and still revere himself,
In lowliness of heart.
BE, and not seem. Let us acquiesce. Let us take our bloated nothingness out of the path of divine circuits. Let us unlearn our wisdom of the world. Let us lie low in the Lord’s power, and learn that truth alone makes rich and great.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
WOULDST thou rather be a peasant’s son that knew, were it ever so rudely, there was a God in Heaven and in Man; or a duke’s son that only knew there were two and thirty quarters on the family coach?
IN countless upward-striving waves
The moon-drawn tide-wave strives;
In thousand far-transplanted grafts
The parent fruit survives;
So, in the new-born millions,
The perfect Adam lives.
Not less are summer mornings dear
To every child they wake,
And each with novel life his sphere
Fills for his proper sake.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
GOD appoints to every one of His creatures a separate mission, and if they discharge it honourably, if they quit themselves like men, and faithfully follow the light which is in them, withdrawing from it all cold and quenching influence, there will assuredly come of it such burning as, in its appointed mode and measure, shall shine before men, and be of service constant and holy. Degrees infinite of lustre there must always be, but the weakest among us has a gift, however seemingly trivial, which is peculiar to him, and which, worthily used, will be a gift also to his race for ever.
OUR duty is to be useful, not according to our desires but according to our powers.
Henri F. Amiel
THEN life is—to wake not sleep,
Rise and not rest, but press
From earth’s level where blindly creep
Things perfected more or less,
To the heaven’s height, far and steep.
AN aspiration is a joy for ever, a possession as solid as a landed estate, a fortune which we can never exhaust and which gives us year by year a revenue of pleasurable activity. To have many of these is to be spiritually rich.
Robert Louis Stevenson
GET knowledge all you can; and the more you get, the more you breathe upon its nearer heights their invigorating air and enjoy the widening prospect, the more you will know, and feel how small is the elevation you have reached in comparison with the immeasurable altitudes that yet remain unsealed. Be thorough in all you do, and remember that, though ignorance often may be innocent, pretension is always despicable. Quit you like men, be strong, and the exercise of your strength to-day will give you more strength tomorrow. Work onwards, and work upwards; and may the blessing of the Most High soothe your cares, clear your vision, and crown your labours with reward.
William E. Gladstone
GO, speed the stars of Thought
On to their shining goals;—
The sower scatters broad his seed,
The wheat thou strew’st be souls.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
BEAUTIFUL it is to understand and know that a thought did never yet die; that as thou, the originator thereof, hast gathered it and created it from the whole Past, so thou wilt transmit it to the whole Empire. It is thus that the heroic Heart, the seeing Eye of the first times, still feels and sees in us of the latest; that the Wise Man stands ever encompassed, and spiritually embraced, by a cloud of witnesses and brothers; and there is a living, literal Communion of Saints, wide as the World itself, and as the History of the World.
MYSTERIES of influence fall from every earnest volition, to return to us, in gladness or in weeping, after many days. No insult can we pass upon the divine but gentle dignity of duty, no quenching of God’s spirit can we allow, that will not prepare a curse for others as well as for ourselves: nor any reverence, prompt and due, in act as in thought, can we pay to the God within, that will not yield abundant blessing.
I LIFT my heart to Thee,
For Thou art all to me,
And I am Thine.
Is there on earth a closer bond than this—
That “my Beloved’s mine, and I am His”?
Charles E. Mudie
TOO late I loved Thee, Thou Beauty, so ancient and yet so new! too late I loved Thee! Yet, lo! Thou wast within my heart, whilst I, wandering abroad, sought Thee outside; I, unlovely, rushing heedlessly among the things of beauty Thou hadst made. Thou wast with me, but I was not with Thee. Things held me far from Thee, which, if not in Thee, were nowhere to be found. Thou didst call to me, and cry aloud, and so burst through my deafness. In flashes and in splendour didst Thou gleam and put to flight my blindness. Odours didst Thou shed forth, and I drew in my breath, and now I pant for Thee, I tasted, and I hunger and thirst. Thou touchedst me and I burned for Thy peace.
MEN may Tire themselves in a Labyrinth of Search, and talk of God: But if we would know Him indeed, it must be from the Impressions we receive of Him; and the softer our Hearts are, the deeper and livelier those will be upon us.