THOUGH private prayer be a brave design,
Yet public hath more promises, more love;
And love’s a weight to hearts, to eyes a sign.
We all are but cold suitors; let us move
Where it is warmest. Leave thy six and seven;
Pray with the most; for where most pray is heaven.
PUBLIC Worship is very commendable if well performed. We owe it to God and good Example. But we must know, that God is not tyed to Time or Place, who is everywhere at the same Time: And this we shall know, as far as we are capable, if where ever we are, our Desires are to be with Him.
YET religious discourses of spiritual things do greatly further our spiritual growth, especially when persons of one mind and spirit be gathered together in God.
Thomas à Kempis
WE live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths;
In feelings, not in figures on a dial.
We should count time by heart-throbs. He most lives
Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best.
Philip J. Bailey
HERE is no saying shocks me so much as that which I hear very often: that a man does not know how to pass his time. It would have been but ill spoken by Methuselah, in the nine hundred and sixty-ninth year of his life; so far it is from us, who have not time enough to attain to the utmost perfection of any part of any science, to have cause to complain that we are forced to be idle for want of work.
HE lives long that lives well; and time misspent is not lived but lost. Besides, God is better than His promise, if He takes from him a long lease, and gives him a freehold of greater value.
REJOICE that man is hurled
From change to change unceasingly,
His soul’s wings never furled!
POOR soul, here for so little, cast among so many hardships, filled with desires so incommensurate and so inconsistent, savagely surrounded, savagely descended, irremediably condemned to prey upon his fellow lives: who should have blamed him had he been of a piece with his destiny and a being merely barbarous? And we look and behold him instead, often admirably valiant, often touchingly kind; sitting down amidst his momentary life, to debate of right and wrong and the attributes of the Deity; rising up to do battle for an egg or die for an idea; singling out his friends and his mate with cordial affection; bringing forth in pain, rearing, with long-suffering solicitude, his young. To touch the heart of his mystery, we find in him one thought, strange to the point of lunacy: the thought of duty, the thought of something owing to himself, to his neighbour, to his God: an ideal of decency, to which he would rise if it were possible; a limit of shame, below which, if possible, he will not stoop.
Robert Louis Stevenson
BUT man is a noble animal, splendid in ashes, and pompous in the grave, solemnizing nativities and deaths with equal lustre, nor omitting ceremonies of bravery in the infamy of his nature.
Sir Thomas Browne
WE all have known
Good critics who have stamped out poet’s hope,
Good statesmen who pulled ruin on the state,
Good patriots who for a theory risked a cause,
Good kings who disembowelled for a tax,
Good popes who brought all good to jeopardy,
Good Christians who sat still in easy-chairs
And damned the general world for standing up.—
Now may the good God pardon all good men!
Elizabeth B. Browning
IF for every rebuke that we utter of men’s vices, we put forth a claim upon their hearts; if for every assertion of God’s demands from them, we could substitute a display of His kindness to them; if side by side with every warning of death, we could exhibit proofs and promises of immortality; if, in fine, instead of assuming the being of an awful Deity, which men, though they cannot and dare not deny, are always unwilling, sometimes unable to conceive, we were to show them a near, visible, inevitable, but all beneficent Deity, whose presence makes the earth itself a heaven, I think there would be fewer deaf children sitting in the market-place.
LET us be silent as to each other’s weakness, helpful, tolerant, nay, tender towards each other! Or, if we cannot feel tenderness, may we at least feel pity ! May we put away from us the satire which scourges and the anger which brands: the oil and wine of the good Samaritan are of more avail. We may make the ideal a reason for contempt; but it is more beautiful to make it a reason for tenderness.
Henri F. Amiel
SWEET is the smile of home; the mutual look
When hearts are of each other sure;
Sweet all the joys that crowd the household nook,
The haunts of all affections pure.
BUT where, in the presiding genius of a home, taste and sympathy unite (and in their genuine forms they cannot be separated)—the intelligent feeling for moral beauty and the deep heart of domestic love,—with what ease, what mastery, what graceful disposition, do the seeming trivialities of existence fall into order, and drop a blessing as they take their place! how do the hours steal away, unnoticed but by the precious fruits they leave! and by the self-renunciations of affection, there comes a spontaneous adjustment of various wills; and not an innocent pleasure is lost, nor a pure taste offended, nor a peculiar temper unconsidered; and every day has its silent achievements of wisdom, and every night its retrospect of piety and love; and the tranquil thoughts that, in the evening meditation, come down with the starlight, seem like the serenade of angels, bringing in melody the peace of God.
TO be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition, the end to which every enterprise and labour tend, and of which every desire prompts the prosecution.
IN vain through every changeful year,
Did Nature lead him as before;
A primrose by the river’s brim
A yellow primrose was to him,
And it was nothing more.
TO see in all mountains nothing but similar heaps of earth, in all rocks nothing but similar concretions of solid matter, in all trees nothing but similar accumulations of leaves, is no sign of high feeling or extended thought.
THOSE to whom the earth is not consecrated, will find their heaven profane.
THERE is to me a beauty and mystery and sanctity about flowers, and when I see them come and go, no one knows whence and whither, I ask what more miracles do we want?
SO take and use Thy work,
Amend what flaws may lurk,
What strain o’ the stuff, what warpings past the aim!
My times be in Thy hand!
Perfect the cup as planned!
Let age approve of youth, and death complete the same!
APPROXIMATE thy latter times by present apprehensions of them; be like a neighbour unto the grave, and think there is but little to come. And since there is something in us that will still live on, join both lives together, and live in one but for the other.
Sir Thomas Browne
NOTHING that is worthy of a living man can be unworthy of a dying one: and whatever is shocking in the last moment would be disgraceful in every other.
FOR Death is no more than a turning of us over from Time to Eternity.
HOW near to good is what is fair!
Which we no sooner see,
But with the lines and outward air
Our senses taken be.
AS soon as beauty is sought, not from religion and love, but for pleasure, it degrades the seeker. High beauty is no longer attainable by him in canvas or in stone, in sound, or in lyrical construction; an effeminate, prudent, sickly beauty, which is not beauty, is all that can be formed; for the hand can never execute anything higher than the character can inspire.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
FOR there is not any virtue the exercise of which, even momentarily, will not impress a new fairness upon the features.
MY heart leaps up when I behold
A Rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a Man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is Father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.
WHEREVER snow falls, or water flows, or birds fly, wherever day and night meet in twilight, wherever the blue heaven is hung by clouds, or sown with stars, wherever are forms with transparent boundaries, wherever are outlets into celestial space, wherever is danger, and awe, and love, there is Beauty, plenteous as rain, shed for thee, and though thou shouldst walk the world over, thou shalt not be able to find a condition inopportune or ignoble.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
TWO things fill the mind with ever-increasing awe and admiration: the star-lit heavens above, and the Moral Law within.
BE useful where thou livest, that they may
Both want and wish thy pleasing presence still.
Kindness, good parts, great places, are the way
To compass this. Find out men’s wants and will,
And meet them there. All worldly joys go less
To the one joy of doing kindnesses.
TO make any one happy, then, is strictly to augment his store of being, to double the intensity of his life, to reveal him to himself, to ennoble him and transfigure him. Happiness does away with ugliness, and even makes the beauty of beauty. The man who doubts it, can never have watched the first gleams of tenderness dawning in the clear eyes of one who loves;—sunrise itself is a lesser marvel.
Henri F. Amiel
I WONDER why it is that we are not all kinder than we are? How much the world needs it. How easily it is done. How instantaneously it acts. How infallibly it is remembered. How super-abundantly it pays itself back—for there is no debtor in the world so honourable, so superbly honourable, as love.
IT is the history of our own kindnesses that alone makes this world tolerable.
Robert Louis Stevenson