December 18

SOME murmur, when their sky is clear
And wholly bright to view,
If one small speck of dark appear
In their great heaven of blue.
And some with thankful love are filled,
If but one streak of light,
One ray of God’s good mercy gild
The darkness of their night.
Archbishop Trench

WHEN life ceases to be a promise it does not cease to be a task; its true name ever is Trial.
Henri F. Amiel

THE bottom of a pit or well gives the best prospect of the heavenly luminaries, and the soul in its deepest humiliations hath for the most part the clearer view of things within the veil.
John Owen

BE thou therefore of such courage and so patient in hope, that when comfort is withdrawn, thou mayest prepare thy heart to suffer even greater things: and do not justify thyself, as though thou oughtest not to suffer these afflictions.
Thomas à Kempis


December 2

LET all men know, that all men move
Under a canopy of love,
As broad as the blue sky above;
That doubt and trouble, fear and pain,
And anguish, all are shadows vain;
That death itself shall not remain.
Archbishop Trench

BY natural faith I mean the assumption that a Divine Perfection is the everlasting basis of all things, that infinite Thought and Holiness are and ever must be at the helm of affairs, and that the universe is but the phenomenon for expressing God’s eternal reality.
James Martineau

LET us adore Him for the streams of bounty which flow unceasingly from the fountains of His life, to all His countless creatures. But, on the other hand, beware lest in thus enlarging your view of the Infinite One, you lose your hold of the correlative truth—that though all beings of all worlds are His care, though His mind thus embraces the universe, He is yet as mindful of you, as if that universe were blotted out, and you alone survived to receive the plenitude of His care.
William E. Channing

November 8

OH! let us not this thought allow;
The heat, the dust upon our brow,
Signs of the contest, we may wear;
Yet thus we shall appear more fair
In our Almighty Master’s eye,
Than if in fear to lose the bloom,
Or ruffle the soul’s lightest plume,
We from the strife should fly.
Archbishop Trench

PROGRESS is the consciousness of progress. Man must attain it step by step, by the sweat of his brow. The transformation of the medium in which he lives only takes place in proportion as he merits it, and he can only merit it by struggle; by devoting himself and purifying himself by good works and holy sorrow. He must not be taught to enjoy, but rather to suffer for others; to combat for the salvation of the world. It must not be said to him, Enjoy; life is the right to happiness; but rather, Work; life is a duty, do good without thinking of the consequence to yourself. He must not be taught, To each according to his wants, or, To each according to his passions, but rather, To each according to his love.
Joseph Mazzini

DID you ever hear of a man who had striven all his life faithfully and singly towards an object and in no measure obtained it? If a man constantly aspires, is he not elevated? Did ever a man try heroism, magnanimity, truth, sincerity, and find that there was no advantage in them— that it was a vain endeavour?
Henri D. Thoreau

November 4

WE kneel—how weak! We rise—how full of power!
Why, therefore, should we do ourselves this wrong,
Or others—that we are not always strong,
That we are ever overborne with care,
That we should ever weak or heartless be,
Anxious or troubled, when with us is prayer,
And joy and strength and courage are with Thee?
Archbishop Trench

TO pray well is to pray always, that is, to keep the heart always in the frame which is required in prayer. And where this is, sin can have no rule, no, nor quiet harbour in the soul.
John Owen

THAT prayer which does not succeed in moderating our wish, in changing the passionate desire into still submission, the anxious tumultuous expectation into silent surrender, is no true prayer, and proves that we have not the spirit of true prayer.
Frederick W. Robertson

PRAYER is the contemplation of the facts of life from the highest point of view.
Ralph Waldo Emerson