LORD, purge our eyes to see
Within the seed a tree,
Within the glowing egg a bird,
Within the shroud a butterfly:
Till taught by such, we see
Beyond all creatures Thee.
THE re-building of this bridge between science and human nature is one of the greatest needs mankind. We have all to show that before go on to any visions or creations we can be tented with a planet of miracles.
G. K. Chesterton
NOW that I have no longer any sense for the transitory and perishable, the universe appears before my eyes under a transformed aspect. The dead, heavy mass which did but stop up space has vanished, and in its place there flows onward, with rushing music of mighty waves, an eternal stream of life, and power, and action, which issues from the original source of all life,—from Thy life, O Infinite One! for all life is Thy life, and only the religious eye penetrates to the realm of true Beauty.
J. G. Fichte
DEPEND upon it, it is not the want of greater miracles, but of the soul to perceive such as allowed us still, that makes us push all the sanctities into the far spaces we cannot reach.
THOU who hast borne all burdens, bear our load,
Bear Thou our load, whatever load it be,
Our guilt, our shame, our helpless misery,
Bear Thou, who only canst, O God, my God;
Seek us and find us, for we cannot Thee.
WORSE than the viper’s tooth is the punishment of no longer striving after goodness, or aspiring after the life of God. Just as the man cannot see through the glass on which he breathes, sin darkens the windows of the soul. You cannot look out even to know the glories of the fair world from which your soul excludes itself. There is no punishment equal to the punishment of being base. To sink from sin to sin, from infamy to infamy, that is the fearful retribution which is executed in the spiritual world. You are safe, go where you will, from the viper; as safe as if you were the holiest of God’s children. The fang is in your soul.
Frederick W. Robertson
NOTHING can work me damage except myself; the harm that I sustain I carry about with me, and never am a real sufferer but by my own fault.
LITTLE and great is man:
Great if he will, or if he will
A pigmy still;
For what he will he can.
HE who is silent is forgotten; he who abstains is taken at his word; he who does not advance falls back; he who stops is overwhelmed, distanced, crushed; he who ceases to grow greater becomes smaller; he who leaves off, gives up; the stationary condition is the beginning of the end—it is the terrible symptom which precedes death. To live, is to achieve a perpetual triumph; it is to assert one’s self against destruction, against sickness, against the annulling and dispersion of one’s physical and moral being. It is to will without ceasing, or rather to refresh one’s will day by day.
Henri F. Amiel
A MAN who must separate himself from his neighbour’s habits in order to be happy, is in much the same case with one who requires to take opium for the same purpose. What we want to see is one who can breast into the world, do a man’s work, and still preserve his first and pure enjoyment of existence. There is apt to be something unmanly, something almost dastardly, in a life that does not move with dash and freedom, and that fears the bracing contact of the world.
Robert Louis Stevenson
LOOKING back along life’s trodden way
Gleams and greenness linger on the track;
Distance metes and mellows all to-day,
Rose and purple and a silvery grey,
Is that cloud the cloud we called so thick?
Evening harmonizes all to-day,
BUT, indeed, with the passing of years, the decay of strength, the loss of all my old active pleasant habits, there grows more and more upon me that belief in the kindness of this scheme of things, and the goodness of our veiled God, which is an excellent and pacifying compensation.
Robert Louis Stevenson
AS one is getting old, and looks forward with fear rather than with hope to what is still in store for us, one learns to appreciate more and more the never-failing pleasure of recalling all the bright and happy days that are gone. Gone they are, but they are not lost. Ever present to our calling and recalling, they assume at last a vividness, such as they hardly had when present, and when we poor souls were trembling for every day and hour and minute that was going, and ever going, and would not and could not abide.
“LIE still, be strong,” to-day; but Lord, tomorrow,
What of to-morrow, Lord?
Shall there be rest from toil, be truce from sorrow,
Be living green upon the sward
Now but a barren grave to me,
Be joy for sorrow?
“Did I not die for thee?
Do I not live for thee?
Leave Me to-morrow.”
HE who believes in God is not careful for the morrow, but labours joyfully and with a great heart. “For He giveth His beloved, as in sleep.” They must work and watch, yet never be careful or anxious, but commit all to Him, and live in serene tranquillity; with a quiet heart, as one who sleeps safely and quietly.
I SAW a delicate flower had grown up two feet high, between the horses’ path and the wheel-track. An inch more to right or left had sealed its fate, or an inch higher; and yet it lived to flourish as much as if it had a thousand acres of untrodden space around it, and never knew the danger it incurred. It did not borrow trouble, nor invite an evil fate by apprehending it.
Henry D. Thoreau
YET, sometimes, when I feel my heart
Most weak and life most burdensome,
I lift mine eyes up to the hills
From whence my help shall come;
Yea, sometimes still I lift my heart
To th’ archangelic trumpet-burst,
When all deep secrets shall be shown,
And many last be first.
LEARN to distrust the suggestions of lower and more earthly hours, and scatter the fears of the slothful, unawakened heart. If we treat the very “light that is in us as darkness, how great is that darkness!” Be it ours to doubt the glooms, and not the glory of our souls; to lie low beneath the blinding cloud, and simply cry, “Lord, that I may receive my sight!” and rise up to prophesy, only when the heavens are opened, and the divinest scope of things is clear; to court, and not to shun, the bursts of holy suspicion that break through the crust of habit and the films of care, and accept them as a glance from the eye of the Infinite,—the “witness of His Spirit with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”
SINCE the Stars of Heaven do differ in Glory; O since it hath pleased the Almighty hand to honour the North Pole with Lights above the South; since there are some Stars so bright, that they can hardly be looked on, some so dim that they can scarce be seen, and vast numbers not to be seen at all even by Artificial Eyes; read thou the Earth in Heaven, and things below from above.
Sir Thomas Browne
LORD, grant us calm, if calm can set forth Thee;
Or tempest, if a tempest set Thee forth;
Wind from the east, or west, or south, or north,
Or congelation of a silent sea,
With stillness of each tremulous aspen tree.
Still let fruit fall, or hang upon a tree;
Still let the east and west, the south and north,
Curb in their winds, or plough a thundering sea;
Still let the earth abide to set thee forth,
Or vanish like a smoke to set forth Thee.
A MIND which withstands all the powers of the outward universe, all the pains which fire and sword and storm can inflict, rather than swerve from uprightness, is nobler than the universe.
William E. Channing
ENJOY the blessings of this day if God sends them; and the evils bear patiently and sweetly. For this day only is ours; we are dead to yesterday, and we are not born to to-morrow.
OUR heaven must be within ourselves,
Our home and heaven the work of faith
All thro’ this race of life which shelves
Downward to death.
So faith shall build the boundary wall,
And hope shall plant the secret bower,
That both may show magnifical
With gem and flower.
While over all a dome must spread,
And Love shall be that dome above;
And deep foundations must be laid,
And these are Love!
AND this is the great task of life also, to discern things and divide them, and say, “Outward things are not in my power; to will is in my power. Where shall I seek the Good, and where the Evil? Within me—in all that is my own.”
AND since few or none prove eminently virtuous but from some advantageous Foundations in their Temper and natural Inclinations, study thy self betimes, and early find what Nature bids thee to be, or tells thee what thou may’st be.
Sir Thomas Browne
A MAN only understands what is akin to something already existing in himself.
Henri F. Amiel
WHERE love is, there comes sorrow
To-day or else to-morrow;
Endure the mood,
Love only means our good.
GENIAL, almost to miracle, is the soil of sorrow; wherein the smallest seed of love, timely falling, becometh a tree, in whose foliage the birds of blessed song lodge and sing unceasingly. And the doubts of God’s goodness, whence are they? Rarely from the weary and overburdened, from those broken in the practical service of grief and toil; but from theoretic students at ease in their closets of meditation, treated themselves most gently by that legislation of the universe which they criticize with a melancholy so profound.
THE more a man loves, the more he suffers. The sum of possible grief for each soul is in proportion to its degree of affection.
Henri F. Amiel
TURN all to love, poor soul;
Be love thy watch and ward;
Be love thy starting-point, thy goal,
And thy reward.
IF we live truly, we shall see truly. It is as easy for the strong man to be strong, as it is for the weak to be weak. When we have new perceptions, we shall gladly disburden the memory of its hoarded treasures as old rubbish. When a man lives with God, his voice shall be as sweet as the murmur of the brook and the rustle of the corn.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
IN all matters of eternal truth, the soul is before the intellect; the things of God are spiritually discerned. You know truth by being true: you recognize God by being like Him.
Frederick W. Robertson