March 6

LOSSE is no shame, nor to be lesse then foe;
But to bee lesser then himselfe doth marre
Both loosers lott, and victours prayse alsoe:
Vaine others overthrowes who selfe doth overthrow.
Edmund Spenser

THE best way in the world for a man to seem to be anything is really to be what he would seem to be. . . . All other arts will fail, but truth and integrity will carry a man through, and bear him out to the last.
Archbishop Tillotson

WHAT thou are, that thou art; neither by words canst thou be made greater than what thou art in the sight of God. If thou consider what thou art within thee, thou wilt not care what men talk of thee. Man looketh on the countenance, but God on the heart. Man considereth the deeds, but God weigheth the intentions.
Thomas à Kempis

I AM more afraid of my own heart than of the Pope and all his cardinals. I have within me the great pope, self.
Martin Luther


February 27

WHAT man is he, that boasts of fleshly might
And vaine assurance of mortality,
Which, all so soone as it doth come to fight
Against spirituall foes, yields by and by,
Or from the fielde most cowardly doth fly!
Ne let the man ascribe it to his skill,
That thorough grace hath gained victory:
If any strength we have, it is to ill,
But all the good is God’s, both power and eke will.
Edmund Spenser

DO not those of us, who have been mercifully prevented from damning ourselves before the whole world, who have succeeded and triumphed — do we not know, know as we know hardly anything else, that our success and our triumph were due to superiority in strength by just a grain, no more, of our better self over the raging rebellion beneath it? It was just a tremble of the tongue in the balance; it might have gone this way, or it might have gone the other, but by God’s grace it was this way settled — God’s grace, as surely, in some form of words, everybody must acknowledge it to have been.
Mark Rutherford

THE very privative blessings, the blessings of immunity, safeguard, and integrity which we all enjoy, deserve a thanksgiving of a whole life.
Jeremy Taylor

February 8

SO every spirit, as it is most pure
And hath in it the more of heavenly light,
So it the fairer bodie doth procure
To habit in, and it more fairly dight
With chearfull grace and amiable sight;
For to the soule the bodie forme doth take,
For soule is forme and doth the bodie make.
Edmund Spenser

A BEAUTIFUL form is better than a beautiful face; a beautiful behaviour is better than a beautiful form; it gives a higher pleasure than statues or pictures; it is the finest of the fine arts.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

SOME glances of real beauty may be seen in their faces, who dwell in true meekness. There is a harmony in the sound of that voice to which Divine love gives utterance, and some appearance of right order in their temper and conduct whose passions are regulated.
John Woolman

November 18

BUT lovely concord, and most sacred peace.
Doth nourish virtue, and fast friendship breeds,
Weake she makes strong, and strong thing does increace,
Till it the pitch of highest praise exceeds:
Brave be her warres, and honorable deeds.
By which she triumphes over yre and pride.
And winnes an Olive girlond for her meeds.
Be, therefore, O my deare Lords! pacifide,
And this misseeming discord meekely lay aside.
Edmund Spenser

BE deaf unto the suggestions of Tale-bearers, Calumniators, Pickthank or Malevolent Delators, who, while quiet Men sleep, sowing the Tares of discord and division, distract the tranquillity of Charity and all friendly Society. These are the Tongues that set the world on fire, cankers of reputation, and, like that of Jonas his Gourd, wither a good name in a night. Evil Spirits may sit still while these Spirits walk about, and perform the business of Hell.
Sir Thomas Browne

LISTEN not to a tale-bearer or slanderer, for he tells thee nothing out of good will, but as he discovereth of the secrets of others, so he will of thine in turn.

November 1

HE there does now enjoy eternall rest
And happy ease, which thou doest want and crave,
And further from it daily wanderest:
What if some little payne the passage have,
That makes frayle flesh to feare the bitter wave,
Is not short payne well borne, that bringes long ease,
And lays the soule to sleepe in quiet grave?
Sleepe after toyle, port after stormie seas,
Ease after warre, death after life, does greatly please.
Edmund Spenser

NATURAL death is as it were a haven and a rest to us after long navigation. And the noble Soul is like a good mariner; for he, when he draws near the port, lowers his sails and enters it softly with gentle steerage . . . . And herein we have from our own nature a great lesson in suavity; for in such a death as this there is no grief nor any bitterness: but as a ripe apple is lightly and without violence loosened from its branch, so our soul without grieving departs from the body in which it hath been.
Dante Alighieri

WE reckon too little with death, and then when it comes it overwhelms us. We know all the time that our friends must go, and that we must go, but we shut our eyes, and enjoy their love and friendship as if life could never end.
Max Müller

June 24

AND is there care in heaven? And is there love
In heavenly spirits to these creatures bace,
That may compassion of their evilles move ?
There is: else much more wretched were the cace
Of men then beasts. But O! th’ exceeding grace
Of highest God that loves His creatures so,
And all His workes with mercy doth embrace,
That blessed Angels He sends to and fro,
To serve to wicked man, to serve his wicked foe.
Edmund Spenser

THERE is not a secular reform in the whole development of modem civilization which (if it is more than mechanical) has not drawn its inspiration from a religious principle. Infirmaries for the body have sprung out of pity to the soul; schools for the letter, that free way may be opened to the spirit; sanitary laws, that the diviner elements of human nature may not become incredible and hopeless from their foul environment. Who would ever lift a voice for a slave, that looked no further than his face? or build a reformatory for the culprit child, if he saw nothing but the slouching gait and thievish eye? Nay, what impulse would even science itself have had, if sustained only by the material utilities? what inspiring zeal, but for that secret wonder which feels the universe to be sacred and is a virtual thirst for God?
James Martineau