January 16

DEAR Work! Art thou the curse of God?
What must His blessing be?
Elizabeth B. Browning

BE not uneasy, discouraged, or out of humour, because practice falls short of precept in some particulars. If you happen to be beaten, come on again, and be glad if most of your acts are worthy of human nature. Love that to which you return, and do not go like a schoolboy to his master, with an ill will.
Marcus Aurelius

LOVE Labour: For if thou dost not want it for Food, thou mayest for Physick. It is wholesome for thy Body, and good for thy Mind. It prevents the Fruits of Idleness, which many times comes of nothing to do, and leads too many to do what is worse than nothing.
William Penn

THE more we do, the more we can do; the more busy we are, the more leisure we have.
William Hazlitt


December 29

THERE’S not a crime
But takes its proper change out still in crime.
If once rung on the counters of the world:
Let sinners look to it.
Elizabeth B. Browning

YOU cannot do wrong without suffering wrong. “No man had ever a point of pride that was not injurious to him,” said Burke. The exclusive in fashionable life does not see that he excludes himself from enjoyment, in the attempt to appropriate it. The exclusionist in religion does not see that he shuts the door of heaven on himself, in striving to shut out others. Treat men as pawns and ninepins, and you shall suffer as well as they. If you leave out their heart, you shall lose your own.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

SAY what men will of the heartlessness of Trade, it is nothing compared with the heartlessness of Fashion. Say what they will of the atheism of Science, it is nothing to the atheism of that round of Pleasure in which many a heart lives: dead while it lives.
Frederick W. Robertson

November 21

FREE men freely work.
Whoever fears God, fears to sit at ease.
Elizabeth B. Browning

NOTHING is so unendurable to men as to be entirely at rest, without desires, without business, without amusement, without study. He then feels his nothingness, his loneliness, his insufficiency, his dependence, his powerlessness, his emptiness.
Blaise Pascal

WE are not sent into this world to do anything into which we cannot put our hearts. We have certain work to do for our bread, and that is to be done strenuously, other work to do for our delight, and that is to be done heartily, neither is to be done by halves or shifts, but with a will, and what is not worth this effort is not to be done at all.
John Ruskin

ALL men if they work not as in a Great Task master’s eye, will work wrong, work unhappily for themselves and you.
Thomas Carlyle

August 13

GET leave to work
In this world—’tis the best you get at all;
For God, in cursing, gives us better gifts
Than men in benediction. God says, “Sweat
For foreheads,” men say “crowns,” and so we are
Ay, gashed by some tormenting circle of steel
Which snaps with a secret spring. Get work, get work;
Be sure ’tis better than what you work to get.
Elizabeth B. Browning

THERE is a perennial nobleness, and even sacredness, in work. Were he never so benighted, forgetful of his high calling, there is always hope in a man that actually and earnestly works: in idleness alone there is perpetual despair. Work, never so mammonish, mean, is in communication with nature; the real desire to get work done will itself lead one more and more to truth, to nature’s appointments and regulations, which are truth. The latest gospel in the world is, know thy work, and do it.
Thomas Carlyle

I HAVE always taught, and do teach, and shall teach, I doubt not, till I die, that in resolving to do our work well is the only sound foundation of any religion whatsoever.
John Ruskin

July 28

The best men, doing their best,
Know peradventure least of what they do:
Men usefullest i’ the world are simply used;
The nails that hold the wood must pierce it first,
And He alone who wields the hammer sees
The work advanced by the earliest blow.
Take heart.
Elizabeth B. Browning

ONE thing we cannot fail to notice; that a return to simple, undisguised affections,— to natural and veracious speech,—to earnest and inartificial life,—has characterized every great and noble period, and all morally powerful and venerable men.
James Martineau

THE unremitting retention of simple and high sentiments in obscure duties is hardening the character to that temper which will work with honour, if need be, in the tumult, or on the scaffold.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

ONE never mounts so high as when one knows not whither one is going.
Oliver Cromwell


July 17

OH, the little birds sang east, and the little birds sang west,
Toll slowly.
And I said in underbreath,—All our life is mixed with death,
And who knoweth which is best?
Oh, the little birds sang east, and the little birds sang west,
Toll slowly.
And I smiled to think God’s greatness flowed around our incompleteness,
Round our restlessness, His rest.
Elizabeth B. Browning

THE light of life is a constant consciousness of Divine Fellowship. But we should not expect a sudden manifestation of the Infinite One to our souls. Gradually we must attain to this serene trust in God’s all-protecting care, incessant mercy, and inspiring influence. The blessing will not be less real, because it comes upon us gently, according to our spiritual progress. There is no rest for our souls except in this ever-growing communion with the All-Perfect One.
William E. Channing

GOD is a kind Father. He sets us all in the places where He wishes us to be employed; and that employment is truly “our Father’s business.” He chooses work for every creature which will be delightful to them, if they do it simply and humbly.
John Ruskin

May 30

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.
John Ruskin

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