March 25

Be sure that God
Ne’er dooms to waste the strength he deigns impart!
Be sure they sleep not whom God needs!
Nor fear
Their holding light His charge, when every hour
That finds that charge delayed, is a new death.
Robert Browning

I TOO could say myself: Be no longer a Chaos, but a World, or even worldkin. Produce! Produce! Were it but the pitifulest infinitesimal fraction of a Product, produce it in God’s name! ‘Tis the utmost thou hast in thee; out with it then. Up, up! Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy whole might. Work while it is called To-day, for the Night cometh wherein no man can work.
Thomas Carlyle

CHRISTIAN life is action: not a speculating— not a debating: but a doing. One thing, and only one, in this world has eternity stamped upon it. Feelings pass: resolves and thoughts pass: opinions change. What you have done lasts —lasts in you. Through ages; through eternity, what you have done for Christ; that and only that you are.
Frederick W. Robertson


March 13

INTO the truth of things—
Out of their falseness rise, and reach thou, and remain!
Robert Browning

FOR myself, I found that I was fitted for nothing so well as for the study of Truth; … as being gifted by nature with desire to seek, patience to doubt, fondness to meditate, slowness to assert, readiness to consider, carefulness to dispose and set in order; and as being a man that neither affects what is new nor admires what is old, and that hates every kind of imposture. So I thought my nature had a kind of familiarity and relationship with Truth.
Francis Bacon

IT is wondrous how the truer we become, the more unerringly we know the ring of truth, discern whether a man be true or not, and can fasten at once upon the rising lie in word and look and dissembling act.
Frederick W. Robertson

WHERESOEVER the search after truth begins, there life begins. Wheresoever that search ceases, there life ceases.
John Ruskin

March 7

LIE not; but let thy heart be true to God,
Thy mouth to it, thy actions to them both:
Cowards tell lies, and those that fear the rod;
The stormy-working soul spits lies and froth.
Dare to be true. Nothing can need a lie;
A fault, which needs it most, grows two thereby.
George Herbert

THE cruellest lies are often told in silence. A man may have sat in a room for hours and not opened his teeth, and yet, come out of that room a disloyal friend or a vile calumniator.
Robert Louis Stevenson

HALF truths are often more calumnious than whole falsehoods. It is not even necessary that a word should be distinctly uttered; a dropped lip, an arched eyebrow; a shrugged shoulder, a significant look, an incredulous expression of countenance, nay, even an emphatic silence, may do the work.
Frederick W. Robertson

IT is false piety to keep peace at the expense of truth; and it is also false zeal to keep truth while wounding charity.
Blaise Pascal

March 5

IT’S wiser being good than bad;
It’s safer being meek than fierce:
It’s fitter being sane than mad.
My own hope is, a sun will pierce
The thickest cloud earth ever stretched;
That, after Last, returns the First,
Though a wide compass round be fetched;
That what began best can’t end worst,
Nor what God blessed once, prove accurst.
Robert Browning

IN the darkest hour through which a human soul can pass, whatever else is doubtful, this at least is certain. If there be no God and no future state, yet, even then, it is better to be generous than selfish, better to be chaste than licentious, better to be true than false, better to be brave than to be a coward.
Frederick W. Robertson

’TIS better to think that there are Guardian Spirits, than that there are no spirits to guard us; that vicious Persons are Slaves, than that there is any servitude in virtue; that times past have been better than times present, than that times are always bad, and that to be Men it suffiseth to be no better than Men in all Ages, and so promiscuously to swim down the turbid stream, and make up the grand confusion.
Sir Thomas Browne

January 6

OTO be up and doing. O
Unfearing and unshamed to go
In all the uproar and the press
About my human business!
My undissuaded heart I hear
Whisper courage in my ear.
With voiceless calls the ancient earth
Summons me to a daily birth.
Robert Louis Stevenson

THE best prayer at the beginning of a day is that we may not lose its moments.
John Ruskin

LET the weakest, let the humblest remember, that in his daily course he can, if he will, shed around him almost a heaven. Kindly words, sympathizing attentions, watchfulness against wounding men’s sensitiveness — these cost very little, but they are priceless in their value. Are they not almost the staple of our daily happiness? From hour to hour, from moment to moment, we are supported, blest, by small kindnesses.
Frederick W. Robertson

THE great business of life is to be, to do, to do without, and to depart.
John Morley

December 31

THE moving finger writes; and having writ.
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a word of it.
Omar Khayyám

CAST forth thy Act, thy Word, into the ever-living, ever-working Universe; it is a seed grain that cannot die; unnoticed to-day (says one), it will be found flourishing as a Banyan-grove (perhaps, alas, as a Hemlock-forest!) after a thousand years.
Thomas Carlyle

UNDER no circumstances, whether of pain, or grief, or disappointment, or irreparable mistake, can it be true that there is not something to be done, as well as something to be suffered. And thus it is that the spirit of Christianity draws over our life, not a leaden cloud of remorse and despondency, but a sky—not perhaps of radiant, but yet—of most serene and chastened manly hope. There is a Past which is gone for ever. But there is a Future which is still our own.
Frederick W. Robertson

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

December 28

HE forgot his own soul for others,
Himself to his neighbours lending,
And found the Lord in his suffering brothers,
And not in the clouds descending.
John G. Whittier

EVERY act done in Christ receives its exact and appropriate reward. They that are meek shall inherit the earth. They that are pure shall see God. They that suffer shall reign with Him. They that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars for ever. They that receive a righteous man in the name of a righteous man— that is, because he is a righteous man—shall receive a righteous man’s reward. Even the cup of cold water, given in the name of Christ, shall not lose its reward.
Frederick W. Robertson

I DO not now refer to the consequences of conduct in a future life; but to a certain perpetual and indestructible influence it must have upon this world. It is a mistake to suppose that any service rendered to mankind, any interesting relations of human life, any exhibition of moral greatness, even any peculiar condition of society, can ever be lost; their form only disappears; their value still remains, and their office is everlastingly performed.
James Martineau

December 24

THE time draws near the birth of Christ;
The moon is hid, the night is still;
A single church below the hill
Is pealing, folded in the mist.
Alfred Tennyson

TWO thousand years ago there was One here on this earth who lived the grandest life that ever has been lived yet,—a life that every thinking man, with deeper or shallower meaning, has agreed to call divine. I read little respecting His rights or His claims of rights, but I have read a great deal respecting His duties. Every act He did He called a duty. I read very little in that life respecting His rights, but I hear a vast deal respecting His wrongs,—wrongs infinite, wrongs borne with a majestic, Godlike silence. His reward? His reward was the reward that God gives to all His true and noble ones,—to be cast out in His day and generation, and a life-conferring death at last. These were His rights.
Frederick W. Robertson

AN eternal glory has been shed upon the human race by the love Christ bore to it.
Sir J. R. Seeley

December 17

THE sun set, but set not his hope:
Stars rose; his faith was earlier up:
Fixed on the enormous galaxy,
Deeper and older seemed his eye;
And matched his sufferance sublime
The taciturnity of time.
He spoke, and words more soft than rain
Brought the Age of Gold again:
His action won such reverence sweet
As hid all measure of the feat.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

NOW see what a Christian is, drawn by the hand of Christ. He is a man on whose clear and open brow God has set the stamp of truth: one whose very eye beams bright with honour; in whose very look and bearing you may see freedom, manliness, veracity: a brave man. . . . Young men! if you have been deterred from religion by its apparent feebleness and narrowness, Remember—It is a manly thing to be a Christian.
Frederick W. Robertson

NO sublimer spectacle do I know on earth than the faculties of a grand and passionate nature, as in a Socrates or a Paul, falling into stillness before the face of God, and by the awful light of His countenance turned from a stormy nobleness into a loving and working power.
James Martineau