March 29

THOUGH private prayer be a brave design,
Yet public hath more promises, more love;
And love’s a weight to hearts, to eyes a sign.
We all are but cold suitors; let us move
Where it is warmest. Leave thy six and seven;
Pray with the most; for where most pray is heaven.
George Herbert

PUBLIC Worship is very commendable if well performed. We owe it to God and good Example. But we must know, that God is not tyed to Time or Place, who is everywhere at the same Time: And this we shall know, as far as we are capable, if where ever we are, our Desires are to be with Him.
William Penn

YET religious discourses of spiritual things do greatly further our spiritual growth, especially when persons of one mind and spirit be gathered together in God.
Thomas à Kempis


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

February 15

BE calm in arguing: for fierceness makes
Error a fault, and truth discourtesy.
Why should I feel another man’s mistakes
More than his sicknesses, or poverty?
In love I should; but anger is not love,
Nor wisdom neither; therefore gently move.
George Herbert

BUT since Goodness is exemplary in all, if others have not our Virtues, let us not be wanting in theirs, nor, scorning them for their Vices whereof we are free, be condemned by their Virtues wherein we are deficient. There is Dross, Alloy, and Embasement in all human Temper; and he flieth without Wings, who thinks to find Ophyr or pure Metal in any.
Sir Thomas Browne

HE that well and rightly considereth his own works will find little cause to judge hardly of another.
Thomas à Kempis

January 28

IN brief, acquit thee bravely, play the man;
Look not on pleasures as they come, but go;
Defer not the least virtue; life’s poor span
Make not an ell by trifling in thy woe.
If thou do ill, the joy fades, not the pains;
If well, the pain doth fade, the joy remains.
George Herbert

THERE are three things to which man is born—labour, sorrow, and joy. Each of these three things has its baseness and its nobleness. There is base labour and noble labour. There is base sorrow and noble sorrow. There is base joy and noble joy. But you must not think to avoid the corruption of these things by doing without the things themselves. Nor can any life be right that has not all three. Labour without joy is base. Sorrow without labour is base. Joy without labour is base.
John Ruskin

A MAN shall and must be valiant; he must march forward and quit himself like a man —trusting imperturbably in the appointment and choice of the upper Powers; and, on the whole, not fear at all. Now and always, the completeness of his victory over Fear will determine how much of a man he is.
Thomas Carlyle

January 20

MAN is no star, but a quick coal
Of mortal fire;
Who blows it not, nor doth control
A faint desire,
Lets his own ashes choke his soul.
George Herbert

THE kingdom of God belongs not to the most enlightened but to the best; and the best man is the most unselfish man. Humble, constant, voluntary self-sacrifice,—this is what constitutes the true dignity of man. And therefore it is written, “The last shall be first.” Society rests upon conscience and not upon science. Civilization is first and foremost a moral thing. Without honesty, without respect for law, without the worship of duty, without the love of one’s neighbour,—in a word, without virtue,—the whole is menaced and falls into decay, and neither letters nor art, neither luxury nor industry, nor rhetoric, nor the policeman, nor the custom-house officer, can maintain erect and whole an edifice of which the foundations are unsound.
Henri F. Amiel

SEE that no day passes in which you do not make yourself a somewhat better creature; and in order to do that, find out, first, what you are now.
John Ruskin

January 5

SUM up at night what thou hast done by day,
And in the morning what thou hast to do;
Dress and undress thy soul; mark the decay
And growth of it; if with thy watch that too
Be down, then wind up both; since we shall be
Most surely judged, make thy accounts agree.
George Herbert

LET every one examine his own thoughts, and he will find them all busied about the past and the future. We seldom think of the present, and, if we do, it is in order to reflect it upon the fenre. The present is never the end in view: the past and present are our means, the future alone is our end. Thus we never live, but are always hoping to live; and by always planning our happiness, it is inevitable that we never compass it.
Blaise Pascal

IF thou canst not continually recollect thyself, yet do it sometimes, at the least once a day, namely, in the morning or at night. In the morning fix thy good purpose; and at night examine thyself what thou hast done, how thou hast behaved thyself in word, deed, and thought; for in these perhaps thou hast oftentimes offended icon God and thy neighbour.
Thomas à Kempis

November 6

THOU that hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more, a grateful heart:
See how Thy beggar works on Thee
By art:

He makes Thy gifts occasion more,
And says, if he in this be crost,
All Thou hast given him heretofore
Is lost.

George Herbert

OF those who fail, I do not speak—despair should be sacred; but to those who even modestly succeed, the changes of this life bring interest; a job found, a shilling saved, a dainty earned, all these are wells of pleasure springing afresh for the successful poor, and it is not from these but from the villa-dweller, that we hear complaints of the unworthiness of life.
Robert Louis Stevenson

IT is usually not so much the greatness of our trouble as the littleness of our spirit which makes us complain.
Jeremy Taylor

INGRATITUDE is the abridgement of all baseness—a fault never found unattended with other viciousness.

Thomas Fuller

October 11

TEACH me, my God and King,
In all things Thee to see,
And what I do in anything,
To do it as for Thee.
George Herbert

LOVE to God makes a man have desires of the honour of God, and a desire to please Him; so does a natural man’s love to his friend make him desire his honour, and desire to please him. Love to God causes a man to delight in the thought of God, and to delight in the presence of God, and to desire conformity to God and the enjoyment of God; and so it is with a man’s love to his friend.
Jonathan Edwards

HE honours God who imitates Him. For what we virtuously imitate we approve and admire; and since we delight not to imitate Inferiors, we aggrandize and magnify those we imitate; since also we are most apt to imitate those we love, we testify our affection in our imitation of the Inimitable.
Sir Thomas Browne

October 7

MAN is God’s image; but a poor man is
Christ’s stamp to boot; both images regard.
God reckons for him, counts the favour His;
Write, “ So much given to God; ” thou shalt be heard.
Let thy alms go before, and keep heaven’s gate
Open for thee; or both may come too late.
George Herbert

FOR since he who hath pity on the poor lendeth unto the Almighty Eewarder, Who observes no Ides but every day for His payments, Charity becomes pious Usury, Christian Liberality the most thriving industry, and what we adventure in a Cockboat may return in a Carrack unto us. He who thus casts his bread upon the water shall surely find it again; for though it falleth to the bottom, it sinks but like the Ax of the Prophet, to arise again unto him.
Sir Thomas Browne

PUT God in your debt. Every stroke shall be repaid. The longer the payment is with- holden, the better for you; for compound interest on compound interest is the rate and usage of this exchequer.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

August 21

MORE servants wait on Man
Than he’ll take notice of: in every path
He treads down that which doth befriend him
When sickness makes him pale and wan.
O mighty love! Man is one world, and hath
Another to attend him.
George Herbert

FOR in our health and clearer days, it is easy to talk of putting trust in God; we readily trust Him for life, when we are in health; for provisions, when we have fair revenues; and for deliverance, when we are newly escaped: but let us come to sit upon the margent of our grave, and let a tyrant lean hard upon our fortunes, and dwell upon our wrong; let the storm arise, and the keels toss till the cordage crack, or that all our hopes bulge under us, and descend into the hollowness of sad misfortunes; then can you believe, when you neither hear, nor see, nor feel anything but objections? This is the proper work of sickness: faith is then brought into the theatre; and so exercised, that if it abides but to the end of the contention, we may see the work of faith, which God will crown.
Jeremy Taylor

A MAN who makes progress in prosperity, by adversity learns what progress he has made. For when he has an abundance of these passing goods, he trusts not in them, but when they are withdrawn, he recognizes whether they have not taken hold of him.
St. Augustine