February 12

PRAYER is the soul’s sincere desire,
Uttered or unexpressed;
The motion of a hidden fire,
That trembles in the breast.
J. Montgomery

PRAYER is the nearest approach to God, and the highest enjoyment of Him that we are capable of in this life. It is the noblest exercise of the soul, the most exalted use of our best faculties, and the highest imitation of the blessed inhabitants of Heaven. When our hearts are full of God, sending up holy desires to the Throne of Grace, we are then in our highest state, we are upon the utmost heights of human greatness; we are not before kings and princes, but in the presence and audience of the Lord of all the world, and can be no higher, till death is swallowed up in glory.
William Law

PRAYING for no gifts, no interventions, opening the soul to the undiscerned, take this for the good in prayer; that it makes us repose on the unknown with confidence, makes us flexible to change, makes us ready for revolution—for life then!
George Meredith

PRAYER is the correspondence of wedded souls.
R. W. Barbour


January 3

IT shall be still in strictest measure even
To that same lot, however mean or high,
Toward which Time leads me, and the will of Heaven.
All is, if I have grace to use it so,
As ever in my great Task-master’s eye.
John Milton

WE have all a cure of souls and every man is a priest.
Henri F. Amiel

THE souls that would really be richer in duty in some new position, are precisely those who borrow no excuses from the old one; who even esteem it full of privileges, plenteous in occasions of good, frequent in divine appeals which they chide their graceless and unloving temper for not heeding more. Wretched and barren is the discontent that quarrels with its tools instead of with its skill; and, by criticizing Providence, manages to keep up complacency with self. How gentle should we be, if we were not provoked; how pious, if we were not busy; the sick would be patient, only he is not in health; the obscure would do peat things, only he is not conspicuous.
James Martineau

NO morning can restore what we have forfeited.
George Meredith

December 13

AND fierce though the fiends may fight.
And long though the angels hide,
I know that truth and right
Have the universe on their side;
And that somewhere beyond the stars,
Is a love that is better than fate;
When the night unlocks her bars,
I shall see Him—and I will wait.
Washington Gladden

AS well might you attempt to build upon the restless sea, or to steer by shooting stars, or keep time by the leaves dancing in the wind, as shape a mind or train a character amid a scene whose courses were unsteady and where action was a lottery.
James Martineau

THERE is no stability of power, no steadfast peace but in immovable principles of right; no true royalty but in the rule of our own spirits; no real freedom but in unbounded disinterested love; and no fulness of joy but in being alive to that Infinite Presence, Majesty, Goodness, in which we live and move and have our being.
William E. Channing

WE who interpret things heavenly by things earthly must not hope to juggle with them for our pleasures, and can look to no absolution of evil acts.
George Meredith


October 9

LIFE is not as idle ore,
But iron dug from central gloom,
And heated hot with burning fears,
And dipt in baths of hissing tears,
And battered with the shocks of doom
To shape and use.
Alfred Tennyson

LIFE, like war, is a series of mistakes, and he is not the best Christian nor the best general who makes the fewest false steps. Poor mediocrity may secure that! but he is the best who wins the most splendid victories by the retrieval of mistakes. Forget mistakes; organize victory out of mistakes.
Frederick W. Robertson

NEITHER let mistakes nor wrong directions discourage thee. There is precious instruction to be got by finding we were wrong.
Thomas Carlyle

CHARITY is a common duty. The dedication of a man’s life and whole mind to a cause, there’s heroism.
George Meredith

July 12

GO up and watch the new-born rill
Just trickling from its mossy bed,
Streaking the heath-clad hill
With a bright emerald thread.

Canst thou her bold career foretell,
What rocks she shall o’erleap or rend,
How far in ocean’s swell
Her freshening billows send?

Even so, the course of prayer who knows?
It springs in silence where it will,
Springs out of sight, and flows
At first a lonely rill:

But streams shall meet it by-and-by
From thousand sympathetic hearts,
Together swelling high
Their chant of many parts.
John Keble

PRAYER is one of the noblest exercises of Christian religion; or rather, it is that duty in which all graces are concentrated. Prayer is charity, it is faith, it is a conformity to God’s will, a desiring according to the desires of heaven, an imitation of Christ’s intercession; and prayer must suppose all holiness, or else it is nothing; and therefore all that in which men need God’s Spirit, all that is in order to prayer.
Jeremy Taylor

HE who has the fountain of prayer in him will not complain of hazards. Prayer is the recognition of laws; the soul’s exercise and source of strength; its thread of conjunction with them.
George Meredith

June 8

BE true to every inmost thought;
Be as they thought thy speech
What thou hast not by suffering bought,
Presume thou not to teach.
Henry Alford

IT is difficult to be always true to ourselves, to be always what we wish to be, what we feel we ought to be. As long as we feel that, as long as we do not surrender the ideal of our life, all is right. Our aspirations represent the true nature of our soul much more than our everyday life.
Max Müller

THERE is nothing the body suffers that the soul may not profit by.
George Meredith

UNLESS we perform Divine service in every willing act of life, we never perform it at all. The one Divine work, the one ordered sacrifice— is to do justice; and it is the last we are ever inclined to do. Anything rather than that! As much charity as you choose, but no justice.
John Ruskin