March 23

IN countless upward-striving waves
The moon-drawn tide-wave strives;
In thousand far-transplanted grafts
The parent fruit survives;
So, in the new-born millions,
The perfect Adam lives.
Not less are summer mornings dear
To every child they wake,
And each with novel life his sphere
Fills for his proper sake.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

GOD appoints to every one of His creatures a separate mission, and if they discharge it honourably, if they quit themselves like men, and faithfully follow the light which is in them, withdrawing from it all cold and quenching influence, there will assuredly come of it such burning as, in its appointed mode and measure, shall shine before men, and be of service constant and holy. Degrees infinite of lustre there must always be, but the weakest among us has a gift, however seemingly trivial, which is peculiar to him, and which, worthily used, will be a gift also to his race for ever.
John Ruskin

OUR duty is to be useful, not according to our desires but according to our powers.
Henri F. Amiel


March 16

TWAS but one little drop of sin
We saw this morning enter in,
And lo! at eventide the world is drowned.
John Keble

FOR first there cometh to the mind a bare thought of evil, then a strong imagination thereof, afterwards delight, and an evil motion, and then consent. And so by little and little our wicked enemy getteth complete entrance, whilst he is not resisted in the beginning. And the longer a man is negligent in resisting, so much the weaker does he become daily in himself, and the enemy stronger against him.
Thomas à Kempis

THE free being who abandons the conduct of himself, yields himself to Satan; in the moral world there is no ground without a master, and the waste lands belong to the Evil One.
Henri F. Amiel

March 14

BUT welcome fortitude, and patient cheer,
And frequent sights of what is to be borne!
Such sights, or worse, as are before me here—
Not without hope we suffer and we mourn.
William Wordsworth

THOSE who have not suffered are still wanting in depth; but a man who has not got happiness cannot impart it. We can only give what we have. Happiness, grief, gaiety, sadness, are by nature contagious. Bring your health and your strength to the weak and sickly, and so you will be of use to them. Give them, not your weakness, but your energy, so you will revive and lift them up. Life alone can rekindle life. What others claim from us is not our thirst and our hunger, but our bread and our gourd.
Henri F. Amiel

IN his own life, then, a man is not to expect happiness, only to profit by it gladly when it shall arise; he is on duty here; he knows not how or why, and does not need to know; he knows not for what hire, and must not ask. Somehow or other, though he does not know what goodness is, he must try to be good; somehow or other, though he cannot tell what will do it, he must try to give happiness to others.
Robert Louis Stevenson

February 2

I SENT my Soul through the Invisible,
Some letter of that After-life to spell:
And by and bye my Soul return’d to me,
And answer’d, “I myself am Heav’n and Hell: ”

Heav’n but the vision of fulfill’d Desire,
And Hell the shadow from a Soul on fire.
Omar Khayyám

BOTH heaven and hell have their foundation within us. Heaven primarily lies in a refined temper, in an internal reconciliation to the nature of God, and to the rule of righteousness. The guilt of conscience and enmity of righteousness is the inward state of hell. The guilt of conscience is the fuel of hell.
Benjamin Whichcote

THE heart of man is the place the Devils dwell in: I feel sometimes a Hell within myself; Lucifer keeps his Court in my breast, Legion is revived in me.
Sir Thomas Browne

HEAVEN, hell, the world are within us. Man a is the great abyss.
Henri F. Amiel

January 26

THE lost days of my life until to-day.
What were they, could I see them on the street
Lie as they fell? Would they be ears of wheat
Sown once for food, but trodden into clay?
Or golden coins squandered and still to pay?
Or drops of blood dabbling the guilty feet? Or such spilt water as in dreams must cheat
The undying throats of Hell, athirst alway?

I do not see them here; but after death
God knows I know the faces I shall see,
Each one a murder’d self, with low last breath.
“I am thyself,—what hast thou done to me?”
“And I—and I—thyself,” (Lo! each one saith,)
“And thou thyself to all eternity!”
C. D. Gabriel Rossetti

LET each day take thought for what concerns it, liquidate its own affairs, and respect the day which is to follow, and then we shall be always ready. To know how to be ready is at bottom to know how to die.
Henri F. Amiel

TIME is scytheless and toothless; it is we who gnaw like the worm; we who smite like the scythe. It is ourselves who abolish, ourselves who consume; we are the mildew and the flame, and the soul of man is to its own work as the moth that frets when it cannot fly, and as the hidden flame that blasts where it cannot illumine.
John Ruskin

January 22

SO to the calmly gathered thought
The innermost of truth is taught,
The mystery dimly understood,
That love of God is love of good, . . .
That to be saved is only this,—
Salvation from our selfishness.
John G. Whittier

EVIL consists in living for self—that is to say, for one’s own vanity, pride, sensuality, or even health. Righteousness consists in willingly accepting one’s lot, in submitting to and espousing the destiny assigned us, in willing what God commands, in renouncing what He forbids us, in consenting to what He takes from us or refuses us.
Henri F. Amiel

FOR God will have us perfectly subject unto Him, that, being inflamed with His love, we may transcend the narrow limits of human reason.
Thomas à Kempis

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 11

IF I have faltered more or less
In my great task of happiness;
If I have moved among my race
And shown no glorious morning face;
If beams from happy human eyes
Have moved me not; if morning skies,
Books, and my food, and summer rain
Knocked on my sullen heart in vain:—
Lord, Thy most pointed pleasure take
And stab my spirit broad awake;
Or, Lord, if too obdurate I,
Choose Thou, before that spirit die,
A piercing pain, a killing sin,
And to my dead heart run them in!
Robert Louis Stevenson

IS not making others happy the best happiness? To illuminate for an instant the depths of a deep soul, to cheer those who bear by sympathy the burdens of so many sorrow-laden hearts and suffering lives, is to me a blessing and a precious privilege.
Henri F. Amiel

IT is not only our right, it is our duty to enjoy and to be happy. Pleasure does us good if gratefully and lovingly accepted; the nature often expands and blossoms under it as under no other influence.
James Hinton

A FEW more smiles of silent sympathy, a few more tender words, a little more restraint on temper, may make all the difference between happiness and half-happiness to those I live with.
Stopford A. Brooke

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 26

IN vain shall waves of incense drift
The vaulted nave around,
In vain the minster turret lift
Its brazen weights of sound.

The heart must ring Thy Christmas bells,
Thy inward altars raise;
Its faith and hope Thy canticles,
And its obedience praise!
John G. Whittier

EVIL consists in living for self— that is to say, for one’s own vanity, pride, sensuality, or even health. Righteousness consists in willingly accepting one’s lot, in submitting to and espousing the destiny assigned to us, in willing what God commands, in renouncing what He forbids us, in consenting to what He takes from us or refuses us.
Henri F. Amiel

YES! it is here and nowhere else that the essence of religion lies; not ecclesiastical order, not theological soundness, not even morality and purity of life, but love and loyalty to Christ.
John Caird

LOVE taketh up no malign elements; its spirit prompteth it to cover in mercy all things that ought not to be exposed, to believe all of good that can be believed, to hope all things that a good God makes possible, and to endure all things that the hope may be made good.
John Thom