January 12

IF thou hast time
But for a line,
Make it sublime;
Not failure, but
Low aim is crime.
James Russell Lowell


ACCUSTOM yourself, therefore, to think upon nothing but what you could freely reveal, if the question were put to you; so that if your soul were thus laid open, there would nothing appear but what was sincere, good natured, and public spirited—not so much as one voluptuous or luxurious fancy, nothing of hatred, envy, or unreasonable suspicion, nor aught else which you could not bring to the light without blushing.
Marcus Aurelius


FOR, no man can write anything, who does not think that what he writes is for the time the history of the world; or do anything well, who does not esteem his work to be of importance. My work may be of none, but I must not think it of none, or I shall not do it with impunity.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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December 1

FOR Mankind are one in spirit, and an instinct bears along,
Round the earth’s electric circle, the swift flash of right and wrong;
Whether conscious or unconscious, yet Humanity’s vast frame
Through its ocean-sundered fibres feels the gush of joy or shame;—
In the gain or loss of one race all the rest have equal claim.
James Russell Lowell


THE great duty of God’s children is to love one another. This duty on earth takes the name and form of the law of humanity. We are to recognize all men as brethren, no matter where born, or under what sky, or institution, or religion, they may live. Every man belongs to the race, and owes a duty to mankind. Every nation belongs to the family of nations, and is to desire the good of all. Nations are to love one another. . . . Men cannot vote this out of the universal acclamation. . . . Men cannot, by combining themselves into narrower or larger societies, sever the sacred, blessed bond which joins them to their kind. . . . The law of humanity must reign over the assertion of all human rights.
William E. Channing


THEY who pretend to teach you morality while limiting your duties to those you owe to your family or to your country, do but teach you a more or less enlarged egotism.
Joseph Mazzini

November 15

HE’S true to God who’s true to man; wherever wrong is done
To the humblest and the meekest, ’neath the all beholding sun,
That wrong is also done us; and they are slaves most base
Whose love of right is for themselves and not for all their race.
James Russell Lowell


IT is doubtless a sublime courage which rises up with concentrated force and rushes upon death rather than take the liar’s and the traitor’s safety; but I know not whether, in the Heart- searcher’s measures, there would be a less fidelity in the stainless and strenuous administrations of the lot at once most envied and most steeped in temptation; in the refusal of ease, the command of passion, the continuance of modest sincerity, the devotion to duty, the hidden truth of affection to man and God, which have sometimes kept the summits of society pure and bright.
James Martineau


A HEALTHY soul stands united with the Just and the True, as the magnet arranges itself with the pole, so that he stands to all beholders like a transparent object betwixt them and the sun, and whoso journeys towards the sun, journeys towards that person. He is thus the medium of the highest influence to all who are not on the same level. Thus men of character are the conscience of the society to which they belong.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

August 30

A RACE of nobles may die out,
A royal line may leave no heir;
Wise Nature sets no guards about
Her pewter plate and wooden ware.

But they fail not, the kinglier breed,
Who starry diadems attain;
To dungeon, axe, and stake succeed—
Heirs of the old heroic strain.
James Russell Lowell


THERE is many a Christian bereaved and stricken in the best hopes of life. For such a one to say quietly, “Father, not as I will but as Thou wilt,” is to be a martyr. There is many a Christian who feels the irksomeness of the duties of life, and feels his spirit revolting from them. To get up every morning with the firm resolve to find pleasure in those duties, and do them well, and finish the work which God has given us to do, that is to drink Christ’s cup. The humblest occupation has in it materials of discipline for the highest heaven.
Frederick W. Robertson


IT is easier far, as a rule, to die morally, nay, even physically, for others, than to learn how best we should live for them.
Maurice Maeterlinck


MEN, whether lay or clerical, suffer better the flame of the stake than a daily inconvenience or a pointed sneer, and will not readily be martyred without some external circumstance and a concourse looking on.
Robert Louis Stevenson

June 30

THEY are slaves who fear to speak
For the fallen and the weak;
They are slaves who will not choose
Hatred, scoffing, and abuse,
Rather than in silence shrink
From the truth they needs must think;
They are slaves who dare not be
In the right with two or three.
James Russell Lowell


EVERY sincere utterance of the soul, every testimony faithfully borneto a personal conviction, is of use to some one and some thing, even when you know it not, and when your mouth is stopped by violence, or the noose tightens round your neck.
Henri F. Amiel


THE history of success, as we can never too often repeat to ourselves, is the history of minorities. And what is more, it is for the most part the history of insurrection exactly against what the worldly spirits of the time, whenever it may have been, deemed mere trifles and accidents, with which sensible men should on no account dream of taking the trouble to quarrel.
John Morley

June 19

GOD bends from out the deep and says,
“I gave thee the great gift of life;
Wast thou not called in many ways?
Are not My earth and heaven at strife?

“I gave thee of My seed to sow,
Bringest thou Me My hundred-fold? ”
Can I look up with face aglow,
And answer, “Father, here is gold.”
James Russell Lowell


THE duty of Christ’s minister is, generally speaking, to take the other side—that is to say, to resist the verdicts passed by the world upon men and things. Preaching mere abstractions, too, is not by itself of much use. What we are bound to do is not only to preserve the eternal standard, but to measure actual human being and human deeds by it. I sometimes think, too, it is of more importance to say, “This is right,” than to say, “This is wrong;” to save that which is true than to assist into perdition that which is false. Especially ought we to defend character unjustly assailed. A character is something alive, a soul; to rescue it is the salvation of the soul!
Mark Rutherford


OMISSIONS no less than commissions are oftentimes part of injustice.
Marcus Aurelius


CHRIST would never hear of negative morality: thou shalt, was ever His word.
Robert Louis Stevenson