February 10

THAT which thy sires to thee have handed down
By thine own labour make again thine own.
Whate’er it is thou dost not use, will be
A heavy burden and a load to thee.
Only what from the present moment springs,
Created in the present, profit brings.
Johann W. Von Goethe

FEEL something of thyself in the noble Acts of thy Ancestors, and find in thine own Genius that of thy Predecessors. Rest not under the Expired merits of others, shine by those of thy own. Flame not like the central fire which enlightens no Eyes, which no Man seeth, and most men think there’s no such thing to be seen. Add one Ray unto the common lustre; add not only to the Number but the Note of thy Generation; and prove not a Cloud but an Asterisk in thy Region.
Sir Thomas Browne

THERE is no use of writing of things past unless they can be made, in fact, things present; not yesterday at all, but simply to-day and of what it holds of fulfilment and of promise is ours; the dead ought to bury their dead, ought they not?
Thomas Carlyle


January 9

IF thou hast yesterday thy duty done,
And thereby cleared firm footing for to-day,
Whatever clouds make dark to-morrow’s sun,
Thou shalt not miss thy solitary way.
Johann W. von Goethe

THE more prosaic our ordinary duties, the more necessary it is to keep up the tone of our minds by frequent visits to that higher region of thought and feeling, in which every work seems dignified in proportion to the ends for which, and the spirit in which, it is done; where we learn, while eagerly seizing every opportunity of exercising higher faculties and performing higher duties, to regard all useful and honest work as a public function, which may be ennobled by the mode of performing it—which has not properly any other nobility than that which it gives—and which, if ever so humble, is never mean but when it is meanly done, and when the motives for which it is done are mean motives.
John Stuart Mill

EVERY duty we omit obscures some truth we should have known.
John Ruskin

December 23

THE Future hides in it
Gladness and sorrow;
We press still thorow,
Nought that abides in it
Daunting us,—onward.

And solemn before us,
Veiled, the dark Portal;
Goal of all mortal:—
Stars silent rest o’er us,
Graves under us silent!
Johann W. von Goethe

LIFE is a fragment, a moment between two eternities, influenced by all that has preceded, and to influence all that follows. The only way to illumine it is by extent of view.
William E. Channing

THE whole of this life, and all things which those usest in this life, ought to be to thee as an inn to a traveller, not as a house to dwell in.
St. Augustine

I AM not afraid of the future. We have not, as the chosen people of old had, the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night to lead us through the wilderness of human passion and human error, but He who vouchsafed the cloud and the fire has not left us forsaken.
John Bright

December 11

BUT heard are the Voices,
Heard are the Sages,
The Worlds and the Ages:
Choose well; your choice is
Brief, and yet endless.

Here eyes do regard you,
In Eternity’s stillness;
Here is all fulness,
Ye brave, to reward you;
Work, and despair not.
Johann W. von Goethe

FOR thy soul’s sake, consider and tell thyself, if thy estate in the world did lie upon the spending of this day or week, or if thy life lay on it, so that thou must live or die, be poor or rich, sick or well, as thou spendest it, wouldst thou then waste it in dressings, or compliment, or play? wouldst thou find any time to spend on impertinent triflings? Or rather wouldst thou not be up betimes, and about thy business, and turn by thy games and thy diverting company, and disappoint thine idle visitors, and let them find that thou art not to be spoken with, nor at leisure to than be undone?
Richard Baxter

OUR hard entrance into the world, our miserable going out of it, our sickness, disturbances, and sad encounters in it, do clamorously tell us we come not into the world to run a race of delight, but to perform the sober acts and serious purposes of man.
Sir Thomas Browne

November 25

STERN daughter of the Voice of God!
O Duty! if that name thou love
Who art a light to guide, a rod
To check the erring, and reprove;
Thou, who art victory and law
When empty terrors overawe;
From vain temptations dost set free;
And calm’st the weary strife of frail humanity!
William Wordsworth

NO duties need to jostle one another, I mean constantly. Especial occasions must be determined according to especial circumstances. But if in anything we take more upon us than we have time well to perform it in, without robbing God of that which is due to Him and our own souls, this God calls not unto, this He blesseth us not in.
John Owen

OUR true opportunities come but once; they are sufficient but not redundant; we have time enough for the longest duty, but not for the shortest sin.
James Martineau

WHAT is your duty? The claims of the day.
Johann W. von Goethe

August 27

THE hero is not fed on sweets,
Daily his own heart he eats;
Chambers of the great are jails,
And head winds right for royal sails.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

ONLY he deserves freedom who has day by day to fight for it.
Johann W. von Goethe

TALK not to me of scandal and offence. Need breaks through stone walls, and recks not of scandal. It is my duty to spare weak consciences as far as it may be done without hazard of my soul. Where not I must take counsel for my soul, though half or the whole world should be scandalized thereby.
Martin Luther

REBELLION to tyrants is obedience to God.
John Bradshaw

IF necessity breeds no heroism, the people are not worth their own redemption.
Henrik Ibsen

June 9

DWELT no power divine within us,
How could God’s divineness win us?
Johann. W. von Goethe

THE voice of Duty—what is it, if it be not the suggestion of God? Is it the mandate of your own fancy, imposed upon yourself—the mere imperative mood in the soliloquies of your own will? Not so; for were the law of your making, you might forgive its violation, and the thought that set it up might take it down; yet you feel its authority above your reach, and your boast of indifference to be a sad pretence. Is it a mere echo of men’s opinion—a deference to their arbitrary demands? Not so; for how often does it lift you above that opinion, nerve your heart to withstand the injustice of a crowd, and to fight the good fight though in the forlorn hope alone! As well might you persuade me that my own eyes created the daylight, or that the sunshine was the gift of public opinion, as that the sense of right was anything but the direct illumination of God, the piercing ray of the great orb of souls.
James Martineau

ALL things are moral. That soul, which within us is a sentiment, outside of us is law.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

DENY God, and whole branches of deeper morality lose their sanction.
Lord Acton