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


February 7

THERE are in this loud stunning tide
Of human care and crime,
With whom the melodies abide
Of th’ everlasting chime;
Who carry music in their heart
Through dusky lane and wrangling mart,
Plying their daily task with busier feet,
Because their secret souls a holy strain repeat.
John Keble

A HAPPY man or woman is a better thing to find than a five-pound note. He or she is a radiating focus of goodwill; and their entrance into a room is as though another candle had been lighted. We need not care whether they could prove the forty-seventh proposition; they do a better thing than that, they practically demonstrate the great theorem of the Liveableness of Life.
Robert Louis Stevenson

NEVER is it so hard to follow and trust a higher inspiration, as amid the crowd of customary things.
James Martineau

THOSE who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.
James M. Barrie

January 23

WISH not, dear friends, my pain away—
Wish me a wise and thankful heart,
With God, in all my griefs, to stay,
Nor from His loved correction start.
John Keble

ALL is well as long as the sun shines and the fair breath of heaven gently wafts into our own purposes. But if you will try the excellency and feel the work of faith, place the man in a persecution; let him ride in a storm; let his bones be broken with sorrow and his eyelids be loosened with sickness; let his bread be dipped in tears and all the daughters of music be brought low; let God commence a quarrel against him, and be bitter in the accents of His anger or His discipline: then God tries your faith. Can you, then, trust His goodness, and believe Him to be a Father, when you groan under His rod? Can you rely upon all the strange propositions of Scripture, and be content to perish if they be not true? Can you receive comfort in the discourses of death and heaven, of immortality and the resurrection, of the death of Christ, and conforming to His sufferings?
Jeremy Taylor

TO have suffered, nay, to suffer, sets a keen edge on what remains of the agreeable. This is a great truth, and has to be learned in the fire.
Robert Louis Stevenson

December 4

THOU art as much His care, as if beside
Nor man nor angel lived in heaven or earth;
Thus sunbeams pour alike their glorious tide
To light up worlds, or wake an insect’s mirth.
John Keble

IF our merits be above our stations, if our intrinsical value be greater than what we go for, or our value than our valuation, and if we stand higher in God’s than in the Censor’s Book; it may make some equitable balance in the inequalities of this World, and there may be no such vast Chasm or Gulph between disparities as common measures determine. The Divine Eye looks upon high and low differently from that of men.
Sir Thomas Browne

AND such is our God. He is the God of All, and yet He is my God. At the same moment He pervades heaven and earth, takes charge of the sustenance, progress, and growing happiness of the unbounded creation, and He is present with me, as intent upon my character, actions, wants, trials, joys, and hopes, as if I were the sole object of His love.
William E. Channing

November 26

BACK, then, complainer; loath thy life no more,
Nor deem thyself upon a desert shore,
Because the rocks the nearer prospect close.
Yet in fallen Israel are there hearts and eyes
That day by day in prayer like thine arise:
Thou know’st them not, but their Creator knows
John Keble

SO, then, Elijah’s life had been no failure, after all. Seven thousand at least in Israel had been braced and encouraged by his example, and silently blessed him, perhaps, for the courage which they felt. In God’s world, for those who are in earnest there is no failure. No work truly done, no word earnestly spoken, no sacrifice freely made, was ever made in vain.
Frederick W. Robertson

FOR this reason often call to mind the more heavy sufferings of others, that so thou mayest the easier bear thine own very small troubles. And if they seem unto thee not very small, then beware lest thy impatience be the cause.
Thomas a Kempis

November 16

THEY know the Almighty’s power,
Who, wakened by the rushing midnight shower,
Watch for the fitful breeze
To howl and chafe amid the bending trees,
Watch for the still white gleam,
To bathe the landscape in a fiery stream;
Touching the tremulous eye with sense of light
Too rapid and too pure for all but angel sight.
John Keble

WISDOM is omnipresent. Everywhere it comes to meet us. It shines in the sun. It irradiates the heavens. It whispers through all sounds of nature. It beams resplendent from the characters of good and wise men, and more brightly still in our own souls. Our teachers are thus all around and within, above and beneath. Divine wisdom is not shut up within any book. It is not heard from pulpits alone. It has better preachers than all ministers. And one great aim of the true minister is to help his hearers to understand wiser teachers than himself, and to open their ears to more harmonious voices.
William E. Channing

THE Finger of God hath left an inscription upon all His works, not graphical or composed by Letters, but of their several forms, constitutions, parts, and operations, which, aptly joyned together, do make one word that doth express their natures.
Sir Thomas Browne

September 22

LARGELY Thou givest, gracious Lord,
Largely Thy gifts should be restored;
Freely Thou givest, and Thy word
Is “ Freely Give.”
He only who forgets to hoard
Has learned to live.
John Keble

IF Riches increase, let thy Mind hold pace with them; and think it not enough to be liberal, but munificent. Tho’ a Cup of cold Water from some hand may not be without its Reward, yet stick not thou for Wine or Oyl for the wounds of the distressed; and treat the poor, as our Saviour did the Multitude, to the Relicks of some Baskets.
Sir Thomas Browne

AS soon as prudence has begun to grow up in the brain, like a dismal fungus, it finds its expression in a paralysis of generous acts.
Robert Louis Stevenson

September 4

NEW every morning is the love
Our wakening and uprising prove;
Through sleep and darkness safely brought,
Restored to life, and power, and thought.

New mercies, each returning day,
Hover around us while we pray;
New perils past, new sins forgiven,
New thoughts of God, new hopes of heaven.
John Keble

IT is as much your duty to rise to pray, as to pray when you are risen. And if you are late at your prayers, you offer to God the prayers of an idle, slothful worshipper, that rises to prayers as idle servants rise to their labour.
William Law

AS the light of the sun in the morning returns to us through God’s power,—so through the Divine Agency the light of the mind rises anew when we awake; and without Him, we could no more bring back thought and moral feeling, than we could restore the dawn and the splendour of day.
William E. Channing

September 2

NEEDS no show of mountain hoary,
Winding shore or deepening glen,
Where the landscape in its glory
Teaches truth to wondering men:
Give true hearts but earth and sky,
And some flowers to bloom and die,—
Homely scenes and simple views
Lowly thoughts may best infuse.
John Keble

THE Divine mind is as visible in its full energy of operation on every lowly bank and mouldering stone, as in the lifting of the pillars of heaven, and settling the foundations of the earth.
John Ruskin

NO man can learn what he has not preparation for learning, however near to his eyes is the object. A chemist may tell his most precious secrets to a carpenter, and he shall be never the wiser,—the secrets he would not utter to a chemist for an estate. God screens us evermore from premature ideas.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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