February 25

LET no man think that sudden in a minute
All is accomplished and the work is done;—
Though with thine earliest dawn thou shouldst begin it,
Scarce were it ended in thy setting sun.
F. W. H. Myers

BEWARE of the damnable doctrine that it is easy to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. It is to be obtained only by the sacrifice of all that stands in the way, and it is to be observed that in this, as in other things, men will take the first, the second, the third—nay, even the ninety-ninth step, but the hundredth and last they will not take.
Mark Rutherford

LET no man think to kill sin with a few, easy, or gentle strokes. He who hath once smitten a serpent, if he follow not on his blow until he be slain, may repent that ever he began the quarrel, and so will he who undertakes to deal with sin, and pursues it not constantly to the death.
John Owen


February 19

LORD of all being! throned afar,
Thy glory flames from sun and star;
Centre and soul of every sphere,
Yet to each loving heart how near!
Oliver Wendell Holmes

AMONG the children of God, there is always that fearful and bowed apprehension of His Majesty, and that sacred dread of all offence to Him which is called the Fear of God; yet of real and essential fear there is not any, but clinging of confidence to Him as their Rock, Fortress, and Deliverer; and perfect love and casting out of fear; so that it is not possible that, while the mind is rightly bent on Him, there should be dread of anything earthly or supernatural; and the more dreadful seems the height of His Majesty, the less fear they feel that dwell in the shadow of it. Of whom shall I be afraid?”
John Ruskin

GOD accounts a flight to the strong tower of His name to be the most excellent valour.
John Owen

January 29

THE Spirit breathes upon the Word,
And brings the truth to sight:
Precepts and promises afford
A sanctifying light.

A glory gilds the sacred page,
Majestic like the sun;
It gives a light to every age;
It gives, but borrows none.
William Cowper

IN the Bible there is more that finds me than I have experienced in all other books put together; the words of the Bible find me at greater depths of my being; and whatever finds me brings with it an irresistible evidence of its having proceeded from the Holy Spirit.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

“BRING the Book,” said Sir Walter Scott, when dying. “What book?” asked his friend. “There is only one Book—the Bible,” replied the dying man.

SOMETIMES in reading of the Word, God makes a man stay on something that cuts him to the heart, and shakes him as to his present condition.
John Owen


January 15

AND all through life I see a Cross,
Where sons of God yield up their breath;
There is no gain except by loss,
There is no life except by death;
There is no vision save by faith,
Nor glory but by bearing shame,
Nor justice but by taking blame:
And that Eternal Passion saith,
Be emptied of glory and right and name.
Walter C. Smith

NOT to hate anything but sin; to be full of love to every creature; to be frightened at nothing; to be sure that all things will turn to good; not to mind pain or loss, because it is our Father’s will; to know that nothing—no, not if the earth was be burned up, or the waters come and drown us— nothing could part us from God Who loves us, and Who fills our souls with peace and joy, because we sure that whatever He wills is holy, just, and good.
George Eliot

IF all the stars withdraw their light whilst you are in the way of God, assure yourselves that the min is ready to rise.
John Owen

December 21

ALL souls that struggle and aspire,
All hearts of prayer by Thee are lit;
And, dim or clear, Thy tongues of fire
On dusty tribes and twilight centuries sit.
John G. Whittier

RELIGION is not a system of doctrines, an observance of modes, a heat of affections, a form of words, a spirit of censoriousness. Religion is not a hear-say, a presumption, a supposition; is not a customary pretension and profession; is not an affectation of any mode; is not a piety of particular fancy, consisting in some pathetic devotions, vehement expressions, bodily severities, affected anomalies and aversions from the innocent usages of others; but consisteth in a profound humility and an universal charity.
Benjamin Whichcote

UNLESS men can prove that we have not the Spirit of God, that we do not savingly believe in Jesus Christ, that we do not sincerely love all the saints, His Body, and every member of it, they cannot disprove our interest in the Catholic Church. Whilst I know this one thing, that whereas I was blind, now I see, I shall not certainly be moved with the disputes of men that would persuade me I do not belong to the Catholic Church, because I do not follow this or that or any party of men in the world. . . .
John Owen

December 18

SOME murmur, when their sky is clear
And wholly bright to view,
If one small speck of dark appear
In their great heaven of blue.
And some with thankful love are filled,
If but one streak of light,
One ray of God’s good mercy gild
The darkness of their night.
Archbishop Trench

WHEN life ceases to be a promise it does not cease to be a task; its true name ever is Trial.
Henri F. Amiel

THE bottom of a pit or well gives the best prospect of the heavenly luminaries, and the soul in its deepest humiliations hath for the most part the clearer view of things within the veil.
John Owen

BE thou therefore of such courage and so patient in hope, that when comfort is withdrawn, thou mayest prepare thy heart to suffer even greater things: and do not justify thyself, as though thou oughtest not to suffer these afflictions.
Thomas à Kempis

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

November 4

WE kneel—how weak! We rise—how full of power!
Why, therefore, should we do ourselves this wrong,
Or others—that we are not always strong,
That we are ever overborne with care,
That we should ever weak or heartless be,
Anxious or troubled, when with us is prayer,
And joy and strength and courage are with Thee?
Archbishop Trench

TO pray well is to pray always, that is, to keep the heart always in the frame which is required in prayer. And where this is, sin can have no rule, no, nor quiet harbour in the soul.
John Owen

THAT prayer which does not succeed in moderating our wish, in changing the passionate desire into still submission, the anxious tumultuous expectation into silent surrender, is no true prayer, and proves that we have not the spirit of true prayer.
Frederick W. Robertson

PRAYER is the contemplation of the facts of life from the highest point of view.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

October 24

I WILL place within them as a guide
My umpire, Conscience, whom, if they will hear,
Light after light well used they shall attain,
And, to the end persisting, safe arrive.
John Milton

CONSCIENCE is the territory or dominion of God in man, which he hath so reserved to himself that no human power can possibly enter into it or dispose of it in any wise.
John Owen

CONSCIENCE is authority,—divine authority, universal authority; or it is nothing. It is a right-royal power, that cannot stoop to serve: dethrone it, and it dies.
James Martineau

IF conscience had the power, as it has the right, it would rule the world.
Bishop Butler

October 5

WE have but faith: we cannot know;
For knowledge is of things we see;
And yet we trust it comes from Thee,
A beam in darkness: let it grow.

Alfred Tennyson

REASON itself, in all its applications, must take the greatest for granted, in order to learn the least. You cannot refer the smallest object to its place, cannot trace the summer cloud or shooting star, without believing an immensity around its track. You cannot fix the date of the most trivial incident, without assuming an eternity in which it lies.
James Martineau

I HAD rather be instrumental in the communication of light and knowledge to the meanest believer, than to have the clearest success against prejudiced disputers.
John Owen

TAKE as many to heaven with you as ye are able to draw. The more ye draw with you, ye shall be the welcomer yourself.
Samuel Rutherford