March 11

BOOKS! ’tis a dull and endless strife;
Come, hear the woodland linnet.
How sweet his music! on my life,
There’s more of wisdom in it.
William Wordsworth

A MORNING-GLORY at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books.
Walt Whitman

POETRY is to be found nowhere unless we carry it within us.
Joseph Joubert

THOUGH we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we it not.
Ralph Waldo Emerson


February 24

TAKE all in a word: the truth in God’s breast
Lies trace for trace upon ours impressed;
Though He is so bright and we so dim,
We are made in His image to witness Him.
Robert Browning

RESTORATION to spiritual health, or conformity to the Divine character, is the ultimate object of God in His dealings with the children of men. . . . The sole object of Christian belief is to produce the Christian character, and unless this is done nothing is done.
Thomas Erskine

TO develop and perfect and arm conscience is the great achievement of history, the chief business of every life, and the first agent therein is religion, or what resembles religion.
Lord Acton

RELIGION is a fire which example keeps alive, and which goes out if not communicated.
Joseph Joubert

October 12

MAN must pass from old to new,
From vain to real, from mistake to fact,
From what once seemed good, to what now proves best:
How could man have progression otherwise?
Robert Browning

BRING candid eyes unto the perusal of men’s works, and let not Zoilism or Detraction blast well-intended labours. He that endureth no faults in men’s writings must only read his own, wherein for the most part all appeareth white.
Sir Thomas Browne

AT every moment of our lives we should be trying to find out, not in what we differ from other people, but in what we agree with them.
John Ruskin

IT is almost an axiom in controversy that, to attack one’s adversary personally, is to confess disbelief in one’s cause, where doctrine and not conduct is in question.
Lord Acton

THOSE who never retract their opinions love themselves more than they love truth.
Joseph Joubert

October 1

I DWELL in Grace’s court.
Enriched with Virtue’s rights:
Faith guides my wit! Love leads my will!
Hope all my mind delights!

Spare diet is my fare;
My clothes more fit than fine
I know I feed and clothe a foe,
That, pampered, would repine.
Robert Southwell

“WOULD you judge of the lawfulness or unlawfulness of pleasure,” she said, “take this rule: whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes off the relish of spiritual things;—in short, whatever increases the strength and authority of your body over your mind, that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may be in itself.”
John Wesley’s Mother

OUR worries always come from our weaknesses.
Joseph Joubert

September 17

I AM owner of the sphere,
Of the seven stars and the solar year,
Of Caesar’s hand, and Plato’s brain,
Of Lord Christ’s heart, and Shakespeare’s strain.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

I MAKE not therefore my head a grave, but a treasure of knowledge; I intend no Monopoly, but a community, in learning; I study not for my own sake only, but for theirs that study not for themselves; I envy no man that knows more than myself, but pity them that know less.
Sir Thomas Browne

WE should always keep open and free a corner of our head in which to make room for the opinions of our friends. Let us have heart and head hospitality.
Joseph Joubert

WE must never judge the quality of a teaching by the quality of the teacher, or allow the spots to shut out the sun.
Lord Acton

August 3

THRICE blest whose lives are faithful prayers,
Whose loves in higher love endure;
What souls possess themselves so pure,
Or is their blessedness like theirs?
Alfred Tennyson

THAT religion which God requires, and will accept, does not consist in weak, dull, and lifeless wouldings, raising us but a little above a state of indifference. God, in His word, greatly insists upon it, that we be in good earnest, fervent in spirit, and our hearts vigorously engaged in religion.
Jonathan Edwards

RELIGION is neither a theology nor a theosophy; it is more than that, it is a discipline, a law, a yoke, an indissoluble engagement.
Joseph Joubert

TO me religion is life before God and in God.
Henri F. Amiel

June 26

AH yet, tho’ all the world forsake,
Tho’ fortune clip my wings,
I will not cramp my heart, nor take
Half-views of men and things.
Alfred Tennyson

IT is necessary to have a corner of the mind always open and free, to leave a place there for the opinions of one’s friends, and to entertain them as they pass by. It becomes really intolerable to talk to men in whose brains the divisions are filled up, and into which nothing from without can enter. Let us strive after hospitable hearts and minds.
Joseph Joubert

IF any one can convince me of an error, I shall be very glad to change my opinion, for truth is my business, and nobody was ever yet hurt by it. No; he that continues in ignorance and mistake, it is he that receives the mischief.
Marcus Aurelius

June 4

HE ate and drank the precious words,
His spirit grew robust;
He knew no more that he was poor,
Nor that his frame was dust.
Emily Dickinson

IT is of greatest concernment in the Church and commonwealth to have a vigilant eye how books demean themselves, as well as men, and therefore to confine, imprison, and do sharpest justice on them as malefactors, for books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a potency of life in them, to be as active as that soul whose progeny they are; nay, they do preserve, as in a phial, the purest efficacy and extraction of that living intellect that bred them. I know they are as lively, as vigorously productive as those fabulous dragon’s s teeth, and, being sown up and down, may chance to spring up armed men; and yet, on the other hand, unless wariness be used, as good almost kill a man as kill a good book. Who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, God’s image; but he who kills a good book, kills reason itself, kills the image of God, as it were, in the eye.
John Milton

YOU will find that most books worth reading once are worth reading twice.
John Morley

NO book that will not improve by repeated; readings deserves to be read at all.
Thomas Carlyle

THE great drawback in new books is that they prevent our reading older ones.
Joseph Joubert