LIFE is too short to waste
In critic peep or cynic bark,
Quarrel or reprimand:
’Twill soon be dark;
Up! mind thine own aim, and
God speed the mark!
Ralph Waldo Emerson
THE question is, What do you more than others? Where is your extra? In what do you surpass other people? The world is not quarrelling with Christianity as a revelation of ideas, or as an organization created for work, but with the low morality of Christian people.
WE are here on earth not to contemplate, but to transform created things; to found as far as in us lies the image of the “Kingdom of God” on earth—not to admire earth’s contrasts. Egotism nearly always lurks beneath contemplation. Our world is not a spectacle; it is a field of battle, upon which all who in their hearts love justice, beauty, and holiness, are bound—whether as leaders or soldiers, conquerors or martyrs—to play their part.
YET I doubt not thro’ the ages one increasing
And the thoughts of men are widen’d with the
process of the suns.
A HIGHER civilization, by which I understand neither superior clothes, nor better houses, nor richer wines, nor even more destructive gunpowder, but a nobler system of ideas and aspirations possessing a community, must commence, where alone ideas and aspirations can have a beginning, in somebody’s mind.
YE seek to perform a work of regeneration, and,—since without this all political organization is fruitless—of moral personal amelioration; and you hope to accomplish it by banishing every religious idea from your work! Politics merely accept man as he is, in his actual position and character; define his tendencies, and regulate his action in harmony with them. The religious idea alone has power to transform both.
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.
THESE things shall be! a loftier race
Than e’er the world hath known shall rise
With flame of freedom in their souls
And light of knowledge in their eyes.
They shall be gentle, brave, and strong
To spill no drop of blood, but dare
All that may plant man’s lordship firm,
On earth, and fire, and sea, and air.
John Addington Symonds
EARTH and heaven are for me the lowest and the highest steps of the ladder of human progress. Man is placed upon earth not to vegetate, not to expiate, not to contemplate, but to progress; to walk in the path of life according to the Law of which God has placed the germ in his heart; to accomplish his own education, and that of others, according to the providential design; to manifest; to practise his belief.
ALL around us is the city of small sins, abounding in backways and retreats, but surely, sooner or later, the towering flame will rise from the harbour announcing that the reign of the cowards is over, and a man is burning his ships.
Gilbert K. Chesterton
OH! let us not this thought allow;
The heat, the dust upon our brow,
Signs of the contest, we may wear;
Yet thus we shall appear more fair
In our Almighty Master’s eye,
Than if in fear to lose the bloom,
Or ruffle the soul’s lightest plume,
We from the strife should fly.
PROGRESS is the consciousness of progress. Man must attain it step by step, by the sweat of his brow. The transformation of the medium in which he lives only takes place in proportion as he merits it, and he can only merit it by struggle; by devoting himself and purifying himself by good works and holy sorrow. He must not be taught to enjoy, but rather to suffer for others; to combat for the salvation of the world. It must not be said to him, Enjoy; life is the right to happiness; but rather, Work; life is a duty, do good without thinking of the consequence to yourself. He must not be taught, To each according to his wants, or, To each according to his passions, but rather, To each according to his love.
DID you ever hear of a man who had striven all his life faithfully and singly towards an object and in no measure obtained it? If a man constantly aspires, is he not elevated? Did ever a man try heroism, magnanimity, truth, sincerity, and find that there was no advantage in them— that it was a vain endeavour?
Henri D. Thoreau
ONE who never turned his back
But marched breast forward, never doubted clouds would break,
Never dreamed, though right were worsted, wrong would triumph,
Held, we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better, sleep to wake.
HAVE faith, then, O you who suffer for the noble cause; apostles of a truth which the world of to-day comprehends not; warriors in the sacred fight whom it yet stigmatizes with the name of rebels. To-morrow perhaps, this world, now incredulous or indifferent, will bow down before you in holy enthusiasm. To-morrow victory will bless the banner of your crusade. Walk in faith and fear not. That which Christ has done, humanity may do. Believe and you will conquer. Believe and the peoples at last will follow you. Action is the Word of God; thought alone is but His shadow. They who disjoin thought and action seek to divide Deity, and deny the eternal Unity. Cast them forth from your ranks, for they who are not ready to bear witness to their faith with their blood are no true believers.
HE whose mind is rich in the memory of moral victories will not easily believe the world a scene of moral defeats; nor was it ever known that one who, like Paul, laboured for the good of man, despaired of the benevolence of God.
WERE half the power that fills the world with terror,
Were half the wealth bestowed on camps and courts,
Given to redeem the human mind from error,
There were no need of arsenals or forts:
The warrior’s name would be a name abhorred!
And every nation that should lift again
Its hand against a brother, on its forehead
Would wear for evermore the curse of Cain!
Henry W. Longfellow
CAN anything in the world be of so great concern as to provoke us to war, a thing so calamitous and so hateful, that even when it is most righteous no truly good man can approve it . . . . And if you count the cost you will see how, even if you conquer, you lose much more than you gain. What kingdom can you set against the lives and blood of so many thousand men? And yet the greatest amount of the mischief affects those who have no part in the fighting. The advantages of peace reach everybody; while in war, for the most part, even the conqueror weeps; and it is followed by such a train of calamities that there is good reason in the fiction of the poets, that War comes to us from Hell and is sent by the Furies.
WAR is the greatest of crimes, when it is not waged for the benefit of mankind, for the sake of a great truth to enthrone, or a great lie to entomb.
WHEN morning gilds the skies,
My heart awaking cries
May Jesus Christ be praised:
Alike at work and prayer
To Jesus I repair;
May Jesus Christ be praised.
From the German
JESUS endeavoured not to save the perishing world by analysis. He spoke not of their interest to men whom interest had degraded. He laid down, in the name of heaven, some unknown axioms; and these few axioms did change the face of the world. A single spark of faith effected what all the schools of the philosophers had not even a glimpse of—a step in the education of the race.
TO say nothing of eternal salvation, we must, in the conduct of life, shape our behaviour by some one standard, or the result is chaos. We must have some one method or principle which is to settle beforehand how we are to do this or that, and the method or principle should be Christ. Leaving out of sight altogether His Divinity, there is no temper, no manner so effectual, so happy as His for handling all human experience.
NATION with nation, land with land,
Unarmed shall live as comrades free;
In every heart and brain shall throb
The pulse of one fraternity.
* * *
New arts shall bloom of loftier mould,
And mightier music thrill the skies,
And every life shall be a song
When all the earth is paradise.
John Addington Symonds
EVERY man has in his own heart an altar, upon which, if he invoke it in earnestness, purity, and love, the Spirit of God will descend. Conscience is sacred; it is free. But truth is one and faith may anticipate the time, when, from the free conscience of enlightened men, beneath the breath of God, shall be given forth a religious Harmony, more mighty, more potent in love and life, than any to which Humanity has yet lent ear.
THE Father has had many a temple in hearts which never knew His name. God keep us from the horrible thought, that the myriads who are buried in heathen darkness are outcasts from His love! Their spiritual wants should indeed move our compassion; and the higher light is given us that we may send it to these brethren. But Brethren they still are. And they share largely and freely, as we do, in the love of the Father. Never does He leave Himself without a witness.
William E. Channing
SPEAK to Him thou, for He hears, and Spirit
with Spirit can meet—
Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands
RELIGION is no more possible without prayer, than poetry without language, or music without atmosphere. In the dumb heart it invariably dies; and where it lives, it is in the habitual faith that as we “give good gifts to our children, much more will the heavenly Father give His Holy Spirit to them that ask Him.”
BURY the dead; join hands in loving act and thought, and go forward. God created us for life; and do you fear that He will not reveal Himself to His creatures, when—assembled to interrogate their own hearts upon their own belief and to study the ways of the future—they invoke His aid?