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 2

THEN gently scan your brother man,
Still gentler, sister woman,
Though they may gang a tremmie wrang,
To step aside is human.

Then at the balance let’s be mute,
We never can adjust it;
What’s done we partly may compute,
But know not what’s resisted.
Robert Burns

“FORGIVE us,” say we, “our offences, as we forgive them that trespasse against us.” What else inferre we by that petition, but that we offer Him our soule voide of all revenge, and free from all rancour? We nevertheless invoke God and call on His aid, even in the complot of our grievousest faults, and desire His assistance in all manner of injustice and iniquitie.
Michael E. Montaigne

BE generous before you are just. Do not temper mercy with justice.
Lord Acton

DO you know, when I see a poor devil drunk and brutal, I always feel, quite apart from my æsthetical perceptions, a sort of shame, as if I myself had some hand in it.
William Morris

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

June 18

FOR right is right, since God is God,
And right the day must win.
To doubt would be disloyalty,
To falter would be sin.
Frederick W. Faber

A GENEROUS spirit prefers that his country should be poor and weak and of no account, but free, rather than powerful, prosperous, and enslaved. It is better to be the citizen of a humble commonwealth in the Alps, without a prospect of influence beyond the narrow frontier, than the subject of the superb autocracy that overshadows half of Asia and of Europe.
Lord Acton

THIS is not the liberty which we can hope, that no grievance should arise in the commonwealth, but when complaints are freely heard, deeply considered, and speedily reformed, then is the utmost bound of civil liberty attained that wise men look for.
John Milton

THE kingdom of this world must become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ. How, if His Spirit is not to mingle with political and social truths?
Frederick W. Robertson

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