March 18

SOME, O Thou Traveller unknown,
Whom still I hold, but cannot see!
My company before is gone,
And I am left alone with Thee;
With Thee all night I mean to stay,
And wrestle till the break of day,

* * *

Will Thou not yet to me reveal
Thy New, unutterable Name?
Tell me, I still beseech Thee, tell;
To know it now resolved I am;
Wrestling, I will not let Thee go,
Till I Thy Name, Thy Nature know.
Charles Wesley

I CAN NOT too earnestly insist upon the need of our holding each man for himself, by some faith which shall anchor him. It must not be taken up by chance. We must fight for it, for only so will it become our faith.
Mark Rutherford

THE thing a man does practically believe (and this is often enough without asserting it even to himself, much less to others); the thing a man does practically lay to heart, and know for certain, concerning his vital relations to this mysterious Universe, and his duty and destiny there, that is in all cases the primary thing for him, and creatively determines all the rest. That is his religion.
Thomas Carlyle

TO have religion upon authority, and not upon conviction, is like a finger-watch, to be set forwards or backwards, as he pleases that has it in keeping.
William Penn


February 27

WHAT man is he, that boasts of fleshly might
And vaine assurance of mortality,
Which, all so soone as it doth come to fight
Against spirituall foes, yields by and by,
Or from the fielde most cowardly doth fly!
Ne let the man ascribe it to his skill,
That thorough grace hath gained victory:
If any strength we have, it is to ill,
But all the good is God’s, both power and eke will.
Edmund Spenser

DO not those of us, who have been mercifully prevented from damning ourselves before the whole world, who have succeeded and triumphed — do we not know, know as we know hardly anything else, that our success and our triumph were due to superiority in strength by just a grain, no more, of our better self over the raging rebellion beneath it? It was just a tremble of the tongue in the balance; it might have gone this way, or it might have gone the other, but by God’s grace it was this way settled — God’s grace, as surely, in some form of words, everybody must acknowledge it to have been.
Mark Rutherford

THE very privative blessings, the blessings of immunity, safeguard, and integrity which we all enjoy, deserve a thanksgiving of a whole life.
Jeremy Taylor

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

December 22

IT is the little rift within the lute,
That by-and-by will make the music mute,
And ever-widening, slowly silence all.
Alfred Tennyson

THE greatest evils in life have had their rise from somewhat which was thought of too little importance to be attended to.
Bishop Butler

IT is sometimes a very trifle, whence a great temptation arises. And whilst I am thinking myself tolerably safe, and when I least expect it, I sometimes find myself almost entirely overcome by a slight breath.
Thomas A Kempis

THE only advice even now, which I can give to those who comprehend the bitter pangs of such self-degradation as passion brings, is to watch the first risings of the storm, and to say “Beware; be watchful,” at the least indication of a tempest.
Mark Rutherford


November 24

CAN it be true, the grace he is declaring?
Oh, let us trust him, for his words are fair!
Man, what is this, and why art thou despairing?
God shall forgive thee all but thy despair.
F. W. H. Myers

IT is the nature of wisdom to despise nothing; indeed, in this world there is perhaps only one thing truly contemptible, and that thing is contempt itself.
Maurice Maeterlinck

CONTEMPT from those about us is hard to bear, but God helps the poor wretch who contemns himself.
Mark Rutherford

BY despising himself too much a man comes to be worthy of his own contempt.
Henri F. Amiel

THERE is surely a piece of Divinity in us, something that was before the Elements, and owes no homage unto the Sun. Nature tells me I am the image of God, as well as Scripture: he that understands not thus much, hath not his introduction or first lesson, and is yet to begin the Alphabet of man.
Sir Thomas Browne

September 6

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.
Joseph Mazzini

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.
Mark Rutherford

September 5

IN the bitter waves of woe,
Beaten and tossed about
By the sullen winds that blow
From the desolate shores of doubt,
Where the anchors that faith has cast
Are dragging in the gale,
I am quietly holding fast
To the things that cannot fail.
Washington Gladden

RECEIVE every inward and outward trouble, every disappointment, pain, uneasiness, temptation, darkness, and desolation, with both thy hands, as a true opportunity and blessed occasion of dying to self, and entering into a fuller fellowship with thy self-denying, suffering Saviour. Look at no inward or outward trouble in any other view; reject every other thought about it; and then every kind of trial and distress will become the blessed day of thy prosperity. That state is best, which exerciseth the highest faith in, and fullest resignation to God.
William Law

A FORESEEN trouble may look impenetrable, but when we near it, or become immersed in it, it is often at least semi-transparent, and even sometimes admits a ray of sunshine.
Mark Rutherford

THE woof of life is dark, but it is shot with a warp of gold.
Frederick W. Robertson

September 3

NOT ours to gauge the more or less,
The will’s defect, the blood’s excess,
The earthly humours that oppress
The radiant mind.
His greatness, not his littleness,
Concerns mankind.
William Watson

OH! it is a dangerous and beguiling thing to sit thus in conjectural judgment on what we have felt to be above us; to exchange the bowed head and hidden face of reverence for the bold front and petulant glance of the critic and the objector; to repent of our purest admirations, and suspect our noblest love. There is no hour, even of our weakest and our falsest, when we have not understanding enough for this poor spoiling work; as the common labourer may pull down the church which only genius and skill can raise. But it is not every day, ’tis only the rarest seasons of our life, that can deliver a new and holy image to our souls, to give us silent counsel in temptation, and flit as a light before us in the darkness of our sorrows.
James Martineau

LET us take notice, too, of what lies side by side quietly in our own souls. God help us if all that is good in us is to be invalidated by the presence of the most contradictory evil.
Mark Rutherford


August 26

SOME have too muche, yet still do crave;
I little have and seek no more.
They are but poore, though muche they have,
And I am ryche with lyttle store:
They poore, I ryche; they begge, I gyve;
They lack, I leave; they pyne, I lyve.
Sir Edward Dyer

IT is always a consolation to incapable people that their lack of success is due to the absence of chances. From the time of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram—who accused Moses and Aaron of taking too much upon themselves, because every man in the congregation was as holy as his God-selected leaders—it has been a theory, one may even say a religion, with those who have been passed over, that their sole reason for their super-session is an election as arbitrary as that by the Antinomian deity, who, out of pure wilfulness, gives opportunities to some and denies them to others.
Mark Rutherford

LET Age, not Envy, draw Wrinkles on thy Cheeks; be content to be envied, but envy not. Emulation may be plausible, and Indignation allowable; but admit no Treaty with that Passion which no Circumstance can make good. A Displacency at the good of others because they enjoy it, altho’ we do not want it, is an absurd Depravity, sticking fast unto humane Nature from its primitive Corruption; which he that can well subdue, were a Christian of the first Magnitude, and for ought I know, may have one foot already in Heaven.
Sir Thomas Browne

August 25

YEA Thou forgivest, but with all forgiving
Canst not renew mine innocence again:
Make Thou, O Christ, a dying of my living,
Purge from the sin but never from the pain.
F. W. H. Myers

IF soldiers lie dead upon the battlefield there is an end of them; new armies may be raised, but the enemy is at any rate weaker by those who are killed. It is not quite the same with our ghostly foes, for they rise into life after we think they are buried, and often with greater strength than ever.
Mark Rutherford

OUR guilt as well as our goodness, once contracted, is ineffaceable. No power within the circuit of God’s providence can blot out an idea from the pages of the secret heart, or cancel a force of desire that has once gone forth.
James Martineau