O JOY that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to Thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be.
PROSPERITY is not without many fears and distastes; and adversity is not without comforts and hopes. Certainly, virtue is like precious odours, most fragrant, when they are incensed, or crushed; for prosperity doth best discover vice; but adversity doth best discover virtue.
ONLY they, it may be, have the right to deem themselves safe to whose arms there come to weep those whose eyes are heavy with tears. And, indeed, there are not a few in this world whose inner smile we can only behold when our eyes have been cleansed by the tears that lay bare the mysterious sources of vision; and then only do we begin to detect the presence of happiness that springs not from the favour or gleam of an hour, but from widest acceptance of life. Here, as in much beside, desire and necessity quicken our senses. The hungry bee will discover the honey, be it hid never so deep in the cavern; and the soul that mourns will spy out the joy that lies hidden in its retreat, or in most impenetrable silence.
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.
CONTEMPT from those about us is hard to bear, but God helps the poor wretch who contemns himself.
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
O LORD, in me there lieth nought
But to Thy search revealbd lies;
For when I sit
Thou markest it,
No less Thou notest when I rise;
The closest closet of my thought
Hath open windows to Thine eyes.
Sir Philip Sydney
NEVER fear that your wants are forgotten, because the boundless Creation sends up a cry to its common Father, and He has an infinite Family for whom to provide. Never think that your characters are objects of little interest, because innumerable orders of beings of higher attainments and virtues attract the regards of this munificent King. Were you His only creature alive, He could not think of you more constantly and tenderly, or be more displeased with your resistance to duty, or feel more joy in your fidelity to right, than He does now.
William E. Channing
SHOULD we not invariably act in this life as though the God whom our heart desires with its highest desire were watching our every action?
A RACE of nobles may die out,
A royal line may leave no heir;
Wise Nature sets no guards about
Her pewter plate and wooden ware.
But they fail not, the kinglier breed,
Who starry diadems attain;
To dungeon, axe, and stake succeed—
Heirs of the old heroic strain.
James Russell Lowell
THERE is many a Christian bereaved and stricken in the best hopes of life. For such a one to say quietly, “Father, not as I will but as Thou wilt,” is to be a martyr. There is many a Christian who feels the irksomeness of the duties of life, and feels his spirit revolting from them. To get up every morning with the firm resolve to find pleasure in those duties, and do them well, and finish the work which God has given us to do, that is to drink Christ’s cup. The humblest occupation has in it materials of discipline for the highest heaven.
Frederick W. Robertson
IT is easier far, as a rule, to die morally, nay, even physically, for others, than to learn how best we should live for them.
MEN, whether lay or clerical, suffer better the flame of the stake than a daily inconvenience or a pointed sneer, and will not readily be martyred without some external circumstance and a concourse looking on.
Robert Louis Stevenson