February 12

PRAYER is the soul’s sincere desire,
Uttered or unexpressed;
The motion of a hidden fire,
That trembles in the breast.
J. Montgomery


PRAYER is the nearest approach to God, and the highest enjoyment of Him that we are capable of in this life. It is the noblest exercise of the soul, the most exalted use of our best faculties, and the highest imitation of the blessed inhabitants of Heaven. When our hearts are full of God, sending up holy desires to the Throne of Grace, we are then in our highest state, we are upon the utmost heights of human greatness; we are not before kings and princes, but in the presence and audience of the Lord of all the world, and can be no higher, till death is swallowed up in glory.
William Law


PRAYING for no gifts, no interventions, opening the soul to the undiscerned, take this for the good in prayer; that it makes us repose on the unknown with confidence, makes us flexible to change, makes us ready for revolution—for life then!
George Meredith


PRAYER is the correspondence of wedded souls.
R. W. Barbour

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November 9

NO coward soul is mine,
No trembler in the world’s storm-troubled sphere:
I see Heaven’s glories shine,
And faith shines equal, arming me from fear.
Emily Bronte


THE whole theory of life—silently felt rather than deliberately thought—has irrevocably changed; consecrating this world, disenchanting the other of a thousand terrors; softening every curse, deepening every trust, and finding the mysteries of eternity already present at every hour of time.
James Martineau


HAVE a glimpse of incomprehensibles, and Thoughts of things which Thoughts but tenderly touch. Lodge immaterials in thy Head; ascend unto invisibles; fill thy Spirit with spirituals, with the Mysteries of Faith, the magnalities of Religion, and thy Life with the Honour of God.
Sir Thomas Browne

FAITH is nothing in itself. It is its object which is everything. It is just the opening of the soul which lets in God.
R. W. Barbour

October 6

WORDS are mighty, words are living;
Serpents with their venomous stings,
Or bright angels, crowding round us,
With Heaven’s light upon their wings;
Every word has its own spirit,
True or false that never dies;
Every word man’s lips have uttered
Echoes in God’s skies.
Adelaide A. Procter


THERE is a persecution sharper than that of the axe. There is an iron that goes into the heart deeper than the knife. Cruel sneers, and sarcasms, and pitiless judgments, and cold-hearted calumnies—these are persecution. There is the tyrant of the nursery, and the playground, and the domestic circle, as well as of the judgment-hall. “Better were it,” said the Redeemer, “for that man if a millstone had been hung about his neck.” Did you ever do that? Did you ever pour bitterness into a heart that God was training, by a cold laugh, or a sneer, or a galling suspicion?—Into a sister’s heart, or a friend’s, or even a stranger’s? Remember, when you sent them, as Job’s friends sent him, to pour out their griefs alone before their Father, your name went up to the Avenger’s ears, mingled with the cries of His own elect.
Frederick W. Robertson


HE will never truly repent the shadow he has cast on another’s life who has not first agonized over the blackness of His own.
R. W. Barbour

July 15

WE take with solemn thankfulness
Our burden up, nor ask it less,
And count it joy that even we
May suffer, serve, or wait for Thee,
Whose will be done!
John G. Whittier


A BROKEN heart is a sponge for God’s Word.
R. W. Barbour


GOD has brought us into this time; He, and not ourselves or some dark demon. If we are not fit to cope with that which He has prepared for us, we should have been utterly unfit for any condition that we imagine for ourselves. In this time we are to live and wrestle, and in no other. Let us humbly, tremblingly, manfully look at it, and we shall not wish that the sun could go back its ten degrees, or that we could go back with it. If easy times are departed, it is that the difficult times may make us more in earnest; that they may teach us not to depend upon ourselves. If easy belief is impossible, it is that we may learn what belief is, and in whom it is to be placed.
Frederick D. Maurice


WHY should I start at the plough of my Lord, that maketh deep furrows on my soul? I know He is no idle husbandman; He purposeth a crop.
Samuel Rutherford

July 7

THE soul that can
Render an honest and a perfect man
Commands all light, all influence, all fate;
Nothing to him falls early or too late.
John Fletcher


ONLY think of this: whoever loves you is growing like you! Neither you nor he can hinder it, unless at the cost of alienation. Is the resemblance worth creating? Should you be pleased to see in your own friend another self? Would he appear to you with an added light of excellence, or with a duller shade as of disappointment and saddened hope? O, if you are not a desolate being in this world, if you are grateful but for one creature’s love, if a child’s love or a parent’s shelter, a sister’s pride or a brother’s manly joy, rests upon you, rise to the height of so pure a blessing; reverence the sanctity of those dear souls; drag them not down by the very embrace by which they cling to you; but, in requital of their faithful cares, strive, if it be possible, to lift them to a mood they will rejoice to reach, and through their gentleness secure their consecration.
James Martineau


IT is personal influence that determines the size of a life; not words, or even deeds.
R. W. Barbour

June 23

In me lived a sin
So strange, of such a kind, that all of pure,
Noble, and knightly, in me twined and clung
Round that one sin, until the wholesome flower
And poisonous grew together, each as each,
Not to be plucked asunder.
Alfred Tennyson


AND when we are to execute the fierce anger of the Lord upon our sins, yet we are kind- hearted, and spare the Agag, the reigning sin, the splendid temptation; we have some kindnesses left towards it.
Jeremy Taylor


THERE is no road or ready way to virtue; it is not an easie point of art to disentangle our selves from this riddle, or web of sin.
Sir Thomas Browne


THE best measure of the profundity of any religious doctrine is given by its conception of sin and the cure of sin.
Henri F. Amiel


IN God’s presence sin gets an infinite significance.
R. W. Barbour

 

May 14

THIS world’s no blot for us,
Nor blank; it means intensely, and means
good:
To find its meaning is my meat and drink.
Robert Browning


TO incarnate, as far as possible, His Word; to translate, to realize His thought, is our charge here below. It is not by contemplating His works that we can fulfil our mission upon earth: it is by devoting ourselves to our share in the evolution of His work, without interruption, without end.
Joseph Mazzini


THE kingdom of God is not a business, set up in rivalry with worldly business; but a divine law regulating, and a divine temper pervading, the pursuits of worldly business.
James Martineau


THE nearer one gets to God, the more good one can and will do for his fellow men.
R. W. Barbour