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


February 21

GOD’S gift was that man should conceive of truth
And yearn to gain it, catching at mistake,
As midway help till he reach fact indeed.
Robert Browning

ALL opinions, properly so called, are stages on the road to truth. It does not follow that a man will travel any further; but if he has really considered the world and drawn a conclusion, he has travelled so far. This does not apply to formulæ got by rote, which are stages on the road to nowhere but second childhood and the grave. To have a catch-word in your mouth is not the same thing as to hold an opinion; still less is it the same thing as to have made one for yourself.
Robert Louis Stevenson

CLEAR, impartial insight requires, not that we have no preference, but that we have right preferences; not that we shut ourselves up with one faculty, but that we be free through the harmony of all.
James Martineau

February 13

OH, Day, if I squander a wavelet of thee,
A mite of my twelve hours’ treasure,
The least of thy gazes or glances,
(Be they grants thou art bound to or gifts above measure)
One of thy choices or one of thy chances,
(Be they tasks God imposed thee or freaks at thy pleasure)
—My Day, if I squander such labour or leisure,
Then shame fall on Asolo, mischief on me!
Robert Browning

DO not act as if you had ten thousand years to throw away. Death stands at your elbow. Be good for something, while you live and it is in your power.
Marcus Aurelius

THERE are no chagrins so venomous as the chagrins of the idle; there are no pangs so sickening as the satieties of pleasure. Nay, the bitterest and most enduring sorrow may be borne through the burden and heat of the day bravely to the due time of death by a true worker.
John Ruskin

January 30

I SAY, the acknowledgment of God in Christ
Accepted by thy reason, solves for thee
All questions in the earth and out of it,
And has so far advanced thee to be wise.
Robert Browning

“I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Without the Way, there is no going; without the Truth, there is no knowing; without the Life, there is no living. I am the Way, which thou oughtest to follow; the Truth, which thou oughtest to trust; the Life, which thou oughtest to hope for. I am the inviolable Way, the infallible Truth, the endless Life. I am the straightest Way, the supreme Truth, the true, the blessed, the uncreated Life. If thou remain in My way, thou shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make thee free, and thou shalt lay hold on eternal life.
Thomas A Kempis

JESUS astonishes and overpowers sensual people. They cannot unite Him to history, or reconcile Him with themselves. As they come to revere their intuitions and aspire to live holily, their own piety explains every fact, every word.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

January 19

THEREFORE to whom turn I but to Thee, the ineffable name?
Builder and Maker, thou, of houses not made with hands!
What, have fear of change from Thee who art ever the same?
Doubt that Thy power can fill the heart that Thy power expands?
There shall never be one lost good! What was, shall live as before;
The evil is null, is nought, is silence implying sound;
What was good, shall be good, with, for evil, so much good more;
On the earth the broken arcs; in the heaven, a perfect round.
Robert Browning

HE that finds God a sweet, enveloping thought to him never counts his company. When I sit in that presence, who shall dare to come in?
Ralph Waldo Emerson

HE who ceases to kneel before the Divine wisdom soon talks superciliously of the human, and ends with the worship of his own.
James Martineau

WE seek God that we may have the joy of finding Him, and we find Him only to seek Him more eagerly.
St. Augustine

January 13

TRUTH is within ourselves; it takes no rise
From outward things, whate’er you may believe.
There is an inmost centre in us all,
Where truth abides in fulness.
Robert Browning

A MORE secret, sweet, and overpowering beauty appears to man when his heart and mind open to the sentiment of virtue. Then he is instructed in what is above him. He learns that his being is without bound; that, to the good, to the perfect, he is born, low as he now lies in evil and weakness. That which he venerates is still his own, though he has not realized it yet. He ought. He knows the sense of that grand word, though his analysis fails to render account of it. When in innocency, or when by intellectual perception, he attains to say: “I love the Right; Truth is beautiful within and without for evermore. Virtue, I am thine; save me; use me; thee will I serve, day and night, in great, in small, that I may not be virtuous, but virtue ”—then is the end of the creation answered, and God is well pleased.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

FOR who knows not that Truth is strong, next to the Almighty? She needs no policies, nor stratagems, nor licensings, to make her victorious; those are the shifts and the defences that error uses against her power; give her but room, and do not bind her when she sleeps.
John Milton

December 19

FLOWER o’ the broom!
Take away love, and our earth is a tomb!
Robert Browning

THE whole necessary morality is kindness; and it should spring, of itself, from the one fundamental doctrine, Faith. If you are sure that God, in the long run, means kindness by you, you should be happy; and if happy, surely you should be kind.
Robert Louis Stevenson

LOVE is the hardest Lesson in Christianity; but, for that reason, it should be most our care to learn it. Difficilia quæ Pulchra.
William Penn

IT is only by removing ourselves from charity that we withdraw ourselves from God.
Blaise Pascal

NO heart is pure that is not passionate; no virtue safe that is not enthusiastic.
Sir J. R. Seeley

December 10

I THINK this is the authentic sign and seal
Of Godhead, that it ever waxes glad,
And more glad, until gladness blossoms, bursts
Into a rage to suffer for mankind.
Robert Browning

THIS is a spurious goodness which is good for the sake of reward. The child that speaks truth for the sake of the praise of truth, is not truthful. The man who is honest because honesty is the best policy, has not integrity in his heart. He who endeavours to be humble, and holy, and perfect, in order to win heaven, has only a counterfeit religion.
Frederick W. Robertson

A MAN is not good at all unless he takes pleasure in noble deeds. No one would call a man just who did not take pleasure in doing justice, nor generous who took no pleasure in acts of generosity.

December 9

He glows above
With scarce an intervention, presses close
And palpitatingly, his soul o’er ours:
We feel him, nor by painful reason know!
Robert Browning

I VENTURE to maintain that only through love and trust can God be known; that by bare sense and understanding faith may be lost, but can never be won; that where it goes, the intellect is in such relations intellect no more, but is turned from a medium of light to an instrument of delusion, and, degraded from the prophet’s rod to the measuring staff of material science, ennobles and consecrates us no more.
James Martineau

IT is of no use to preach to me from without. I can do that too easily myself. Jesus speaks always from within, and in a degree that transcends all others. In that is the miracle. I believe beforehand that it ought so to be.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

November 14

OH, if we draw a circle premature,
Heedless of far gain,
Greedy for quick returns of profit, sure
Bad is our bargain!
Robert Browning

YOU cannot serve two masters:—you must serve one or other. If your work is first with you, and your fee second; work is your master, and the lord of work, who is God. But if your fee is first with you, and your work second, fee is your master, and the lord of fee, who is the Devil; and not only the Devil, but the lowest of devils—the least erected fiend that fell. So there you have it in brief terms; work first—you are God’s servants; Fee first—you are the Fiend’s.
John Ruskin

THE salary in any business under heaven is not the only, nor indeed the first, question. That you should continue to exist is a matter for your own consideration; but that your business should be first honest, and second useful, are points in which honour and morality are concerned.
Robert Louis Stevenson