March 27

I HAVE gone the whole round of creation: I saw and I spoke:
I, a work of God’s hand for that purpose, received in my brain
And pronounced on the rest of His hand work— returned Him again
His creation’s approval or censure: I spoke as I saw:
I report, as a man may of God’s work—all’s love, yet all’s law.
Robert Browning

THE wise and good man, having investigated all these things, will submit his own mind to Him that governeth the whole, even as good citizens to the laws of their State.

LET not Fortune, which hath no name in Scripture, have any in thy Divinity. Let Providence, not Chance, have the honour of thy acknowledgments, and be thy Oedipus in Contingencies.
Sir Thomas Browne


March 5

IT’S wiser being good than bad;
It’s safer being meek than fierce:
It’s fitter being sane than mad.
My own hope is, a sun will pierce
The thickest cloud earth ever stretched;
That, after Last, returns the First,
Though a wide compass round be fetched;
That what began best can’t end worst,
Nor what God blessed once, prove accurst.
Robert Browning

IN the darkest hour through which a human soul can pass, whatever else is doubtful, this at least is certain. If there be no God and no future state, yet, even then, it is better to be generous than selfish, better to be chaste than licentious, better to be true than false, better to be brave than to be a coward.
Frederick W. Robertson

’TIS better to think that there are Guardian Spirits, than that there are no spirits to guard us; that vicious Persons are Slaves, than that there is any servitude in virtue; that times past have been better than times present, than that times are always bad, and that to be Men it suffiseth to be no better than Men in all Ages, and so promiscuously to swim down the turbid stream, and make up the grand confusion.
Sir Thomas Browne

February 28

GOOD, to forgive;
Best, to forget!
Living, we fret;
Dying, we live.
Fretless and free,
Soul, clap thy pinion!
Earth have dominion,
Body, o’er thee!
Robert Browning

DRAW the curtain of night upon injuries, shut them up in the tower of oblivion, and let them be as though they had not been. To forgive our enemies, yet hope that evil will punish them, is not to forgive them enough.
Sir Thomas Browne

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

IN taking revenge a man is but even with his enemy; but in passing it over he is superior, for it is a Prince’s part to pardon.
Francis Bacon

IF I am even with my enemy, the Debt is paid; but if I forgive it, I oblige him for ever.
William Penn

February 16

THE One remains, the many change and pass;
Heaven’s light for ever shines, Earth’s shadows fly;
Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass,
Stains the white radiance of Eternity,
Until Death tramples it to fragments.
Percy B. Shelley

THEY that love beyond the World, cannot be separated by it.

William Penn

WE fancy that we fall into darkness when we die; but, alas! we are most of us in the dark till then; and the eyes of our souls only then begin to see, when our bodily eyes are closing.
William Law

IT is a brave act of valour to contemn death; but where life is more terrible than death, it is then the truest valour to dare to live.
Sir Thomas Browne

February 15

BE calm in arguing: for fierceness makes
Error a fault, and truth discourtesy.
Why should I feel another man’s mistakes
More than his sicknesses, or poverty?
In love I should; but anger is not love,
Nor wisdom neither; therefore gently move.
George Herbert

BUT since Goodness is exemplary in all, if others have not our Virtues, let us not be wanting in theirs, nor, scorning them for their Vices whereof we are free, be condemned by their Virtues wherein we are deficient. There is Dross, Alloy, and Embasement in all human Temper; and he flieth without Wings, who thinks to find Ophyr or pure Metal in any.
Sir Thomas Browne

HE that well and rightly considereth his own works will find little cause to judge hardly of another.
Thomas à Kempis

February 10

THAT which thy sires to thee have handed down
By thine own labour make again thine own.
Whate’er it is thou dost not use, will be
A heavy burden and a load to thee.
Only what from the present moment springs,
Created in the present, profit brings.
Johann W. Von Goethe

FEEL something of thyself in the noble Acts of thy Ancestors, and find in thine own Genius that of thy Predecessors. Rest not under the Expired merits of others, shine by those of thy own. Flame not like the central fire which enlightens no Eyes, which no Man seeth, and most men think there’s no such thing to be seen. Add one Ray unto the common lustre; add not only to the Number but the Note of thy Generation; and prove not a Cloud but an Asterisk in thy Region.
Sir Thomas Browne

THERE is no use of writing of things past unless they can be made, in fact, things present; not yesterday at all, but simply to-day and of what it holds of fulfilment and of promise is ours; the dead ought to bury their dead, ought they not?
Thomas Carlyle

February 2

I SENT my Soul through the Invisible,
Some letter of that After-life to spell:
And by and bye my Soul return’d to me,
And answer’d, “I myself am Heav’n and Hell: ”

Heav’n but the vision of fulfill’d Desire,
And Hell the shadow from a Soul on fire.
Omar Khayyám

BOTH heaven and hell have their foundation within us. Heaven primarily lies in a refined temper, in an internal reconciliation to the nature of God, and to the rule of righteousness. The guilt of conscience and enmity of righteousness is the inward state of hell. The guilt of conscience is the fuel of hell.
Benjamin Whichcote

THE heart of man is the place the Devils dwell in: I feel sometimes a Hell within myself; Lucifer keeps his Court in my breast, Legion is revived in me.
Sir Thomas Browne

HEAVEN, hell, the world are within us. Man a is the great abyss.
Henri F. Amiel

January 21

A CREED is a rod,
And a crown is of night;
But this thing is God:
To be man with thy might
To grow straight in the strength of thy spirit, and
live out thy life as the light.
Algernon C. Swinburne

I CANNOT praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and seeks her adversary, but slinks out of the race, where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat.
John Milton

TO enjoy true happiness we must travel into a very far country, and even out of ourselves; for the Pearl we seek for is not to be found in the Indian, but in the Empyrean Ocean.
Sir Thomas Browne

WHAT I must do concerns me, not what the people think.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

December 30

IF stately passions in me burn,
And one chance look to Thee should turn,
I drink out of an humbler urn
A lowlier pleasure:
The homely sympathy that heeds
The common life our nature breeds;
A wisdom fitted to the needs
Of hearts at leisure.
William Wordsworth

AS for the pleasures of this life, and outward Business, let that be upon the bye. Be above all these things, by Faith in Christ, and then you shall have the true use and comfort of them — and not otherwise.

Oliver Cromwell

BEAR not too slack reins upon Pleasure, nor let complexion or contagion betray thee unto the exorbitancy of Delight. Make Pleasure thy Recreation or intermissive Relaxation, not thy Diana, Life and Profession.
Sir Thomas Browne

FOR thou art not come into this world to choose out its pleasanter places, but to dwell in those where thou wast born, and whereof thou wast appointed to be a citizen.

LOVE not Pleasure; love God. This is the Everlasting Yea, wherein all contradiction is solved; wherein whoso walks and works, it is well with him.
Thomas Carlyle

December 16

GIVE me my scallop-shell of quiet,
My staff of faith to walk upon;
My scrip of joy, immortal diet;
My bottle of salvation;
My gown of glory, hope’s true gage,
And thus I’ll take my pilgrimage.
Sir Walter Raleigh

WE should all endeavour and labour for a calmer spirit, that we may the better serve God in praying to Him and praising Him; and serve one another in love, that we may be fitted to do and receive good; that we may make our passage to heaven more easy and cheerful, without drooping and hanging the wing. So much as we are quiet and cheerful upon good ground, so much we live, and are, as it were, in heaven.
Richard Sibbes

BLESS me in this life with but peace of my conscience, command of my affections, the love of Thy self and my dearest friends, and I shall be happy enough to pity Caesar.
Sir Thomas Browne

WE complain of the want of many things – we want votes, we want liberty, we want amusement, we want money. Which of us feels or knows that he wants peace?
John Ruskin