January 18

THINE are all the gifts, O God!
Thine the broken bread;
Let the naked feet be shod,
And the starving fed.

Let Thy children, by Thy Grace,
Give as they abound,
Till the poor have breathing space,
And the lost are found.
John G. Whittier

EVERY man, in proportion as he is a true son of the Highest, feels that he cannot stand by, seeing misery and guilt within his reach, and say, “It is no concern of mine;” he knows himself responsible for all the wrong he might prevent, as well as for all he may positively do.
James Martineau

TRULY at the day of judgment we shall not be examined as to what we have read, but as to what we have done; not how well we have spoken, but how religiously we have lived.
Thomas A Kempis


January 5

SUM up at night what thou hast done by day,
And in the morning what thou hast to do;
Dress and undress thy soul; mark the decay
And growth of it; if with thy watch that too
Be down, then wind up both; since we shall be
Most surely judged, make thy accounts agree.
George Herbert

LET every one examine his own thoughts, and he will find them all busied about the past and the future. We seldom think of the present, and, if we do, it is in order to reflect it upon the fenre. The present is never the end in view: the past and present are our means, the future alone is our end. Thus we never live, but are always hoping to live; and by always planning our happiness, it is inevitable that we never compass it.
Blaise Pascal

IF thou canst not continually recollect thyself, yet do it sometimes, at the least once a day, namely, in the morning or at night. In the morning fix thy good purpose; and at night examine thyself what thou hast done, how thou hast behaved thyself in word, deed, and thought; for in these perhaps thou hast oftentimes offended icon God and thy neighbour.
Thomas à Kempis

January 4

SERENE will be our days, and bright,
And happy will our nature be,
When love is an unerring light,
And joy its own security.
And they a blissful course may hold,
Even now, who, not unwisely bold,
Live in the spirit of this creed;
Yet seek thy firm support according to their need.
William Wordsworth

HE that loveth, flyeth, runneth, and rejoiceth; he is free and cannot be held in. He giveth all for all, and hath all in all; because he resteth in One Highest above all things, from whom all that is good flows and proceeds. He respecteth not the gifts, but turneth himself above all goods unto the Giver. Love often-times knoweth no measure, but is fervent beyond all measure. Love feels no burden, thinks nothing of trouble, attempts what is above its strength, pleads no excuse of impossibility; for it thinks all things lawful for itself and all things possible. It is therefore able to undertake all things, and it completes many things, and warrants them to take effect, when he who does not love would faint and lie down.
Thomas A Kempis

STUDY how to fill your heart full of the love of God, and the love of your neighbour, and then be content to be no deeper a scholar, no finer a gentleman, than these tempers will make you. As true religion is nothing else but simple nature governed by right reason, so it loves and requires great plainness and simplicity of life.
William Law

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


December 18

SOME murmur, when their sky is clear
And wholly bright to view,
If one small speck of dark appear
In their great heaven of blue.
And some with thankful love are filled,
If but one streak of light,
One ray of God’s good mercy gild
The darkness of their night.
Archbishop Trench

WHEN life ceases to be a promise it does not cease to be a task; its true name ever is Trial.
Henri F. Amiel

THE bottom of a pit or well gives the best prospect of the heavenly luminaries, and the soul in its deepest humiliations hath for the most part the clearer view of things within the veil.
John Owen

BE thou therefore of such courage and so patient in hope, that when comfort is withdrawn, thou mayest prepare thy heart to suffer even greater things: and do not justify thyself, as though thou oughtest not to suffer these afflictions.
Thomas à Kempis

November 26

BACK, then, complainer; loath thy life no more,
Nor deem thyself upon a desert shore,
Because the rocks the nearer prospect close.
Yet in fallen Israel are there hearts and eyes
That day by day in prayer like thine arise:
Thou know’st them not, but their Creator knows
John Keble

SO, then, Elijah’s life had been no failure, after all. Seven thousand at least in Israel had been braced and encouraged by his example, and silently blessed him, perhaps, for the courage which they felt. In God’s world, for those who are in earnest there is no failure. No work truly done, no word earnestly spoken, no sacrifice freely made, was ever made in vain.
Frederick W. Robertson

FOR this reason often call to mind the more heavy sufferings of others, that so thou mayest the easier bear thine own very small troubles. And if they seem unto thee not very small, then beware lest thy impatience be the cause.
Thomas a Kempis

November 19

MAMMON, the least erected spirit that fell
From Heaven; for e’en in Heaven his looks and thoughts
Were always downward bent, admiring more
The riches of Heaven’s pavement, trodden gold,
Than aught Divine or holy else enjoy’d
In vision beatific.
John Milton

HE poor think that none are worldlings and covetous but the rich. But he may love riches that wanteth them, as much as he that hath them. If thou lovest the world and worldly plenty inordinately, and covetest more, thou art a covetous worldling, though thou wish it not from another. It is the worldly mind and love of wealth that is the sin at the root; the way of getting it are but the branches.
Richard Baxter

IT is a Preposterous thing, that Men can venture their souls where they will not venture their Money! For they will take their Religion upon trust, but not trust a Synod about the Goodness of Half a Crown.
William Penn

FOR a small income, a long journey is undertaken; for everlasting life, many will scarce once lift a foot from the ground.
Thomas a Kempis

November 11

SO with the wan, waste, grasses on my spear,
I ride for ever seeking after God.
My hair grows whiter than my thistle plume,
And all my limbs are loose; but in my eyes
The star of an unconquerable praise;
For in my soul one hope for ever sings,
That at the next white corner of a road
My eyes may look on Him.
Gilbert K. Chesterton

CRUCIFY the rebellious self, mortify yourself wholly, give up all to God, and the peace which is not of this world will descend upon you. For eighteen centuries no grander word has been spoken.
Henri F. Amiel

I BLESS God I have been inured to difficulties; and I never found God failing when I trusted in Him.
Oliver Cromwell

IF thou cast away one cross, without doubt thou shalt find another, and that perhaps a more heavy one.
Thomas A Kempis

November 2

REMEMBER what a martyr said
On the rude tablet overhead!
“I was born sickly, poor and mean,
A slave: no misery could screen
The holders of the pearl of price
From Cæsar’s envy; therefore twice
I fought with beasts, and three times saw
My children suffer by his law;
At last, my own release was earned:
I was some time in being burned,
But at the close a Hand came through
The fire above my head, and drew
My soul to Christ, whom now I see.”
Robert Browning

MEASURE all by the Cross. Do you want success? The Cross is failure. Do you want a name? The Cross is infamy. Is it to be gay and happy that you live? The Cross is pain and sharpness. Do you live that the will of God may be done, in you and by you in life and death? Then and only then the Spirit of the Cross is in you. When once a man has learned that, the power of the world is gone; and no man need bid him, in denunciation or in invitation, not to love the world.
Frederick W. Robertson

CHRIST’S whole life was a Cross and Martyrdom; and dost thou seek rest and joy for thyself?
Thomas A Kempis

THE Cross is the guarantee of the Gospel, therefore it has been its standard.
Henri F. Amiel

October 28

THEN welcome each rebuff
That turns earth’s smoothness rough,
Each sting that bids nor sit nor stand but go!
Be our joy three-parts pain!
Strive, and hold cheap the strain;
Learn, nor account the pang; dare, never grudge the throe!
Robert Browning

HE doeth much, that doeth a thing well. He doeth well that rather serveth the community than his own will.
Thomas A Kempis

MEN combine for some higher object; and to that higher object it is, in their social capacity, the privilege and real happiness of individuals to sacrifice themselves. The highest political watchword is not Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, nor yet solidarity, but Service.
Arthur H. Clough

IN society and politics we call those great who have devoted their energies to some noble course, or have influenced the course of things in some extraordinary way. But in every instance, whether in art, science, or religion, or public life, there is a universal condition, that a man shall have forgotten himself in his work. If any fraction of his attention is given to the honours or rewards which success will bring him, there will be a taint of weakness in what he does.
J. A. Froude