LET me not deem that I was made in vain,
Or that my being was an accident
Which Fate, in working its sublime intent,
Not wished to be, to hinder would not deign.
Each drop uncounted in a storm of rain
Hath its own mission, and is duly sent
To its own leaf or blade, not idly spent
’Mid myriad dimples on the shipless main.
The very shadow of an insect’s wing,
For which the violet cared not while it stayed,
Yet felt the lighter for its vanishing,
Proved that the sun was shining by its shade.
Then can a drop of the eternal spring,
Shadow of living lights, in vain be made?
THE man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder: a waif, a nothing a no-man. Have a purpose in life . . . and having it, throw such strength of mind and muscle into thy work as has been given thee.
BE inspired with the belief that life is a great and noble calling; not a mean and grovelling tiling that we are to shuffle through as we can, but an elevated and lofty destiny.
William E. Gladstone
THE moving finger writes; and having writ.
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a word of it.
CAST forth thy Act, thy Word, into the ever-living, ever-working Universe; it is a seed grain that cannot die; unnoticed to-day (says one), it will be found flourishing as a Banyan-grove (perhaps, alas, as a Hemlock-forest!) after a thousand years.
UNDER no circumstances, whether of pain, or grief, or disappointment, or irreparable mistake, can it be true that there is not something to be done, as well as something to be suffered. And thus it is that the spirit of Christianity draws over our life, not a leaden cloud of remorse and despondency, but a sky—not perhaps of radiant, but yet—of most serene and chastened manly hope. There is a Past which is gone for ever. But there is a Future which is still our own.
Frederick W. Robertson
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.
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.
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.
FOR want of me the world’s course will nor fail;
When all its work is done, the lie shall rot;
The truth is great and shall prevail,
When none cares whether it prevail or not.
“TRUTH!” I cried, “though the Heavens crush me for following her: no Falsehood! though a whole celestial Lubberland were the price of Apostacy.”
TRUTH which only doth judge itself teachetd that the inquiry of truth (which is the love-making or wooing of it), the knowledge of truth (which is the presence of it), and the belief of truth (which is the enjoying of it) is the sovereign good of human nature.
NOWADAYS, truth is so obscure and falsehood is so established, that unless we love truth we are unable to recognize it.
PARADISE, and groves
Elysian, Fortunate Fields—like those of old
Sought in the Atlantic Main—why should they be
A history only of departed things,
Or a mere fiction of what never was ?
For the discerning intellect of Man,
When wedded to this goodly universe
In love and holy passion, shall find these
A simple produce of the common day.
OUR life is an apprenticeship to the truth, that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning; that there is always another dawn risen on mid-noon, and under every deep a lower deep opens.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
IS not God’s Universe a Symbol of the Godlike? is not Immensity a Temple? is not Man’s History, and Men’s History, a perpetual Evangel? Listen, and for organ-music thou wilt ever, as of old, hear the Morning Stars sing together.
LET knowledge grow from more to more,
But more of reverence in us dwell;
That mind and soul, according well,
May make one music as before,
DOES not every true man feel that he is himself made higher by doing reverence to what is really above him? No nobler or more blessed feeling dwells in man’s heart.
THUS all real joy and power of progress in humanity depends on finding something to reverence, and all the baseness and misery of humanity begin in a habit of disdain.
WONDER, no doubt, arises from ignorance, but from a peculiar kind of ignorance, from what might be called a fertile ignorance; an ignorance which, if we look back at the history of most of our sciences, will be found to have been the mother of all human knowledge.
FREE men freely work.
Whoever fears God, fears to sit at ease.
Elizabeth B. Browning
NOTHING is so unendurable to men as to be entirely at rest, without desires, without business, without amusement, without study. He then feels his nothingness, his loneliness, his insufficiency, his dependence, his powerlessness, his emptiness.
WE are not sent into this world to do anything into which we cannot put our hearts. We have certain work to do for our bread, and that is to be done strenuously, other work to do for our delight, and that is to be done heartily, neither is to be done by halves or shifts, but with a will, and what is not worth this effort is not to be done at all.
ALL men if they work not as in a Great Task master’s eye, will work wrong, work unhappily for themselves and you.
THERE is a comfort in the strength of love;
’Twill make a thing endurable, which else
Would overset the brain, or break the heart.
O IT is great, and there is no other greatness! to make some nook of God’s creation a little fruitfuller, better, more worthy of God.
LOVE at its highest point—Love sublime, unique, invincible . . . speaks to us directly of the Infinite and of Eternity. It is eminently religious: it may even become religion. When all around a man is wavering and changing—when everything is growing dark and featureless to him in the far distance of an unknown future—when the world seems but a fiction . . , and all realities are penetrated with doubt—what is the fixed point which may still be his? The faithful heart of a woman!—There he may rest his head; there he will find strength to live, strength to believe, and if need be, strength to die, with a benediction on his lips.
Henri F. Amiel
TO love is the great amulet which makes the world a garden.
Robert Louis Stevenson
THAT low man seeks a little thing to do,
Sees it and does it:
This high man, with a great thing to pursue,
Dies ere he knows it.
This low man goes on adding one to one,
His hundred’s soon hit:
This high man, aiming at a million,
Misses an unit.
HOW is it that the manifestation of a soul greater and holier than ours bears down upon us with irresistible authority, and that a Christ can only speak to us as a “Son of God”? No echo of our own opinions, no reflection of our egotistic tastes, ever elicits from us that uttermost of assent, ever draws from us the deep “Amen,” with which we respond to genuine holiness in thought or life. These things speak to us with a voice other than our own, a voice of higher command—of appeal subduing and Divine—that could only come from a higher being or a more heavenly world.
PAINFUL for man is that same rebellious Independence, when it has become inevitable; only in loving companionship with his fellows does he feel safe; only in reverently bowing down before the Higher does he feel himself exalted.
ANY man that walks the mead,
In bud or blade, or bloom may find
According as his humours lead,
A meaning suited to his mind.
THE true standard of the arts is in every man’s power; and an easy observation of the most common, sometimes of the meanest, things in nature, will give the truest lights, where the greatest sagacity and industry, that slights such observation, must leave us in the dark, or, what is worse, amuse and mislead us by false lights.
NO most gifted eye can exhaust the significance of any object. In the commonest human face there lies more than Raphael will take away with him.
IT is the treating of the commonplace with the feeling of the sublime that gives to art its true power.
Jean F. Millet