MAN is his own star; and 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.
Our acts our angels are, or good or ill,
Our fatal shadows that walk by us still.
Beaumont and Fletcher
HE, therefore, is the devout man, who lives no longer to his own will, or the way and spirit of the world, but to the sole will of God; who considers God in everything, who serves God in everything, who makes all the parts of his common life parts of piety, by doing everything in the Name of God, and under such rules as are conformable to His glory.
THEN will it appear that he was wise in this world, who had learned to be a fool and despised for Christ’s sake. Then shall every affliction patiently undergone delight us, when the mouth of all iniquity shall be stopped. Then shall all the devout rejoice, and all the profane mourn. Then shall he more rejoice that hath beat down his own flesh, than he that hath abounded in all pleasure and delight. Then shall the poor attire shine gloriously, and the precious robes seem vile and contemptible. Then the poor cottage shall be more commended than the gilded palace. Then will constant patience more avail us, than all earthly power. Then simple obedience shall be exalted above all worldly wisdom.
Thomas à Kempis
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.
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.
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
PRAYER is the soul’s sincere desire,
Uttered or unexpressed;
The motion of a hidden fire,
That trembles in the breast.
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.
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!
PRAYER is the correspondence of wedded souls.
R. W. Barbour
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.
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.
SOME silent laws our hearts will make,
Which they shall long obey:
We for the year to come may take
Our temper from to-day.
LET every day, therefore, be a day of humility; condescend to all the weaknesses and infirmities of your fellow creatures, cover their frailties, love their excellences, encourage their virtues, relieve their wants, rejoice in their prosperities, compassionate their distress, receive their friendship, overlook their unkindness, forgive their malice, be a servant of servants, and condescend to do the lowest offices to the lowest of mankind.
GIVE, for Thou canst, benignant years,
Like mercy breathed in famished ears;
And calm that comes of noble tears:
Strength that in perfect sweetness grows;
And labour crowned with fruitful close;
And the lost secret of repose.
“THESE things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.” What is fulness of joy but peace? Joy is tumultuous only when it is not full; but peace is the privilege of those who are “filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee.” It is peace, springing from trust and innocence, and then overflowing in love towards all around him.
John H. Newman
WAIT patiently, trust humbly, depend only upon, seek solely to a God of Light and Love, of Mercy and Goodness, of Glory and Majesty, ever dwelling in the inmost depth and spirit of your soul. There you have all the secret, hidden, invisible Upholder of all the creation, whose blessed operation will always be found by a humble, faithful, loving, calm, patient introversion of your heart to Him, who has His hidden heaven within you, and which will open itself to you, as soon as your heart is left wholly to His eternal, ever-speaking word, and ever-sanctifying spirit within you.
IN the bitter waves of woe,
Beaten and tossed about
By the sullen winds that blow
From the desolate shores of doubt,
Where the anchors that faith has cast
Are dragging in the gale,
I am quietly holding fast
To the things that cannot fail.
RECEIVE every inward and outward trouble, every disappointment, pain, uneasiness, temptation, darkness, and desolation, with both thy hands, as a true opportunity and blessed occasion of dying to self, and entering into a fuller fellowship with thy self-denying, suffering Saviour. Look at no inward or outward trouble in any other view; reject every other thought about it; and then every kind of trial and distress will become the blessed day of thy prosperity. That state is best, which exerciseth the highest faith in, and fullest resignation to God.
A FORESEEN trouble may look impenetrable, but when we near it, or become immersed in it, it is often at least semi-transparent, and even sometimes admits a ray of sunshine.
THE woof of life is dark, but it is shot with a warp of gold.
Frederick W. Robertson
NEW every morning is the love
Our wakening and uprising prove;
Through sleep and darkness safely brought,
Restored to life, and power, and thought.
New mercies, each returning day,
Hover around us while we pray;
New perils past, new sins forgiven,
New thoughts of God, new hopes of heaven.
IT is as much your duty to rise to pray, as to pray when you are risen. And if you are late at your prayers, you offer to God the prayers of an idle, slothful worshipper, that rises to prayers as idle servants rise to their labour.
AS the light of the sun in the morning returns to us through God’s power,—so through the Divine Agency the light of the mind rises anew when we awake; and without Him, we could no more bring back thought and moral feeling, than we could restore the dawn and the splendour of day.
William E. Channing
OH! there is never sorrow of heart
That shall lack a timely end,
If but to God we turn, and ask
Of Him to be our Friend!
HE walks as in the presence of God, that converses with Him in frequent prayer and frequent communion; that runs to Him in all his necessities; that asks counsel of Him in all his doubtings; that opens all his wants to Him; that weeps before Him for his sins; that asks remedy and support for his weakness; that fears Him as a Judge; reverences Him as a Lord; obeys Him as a Father; and loves Him as a Patron.
AS sure, therefore, as there is any wisdom in praying for the Spirit of God, so sure is it that we are to make that Spirit the rule of all our actions; as sure as it is our duty to look wholly unto God in our prayers, so sure is it our duty to live wholly unto God in our bodies.
BUT souls that of his own good life partake,
He loves as his own self; dear as his eye
They are to him: He’ll never them forsake:
When they shall die, then God Himself shall die;
They live, they live in blest eternity.
A ROOT set in the finest soil, in the best climate and blessed with all that sun and air and rain can do for it, is not in so sure a way of its growth to perfection, as every man may be, whose spirit aspires after all that which God is ready and infinitely desirous to give him. For the sun meets not the springing bud that stretches towards him with half the certainty, as God, the Source of all good, communicates Himself to the soul that longs to partake of Him.
FEEBLE minds, in apology for their puny growth or premature decay in excellence, complain of the climate in which God has planted them; but where there is any vigour of life, the good seed will not wait to burst, till it be removed to some sunny slope or luxuriant garden of the Lord: give it but a lodgment on the rock, and feed it with the melting snow, and it will start a forest on the hills, climbing with giant feet, fast as the seasons can make steps.