IF Thou be one whose heart the holy forms
Of young imagination have kept pure,
Stranger! henceforth be warned; and know that pride,
Howe’er disguised in its own majesty,
Is littleness ; that he who feels contempt
For any living thing, hath faculties
Which he has never used; that thought with him
Is in its infancy. The man whose eye
Is ever on himself doth look on one,
The least of Nature’s works, one who might move
The wise man to that scorn which wisdom holds
Unlawful, ever. O be wiser, Thou!
Instructed that true knowledge leads to love,
True dignity abides with him alone
Who, in the silent hour of inward thought,
Can still suspect, and still revere himself,
In lowliness of heart.
BE, and not seem. Let us acquiesce. Let us take our bloated nothingness out of the path of divine circuits. Let us unlearn our wisdom of the world. Let us lie low in the Lord’s power, and learn that truth alone makes rich and great.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
WOULDST thou rather be a peasant’s son that knew, were it ever so rudely, there was a God in Heaven and in Man; or a duke’s son that only knew there were two and thirty quarters on the family coach?
SMALL service is true service while it lasts:
Of humblest Friends, bright creature! Scorn not one;
The Daisy, by the shadow that it casts,
Protects the lingering dew-drop from the Sun.
IF there is any one point which, in six thousand years of thinking about right and wrong, wise and good men have agreed upon, or successively by experience discovered, it is that God dislikes idle and cruel people more than any others:—that His first order is, “Work while you have light;” and His second, “Be merciful while you have mercy.”
TO be honest, to be kind—to earn a little and to spend a little less, to make upon the whole a family happier for his presence, to renounce when that shall be necessary and not to be embittered, to keep a few friends, but these without capitulation—above all, on the same grim conditions, to keep friends with himself—here is a task for all that a man has of fortitude and delicacy.
Robert Louis Stevenson
BUT welcome fortitude, and patient cheer,
And frequent sights of what is to be borne!
Such sights, or worse, as are before me here—
Not without hope we suffer and we mourn.
THOSE who have not suffered are still wanting in depth; but a man who has not got happiness cannot impart it. We can only give what we have. Happiness, grief, gaiety, sadness, are by nature contagious. Bring your health and your strength to the weak and sickly, and so you will be of use to them. Give them, not your weakness, but your energy, so you will revive and lift them up. Life alone can rekindle life. What others claim from us is not our thirst and our hunger, but our bread and our gourd.
Henri F. Amiel
IN his own life, then, a man is not to expect happiness, only to profit by it gladly when it shall arise; he is on duty here; he knows not how or why, and does not need to know; he knows not for what hire, and must not ask. Somehow or other, though he does not know what goodness is, he must try to be good; somehow or other, though he cannot tell what will do it, he must try to give happiness to others.
Robert Louis Stevenson
BOOKS! ’tis a dull and endless strife;
Come, hear the woodland linnet.
How sweet his music! on my life,
There’s more of wisdom in it.
A MORNING-GLORY at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books.
POETRY is to be found nowhere unless we carry it within us.
THOUGH we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we it not.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
NO—Man is dear to Man; the poorest poor
Long for some moments in a weary life
When they can know and feel that they have been,
Themselves, the fathers and the dealers-out
Of some small blessings; have been kind to such
As needed kindness, for this single cause,
That we have all of us one human heart.
THE race of mankind would perish, did they cease to aid each other. From the time that the mother binds the child’s head, till the moment that some kind assistant wipes the death-damp from the brow of the dying, we cannot exist without mutual help. All, therefore, that need aid, have a right to ask it from their fellow-mortals; no one who holds the power of granting, can refuse it without guilt.
Sir Walter Scott
WE have a great deal more kindness than is ever spoken. Maugre all the selfishness that chills like east winds the world, the whole human family is bathed with an element of love like a fine ether.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
DIVINE monition Nature yields,
That not by bread alone we live,
Or what a hand of flesh can give;
That every day should leave some part
Free for a sabbath of the heart:
So shall the seventh be truly blest,
From morn to eve, with hallowed rest.
THE first creature of God, in the work of the days, was the light of the sense; the last was the light of reason; and His Sabbath work ever since is the illumination of His Spirit. First, He breathed light upon the face of the matter, or chaos; then He breathed light into the face of man; and still He breathed light into the face of His chosen.
WE are sustained then by the sympathy of the highest inspiration, when we make it our “custom” too, to illuminate in our calendar some holy day, and to raise near every cluster of our dwellings a house where “prayer is wont to be made.”
BUT, above all, the victory is most sure
For him, who, seeking faith by virtue, strives
To yield entire obedience to the Law
Of Conscience; Conscience reverenced and obeyed,
As God’s most intimate presence in the soul,
And His most perfect image in the world.
“BUT this poor miserable Me! Is this, then, all the book I have got to read about God in?” Yes, truly so. No other book, nor fragment of book, than that, will you ever find;—no velvet-bound missal, nor frankincensed manuscript;— nothing in the clouds above, nor in the earth beneath. That flesh-bound volume is the only revelation that is, that was, or that can be. In that is the image of God painted; in that is the law of God written; in that is the promise of God revealed. Know thyself; for through thyself only thou canst know God.
THE greatest thing of the world is for a man to know how to be his own.
Michael E. Montaigne
WHERE are your books?—that light bequeathed
To beings else forlorn and blind!
Up! Up! and drink the spirit breathed
From dead men to their kind.
READ not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
LET not the authority of the writer offend you, whether he be of great or small learning; but let the love of pure truth draw you to read.
Thomas à Kempis
TO humbler functions, awful Power!
I call Thee: I myself commend
Unto Thy guidance from this hour;
Oh, let my weakness have an end!
Give unto me, made lowly wise,
The spirit of self-sacrifice;
The confidence of reason give;
And in the light of truth thy bondman let me live.
SO is there no such measurer of the way eternal as the daily sacrifice. As its silent index comes round, the steadiness or trembling of our spirits shows how our reckoning stands with God; and when we feel not its return, save by the passage across our hearts of a clearer peace and brighter love, it is no slight indication that our course is ready to be finished, and the hour come that we should be glorified.
O place, however beautiful, can be perfectly beautiful till the light from the lamp of self sacrifice falls upon it.
In our halls is hung
Armoury of the invincible knights of old;
We must be free or die, who speak the tongue
That Shakespeare spake; the faith and morals hold
Which Milton held.
HE that dies in an earnest pursuit, is like one that is wounded in hot blood; who, for the time, scarce feels the hurt; and, therefore, a mind fixed and bent upon somewhat that is good doth avert the dolours of death.
FIGHT on, thou brave, true heart, and falter not, through dark future, and through bright. The cause thou tightest for, so far as it is true, no further, yet precisely so far, is very sure of victory. The falsehood alone of it will be conquered, will be abolished, as it ought to be; but the truth of it is part of Nature’s own laws; co-operates with the world’s eternal tendencies; and cannot be conquered.