J. G. WHITTIER.
The lessons of the moral sentiment are, once for all, an emancipation from that anxiety which takes the joy out of all life. It teaches a great peace. It comes itself from the highest place. It is that, which being in all sound natures, and strongest in the best and most gifted men, we know to be implanted by the Creator of men. It is a commandment at every moment, and in every condition of life, to do the duty of that moment, and to abstain from doing the wrong.
R. W. EMERSON.
Go face the fire at sea, or the cholera in your friend's house, or the burglar in your own, or what danger lies in the way of duty, knowing you are guarded by the cherubim of Destiny.
R. W. EMERSON.
Behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou guest.—GEN. xxviii. 15.
Be quiet, soul: Why shouldst thou care and sadness borrow, Why sit in nameless fear and sorrow, The livelong day? God will mark out thy path to-morrow In His best way.
I had hoped, Madame, to find you here, and was rejoicing in that hope; but God has sent you elsewhere. The best place is wherever He puts us, and any other would be undesirable, all the worse because it would please our fancy, and would be of our own choice. Do not think about distant events. This uneasiness about the future is unwholesome for you. We must leave to God all that depends on Him, and think only of being faithful in all that depends upon ourselves. When God takes away that which He has given you, He knows well how to replace it, either through other means or by Himself.
FRANCOIS DE LA MOTHE FENELON.
The Lord hath been mindful of us: He will bless us.—PS. cxv. 12.
My Father! what am I, that all Thy mercies sweet like sunlight fall So constant o'er my way? That Thy great love should shelter me, And guide my steps so tenderly Through every changing day?
What a strength and spring of life, what hope and trust, what glad, unresting energy, is in this one thought,—to serve Him who is "my Lord," ever near me, ever looking on; seeing my intentions before He beholds my failures; knowing my desires before He sees my faults; cheering me to endeavor greater things, and yet accepting the least; inviting my poor service, and yet, above all, content with my poorer love. Let us try to realize this, whatsoever, wheresoever we be. The humblest and the simplest, the weakest and the most encumbered, may love Him not less than the busiest and strongest, the most gifted and laborious. If our heart be clear before Him; if He be to us our chief and sovereign choice, dear above all, and beyond all desired; then all else matters little. That which concerneth us He will perfect in stillness and in power.
H. E. MANNING.
Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee.—JER. xxxi. 3.
On the great love of God I lean, Love of the Infinite, Unseen, With nought of heaven or earth between. This God is mine, and I am His; His love is all I need of bliss.
If ever human love was tender, and self-sacrificing, and devoted; if ever it could bear and forbear; if ever it could suffer gladly for its loved ones; if ever it was willing to pour itself out in a lavish abandonment for the comfort or pleasure of its objects; then infinitely more is Divine love tender, and self-sacrificing, and devoted, and glad to bear and forbear, and to suffer, and to lavish its best of gifts and blessings upon the objects of its love. Put together all the tenderest love you know of, the deepest you have ever felt, and the strongest that has ever been poured out upon you, and heap upon it all the love of all the loving human hearts in the world, and then multiply it by infinity, and you will begin, perhaps, to have some faint glimpse of what the love of God is.
H. W. SMITH.
My sons, be not now negligent: for the Lord hath chosen you to stand before Him, to serve Him.—2 CHRON. xxix. 11.
Bright be my prospect as I pass along;— An ardent service at the cost of all,— Love by untiring ministry made strong, And ready for the first, the softest call.
A. L. WARING.
There are many things that appear trifles, which greatly tend to enervate the soul, and hinder its progress in the path to virtue and glory. The habit of indulging in things which our judgment cannot thoroughly approve, grows stronger and stronger by every act of self-gratification, and we are led on by degrees to an excess of luxury which must greatly weaken our hands in the spiritual warfare. If we do not endeavor to do that which is right in every particular circumstance, though trifling, we shall be in great danger of letting the same negligence take place in matters more essential.
The will can only be made submissive by frequent self-denials, which must keep in subjection its sallies and inclinations. Great weakness is often produced by indulgences which seem of no importance.
M. DE MOLINOS.
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.—PS. xlii. 5.
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed.—2 COR. iv. 8.
Oh, my soul, why art thou vexed? Let things go e'en as they will; Though to thee they seem perplexed, Yet His order they fulfil.
A. H. FRANCKE.
The vexation, restlessness, and impatience which small trials cause, arise wholly from our ignorance and want of self-control. We may be thwarted and troubled, it is true, but these things put us into a condition for exercising patience and meek submission, and the self-abnegation wherein alone the fulness of God is to be found.
Every day deny yourself some satisfaction;—bearing all the inconveniences of life (for the love of God), cold, hunger, restless nights, ill health, unwelcome news, the faults of servants, contempt, ingratitude of friends, malice of enemies, calumnies, our own failings, lowness of spirits, the struggle in overcoming our corruptions;—bearing all these with patience and resignation to the will of God. Do all this as unto God, with the greatest privacy.
Charity envieth not, ... thinketh no evil—I COR. xiii. 4, 5.
Why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother?—ROM. xiv. 10.
He that despiseth his neighbor sinneth.—PROV. xiv. 21.
Look thou with pity on a brother's fall, But dwell not with stern anger on his fault; The grace of God alone holds thee, holds all; Were that withdrawn, thou too wouldst swerve and halt.
If, on hearing of the fall of a brother, however differing or severed from us, we feel the least inclination to linger over it, instead of hiding it in grief and shame, or veiling it in the love which covereth a multitude of sins; if, in seeing a joy or a grace or an effective service given to others, we do not rejoice, but feel depressed, let us be very watchful; the most diabolical of passions may mask itself as humility, or zeal for the glory of God.
Love taketh up no malign elements; its spirit prompteth it to cover in mercy all things that ought not to be exposed, to believe all of good that can be believed, to hope all things that a good God makes possible, and to endure all things that the hope may be made good.
J. H. THOM.
Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.—ROM. ii. I.
Search thine own heart. What paineth thee In others, in thyself may be; All dust is frail, all flesh is weak; Be thou the true man thou dost seek.
J. G. WHITTIER.
A saint's life in one man may be less than common honesty in another. From us, whose consciences He has reached and enlightened, God may look for a martyr's truth, a Christian's unworldly simplicity, before He will place us on a level even with the average of the exposed classes. We perhaps think our lives at least harmless. We do not consider what He may think of them, when compared with the invitations of His that we have slighted, with the aims of His Providence we are leaving without our help, with the glory for ourselves we are refusing and casting away, with the vast sum of blessed work that daily faithfulness in time can rear without overwork on any single day.
J. H. THOM.
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.—ROM. xv. 13.
To heaven I lift my waiting eyes; There all my hopes are laid; The Lord that built the earth and skies Is my perpetual aid.
Grovel not in things below, among earthly cares, pleasures, anxieties, toils, if thou wouldst have a good strong hope on high. Lift up thy cares with thy heart to God, if thou wouldst hope in Him. Then see what in thee is most displeasing to God. This it is which holdeth thy hope down. Strike firmly, repeatedly, in the might of God, until it give way. Thy hope will soar at once with thy thanks to God who delivered thee.
E. B. PUSEY.
The snares of the enemy will be so known to thee and discerned, the way of help so manifest and easy, that their strength will be broken, and the poor entangled bird will fly away singing, from the nets and entanglements of the fowler; and praises will spring up, and great love in thy heart to the Forgiver and Redeemer.
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called.—I TIM. vi. 12.
Oh, dream no more of quiet life; Care finds the careless out; more wise to vow Thy heart entire to faith's pure strife; So peace will come, thou knowest not when or how.
Who art thou that complainest of thy life of toil? Complain not. Look up, my wearied brother; see thy fellow-workmen there, in God's Eternity; surviving there, they alone surviving; sacred band of the Immortals, celestial body-guard of the empire of mankind. To thee Heaven, though severe, is not unkind; Heaven is kind,—as a noble mother; as that Spartan mother, saying while she gave her son his shield, "With it, my son, or upon it." Thou too shall return home in honor; to thy far-distant Home, in honor; doubt it not,—if in the battle thou keep thy shield! Thou, in the Eternities and deepest death-kingdoms art not an alien; thou everywhere art a denizen. Complain not.
The God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.—I PET. v. 10.
Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be faint-hearted.—ISA. vii. 4.
How shall thou bear the cross that now So dread a weight appears? Keep quietly to God, and think Upon the Eternal Years.
F. W. FABER.
God forgive them that raise an ill report upon the sweet cross of Christ; it is but our weak and dim eyes, that look but to the black side, that makes us mistake; those that can take that crabbed tree handsomely upon their backs, and fasten it on cannily, shall find it such a burden as wings unto a bird, or sails to a ship.
Blessed is any weight, however overwhelming, which God has been so good as to fasten with His own hand upon our shoulders.
F. W. FABER.
We cannot say this or that trouble shall not befall, yet we may, by help of the Spirit, say, nothing that doth befall shall make me do that which is unworthy of a Christian.
This God is our God for ever and ever: He will be our guide even unto death.—PS. xlviii. 14.
For the Lord shall be thy confidence.—PROV. iii. 26.
Be still, my soul! Thy God doth undertake To guide the future, as He has the past: Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake, All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
He has kept and folded us from ten thousand ills when we did not know it: in the midst of our security we should have perished every hour, but that He sheltered us "from the terror by night and from the arrow that flieth by day"—from the powers of evil that walk in darkness, from snares of our own evil will. He has kept us even against ourselves, and saved us even from our own undoing. Let us read the traces of His hand in all our ways, in all the events, the chances, the changes of this troubled state. It is He that folds and feeds us, that makes us to go in and out,—to be faint, or to find pasture,—to lie down by the still waters, or to walk by the way that is parched and desert.
H. E. MANNING.
We are never without help. We have no right to say of any good work, it is too hard for me to do, or of any sorrow, it is too hard for me to bear; or of any sinful habit, it is too hard for me to overcome.
Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace.—JOB xxii. 21.
All thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.—ISA. liv. 13.
Unite, my roving thoughts, unite In silence soft and sweet; And thou, my soul, sit gently down At thy great Sovereign's feet.
Yes! blessed are those holy hours in which the soul retires from the world to be alone with God. God's voice, as Himself, is everywhere. Within and without, He speaks to our souls, if we would hear. Only the din of the world, or the tumult of our own hearts, deafens our inward ear to it. Learn to commune with Him in stillness, and He, whom thou hast sought in stillness, will be with thee when thou goest abroad.
E. B. PUSEY.
The great step and direct path to the fear and awful reverence of God, is to meditate, and with a sedate and silent hush to turn the eyes of the mind inwards; there to seek, and with a submissive spirit wait at the gates of Wisdom's temple; and then the Divine Voice and Distinguishing Power will arise in the light and centre of a man's self.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings.—EPH. i. 3.
As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing.—2 COR. vi. 10.
It is not happiness I seek, Its name I hardly dare to speak; It is not made for man or earth, And Heaven alone can give it birth.
There is a something sweet and pure, Through life, through death it may endure; With steady foot I onward press, And long to win that Blessedness.
LOUISA J. HALL.
The elements of happiness in this present life no man can command, even if he could command himself, for they depend on the action of many wills, on the purity of many hearts, and by the highest law of God the holiest must ever bear the sins and sorrows of the rest; but over the blessedness of his own spirit circumstance need have no control; God has therein given an unlimited power to the means of preservation, of grace and growth, at every man's command.
J. H. THOM.
There is in man a higher than love of happiness: he can do without happiness, and instead thereof find blessedness!
For this shall every one that is godly pray unto Thee in a time when Thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.—PS. xxxii. 6.
Be not o'ermastered by thy pain, But cling to God, thou shall not fall; The floods sweep over thee in vain, Thou yet shall rise above them all; For when thy trial seems too hard to bear, Lo! God, thy King, hath granted all thy prayer: Be thou content.
It is the Lord's mercy, to give thee breathings after life, and cries unto Him against that which oppresseth thee; and happy wilt thou be, when He shall fill thy soul with that which He hath given thee to breathe after. Be not troubled; for if troubles abound, and there be tossing, and storms, and tempests, and no peace, nor anything visible left to support; yet, lie still, and sink beneath, till a secret hope stir, which will stay the heart in the midst of all these; until the Lord administer comfort, who knows how and what relief to give to the weary traveller, that knows not where it is, nor which way to look, nor where to expect a path.
Behold, we count them happy which endure.—JAMES v. 11.
If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons.—HEB. xii. 7.
Trials must and will befall; But with humble faith to see Love inscribed upon them all, This is happiness to me.
Be not afraid of those trials which God may see fit to send upon thee. It is with the wind and storm of tribulation that God separates the true wheat from the chaff. Always remember, therefore, that God comes to thee in thy sorrows, as really as in thy joys. He lays low, and He builds up. Thou wilt find thyself far from perfection, if thou dost not find God in everything.
M. DE MOLINOS.
God hath provided a sweet and quiet life for His children, could they improve and use it; a calm and firm conviction in all the storms and troubles that are about them, however things go, to find content, and be careful for nothing.
Oh, that Thou wouldest bless me indeed, and that Thine hand might be with me, and that Thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me!—I CHRON. iv. 10.
Ye shall serve the Lord your God, and He shall bless thy bread and thy water.—EX. xxiii. 25.
What I possess, or what I crave, Brings no content, great God, to me, If what I would, or what I have, Be not possest, and blest, in Thee; What I enjoy, O make it mine, In making me that have it, Thine.
Offer up to God all pure affections, desires, regrets, and all the bonds which link us to home, kindred, and friends, together with all our works, purposes, and labors. These things, which are not only lawful, but sacred, become then the matter of thanksgiving and oblation. Memories, plans for the future, wishes, intentions; works just begun, half done, all but completed; emotions, sympathies, affections,—all these things throng tumultuously and dangerously in the heart and will. The only way to master them is to offer them up to Him, as once ours, under Him, always His by right.
H. E. MANNING.
I delight to do Thy will, O my God: yea, Thy law is within my heart.—PS. xl. 8.
A patient, a victorious mind, That life and all things casts behind, Springs forth obedient to Thy call; A heart that no desire can move, But still to adore, believe, and love, Give me, my Lord, my Life, my All.
That piety which sanctifies us, and which is a true devotion to God, consists in doing all His will precisely at the time, in the situation, and under the circumstances, in which He has placed us. Perfect devotedness requires, not only that we do the will of God, but that we do it with love. God would have us serve Him with delight; it is our hearts that He asks of us.
FRANCOIS DE LA MOTHE FENELON.
Devotion is really neither more nor less than a general inclination and readiness to do that which we know to be acceptable to God. It is that "free spirit," of which David spoke when he said, "I will run the way of Thy commandments, when Thou hast set my heart at liberty." People of ordinary goodness walk in God's way, but the devout run in it, and at length they almost fly therein. To be truly devout, we must not only do God's will, but we must do it cheerfully.
ST. FRANCIS DE SALES.
So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.—PS. xc. 12.
Seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.—LUKE xii. 29.
Our days are numbered: let us spare Our anxious hearts a needless care: 'T is Thine to number out our days; 'T is ours to give them to Thy praise.
Every day let us renew the consecration to God's service; every day let us, in His strength, pledge ourselves afresh to do His will, even in the veriest trifle, and to turn aside from anything that may displease Him. He does not bid us bear the burdens of tomorrow, next week, or next year. Every day we are to come to Him in simple obedience and faith, asking help to keep us, and aid us through that day's work; and to-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, through years of long to-morrows, it will be but the same thing to do; leaving the future always in God's hands, sure that He can care for it better than we. Blessed trust! that can thus confidingly say, "This hour is mine with its present duty; the next is God's, and when it comes, His presence will come with it."
W. R. HUNTINCTON.
And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.—GAL. vi. 16.
Lord, I have given my life to Thee, And every day and hour is Thine,— What Thou appointest let them be; Thy will is better, Lord, than mine.
Begin at once; before you venture away from this quiet moment, ask your King to take you wholly into His service, and place all the hours of this day quite simply at His disposal, and ask Him to make and keep you ready to do just exactly what He appoints. Never mind about to-morrow; one day at a time is enough. Try it to-day, and see if it is not a day of strange, almost curious peace, so sweet that you will be only too thankful, when to-morrow comes, to ask Him to take it also,—till it will become a blessed habit to hold yourself simply and "wholly at Thy commandment for any manner of service." The "whatsoever" is not necessarily active work. It may be waiting (whether half an hour or half a life-time), learning, suffering, sitting still. But shall we be less ready for these, if any of them are His appointments for to-day? Let us ask Him to prepare us for all that He is preparing for us.
F. R. HAVERGAL.
Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.—PS. cxvi. 7.
We which have believed do enter into rest.—HEB. iv. 3.
Rest is not quitting The busy career; Rest is the fitting Of self to its sphere.
'T is loving and serving The highest and best! 'T is onwards, unswerving,— And that is true rest.
J. S. DWIGHT.
As a result of this strong faith, the inner life of Catherine of Genoa was characterized, in a remarkable degree, by what may be termed rest, or quietude; which is only another form of expression for true interior peace. It was not, however, the quietude of a lazy inaction, but the quietude of an inward acquiescence; not a quietude which feels nothing and does nothing, but that higher and divine quietude which exists by feeling and acting in the time and degree of God's appointment and God's will. It was a principle in her conduct, to give herself to God in the discharge of duty; and to leave all results without solicitude in His hands.
T. C. UPHAM.
Thou understandest my thought afar off.—PS. cxxxix. 2.
Who can understand his errors? cleanse Thou me from secret faults.—PS. xix. 12.
My newest griefs to Thee are old; My last transgression of Thy law, Though wrapped in thought's most secret fold, Thine eyes with pitying sadness saw.
H. M. KIMBALL.
Lord our God, great, eternal, wonderful in glory, who keepest covenant and promises for those that love Thee with their whole heart, who art the Life of all, the Help of those that flee unto Thee, the Hope of those who cry unto Thee, cleanse us from our sins, secret and open, and from every thought displeasing to Thy goodness,—cleanse our bodies and souls, our hearts and consciences, that with a pure heart, and a clear soul, with perfect love and calm hope, we may venture confidently and fearlessly to pray unto Thee. Amen.
COPTIC LITURGY OF ST. BASIL.
The dominion of any sinful habit will fearfully estrange us from His presence. A single consenting act of inward disobedience in thought or will is enough to let fall a cloud between Him and us, and to leave our hearts cheerless and dark.
H. E. MANNING.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.—GAL. v. 22, 23.
Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.—JOHN xv. 8.
O Breath from out the Eternal Silence! blow Softly upon our spirits' barren ground; The precious fulness of our God bestow, That fruits of faith, love, reverence may abound.
Is it possible we should be ignorant whether we feel tempers contrary to love or no?—whether we rejoice always, or are burdened and bowed down with sorrow?—whether we have a praying, or a dead, lifeless spirit?—whether we can praise God, and be resigned in all trials, or feel murmurings, fretfulness, and impatience under them?—is it not easy to know if we feel anger at provocations, or whether we feel our tempers mild, gentle, peaceable, and easy to be entreated, or feel stubbornness, self-will, and pride? whether we have slavish fears, or are possessed of that perfect love which casteth out all fear that hath torment?
HESTER ANN ROGERS.
We trust in the living God.—I TIM. iv. 10.
Thy secret judgment's depths profound Still sings the silent night; The day, upon his golden round, Thy pity infinite.
I. WILLIAMS. Tr. from Latin.
Now that I have no longer any sense for the transitory and perishable, the universe appears before my eyes under a transformed aspect. The dead, heavy mass which did but stop up space has vanished, and in its place there flows onward, with the rushing music of mighty waves, an eternal stream of life, and power, and action, which issues from the original source of all life,—from Thy life, O Infinite One! for all life is Thy life, and only the religious eye penetrates to the realm of true Beauty.
J. G. FICHTE.
What is Nature? Art thou not the "Living Garment" of God? O Heavens, is it, in very deed, He then that ever speaks through thee; that lives and loves in thee, that lives and loves in me? Sweeter than dayspring to the shipwrecked in Nova Zembla; ah! like the mother's voice to her little child that strays bewildered, weeping, in unknown tumults; like soft streamings of celestial music to my too exasperated heart, came that Evangel. The Universe is not dead and demoniacal, a charnel-house with spectres; but godlike, and my Father's.
And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in Thee.—PS. xxxix. 7.
O Lord, be gracious unto us; we have waited for Thee.—ISA. xxxiii. 2.
He never comes too late; He knoweth what is best; Vex not thyself in vain; Until He cometh, rest.
We make mistakes, or what we call such. The nature that could fall into such mistake exactly needs, and in the goodness of the dear God is given, the living of it out, And beyond this, I believe more. That in the pure and patient living of it out we come to find that we have fallen, not into hopeless confusion of our own wild, ignorant making; but that the finger of God has been at work among our lines, and that the emerging is into His blessed order; that He is forever making up for us our own undoings; that He makes them up beforehand; that He evermore restoreth our souls.
A. D. T. WHITNEY.
THE Lord knows how to make stepping-stones for us of our defects, even; it is what He lets them be for. He remembereth—He remembered in the making—that we are but dust; the dust of earth, that He chose to make something little lower than the angels out of.
A. D. T. WHITNEY.
Take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.—MATT. x. 19.
Just to follow hour by hour As He leadeth; Just to draw the moment's power As it needeth.
F. R. HAVERGAL.
You have a disagreeable duty to do at twelve o'clock. Do not blacken nine, and ten, and eleven, and all between, with the color of twelve. Do the work of each, and reap your reward in peace. So when the dreaded moment in the future becomes the present, you shall meet it walking in the light, and that light will overcome its darkness. The best preparation is the present well seen to, the last duty done. For this will keep the eye so clear and the body so full of light that the right action will be perceived at once, the right words will rush from the heart to the lips, and the man, full of the Spirit of God because he cares for nothing but the will of God, will trample on the evil thing in love, and be sent, it may be, in a chariot of fire to the presence of his Father, or stand unmoved amid the cruel mockings of the men he loves.
Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.—ISA. xl. 28, 29.
Workman of God! oh, lose not heart, But learn what God is like; And in the darkest battle-field Thou shall know where to strike.
F. W. FABER.
For the rest, let that vain struggle to read the mystery of the Infinite cease to harass us. It is a mystery which, through all ages, we shall only read here a line of, there another line of. Do we not already know that the name of the Infinite is GOOD, is GOD? Here on earth we are as soldiers, fighting in a foreign land, that understand not the plan of the campaign, and have no need to understand it; seeing well what is at our hand to be done. Let us do it like soldiers, with submission, with courage, with a heroic joy. Behind us, behind each one of us, lie six thousand years of human, effort, human conquest: before us is the boundless Time, with its as yet uncreated and unconquered continents and Eldorados, which we, even we, have to conquer, to create; and from the bosom of Eternity there shine for us celestial guiding stars.
I will wait upon the Lord, that hideth His face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for Him.—ISA. viii. 17.
What heart can comprehend Thy name, Or, searching, find Thee out? Who art within, a quickening flame, A presence round about.
Yet though I know Thee but in part, I ask not, Lord, for more: Enough for me to know Thou art, To love Thee and adore.
F. L. HOSMER.
Stand up, O heart! and yield not one inch of thy rightful territory to the usurping intellect. Hold fast to God in spite of logic, and yet not quite blindly. Be not torn from thy grasp upon the skirts of His garments by any wrench of atheistic hypothesis that seeks only to hurl thee into utter darkness; but refuse not to let thy hands be gently unclasped by that loving and pious philosophy that seeks to draw thee from the feet of God only to place thee in His bosom. Trustfully, though tremblingly, let go the robe, and thou shalt rest upon the heart and clasp the very living soul of God.
Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.—2 TIM. ii. 3.
Where our Captain bids us go, 'T is not ours to murmur, "No," He that gives the sword and shield, Chooses too the battle-field On which we are to fight the foe.
Of nothing may we be more sure than this; that, if we cannot sanctify our present lot, we could sanctify no other. Our heaven and our Almighty Father are there or nowhere. The obstructions of that lot are given for us to heave away by the concurrent touch of a holy spirit, and labor of strenuous will; its gloom, for us to tint with some celestial light; its mysteries are for our worship; its sorrows for our trust; its perils for our courage; its temptations for our faith. Soldiers of the cross, it is not for us, but for our Leader and our Lord, to choose the field; it is ours, taking the station which He assigns, to make it the field of truth and honor, though it be the field of death.
Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.—COL. i. 12.
The souls most precious to us here May from this home have fled; But still we make one household dear; One Lord is still our head. Midst cherubim and seraphim They mind their Lord's affairs; Oh! if we bring our work to Him Our work is one with theirs.
T. H. GILL.
We are apt to feel as if nothing we could do on earth bears a relation to what the good are doing in a higher world; but it is not so. Heaven and earth are not so far apart. Every disinterested act, every sacrifice to duty, every exertion for the good of "one of the least of Christ's brethren," every new insight into God's works, every new impulse given to the love of truth and goodness, associates us with the departed, brings us nearer to them, and is as truly heavenly as if we were acting, not on earth, but in heaven. The spiritual tie between us and the departed is not felt as it should be. Our union with them daily grows stronger, if we daily make progress in what they are growing in.
WM. E. CHANNING.
That ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.—EPH. iii. 17-19.
O love that passeth knowledge, thee I need; Pour in the heavenly sunshine; fill my heart; Scatter the cloud, the doubting, and the dread,— The joy unspeakable to me impart.
To examine its evidence is not to try Christianity; to admire its martyrs is not to try Christianity; to compare and estimate its teachers is not to try Christianity; to attend its rites and services with more than Mahometan punctuality is not to try or know Christianity. But for one week, for one day, to have lived in the pure atmosphere of faith and love to God, of tenderness to man; to have beheld earth annihilated, and heaven opened to the prophetic gaze of hope; to have seen evermore revealed behind the complicated troubles of this strange, mysterious life, the unchanged smile of an eternal Friend, and everything that is difficult to reason solved by that reposing trust which is higher and better than reason,—to have known and felt this, I will not say for a life, but for a single blessed hour, that, indeed, is to have made experiment of Christianity.
WM. ARCHER BUTLER.
The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.—PHIL. iv. 7.
Let the peace of God rule in your hearts.—COL. iii. 15.
Drop Thy still dews of quietness, Till all our strivings cease; Take from our souls the strain and stress, And let our ordered lives confess The beauty of Thy peace.
J. G. WHITTIER.
"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.
J. H. NEWMAN.
THROUGH the spirit of Divine Love let the violent, obstinate powers of thy nature be quieted, the hardness of thy affections softened, and thine intractable self-will subdued; and as often as anything contrary stirs within thee, immediately sink into the blessed Ocean of meekness and love.
Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.—GAL. iv. 7.
Not by the terrors of a slave God's sons perform His will, But with the noblest powers they have His sweet commands fulfil.
Our thoughts, good or bad, are not in our command, but every one of us has at all hours duties to do, and these he can do negligently, like a slave, or faithfully, like a true servant. "Do the duty that is nearest thee"—that first, and that well; all the rest will disclose themselves with increasing clearness, and make their successive demand. Were your duties never so small, I advise you, set yourself with double and treble energy and punctuality, to do them, hour after hour, day after day.
Whatever we are, high or lowly, learned or unlearned, married or single, in a full house or alone, charged with many affairs or dwelling in quietness, we have our daily round of work, our duties of affection, obedience, love, mercy, industry, and the like; and that which makes one man to differ from another is not so much what things he does, as his manner of doing them.
H. E. MANNING.
Now the God of peace make you perfect in every good work, to do His will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ.—HEB. xiii. 20, 21.
Be ready to every good work.—TITUS iii. I.
So, firm in steadfast hope, in thought secure, In full accord to all Thy world of joy, May I be nerved to labors high and pure, And Thou Thy child to do Thy work employ.
Be with God in thy outward works, refer them to Him, offer them to Him, seek to do them in Him and for Him, and He will be with thee in them, and they shall not hinder, but rather invite His presence in thy soul. Seek to see Him in all things, and in all things He will come nigh to thee.
E. B. PUSEY.
Nothing less than the majesty of God, and the powers of the world to come, can maintain the peace and sanctity of our homes, the order and serenity of our minds, the spirit of patience and tender mercy in our hearts. Then will even the merest drudgery of duty cease to humble us, when we transfigure it by the glory of our own spirit.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report,—think on these things.—PHIL. iv. 8.
As he thinketh in his heart, so is he.—PROV. xxiii. 7.
Still may Thy sweet mercy spread A shady arm above my head, About my paths; so shall I find The fair centre of my mind Thy temple, and those lovely walls Bright ever with a beam that falls Fresh from the pure glance of Thine eye, Lighting to eternity.
Make yourselves nests of pleasant thoughts. None of us yet know, for none of us have been taught in early youth, what fairy palaces we may build of beautiful thought—proof against all adversity. Bright fancies, satisfied memories, noble histories, faithful sayings, treasure—houses of precious and restful thoughts, which care cannot disturb, nor pain make gloomy, nor poverty take away from us,—houses built without hands, for our souls to live in.
O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.—JER. x. 23.
I will direct all his ways.—ISA. xlv. 13.
Come, Light serene and still! Our darkened spirits fill With thy clear day: Guide of the feeble sight, Star of grief's darkest night, Reveal the path of right, Show us Thy way.
ROBERT II. OF FRANCE.
There had been solemn appointed seasons in Anna's life, when she was accustomed to enter upon a full and deliberate survey of her business in this world. The claims of each relationship, and the results of each occupation, were then examined in the light of eternity. It was then, too, her fervent prayer to be enabled to discern the will of God far more perfectly, not only in the indications given of it for her guidance through each day's occupations, but as it might concern duties not yet brought home to her conscience, and therefore unprovided for in her life.
SARAH W. STEPHEN.
Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.—PHIL. iii. 13, 14.
Yet I argue not Against Heaven's hand or will, nor bate a jot Of heart or hope; but still bear up and steer Right onward.
It is not by regretting what is irreparable that true work is to be done, but by making the best of what we are. It is not by complaining that we have not the right tools, but by using well the tools we have. What we are, and where we are, is God's providential arrangement,—God's doing, though it may be man's misdoing; and the manly and the wise way is to look your disadvantages in the face, and see what can be made out of them. Life, like war, is a series of mistakes, and he is not the best Christian nor the best general who makes the fewest false steps. He is the best who wins the most splendid victories by the retrieval of mistakes. Forget mistakes; organize victory out of mistakes.
F. W. ROBERTSON.