Daily Thoughts - selected from the writings of Charles Kingsley by his wife
by Charles Kingsley
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Transcribed from the 1885 Macmillan and Co. edition by David Price, email


Selected from the Writings OF CHARLES KINGSLEY




Printed by R. & R. CLARK, Edinburgh.

This little Volume, selected from the MS. Note-books, Sermons and Private Letters, as well as from the published Works of my Husband, is dedicated to our children, and to all who feel the blessing of his influence on their daily life and thought.

F. E. K.

July 10, 1884.


Welcome, wild North-easter! Shame it is to see Odes to every zephyr: Ne'er a verse to thee. . . . . . Tired we are of summer, Tired of gaudy glare, Showers soft and steaming, Hot and breathless air. Tired of listless dreaming Through the lazy day: Jovial wind of winter Turn us out to play! Sweep the golden reed-beds; Crisp the lazy dyke; Hunger into madness Every plunging pike. Fill the lake with wild-fowl; Fill the marsh with snipe; While on dreary moorlands Lonely curlew pipe. Through the black fir forest Thunder harsh and dry, Shattering down the snow-flakes Off the curdled sky. . . . . . Come; and strong within us Stir the Viking's blood; Bracing brain and sinew: Blow, thou wind of God!

Ode to North-east Wind.

New Year's Day. January 1. {3}

Gather you, gather you, angels of God— Freedom and Mercy and Truth; Come! for the earth is grown coward and old; Come down and renew us her youth. Wisdom, Self-sacrifice, Daring, and Love, Haste to the battlefield, stoop from above, To the day of the Lord at hand!

The Day of the Lord. 1847.

The Nineteenth Century. January 2.

Now, and at no other time: in this same nineteenth century lies our work. Let us thank God that we are here now, and joyfully try to understand where we are, and what our work is here. As for all superstitions about "the good old times," and fancies that they belonged to God, while this age belongs only to man, blind chance, and the evil one, let us cast them from us as the suggestions of an evil lying spirit, as the natural parents of laziness, pedantry, fanaticism, and unbelief. And therefore let us not fear to ask the meaning of this present day, and of all its different voices—the pressing, noisy, complex present, where our workfield lies, the most intricate of all states of society, and of all schools of literature yet known.

Introductory Lecture, Queen's College. 1848.

Forward. January 3.

Let us forward. God leads us. Though blind, shall we be afraid to follow? I do not see my way: I do not care to: but I know that He sees His way, and that I see Him.

Letters and Memories. 1848.

The Noble Life. January 4.

Be good, sweet maid, and let who will be clever; Do noble things, not dream them all day long; And so make life, and death, and that For Ever One grand sweet song.

A Farewell. 1856.

Live in the present that you may be ready for the future.


Duty and Sentiment. January 5.

God demands not sentiment but justice. The Bible knows nothing of "the religious sentiments and emotions" whereof we hear so much talk nowadays. It speaks of Duty. "Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought to love one another."

National Sermons. 1851.

The Everlasting Harmony. January 6.

If thou art living a righteous and useful life, doing thy duty orderly and cheerfully where God has put thee, then thou in thy humble place art humbly copying the everlasting harmony and melody which is in heaven; the everlasting harmony and melody by which God made the world and all that therein is—and behold it was very good—in the day when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy over the new- created earth, which God had made to be a pattern of His own perfection.

Good News of God Sermons. 1859.

The Keys of Death and Hell. January 7.

Fear not. Christ has the keys of death and hell. He has been through them and is alive for evermore. Christ is the first, and was loving and just and glorious and almighty before there was any death or hell. And Christ is the last, and will be loving and just and glorious and almighty as ever, in that great day when all enemies shall be under His feet, and death shall be destroyed, and death and hell shall be cast into the lake of fire.

MS. Sermon. 1857.

A Living God. January 8.

Here and there, among rich and poor, there are those whose heart and flesh, whose conscience and whose intellect, cry out for the Living God, and will know no peace till they have found Him. For till then they can find no explanation of the three great human questions—Where am I? Whither am I going? What must I do?

Sermons on the Pentateuch. 1862.

The Fairy Gardens. January 9.

Of all the blessings which the study of Nature brings to the patient observer, let none, perhaps, be classed higher than this, that the farther he enters into those fairy gardens of life and birth, which Spenser saw and described in his great poem, the more he learns the awful and yet comfortable truth, that they do not belong to him, but to One greater, wiser, lovelier than he; and as he stands, silent with awe, amid the pomp of Nature's ever-busy rest, hears as of old, The Word of the "Lord God walking among the trees of the garden in the cool of the day."

Glaucus. 1855.

Love. January 10.

Oh! Love! Love! Love! the same in peasant and in peer! The more honour to you, then, old Love, to be the same thing in this world which is common to peasant and to peer. They say that you are blind, a dreamer, an exaggerator—a liar, in short! They just know nothing about you, then. You will not see people as they seem—as they have become, no doubt; but why? Because you see them as they ought to be, and are in some deep way eternally, in the sight of Him who conceived and created them!

Two Years Ago, chap. xiv. 1856.

Life—Love. January 11.

We must live nobly to love nobly.


The Seed of Good. January 12.

Never was the young Abbot heard to speak harshly of any human being. "When thou hast tried in vain for seven years," he used to say, "to convert a sinner, then only wilt thou have a right to suspect him of being a worse man than thyself." That there is a seed of good in all men, a divine word and spirit striving with all men, a gospel and good news which would turn the hearts of all men, if abbots and priests could but preach it aright, was his favourite doctrine, and one which he used to defend, when at rare intervals he allowed himself to discuss any subject, from the writings of his favourite theologian, Clement of Alexandria.

Above all, Abbot Philamon stopped by stern rebuke any attempt to revile either heretics or heathens. "On the Catholic Church alone," he used to say, "lies the blame of all heresy and unbelief; for if she were but for one day that which she ought to be, the world would be converted before nightfall."

Hypatia, chap. xxx. 1852.

Danger of Thinking vaguely. January 13.

Watch against any fallacies in your ideas which may arise, not from disingenuousness, but from allowing yourself in moments of feeling to think vaguely, and not to attach precise meaning to your words. Without any cold caution of expression, it is a duty we owe to God's truth, and to our own happiness and the happiness of those around us, to think and speak as correctly as we can. Almost all heresy, schism, and misunderstandings, between either churches or individuals who ought to be one, have arisen from this fault of an involved and vague style of thought.

MS. 1842.

The Possession of Faith. January 14.

I don't want to possess a faith, I want a faith which will possess me.

Hypatia, chap. xvii. 1852.

The Eternal Life. January 15.

Eternally, and for ever, in heaven, says St. John, Christ says and is and does what prophets prophesied of Him that He would say and be and do. "I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the bright Morning Star. And let him that is athirst, come: and whosoever will, let him take of the Water of Life freely." For ever Christ calls to every anxious soul, every afflicted soul, to every man who is ashamed of himself, and angry with himself, and longs to live a gentler, nobler, purer, truer, and more useful life, "Come, and live for ever the eternal life of righteousness, holiness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, which is the one true and only salvation bought for us by the precious blood of Christ our Lord." Amen.

Water of Life Sermons. 1865

The Golden Cup of Youth. January 16.

Ah, glorious twenty-one, with your inexhaustible powers of doing and enjoying, eating and hungering, sleeping and sitting up, reading and playing! Happy are those who still possess you, and can take their fill of your golden cup, steadied, but not saddened, by the remembrance that for all things a good and loving God will bring them to judgment!

Happier still those who (like a few) retain in body and soul the health and buoyancy of twenty-one on to the very verge of forty, and, seeming to grow younger-hearted as they grow older-headed, can cast off care and work at a moment's warning, laugh and frolic now as they did twenty years ago, and say with Wordsworth—

"So was it when I was a boy, So let it be when I am old, Or let me die."

Two Years Ago, chap. xix. 1856.

Work and Duty. January 17.

If a man is busy, and busy about his duty, what more does he require for time or for eternity?

Chalk Stream Studies. 1856.

Members of Christ. January 18.

. . . Would you be humble, daughter? You must look up, not down, and see yourself A paltry atom, sap-transmitting vein Of Christ's vast vine; the pettiest joint and member Of His great body. . . .

. . . Let thyself die— And dying, rise again to fuller life. To be a whole is to be small and weak— To be a part is to be great and mighty In the one spirit of the mighty whole— The spirit of the martyrs and the saints.

Saint's Tragedy, Act ii. Scene vi. 1847.

Beauty a Sacrament. January 19.

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful. Beauty is God's handwriting—a way-side sacrament; welcome it in every fair face, every fair sky, every fair flower, and thank Him for it, who is the Fountain of all loveliness, and drink it in simply and earnestly with all your eyes; it is a charmed draught, a cup of blessing.

True Words to Brave Men. 1844.

The Ideal of Rank. January 20.

With Christianity came in the thought that domination meant responsibility, that responsibility demanded virtue. The words which denoted Rank came to denote, likewise, high moral excellencies. The nobilis, or man who was known, and therefore subject to public opinion, was bound to behave nobly. The gentle-man—gentile-man—who respected his own gens, or family, or pedigree, was bound to be gentle. The courtier who had picked up at court some touch of Roman civilisation from Roman ecclesiastics was bound to be courteous. He who held an "honour," or "edel" of land, was bound to be honourable; and he who held a "weorthig," or "worthy," thereof, was bound himself to be worthy.

Lectures on Ancien Regime. 1866.

An Indulgent God. January 21.

A merely indulgent God would be an unjust God, and a cruel God likewise. If God be just, as He is, then He has boundless pity for those who are weak, but boundless wrath for the strong who misuse the weak. Boundless pity for those who are ignorant, misled, and out of the right way; but boundless wrath for those who mislead them and put them out of the right way.

Discipline Sermons. 1867.

The Fifty-First Psalm. January 22.

It is such utterances as these which have given for now many hundred years their priceless value to the little Book of Psalms ascribed to the shepherd outlaw of the Judean hills, which have sent the sound of his name into all lands throughout all the world. Every form of human sorrow, doubt, struggle, error, sin—the nun agonising in the cloister; the settler struggling for his life in Transatlantic forests; the pauper shivering over the embers in his hovel and waiting for kind death; the man of business striving to keep his honour pure amid the temptations of commerce; the prodigal son starving in the far country and recollecting the words which he learnt long ago at his mother's knee; the peasant boy trudging afield in the chill dawn and remembering that the Lord is his Shepherd, therefore he will not want—all shapes of humanity have found, and will find to the end of time, a word said here to their inmost hearts. . . .

Sermons on David. 1866.

Waiting for Death. January 23.

Death, beautiful, wise, kind Death, when will you come and tell me what I want to know? I courted you once and many a time, brave old Death, only to give rest to the weary. That was a coward's wish—and so you would not come. . . . I was not worthy of you. And now I will not hunt you any more, old Death. Do you bide your time, and I mine. . . . Only when you come, give me not rest but work. Give work to the idle, freedom to the chained, sight to the blind!

Two Years Ago, chap. xv. 1856.

The One Refuge. January 24.

Safe! There is no safety but from God, and that comes by prayer and faith.

Hypatia. 1852.

Future Identity. January 25.

I believe that the union of those who have loved here will in the next world amount to perfect identity, that they will look back on the expressions of affection here as mere meagre strugglings after and approximation to the union which then will be perfect. Perfect!

Letters and Memories. 1842.

Friendship. January 26.

A friend once won need never be lost, if we will be only trusty and true ourselves. Friends may part, not merely in body, but in spirit, for a while. In the bustle of business and the accidents of life, they may lose sight of each other for years; and more, they may begin to differ in their success in life, in their opinions, in their habits, and there may be, for a time, coldness and estrangement between them, but not for ever if each will be trusty and true. For then they will be like two ships who set sail at morning from the same port, and ere night-fall lose sight of each other, and go each on its own course and at its own pace for many days, through many storms and seas, and yet meet again, and find themselves lying side by side in the same haven when their long voyage is past.

Water of Life Sermons.

Night and Morning. January 27.

It is morning somewhere or other now, and it will be morning here again to-morrow. "Good times and bad times and all times pass over." I learnt that lesson out of old Bewick's Vignettes, and it has stood me in good stead this many a year.

Two Years Ago, chap. i. 1856.

Communion with the Blessed Dead. January 28.

Shall we not recollect the blessed dead above all in Holy Communion, and give thanks for them there—at that holy table at which the Church triumphant and the Church militant meet in the communion of saints? Where Christ is they are; and, therefore, if Christ be there, may not they be there likewise? May not they be near us though unseen? like us claiming their share in the eternal sacrifice, like us partaking of that spiritual body and blood which is as much the life of saints in heaven as it is of penitent sinners on earth? May it not be so? It is a mystery into which we will not look too far. But this at least is true, that they are with Him where He is.

MS. Sermon.

The Great Law. January 29.

True rest can only be attained as Christ attained it, through labour. True glory can only be attained in earth or heaven through self-sacrifice. Whosoever will save his life shall lose it; whosoever will lose his life shall save it.

All Saints' Day Sermons. 1870.

The Coming Kingdom. January 30.

There is a God-appointed theocracy promised to us, and which we must wait for, when all the diseased and false systems of this world shall be swept away, and Christ's feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives, and the twelve apostles shall sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel! All this shall come, and blessed is that servant whom his Lord when He cometh shall find ready! All this we shall not see before we die, but we shall see it when we rise in the perfect material and spiritual ideal, in the kingdom of God!

Letters and Memories.

Christ's Coming. January 31.

Christ may come to us when our thoughts are cleaving to the ground, and ready to grow earthy of the earth—through noble poetry, noble music, noble art—through aught which awakens once more in us the instinct of the true, the beautiful, and the good. He may come to us when our souls are restless and weary, through the repose of Nature—the repose of the lonely snow-peak and of the sleeping forest, of the clouds of sunset and of the summer sea, and whisper Peace. Or He may come, as He comes on winter nights to many a gallant soul—not in the repose of Nature, but in her rage—in howling storm and blinding foam and ruthless rocks and whelming surge—and whisper to them even so—as the sea swallows all of them which it can take—of calm beyond, which this world cannot give and cannot take away.

And therefore let us say in utter faith, Come as Thou seest best—but in whatsoever way Thou comest, Even so come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Last Sermon. MS. 1874.


Since we gave up at the Reformation the superstitious practice of praying to the saints, Saints' Days have sunk—and, indeed, sunk too much—into neglect. We forget too often still, that though praying to any saint or angel, or other created being, is contrary both to reason and Scripture, yet it is according to reason and to Scripture to commemorate them. That is, to remember them, to study their characters, and to thank God for them,—both for the virtues He bestowed on them, and the example which He has given us in them.

MS. Sermon.

JANUARY 6. The Epiphany, Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles.

On this day the Lord Jesus was first shown to the Gentiles. The word Epiphany means "showing." The Wise Men were worshippers of the true God, though in a dim confused way; and they had learnt enough of what true faith, true greatness was, not to be staggered and fall into unbelief when they saw the King of the Jews laid, not in a palace, but in a manger, tended by a poor village maiden. And therefore God bestowed on them the great honour that they first of all—Gentiles—should see the glory and the love of God in the face of Jesus Christ. God grant that they may not rise up against us in the Day of Judgment and condemn us! They had but a small spark, a dim ray, of the Light which lighteth every man who cometh into the world; but they were more faithful to that little than many of us, who live in the full sunshine of the Gospel, with Christ's Spirit, Christ's Sacraments, Christ's Churches,—means of grace and hopes of glory of which they never dreamed.

Town and Country Sermons.

JANUARY 25. Conversion of St. Paul, Apostle and Martyr.

How did St. Paul look on his past life? There is no sentimental melancholy in him. He is saved, and he knows it. He is an Apostle, and he stands boldly on his dignity. He is cheerful, hopeful, joyful. And yet, when he speaks of the past, it is with noble shame and sorrow that he calls himself the chief of sinners, not worthy to be called an Apostle, because he persecuted the Church of Christ. What he is, he will not deny; what he was, he will not forget; lest he should forget that in him, that is, in his flesh—his natural character—dwelleth no good thing; lest he should forget that the good which he does, he does not, but Christ which dwelleth in him; lest he should grow careless, puffed up, self-indulgent; lest he should neglect to subdue his evil passions; and so, after preaching to others, himself become a castaway.

Town and Country Sermons.


. . . Every winter, When the great sun has turned his face away, The earth goes down into the vale of grief, And fasts, and weeps, and shrouds herself in sables, Leaving her wedding garments to decay; Then leaps in spring to his returning kisses.

Saint's Tragedy, Act iii. Scene i.

Out of the morning land, Over the snow-drifts, Beautiful Freya came, Tripping to Scoring. White were the moorlands, And frozen before her; Green were the moorlands, And blooming behind her. Out of her gold locks Shaking the spring flowers, Out of her garments Shaking the south wind, Around in the birches Awaking the throstles, Love and love-giving, Came she to Scoring. . . . . .

The Longbeard's Saga. 1852.

Virtue. February 1.

The first and last business of every human being, whatever his station, party, creed, capacities, tastes, duties, is morality; virtue, virtue, always virtue. Nothing that man will ever invent will absolve him from the universal necessity of being good as God is good, righteous as God is righteous, holy as God is holy.

Sermons on David. 1866.

Happiness. February 2.

God has not only made things beautiful; He has made things happy; whatever misery there is in the world there is no denying that. Misery is the exception; happiness is the rule. No rational man ever heard a bird sing without feeling that the bird was happy, and that if God made that bird He made it to be happy, and He takes pleasure in its happiness, though no human ear should ever hear its song, no human heart should ever share in its joy.

All Saints' Day Sermons. 1871.

A Dream of the Future. February 3.

God grant that the day may come when in front of the dwellings of the poor we may see real fountains—not like the drinking-fountains, useful as they are, which you see here and there about the streets, with a tiny dribble of water to a great deal of expensive stone, but real fountains, which shall leap, and sparkle, and plash, and gurgle, and fill the place with life and light and coolness; and sing in the people's ears the sweetest of all earthly songs—save the song of a mother over her child—the song of "The Laughing Water."

The Air Mothers. 1872.

Bondage of Custom. February 4.

Strive all your life to free men from the bondage of custom and self, the two great elements of the world that lieth in wickedness.

MS. Letter. l842.

Henceforth let no man peering down Through the dim glittering mine of future years Say to himself, "Too much! this cannot be!" To-day and custom wall up our horizon: Before the hourly miracle of life Blindfold we stand, and sigh, as though God were not.

Saint's Tragedy, Act i. Scene ii. 1847.

The Childlike Mind. February 5.

There comes a time when we must narrow our sphere of thought much, that we may truly enlarge it! we must, artificialised as we have been, return to the rudiments of life, to children's pleasures, that we may find easily, through their transparent simplicity, spiritual laws which we may apply to the more intricate spheres of art and science.

MS. Letter. 1842.

Unselfish Prayer. February 6.

The Lord's Prayer teaches that we are members of a family, when He tells us to pray not "My Father" but "Our Father;" not "my soul be saved," but "Thy kingdom come;" not "give me" but "give us our daily bread;" not "forgive me," but "forgive us our trespasses," and that only as we forgive others; not "lead me not," but "lead us not into temptation;" not "deliver me," but "deliver us from evil." After that manner our Lord tells us to pray, and in proportion as we pray in that manner, just so far, and no farther, will God hear our prayers.

National Sermons. 1850.

God is Light. February 7.

All the deep things of God are bright, for God is Light. God's arbitrary will and almighty power may seem dark by themselves though deep, but that is because they do not involve His moral character. Join them with the fact that He is a God of mercy as well as justice; remember that His essence is love, and the thunder-cloud will blaze with dewy gold, full of soft rain and pure light.

MS. Letter. 1844.

The Veil Lifted. February 8.

Science is, I verily believe, like virtue, its own exceeding great reward. I can conceive few human states more enviable than that of the man to whom—panting in the foul laboratory, or watching for his life in the tropic forest—Isis shall for a moment lift her sacred veil and show him, once and for ever, the thing he dreamed not of, some law, or even mere hint of a law, explaining one fact: but explaining with it a thousand more, connecting them all with each other and with the mighty whole, till order and meaning shoots through some old chaos of scattered observations. Is not that a joy, a prize, which wealth cannot give nor poverty take away? What it may lead to he knows not. Of what use it may be he knows not. But this he knows, that somewhere it must lead, of some use it will be. For it is a truth.

Lectures on Science and Superstition. 1866.

All Science One. February 9.

Physical and spiritual science seem to the world to be distinct. One sight of God as we shall some day see Him will show us that they are indissolubly and eternally the same.


Passion and Reason. February 10.

Passion and reason in a healthy mind ought to be inseparable. We need not be passionless because we reason correctly. Strange to say, one's feelings will often sharpen one's knowledge of the truth, as they do one's powers of action.

MS. 1843.

Enthusiasm and Tact. February 11.

. . . People smile at the "enthusiasm of youth"—that enthusiasm which they themselves secretly look back at with a sigh, perhaps unconscious that it is partly their own fault that they ever lost it. . . . Do not fear being considered an enthusiast. What matter? But pray for tact, the true tact which love alone can give, to prevent scandalising a weak brother.

Letters and Memories. 1842.

Be earnest, earnest, earnest; mad, if thou wilt: Do what thou dost as if the stake were heaven, And that thy last deed ere the judgment-day. When all's done, nothing's done. There's rest above— Below let work be death, if work be love!

Saint's Tragedy, Act ii. Scene viii. 1847.

The Eternal Good. February 12.

"God hath showed thee what is good," . . . what is good in itself, and of itself—the one very eternal and absolute good, which was with God and in God and from God, before all worlds, and will be for ever, without changing, or growing less or greater, eternally the same good—the good which would be just as good and just and right and lovely and glorious if there were no world, no men, no angels, no heaven, no hell, and God were alone in His own abyss.

Sermons for the Times. 1855.

Awfulness of Words. February 13.

A difference in words is a very awful and important difference; a difference in words is a difference in things. Words are very awful and wonderful things, for they come from the most awful and wonderful of all beings, Jesus Christ, THE WORD. He puts words into men's minds. He made all things, and He made words to express those things. And woe to those who use the wrong words about anything.

Village Sermons. 1848.

A Wise Woman. February 14.

What wisdom she had she did not pick off the hedge, like blackberries. God is too kind to give away wisdom after that useless fashion. So she had to earn her wisdom, and to work hard, and suffer much ere she attained it. And in attaining she endured strange adventures and great sorrows; and yet they would not have given her the wisdom had she not had something in herself which gave her wit to understand her lessons, and skill and courage to do what they taught her. There had been many names for that something before she was born, there have been many names for it since, but her father and mother called it the Grace of God.

Unfinished Novel. 1869.

Charity the one Influence. February 15.

The older we grow, the more we understand our own lives and histories, the more we shall see that the spirit of wisdom is the spirit of love; that the true way to gain influence over our fellow-men is to have charity towards them. That is a hard lesson to learn; and all those who learn it generally learn it late; almost—God forgive us—too late.

Westminster Sermons.

The Ascetic Painters. February 16.

We owe much (notwithstanding their partial and Manichean idea of beauty) to the early ascetic painters. Their works are a possession for ever. No future school of religious art will be able to rise to eminence without learning from them their secret. They taught artists, and priests, and laymen, too, that beauty is only worthy of admiration when it is the outward sacrament of the beauty of the soul within; they helped to deliver men from that idolatry to merely animal strength and loveliness into which they were in danger of falling in ferocious ages, and among the relics of Roman luxury.

Miscellanies. 1849.

Reveries. February 17.

Beware of giving way to reveries. Have always some employment in your hands. Look forward to the future with hope. Build castles if you will, but only bright ones, and not too many.

Letters and Memories. 1842.

Woman's Mission. February 18.

It is the glory of woman that she was sent into the world to live for others rather than for herself; and therefore, I should say, let her smallest rights be respected, her smallest wrongs redressed; but let her never be persuaded to forget that she is sent into the world to teach man—what I believe she has been teaching him all along, even in the savage state, namely, that there is something more necessary than the claiming of rights, and that is, the performing of duties; to teach him specially, in these so-called intellectual days, that there is something more than intellect, and that is—purity and virtue.

Lecture on Thrift. 1869.

The Heroic Life. February 19.

Provided we attain at last to the truly heroic and divine life, which is the life of virtue, it will matter little to us by what wild and weary ways, or through what painful and humiliating processes, we have arrived thither. If God has loved us, if God will receive us, then let us submit loyally and humbly to His law—"whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth."

All Saints' Day Sermons.

The Wages of Sin. February 20.

It is sometimes said, "The greater the sinner the greater the saint." I do not believe it. I do not see it. It stands to reason—if a man loses his way and finds it again, he is so much the less forward on his way, surely, by all the time he has spent in getting back into the way.

And if any of you fancy you can sin without being punished, remember that the prodigal son is punished most severely. He does not get off freely the moment he chooses to repent, as false preachers will tell you. Even after he does repent and resolves to go back to his father's house he has a long journey home in poverty and misery, footsore, hungry, and all but despairing. But when he does get home; when he shows he has learnt the bitter lesson; when all he dares to ask is, "Make me as one of thy hired servants,"—he is received as freely as the rest.

Water of Life Sermons. 1864.

Silent Depths. February 21.

Our mightiest feelings are always those which remain most unspoken. The most intense lovers and the greatest poets have generally, I think, written very little personal love-poetry, while they have shown in fictitious characters a knowledge of the passion too painfully intimate to be spoken of in the first person.

MS. 1843.

True Justification. February 22.

God grant us to be among those who wish to be really justified by faith, by being made just persons by faith,—who cannot satisfy either their conscience or their reason by fancying that God looks on them as right when they know themselves to be wrong; and who cannot help trusting that union with Christ must be something real and substantial, and not merely a metaphor and a flower of rhetoric.

MS. 1854.

A Present Hell. February 23.

"Ay," he muttered, "sing awa', . . . wi' pretty fancies and gran' words, and gang to hell for it."

"To hell, Mr. Mackaye?"

"Ay, to a verra real hell, Alton Locke, laddie—a warse ane than any fiend's kitchen or subterranean Smithfield that ye'll hear o' in the pulpits—the hell on earth o' being a flunkey, and a humbug, and a useless peacock, wasting God's gifts on your ain lusts and pleasures—and kenning it—and not being able to get oot o' it for the chains of vanity and self-indulgence."

Alton Locke, chap. viii. 1849.

Time and Eternity. February 24.

Eternity does not mean merely some future endless duration, but that ever- present moral world, governed by ever-living and absolutely necessary laws, in which we and all spirits are now; and in which we should be equally, whether time and space, extension and duration, and the whole material universe to which they belong, became nothing this moment, or lasted endlessly.

Theologica Germanica. 1854.

Christ's Life. February 25.

What was Christ's life? Not one of deep speculations, quiet thoughts, and bright visions, but a life of fighting against evil; earnest, awful prayers and struggles within, continued labour of body and mind without; insult, and danger, and confusion, and violent exertion, and bitter sorrow. This was Christ's life. This was St. Peter's, and St. James's, and St. John's life afterwards.

Village Sermons. 1849.

The Higher Education. February 26.

In teaching women we must try to make our deepest lessons bear on the great purpose of unfolding Woman's own calling in all ages—her especial calling in this one. We must incite them to realise the chivalrous belief of our old forefathers among their Saxon forests, that something Divine dwelt in the counsels of woman: but, on the other hand, we must continually remind them that they will attain that divine instinct, not by renouncing their sex, but by fulfilling it; by becoming true women, and not bad imitations of men; by educating their heads for the sake of their hearts, not their hearts for the sake of their heads; by claiming woman's divine vocation as the priestess of purity, of beauty, and of love.

Introductory Lecture, Queen's College. 1848.

God's Kingdom. February 27.

Philamon had gone forth to see the world, and he had seen it; and he had learnt that God's kingdom was not a kingdom of fanatics yelling for a doctrine, but of willing, loving, obedient hearts.

Hypatia, chap. xxiii. 1852.

Sowing and Reaping. February 28.

So it is, that by every crime, folly, even neglect of theirs, men drive a thorn into their own flesh, which will trouble them for years to come, it may be to their dying day—

Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small; Though with patience He stands waiting, with exactness grinds He all—

as those who neglect their fellow-creatures will discover, by the most patent, undeniable proofs, in that last great day, when the rich and poor shall meet together, and then, at last, discover too that the Lord is the Maker of them all.

All Saints' Day Sermons. 1871.

The Church Catechism. February 29.

Did it ever strike you that the simple, noble, old Church Catechism, without one word about rewards and punishments, heaven or hell, begins to talk to the child, like a true English Catechism as it is, about that glorious old English key-word Duty? It calls on the child to confess its own duty, and teaches it that its duty is something most human, simple, everyday—commonplace, if you will call it so. And I rejoice in the thought that the Church Catechism teaches that the child's duty is commonplace. I rejoice that in what it says about our duty to God and our neighbour, it says not one word about counsels of perfection, or those frames and feelings which depend, believe me, principally on the state of people's bodily health, on the constitution of their nerves, and the temper of their brain; but that it requires nothing except what a little child can do as well as a grown person, a labouring man as well as a divine, a plain farmer as well as the most refined, devout, imaginative lady.

Sermons for the Times. 1855.


FEBRUARY 2. The Presentation of Christ in the Temple, COMMONLY CALLED The Purification of the Virgin Mary.

Little children may think of Christ as a child now and always. For to them He is always the Babe of Bethlehem. Let them not say to themselves, "Christ is grown up long ago." He is, and yet He is not. His life is eternal in the heavens, above all change of time and space. . . . Such is the sacred heart of Jesus—all things to all. To the strong He can be strongest, to the weak weakest of all. With the aged and dying He goes down for ever to the grave; and yet with you children Christ lies for ever on His mother's bosom, and looks up for ever into His mother's face, full of young life and happiness and innocence, the Everlasting Christ- child, in whom you must believe, whom you must love, to whom you must offer up your childish prayers.

The Christ-child, Sermons, (Good News of God).

FEBRUARY 24. St. Matthias, Apostle and Martyr.

Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. They rest from their labours—all their struggles, failures, past and over for ever. But their works follow them. The good which they did on earth—that is not past and over. It cannot die. It lives and grows for ever, following on in their path long after they are dead, and bearing fruit unto everlasting life, not only in them, but in men whom they never saw, and in generations yet unborn.

Sermons (Good News of God).

Ash Wednesday.

There is a repentance too deep for words—too deep for all confessionals, penances, and emotions or acts of contrition; the repentance, not of the excitable, theatric Southern, unstable as water even in his most violent remorse, but of the still, deep-hearted Northern, whose pride breaks slowly and silently, but breaks once for all; who tells to God what he will never tell to man, and having told it, is a new creature from that day forth for ever.

Two Years Ago, chap. xviii.

The True Fast.

The rationale of Fasting is to give up habitual indulgences for a time, lest they become our masters—artificial necessities.



Early in the Springtime, on raw and windy mornings, Beneath the freezing house-eaves, I heard the starlings sing— Ah! dreary March month, is this then a time for building wearily? Sad, sad, to think that the year is but begun!

Late in the Autumn, on still and cloudless evenings, Among the golden reed-beds I heard the starlings sing— Ah! that sweet March month, when we and our mates were courting merrily; Sad, sad, to think that the year is all but done.

The Starlings.

Knowledge and Love. March 1.

Knowledge and Love are reciprocal. He who loves knows. He who knows loves. Saint John is the example of the first; Saint Paul of the second.

Letters and Memories. 1842.

A Charm of Birds. March 2.

Little do most people know how much there is to learn—what variety of character, as well as variety of motion, may be distinguished by the practised ear in a "charm of birds"—from the wild cry of the missel-thrush, ringing from afar in the first bright days of March a passage of one or two bars repeated three or four times, and then another and another, clear and sweet and yet defiant—for the great "storm-cock" loves to sing when rain and wind is coming on, and faces the elements as boldly as he faces hawk and crow—down to the delicate warble of the wren, who slips out of his hole in the brown bank where he has huddled through the frost with wife and children, all folded in each other's arms like human beings. Yet even he, sitting at his house-door in the low sunlight, says grace for all mercies in a song so rapid, so shrill, so loud, and yet so delicately modulated, that you wonder at the amount of soul within that tiny body; and then stops suddenly, like a child that has said its lesson or got to the end of a sermon, gives a self-satisfied flirt of his tail, and goes in again to sleep.

Prose Idylls. 1866.

Tact of the Heart. March 3.

Random shots are dangerous and cruel, likely to hit the wrong person and hurt his feelings unnecessarily. It is very easy to say a hard thing, but not so easy to say it to the right person at the right time.


Special Providences. March 4.

I believe not only in "special providences," but in the whole universe as one infinite complexity of special providences.

Letters and Memories.

The grain of dust is a thought of God; God's power made it; God's wisdom gave it whatsoever properties or qualities it may possess. God's providence has put it in the place where it is now, and has ordained that it should be in that place at that moment, by a train of causes and effects which reaches back to the very creation of the universe. The grain of dust can no more go from God's presence or flee from God's Spirit than you or I can.

Town Geology. 1871.

Be Calm. March 5.

Strive daily and hourly to be calm; to stop yourself forcibly and recall your mind to a sense of what you are, where you are going, and whither you ought to be tending. This is most painful discipline, but most wholesome.

MS. Letter. 1842.

Self-sacrifice and Personality. March 6.

What a strange mystery is that of mutual self-sacrifice! to exist for one moment for another! the perfection of human bliss! And does not love teach us two things? First, that self-sacrifice, the living for others, is the law of our perfect being, and next, that by and in self-sacrifice alone can we attain to the perfect apprehension of ourselves, our own personality, our own duty, our own bliss. So that the mystics are utterly wrong when they fancy that self-sacrifice can be attained by self- annihilation. Self-sacrifice, instead of destroying the sense of personality, perfects it.

MS. Letter. 1843.

Follow your Star. March 7.

I believe with Dante, "se tu segui la tua Stella," that He who ordained my star will not lead me into temptation but through it. Without Him all places and methods of life are equally dangerous, with Him all equally safe.

Letters and Memories. 1848.

Reverence for Books. March 8.

This is the age of books. And we should reverence books. Consider! except a living man there is nothing more wonderful than a book—a message to us from the dead, from human souls whom we never saw, who lived perhaps thousands of miles away, and yet in those little sheets of paper speak to us, amuse us, terrify us, teach us, comfort us, open their hearts to us as brothers!

We ought to reverence books, to look at them as awful and mighty things. If they are good and true, whether they are about religion or politics, trade or medicine, they are the message of Christ, the Maker of all things, the Teacher of all truth, which He has put into the heart of some men to speak. And at the last day, be sure of it, we shall have to render an account—a strict account—of the books which we have read, and of the way in which we have obeyed what we read, just as if we had had so many prophets or angels sent to us.

Village Sermons. 1849.

The Unknown Future. March 9.

As for the things which God has prepared for those who love Him, the Bible tells me that no man can conceive them, and therefore I believe that I cannot conceive them. God has conceived them; God has prepared them; God is our Father. That is enough.

Sermons for the Times. 1855.

Secular and Sacred. March 10.

I grudge the epithet of "secular" to any matter whatsoever. But more; I deny it to anything which God has made, even to the tiniest of insects, the most insignificant grain of dust. To those who believe in God, and try to see all things in God, the most minute natural phenomenon cannot be secular. It must be divine, I say deliberately, divine, and I can use no less lofty word.

Town Geology. 1871.

Content or Happy? March 11.

My friends, whether you will be the happier for any knowledge of physical science, or for any other knowledge whatsoever, I cannot tell. That lies in the decision of a higher Power than I; and, indeed, to speak honestly, I do not think that any branch of physical science is likely, at first at least, to make you happy. Neither is the study of your fellow-men. Neither is religion itself. We were not sent into the world to be happy, but to be right—at least, poor creatures that we are—as right as we can be, and we must be content with being right, and not happy. . . . And we shall be made truly wise if we be made content; content, too, not only with what we can understand, but content with what we do not understand—the habit of mind which theologians call (and rightly) faith in God, true and solid faith, which comes often out of sadness and out of doubt.

Lecture on Bio-geology. 1869.

Duty of Man to Man. March 12.

Each man can learn something from his neighbour; at least he can learn this—to have patience with his neighbour, to live and let live.

Peace! peace! Anything which is not wrong for the sake of heaven-born Peace!

Town and Country Sermons. 1861.

Blessing of a True Friend. March 13.

A blessed thing it is for any man or woman to have a friend, one human soul whom we can trust utterly, who knows the best and worst of us, and who loves us in spite of all our faults; who will speak the honest truth to us, while the world flatters us to our face, and laughs at us behind our back; who will give us counsel and reproof in the days of prosperity and self-conceit; but who, again, will comfort and encourage us in the day of difficulty and sorrow, when the world leaves us alone to fight our battle as we can.

It is only the great-hearted who can be true friends: the mean and cowardly can never know what true friendship means.

Sermons on David. 1866.

True Heroines. March 14.

What is the commonest, and yet the least remembered form of heroism? The heroism of an average mother. Ah! when I think of that broad fact I gather hope again for poor humanity, and this dark world looks bright, this diseased world looks wholesome to me once more, because, whatever else it is or is not full of, it is at least full of mothers.

Lecture on Heroism. 1873.

Secret Atheism. March 15.

There is little hope that we shall learn the lessons God is for ever teaching us in the events of life till we get rid of our secret Atheism, till we give up the notion that God only visits now and then to disorder and destroy His own handiwork, and take back the old scriptural notion that God is visiting all day long for ever, to give order and life to His own work, to set it right where it goes wrong, and re-create it whenever it decays.

Water of Life Sermons. 1866.

Tolerance. March 16.

If we really love God and long to do good and work for God, if we really love our neighbours and wish to help them, we shall have no heart to quarrel about how the good is to be done, provided it is done. "Master," said St. John, "we saw one casting out devils in Thy name, and he followeth not us; wilt Thou that we forbid him? And Jesus said, Forbid him not."


The Hopes of Old Age. March 17.

Christianity alone deprives old age of its bitterness, making it the gate of heaven. Our bodies will fade and grow weak and shapeless, just when we shall not want them, being ready and in close expectation of that resurrection of the flesh which is the great promise of Christianity (no miserable fancies about "pure souls" escaped from matter, but)—of bodies, our bodies, beloved, beautiful, ministers to us in all our joys, sufferers with us in all our sorrows—yea, our very own selves raised up again to live and love in a manner inconceivable from its perfection.

MS. 1842.

. . . No! I can wait: Another body!—Ah, new limbs are ready, Free, pure, instinct with soul through every nerve, Kept for us in the treasuries of God!

Santa Maura. 1852.

The Highest Study for Man, March 18.

Man is not, as the poet said, "the noblest study of mankind." God is the noblest study of man, and Him we can study in three ways. 1st. From His image as developed in Christ the Ideal, and in all good men—great good men. 2dly. From His works. 3dly. From His dealings in history; this is the real philosophy of history.

Letters and Memories. 1842.

Eclecticism. March 19.

An eclectic, if it mean anything, means this—one who in any branch of art or science refuses to acknowledge Bacon's great law, that "Nature is only conquered by obeying her;" who will not take a full and reverent view of the whole mass of facts with which he has to deal, and from them deducing the fundamental laws of his subject, obey them whithersoever they may lead; but who picks and chooses out of them just so many as may be pleasant to his private taste, and then constructs a partial system which differs from the essential ideas of Nature in proportion to the number of facts which he has determined to discard.

Miscellanies. 1849.

Duty. March 20.

Duty, be it in a small matter or a great, is duty still; the command of Heaven; the eldest voice of God. And it is only they who are faithful in a few things who will be faithful over many things; only they who do their duty in everyday and trivial matters who will fulfil them on great occasions.

Sermons for the Times. 1855.

The Great Unknown. March 21.

"Brother," said the abbot, "make ready for me the divine elements, that I may consecrate them." And he asking the reason therefor, the saint replied, "That I may partake thereof with all my brethren before I depart hence. For know assuredly that within the seventh day I shall migrate to the celestial mansions. For this night stood by me in a dream those two women whom I love, and for whom I pray, the one clothed in a white, the other in a ruby-coloured garment, and holding each other by the hand, who said to me, 'That life after death is not such a one as you fancy: come, therefore, and behold what it is like.'"

Hypatia, chap. xxx. 1852.

Loss nor Gain, March 22.

Nothing is more expensive than penuriousness; nothing more anxious than carelessness; and every duty which is bidden to wait returns with seven fresh duties at its back.

Sermons for the Times. 1855.

Ancient Greek Education, March 23.

We talk of education now. Are we more educated than were the ancient Greeks? Do we know anything about education, physical, intellectual, aesthetic (religious education in our sense of the word of course they had none), of which they have not taught us at least the rudiments? Are there not some branches of education which they perfected once and for ever, leaving us northern barbarians to follow or not to follow their example? To produce health, that is, harmony and sympathy, proportion and grace, in every faculty of mind and body—that was their notion of education.

Ah! the waste of health and strength in the young! The waste, too, of anxiety and misery in those who love and tend them! How much of it might be saved by a little rational education in those laws of nature which are the will of God about the welfare of our bodies, and which, therefore, we are as much bound to know and to obey as we are bound to know and to obey the spiritual laws whereon depend the welfare of our souls.

Lecture on Thrift. 1869.

Body and Soul. March 24.

Exalt me with Thee, O Lord, to know the mystery of life, that I may use the earthly as the appointed expression and type of the heavenly, and, by using to Thy glory the natural body, may be fit to be exalted to the use of the spiritual body. Amen.

MS. 1842.

Moderation. March 25.

Let us pray for that great—I had almost said that crowning grace and virtue of Moderation, what St. Paul calls sobriety and a sound mind. Let us pray for moderate appetites, moderate passions, moderate honours, moderate gains, moderate joys; and if sorrows be needed to chasten us, moderate sorrows. Let us not long violently after, or wish too eagerly to rise in life.

Water of Life Sermons. 1869.

Poetry in the Slums. March 26.

"True poetry, like true charity, my laddie, begins at home. . . . Hech! is there no the heaven above them there, and the hell beneath them? and God frowning, and the devil grinning? No poetry there! Is no the verra idea of the classic tragedy defined to be man conquered by circumstance? canna ye see it there? And the verra idea of the modern tragedy, man conquering circumstance? and I'll show ye that too—in many a garret where no eye but the good God's enters to see the patience, and the fortitude, and the self-sacrifice, and the love stronger than death, that's shining in those dark places of the earth."

"Ah, poetry's grand—but fact is grander; God and Satan are grander. All around ye, in every gin-shop and costermonger's cellar, are God and Satan at death-grips; every garret is a haill Paradise Lost or Paradise Regained."

Alton Locke, chap. viii. 1849.

Time and Eternity. March 27.

. . . Our life's floor Is laid upon Eternity; no crack in it But shows the underlying heaven.

Saint's Tragedy, Act iii. Scene ii.

Work. March 28.

Yes. Life is meant for work, and not for ease; to labour in danger and in dread, to do a little good ere the night comes when no man can work, instead of trying to realise for oneself a paradise; not even Bunyan's shepherd-paradise, much less Fourier's casino-paradise, and perhaps, least of all, because most selfish and isolated of all, our own art-paradise, the apotheosis of loafing, as Claude calls it.

Prose Idylls. 1849.

Teaching of Pictures. March 29.

Pictures raise blessed thoughts in me. Why not in you, my toiling brother? Those landscapes painted by loving, wise, old Claude two hundred years ago, are still as fresh as ever. How still the meadows are! How pure and free that vault of deep blue sky! No wonder that thy worn heart, as thou lookest, sighs aloud, "Oh, that I had wings as a dove, then would I flee away and be at rest." Ah! but gayer meadows and bluer skies await thee in the world to come—that fairyland made real—"the new heavens and the new earth" which God hath prepared for the pure and the loving, the just, and the brave, who have conquered in this sore fight of life.

True Words for Brave Men. 1849.

Voluntary Heroism. March 30.

Any man or woman, in any age and under any circumstances, who will, can live the heroic life and exercise heroic influences.

It is of the essence of self-sacrifice, and therefore of heroism, that it should be voluntary; a work of supererogation, at least, towards society and man; an act to which the hero or heroine is not bound by duty, but which is above though not against duty.

Lecture on Heroism. 1872.

The Ideal Holy One. March 31.

Have you never cried in your hearts with longing, almost with impatience, "Surely, surely, there is an ideal Holy One somewhere—or else, how could have arisen in my mind the conception, however faint, of an ideal holiness? But where? oh, where? Not in the world around strewn with unholiness. Not in myself, unholy too, without and within. Is there a Holy One, whom I may contemplate with utter delight? and if so, where is He? Oh, that I might behold, if but for a moment, His perfect beauty, even though, as in the fable of Semele of old, 'the lightning of His glance were death.'" . . .

And then, oh, then—has there not come that for which our spirit was athirst—the very breath of pure air, the very gleam of pure light, the very strain of pure music—for it is the very music of the spheres—in those words, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come"?

Yes, whatever else is unholy, there is a Holy One—spotless and undefiled, serene and self-contained. Whatever else I cannot trust, there is One whom I can trust utterly. Whatever else I am dissatisfied with, there is One whom I can contemplate with utter satisfaction, and bathe my stained soul in that eternal fount of purity. And who is He? Who, save the Cause and Maker and Ruler of all things past, present, and to come?

Sermon on All Saints' Day. 1874.

Charles Kingsley's Dying Words, "HOW BEAUTIFUL GOD IS."


MARCH 25. The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin, COMMONLY CALLED Lady Day.

It is one of the glories of our holy religion, and one of the ways by which the Gospel takes such hold on our hearts, that, mixed up with the grandest and most mysterious and most divine matters, are the simplest, the most tender, the most human. What more grand, or deep, or divine words can we say than, "I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,"—and yet what more simple, human, and tender words can we say than, "Who was born of the Virgin Mary"? For what more beautiful sight on earth than a young mother with her babe upon her knee? Beautiful in itself; but doubly beautiful to those who can say, "I believe in Him who was born of the Virgin Mary."

For since He was born of woman, and thereby took the manhood into God, birth is holy, and childhood holy, and all a mother's joys and a mother's cares are holy to the Lord; and every Christian mother with her babe in her arms is a token and a sign from God, a pledge of His good-will towards men, a type and pattern of her who was highly-favoured and blessed above all women. Everything has its time, and Lady-Day is the time for our remembering the Blessed Virgin. For our hearts and reasons tell us (and have told all Christians in all ages), that she must have been holier, nobler, fairer in body and soul, than all women upon earth.

MS. Sermon.


Wild, wild wind, wilt thou never cease thy sighing? Dark, dark night, wilt thou never wear away? Cold, cold Church, in thy death sleep lying, Thy Lent is past, thy Passion here, but not thine Easter Day.

Peace, faint heart, though the night be dark and sighing, Rest fair corpse, where thy Lord Himself hath lain. Weep, dear Lord, above Thy bride low lying, Thy tears shall wake her frozen limbs to life and health again.

The Dead Church.

The Song of Birds. April 1.

St. Francis called the birds his brothers. Perfectly sure that he himself was a spiritual being, he thought it at least possible that the birds might be spiritual beings likewise, incarnate like himself in mortal flesh, and saw no degradation to the dignity of human nature in claiming kindred lovingly with creatures so beautiful, so wonderful, who (as he fancied in his old-fashioned way) praised God in the forest even as angels did in heaven.

Prose Idylls. 1867.

True Reformers. April 2.

It is not the many who reform the world; but the few who rise superior to that Public Opinion which crucified our Lord many years ago.

MS. Lecture at Cambridge. 1866.

High Ideals. April 3.

What if a man's idea of "The Church" be somewhat too narrow for the year of grace 18—, is it no honour to him that he has such an idea at all? that there has risen up before him the vision of a perfect polity, a "divine and wonderful order," linking earth to heaven, and to the very throne of Him who died for men; witnessing to each of its citizens what the world tries to make him forget, namely, that he is the child of God Himself; and guiding and strengthening him from the cradle to the grave to do his Father's work? Is it no honour to him that he has seen that such a polity must exist, that he believes that it does exist, or that he thinks he finds it in its highest, if not in its most perfect form, in the most ancient and august traditions of his native land? True, he may have much still to learn. . . .

Two Years Ago, chap. iv. 1856.

Divine Knowledge. April 4.

That glorious word know—it is God's attribute, and includes in itself all others. Love, truth—all are parts of that awful power of knowing at a single glance, from and to all eternity, what a thing is in its essence, its properties, and its relations to the whole universe through all Time. I feel awestruck whenever I see that word used rightly, and I never, if I can remember, use it myself of myself.

Letters and Memories. 1842.

Woman's Love. April 5.

The story of Ruth is the consecration of woman's love. I do not mean of the love of wife to husband, divine and blessed as that is. I mean that depth and strength of devotion, tenderness, and self-sacrifice, which God has put into the heart of all true women; and which they spend so strangely, and so nobly often, on persons who have no claim on them, and from whom they can receive no earthly reward—the affection which made women minister of their substance to our Lord Jesus Christ, which brought Mary Magdalene to the foot of the cross and to the door of the tomb—the affection which made a wise man say that as long as women and sorrow are left in the world, so long will the gospel of our Lord Jesus live and conquer therein.

Water of Life Sermons.

Feeling and Emotion. April 6.

Live a life of feeling, not of excitement. Let your religion, your duties, every thought and word, be ruled by the affections, not by the emotions, which are the expressions of them. Do not consider whether you are glad, sorry, dull, or spiritual at any moment, but be yourself—what God makes you.

MS. Letter. 1842.

The Beasts that perish. April 7.

St. Paul says that he himself saw through a glass darkly. But this he seems to have seen, that the Lord, when He rose from the dead, brought a blessing even for the dumb beasts and the earth on which we live. He says the whole creation is now groaning in the pangs of labour, about to bring forth something, and that the whole creation will rise again—how and when and into what new state we cannot tell; but that when the Lord shall destroy death the whole creation shall be renewed.

National Sermons. 1851.

Reverence for Age. April 8.

Reverence for age is a fair test of the vigour of youth; and, conversely, insolence towards the old and the past, whether in individuals or in nations, is a sign rather of weakness than of strength.

Lecture on Westminster Abbey. 1874.

Prayers for the Dead. April 9.

We do not in the Church of England now pray for the dead. We are not absolutely forbidden by Scripture to do so. But we believe they are where they ought to be—that they are gone to a perfectly just world, in which is none of the confusion, mistakes, wrong, and oppression of this world; in which they will therefore receive the due reward of their deeds done in the body; and that they are in the hands of a perfectly just God, who rewardeth every man according to his work. It seems therefore unnecessary, and, so to speak, an impertinence towards God, to pray for them who are in the unseen world of spirits exactly in the state which they have deserved.

MS. Sermon.

Diversities of Gifts. April 10.

Why expect Wisdom with love in all? Each has his gift— Our souls are organ pipes of diverse stop And various pitch: each with its proper notes Thrilling beneath the self-same breath of God. Though poor alone, yet joined, they're harmony.

Saints' Tragedy, Act ii. Scene v. 1847.

The Atonement. April 11.

How Christ's death takes away thy sins thou wilt never know on earth—perhaps not in heaven. It is a mystery which thou must believe and adore. But why He died thou canst see at the first glance, if thou hast a human heart and will look at what God means thee to look at—Christ upon His Cross. He died because He was Love—love itself, love boundless, unconquerable, unchangeable—love which inhabits eternity, and therefore could not be hardened or foiled by any sin or rebellion of man, but must love men still—must go out to seek and save them, must dare, suffer any misery, shame, death itself, for their sake—just because it is absolute and perfect Love which inhabits eternity.

Good News of God Sermons.

A Day's Work. April 12.

Make a rule, and pray to God to help you to keep it, never, if possible, to lie down at night without being able to say, I have made one human being at least a little wiser, a little happier, or a little better this day. You will find it easier than you think, and pleasanter.

Sermons for the Times. 1855.

Self-control. April 13.

A well-educated moral sense, a well-educated character, saves from idleness and ennui, alternating with sentimentality and excitement, those tenderer emotions, those deeper passions, those nobler aspirations of humanity, which are the heritage of the woman far more than of the man, and which are potent in her, for evil or for good, in proportion as they are left to run wild and undisciplined, or are trained and developed into graceful, harmonious, self-restraining strength, beautiful in themselves, and a blessing to all who come under their influence.

Lecture on Thrift. 1869.

Women and Novels. April 14.

Novels will be read; but that is all the more reason why women should be trained, by the perusal of a higher, broader, deeper literature, to distinguish the good novel from the bad, the moral from the immoral, the noble from the base, the true work of art from the sham which hides its shallowness and vulgarity under a tangled plot and a melodramatic situation. They should learn—and that they can only learn by cultivation—to discern with joy and drink in with reverence, the good, the beautiful, and the true, and to turn with the fine scorn of a pure and strong womanhood from the bad, the ugly, and the false.

Lecture on Thrift. 1869.

Expect Much. April 15.

Expect great things from God, and also expect the least things, for the great test of faith is shown about the least matters. People will believe their soul is sure to be saved who have not the heart to expect that God will take away some small burden.

MS. Letter. 1842.

What is Theology? April 16.

Theology signifies the knowledge of God as He is. And it is dying out among us in these days. Much of what is called theology now is nothing but experimental religion, which is most important and useful when it is founded on the right knowledge of God, but which is not itself theology. For theology begins with God, but experimental religion, right or wrong, begins with a man's own soul.

Discipline and other Sermons.

Sweetness and Light. April 17.

Ah, that we could believe that God is love, and that he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him! Then we should have no need to be told to cultivate sweetness and light, for they would seem to us the only temper which could make life tolerable in any corner of the universe.

Essay on the Critical Spirit. 1871.

The Contemplative Life. April 18.

"Woman is no more capable than man of living on mere contemplation. We must have an object to whom we may devote the fruits of thought, and unless we have a real one in active life we shall be sure to coin one for ourselves, and spend our spirits on a dream."

"True, true," chimed in the counsellor, "spirit is little use without body, and a body it will find; and therefore, unless you let people's brains grow healthy plants, they will grow mushrooms."

MS. unfinished Story. 1843.

Sudden Death. April 19.

"What better can the Lord do for a man, than take him home when he has done his work?"

"But, Master Yeo, a sudden death?"

"And why not a sudden death, Sir John? Even fools long for a short life and a merry one, and shall not the Lord's people pray for a short death and a merry one? Let it come as it will to old Yeo!"

Westward Ho! chap. xxxii. 1855.

Prayer and Praise. April 20.

Pray night and day, very quietly, like a little weary child, to the good and loving God, for everything you want, in body as well as soul—the least thing as well as the greatest. Nothing is too much to ask God for—nothing too great for Him to grant: glory be to Thee, O Lord! And try to thank Him for everything . . . I sometimes feel that eternity will be too short to praise God in, if it was only for making us live at all! And then not making us idiots or cripples, or even only ugly and stupid! What blessings we have! Let us work in return for them—not under the enslaving sense of paying off an infinite debt, but with the delight of gratitude, glorying that we are God's debtors.

Letters. 1843.

The Divine Spark. April 21.

Man? I am a man, thou art a woman—not by reason of bones and muscles, nerves and brain, which I have in common with apes, and dogs, and horses—I am a man, thou art a man or woman, not because we have a flesh, God forbid! but because there is a spirit in us, a divine spark and ray which nature did not give, and which nature cannot take away. And therefore, while I live on earth, I will live to the spirit, not to the flesh, that I may be indeed a man.

Lecture on Ancient Civilisation. 1873.

The Worst Calamity. April 22.

The very worst calamity, I should say, which could befall any human being would be this—to have his own way from his cradle to his grave; to have everything he liked for the asking, or even for the buying; never to be forced to say, "I should like that, but I cannot afford it. I should like this, but I must not do it." Never to deny himself, never to exert himself, never to work, and never to want—that man's soul would be in as great danger as if he were committing great crimes.

All Saints' Day Sermons.

Men and Women. April 23.

"The Lord be with you, dearest lady," said Adrian Gilbert. "Strange how you women sit at home to love and suffer, while we men rush forth to break our hearts and yours against rocks of our own seeking! Ah! hech! were it not for Scripture I should have thought that Adam, rather than Eve, had been the one who plucked the fruit of the forbidden tree."

Westward Ho! chap. xiii. 1855.

Faith in the Unseen. April 24.

He was not one of those "ungodly" men of whom David speaks in his Psalms, who rob the widow and the fatherless. His morality was as high as that of the average, his honour higher. But of "godliness" in its true sense—of belief that any Being above cared for him, and was helping him in the daily business of life: that it was worth while asking that Being's advice, or that any advice would be given if asked for—of any practical notion of a heavenly Father or a Divine educator—he was as ignorant as thousands of persons who go to church every Sunday, and read good books, and believe firmly that the Pope is Antichrist.

Two Years Ago, chap. i. 1856.

Death—Resurrection. April 25.

As we rose to go, my eye caught a highly-finished drawing of the Resurrection painted above the place where the desk and faldstool and lectern, holding an open missal book, stood. I should have rather expected, I thought to myself, a picture of the Crucifixion. She seemed to guess my thought, and said, "There is enough in an abode of heavy hearts, and in daily labours among poverty and suffering, to keep in our minds the Prince of Sufferers. We need rather to be reminded that pain is not the law but the disease of our existence, and that it has been conquered for us in body and soul by Him in whose eternity of bliss a few years of sadness were but as a mote within the sunbeam's blaze."

MS. unfinished Story. l843.

Woman's Work. April 26.

Woman is the teacher, the natural and therefore divine guide, purifier, inspirer of man.


Passion—Easter—Ascension. April 27.

Good Friday, Easter Day, and Ascension, are set as great lights in the firmament of the spiritual year;—to remind us that we are not animals born to do what we like, and fulfil the simple lusts of the flesh—but that we are rational moral beings, members of Christ, children of God, and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven, and that, therefore, like Christ, we must die in order to live, stoop in order to conquer. They remind us that honour must grow out of humility; that freedom must grow out of discipline; that sure conquest must be born of heavy struggles; righteous joy out of righteous sorrow; pure laughter out of pure tears; true strength out of the true knowledge of our own weakness; sound peace of mind out of sound contrition.

All Saints' Day Sermons. 1871.

How to keep Passion-Week. April 28.

Can we go wrong if we keep our Passion-week as Christ kept His? And how did He keep it? Not by shutting Himself up apart, not by the mere thinking over the glory of self-sacrifice. He taught daily in the temple; instead of giving up His work, He worked more earnestly than ever as the terrible end drew near. Why should not we keep Passion-week, not by merely hiding in our closets to meditate even about Him, but by going about our work each in his place, dutifully, bravely, as Christ went?

Town and Country Sermons. 1859.

Self-Sacrifice. April 29.

Without self-sacrifice there can be no blessedness either in earth or in heaven. He that loveth his life will lose it. He that hateth his life in this paltry, selfish, luxurious world shall keep it to life eternal.

All Saints' Day Sermons. 1870.

Help from our Blessed Dead. April 30.

And so with those who are Christ's whom we love. Partakers of His death, they are partakers of His resurrection. Let us believe the blessed news in all its fulness, and be at peace. A little while and we see them, and again a little while and we do not see them. But why? Because they are gone to the Father, to the Source and Fount of all life and power, all light and love, that they may gain life from His life, power from His power, light from His light, love from His love; and surely not for nought. Surely not for nought. For if they were like Christ on earth, and did not use their powers for themselves alone; if they are to be like Christ when they see Him as He is, then, more surely, will they not use their powers for themselves, but as Christ uses His, for those they love.

MS. Sermon. 1866.


From the earliest times the Cross has been the special sign of Christians. St. Paul tells us his great hope, his great business, what God had sent him into the world to do, was this—to make people know the love of Christ; to look at Christ's Cross, and take in its breadth and length and depth and height.

And what is the breadth of Christ's Cross? My friends, it is as broad as the whole world, for He died for the whole world; as it is written, "He is a propitiation not for our sins only, but for the sins of the whole world." And that is the breadth of Christ's Cross.

And what is the length of Christ's Cross? Long enough to last through all time. As long as there is a sinner to be saved; as long as there is ignorance, sorrow, pain, death, or anything else which is contrary to God and hurtful to man in the universe of God, so long will Christ's Cross last. And that is the length of the Cross of Christ.

And how high is Christ's Cross? As high as the highest heaven, and the throne of God and the bosom of the Father—that bosom out of which for ever proceed all created things. Ay, as high as the highest heaven; for, if you will receive it, when Christ hung upon the Cross heaven came down on earth, and earth ascended into heaven. And that is the height of the Cross of Christ.

And how deep is the Cross of Christ? This is a great mystery which people are afraid to look into, and darken it of their own will. But if the Cross of Christ be as high as heaven, then it must be as deep as hell, deep enough to reach the deepest sinner in the deepest pit to which he may fall, for Christ descended into hell, and preached to the spirits in prison. Let us hope, then, that is the depth of the Cross of Christ.

"The Measure of the Cross," Sermons (Good News of God).

Good Friday.

Listen! and our God shall whisper, as we hang upon the cross, {97} "Children! love! and loving, faint not! great your glory, light your loss! Ye are bound—ye may be loosed—I was nailed upon the tree, Of the pangs I suffered for you—bear awhile a few for me! Fear not, though the waters whelm you; fear not, though ye see no land! Know ye not your God is with you, guiding with a Father's hand? Cords may wring, and winds may freeze you, shivering on the sullen sea, Yet the life that burns within you liveth ever hid with Me!"

MS. 1842.

Christ must suffer before He entered into His glory. He must die before He could rise. He must descend into hell before He could ascend into heaven. For this is the law of God's kingdom. Without a Good Friday there can be no Easter Day. Without self-sacrifice there can be no blessedness.

My Saviour! My King! Infinite, Eternal Love—alone of all beings devoid of self-love! Glory be to Thee for Thy humiliation, for Thy Cross and Passion!


Easter Even.

Christ went down into hell and preached to the spirits in prison. It is written that "as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive;" and again, "When the wicked man turns from his wickedness he shall save his soul alive." And we know that in the same chapter God tells us that His ways are not unequal. It is possible, therefore, that He has not one law for this life and another for the life to come. Let us hope, then, that David's words may be true after all, when, speaking by the Spirit of God, he says not only "if I ascend up to heaven, thou art there," but "if I go down to hell, thou art there also."

MS. Sermon.

Easter Day.

The Creed says, "I believe in the Resurrection of the flesh." I believe that we, each of us, as human beings, men and women, shall have a share in that glorious day; not merely as ghosts and disembodied spirits, but as real live human beings, with new bodies of our own, on a new earth, under a new heaven. "Therefore," David says, "my flesh shall rest in hope;" not merely my soul, my ghost, but my flesh. For the Lord, who not only died but rose again with His body, shall raise our bodies according to His mighty working, and then the whole manhood of us—body, soul, and spirit—shall have our perfect consummation and bliss in His eternal and everlasting glory.

National Sermons.

APRIL 25. St. Mark, Evangelist and Martyr.

God's apostles, saints, and martyrs are our spiritual ancestors. They spread the Gospel into all lands, and they spread it, remember always, not only by preaching what they knew, but by being what they were. Their characters, their personal histories, are as important to us as their writings.



Is it merely a fancy that we are losing that love for Spring which among our old forefathers rose almost to worship? That the perpetual miracle of the budding leaves and the returning song-birds awakes no longer in us the astonishment which it awoke yearly among the dwellers in the old world, when the sun was a god who was sick to death each winter, and returned in spring to life, and health, and glory; when Freya, the goddess of youth and love, went forth over the earth while the flowers broke forth under her tread over the brown moors, and the birds welcomed her with song? To those simpler children of a simpler age winter and spring were the two great facts of existence; the symbols, the one of death, the other of life; and the battle between the two—the battle of the sun with darkness, of winter with spring, of death with life, of bereavement with love—lay at the root of all their myths and all their creeds. Surely a change has come over our fancies! The seasons are little to us now!

Prose Idylls.

Past and Present. May 1.

Now see the young spring leaves burst out a-maying, Fill with their ripening hues orchard and glen; So though old forms pass by, ne'er shall their spirit die, Look! England's bare boughs show green leaf again.

Poems. 1849.

The Earth is the Lord's. May 2.

The earth is holy! Can there be a more glorious truth to carry out—one which will lead us more into all love and beauty and purity in heaven and earth? One which must have God's light of love shining on it at every step. God gives us souls and bodies exquisitely attuned for this very purpose—the aesthetic faculty, our sensibilities to the beautiful. All events of life, all the workings of our hearts, should point to this one idea. As I walk the fields, the trees and flowers and birds, and the motes of rack floating in the sky, seem to cry to me: "Thou knowest us! Thou knowest we have a meaning, and sing a heaven's harmony by night and day! Do us justice! Spell our enigma, and go forth and tell thy fellows that we are their brethren, that their spirit is our spirit, their Saviour our Saviour, their God our God!"

Letters and Memories. 1842.

The Great Question. May 3.

Is there a living God in the universe, or is there not? That is the greatest of all questions. Has our Lord Jesus Christ answered it, or has He not?

Water of Life Sermons. 1866.

Our Father. May 4.

Look at those thousand birds, and without our Father not one of them shall fall to the ground; and art thou not of more value than many sparrows—thou for whom God sent His Son to die? . . . Ah! my friend, we must look out and around to see what God is like. It is when we persist in turning our eyes inward, and prying curiously over our own imperfections, that we learn to make a god after our own image, and fancy that our own hardness and darkness are the patterns of His light and love.

Hypatia, chap. xi.

Want of Sympathy. May 5.

If we do not understand our fellow-creatures we shall never love them. And it is equally true, that if we do not love them we shall never understand them. Want of charity, want of sympathy, want of good feeling and fellow-feeling—what does it, what can it breed but endless mistakes and ignorances, both of men's characters and men's circumstances?

Westminster Sermons. 1873.

A Religion. May 6.

If all that a man wants is "a religion," he ought to be able to make a very pretty one for himself, and a fresh one as often as he is tired of the old. But the heart and soul of man wants more than that; as it is written, "My soul is athirst for GOD, even for the living God." I want a living God, who cares for men, forgives men, saves men from their sins: and Him I have found in the Bible, and nowhere else, save in the facts of life which the Bible alone interprets.

Sermons on the Pentateuch. 1863.

True Civilisation. May 7.

Do the duty which lies nearest to you; your duty to the man who lives next door, and to the man who lives in the next street. Do your duty to your parish, that you may do your duty by your country and to all mankind, and prove yourselves thereby civilised men.

Water of Life Sermons. 1866.

Nature and Grace. May 8.

Why speak of the God of Nature and the God of grace as two antithetical terms? The Bible never in a single instance makes the distinction, and surely if God be the eternal and unchangeable One, and if all the universe bears the impress of His signet, we have no right, in the present infantile state of science, to put arbitrary limits of our own to the revelation which He may have thought good to make of Himself in Nature. Nay, rather, let us believe that if our eyes were opened we should fulfil the requirement of genius and see the universal in the particular by seeing God's whole likeness, His whole glory, reflected as in a mirror in the meanest flower, and that nothing but the dulness of our simple souls prevents them from seeing day and night in all things the Lord Jesus Christ fulfilling His own saying, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work."

Glaucus. 1855.

Wisdom the Child of Goodness. May 9.

Goodness rather than talent had given her a wisdom, and goodness rather than courage a power of using that wisdom, which to those simple folk seemed almost an inspiration.

Two Years Ago, chap. ii. 1857.

Rule of Life. May 10.

Two great rules for the attainment of heavenly wisdom are simple enough—"Never forget what and where you are," and "Grieve not the Holy Spirit."

MS. Letter. 1841.

Music the Speech of God. May 11.

Music—there is something very wonderful in music. Words are wonderful enough, but music is more wonderful. It speaks not to our thoughts as words do, it speaks straight to our hearts and spirits, to the very core and root of our souls. Music soothes us, stirs us up; it puts noble feelings into us; it melts us to tears, we know not how; it is a language by itself, just as perfect, in its way, as speech, as words; just as divine, just as blessed. Music has been called the speech of angels; I will go farther, and call it the speech of God Himself.

The old Greeks, the wisest of all the heathen, made a point of teaching their children music, because, they said, it taught them not to be self- willed and fanciful, but to see the beauty of order, the usefulness of rule, the divineness of law.

Good News of God Sermons. 1859.

Facing Realities. May 12.

The only comfort I can see in the tragedies of war is that they bring us all face to face with the realities of human life, as it has been in all ages, giving us sterner and yet more loving, more human, and more divine thoughts about ourselves, and our business here, and the fate of those who are gone, and awakening us out of the luxurious, frivolous, and unreal dream (full nevertheless of hard judgments) in which we have been living so long, to trust in a living Father who is really and practically governing this world and all worlds, and who willeth that none should perish.

Letters and Memories. 1855.

Street Arabs. May 13.

One has only to go into the streets of any great city in England to see how we, with all our boast of civilisation, are yet but one step removed from barbarism. Is that a hard word? Only there are the barbarians round us at every street corner—grown barbarians, it may be, now all but past saving, but bringing into the world young barbarians whom we may yet save, for God wishes us to save them. . . . Do not deceive yourselves about the little dirty, offensive children in the street. If they be offensive to you, they are not to Him who made them. "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones: for I say unto you, their angels do always behold the face of your Father which is in heaven."

All Saints' Day Sermons. 1871.

Fellowship of Sorrow. May 14.

How was He, The blessed One, made perfect? Why, by grief— The fellowship of voluntary grief— He read the tear-stained book of poor men's souls, As we must learn to read it. Lady! lady! Wear but one robe the less—forego one meal— And thou shalt taste the core of many tales, Which now flit past thee, like a minstrel's songs, The sweeter for their sadness.

Saint's Tragedy, Act ii. Scene v. 1847.

Heaven and Hell. May 15.

Heaven and hell—the spiritual world—are they merely invisible places in space which may become visible hereafter? or are they not rather the moral world of right and wrong? Love and righteousness—is not that the heaven itself wherein God dwells? Hatred and sin—is not that hell itself, wherein dwells all that is opposed to God?

Water of Life Sermons.

The Awfulness of Life. May 16.

Our hearts are dull, and hard, and light, God forgive us! and we forget continually what an earnest, awful world we live in—a whole eternity waiting for us to be born, and a whole eternity waiting to see what we shall do now we are born. Yes, our hearts are dull, and hard, and light. And therefore Christ sends suffering on us, to teach us what we always gladly forget in comfort and prosperity—what an awful capacity of suffering we have; and more, what an awful capacity of suffering our fellow-creatures have likewise. . . .

We sit at ease too often in a fool's paradise, till God awakens us and tortures us into pity for the torture of others. And so, if we will not acknowledge our brotherhood by any other teaching, He knits us together by the brotherhood of suffering.

All Saints' Day Sermons. 1871.

Hope and Fear. May 17.

Every gift of God is good, and given for our happiness, and we sin if we abuse it. To use your fancy to your own misery is to abuse it and to sin. The realm of the possible was given to man to hope and not to fear in.

Letters and Memories. 1842.

Cry of the Heart and Reason. May 18.

A living God, a true God, a real God, a God worthy of the name, a God who is working for ever, everywhere, and in all; who hates nothing that He has made, forgets nothing, neglects nothing; a God who satisfies not only the head but the heart, not only the logical intellect but the highest reason—that pure reason which is one with the conscience and moral sense! For Him we cry out, Him we seek, and if we cannot find Him we know no rest.

Water of Life Sermons. 1867.

Speaking the Truth in Love. May 19.

Whenever we are tempted to say more than is needful, let us remember St. John's words (in the only sermon we have on record of his), "Little children, love one another," and ask God for His Holy Spirit, the spirit of love, which, instead of weakening a man's words, makes them all the stronger in the cause of truth, because they are spoken in love.

How difficult it is to distinguish between the loving tact, which avoids giving offence to a weaker brother, and the fear of man, which bringeth a snare!

MS. Letter. 1842.

Peasant Souls. May 20.

. . . Dull boors See deeper than we think, and hide within Those leathern hulls unfathomable truths, Which we amid thought's glittering mazes lose. They grind among the iron facts of life, And have no time for self-deception.

Saint's Tragedy, Act iii. Scene ii. 1847.

Death and Everlasting Life. May 21.

Do not rashly count on some sudden radical change happening to you as soon as you die to make you fit for heaven. There is not one word in the Bible which gives us reason to suppose that we shall not be in the next world the same persons that we have made ourselves in this world. . . . What we sow here we shall reap there. And it is good for us to know and face this. Anything is good for us, however unpleasant it may be, which drives us from the only real misery, which is sin and selfishness, to the only true happiness, which is the everlasting life of Christ, a pure, loving, just, generous, useful life of goodness.

Good News of God Sermons.

Science and Virtue. May 22.

Science is great; but she is not the greatest. She is an instrument and not a power—beneficent or deadly, according as she is wielded by the hand of virtue or vice. But her lawful mistress, the only one which can use her aright, the only one under whom she can truly grow and prosper and prove her divine descent, is Virtue, the likeness of Almighty God.

Roman and Teuton. 1860.

A Child's Heart. May 23.

"I saw at last! I found out that I had been trying for years which was stronger, God or I; I found out I had been trying whether I could not do well enough without Him; and there I found that I could not—could not! I felt like a child who had marched off from home, fancying it can find its way, and is lost at once. I did not know that I had a Father in heaven who had been looking after me, when I fancied I was looking after myself. I don't half believe it now." . . . And so the old heart passed away from Thomas Thurnall, and instead of it grew up the heart of a little child.

Two Years Ago, chap. xxviii. 1857.

Self-Security. May 24.

Strange it is how mortal man, "who cometh up and is cut down like the flower," can harden himself into a stoical security, and count on the morrow which may never come. Yet so it is, and perhaps if it were not so no work would get done on earth—at least by the many who know not that God is guiding them, while they fancy they are guiding themselves.

Two Years Ago, chap. i.

There is a Providence which rules this earth, whose name is neither Political Economy nor Expediency, but the Living God, who makes every right action reward, and every wrong action punish, itself.

History Lecture, Cambridge. 1866.

Loss and Gain. May 25.

"He has yet to learn what losing his life to save it means, Amyas. Bad men have taught him (and I fear these Anabaptists and Puritans at home teach little else) that it is the one great business of every man to save his own soul after he dies; every one for himself; and that that, and not divine self-sacrifice, is the one thing needful, and the better part which Mary chose."

"I think," said Amyas, "men are enough inclined to be selfish without being taught that."

Westward Ho! chap. vii. 1854.

The Law of Righteousness. May 26.

What if I had discovered that one law of the spiritual world, in which all others were contained, was Righteousness? and that disharmony with that law, which we call unspirituality, was not being vulgar, or clumsy, or ill-taught, or unimaginative, or dull; but simply being unrighteous? that righteousness, and it alone, was the beautiful, righteousness the sublime, the heavenly, the God-like—ay, God Himself?

Hypatia, chap. xxvii. 1852.

Human and Divine Love. May 27.

Believe me that he who has been led by love to a human being to understand the mystery of that divine love which fills all heaven and earth, and concentrates itself into an articulate manifestation in the person of Christ, will soon begin to find that he cannot enter into the perfect bliss of that truth without going further, and seeing that the human heart requires some standing-ground for its affection, even for the love of wife and child, deeper and surer than that love, namely, in utter loyalty, resignation, adoring affection to Him in whom all loveliness is concentrated. It is a great mystery. It is a hard lesson.

Letters and Memories. 1847.

A High Finish. May 28.

A high artistic finish is important for more reasons than for the mere pleasure it gives. There is something sacramental in perfect metre and rhythm. They are outward and visible signs (most seriously we speak as we say it) of an inward and spiritual grace, namely, of the self-possessed and victorious temper of one who has so far subdued nature as to be able to hear that universal sphere-music of hers, speaking of which Mr. Carlyle says, that "all deepest thoughts instinctively vent themselves in song."

Miscellanies. 1849.

Our Prayers. May 29.

There can be no objection to praying for certain special things. God forbid! I cannot help doing it, any more than a child in the dark can help calling for its mother. Only it seems to me that when we pray, "Grant this day that we run into no kind of danger," we ought to lay our stress on the "run" rather than on the "danger," to ask God not to take away the danger by altering the course of nature, but to give us light and guidance whereby to avoid it.

Letters and Memories. 1860.

Clearing Showers. May 30.

When a stream is swelled by a flood, a shower of rain clears it. So in trouble, when the heart is turbid from the world's admixtures, and the stirring up of the foul particles which will lie at the bottom, nothing but the pure dew of heaven can restore its purity, when God's spirit comes down upon it like a gentle rain!

MS. 1843.

Vineyards in Spring. May 31.

Look at the rows of vines, or what will be vines when the summer comes, but are now black, knotted and gnarled clubs, without a sign of life in the seemingly dead stick. One who sees that sight may find a new beauty and meaning in the mystic words, "I am the Vine, ye are the branches." It is not merely the connection between branch and stem common to all trees; not merely the exhilarating and seemingly inspiring properties of the grape, which made the very heathen look upon it as the sacred and miraculous fruit, the special gift of God; not merely the pruning out of the unfruitful branches, to be burned as firewood—not merely these, but the seeming death of the Vine, shorn of all its beauty, its fruitfulness, of every branch and twig which it had borne the year before, and left unsightly and seemingly ruined, to its winter sleep; and then bursting forth again by an irresistible inward life into fresh branches, spreading and trailing far and wide, and tossing their golden tendrils to the sky. This thought surely—the emblem of the living Church, springing from the corpse of the dead Christ, who yet should rise to be alive for evermore—enters into, it may be forms an integral part of, the meaning of that prophecy of all prophecies.

Prose Idylls. 1864.


MAY 1. St. Philip and St. James, Apostles and Martyrs.

Christ's cross says still, and will say to all Eternity, "Wouldst thou be good? Wouldst thou be like God? Then work and dare, and if need be, suffer for thy fellow-men." On the Cross Christ consecrated, and as it were offered to the Father in His own body, all loving actions, unselfish actions, merciful actions, heroic actions, which man has done or ever will do. From Him, from His spirit, their strength came; and therefore He is not ashamed to call them brethren. He is the King of the noble army of martyrs; of all who suffer for love and truth and justice' sake; and to all such He says, thou hast put on My likeness; thou hast suffered for My sake, and I too have suffered for thy sake, and enabled thee to suffer likewise, and in Me thou too art a Son of God, in whom the Father is well pleased.


Feast of the Ascension.

"Lo, I am with you always," said the Blessed One before He ascended to the Father. And this is the Lord who we fancy is gone away far above the stars till the end of time! Oh, my friends, rather bow your heads before Him at this moment! For here He is among us now, listening to every thought of our poor simple hearts. He is where God is, in whom we live, and move, and have our being, and that is everywhere. Do you wish Him to be any nearer?

National Sermons.

. . . Oh, my Saviour! My God! where art Thou? That's but a tale about Thee, That crucifix above—it does but show Thee As Thou wast once, but not as Thou art now. . . .

Saint's Tragedy, Act iv. Scene i.


Three o'clock, upon a still, pure, Midsummer morning. . . . The white glare of dawn, which last night hung high in the north-west, has travelled now to the north-east, and above the wooded wall of the hills the sky is flushing with rose and amber. A long line of gulls goes wailing inland; the rooks come cawing and sporting round the corner at Landcross, while high above them four or five herons flap solemnly along to find their breakfast on the shallows. The pheasants and partridges are clucking merrily in the long wet grass; every copse and hedgerow rings with the voice of birds; but the lark, who has been singing since midnight in the "blank height of the dark," suddenly hushes his carol and drops headlong among the corn, as a broad-winged buzzard swings from some wooded peak into the abyss of the valley, and hangs high-poised above the heavenward songster. The air is full of perfume; sweet clover, new-mown hay, the fragrant breath of kine, the dainty scent of sea-weed, and fresh wet sand. Glorious day, glorious place, "bridal of earth and sky," decked well with bridal garments, bridal perfumes, bridal songs.

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