January - February
They go from strength to strength.--PS. lxxxiv. 7.
First the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the
ear.--MARK. iv. 28.
Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea!
O. W. HOLMES.
High hearts are never long without hearing some new call, some distant
clarion of God, even in their dreams; and soon they are observed to break
up the camp of ease, and start on some fresh march of faithful service.
And, looking higher still, we find those who never wait till their moral
work accumulates, and who reward resolution with no rest; with whom,
therefore, the alternation is instantaneous and constant; who do the good
only to see the better, and see the better only to achieve it; who are too
meek for transport, too faithful for remorse, too earnest for repose; whose
worship is action, and whose action ceaseless aspiration.
The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time
forth, and even for evermore.--PS. cxxi. 8.
Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling-place in all generations.--PS. xc. 1.
With grateful hearts the past we own;
The future, all to us unknown,
We to Thy guardian care commit,
And peaceful leave before Thy feet.
We are like to Him with whom there is no past or future, with whom a day is
as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day, when we do our work
in the great present, leaving both past and future to Him to whom they are
ever present, and fearing nothing, because He is in our future as much as
He is in our past, as much as, and far more than we can feel Him to be, in
our present. Partakers thus of the divine nature, resting in that perfect
All-in-all in whom our nature is eternal too, we walk without fear, full of
hope and courage and strength to do His will, waiting for the endless good
which He is always giving as fast as He can get us able to take it in.
As thy days, so shall thy strength be.--DEUT. xxxiii. 25.
Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.--MATT. vi. 34.
Oh, ask not thou, How shall I bear
The burden of to-morrow?
Sufficient for to-day, its care,
Its evil and its sorrow;
God imparteth by the way
Strength sufficient for the day.
J. E. SAXBY.
He that hath so many causes of joy, and so great, is very much in love with
sorrow and peevishness, who loses all these pleasures, and chooses to sit
down upon his little handful of thorns. Enjoy the blessings of this day, if
God sends them; and the evils of it bear patiently and sweetly: for this
day only is ours, we are dead to yesterday, and we are not yet born to the
morrow. But if we look abroad, and bring into one day's thoughts the evil
of many, certain and uncertain, what will be and what will never be, our
load will be as intolerable as it is unreasonable.
If we sin, we are Thine, knowing Thy power: but--we will not sin, knowing
that we are counted Thine. For to know Thee is perfect righteousness: yea,
to know Thy power is the root of immortality.--WISDOM OF SOLOMON xv. 2,
Oh, empty us of self, the world, and sin,
And then in all Thy fulness enter in;
Take full possession, Lord, and let each thought
Into obedience unto Thee be brought;
Thine is the power, and Thine the will, that we
Be wholly sanctified, O Lord, to Thee.
C. E. J.
Take steadily some one sin, which seems to stand out before thee, to root
it out, by God's grace, and every fibre of it. Purpose strongly, by
the grace and strength of God, wholly to sacrifice this sin or sinful
inclination to the love of God, to spare it not, until thou leave of it
none remaining, neither root nor branch.
Fix, by God's help, not only to root out this sin, but to set thyself to
gain, by that same help, the opposite grace. If thou art tempted to be
angry, try hard, by God's grace, to be very meek; if to be proud, seek to
be very humble.
E. B. PUSEY.
That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot,
or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without
blemish.--EPH. v. 27.
Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house.--I PETER ii. 5.
One holy Church of God appears
Through every age and race,
Unwasted by the lapse of years,
Unchanged by changing place.
A temple there has been upon earth, a spiritual Temple, made up of living
stones; a Temple, as I may say, composed of souls; a Temple with God for
its light, and Christ for the high priest; with wings of angels for its
arches, with saints and teachers for its pillars, and with worshippers for
its pavement. Wherever there is faith and love, this Temple is.
J. H. NEWMAN.
To whatever worlds He carries our souls when they shall pass out of
these imprisoning bodies, in those worlds these souls of ours shall find
themselves part of the same great Temple; for it belongs not to this earth
alone. There can be no end of the universe where God is, to which that
growing Temple does not reach,--the Temple of a creation to be wrought at
last into a perfect utterance of God by a perfect obedience to God.
In all ages entering into holy souls, she [Wisdom] maketh them friends of
God, and prophets.--WISDOM OF SOLOMON vii. 27.
Meanwhile with every son and saint of Thine
Along the glorious line,
Sitting by turns beneath Thy sacred feet
We 'll hold communion sweet,
Know them by look and voice, and thank them all
For helping us in thrall,
For words of hope, and bright examples given
To shew through moonless skies that there is light in heaven.
If we cannot live at once and alone with Him, we may at least live with
those who have lived with Him; and find, in our admiring love for their
purity, their truth, their goodness, an intercession with His pity on our
behalf. To study the lives, to meditate the sorrows, to commune with the
thoughts, of the great and holy men and women of this rich world, is a
sacred discipline, which deserves at least to rank as the forecourt of the
temple of true worship, and may train the tastes, ere we pass the very
gate, of heaven. We forfeit the chief source of dignity and sweetness in
life, next to the direct communion with God, if we do not seek converse
with the greater minds that have left their vestiges on the world.
Do not think it wasted time to submit yourself to any influence which may
bring upon you any noble feeling.
The exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to
the working of His mighty power.--EPH. i. 19.
The lives which seem so poor, so low,
The hearts which are so cramped and dull,
The baffled hopes, the impulse slow,
Thou takest, touchest all, and lo!
They blossom to the beautiful.
A root set in the finest soil, in the best climate, and blessed with all
that sun and air and rain can do for it, is not in so sure a way of its
growth to perfection, as every man may be, whose spirit aspires after all
that which God is ready and infinitely desirous to give him. For the sun
meets not the springing bud that stretches towards him with half that
certainty, as God, the source of all good, communicates Himself to the soul
that longs to partake of Him.
If we stand in the openings of the present moment, with all the length and
breadth of our faculties unselfishly adjusted to what it reveals, we are in
the best condition to receive what God is always ready to communicate.
T. C. UPHAM.
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men.--GAL. vi.
Let brotherly love continue.--HEB. xiii. 1.
I Ask Thee for a thoughtful love,
Through constant watching wise,
To meet the glad with joyful smiles,
And to wipe the weeping eyes,
And a heart at leisure from itself,
To soothe and sympathize.
A. L. WARING.
Surely none are so full of cares, or so poor in gifts, that to them also,
waiting patiently and trustfully on God for His daily commands, He will not
give direct ministry for Him, increasing according to their strength and
their desire. There is so much to be set right in the world, there are so
many to be led and helped and comforted, that we must continually come in
contact with such in our daily life. Let us only take care, that, by the
glance being turned inward, or strained onward, or lost in vacant reverie,
we do not miss our turn of service, and pass by those to whom we might have
been sent on an errand straight from God.
Look up and not down; look forward and not back; look out and not in; and
lend a hand.
EDWARD E. HALE.
And in every work that be began in the service of the house of God, and in
the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his
heart, and prospered.--2 CHRON. xxxi. 21.
What, shall we do, that we might work the works of God ?--JOHN vi. 28.
Give me within the work which calls to-day,
To see Thy finger gently beckoning on;
So struggle grows to freedom, work to play,
And toils begun from Thee to Thee are done.
J. F. CLARKE.
God is a kind Father. He sets us all in the places where He wishes us to be
employed; and that employment is truly "our Father's business." He chooses
work for every creature which will be delightful to them, if they do it
simply and humbly. He gives us always strength enough, and sense enough,
for what He wants us to do; if we either tire ourselves or puzzle
ourselves, it is our own fault. And we may always be sure, whatever we are
doing, that we cannot be pleasing Him, if we are not happy ourselves.
Because Thy loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise
Thee.--PS. lxiii. 3.
Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall
lose his life shall preserve it.--LUKE xvii. 33.
O Lord! my best desires fulfil,
And help me to resign
Life, health, and comfort, to Thy will,
And make Thy pleasure mine.
What do our heavy hearts prove but that other things are sweeter to us
than His will, that we have not attained to the full mastery of our true
freedom, the full perception of its power, that our sonship is yet but
faintly realized, and its blessedness not yet proved and known? Our consent
would turn all our trials into obedience. By consenting we make them our
own, and offer them with ourselves again to Him.
H. E. MANNING.
Nothing is intolerable that is necessary. Now God hath bound thy trouble
upon thee, with a design to try thee, and with purposes to reward and crown
thee. These cords thou canst not break; and therefore lie thou down gently,
and suffer the hand of God to do what He please.
I will be glad, and rejoice in Thy mercy: for Thou hast considered my
trouble; Thou hast known my soul in adversities.--PS. xxxi. 7.
Nay, all by Thee is ordered, chosen, planned;
Each drop that fills my daily cup Thy hand
Prescribes, for ills none else can understand:
All, all is known to Thee.
A. L. NEWTON.
God knows us through and through. Not the most secret thought, which we
most hide from ourselves, is hidden from Him. As then we come to know
ourselves through and through, we come to see ourselves more as God sees
us, and then we catch some little glimpse of His designs with us, how each
ordering of His Providence, each check to our desires, each failure of our
hopes, is just fitted for us, and for something in our own spiritual state,
which others know not of, and which, till then, we knew not. Until we come
to this knowledge, we must take all in faith, believing, though we know
not, the goodness of God towards us. As we know ourselves, we, thus far,
E. B. PUSEY.
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable
in Thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.--PS. xix. 14.
The thoughts that in our hearts keep place,
Lord, make a holy, heavenly throng,
And steep in innocence and grace
The issue of each guarded tongue.
T. H. GILL.
There is another kind of silence to be cultivated, besides that of
the tongue as regards others. I mean silence as regards one's
self,--restraining the imagination, not permitting it to dwell overmuch
on what we have heard or said, not indulging in the phantasmagoria of
picture-thoughts, whether of the past or future. Be sure that you have
made no small progress in the spiritual life, when you can control your
imagination, so as to fix it on the duty and occupation actually existing,
to the exclusion of the crowd of thoughts which are perpetually sweeping
across the mind. No doubt, you cannot prevent those thoughts from arising,
but you can prevent yourself from dwelling on them; you can put them aside,
you can check the self-complacency, or irritation, or earthly longings
which feed them, and by the practice of such control of your thoughts you
will attain that spirit of inward silence which draws the soul into a close
intercourse with God.
JEAN N. GROU.
Speak not evil one of another, brethren.--JAMES iv. 11.
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking,
be put away from you, with all malice.--EPH. iv. 31.
If aught good thou canst not say
Of thy brother, foe, or friend,
Take thou, then, the silent way,
Lest in word thou shouldst offend.
If there is any person to whom you feel dislike, that is the person of whom
you ought never to speak.
To recognize with delight all high and generous and beautiful actions; to
find a joy even in seeing the good qualities of your bitterest opponents,
and to admire those qualities even in those with whom you have least
sympathy, this is the only spirit which can heal the love of slander and of
F. W. ROBERTSON.
Thy servants are ready to do whatsoever my lord the king shall
appoint.--2 SAM. xv. 15.
I love to think that God appoints
My portion day by day;
Events of life are in His hand,
And I would only say,
Appoint them in Thine own good time,
And in Thine own best way.
A. L. WARING.
If we are really, and always, and equally ready to do whatsoever the King
appoints, all the trials and vexations arising from any change in His
appointments, great or small, simply do not exist. If He appoints me to
work there, shall I lament that I am not to work here? If He appoints me
to wait in-doors to-day, am I to be annoyed because I am not to work
out-of-doors? If I meant to write His messages this morning, shall I
grumble because He sends interrupting visitors, rich or poor, to whom I
am to speak them, or "show kindness" for His sake, or at least obey His
command, "Be courteous?" If all my members are really at His disposal, why
should I be put out if to-day's appointment is some simple work for my
hands or errands for my feet, instead of some seemingly more important
doing of head or tongue?
F. R. HAVERGAL.
For this is the will of God, even your sanctification.--I THESS. iv. 3.
Between us and Thyself remove
Whatever hindrances may be,
That so our inmost heart may prove
A holy temple, meet for Thee.
LATIN MASS. OF 15TH CENTURY.
Bear, in the presence of God, to know thyself. Then seek to know for what
God sent thee into the world; how thou hast fulfilled it; art thou yet what
God willed thee to be; what yet lacketh unto thee; what is God's will for
thee now; what thing thou mayest now do, by His grace, to obtain His
favor, and approve thyself unto Him. Say to Him, "Teach me to do Thy will,
for Thou art my God," and He will say unto thy soul, "Fear not; I am thy
salvation." He will speak peace unto thy soul; He will set thee in the way;
He will bear thee above things of sense, and praise of man, and things
which perish in thy grasp, and give thee, if but afar off, some glimpse of
His own, unfading, unsetting, unperishing brightness and bliss and love.
E. B. PUSEY.
Now our Lord Jesus Christ, Himself, and God, even our Father, which hath
loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through
grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and
work.--2 THESS. ii. 16, 17.
When sorrow all our heart would ask,
We need not shun our daily task,
And hide ourselves for calm;
The herbs we seek to heal our woe
Familiar by our pathway grow,
Our common air is balm.
Oh, when we turn away from some duty or some fellow-creature, saying that
our hearts are too sick and sore with some great yearning of our own, we
may often sever the line on which a divine message was coming to us. We
shut out the man, and we shut out the angel who had sent him on to open the
door. There is a plan working in our lives; and if we keep our hearts quiet
and our eyes open, it all works together; and, if we don't, it all rights
together, and goes on fighting till it comes right, somehow, somewhere.
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try
you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch
as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings.--I PETER iv. 12, 13.
We take with solemn thankfulness
Our burden up, nor ask it less,
And count it joy that even we
May suffer, serve, or wait for Thee,
Whose will be done!
J. G. WHITTIER.
Receive every inward and outward trouble, every disappointment, pain,
uneasiness, temptation, darkness, and desolation, with both thy hands, as a
true opportunity and blessed occasion of dying to self, and entering into
a fuller fellowship with thy self-denying, suffering Saviour. Look at no
inward or outward trouble in any other view; reject every other thought
about it; and then every kind of trial and distress will become the blessed
day of thy prosperity. That state is best, which exerciseth the highest
faith in, and fullest resignation to God.
Thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the Lord thy God hath given
unto thee.--DEUT. XXVI. 11.
Rejoice evermore. In everything give thanks.--I THESS. v. 16, 18.
Grave on thy heart each past "red-letter day"!
Forget not all the sunshine of the way
By which the Lord hath led thee; answered prayers,
And joys unasked, strange blessings, lifted cares,
Grand promise-echoes! Thus thy life shall be
One record of His love and faithfulness to thee.
F. R. HAVERGAL.
Gratitude consists in a watchful, minute attention to the particulars of
our state, and to the multitude of God's gifts, taken one by one. It fills
us with a consciousness that God loves and cares for us, even to the least
event and smallest need of life. It is a blessed thought, that from our
childhood God has been laying His fatherly hands upon us, and always in
benediction; that even the strokes of His hands are blessings, and among
the chiefest we have ever received. When this feeling is awakened, the
heart beats with a pulse of thankfulness. Every gift has its return of
praise. It awakens an unceasing daily converse with our Father,--He
speaking to us by the descent of blessings, we to Him by the ascent of
thanksgiving. And all our whole life is thereby drawn under the light of
His countenance, and is filled with a gladness, serenity, and peace which
only thankful hearts can know.
H. E. MANNING.
Let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord.--PS. cv. 3.
The joy of the Lord is your strength.--NEH. viii. 10.
Be Thou my Sun, my selfishness destroy,
Thy atmosphere of Love be all my joy;
Thy Presence be my sunshine ever bright,
My soul the little mote that lives but in Thy light.
I do not know when I have had happier times in my soul, than when I have
been sitting at work, with nothing before me but a candle and a white
cloth, and hearing no sound but that of my own breath, with God in my soul
and heaven in my eye... I rejoice in being exactly what I am,--a creature
capable of loving God, and who, as long as God lives, must be happy. I get
up and look for a while out of the window, and gaze at the moon and stars,
the work of an Almighty hand. I think of the grandeur of the universe, and
then sit down, and think myself one of the happiest beings in it.
A POOR METHODIST WOMAN, 18TH CENTURY.
The Lord taketh pleasure In His people: He will beautify the meek with
salvation.--PS. cxlix. 4.
Long listening to Thy words,
My voice shall catch Thy tone,
And, locked in Thine, my hand shall grow
All loving like Thy own.
It is not in words explicable, with what divine lines and lights the
exercise of godliness and charity will mould and gild the hardest and
coldest countenance, neither to what darkness their departure will consign
the loveliest. For there is not any virtue the exercise of which, even
momentarily, will not impress a new fairness upon the features; neither on
them only, but on the whole body the moral and intellectual faculties
have operation, for all the movements and gestures, however slight, are
different in their modes according to the mind that governs them--and on
the gentleness and decision of right feeling follows grace of actions, and,
through continuance of this, grace of form.
There is no beautifier of complexion, or form, or behavior, like the wish
to scatter joy and not pain around us.
R. W. EMERSON.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly
fall: but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they
shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and
they shall walk and not faint.--ISA. xl. 30, 31.
Lord, with what courage and delight
I do each thing,
When Thy least breath sustains my wing!
I shine and move
Like those above,
And, with much gladness
Make me fair days of every night.
Man, by living wholly in submission to the Divine Influence, becomes
surrounded with, and creates for himself, internal pleasures infinitely
greater than any he can otherwise attain to--a state of heavenly Beatitude.
J. P. GREAVES.
By persisting in a habit of self-denial, we shall, beyond what I can
express, increase the inward powers of the mind, and shall produce that
cheerfulness and greatness of spirit as will fit us for all good purposes;
and shall not have lost pleasure, but changed it; the soul being then
filled with its own intrinsic pleasures.
Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord.--HOSEA vi. 3.
And, as the path of duty is made plain,
May grace be given that I may walk therein,
Not like the hireling, for his selfish gain,
With backward glances and reluctant tread,
Making a merit of his coward dread,--
But, cheerful, in the light around me thrown,
Walking as one to pleasant service led;
Doing God's will as if it were my own,
Yet trusting not in mine, but in His strength alone!
J. G. WHITTIER.
It is by doing our duty that we learn to do it. So long as men dispute
whether or no a thing is their duty, they get never the nearer. Let them
set ever so weakly about doing it, and the face of things alters. They find
in themselves strength which they knew not of. Difficulties which it seemed
to them they could not get over, disappear. For He accompanies it with the
influences of His blessed Spirit, and each performance opens our minds for
larger influxes of His grace, and places them in communion with Him.
E. B. PUSEY.
That which is called considering what is our duty in a particular case, is
very often nothing but endeavoring to explain it away.
If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul;
then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday;
and the Lord shall guide thee continually.--ISA. lviii. 10, 11.
If thou hast Yesterday thy duty done,
And thereby cleared firm footing for To-day,
Whatever clouds make dark To-morrow's sun,
Thou shall not miss thy solitary way.
J. W. VON GOETHE.
O Lord, who art our Guide even unto death, grant us, I pray Thee, grace to
follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest. In little daily duties to which Thou
callest us, bow down our wills to simple obedience, patience under pain or
provocation, strict truthfulness of word and manner, humility, kindness; in
great acts of duty or perfection, if Thou shouldest call us to them, uplift
us to self-sacrifice, heroic courage, laying down of life for Thy truth's
sake, or for a brother. Amen.
C. G. ROSSETTI.
I will bless the Lord, who bath given me counsel.--PS. xvi. 7.
Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.--ROM. xii.
Mine be the reverent, listening love
That waits all day on Thee,
With the service of a watchful heart
Which no one else can see.
A. L. WARING.
Nothing is small or great in God's sight; whatever He wills becomes great
to us, however seemingly trifling, and if once the voice of conscience
tells us that He requires anything of us, we have no right to measure its
importance. On the other hand, whatever He would not have us do, however
important we may think it, is as nought to us.
How do you know what you may lose by neglecting this duty, which you think
so trifling, or the blessing which its faithful performance may bring? Be
sure that if you do your very best in that which is laid upon you daily,
you will not be left without sufficient help when some weightier occasion
arises. Give yourself to Him, trust Him, fix your eye upon Him, listen to
His voice, and then go on bravely and cheerfully.
JEAN NICOLAS GROU.
If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.--JOHN xiii. 17.
Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is
sin.--JAMES iv. 17.
We cannot kindle when we will
The fire that in the heart resides,
The spirit bloweth and is still,
In mystery our soul abides:
But tasks in hours of insight willed
Can be through hours of gloom fulfilled.
Hurt not your conscience with any known sin.
Deep-rooted customs, though wrong, are not easily altered; but it is the
duty of all to be firm in that which they certainly know is right for them.
He often acts unjustly who does not do a certain thing; not only he who
does a certain thing.
Every duty we omit obscures some truth we should have known.
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how
unsearchable are His judgments, and His--ways past finding out !--ROM. xi.
It doth not yet appear what we shall be.--I JOHN iii. 2.
No star is ever lost we once have seen,
We always may be what we might have been.
Since Good, though only thought, has life and breath,
God's life--can always be redeemed from death;
And evil, in its nature, is decay,
And any hour can blot it all away;
The hopes that lost in some far distance seem,
May be the truer life, and this the dream.
A. A. PROCTER.
St. Bernard has said: "Man, if thou desirest a noble and holy life, and
unceasingly prayest to God for it, if thou continue constant in this thy
desire, it will be granted unto thee without fail, even if only in the day
or hour of thy death; and if God should not give it to thee then, thou
shalt find it in Him in eternity: of this be assured." Therefore do not
relinquish your desire, though it be not fulfilled immediately, or though
ye may swerve from your aspirations, or even forget them for a time.... The
love and aspiration which once really existed live forever before God, and
in Him ye shall find the fruit thereof; that is, to all eternity it shall
be better for you than if you had never felt them.
For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name
is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a
contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to
revive the heart of the contrite ones.--ISA. lvii. 15.
Without an end or bound
Thy life lies all outspread in light;
Our lives feel Thy life all around,
Making our weakness strong, our darkness bright;
Yet is it neither wilderness nor sea,
But the calm gladness of a full eternity.
F. W. FABER.
O truth who art Eternity! And Love who art Truth! And Eternity who art
Love! Thou art my God, to Thee do I sigh night and day. When I first knew
Thee, Thou liftedst me up, that I might see there was somewhat for me to
see, and that I was not yet such as to see. And Thou streaming forth Thy
beams of light upon me most strongly, didst beat back the weakness of my
sight, and I trembled with love and awe: and I perceived myself to be far
off from Thee in the region of unlikeness.
O fear the Lord, ye His saints: for there is no want to them that fear
Him --PS. xxxiv. 9.
Thou openest Thine hand, and satisfies the desire of every living
thing.--PS. cxlv. 16.
What Thou shalt to-day provide,
Let me as a child receive;
What to-morrow may betide,
Calmly to Thy wisdom leave.
'Tis enough that Thou wilt care;
Why should I the burden bear?
Have we found that anxiety about possible consequences increased the
clearness of our judgment, made us wiser and braver in meeting the present,
and arming ourselves for the future? If we had prayed for this day's bread,
and left the next to itself, if we had not huddled our days together,
not allotting to each its appointed task, but ever deferring that to the
future, and drawing upon the future for its own troubles, which must be
met when they come whether we have anticipated them or not, we should
have found a simplicity and honesty in our lives, a capacity for work, an
enjoyment in it, to which we are now, for the most part, strangers.
F. D. MAURICE.
I the Lord will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will
help thee.--ISA. xli. 13.
Show Thy marvellous loving-kindness, O Thou that savest by Thy right hand
them which put their trust in Thee.--PS. xvii. 7.
Take Thy hand, and fears grow still;
Behold Thy face, and doubts remove;
Who would not yield his wavering will
To perfect Truth and boundless Love?
Do not look forward to the changes and chances of this life in fear; rather
look to them with full hope that, as they arise, God, whose you are, will
deliver you out of them. He has kept you hitherto,--do you but hold fast to
His dear hand, and He will lead you safely through all things; and, when
you cannot stand, He will bear you in His arms. Do not look forward to what
may happen to-morrow; the same everlasting Father who cares for you to-day,
will take care of you to-morrow, and every day. Either he will shield you
from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at
peace then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.
ST. FRANCIS DE SALES.
If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of
the sea: even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold
me.--PS. cxxxix. 9, 10.
I cannot lose Thee! Still in Thee abiding,
The end is clear, how wide soe'er I roam;
The Hand that holds the worlds my steps is guiding,
And I must rest at last in Thee, my home.
How can we come to perceive this direct leading of God? By a careful
looking at home, and abiding; within the gates of thy own soul. Therefore,
let a man be at home in his own heart, and cease from his restless chase of
and search after outward things. If he is thus at home while on earth, he
will surely come to see what there is to do at home,--what God commands
him inwardly without means, and also outwardly by the help of means; and
then let him surrender himself, and follow God along whatever path his
loving Lord thinks fit to lead him: whether it be to contemplation or
action, to usefulness or enjoyment; whether in sorrow or in joy, let him
follow on. And if God do not give him thus to feel His hand in all things,
let him still simply yield himself up, and go without, for God's sake, out
of love, and still press forward.
In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.--PROV.
He leadeth me.--PS. xxiii. 2.
In "pastures green"? Not always; sometimes He
Who knoweth best, in kindness leadeth me
In weary ways, where heavy shadows be.
So, whether on the hill-tops high and fair
I dwell, or in the sunless valleys, where
The shadows lie, what matter? He is there.
HENRY H. BARRY.
The Shepherd knows what pastures are best for his sheep, and they must not
question nor doubt, but trustingly follow Him. Perhaps He sees that the
best pastures for some of us are to be found in the midst of opposition or
of earthly trials. If He leads you there, you may be sure they are green
for you, and you will grow and be made strong by feeding there. Perhaps He
sees that the best waters for you to walk beside will be raging waves of
trouble and sorrow. If this should be the case, He will make them still
waters for you, and you must go and lie down beside them, and let them have
all their blessed influences upon you.
H. W. SMITH.
Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded one
toward another, according to Christ Jesus.--ROM. xv. 5.
Let patience have her perfect work.--JAMES i. 4.
Make me patient, kind, and gentle,
Day by day;
Teach me how to live more nearly
As I pray.
The exercise of patience involves a continual practice of the presence of
God; for we may be come upon at any moment for an almost heroic display of
good temper, and it is a short road to unselfishness, for nothing is left
to self; all that seems to belong most intimately to self, to be self's
private property, such as time, home, and rest, are invaded by these
continual trials of patience. The family is full of such opportunities.
F. W. FABER.
Only as we know what it is to cherish love when sore at some unkindness, to
overmaster ourselves when under provocation, to preserve gentleness during
trial and unmerited wrong,--only then can we know in any degree the "manner
of spirit" that was in Christ.
T. T. CARTER.
Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the
feeble-minded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.--I THESS. v.
The little worries which we meet each day
May lie as stumbling-blocks across our way,
Or we may make them stepping-stones to be
Of grace, O Lord, to Thee.
A. E. HAMILITON.
We must be continually sacrificing our own wills, as opportunity serves, to
the will of others; bearing, without notice, sights and sounds that annoy
us; setting about this or that task, when we had far rather be doing
something very different; persevering in it, often, when we are thoroughly
tired of it; keeping company for duty's sake, when it would be a great joy
to us to be by ourselves; besides all the trifling untoward accidents of
life; bodily pain and weakness long continued, and perplexing us often
when it does not amount to illness; losing what we value, missing what
we desire; disappointment in other persons, wilfulness, unkindness,
ingratitude, folly, in cases where we least expect it.
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see
if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.--PS.
cxxxix. 23, 24.
Save us from the evil tongue,
From the heart that thinketh wrong,
From the sins, whate'er they be,
That divide the soul from Thee.
Such as are thy habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of thy
mind; for the soul is dyed by the thoughts. Dye it then with a continuous
series of such thoughts as these: for instance, that where a man can live,
there he can also live well. But he must live in a palace: well, then, he
can also live well in a palace.
Who is there that sets himself to the task of steadily watching his
thoughts for the space of one hour, with the view of preserving his mind
in a simple, humble, healthful condition, but will speedily discern in the
multiform, self-reflecting, self-admiring emotions, which, like locusts,
are ready to "eat up every green thing in his land," a state as much
opposed to simplicity and humility as night is to day?
M. A. KELTY.
If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to
bridle the whole body.--JAMES iii. 2
Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.--PS.
What! never speak one evil word,
Or rash, or idle, or unkind!
Oh, how shall I, most gracious Lord,
This mark of true perfection find?
When we remember our temptations to give quick indulgence to disappointment
or irritation or unsympathizing weariness, and how hard a thing it is
from day to day to meet our fellow-men, our neighbors, or even our own
households, in all moods, in all discordances between the world without
us and the frames within, in all states of health, of solicitude,
of preoccupation, and show no signs of impatience, ungentleness, or
unobservant self-absorption,--with only kindly feeling finding expression,
and ungenial feeling at least inwardly imprisoned;--we shall be ready to
acknowledge that the man who has thus attained is master of himself, and in
the graciousness of his power is fashioned upon the style of a Perfect Man.
J. H. THOM.
Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at
all times.--PS. cvi. 3.
Thou shalt be stedfast, and shalt not fear: because thou shalt forget thy
misery, and remember it as waters that pass away.--JOB xi. 15, 16.
In the bitter waves of woe,
Beaten and tossed about
By the sullen winds that blow
From the desolate shores of doubt,
Where the anchors that faith has cast
Are dragging in the gale,
I am quietly holding fast
To the things that cannot fail.
In the darkest hour through which a human soul can pass, whatever else is
doubtful, this at least is certain. If there be no God and no future state,
yet even then, it is better to be generous than selfish, better to be
chaste than licentious, better to be true than false, better to be brave
than to be a coward. Blessed beyond all earthly blessedness is the man who,
in the tempestuous darkness of the soul, has dared to hold fast to these
venerable landmarks. Thrice blessed is he, who, when all is drear and
cheerless within and without, when his teachers terrify him, and his
friends shrink from him, has obstinately clung to moral good. Thrice
blessed, because his night shall pass into clear, bright day.
F. W. ROBERTSON.
Whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.--PROV. xxix. 25.
I will cry unto God most high; unto God, that performeth all things for
me.--PS. lvii. 2.
Only thy restless heart keep still,
And wait in cheerful hope; content
To take whate'er His gracious will,
His all-discerning love hath sent;
Nor doubt our inmost wants are known
To Him who chose us for His own.
God has brought us into this time; He, and not ourselves or some dark
demon. If we are not fit to cope with that which He has prepared for us,
we should have been utterly unfit for any condition that we imagine for
ourselves. In this time we are to live and wrestle, and in no other. Let us
humbly, tremblingly, manfully look at it, and we shall not wish that the
sun could go back its ten degrees, or that we could go back with it. If
easy times are departed, it is that the difficult times may make us more
in earnest; that they may teach us not to depend upon ourselves. If easy
belief is impossible, it is that we may learn what belief is, and in whom
it is to be placed.
F. D. MAURICE.
Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk
ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto
you.--JER. vii. 23.
And oft, when in my heart was heard
Thy timely mandate, I deferred
The task, in smoother walks to stray;
But thee I now would serve more strictly, if I may.
Pray Him to give you what Scripture calls "an honest and good heart," or "a
perfect heart;" and, without waiting, begin at once to obey Him with the
best heart you have. Any obedience is better than none. You have to seek
His face; obedience is the only way of seeing Him. All your duties are
obediences. To do what He bids is to obey Him, and to obey Him is to
approach Him. Every act of obedience is an approach--an approach to Him who
is not far off, though He seems so, but close behind this visible screen of
things which hides Him from us.
J. H. NEWMAN.
As soon as we lay ourselves entirely at His feet, we have enough light
given us to guide our own steps; as the foot-soldier, who hears nothing of
the councils that determine the course of the great battle he is in, hears
plainly enough the word of command which he must himself obey.
He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me
in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.--PS. xxiii. 2, 3.
He leads me where the waters glide,
The waters soft and still,
And homeward He will gently guide
My wandering heart and will.
Out of obedience and devotion arises an habitual faith, which makes Him,
though unseen, a part of all our life. He will guide us in a sure path,
though it be a rough one: though shadows hang upon it, yet He will be
with us. He will bring us home at last. Through much trial it may be,
and weariness, in much fear and fainting of heart, in much sadness and
loneliness, in griefs that the world never knows, and under burdens that
the nearest never suspect. Yet He will suffice for all. By His eye or by
His voice He will guide us, if we be docile and gentle; by His staff and
by His rod, if we wander or are wilful: any how, and by all means, He will
bring us to His rest.
H. E. MANNING.
I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou
hast that is thine.--MATT. xxv. 25.
Time was, I shrank from what was right,
From fear of what was wrong;
I would not brave the sacred fight,
Because the foe was strong.
But now I cast that finer sense
And sorer shame aside;
Such dread of sin was indolence,
Such aim at heaven was pride.
J. H. NEWMAN.
If he falls into some error, he does not fret over it, but rising up with a
humble spirit, he goes on his way anew rejoicing. Were he to fall a hundred
times in the day, he would not despair,--he would rather cry out lovingly
to God, appealing to His tender pity. The really devout man has a horror of
evil, but he has a still greater love of that which is good; he is more
set on doing what is right, than avoiding what is wrong. Generous,
large-hearted, he is not afraid of danger in serving God, and would rather
run the risk of doing His will imperfectly than not strive to serve Him
lest he fail in the attempt.
JEAN NICOLAS GROU.
We have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the Lord; we have
waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.--ISA. xxv.
Blest are the humble souls that wait
With sweet submission to His will;
Harmonious all their passions move,
And in the midst of storms are still.
Do not be discouraged at your faults; bear with yourself in correcting
them, as you would with your neighbor. Lay aside this ardor of mind, which
exhausts your body, and leads you to commit errors. Accustom yourself
gradually to carry prayer into all your daily occupations. Speak, move,
work, in peace, as if you were in prayer, as indeed you ought to be. Do
everything without excitement, by the spirit of grace. As soon as you
perceive your natural impetuosity gliding in, retire quietly within, where
is the kingdom of God. Listen to the leadings of grace, then say and do
nothing but what the Holy Spirit shall put in your heart. You will find
that you will become more tranquil, that your words will be fewer and more
effectual, and that, with less effort, you will accomplish more good.
FRANCOIS DE LA MOTHE FENELON.
I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do.--JOHN xvii. 4.
She hath done what she could.--MARK xiv. 8.
He who God's will has borne and done,
And his own restless longings stilled,
What else he does, or has foregone,
His mission he has well fulfilled.
FROM THE GERMAN.
Cheered by the presence of God, I will do at each moment, without anxiety,
according to the strength which He shall give me, the work that His
Providence assigns me. I will leave the rest without concern; it is not my
affair. I ought to consider the duty to which I am called each day, as the
work that God has given me to do, and to apply myself to it in a manner
worthy of His glory, that is to say, with exactness and in peace. I must
neglect nothing; I must be violent about nothing.
FRANCOIS DE LA MOTHE FENELON.
It is thy duty oftentimes to do what thou wouldst not; thy duty, too, to
leave undone what thou wouldst do.
THOMAS à KEMPIS.
Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits.--PS. lxviii. 19.
Nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly
all things to enjoy.--I TIM. vi. 17.
Source of my life's refreshing springs,
Whose presence in my heart sustains me,
Thy love ordains me pleasant things,
Thy mercy orders all that pains me.
A. L. WARING.
And to be true, and speak my soul, when I survey the occurrences of my
life, and call into account the finger of God, I can perceive nothing
but an abyss and mass of mercies, either in general to mankind, or in
particular to myself; and whether out of the prejudice of my affection,
or an inverting and partial conceit of His mercies, I know not; but those
which others term crosses, afflictions, judgments, misfortunes, to me who
inquire farther into them than their visible effects, they both appear,
and in event have ever proved, the secret and dissembled favors of His
SIR T. BROWNE.
Let Him do to me as seemeth good unto Him.--2 SAM. xv. 26.
To have, each day, the thing I wish,
Lord, that seems best to me;
But not to have the thing I wish,
Lord, that seems best to Thee.
Most truly, then, Thy will is done,
When mine, O Lord, is crossed;
It is good to see my plans o'erthrown,
My ways in Thine all lost.
O Lord, Thou knowest what is best for us; let this or that be done, as Thou
shalt please. Give what Thou wilt, and how much Thou wilt, and when Thou
wilt. Deal with me as Thou thinkest good. Set me where Thou wilt, and deal
with me in all things just as Thou wilt. Behold, I am Thy servant, prepared
for all things: for I desire not to live unto myself, but unto Thee; and
oh, that I could do it worthily and perfectly!
THOMAS à KEMPIS.
Dare to look up to God, and say, "Make use of me for the future as Thou
wilt. I am of the same mind; I am one with Thee. I refuse nothing which
seems good to Thee. Lead me whither Thou wilt, clothe me in whatever
dress Thou wilt. Is it Thy will that I should be in a public or a private
condition, dwell here, or be banished, be poor or rich? Under all these
circumstances, I will testify unto Thee before men."
I would have you without carefulness.--I COR. vii. 32.
O Lord, how happy should we be
If we could cast our care on Thee,
If we from self could rest;
And feel at heart that One above,
In perfect wisdom, perfect love,
Is working for the best.
Cast all thy care on God. See that all thy cares be such as thou canst cast
on God, and then hold none back. Never brood over thyself; never stop short
in thyself; but cast thy whole self, even this very care which distresseth
thee, upon God. Be not anxious about little things, if thou wouldst learn
to trust God with thine all. Act upon faith in little things; commit thy
daily cares and anxieties to Him; and He will strengthen thy faith for any
greater trials. Rather, give thy whole self into God's hands, and so trust
Him to take care of thee in all lesser things, as being His, for His own
sake, whose thou art.
E. B. PUSEY.
If ye fulfil the royal law according to the Scripture, Thou shalt love thy
neighbor as thyself, ye do well.--JAMES ii. 8.
Come, children, let us go!
We travel hand in hand;
Each in his brother finds his joy
In this wild stranger land.
The strong be quick to raise
The weaker when they fall;
Let love and peace and patience bloom
In ready help for all.
It is a sad weakness in us, after all, that the thought of a man's death
hallows him anew to us; as if life were not sacred too,--as if it were
comparatively a light thing to fail in love and reverence to the brother
who has to climb the whole toilsome steep with us, and all our tears and
tenderness were due to the one who is spared that hard journey.
Would we codify the laws that should reign in households, and whose daily
transgression annoys and mortifies us, and degrades our household life,--we
must learn to adorn every day with sacrifices. Good manners are made up
of petty sacrifices. Temperance, courage, love, are made up of the same
jewels. Listen to every prompting of honor.
R. W. EMERSON.
Serve Him with a perfect heart, and with a willing mind.--I CHRON.
And if some things I do not ask,
In my cup of blessing be,
I would have my spirit filled the more
With grateful love to Thee,--
More careful,--not to serve Thee much,
But to please Thee perfectly.
A. L. WARING.
Little things come daily, hourly, within our reach, and they are not less
calculated to set forward our growth in holiness, than are the greater
occasions which occur but rarely. Moreover, fidelity in trifles, and an
earnest seeking to please God in little matters, is a test of real devotion
and love. Let your aim be to please our dear Lord perfectly in little
things, and to attain a spirit of childlike simplicity and dependence. In
proportion as self-love and self-confidence are weakened, and our will
bowed to that of God, so will hindrances disappear, the internal troubles
and contests which harassed the soul vanish, and it will be filled with
peace and tranquillity.
JEAN NICOLAS GROU.
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations
[or "trials"], knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh
patience.--JAMES i. 2, 3.
For patience, when the rough winds blow!
For patience, when our hopes are fading,--
When visible things all backward go,
And nowhere seems the power of aiding!
God still enfolds thee with His viewless hand,
And leads thee surely to the Fatherland.
N. L. FROTHINGHAM, from the German.
We have need of patience with ourselves and with others; with those below,
and those above us, and with our own equals; with those who love us and
those who love us not; for the greatest things and for the least; against
sudden inroads of trouble, and under our daily burdens; disappointments as
to the weather, or the breaking of the heart; in the weariness of the body,
or the wearing of the soul; in our own failure of duty, or others' failure
toward us; in every-day wants, or in the aching of sickness or the decay
of age; in disappointment, bereavement, losses, injuries, reproaches; in
heaviness of the heart; or its sickness amid delayed hopes. In all these
things, from childhood's little troubles to the martyr's sufferings,
patience is the grace of God, whereby we endure evil for the love of God.
E. B. PUSEY.
It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn Thy
statutes.--PS. cxix. 71.
But though He cause grief yet will He have compassion, according to the
multitude of His mercies.--LAM. iii. 32.
And yet these days of dreariness are sent us from above;
They do not come in anger, but in faithfulness and love;
They come to teach us lessons which bright ones could not yield,
And to leave us blest and thankful when their purpose is fulfilled.
Heed not distressing thoughts when they rise ever so strongly in thee; nay,
though they have entered thee, fear them not, but be still awhile, not
believing in the power which thou feelest they have over thee, and it will
fall on a sudden. It is good for thy spirit, and greatly to thy advantage,
to be much and variously exercised by the Lord. Thou dost not know what the
Lord hath already done, and what He is yet doing for thee therein.
Why should I start at the plough of my Lord, that maketh deep furrows on my
soul? I know He is no idle husbandman, He purposeth a crop.
My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me and to finish His
work.--JOHN iv. 34.
I am glad to think
I am not bound to make the world go right;
But only to discover and to do,
With cheerful heart, the work that God appoints.
I will trust in Him,
That He can hold His own; and I will take
His will, above the work He sendeth me,
To be my chiefest good.
Don't object that your duties are so insignificant; they are to be reckoned
of infinite significance, and alone important to you. Were it but the more
perfect regulation of your apartments, the sorting-away of your clothes and
trinkets, the arranging of your papers,--"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to
do, do it with all thy might," and all thy worth and constancy. Much
more, if your duties are of evidently higher, wider scope; if you have
brothers, sisters, a father, a mother, weigh earnestly what claim does lie
upon you, on behalf of each, and consider it as the one thing needful, to
pay them more and more honestly and nobly what you owe. What matter
how miserable one is, if one can do that? That is the sure and steady
disconnection and extinction of whatsoever miseries one has in this world.
Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather,
that no man put a stumbling-block, or an occasion to fall, in his brother's
way.--ROM. xiv. 13.
Them that were entering in, ye hindered.--LUKE xi. 52.
My mind was ruffled with small cares to-day,
And I said pettish words, and did not keep
Long-suffering patience well, and now how deep
My trouble for this sin! in vain I weep
For foolish words I never can unsay.
H. S. SUTTON.
A vexation arises, and our expressions of impatience hinder others from
taking it patiently. Disappointment, ailment, or even weather depresses
us; and our look or tone of depression hinders others from maintaining
a cheerful and thankful spirit. We say an unkind thing, and another is
hindered in learning the holy lesson of charity that thinketh no evil. We
say a provoking thing, and our sister or brother is hindered in that day's
effort to be meek. How sadly, too, we may hinder without word or act! For
wrong feeling is more infectious than wrong doing; especially the
various phases of ill temper,--gloominess, touchiness, discontent,
irritability,--do we not know how catching these are?
F. R. HAVERGAL.
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children,
how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good gifts to them
that ask Him ?--MATT. vii. 11.
For His great love has compassed
Our nature, and our need
We know not; but He knoweth,
And He will bless indeed.
Therefore, O heavenly Father,
Give what is best to me;
And take the wants unanswered,
As offerings made to Thee.
Whatsoever we ask which is not for our good, He will keep it back from us.
And surely in this there is no less of love than in the granting what we
desire as we ought. Will not the same love which prompts you to give a
good, prompt you to keep back an evil, thing? If, in our blindness, not
knowing what to ask, we pray for things which would turn in our hands to
sorrow and death, will not our Father, out of His very love, deny us?
How awful would be our lot, if our wishes should straightway pass into
realities; if we were endowed with a power to bring about all that we
desire; if the inclinations of our will were followed by fulfilment of our
hasty wishes, and sudden longings were always granted. One day we shall
bless Him, not more for what He has granted than for what He has denied.
H. E. MANNING.
Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with
thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.--PHIL. iv. 6.
We tell Thee of our care,
Of the sore burden, pressing day by day,
And in the light and pity of Thy face,
The burden melts away.
We breathe our secret wish,
The importunate longing which no man may see;
We ask it humbly, or, more restful still,
We leave it all to Thee.
That prayer which does not succeed in moderating our wish, in changing
the passionate desire into still submission, the anxious, tumultuous
expectation into silent surrender, is no true prayer, and proves that we
have not the spirit of true prayer. That life is most holy in which there
is least of petition and desire, and most of waiting upon God; that in
which petition most often passes into thanksgiving. Pray till prayer makes
you forget your own wish, and leave it or merge it in God's will. The
Divine wisdom has given us prayer, not as a means whereby to obtain the
good things of earth, but as a means whereby we learn to do without them;
not as a means whereby we escape evil, but as a means whereby we become
strong to meet it.
F. W. ROBERTSON.
Let the Lord do that which is good in His sight.--I CHRON. xix. 13.
Let Thy mercy O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in Thee.--PS.
I cannot feel
That all is well, when darkening clouds conceal
The shining sun;
But then, I know
He lives and loves; and say, since it is so,
Thy will be done.
S. G. BROWNING.
No felt evil or defect becomes divine until it is inevitable; and only when
resistence to it is exhausted and hope has fled, does surrender cease to
be premature. The hardness of our task lies here ; that we have to strive
against the grievous things of life, while hope remains, as if they were
evil; and then, when the stroke has fallen, to accept them from the hand of
God, and doubt not they are good. But to the loving, trusting heart, all
things are possible; and even this instant change, from overstrained will
to sorrowful repose, from fullest resistance to complete surrender is
realized without convulsion.
These things I have spoken unto you that in me ye might have peace. In the
world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the
world.--JOHN xvi. 33.
O Thou, the primal fount of life and peace,
Who shedd'st Thy breathing quiet all around,
In me command that pain and conflict cease,
And turn to music every jarring sound.
Accustom yourself to unreasonableness and injustice. Abide in peace in the
presence of God, who sees all these evils more clearly than you do, and who
permits them. Be content with doing with calmness the little which depends
upon yourself, and let all else be to you as if it were not.
FRANCOIS DE LA MOTHE FENELON.
It is rare when injustice, or slights patiently borne, do not leave the
heart at the close of the day filled with marvellous joy and peace.
But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and He that formed
thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by
thy name; thou art mine.--ISA. xliii. I.
Thou art as much His care as if beside
Nor man nor angel lived in heaven or earth;
Thus sunbeams pour alike their glorious tide,
To light up worlds, or wake an insect's mirth.
God beholds thee individually, whoever thou art. "He calls thee by thy
name." He sees thee, and understands thee. He knows what is in thee, all
thy own peculiar feelings and thoughts, thy dispositions and likings, thy
strength and thy weakness. He views thee in thy day of rejoicing and thy
day of sorrow. He sympathizes in thy hopes and in thy temptations; He
interests himself in all thy anxieties and thy remembrances, in all the
risings and fallings of thy spirit. He compasses thee round, and bears
thee in His arms; He takes thee up and sets thee down. Thou dost not love
thyself better than He loves thee. Thou canst not shrink from pain more
than He dislikes thy bearing it, and if He puts it on thee, it is as thou
wilt put it on thyself, if thou art wise, for a greater good afterwards.
J. H. NEWMAN.
The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him, to all that call upon
Him in truth.--PS. cxlv. 18.
I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my
fears.--PS. xxxiv. 4.
Be Thou, O Rock of Ages, nigh!
So shall each murmuring thought be gone;
And grief and fear and care shall fly,
As clouds before the mid-day sun.
Take courage, and turn your troubles, which are without remedy, into
material for spiritual progress. Often turn to our Lord, who is watching
you, poor frail little being as you are, amid your labors and distractions.
He sends you help, and blesses your affliction. This thought should enable
you to bear your troubles patiently and gently, for love of Him who only
allows you to be tried for your own good. Raise your heart continually to
God, seek His aid, and let the foundation stone of your consolation be your
happiness in being His. All vexations and annoyances will be comparatively
unimportant while you know that you have such a Friend, such a Stay, such a
Refuge. May God be ever in your heart.
ST. FRANCIS DE SALES.
Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and
verily thou shalt be fed.--PS. xxxvii. 3.
Build a little fence of trust
Fill the space with loving work,
And therein stay;
Look not through the sheltering bars
God will help thee bear what comes,
Of joy or sorrow.
MARY FRANVES BUTTS.
Let us bow our souls and say, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord!" Let us
lift up our hearts and ask, "Lord, what wouldst thou have me to do?" Then
light from the opened heaven shall stream on our daily task, revealing the
grains of gold, where yesterday all seemed dust; a hand shall sustain us
and our daily burden, so that, smiling at yesterday's fears, we shall say,
" This is easy, this is light; " every "lion in the way," as we come up
to it, shall be seen chained, and leave open the gates of the Palace
Beautiful; and to us, even to us, feeble and fluctuating as we are,
ministries shall be assigned, and through our hands blessings shall be
conveyed in which the spirits of just men made perfect might delight.
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that
loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.--I JOHN iv. 7.
So to the calmly gathered thought
The innermost of life is taught,
The mystery dimly understood,
That love of God is love of good;
That to be saved is only this,--
Salvation from our selfishness.
J. G. Whittler.
The Spirit of Love, wherever it is, is its own blessing and happiness,
because it is the truth and reality of God in the soul; and therefore is
in the same joy of life, and is the same good to itself everywhere and on
every occasion. Would you know the blessing of all blessings? It is this
God of Love dwelling in your soul, and killing every root of bitterness,
which is the pain and torment of every earthly, selfish love. For all wants
are satisfied, all disorders of nature are removed, no life is any longer a
burden, every day is a day of peace, everything you meet becomes a help
to you, because everything you see or do is all done in the sweet, gentle
element of Love.
Unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with
healing in his wings.--MAL. iv. 2.
O send out Thy light and Thy truth: let them lead me.--PS. xliii. 3.
Open our eyes, thou Sun of life and gladness,
That we may see that glorious world of Thine!
It shines for us in vain, while drooping sadness
Enfolds us here like mist; come, Power benign,
Touch our chilled hearts with vernal smile,
Our wintry course do Thou beguile,
Nor by the wayside ruins let us mourn,
Who have th' eternal towers for our appointed bourn.
Because all those scattered rays of beauty and loveliness which we behold
spread up and down over all the world, are only the emanations of that
inexhausted light which is above; therefore should we love them all in
that, and climb up always by those sunbeams unto the eternal Father of
lights: we should look upon Him, and take from Him the pattern of our
lives, and always eying Him, should, as Hierocles speaks, "polish and shape
our souls into the clearest resemblance of Him;" and in all our behavior
in this world (that great temple of His) deport ourselves decently and
reverently, with that humility, meekness, and modesty that becomes His
DR. JOHN SMITH.