Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.--EPH. iii. 15
One family, we dwell in Him;
One church above, beneath;
Though now divided by the stream,--
The narrow stream of death.
One army of the living God,
To His command we bow:
Part of His host has crossed the flood,
And part is crossing now.
Let us, then, learn that we can never be lonely or forsaken in this life.
Shall they forget us because they are "made perfect"? Shall they love us
the less because they now have power to love us more? If we forget them
not, shall they not remember us with God? No trial, then, can isolate us,
no sorrow can cut us off from the Communion of Saints. Kneel down, and you
are with them; lift up your eyes, and the heavenly world, high above all
perturbation, hangs serenely overhead; only a thin veil, it may be, floats
between. All whom we loved, and all who loved us, whom we still love no
less, while they love us yet more, are ever near, because ever in His
presence in whom we live and dwell.
H. E. MANNING.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of
witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so
easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before
us.--HEB. xii. i
When the powers of hell prevail
O'er our weakness and unfitness,
Could we lift the fleshly veil,
Could we for a moment witness
Those unnumbered hosts that stand
Calm and bright on either hand;
Oh, what joyful hope would cheer,
Oh, what faith serene would guide us!
Great may be the danger near,
Greater are the friends beside us.
We are compassed about by a cloud of witnesses, whose hearts throb in
sympathy with every effort and struggle, and who thrill with joy at every
success. How should this thought check and rebuke every worldly feeling
and unworthy purpose, and enshrine us, in the midst of a forgetful and
un-spiritual world, with an atmosphere of heavenly peace! They have
overcome--have risen--are crowned, glorified; but still they remain to us,
our assistants, our comforters, and in every hour of darkness their voice
speaks to us: "So we grieved, so we struggled, so we fainted, so we
doubted; but we have overcome, we have obtained, we have seen, we have
found,--and in our victory behold the certainty of thy own."
H. B. STOWE.
Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for
we are members one of another.--EPH. iv. 25
In conversation be sincere;
Keep conscience as the noontide clear;
Think how All-seeing God thy ways
And all thy secret thoughts surveys.
The essence of lying is in deception, not in words; a lie may be told by
silence, by equivocation, by the accent on a syllable, by a glance of the
eye attaching a peculiar significance to a sentence; and all these kinds of
lies are worse and baser by many degrees than a lie plainly worded; so that
no form of blinded conscience is so far sunk as that which comforts itself
for having deceived because the deception was by gesture or silence,
instead of utterance.
He that is habituated to deceptions and artificialities in trifles, will
try in vain to be true in matters of importance; for truth is a thing of
habit rather than of will. You cannot in any given case by any sudden
and single effort will to be true, if the habit of your life has been
F. W. ROBERTSON.
A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up
anger.--PROV. xv. i
_Doest thou well to be angry_?--JONAH iv. 4.
Renew Thine image, Lord, in me,
Lowly and gentle may I be;
No charms but these to Thee are dear;
No anger mayst Thou ever find,
No pride in my unruffled mind,
But faith, and heaven-born peace be there.
Neither say nor do aught displeasing to thy neighbor; and if thou hast been
wanting in charity, seek his forgiveness, or speak to him with gentleness.
Speak always with mildness and in a low tone of voice.
Injuries hurt not more in the receiving than in the remembrance. A small
injury shall go as it comes; a great injury may dine or sup with me; but
none at all shall lodge with me. Why should I vex myself because another
hath vexed me? Grief for things past that cannot be remedied, and care for
things to come that cannot be prevented, may easily hurt, can never benefit
me. I will therefore commit myself to God in both, and enjoy the present.
The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.--I COR. iii. 17
Now shed Thy mighty influence abroad
On souls that would their Father's image bear;
Make us as holy temples of our God,
Where dwells forever calm, adoring prayer.
C. J. P. SPITTA.
This pearl of eternity is the church or temple of God within thee, the
consecrated place of divine worship, where alone thou canst worship God
in spirit and in truth. When once thou art well grounded in this inward
worship, thou wilt have learned to live unto God above time and place. For
every day will be Sunday to thee, and, wherever thou goest, thou wilt have
a priest, a church, and an altar along with thee. For when God has all that
He should have of thy heart, when thou art wholly given up to the obedience
of the light and spirit of God within thee, to will only in His will, to
love only in His love, to be wise only in His wisdom, then it is that
everything thou dost is as a song of praise, and the common business of thy
life is a conforming to God's will on earth as angels do in heaven.
He will fulfil the desire of them that fear Him: He also will hear their
cry, and will save them;--PS. cxlv. 19
Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of
thine heart.--PS. xxxvii. 4
Though to-day may not fulfil
All thy hopes, have patience still;
For perchance to-morrow's sun
Sees thy happier days begun.
His great desire and delight is God; and by desiring and delighting, he
hath Him. _Delight thou in the Lord, and He shall give thee thy heart's
desire,_--HIMSELF; and then surely thou shall have all. Any other thing
_commit it to Him_, and He shall bring it to pass.
All who call on God in true faith, earnestly from the heart, will certainly
be heard, and will receive what they have asked and desired, although not
in the hour or in the measure, or the very thing which they ask; yet they
will obtain something greater and more glorious than they had dared to ask.
I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision.--ACTS xxvi. 19
The Lord our God will we serve, and His voice will we obey.--JOSH. xxiv. 24
I will shun no toil or woe,
Where Thou leadest I will go,
Be my pathway plain or rough;
If but every hour may be
Spent in work that pleases Thee,
Ah, dear Lord, it is enough!
All these longings and doubts, and this inward distress, are the voice of
the Good Shepherd in your heart, seeking to call you out of all that is
contrary to His will. Oh, let me entreat of you not to turn away from His
H. W. SMITH.
The fear of man brings a snare. By halting in our duty and giving back in
the time of trial, our hands grow weaker, our ears grow dull as to hearing
the language of the true Shepherd; so that when we look at the way of the
righteous, it seems as though it was not for us to follow them.
Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God.--HEB. x. 9
Teach me to do Thy will, for Thou art my God.--PS. cxliii. 10
Lo! I come with joy to do
The Father's blessed will;
Him in outward works pursue,
And serve His pleasure still.
Faithful to my Lord's commands,
I still would choose the better part;
Serve with careful Martha's hands,
And loving Mary's heart.
A soul cannot be regarded as truly subdued and consecrated in its will,
and as having passed into union with the Divine will, until it has a
disposition to do promptly and faithfully all that God requires, as well as
to endure patiently and thankfully all that He imposes.
T. C. UPHAM.
When we have learned to offer up every duty connected with our situation
in life as a sacrifice to God, a settled employment becomes just a settled
habit of prayer.
"_Do the duty which lies nearest thee_," which thou knowest to be a duty.
Thy second duty will already have become clearer.
Say not thou, I will hide myself from the Lord: shall any remember me from
above? I shall not be remembered among so many people: for what is my soul
among such an infinite number of creatures?--ECCLESIASTICUS xvi. 17
Among so many, can He care?
Can special love be everywhere?
A myriad homes,--a myriad ways,--
And God's eye over every place?
I asked: my soul bethought of this;--
In just that very place of His
Where He hath put and keepeth you,
God hath no other thing to do!
A. D. T. WHITNEY.
Give free and bold play to those instincts of the heart which believe that
the Creator must care for the creatures He has made, and that the only real
effective care for them must be that which takes each of them into His
love, and knowing it separately surrounds it with His separate sympathy.
There is not one life which the Life-giver ever loses out of His sight; not
one which sins so that He casts it away; not one which is not so near to
Him that whatever touches it touches Him with sorrow or with joy.
In Him we live, and move, and have our being.--ACTS xvii. 28
Whither shall I go from Thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from Thy
presence_?--PS. cxxxix. 7
Yea! In Thy life our little lives are ended,
Into Thy depths our trembling spirits fall;
In Thee enfolded, gathered, comprehended,
As holds the sea her waves--Thou hold'st us all.
Where then is _our_ God? You say, He is _everywhere:_ then show me
_anywhere_ that you have met Him. You declare Him _everlasting:_ then tell
me _any moment_ that He has been with you. You believe Him ready to succor
them that are tempted, and to lift those that are bowed down: then in what
passionate hour did you subside into His calm grace? in what sorrow lose
yourself in His "more exceeding" joy? These are the testing questions by
which we may learn whether we too have raised our altar to an "unknown God"
and pay the worship of the blind; or whether we commune with Him "in whom
we live, and move, and have our being."
Walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good
work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might,
according to His glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with
joyfulness.--COL. i. 10, ii
To be the thing we seem,
To do the thing we deem
Enjoined by duty;
To walk in faith, nor dream
Of questioning God's scheme
Of truth and beauty.
To shape the whole Future is not our problem; but only to shape faithfully
a small part of it, according to rules already known. It is perhaps
possible for each of us, who will with due earnestness inquire, to
ascertain clearly what he, for his own part, ought to do; this let him,
with true heart, do, and continue doing. The general issue will, as it has
always done, rest well with a Higher Intelligence than ours. This day thou
knowest ten commanded duties, seest in thy mind ten things which should be
done for one that thou doest! _Do_ one of them; this of itself will show
thee ten others which can and shall be done.
I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day: the night
cometh, when no man can work.--JOHN ix. 4
Wherefore have ye not fulfilled your task?--EX. v. 14
He who intermits
The appointed task and duties of the day
Untunes full oft the pleasures of the day;
Checking the finer spirits that refuse
To flow, when purposes are lightly changed.
By putting off things beyond their proper times, one duty treads upon the
heels of another, and all duties are felt as irksome obligations,--a yoke
beneath which we fret and lose our peace. In most cases the consequence of
this is, that we have no time to do the work as it ought to be done. It is
therefore done precipitately, with eagerness, with a greater desire simply
to get it done, than to do it well, and with very little thought of God
F. W. FABER.
Sufficient for each day is the _good_ thereof, equally as the evil. We must
do at once, and with our might, the merciful deed that our hand findeth to
do,--else it will never be done, for the hand will find other tasks, and
the arrears fall through. And every unconsummated good feeling, every
unfulfilled purpose that His spirit has prompted, shall one day charge us
as faithless and recreant before God.
J. H. THOM.
Blessed is the man whom Thou chastenest, O Lord, and teachest him out of
Thy law.--PS. xciv
Truly this is a grief, and I must bear it.--JER. x. 19
Hold in thy murmurs, heaven arraigning!
The patient see God's loving face;
Who bear their burdens uncomplaining,
'Tis they that win the Father's grace.
Do not run to this and that for comfort when you are in trouble, but bear
it. Be uncomfortably quiet--be uneasily silent--be patiently unhappy.
Hard words _will_ vex, unkindness _will_ pierce; neglect _will_ wound;
threatened evils _will_ make the soul quiver; sharp pain or weariness
_will_ rack the body, or make it restless. But what says the Psalmist?
"When my heart is vexed, I will complain." To whom? Not _of_ God, but _to_
Surely, I have thought, I do not want to have a grief which would not be
a grief. I feel that I shall be able to take up my cross in a religious
spirit soon, and then it will be all right.
Thou art my servant: I have formed thee; thou art my servant: O Israel,
thou shalt not be forgotten of me.--ISA. xliv. 21
Oh, give Thy servant patience to be still,
And bear Thy will;
Courage to venture wholly on the arm
That will not harm;
The wisdom that will never let me stray
Out of my way;
The love, that, now afflicting, knoweth best
When I should rest.
J. M. NEALE.
Supposing that you were never to be set free from such trials, what would
you do? You would say to God, "I am Thine--if my trials are acceptable to
Thee, give me more and more." I have full confidence that this is what you
would say, and then you would not think more of it--at any rate, you would
not be anxious. Well, do the same now. Make friends with your trials, as
though you were always to live together; and you will see that when you
cease to take thought for your own deliverance, God will take thought for
you; and when you cease to help yourself eagerly, He will help you.
ST. FRANCIS DE SALES.
Ah, if you knew what peace there is in an accepted sorrow!
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I
will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with
the right hand of my righteousness.--ISA. xli. 10
Lord, be Thou near and cheer my lonely way;
With Thy sweet peace my aching bosom fill;
Scatter my cares and fears; my griefs allay,
And be it mine each day
To love and please Thee still.
What if the wicked nature, which is as a sea casting out mire and dirt,
rage against thee? There is a river, a sweet, still, flowing river, the
streams whereof will make glad thy heart. And, learn but in quietness and
stillness to retire to the Lord, and wait upon Him; in whom thou shall feel
peace and joy, in the midst of thy trouble from the cruel and vexatious
spirit of this world. So, wait to know thy work and service to the Lord
every day, in thy place and station; and the Lord make thee faithful
therein, and thou wilt want neither help, support, nor comfort.
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because
he trusteth in Thee.--ISA. xxvi. 3
What comforts, Lord, to those are given,
Who seek in Thee their home and rest!
They find on earth an opening heaven,
And in Thy peace are amply blest.
W. C. DESSLER.
God is a tranquil Being, and abides in a tranquil eternity. So must thy
spirit become a tranquil and clear little pool, wherein the serene light
of God can be mirrored. Therefore shun all that is disquieting and
distracting, both within and without. Nothing in the whole world is worth
the loss of thy peace; even the faults which thou hast committed should
only humble, but not disquiet thee. God is full of joy, peace, and
happiness. Endeavor then to obtain a continually joyful and peaceful
spirit. Avoid all anxious care, vexation, murmuring, and melancholy, which
darken thy soul, and render thee unfit for the friendship of God. If thou
dost perceive such feelings arising, turn gently away from them.
Every day will I bless Thee; and I will praise Thy name for ever and
ever.--PS. cxlv. 2
Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be
established.--PROV. xvi. 3
Lord, I my vows to Thee renew;
Disperse my sins as morning dew;
Guard my first springs of thought and will,
And with Thyself my spirit fill.
Morning by morning think, for a few moments, of the chief employments of
the day, any one thing of greater moment than others, thine own especial
trial, any occasions of it which are likely to come that day, and by one
short strong act commend thyself beforehand in all to God; offer all thy
thoughts, words, and deeds to Him--to be governed, guided, accepted by Him.
Choose some great occasions of the day, such as bring with them most trial
to thee, on which, above others, to commend thyself to God.
E. B. PUSEY.
Will you not, before venturing away from your early quiet hour, "commit thy
works" to Him definitely, the special things you have to do to-day, and the
unforeseen work which He may add in the course of it?
F. R. HAVERGAL.
Hereby know we that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given
us of His Spirit.--I JOHN iv. 13
Within! within, oh turn
Thy spirit's eyes, and learn
Thy wandering senses gently to control;
Thy dearest Friend dwells deep within thy soul,
And asks thyself of thee,
That heart, and mind, and sense, He may make whole
In perfect harmony.
Wait patiently, trust humbly, depend only upon, seek solely to a God of
Light and Love, of Mercy and Goodness, of Glory and Majesty, ever dwelling
in the inmost depth and spirit of your soul. There you have all the secret,
hidden, invisible Upholder of all the creation, whose blessed operation
will always be found by a humble, faithful, loving, calm, patient
introversion of your heart to Him, who has His hidden heaven within you,
and which will open itself to you, as soon as your heart is left wholly to
His eternal, ever-speaking Word, and ever-sanctifying Spirit within you.
Beware of all eagerness and activity of your own natural spirit and temper.
Run not in any hasty ways of your own. Be patient under the sense of your
own vanity and weakness; and patiently wait for God to do His own work, and
in His own way.
If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue,
but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.--JAMES i. 26
I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue.--PS
No sinful word, nor deed of wrong,
Nor thoughts that idly rove;
But simple truth be on our tongue,
And in our hearts be love.
Let us all resolve,--First, to attain the grace of SILENCE; Second, to deem
all FAULT-FINDING that does no good a SIN, and to resolve, when we are
happy ourselves, not to poison the atmosphere for our neighbors by calling
on them to remark every painful and disagreeable feature of their daily
life; Third, to practise the grace and virtue of PRAISE.
HARRIET B. STOWE.
Surrounded by those who constantly exhibit defects of character and
conduct, if we yield to a complaining and impatient spirit, we shall mar
our own peace without having the satisfaction of benefiting others.
T. C. UPHAM.
Ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the--will of God, ye
might receive the promise.--HEB. x. 36
Sweet Patience, come:
Not from a low and earthly source,--
Waiting, till things shall have their course,--
Not as accepting present pain
In hope of some hereafter gain,--
Not in a dull and sullen calm,--
But as a breath of heavenly balm,
Bidding my weary heart submit
To bear whatever God sees fit:
Sweet Patience, come!
HYMNS OF THE CHURCH MILITANT.
Patience endues her scholars with content of mind, and evenness of temper,
preventing all repining grumbling, and impatient desires, and inordinate
affections; disappointments here are no crosses, and all anxious thoughts
are disarmed of their sting; in her habitations dwell quietness,
submission, and long-suffering, all fierce turbulent inclinations are
hereby allayed. The eyes of the patient fixedly wait the inward power of
God's providence, and they are thereby mightily enabled towards their
salvation and preservation.
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out
of the mouth of God.--MATT. iv. 4
A man's life conisteth not in the abundance of the things which he
possesseth.--LUKE xii. 15
Whate'er God does is well,
Whether He gives or takes!
And what we from His hand receive
Suffices us to live.
He takes and gives, while yet He loves us still;
Then love His will.
Is that beast better, that hath two or three mountains to graze on, than
a little bee, that feeds on dew or manna, and lives upon what falls every
morning from the storehouse of heaven, clouds, and providence?
For myself I am certain that the good of human life cannot lie in the
possession of things which for one man to possess is for the rest to lose,
but rather in things which all can possess alike, and where one man's
wealth promotes his neighbor's.
Every lot is happy to a person who bears it with tranquillity.
Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of.--MATT. vi. 8
Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these
things shall be added unto you.--MATT. vi. 33
Thy kingdom come, with power and grace,
To every heart of man;
Thy peace, and joy, and righteousness
In all our bosoms reign.
God bids us, then, by past mercies, by present grace, by fears of coming
ill, by hopes in His goodness, earnestly, with our whole hearts, seek Him
and His righteousness, and all these things, all ye need for soul and body,
peace, comfort, joy, the overflowing of His consolations, shall be added
over and above to you.
E. B. PUSEY.
Grant us, O Lord, we beseech Thee, always to seek Thy kingdom and
righteousness, and of whatsoever Thou seest us to stand in need, mercifully
grant us an abundant portion. Amen.
Be content to be a child, and let the Father proportion out daily to thee
what light, what power, what exercises, what straits, what fears, what
troubles He sees fit for thee.
I have taught thee In the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right
paths.--PROV. iv. 11
We know not what the path may be
As yet by us untrod;
But we can trust our all to Thee,
Our Father and our God.
WM. J. IRONS.
We have very little command over the circumstances in which we may be
called by God to bear our part--unlimited command over the temper of our
souls, but next to no command over the outward forms of trial. The most
energetic will cannot order the events by which our spirits are to be
perilled and tested. Powers quite beyond our reach--death, accident,
fortune, another's sin--may change in a moment all the conditions of our
life. With to-morrow's sun existence may have new and awful aspects for any
J. H. THOM.
Oh, my friend, look not _out_ at what stands in the way; what if it look
dreadfully as a lion, is not the Lord stronger than the mountains of prey?
but look _in_, where the law of life is written, and the will of the Lord
revealed, that thou mayest know what is the Lord's will concerning thee.
Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope
in the Lord.--PS. xxxi. 24
Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.--JOHN xiv. 27
In heavenly love abiding,
No change my heart shall fear;
And safe is such confiding,
For nothing changes here.
A. L. WARING.
A true Christian, that hath power over his own will, may live nobly and
happily, and enjoy a clear heaven within the serenity of his own mind
perpetually. When the sea of this world is most rough and tempestuous
about him, then can he ride safely at anchor within the haven, by a sweet
compliance of his will with God's will. He can look about him, and with an
even and indifferent mind behold the world either to smile or frown upon
him; neither will he abate of the least of his contentment for all the ill
and unkind usage he meets withal in this life. He that hath got the mastery
over his own will feels no violence from without, finds no contests within;
and when God calls for him out of this state of mortality, he finds in
himself a power to lay down his own life; neither is it so much taken from
him, as quietly and freely surrendered up by him.
DR. JOHN SMITH.
And the Lord, He it is that doth go before thee; He will be with thee,
He will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be
dismayed.--DEUT. xxxi. 8
Know well, my soul, God's hand controls
Whatever thou fearest;
Round Him in calmest music rolls
Whate'er thou hearest.
J. G. WHITTIER.
The lessons of the moral sentiment are, once for all, an emancipation from
that anxiety which takes the joy out of all life. It teaches a great peace.
It comes itself from the highest place. It is that, which being in all
sound natures, and strongest in the best and most gifted men, we know to be
implanted by the Creator of men. It is a commandment at every moment, and
in every condition of life, to do the duty of that moment, and to abstain
from doing the wrong.
R. W. EMERSON.
Go face the fire at sea, or the cholera in your friend's house, or the
burglar in your own, or what danger lies in the way of duty, knowing you
are guarded by the cherubim of Destiny.
R. W. EMERSON.
Behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou
guest.--GEN. xxviii. 15
Be quiet, soul:
Why shouldst thou care and sadness borrow,
Why sit in nameless fear and sorrow,
The livelong day?
God will mark out thy path to-morrow
In His best way.
I had hoped, Madame, to find you here, and was rejoicing in that hope; but
God has sent you elsewhere. The best place is wherever He puts us, and
any other would be undesirable, all the worse because it would please our
fancy, and would be of our own choice. Do not think about distant events.
This uneasiness about the future is unwholesome for you. We must leave to
God all that depends on Him, and think only of being faithful in all that
depends upon ourselves. When God takes away that which He has given you, He
knows well how to replace it, either through other means or by Himself.
FRANCOIS DE LA MOTHE FENELON.
The Lord hath been mindful of us: He will bless us.--PS. cxv. 12
My Father! what am I, that all
Thy mercies sweet like sunlight fall
So constant o'er my way?
That Thy great love should shelter me,
And guide my steps so tenderly
Through every changing day?
What a strength and spring of life, what hope and trust, what glad,
unresting energy, is in this one thought,--to serve Him who is "my Lord,"
ever near me, ever looking on; seeing my intentions before He beholds my
failures; knowing my desires before He sees my faults; cheering me to
endeavor greater things, and yet accepting the least; inviting my poor
service, and yet, above all, content with my poorer love. Let us try to
realize this, whatsoever, wheresoever we be. The humblest and the simplest,
the weakest and the most encumbered, may love Him not less than the busiest
and strongest, the most gifted and laborious. If our heart be clear before
Him; if He be to us our chief and sovereign choice, dear above all, and
beyond all desired; then all else matters little. That which concerneth us
He will perfect in stillness and in power.
H. E. MANNING.
Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving
kindness have I drawn thee.--JER. xxxi. 3
On the great love of God I lean,
Love of the Infinite, Unseen,
With nought of heaven or earth between.
This God is mine, and I am His;
His love is all I need of bliss.
If ever human love was tender, and self-sacrificing, and devoted; if ever
it could bear and forbear; if ever it could suffer gladly for its loved
ones; if ever it was willing to pour itself out in a lavish abandonment for
the comfort or pleasure of its objects; then infinitely more is Divine love
tender, and self-sacrificing, and devoted, and glad to bear and forbear,
and to suffer, and to lavish its best of gifts and blessings upon the
objects of its love. Put together all the tenderest love you know of, the
deepest you have ever felt, and the strongest that has ever been poured out
upon you, and heap upon it all the love of all the loving human hearts in
the world, and then multiply it by infinity, and you will begin, perhaps,
to have some faint glimpse of what the love of God is.
H. W. SMITH.
My sons, be not now negligent: for the Lord hath chosen you to stand
before Him, to serve Him.--2 CHRON. xxix. 11
Bright be my prospect as I pass along;--
An ardent service at the cost of all,--
Love by untiring ministry made strong,
And ready for the first, the softest call.
A. L. WARING.
There are many things that appear trifles, which greatly tend to enervate
the soul, and hinder its progress in the path to virtue and glory. The
habit of indulging in things which our judgment cannot thoroughly approve,
grows stronger and stronger by every act of self-gratification, and we are
led on by degrees to an excess of luxury which must greatly weaken our
hands in the spiritual warfare. If we do not endeavor to do that which is
right in every particular circumstance, though trifling, we shall be in
great danger of letting the same negligence take place in matters more
The will can only be made submissive by frequent self-denials, which must
keep in subjection its sallies and inclinations. Great weakness is often
produced by indulgences which seem of no importance.
M. DE MOLINOS.
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me?
hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His
countenance.--PS. xlii. 5
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed.--2 COR. iv. 8
Oh, my soul, why art thou vexed?
Let things go e'en as they will;
Though to thee they seem perplexed,
Yet His order they fulfil.
A. H. FRANCKE.
The vexation, restlessness, and impatience which small trials cause, arise
wholly from our ignorance and want of self-control. We may be thwarted
and troubled, it is true, but these things put us into a condition for
exercising patience and meek submission, and the self-abnegation wherein
alone the fulness of God is to be found.
Every day deny yourself some satisfaction;--bearing all the inconveniences
of life (for the love of God), cold, hunger, restless nights, ill health,
unwelcome news, the faults of servants, contempt, ingratitude of friends,
malice of enemies, calumnies, our own failings, lowness of spirits, the
struggle in overcoming our corruptions;--bearing all these with patience
and resignation to the will of God. Do all this as unto God, with the
Charity envieth not, ... thinketh no evil--I COR. xiii. 4, 5
Why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy
brother?--ROM. xiv. 10
He that despiseth his neighbor sinneth.--PROV. xiv. 21
Look thou with pity on a brother's fall,
But dwell not with stern anger on his fault;
The grace of God alone holds thee, holds all;
Were that withdrawn, thou too wouldst swerve and halt.
If, on hearing of the fall of a brother, however differing or severed from
us, we feel the least inclination to linger over it, instead of hiding it
in grief and shame, or veiling it in the love which covereth a multitude
of sins; if, in seeing a joy or a grace or an effective service given to
others, we do not rejoice, but feel depressed, let us be very watchful; the
most diabolical of passions may mask itself as humility, or zeal for the
glory of God.
Love taketh up no malign elements; its spirit prompteth it to cover in
mercy all things that ought not to be exposed, to believe all of good that
can be believed, to hope all things that a good God makes possible, and to
endure all things that the hope may be made good.
J. H. THOM.
Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest:
for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that
judgest doest the same things.--ROM. ii. I
Search thine own heart. What paineth thee
In others, in thyself may be;
All dust is frail, all flesh is weak;
Be thou the true man thou dost seek.
J. G. WHITTIER.
A saint's life in one man may be less than common honesty in another. From
us, whose consciences He has reached and enlightened, God may look for a
martyr's truth, a Christian's unworldly simplicity, before He will place us
on a level even with the average of the exposed classes. We perhaps think
our lives at least harmless. We do not consider what He may think of them,
when compared with the invitations of His that we have slighted, with the
aims of His Providence we are leaving without our help, with the glory for
ourselves we are refusing and casting away, with the vast sum of blessed
work that daily faithfulness in time can rear without overwork on any
J. H. THOM.
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye
may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.--ROM. xv. 13
To heaven I lift my waiting eyes;
There all my hopes are laid;
The Lord that built the earth and skies
Is my perpetual aid.
Grovel not in things below, among earthly cares, pleasures, anxieties,
toils, if thou wouldst have a good strong hope on high. Lift up thy cares
with thy heart to God, if thou wouldst hope in Him. Then see what in thee
is most displeasing to God. This it is which holdeth thy hope down. Strike
firmly, repeatedly, in the might of God, until it give way. Thy hope will
soar at once with thy thanks to God who delivered thee.
E. B. PUSEY.
The snares of the enemy will be so known to thee and discerned, the way of
help so manifest and easy, that their strength will be broken, and the poor
entangled bird will fly away singing, from the nets and entanglements of
the fowler; and praises will spring up, and great love in thy heart to the
Forgiver and Redeemer.
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou
art also called.--I TIM. vi. 12
Oh, dream no more of quiet life;
Care finds the careless out; more wise to vow
Thy heart entire to faith's pure strife;
So peace will come, thou knowest not when or how.
Who art thou that complainest of thy life of toil? Complain not. Look
up, my wearied brother; see thy fellow-workmen there, in God's Eternity;
surviving there, they alone surviving; sacred band of the Immortals,
celestial body-guard of the empire of mankind. To thee Heaven, though
severe, is _not_ unkind; Heaven is kind,--as a noble mother; as that
Spartan mother, saying while she gave her son his shield, "With it, my son,
or upon it." Thou too shall return _home_ in honor; to thy far-distant
Home, in honor; doubt it not,--if in the battle thou keep thy shield!
Thou, in the Eternities and deepest death-kingdoms art not an alien; thou
everywhere art a denizen. Complain not.
The God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ
Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish,
strengthen, settle you.--I PET. v. 10
Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be faint-hearted_.--ISA. vii. 4
How shall thou bear the cross that now
So dread a weight appears?
Keep quietly to God, and think
Upon the Eternal Years.
F. W. FABER.
God forgive them that raise an ill report upon the sweet cross of Christ;
it is but our weak and dim eyes, that look but to the black side, that
makes us mistake; those that can take that crabbed tree handsomely upon
their backs, and fasten it on cannily, shall find it such a burden as wings
unto a bird, or sails to a ship.
Blessed is any weight, however overwhelming, which God has been so good as
to fasten with His own hand upon our shoulders.
F. W. FABER.
We cannot say this or that trouble shall not befall, yet we may, by help of
the Spirit, say, nothing that doth befall shall make me do that which is
unworthy of a Christian.
This God is our God for ever and ever: He will be our guide even unto
death.--PS. xlviii. 14
For the Lord shall be thy confidence.--PROV. iii. 26
Be still, my soul! Thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past:
Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake,
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
He has kept and folded us from ten thousand ills when we did not know it:
in the midst of our security we should have perished every hour, but that
He sheltered us "from the terror by night and from the arrow that flieth by
day"--from the powers of evil that walk in darkness, from snares of our own
evil will. He has kept us even against ourselves, and saved us even from
our own undoing. Let us read the traces of His hand in all our ways, in all
the events, the chances, the changes of this troubled state. It is He that
folds and feeds us, that makes us to go in and out,--to be faint, or to
find pasture,--to lie down by the still waters, or to walk by the way that
is parched and desert.
H. E. MANNING.
We are never without help. We have no right to say of any good work, it is
too hard for me to do, or of any sorrow, it is too hard for me to bear; or
of any sinful habit, it is too hard for me to overcome.
Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace.--JOB xxii. 21
All thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace
of thy children.--ISA. liv. 13
Unite, my roving thoughts, unite
In silence soft and sweet;
And thou, my soul, sit gently down
At thy great Sovereign's feet.
Yes! blessed are those holy hours in which the soul retires from the world
to be alone with God. God's voice, as Himself, is everywhere. Within and
without, He speaks to our souls, if we would hear. Only the din of the
world, or the tumult of our own hearts, deafens our inward ear to it.
Learn to commune with Him in stillness, and He, whom thou hast sought in
stillness, will be with thee when thou goest abroad.
E. B. PUSEY.
The great step and direct path to the fear and awful reverence of God, is
to meditate, and with a sedate and silent hush to turn the eyes of the mind
inwards; there to seek, and with a submissive spirit wait at the gates of
Wisdom's temple; and then the Divine Voice and Distinguishing Power will
arise in the light and centre of a man's self.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed
us with all spiritual blessings.--EPH. i. 3
As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing.--2 COR. vi. 10
It is not happiness I seek,
Its name I hardly dare to speak;
It is not made for man or earth,
And Heaven alone can give it birth.
There is a something sweet and pure,
Through life, through death it may endure;
With steady foot I onward press,
And long to win that Blessedness.
LOUISA J. HALL.
The elements of _happiness_ in this present life no man can command, even
if he could command himself, for they depend on the action of many wills,
on the purity of many hearts, and by the highest law of God the holiest
must ever bear the sins and sorrows of the rest; but over the _blessedness_
of his own spirit circumstance need have no control; God has therein given
an unlimited power to the means of preservation, of grace and growth, at
every man's command.
J. H. THOM.
There is in man a higher than love of happiness: he can do without
happiness, and instead thereof find blessedness!
For this shall every one that is godly pray unto Thee in a time when Thou
mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come
nigh unto him.--PS. xxxii. 6
Be not o'ermastered by thy pain,
But cling to God, thou shall not fall;
The floods sweep over thee in vain,
Thou yet shall rise above them all;
For when thy trial seems too hard to bear,
Lo! God, thy King, hath granted all thy prayer:
Be thou content.
It is the Lord's mercy, to give thee breathings after life, and cries unto
Him against that which oppresseth thee; and happy wilt thou be, when He
shall fill thy soul with that which He hath given thee to breathe after. Be
not troubled; for if troubles abound, and there be tossing, and storms,
and tempests, and no peace, nor anything visible left to support; yet, lie
still, and sink beneath, till a secret hope stir, which will stay the heart
in the midst of all these; until the Lord administer comfort, who knows how
and what relief to give to the weary traveller, that knows not where it is,
nor which way to look, nor where to expect a path.
Behold, we count them happy which endure.--JAMES v. 11
If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons.--HEB. xii. 7
Trials must and will befall;
But with humble faith to see
Love inscribed upon them all,
This is happiness to me.
Be not afraid of those trials which God may see fit to send upon thee. It
is with the wind and storm of tribulation that God separates the true wheat
from the chaff. Always remember, therefore, that God comes to thee in thy
sorrows, as really as in thy joys. He lays low, and He builds up. Thou wilt
find thyself far from perfection, if thou dost not find God in everything.
M. DE MOLINOS.
God hath provided a sweet and quiet life for His children, could they
improve and use it; a calm and firm conviction in all the storms and
troubles that are about them, however things go, to find content, and be
careful for nothing.
Oh, that Thou wouldest bless me indeed, and that Thine hand might be
with me, and that Thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve
me!--I CHRON. iv. 10
Ye shall serve the Lord your God, and He shall bless thy bread and thy
water.--EX. xxiii. 25
What I possess, or what I crave,
Brings no content, great God, to me,
If what I would, or what I have,
Be not possest, and blest, in Thee;
What I enjoy, O make it mine,
In making me that have it, Thine.
Offer up to God all pure affections, desires, regrets, and all the bonds
which link us to home, kindred, and friends, together with all our works,
purposes, and labors. These things, which are not only lawful, but sacred,
become then the matter of thanksgiving and oblation. Memories, plans for
the future, wishes, intentions; works just begun, half done, all but
completed; emotions, sympathies, affections,--all these things throng
tumultuously and dangerously in the heart and will. The only way to master
them is to offer them up to Him, as once ours, under Him, always His by
H. E. MANNING.
I delight to do Thy will, O my God: yea, Thy law is within my heart.--PS. xl. 8
A patient, a victorious mind,
That life and all things casts behind,
Springs forth obedient to Thy call;
A heart that no desire can move,
But still to adore, believe, and love,
Give me, my Lord, my Life, my All.
That piety which sanctifies us, and which is a true devotion to God,
consists in doing all His will precisely at the time, in the situation, and
under the circumstances, in which He has placed us. Perfect devotedness
requires, not only that we do the will of God, but that we do it with love.
God would have us serve Him with delight; it is our hearts that He asks of
FRANCOIS DE LA MOTHE FENELON.
Devotion is really neither more nor less than a general inclination and
readiness to do that which we know to be acceptable to God. It is that
"free spirit," of which David spoke when he said, "I will run the way
of Thy commandments, when Thou hast set my heart at liberty." People of
ordinary goodness walk in God's way, but the devout run in it, and at
length they almost fly therein. To be truly devout, we must not only do
God's will, but we must do it cheerfully.
ST. FRANCIS DE SALES.
So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto
wisdom.--PS. xc. 12
Seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of
doubtful mind.--LUKE xii. 29
Our days are numbered: let us spare
Our anxious hearts a needless care:
'T is Thine to number out our days;
'T is ours to give them to Thy praise.
Every day let us renew the consecration to God's service; every day let
us, in His strength, pledge ourselves afresh to do His will, even in the
veriest trifle, and to turn aside from anything that may displease Him.
He does not bid us bear the burdens of tomorrow, next week, or next year.
Every day we are to come to Him in simple obedience and faith, asking
help to keep us, and aid us through that day's work; and to-morrow, and
to-morrow, and to-morrow, through years of long to-morrows, it will be but
the same thing to do; leaving the future always in God's hands, sure that
He can care for it better than we. Blessed trust! that can thus confidingly
say, "This hour is mine with its present duty; the next is God's, and when
it comes, His presence will come with it."
W. R. HUNTINCTON.
And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy,
and upon the Israel of God.--GAL. vi. 16
Lord, I have given my life to Thee,
And every day and hour is Thine,--
What Thou appointest let them be;
Thy will is better, Lord, than mine.
Begin at once; before you venture away from this quiet moment, ask your
King to take you wholly into His service, and place all the hours of this
day quite simply at His disposal, and ask Him to make and keep you _ready_
to do just exactly what He appoints. Never mind about to-morrow; one day
at a time is enough. Try it to-day, and see if it is not a day of strange,
almost curious peace, so sweet that you will be only too thankful, when
to-morrow comes, to ask Him to take it also,--till it will become a
blessed habit to hold yourself simply and "wholly at Thy commandment for
_any_ manner of service." The "whatsoever" is not necessarily active work.
It may be waiting (whether half an hour or half a life-time), learning,
suffering, sitting still. But shall we be less ready for these, if any of
them are His appointments for to-day? Let us ask Him to prepare us for all
that He is preparing for us.
F. R. HAVERGAL.
Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with
thee.--PS. cxvi. 7
We which have believed do enter into rest.--HEB. iv. 3
Rest is not quitting
The busy career;
Rest is the fitting
Of self to its sphere.
'T is loving and serving
The highest and best!
'T is onwards, unswerving,--
And that is true rest.
J. S. DWIGHT.
As a result of this strong faith, the inner life of Catherine of Genoa
was characterized, in a remarkable degree, by what may be termed rest, or
quietude; which is only another form of expression for true interior peace.
It was not, however, the quietude of a lazy inaction, but the quietude
of an inward acquiescence; not a quietude which feels nothing and does
nothing, but that higher and divine quietude which exists by feeling and
acting in the time and degree of God's appointment and God's will. It was a
principle in her conduct, to give herself to God in the discharge of duty;
and to leave all results without solicitude in His hands.
T. C. UPHAM.
Thou understandest my thought afar off.--PS. cxxxix. 2
Who can understand his errors? cleanse Thou me from secret faults.--PS.
My newest griefs to Thee are old;
My last transgression of Thy law,
Though wrapped in thought's most secret fold,
Thine eyes with pitying sadness saw.
H. M. KIMBALL.
Lord our God, great, eternal, wonderful in glory, who keepest covenant and
promises for those that love Thee with their whole heart, who art the Life
of all, the Help of those that flee unto Thee, the Hope of those who cry
unto Thee, cleanse us from our sins, secret and open, and from every
thought displeasing to Thy goodness,--cleanse our bodies and souls, our
hearts and consciences, that with a pure heart, and a clear soul, with
perfect love and calm hope, we may venture confidently and fearlessly to
pray unto Thee. Amen.
COPTIC LITURGY OF ST. BASIL.
The dominion of any sinful habit will fearfully estrange us from His
presence. A single consenting act of inward disobedience in thought or will
is enough to let fall a cloud between Him and us, and to leave our hearts
cheerless and dark.
H. E. MANNING.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness,
goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.--GAL. v. 22, 23
Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my
disciples.--JOHN xv. 8
O Breath from out the Eternal Silence! blow
Softly upon our spirits' barren ground;
The precious fulness of our God bestow,
That fruits of faith, love, reverence may abound.
Is it possible we should be ignorant whether we feel tempers contrary to
love or no?--whether we rejoice always, or are burdened and bowed down with
sorrow?--whether we have a praying, or a dead, lifeless spirit?--whether
we can praise God, and be resigned in all trials, or feel murmurings,
fretfulness, and impatience under them?--is it not easy to know if we
feel anger at provocations, or whether we feel our tempers mild, gentle,
peaceable, and easy to be entreated, or feel stubbornness, self-will, and
pride? whether we have slavish fears, or are possessed of that perfect love
which casteth out all fear that hath torment?
HESTER ANN ROGERS.
We trust in the living God.--I TIM. iv. 10
Thy secret judgment's depths profound
Still sings the silent night;
The day, upon his golden round,
Thy pity infinite.
I. WILLIAMS. _Tr. from Latin_.
Now that I have no longer any sense for the transitory and perishable, the
universe appears before my eyes under a transformed aspect. The dead, heavy
mass which did but stop up space has vanished, and in its place there flows
onward, with the rushing music of mighty waves, an eternal stream of
life, and power, and action, which issues from the original source of all
life,--from Thy life, O Infinite One! for all life is Thy life, and only
the religious eye penetrates to the realm of true Beauty.
J. G. FICHTE.
What is Nature? Art thou not the "Living Garment" of God? O Heavens, is it,
in very deed, He then that ever speaks through thee; that lives and
loves in thee, that lives and loves in me? Sweeter than dayspring to the
shipwrecked in Nova Zembla; ah! like the mother's voice to her little child
that strays bewildered, weeping, in unknown tumults; like soft streamings
of celestial music to my too exasperated heart, came that Evangel. The
Universe is not dead and demoniacal, a charnel-house with spectres; but
godlike, and my Father's.
And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in Thee.--PS. xxxix. 7
O Lord, be gracious unto us; we have waited for Thee.--ISA. xxxiii. 2
He never comes too late;
He knoweth what is best;
Vex not thyself in vain;
Until He cometh, rest.
We make mistakes, or what we call such. The nature that could fall into
such mistake exactly needs, and in the goodness of the dear God is given,
the living of it out, And beyond this, I believe more. That in the pure
and patient living of it out we come to find that we have fallen, not into
hopeless confusion of our own wild, ignorant making; but that the finger
of God has been at work among our lines, and that the emerging is into His
blessed order; that He is forever making up for us our own undoings; that
He makes them up beforehand; that He evermore restoreth our souls.
A. D. T. WHITNEY.
THE Lord knows how to make stepping-stones for us of our defects, even;
it is what He lets them be for. He remembereth--He remembered in the
making--that we are but dust; the dust of earth, that He _chose_ to make
something little lower than the angels out of.
A. D. T. WHITNEY.
Take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in
that same hour what ye shall speak.--MATT. x. 19
Just to follow hour by hour
As He leadeth;
Just to draw the moment's power
As it needeth.
F. R. HAVERGAL.
You have a disagreeable duty to do at twelve o'clock. Do not blacken nine,
and ten, and eleven, and all between, with the color of twelve. Do the work
of each, and reap your reward in peace. So when the dreaded moment in the
future becomes the present, you shall meet it walking in the light, and
that light will overcome its darkness. The best preparation is the present
well seen to, the last duty done. For this will keep the eye so clear and
the body so full of light that the right action will be perceived at once,
the right words will rush from the heart to the lips, and the man, full of
the Spirit of God because he cares for nothing but the will of God, will
trample on the evil thing in love, and be sent, it may be, in a chariot
of fire to the presence of his Father, or stand unmoved amid the cruel
mockings of the men he loves.
Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the
Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?
He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth
strength.--ISA. xl. 28, 29
Workman of God! oh, lose not heart,
But learn what God is like;
And in the darkest battle-field
Thou shall know where to strike.
F. W. FABER.
For the rest, let that vain struggle to read the mystery of the Infinite
cease to harass us. It is a mystery which, through all ages, we shall only
read here a line of, there another line of. Do we not already know that the
name of the Infinite is GOOD, is GOD? Here on earth we are as soldiers,
fighting in a foreign land, that understand not the plan of the campaign,
and have no need to understand it; seeing well what is at our hand to be
done. Let us do it like soldiers, with submission, with courage, with a
heroic joy. Behind us, behind each one of us, lie six thousand years of
human, effort, human conquest: before us is the boundless Time, with its as
yet uncreated and unconquered continents and Eldorados, which we, even we,
have to conquer, to create; and from the bosom of Eternity there shine for
us celestial guiding stars.
I will wait upon the Lord, that hideth His face from the house of Jacob,
and I will look for Him.--ISA. viii. 17
What heart can comprehend Thy name,
Or, searching, find Thee out?
Who art within, a quickening flame,
A presence round about.
Yet though I know Thee but in part,
I ask not, Lord, for more:
Enough for me to know Thou art,
To love Thee and adore.
F. L. HOSMER.
Stand up, O heart! and yield not one inch of thy rightful territory to the
usurping intellect. Hold fast to God in spite of logic, and yet not quite
blindly. Be not torn from thy grasp upon the skirts of His garments by any
wrench of atheistic hypothesis that seeks only to hurl thee into utter
darkness; but refuse not to let thy hands be gently unclasped by that
loving and pious philosophy that seeks to draw thee from the feet of God
only to place thee in His bosom. Trustfully, though tremblingly, let go the
robe, and thou shalt rest upon the heart and clasp the very living soul of
Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.--2 TIM. ii. 3
Where our Captain bids us go,
'T is not ours to murmur, "No,"
He that gives the sword and shield,
Chooses too the battle-field
On which we are to fight the foe.
Of nothing may we be more sure than this; that, if we cannot sanctify our
present lot, we could sanctify no other. Our heaven and our Almighty Father
are there or nowhere. The obstructions of that lot are given for us to
heave away by the concurrent touch of a holy spirit, and labor of strenuous
will; its gloom, for us to tint with some celestial light; its mysteries
are for our worship; its sorrows for our trust; its perils for our courage;
its temptations for our faith. Soldiers of the cross, it is not for us, but
for our Leader and our Lord, to choose the field; it is ours, taking the
station which He assigns, to make it the field of truth and honor, though
it be the field of death.
Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of
the inheritance of the saints in light.--COL. i. 12
The souls most precious to us here
May from this home have fled;
But still we make one household dear;
One Lord is still our head.
Midst cherubim and seraphim
They mind their Lord's affairs;
Oh! if we bring our work to Him
Our work is one with theirs.
T. H. GILL.
We are apt to feel as if nothing we could do on earth bears a relation to
what the good are doing in a higher world; but it is not so. Heaven and
earth are not so far apart. Every disinterested act, every sacrifice
to duty, every exertion for the good of "one of the least of Christ's
brethren," every new insight into God's works, every new impulse given to
the love of truth and goodness, associates us with the departed, brings
us nearer to them, and is as truly heavenly as if we were acting, not on
earth, but in heaven. The spiritual tie between us and the departed is not
felt as it should be. Our union with them daily grows stronger, if we daily
make progress in what they are growing in.
WM. E. CHANNING.
That ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with
all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to
know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled
with all the fulness of God.--EPH. iii. 17-19
O love that passeth knowledge, thee I need;
Pour in the heavenly sunshine; fill my heart;
Scatter the cloud, the doubting, and the dread,--
The joy unspeakable to me impart.
To examine its evidence is not to try Christianity; to admire its martyrs
is not to try Christianity; to compare and estimate its teachers is not to
try Christianity; to attend its rites and services with more than Mahometan
punctuality is not to try or know Christianity. But for one week, for one
day, to have lived in the pure atmosphere of faith and love to God, of
tenderness to man; to have beheld earth annihilated, and heaven opened
to the prophetic gaze of hope; to have seen evermore revealed behind the
complicated troubles of this strange, mysterious life, the unchanged smile
of an eternal Friend, and everything that is difficult to reason solved by
that reposing trust which is higher and better than reason,--to have known
and felt this, I will not say for a _life_, but for a single blessed hour,
_that_, indeed, is to have made experiment of Christianity.
WM. ARCHER BUTLER.
The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts
and minds through Christ Jesus.--PHIL. iv. 7
Let the peace of God rule in your hearts.--COL. iii. 15.
Drop Thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.
J. G. WHITTIER.
"These things write we unto you, that your joy may be full." What is
fulness of joy but _peace_? Joy is tumultuous only when it is not full; but
peace is the privilege of those who are "filled with the knowledge of the
glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." "Thou wilt keep him in
perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee."
It is peace, springing from trust and innocence, and then overflowing in
love towards all around him.
J. H. NEWMAN.
THROUGH the spirit of Divine Love let the violent, obstinate powers of
thy nature be quieted, the hardness of thy affections softened, and thine
intractable self-will subdued; and as often as anything contrary stirs
within thee, immediately sink into the blessed Ocean of meekness and love.
Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an
heir of God through Christ.--GAL. iv. 7.
Not by the terrors of a slave
God's sons perform His will,
But with the noblest powers they have
His sweet commands fulfil.
Our thoughts, good or bad, are not in our command, but every one of us has
at all hours duties to _do_, and these he can do negligently, like a
slave, or faithfully, like a true servant. "_Do_ the duty that is nearest
thee"--that first, and that well; all the rest will disclose themselves
with increasing clearness, and make their successive demand. Were your
duties never so small, I advise you, set yourself with double and treble
energy and punctuality, to do them, hour after hour, day after day.
Whatever we are, high or lowly, learned or unlearned, married or single, in
a full house or alone, charged with many affairs or dwelling in quietness,
we have our daily round of work, our duties of affection, obedience, love,
mercy, industry, and the like; and that which makes one man to differ from
another is not so much what things he does, as his manner of doing them.
H. E. MANNING.
Now the God of peace make you perfect in every good work, to do His will,
working in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through Jesus
Christ.--HEB. xiii. 20, 21
Be ready to every good work_--TITUS iii. I
So, firm in steadfast hope, in thought secure,
In full accord to all Thy world of joy,
May I be nerved to labors high and pure,
And Thou Thy child to do Thy work employ.
Be with God in thy outward works, refer them to Him, offer them to Him,
seek to do them in Him and for Him, and He will be with thee in them, and
they shall not hinder, but rather invite His presence in thy soul. Seek to
see Him in all things, and in all things He will come nigh to thee.
E. B. PUSEY.
Nothing less than the majesty of God, and the powers of the world to come,
can maintain the peace and sanctity of our homes, the order and serenity of
our minds, the spirit of patience and tender mercy in our hearts. Then will
even the merest drudgery of duty cease to humble us, when we transfigure it
by the glory of our own spirit.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are
honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever
things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report,--think on these
things.--PHIL. iv. 8
As he thinketh in his heart, so is he.--PROV. xxiii. 7
Still may Thy sweet mercy spread
A shady arm above my head,
About my paths; so shall I find
The fair centre of my mind
Thy temple, and those lovely walls
Bright ever with a beam that falls
Fresh from the pure glance of Thine eye,
Lighting to eternity.
Make yourselves nests of pleasant thoughts. None of us yet know, for none
of us have been taught in early youth, what fairy palaces we may build of
beautiful thought--proof against all adversity. Bright fancies, satisfied
memories, noble histories, faithful sayings, treasure--houses of precious
and restful thoughts, which care cannot disturb, nor pain make gloomy, nor
poverty take away from us,--houses built without hands, for our souls to
O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man
that walketh to direct his steps.--JER. x. 23
I will direct all his ways.--ISA. xlv. 13
Come, Light serene and still!
Our darkened spirits fill
With thy clear day:
Guide of the feeble sight,
Star of grief's darkest night,
Reveal the path of right,
Show us Thy way.
ROBERT II. OF FRANCE.
There had been solemn appointed seasons in Anna's life, when she was
accustomed to enter upon a full and deliberate survey of her business
in this world. The claims of each relationship, and the results of each
occupation, were then examined in the light of eternity. It was then,
too, her fervent prayer to be enabled to discern the will of God far more
perfectly, not only in the indications given of it for her guidance through
each day's occupations, but as it might concern duties not yet brought home
to her conscience, and therefore unprovided for in her life.
SARAH W. STEPHEN.
Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those
things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high
calling of God in Christ Jesus.--PHIL. iii. 13, 14
Yet I argue not
Against Heaven's hand or will, nor bate a jot
Of heart or hope; but still bear up and steer
It is not by regretting what is irreparable that true work is to be done,
but by making the best of what we are. It is not by complaining that we
have not the right tools, but by using well the tools we have. What we are,
and where we are, is God's providential arrangement,--God's doing, though
it may be man's misdoing; and the manly and the wise way is to look your
disadvantages in the face, and see what can be made out of them. Life, like
war, is a series of mistakes, and he is not the best Christian nor the best
general who makes the fewest false steps. He is the best who wins the most
splendid victories by the retrieval of mistakes. Forget mistakes; organize
victory out of mistakes.
F. W. ROBERTSON.