Part 2 out of 6
_I made haste, and delayed not to keep Thy commandments_.--PS. cxix. 60.
_Ye know not what shall be on the morrow_.--JAMES iv. 14.
To do the duty which the hour brings,
Whether it be in great or smaller things;
For who doth know
What he shall do the coming day?
It is quite impossible that an idle, floating spirit can ever look up with
clear eye to God; spreading its miserable anarchy before the symmetry of
the creative Mind; in the midst of a disorderly being, that has neither
centre nor circumference, kneeling beneath the glorious sky, that
everywhere has both; and for a life that is _all_ failure, turning to the
Lord of the silent stars, of whose punctual thought it is, that "not one
faileth." The heavens, with their everlasting faithfulness, look down on no
sadder contradiction, than the sluggard and the slattern in their prayers.
_But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and there shall
no torment touch them. In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die: and
their departure is taken for misery, and their going from us to be utter
destruction: but they are in peace_.--WISDOM OF SOLOMON iii. 1-3.
But souls that of His own good life partake,
He loves as His own self; dear as His eye
They are to Him: He 'll never them forsake:
When they shall die, then God Himself shall die;
They live, they live in blest eternity.
Though every good man is not so logically subtile as to be able by fit
mediums to demonstrate his own immortality, yet he sees it in a higher
light: his soul, being purged and enlightened by true sanctity, is
more capable of those divine irradiations, whereby it feels itself in
conjunction with God. It knows that God will never forsake His own life
which He hath quickened in it; He will never deny those ardent desires of
a blissful fruition of Himself, which the lively sense of His own goodness
hath excited within it: those breathings and gaspings after an eternal
participation of Him are but the energy of His own breath within us; if He
had had any mind to destroy it, He would never have shown it such things as
He hath done.
DR. JOHN SMITH.
_And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is
pure_.--I JOHN iii. 3.
Now, Lord, what wait I for?
On Thee alone
My hope is all rested,--
Lord, seal me Thine own!
Only Thine own to be,
Only to live to Thee.
Thine, with each day begun,
Thine, with each set of sun,
Thine, till my work is done.
Now, believe me, God hides some ideal in every human soul. At some time in
our life we feel a trembling, fearful longing to do some good thing. Life
finds its noblest spring of excellence in this hidden impulse to do our
best. There is a time when we are not content to be such merchants or
doctors or lawyers as we see on the dead level or below it. The woman longs
to glorify her womanhood as sister, wife, or mother. Here is God,--God
standing silently at the door all day long,--God whispering to the soul,
that to be pure and true is to succeed in life, and whatever we get short
of that will burn up like stubble, though the whole world try to save it.
_The shadow of a great rock in a weary land_.--ISA. xxxii. 2.
_In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence
shall be your strength_.--ISA. xxx. 15.
O Shadow in a sultry land!
We gather to Thy breast,
Whose love, enfolding like the night,
Brings quietude and rest,
Glimpse of the fairer life to be,
In foretaste here possessed.
C. M. PACKARD.
Strive to see God in all things without exception, and-acquiesce in His
will with absolute submission. Do everything for God, uniting yourself to
Him by a mere upward glance, or by the overflowing of your heart towards
Him. Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do
not lose your inward peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole
world seems upset. Commend all to God, and then lie still and be at rest in
His bosom. Whatever happens, abide steadfast in a determination to cling
simply to God, trusting to His eternal love for you; and if you find that
you have wandered forth from this shelter, recall your heart quietly and
simply. Maintain a holy simplicity of mind, and do not smother yourself
with a host of cares, wishes, or longings, under any pretext.
ST. FRANCIS DE SALES.
_There are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh
all in all_.--I COR. xii. 6.
_I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I
the Lord do all these things_.--ISA. xlv. 7.
"All is of God that is, and is to be;
And God is good." Let this suffice us still,
Resting in childlike trust upon His will,
Who moves to His great ends, unthwarted by the ill.
J. G. WHITTIER.
This, then, is of faith, that everything, the very least, or what seems to
us great, every change of the seasons, everything which touches us in mind,
body, or estate, whether brought about through this outward senseless
nature, or by the will of man, good or bad, is overruled to each of us by
the all-holy and all-loving will of God. Whatever befalls us, however it
befalls us, we must receive as the will of God. If it befalls us through
man's negligence, or ill-will, or anger, still it is, in every the least
circumstance, to us the will of God. For if the least thing could happen to
us without God's permission, it would be something out of God's control.
God's providence or His love would not be what they are. Almighty God
Himself would not be the same God; not the God whom we believe, adore, and
E. B. PUSEY.
_Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be
ashamed_.--2 TIM. ii. 15.
_And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap if
we faint not_.--GAL. vi. 9.
The task Thy wisdom hath assigned,
Oh, let me cheerfully fulfil;
In all my works Thy presence find,
And prove Thine acceptable will.
"What is my next duty? What is the thing that lies nearest to me?" "That
belongs to your every-day history. No one can answer that question but
yourself. Your next duty is just to determine what your next duty is. Is
there nothing you neglect? Is there nothing you know you ought not to do?
You would know your duty, if you thought in earnest about it, and were not
ambitious of great things." "Ah, then," responded she, "I suppose it is
something very commonplace, which will make life more dreary than ever.
That cannot help me." "It will, if it be as dreary as reading the
newspapers to an old deaf aunt. It will soon lead you to something more.
Your duty will begin to comfort you at once, but will at length open the
unknown fountain of life in your heart."
_Thou shalt rejoice before the Lord thy God in all that thou puttest thine
hands unto_.--DEUT. xii. 18.
_Be ye thankful_.--COL. iii. 15.
Thou that hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more, a grateful heart.
Not thankful when it pleaseth me,
As if thy blessings had spare days;
But such a heart, whose pulse may be
If any one would tell you the shortest, surest way to all happiness and all
perfection, he must tell you to make it a rule to yourself to thank and
praise God for everything that happens to you. For it is certain that
whatever seeming calamity happens to you, if you thank and praise God for
it, you turn it into a blessing. Could you, therefore, work miracles, you
could not do more for yourself than by this thankful spirit; for it heals
with a word speaking, and turns all that it touches into happiness.
_When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the
rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire,
thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee_.--ISA.
_I am with thee to deliver thee_.--JER. i. 8.
When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
For I will be with thee thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
Turn it as thou wilt, thou must give thyself to suffer what is appointed
thee. But if we did that, God would bear us up at all times in all our
sorrows and troubles, and God would lay His shoulder under our burdens,
and help us to bear them. For if, with a cheerful courage, we submitted
ourselves to God, no suffering would be unbearable.
Learn to be as the angel, who could descend among the miseries of Bethesda
without losing his heavenly purity or his perfect happiness. Gain healing
from troubled waters. Make up your mind to the prospect of sustaining a
certain measure of pain and trouble in your passage through life. By the
blessing of God this will prepare you for it; it will make you thoughtful
and resigned without interfering with your cheerfulness.
J. H. NEWMAN.
_Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee: He shall never
suffer the righteous to be moved_.--PS. lv. 22.
Now our wants and burdens leaving
To His care who cares for all,
Cease we fearing, cease we grieving,
At His touch our burdens fall.
The circumstances of her life she could not alter, but she took them to the
Lord, and handed them over into His management; and then she believed that
He took it, and she left all the responsibility and the worry and anxiety
with Him. As often as the anxieties returned she took them back; and the
result was that, although the circumstances remained unchanged, her soul
was kept in perfect peace in the midst of them. And the secret she found so
effectual in her outward affairs, she found to be still more effectual in
her inward ones, which were in truth even more utterly unmanageable. She
abandoned her whole self to the Lord, with all that she was and all that
she had; and, believing that He took that which she had committed to Him,
she ceased to fret and worry, and her life became all sunshine in the
gladness of belonging to Him. H. W. SMITH.
_The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: the Lord make His face shine upon
thee, and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lift up His countenance upon
thee, and give thee peace_.--NUM. vi. 24-26.
O Love, how cheering is Thy ray!
All pain before Thy presence flies;
Care, anguish, sorrow, melt away,
Where'er Thy healing beams arise.
O Father, nothing may I see,
Nothing desire, or seek, but Thee.
There is a faith in God, and a clear perception of His will and designs,
and providence, and glory, which gives to its possessor a confidence and
patience and sweet composure, under every varied and troubling aspect of
events, such as no man can realize who has not felt its influences in his
own heart. There is a communion with God, in which the soul feels the
presence of the unseen One, in the profound depths of its being, with a
vivid distinctness and a holy reverence, such as no words can describe.
There is a state of union with God, I do not say often reached, yet it has
been attained in this world, in which all the past and present and future
seem reconciled, and eternity is won and enjoyed; and God and man, earth
and heaven, with all their mysteries, are apprehended in truth as they lie
in the mind of the Infinite.
SAMUEL D. ROBBINS.
_He that abideth in me, and I in him, bringeth forth much fruit_.--JOHN xv.
_Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us_.--PS. xc. 17.
As some rare perfume in a vase of clay
Pervades it with a fragrance not its own,
So, when Thou dwellest in a mortal soul,
All Heaven's own sweetness seems around it thrown.
H. B. STOWE.
Some glances of real beauty may be seen in their faces, who dwell in true
meekness. There is a harmony in the sound of that voice to which Divine
love gives utterance, and some appearance of right order in their temper
and conduct whose passions are regulated.
I believe that no Divine truth can truly dwell in any heart, without an
external testimony in manner, bearing, and appearance, that must reach the
witness within the heart of the beholder, and bear an unmistakable, though
silent, evidence to the eternal principle from which it emanates.
M. A. SCHIMMELPENNINCK.
_I have called upon Thee, for Thou wilt hear me, O God: incline Thine ear
unto me, and hear my speech_.--PS. xvii. 6.
_Ye people, pour out your heart before Him: God is a refuge for us_.--PS.
Whate'er the care which breaks thy rest,
Whate'er the wish that swells thy breast;
Spread before God that wish, that care,
And change anxiety to prayer.
Trouble and perplexity drive us to prayer, and prayer driveth away trouble
Whatsoever it is that presses thee, go tell thy Father; put over the matter
into His hand, and so thou shalt be freed from that dividing, perplexing
care that the world is full of. When thou art either to do or suffer
anything, when thou art about any purpose or business, go tell God of it,
and acquaint Him with it; yea, burden Him with it, and thou hast done for
matter of caring; no more care, but quiet, sweet diligence in thy duty,
and dependence on Him for the carriage of thy matters. Roll thy cares, and
thyself with them, as one burden, all on thy God.
_Hear me, O Lord. for Thy loving-kindness is good: turn unto me according
to the multitude of Thy tender mercies_.--PS. lxix. 16.
_Let, I pray Thee, Thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to
Thy word unto Thy servant_.--PS. cxix. 76.
Love divine has seen and counted
Every tear it caused to fall;
And the storm which Love appointed
Was its choicest gift of all.
O that thou couldst dwell in the knowledge and sense of this! even, that
the Lord beholds thy sufferings with an eye of pity; and is able, not only
to uphold thee under them, but also to do thee good by them. Therefore,
grieve not at thy lot, be not discontented, look not out at the hardness of
thy condition; but, when the storm and matters of vexation are sharp, look
up to Him who can give meekness and patience, can lift up thy head over
all, and cause thy life to grow, and be a gainer by all. If the Lord God
help thee proportionably to thy condition of affliction and distress, thou
wilt have no cause to complain, but to bless His name.
_Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the
glory of God_.--I COR. x. 31.
_With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not unto men_.--EPH. vi.
A Servant, with this clause,
Makes drudgery divine:
Who sweeps a room, as for Thy laws,
Makes that and th' action fine.
Surely the truth must be, that whatsoever in our daily life is lawful and
right for us to be engaged in, is in itself a part of our obedience to
God; a part, that is, of our very religion. Whensoever we hear people
complaining of obstructions and hindrances put by the duties of life in the
way of devoting themselves to God, we may be sure they are under some false
view or other. They do not look upon their daily work as the task God has
set them, and as obedience due to Him. We may go farther; and say, not only
that the duties of life, be they never so toilsome and distracting, are no
obstructions to a life of any degree of inward holiness; but that they are
even direct means, when rightly used, to promote our sanctification.
H. E. MANNING.
_Where hast thou gleaned to-day_?--RUTH ii. 19.
What have I learnt where'er I've been,
From all I've heard, from all I've seen?
What know I more that's worth the knowing?
What have I done that's worth the doing?
What have I sought that I should shun?
What duties have I left undone?
All of this world will soon have passed away. But God will remain, and
thou, whatever thou hast become, good or bad. Thy deeds now are the
seed-corn of eternity. Each single act, in each several day, good or bad,
is a portion of that seed. Each day adds some line, making thee more or
less like Him, more or less capable of His love.
E. B. PUSEY.
There is something very solemn in the thought that that part of our work
which we have left undone may first be revealed to us at the end of a life
filled up, as we had fondly hoped, with useful and necessary employments.
SARAH W. STEPHEN.
_Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as
brethren, be pitiful, be courteous_.--I PETER iii. 8.
Make us of one heart and mind;
Courteous, pitiful, and kind;
Lowly, meek, in thought and word,
Altogether like our Lord.
A little thought will show you how vastly your own happiness depends on the
way other people bear themselves toward you. The looks and tones at your
breakfast-table, the conduct of your fellow-workers or employers, the
faithful or unreliable men you deal with, what people say to you on the
street, the way your cook and housemaid do their work, the letters you
get, the friends or foes you meet,--these things make up very much of the
pleasure or misery of your day. Turn the idea around, and remember that
just so much are you adding to the pleasure or the misery of other people's
days. And this is the half of the matter which you can control. Whether
any particular day shall bring to you more of happiness or of suffering is
largely beyond your power to determine. Whether each day of your life shall
give happiness or suffering rests with yourself.
GEORGE S. MERRIAM.
_Showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our
Saviour in all things_.--TITUS ii. 10.
If on our daily course our mind
Be set to hallow all we find,
New treasures still, of countless price,
God will provide for sacrifice.
If content and thankfulness, if the patient bearing of evil, be duties to
God, they are the duties of every day, and in every circumstance of our
life. If we are to follow Christ, it must be in our common way of spending
He who is faithful over a few things is a lord of cities. It does not
matter whether you preach in Westminster Abbey, or teach a ragged class, so
you be faithful. The faithfulness is all.
I would have you invoke God often through the day, asking Him to kindle a
love for your vocation within you, and saying with St. Paul, "'Lord, what
wouldst Thou have me to do?' Wouldst Thou have me serve Thee in the lowest
ministries of Thy house? too happy if I may but serve Thee anyhow." And
when any special thing is repugnant to you, ask "Wouldst Thou have me do
it? Then, unworthy though I be, I will do it gladly."
ST. FRANCIS DE SALES.
_Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou
serve_.--MATT. iv. 10.
_Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, and that seek Him with the
whole heart_.--PS. cxix. 2.
The comfort of a mind at rest
From every care Thou hast not blest;
A heart from all the world set free,
To worship and to wait on Thee.
A. L. WARING.
Resign every forbidden joy; restrain every wish that is not referred to His
will; banish all eager desires, all anxiety. Desire only the will of God;
seek Him alone, and you will find peace.
FRANCOIS DE LA MOTHE FENELON.
"I've been a great deal happier since I have given up thinking about what
is easy and pleasant, and being discontented because I couldn't have my own
will. Our life is determined for us; and it makes the mind very free when
we give up wishing, and only think of bearing what is laid upon us, and
doing what is given us to do."
_Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these
things_.--MATT. vi. 32.
All as God wills, who wisely heeds
To give or to withhold;
And knoweth more of all my needs
Than all my prayers have told.
J. G. WHITTIER.
Lord, I know not what I ought to ask of Thee; Thou only knowest what I
need; Thou lovest me better than I know how to love myself. O Father! give
to Thy child that which he himself knows not how to ask. I dare not ask
either for crosses or consolations; I simply present myself before Thee; I
open my heart to Thee. Behold my needs which I know not myself; see, and do
according to Thy tender mercy. Smite, or heal; depress me, or raise me up;
I adore all Thy purposes without knowing them; I am silent; I offer myself
in sacrifice; I yield myself to Thee; I would have no other desire than to
accomplish Thy will. Teach me to pray; pray Thyself in me.
FRANCOIS DE LA MOTHE FENELON.
_He that contemneth small things shall fall by little and
little_.--ECCLESIASTICUS xix. I.
One finger's-breadth at hand will mar
A world of light in heaven afar,
A mote eclipse a glorious star,
An eyelid hide the sky.
A single sin, however apparently trifling, however hidden in some
obscure corner of our consciousness,--a sin _which we do not intend to
renounce_,--is enough to render real prayer impracticable. A course of
action not wholly upright and honorable, feelings not entirely kind and
loving, habits not spotlessly chaste and temperate,--any of these are
impassable obstacles. If we know of a kind act which we might, but do not
intend to, perform,--if we be aware that our moral health requires the
abandonment of some pleasure which yet we do not intend to abandon, here is
cause enough for the loss of all spiritual power.
F. P. COBBE.
It is astonishing how soon the whole conscience begins to unravel, if a
single stitch drops; one little sin indulged makes a hole you could put
your head through.
_Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest_.--3 JOHN 5.
_And this also we wish, even your perfection_.--2 COR. xiii. 9.
In all the little things of life,
Thyself, Lord, may I see;
In little and in great alike
Reveal Thy love to me.
So shall my undivided life
To Thee, my God, be given;
And all this earthly course below
Be one dear path to heaven.
In order to mould thee into entire conformity to His will, He must have
thee pliable in His hands, and this pliability is more quickly reached
by yielding in the little things than even by the greater. Thy one great
desire is to follow Him fully; canst thou not say then a continual "yes" to
all His sweet commands, whether small or great, and trust Him to lead thee
by the shortest road to thy fullest blessedness?
H. W. SMITH.
With meekness, humility, and diligence, apply yourself to the duties of
your condition. They are the seemingly little things which make no noise
that do the business.
_I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for Thou, Lord, only makest
me dwell in safety_.--PS. iv. 8.
_He giveth His beloved sleep_.--PS. cxxvii. 2.
He guides our feet, He guards our way,
His morning smiles bless all the day;
He spreads the evening veil, and keeps
The silent hours while Israel sleeps.
We sleep in peace in the arms of God, when we yield ourselves up to His
providence, in a delightful consciousness of His tender mercies; no more
restless uncertainties, no more anxious desires, no more impatience at the
place we are in; for it is God who has put us there, and who holds us in
His arms. Can we be unsafe where He has placed us?
FRANCOIS DE LA MOTHE FENELON.
One evening when Luther saw a little bird perched on a tree, to roost there
for the night, he said, "This little bird has had its supper, and now it
is getting ready to go to sleep here, quite secure and content, never
troubling itself what its food will be, or where its lodging on the morrow.
Like David, it 'abides under the shadow of the Almighty.' It sits on its
little twig content, and lets God take care."
_I will hear what God the Lord will speak: for He will speak peace unto His
people_.--PS. lxxxv. 8.
There is a voice, "a still, small voice" of love,
Heard from above;
But not amidst the din of earthly sounds,
Which here confounds;
By those withdrawn apart it best is heard,
And peace, sweet peace, breathes in each gentle word.
He speaketh, but it is with us to hearken or no. It is much, yea, it is
everything, not to turn away the ear, to be willing to hearken, not to
drown His voice. "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him." It is
a secret, hushed voice, a gentle intercourse of heart to heart, a still,
small voice, whispering to the inner ear. How should we hear it, if we fill
our ears and our hearts with the din of this world, its empty tumult, its
excitement, its fretting vanities, or cares, or passions, or anxieties, or
show, or rivalries, and its whirl of emptinesses?
E. B. PUSEY.
_Are they not all ministering spirits_?--HEB. i. 14
May I reach
That purest heaven, be to other souls
The cup of strength in some great agony,
Enkindle generous ardor, feed pure love,
Be the sweet presence of a good diffused,
And in diffusion ever more intense!
So shall I join the choir invisible
Whose music is the gladness of the world.
Certainly, in our own little sphere it is not the most active people to
whom we owe the most. Among the common people whom we know, it is not
necessarily those who are busiest, not those who, meteor-like, are ever
on the rush after some visible charge and work. It is the lives, like the
stars, which simply pour down on us the calm light of their bright and
faithful being, up to which we look and out of which we gather the deepest
calm and courage. It seems to me that there is reassurance here for many of
us who seem to have no chance for active usefulness. We can do nothing for
our fellow-men. But still it is good to know that we can be something for
them; to know (and this we may know surely) that no man or woman of the
humblest sort can really be strong, gentle, pure, and good, without the
world being better for it, without somebody being helped and comforted by
the very existence of that goodness.
_If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in
us_.--I JOHN iv. 12.
_And he that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him. And
hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He hath given
us_.--I JOHN iii. 24.
Abide in me; o'ershadow by Thy love
Each half-formed purpose and dark thought of sin;
Quench, ere it rise, each selfish, low desire,
And keep my soul as Thine, calm and divine.
H. B. STOWE.
The Spirit of Love must work the works, and speak the tones, of Love. It
cannot exist and give no sign, or a false sign. It cannot be a spirit of
Love, and mantle into irritable and selfish impatience. It cannot be a
spirit of Love, and at the same time make self the prominent object. It
cannot rejoice to lend itself to the happiness of others, and at the same
time be seeking its own. It cannot be generous, and envious. It cannot be
sympathizing, and unseemly; self-forgetful, and vain-glorious. It cannot
delight in the rectitude and purity of other hearts, as the spiritual
elements of their peace, and yet unnecessarily suspect them.
J. H. THOM.
_Giving thanks always for all things unto God_.--EPH. v. 20.
For blessings of the fruitful season,
For work and rest, for friends and home,
For the great gifts of thought and reason,--
To praise and bless Thee, Lord, we come.
Yes, and for weeping and for wailing,
For bitter hail and blighting frost,
For high hopes on the low earth trailing,
For sweet joys missed, for pure aims crossed.
Notwithstanding all that I have suffered, notwithstanding all the pain and
weariness and anxiety and sorrow that necessarily enter into life, and the
inward errings that are worse than all, I would end my record with a devout
thanksgiving to the great Author of my being. For more and more am
I unwilling to make my gratitude to Him what is commonly called "a
thanksgiving for mercies,"--for any benefits or blessings that are
peculiar to myself, or my friends, or indeed to any man. Instead of this,
I would have it to be gratitude for _all_ that belongs to my life and
being,--for joy and sorrow, for health and sickness, for success and
disappointment, for virtue and for temptation, for life and death; because
I believe that all is meant for good.
_There shall no evil befall thee_.--PS. xci. 10.
_Whoso hearkeneth unto Me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear
of evil_.--PROV. i. 33.
I ask not, "Take away this weight of care;"
No, for that love I pray that all can bear,
And for the faith that whatsoe'er befall
Must needs be good, and for my profit prove,
Since from my Father's heart most rich in love,
And from His bounteous hands it cometh all.
C. J. P. SPITTA.
Be like the promontory, against which the waves continually break; but
it stands firm, and tames the fury of the water around it. Unhappy am I,
because this has happened to me? Not so, but happy am I, though this has
happened to me, because I continue free from pain, neither crushed by the
present, nor fearing the future. Will then this which has happened prevent
thee from being just, magnanimous, temperate, prudent, secure against
inconsiderate opinions and falsehood? Remember, too, on every occasion
which leads thee to vexation to apply this principle: that this is not a
misfortune, but that to bear it nobly is good fortune.
_Thou shall guide me with Thy counsel, and afterward receive me to
glory_.--PS. lxxiii. 24.
_There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God_.--HEB. iv. 9.
Guide us through life; and when at last
We enter into rest,
Thy tender arms around us cast,
And fold us to Thy breast.
H. F. LYTE.
Go forth to meet the solemnities and to conquer the trials of existence,
believing in a Shepherd of your souls. Then faith in Him will support you
in duty, and duty firmly done will strengthen faith; till at last, when all
is over here, and the noise and strife of the earthly battle fades upon
your dying ear, and you hear, instead thereof, the deep and musical sound
of the ocean of eternity, and see the lights of heaven shining on its
waters still and fair in their radiant rest, your faith will raise the song
of conquest, and in its retrospect of the life which has ended, and its
forward glance upon the life to come, take up the poetic inspiration of the
Hebrew king, "Surely goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my
life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
STOPFORD A. BROOKE.
_Thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field, and the beasts
of the field shall be at peace with thee. And thou shalt know that thy
tabernacle shall be in peace_.--JOB v. 23, 24.
Love had he found in huts where poor men lie;
His daily teachers had been woods and rills,
The silence that is in the starry sky,
The sleep that is among the lonely hills.
That spirit which suffices quiet hearts, which seems to come forth to
such from every dry knoll of sere grass, from every pine-stump, and
half-embedded stone, on which the dull March sun shines, comes forth to the
poor and hungry, and to such as are of simple taste. If thou fill thy brain
with Boston and New York, with fashion and covetousness, and wilt stimulate
thy jaded senses with wine and French coffee, thou shall find no radiance
of wisdom in the lonely waste of the pine-woods.
R. W. EMERSON.
As a countenance is made beautiful by the soul's shining through it, so the
world is beautiful by the shining through it of a God.
FRIEDRICH HEINRICH JACOBI.
_For Thou Invest all the things that are, and abhorrest nothing which Thou
hast made: for never wouldest Thou have made any thing, if Thou hadst
hated it. But Thou sparest all: for they are Thine, O Lord, Thou lover of
souls_.--WISDOM OF SOLOMON xi. 24, 26.
He prayeth well who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast;
He prayeth best who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.
S. T. COLERIDGE.
To know that Love alone was the beginning of nature and creature, that
nothing but Love encompasses the whole universe of things, that the
governing Hand that overrules all, the watchful Eye that sees through all,
is nothing but omnipotent and omniscient Love, using an infinity of wisdom,
to save every misguided creature from the miserable works of its own hands,
and make happiness and glory the perpetual inheritance of all the creation,
is a reflection that must be quite ravishing to every intelligent creature
that is sensible of it.
_Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God
dwelleth in you_?--I COR. iii. 16.
Father! replenish with Thy grace
This longing heart of mine;
Make it Thy quiet dwelling-place,
Thy sacred inmost shrine!
Not man's manifold labors, but his manifold cares, hinder the presence of
God. Whatsoever thou doest, hush thyself to thine own feverish vanities,
and busy thoughts, and cares; in silence seek thy Father's face, and the
light of His countenance will stream down upon thee. He will make a secret
cell in thine heart, and when thou enterest there, there shalt thou find
Him. And if thou hast found Him there, all around shall reflect Him, all
shall speak to Him, and He will speak through all. Outwardly thou mayest be
doing the work of thy calling; inwardly if thou commend thy work to God,
thou mayest be with Him in the third Heaven.
E. B. PUSEY.
_As for thee, the Lord thy God hath not suffered thee so to do_.--DEUT.
Lord, for the erring thought
Not into evil wrought;
Lord, for the wicked will
Betrayed and baffled still;
For the heart from itself kept,
Our Thanksgiving accept.
W. D. HOWELLS.
What an amazing, what a blessed disproportion between the evil we do, and
the evil we are capable of doing, and seem sometimes on the very verge
of doing! If my soul has grown tares, when it was full of the seeds of
nightshade, how happy ought I to be! And that the tares have not wholly
strangled the wheat, what a wonder it is! We ought to thank God daily for
the sins we have not committed.
F. W. FABER.
We give thanks often with a tearful, doubtful voice, for our spiritual
mercies _positive_; but what an almost infinite field there is for mercies
negative! We cannot even imagine all that God has suffered us _not_ to do,
_not_ to be.
F. R. HAVERGAL.
You are surprised at your imperfections--why? I should infer from that,
that your self-knowledge is small. Surely, you might rather be astonished
that you do not fall into more frequent and more grievous faults, and thank
God for His upholding grace.
JEAN NICOLAS GROU.
_Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few
things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of
thy Lord_.--MATT. xxv. 23.
O father! help us to resign
Our hearts, our strength, our wills to Thee;
Then even lowliest work of Thine
Most noble, blest, and sweet will be.
H. M. KIMBALL.
Nothing is too little to be ordered by our Father; nothing too little in
which to see His hand; nothing, which touches our souls, too little to
accept from Him; nothing too little to be done to Him.
E. B. PUSEY.
A soul occupied with great ideas best performs small duties; the divinest
views of life penetrate most clearly into the meanest emergencies; so far
from petty principles being best proportioned to petty trials, a heavenly
spirit taking up its abode with us can alone sustain well the daily toils,
and tranquilly pass the humiliations of our condition.
Whoso neglects a thing which he suspects he ought to do, because it seems
to him too small a thing, is deceiving himself; it is not too little, but
too great for him, that he doeth it not.
E. B. PUSEY.
_Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not
bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him_.--I KINGS xix.
He went down to the great school with a glimmering of another lesson in
his heart,--the lesson that he who has conquered his own coward spirit has
conquered the whole outward world; and that other one which the old prophet
learnt in the cave in Mount Horeb, when he hid his face, and the still
small voice asked, "What doest thou here, Elijah?" that however we may
fancy ourselves alone on the side of good, the King and Lord of men is
nowhere without His witnesses; for in every society, however seemingly
corrupt and godless, there are those who have not bowed the knee to Baal.
So, then, Elijah's life had been no failure, after all. Seven thousand at
least in Israel had been braced and encouraged by his example, and silently
blessed him, perhaps, for the courage which they felt. In God's world, for
those who are in earnest there is no failure. No work truly done, no word
earnestly spoken, no sacrifice freely made, was ever made in vain.
F. W. ROBERTSON.
_In the multitude of my thoughts within me Thy comforts delight my
soul_.--PS. xciv. 19.
_Perplexed, but not in despair; cast down, but not destroyed_.--2 COR. iv.
Discouraged in the work of life,
Disheartened by its load,
Shamed by its failures or its fears,
I sink beside the road;--
But let me only think of Thee,
And then new heart springs up in me.
Discouragement is an inclination to give up all attempts after the devout
life, in consequence of the difficulties by which it is beset, and our
already numerous failures in it. We lose heart; and partly in ill-temper,
partly in real doubt of our own ability to persevere, we first grow
querulous and peevish with God, and then relax in our efforts to mortify
ourselves and to please Him. It is a sort of shadow of despair, and will
lead us into numberless venial sins the first half-hour we give way to it.
F. W. FABER.
Never let us be discouraged with ourselves; it is not when we are conscious
of our faults that we are the most wicked; on the contrary, we are less so.
We see by a brighter light; and let us remember, for our consolation, that
we never perceive our sins till we begin to cure them.
FRANCOIS DE LA MOTHE FENELON.
_That ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of
God_.--ROM. xii. 2.
Thou knowest what is best;
And who but Thee, O God, hath power to know?
In Thy great will my trusting heart shall rest;
Beneath that will my humble head shall bow.
T. C. UPHAM.
To those who are His, all things are not only easy to be borne, but even to
be gladly chosen. Their will is united to that will which moves heaven and
earth, which gives laws to angels, and rules the courses of the world. It
is a wonderful gift of God to man, of which we that know so little
must needs speak little. To be at the centre of that motion, where is
everlasting rest; to be sheltered in the peace of God; even now to dwell in
heaven, where all hearts are stayed, and all hopes fulfilled. "Thou shalt
keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee."
H. E. MANNING.
Study to follow His will in all, to have no will but His. This is thy duty,
and thy wisdom. Nothing is gained by spurning and struggling but to hurt
and vex thyself; but by complying all is gained--sweet peace. It is the
very secret, the mystery of solid peace within, to resign all to His will,
to be disposed of at His pleasure, without the least contrary thought.
_The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want_.--PS. xxiii. 1.
_They that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing_.--PS. xxxiv. 10.
God, who the universe doth hold
In his fold,
Is my shepherd kind and heedful,
Is my shepherd, and doth keep
Me, his sheep,
Still supplied with all things needful.
_Who_ is it that is your shepherd? The Lord! Oh, my friends, what a
wonderful announcement! The Lord God of heaven and earth, the almighty
Creator of all things, He who holds the universe in His hand as though it
were a very little thing,--HE is your shepherd, and has charged Himself
with the care and keeping of you, as a shepherd is charged with the care
and keeping of his sheep. If your hearts could really take in this thought,
you would never have a fear or a care again; for with such a shepherd, how
could it be possible for you ever to want any good thing?
H. W. Smith.
_Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation_.--MATT. xxvi. 41.
I want a sober mind,
A self-renouncing will,
That tramples down and casts behind
The baits of pleasing ill;
A spirit still prepared,
And armed with jealous care,
Forever standing on its guard,
And watching unto prayer.
When you say, "Lead us not into temptation," you must in good earnest mean
to avoid in your daily conduct those temptations which you have already
suffered from. When you say, "Deliver us from evil," you must mean to
struggle against that evil in your hearts, which you are conscious of, and
which you pray to be forgiven. To watch and pray are surely in our power,
and by these means we are certain of getting strength. You feel your
weakness; you fear to be overcome by temptation; then keep out of the way
of it. This is watching. Avoid society which is likely to mislead you; flee
from the very shadow of evil; you cannot be too careful; better be a little
too strict than a little too easy,--it is the safer side. Abstain from
reading books which are dangerous to you. Turn from bad thoughts when they
J. H. NEWMAN.
_Not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing
God. Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto
men_.--COL. iii. 22, 23.
Teach me, my God and King,
In all things Thee to see,
And what I do in anything,
To do it as for Thee.
There is no action so slight nor so mean but it may be done to a great
purpose, and ennobled thereby; nor is any purpose so great but that
slight actions may help it, and may be so done as to help it much, most
especially, that chief of all purposes--the pleasing of God.
Every duty, even the least duty, involves the whole principle of obedience.
And little duties make the will _dutiful_, that is, supple and prompt to
obey. Little obediences lead into great. The daily round of duty is full of
probation and of discipline; it trains the will, heart, and conscience.
We need not to be prophets or apostles. The commonest life may be full
of perfection. The duties of home are a discipline for the ministries of
H. E. MANNING.
_Wherefore, beloved... be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace,
without spot, and blameless_,--2 PETER iii. 14.
His conscience knows no secret stings,
While grace and joy combine
To form a life whose holy springs
Are hidden and divine.
Even the smallest discontent of conscience may render turbid the whole
temper of the mind; but only produce the effort that restores its peace,
and over the whole atmosphere a breath of unexpected purity is spread;
doubt and irritability pass as clouds away; the withered sympathies of
earth and home open their leaves and live; and through the clearest blue
the deep is seen of the heaven where God resides.
The state of mind which is described as meekness, or quietness of spirit,
is characterized in a high degree by inward harmony. There is not, as
formerly, that inward jarring of thought contending with thought, and
conscience asserting rights which it could not maintain.
T. C. UPHAM.
_Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God
of love and peace shall be with you_.--2 COR. xiii. 11.
_He that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom
he hath not seen_?--I JOHN iv. 20.
Lord! subdue our selfish will;
Each to each our tempers suit,
By Thy modulating skill,
Heart to heart, as lute to lute.
It requires far more of the constraining love of Christ to love our cousins
and neighbors as members of the heavenly family, than to feel the heart
warm to our suffering brethren in Tuscany or Madeira. To love the whole
Church is one thing; to love--that is, to delight in the graces and veil
the defects--of the person who misunderstood me and opposed my plans
yesterday, whose peculiar infirmities grate on my most sensitive feelings,
or whose natural faults are precisely those from which my natural character
most revolts, is quite another.
_In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved
us_.--ROM. viii. 37.
Thus my soul before her God
Lieth still, nor speaketh more,
Conqueror thus o'er pain and wrong,
That once smote her to the core;
Like a silent ocean, bright
With her God's great praise and light.
J. J. WINCKLER.
My mind is forever closed against embarrassment and perplexity, against
uncertainty, doubt, and anxiety; my heart against grief and desire. Calm
and unmoved, I look down on all things, for I know that I cannot explain a
single event, nor comprehend its connection with that which alone concerns
me. In His world all things prosper; this satisfies me, and in this belief
I stand fast as a rock. My breast is steeled against annoyance on account
of personal offences and vexations, or exultation in personal merit; for my
whole personality has disappeared in the contemplation of the purpose of my
J. G. FICHTE.
_All thing are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or
life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye
are Christ's; and Christ is God's_.--I COR. iii. 21, 22, 23.
_As having nothing, and yet possessing all things_,--2 COR. vi. 10.
Old friends, old scenes, will lovelier be,
As more of heaven in each we see:
Some softening gleam of love and prayer
Shall dawn on every cross and care.
Out of love and hatred, out of earnings, and borrowings, and lendings, and
losses; out of sickness and pain, out of wooing and worshipping; out of
travelling, and voting, and watching, and caring; out of disgrace and
contempt, comes our tuition in the serene and beautiful laws. Let him not
slur his lesson; let him learn it by heart. Let him endeavor exactly,
bravely, and cheerfully, to solve the problem of that life which is set
before _him_. And this, by punctual action, and not by promises or dreams.
Believing, as in God, in the presence and favor of the grandest influences,
let him deserve that favor, and learn how to receive and use it, by
fidelity also to the lower observances.
R. W. EMERSON.
_We know that all things work together for good to them that love
God_.--ROM. viii. 28.
_As for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good_.--GEN.
Ill that He blesses is our good,
And unblest good is ill;
And all is right that seems most wrong,
If it be His sweet Will.
F. W. FABER.
To those who know themselves, all things work together for good, and all
things seem to be, as they are to them, good. The goods which God gives
seem "very good," and God Himself in them, because they know that they
deserve them not. The evils which God allows and overrules seem also "very
good," because they see in them His loving hand, put forth to heal them of
what shuts out God from the soul. They love God intensely, in that He is so
good to them in each, and every, the least good, because it is more than
they deserve: how much more in the greatest! They love God for every, and
each, the very greatest of what seem evils, knowing them to be, from His
love, real goods. For He by whom "all the hairs of our head are numbered,"
and who "knoweth whereof we are made," directs everything which befalls us
in life, in perfect wisdom and love, to the well-being of our souls.
E. B. PUSEY.
_The very God of peace sanctify you wholly, and I pray God your whole
spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless. Faithful is He that
calleth you, who also will do it_.--I THESS. v. 23, 24.
Be still, my soul!--the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief and pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide,--
In every change He faithful will remain.
HYMNS FROM THE LAND OF LUTHER.
It was no relief from temporal evils that the Apostle promised. No; the
mercy of God might send them to the stake, or the lions; it was still His
mercy, if it but kept them "unspotted from the world." It might expose
them to insult, calumny, and wrong; they received it still as mercy, if it
"established them in every good word and work." O brethren! how many of
_you_ are content with _such_ faithfulness as this on the part of your
heavenly Father? Is this, indeed, the tone and tenor of your prayers?
WM. ARCHER BUTLER.
The highest pinnacle of the spiritual life is not happy joy in unbroken
sunshine, but absolute and undoubting trust in the love of God.
A. W. THOROLD.
_Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust_.--PS. xl. 4.
_That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life_.--I TIM. ii. 2.
Just to let thy Father do
What He will;
Just to know that He is true,
And be still;
Just to trust Him, this is all!
Then the day will surely be
Peaceful, whatsoe'er befall,
Bright and blessed, calm and free.
F. R. HAVERGAL.
Every morning compose your soul for a tranquil day, and all through it be
careful often to recall your resolution, and bring yourself back to it, so
to say. If something discomposes you, do not be upset, or troubled; but
having discovered the fact, humble yourself gently before God, and try to
bring your mind into a quiet attitude. Say to yourself, "Well, I have made
a false step; now I must go more carefully and watchfully." Do this each
time, however frequently you fall. When you are at peace use it profitably,
making constant acts of meekness, and seeking to be calm even in the most
trifling things. Above all, do not be discouraged; be patient; wait; strive
to attain a calm, gentle spirit.
ST. FRANCIS DE SALES.
_What doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God,
to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the Lord thy God
with all thy heart and with all thy soul_?--DEUT. x. 12.
What asks our Father of His children save
Justice and mercy and humility,
A reasonable service of good deeds,
Pure living, tenderness to human needs,
Reverence, and trust, and prayer for light to see
The Master's footprints in our daily ways?
No knotted scourge, nor sacrificial knife,
But the calm beauty of an ordered life
Whose every breathing is unworded praise.
J. G. WHITTIER.
Give up yourself to God without reserve; in singleness of heart meeting
everything that every day brings forth, as something that comes from God,
and is to be received and gone through by you, in such an heavenly use
of it, as you would suppose the holy Jesus would have done in such
occurrences. This is an attainable degree of perfection.
We ought to measure our actual lot, and to fulfil it; to be with all our
strength that which our lot requires and allows. What is beyond it, is no
calling of ours. How much peace, quiet, confidence, and strength, would
people attain, if they would go by this plain rule.
H. E. MANNING.
_The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek Him_.--EZRA viii.
_Into Thy hand I commit my spirit_.--PS. xxxi. 5.
Thou layest Thy hand on the fluttering heart,
And sayest, "Be still!"
The silence and shadow are only a part
Of Thy sweet will;
Thy presence is with me, and where Thou art
I fear no ill.
F. R. HAVERGAL.
Be still and cool in thy own mind and spirit from thy own thoughts, and
then thou wilt feel the principle of God, to turn thy mind to the Lord God,
from whom life comes; whereby thou mayest receive His strength, and power
to allay all blustering storms and tempests. That is it which works up into
patience, into innocency, into soberness, into stillness, into stayedness,
into quietness, up to God with His power. Therefore be still awhile from
thy own thoughts, searching, seeking, desires, and imaginations, and be
stayed in the principle of God in thee, that it may raise thy mind up to
God, and stay it upon God; and thou wilt find strength from Him, and find
Him to be a God at hand, a present help in the time of trouble and need.
_I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined unto me, and heard my
cry_.--PS. xl. 1.
_Tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience,
hope,_--ROM. v. 3, 4.
Lord, we have wandered forth through doubt and sorrow,
And Thou hast made each step an onward one;
And we will ever trust each unknown morrow,--
Thou wilt sustain us till its work is done.
It is possible, when the future is dim, when our depressed faculties can
form no bright ideas of the perfection and happiness of a better world,--it
is possible still to cling to the conviction of God's merciful purpose
towards His creatures, of His parental goodness even in suffering; still
to feel that the path of duty, though trodden with a heavy heart, leads
to peace; still to be true to conscience; still to do our work, to resist
temptation, to be useful, though with diminished energy, to give up our
wills when we cannot rejoice under God's mysterious providence. In this
patient, though uncheered obedience, we become prepared for light. The soul
WM. E. CHANNING.
_Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is
perfect_.--MATT. v. 48.
_As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied,
when I awake, with Thy likeness_.--PS. xvii. 15.
The righteousness he marks in Thee
His will to right doth win;
Delighting in Thy purity,
He deeply drinks it in.
T. H. GILL.
To love God is to love His character. For instance, God is Purity. And
to be pure in thought and look, to turn away from unhallowed books and
conversation, to abhor the moments in which we have not been pure, is
to love God. God is Love; and to love men till private attachments have
expanded into a philanthropy which embraces all,--at last even the evil and
enemies with compassion,--that is to love God. God is Truth. To be true,
to hate every form of falsehood, to live a brave, true, real life,--that is
to love God. God is Infinite; and to love the boundless, reaching on from
grace to grace, adding charity to faith, and rising upwards ever to see the
Ideal still above us, and to die with it unattained, aiming insatiably to
be perfect even as the Father is perfect,--that is to love God.
F. W. ROBERTSON.
_Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet
believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory_.--I PETER i.
If our love were but more simple,
We should take Him at His word;
And our lives would be all sunshine
In the sweetness of our Lord.
F. W. FABER.
What would it be to love absolutely a Being absolutely lovely,--to be able
to give our whole existence, every thought, every act, every desire, to
that adored One,--to know that He accepts it all, and loves us in return as
God alone can love? This happiness grows forever. The larger our natures
become, the wider our scope of thought, the stronger our will, the more
fervent our affections, the deeper must be the rapture of such God-granted
prayer. Every sacrifice _resolved on_ opens wide the gate; every sacrifice
_accomplished_ is a step towards the paradise within. Soon it will be no
transitory glimpse, no rapture of a day, to be followed by clouds and
coldness. Let us but labor, and pray, and wait, and the intervals of human
frailty shall grow shorter and less dark, the days of our delight in God
longer and brighter, till at last life shall be nought but His love, our
eyes shall never grow dim, His smile never turn away.
F. B. COBBE.
_These were the potters, and those that dwelt among plants and hedges:
there they dwelt with the king for his work_.--I CHRON. iv. 23.
A lowlier task on them is laid,
With love to make the labor light;
And there their beauty they must shed
On quiet homes, and lost to sight.
Changed are their visions high and fair,
Yet, calm and still, they labor there.
HYMNS OF THE AGES.
Anywhere and everywhere we may dwell "with the King for His work." We may
be in a very unlikely or unfavorable place for this; it may be in a literal
country life, with little enough to be seen of the "goings" of the
King around us; it may be among hedges of all sorts, hindrances in all
directions; it may be, furthermore, with our hands full of all manner of
pottery for our daily task. No matter! The King who placed us "there" will
come and dwell there with us; the hedges are all right, or He would soon do
away with them; and it does not follow that what seems to hinder our way
may not be for its very protection; and as for the pottery, why, that is
just exactly what He has seen fit to put into our hands, and therefore it
is, for the present, "His work."
F. R. HAVERGAL.
_Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ_.--GAL. vi.
Is thy cruse of comfort wasting?
Rise and share it with another,
And through all the years of famine,
It shall serve thee and thy brother.
Is thy burden hard and heavy?
Do thy steps drag heavily?
Help to bear thy brother's burden;
God will bear both it and thee.
However perplexed you may at any hour become about some question of truth,
one refuge and resource is always at hand: you can do something for some
one besides yourself. When your own burden is heaviest, you can always
lighten a little some other burden. At the times when you cannot see God,
there is still open to you this sacred possibility, to _show_ God; for it
is the love and kindness of human hearts through which the divine reality
comes home to men, whether they name it or not. Let this thought, then,
stay with you: there may be times when you cannot find help, but there is
no time when you cannot give help.
GEORGE S. MERRIAM.
_Surely, I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of
his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child_.--PS. cxxxi. 2.
Quiet, Lord, my froward heart,
Make me teachable and mild,
Upright, simple, free from art,
Make me as a weaned child;
From distrust and envy free,
Pleased with all that pleaseth Thee.
Oh! look not after great things: small breathings, small desires after
the Lord, if true and pure, are sweet beginnings of life. Take heed
of despising "the day of small things," by looking after some great
visitation, proportionable to thy distress, according to thy eye. Nay, thou
must become a child; thou must lose thy own will quite by degrees. Thou
must wait for life to be measured out by the Father, and be content with
what proportion, and at what time, He shall please to measure.
"When Israel was a child, then I loved him" (Hosea xi. 1). Aim to be ever
this little child, contented with what the Father gives of pleasure or of
play; and when restrained from pleasure or from play, and led for a season
into the chamber of sorrow, rest quiet on His bosom, and be patient, and
smile, as one who is nestled in a sweet and secure asylum.
_If we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for
it_.--ROM. viii. 25.
_One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one
day_.--2 PETER iii. 8.
Lord! who Thy thousand years dost wait
To work the thousandth part
Of Thy vast plan, for us create
With zeal a patient heart.
J. H. NEWMAN.
I believe that if we could only see beforehand what it is that our heavenly
Father means us to be,--the _soul_ beauty and perfection and glory, the
glorious and lovely spiritual body that this soul is to dwell in through
all eternity,--if we could have a glimpse of _this_, we should not grudge
all the trouble and pains He is taking with us now, to bring us up to that
ideal, which is His thought of us. We know that it is God's way to work
slowly, so we must not be surprised if He takes a great many years of
discipline to turn a mortal being into an immortal, glorious angel.
_Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbor_,--ZECH. viii. 16.
_For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in
simplicity and godly sincerity... we have had our conversation in the
world_.--2 COR. i. 12.
Appear I always what I am?
And am I what I am pretending?
Know I what way my course is bending?
And sound my word and thought the same?
Am I acting in simplicity, from a germ of the Divine life within, or am
I shaping my path to obtain some immediate result of expediency? Am I
endeavoring to compass effects, amidst a tangled web of foreign influences
I cannot calculate; or am I seeking simply to do what is right, and leaving
the consequences to the good providence of God?
M. A. SCHIMMELPENNINCK.
Let it not be in any man's power to say truly of thee that thou art not
simple, or that thou art not good; but let him be a liar whoever shall
think anything of this kind about thee; and this is altogether in thy
power. For who is he that shall hinder thee from being good and simple?
_The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand_.--PS.
_Great peace have they which love Thy law: and nothing shall offend
them_.--PS. cxix. 165.
I rest beneath the Almighty's shade,
My griefs expire, my troubles cease;
Thou, Lord, on whom my soul is stayed,
Wilt keep me still in perfect peace.
One great sign of the practical recognition of the "divine moment," and of
our finding God's habitation in it, is constant calmness and peace of mind.
Events and things come with the moment; but God comes with them too. So
that if He comes in the sunshine, we find rest and joy; and if He comes
in the storm, we know He is King of the storms, and our hearts are not
troubled. God Himself, though possessing a heart filled with the tenderest
feelings, is, nevertheless, an everlasting tranquillity; and when we enter
into His holy tabernacle, our souls necessarily enter into the tabernacle
T. C. UPHAM.
My soul was not only brought into harmony with itself and with God, but
with God's providences. In the exercise of faith and love, I endured
and performed whatever came in God's providence, in submission, in
thankfulness, and silence.
_I will arise and go to my Father_.--LUKE xv. 18.
O my God, my Father! hear,
And help me to believe;
Weak and weary I draw near;
Thy child, O God, receive.
I so oft have gone astray;
To the perfect Guide I flee;
Thou wilt turn me not away,
Thy love is pledged to me.
HYMNS OF THE SPIRIT.
O child, hast thou fallen? arise, and go, with childlike trust, to thy
Father, like the prodigal son, and humbly say, with heart and mouth,
"Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before Thee, and am no more
worthy to be called Thy son; make me as one of Thy hired servants." And
what will thy heavenly Father do but what that father did in the parable?
Assuredly He will not change His essence, which is love, for the sake of
thy misdoings. Is it not His own precious treasure, and a small thing with
Him to forgive thee thy trespasses, if thou believe in Him? for His hand is
not shortened that it cannot make thee fit to be saved.
_Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward_.--EX. xiv. 15.
_No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for
the kingdom of God_.--LUKE ix. 62.
Be trustful, be steadfast, whatever betide thee,
Only one thing do thou ask of the Lord,--
Grace to go forward wherever He guide thee,
Simply believing the truth of His word.
The soul ceases to weary itself with planning and foreseeing, giving itself
up to God's Holy Spirit within, and to the teachings of His providence
without. He is not forever fretting as to his progress, or looking back to
see how far he is getting on; rather he goes steadily and quietly on, and
makes all the more progress because it is unconscious. So he never gets
troubled and discouraged; if he falls he humbles himself, but gets up at
once, and goes on with renewed earnestness.
JEAN NICOLAS GROU.
_I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my
mouth_.--PS. xxxiv. I.
_I will praise Thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth all Thy
marvellous works_.--PS. ix. I.
Thrice blest will all our blessings be,
When we can look through them to Thee;
When each glad heart its tribute pays
Of love and gratitude and praise.
That which befits us, embosomed in beauty and wonder as we are, is
cheerfulness, and courage, and the endeavor to realize our aspirations.
Shall not the heart which has received so much, trust the Power by which
it lives? May it not quit other leadings, and listen to the Soul that has
guided it so gently, and taught it so much, secure that the future will be
worthy of the past?
R. W. EMERSON.
I have experienced that the habit of taking out of the hand of our Lord
every little blessing and brightness on our path, confirms us, in an
especial manner, in communion with His love.
M. A. SCHIMMELPENNINCK.
_The ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of
great price_.--I PETER iii. 4.
_To present you holy, and unblameable, and unreproveable in His
sight_.--COL. i. 22.
Thy sinless mind in us reveal,
Thy spirit's plenitude impart!
Till all my spotless life shall tell
The abundance of a loving heart.
Holiness appeared to me to be of a sweet, pleasant, charming, serene, calm
nature. It seemed to me, it brought an inexpressible purity, brightness,
peacefulness, and ravishment to the soul; and that it made the soul like a
field or garden of God, with all manner of pleasant flowers, that is all
pleasant, delightful, and undisturbed; enjoying a sweet calm, and the
gently vivifying beams of the sun. The soul of a true Christian appeared
like such a little white flower, as we see in the spring of the year, low
and humble on the ground, opening its bosom to receive the pleasant beams
of the sun's glory; rejoicing, as it were, in a calm rapture; diffusing
around a sweet fragrancy; standing peacefully and lovingly in the midst of
other flowers round about, all in like manner opening their bosoms to drink
in the light of the sun.
_The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them
that trust in Him_.--NAHUM i. 7.
Leave God to order all thy ways,
And hope in Him, whate'er betide;
Thou 'It find Him in the evil days
Thy all-sufficient strength and guide;
Who trusts in God's unchanging love,
Builds on the rock that nought can move.
Our whole trouble in our lot in this world rises from the disagreement
of our mind therewith. Let the mind be brought to the lot, and the whole
tumult is instantly hushed; let it be kept in that disposition, and the man
shall stand at ease, in his affliction, like a rock unmoved with waters
beating upon it.
How does our will become sanctified? By conforming itself unreservedly to
that of God. We will all that He wills, and will nothing that He does not
will; we attach our feeble will to that all-powerful will which performs
everything. Thus, nothing can ever come to pass against our will; for
nothing can happen save that which God wills, and we find in His good
pleasure an inexhaustible source of peace and consolation.
FRANCOIS DE LA MOTHE FENELON.
_Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained
promises, stopped the mouths of lions, out of weakness were made
strong_.--HEB xi. 33, 34.
She met the hosts of Sorrow with a look
That altered not beneath the frown they wore,
And soon the lowering brood were tamed, and took,
Meekly, her gentle rule, and frowned no more.
Her soft hand put aside the assaults of wrath,
And calmly broke in twain
The fiery shafts of pain,
And rent the nets of passion from her path.
By that victorious hand despair was slain;
With love she vanquished hate, and overcame
Evil with good, in her great Master's name.
W. C. BRYANT.
As to what may befall us outwardly, in this confused state of things, shall
we not trust our tender Father, and rest satisfied in His will? Shall
anything hurt us? Can tribulation, distress, persecution, famine,