Part 3 out of 6
nakedness, peril, or sword, come between the love of the Father to the
child, or the child's rest, content, and delight in His love? And doth not
the love, the rest, the peace, the joy felt, swallow up all the bitterness
and sorrow of the outward condition?
_If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how
canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou
trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of
Jordan_?--JER. xii. 5.
How couldst thou hang upon the cross,
To whom a weary hour is loss?
Or how the thorns and scourging brook,
Who shrinkest from a scornful look?
A heart unloving among kindred has no love towards God's saints and angels.
If we have a cold heart towards a servant or a friend, why should we wonder
if we have no fervor towards God? If we are cold in our private prayers, we
should be earthly and dull in the most devout religious order; if we cannot
bear the vexations of a companion, how should we bear the contradiction of
sinners? if a little pain overcomes us, how could we endure a cross? if we
have no tender, cheerful, affectionate love to those with whom our daily
hours are spent, how should we feel the pulse and ardor of love to the
unknown and the evil, the ungrateful and repulsive?
H. E. MANNING.
_Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love_.--ROM. xii. 10.
_In her tongue is the law of kindness_.--PROV. xxxi. 26.
Since trifles make the sum of human things,
And half our misery from our foibles springs;
Since life's best joys consist in peace and ease,
And though but few can serve, yet all can please;
Oh, let the ungentle spirit learn from hence,
A small unkindness is a great offence.
All usefulness and all comfort may be prevented by an unkind, a sour,
crabbed temper of mind,--a mind that can bear with no difference of opinion
or temperament. A spirit of fault-finding; an unsatisfied temper; a
constant irritability; little inequalities in the look, the temper, or the
manner; a brow cloudy and dissatisfied--your husband or your wife cannot
tell why--will more than neutralize all the good you can do, and render
life anything but a blessing.
You have not fulfilled every duty, unless you have fulfilled that of being
_He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. He telleth
the number of the stars; He calleth them all by their names_.--PS. cxlvii.
Teach me your mood, O patient stars!
Who climb each night the ancient sky,
Leaving on space no shade, no scars,
No trace of age, no fear to die.
R. W. EMERSON.
I looked up to the heavens once more, and the quietness of the stars seemed
to reproach me. "We are safe up here," they seemed to say; "we shine,
fearless and confident, for the God who gave the primrose its rough leaves
to hide it from the blast of uneven spring, hangs us in the awful hollows
of space. We cannot fall out of His safety. Lift up your eyes on high, and
behold! Who hath created these things--that bringeth out their host by
number? He calleth them all by names. By the greatness of His might, for
that He is strong in power, not one faileth. Why sayest thou, O Jacob! and
speakest, O Israel! my way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed
over from my God?"
_This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in
it_.--PS. cxviii. 24.
_Why stand ye here all the day idle_?--MATT. xx. 6.
So here hath been dawning another blue day;
Think, wilt thou let it slip useless away?
Out of eternity this new day is born;
Into eternity at night will return.
Small cares, some deficiencies in the mere arrangement and ordering of our
lives, daily fret our hearts, and cross the clearness of our faculties; and
these entanglements hang around us, and leave us no free soul able to give
itself up, in power and gladness, to the true work of life. The
severest training and self-denial,--a superiority to the servitude of
indulgence,--are the indispensable conditions even of genial spirits, of
unclouded energies, of tempers free from morbidness,--much more of the
practised and vigorous mind, ready at every call, and thoroughly furnished
unto all good works.
J. H. THOM.
True, we can never be at peace till we have performed the highest duty of
all,--till we have arisen, and gone to our Father; but the performance
of smaller duties, yes, even of the smallest, will do more to give us
temporary repose, will act more as healthful anodynes, than the greatest
joys that can come to us from any other quarter.
_The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the
Lord_.--JOB i. 21.
What Thou hast given, Thou canst take,
And when Thou wilt new gifts can make.
All flows from Thee alone;
When Thou didst give it, it was Thine;
When Thou retook'st it, 't was not mine.
Thy will in all be done.
We are ready to praise when all shines fair; but when life is overcast,
when all things seem to be against us, when we are in fear for some
cherished happiness, or in the depths of sorrow, or in the solitude of a
life which has no visible support, or in a season of sickness, and with the
shadow of death approaching,--then to praise God; then to say, This fear,
loneliness, affliction, pain, and trembling awe are as sure tokens of love,
as life, health, joy, and the gifts of home: "The Lord gave, and the Lord
hath taken away;" on either side it is He, and all is love alike; "blessed
be the name of the Lord,"--this is the true sacrifice of praise. What can
come amiss to a soul which is so in accord with God? What can make so much
as one jarring tone in all its harmony? In all the changes of this fitful
life, it ever dwells in praise.
H. E. MANNING.
_The Lord redeemeth the soul of His servants; and none of them that trust
in Him shall be desolate_.--PS. xxxiv. 22.
_Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him_.--JOB xiii. 15.
I praise Thee while my days go on;
I love Thee while my days go on:
Through dark and dearth, through fire and frost,
With emptied arms and treasure lost,
I thank Thee while my days go on.
E. B. BROWNING.
The sickness of the last week was fine medicine; pain disintegrated the
spirit, or became spiritual. I rose,--I felt that I had given to God more
perhaps than an angel could,--had promised Him in youth that to be a blot
on this fair world, at His command, would be acceptable. Constantly offer
myself to continue the obscurest 'and loneliest thing ever heard of, with
one proviso,--His agency. Yes, love Thee, and all Thou dost, while Thou
sheddest frost and darkness on every path of mine.
MARY MOODY EMERSON.
_Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive
evil_?--JOB ii. 10.
_Thou hast dealt well with Thy servant, O Lord, according to Thy
word_.--PS. cxix. 65.
Whatsoe'er our lot may be,
Calmly in this thought we'll rest,--
Could we see as Thou dost see,
We should choose it as the best.
It is a proverbial saying, that every one makes his own destiny; and this
is usually interpreted, that every one, by his wise or unwise conduct,
prepares good or evil for himself: but we may also understand it, that
whatever it be that he receives from the hand of Providence, he may so
accommodate himself to it, that he will find his lot good for him, however
much may seem to others to be wanting.
WM. VON HUMBOLDT.
Evil, once manfully fronted, ceases to be evil; there is generous
battle-hope in place of dead, passive misery; the evil itself has become a
kind of good.
_Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer:... ye shall have
tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a
crown of life_.--REV. ii. 10.
Then, O my soul, be ne'er afraid,
On Him who thee and all things made
Do thou all calmly rest;
Whate'er may come, where'er we go,
Our Father in the heavens must know
In all things what is best.
Guide me, O Lord, in all the changes and varieties of the world; that in
all things that shall happen, I may have an evenness and tranquillity
of spirit; that my soul may be wholly resigned to Thy divinest will
and pleasure, never murmuring at Thy gentle chastisements and fatherly
Thou art never at any time nearer to God than when under tribulation; which
He permits for the purification and beautifying of thy soul.
M. DE MOLINOS.
Prize inward exercises, griefs, and troubles; and let faith and patience
have their perfect work in them.
_I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou
shouldest keep them from the evil_.--JOHN xvii. 15.
In busy mart and crowded street,
No less than in the still retreat,
Thou, Lord, art near, our souls to bless,
With all a Father's tenderness.
Only the individual conscience, and He who is greater than the conscience,
can tell where worldliness prevails. Each heart must answer for itself, and
at its own risk. That our souls are committed to our own keeping, at our
own peril, in a world so mixed as this, is the last reason we should
slumber over the charge, or betray the trust. If only that outlet to the
Infinite is kept open, the inner bond with eternal life preserved, while
not one movement of this world's business is interfered with, nor one
pulse-beat of its happiness repressed, with all natural associations dear
and cherished, with all human sympathies fresh and warm, we shall yet be
near to the kingdom of heaven, within the order of the Kosmos of God--in
the world, but not of the world--not taken out of it, but kept from its
J. H. THOM.
_And what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love
mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God_?--MICAH vi. 8.
_Put on therefore... kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness,
long-suffering_.--COL. iii. 12.
Plant in us an humble mind,
Patient, pitiful, and kind;
Meek and lowly let us be,
Full of goodness, full of Thee.
There is no true and constant gentleness without humility; while we are so
fond of ourselves, we are easily offended with others. Let us be persuaded
that nothing is due to us, and then nothing will disturb us. Let us often
think of our own infirmities, and we shall become indulgent towards those
FRANCOIS DE LA MOTHE FENELON.
Endeavor to be patient in bearing with the defects and infirmities of
others, of what sort soever they be; for that thyself also hast many
failings which must be borne with by others. If thou canst not make thyself
such an one as thou wouldest, how canst thou expect to have another in all
things to thy liking?
THOMAS A KEMPIS.
_My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest_.--EX. xxxiii.
_Thou wilt show me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at
Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore_.--PS. xvi. 11.
Thy presence fills my mind with peace,
Brightens the thoughts so dark erewhile,
Bids cares and sad forebodings cease,
Makes all things smile.
How shall we rest in God? By giving ourselves wholly to Him. If you give
yourself by halves, you cannot find full rest; there will ever be a lurking
disquiet in that half which is withheld. Martyrs, confessors, and saints
have tasted this rest, and "counted themselves happy in that they endured."
A countless host of God's faithful servants have drunk deeply of it under
the daily burden of a weary life,--dull, commonplace, painful, or desolate.
All that God has been to them He is ready to be to you. The heart once
fairly given to God, with a clear conscience, a fitting rule of life, and
a steadfast purpose of obedience, you will find a wonderful sense of rest
coming over you.
JEAN NICOLAS GROU.
_Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His
might_.--EPH. vi. 10.
_No man can serve two masters_.--MATT. vi. 24.
Oh, there are heavenly heights to reach
In many a fearful place,
Where the poor timid heir of God
Lies blindly on his face;
Lies languishing for grace divine
That he shall never see
Till he go forward at Thy sign,
And trust himself to Thee.
A. L. WARING.
Reservations lie latent in the mind concerning some unhallowed sentiments
or habits in the present, some possibly impending temptations in the
future; and thus do we cheat ourselves of inward and outward joys together.
We give up many an indulgence for conscience' sake, but stop short at that
point of entire faithfulness wherein conscience could reward us. If we
would but give ourselves wholly to God,--give up, for the present and the
future, every act, and, above all, every thought and every feeling, to be
all purified to the uttermost, and rendered the best, noblest, holiest we
can conceive,--then would sacrifice bear with it a peace rendering itself,
I truly believe, far easier than before.
F. P. COBBE.
_Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also
ye do_.--I THESS. v. 11.
_Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself_.--MATT. xix. 19.
So others shall
Take patience, labor, to their heart and hand,
From thy hand, and thy heart, and thy brave cheer,
And God's grace fructify through thee to all.
The least flower with a brimming cup may stand,
And share its dewdrop with another near.
E. B. BROWNING.
What is meant by our neighbor we cannot doubt; it is every one with whom we
are brought into contact. First of all, he is literally our neighbor who
is next to us in our own family and household; husband to wife, wife to
husband, parent to child, brother to sister, master to servant, servant to
master. Then it is he who is close to us in our own neighborhood, in our
own town, in our own parish, in our own street. With these all true charity
begins. To love and be kind to these is the very beginning of all true
religion. But, besides these, as our Lord teaches, it is every one who
is thrown across our path by the changes and chances of life; he or she,
whosoever it be, whom we have any means of helping,--the unfortunate
stranger whom we may meet in travelling, the deserted friend whom no one
else cares to look after.
A. P. STANLEY.
_We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the
brethren_.--I JOHN iii. 14.
_He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love_.--I JOHN iv. 8.
Mutual love the token be,
Lord, that we belong to Thee;
Love, Thine image, love impart;
Stamp it on our face and heart;
Only love to us be given;
Lord, we ask no other heaven.
Oh, how many times we can most of us remember when we would gladly have
made any compromise with our consciences, would gladly have made the most
costly sacrifices to God, if He would only have excused us from this duty
of loving, of which our nature seemed utterly incapable. It is far easier
to feel kindly, to act kindly, toward those with whom we are seldom brought
into contact, whose tempers and prejudices do not rub against ours, whose
interests do not clash with ours, than to keep up an habitual, steady,
self-sacrificing love towards those whose weaknesses and faults are always
forcing themselves upon us, and are stirring up our own. A man may pass
good muster as a philanthropist who makes but a poor master to his
servants, or father to his children.
F. D. MAURICE.
_Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him_.--PS. xxxvii. 7.
_Trust in Him at all times_.--PS. lxii. 8.
Dost thou ask when comes His hour?
Then, when it shall aid thee best.
Trust His faithfulness and power,
Trust in Him, and quiet rest.
I had found [communion with God] to consist, not only in the silencing of
the outward man, but in the silencing also of every thought, and in the
concentration of the soul and all its powers into a simple, quiet watching
and waiting for the food which its heavenly Father might see fit either
to give or to withhold. In no case could it be sent empty away; for, if
comfort, light, or joy were withheld, the act of humble waiting at the gate
of heavenly wisdom could not but work patience in it, and thus render it,
by humility and obedience, more "meet to be a partaker of the inheritance
of the saints in light," and also more blessed in itself.
M. A. KELTY.
"REST IN THE LORD; WAIT PATIENTLY FOR HIM." In Hebrew, "be silent to God,
and let Him mould thee." Keep still, and He will mould thee to the right
_To be spiritually minded is life and peace_.--ROM. viii. 6.
Stilled now be every anxious care;
See God's great goodness everywhere;
Leave all to Him in perfect rest:
He will do all things for the best.
FROM THE GERMAN.
We should all endeavor and labor for a calmer spirit, that we may the
better serve God in praying to Him and praising Him; and serve one another
in love, that we may be fitted to do and receive good; that we may make our
passage to heaven more easy and cheerful, without drooping and hanging the
wing. So much as we are quiet and cheerful upon good ground, so much we
live, and are, as it were, in heaven.
Possess yourself as much as you possibly can in peace; not by any effort,
but by letting all things fall to the ground which trouble or excite you.
This is no work, but is, as it were, a setting down a fluid to settle that
has become turbid through agitation.
_The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by Him; and the Lord shall
cover him all the day long_.--DEUT. xxxiii. 12.
Whate'er events betide,
Thy will they all perform;
Safe in Thy breast my head I hide,
Nor fear the coming storm.
H. F. LYTE.
I have seemed to see a need of everything God gives me, and want nothing
that He denies me. There is no dispensation, though afflictive, but either
in it, or after it, I find that I could not be without it. Whether it
be taken from or not given me, sooner or later God quiets me in Himself
without it. I cast all my concerns on the Lord, and live securely on the
care and wisdom of my heavenly Father. My ways, you know, are, in a sense,
hedged up with thorns, and grow darker and darker daily; but yet I distrust
not my good God in the least, and live more quietly in the absence of all
by faith, than I should do, I am persuaded, if I possessed them.
JOSEPH ELIOT, 1664.
_He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under
the shadow of the Almighty_.--PS. xci. I.
They who on the Lord rely,
Safely dwell though danger's nigh;
Lo! His sheltering wings are spread
O'er each faithful servant's head.
When they wake, or when they sleep,
Angel guards their vigils keep;
Death and danger may be near,
Faith and love have nought to fear.
"There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy
dwelling," is a promise to the fullest extent verified in the case of all
"who dwell in the secret place of the Most High." To them sorrows are not
"evils," sicknesses are not "plagues;" the shadow of the Almighty extending
far around those who abide under it, alters the character of all things
which come within its influence.
It is faith's work to claim and challenge loving-kindness out of all the
roughest strokes of God.
_Be content with such things as ye have_.--HEB. xiii. 5.
_I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therein to be content_.--PHIL.
iv. 11 ( R. V.).
No longer forward nor behind
I look in hope or fear;
But, grateful, take the good I find,
The best of now and here.
J. G. WHITTIER.
If we wished to gain contentment, we might try such rules as these:--
1. Allow thyself to complain of nothing, not even of the weather.
2. Never picture thyself to thyself under any circumstances in which thou
3. Never compare thine own lot with that of another.
4. Never allow thyself to dwell on the wish that this or that had been, or
were, otherwise than it was, or is. God Almighty loves thee better and more
wisely than thou dost thyself.
5. Never dwell on the morrow. Remember that it is God's, not thine. The
heaviest part of sorrow often is to look forward to it. "The Lord will
E. B. PUSEY.
_Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous:
nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness
unto them which are exercised thereby_.--HEB. xii. I1.
I cannot say,
Beneath the pressure of life's cares to-day,
I joy in these;
But I can say
That I had rather walk this rugged way,
If Him it please.
S. G. BROWNING.
The particular annoyance which befell you this morning; the vexatious words
which met your ear and "grieved" your spirit; the disappointment which was
His appointment for to-day; the slight but hindering ailment; the presence
of some one who is "a grief of mind" to you,--whatever this day seemeth not
joyous, but grievous, is linked in "the good pleasure of His goodness" with
a corresponding afterward of "peaceable fruit," the very seed from which,
if you only do not choke it, this shall spring and ripen.
F. R. HAVERGAL.
_O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless
not as I will, but as Thou wilt_.--MATT. xxvi. 39.
O Lord my God, do Thou Thy holy will,--
I will lie still.
I will not stir, lest I forsake Thine arm,
And break the charm
Which lulls me, clinging to my Father's breast,
In perfect rest.
Resignation to the will of God is the whole of piety; it includes in it all
that is good; and is a source of the most settled quiet and composure of
mind. Our resignation to the will of God may be said to be perfect, when
our will is lost and resolved up into His; when we rest in His will as
our end, as being itself most just, and right, and good. And where is the
impossibility of such an affection to what is just and right and good, such
a loyalty of heart to the Governor of the universe, as shall prevail over
all sinister indirect desires of our own?
There are no disappointments to those whose wills are buried in the will of
F. W. FABER.
Lord, Thy will be done in father, mother, child, in everything and
everywhere; without a reserve, without a BUT, an IF, or a limit.
ST. FRANCIS DE SALES.
_The Lord beareth your murmurings, which ye murmur against Him_.--EX. xvi.
Without murmur, uncomplaining
In His hand,
Leave whatever things thou canst not
K. R. HAGENBACH.
One great characteristic of holiness is never to be exacting--never to
complain. Each complaint drags us down a degree, in our upward course.
If you would discern in whom God's spirit dwells, watch that person, and
notice whether you ever hear him murmur.
When we wish things to be otherwise than they are, we lose sight of the
great practical parts of the life of godliness. We wish, and wish--when, if
we have done all that lies on us, we should fall quietly into the hands of
God. Such wishing cuts the very sinews of our privileges and consolations.
You are leaving me for a time; and you say that you wish you could leave me
better, or leave me with some assistance: but, if it is right for you to
go, it is right for me to meet what lies on me, without a wish that I had
less to meet, or were better able to meet it.
_He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in
much_.--LUKE xvi, 10.
_The Lord preserveth the faithful_.--PS. xxxi. 23
The trivial round, the common task,
Would furnish all we ought to ask;
Room to deny ourselves; a road
To bring us, daily, nearer God.
Exactness in little duties is a wonderful source of cheerfulness.
F. W. FABER.
The unremitting retention of simple and high sentiments in obscure duties
is hardening the character to that temper which will work with honor, if
need be, in the tumult or on the scaffold.
R. W. EMERSON.
We are too fond of our own will. We want to be doing what we fancy mighty
things; but the great point is, to do small things, when called to them, in
a right spirit.
It is not on great occasions only that we are required to be faithful to
the will of God; occasions constantly occur, and we should be surprised to
perceive how much our spiritual advancement depends on small obediences.
_Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all
patience and long-suffering with joyfulness_.--COL. I. 11.
God doth not need
Either man's works or His own gifts; who best
Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best; His state
Is kingly; thousands at His bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait.
We cannot always be doing a great work, but we can always be doing
something that belongs to our condition. To be silent, to suffer, to
pray when we cannot act, is acceptable to God. A disappointment, a
contradiction, a harsh word, an annoyance, a wrong received and endured as
in His presence, is worth more than a long prayer; and we do not lose time
if we bear its loss with gentleness and patience, provided the loss was
inevitable, and was not caused by our own fault.
FRANCOIS DE LA MOTHE FENELON.
_Be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience
inherit the promises_.--HEB. vi. 12.
Where now with pain thou treadest, trod
The whitest of the saints of God!
To show thee where their feet were set,
The light which led them shineth yet.
J. G. WHITTIER.
LET us learn from this communion of saints to live in hope. Those who are
now at rest were once like ourselves. They were once weak, faulty, sinful;
they had their burdens and hindrances, their slumbering and weariness,
their failures and their falls. But now they have overcome. Their life was
once homely and common-place. Their day ran out as ours. Morning and noon
and night came and went to them as to us. Their life, too, was as lonely
and sad as yours. Little fretful circumstances and frequent disturbing
changes wasted away their hours as yours. There is nothing in your life
that was not in theirs; there was nothing in theirs but may be also in your
own. They have overcome, each one, and one by one; each in his turn, when
the day came, and God called him to the trial. And so shall you likewise.
H. E. MANNING.
_And thus this man died, leaving his death for an example of a noble
courage, and a memorial of virtue, not only unto young men, but unto all
his nation_.--2 MAC. vi. 31.
_Zebulon and Naphtali were a people that jeoparded their lives unto the
death in the high places of the field_.--JUDGES v. 18.
Though Love repine, and Reason chafe,
There came a voice without reply,--
'Tis man's perdition to be safe,
When for the truth he ought to die.
R. W. EMERSON.
Some say that the age of chivalry is past. The age of chivalry is never
past, so long as there is a wrong left unredressed on earth, or a man or
woman left to say, "I will redress that wrong, or spend my life in the
attempt." The age of chivalry is never past, so long as we have faith
enough to say, "God will help me to redress that wrong; or, if not me, He
will help those that come after me, for His eternal Will is to overcome
evil with good."
Thus man is made equal to every event. He can face danger for the right. A
poor, tender, painful body, he can run into flame or bullets or pestilence,
with duty for his guide.
R. W. EMERSON.
_Let all those that put their trust in Thee rejoice: ... let them also that
love Thy name be joyful in Thee_.--PS. v. 11.
_He maketh me to lie down in green pastures_.--PS. xxiii. 2.
I can hear these violets chorus
To the sky's benediction above;
And we all are together lying
On the bosom of Infinite Love.
Oh, the peace at the heart of Nature!
Oh, the light that is not of day!
Why seek it afar forever,
When it cannot be lifted away?
W. C. GANNETT.
What inexpressible joy for me, to look up through the apple-blossoms and
the fluttering leaves, and to see God's love there; to listen to the thrush
that has built his nest among them, and to feel God's love, who cares for
the birds, in every note that swells his little throat; to look beyond
to the bright blue depths of the sky, and feel they are a canopy of
blessing,--the roof of the house of my Father; that if clouds pass over
it, it is the unchangeable light they veil; that, even when the day itself
passes, I shall see that the night itself only unveils new worlds of light;
and to know that if I could unwrap fold after fold of God's universe, I
should only unfold more and more blessing, and see deeper and deeper into
the love which is at the heart of all.
_One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may
dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the
beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in His temple_.--PS. xxvii. 4.
Thy beauty, O my Father! All is Thine;
But there is beauty in Thyself, from whence
The beauty Thou hast made doth ever flow
In streams of never-failing affluence.
Thou art the Temple! and though I am lame,--
Lame from my birth, and shall be till I die,--
I enter through the Gate called Beautiful,
And am alone with Thee, O Thou Most High!
J. W. CHADWICK.
Consider that all which appears beautiful outwardly, is solely derived from
the invisible Spirit which is the source of that external beauty, and
say joyfully, "Behold, these are streamlets from the uncreated Fountain;
behold, these are drops from the infinite Ocean of all good! Oh! how does
my inmost heart rejoice at the thought of that eternal, infinite Beauty,
which is the source and origin of all created beauty!"
_We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are
changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of
the Lord_.--2 COR. iii. 18.
Then every tempting form of sin,
Shamed in Thy presence, disappears,
And all the glowing, raptured soul
The likeness it contemplates wears.
Then does a good man become the tabernacle of God, wherein the divine
Shechinah does rest, and which the divine glory fills, when the frame of
his mind and life is wholly according to that idea and pattern which he
receives from the mount. We best glorify Him when we grow most like to
Him: and we then act most for His glory, when a true spirit of sanctity,
justice, and meekness, runs through all our actions; when we so live in the
world as becomes those that converse with the great Mind and Wisdom of the
whole world, with that Almighty Spirit that made, supports, and governs all
things, with that Being from whence all good flows, and in which there is
no spot, stain, or shadow of evil; and so being captivated and overcome by
the sense of the Divine loveliness and goodness, endeavor to be like Him,
and conform ourselves, as much as may be, to Him.
DR. JOHN SMITH.
_The righteous shall be glad in the Lord, and shall trust in Him_.--PS.
_Whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he_.--PROV. xvi. 20.
The heart that trusts forever sings,
And feels as light as it had wings,
A well of peace within it springs,--
Come good or ill,
Whatever to-day, to-morrow brings,
It is His will.
He will weave no longer a spotted life of shreds and patches, but he will
live with a divine unity. He will cease from what is base and frivolous
in his life, and be content with all places, and with any service he can
render. He will calmly front the morrow, in the negligency of that trust
which carries God with it, and so hath already the whole future in the
bottom of the heart.
R. W. EMERSON.
He who believes in God is not careful for the morrow, but labors joyfully
and with a great heart. "For He giveth His beloved, as in sleep." They must
work and watch, yet never be careful or anxious, but commit all to Him, and
live in serene tranquillity; with a quiet heart, as one who sleeps safely
_Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always
abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is
not in vain in the Lord_.--I COR. xv. 58.
Say not, 'Twas all in vain,
The anguish and the darkness and the strife;
Love thrown upon the waters comes again
In quenchless yearnings for a nobler life.
Did you ever hear of a man who had striven all his life faithfully and
singly toward an object and in no measure obtained it? If a man constantly
aspires, is he not elevated? Did ever a man try heroism, magnanimity,
truth, sincerity, and find that there was no advantage in them,--that it
was a vain endeavor?
H. D. THOREAU.
Do right, and God's recompense to you will be the power of doing more
right. Give, and God's reward to you will be the spirit of giving more:
a blessed spirit, for it is the Spirit of God himself, whose Life is the
blessedness of giving. Love, and God will pay you with the capacity of more
love; for love is Heaven--love is God within you.
F. W. ROBERTSON.
_Speak, Lord; for Thy servant heareth_.--I SAM. iii. 9.
Though heralded with nought of fear,
Or outward sign or show:
Though only to the inward ear
It whispers soft and low;
Though dropping, as the manna fell,
Unseen, yet from above,
Noiseless as dew-fall, heed it well,--
Thy Father's call of love.
J. G. WHITTIER.
This is one result of the attitude into which we are put by humility, by
disinterestedness, by purity, by calmness, that we have the opportunity,
the disengagement, the silence, in which we may watch what is the will of
God concerning us. If we think no more of ourselves than we ought to think,
if we seek not our own but others' welfare, if we are prepared to take all
things as God's dealings with us, then we may have a chance of catching
from time to time what God has to tell us. In the Mussulman devotions, one
constant gesture is to put the hands to the ears, as if to listen for the
messages from the other world. This is the attitude, the posture which our
minds assume, if we have a standing-place above and beyond the stir and
confusion and dissipation of this mortal world.
A. P. STANLEY.
_Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God_.--REV.
_In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the
Spirit_.--EPH. ii. 22.
None the place ordained refuseth,
They are one, and they are all,
Living stones, the Builder chooseth
For the courses of His wall.
Slowly, through all the universe, that temple of God is being built.
Wherever, in any world, a soul, by free-willed obedience, catches the fire
of God's likeness, it is set into the growing walls, a living stone.
When, in your hard fight, in your tiresome drudgery, or in your terrible
temptation, you catch the purpose of your being, and give yourself to God,
and so give Him the chance to give Himself to you, your life, a living
stone, is taken up and set into that growing wall. Wherever souls are being
tried and ripened, in whatever commonplace and homely ways;--there God is
hewing out the pillars for His temple. Oh, if the stone can only have some
vision of the temple of which it is to be a part forever, what patience
must fill it as it feels the blows of the hammer, and knows that success
for it is simply to let itself be wrought into what shape the Master wills.
_Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day_.--I THESS.
_Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in
heart_.--PS. xcvii. 11.
Serene will be our days and bright,
And happy will our nature be,
When love is an unerring light,
And joy its own security.
Nothing can produce so great a serenity of life, as a mind free from guilt,
and kept untainted, not only from actions, but purposes that are wicked.
By this means the soul will be not only unpolluted, but not disturbed; the
fountain will run clear and unsullied, and the streams that flow from it
will be just and honest deeds, ecstasies of satisfaction, a brisk energy of
spirit, which makes a man an enthusiast in his joy, and a tenacious memory,
sweeter than hope. For as shrubs which are cut down with the morning dew
upon them do for a long time after retain their fragrancy, so the good
actions of a wise man perfume his mind, and leave a rich scent behind them.
So that joy is, as it were, watered with these essences, and owes its
flourishing to them.
_Who hath despised the day of small things_? ZECH. iv. 10.
On little wings
Bear little souls to heaven.
An occasional effort even of an ordinary holiness may accomplish great acts
of sacrifice, or bear severe pressure of unwonted trial, specially if it be
the subject of observation. But constant discipline in unnoticed ways, and
the spirit's silent unselfishness, becoming the hidden habit of the life,
give to it its true saintly beauty, and this is the result of care and
lowly love in little things. Perfection is attained most readily by
this constancy of religious faithfulness in all minor details of life,
consecrating the daily efforts of self-forgetting love.
T. T. CARTER.
Love's secret is to be always doing things for God, and not to mind because
they are such very little ones.
F. W. FABER.
There may be living and habitual conversation in heaven, under the aspect
of the most simple, ordinary life. Let us always remember that holiness
does not consist in doing uncommon things, but in doing everything with
purity of heart.
H. E. MANNING.
_He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his
spirit than he that taketh a city_.--PROV. xvi. 32.
Purge from our hearts the stains so deep and foul,
Of wrath and pride and care;
Send Thine own holy calm upon the soul,
And bid it settle there!
Let this truth be present to thee in the excitement of anger,--that to be
moved by passion is not manly, but that mildness and gentleness, as they
are more agreeable to human nature, so also are they more manly. For in the
same degree in which a man's mind is nearer to freedom from all passion, in
the same degree also is it nearer to strength.
It is no great matter to associate with the good and gentle, for this is
naturally pleasing to all, and every one willingly enjoyeth peace, and
loveth those best that agree with him. But to be able to live peaceably
with hard and perverse persons, or with the disorderly, or with such as go
contrary to us, is a great grace, and a most commendable and manly thing.
THOMAS A KEMPIS.
_Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of His
servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the
name of the Lord, and stay upon his God_.--ISA. I. 10.
_The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness_.--PS. xviii. 28.
When we in darkness walk,
Nor feel the heavenly flame,
Then is the time to trust our God,
And rest upon His name.
A. M. TOPLADY.
He has an especial tenderness of love towards thee for that thou art in the
dark and hast no light, and His heart is glad when thou dost arise and say,
"I will go to my Father." For He sees thee through all the gloom through
which thou canst not see Him. Say to Him, "My God, I am very dull and low
and hard; but Thou art wise and high and tender, and Thou art my God. I am
Thy child. Forsake me not." Then fold the arms of thy faith, and wait in
quietness until light goes up in the darkness. Fold the arms of thy Faith,
I say, but not of thy Action: bethink thee of something that thou oughtest
to do, and go and do it, if it be but the sweeping of a room, or the
preparing of a meal, or a visit to a friend; heed not thy feelings: do thy
_In the day when I cried Thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with
strength in my soul_.--PS. cxxxviii. 3.
It is not that I feel less weak, but Thou
Wilt be my strength; it is not that I see
Less sin; but more of pardoning love with Thee,
And all-sufficient grace. Enough! And now
All fluttering thought is stilled; I only rest,
And feel that Thou art near, and know that I am blest.
F. R. HAVERGAL.
Yea, though thou canst not believe, yet be not dismayed thereat; only do
thou sink into, or at least pant after the hidden measure of life, which is
not in that which distresseth, disturbeth, and filleth thee with thoughts,
fears, troubles, anguish, darknesses, terrors, and the like; no, no! but in
that which inclines to the patience, to the stillness, to the hope, to the
waiting, to the silence before the Father.
We have only to be patient, to pray, and to do His will, according to our
present light and strength, and the growth of the soul will go on. The
plant grows in the mist and under clouds as truly as under sunshine. So
does the heavenly principle within.
W. E. CHANNING.
_Then answered he me, and said, This is the condition of the battle which
man that is born upon the earth shall fight; that, if he be overcome, he
shall suffer as thou hast said: but if he get the victory, he shall receive
the thing that I say_.--2 ESDRAS vii. 57, 58.
One holy Church, one army strong,
One steadfast high intent,
One working band, one harvest-song,
One King omnipotent.
We listened to a man whom we felt to be, with all his heart and soul and
strength, striving against whatever was mean and unmanly and unrighteous in
our little world. It was not the cold clear voice of one giving advice and
warning from serene heights to those who were struggling and sinning below,
but the warm living voice of one who was fighting for us and by our sides,
and calling on us to help him and ourselves and one another. And so,
wearily and little by little, but surely and steadily on the whole, was
brought home to the young boy, for the first time, the meaning of his life;
that it was no fool's or sluggard's paradise into which he had wandered
by chance, but a battle-field ordained from of old, where there are no
spectators, but the youngest must take his side, and the stakes are life
_If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with
another_.--I JOHN i. 7.
_God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which ye
have showed toward His name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and
do minister_.--HEB. vi. 10.
Wherever in the world I am,
In whatsoe'er estate,
I have a fellowship with hearts,
To keep and cultivate,
And a work of lowly love to do
For the Lord on whom I wait.
A. L. WARING.
We do not always perceive that even the writing of a note of
congratulation, the fabrication of something intended as an offering
of affection, our necessary intercourse with characters which have no
congeniality with our own, or hours apparently trifled away in the domestic
circle, may be made by us the performance of a most sacred and blessed
work; even the carrying out, after our feeble measure, of the design of God
for-the increase of happiness.
SARAH W. STEPHEN.
Definite work is not always that which is cut and squared for us, but that
which comes as a claim upon the conscience, whether it's nursing in a
hospital, or hemming a handkerchief.
ELIZABETH M. SEWELL.
_The Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from
the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve_.--ISA. xiv. 3.
To-day, beneath Thy chastening eye,
I crave alone for peace and rest;
Submissive in Thy hand to lie,
And feel that it is best.
J. G. WHITTIER.
O Lord, who art as the Shadow of a great Rock in a weary land, who
beholdest Thy weak creatures weary of labor, weary of pleasure, weary of
hope deferred, weary of self; in Thine abundant compassion, and unutterable
tenderness, bring us, I pray Thee, unto Thy rest. Amen.
CHRISTINA G. ROSSETTI.
Grant to me above all things that can be desired, to rest in Thee, and in
Thee to have my heart at peace. Thou art the true peace of the heart, Thou
its only rest; out of Thee all things are hard and restless. In this very
peace, that is, in Thee, the One Chiefest Eternal Good, I will sleep and
THOMAS A KEMPIS.
Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord; and our heart is restless until it
rests in Thee.
_God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore
will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be
carried into the midst of the sea_.--PS. xlvi. 1,2.
Though waves and storms go o'er my head,
Though strength and health and friends be gone,
Though joys be withered all, and dead,
Though every comfort be withdrawn,
On this my steadfast soul relies,--
Father! Thy mercy never dies.
JOHANN A. ROTHE.
Your external circumstances may change, toil may take the place of rest,
sickness of health, trials may thicken within and without. Externally, you
are the prey of such circumstances; but if your heart is stayed on God, no
changes or chances can touch it, and all that may befall you will but draw
you closer to Him. Whatever the present moment may bring, your knowledge
that it is His will, and that your future heavenly life will be influenced
by it, will make all not only tolerable, but welcome to you, while no
vicissitudes can affect you greatly, knowing that He who holds you in His
powerful hand cannot change, but abideth forever.
JEAN NICOLAS GROU.
_Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask
or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory
in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.
Amen_.--EPH. iii. 20, 21.
We would not meagre gifts down-call
When Thou dost yearn to yield us all;
But for this life, this little hour,
Ask all Thy love and care and power.
God so loveth us that He would make all things channels to us and
messengers of His love. Do for His sake deeds of love, and He will give
thee His love. Still thyself, thy own cares, thy own thoughts for Him, and
He will speak to thy heart. Ask for Himself, and He will give thee Himself.
Truly, a secret hidden thing is the love of God, known only to them who
seek it, and to them also secret, for what man can have of it here is how
slight a foretaste of that endless ocean of His love!
E. B. PUSEY.
_Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow_.--MATT. vi. 28.
They do not toil:
Content with their allotted task
They do but grow; they do not ask
A richer lot, a higher sphere,
But in their loveliness appear,
And grow, and smile, and do their best,
And unto God they leave the rest.
Interpose no barrier to His mighty life-giving power, working in you all
the good pleasure of His will. Yield yourself up utterly to His sweet
control. Put your growing into His hands as completely as you have put all
your other affairs. Suffer Him to manage it as He will. Do not concern
yourself about it, nor even think of it. Trust Him absolutely and always.
Accept each moment's dispensation as it comes to you from His dear hands,
as being the needed sunshine or dew for that moment's growth. Say a
continual "yes" to your Father's will.
H. W. SMITH.
Thine own self-will and anxiety, thy hurry and labor, disturb thy peace,
and prevent Me from working in thee. Look at the little flowers, in the
serene summer days; they quietly open their petals, and the sun shines into
them with his gentle influences. So will I do for thee, if thou wilt yield
thyself to Me.
_Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and
to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of
little faith_?--MATT. vi. 30.
_I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever_--PS. lii. 8.
Calmly we look behind us, on joys and sorrows past,
We know that all is mercy now, and shall be well at last;
Calmly we look before us,--we fear no future ill,
Enough for safety and for peace, if Thou art with us still.
Neither go back in fear and misgiving to the past, nor in anxiety and
forecasting to the future; but lie quiet under His hand, having no will but
H. E. MANNING.
I saw a delicate flower had grown up two feet high, between the horses'
path and the wheel-track. An inch more to right or left had sealed its
fate, or an inch higher; and yet it lived to flourish as much as if it had
a thousand acres of untrodden space around it, and never knew the danger
it incurred. It did not borrow trouble, nor invite an evil fate by
HENRY D. THOREAU.
_The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: He shall preserve thy
soul_.--PS. cxxi. 7.
Under Thy wings, my God, I rest,
Under Thy shadow safely lie;
By Thy own strength in peace possessed,
While dreaded evils pass me by.
A. L. WARING.
A heart rejoicing in God delights in all His will, and is surely provided
with the most firm joy in all estates; for if nothing can come to pass
beside or against His will, then cannot that soul be vexed which delights
in Him and hath no will but His, but follows Him in all times, in all
estates; not only when He shines bright on them, but when they are clouded.
That flower which follows the sun doth so even in dark and cloudy days:
when it doth not shine forth, yet it follows the hidden course and motion
of it. So the soul that moves after God keeps that course when He hides His
face; is content, yea, even glad at His will in all estates or conditions
Let God do with me what He will, anything He will; whatever it be, it will
be either heaven itself or some beginning of it.
_Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me; for my soul trusteth in
Thee: yea, in the shadow of Thy wings will I make my refuge, until these
calamities be overpast_.--PS. lvii. I.
My God! in whom are all the springs
Of boundless love and grace unknown,
Hide me beneath Thy spreading wings,
Till the dark cloud is overblown.
In time of trouble go not out of yourself to seek for aid; for the whole
benefit of trial consists in silence, patience, rest, and resignation. In
this condition divine strength is found for the hard warfare, because God
Himself fights for the soul.
M. DE MOLINOS.
In vain will you let your mind run out after help in times of trouble;
it is like putting to sea in a storm. Sit still, and feel after your
principles; and, if you find none that furnish you with somewhat of a stay
and prop, and which point you to quietness and silent submission, depend
upon it you have never yet learned Truth from the Spirit of Truth, whatever
notions thereof you may have picked up from this and the other description
M. A. KELTY.
_Thou calledst in trouble, and. I delivered thee_.--PS. lxxxi. 7.
_Be strong, and of good courage; dread not, nor be dismayed_.--I CHRON.
Thou canst calm the troubled mind,
Thou its dread canst still;
Teach me to be all resigned
To my Father's will.
Though this patient, meek resignation is to be exercised with regard to all
outward things and occurrences of life, yet it chiefly respects our own
inward state, the troubles, perplexities, weaknesses, and disorders of our
own souls. And to stand turned to a patient, meek, humble resignation to
God, when your own impatience, wrath, pride, and irresignation attack
yourself, is a higher and more beneficial performance of this duty, than
when you stand turned to meekness and patience, when attacked by the pride,
or wrath, or disorderly passions of other people.
_There hath no temptation taken you, but such as is common to man: but God
is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able;
but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able
to bear it_.--I COR. x. 13, 14.
Not so, not so, no load of woe
Need bring despairing frown;
For while we bear it, we can bear,
Past that, we lay it down.
Everything which happens, either happens in such wise that them art formed
by nature to bear it, or that thou art not formed by nature to bear it. If
then, it happens to thee in such way that thou art formed by nature to bear
it, do not complain, but bear it as thou art formed by nature to bear it.
But, if it happens in such wise that thou art not able to bear it, do not
complain; for it will perish after it has consumed thee. Remember, however,
that thou art formed by nature to bear everything, with respect to which it
depends on thy own opinion to make it endurable and tolerable, by thinking
that it is either thy interest or thy duty to do this.
_Why art than cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within
me? hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my
countenance, and my God_.--PS. xlii. 11.
Ah! why by passing clouds oppressed,
Should vexing thoughts distract thy breast?
Turn thou to Him in every pain,
Whom never suppliant sought in vain;
Thy strength in joy's ecstatic day,
Thy hope, when joy has passed away.
H. F. LYTE.
Beware of letting your care degenerate into anxiety and unrest; tossed as
you are amid the winds and waves of sundry troubles, keep your eyes fixed
on the Lord, and say, "Oh, my God, I look to Thee alone; be Thou my guide,
my pilot;" and then be comforted. When the shore is gained, who will heed
the toil and the storm? And we shall steer safely through every storm, so
long as our heart is right, our intention fervent, our courage steadfast,
and our trust fixed on God. If at times we are somewhat stunned by the
tempest, never fear; let us take breath, and go on afresh. Do not be
disconcerted by the fits of vexation and uneasiness which are sometimes
produced by the multiplicity of your domestic worries. No indeed, dearest
child, all these are but opportunities of strengthening yourself in the
loving, forbearing graces which our dear Lord sets before us.
ST. FRANCIS DE SALES.
_Even so, Father; for so it seemed good in Thy sight_.--MATT. xi. 26.
Let nothing make thee sad or fretful,
Or too regretful;
What God hath ordered must be right,
Then find in it thine own delight,
If we listen to our self-love, we shall estimate our lot less by what it
is, than by what it is not; shall dwell on its hindrances, and be blind
to its possibilities; and, comparing it only with imaginary lives, shall
indulge in flattering dreams of what we should do, if we had but power; and
give, if we had but wealth; and be, if we had no temptations. We shall be
forever querulously pleading our difficulties and privations as excuses for
our unloving temper and unfruitful life; and fancying ourselves injured
beings, virtually frowning at the dear Providence that loves us, and
chafing with a self-torture which invites no pity. If we yield ourselves
unto God, and sincerely accept our lot as assigned by Him, we shall count
up its contents, and disregard its omissions; and be it as feeble as a
cripple's, and as narrow as a child's, shall find in it resources of good
surpassing our best economy, and sacred claims that may keep awake our
_My times are in Thy hand_.--PS. xxxi. 15.
_Every purpose of the Lord shall be performed_.--JER. li. 29.
I am so glad! It is such rest to know
That Thou hast ordered and appointed all,
And wilt yet order and appoint my lot.
For though so much I cannot understand,
And would not choose, has been, and yet may be,
Thou choosest, Thou performest, THOU, my Lord.
This is enough for me.
F. R. HAVERGAL.
"We mustn't be in a hurry to fix and choose our own lot; we must wait to be
guided. We are led on, like the little children, by a way that we know not.
It is a vain thought to flee from the work that God appoints us, for the
sake of finding a greater blessing to our own souls; as if we could choose
for ourselves where we shall find the fulness of the Divine Presence,
instead of seeking it where alone it is to be found, in loving obedience."
Everywhere and at all times it is in thy power piously to acquiesce in thy
present condition, and to behave justly to those who are about thee.
_And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that
your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if
ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your
trespasses_.--MARK xi. 25, 26.
'Tis not enough to weep my sins,
'Tis but one step to heaven:--
When I am kind to others,--then
I know myself forgiven.
F. W. FABER.
Every relation to mankind, of hate or scorn or neglect, is full of
vexation and torment. There is nothing to do with men but to love them;
to contemplate their virtues with admiration, their faults with pity and
forbearance, and their injuries with forgiveness. Task all the ingenuity of
your mind to devise some other thing, but you never can find it. To hate
your adversary will not help you; to kill him will not help you; nothing
within the compass of the universe can help you, but to love him. But let
that love flow out upon all around you, and what could harm you? How many a
knot of mystery and misunderstanding would be untied by one word spoken in
simple and confiding truth of heart! How many a solitary place would be
made glad if love were there; and how many a dark dwelling would be filled
_The kingdom of God is within you_.--LUKE xvii. 21.
Oh, take this heart that I would give
Forever to be all Thine own;
I to myself no more would live,--
Come, Lord, be Thou my King alone.
Herein is the work assigned to the individual soul, to have life in itself,
to make our sphere, whatever it is, sufficient for a reign of God
within ourselves, for a true and full reign of our Father's abounding
spirit,--thankful, unutterably thankful, if with the place and the
companionship assigned to us we are permitted to build an earthly
tabernacle of grace and goodness and holy love, a home like a temple; but,
should this be denied us, resolved for our own souls that God shall reign
there, for ourselves at least that we will not, by sin or disobedience or
impious distrust, break with our own wills, our filial connection with our
Father,--that whether joyful or sorrowing, struggling with the perplexity
and foulness of circumstance, or in an atmosphere of peace, whether in dear
fellowship or alone, our desire and prayer shall be that God may have in us
a realm where His will is law, and where obedience and submission spring,
not from calculating prudence or ungodly fear, but from communion of
spirit, ever humble aspiration, and ever loving trust.
J. H. THOM.
_The Lord preserveth the simple_.--PS. cxvi. 6.
Thy home is with the humble, Lord!
The simple are Thy rest;
Thy lodging is in childlike hearts;
Thou makest there Thy nest.
F. W. FABER.
This deliverance of the soul from all useless and selfish and unquiet
cares, brings to it an unspeakable peace and freedom; this is true
simplicity. This state of entire resignation and perpetual acquiescence
produces true liberty; and this liberty brings perfect simplicity. The soul
which knows no self-seeking, no interested ends, is thoroughly candid; it
goes straight forward without hindrance; its path opens daily more and
more to "perfect day," in proportion as its self-renunciation and its
self-forgetfulness increase; and its peace, amid whatever troubles beset
it, will be as boundless as the depths of the sea.
FRANCOIS DE LA MOTHE FENELON.
_Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth
it off_.--I KINGS xx. 11.
_Put on the whole armor of God_.--EPH. vi. 11.
Was I not girded for the battle-field?
Bore I not helm of pride and glittering sword?
Behold the fragments of my broken shield,
And lend to me Thy heavenly armor, Lord!
Oh, be at least able to say in that day,--Lord, I am no hero. I have been
careless, cowardly, sometimes all but mutinous. Punishment I have deserved,
I deny it not. But a traitor I have never been; a deserter I have never
been. I have tried to fight on Thy side in Thy battle against evil. I have
tried to do the duty which lay nearest me; and to leave whatever Thou didst
commit to my charge a little better than I found it. I have not been good,
but I have at least tried to be good. Take the will for the deed, good
Lord. Strike not my unworthy name off the roll-call of the noble and
victorious army, which is the blessed company of all faithful people; and
let me, too, be found written in the Book of Life; even though I stand the
lowest and last upon its list. Amen.
_And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of
righteousness, quietness and assurance forever_.--ISA. xxxii. 17.
The heart that ministers for Thee
In Thy own work will rest;
And the subject spirit of a child
Can serve Thy children best.
A. L. WARING.
It matters not where or what we are, so we be His servants. They are
happy who have a wide field and great strength to fulfil His missions of
compassion; and they, too, are blessed who, in sheltered homes and narrow
ways of duty, wait upon Him in lowly services of love. Wise or simple,
gifted or slender in knowledge, in the world's gaze or in hidden paths,
high or low, encompassed by affections and joys of home, or lonely and
content in God alone, what matters, so that they bear the seal of the
living God? Blessed company, unknown to each other, unknowing even
H. E. MANNING.
_In the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the Lord_.--EX. xvi. 7.
_Serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope_.--ROM. xii. 11, 12.
Every day is a fresh beginning,
Every morn is the world made new.
You who are weary of sorrow and sinning,
Here is a beautiful hope for you;
A hope for me and a hope for you.
Be patient with every one, but above all with yourself. I mean, do not be
disturbed because of your imperfections, and always rise up bravely from
a fall. I am glad that you make a daily new beginning; there is no better
means of progress in the spiritual life than to be continually beginning
afresh, and never to think that we have done enough.
ST. FRANCIS DE SALES.
Because perseverance is so difficult, even when supported by the grace of
God, thence is the value of new beginnings. For new beginnings are the life
E. B. PUSEY.
_Herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence
toward God, and toward men_.--ACTS xxiv. 16.
_I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will
guide thee with mine eye_.--PS. xxxii. 8.
Oh, keep thy conscience sensitive;
No inward token miss;
And go where grace entices thee;--
Perfection lies in this.
F. W. FABER.
We need only obey. There is guidance for each of us, and by lowly listening
we shall hear the right word.
R. W. EMERSON.
The heights of Christian perfection can only be reached by faithfully each
moment following the Guide who is to lead you there, and He reveals your
way to you one step at a time, in the little things of your daily lives,
asking only on your part that you yield yourselves up to His guidance. If
then, in anything you feel doubtful or troubled, be sure that it is the
voice of your Lord, and surrender it at once to His bidding, rejoicing with
a great joy that He has begun thus to lead and guide you.
H. W. SMITH.
_He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities_.--PS. cxxx. 8.
Be it according to Thy word;
Redeem me from all sin;
My heart would now receive Thee, Lord,
Come in, my Lord, come in!
When you wake, or as soon as you are dressed, offer up your whole self to
God, soul and body, thoughts and purposes and desires, to be for that day
what He wills. Think of the occasions of the sin likely to befall you,
and go, as a child, to your Father which is in heaven, and tell Him
in childlike, simple words, your trials--in some such simple words as
these--"Thou knowest, good Lord, that I am tempted to--[_then name the
temptations to it, and the ways in which you sin, as well as you know
them_]. But, good Lord, for love of Thee, I would this day keep wholly from
all [_naming the sin_] and be very [naming the opposite grace]. I will not,
by Thy grace, do one [N.] act, or speak one [N.] word, or give one [N.]
look, or harbor one [N.] thought in my soul. If Thou allow any of these
temptations to come upon me this day, I desire to think, speak, and do only
what Thou willest. Lord, without Thee I can do nothing; with Thee I can do
E. B. PUSEY.
_Look at the generations of old, and see; did ever any trust in the Lord,
and was confounded? or did any abide in His fear, and was forsaken? or whom
did He ever despise, that called upon Him_?--ECCLESIASTICUS ii. 10.
_Remember, O Lord, Thy tender mercies, and Thy loving-kindnesses; for they
have been ever of old_.--PS. xxv. 6.
My Father! see
I trust the faithfulness displayed of old,
I trust the love that never can grow cold--
I trust in Thee.
Be not so much discouraged in the sight of what is yet to be done, as
comforted in His good-will towards thee. 'Tis true, He hath chastened
thee with rods and sore afflictions; but did He ever take away His
loving-kindness from thee? or did His faithfulness ever fail in the sorest,
blackest, thickest, darkest night that ever befell thee?
WE call Him the "_God of our fathers_;" and we feel that there is some
stability at centre, while we can tell our cares to One listening at our
right hand, by whom theirs are remembered and removed.
_He stayeth His rough wind in the day of the east wind_.--ISA. xxvii. 8.
_A bruised reed shall He not break_.--ISA. xlii. 3.
All my life I still have found,
And I will forget it never;
Every sorrow hath its bound,
And no cross endures forever.
All things else have but their day,
God's love only lasts for aye.
We never have more than we can bear. The present hour we are always able to
endure. As our day, so is our strength. If the trials of many years were
gathered into one, they would overwhelm us; therefore, in pity to our
little strength, He sends first one, then another, then removes both,
and lays on a third, heavier, perhaps, than either; but all is so wisely
measured to our strength that the bruised reed is never broken. We do not
enough look at our trials in this continuous and successive view. Each one
is sent to teach us something, and altogether they have a lesson which is
beyond the power of any to teach alone.