Part 4 out of 6
H. E. MANNING.
_I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand,
and will keep thee_.--ISA. xlii. 6.
_O keep my soul, and deliver me: for I put my trust in Thee_.--PS. xxv. 20.
I do not ask my cross to understand,
My way to see;
Better in darkness just to feel Thy hand,
And follow Thee.
ADELAIDE A. PROCTER.
O Lord, if only my will may remain right and firm towards Thee, do with
me whatsoever it shall please Thee. For it cannot be anything but good,
whatsoever Thou shalt do with me. If it be Thy will I should be in
darkness, be Thou blessed; and, if it be Thy will I should be in light, be
Thou again blessed. If Thou vouchsafe to comfort me, be Thou blessed; and,
if Thou wilt have me afflicted, be Thou equally blessed. O Lord! for
Thy sake I will cheerfully suffer whatever shall come on me with Thy
THOMAS A KEMPIS.
My soul could not incline itself on the one side or the other, since
another will had taken the place of its own; but only nourished itself with
the daily providences of God.
_The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the
strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid_?--PS. xxvii. I.
Thou hidden Source of calm repose,
Thou all-sufficient Love divine,
My Help and Refuge from my foes,
Secure I am while Thou art mine:
And lo! from sin, and grief, and shame,
I hide me, Father, in Thy name.
Whatever troubles come on you, of mind, body, or estate, from within or
from without, from chance or from intent, from friends or foes--whatever
your trouble be, though you be lonely, O children of a heavenly Father, be
J. H. NEWMAN.
Whatsoever befalleth thee, receive it not from the hand of any creature,
but from Him alone, and render back all to Him, seeking in all things His
pleasure and honor, the purifying and subduing of thyself. What can harm
thee, when all must first touch God, within whom thou hast enclosed
How God rejoices over a soul, which, surrounded on all sides by suffering
and misery, does that upon earth which the angels do in heaven; namely,
loves, adores, and praises God!
_Be ye kind one to another_.--EPH. iv. 32.
She doeth little kindnesses
Which most leave undone or despise;
For nought which sets one heart at ease,
And giveth happiness or peace,
Is low-esteemed in her eyes.
J. R. LOWELL.
What was the secret of such a one's power? What had she done? Absolutely
nothing; but radiant smiles, beaming good-humor, the tact of divining what
every one felt and every one wanted, told that she had got out of self
and learned to think of others; so that at one time it showed itself in
deprecating the quarrel, which lowering brows and raised tones already
showed to be impending, by sweet words; at another, by smoothing an
invalid's pillow; at another, by soothing a sobbing child; at another, by
humoring and softening a father who had returned weary and ill-tempered
from the irritating cares of business. None but she saw those things. None
but a loving heart _could_ see them. That was the secret of her heavenly
power. The one who will be found in trial capable of great acts of love, is
ever the one who is always doing considerate small ones.
F. W. ROBERTSON.
_Love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth
God_.--I JOHN iv. 7.
_Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a
quarrel (or "complaint") against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also
do ye_.--COL. iii. 13.
Oh, might we all our lineage prove,
Give and forgive, do good and love;
By soft endearments, in kind strife,
Lightening the load of daily life.
We may, if we choose, make the worst of one another. Every one has his weak
points; every one has his faults: we may make the worst of these; we may
fix our attention constantly upon these. But we may also make the best of
one another. We may forgive, even as we hope to be forgiven. We may put
ourselves in the place of others, and ask what we should wish to be done
to us, and thought of us, were we in their place. By loving whatever is
lovable in those around us, love will flow back from them to us, and life
will become a pleasure instead of a pain; and earth will become like
heaven; and we shall become not unworthy followers of Him whose name is
A. P. STANLEY.
_The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: Thy mercy, O Lord,
endureth forever: forsake not the--works of Thine own hands_.--PS.
As God leads me, will I go,--
Nor choose my way;
Let Him choose the joy or woe
Of every day:
They cannot hurt my soul,
Because in His control:
I leave to Him the whole,--
His children may.
Why is it that we are so busy with the future? It is not _our_ province;
and is there not a criminal interference with Him to whom it belongs, in
our feverish, anxious attempts to dispose of it, and in filling it up with
shadows of good and evil shaped by our own wild imaginations? To do God's
will as fast as it is made known to us, to inquire hourly--I had almost
said each moment--what He requires of us, and to leave ourselves, our
friends, and every interest at His control, with a cheerful trust that the
path which He marks out leads to our perfection and to Himself,--this is at
once our duty and happiness; and why will we not walk in the plain, simple
WILLIAM E. CHANNING.
_When He giveth quietness, who then can make trouble_?--JOB xxxiv. 29.
_None of these things move me_.--ACTS xx. 24.
I've many a cross to take up now,
And many left behind;
But present troubles move me not,
Nor shake my quiet mind.
And what may be to-morrow's cross
I never seek to find;
My Father says, "Leave that to me,
And keep a quiet mind."
Let us then think only of the present, and not even permit our minds to
wander with curiosity into the future. This future is not yet ours; perhaps
it never will be. It is exposing ourselves to temptation to wish to
anticipate God, and to prepare ourselves for things which He may not
destine for us. If such things should come to pass, He will give us
light and strength according to the need. Why should we desire to meet
difficulties prematurely, when we have neither strength nor light as yet
provided for them? Let us give heed to the present, whose duties are
pressing; it is fidelity to the present which prepares us for fidelity in
FRANCOIS DE LA MOTHE FENELON.
Every hour comes with some little fagot of God's will fastened upon its
F. W. FABER.
_Be strong, and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid ... for the
Lord thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee, nor
forsake thee_.--DEUT. xxxi. 6.
The timid it concerns to ask their way,
And fear what foe in caves and swamps can stray,
To make no step until the event is known,
And ills to come as evils past bemoan.
Not so the wise; no coward watch he keeps
To spy what danger on his pathway creeps;
Go where he will, the wise man is at home,
His hearth the earth,--his hall the azure dome;
Where his clear spirit leads him, there's his road,
By God's own light illumined and foreshowed.
R. W. EMERSON.
Though I sympathize, I do not share in the least the feeling of being
disheartened and cast down. It is not things of this sort that depress me,
or ever will. The contrary things, praise, openings, the feeling of the
greatness of my work, and my inability in relation to it, these things
oppress and cast me down; but little hindrances, and closing up of
accustomed or expected avenues, and the presence of difficulties to be
overcome,--I'm not going to be cast down by trifles such as these.
_And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in
drought_.--ISA. lviii. 11.
Wherever He may guide me,
No want shall turn me back;
My Shepherd is beside me,
And nothing can I lack.
His wisdom ever waketh,
His sight is never dim,--
He knows the way He taketh,
And I will walk with Him.
A. L. WARING.
Abandon yourself to His care and guidance, as a sheep in the care of a
shepherd, and trust Him utterly. No matter though you may seem to yourself
to be in the very midst of a desert, with nothing green about you, inwardly
or outwardly, and may think you will have to make a long journey before you
can get into the green pastures. Our Shepherd will turn that very place
where you are into green pastures, for He has power to make the desert
rejoice and blossom as a rose.
H. W. SMITH.
_Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of
your mind_.--ROM. xii. 2.
Father, let our faithful mind
Rest, on Thee alone inclined;
Every anxious thought repress,
Keep our souls in perfect peace.
Retirement from anxieties of every kind; entering into no disputes;
avoiding all frivolous talk; and simplifying everything we engage in,
whether in a way of doing or suffering; denying the, imagination its false
activities, and the intellect its false searchings after what it cannot
obtain,--these seem to be some of the steps that lead to obedience to the
holy precept in our text.
JAMES P. GREAVES.
Retire inwardly; wait to feel somewhat of God's Spirit, discovering and
drawing away from that which is contrary to His holy nature, and leading
into that which is acceptable to Him. As the mind is joined to this, some
true light and life is received.
Act up faithfully to your convictions; and when you have been unfaithful,
bear with yourself, and resume always with calm simplicity your little
task. Suppress, as much as you possibly can, all recurrence to yourself,
and you will suppress much vanity. Accustom yourself to much calmness and
an indifference to events.
_Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors;
and the King of glory shall come in_.--PS. xxiv. 9.
_Ye are the temple of the living God_.--2 COR. vi. 16.
Fling wide the portals of your heart,
Make it a temple set apart
From earthly use for Heaven's employ,
Adorned with prayer, and love, and joy.
So shall your Sovereign enter in,
And new and nobler life begin.
Thou art to know that thy soul is the centre, habitation, and kingdom of
God. That, therefore, to the end the sovereign King may rest on that throne
of thy soul, thou oughtest to take pains to keep it clean, quiet, and
peaceable,--clean from guilt and defects; quiet from fears; and peaceable
in temptations and tribulations. Thou oughtest always, then, to keep thine
heart in peace, that thou mayest keep pure that temple of God; and with a
right and pure intention thou art to work, pray, obey, and suffer (without
being in the least moved), whatever it pleases the Lord to send unto thee.
M. DE MOLINOS
_Oh how great is Thy goodness, which Thou hast laid up for them that fear
Thee; which Thou hast wrought for them that trust in Thee_.--PS. xxxi. 19.
_I will sing unto the Lord, because He hath dealt bountifully with
me_.--PS. xiii. 6.
Thy calmness bends serene above
My restlessness to still;
Around me flows Thy quickening life,
To nerve my faltering will;
Thy presence fills my solitude;
Thy providence turns all to good.
With a heart devoted to God and full of God, no longer seek Him in the
heavens above or the earth beneath, or in the things under the earth, but
recognize Him as the great fact of the universe, separate from no place or
part, but revealed in all places and in all things and events, _moment by
moment_. And as eternity alone will exhaust this momentary revelation,
which has sometimes been called the ETERNAL Now, thou shalt thus find God
ever present and ever new; and thy soul shall adore Him and feed upon Him
in the things and events which each new moment brings; and thou shalt never
be absent from Him, and He shall never be absent from thee.
T. C. UPHAM.
_For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be
compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us_.--ROM. viii. 18.
_The power of an endless life_.--HEB. vii. 16.
Believ'st thou in eternal things?
Thou knowest, in thy inmost heart,
Thou art not clay; thy soul hath wings,
And what thou seest is but part.
Make this thy med'cine for the smart
Of every day's distress; be dumb,
In each new loss thou truly art
Tasting the power of things that come.
T. W. Parsons.
Every contradiction of our will, every little ailment, every petty
disappointment, will, if we take it patiently, become a blessing. So,
walking on earth, we may be in heaven; the ill-tempers of others, the
slights and rudenesses of the world, ill-health, the daily accidents
with which God has mercifully strewed our paths, instead of ruffling or
disturbing our peace, may cause His peace to be shed abroad in our hearts
E. B. PUSEY.
_A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have
loved you, that ye also love one another_.--JOHN xiii. 34.
_And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love, one toward another,
and toward all men_.--I THESS. iii. 12.
Let love through all my conduct shine,
An image fair, though faint, of Thine;
Thus let me His disciple prove,
Who came to manifest Thy love.
We should arrive at a fulness of love extending to the whole creation, a
desire to impart, to pour out in full and copious streams the love and
goodness we bear to all around us.
J. P. GREAVES.
Goodness and love mould the form into their own image, and cause the joy
and beauty of love to shine forth from every part of the face. When this
form of love is seen, it appears ineffably beautiful, and affects with
delight the inmost life of the soul.
The soul within had so often lighted up her countenance with its own full
happiness and joy, that something of a permanent radiance remained upon it.
SARAH W. STEPHEN.
_The Lord is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all His
works_.--PS. cxlv. 9.
_For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle upon a thousand
hills_.--PS. 1. 10.
Maker of earth and sea and sky,
Creation's sovereign Lord and King,
Who hung the starry worlds on high,
And formed alike the sparrow's wing;
Bless the dumb creatures of Thy care,
And listen to their voiceless prayer.
I believe where the love of God is verily perfected, and the true spirit of
government watchfully attended to, a tenderness towards all creatures made
subject to us will be experienced; and a care felt in us, that we do not
lessen that sweetness of life in the animal creation, which the great
Creator intends for them under our government. To say we love God as
unseen, and at the same time exercise cruelty toward the least creature
moving by His life, or by life derived from Him, was a contradiction in
I would give nothing for that man's religion whose very dog and cat are not
the better for it.
_Then I said, I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for naught,
and in vain_.--ISA. xlix. 4.
Because I spent the strength Thou gavest me
In struggle which Thou never didst ordain,
And have but dregs of life to offer Thee--
O Lord, I do repent.
Mind, it is our best work that He wants, not the dregs of our exhaustion. I
think He must prefer quality to quantity.
If the people about you are carrying on their business or their benevolence
at a pace which drains the life out of you, resolutely take a slower pace;
be called a laggard, make less money, accomplish less work than they, but
be what you were meant to be and can be. You have your natural limit of
power as much as an engine,--ten-horse power, or twenty, or a hundred. You
are fit to do certain kinds of work, and you need a certain kind and amount
of fuel, and a certain kind of handling.
GEORGE S. MERRIAM.
In your occupations, try to possess your soul in peace. It is not a good
plan to be in haste to perform any action that it may be the sooner over.
On the contrary, you should accustom yourself to do whatever you have to do
with tranquillity, in order that you may retain the possession of yourself
and of settled peace.
_For which cause we faint not; but, though our outward man perish, yet the
inward man is renewed day by day_.--2 COR. iv. 16.
Let my soul beneath her load
Faint not through the o'erwearied flesh;
Let me hourly drink afresh
Love and peace from Thee, my God!
C. F. RICHTER.
In my attempts to promote the comfort of my family, the quiet of my spirit
has been disturbed. Some of this is doubtless owing to physical weakness;
but, with every temptation, there is a way of escape; there is _never_ any
_need_ to sin. Another thing I have suffered loss from,--entering into the
business of the day without seeking to have my spirit quieted and directed.
So many things press upon me, this is sometimes neglected; shame to me that
it should be so.
This is of great importance, to watch carefully,--now I am so weak--not to
over-fatigue myself, because then I cannot contribute to the pleasure of
others; and a placid face and a gentle tone will make my family more happy
than anything else I can do for them. Our own will gets sadly into the
performance of our duties sometimes.
ELIZABETH T. KING.
_Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand
the loving-kindness of the Lord_.--PS. cvii. 43.
What channel needs our faith, except the eyes?
God leaves no spot of earth unglorified;
Profuse and wasteful, lovelinesses rise;
New beauties dawn before the old have died.
Trust thou thy joys in keeping of the Power
Who holds these changing shadows in His hand;
Believe and live, and know that hour by hour
Will ripple newer beauty to thy strand.
T. W. HIGGINSON.
I wondered over again for the hundredth time what could be the principle
which, in the wildest, most lawless, fantastically chaotic, apparently
capricious work of nature, always kept it beautiful. The beauty of holiness
must be at the heart of it somehow, I thought. Because our God is so free
from stain, so loving, so unselfish, so good, so altogether what He wants
us to be, so holy, therefore all His works declare Him in beauty; His
fingers can touch nothing but to mould it into loveliness; and even the
play of His elements is in grace and tenderness of form.
_Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy
soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind_.--LUKE x. 27.
O God, what offering shall I give
To Thee, the Lord of earth and skies?
My spirit, soul, and flesh receive,
A holy, living sacrifice.
To love God "with all our heart," is to know the spiritual passion of
measureless gratitude for loving-kindness, and self-devotedness to
goodness; to love Him "with all our mind," is to know the passion for Truth
that is the enthusiasm of Science, the passion for Beauty that inspires
the poet and the artist, when all truth and beauty are regarded as the
self-revealings of God; to love Him "with all our soul," is to know the
saint's rapture of devotion and gaze of penitential awe into the face of
the All-holy, the saint's abhorrence of sin, and agony of desire to save
a sinner's soul; and to love Him "with all our strength," is the supreme
spiritual passion that tests the rest; the passion for reality, for worship
in spirit and in truth, for being what we adore, for doing what we know
to be God's word; the loyalty that exacts the living sacrifice, the whole
burnt-offering that is our reasonable service, and in our coldest hours
keeps steadfast to what seemed good when we were aglow.
J. H. THOM.
_Walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto His kingdom and glory_.--I
THESS. ii. 12.
_Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not_.--GEN. xxviii. 16.
Thou earnest not to thy place by accident,
It is the very place God meant for thee;
And shouldst thou there small scope for action see,
Do not for this give room to discontent.
R. C. TRENCH.
Accept the place the divine providence has found for you, the society of
your contemporaries, the connection of events.
R. W. EMERSON.
Adapt thyself to the things with which thy lot has been cast; and love the
men with whom it is thy portion to live, and that with a sincere affection.
No longer be either dissatisfied with thy present lot, or shrink from the
I love best to have each thing in its season, doing without it at all other
times. I have never got over my surprise that I should have been born into
the most estimable place in all the world, and in the very nick of time
H. D. THOREAU.
_He knoweth the way that I take_.--JOB xxiii. 10.
_Man's goings are of the Lord; how can a man then understand his own
way_?--PROV. xx. 24.
Be quiet, why this anxious heed
About thy tangled ways?
God knows them all, He giveth speed,
And He allows delays.
We complain of the slow, dull life we are forced to lead, of our humble
sphere of action, of our low position in the scale of society, of our
having no room to make ourselves known, of our wasted energies, of our
years of patience. So do we say that we have no Father who is directing our
life; so do we say that God has forgotten us; so do we boldly judge what
life is best for us, and so by our complaining do we lose the use and
profit of the quiet years. O men of little faith! Because you are not sent
out yet into your labor, do you think God has ceased to remember you?
Because you are forced to be outwardly inactive, do you think you, also,
may not be, in your years of quiet, "about your Father's business"? It is a
period given to us in which to mature ourselves for the work which God will
give us to do.
STOPFORD A. BROOKE.
_They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be
removed, but abideth for ever. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem,
so the Lord is round about His people from henceforth even for ever_.--PS.
cxxv. I, 2.
How on a rock they stand,
Who watch His eye, and hold His guiding hand!
Not half so fixed amid her vassal hills,
Rises the holy pile that Kedron's valley fills.
That is the way to be immovable in the midst of troubles, as a rock amidst
the waves. When God is in the midst of a kingdom or city, He makes it firm
as Mount Sion, that cannot be removed. When He is in the midst of a soul,
though calamities throng about it on all hands, and roar like the billows
of the sea, yet there is a constant calm within, such a peace as the world
can neither give nor take away. What is it but want of lodging God in the
soul, and that in His stead the world is in men's hearts, that makes them
shake like leaves at every blast of danger?
_He that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word,
and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an
hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty_.--MATT. xiii. 23.
Then bless thy secret growth, nor catch
At noise, but thrive unseen and dumb;
Keep clean, bear fruit, earn life, and watch
Till the white-winged reapers come.
He does not need to transplant us into a different field, but right where
we are, with just the circumstances that surround us, He makes His sun to
shine and His dew to fall upon us, and transforms the very things that were
before our greatest hindrances, into the chiefest and most blessed means
of our growth. No difficulties in your case can baffle Him. No dwarfing
of your growth in years that are past, no apparent dryness of your
inward springs of life, no crookedness or deformity in any of your past
development, can in the least mar the perfect work that He will accomplish,
if you will only put yourselves absolutely into His hands, and let Him have
His own way with you.
H. W. SMITH.
_But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which
are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope_.--I
THESS. iv. 13.
Yet Love will dream, and Faith will trust
(Since He who knows our need is just),
That somehow, somewhere, meet we must.
Alas for him who never sees
The stars shine through his cypress trees;
Who hath not learned in hours of faith,
The truth to flesh and sense unknown,
That life is ever Lord of Death,
And Love can never lose its own.
J. G. WHITTIER.
While we poor wayfarers still toil, with hot and bleeding feet, along the
highway and the dust of life, our companions have but mounted the divergent
path, to explore the more sacred streams, and visit the diviner vales, and
wander amid the everlasting Alps, of God's upper province of creation. And
so we keep up the courage of our hearts, and refresh ourselves with the
memories of love, and travel forward in the ways of duty, with less weary
step, feeling ever for the hand of God, and listening for the domestic
voices of the immortals whose happy welcome waits us. Death, in short,
under the Christian aspect, is but God's method of colonization; the
transition from this mother-country of our race to the fairer and newer
world of our emigration.
_But this I say, brethren, the time is short_.--I COR. vii. 29.
I sometimes feel the thread of life is slender,
And soon with me the labor will be wrought;
Then grows my heart to other hearts more tender.
The time is short.
D. M. CRAIK.
Oh, my dear friends, you who are letting miserable misunderstandings run on
from year to year, meaning to clear them up some day; you who are keeping
wretched quarrels alive because you cannot quite make up your mind that now
is the day to sacrifice your pride and kill them; you who are passing men
sullenly upon the street, not speaking to them out of some silly spite, and
yet knowing that it would fill you with shame and remorse if you heard
that one of those men were dead tomorrow morning; you who are letting your
neighbor starve, till you hear that he is dying of starvation; or letting
your friend's heart ache for a word of appreciation or sympathy, which you
mean to give him some day,--if you only could know and see and feel, all of
a sudden, that "the time is short," how it would break the spell! How you
would go instantly and do the thing which you might never have another
chance to do.
_Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to Thy
mercy remember Thou me for Thy goodness' sake, O Lord_.--PS. XXV. 7.
When on my aching, burdened heart
My sins lie heavily,
My pardon speak, new peace impart,
In love remember me.
We need to know that our sins are forgiven. And how shall we know this? By
feeling that we have peace with God,--by feeling that we are able so to
trust in the divine compassion and infinite tenderness of our Father, as
to arise and go to Him, whenever we commit sin, and say at once to Him,
"Father, I have sinned; forgive me." To know that we are forgiven, it is
only necessary to look at our Father's love till it sinks into our heart,
to open our soul to Him till He shall pour His love into it; to wait on Him
till we find peace, till our conscience no longer torments us, till the
weight of responsibility ceases to be an oppressive burden to us, till we
can feel that our sins, great as they are, cannot keep us away from our
J. F. CLARKE.
_I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud,
thy sins: return unto Me; for I have redeemed thee_.--ISA. xliv. 22.
_He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our
iniquities; and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the
sea_.--MICAH vii. 19.
If my shut eyes should dare their lids to part,
I know how they must quail beneath the blaze
Of Thy Love's greatness. No; I dare not raise
One prayer, to look aloft, lest it should gaze
On such forgiveness as would break my heart.
H. S. SUTTON.
O Lord God gracious and merciful, give us, I entreat Thee, a humble trust
in Thy mercy, and suffer not our heart to fail us. Though our sins be
seven, though our sins be seventy times seven, though our sins be more in
number than the hairs of our head, yet give us grace in loving penitence to
cast ourselves down into the depth of Thy compassion. Let us fall into the
hand of the Lord. Amen.
C. G. ROSSETTI.
_Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of
fools_.--ECCLES. vii. 9.
_Let not the sun go down upon your wrath_--EPH. iv. 26.
Quench thou the fires of hate and strife,
The wasting fever of the heart;
From perils guard our feeble life,
And to our souls Thy peace impart.
J. H. NEWMAN, _Tr. from Latin_.
When thou art offended or annoyed by others, suffer not thy thoughts to
dwell thereon, or on anything relating to them. For example, "that they
ought not so to have treated thee; who they are, or whom they think
themselves to be;" or the like; for all this is fuel and kindling of wrath,
anger, and hatred.
Struggle diligently against your impatience, and strive to be amiable and
gentle, in season and out of season, towards every one, however much they
may vex and annoy you, and be sure God will bless your efforts.
ST. FRANCIS DE SALES.
_Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord
Jehovah is my strength and my song; He also is become my salvation_.--ISA.
_Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith_?--MARK. iv. 40.
Still heavy is thy heart?
Still sink thy spirits down?
Cast off the weight, let fear depart,
And every care be gone.
Go on in all simplicity; do not be so anxious to win a quiet mind, and it
will be all the quieter. Do not examine so closely into the progress of
your soul. Do not crave so much to be perfect, but let your spiritual life
be formed by your duties, and by the actions which are called forth by
circumstances. Do not take overmuch thought for to-morrow. God, who has led
you safely on so far, will lead you on to the end. Be altogether at rest
in the loving holy confidence which you ought to have in His heavenly
ST. FRANCIS DE SALES.
_Thou hast made him exceeding glad with Thy countenance_.--PS. xxi. 6.
MY heart for gladness springs,
It cannot more be sad,
For very joy it laughs and sings,
Sees nought but sunshine glad.
A new day rose upon me. It was as if another sun had risen into the sky;
the heavens were indescribably brighter, and the earth fairer; and that day
has gone on brightening to the present hour. I have known the other joys of
life, I suppose, as much as most men; I have known art and beauty, music
and gladness; I have known friendship and love and family ties; but it is
certain that till we see GOD in the world--GOD in the bright and boundless
universe--we never know the highest joy. It is far more than if one were
translated to a world a thousand times fairer than this; for that supreme
and central Light of Infinite Love and Wisdom, shining over this world
and all worlds, alone can show us how noble and beautiful, how fair and
glorious they are.
When I look like this into the blue sky, it seems so deep, so peaceful, so
full of a mysterious tenderness, that I could lie for centuries and wait
for the dawning of the face of God out of the awful loving-kindness.
_He satisfieth the longing soul, and the hungry soul He filleth with
good_.--PS. cvii. 9 (R. V.).
_That ye might be filled with all the fulness of God_.--EPH. iii. 19.
Enough that He who made can fill the soul
Here and hereafter till its deeps o'erflow;
Enough that love and tenderness control
Our fate where'er in joy or doubt we go.
O God, the Life of the Faithful, the Bliss of the righteous, mercifully
receive the prayers of Thy suppliants, that the souls which thirst for Thy
promises may evermore be filled from Thy abundance. Amen.
GELASIAN SACRAMENTARY, A. D. 490.
God makes every common thing serve, if thou wilt, to enlarge that capacity
of bliss in His love. Not a prayer, not an act of faithfulness in your
calling, not a self-denying or kind word or deed, done out of love for
Himself; not a weariness or painfulness endured patiently; not a duty
performed; not a temptation resisted; but it enlarges the whole soul for
the endless capacity of the love of God.
E. B. PUSEY.
_O receive the gift that is given you, and be glad, giving thanks unto Him
that hath called you to the heavenly kingdom_.--2 ESDRAS ii. 37.
_Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift_.--2 COR. ix. 15.
O Giver of each perfect gift!
This day our daily bread supply;
While from the Spirit's tranquil depths
We drink unfailing draughts of joy.
The best way for a man rightly to enjoy himself, is to maintain a
universal, ready, and cheerful compliance with the divine and uncreated
Will in all things; as knowing that nothing can issue and flow forth from
the fountain of goodness but that which is good; and therefore a good man
is never offended with any piece of divine dispensation, nor hath he any
reluctancy against that Will that dictates and determines all things by
an eternal rule of goodness; as knowing that there is an unbounded and
almighty Love that, without any disdain or envy, freely communicates itself
to everything He made; that always enfolds those in His everlasting arms
who are made partakers of His own image, perpetually nourishing and
cherishing them with the fresh and vital influences of His grace.
DR. JOHN SMITH.
_Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits_.--PS. ciii. 2.
Wiser it were to welcome and make ours
Whate'er of good, though small, the Present brings,--
Kind greetings, sunshine, song of birds, and flowers,
With a child's pure delight in little things.
R. C. TRENCH.
Into all our lives, in many simple, familiar, homely ways, God infuses this
element of joy from the surprises of life, which unexpectedly brighten our
days, and fill our eyes with light. He drops this added sweetness into His
children's cup, and makes it to run over. The success we were not counting
on, the blessing we were not trying after, the strain of music, in the
midst of drudgery, the beautiful morning picture or sunset glory thrown
in as we pass to or from our daily business, the unsought word of
encouragement or expression of sympathy, the sentence that meant for us
more than the writer or speaker thought,--these and a hundred others that
every one's experience can supply are instances of what I mean. You may
call it accident or chance--it often is; you may call it human goodness--it
often is; but always, always call it God's love, for that is always in it.
These are the overflowing riches of His grace, these are His free gifts.
_If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that
believeth_.--MARK ix. 23.
_Nothing shall be impossible unto you_.--MATT. xvii. 20.
So nigh is grandeur to our dust,
So near is God to man,
When Duty whispers low, _Thou must_,
The youth replies, _I can_.
R. W. EMERSON.
Know that "impossible," where truth and mercy and the everlasting voice of
nature order, has no place in the brave man's dictionary. That when all men
have said "Impossible," and tumbled noisily elsewhither, and thou alone art
left, then first thy time and possibility have come. It is for thee now: do
thou that, and ask no man's counsel, but thy own only and God's. Brother,
thou hast possibility in thee for much: the possibility of writing on the
eternal skies the record of a heroic life.
In the moral world there is nothing impossible, if we bring a thorough will
to it. Man can do everything with himself; but he must not attempt to do
too much with others.
WM. VON HUMBOLDT.
_Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free,
and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage_.--GAL. v. i.
_I believed, and therefore have I spoken_.--2 COR. iv. 13.
They are slaves who fear to speak
For the fallen and the weak;
They are slaves who will not choose
Hatred, scoffing, and abuse,
Rather than in silence shrink
From the truth they needs must think;
They are slaves who dare not be
In the right with two or three.
J. R. LOWELL.
The real corrupters of society may be, not the corrupt, but those who have
held back the righteous leaven, the salt that has lost its savor, the
innocent who have not even the moral courage to show what they think of the
effrontery of impurity,--the serious, who yet timidly succumb before
some loud-voiced scoffer,--the heart trembling all over with religious
sensibilities that yet suffers itself through false shame to be beaten down
into outward and practical acquiescence by some rude and worldly nature.
J. H. THOM.
_The things which are impossible with men are possible with God_.--LUKE
_Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in
silence_.--PS. xciv. 17.
When obstacles and trials seem
Like prison-walls to be,
I do the little I can do,
And leave the rest to Thee.
F. W. FABER.
The mind never puts forth greater power over itself than when, in great
trials, it yields up calmly its desires, affections, interests to God.
There are seasons when to be _still_ demands immeasurably higher strength
than to act. Composure is often the highest result of power. Think you it
demands no power to calm the stormy elements of passion, to moderate the
vehemence of desire, to throw off the load of dejection, to suppress every
repining thought, when the dearest hopes are withered, and to turn the
wounded spirit from dangerous reveries and wasting grief, to the quiet
discharge of ordinary duties? Is there no power put forth, when a man,
stripped of his property, of the fruits of a life's labors, quells
discontent and gloomy forebodings, and serenely and patiently returns to
the tasks which Providence assigns?
WM. E. CHANNING.
_The cup which my Father has given me, shall I not drink it_?--JOHN xviii.
_Whatsoever is brought upon thee, take cheerfully_.--ECCLESIASTICUS ii. 4.
Every sorrow, every smart,
That the Eternal Father's heart
Hath appointed me of yore,
Or hath yet for me in store,
As my life flows on, I 'll take
Calmly, gladly, for His sake,
No more faithless murmurs make
The very least and the very greatest sorrows that God ever suffers to
befall thee, proceed from the depths of His unspeakable love; and such
great love were better for thee than the highest and best gifts besides
that He has given thee, or ever could give thee, if thou couldst but see it
in this light. So that if your little finger only aches, if you are cold,
if you are hungry or thirsty, if others vex you by their words or deeds, or
whatever happens to you that causes you distress or pain, it will all help
to fit you for a noble and blessed state.
_The Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou
puttest thine hand unto_.--DEUT. xv. 10.
My place of lowly service, too,
Beneath Thy sheltering wings I see;
For all the work I have to do
Is done through strengthening rest in Thee.
A. L. WARING.
I think I find most help in trying to look on all interruptions and
hindrances to work that one has planned out for oneself as discipline,
trials sent by God to help one against getting selfish over one's
work. Then one can feel that perhaps one's true work--one's work for
God--consists in doing some trifling haphazard thing that has been thrown
into one's day. It is not waste of time, as one is tempted to think, it
is the most important part of the work of the day,--the part one can best
offer to God. After such a hindrance, do not rush after the planned work;
trust that the time to finish it will be given sometime, and keep a quiet
heart about it.
_Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life_?--LUKE x. 25.
_Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might_.--ECCLES. ix. 10.
"What shall I do to gain eternal life?"
The simple dues with which each day is rife,
Yea, with thy might."
F. VON SCHILLER.
A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work, and done
his best; but what he has said or done otherwise, shall give him no peace.
R. W. EMERSON.
Be diligent, after thy power, to do deeds of love. Think nothing too
little, nothing too low, to do lovingly for the sake of God. Bear with
infirmities, ungentle tempers, contradictions; visit, if thou mayest, the
sick; relieve the poor; forego thyself and thine own ways for love; and He
whom in them thou lovest, to whom in them thou ministerest, will own thy
love, and will pour His own love into thee.
E. B. PUSEY.
_In your patience possess ye your souls_.--LUKE xxi. 19.
What though thy way be dark, and earth
With ceaseless care do cark, till mirth
To thee no sweet strain singeth;
Still hide thy life above, and still
Believe that God is love; fulfil
Whatever lot He bringeth.
ALBERT E. EVANS.
The soul loses command of itself when it is impatient. Whereas, when it
submits without a murmur it possesses itself in peace, and possesses God.
To be impatient, is to desire what we have not, or not to desire what we
have. When we acquiesce in an evil, it is no longer such. Why make a real
calamity of it by resistance? Peace does not dwell in outward things, but
within the soul. We may preserve it in the midst of the bitterest pain,
if our will remains firm and submissive. Peace in this life springs from
acquiescence even in disagreeable things, not in an exemption from bearing
FRANCOIS DE LA MOTHE FENELON.
The chief pang of most trials is not so much the actual suffering itself,
as our own spirit of resistance to it.
JEAN NICOLAS GROU.
_I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help_.--PS.
_My grace is sufficient for thee_.--2 COR. xii. 9.
I look to Thee in every need,
And never look in vain;
I feel Thy touch, Eternal Love,
And all is well again:
The thought of Thee is mightier far
Than sin and pain and sorrow are.
How can you live sweetly amid the vexatious things, the irritating things,
the multitude of little worries and frets, which lie all along your way,
and which you cannot evade? You cannot at present change your surroundings.
Whatever kind of life you are to live, must be lived amid precisely the
experiences in which you are now moving. Here you must win your victories
or suffer your defeats. No restlessness or discontent can change your lot.
Others may have other circumstances surrounding them, but here are yours.
You had better make up your mind to accept what you cannot alter. You can
live a beautiful life in the midst of your present circumstances.
J. R. MILLER.
Strive to realize a state of inward happiness, independent of
J. P. GREAVES.
_God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and
of a sound mind_.--2 TIM. i. 7.
We cast behind fear, sin, and death;
With Thee we seek the things above;
Our inmost souls Thy spirit breathe,
Of power, of calmness, and of love.
HYMNS OF THE SPIRIT.
I must conclude with a more delightful subject,--my most dear and blessed
sister. I never saw a more perfect instance of the spirit of power and of
love, and of a sound mind; intense love, almost to the annihilation of
selfishness--a daily martyrdom for twenty years, during which she adhered
to her early-formed resolution of never talking about herself; thoughtful
about the very pins and ribands of my wife's dress, about the making of a
doll's cap for a child,--but of herself, save only as regarded her ripening
in all goodness, wholly thoughtless; enjoying everything lovely, graceful,
beautiful, high-minded, whether in God's works or man's, with the keenest
relish; inheriting the earth to the very fulness of the promise, though
never leaving her crib, nor changing her posture; and preserved through the
very valley of the shadow of death, from all fear or impatience, or from
every cloud of impaired reason, which might mar the beauty of Christ's
spirit's glorious work.
_Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap_.--GAL. vi. 7.
The life above, when this is past,
Is the ripe fruit of life below.
Sow love, and taste its fruitage pure;
Sow peace, and reap its harvest bright;
Sow sunbeams on the rock and moor,
And find a harvest-home of light.
The dispositions, affections, inclinations of soul, which shall issue
hereafter in perfection, must be trained and nurtured in us throughout the
whole course of this earthly life. When shall we bear in mind this plain
truth, that the future perfection of the saints is not a translation from
one state or disposition of soul into another, diverse from the former; but
the carrying out, and, as it were, the blossom and the fruitage of one and
the same principle of spiritual life, which, through their whole career on
earth, has been growing with an even strength, putting itself forth in
the beginnings and promise of perfection, reaching upward with steadfast
aspirations after perfect holiness?
H. E. MANNING.
_O turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; give Thy strength unto Thy
servant, and save the son of Thy handmaid_.--PS. lxxxvi. 16.
Thou art my King--
My King henceforth alone;
And I, Thy servant, Lord, am all Thine own.
Give me Thy strength; oh! let Thy dwelling be
In this poor heart that pants, my Lord, for Thee!
When it is the one ruling, never-ceasing desire of our hearts, that God may
be the beginning and end, the reason and motive, the rule and measure, of
our doing or not doing, from morning to night; then everywhere, whether
speaking or silent, whether inwardly or outwardly employed, we are equally
offered up to the eternal Spirit, have our life in Him and from Him, and
are united to Him by that Spirit of Prayer which is the comfort, the
support, the strength and security of the soul, travelling, by the help of
God, through the vanity of time into the riches of eternity. Let us have no
thought or care, but how to be wholly His devoted instruments; everywhere,
and in everything, His adoring, joyful, and thankful servants.
_Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward
God_--I JOHN iii. 21.
O Lord, how happy is the time
When in Thy love I rest:
When from my weariness I climb
E'en to Thy tender breast.
The night of sorrow endeth there,
Thy rays outshine the sun;
And in Thy pardon and Thy care
The heaven of heavens is won.
W. C. DESSLER.
Nothing doth so much establish the mind amidst the rollings and turbulency
of present things, as both a look above them, and a look beyond them; above
them to the good and steady Hand by which they are ruled, and beyond them
to the sweet and beautiful end to which, by that Hand, they shall be
brought. Study pure and holy walking, if you would have your confidence
firm, and have boldness and joy in God. You will find that a little sin
will shake your trust and disturb your peace more than the greatest
sufferings: yea, in those sufferings, your assurance and joy in God will
grow and abound most if sin be kept out. So much sin as gets in, so much
peace will go out.
_Teach me Thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path_.--PS. xxvii. 11.
Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on;
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
Lead Thou me on.
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.
J. H. NEWMAN.
God only is holy; He alone knows how to lead His children in the paths of
holiness. He knows every aspect of your soul, every thought of your heart,
every secret of your character, its difficulties and hindrances; He
knows how to mould you to His will, and lead you onwards to perfect
sanctification; He knows exactly how each event, each trial, each
temptation, will tell upon you, and He disposes all things accordingly. The
consequences of this belief, if fully grasped, will influence your whole
life. You will seek to give yourself up to God more and more unreservedly,
asking nothing, refusing nothing, wishing nothing, but what He wills; not
seeking to bring things about for yourself, taking all He sends joyfully,
and believing the "one step" set before you to be enough for you. You will
be satisfied that even though there are clouds around, and your way seems
dark, He is directing all, and that what seems a hindrance will prove a
blessing, since He wills it.
JEAN NICOLAS GROU.
_Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart:
wait, I say, on the Lord_.--PS. xxvii. 14.
_He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth
strength_.--ISA. xl. 29.
Leaning on Him, make with reverent meekness
His own thy will,
And with strength from Him shall thy utter weakness
Life's task fulfil.
J. G. WHITTIER.
Should we feel at times disheartened and discouraged, a confiding thought,
a simple movement of heart towards God will renew our powers. Whatever
He may demand of us, He will give us at the moment the strength and the
courage that we need.
FRANCOIS DE LA MOTHE FENELON.
We require a certain firmness in all circumstances of life, even the
happiest, and perhaps contradictions come in order to prove and exercise
this; and, if we can only determine so to use them, the very effort brings
back tranquillity to the soul, which always enjoys having exercised its
strength in conformity to duty.
WM. VON HUMBOLDT.
_We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not
to please ourselves_.--ROM. xv. 1.
_The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know
how to speak a word in season to him that is weary_.
If there be some weaker one,
Give me strength to help him on;
If a blinder soul there be,
Let me guide him nearer Thee.
J. G. WHITTIER.
Ask Him to increase your powers of sympathy: to give you more quickness
and depth of sympathy, in little things as well as great. Opportunities of
doing a kindness are often lost from mere want of thought. Half a dozen
lines of kindness may bring sunshine into the whole day of some sick
person. Think of the pleasure you might give to some one who is much shut
up, and who has fewer pleasures than you have, by sharing with her some
little comfort or enjoyment that you have learnt to look upon as a
necessary of life,--the pleasant drive, the new book, flowers from the
country, etc. Try to put yourself in another's place. Ask "What should I
like myself, if I were hard-worked, or sick, or lonely?" Cultivate the
_habit_ of sympathy.
G. H. WILKINSON.
_I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present
your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your
reasonable service_.--ROM. xii. 1.
Thou hast my flesh, Thy hallowed shrine,
Devoted solely to Thy will;
Here let Thy light forever shine,
This house still let Thy presence fill;
O Source of Life, live, dwell, and move
In me, till all my life be love!
May it not be a comfort to those of us who feel we have not the mental
or spiritual power that others have, to notice that the living sacrifice
mentioned in Rom. xii. 1, is our "bodies"? Of course, that includes the
mental power, but does it not also include the loving, sympathizing glance,
the kind, encouraging word, _the ready errand for another_, the work of our
hands, opportunities for all of which come oftener in the day than for
the mental power we are often tempted to envy? May we be enabled to offer
willingly that which we have.
_Seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not_.--JER. xlv. 5.
I would not have the restless will
That hurries to and fro,
Seeking for some great thing to do,
Or secret thing to know;
I would be treated as a child,
And guided where I go.
A. L. WARING.
Oh! be little, be little; and then thou wilt be content with little; and
if thou feel, now and then, a check or a secret smiting,--in _that_ is
the Father's love; be not over-wise, nor over-eager, in thy own willing,
running, and desiring, and thou mayest feel it so; and by degrees come to
the knowledge of thy Guide, who will lead thee, step by step, in the
path of life, and teach thee to follow. Be still, and wait for light and
Sink into the sweet and blessed littleness, where thou livest by grace
alone. Contemplate with delight the holiness and goodness in God, which
thou dost not find in thyself. How lovely it is to be nothing when God is
_And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go
forth, and are choked with cares, and riches and pleasures of this life,
and bring no fruit to perfection_.--LUKE viii. 14.
Preserve me from my calling's snare,
And hide my simple heart above,
Above the thorns of choking care,
The gilded baits of worldly love.
Anything allowed in the heart which is contrary to the will of God, let it
seem ever so insignificant, or be ever so deeply hidden, will cause us to
fall before our enemies. Any root of bitterness cherished towards another,
any self-seeking, any harsh judgments indulged in, any slackness in obeying
the voice of the Lord, any doubtful habits or surroundings, any one of
these things will effectually cripple and paralyze our spiritual life. I
believe our blessed Guide, the indwelling Holy Spirit, is always secretly
discovering these things to us by continual little twinges and pangs of
conscience, so that we are left without excuse,
H. W. SMITH.
_See that ye refuse not Him that speaketh_.--HEB. xii. 25.
From the world of sin and noise
And hurry I withdraw;
For the small and inward voice
I wait with humble awe;
Silent am I now and still,
Dare not in Thy presence move;
To my waiting soul reveal
The secret of Thy love.
When therefore the smallest instinct or desire of thy heart calleth thee
towards God, and a newness of life, give it time and leave to speak; and
take care thou refuse not Him that speaketh. Be retired, silent, passive,
and humbly attentive to this new risen light within thee.
It is hardly to be wondered at that he should lose the finer consciousness
of higher powers and deeper feelings, not from any behavior in itself
wrong, but from the hurry, noise, and tumult in the streets of life, that,
penetrating too deep into the house of life, dazed and stupefied the silent
and lonely watcher in the chamber of conscience, far apart. He had no time
to think or feel.
_Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord_.--ZECH. ii. 13.
Be earth, with all her scenes, withdrawn;
Let noise and vanity be gone:
In secret silence of the mind,
My heaven, and there my God, I find.
It is only with the pious affection of the will that we can be spiritually
attentive to God. As long as the noisy restlessness of the thoughts goes
on, the gentle and holy desires of the new nature are overpowered and
J. P. GREAVES.
There is hardly ever a complete silence in our soul. God is whispering to
us wellnigh incessantly. Whenever the sounds of the world die out in the
soul, or sink low, then we hear these whisperings of God. He is always
whispering to us, only we do not always hear, because of the noise, hurry,
and distraction which life causes as it rushes on.
F. W. FABER.
The prayer of faith is a sincere, sweet, and quiet view of divine, eternal
truth. The soul rests quiet, perceiving and loving God; sweetly rejecting
all the imaginations that present themselves, calming the mind in the
Divine presence, and fixing it only on God.
M. DE MOLINOS.
_Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work
in you will perform it_.--PHIL. i. 6.
_He that endureth to the end shall be saved_.--MATT. x. 22.
Fill with inviolable peace;
Stablish and keep my settled heart;
In Thee may all my wanderings cease,
From Thee no more may I depart:
Thy utmost goodness called to prove,
Loved with an everlasting love!
If any sincere Christian cast himself with his whole will upon the Divine
Presence which dwells within him, he shall be kept safe unto the end. What
is it that makes us unable to persevere? Is it want of strength? By no
means. We have with us the strength of the Holy Spirit. When did we ever
set ourselves sincerely to any work according to the will of God, and fail
for want of strength? It was not that strength failed the will, but that
the will failed first. If we could but embrace the Divine will with the
whole love of ours; cleaving to it, and holding fast by it, we should be
borne along as upon "the river of the water of life." We open only certain
chambers of our will to the influence of the Divine will. We are afraid of
being wholly absorbed into it. And yet, if we would have peace, we must be
altogether united to Him.
H. E. MANNING.
_They that know Thy name will put their trust in Thee: for Thou, Lord, hast
not forsaken them that seek Thee_.--PS. ix. 10.
_Yea, the Lord shall give that which is good_.--PS. lxxxv. 12.
In Thee I place my trust,
On Thee I calmly rest;
I know Thee good, I know Thee just,
And count Thy choice the best.
H. F. LYTE.
The souls that would really be richer in duty in some new position, are
precisely those who borrow no excuses from the old one; who even esteem
it full of privileges, plenteous in occasions of good, frequent in divine
appeals, which they chide their graceless and unloving temper for not
heeding more. Wretched and barren is the discontent that quarrels with its
tools instead of with its skill; and, by criticising Providence, manages
to keep up complacency with self. How gentle should we be, if we were not
provoked; how pious, if we were not busy; the sick would be patient, only
he is not in health; the obscure would do great things, only he is not
_Am I my brother's keeper_?--GEN. iv. 9.
Because I held upon my selfish, road,
And left my brother wounded by the way,
And called ambition duty, and pressed on--
O Lord, I do repent.
How many are the sufferers who have fallen amongst misfortunes along
the wayside of life! "By _chance_" we come that way; chance, accident,
Providence, has thrown them in our way; we see them from a distance, like
the Priest, or we come upon them suddenly, like the Levite; our business,
our pleasure, is interrupted by the sight, is troubled by the delay; what
are our feelings, what our actions towards them? "Who is thy neighbor?" It
is the sufferer, wherever, whoever, whatsoever he be. Wherever thou hearest
the cry of distress, wherever thou seest any one brought across thy path by
the chances and changes of life (that is, by the Providence of God), whom
it is in thy power to help,--he, stranger or enemy though he be,--_he_ is
A. P. STANLEY.
_Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness
and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love_.--EPH.
iv. 1, 2.
Help us, O Lord, with patient love to bear
Each other's faults, to suffer with true meekness;
Help us each other's joys and griefs to share,
But let us turn to Thee alone in weakness.
You should make a special point of asking God every morning to give you,
before all else, that true spirit of meekness which He would have His
children possess. You must also make a firm resolution to practise yourself
in this virtue, especially in your intercourse with those persons to whom
you chiefly owe it. You must make it your main object to conquer yourself
in this matter; call it to mind a hundred times during the day, commending
your efforts to God. It seems to me that no more than this is needed in
order to subject your soul entirely to His will, and then you will become
more gentle day by day, trusting wholly in His goodness. You will be very
happy, my dearest child, if you can do this, for God will dwell in your
heart; and where He reigns all is peace. But if you should fail, and commit
some of your old faults, do not be disheartened, but rise up and go on
again, as though you had not fallen.
ST. FRANCIS DE SALES.
_Now therefore keep thy sorrow to thyself, and bear with a good courage
that which hath befallen thee_.--2 ESDRAS x. 15.
Go, bury thy sorrow,
The world hath its share;
Go, bury it deeply,
Go, hide it with care.
Go, bury thy sorrow,
Let others be blest;
Go, give them the sunshine,
And tell God the rest.
Our veiled and terrible guest [Trouble] brings for us, if we will accept
it, the boon of fortitude, patience, self-control, wisdom, sympathy, faith.
If we reject that, then we find in our hands the other gift,--cowardice,
weakness, isolation, despair. If your trouble seems to have in it no other
possibility of good, at least set yourself to bear it like a man. Let none
of its weight come on other shoulders. Try to carry it so that no one shall
even see it. Though your heart be sad within, let cheer go out from you to
others. Meet them with a kindly presence, considerate words, helpful acts.
G. S. MERRIAM.
_Let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of
their souls to Him in welldoing, as unto a faithful Creator_.--I PETER iv.
_The Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy_.--JAMES v. 11.
On Thy compassion I repose
In weakness and distress:
I will not ask for greater ease,
Lest I should love Thee less;
Oh, 'tis a blessed thing for me
To need Thy tenderness.
A. L. WARING.
Oh, look not at thy pain or sorrow, how great soever; but look from them,
look off them, look beyond them, to the Deliverer! whose power is over
them, and whose loving, wise, and tender spirit is able to do thee good by
them. The Lord lead thee, day by day, in the right way, and keep thy mind
stayed upon Him, in whatever befalls thee; that the belief of His love and
hope in His mercy, when thou art at the lowest ebb, may keep up thy head
above the billows.
_Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of
God_.--MATT. v. 6.
Grant us Thy peace, down from Thy presence falling,
As on the thirsty earth cool night-dews sweet;
Grant us Thy peace, to Thy pure paths recalling,
From devious ways, our worn and wandering feet.
O God, who art Peace everlasting, whose chosen reward is the gift of peace,
and who hast taught us that the peacemakers are Thy children, pour Thy
sweet peace into our souls, that everything discordant may utterly vanish,
and all that makes for peace be sweet to us forever. Amen.
GELASIAN SACRAMENTARY, A. D. 492.
Have you ever thought seriously of the meaning of that blessing given to
the peacemakers? People are always expecting to get peace in heaven; but
you know whatever peace they get there will be ready-made. Whatever making
of peace _they_ can be blest for, must be on the earth here: not the taking
of arms against, but the building of nests amidst, its "sea of troubles"
[like the halcyons]. Difficult enough, you think? Perhaps so, but I do not
see that any of us try. We complain of the want of many things--we want
votes, we want liberty, we want amusement, we want money. Which of us feels
or knows that he wants peace?
_The eyes of all wait upon Thee; and Thou givest them their meat in due
season_.--PS. cxlv. 15.
_What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee_.--PS. lvi. 3.
Late on me, weeping, did this whisper fall:
"Dear child, there is no need to weep at all!
Why go about to grieve and to despair?
Why weep now through thy Future's eyes, and bear
In vain to-day to-morrow's load of care?"
H. S. SUTTON.
The crosses of the present moment always bring their own special grace and
consequent comfort with them; we see the hand of God in them when it is
laid upon us. But the crosses of anxious foreboding are seen out of the
dispensation of God; we see them without grace to bear them; we see them
indeed through a faithless spirit which banishes grace. So, everything in
them is bitter and unendurable; all seems dark and helpless. Let us throw
self aside; no more self-interest, and then God's will, unfolding every
moment in everything, will console us also every moment for all that He
shall do around us, or within us, for our discipline.
FRANCOIS DE LA MOTHE FENELON.
_His delight is in the law of the Lord. And he shall be like a tree planted
by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his
leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper_.--PS. i.
The wind that blows can never kill
The tree God plants;
It bloweth east; it bloweth west;
The tender leaves have little rest,
But any wind that blows is best.
The tree God plants
Strikes deeper root, grows higher still,
Spreads wider boughs, for God's good-will
Meets all its wants.
LILLIE E. BARR.
It is a fatal mistake to suppose that we cannot be holy except on the
condition of a situation and circumstances in life such as shall suit
ourselves. It is one of the first principles of holiness to leave our times
and our places, our going out and our coming; in, our wasted and our goodly
heritage entirely with the Lord. Here, O Lord, hast Thou placed us, and we
will glorify Thee here!
T. C. UPHAM.
It is not by change of circumstances, but by fitting our spirits to the
circumstances in which God has placed us, that we can be reconciled to life
F. W. ROBERTSON.
_O Lord, I am oppressed, undertake for me_.--ISA. xxxviii. 14.
Being perplexed, I say,
Lord, make it right!
Night is as day to Thee,
Darkness is light.
I am afraid to touch
Things that involve so much;--
My trembling hand may shake,
My skill-less hand may break:
Thine can make no mistake.
ANNA B. WARNER.
The many troubles in your household will tend to your edification, if you
strive to bear them all in gentleness, patience, and kindness. Keep this
ever before you, and remember constantly that God's loving eyes are upon
you amid all these little worries and vexations, watching whether you
take them as He would desire. Offer up all such occasions to Him, and
if sometimes you are put out, and give way to impatience, do not be
discouraged, but make haste to regain your lost composure.
ST. FRANCIS DE SALES.
_If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross
daily, and follow me_.--LUKE ix. 23.
There lies thy cross; beneath it meekly bow;
It fits thy stature now;
Who scornful pass it with averted eye,
'Twill crush them by and by.