Part 5 out of 6
To take up the cross of Christ is no great action done once for all; it
consists in the continual practice of small duties which are distasteful to
J. H. NEWMAN.
On one occasion an intimate friend of his was fretting somewhat at not
being able to put a cross on the grave of a relation, because the rest of
the family disliked it. "Don't you see," he said to her, "that by giving up
your own way, you will be virtually putting a cross on the grave? You 'll
have it in its effect. The one is but a stone cross, the other is a true
LIFE OF JAMES HINTON.
I would have you, one by one, ask yourselves, Wherein do I take up the
E. B. PUSEY.
Every morning, receive thine own special cross from the hands of thy
_Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit
the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself
unspotted from the world_.--JAMES i. 27.
Not to ease and aimless quiet
Doth that inward answer tend,
But to works of love and duty
As our being's end.
J. G. WHITTIER.
It is surprising how practical duty enriches the fancy and the heart, and
action clears and deepens the affections. Indeed, no one can have a true
idea of right, until he does it; any genuine reverence for it, till he has
done it often and with cost; any peace ineffable in it, till he does it
always and with alacrity. Does any one complain, that the best affections
are transient visitors with him, and the heavenly spirit a stranger to
his heart? Oh, let him not go forth, on any strained wing of thought, in
distant quest of them; but rather stay at home, and set his house in the
true order of conscience; and of their own accord the divinest guests will
_Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving_.--COL. iv. 2.
_Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong_.--I COR.
We kneel how weak, we rise how full of power.
Why therefore should we do ourselves this wrong,
Or others--that we are not always strong,
That we are ever overborne with care,
That we should ever weak or heartless be,
Anxious or troubled, when with us is prayer,
And joy and strength and courage are with Thee?
R. C. TRENCH.
It is impossible for us to make the duties of our lot minister to our
sanctification without a habit of devout fellowship with God. This is the
spring of all our life, and the strength of it. It is prayer, meditation,
and converse with God, that refreshes, restores, and renews the temper of
our minds, at all times, under all trials, after all conflicts with the
world. By this contact with the world unseen we receive continual accesses
of strength. As our day, so is our strength. Without this healing and
refreshing of spirit, duties grow to be burdens, the events of life chafe
our temper, employments lower the tone of our minds, and we become fretful,
irritable, and impatient.
H. E. MANNING.
_This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm
constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to
maintain good works_.--TITUS iii. 8.
Faith's meanest deed more favor bears
Where hearts and wills are weighed,
Than brightest transports, choicest prayers,
Which bloom their hour and fade.
J. H. NEWMAN.
One secret act of self-denial, one sacrifice of inclination to duty, is
worth all the mere good thoughts, warm feelings, passionate prayers, in
which idle people indulge themselves.
J. H. NEWMAN.
It is impossible for us to live in fellowship with God without holiness in
all the duties of life. These things act and react on each other. Without a
diligent and faithful obedience to the calls and claims of others upon us,
our religious profession is simply dead. To disobey conscience when it
points to relative duties irritates the whole temper, and quenches the
first beginnings of devotion. We cannot go from strife, breaches, and angry
words, to God. Selfishness, an imperious will, want of sympathy with
the sufferings and sorrows of other men, neglect of charitable offices,
suspicions, hard censures of those with whom our lot is cast, will
miserably darken our own hearts, and hide the face of God from us.
H. E. MANNING.
_Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head_.--JOHN xiii. 9.
Take my hands, and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be
Swift and "beautiful" for Thee.
Take my intellect, and use
Every power as Thou shall choose.
F. R. HAVERGAL.
If a man may attain thereunto, to be unto God as his hand is to a man, let
him be therewith content, and not seek further. That is to say, let him
strive and wrestle with all his might to obey God and His commandments so
thoroughly at all times, and in all things, that in him there be nothing,
spiritual or natural, which opposeth God; and that his whole soul and body,
with all their members, may stand ready and willing for that to which God
hath created them; as ready and willing as his hand is to a man, which is
so wholly in his power, that in the twinkling of an eye, he moveth and
turneth it whither he will. And when we find it otherwise with us, we must
give our whole diligence to amend our state.
When the mind thinks nothing, when the soul covets nothing, and the body
acteth nothing that is contrary to the will of God, this is perfect
ANONYMOUS, _in an old Bible_, 1599.
_Thy kingdom come_.--MATT. vi. 10.
The kingdom of established peace,
Which can no more remove;
The perfect powers of godliness,
The omnipotence of love.
My child, thou mayest not measure out thine offering unto me by what others
have done or left undone; but be it thine to seek out, even to the last
moment of thine earthly life, what is the utmost height of pure devotion to
which I have called _thine own self_. Remember that, if thou fall short of
this, each time thou utterest in prayer the words, "Hallowed be Thy name,
Thy kingdom come," thou dost most fearfully condemn thyself, for is it
not a mockery to ask for that thou wilt not seek to promote even unto the
uttermost, within the narrow compass of thine own heart and spirit?
THE DIVINE MASTER.
If you do not wish for His kingdom, don't pray for it. But if you do, you
must do more than pray for it; you must work for it.
_She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not In
the Lord; she drew not near to her God_.--ZEPH. iii. 2.
Oh! let us not this thought allow;
The heat, the dust upon our brow,
Signs of the contest, we may wear;
Yet thus we shall appear more fair
In our Almighty Master's eye,
Than if in fear to lose the bloom,
Or ruffle the soul's lightest plume,
We from the strife should fly.
R. C. TRENCH.
If God requires anything of us, we have no right to draw back under the
pretext that we are liable to commit some fault in obeying. It is better
to obey imperfectly than not at all. Perhaps you ought to rebuke some
one dependent on you, but you are silent for fear of giving way to
vehemence;--or you avoid the society of certain persons, because they make
you cross and impatient. How are you to attain self-control, if you shun
all occasions of practising it? Is not such self-choosing a greater fault
than those into which you fear to fall? Aim at a steady mind to do right,
go wherever duty calls you, and believe firmly that God will forgive the
faults that take our weakness by surprise in spite of our sincere desire to
JEAN NICOLAS GROU.
_It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation
of the Lord_.--LAM. iii. 26.
_Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from Him cometh my salvation_.--PS. lxii.
Not so in haste, my heart;
Have faith in God, and wait;
Although He linger long,
He never comes too late.
The true use to be made of all the imperfections of which you are conscious
is neither to justify, nor to condemn them, but to present them before
God, conforming your will to His, and remaining in peace; for peace is the
divine order, in whatever state we may be.
FRANCOIS DE LA MOTHE FENELON.
You will find it less easy to uproot faults, than to choke them by gaining
virtues. Do not think of your faults; still less of others' faults; in
every person who comes near you look for what is good and strong: honor
that; rejoice in it; and, as you can, try to imitate it; and your faults
will drop off, like dead leaves, when their time comes.
_Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty
things which thou knowest not_.--JER. xxxiii. 3.
_And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked_.--I KINGS iii.
No voice of prayer to Thee can rise,
But swift as light Thy Love replies;
Not always what we ask, indeed,
But, O most Kind! what most we need.
H. M. KIMBALL.
If you have any trial which seems intolerable, pray,--pray that it be
relieved or changed. There is no harm in that. We may pray for anything,
not wrong in itself, with perfect freedom, if we do not pray selfishly.
One disabled from duty by sickness may pray for health, that he may do his
work; or one hemmed in by internal impediments may pray for utterance, that
he may serve better the truth and the right. Or, if we have a besetting
sin, we may pray to be delivered from it, in order to serve God and man,
and not be ourselves Satans to mislead and destroy. But the answer to
the prayer may be, as it was to Paul, not the removal of the thorn, but,
instead, a growing insight into its meaning and value. The voice of God in
our soul may show us, as we look up to Him, that His strength is enough to
enable us to bear it.
J. F. CLARKE.
_Can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism
that I am baptized with_?--MARK. x. 38.
Whate'er my God ordains is right;
Though I the cup must drink
That bitter seems to my faint heart,
I will not fear nor shrink.
The worst part of martyrdom is not the last agonizing moment; it is the
wearing, daily steadfastness. Men who can make up their minds to hold out
against the torture of an hour have sunk under the weariness and the harass
of small prolonged vexations. And there are many Christians who have the
weight of some deep, incommunicable grief pressing, cold as ice, upon their
hearts. To bear that cheerfully and manfully is to be a martyr. There is
many a Christian bereaved and stricken in the best hopes of life. For such
a one to say quietly, "Father, not as I will, but as Thou wilt," is to be a
martyr. There is many a Christian who feels the irksomeness of the duties
of life, and feels his spirit revolting from them. To get up every morning
with the firm resolve to find pleasure in those duties, and do them well,
and finish the work which God has given us to do, that is to drink Christ's
cup. The humblest occupation has in it materials of discipline for the
F. W. ROBERTSON.
_For the whole world before thee is as a little grain of the balance, yea,
as a drop of the morning dew that falleth down upon the earth. But Thou
hast mercy upon all. For Thou lovest all the things that are_.--WISDOM OF
SOLOMON xi. 22-24.
Oh! Source divine, and Life of all,
The Fount of Being's fearful sea,
Thy depth would every heart appal,
That saw not love supreme in Thee.
He showed a little thing, the quantity of a hazel-nut, lying in the palm of
my hand, as meseemed, and it was as round as a ball. I looked thereon with
the eye of my understanding, and thought, "What may this be?" and it was
answered generally thus, "It is all that is made." I marvelled how it might
last; for methought it might suddenly have fallen to naught for littleness.
And I was answered in my understanding, "It lasteth, and ever shall: For
God loveth it. And so hath all thing being by the Love of God." In this
little thing I saw three properties. The first is, that God made it. The
second is, that God loveth it. The third is, that God keepeth it. For this
is the cause which we be not all in ease of heart and soul: for we seek
here rest in this thing which is so little, where no rest is in: and we
know not our God that is all Mighty, all Wise, and all Good, for He is very
MOTHER JULIANA, 1373.
_Whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: and whosoever
of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of
man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a
ransom for many_.--MARK x. 43-45.
A child's kiss
Set on thy sighing lips, shall make thee glad;
A poor man served by thee, shall make thee rich;
A sick man helped by thee, shall make thee strong;
Thou shalt be served thyself by every sense
Of service which thou renderest.
E. B. BROWNING.
Let every man lovingly cast all his thoughts and cares, and his sins too,
as it were, on the Will of God. Moreover, if a man, while busy in this
lofty inward work, were called by some duty in the Providence of God to
cease therefrom, and cook a broth for some sick person, or any other such
service, he should do so willingly and with great joy. If I had to forsake
such work, and go out to preach or aught else, I should go cheerfully,
believing not only that God would be with me, but that he would vouchsafe
me it may be even greater grace and blessing in that external work
undertaken out of true love in the service of my neighbor, than I should
perhaps receive in my season of loftiest contemplation.
_All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep His
covenant and His testimonies_.--PS. xxv. 10.
Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth,
Speak peace to my anxious soul,
And help me to feel that all my ways
Are under Thy wise control;
That He who cares for the lily,
And heeds the sparrows' fall,
Shall tenderly lead His loving child:
For He made and loveth all.
It is not by seeking more fertile regions where toil is lighter--happier
circumstances free from difficult complications and troublesome people--but
by bringing the high courage of a devout soul, clear in principle and aim,
to bear upon what is given to us, that we brighten our inward light, lead
something of a true life, and introduce the kingdom of heaven into the
midst of our earthly day. If we cannot work out the will of God where God
has placed us, then why has He placed us there?
J. H. THOM.
_Pray for us unto the Lord thy God... that the Lord thy God may show us the
way wherein we may walk, and the thing that we may do_.--JER. xlii. 2, 3.
_That which I see not, teach Thou me_.--JOB xxxiv. 32.
O father, hear!
The way is dark, and I would fain discern
What steps to take, into which path to turn;
Oh! make it clear.
"We can't choose happiness either for ourselves or for another; we can't
tell where that will lie. We can only choose whether we will indulge
ourselves in the present moment, or whether we will renounce that, for the
sake of obeying the Divine voice within us,--for the sake of being true to
all the motives that sanctify our lives. I know this belief is hard; it has
slipped away from me again and again; but I have felt that if I let it go
forever, I should have no light through the darkness of this life."
There was a care on my mind so to pass my time, that nothing might hinder
me from the most steady attention to the voice of the true Shepherd.
_Thou shalt hide them in the secret of Thy presence from the pride of
man: Thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of
tongues_.--PS. xxxi. 20.
The praying spirit breathe,
The watching power impart,
From all entanglements beneath
Call off my anxious heart.
My feeble mind sustain,
By worldly thoughts oppressed;
Appear, and bid me turn again
To my eternal rest.
As soon as we are with God in faith and in love, we are in prayer.
FRANCOIS DE LA MOTHE FENELON.
If you could once make up your mind in the fear of God never to undertake
more work of any sort than you can carry on calmly, quietly, without hurry
or flurry, and the instant you feel yourself growing nervous and like one
out of breath, would stop and take breath, you would find this simple
common-sense rule doing for you what no prayers or tears could ever
_How excellent is Thy loving-kindness, O God! therefore the children of men
put their trust under the shadow of Thy wings_.--PS. xxxvi. 7.
_The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting
arms_.--DEUT. xxxiii. 27.
Within Thy circling arms we lie,
O God! in Thy infinity:
Our souls in quiet shall abide,
Beset with love on every side.
"The Everlasting Arms." I think of that whenever rest is sweet. How the
whole earth and the strength of it, that is almightiness, is beneath every
tired creature to give it rest; _holding_ us, always! No thought of God
is closer than that. No human tenderness of patience is greater than
that which gathers in its arms a little child, and holds it, heedless of
weariness. And He fills the great earth, and all upon it, with this
unseen force of His love, that never forgets or exhausts itself, so that
everywhere we may lie down in His bosom, and be comforted.
A. D. T. WHITNEY.
_The word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou
mayest do it_.--DEUT. xxx. 14.
But, above all, the victory is most sure
For him, who, seeking faith by virtue, strives
To yield entire obedience to the Law
Of Conscience; Conscience reverenced and obeyed,
As God's most intimate presence in the soul,
And His most perfect image in the world.
What we call Conscience is the voice of Divine love in the deep of
our being, desiring union with our will; and which, by attracting the
affections inward, invites them to enter into the harmonious contentment,
and "fulness of joy" which attends the being joined by "one spirit to the
J. P. GREAVES.
I rejoice that God has bestowed upon you a relish and inclination for the
inner life. To be called to this precious and lofty life is a great
and undeserved grace of God, to which we ought to respond with great
faithfulness. God invites us to His fellowship of love, and wishes to
prepare our spirit to be His own abode and temple.
_Show me Thy ways, O Lord; teach me Thy paths_--PS. xxv. 4.
When we cannot see our way,
Let us trust and still obey;
He who bids us forward go,
Cannot fail the way to show.
Though the sea be deep and wide,
Though a passage seem denied;
Fearless let us still proceed,
Since the Lord vouchsafes to lead.
That which is often asked of God, is not so much His will and way, as His
approval of our way.
S. F. SMILEY.
There is nothing like the first glance we get at duty, before there has
been any special pleading of our affections or inclinations. Duty is never
uncertain at first. It is only after we have got involved in the mazes and
sophistries of wishing that things were otherwise than they are, that it
seems indistinct. Considering a duty is often only explaining it away.
Deliberation is often only dishonesty. God's guidance is plain, when we are
F. W, ROBERTSON.
_When I awake, I am still with Thee_.--PS. cxxxix. 18.
Let the glow of love destroy
Cold obedience faintly given;
Wake our hearts to strength and joy
With the flushing eastern heaven.
C. K. VON ROSENROTH.
With his first waking consciousness, he can set himself to take a serious,
manly view of the day before him. He ought to know pretty well on what
lines his difficulty is likely to come, whether in being irritable, or
domineering, or sharp in his bargains, or self-absorbed, or whatever it be;
and now, in this quiet hour, he can take a good, full look at his enemy,
and make up his mind to beat him. It is a good time, too, for giving
his thoughts a range quite beyond himself,--beyond even his own moral
struggles,--a good time, there in the stillness, for going into the realm
of other lives. His wife,--what needs has she for help, for sympathy, that
he can meet? His children,--how can he make the day sweeter to them? This
acquaintance, who is having a hard time; this friend, who dropped a word to
you yesterday that you hardly noticed in your hurry, but that comes up to
you now, revealing in him some finer trait, some deeper hunger, than you
had guessed before,--now you can think these things over.
G. S. MERRIAM.
_Ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your
households, wherein the Lord thy God hath blessed thee_.--DEUT. xii. 7.
Sweet is the smile of home; the mutual look
When hearts are of each other sure;
Sweet all the joys that crowd the household nook,
The haunt of all affections pure.
Is there any tie which absence has loosened, or which the wear and tear
of every-day intercourse, little uncongenialities, unconfessed
misunderstandings, have fretted into the heart, until it bears something of
the nature of a fetter? Any cup at our home-table whose sweetness we have
not fully tasted, although it might yet make of our daily bread a continual
feast? Let us reckon up these treasures while they are still ours, in
thankfulness to God.
We ought daily or weekly to dedicate a little time to the reckoning up of
the virtues of our belongings,--wife, children, friends,--contemplating
them then in a beautiful collection. And we should do so now, that we may
not pardon and love in vain and too late, after the beloved one has been
taken away from us to a better world.
JEAN PAUL RICHTER.
_Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear
no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me_.--PS.
O will, that wiliest good alone,
Lead Thou the way, Thou guides! best;
A silent child, I follow on,
And trusting lean upon Thy breast.
And if in gloom I see Thee not,
I lean upon Thy love unknown;
In me Thy blessed will is wrought,
If I will nothing of my own.
The devout soul is always safe in every state, if it makes everything an
occasion either of rising up, or falling down into the hands of God, and
exercising faith, and trust, and resignation to Him. The pious soul, that
eyes only God, that means nothing but being His alone, can have no stop put
to its progress; light and darkness equally assist him: in the light he
looks up to God, in the darkness he lays hold on God, and so they both do
him the same good.
_When I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me_.--MICAH vii. 8.
_There be many that say, Who will show us any good? Lord, lift Thou up the
light of Thy countenance upon us_.--PS. iv. 6.
How oft a gleam of glory sent
Straight through the deepest, darkest night,
Has filled the soul with heavenly light,
With holy peace and sweet content.
Suppose you are bewildered and know not what is right nor what is true. Can
you not cease to regard whether you do or not, whether you be bewildered,
whether you be happy? Cannot you utterly and perfectly love, and rejoice
to be in the dark, and gloom-beset, because that very thing is the fact of
God's Infinite Being as it is to you? Cannot you take this trial also into
your own heart, and be ignorant, not because you are obliged, but because
that being God's will, it is yours also? Do you not see that a person who
truly loves is one with the Infinite Being--cannot be uncomfortable or
unhappy? It is that which is that he wills and desires and holds best of
all to be. To know God is utterly to sacrifice self.
_My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in
deed, and in truth_.--I JOHN iii. 18.
_But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own
selves_.--JAMES i. 22.
Thrice blest whose lives are faithful prayers,
Whose loves in higher love endure;
What souls possess themselves so pure,
Or is there blessedness like theirs?
Let every creature have your love. Love, with its fruits of meekness,
patience, and humility, is all that we can wish for to ourselves, and our
fellow-creatures; for this is to live in God, united to Him, both for time
and eternity. To desire to communicate good to every creature, in the
degree we can, and it is capable of receiving from us, is a divine temper;
for thus God stands unchangeably disposed towards the whole creation.
What shall be our reward for loving our neighbor as ourselves in this life?
That, when we become angels, we shall be enabled to love him better than
_Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God_.--MATT. v. 8.
_Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see
the Lord_.--HEB. xii. 14.
Since Thou Thyself dost still display
Unto the pure in heart,
Oh, make us children of the day
To know Thee as Thou art.
For Thou art light and life and love;
And Thy redeemed below
May see Thee as Thy saints above,
And know Thee as they know.
Doubt, gloom, impatience, have been expelled; joy has taken their place,
the hope of heaven and the harmony of a pure heart, the triumph of
self-mastery, sober thoughts, and a contented mind. How can charity towards
all men fail to follow, being the mere affectionateness of innocence and
peace? Thus the Spirit of God creates in us the simplicity and warmth of
heart which children have, nay, rather the perfections of His heavenly
hosts, high and low being joined together in His mysterious work; for what
are implicit trust, ardent love, abiding purity, but the mind both of
little children and of the adoring seraphim!
J. H. NEWMAN.
_Lord, who shall abide in Thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in Thy holy hill?
He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the
truth in his heart_.--PS. xv. 1, 2.
How happy is he born or taught,
That serveth not another's will,
Whose armor is his honest thought,
And simple truth his utmost skill.
If thou workest at that which is before thee, following right reason,
seriously, vigorously, calmly, without allowing anything else to distract
thee, but keeping thy divine part pure as if thou shouldest be bound to
give it back immediately,--if thou boldest to this, expecting nothing,
fearing nothing, but satisfied with thy present activity according to
nature, and with heroic truth in every word and sound which thou utterest,
thou wilt live happy. And there is no man who is able to prevent this.
_Be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the Lord, and work: for I am
with you, saith the Lord of hosts_.--HAGGAI ii. 4,
Yet the world is Thy field, Thy garden;
On earth art Thou still at home.
When Thou bendest hither Thy hallowing eye,
My narrow work-room seems vast and high,
Its dingy ceiling a rainbow-dome,--
Stand ever thus at my wide-swung door,
And toil will be toil no more.
The situation that has not its duty, its ideal, was never yet occupied
by man. Yes, here, in this poor, miserable, hampered, despicable Actual,
wherein thou even now standest, here or nowhere is thy Ideal: work it out
therefrom; and working, believe, live, be free. Fool! the Ideal is in
thyself, the impediment too is in thyself: thy condition is but the stuff
thou art to shape that same Ideal out of: what matters whether such stuff
be of this sort or that, so the form thou givest it be heroic, be poetic. O
thou that pinest in the imprisonment of the Actual, and criest bitterly to
the gods for a kingdom wherein to rule and create, know this of a truth:
the thing thou seekest is already with thee, "here or nowhere," couldst
thou only see!
_I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress_.--PS. xvii. 3.
_In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth
his lips is wise_.--PROV. x. 19.
Prune thou thy words; the thoughts control
That o'er thee swell and throng;
They will condense within thy soul,
And change to purpose strong.
J. H. NEWMAN.
Few men suspect how much mere talk fritters away spiritual energy,--that
which should be spent in action, spends itself in words. Hence he who
restrains that love of talk, lays up a fund of spiritual strength.
F. W. ROBERTSON.
Do not flatter yourself that your thoughts are under due control, your
desires properly regulated, or your dispositions subject as they should be
to Christian principle, if your intercourse with others consists mainly of
frivolous gossip, impertinent anecdotes, speculations on the character and
affairs of your neighbors, the repetition of former conversations, or a
discussion of the current petty scandal of society; much less, if you allow
yourself in careless exaggeration on all these points, and that grievous
inattention to exact truth, which is apt to attend the statements of those
whose conversation is made up of these materials.
H. WARE, JR.
_Judge not, that ye be not judged_.--MATT. vii. 1.
_Why beboldest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest
not the beam that is in thine own eye_?--LUKE vi. 41.
Judge not; the workings of his brain
And of his heart thou canst not see;
What looks to thy dim eyes a stain,
In God's pure light may only be
A scar, brought from some well-won field,
Where thou wouldst only faint and yield.
ADELAIDE A. PROCTER.
When you behold an aspect for whose constant gloom and frown you
cannot account, whose unvarying cloud exasperates you by its apparent
causelessness, be sure that there is a canker somewhere, and a canker not
the less deeply corroding because concealed.
While we are coldly discussing a man's career, sneering at his mistakes,
blaming his rashness, and labelling his opinions--"Evangelical and narrow,"
or "Latitudinarian and Pantheistic," or "Anglican and supercilious"--that
man, in his solitude, is perhaps shedding hot tears because his sacrifice
is a hard one, because strength and patience are failing him to speak the
difficult word, and do the difficult deed.
_Be strong, and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed:
for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest_.--JOSH. i. 9.
By Thine unerring Spirit led,
We shall not in the desert stray;
We shall not full direction need,
Nor miss our providential way;
As far from danger as from fear,
While love, almighty love, is near.
Watch your way then, as a cautious traveller; and don't be gazing at that
mountain or river in the distance, and saying, "How shall I ever get over
them?" but keep to the present _little inch_ that is before you, and
accomplish _that_ in the little moment that belongs to it. The mountain and
the river can only be passed in the same way; and, when you come to them,
you will come to the light and strength that belong to them.
M. A. KELTY.
Let not future things disturb thee, for thou wilt come to them, if it shall
be necessary, having with thee the same reason which thou now usest for
_Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not_.--ISA. xxxv.
Why shouldst them fill to-day with sorrow
One watches all with care most true,
Doubt not that He will give thee too
The crosses which we make for ourselves by a restless anxiety as to the
future, are not crosses which come from God. We show want of faith in Him
by our false wisdom, wishing to forestall His arrangements, and struggling
to supplement His Providence by our own providence. The future is not yet
ours; perhaps it never will be. If it comes, it may come wholly different
from what we have foreseen. Let us shut our eyes, then, to that which God
hides from us, and keeps in reserve in the treasures of His deep counsels.
Let us worship without seeing; let us be silent; let us abide in peace.
FRANCOIS DE LA MOTHE FENELON.
_I had fainted, unless I bad believed to see the goodness of the Lord in
the land of the living_--PS. xxvii. 13.
_I will surely do thee good_.--GEN. xxxii. 12.
Thou know'st not what is good for thee,
But God doth know,--
Let Him thy strong reliance be,
And rest thee so.
C. F. GELLERT.
Let us be very careful of thinking, on the one hand, that we have no work
assigned us to do, or, on the other hand, that what we have assigned to us
is not the right thing for us. If ever we can say in our hearts to God,
in reference to any daily duty, "This is not my place; I would choose
something dearer; I am capable of something higher;" we are guilty not only
of rebellion, but of blasphemy. It is equivalent to saying, not only, "My
heart revolts against Thy commands," but "Thy commands are unwise; Thine
Almighty guidance is unskilful; Thine omniscient eye has mistaken the
capacities of Thy creature; Thine infinite love is indifferent to the
welfare of Thy child."
_And because ye are sons, God hath sent the Spirit of His Son into your
hearts, crying, Abba, Father_.--GAL. iv. 6.
O Lord, forgive my sin,
And deign to put within
A calm, obedient heart, a patient mind;
That I may murmur not,
Though bitter seem my lot;
For hearts unthankful can no blessing find.
M. RUTILIUS, 1604.
Resignation to the Divine Will signifies a cheerful approbation and
thankful acceptance of everything that comes from God. It is not enough
patiently to submit, but we must thankfully receive and fully approve of
everything that, by the order of God's providence, happens to us. For there
is no reason why we should be patient, but what is as good and as strong a
reason why we should be thankful. Whenever, therefore, you find yourself
disposed to uneasiness or murmuring at any thing that is the effect of
God's providence over you, you must look upon yourself as denying either
the wisdom or goodness of God.
_Ye shall not go out in haste, for the Lord will go before you; and the God
of Israel will be your rearward_.--ISA. lii. 12. (R. V.).
_He that believeth shall not make haste_.--ISA. xxviii. 16.
Holy Spirit, Peace divine!
Still this restless heart of mine;
Speak to calm this tossing sea,
Stayed in Thy tranquillity.
In whatever you are called upon to do, endeavor to maintain a calm,
collected, and prayerful state of mind. Self-recollection is of great
importance. "It is good for a man to quietly wait for the salvation of the
Lord." He who is in what may be called a spiritual hurry, or rather who
runs without having evidence of being spiritually sent, makes haste to no
T. C. UPHAM.
There is great fret and worry in always running after work; it is not good
intellectually or spiritually.
Whenever we are outwardly excited we should cease to act; but whenever we
have a message from the spirit within, we should execute it with calmness.
A fine day may excite one to act, but it is much better that we act from
the calm spirit in any day, be the outward what it may.
J. P. GREAVES.
_As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord_.--JOSH. xxiv. 15.
O happy house I and happy servitude!
Where all alike one Master own;
Where daily duty, in Thy strength pursued,
Is never hard or toilsome known;
Where each one serves Thee, meek and lowly,
Whatever Thine appointment be,
Till common tasks seem great and holy,
When they are done as unto Thee.
C. J. P. SPITTA.
At Dudson there was no rushing after anything, either worldly or
intellectual. It was a home of constant activity, issuing from, and
retiring to, a centre of deep repose. There was an earnest application of
excellent sense to the daily duties of life, to the minutest courtesy and
kindness, as well as to the real interests of others. Everything great and
everything little seemed done in the same spirit, and with the same degree
of fidelity, because it was the will of God; and that which could not
be traced to His will was not undertaken at all. Nothing at Dudson was
esteemed too little to be cared for, and nothing too great to be undertaken
at the command of God; and for this they daily exercised their mental and
bodily powers on the things around them; knowing that our Lord thoroughly
furnishes each of His soldiers for his work, and places before each the
task he has to do.
M. A. SCHIMMELPENNINCK.
_Now the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always by all means_.--2
THESS. iii. 16.
_The Lord will give strength unto His people; the Lord will bless His
people with peace_.--PS. xxix. 11.
In the heart's depths a peace serene and holy
Abides, and when pain seems to have its will,
Or we despair,--oh, may that peace rise slowly,
Stronger than agony, and we be still.
But if a man ought and is willing to lie still under God's hand, he must
and ought also to lie still under all things, whether they come from God,
himself, or the creatures, nothing excepted. And he who would be obedient,
resigned, and submissive to God, must and ought to be also resigned,
obedient, and submissive to all things, in a spirit of yielding, and not of
resistance; and take them in silence, resting on the hidden foundations of
his soul, and having a secret inward patience, that enableth him to take
all chances or crosses willingly; and, whatever befalleth, neither to call
for nor desire any redress, or deliverance, or resistance, or revenge, but
always in a loving, sincere humility to cry, "Father, forgive them, for
they know not what they do!"
_And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord_.--NUM. xi. 1.
When thou hast thanked thy God
For every blessing sent,
What time will then remain
For murmurs or lament?
R. C. TRENCH.
Let him, with a cheerful and thankful spirit, yield himself up to suffer
whatever God shall appoint unto him, and to fulfil, according to his power,
by the grace of God, all His holy will to the utmost that he can discern
it, and never complain of his distresses but to God alone, with entire
and humble resignation, praying that he may be strong to endure all his
sufferings according to the will of God.
He who complains, or thinks he has a right to complain, because he is
called in God's Providence to suffer, has something within him which needs
to be taken away. A soul whose will is lost in God's will, can never do
this. Sorrow may exist; but complaint never.
_Singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord_.--EPH. v. 19.
_Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts_.--I PETER iii. 15.
There are in this loud stunning tide
Of human care and crime,
With whom the melodies abide
Of th' everlasting chime;
Who carry music in their heart
Through dusky lane and wrangling mart,
Plying their daily task with busier feet,
Because their secret souls a holy strain repeat.
Strive to carry thyself with a total resignation to the Divine Will, that
God may do with thee and all thine according to His heavenly pleasure,
relying on Him as on a kind and loving Father. Never recall that intention,
and though thou be taken up about the affairs of the condition wherein God
hath placed thee, yet thou wilt still be in prayer, in the presence of God,
and in perpetual acts of resignation. "A just man leaves not off to pray
unless he leaves off to be just." He always prays who always does well.
The good desire is prayer, and if the desire be continued so also is the
M. DE MOLINOS.
_We desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full
assurance of hope unto the end_.--HEB. vi. 11.
_The Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil_.--2
THESS. iii. 3.
Long though my task may be,
Cometh the end.
God't is that helpeth me,
His is the work, and He
New strength will lend.
Set yourself steadfastly to those duties which have the least attractive
exterior; it matters not whether God's holy will be fulfilled in great or
small matters. Be patient with yourself and your own failings; never be in
a hurry, and do not yield to longings after that which is impossible to
you. My dear sister, go on steadily and quietly; if our dear Lord means you
to run, He will "strengthen your heart."
ST. FRANCIS DE SALES.
Always begin by doing that which costs me most, unless the easier duty is
a pressing one. Examine, classify, and determine at night the work of
the morrow; arrange things in the order of their importance, and act
accordingly. Dread, above all things, bitterness and irritation. Never say,
or indirectly recall anything to my advantage.
MADAME SWET CHINE,
_He that sinneth against Me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate Me
love death_.--PROV. viii. 36.
_But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your
fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin
is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our
Lord_.--ROM. vi. 22, 23.
O Sovereign Love, to Thee I cry!
Give me Thyself, or else I die!
Save me from death; from hell set free!
Death, hell, are but the want of Thee.
Quickened by Thy imparted flame,
Saved when possessed of Thee, I am:
My life, my only heaven Thou art;
O might I feel Thee in my heart!
Sin itself is hell, and death, and misery to the soul, as being a departure
from goodness and holiness itself; I mean from God, in conjunction with
whom the happiness, and blessedness, and heaven of a soul doth consist.
Avoid it, therefore, as you would avoid being miserable.
"I could n't live in peace if I put the shadow of a wilful sin between
myself and God."
Unholy tempers are always unhappy tempers.
_Mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up;
therefore my heart faileth me. Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me: O Lord,
make haste to help me_.--PS. xl. 12, 13.
_Sin shall not have dominion over you_.--ROM. vi. 14.
O Thou, to whose all-searching sight
The darkness shineth as the light!
Search, prove my heart; it pants for Thee;
Oh, burst these bonds, and set it free!
Yes, this sin which has sent me weary-hearted to bed and desperate in heart
to morning work, that has made my plans miscarry until I am a coward, that
cuts me off from prayer, that robs the sky of blueness and the earth
of springtime, and the air of freshness, and human faces of
friendliness,--this blasting sin which perhaps has made my bed in hell for
me so long,--this can be conquered. I do not say annihilated, but, better
than that, conquered, captured and transfigured into a friend: so that I
at last shall say, "My temptation has become my strength! for to the very
fight with it I owe my force."
W. C. GANNETT.
_I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth,
which Thou hast showed unto Thy servant_.--GEN. xxxii. 10.
Some murmur if their sky is clear,
And wholly bright to view,
If one small speck of dark appear
In their great heaven of blue:
And some with thankful love are filled,
If but one streak of light,
One ray of God's good mercy, gild
The darkness of their night.
R. C. TRENCH.
Habitual sufferers are precisely those who least frequently doubt the
Divine benevolence, and whose faith and love rise to the serenest
cheerfulness. Possessed by no idea of a prescriptive right to be happy,
their blessings are not benumbed by anticipation, but come to them fresh
and brilliant as the first day's morning and evening light to the dwellers
in Paradise. With the happy it is their constant peace that seems to come
by nature, and to be blunted by its commonness,--and their griefs to come
from God, sharpened by their sacred origin; with the sufferer, it is his
pain that appears to be a thing of course, and to require no explanation,
while his relief is reverently welcomed as a divine interposition, and, as
a breath of Heaven, caresses the heart into melodies of praise.
_Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as
in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than
sacrifice_.--I SAM. XV. 22.
_Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will
show to you to-day_--EX. xiv. 13.
The folded hands seem idle:
If folded at His word,
'Tis a holy service, trust me,
In obedience to the Lord.
It is not the multitude of hard duties, it is not constraint and contention
that advance us in our Christian course. On the contrary, it is the
yielding of our wills without restriction and without choice, to tread
cheerfully every day in the path in which Providence leads us, to seek
nothing, to be discouraged by nothing, to see our duty in the present
moment, to trust all else without reserve to the will and power of God.
FRANCOIS DE LA MOTHE FENELON.
Godliness is the devotion of the soul to God, as to a living person whose
will is to be its law, whose love is to be its life. It is the habit of
living before the face of God, and not the simply doing certain things.
J. B. BROWN.
_Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the
scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of
heaven_.--MATT. v. 20.
The freedom from all wilful sin,
The Christian's daily task,--
Oh these are graces far below
What longing love would ask!
Dole not thy duties out to God.
F. W. FABER.
You perhaps will say that all people fall short of the perfection of the
Gospel, and therefore you are content with your failings. But this is
saying nothing to the purpose: for the question is not whether Gospel
perfection can be fully attained, but whether you come as near it as a
sincere intention and careful diligence can carry you. Whether you are
not in a much lower state than you might be if you sincerely intended and
carefully labored to advance yourself in all Christian virtues.
We know not exactly how low the least degree of obedience is, which will
bring a man to heaven; but this we are quite sure of, that he who aims
no higher will be sure to fall short even of that, and that he who goes
farthest beyond it will be most blessed.
_Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the Lord
thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that
thou shouldest go_.--ISA. xlviii. 17.
I seek Thy aid, I ask direction,
Teach me to do what pleaseth Thee;
I can bear toil, endure affliction,
Only Thy leadings let me see.
Of all paths a man could strike into, there is, at any given moment, a
_best path_ for every man; a thing which, here and now, it were of all
things _wisest_ for him to do; which could he but be led or driven to do,
he were then doing "like a man," as we phrase it. His success, in such
case, were complete, his felicity a maximum. This path, to find this path,
and walk in it, is the one thing needful for him.
Every man has his own vocation. There is one direction in which all space
is open to him. He has faculties silently inviting him thither to endless
exertion. He is like a ship in a river; he runs against obstructions on
every side but one; on that side all obstruction is taken away, and he
sweeps serenely over a deepening channel into an infinite sea.
R. W. EMERSON.
_Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good_.--ROM. xii. 21.
Come, in this accepted hour;
Bring Thy heavenly kingdom in;
Fill us with Thy glorious power,
Rooting out the seeds of sin.
If we wish to overcome evil, we must overcome it by good. There are
doubtless many ways of overcoming the evil in our own hearts, but the
simplest, easiest, most universal, is to overcome it by active occupation
in some good word or work. The best antidote against evil of all kinds,
against the evil thoughts which haunt the soul, against the needless
perplexities which distract the conscience, is to keep hold of the good we
have. Impure thoughts will not stand against pure words, and prayers, and
deeds. Little doubts will not avail against great certainties. Fix your
affections on things above, and then you will be less and less troubled by
the cares, the temptations, the troubles of things on earth.
A. P. STANLEY.
_I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect_.--GEN. xvii.
_Consecrate yourselves to-day to the Lord_.--EX. xxxii. 29.
Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days;
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
F. R. HAVERGAL.
I have noticed that wherever there has been a faithful following of the
Lord in a consecrated soul, several things have inevitably followed,
sooner or later. Meekness and quietness of spirit become in time the
characteristics of the daily life. A submissive acceptance of the will of
God as it comes in the hourly events of each day; pliability in the hands
of God to do or to suffer all the good pleasure of His will; sweetness
under provocation; calmness in the midst of turmoil and bustle;
yieldingness to the wishes of others, and an insensibility to slights and
affronts; absence of worry or anxiety; deliverance from care and fear;--all
these, and many similar graces, are invariably found to be the natural
outward development of that inward life which is hid with Christ in God.
H. W. SMITH.
_Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my
will, but Thine, be done_.--LUKE xxii. 42.
Just as Thou wilt is just what I would will;
Give me but this, the heart to be content,
And, if my wish is thwarted, to lie still,
Waiting till puzzle and till pain are spent,
And the sweet thing made plain which the Lord meant.
Let your will be one with His will, and be glad to be disposed of by Him.
He will order all things for you. What can cross your will, when it is one
with His will, on which all creation hangs, round which all things revolve?
Keep your hearts clear of evil thoughts; for as evil choices estrange the
will from His will, so evil thoughts cloud the soul, and hide Him from
us. Whatever sets us in opposition to Him makes our will an intolerable
torment. So long as we will one thing and He another, we go on piercing
ourselves through and through with a perpetual wound; and His will advances
moving on in sanctity and majesty, crushing ours into the dust.
H. E. MANNING.
_Teach me to do Thy will; for Thou art my God: Thy spirit is good; lead me
into the land of uprightness_.--PS. cxliii. 10.
The battle of our life is won,
And heaven begun,
When we can say, "Thy will be done!"
But, Lord, until
These restless hearts in Thy deep love are still,
We pray Thee, "Teach us how to do Thy will!"
"You are seeking your own will, my daughter. You are seeking some good
other than the law you are bound to obey. But how will you find good? It
is not a thing of choice; it is a river that flows from the foot of the
Invisible Throne, and flows by the path of obedience. I say again, man
cannot choose his duties. You may choose to forsake your duties, and
choose not to have the sorrow they bring. But you will go forth, and what
will you find, my daughter? Sorrow without duty--bitter herbs, and no
bread with them."
However dark and profitless, however painful and weary, existence may have
become, life is not done, and our Christian character is not won, so long
as God has anything left for us to suffer, or anything left for us to do.
F. W. ROBERTSON.
_The Lord is my strength, and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I
am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I
praise Him_.--PS. xxviii. 7.
Well may Thy happy children cease
From restless wishes, prone to sin,
And, in Thy own exceeding peace,
Yield to Thy daily discipline.
A. L. WARING.
Talk of hair-cloth shirts, and scourgings, and sleeping on ashes, as means
of saintship! There is no need of them in our country. Let a woman
once look at her domestic trials as her hair-cloth, her ashes, her
scourges,--accept them,--rejoice in them,--smile and be quiet, silent,
patient, and loving under them,--and the convent can teach her no more; she
is a victorious saint.
H. B. STOWE.
Perhaps it is a greater energy of Divine Providence, which keeps the
Christian from day to day, from year to year--praying, hoping, running,
believing--against all hindrances--which maintains him as a _living
martyr_, than that which bears him up for an hour in sacrificing himself at
_For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor
principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor
height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us
from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord_.--ROM. viii. 38,
I know not what the future hath
Of marvel or surprise,
Assured alone that life and death
His mercy underlies.
J. G. WHITTIER.
Be of good faith, my dear Friends, look not out at any thing; fear none of
those things ye may be exposed to suffer, either outwardly or inwardly; but
trust the Lord over all, and your life will spring, and grow, and refresh
you, and ye will learn obedience and faithfulness daily more and more, even
by your exercises and sufferings; yea, the Lord will teach you the very
mystery of faith and obedience; the wisdom, power, love, and goodness of
the Lord ordering _every_ thing for you, and ordering _your_ hearts in
_Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope_.--ZECH. ix. 12.
O power to do; O baffled will!
O prayer and action! ye are one.
Who may not strive, may yet fulfil
The harder task of standing still,
And good but wished with God is done.
J. G. WHITTIER.
That God has circumscribed our life may add a peculiar element of trial,
but often it defines our way and cuts off many tempting possibilities that
perplex the free and the strong; whilst it leaves intact the whole body
of spiritual reality, with the Beatitude thereon, "that if we know these
things, happy are we if we do them." We know that God orders the lot; and
to meet it with the energies it requires and permits, neither more nor
less,--to fill it at every available point with the light and action of an
earnest and spiritually inventive mind, though its scene be no wider than
a sick chamber, and its action narrowed to patient suffering, and gentle,
cheerful words, and all the light it can emit the thankful quiet of a
trustful eye,--without chafing as though God had misjudged our sphere, and
placed us wrong, and did not know where we could best serve Him,--this is
what, in that condition, we _have to do_.
J. H. THOM.
_Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities,
in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then
am I strong_.--2 COR. xii. 10.
Whatever God does is well!
In patience let us wait;
He doth Himself our burdens bear,
He doth for us take care,
And He, our God, knows all our weary days.
Come, give Him praise.
Nothing else but this seeing God in everything will make us loving and
patient with those who annoy and trouble us. They will be to us then only
the instruments for accomplishing His tender and wise purposes towards us,
and we shall even find ourselves at last inwardly thanking them for the
blessings they bring us. Nothing else will completely put an end to all
murmuring or rebelling thoughts.
H. W. SMITH.
The subjection of the will is accomplished by calmly resigning thyself in
everything that internally or externally vexes thee; for it is thus only
that the soul is prepared for the reception of divine influences. Prepare
the, heart like clean paper, and the Divine Wisdom will imprint on it
characters to His own liking.
M. DE MOLINOS.
_I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of
peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end_.--JER. xxix. 11.
Thy thoughts are good, and Thou art kind,
E'en when we think it not;
How many an anxious, faithless mind
Sits grieving o'er its lot,
And frets, and pines by day and night,
As God had lost it out of sight,
And all its wants forgot.
You are never to complain of your birth, your training, your employments,
your hardships; never to fancy that you could be something if only you had
a different lot and sphere assigned you. God understands His own plan, and
He knows what you want a great deal better than you do. The very things
that you most deprecate, as fatal limitations or obstructions, are probably
what you most want. What you call hindrances, obstacles, discouragements,
are probably God's opportunities. Bring down your soul, or, rather, bring
it up to receive God's will and do His work, in your lot, in your sphere,
under your cloud of obscurity, against your temptations, and then you
shall find that your condition is never opposed to your good, but really
consistent with it.
_Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in
the furnace of affliction_--ISA. xlviii. 10.
Be patient, suffering soul! I hear thy cry.
The trial fires may glow, but I am nigh.
I see the silver, and I will refine
Until My image shall upon it shine.
Fear not, for I am near, thy help to be;
Greater than all thy pain, My love for thee.
H. W. C.
God takes a thousand times more pains with us than the artist with his
picture, by many touches of sorrow, and by many colors of circumstance, to
bring man into the form which is the highest and noblest in His sight, if
only we received His gifts and myrrh in the right spirit. But when the cup
is put away, and these feelings are stifled or unheeded, a greater injury
is done to the soul than can ever be amended. For no heart can conceive in
what surpassing love God giveth us this myrrh; yet this which we ought
to receive to our soul's good, we suffer to pass by us in our sleepy
indifference, and nothing comes, of it. Then we come and complain: "Alas,
Lord! I am so dry, and it is so dark within me!" I tell thee, dear child,
open thy heart to the pain, and it will do thee more good than if thou wert
full of feeling and devoutness.
_That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which
dwelleth in us_.--2 TIM. i. 14.
Oh that the Comforter would come!
Nor visit as a transient guest,
But fix in me His constant home,
And keep possession of my breast:
And make my soul His loved abode,
The temple of indwelling God!
Thy spirit should become, while yet on earth, the peaceful throne of the
Divine Being; think, then, how quiet, how gentle and pure, how reverent,
thou shouldst be.
I cannot tell you how much I love you. But that which of all things I have
most at heart, with regard to you, is the real progress of your soul in the
divine life. Heaven seems to be awakened in you. It is a tender plant. It
requires stillness, meekness, and the unity of the heart, totally given up
to the unknown workings of the Spirit of God, which will do all its work in
the calm soul, that has no hunger or desire but to escape out of the mire
of its earthly life into its lost union and life in God. I mention this,
out of a fear of your giving in to an eagerness about many things, which,
though seemingly innocent, yet divide and weaken the workings of the divine
life within you.
_And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him_.--GEN. v. 24.
Oh for a closer walk with God,
A calm and heavenly frame;
A light to shine upon the road
That leads me to the Lamb!
Is it possible for any of us in these modern days to so live that we may
walk with God? Can we walk with God in the shop, in the office, in the
household, and on the street? When men exasperate us, and work wearies us,
and the children fret, and the servants annoy, and our best-laid plans fall
to pieces, and our castles in the air are dissipated like bubbles that
break at a breath, then can we walk with God? That religion which fails us
in the every-day trials and experiences of life has somewhere in it a flaw.
It should be more than a plank to sustain us in the rushing tide, and land
us exhausted and dripping on the other side. It ought, if it come from
above, to be always, day by day, to our souls as the wings of a bird,
bearing us away from and beyond the impediments which seek to hold us down.
If the Divine Love be a conscious presence, an indwelling force with us, it
will do this.
_Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named_.--EPH. iii. 15.
One family, we dwell in Him;
One church above, beneath;
Though now divided by the stream,--
The narrow stream of death.
One army of the living God,
To His command we bow:
Part of His host has crossed the flood,
And part is crossing now.
Let us, then, learn that we can never be lonely or forsaken in this life.
Shall they forget us because they are "made perfect"? Shall they love us
the less because they now have power to love us more? If we forget them
not, shall they not remember us with God? No trial, then, can isolate us,
no sorrow can cut us off from the Communion of Saints. Kneel down, and you
are with them; lift up your eyes, and the heavenly world, high above all
perturbation, hangs serenely overhead; only a thin veil, it may be, floats
between. All whom we loved, and all who loved us, whom we still love no
less, while they love us yet more, are ever near, because ever in His
presence in whom we live and dwell.
H. E. MANNING.
_Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of
witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so
easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before
us_.--HEB. xii. i.
When the powers of hell prevail
O'er our weakness and unfitness,
Could we lift the fleshly veil,
Could we for a moment witness
Those unnumbered hosts that stand
Calm and bright on either hand;
Oh, what joyful hope would cheer,
Oh, what faith serene would guide us!
Great may be the danger near,
Greater are the friends beside us.
We are compassed about by a cloud of witnesses, whose hearts throb in
sympathy with every effort and struggle, and who thrill with joy at every
success. How should this thought check and rebuke every worldly feeling
and unworthy purpose, and enshrine us, in the midst of a forgetful and
un-spiritual world, with an atmosphere of heavenly peace! They have
overcome--have risen--are crowned, glorified; but still they remain to us,
our assistants, our comforters, and in every hour of darkness their voice
speaks to us: "So we grieved, so we struggled, so we fainted, so we
doubted; but we have overcome, we have obtained, we have seen, we have
found,--and in our victory behold the certainty of thy own."
H. B. STOWE.
_Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for
we are members one of another_.--EPH. iv. 25.
In conversation be sincere;
Keep conscience as the noontide clear;
Think how All-seeing God thy ways
And all thy secret thoughts surveys.
The essence of lying is in deception, not in words; a lie may be told by
silence, by equivocation, by the accent on a syllable, by a glance of the
eye attaching a peculiar significance to a sentence; and all these kinds of
lies are worse and baser by many degrees than a lie plainly worded; so that
no form of blinded conscience is so far sunk as that which comforts itself
for having deceived because the deception was by gesture or silence,
instead of utterance.
He that is habituated to deceptions and artificialities in trifles, will
try in vain to be true in matters of importance; for truth is a thing of
habit rather than of will. You cannot in any given case by any sudden
and single effort will to be true, if the habit of your life has been
F. W. ROBERTSON.
_A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up
anger_.--PROV. xv. i,
_Doest thou well to be angry_?--JONAH iv. 4.
Renew Thine image, Lord, in me,
Lowly and gentle may I be;
No charms but these to Thee are dear;
No anger mayst Thou ever find,
No pride in my unruffled mind,
But faith, and heaven-born peace be there.
Neither say nor do aught displeasing to thy neighbor; and if thou hast been
wanting in charity, seek his forgiveness, or speak to him with gentleness.
Speak always with mildness and in a low tone of voice.
Injuries hurt not more in the receiving than in the remembrance. A small
injury shall go as it comes; a great injury may dine or sup with me; but
none at all shall lodge with me. Why should I vex myself because another
hath vexed me? Grief for things past that cannot be remedied, and care for
things to come that cannot be prevented, may easily hurt, can never benefit
me. I will therefore commit myself to God in both, and enjoy the present.
_The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are_.--I COR. iii. 17.
Now shed Thy mighty influence abroad
On souls that would their Father's image bear;
Make us as holy temples of our God,
Where dwells forever calm, adoring prayer.
C. J. P. SPITTA.
This pearl of eternity is the church or temple of God within thee, the
consecrated place of divine worship, where alone thou canst worship God
in spirit and in truth. When once thou art well grounded in this inward
worship, thou wilt have learned to live unto God above time and place. For
every day will be Sunday to thee, and, wherever thou goest, thou wilt have
a priest, a church, and an altar along with thee. For when God has all that
He should have of thy heart, when thou art wholly given up to the obedience
of the light and spirit of God within thee, to will only in His will, to
love only in His love, to be wise only in His wisdom, then it is that
everything thou dost is as a song of praise, and the common business of thy
life is a conforming to God's will on earth as angels do in heaven.
_He will fulfil the desire of them that fear Him: He also will hear their
cry, and will save them_;--PS. cxlv. 19.
_Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of
thine heart_.--PS. xxxvii. 4.
Though to-day may not fulfil
All thy hopes, have patience still;
For perchance to-morrow's sun
Sees thy happier days begun.
His great desire and delight is God; and by desiring and delighting, he
hath Him. _Delight thou in the Lord, and He shall give thee thy heart's
desire,_--HIMSELF; and then surely thou shall have all. Any other thing
_commit it to Him_, and He shall bring it to pass.
All who call on God in true faith, earnestly from the heart, will certainly
be heard, and will receive what they have asked and desired, although not
in the hour or in the measure, or the very thing which they ask; yet they
will obtain something greater and more glorious than they had dared to ask.
_I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision_.--ACTS xxvi. 19.