If God were not only to hear our prayers, as he does ever and always, but to answer them as we want them answered, he would not be God our Saviour but the ministering genius of our destruction.
One of my greatest difficulties in consenting to think of religion was that I thought I should have to give up my beautiful thoughts and my love for the things God has made. But I find that the happiness springing from all things not in themselves sinful is much increased by religion. God is the God of the Beautiful—Religion is the love of the Beautiful, and Heaven is the Home of the Beautiful—-Nature is tenfold brighter in the Sun of Righteousness, and my love of Nature is more intense since I became a Christian—-if indeed I am one. God has not given me such thoughts and forbidden me to enjoy them.
Love loves unto purity. Love has ever in view the absolute loveliness of that which it beholds. Therefore all that is not beautiful in the beloved, all that comes between and is not of love's kind, must be destroyed. And our God is a consuming fire.
But we believe – nay, Lord we only hope,That one day we shall thank thee perfectlyFor pain and hope and all that led or droveUs back into the bosom of thy love.
She could now be sad without losing a jot of hope. Nay, rather, the least approach of sadness would begin at once to wake her hope. She regretted nothing that had come, nothing that had gone. She believed more and more that not anything worth having is ever lost; that even the most evanescent shades of feeling are safe for those who grow after their true nature, toward that for which they were made—in other and higher words, after the will of God.
You have tasted of death now,” said the old man. “Is it good?” “It is good,” said Mossy. “It is better than life.”“No,” said the old man: “it is only more life.
Anybody with leisure can do that who is willing to begin where everything ought to be begun--that is, at the beginning. Nothing worth calling good can or ever will be started full grown. The essential of any good is life, and the very body of created life, and essential to it, being its self operant, is growth. The larger start you make, the less room you leave for life to extend itself. You fill with the dead matter of your construction the places where assimilation ought to have its perfect work, building by a life-process, self-extending, and subserving the whole. Small beginnings with slow growings have time to root themselves thoroughly--I do not mean in place nor yet in social regard, but in wisdom. Such even prosper by failures, for their failures are not too great to be rectified without injury to the original idea.
There is little hope of the repentance and redemption of certain some until they have committed one or another of the many wrong things of which they are daily, through a course of unrestrained selfishness, becoming more and more capable.
The ruin of a man's teaching comes of his followers, such as having never touched the foundation he has laid, build upon it wood, hay, and stubble, fit only to be burnt. Therefore, if only to avoid his worst foes, his admirers, a man should avoid system. The more correct a system the worse will it be misunderstood; its professed admirers will take both its errors and their misconceptions of its truths, and hold them forth as its essence.
his mother, who had never been able to manage him, sent him to school to get rid of him, lamented his absence till he returned, then writhed and fretted under his presence until again he went.
...I am still librarian in your house, for I never was dismissed, and never gave up the office. Now I am librarian here as well.''But you have just told me you were sexton here!''So I am. It is much the same profession. Except you are a true sexton, books are but dead bodies to you, and a library nothing but a catacomb!
she had no stay, no root in herself yet. Well do I know not one human being ought, even were it possible, to be enough for himself; each of us needs God and every human soul he has made, before he has enough; but we ought each to be able, in the hope of what is one day to come, to endure for a time, not having enough. Letty was unblamable that she desired the comfort of humanity around her soul, but I am not sure that she was quite unblamable in not being fit to walk a few steps alone, or even to sit still and expect. […] and now her heart was like a child left alone in a great room. She had not yet learned that we must each bear his own burden, and so become able to bear each the burden of the other. Poor friends we are, if we are capable only of leaning, and able never to support.
Some dreams, some poems, some musical phrases, some pictures, wake feelings such as one never had before, new in colour and form—spiritual sensations, as it were, hitherto unproved
Show me the person ready to step from any, let it be the narrowest, sect of Christian Pharisees into a freer and holier air, and I shall look to find in that person the one of that sect who, in the midst of its darkness and selfish worldliness, mistaken for holiness, has been living a life more obedient than the rest.
For essential beauty is infinite, and, as the soul of Nature needs an endless succession of varied forms to embody her loveliness, countless faces of beauty springing forth, not any two the same, at every one of her heart-throbs, so the individual form needs an infinite change of its environments, to enable it to uncover all the phases of its loveliness.
A genuine work of art must mean many things; the truer its art, the more things it will mean. If my drawing, on the other hand, is so far from being a work of art that it needs THIS IS A HORSE written under it, what can it matter that neither you nor your child should know what it means? It is there not so much to convey a meaning as to wake a meaning. If it do not even wake an interest, throw it aside. A meaning may be there, but it is not for you. If, again, you do not know a horse when you see it, the name written under it will not serve you much. At all events, the business of the painter is not to teach zoology.
The clouds were gathering over Mary, too--deep and dark, but of altogether another kind from those that enveloped Letty: no troubles are for one moment to be compared with those that come of the wrongness, even if it be not wickedness, that is our own. Some clouds rise from stagnant bogs and fens; others from the wide, clean, large ocean. But either kind, thank God, will serve the angels to come down by. In the old stories of celestial visitants the clouds do much; and it is oftenest of all down the misty slope of griefs and pains and fears, that the most powerful joy slides into the hearts of men and women and children.
Love and marriage are of the Father's most powerful means for the making of his foolish little ones into sons and daughters. But so unlike in many cases are the immediate consequences to those desired and expected, that it is hard for not a few to believe that he is anywhere looking after their fate--caring about them at all. And the doubt would be a reasonable one, if the end of things was marriage. But the end is life--that we become the children of God; after which, all things can and will go their grand, natural course; the heart of the Father will be content for his children, and the hearts of the children will be content in their Father.
I must show the blacksmith and the shopkeeper once more--two years after marriage--time long enough to have made common people as common to each other as the weed by the roadside; but these are not common to each other yet, and never will be. They will never complain of being _desillusionnes_, for they have never been illuded. They look up each to the other still, because they were right in looking up each to the other from the first. Each was, and therefore each is and will be, real.
Her heart - like every heart, if only its fallen sides were cleared away - was an inexhaustible fountain of love: she loved everything she saw.
Trust the Oak,” said she; “trust the Oak, and the Elm, and the great Beech. Take care of the Birch, for though she is honest, she is too young not to be changeable. But shun the Ash and the Alder; for the Ash is an ogre,—you will know him by his thick fingers; and the Alder will smother you with her web of hair, if you let her near you at night.
When a feeling was there, they felt as if it would never go; when it was gone they felt as if it had never been; when it returned, they felt as if it had never gone.
Letty's first false step was here: she said to herself _I can not_, and did not. She lacked courage--a want in her case not much to be wondered at, but much to be deplored, for courage of the true sort is just as needful to the character of a woman as of a man.
But Mary had not come into the world to be sad or to help another to be sad. Sorrowful we may often have to be, but to indulge in sorrow is either not to know or to deny God our Saviour. True, her heart ached for Letty; and the ache immediately laid itself as close to Letty's ache as it could lie; but that was only the advance-guard of her army of salvation, the light cavalry of sympathy: the next division was help; and behind that lay patience, and strength, and hope, and faith,and joy. This last, modern teachers, having failed to regard it as a virtue, may well decline to regard as a duty; but he is a poor Christian indeed in whom joy has not at least a growing share, and Mary was not a poor Christian--at least, for the time she had been learning, and as Christians go in the present aeon of their history.
The boy should enclose and keep, as his life, the old child at the heart of him, and never let it go. He must still, to be a right man, be his mother's darling, and more, his father's pride, and more. The child is not meant to die, but to be forever fresh born.
Society is neither my master nor my servant, neither my father nor my sister; and so long as she does not bar my way to the kingdom of heaven, which is the only society worth getting into, I feel no right to complain of how she treats me. I have no claim on her; I do not acknowledge her laws--hardly her existence, and she has no authority over me. Why should she, how could she, constituted as she is, receive such as me? The moment she did so, she would cease to be what she is; and, if all be true that one hears of her, she does me a kindness in excluding me. What can it matter to me, Letty, whether they call me a lady or not, so long as Jesus says “Daughter” to me?
the truth she gathered, enlarging her strength, enlarged likewise the composure that comes of strength.
It is just the old way--that of obedience. If you have ever seen the Lord, if only from afar--if you have any vaguest suspicion that the Jew Jesus, who professed to have come from God, was a better man, a different man--one of your first duties must be to open your ears to His words and see whether they seem to you to be true. Then, if they do, to obey them with your whole strength and might. This is the way of life, which will lead a man out of its miseries into life indeed.
...[T]wo of you can be no match for the three giants, I will find you, if I can, a third brother, who will take on himself the third share of the fight, and the preparation...I will show him to you in a glass, and, when he comes, you will know him at once. If he will share your endeavors, you must teach him all you know, and he will repay you well, in present song, and in future deeds.'She opened the door of a curious old cabinet that stood in the room. On the inside of this door was an oval convex mirror...we at length saw reflected the place where we stood, and the old dame seated in her chair...at the feet of the dame lay a young man...weeping.'Surely this youth will not serve our ends,' said I, 'for he weeps.'The old woman smiled. 'Past tears are present strength,'said she.
Now I knew that life and truth were one; that life mere and pure is in itself bliss; that where being is not bliss, it is not life, but life-in-death. Every inspiration of the dark wind that blew where it listed went out a sigh of thanksgiving. At last I was! I lived, and nothing could touch my life! My darling walked beside me, and we were on our way home to see the Father!