Frederick William Robertson, aka Roberson of Brighton
It is wondrous how, the truer we become, the more unerringly we know the ring of truth, can discern whether a man be true or not, and can fasten at once upon the rising lie in word and look and dissembling act - wondrous how the charity of Christ in the heart perceives every aberration from charity in others, in ungentle thought or slanderous tone.
A principle is one thing; a maxim or rule is another. - A principle requires liberality; a rule says, "one tenth." - A principle says, "forgive"; a rule defines "seven times."
Earth has not a spectacle more glorious or more fair to show than this--love tolerating intolerance; charity covering, as with a vale, even the sin of the lack of charity.
He who, with strong passions, remains chaste--he who, keenly sensitive, with manly power of indignation in him, can yet restrain himself and forgive--these are strong men, spiritual heroes.
In God's world, for those who are in earnest, there is no failure. No work truly done, no word earnestly spoken, no sacrifice freely made, was ever made in vain.
Kindly words, sympathizing attentions, watchfulness against wounding men's sensitiveness â€” these cost very little, but they are priceless in their value.
A silent man is easily reputed wise. A man who suffers none to see him in the common jostle and undress of life, easily gathers round him a mysterious veil of unknown sanctity, and men honor him for a saint. The unknown is always wonderful.
Every day His servants are dying modestly and peacefully--not a word of victory on their lips; but Christ's deep triumph in their hearts--watching the slow progress of their own decay, and yet so far emancipated from personal anxiety that they are still able to think and plan for others, not knowing that they are doing any great thing. They die, and the world hears nothing of them; and yet theirs was the completest victory. They came to the battle field, the field to which they had been looking forward all their lives, and the enemy was not to be found. There was no foe to fight with.
Hell is as ubiquitous as condemning conscience.
In that fearful loneliness of spirit, when those who should have been his friends and counselors only frown upon his misgivings, and everything seems wrapped in hideous uncertainty, I know but one way in which a man may come forth from his agony scathless: it is by holding fast to those things which are certain still--the grand, simple landmarks of morality. In the darkest hour through which a human soul can pass, whatever else is doubtful, this at least is certain. If there be no God and no future state, yet even then it is better to be generous than selfish, better to be chaste than licentious, better to be true than false, better to be brave than to be a coward. Blessed beyond all earthly blessedness is the man who in the tempestuous darkness of the soul has dared to hold fast to these venerable landmarks.
Let a man begin in earnest with "I ought," and he will end, by God's grace, if he persevere, with "I will." Let him force himself to abound in all small offices of kindliness, attention, affectionateness, and all these for God's sake. By and by he will feel them become the habit of his soul.
A silent man is easily reputed wise. The unknown is always wonderful. A man who suffers none to see him in the common jostle and undress of life easily gathers round him a mysterious veil of unknown sanctity, and men honor him for a saint.
Every day in this world has its work; and every day as it rises out of eternity keeps putting to each of us this question afresh, What will you do before to-day has sunk into eternity and nothingness again? And now what have we to say with respect to this strange, solemn thing â€” Time? That men do with it through life just what the apostles did for one precious and irreparable hour in the garden of Gethsemane â€” they go to sleep.
Home is the one place in all this world where hearts are sure of each other. It is the place of confidence. It is the spot where expressions of tenderness gush out without any dread of ridicule.
In the darkest hour through which a human soul can pass, whatever else is doubtful, this at least is certain. If there be no God and no future state, yet, even then, it is better to be generous than selfish, better to be chaste than licentious, better to be true than false, better to be brave than to be a coward. Blessed beyond all earthly blessedness is the man who, in the tempestuous darkness of the soul, has dared to hold fast to these venerable landmarks. Thrice blest is he who, when all is dreary and cheerless within and without, when his teachers terrify him, and friends shrink from him, has obstinately clung to moral good.
All truth undone becomes unreal; "he that doeth his will shall know," says Jesus.
Every natural longing has its natural satisfaction. If we thirst, God has created liquids to gratify thirst. If we are susceptible of attachment, there are beings to gratify that love. If we thirst for life and love eternal, it is likely that there are an eternal life and an eternal love to satisfy that craving.
How different is the poet from the mystic. - The former uses symbols, knowing they are symbols; the latter mistakes them for realities.
In these two things the greatness of man consists, to have God so dwelling in us as to impart his character to us, and to have him so dwelling in us that we recognize his presence, and know that we are his, and he is ours. - The one is salvation: the other the assurance of it.
And now because you are His child, live as a child of God; be redeemed from the life of evil, which is false to your nature, into the life of goodness, which is the truth of your being. Scorn all that is mean; hate all that is false; struggle with all that is impure Live the simple, lofty life which befits an heir of immortality.
Evil is but the shadow, that, in this world, always accompanies good. - You may have a world without shadow, but it will be a world without light - a mere dim, twilight world. If you would deepen the intensity of the light, you must be content to bring into deeper blackness and more distinct and definite outline, the shade that accompanies it.
However dark and profitless, however painful and weary, existence may have become, life is not done, so long as God has anything left for us to suffer, or anything left for us to do.
Instruction ends in the schoolroom, but education ends only with life. A child is given to the universe to be educated.
And this is the secret of all obedience and all command. Obedience to a law above you subjugates minds to you who never would have yielded to mere will.
Experience tells us that each man most keenly and unerringly detects in others the vice with which he is most familiar himself.