Phillips Brooks

Phillips
Brooks
1835
1893

American Episcopal Bishop of Massachusetts, Author, Lyricist of "O Little Town of Bethlehem"

Author Quotes

Prayer, in its simplest definition, is merely a wish turned God-ward.

The shepherd of the people! that old name that the best rulers ever craved. What ruler ever won it like this dead President of ours? He fed us faithfully and truly. He fed us with counsel when we were in doubt, with inspiration when we sometimes faltered, with caution when we would be rash, with calm, clear, trustful cheerfulness through many an hour, when our hearts were dark. He fed hungry souls all over the country with sympathy and consolation. He spread before the whole land feasts of great duty and devotion and patriotism, on which the land grew strong. He fed us with solemn, solid truths. He taught us the sacredness of government, the wickedness of treason. He made our souls glad and vigorous with the love of liberty that was in his. He showed us how to love truth and yet be charitable--how to hate wrong and all oppression, and yet not treasure one personal injury or insult. He fed all his people, from the highest to the lowest, from the most privileged down to the most enslaved. Best of all, he fed us with a reverent and genuine religion. He spread before us the love and fear of God just in that shape in which we need them most, and out of his faithful service of a higher Master, who of us has not taken and eaten and grown strong? "He fed them with a faithful and true heart." Yes, till the last. For at the last, behold him standing with hand reached out to feed the South with mercy, and the North with charity, and the whole land with peace, when the Lord who had sent him called him, and his work was done!

You may look through the streets of heaven, asking each how they came to b there, and you will look in vain everywhere for a person who is morally and spiritually strong, whose strength did not come to him in struggle. There is no exception anywhere. Every true strength is gained in struggle.

Set yourself earnestly to see what you are made to do, and then set yourself earnestly to do it.

There are no times in life when opportunity, the chance to be and do, gathers so richly about the soul as when it has to suffer. Then everything depends on whether the man turns to the lower or the higher helps. If he resorts to mere expedients and tricks the opportunity is lost. He comes out no richer nor greater; nay, he comes out harder, poorer, smaller for his pain. But, if he turns to God, the hour of suffering is the turning hour of his life.

So shall we join the disciples of our Lord, keeping faith in Him in spite of the crucifixion, and making ready, by our loyalty to Him in the days of His darkness, for the time when we shall enter into His triumph in the days of His light. And the beauty of it is that the same method runs throughout the disciples' work which ran through His work. Christ's method is repeating itself in the work of His disciples for ever and ever. As He who first gained the great victory overcame by undergoing the power of evil, shall we be surprised if that is the sort of victory that God calls upon us to gain? It is the victory which it is always the best to gain which makes the richest victory for any soul.

There are passages of the Bible that are soiled forever by the touches of the hands of ministers who delight in the cheap jokes they have left behind them.

Society does not exist for itself, but for the individual; and man goes into it, not to lose, but to find himself.

There are two ways of defending a castle; one by shutting yourself up in it, and guarding every loop-hole; the other by making it an open centre of operations from which all the surrounding country may be subdued. Is not the last the truest safety?

The absence of sentimentalism in Christ?s relations with men is what makes His tenderness so exquisitely touching.

There is not one life which the Life-giver ever loses out of His sight; not one which sins so that He casts it away; not one which is not so near to Him that whatever touches it touches Him with sorrow or with joy.

The Bible is like a telescope. If a man looks through his telescope, then he sees worlds beyond; but if he looks at his telescope, then he does not see anything but that. The Bible is a thing to be looked through, to see that which is beyond; but most people only look at it; and so they see only the dead letter.

There is one universal religion, Helen - the religion of Love. Love your Heavenly Father with your whole heart and soul, love every child of God as much as ever you can, and remember that the possibilities of good are greater than the possibilities of evil; and you have the key to Heaven.

The copy-books tell us that "to err is human." That is wrong. To err is inhuman, to be holy is to live in the straight line of duty and of truth to God's life in every intrinsic existence.

There is such a difference between coming out of sorrow merely thankful for belief, and coming out of sorrow full of sympathy with, and trust in, Him who has released us.

Joy in one?s work is the consummate tool.

The danger facing all of us--let me say it again, for one feels it tremendously--is not that we shall make an absolute failure of life, nor that we shall fall into outright viciousness, nor that we shall be terribly unhappy, nor that we shall feel that life has no meaning at all--not these things. The danger is that we may fail to perceive life's greatest meaning, fall short of its highest good, miss its deepest and most abiding happiness, be unable to render the most needed service, be unconscious of life ablaze with the light of the Presence of God--and be content to have it so--that is the danger. That some day we may wake up and find that always we have been busy with the husks and trappings of life--and have really missed life itself. For life without God, to one who has known the richness and joy of life with Him, is unthinkable, impossible. That is what one prays one's friends may be spared--satisfaction with a life that falls short of the best, that has in it no tingle and thrill which come from a friendship with the Father.

To believe in the God over us and around us and not in the God within us - that would be a powerless and fruitless faith.

Make your creed simply and broadly out of the revelation of God, and you will keep it to the end.

The faith which you keep must be a faith that demands obedience, and you can keep it only by obeying it.

To hold your truth, to believe it with all your heart, to work with all your might, first to make it real to yourself and then to show its preciousness to other men, and then - not till then, but then - to leave the questions of when and how and by whom it shall prevail to God: that is the true life of the believer. There is no feeble unconcern and indiscriminateness there, and neither is there any excited hatred of the creed, the doctrine, or the Church, which you feel wholly wrong. You have not fled out of the furnace of bigotry to freeze on the open and desolate plains of indifference. You believe and yet you have no wish to persecute.

Never be afraid to bring the transcendent mysteries of our faith? to the help of the humblest and commonest of human wants.

The feet of the humblest may walk in the field where the feet of the Holiest trod. This, then, is the marvel to mortals revealed.

To keep clear of concealment, to keep clear of the need of concealment, to do nothing that he might not do out on the middle of Boston Common at noonday -I cannot say how more and more that seems to me to be the glory of a young man's life. It is an awful hour when the first necessity of hiding anything comes. The whole life is different thenceforth. When there are questions to be feared and eyes to be avoided and subjects that must not be touched, then the bloom of life is gone. Put off that day as long as possible. Put if off forever if you can.

Newton?s great generalization, which he called the ?third law of motion,? was that ?Action and reaction are always equal to each other;? and that law has been one of the most pregnant of all truths about the mystery of force, one of the brightest windows through which modern eyes have looked into the world of Nature.

Author Picture
First Name
Phillips
Last Name
Brooks
Birth Date
1835
Death Date
1893
Bio

American Episcopal Bishop of Massachusetts, Author, Lyricist of "O Little Town of Bethlehem"