Phillips Brooks

Phillips
Brooks
1835
1893

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

Author Quotes

O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie! Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by; yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light; the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee to-night.

The man who goes through life with an uncertain doctrine not knowing what he believes, what a poor, powerless creature he is! He goes around through the world as a man goes down through the street with a poor, wounded arm, forever dodging people be meets on the street for fear they may touch him.

Very strange is this quality of our human nature which decrees that unless we feel a future before us we do not live completely in the present.

O, do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men! Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks! Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle. But you shall be a miracle. Every day you shall wonder at yourself, at the richness of life which has come to you by the grace of God.

The place where two friends first met is sacred to them all through their friendship, all the more sacred as their friendship deepens and grows old.

We anticipate a time when the love of truth shall have come up to our love of liberty, and men shall be cordially tolerant and earnest believers both at once.

Oh, my dear friends,--you who are letting miserable misunderstandings run on from year to year, meaning to clear them up some day,--if you only could know and see and feel that the time is short, how it would break the spell! How you would go instantly and do the thing which you might never have another chance to do!

The real Lent is the putting forth of a man?s hand to quiet his own passions and to push them aside, that the higher voices may speak to him and the higher touches fall upon him. It is the making of an emptiness about the soul, that the higher fullness may fill it. Perhaps someday the lower needs may themselves become, and dignify themselves by becoming, the meek interpreters and ministers of those very powers which they once shut out from the soul. There will be no fasting days, no Lent, in heaven. Not because we shall have no bodies there, but because our bodies there will be open to God, the helps and not the hindrances of spiritual communication to our souls.

We are haunted by an ideal life, and it is because we have within us the beginning and the possibility of it.

Patience, Life, Short Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones.

The Savior comes in the strength of righteousness. Righteousness is at the bottom of all things. Righteousness is thorough; it is the very spirit of unsparing truth.

Wherever souls are being tried and ripened, in whatever commonplace and homely way, there God is hewing out the pillars for His temple.

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.

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"