Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)
Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).
Christian life is action: not a speculating, not a debating, but a doing. One thing, and only one, in this world has eternity stamped upon it. Feelings pass; resolves and thoughts pass; opinions change. What you have done lasts — lasts in you. Through ages, through eternity, what you have done for Christ, that, and only that, you are.
To believe is to be happy; to doubt is to be wretched. To believe is to be strong. Doubt cramps energy. Belief is power. Only so far as a man believes strongly, mightily, can he act cheerfully, or do any thing that is worth the doing.
Only what coronation is in an earthly way, baptism is in a heavenly way; God's authoritative declaration in material form of a spiritual reality.
Every unfulfilled aspiration of humanity in the past; all partial representation of perfect character; all sacrifices, nay, even those of idolatry, point to the fulfillment of what we want, the answer to every longing — the type of perfect humanity, the Lord Jesus Christ.
But if there has been on this earth no real, perfect human life, no love that never cooled, no faith that never failed, which may shine as a loadstar across the darkness of our experience, a light to light amidst all convictions of our own meanness and all suspicions of other's littleness, why, we may have a religion, but we have not a Christianity. For if we lose Him as a Brother, we cannot feel Him as a Saviour.
Christ's miracles were vivid manifestations to the senses that He is the Saviour of the body — and now as then the issues of life and death are in His hands — that our daily existence is a perpetual miracle. The extraordinary was simply a manifestation of God's power in the ordinary.
It was necessary for the Son to disappear as an outward authority, in order that He might reappear as an inward principle of life. Our salvation is no longer God manifested in a Christ without us, but as a " Christ within us, the hope of glory."
My Saviour! fill up the blurred and blotted sketch which my clumsy hand has drawn of a Divine life, with the fullness of Thy perfect picture. I feel the beauty I cannot realize; robe me in Thine unutterable purity.
He in whose heart the law was, and who alone of all mankind was content to do it, His sacrifice alone can be the sacrifice all-sufficient in the Father's sight as the proper sacrifice of humanity; He who through the Eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, He alone can give the Spirit which enables us to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. He is the only High-Priest of the universe.
He is not affected by our mutability; our changes do not alter Him. When we are restless, He remains serene and calm; when we are low, selfish, mean or dispirited, He is still the unalterable I AM, the same yesterday, to-day, and forever, in whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. What God is in Himself, not what we may chance to feel Him in this or that moment to be, that is our hope. My soul, "hope thou in God."
If we knew all our need, what a large want book we should require! How comforting to know that Jesus has a supply book which exactly meets our want book. We want the vision of a calmer and simpler beauty, to tranquillize us in the midst of artificial tastes — we want the draught of a pure spring to cool the flame of our excited life; we want, in other words, the spirit of the life of Christ, simple, natural, with power to soothe and calm the feelings which it rouses; the fullness of the spirit which can never intoxicate.
Now see what a Christian is, drawn by the hand of Christ. He is a man on whose clear and open brow God has set the stamp of truth; one whose very eye beams bright with honor; in whose very look and bearing you may see freedom, manliness, veracity; a brave man — a noble man — frank, generous, true, with, it may be, many faults; whose freedom may take the form of impetuosity or rashness, but the form of meanness never.
Brethren, are you in earnest? If so, though your faith be weak, and your struggles unsatisfactory, you may begin the hymn of triumph now, for victory is pledged. Thanks be to God, which " — not shall give, but "giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
There is a mighty gulf between those who love and those who do not love God To the one class we owe civility, courtesy, kindness, even tenderness. It is only those who love the Lord who should find in our hearts a home.
The Christian life is not knowing or hearing, but doing.
Life, like war, is a series of mistakes; and he is not the best Christian nor the best general who makes the fewest false steps. Poor mediocrity may secure that; but he is the best who wins the most splendid victories by the retrieval of mistakes. Forget mistakes; organize victory out of mistakes.
He who lives to God rests in his Redeemer's love, and is trying to get rid of his old nature — to him every sorrow, every bereavement, every pain, will come charged with blessings, and death itself will be no longer the " king of terrors," but the messenger of grace.
Life passes; work is permanent. It is all going — fleeting and withering. Youth goes. Mind decays. That which is done remains. Through ages, through eternity, what you have done for God, that, and only that, you are. Deeds never die.
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 — Time? That men do with it through life just what the apostles did for one precious and irreparable hour in the garden of Gethsemane — they go to sleep.
Read a work on the "Evidences of Christianity," and it may become highly probable that Christianity, etc., are true. This is an opinion. Feel God. Do His will, till the Absolute Imperative within you speaks as with a living voice, " Thou shalt, and thou shalt not;" and then you do not think, you know that there is a God.
However dreary we may have felt life to be here, yet when that hour comes — the winding up of all things, the last grand rush of darkness on our spirits, the hour of that awful sudden wrench from all we have ever known or loved, the long farewell to sun, moon, stars, and light — brother man, I ask you this day, and I ask myself humbly and fearfully, "What will then be finished? When it is finished, what will it be? Will it be the butterfly existence of pleasure, the mere life of science, a life of uninterrupted sin and self-gratification, or will it be, 'Father, I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do?'"
This world is given as a prize for the men in earnest; and that which is true of this world is truer still of the world to come.
Every natural longing has its natural satisfaction. If we thirst, God has created liquid 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 there are an eternal life and an eternal love to satisfy that craving.
You reap what you sow — not something else, but that. An act of love makes the soul more loving. A deed of humbleness deepens humbleness. The thing reaped is the very thing sown, multiplied a hundred fold. You have sown a seed of life, you reap life everlasting.
Sow the seeds of life — humbleness, pure-heartedness, love; and in the long eternity which lies before the soul, every minutest grain will come up again with an increase of thirty, sixty, or a hundred fold.
You cannot undo your acts. If you have depraved another's will, and injured another's soul, it may be in the grace of God that hereafter you will be personally accepted, and the consequence of your guilt inwardly done away; but your penitence cannot undo the evil you have done. The forgiveness of God — the blood of Christ itself — does not undo the past.
There is a power in the soul, quite separate from the intellect, which sweeps away or recognizes the marvelous, by which God is felt. Faith stands serenely far above the reach of the atheism of science. It does not rest on the wonderful, but on the eternal wisdom and goodness of God. The revelation of the Son was to proclaim a Father, not a mystery. No science can sweep away the everlasting love which the heart feds, and which the intellect does not even pretend to judge or recognize.
There is a grand fearlessness in faith. He who in his heart of hearts reverences the good, the true, the holy — that is, reverences God — does not tremble at the apparent success of attacks upon the outworks of faith. They may shake those who rest on those outworks — they do not move him whose soul reposes on the truth itself. He needs no prop or crutches to support his faith. Founded on a Rock, Faith can afford to gaze undismayed at the approaches of Infidelity.
Child of God, if you would have your thought of God something beyond a cold feeling of His presence, let faith appropriate Christ.
By experience; by a sense of human frailty; by a perception of "the soul of goodness in things evil;" by a cheerful trust in human nature; by a strong sense of God's love; by long and disciplined realization of the atoning love of Christ; only thus can we get a free, manly, large, princely spirit of forgiveness.
A consistent Christian may not have rapture; he has that which is much better than rapture — calmness — God's serene and perpetual presence.
God's truth is too sacred to be expounded to superficial worldliness in its transient fit of earnestness.
I will tell you what to hate. Hate hypocrisy, hate cant, hate indolence, oppression, injustice; hate Pharisaism; hate them as Christ hated them — with a deep, living, godlike hatred.
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.
There are few signs in a soul's state more alarming than that of religious indifference, that is, the spirit of thinking all religions equally true— the real meaning of which is, that all religions are equally false.
This is the true liberty of Christ, when a free man binds himself in love to duty. Not in shrinking from our distasteful occupations, but in fulfilling them, do we realize our high origin.
Mourning after an absent God is an evidence of a love as strong, as rejoicing in a present one.
Nothing satisfies God but the voluntary sacrifice of love. The pain of Christ gave God no pleasure — only the love that was tested by pain — the love of perfect obedience.
My Christian brethren, if the crowd of difficulties which stand between your souls and God succeed in keeping you away, all is lost. Right into the Presence you must force your way, with no concealment, baring the soul with all its ailments before Him, asking, not the arrest of the consequences of sin, but the cleansing of the conscience " from dead works to serve the living God," so that if you must suffer, you will suffer as a forgiven man.
This is the secret of Christ's kingship— "He became obedient — wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him." 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.
It is more true to say that our opinions depend upon our lives and habits than to say that our lives depend upon our opinions, which is only now and then true.
The mistake we make is to look for a source of comfort in ourselves: self-contemplation, instead of gazing upon God. In other words, we look for comfort precisely where comfort never can be.
Do you want to learn holiness with terrible struggles and sore affliction and the plague of much remaining evil? Then wait before you turn to God.
There is rest in this world nowhere except in Christ, the manifested love of God. Trust in excellence, and the better you become, the keener is the feeling of deficiency. Wrap up all in doubt, and there is a stern voice that will thunder at last out of the wilderness upon your dream.
He who seeks truth must be content with a lonely, little-trodden path. If he cannot worship her till she has been canonized by the shouts of the multitude, he must take his place with the members of that wretched crowd who shouted for two long hours, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians!" till truth, reason, and calmness were all drowned in noise.
There is an inward state of the heart which makes truth credible the moment it is stated. It is credible to some men because of what they are. Love is credible to a loving heart; purity is credible to a pure mind; life is credible to a spirit in which life beats strongly — it is incredible to other men.
In all matters of eternal truth, the soul is before the intellect; the things of God are spiritually discerned. You know truth by being true; you recognize God by being like Him.
It is perilous to separate thinking rightly from acting rightly. He is already half false who speculates on truth and does not do it. Truth is given, not to be contemplated, but to be done. Life is an action — not a thought. And the penalty paid by him who speculates on truth, is that by degrees the very truth he holds becomes a falsehood.
What the world calls virtue is a name and a dream without Christ. The foundation of all human excellence must be laid deep in the blood of the Redeemer's cross, and in the power of His resurrection.
The question is, whether, like the Divine Child in the Temple, we are turning knowledge into wisdom, and whether, understanding more of the mysteries of life, we are feeling more of its sacred law; and whether, having left behind the priests and the scribes and the doctors and the fathers, we are about our Father's business, and becoming wise to God.