Wednesday, December 31, 2014

 "The path of duty is the way to glory.'"
The following poem states, when you walk the path of duty, seeking to do what's right, and learn to make the sacrifices necessary to do your duty, denying yourself: you will find in the end, that although it was not the easiest path, the difficulty will yield the greatest rewards of all.

"He that walks it, only thirsting
For the right, and learns to deaden
Love of self, before his journey closes,
He shall find stubborn thistle bursting
Into glossy purples, which out-redden
All voluptuous garden-roses."

Saturday, December 27, 2014

 "No life, I think, is so sad, so utterly a blank, so dreary a tragedy, as the life of a "fast" young man. He is a stranger to all innocent pleasures, to all wholesome enjoyments. For him the poets have never sung, for him great men have never lived. Not for him have heroes done those deeds, or great writers put on record those thoughts, which have nerved the hearts of nations. Not for him is the glory in the grass or the splendor in the flower, the beauty of God's heavens, the music of murmuring streams, the mystery and majesty of the ocean. Not for him is the joy of honest endeavors or the rapture of the strife. Not for him the happiness of a pure love or the confidence of a tender heart. A conscience seared by incessant self-indulgence, a mind degraded and debased by the lowest associations and coarsest motives -- who will not pity this poor fool who stumbles on in the blackness of darkness to certain ruin?"   W. H. Davenport Adams.  

Sunday, December 21, 2014

 Isaiah 32:9  Complacency - a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like.

"Benevolence is sometimes laid out upon an object that has no such present good in it as we can desire or delight in, but only some foundation of future good, or some capacity to be made good or agreeable. A pious man can never love wicked men with the love of complacency or delight, but he may exercise the love of benevolence towards them, to pity them, and to wish their recovery.

So our Savior could not love the bloody city of Jerusalem with complacency, because it killed the prophets, and blasphemed God and his Son; but he loved it with benevolence, and wept over it some tears of compassion. Isaac Watts. 

 This piece reminded me of one by Carl Sandburg that follows a similar theme.

  "I love you for what you are, but I love you yet more for what you are going to be. I love you not so much for your realities as for your ideals. I pray for your desires that they may be great, rather than for your satisfactions, which may be so hazardously little.

Not always shall you be what you are now. You are going forward toward something great. I am on the way with you and therefore I love you." Carl Sandburg.


 The following piece is by Isaac Watts; it speaks to our sense of wonder. This topic interests me because it seems to be one of the great and driving forces in mankind, for good or ill. 

"When we perceive any object that is rare and uncommon, that is new and strange, either for its kinds or for its qualities; or when we meet with such an occurrence or event as is unusual or unexpected; or such as is at least unusual at such a particular time and place, we are struck with admiration or wonder, and that without any considerations whether the object be valuable or worthless, whether it be good or evil. We wonder at a very great or a very little man, a dwarf or a giant; at a very little horse, at a huge snake or toad, at an elephant, or a whale, or a comet, or at any large performances of art, or moving machines, such as clocks, watches with a variety of uncommon motions and operations: we wonder at a piece of extraordinary wit, skill, or learning, even at artificial trifles as a flea kept alive in a chain; at any uncommon appearances in nature discovered by a telescope, a microscope, etc. Admiration has no regard to the agreeableness or disagreeableness of the object, but only to the rarity of it. And for this reason wonder seems to be the first of the passions.

  Let it be observed that this passion has properly no opposite; because if the object be not rare or new, of it the appearance be not sudden or unexpected, but a mere common or familiar thing, or an expected occurrence, we receive it with great calmness, and feel no such commotion of nature about it; we treat it with neglect instead of wonder. Now neglect is no passion. The rest of the passions, at least the most of them, go in pairs."  Isaac Watts.

Friday, December 19, 2014

"Where is our God? You say, He is everywhere: then show me anywhere that you have met him. You declare him everlasting: then tell me any moment that he has been with you. You believe him ready to succor them that are tempted and to lift those that are bowed down: then in what passionate hour did you subside into his calm grace? In what sorrow lose yourself in his "more exceeding" joy?

These are the testing questions by which we may learn whether we have raised our altar to an "unknown God" and pay the worship of the blind; or whether we live, and move, and have our being." James Martineau.