Friday, July 29, 2016

I love how Benson uses a cat to illustrate his moods and their fickle changes.

  "Who does not know the frame of mind when life seems to have no point, and one is tempted just to let things slide; when energy is depleted, and the springs of hope are low. 
So it was with my soul; but that morning, somehow, the delicious sense had returned of its own accord, of a beautiful quality in common things. I had sought it in vain for weeks; it had behaved as a cat behaves, the perverse, soft, pretty, indifferent creature. It had stared blankly at my beckoning hand; it had gamboled away into the bushes when I strove to capture it, and looked out at me when I desisted with innocent grey eyes; and now it had suddenly returned uncalled, to caress me as though I had been a long-lost friend, diligently and anxiously sought for in vain. That morning the shape and hue of the flowers were full of gracious mystery; the green pasture seemed a place where a middle-aged man might almost venture to dance. The sharp chirping of the birds in the shrubbery seemed like a concert arranged just for my ear. There was no room in my heart for anything but the joy of earth and the beauty of it. What did the weary days before and behind matter?" Arthur Benson.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

  "There is a time when parents no longer offer their young children to goodness and God only, but now they limit their highest wishes for the child because of the influences of fashion, success, television's culture. The goal that their sons should be pure, manly, noble; and that their daughters should be guileless, modest, and of loving earnest heart; and that both should be so true to their best aspiring’s as to meet any Christ like eye and lie open to any holiest spirit; but these wishes are qualified now by the resolve that the children should have no disadvantage in the hot race of life, and they shall have all the skills to prepare for the use and ideas of the culture. And so, from that moment, the tyranny of custom intrudes upon the serious sanctities of parental choice; and on the minds that were till now protected, they allow a thousand influences to pour into their minds which shock their purity and bewilder their habitual truthfulness and, with a false dazzle of fun and frolic, begin to put out the earnest stars of heavenly contemplation. It is of all things the most difficult to watch the moral clouding over of life's early dawn." Martineau.     

Monday, July 25, 2016

Guarding our children's innocence is the highest call of a parent. I love the way Martineau makes this point.
  "Let the fresh dew lie undisturbed upon the young child's soul: only by drinking it eagerly in during the early hours can it bear the noonday heats and lend an unwithered smile to the evening shades." Martineau. 

 "The active devotee of any harmless object is better than the passive critic of all; and the dullest man who lives only to collect shells or coins is worthier than the shrewdest who lives only to laugh at him.
And if his pursuit, instead of fastening on a mere dead product of nature or history, attaches itself to some human object, if it be the pride of a father in a child, or the guardianship of a mother by her son, it redeems life from the curse of sterility, and enriches it with many spots of gentle beauty: it turns the soul out from its own close center and gives it the free air of disinterestedness: it imparts strength for wholesome self-denial; and smooths out the hard lines upon the features with the softening touch of pity and of joy." Martineau. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

  "For my part I am almost contented just now, and very thankful. Gratitude is a divine emotion: it fills the heart, but not to bursting; it warms it, but not to fever. I like to taste leisurely of bliss: devoured in haste, I do not know its flavor." Charlotte Bronte.

  Arthur Benson relates his feelings after a walking with a dear friend   in a mountainous area. He describes the influence of his friend as they discussed "ultimate causes and conceptions. Oh, that each of us would have such an impact on another!

  "And so, out of my breathless ramble among ultimate causes and conceptions, I cam back to the world with a great sense of zest and relief; filled with a sense of far-off possibilities, and yet more sure than ever that we must neither idle nor despair, but walk swiftly and patiently and help each other along. On those cloudy hills I had gone astray as a sheep that is lost; and then suddenly there was a sense of the Shepherd walking near me -- the Shepherd Himself! -- For the philosopher was only a lesser kind of angel bearing a vial in his hands; the blessed sense of being searched for and guided and tenderly chidden and included in the welcome fold."

Friday, July 22, 2016

  As we reach adulthood, we see the future with great hope and expectancy; and we see little of its demands for suffering and sacrifice. Youth has its cushion of optimism. The following quote by Charlotte Bronte, describes how reality makes itself known. I had to read this over a few times to really appreciate her insights but I think it's right on target; and I love her last line.

 "At that time -- at eighteen-- drawing near the confines of illusive, void dreams, Elf-land lies behind us and the shores of Reality rise in front. These shores are yet distant: they look so blue, soft, gentle, we long to reach them. In sunshine we see a greenness beneath the azure, as of spring meadows; we catch glimpses of silver lines, and imagine the roll of living waters. Could we but reach this land, we think to hunger and thirst no more: whereas many a wilderness, and often the flood of Death is to be crossed before true bliss can be tasted. Every joy that life gives must be earned before it is secured; and how hardly earned, those only know who have wrestled for great prizes. The heart's blood must gem with red beads the brow of the combatant, before the wreath of victory rustles over it."