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C.N. Douglas, comp.  Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical.  1917.
 
F. W. Robertson
 
  A happy home is the single spot of rest which a man has upon this earth for the cultivation of his noblest sensibilities.  1
  A heart renewed—a loving heart—a penitent and humble heart—a heart broken and contrite, purified by love—that and only that is the rest of men. Spotlessness may do for angels, repentance unto life is the highest that belongs to man.  2
  A life of prayer is a life whose litanies are ever fresh acts of self-devoting love.  3
  Brethren, happiness is not our being’s end and aim. The Christian’s aim is perfection, not happiness; and every one of the sons of God must have something of that spirit which marked his Master.  4
  Child of God, if you would have your thought of God something beyond a cold feeling of His presence, let faith appropriate Christ.  5
  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.  6
  Cold hearts are not anxious enough to doubt. Men who love will have their misgivings at times; that is not the evil. But the evil is, when men go on in that languid, doubting way, content to doubt, proud of their doubts, morbidly glad to talk about them, liking the romantic gloom of twilight, without the manliness to say, “I must and will know the truth.” That did not John the Baptist. Brethren, John appealed to Christ.  7
  Do you wish to become rich? You may become rich, that is, if you desire it in no half way, but thoroughly. A miser sacrifices all to his single passion; hoards farthings and dies possessed of wealth. Do you wish to master any science or accomplishment? Give yourself to it and it lies beneath your feet. Time and pains will do anything. This world is given as the prize for the men in earnest; and that which is true of this world is truer still of the world to come.  8
  Earth has not a spectacle more glorious or more fair to show than this—love tolerating intolerance; charity covering, as with a vail, even the sin of the lack of charity.  9
  Every day His servants are dying modestly and peacefully—not a word of victory on their lips; but Christ’s deep triumph in their hearts—watching the slow progress of their own decay, and yet so far emancipated from personal anxiety that they are still able to think and plan for others, not knowing that they are doing any great thing. They die, and the world hears nothing of them; and yet theirs was the completest victory. They came to the battle field, the field to which they had been looking forward all their lives, and the enemy was not to be found. There was no foe to fight with.  10
  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.  11
  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.  12
  For when man comes to front the everlasting God, and look the splendor of His judgments in the face, personal integrity, the dream of spotlessness and innocence, vanishes into thin air; your decencies and your church-goings and your regularities and your attachment to a correct school and party, your gospel formulas of sound doctrine—what is all that, in front of the blaze of the wrath to come?  13
  God’s highest gifts—talent, beauty, feeling, imagination, power—they carry with them the possibility of the highest heaven and the lowest hell. Be sure that it is by that which is highest in you that you may be lost.  14
  God’s justice and love are one. Infinite justice must be infinite love. Justice is but another sign of love.  15
  God’s truth is too sacred to be expounded to superficial worldliness in its transient fit of earnestness.  16
  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.  17
  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?’”  18
  I read hard, or not at all; never skimming, never turning aside to merely inviting books; and Plato, Aristotle, Butler, Thucydides, Sterne, Jonathan Edwards, have passed like the iron atoms of the blood into my mental constitution.  19
  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.  20
 
 
  If the duties before us be not noble, let us ennoble them by doing them in a noble spirit; we become reconciled to life if we live in the spirit of Him who reconciled the life of God with the lowly duties of servants.  21
  In the darkest hour through which a human soul can pass, whatever else is doubtful, this at least is certain. If there be no God and no future state, yet even then it is better to be generous than selfish, better to be chaste than licentious, better to be true than false, better to be brave than to be a coward.  22
  It is like the Greek fire used in ancient warfare, which burnt unquenched beneath the water; or like the weeds which, when you have extirpated them in one place, are sprouting forth vigorously in another spot, at the distance of many hundred yards; or, to use the metaphor of St. James, it is like the wheel which catches fire as it goes, and burns with fiercer conflagration as its own speed increases.  23
  It is not by change of circumstances, but by fitting our spirits to the circumstances in which God has placed us, that we can be reconciled to life and duty.  24
  It is not in understanding a set of doctrines; not in outward comprehension of the “scheme of salvation,” that rest and peace are to be found, but in taking up, in all lowliness and meekness, the yoke of the Lord Jesus Christ.  25
  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.”  26
  Let a man begin in earnest with “I ought,” and he will end, by God’s grace, if he persevere, with “I will.” Let him force himself to abound in all small offices of kindliness, attention, affectionateness, and all these for God’s sake. By and by he will feel them become the habit of his soul.  27
  New 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.  28
  Only in the sacredness of inward silence does the soul truly meet the secret, hiding God. The strength of resolve, which afterward shapes life, and mixes itself with action, is the fruit of those sacred, solitary moments. There is a divine depth in silence. We meet God alone.  29
  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.  30
  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.  31
  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 hundredfold.  32
  Tell men that God is love; that right is right, and wrong, wrong; let them cease to admire philanthropy, and begin to love men; cease to pant for heaven, and begin to love God; then the spirit of liberty begins.  33
  That prayer which does not succeed in moderating our wishes—in changing the passionate desire into still submission, the anxious, tumultuous expectation into silent surrender—is no true prayer, and proves that we have not the spirit of true prayer.  34
  The Divine Wisdom has given us prayer, not as a means whereby to obtain the good things of earth, but as a means whereby we learn to do without them; not as a means whereby we escape evil, but as a means whereby we become strong to meet it.  35
  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.  36
  The truest definition of evil is that which represents it as something contrary to nature; evil is evil because it is unnatural; a vine which should bear olive-berries, an eye to which blue seems yellow, would be diseased; an unnatural mother, an unnatural son, an unnatural act, are the strongest terms of condemnation.  37
  There is a divine depth in silence. We meet God alone.  38
  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.  39
  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 feels, and which the intellect does not even pretend to judge or recognize.  40
  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.  41
  This is the ministry and its work—not to drill hearts and minds and consciences into right forms of thought and mental postures, but to guide to the living God who speaks.  42
  Time and pains will do anything.  43
  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.  44
  To grieve over sin is one thing, to repent is another.  45
  We are too much haunted by ourselves; we project the central shadow of ourselves on everything around us. And then comes in the gospel to rescue us from this selfishness. Redemption is this—to forget self in God.  46
  What we mean by sentimentalism is that state in which a man speaks deep and true sentiments not because he feels them strongly, but because he perceives that they are beautiful, and that it is touching and fine to say them,—things which he fain would feel, and fancies that he does feel.  47
  Yes, thank God! there is rest—many an interval of saddest, sweetest rest—even here, when it seems as if evening breezes from that other land, laden with fragrance, played upon the cheeks, and lulled the heart. There are times, even on the stormy sea, when a gentle whisper breathes softly as of heaven, and sends into the soul a dream of ecstasy which can never again wholly die, even amidst the jar and whirl of daily life. How such whispers make the blood stop and the flesh creep with a sense of mysterious communion! How singularly such moments are the epochs of life—the few points that stand out prominently in the recollection after the flood of years has buried all the rest, as all the low shore disappears, leaving only a few rock points visible at high tide.  48
  You ask bitterly, like Pontius Pilate, “What is truth?” In such an hour what remains? I reply, “Obedience.” Leave those thoughts for the present. Act—be merciful and gentle—honest; force yourself to abound in little services; try to do good to others; be true in the duty that you know. That must be right, whatever else is uncertain. And by all the laws of the human heart, by the word of God, you shall not be left to doubt. Do that much of the will of God which is plain to you, and “You shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God.”  49
  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.  50
 
 
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