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_This picture represents a Roman Guard on duty at one of the palaces
during the destruction of Herculanæum, who, although he might perhaps
have made his escape prefers to remain at his post, faithful unto


A Book of Helpful Thoughts by
Great Writers of Past and
Present Ages

Selected and Arranged for Daily
Reading by the Author of
"Being And Doing"

With a Frontispiece by
Sir E. J. Poynter, Bart., P.R.A.

Henry Young & Sons
Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co. Ltd.
First Edition, 2000 copies, printed November 1904
Second Edition, 1000 copies, printed December 1904


_E. K._

_"It is more_ men _that the world wants, not more systems. It is
character that our modern life waits for, to redeem and transform it;
and conduct as the fruitage of character."_

_The Citizen in his Relation to the Industrial
Situation_, BISHOP POTTER.


This collection of noble thoughts expressed by men and women of past and
present ages who have endeavoured to leave the world a little better
than they found it, is similar in arrangement and purpose to my former
volume "Being and Doing"; and has been compiled at the request of
several readers who have found that book helpful.

It is obvious that without the kindly co-operation of many authors and
publishers such books could not exist, and I tender sincere and hearty
thanks to those who have made the work possible. All have treated me
with unfailing courtesy and generosity.

Where I have occasionally used short quotations without permission I ask

It would be impossible to name separately each one to whom I am a
grateful debtor, so special mention must only be made of the more
heavily taxed, and of those who have asked for a formal acknowledgment,
namely: -

The Literary Executors of the late Mr. Ruskin, _per_ Mr. George Allen,
for extracts from Mr. Ruskin's works.

Mr. Edward Arnold for those from _Red Pottage_, by Mary Cholmondeley.

Canon Barnett for those from _The Service of God_.

Messrs. Deighton Bell & Co. for those from _Pastor Pastorum_, by the
Rev. Henry Latham.

Mr. James Drummond for those from the writings of Professor Henry

Messrs. Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co. for those from Sir Edwin
Arnold's _Light of Asia_.

Miss May Kendall for those from _Turkish Bonds_, &c.

Messrs. Longmans, Green & Co. for those from the works of Bishop Paget,
and from Canon MacColl's _Here and Hereafter_.

Professor MacCunn for those from _The Making of Character_.

Messrs. Macmillan & Co. for those from the works of Bishop Westcott,
Mrs. Bernard Bosanquet; Tennyson's Poems; from the present Lord
Tennyson's Life of his father; from the _Mettle of the Pasture_, by
James Lane Allen; and from Mrs. Humphry Ward's translation of _Amiel's

Messrs. Methuen & Co. for one from the _Life of R. L. Stevenson_.

Mr. Lloyd Osbourne for those from R. L. Stevenson's works.

Messrs. Wells, Gardner, Darton & Co. for those from Bishop Winnington
Ingram's _Under the Dome_ and _Friends of the Master_.

Dr. John Watson for those from his writings.

Permission was kindly given me before by Messrs. Macmillan to quote from
the works of the late Archbishop Temple and of Matthew Arnold. By
Messrs. Smith, Elder & Co. for quotations from Robert Browning. By Mr.
C. Lewes for quotations from George Eliot; and from Lord Avebury and the
Rev. Stopford Brooke for those from their works.

In my experience the reading of extracts often leads to the reading of
the books from which they were taken, and I hope and believe many of
these gleanings will serve as introductions.



New Year's Day


"Here you stand at the parting of the ways; some road you are to take;
and as you stand here, consider and know how it is that you intend to
live. Carry no bad habits, no corrupting associations, no enmities and
strifes into this New Year. Leave these behind, and let the Dead Past
bury its Dead; leave them behind, and thank God that you are able to
leave them."


"WOULD'ST shape a noble life? Then cast
No backward glances toward the past,
And though somewhat be lost and gone,
Yet do thou act as one new-born;
What each day needs, that shalt thou ask,
Each day will set its proper task."


"No aim is too high, no task too great, no sin too strong, no trial too
hard for those who patiently and humbly rest upon God's grace: who wait
on Him that He may renew their strength."

_Faculties and Difficulties for Belief and
Disbelief_, BISHOP PAGET.



"You did not come into this world by chance, you were not born by
accident. You all came charged with a mission to use your best efforts
to extend the frontier of your Master's Kingdom by purifying your own
hearts and leavening for good the hearts of all who come within the
sphere of your influence. Your business here is not to enjoy yourselves
in those fleeting pleasures which perish in the using; not to sip as
many dainties as you can from the moments as they fly; not to gather as
many flowers as you can pluck from the garden of this perishing earth;
not even to rest in the enjoyment of those nobler delights which come
from the exercise of the intellect in the investigation of the works of
God and man; but rather to do your best to fit yourselves and others for
the new heavens and new earth, which God has prepared for those who love

_Life Here and Hereafter_, CANON MACCOLL.

"Do not despise your situation; in it you must act, suffer, and conquer.
From every point on earth we are equally near to heaven and to the

_Amiel's Journal._

A Noble Life


"A man's greatness lies not in wealth and station, as the vulgar
believe, nor yet in his intellectual capacity, which is often associated
with the meanest moral character, the most abject servility to those in
high places, and arrogance to the poor and lowly; but a man's true
greatness lies in the consciousness of an honest purpose in life,
founded on a just estimate of himself and everything else, on frequent
self-examination, and a steady obedience to the rule which he knows to
be right, without troubling himself about what others may think or say,
or whether they do or do not do that which he thinks and says and does."


"Whether a life is noble or ignoble depends not on the calling which is
adopted, but on the spirit in which it is followed."

_The Pleasures of Life_, LORD AVEBURY.

"Every noble life leaves the fibre of itself interwoven for ever in the
work of the world."




"Jesus and His Apostles teach that the supreme success of life is not to
escape pain but to lay hold on righteousness, not to possess but to be
holy, not to get things from God but to be like God. They were ever
bidding Christians beware of ease, ever rousing them to surrender and

_The Potter's Wheel_, DR. JOHN WATSON.

"The end of life is not to deny self, nor to be true, nor to keep the
Ten Commandments - it is simply to do God's will. It is not to get good
nor be good, nor even to do good - it is just what God wills, whether
that be working or waiting, or winning or losing, or suffering or
recovering, or living or dying."

_The Ideal Life_, HENRY DRUMMOND.

"Do not act as if thou wert going to live ten thousand years. Death
hangs over thee. While thou livest, while it is in thy power, be good."


The Power of the Holy Spirit


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


"The power of the Holy Spirit! - an everlasting spiritual presence among
men. What but that is the thing we want? That is what the old oracles
were dreaming of, what the modern Spiritualists tonight are fumbling
after. The power of the Holy Ghost, by which every man who is in doubt
may know what is right, every man whose soul is sick may be made
spiritually whole, every weak man may be made a strong man, - that is
God's one sufficient answer to the endless appeal of man's spiritual
life; that is God's one great response to the unconscious need of
spiritual guidance, which He hears crying out of the deep heart of every
man. - I hope that I have made clear to you what I mean. I would that we
might understand ourselves, see what we might be; nay, see what we are.
While you are living a worldly and a wicked life, letting all sacred
things go, caring for no duty, serving no God, there is another self,
your possibility, the thing that you might be, the thing that God gave
you a chance to be."


A Symphony


"To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury,
and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and
wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act
frankly; to listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open
heart; to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry
never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow
up through the common - this is to be my symphony."


"Heed how thou livest. Do no act by day Which from the night shall drive
thy peace away. In months of sun so live that months of rain Shall still
be happy."

WHITTIER, _Translation_.

Patience with Ourselves


"To be honest, to be kind - to earn a little and to spend a little less,
to make upon the whole a family happier for his presence, to renounce
when that shall be necessary and not be embittered, to keep a few
friends but these without capitulation - above all, on the same grim
condition, to keep friends with himself - here is a task for all that a
man has of fortitude and delicacy."

_Across the Plains_, R. L. STEVENSON.

"People who love themselves aright, even as they ought to love their
neighbour, bear charitably, though without flattery, with self as with
another. They know what needs correction at home as well as elsewhere;
they strive heartily and vigorously to correct it, but they deal with
self as they would deal with some one else they wished to bring to God.
They set to work patiently, not exacting more than is practicable under
present circumstances from themselves any more than from others, and not
being disheartened because perfection is not attainable in a day."


"One is so apt to think that what works smoothest works to the highest
ends, having no patience for the results of friction."


The Foot-path to Peace


"To be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love and to work
and to play and to look up at the stars; to be satisfied with your
possessions, but not contented with yourself until you have made the
best of them; to despise nothing in the world except falsehood and
meanness, and to fear nothing except cowardice; to be governed by your
admirations rather than by your disgusts; to covet nothing that is your
neighbour's except his kindness of heart and gentleness of manners; to
think seldom of your enemies, often of your friends, and every day of
Christ; and to spend as much time as you can, with body and with spirit,
in God's out-of-doors - these are little guideposts on the foot-path to


"O Lord, that lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness."




"He who lives without a definite purpose achieves no higher end than to
serve as a warning to others. He is a kind of bell-buoy, mournfully
tolled by the waves of circumstance, to mark the rocks or shoals which
are to be avoided."

"Surely there is something to be done from morning till night, and to
find out _what_ is the appointed work of the onward-tending soul."


"I ask you while hope is still fresh and enthusiasm unchilled to gain
some conception of the solemnity, the vastness, the unity, the purpose
of life: to pause in the street or on the river bank and ask yourselves
what that strange stream of pleasure and frivolity and sorrow and vice
means, and means to you: to reflect that you are bound by intelligible
bonds to every suffering, sinning man and woman: to learn, while the
lesson is comparatively easy, the secret of human sympathy: to search
after some of the essential relationships of man to man: to interpret a
little of the worth of even trivial labour: to grow sensitive to the
feelings of the poor: to grow considerate to the claims of the weak."


Life, a School

January 10

"All life is a school, a preparation, a purpose: nor can we pass current
in a higher college, if we do not undergo the tedium of education in
this lower one."

_Tennyson - a Memoir_, by his Son.

"Life is a succession of lessons, which must be lived to be understood."


"We never know for what God is preparing us in His schools, for what
work on earth, for what work in the hereafter. Our business is to do our
work well in the present place, whatever that may be."


Character and Service

January 11

"Never should we forget the close connection between character and
service, between inward nobleness and outward philanthropy. We are not
here to dream, or even to build up in grace and beauty our individual
life; we are responsible, each in our own little way, for trying to
leave this sad world happier, this evil world better than we found it.
In this way slackness is infamy, and power to the last particle means
duty. Each of us, in some degree, must have the ambition to be an 'Alter
Christus' - another Christ, shouldering with the compassionate Son of God
to lift our shadowed world from the gates of death."

"What men want is not talent, it is purpose; not the power to achieve,
but the will to labour."


"'Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall
give thee light.' This is the principle with which we should look forth
upon the world and our own life at the beginning of this year. We look
upon the world; it seems as if it were sleeping still, like Rome, as if
it needed as much as ever to hear the shout, 'Awake, thou that


Present Circumstances


"Everywhere and at all times it is in thy power piously to acquiesce in
thy present condition, and to behave justly to those who are about thee,
and to exert thy skill upon thy present thoughts, that nothing shall
steal into them without being well examined."


"Such as are thy habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of
thy mind; for the soul is dyed by the thoughts. Dye it then with a
continuous series of such thoughts as these: for instance, that where a
man can live, there he can also live well. But he must live in a
palace; - well then, he can also live well in a palace."


"Of nothing can we be more sure than this: that, if we cannot sanctify
our present lot, we could sanctify no other."




"Occasion is the father of most that is good in us. As you have seen the
awkward fingers and clumsy tools of a prisoner cut and fashion the most
delicate little pieces of carved work; or achieve the most prodigious
underground labours, and cut through walls of masonry, and saw iron bars
and fetters; 'tis misfortune that awakens ingenuity, or fortitude or
endurance, in hearts where these qualities had never come to life but
for the circumstance which gave them a being."

_Esmond_, W. M. THACKERAY.

"It always remains true that if we had been greater, circumstances would
have been less strong against us."


"A consideration of petty circumstances is the tomb of great things."


The Ifs of Life


"If it were - _if_ it might be - _if_ it could be - _if_ it had been. One
portion of mankind go through life always regretting, always whining,
always imagining. _As_ it is - this is the way in which the other class
of people look at the conditions in which they find themselves. I
venture to say that if one should count the _ifs_ and the _ases_ in the
conversation of his acquaintances, he would find the more able and
important persons among them - statesmen, generals, men of
business - among the _ases_, and the majority of conspicuous failures
among the _ifs_."

_Over the Teacups_, O. W. HOLMES.

"It is sad, indeed, to see how man wastes his opportunities. How many
could be made happy, with the blessings which are recklessly wasted or
thrown away! Happiness is a condition of Mind, not a result of
circumstances; and, in the words of Dugald Stewart, the great secret of
happiness is to accommodate ourselves to things external, rather than to
struggle to accommodate external things to ourselves. Hume wisely said
that a happy disposition was better than an estate of £10,000 a year.
Try to realise all the blessings you have, and you will find perhaps
that they are more than you suppose. Many a blessing has been recognised
too late."


"The pleasure of life is according to the man that lives it, and not
according to the work or the place."




"... Have good will
To all that lives, letting unkindness die
And greed and wrath; so that your lives be made
Like soft airs passing by.

... Govern the lips
As they were palace-doors, the King within;
Tranquil and fair and courteous be all words
Which from that presence win.

... Let each act
Assoil a fault or help a merit grow:
Like threads of silver seen through crystal beads
Let love through good deeds show."

_The Light of Asia_, E. ARNOLD.

"The Past is something, but the Present more;
Will It not, too, be past? Nor fail withal
To recognise the Future in your hopes;
Unite them in your manhood, each and all,
Nor mutilate the perfectness of life! -
You can remember; you can also hope."




... "THIS is peace
To conquer love of self and lust of life,
To tear deep-rooted passion from the breast,
To still the inward strife;

For love to clasp Eternal Beauty close;
For glory to be Lord of self; for pleasure
To live beyond the gods; for countless wealth
To lay up lasting treasure

Of perfect service rendered, duties done
In charity, soft speech, and stainless days:
These riches shall not fade away in life,
Nor any death dispraise."

_The Light of Asia_, E. ARNOLD.

"WE are all of us made more graceful by the inward presence of what we
believe to be a generous purpose; our actions move to a hidden music - 'a
melody that's sweetly played in tune.'"




"It is not the ideals of earlier years that are the most unattainable.
'The petty done, the undone vast' is not the thought of the youth, but
of those who, having done the most, yet count themselves unprofitable
servants, because it is to them only that the experience, the knowledge,
and the reflection of maturer years have opened up the far vistas of
moral possibility."

_The Making of Character_, PROF. MACCUNN.

"In doing is this knowledge won,
To see what yet remains undone.
With this our pride repress,
And give us grace, a growing store,
That day by day we may do more
And may esteem it less."


"Comfort me not! - for if aught be worse than failure from over-stress
Of a life's prime purpose, it is to sit down content with a little


The Celestial Surgeon



"If I have faltered more or less
In my great task of happiness;
If I have moved among my race
And shown no glorious morning face;
If beams from happy human eyes
Have moved me not; if morning skies,
Books, and my food, and summer rain
Knocked on my sullen heart in vain: -
Lord, Thy most pointed pleasure take
And stab my spirit broad awake;
Or, Lord, if too obdurate I,
Choose Thou, before that spirit die,
A piercing pain, a killing sin,
And to my dead heart run them in."

_Underwoods_, R. L. STEVENSON.

Influence of Great Men


"The thirst for memoirs and lives and letters is not all to be put down
to the hero-worship which is natural to every heart. It means, perhaps,
a higher thing than that. It means, in the first place, that great
living is being appreciated for its own sake; and, in the second, that
great living is being imitated. If it is true that any of us are
beginning to appreciate greatness for its own sake - greatness, that is
to say, in the sense of great and true living - it is one of the most
hopeful symptoms of our history. And, further, if we are going on from
the mere admiration of great men to try and live like them, we are
obeying one of the happiest impulses of our being. There is indeed no
finer influence abroad than the influence of great men in great books,
and all that literature can do in supplying the deformed world with
worthy and shapely models is entitled to gratitude and respect."

_The Ideal Life_, HENRY DRUMMOND.

"Glimpses into the inner regions of a great soul do one good. Contact of
this kind strengthens, restores, refreshes. Courage returns as we gaze;
when we see what has been, we doubt no more that it can be again. At the
sight of a MAN we too say to ourselves, Let us also be men."

_Amiel's Journal._

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