Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday, July 28, 2014

I Wonder What the Clover Thinks

I wonder what the clover thinks,
Intimate friend of bobolinks,
Lover of daisies slim and white,
Waltzer with buttercups at night;
Keeper of inn for travelling-bees,
Serving to them wine-dregs and lees
Left by the royal humming-birds,
Who sip, and pay with fine-spun words;
Fellow with all the loveliest,
Peer of the gayest and the best;
Comrade of wind, beloved of sun,
Kissed by the dew-drops one by one;
Prophet of good-luck mystery
By sign of four, which few may see;
Sweet by the roadsides, sweet by rills,
Sweet in the meadows, sweet on hills,
Sweet in white, sweet in its red,
Oh! half its sweet cannot be said.


— Saxe Holm, a.k.a. Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885)



Monday, July 28, 2014


The Religion of Nature

Though I myself am an atheist, I openly profess religion in the sense just mentioned, that is, a nature religion. I hate the idealism that wrenches humanity out of nature; I am not ashamed of my dependency on nature; I openly confess that the workings of nature affect not only my surface, my skin, my body, but also my core, my innermost being, that the air I breathe in bright weather has a salutary effect not only on my lungs but also on my mind, that the light of the sun illumines not only my eyes but also my spirit and my heart. And I do not, like a Christian, believe that such dependency is contrary to my true being or hope to be delivered from it. I know further that I am a finite moral being, that I shall one day cease to be. But I find this very natural and am therefore perfectly reconciled to the thought.

Ludwig von Feuerbach (born July 28, 1804)



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

From The Building of the Ship

Like unto ships far off at sea,
Outward or homeward bound, are we.
Before, behind, and all around,
Floats and swings the horizon's bound,
Seems at its distant rim to rise
And climb the crystal wall of the skies,
And then again to turn and sink,
As if we could slide from its outer brink.
Ah! it is not the sea,
It is not the sea that sinks and shelves,
But ourselves
That rock and rise
With endless and uneasy motion,
Now touching the very skies,
Now sinking into the depths of ocean.
Ah! if our souls but poise and swing
Like the compass in its brazen ring,
Ever level and ever true
To the toil and the task we have to do,
We shall sail securely, and safely reach
The Fortunate Isles, on whose shining beach
The sights we see, and the sounds we hear,
Will be those of joy and not of fear!


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)



Thursday, July 10, 2014

Thursday, July 10, 2014

We Are So Hurried

God has provided for our journey a thousand beautiful things in Nature which will cheer and exalt our spirits if we would love their beauty but a little. God has made everyday humanity, the common duties, the common affections, so fair, so full of tenderness, so full of claims on our love and admiration, that, were we to watch for them, and take their joy, the path would be filled with music and our souls with grace. It would be lightened as a dusty road is lightened by the murmur and the song of a streamlet in the valley. But we are so hurried that we neither see nor hear, and the beauty of life is lost, and its charm unknown.

Stopford A. Brooke (1832-1916)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Edict of Torda

His majesty, our Lord, in what manner he – together with his realm – legislated in the matter of religion at the previous Diets, in the same matter now, in this Diet, reaffirms that in every place the preachers shall preach and explain the Gospel each according to his understanding of it, and if the congregation like it, well. If not, no one shall compel them for their souls would not be satisfied, but they shall be permitted to keep a preacher whose teaching they approve. Therefore none of the superintendents or others shall abuse the preachers, no one shall be reviled for his religion by anyone, according to the previous statutes, and it is not permitted that anyone should threaten anyone else by imprisonment or by removal from his post for his teaching. For faith is the gift of God and this comes from hearing, which hearing is by the word of God.

— The Edict of Torda, which was proclaimed in 1568 by
King John Sigismund of Hungary (born July 7, 1540)


King John Sigismund of Hungary (1540-1571)
Zápolya János Zsigmond

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sunday, June 1, 2014

From The Vision of Sir Launfal

And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then if ever come perfect days;
Then heaven tries the earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays. 
Whether we look, or whether we listen
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten.
Every clod feels a stir of might,
An instinct within it that reaches and towers,
And, groping blindly above it for light,
Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers.
The flush of life may well be seen
Thrilling back over hills and valleys;
The cowslip startles in meadows green,
The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice,
And there s never a leaf nor a blade too mean
To be some happy creature's palace.


James Russell Lowell (1819-1891)



Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Religion in Social Conversation

It is unfortunate that religion has come to be tabooed in ordinary social conversation. We can talk about politics, business, literature, music, art, our homes, our friends, the weather, but we seem to regard the religious life as too sacred to be brought into common conversation. This may be partly because of reserve, partly because we fear the suspicion of ostentation, partly because we have reacted against the Phariseeism which delights in exhibitory piety. But, whatever the cause, the result is unfortunate. There is no more reason why religious convictions should be excluded from common conversation than political convictions; no more reason why we should tacitly forbid all reference to our religious life than why we should put a similar prohibition on our art, literature, or domestic life.


Lyman Abbott (1835-1922)