Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday, January 31, 2014

From In Memoriam

In vain shalt thou, or any, call
The spirits from their golden day,
Except, like them, thou too canst say
My spirit is at peace with all.

They haunt the silence of the breast,
Imaginations calm and fair,
The memory like a cloudless air,
The conscience as a sea at rest:

But when the heart is full of din,
And doubt beside the portal waits,
They can but listen at the gates,
And hear the household jar within.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Four Freedoms

In the future days which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way — everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want, which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants — everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear, which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor — anywhere in the world."

That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation.

Franklin D. Roosevelt (born January 30, 1882)

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945)

Friday, January 10, 2014

Friday, January 10, 2014

Praise and the Pure Mind

The love of popularity, a desire for approbation, when made a principle of action, is perhaps the most corrupting and the most disappointing of all the affections of our nature.  It is corrupting, because it turns the regards of the mind in a selfish direction, defiles the motives by substituting the love of praise for the love of praiseworthiness, — and destroys truth and simplicity of soul by introducing among the inward sources of life temptations of a foreign and worldly character, that either interfere with the pure and natural movements of the mind, or dishonour and deform them by bringing to their aid the alien supports of selfish ends.  A man desiring, on any question, to see where right and principle would lead him, can no more bring his own accommodation and indulgence into the foreground of his thoughts without corrupting his moral sight, than a man can introduce the love of commendation into the consultations of his soul, without at once insulting and silencing the divine oracle of his spirit.  The praise of God is the only praise the love of which can influence a pure mind; for there only the two motives, the love of approbation, and a supreme regard for the highest truth of the conscience, cannot interfere.  We do not say that it is the only praise, which when it comes as a reward is pure or sweet, — but that when regarded as a motive, as one of the determining influences of the character, it is, for adults, the only praise that is safe and holy.

John Hamilton Thom (born January 10, 1808)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Ceaseless Aspiration

High hearts are never long without hearing some new call, some distant clarion of God, even in their dreams; and soon they are observed to break up the camp of ease, and start on some fresh march of faithful service. And, looking higher still, we find those who never wait till their moral work accumulates, and who reward resolution with no rest with whom, therefore, the alternation is instantaneous and constant; who do the good only to| see the better, and see the better only to achieve it; who are too meek for transport, too faithful for remorse, too earnest for repose; whose worship is action, and whose action ceaseless aspiration.

James Martineau (1805-1900)

New Year's Morning

Always a night from old to new
Night and the healing balm of sleep!
Each morn is New Year's morn come true,
Morn of a festival to keep.
All nights are sacred nights to make
Confession and resolve and prayer;
All days are sacred days to wake
New gladness in the sunny air.
Only a night from old to new;
Only a sleep from night to morn.
The new is but the old come true;
Each sunrise sees a new year born.

Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885)