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entering, by that Divine intimacy, into closer sympathy with human nature; of obedience to Right and loving self-sacrifice, as the only principles of true living on earth, and of Heaven as the outgrowth of those principles, the fulfilment of the noblest aims and yearnings of the soul.
No regard has been paid to peculiarities of name or sect in making quotations. Whatever thought has seemed spiritually deepest, or of strongest practical force, has been written down as a sure word of prophecy from heart to heart. The endeavor has been, from passages expressing the right theory and sentiment of religion, to shape an every-day manual, answering to a general need; one of those small books, filled with great thoughts, which are a real help to men and women, and which may accompany them to the workshop, the camp, or the sick-room, unobtrusive and restful as the presence of a friend.
The soul, cramped among the petty vexations of earth, needs to keep its windows constantly open to the invigorating air of large and free
ideas: and what thought is so grand as that of an ever-present God, in whom all that is vital in humanity breathes and grows ? The want of every human being is a wider expansion to receive from Him, and to give of His ; fuller inspirations and outbreathings of that Spirit by which man is created anew in Him, a living soul.
Religion is life inspired by Heavenly Love; and life is something fresh and cheerful and vigorous. To forget self, to keep the heart buoyant with the thought of God, and to pour forth this continual influx of spiritual health heavenward in praise, and earthward in streams of blessing, — this is the essence of human, saintly, and angelic joy; the genuine Christ-life, the one life of the saved, on earth or in heaven.
For the Christian must be filled with one spirit, guided by one standard throughout his whole existence. The same refreshing breezes visit him while toiling through the Valley of Humiliation, or climbing the Delectable Mountains; resting in the land of Beulah, or passing through the
Dark River made bright by the faces of shining ones leaning from the other side. In the falterings and the triumphs of his course, his need is the same: the air that strengthens him, the only air in which he can breathe freely, is the pure atmosphere of Light and Love that flows down to him from his Father's House, through the open gates of the Beautiful City, and over the Celestial Hills
PREFACE TO THIRD EDITION.
The compiler of this volume is grateful that the welcome it has received and the good it has done are reasons for offering it in a new and less expensive edition. Messages have come to her from sick-rooms, and from the lips of the dying, bearing testimony to the comfort received through its pages, as well as from those who have found in it helpful suggestions for every-day life.
The feeling that those who have lived nearest God on earth, using talent, culture, and eloquence as means of communicating His truth to men, are those whose words must throw most light upon the mystery of ourselves, as human beings with immortal destinies, accounts for the many extracts from one writer, Rev. Frederick W. Robertson, — than whom almost no one has
spoken to our age with deeper spiritual penetration or a manlier sympathy.
The great, simple truth in the utterance of which he lived and died — the presence of God in humanity through His Son, to uplift it from the darkness and sorrow of sin into His own glory, the glory of goodness — is the highest element of power in all religious teaching, and is the one luminous answer to the perplexing questions which life and death are always forcing upon us. Whatever science and philosophy may do for mankind, the world can never outgrow its need of the simplicity that is in Christ.
The present edition has been enlarged by the addition of some verses from the compiler's pen, and also from other sources.