Friday, November 17, 2017

   "As I make my slow pilgrimage through the world, a certain sense of beautiful mystery seems to gather and grow. I see that many people find the world dreary, and, indeed, there must be spaces of dreariness in it for us all; some find it interesting, some surprising; some find it entirely satisfactory. But those who find it satisfactory seem to me, as a rule, to be tough, course, healthy natures, who find success attractive and food digestible: who do not trouble their heads very much about other people, but go cheerfully and optimistically on their way, closing their eyes as far as possible to things painful and sorrowful, and getting all the pleasure they can  out of material enjoyments.

Well, to speak very sincerely and humbly, such a life seems to me the worst kind of failure. It is the life that men were living in the days of Noah, and out of such lives comes nothing that is wise or useful or good. Such men leave the world as they found it, except for the fact that they have eaten a little way into it, like a mite into a cheese, and leave a track of decomposition behind them."   Arthur Benson.

  "But besides all these characteristics of art discussed, and all of its expressions, there are 'artistic temperaments' which do not express themselves in any of the recognized mediums of art, but which apply their powers direct to life itself. I do not mean successful, professional people, who win their triumphs by a happy sanity and directness of view, to who labor is congenial and success enjoyable, but I mean those who have a fine perception of quality in innumerable forms; who are interested in the salient points of others, who delight to enter into appropriate relations with those they meet, to whom life itself, its joys and sorrows, its gifts and its losses, has a certain romantic, beautiful mysterious savor. Such people have a strong sense of the significance of their relations with others; they enjoy dealing with characters, with problems, with situations. Having both interest and sympathy, they get the best out of other people; they pierce through the conventional fence that so many of us erect as a protection against intrusion."  Arthur C. Benson. 

I am moved to tears each time I see this picture and read the quote. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

   "A transition from an author's book to his conversation, is too often like an entrance into a large city, after a distant prospect. Remotely, we see nothing but spires of temples and turrets of palaces, and imagine it the residence of splendor, grandeur, and magnificence; but, when we have passed the gates, we find it perplexed with narrow passages, disgraced with despicable cottages, embarrassed with obstructions, and clouded with smoke." Samuel Johnson.

The application is easy ... 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

"Nothing is more unjust, however common, than to charge with hypocrisy him that expresses zeal for those virtues which he neglects to practice; since he may be sincerely convinced of the advantages of conquering his passions without having yet obtained the victory, as a man may be confident of the advantages of a voyage, or a journey, without having courage or industry to undertake it, and may honestly recommend to others those attempts which he neglects himself. In moral endeavors, this philosopher observed in natural enquiries; having first set positive and absolute excellence before us, we may be pardoned though we sink down to humbler virtue, trying, however, to keep our point always in view, and struggling not to lose ground, though we cannot gain it." Samuel Johnson.

 "Those whom the appearance of virtue, or the evidence of genius, have tempted to a nearer knowledge of the writer in whose performances they may be found, have indeed had frequent reason to repent their curiosity; the bubble that sparkled before them has become common water at the touch, the phantom of perfection has vanished when they wished to press it to their bosom. They have lost the pleasure of imagining how far humanity may be exalted, and, perhaps, felt themselves less inclined to toil up the steeps of virtue, when they observe those who seem best able to point the way, loitering below, as either afraid of the labor, or doubtful of the reward.
  A sudden intruder into the closet of an author would perhaps feel equal indignation as with the officer, who having long solicited admission into the presence of Sardanapalus, (a militarily powerful, highly efficient and scholarly ruler, presiding over the largest empire the world had yet seen.)
saw him not consulting upon laws, or inquiring into grievances, or modeling armies, but employed in feminine amusements, and directing the ladies in their work." 
Samuel Johnson. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

  "Some say roses grow the sweeter when they are planted by garlic. Verily, Christians that have gloriously improved their graces are like those roses, they grow sweeter and sweeter, holier and holier, when by wicked men. The best diamonds shine most in the dark, and so do the best Christians shine most in the worst times." Thomas Brooks.