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MALTBIE DAVENPORT BABCOCK
American Presbyterian clergyman and moralistic writer
(1858 - 1901)
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Although there is nothing so bad for conscience as trifling, there is nothing so good for conscience as trifles. Its certain discipline and development are related to the smallest things. Conscience, like gravitation, takes hold of atoms. Nothing is morally indifferent. Conscience must reign in manners as well as morals, in amusements as well as work. He only who is "faithful in that which is least" is dependable in all the world.
      - [Conscience]

"And whatsover ye do in word or deed--all in the name of the Lord Jesus." "Do" does not belong there. There is more than doing in life. Thinking, speaking, hoping, planning, dreaming--all are to be in the name of the Lord Jesus. His love and life are to color and shape our ambitions and accomplishments. In Him, as a plant in soil, in rain and sunshine, we are to live, growing up by Him and into Him. In His name we are to work, to pray, to suffer, to rejoice, and at last to go home. It is only another way of saying, "For me to live is Christ."
      - [Christ]

Anxiety has no place in the life of one of God's children. Christ's serenity was one of the most unmistakable signs of His filial trust. He was tired and hungry and thirsty and in pain; but we cannot imagine Him anxious or fretful. His mind was kept in perfect peace because it was stayed on God. The life lived by the faith of the Son of God will find His word kept: "My peace give I unto you."
      - [Anxiety]

"Blessed is the man that endureth temptation, for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him." It is a verse of climbing power. It begins with man, it ends with God. It begins with earth, it ends with heaven. It begins with struggle, it ends with a crown. Blessed is the man that endureth, stands up under it, resists, conquers. "Blessed," for it means new wisdom, new strength, new joy,--"the crown of life."
      - [Endurance]

Business is religion, and religion is business. The man who does not make a business of his religion has a religious life of no force, and the man who does not make a religion of his business has a business life of no character.
      - [Business]

Christianity is not a voice in the wilderness, but a life in the world. It is not an idea in the air, but feet on the ground, going God's way. It is not an exotic to be kept under glass, but a hardy plant to bear twelve manner of fruits in all kinds of weather. Fidelity to duty is its root and branch. Nothing we can say to the Lord, no calling Him by great or dear names, can take the place of the plain doing of His will. We may cry out about the beauty of eating bread with Him in His kingdom, but it is wasted breath and a rootless hope, unless we plow and plant in His kingdom here and now. To remember Him at His table and to forget Him at ours, is to have invested in bad securities. There is no substitute for plain, every-day goodness.
      - [Christianity]

Contentment is not satisfaction. It is the grateful, faithful, fruitful use of what we have, little, or much. It is to take the cup of Providence, and call upon the name of the Lord. What the cup contains is its contents. To get all there is in the cup is the act and art of contentment. Not to drink because one has but half a cup, or because one does not like its flavor, or because some one else has silver to one's own glass, is to lose the contents; and that is the penalty, if not the meaning of discontent. No one is discontented who employs and enjoys to the utmost what he has. It is high philosophy to say, we can have just what we like, if we like what we have; but this much at least can be done, and this is contentment,--to have the most and best in life, by making the most and best of what we have.
      - [Contentment]

Dare we let children grow up with no vital contact with the Saviour, never intentionally and consciously put into His arms? Not to bring them to Him, not to teach them to walk toward Him, as soon as they can walk toward anyone, is wronging a child beyond words. The terrible indictment uttered by the Lord, "Them that were entering in ye hindered," and the millstone warning for offending little ones, are close akin to the deserts of those who ruin a man's whole day of life by wronging his morning hours. Not to help a child to know the saving power of Christ is to hold back a man from salvation.
      - [Childhood]

Death can never interrupt a faithful Christian life. When we feel the touch upon our shoulder and bear the word whispered in our ear, we may be at our work or on a journey, walking the street or asleep in our beds, praying at church or fishing in the country. What difference does it make? We are trying to please our God in what is our business just then. Sacred places and times have no superior advantage for the dying. Sacredness is in the motive of the heart that would do everything as unto the Lord, dying along with the rest. As heaven is still the glad doing of God's will, where is there any interruption?
      - [Death]

Death is a great preacher of deathlessness. The protest of the soul against death, its reversion, its revulsion, is a high instinct of life. Dissatisfaction in his world who satisfieth the desire of every living thing has a grip on the future. As far as this goes, he has the least assurance of immortality who can be best satisfied with eating and drinking and "things"; he has the surest hope of ongoings and far distances who does not live by bread alone, whose eye, is looking over the shoulder of things, whose ear hears mighty waters rolling evermore, who has "hopes naught can satisfy below." The limits of which death makes us aware, make us aware of life's limitlessness. The wing whose stretch touches the bars of its cage knows it was meant for an ampler ether and diviner air."
      - [Death]

Failure will hurt but not hinder us. Disillusion will pain but not dishearten us. Sorrows will shake us but not break us. Hope will set the music ringing and quicken our lagging pace. We need hope for living far more than for dying. Dying is easy work compared with living. Dying is a moment's transition; living, a transaction of years. It is the length of the rope that puts the sag in it. Hope tightens the cords and tunes up the heart-strings. Work well, then; suffer patiently, rejoicing in hope. God knows all, and yet is the God of Hope. And when we have hoped to the end here, He will give us something to look forward to, for all eternity. For "hope abideth."
      - [Hope]

God be thanked for that good and perfect gift, the gift unspeakable: His life, His love, His very self in Jesus Christ.
      - [Christ]

Goodness conditions usefulness. A grimy hand may do a gracious deed, but a bad heart cannot. What a man says and what a man is must stand together,--must consist. His life can ruin his lips or fill them with power. It is what men see that gives value to what we say. Paul had the right order, "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine." Being comes before saying or doing. Well may we pray, "Search me, O God! Reveal me to myself. Cleanse me from secret faults, that those who are acquainted with me, who know my down-sittings and my uprisings, may not see in me the evil way that gives the lie to my words."
      - [Goodness]

How good it would be if we could learn to be rigorous in judgment of ourselves, and gentle in our judgment of our neighbors! In remedying defects, kindness works best with others, sternness with ourselves. It is easy to make allowances for our faults, but dangerous; hard to make allowances for others' faults, but wise. "If thy hand offend thee, cut it off," is a word for our sins; for the sins of others, "Father, forgive them."
      - [Critics]

How sure we are of our own forgiveness from God. How certain we are that we are made in His image, when we forgive heartily and out of hand one who has wronged us. Sentimentally we may feel, and lightly we may say, "To err is human, to forgive divine;" but we never taste the nobility and divinity of forgiving till we forgive and know the victory of forgiveness over our sense of being wronged, over mortified pride and wounded sensibilities. Here we are in living touch with Him who treats us as though nothing had happened--who turns His back upon the past, and bids us journey with Him into goodness and gladness, into newness of life.
      - [Forgiveness]

I agree with you that the communion with the invisible saints must be more of a dream than a reality. But we have a right to dream dreams, if they are not contradicted by the evident laws of God's word, or God's world.
      - [Communion]

I heard that God had called your mother home to heaven. It will seem more than ever like home to you now.
      - [Death]

If a friend is the one who summons us to our best, then is not Jesus Christ our best friend, and should we not think of the Communion as one of His chief appeals to us to be our best? The Lord's Supper looks not back to our past with a critical eye, but to our future, with a hopeful one. The Master appeals from what we have been to what we may be. He bids us come, not because we are better than we have been, but because He wants us to be. To stay away because our hearts are cold is to refuse to go to the fire till we are warm.
      - [Communion]

If an electric car stands motionless on the tracks, it is nothing against the power of electricity. If an invalid has no appetite, and cannot go out of doors at night, it is no argument against things to eat and the joy of starlit air. If a man does not know a flower by name, or a poem by heart, it is no indictment of the beauty of a rose, or the charm of poetry. If we bear the name of Christ but give no other sign of him, if we go through the forms of godliness, but live powerless lives, it is a thousand reproaches to us. To be powerless when Christ has all power, and we can have all we want, is an arraignment to which we can make no answer that is not self-incriminating.
      - [Powerless]

If God made no response except to perfect faith, who could hope for help? But God has regard for beginnings, and His eye perceives greatness in the germ. The hand of the woman in the crowd trembled as it was stretched toward Jesus, and the faith back of it was superstitiously reverent, trusting in the virtue of the robe, rather than in the One who wore it; yet the genuineness of that faith; feeble though it was, triumphed in God's loving sight. Real trust is real power, though the heart and hand be feeble.
      - [Faith in Christ]

If we show the Lord's death at Communion, we must show the Lord's life in the world. If it is a Eucharist on Sunday, it must prove on Monday that it was also a Sacrament.
      - [Communion]

Is not this steadfastness to mark, to make, the character of your lives? Is it not God's will that we should press steadily on to our goal in obedience to Him, in channels of His choosing, whether in sunshine or shadow, in the cheer of spring or in the chill of winter, neither detained by pleasure nor deterred by pain?
      - [Steadfastness]

It is the "where I am" that makes heaven. The life after death might become through its very endlessness a burden to our spirits, if it were not to be filled with the infinite variety and freshness of God's love. Some have shrunk from its very infinitude, because they have not realized what God's love can make of it. Human love helps us to understand this. When we have come to love any one with all our power of affection, then there is no monotony or weariness in the days and hours we spend with them.
      - [Future]

It will be hard for you not to ask why this must be. God knows why, and that may be as good to us as though we knew a thousand reasons. I pray God to hold you quiet and patient and uncomplaining, and help you bear the weight of this seemingly unintelligible sorrow. I hope you will remember that this is the only world in which a Christian can suffer, and suffer patiently and meekly. We cannot suffer by and by. God helps us to glorify Him now, when we can.
      - [Death of Children]

Jesus does not want us to say, "dead," for, He said, "all live unto Him," though they seem dead to us.
      - [Death]


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