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WILLIAM MORLEY PUNSHON
English minister
(1824 - 1881)

Don't aim at any impossible heroisms. Strive rather to be quiet in your own sphere. Don't live in the cloudland of some transcendental heaven; do your best to bring the glory of a real heaven down, and ray it out upon your fellows in this work-day world. Seek to make trade bright with a spotless integrity, and business lustrous with the beauty of holiness.
      - [Heroism]

God has been always working, evolving, in His quiet power, from the seeming, the real, from the false, the true. Not for nothing blazed the martyr's fires--not for nothing toiled brave sufferers up successive hills of shame. God's purpose doth not languish. The torture and the trial of the past have been the stern ploughers in His service who never suspended their husbandry, and who have made long their furrows, into those furrows the imperishable seed hath fallen. The heedless world hath trodden it in; tears and blood have watered it; the patient sun hath warmed and cheered it to its ripening; and it shall be ready soon.
      - [Evolution]

God has taught in the Scriptures the lesson of a universal brotherhood, and man must not gainsay the teaching. Shivering in the ice-bound or scorching in the tropical regions; in the lap of luxury or in the wild hardihood of the primeval forest; belting the globe in a tired search for rest; or quieting through life in the heart of ancestral woods; gathering all the decencies around him like a garment, or battling in fierce raid of crime against a world which has disowned him, there is an inner humanness which binds me to that man by a primitive and indissoluble bond. He is my brother, and I cannot dissever the relationship. He is my brother, and I cannot release myself from the obligation to do him good.
      - [Brotherhood]

Labor is the true alchemist that beats out in patient transmutation the baser metals into gold.
      - [Labor]

Let it be ours to be self-reliant amidst hosts of the vacillating--real in a generation of triflers--true amongst a multitude of shams; when tempted to swerve from principle, sturdy as an oak in its maintenance; when solicited by the enticement of sinners, firm as a rock in our denial.
      - [Fidelity]

Never more than to-day were needed the men of calm and resolute faith. Brothers, to your knees and to your ranks! To your knees in humblest supplication; to your ranks in steadfast bravery which no foe can cause to quail. Stand forth in courage and in gentleness for the truth which you believe to be allied to Freedom and Progress and God. Be so strong that you are not afraid to be just. Cherish a tender humanity and a catholic heart. Then take your stand, calm and moveless as the stars.
      - [Faith in God]

One great want of the times is a commanding ministry--a ministry of a piety at once sober and earnest, and of mightiest moral power. Give us these men, "full of faith and of the Holy Ghost," who will proclaim old truths with new energy, not cumbering them with massive drapery nor hiding them beneath piles of rubbish. Give us these men! men of sound speech, who will preach the truth as it is in Jesus, not with faltering tongue and averted eye, as if the mind blushed at its own credulity--not distilling into it an essence so subtle and so speedily decomposed that a chemical analysis alone can detect the faint odor which tells it has been there--but who will preach it apostlewise, that is "first of all," at once a principle shrined in the heart and a motive mighty in the life--the source of all morals and the inspiration of all charity--the sanctifier of every relationship, and the sweetener of every toil. Give us these men! men of zeal untiring--whose hearts of constancy quail not although dull men sneer, and proud men scorn, and timid men blush, and cautious men deprecate, and wicked men revile.
      - [Ministers]

There is no inevitable connection between Christianity and cynicism. Truth is not a salad, is it, that you must always dress it with vinegar?
      - [Christianity]

There's winter on the hills to-day,
  The sad wind soughs o'er churchyard knolls,
    And weary nature seems to say,
      "'Tis Lenten-tide for sinful souls."
        The barb is in our heart to-day;
          Sore crushed with sense of ail and sin,
            We feebly strive and faintly pray,
              'Gainst danger near, for grace within,
                We mourn our pride and passion's stain,
                  The earthly in our hearts enshrined;
                    The rebel flesh, too oft in vain
                      Commanded by the nobler mind;
                        And all of human curse or care
                          Which lurks life's dangerous paths among,
                            To quench the altar-flame of prayer,
                              Or hush the heavenward strain of song.
      - [Lent]

Wearily have the years passed, I know; wearily to the pale watcher on the hill who has been so long gazing for the daybreak; wearily to the anxious multitudes who have been waiting for his tidings below. Often has the cry gone up through the darkness, "Watcher, what of the night?" and often has the disappointing come, "It is night still; here the stars are clear above me, but they shine afar, and yonder the clouds lower heavily, and the sad night winds blow." But the time shall come, and perhaps sooner than we look for it, when the countenance of that pale watcher shall gather into intenser expectancy, and when the challenge shall be given, with the hopefulness of a nearer vision, "Watcher, what of the night?" and the answer will come, "The darkness is not so dense as it was; there are faint streaks on the horizon's verge; mist is in the valleys, but there is a radiance on the distant hill. It comes nearer--that promise of the day. The clouds roll rapidly away, and they are fringed with amber and gold. It is, it is the blest sunlight that I feel around me--Morning! It is morning!"
      - [Millennium]


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