It can never be wrong to tell him the truth; for, in his disputable state, weaving as he goes his theory of life, steering himself, cheering or reproving others, all facts are of the first importance to his conduct; and even if a fact shall discourage or corrupt him, it is still best that he should know it; for it is in this world as it is, and not in a world made easy by educational suppression, that he must win his way to shame or glory.

*

A generous prayer is never presented in vain; the petition may be refused, but the petitioner is always, I believe, rewarded by some gracious visitation.

*

EVENSONG

The embers of the day are red Beyond the murky hill. The kitchen smokes: the bed In the darkling house is spread: The great sky darkens overhead, And the great woods are shrill. So far have I been led, Lord, by Thy will: So far I have followed, Lord, and wondered still.

The breeze from the enbalmed land Blows sudden toward the shore, And claps my cottage door. I hear the signal, Lord--I understand. The night at Thy command Comes. I will eat and sleep and will not question more.

*

It is not at all a strong thing to put one's reliance upon logic.; and our own logic particularly, for it is generally wrong. We never know where we are to end if once we begin following words or doctors. There is an upright stock in a man's own heart that is trustier than any syllogism; and the eyes, and the sympathies, and appetites know a thing or two that have never yet been stated in controversy. Reasons are as plentiful as blackberries; and, like fisticuffs, they serve impartially with all sides. Doctrines do not stand or fall by their proofs, and are only logical in so far as they are cleverly put. An able controversialist no more than an able general demonstrates the justice of his cause.

*

To any man there may come at times a consciousness that there blows, through all the articulations of his body, the wind of a spirit not wholly his; that his mind rebels; that another girds him and carries him whither he would not.

*

The child, the seed, the grain of corn, The acorn on the hill, Each for some separate end is born In season fit, and still Each must in strength arise to work the almighty will.

So from the hearth the children flee, By that almighty hand Austerely led; so one by sea Goes forth, and one by land; Nor aught of all man's sons escapes from that command.

So from the sally each obeys The unseen almighty nod; So till the ending all their ways Blindfolded loth have trod: Nor knew their task at all, but were the tools of God.

*

A few restrictions, indeed, remain to influence the followers of individual branches of study. The DIVINITY, for example, must be an avowed believer; and as this, in the present day, is unhappily considered by many as a confession of weakness, he is fain to choose one of two ways of gilding the distasteful orthodox bolus. Some swallow it in a thin jelly of metaphysics; for it is even a credit to believe in God on the evidence of some crack-jaw philosopher, although it is a decided slur to believe in Him on His own authority. Others again (and this we think the worst method), finding German grammar a somewhat dry morsel, run their own little heresy as a proof of independence; and deny one of the cardinal doctrines that they may hold the others without being laughed at.

*

In particular, I heard of clergymen who were employing their time in explaining to a delighted audience the physics of the Second Coming. It is not very likely any of us will be asked to help. If we were, it is likely we should receive instructions for the occasion, and that on more reliable authority. And so I can only figure to myself a congregation truly curious in such flights of theological fancy, as one of veteran and accomplished saints, who have fought the good fight to an end and outlived all worldly passion, and are to be regarded rather as a part of the Church Triumphant than the poor, imperfect company on earth.

The Pocket R. L. S. Page 40

Robert Louis Stevenson

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