200) A Few Comments by Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

     The neglect of religion and indifference about eternity can be found anywhere, even in the most regular parts of the community, on the farm or in the shop, where one year glides uniformly after another, and nothing new or important is either expected or dreaded.  There is no interest so small, no engagement so slight, but that it is sufficient to keep religion out of the thoughts.  There are many people who are not depraved by any great degrees of wickedness; folks who are honest dealers, faithful friends, and inoffensive neighbors; but who have no interest whatsoever in religion; who live wholly without self-examination; and indulge any desire that happens to arise; with very little resistance, or compunction; who hardly know what it is to combat a temptation, or to repent of a fault; but go on, neither self-approved nor self-condemned; not endeavoring after any excellence, nor reforming any wrong practice.  But let them not be deceived, they cannot suppose that God will accept one who never wished to be accepted by God.    –Sermon X (alt.)


     The prevailing spirit of the present age seems to be a spirit of skepticism, of suspicion and distrust, a contempt of all authority, a presumptuous confidence in private judgment, and a dislike of all established forms merely because they are established, and of old paths because they are old.   –Sermon VII 


     Cicero remarks that to not know what has been transacted in former times is to continue always as a child.  If no use is made of the labors of past ages, the world must remain always in the infancy of knowledge.  The discoveries of every man would then terminate in his own advantage, and the studies of every age would have to be employed again on questions which the past generations had discussed and determined.  This is how many approach religion and morality.  But if we took the same approach to the sciences, we would have to reject all previous study of architecture and live in caves until we ourselves could step by step discover all necessary knowledge.  –Rambler #154 (paraphrased)


     To hear complaints with patience, even when complaints are vain, is one of the duties of friendship.  And though it must be allowed that he suffers most like a hero that hides his grief in silence,… yet, it cannot be denied that he who complains acts like a man, like a social being who looks for help from his fellow creatures.  –Attributed


It is a most mortifying reflection for any man to consider, what he had done, compared with what he might have done.   –Attributed


He who praises everybody praises nobody.   –Attributed


Matthew 22:34-39  —  Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together.  One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:  “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
     Jesus replied:  “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it:  ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Colossians 3:1-2  —  Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

II Thessalonians 3:16  —  Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way.  The Lord be with all of you.

A MORNING PRAYER by Walter Rauschenbusch:  

O great Companion of our souls, go with us today and comfort us by the sense of your presence…  May we take heed of all the judgments of others and gather patiently whatever truth they hold, but teach us still to test them by the words and spirit of the one who alone is our Master.  May we not be so conformed to this world that all people fully approve of us, but may we speak the higher truth and live the purer righteousness which you have revealed to us.  If others speak well of us, may we not be puffed up; if they slight us, may we not be cast down; remembering the words of our Master who encouraged us to rejoice when men speak evil of us and tremble if all speak well, that so we may have evidence that we are still soldiers of God…  If any slight or wrong still rankles in our souls, help us to pluck it out so that we may be healed by you.  Suffer us not to turn in anger on him who has wronged us and seek his hurt, lest we increase the sorrows of the world and taint our own souls with the poisoned sweetness of revenge.  Grant that by the insight of love, we may understand our brother in his wrong, and if his soul is sick, to bear with him in pity, and pray that he be healed by the gentle spirit of our Master.  Make us determined to love even at cost to our pride, that so we may be soldiers of your peace on earth…  Amen.