More from and about
Henry Van Dyke
(biographical info at bottom of page)

  

To desire and strive to be of some service to the world, to aim at
doing something which shall really increase the happiness and
welfare and virtue of humankind--this is a choice which is possible
for all of us; and surely it is a good haven to sail for.

   

Are you willing to stoop down and consider the needs and desires of little children; to remember the weaknesses and loneliness of people who are growing old; to stop asking how much your friends love you, and to ask yourself if you love them enough; to bear in mind the things that other people have to bear on their hearts; to trim your lamp so that it will give more light and less smoke, and to carry it in front so that your shadow will fall behind you; to make a grave for your ugly thoughts and a garden for your kindly feelings, with the gate open?  Are you willing to do these things for a day? Then you are ready to keep Christmas!
  
  
One that plants a tree is a servant of God, that person provides a kindness for many generations, and faces that he or she has not seen shall bless that person.

      
To be glad of life, because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up to the stars; to be satisfied with your possessions, but not contented with yourself until you have made the best of them; to despise nothing in the world except falsehood and meanness, and to fear nothing except cowardice; to be governed by your admirations rather than by your disgusts; to covet nothing that is your neighbors' except their kindness of heart and gentleness of manners; to think seldom of your enemies, often of your friends and every day of Christ; and to spend as much time as you can with body and spirit, in God's out-of-doors--these are the little guideposts on the footpath of peace.
  
  
A friend is what the heart needs all the time.
  
There is a loftier ambition that to stand high in the world.  It is to stoop down and lift humankind a little higher.
   

There is no personal charm so great as the charm of a cheerful temperament.

     

Remember, what you possess in the world will be found at the day
of your death to belong to someone else, but what you are will be yours forever.

   

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It is better to burn the candle at both ends, and in the middle,
too, than to put it away in the closet and let the mice eat it.

   

Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very
silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.

   

Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear,
too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice,
but for those who love, time is eternity.

   
    
Born November 10, 1852, in Germantown, Pennsylvania, and educated in theology at Brooklyn Polytechnic, Princeton, and Berlin, Henry Van Dyke worked twenty years as a minister, first in Newport, Rhode Island, from 1879 to 1883 and next in New York until 1899.  His Christmas sermons, his essays, and his short stories made him a popular writer. His poems reveal a classical education as well as a common touch in matters of faith.  He became Professor of English Literature at Princeton in 1900.  During World War I he acted as American Minister to the Netherlands (1913-16) and then naval chaplain, for which he was awarded the Legion of Honour.  He died April 10, 1933.
  

  

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