More from and about
Phillips Brooks
(biographical info at bottom of page)

  

We are haunted by an ideal life,
and it is because we have within
us the beginning and the possibility of it.

   

I do not see how we can help thinking about God when He is so good to us all the time. Let me tell you how it seems to me that we come to know about our heavenly Father. It is from the power of love which is in our own hearts. Love is at the soul of everything.  Whatever has not the power of loving must have a very dreary life indeed. We like to think that the sunshine and the winds and the trees are able to love in some way of their own, for it would make us know that they were happy if we knew that they could love. And so God who is the greatest and happiest of all beings is the most loving too. All the love that is in our hearts comes from him, as all the light which is in the flowers comes from the sun.  And the more we love, the more near we are to God and His Love.

      
Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger people.  Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be the miracle.
  
If you limit the search for truth and forbid men anywhere, in any way, to seek knowledge, you paralyze the vital force of truth itself.  In the best sense of the word, Jesus was a radical. His religion has been so long identified with conservation -- often with conservatism of the obstinate and unyielding sort -- that it is almost startling for us sometimes to remember that all of the conservatism of his own times was against him; that it was the young, free, restless, sanguine, progressive part of the people who flocked to him.
   

Dreadful will be the day when the world becomes contented, when one great universal satisfaction spreads itself over the world. Sad will be the day for every man when he becomes absolutely contented with the life that he is living, with the thoughts that he is thinking, with the deeds that he is doing, when there is not forever beating at the doors of his soul some great desire to do something larger which he knows that he was meant and made to do because he is a child of God.

     

Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones.

   

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No man or woman of the humblest sort can really be strong, gentle,
pure, and good without the world being better for it, without somebody
being helped and comforted by the very existence of that goodness.

   

Some day, in years to come, you will be wrestling with the great
temptation, or trembling under the great sorrow of your life. But
the real struggle is here, now... Now it is being decided whether,
in the day of your supreme sorrow or temptation, you shall
miserably fail or gloriously conquer. Character cannot be
made except by a steady, long-continued process.

   

Pray the largest prayers. You cannot think a prayer so large that God, in
answering it, will not wish you had made it larger.  Pray not for crutches but for wings.

   
    
Phillips Brooks is best known today as the author of "O Little Town of Bethlehem." Former generations, however, accounted him the greatest American preacher of the nineteenth century (and not for lack of other candidates). His sermons are still read.

He was born in Boston in 1835 and educated at Harvard and at Virginia Theological Seminary. After ten years of ministry at two churches in Philadelphia, he returned to Boston in 1869 and was rector of Trinity Church there until 1891. He was then elected Bishop of Massachusetts, and died two years later.

  

  

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