Wit & wisdom
Throughout the land this Christmas morning dawns upon many happy homes,–made happy by the consciousness of love that has gone out or come in with the gift which betokens its presence. No other element is so powerful in the production of happinesss as love. And giving is love’s only means of existence. That is why giving and happiness are so closely related,–the one depends upon love and love depends on the other.
- The Inglenook, December 25, 1906, p. 1236
Inglenook Cook Book to be revised
No other book published by the [Brethren Publishing] House has enjoyed so large a sale as the present cook book. This may be due to two characteristics of the book. First, the recipes are of dishes that are familiar to the common people. They are mainly wholesome and substantial and at the same time they require no great amount of time and labor for their preparation. In short, as a rule they are the dishes one would expect to see on the tables of those who endeavor to practice the principles of the simple life. . . . The second characteristic which we think has contributed to the popularity of the present cook book is the personal element in it,–each recipe being followed by the name and address of the sister who recommends it and sent it in.
- The Inglenook, June 28, 1910, p. 613
Happiness is a by-product of helpfulness.
- The Inglenook, March 23, 1909, p. 307
More failures are due to a lack of faithfulness and perseverance than to any lack of ability or brain power. Very little of the work of the world calls for more than ordinary intelligence, but the successful accomplishment of every undertaking calls for faithfulness. The world has known this all along, but the workers have seemed indifferent to the fact with the result that faithfulness has come to outweigh almost every other commendation.
- The Inglenook, April 20, 1909, p. 396
A bit of wisdom
You will notice that [people] who have nothing to do spend a great deal of time quarreling and complaining, which are conceded to be the worst and most profitless occupations on earth. Fanciful ideals of pleasure are a part of youth, but adult years will prove to you that work well done and charity well distributed are the real joymakers.
- The Inglenook, March 16, 1909, p. 257
Let us be kind
Let us be kind;
This is a wealth that has no measure,
This is of heaven and earth the highest treasure–
Let us be kind.
A tender word, a smile of love in meeting,
A song of hope and victory to those entreating,
A glimpse of God and brotherhood while life is fleeting–
Let us be kind.
- The Inglenook, May 4, 1909, p. 451
How easy it is to pick flaws in existing things and to think up remedies for those evils over which we have no direct power. When it comes to reforming ourselves and our own ways, that’s a different matter.
- The Inglenook, March 2, 1909, p. 201
Spring like a glorious morning
Is shedding its beauties around.
We see its evidence skyward,
Its grandeur covers the ground.
We see its wonders forming
Of carpet beneath our feet,
Of vines, grasses, and flowers,
Oh, nature is surely complete!
Music more rich and harmonious
Than mortal could ever produce,
Wafted on wings of the springtime,
New hope and courage induce.
We being created an image
Of the one omnipotent God,
Should cultivate springtime within us
And walk with perfection shod.
- The Inglenook, April 27, 1909, p. 414
A hymn of peace
Breath of the Lord that moved of old
Through chaos of the quickening earth,
Till the wide heavens in light unrolled,
And the sun and star and flower had birth,
Breathe on this warring world of men,
To bid its strife and tumult cease;
Till stars of morning sing again,
With Sons of God, the Song of Peace.
Still on the waters broods thy power;
Through all our discords echoes still
The music of that later hour,
“Peace on the earth! in heaven goodwill!”
Teach thou our hearts that nobler song
Of nobler souls by truth set free,
Till the full chorus, sweet and strong,
From thy glad earth goes up to thee.
- The Inglenook, March 23, 1909, front cover
It would be well if we should all be familiar with Washington’s words to his nephew, Bushrod Washington, in a letter written in 1783.
“Be courteous to all, but intimate with few; and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation. Let your heart feel for the afflictions and distresses of everyone, and let your hand give in proportion to your purse; remembering always the estimation of the widow’s mite, that it is not every one that asketh that deserveth charity; all however, are worthy of the inquiry, or the deserving may suffer. Do not conceive that fine clothes make fine men, any more than fine feathers make fine birds. A plain, genteel dress is more admired, and obtains more credit than lace and embroidery, in the eyes of the judicious and sensible.”
- The Inglenook, February 21, 1911, p. 181
Our great men
Sometimes we think that because we do not occupy public positions it is not important for us to be careful how we live and what our influence may be. But, supposing our actions do not react with double force on our own characters, who knows the bounds of the sphere of our influence? Lincoln did not know, as he toiled through the early years of his life, that in after years every little incident of that period, showing his uprightness, his faithfulness, his honesty, would be published abroad and become guideposts in the lives of thousands of other boys. Washington did not know, as he painstakingly followed the rigid rules of conduct he had laid down for himself that thousands after him would attempt to follow these same rules. They did not know what great issues hung on their personal conduct in early life, and yet they were true to the best in them. That is why they became great.
And here is our greatest inspiration; to be true to our highest ideals, however circumscribed our sphere of life may be. The result will bring us greater strength of character, greater power to accomplish a full life’s work, and when we pass on to that future world our influence will continue until–who shall say?–we may fill out the measure of true greatness.
- The Inglenook, February 21, 1911, p. 180
Blessed is the teacher
Blessed is the teacher who is not wasteful of words, who is not wasteful of time, who is not wasteful of opportunities, but who is wasteful of smiles.
- The Inglenook, February 21, 1911, p. 181
The depth of some friendships
Genuine friendship is both rich and rare. . . . Let us not profess friendship at all until we can verify it under even adverse conditions, for it is a crime to have people delude themselves on false friendships.
- The Inglenook, December 3, 1907, p. 1165
Am I not God’s finger?
A man was praying for his unconverted neighbor and said, “Touch him with thy finger Lord,” when suddenly the thought came to him, “Am I not God’s finger?” He concluded to see. His efforts won that neighbor to Christ and he learned the truth that God works through human agents in the winning of the world.
- The Inglenook, September 10, 1907, p. 875
Welcome New Year
Oh, happy New Year, welcome now;
For we are very glad to greet
The day in which we may begin
To lay our lives at Jesus’ feet,
And cast our sins of old away;
In righteous ways to walk therein,
And as the New Year comes around,
With it, may we new lives begin.
Oh! give us strength to follow e’er
Within the Master’s blessed way;
Let us all evil thoughts forget,
Henceforth, from this bright New Year’s day;
Our steps let falter, now, no more,
But onward, upward ever tread;
Should they e’er erring start to stray,
Oh! bring them back to God instead.
Blest New Year, be our constant guide,
And every day that comes around,
May we in service of the Lord,
In sweet humility be found;
And as each New Year’s morning dawns,
May we sweet praises ever sing;
And ne’er confessions of the wrong,
To thy new threshold, have to bring.
- The Inglenook, December 31, 1907, p. 1267
The angels’ message
“Fear not, for, behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior which is Christ the Lord.” . . .
But what does it mean to us today? Has it lost its consoling power? No. Certainly it has not, for it shall be “to all people.” But the question with us is this: Has the message found fulfillment in our lives? Has the birth of the Savior brought us that joy and peace which the angels promised? Have we allowed him to come into our hearts and lives to such an extent that our lives prove to our fellow-men that we possess that joy and peace? Have you, dear Christian friends, found joy and peace in the Master’s service, or have you found it only a burden, something that you do simply because you feel you must in order to obtain salvation?
- The Inglenook, December 24, 1907, p. 1245-6
The true life
The true life is not thinking or dreaming, but doing. To wait for great opportunities, which may never come, is to miss the little within our reach. For as surely as the house is built brick upon brick and stone upon stone, so the little deeds, the daily trifles, the apparently ordinary actions, comprise the aggregate of human life and human achievement.
- The Inglenook, September 10, 1907, p. 875
Grandma number two
Other people make cookies but grandma’s cookies, while they are made of the same kind of flour and sugar, have some extra good taste to them that no other cookies have. It may be only the generous smile and the sweet spirit that accompanies the giving, but whatever it is, it makes grandma’s cookies the best in the world.
And then her peppermint candy is different from what other people buy. Why, a whole meetinghouse full of crying babies can be hushed in a moment by one little red stick of peppermint candy which grandma had hidden away in her pocket for such emergencies.
But after all these sweet cookies and the red candy only indicate the sweet disposition and loving heart in the bosom of our grandmas. The cookies and candies would not be half so good if she was not so good herself. God be blessed for our dear old grandmothers.
- The Inglenook, December 3, 1907, p. 1165
A prayer of thanksgiving
For the beautiful world of nature and mystery about us; for the balmy zephyrs of spring, the sweet-scented summer breeze, and autumn’s placid days; for the infinite blue of the skies, the thousand sunset tints, and the roseate clouds of morning; for the songs of birds making our hearts glad; for murmuring brooklets and rustling leaves and sighing winds; for flowers, for color, for music, for sunlight; for broad prairies and rugged mountain scenes; for all these tangible creations of thine which make this world so beautiful and life so varied and sweet, we bless thee, O God.
- The Inglenook, November 26, 1907, p. 1130
Brains no part of happiness
Happiness, or, better still, joy, is the result only of well-doing. It never comes from what we get, or from what we have, but from what we give out and do in the line of duty. A half-witted child of God sharing a cup of cold water knows more of real happiness in that instance than a brilliant-minded “grafter,” or cynic, or atheist, knows in a life-time. The will to do, not the brains to know, is the secret that is within the reach of all.
- The Inglenook, November 5, 1907, p. 1069
If you want to be interesting, don’t talk much about yourself.
If we had more good hearers, we would have more good sermons.
If you are in the wrong place, your right place is empty.
If you want to be strong in trial, don’t forget to pray when you are prosperous.
If there is some man you hate, begin to pray for him, and you will get ashamed of yourself, and try to help him.
If you can’t be rich, you can become better off by being contented.
If you can’t do the work you like to do, try to like the work you have to do.
If you are a Christian, the devil will never get in front of you unless you turn round.
If the earth were covered with flowers all the year round, the bees would get lazy.
- The Inglenook, October 22, 1907, p. 1023
The Tin Pan Brigade (excerpt)
The best people in the world never get [the] front except by accident. They are not willing to pay the price in shuffling, trimming and juggling, to get into the focus of the search light. They do what good they can that comes nearest to hand, and make no fuss about it. When they die the world mourns good people gone before.
- The Inglenook, July 27, 1901, p. 417
An improved proverb
It’s wiser being good than bad;
It’s safer being meek than fierce;
It’s fitter being sane than mad.
My own hope is a sun will pierce
The thickest cloud earth ever stretched;
That what began best can’t end worst,
Nor what God blessed once prove accurst.
- The Inglenook, July 20, 1901, p. 380
Here’s one for you
Be polite to all around you. If you are intimately acquainted with people all the more reason for courtesy. If they are strangers it is good policy to be polite to them, and not only is it good policy but it is right, and that ought to settle it. Politeness is like an air cushion: there is nothing in it, but it is a very comfortable thing. He who is polite is likely to win out in an otherwise even competition.
- The Inglenook, May 18, 1901, p. 156
A girl’s essay on life
Over in New York, a twelve-year-old girl who was asked to write a composition on “Life,” produced the following: “Life is like French verbs. You try hard and you seem to fall and you stumble and get discouraged and hate the whole thing and suddenly, when you don’t care any more, you find you know how to do it.”
- The Inglenook, May 11, 1901, p. 137
Get on the sunny side
Half a dozen happy-spirited workers are worth a whole regiment of growlers. Don’t be a grumbler. Don’t sour everything that is around and about you. Don’t be a crape machine and make a funeral procession of your life. Don’t creep into gloomy shadows like moles and bats. The best workers never grumble, and grumblers seldom work. Get on the sunny side of life.
- The Inglenook, April 27, 1901, p. 79
The Inglenook Magazine
There are flashier magazines on the market, those that have half or more in the form of advertising pages, and they come monthly, and cost from ten cents apiece upward. But do they have more real meat in them than the Inglenook? Are they of more permanent, homelike, interest? And it comes weekly, that’s a feature not to be forgotten, weekly, remember that. And the get-up of the publication is equal to the best of them. It is a publication that you need not be ashamed of. It is not a thing to cover up and be concerned about when other magazines are abroad and under consideration.
- The Inglenook, April 6, 1901, p. 12
What is the Inglenook to contain?
Three words will express the Editor’s mind.
First, Good sentiment. That is wholesome, clean, moral thought and aspiration. Scandal, tragedy and sporty stuff are not to blot its clean record of the past.
Second, Convictions. The Inglenook expects to echo the fundamental principles of life with a ring that leaves no uncertainties.
Third, Inspiration to achieve character. Most people are struggling, actually gasping for life in the mad rush for a place in life. Air castles, free advice, visionary schemes, etc., give but momentary relief. What people want is an inspiration to believe and go ahead. If we drop every other aim of the Nook we shall not cease our endeavor to inspire people to look upon the bright side of life. A great deal of stupidity and failure comes from taking a gloomy view of life.
Cheer up, God rules this universe and all is well now and evermore.
- The Inglenook, October 8, 1907, p. 972
How to live long
Expect a good, long, useful life.
Keep in the sunlight; nothing beautiful or sweet grows or ripens in the darkness.
Avoid fear in all its varied forms of expression; it is the greatest enemy of the human race.
Nature is the greatest juvenator; her spirit is ever young. Live with her; study her; love her.
Keep mental cobwebs, dust, and brain ashes brushed off by frequent trips to the country or by travel.
Don’t allow yourself to think on your birthday, that you are a year older and so much nearer the end.
Keep your mind young and fresh by vigorous thinking, and your heart sound by cultivating a cheerful optimistic disposition.
Throw aside your dignity and romp and play with children; make them love you by loving them, and you will add years to your life.
- The Inglenook, October 8, 1907, p. 973