John Wesley had this for his rule of life:
Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.
Abraham Lincoln used to say that he always plucked a thorn and planted a rose wherever he thought a rose would grow. And how few places there are where a rose will not grow!
On Princes Street in Edinburgh, among the memorials of soldiers, poets, and scholars, one likes to see the monument to the great Scottish preacher, Thomas Guthrie. Taking refuge under his arm is one of the waifs of the great city, one of the street Arabs for whom Guthrie founded the Ragged Schools, and whom he sought to rescue from the maelstrom of the city's cruelty and sin. The favorite poem of Guthrie, the one which he liked to quote so often, was this verse by G. Linnaeus Banks:
I live for those who love me,
For those who know me true,
For the Heaven that smiles above me,
And awaits my spirit too;
For the cause that lacks assistance,
For the wrong that needs resistance,
For the future in the distance,
And the good that I can do.
John Keble used to say, "When you are quite despondent, the best way is to go out and do something kind to somebody."
This is a medicine that never fails to cure. To test it, try it. Your visit to the sick, the bereaved, the disheartened, and the lonely, will kindle fires of love and hope upon your own desolate hearth. Christ was faithful and cheerful, and one reason was that he "went about doing good" (Acts 10:38). Imprison yourself with your sorrow, and life will be a gloomy bondage.