The Office for Religious Life > Memorial Church > Inscriptions

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Carved into Memorial Church's interior sandstone walls are a collection of instructive and inspirational sayings assembled by Jane Stanford over the years. Gathered by Mrs. Stanford from many sources, the sayings represented her religious faith and convictions and, in the flowery language characteristic of the Victorian literary style, the carved inscriptions were intended to decorate the church and inspire its visitors. Intricately carved stone frames enclose each of the twenty-eight inscriptions, and four of the six memorial tablets are lettered in gold. Beginning on the rear wall of the nave at the left of the central inner entrance the inscriptions are as follows:

On the North Wall of the Nave, between the Entrance Doors

There is no narrowing so deadly as the narrowing of man's horizon of spiritual things. No worse evil could befall him in his course on earth than to lose sight of Heaven. And it is not civilization that can prevent this; it is not civilization that can compensate for it. No widening of science, no possession of abstract truth, can indemnify for an enfeebled hold on the highest and central truths of humanity. "What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"
[Mark 8:37, Matthew 16:26]

A noble ambition is among the most helpful influences of student life, and the higher this ambition is, the better. No man can work well unless he can speak as the Great Master did of the joy set before Him.
And this leads to the greatest of all safeguards, and the most encouraging of all stimulating influences to a noble life, - that is, the power of personal religion. We need something outside of and beyond ourselves. "Remember, you are not your own, - you are bought with a the precious blood of Jesus."
[Cf. I PETER 1:18-19]

On the Wall of the East Clerestory

The world is new to every soul when Christ has entered into it.
We can never perish if we remain in the arms of our Father Almighty.

In the great record above, our names are written in characters of love, - characters which love for our dear Jesus alone can read, and which by his great love for us alone have been graven.

The highest service may be prepared for and done in the humblest surroundings. In silence, in waiting, in obscure, unnoticed offices, in years of uneventful unrecorded duties, the Son of God grew and waxed strong.

On the Base of the North-East Pilaster of the Crossing

In Loving Memory
Son of
Josiah and Elizabeth Stanford
Born March 9, 1824 Died June 21, 1893

In Loving Memory
Mother of Leland Stanford
Born April 14, 1791 Died Feb 27, 1873

On the Walls of the East Transept

True life is the principles of Christ lived. There is no other life that is true. To condense it still more, the true life is the Christ life lived.
God knows what His Children want before they ask, but it proves their faith in Him to pray for what they want.

Religion is intended as a comfort, a solace, a necessity to the soul's welfare; and whichever form of religion furnishes the greatest comfort, the greatest solace it is the form which should be adopted be its name what it will.
The best form of religion is, trust in God and a firm belief in the immortality of the soul, life everlasting.

An eternal existence in prospect converts the whole of your present state into a mere vestibule of the grant court of life; a beginning, an introduction to what is to follow; the entrance into that immeasurable extent of being which is the true life of man. The best thoughts, affections and aspirations of a great soul are fixed on the infinitude of eternity. Destined as such a soul is for immortality, it finds all that is not eternal too short, all that is not infinite too small.

A life that is founded on the principle of goodness, love, wisdom and power that represents the Christ has a lasting foundation and can be trusted.
We speak of love, but what do we know about it, unless we see the power of love manifested; unless we are given the power to bestow, and a willing heart to bestow it upon, and within humanity. We say God is love, but if we do not feel the power of His love, we do not know anything about it. To be loved by others makes the power of love within our hearts grow.

The CROSS is the emblem of faith, hope and love, those ineffable virtues of the soul that abide forever that can never be outgrown, even on the loftiest planes of being in the might universe of GOD.

Man, like every other individuality, has an object and a purpose to fulfill; and, when he comprehends this, he will think too much of himself to stoop on any material action that shall bring him down from the highest position on the throne of his nature.
To acknowledge God is often done without acknowledging God's great love for us, and it is His love and tender care and wise leading we should all reflect upon more than we do, - more more if we would do our duty.

Events are messengers of either Divine goodness or justice. Each has a mission to fulfill, and, as it comes from God, accomplish it in peace. And, in sending them, the good Father also sends means by which they may be endured, - perhaps averted.
Remedies in sickness, Love in trouble, Comfort in weakness, Renewed hope in disappointment, Tears in sorrow, Smiles to follow tears.

Knowledge is intelligence and its impress comes upon the mind. Wisdom is the desire of the heart prompted by God's highest and most Divine nature and comprises all knowledge. Wisdom is the highest spiritual intelligence, while the natural man, through knowledge, can know nothing of wisdom.
A man may have great intelligence and yet have nothing of the Christ life within him.

May we belong to God forever in this mortal life, serving Him faithfully through its trials, bearing the cross after Him, and may we be His forever in life eternal, and the whole Celestial court.
It is a great advancement toward the fulfillment of desires in the life beyond to have lived a Godly life on earth.

On the Bases of the South Pilasters of the Crossing, Flanking the Chancel

In Loving Memory
Father of Leland Stanford
Born Feb 28, 1795 Died April 19, 1862

In Loving Memory
Father of Mrs. Leland Stanford
Born May 14, 1787 Died April 19, 1855

Below the Pulpit and the Lectern

Lord Jesus, without reserve, without exception, without limitation, may Thy holy will be done in all things, at all times.

It is by suffering that God has most nearly approached to man; it is by suffering that man draws most nearly to God.

On the Walls of the West Transept

There are but few on earth free from cares, none but carry burdens of sorrow, and if all were asked to make a package of their troubles, and throw this package on a common pile, and then were asked to go and choose a package which they were willing to bear, all would select their own package again.
Your heartaches may be great, burdens heavy, but look about you, and with whom would you change?

The test of a Christian life lies in deeds and actions, not in words, a true follower of truth and Godliness, not a follower of the impressions of the flesh nor the impress of the intellect alone, but endeavoring to let the heart be touched with the Divine principle of God's truth; and that alone makes Christians. The instinct given to all of God's children to seek happiness is a proof that happiness is a reality and within the reach of all.

If we do good deeds to others and try to help them to live happier and better lives by being kind to them, and teaching them of the God germ within themselves, we in that way sow the seed, and God in His own way and time will make it grow. There is such a thing as mistaking Christian privileges for Christian attainments, and of imagining that we are what we ought to be simply because we know it. There is something in all hearts that can be reached, - some chord that will give forth sweet music if we only have the skill to touch it.

May the peace which no earthly disturbance can mar, which is of the Father through His inspiration and love, fill your hearts, and enable you to go on in the journey of life with a feeling of trust and confidence that nothing can disturb. It is not love for God, but love for the neighbor, good will t toward man universal kindness and gentleness, that make saints on earth. One must give as well as take of goodness, gentleness and unselfish kindness to meet with God's approval.

O GOD! Thou Divine principle of good, who dwellest in harmony and love, we feel in our souls that Thou are good to us, for we believe that Thou rulest in all things for each one's ultimate good, and we desire to be true children of light and of Thine.

God is all in all; and, i we cannot appreciate and worship Him in all things, we only worship part of God.
As we grow and improve, we will love more the beautiful everywhere. Praise God for the gift of nature for giving so much of everything that is beautiful in all the universe, because his life is in it all.
By your life only can you prove your principles to the world, and show them there is a life worth living.

Regard not the appearance of things you are to do, but Him who commands them, and who, when He pleases, can accomplish His glory and our perfection through the most trifling things.
When a person thinks a duty is beneath him, he places himself above God, for He deals with that same duty.
Let us never be sad, save at having offended God.

God gives all some work to do, - if not great deeds, then small ones, - as the cup of cold water to one of His children.
Yes, even less than that, - a word of advice, something lent to another, a little vexation patiently borne, the fault or thoughtlessness of another repaired without his knowledge. God will recompense it all a thousand-fold.

Thoughts and words travel just as God's life travels, They do not travel like an individual, but you breathe your spiritual life into the atmosphere as you do your breath, and some one else breathes it in. Those not present still receive it, for it permeates space, and all live in it and receive from it according to their unfoldment.

On the Base of the North-West Pilaster of the Crossing

In Loving Memory
Mother of Mrs. Leland Stanford
Born May 16, 1803 Died Sept 3, 1882

In Loving Memory
Son of
Leland and Jane Lathrop Stanford
Born May 14, 1868 Died March 13, 1884

On the Wall of the West Clerestory

We must not desire all to begin by perfection. It matters little how we being provided we be resolved to go on well and end well.

Earth grants joys that are great; but transplant such joys to Heaven, ennoble them through the ennobling love of God, and they grow to a magnitude beyond the comprehension of earth mind.

God in His infinite wisdom, gives, to the poor, blessings, [by way of compensation] which the wealthy do not attain - the giving and receiving of heart offerings without price, deeds that win crowns and scepters in heaven.