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James Wood, comp. Dictionary of Quotations. 1899.


Action is the right outlet of emotion.

Civilisation means the recession of passional and material life, and the development of social and moral life.

Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation.

Consecration is going out into the world where God Almighty is, and using every power for His glory.

Defeat is a school in which truth always grows strong.

Doctrine is nothing but the skin of truth set up and stuffed.

Education is only like good culture; it changes the size, but not the sort.

Everything that happens in this world is part of a great plan of God running through all time.

Faith is nothing but spiritualised imagination.

Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made and forgot to put a soul into.

Gambling with cards, or dice, or stocks, is all one thing; it is getting money without giving an equivalent for it.

Genius unexerted is no more genius than a bushel of acorns is a forest of oaks.

Gifts from the hand are silver and gold, but the heart gives that which neither silver nor gold can buy.

God asks no man whether he will accept life. That is not the choice. You must take it; the only choice is how.

God made man to go by motives, and he will not go without them, any more than a boat without steam or a balloon without gas.

God pardons like a mother, who kisses the offence into everlasting forgetfulness.

God will accept your first attempt, not as a perfect work, but as a beginning.

God’s men are better than the devil’s men, and they ought to act as though they thought they were.

God’s providence is on the side of clear heads.

God’s sovereignty is not in His right hand or His intellect, but His love.

Greatness lies not in being strong, but in the right using of strength. He is greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his own.

He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his own.

Home should be an oratorio of the memory, singing to all our after life melodies and harmonies of old-remembered joy.

I have great hope of a wicked man, slender hope of a mean one.

If a man cannot be a Christian in the place where he is, he cannot be a Christian anywhere.

In this world it is not what we take up, but what we give up, that makes us rich.

In this world, full often our joys are only the tender shadows which our sorrows cast.

It is not work that kills men, it is worry. It is not the revolution that destroys the machinery, but the friction.

It is the office of the Church to teach, not to train.

Joy is more divine than sorrow; for joy is bread, and sorrow is medicine.

Laws are not masters, but servants, and he rules them who obeys them.

Let every man come to God in his own way.

Liberty comes with Christianity, because Christianity develops and strengthens the mass of men.

Life is a plant that grows out of death.

Look at home, father priest, mother priest; your church is a hundredfold heavier responsibility than mine can be. Your priesthood is from God’s own hands.

Love cannot clasp all it yearns for in its bosom, without first suffering for it.

Love is mightier than indignation.

Man has a silent and solitary literature written by his heart upon the tables of stone in Nature; and next to God’s finger, a man’s heart writes the most memorable things.

Man without self-restraint is like a barrel without hoops, and tumbles to pieces.

Many of our troubles are God dragging us, and they would end if we would stand upon our feet, and go whither He would have us.

Meekness is not mere white-facedness, a mere contemplative virtue; it is maintaining peace and patience in the midst of pelting provocations.

Men are not put into this world to be everlastingly fiddled on by the fingers of joy.

Men can make an idol of the Bible.

Men love to nurse their cares, and seem as uneasy without some fret, as an old friar would be without his hair-girdle.

Men’s best successes come after their disappointments.

Mirth is God’s medicine.

Naboth was right to hold on to his home. There were garnered memories that all the wealth of Ahab could not buy.

Nature glories in death more than in life. The month of departure is more beautiful than the month of coming…. Every green thing loves to die in bright colours.

Nature holds an immense uncollected debt over every man’s head.

No grace can save any man unless he helps himself.

No man is such a conqueror as the man who has defeated himself.

No mother worthy of the name ever gave herself thoroughly for her child who did not feel that, after all, she reaped what she had sown.

No nation can bear wealth that is not intelligent first.

Nowhere can a man get real root-room, and spread out his branches till they touch the morning and the evening, but in his own house.

Of all earthly music, that which reaches the farthest into heaven is the beating of a loving heart.

Of all man’s work of art, a cathedral is greatest. A vast and majestic tree is greater than that.

Order and quiet are good things when they can be had without the sacrifice of things that are better.

Our experiences of life sway and bow us either with joy or sorrow. They plant everything about us with heart-seeds. Thus a house becomes sacred. Every room has a thousand memories.

Our most exalted feelings are not meant to be the common food of daily life. Contentment is more satisfying than exhilaration; and contentment means simply the sum of small and quiet pleasures.

Our whole life is but a chamber which we are frescoing with colours, that do not appear while being laid on wet, but which will shine forth afterwards when finished and dry.

Private opinion is weak, but public opinion is almost omnipotent.

Providence is but another name for natural law.

Pushing any truth out very far, you are met by a counter-truth.

Reckon what is in a man, not what is on him, if you would know whether he is rich or poor.

Refinement that carries us away from our fellow-men is not God’s refinement.

Religion would frame a just man; Christ would make a whole man. Religion would save a man; Christ would make him worth saving.

See to it that each hour’s feelings, and thoughts, and actions are pure and true; then will your life be such.

Selfishness is that detestable vice which no one will forgive in others, and no one is without in himself.

Sink the Bible to the bottom of the ocean, and man’s obligations to God would be unchanged. He would have the same path to tread, only his lamp and his guide would be gone; he would have the same voyage to make, only his compass and chart would be overboard.

Success is full of promise till men get it, and then it seems like a nest from which the bird has flown.

Suffering in human life is very widely vicarious.

Suffering is part of the divine idea.

The Bible tells us what Christian graces are; but it is in the struggle of life that we are to find them.

The body of Christ is wherever human bodies are, and he who has any bitterness against his brother is always committing sacrilege.

The Church is a mere organisation to help a man to fulfil his duties; it is not the source from whence those duties sprung.

The cynic is one who never sees a good quality in a man, and never fails to see a bad one.

The elect are whosoever will, and the nonelect whosoever won’t.

The even-flow of constant cheerfulness strengthens; while great excitements, driving us with fierce speed, both wreck the ship and end often in explosions.

The first hour of the morning is the rudder of the day.

The first lesson of life is one of vicarious suffering.

The gravest events dawn with no more noise than the morning star makes in rising. All great developments complete themselves in the world, and modestly wait in silence, praising themselves never, and announcing themselves not at all. We must be sensitive and sensible if we would see the beginnings and endings of great things. That is our part.

The head learns new things, but the heart for evermore practises old experiences.

The ignorant classes are the dangerous classes.

The loom of life never stops; and the pattern which was weaving when the sun went down in the evening is weaving when it comes up to-morrow.

The lower nature must always be dented when you are trying to rise to a higher sphere.

The man who cannot be a Christian in the place where he is, cannot be a Christian anywhere.

The moment an ill can be patiently borne, it is disarmed of its poison, though not of its pain.

The mother-grace of all the graces is Christian good-will.

The philosophy of one century is the common-sense of the next.

The real man is one who always finds excuses for others, but never excuses himself.

The stars do not come to tell us it is night, but to lay beams of light through it, and give the eye a path to walk in.

The traveller who goes round the world prepares himself to pass through all latitudes and to meet all changes.

The way to avoid evil is not by maiming our passions, but by compelling them to yield their vigour to our moral nature.

The wide pasture is but separate spears of grass; the sheeted bloom of the prairies but isolated flowers.

The world never let a man bless it but it first fought him.

The world’s battle-fields have been in the heart chiefly. More heroism has there been displayed in the household and in the closet, I think, than on the most memorable military battle-fields of history.

There are many men who do not believe in evaporation. They get all they can, and keep all they get, and so are not fertilisers, but only stagnant, miasmatic pools.

There are many troubles which you cannot cure by the Bible and the hymn-book, but which you can cure by a good perspiration and a breath of fresh air.

There are no troubles which have such a wasting and disastrous effect upon the mind as those which must not be told, but which cause the mind to be continually rolling and turning over upon itself in ceaseless convolutions and unrest.

There is an anger that is majestic as the frown of Jehovah’s brow; it is the anger of truth and love.

There is nothing which vanity does not desecrate.

There was but one Moses to the thousands of Israel that entered Jordan.

Those persons who do most good are least conscious of it.

Trouble teaches men how much there is in manhood.

True obedience is true liberty.

Truths are first clouds, then rain, then harvests and food.

Try it, ye who think there is nothing in it; try what it is to speak with God behind you.

Unless a man can link his written thoughts with the everlasting wants of men, so that they shall draw from them as from wells, there is no more immortality to the thoughts and feelings of the soul than to the muscles and the bones.

Very few men acquire wealth in such a manner as to receive pleasure from it.

We can take up no scheme, however wild and impracticable, but it will strike off some flower or fruit from the tree of knowledge.

We expect old men to be conservative, but when a nation’s young men are so, its funeral-bell is already rung.

We must not arrogate to ourselves a spirit of forgiveness, until we have been touched to the quick where we are sensitive and borne it meekly.

We need not die while we are living.

We ought not to judge men by their absolute excellence, but by the distance which they have travelled from the point at which they started.

We ought not to seek too high joys. We may be bright without transfiguration.

We own whom we love. The universe is God’s because He loves.

Well-married, a man is winged; ill-matched, he is shackled.

What the heart has once owned and had, it shall never lose.

When a man gives proof that his heart is sound and that his life is sound, there is no divergence of opinion that should keep us from fellowship with him.

When a man’s pride is subdued, it is like the sides of Mount Ætna. It was terrible during the eruption, but when that is over and the lava is turned into soil, there are vineyards and olive-trees which grow up to the top.

When a tree is dead it will lie any way; alive, it will have its own growth.

You can imagine thistle-down so light that when you run after it your running motion would drive it away from you, and that the more you tried to catch it the faster it would fly from your grasp. And it should be with every man, that, when he is chased by troubles, they, chasing, shall raise him higher and higher.

You may say, “I wish to send this ball so as to kill the lion crouching yonder ready to spring upon me. My wishes are all right, and I hope Providence will direct the ball.” Providence won’t. You must do it; and if you do not, you are a dead man.