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James Wood, comp. Dictionary of Quotations. 1899.


As we advance in life, we learn the limits of our abilities.

Courage is on all hands considered an essential of high character.

Every one knows better than he practises, and recognises a better law than he obeys.

Genius only commands recognition when it has created the taste which is to appreciate it.

Ignorance is the dominion of absurdity.

In common things the law of sacrifice takes the form of positive duty.

In every department of life we thank God that we are not like our fathers.

Just laws are no restraint upon the freedom of the good, for the good man desires nothing which a just law will interfere with.

Justice without wisdom is impossible.

Literature happens to be the only occupation in which wages are not given in proportion to the goodness of the work done.

Men are made by nature unequal: it is vain, therefore, to treat them as if they were equal.

Men of genius have acuter feelings than common men; they are like the wind-harp, which answers to the breath that touches it, now low and sweet, now rising into wild swell or angry scream, as the strings are swept by some passing gust.

Men possessed with an idea cannot be reasoned with.

Modern revolution has nothing grand about it; it is merely the resolution of society into its component atoms.

No man is ever good for much who has not been carried off his feet by enthusiasm between twenty and thirty.

Our human laws are but the copies, more or less imperfect, of the eternal laws so far as we can read them.

Philosophy goes no further than probabilities, and in every assertion keeps a doubt in reserve.

Piety, like wisdom, consists in the discovery of the rules under which we are actually placed, and in faithfully obeying them.

Sacrifice is the first element of religion, and resolves itself, in theological language, into the love of God.

Science rests on reason and experiment, and can meet an opponent with calmness; (but) a creed is always sensitive.

So long as the “Holy Place” in their souls is left in possession of powerless opinions, men are practically without God in this world.

Superior strength is found in the long-run to lie with those who had the right on their side.

The better a man is morally, the less conscious he is of his virtues. The greater the artist, the more aware he must be of his shortcomings.

The essence of true nobility is neglect of self. Let the thought of self pass in, and the beauty of a great action is gone, like the bloom from a soiled flower.

The practice of submission to the authority of one whom one recognises as greater than one’s self outweighs the chance of occasional mistake.

The secret of man’s nature lies in his religion, in what he really believes about the world and his own place in it.

There are at bottom but two possible religions—that which rises in the moral nature of man, and which takes shape in moral commandments, and that which grows out of the observance of the material energies which operate in the external universe.

Those who seek for something more than happiness in this world must not complain if happiness be not their portion.

To be true in heart and just in act are the first qualities necessary for the elevation of humanity.

To go back is easy, if we have missed our way on the road uphill; it is impossible only when the road is downhill.

To understand the serious side of things requires a matured faculty; the ridiculous is caught more easily.

We must have the real thing before we can have a science of the thing.

When a writer sets to work again after a long pause, his faculties have, as it were, to be caught in the field and brought in and harnessed.

When Nature is sovereign there is no need of austerity or self-denial.

Without justice society is sick, and will continue sick till it dies.