C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


A babe is a mother’s anchor.

A bird in a cage is not half a bird.

A Christianity which will not help those who are struggling from the bottom to the top of society needs another Christ to die for it.

A church debt is the devil’s salary.

A conservative young man has wound up his life before it was unreeled. We expect old men to be conservative; but when a nation’s young men are so, its funeral bell is already rung.

A cunning man overreaches no one half as much as himself.

A dull axe never loves grindstones, but a keen workman does; and he puts his tool on them in order that it may be sharp. And men do not like grinding; but they are dull for the purposes which God designs to work out with them, and therefore He is grinding them.

A gamester, as such, is the cool, calculating, essential spirit of concentrated, avaricious selfishness.

A helping word to one in trouble is often like a switch on a railroad track—but one inch between wreck and smooth-rolling prosperity.

A library is a land of shadows.

A library is but the soul’s burial ground.

A lie always needs a truth for a handle to it. The worst lies are those whose blade is false, but whose handle is true.

A lie is a very short wick in a very small lamp. The oil of reputation is very soon sucked up and gone. And just as soon as a man is known to lie, he is like a two-foot pump in a hundred-foot well. He cannot touch bottom at all.

A man has no more religion than he acts out in his life.

A man in old age is like a sword in a shop window. Men that look upon the perfect blade do not imagine the process by which it was completed. Man is a sword, daily life is the workshop, and God is the artificer; and those cares which beat upon the anvil, and file the edge, and eat in, acid-like, the inscription upon his hilt,—these are the very things that fashion the man.

A man in the right, with God on his side, is in the majority, though he be alone, for God is multitudinous above all populations of the earth.

A man is a fool who sits looking backward from himself in the past. Ah, what shallow, vain conceit there is in man! Forget the things that are behind. That is not where you live. Your roots are not there. They are in the present; and you should reach up into the other life.

A man never has good luck who has a bad wife.

A man ought to carry himself in the world as an orange-tree would if it could walk up and down in the garden,—swinging perfume from every little censer it holds up to the air.

A man should fear when he enjoys only what good he does publicly. Is it not the publicity, rather than the charity, that he loves?

A man who does not love praise is not a full man.

A man’s character is the reality of himself; his reputation, the opinion others have formed about him; character resides in him, reputation in other people; that is the substance, this is the shadow.

A man’s religion is himself. If he is right-minded toward God, he is religious; if the Lord Jesus Christ is his schoolmaster, then he is Christianly religious.

A mother has, perhaps, the hardest earthly lot; and yet 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.

A mother is as different from anything else that God ever thought of, as can possibly be. She is a distinct and individual creation.

A mother’s prayers, silent and gentle, can never miss the road to the throne of all bounty.

A noble man compares and estimates himself by an idea which is higher than himself, and a mean man by one which is lower than himself. The one produces aspiration; the other, ambition. Ambition is the way in which a vulgar man aspires.

A republican government in a hundred points is weaker than an autocratic government; but in this one point it is the strongest that ever existed—it has educated a race of men that are men.

A reputation for good judgment, for fair dealing, for truth, and for rectitude, is itself a fortune.

A tool is but the extension of a man’s hand, and a machine is but a complex tool. And he that invents a machine augments the power of a man and the well-being of mankind.

A woman, and by so much nearer heaven as that makes one.

A world without a Sabbath would be like a man without a smile, like a summer without flowers, and like a homestead without a garden. It is the joyous day of the whole week.

Adversity, if for no other reason, is of benefit, since it is sure to bring a season of sober reflection. Men see clearer at such time. Storms purify the atmosphere.

Age and youth look upon life from the opposite ends of the telescope; it is exceedingly long, it is exceedingly short.

All the sobriety which religion needs or requires is that which real earnestness produces.

All things in the natural world symbolize God, yet none of them speak of Him but in broken and imperfect words.

All true religion must stand on true morality.

All words are pegs to hang ideas on.

And now we beseech of Thee that we may have every day some such sense of God’s mercy and of the power of God above us, as we have of the fullness of the light of heaven before us.

And when no longer we can see Thee, may we reach out our hands, and find Thee leading us through death to immortality and glory.

Are you borne down by trouble, remember the apt words of Carlyle: “The eternal stars shine out as soon as it is dark enough.”

As flowers always wear their own colors and give forth their own fragrance every day alike, so should Christians maintain their character at all times and under all circumstances.

As flowers carry dewdrops, trembling on the edges of the petals, and ready to fall at the first waft of wind or brush of bird, so the heart should carry its beaded words of thanksgiving; and at the first breath of heavenly flavor, let down the shower, perfumed with the heart’s gratitude.

As for marigolds, poppies, hollyhocks, and valorous sunflowers, we shall never have a garden without them, both for their own sake and for the sake of old-fashioned folks, who used to love them.

As ships meet at sea a moment together, when words of greeting must be spoken, and then away upon the deep, so men meet in this world; and I think we should cross no man’s path without hailing him, and if he needs giving him supplies.

As warmth makes even glaciers trickle, and opens streams in the ribs of frozen mountains, So the heart knows the full flow and life of its grief only when it begins to melt and pass away.

Astronomers have built telescopes which can show myriads of stars unseen before; but when a man looks through a tear in his own eye, that is a lens which opens reaches in the unknown, and reveals orbs which no telescope, however skilfully constructed, could do; nay, which brings to view even the throne of God, and pierces that nebulous distance where are those eternal verities in which true life consists.

At first babes feed on the mother’s bosom, but always on her heart.

Before men we stand as opaque bee-hives. They can see the thoughts go in and out of us; but what work they do inside of a man they cannot tell. Before God we are as glass bee-hives, and all that our thoughts are doing within us he perfectly sees and understands.

Blessed be mirthfulness! It is one of the renovators of the world. Men will let you abuse them if only you will make them laugh.

Books are the true metempsychosis,—they are the symbol and presage of immortality. The dead men are scattered, and none shall find them. Behold they are here! they do but sleep.

Brethren, we are all sailing home; and by and by, when we are not thinking of it, some shadowy thing (men call it death), at midnight, will pass by, and will call us by name, and will say, “I have a message for you from home; God wants you; heaven waits for you.”

But there have been human hearts, constituted just like ours, for six thousand years. The same stars rise and set upon this globe that rose upon the plains of Shinar or along the Egyptian Nile and the same sorrows rise and set in every age.

By religion I mean perfected manhood,—the quickening of the soul by the influence of the Divine Spirit.

Cant is the twin sister of hypocrisy.

Character, like porcelain ware, must be printed before it is glazed. There can be no change after it is burned in.

Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven. By these tendrils we clasp it and climb thitherward. And why do we think that we are separated from them? We never half knew them, nor in this world could.

Conceited men often seem a harmless kind of men, who, by an overweening self-respect, relieve others from the duty of respecting them at all.

Death is not an end. It is a new impulse.

Death is the dropping of the flower that the fruit may swell.

Death? Translated into the heavenly tongue, that word means life!

Defeat is a school in which truth always grows strong.

Difficulties are God’s errands; and when we are sent upon them we should esteem it a proof of God’s confidence—as a compliment from God.

Do not be afraid because the community teems with excitement. Silence and death are dreadful. The rush of life, the vigor of earnest men, the conflict of realities, invigorate, cleanse, and establish the truth.

Do not be troubled because you have not great virtues. God made a million spears of grass where he made one tree. The earth is fringed and carpeted, not with forests, but with grasses. Only have enough of little virtues and common fidelities, and you need not mourn because you are neither a hero nor a saint.

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

Downright admonition, as a rule, is too blunt for the recipient.

During the war, when he knew that his liberty was the gage, when he knew the battle was to decide whether he should or should not be free, although the country for hundreds of miles was stripped bare of able-bodied white men, and though property and the lives of the women and children were at the mercy of the slave, there never was an instance of arson, or assassination, or rapine, or conspiracy, and there never was an uprising. They stood still, conscious of their power, and said, “We will see what God will do for us.” Such a history has no parallel. And since they began to vote, I beg leave to say, in closing this subject, that they have voted just as wisely and patriotically as their late masters did before the emancipation.

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

Even a liar tells a hundred truths to one lie: he has to, to make the lie good for anything.

Every charitable act is a stepping stone toward heaven.

Every child walks into existence through the golden gate of love.

Every fresh act of benevolence is the herald of deeper satisfaction; every charitable act a stepping-stone towards heaven.

Every green thing loves to die in bright colors. The vegetable cohorts march glowing out of the year in flaming dresses, as if to leave this earth were a triumph and not a sadness. It is never nature that is sad, but only we, that dare not look back on the past, and that have not its prophecy of the future in our bosoms.

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

Experience is the mother of custom.

Faith is nothing but spiritualized imagination.

Find out what your temptations are, and you will find out largely what you are yourself.

Flowers are sent to do God’s work in unrevealed paths, and to diffuse influence by channels that we hardly suspect.

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

Flowers have an expression of countenance as much as men or animals. Some seem to smile; some have a sad expression; some are pensive and diffident; others again are plain, honest and upright, like the broad-faced sunflower and hollyhock.

Flowers may beckon towards us, but they speak toward heaven and God.

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.

Give us that calm certainty of truth, that nearness to Thee, that conviction of the reality of the life to come, which we shall need to bear us through the troubles of this.

Go on your knees before God. Bring all your idols; bring self-will, and pride, and every evil lust before Him, and give them up. Devote yourself, heart and soul, to His will; and see if you do not “know of the doctrine.”

God appoints our graces to be nurses to other men’s weaknesses.

God is a being who gives everything but punishment in over measure.

God is like us to this extent, that whatever in us is good is like God.

God is the one great employer, thinker, planner, supervisor.

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 made the human body, and it is by far the most exquisite and wonderful organization which has come to us from the Divine hand. It is a study for one’s whole life. If an undevout astronomer is mad, an undevout physiologist is still madder.

God never made anything else so beautiful as man.

God pardons like a mother who kisses away the repentant tears of her child.

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

God planted fear in the soul as truly as He planted hope or courage. Fear is a kind of bell, or gong, which rings the mind into quick life and avoidance upon the approach of danger. It is the soul’s signal for rallying.

God puts the excess of hope in one man, in order that it may be a medicine to the man who is despondent.

God sends experience to paint men’s portraits.

God washes the eyes by tears until they can behold the invisible land where tears shall come no more. O love! O affliction! ye are the guides that show us the way through the great airy space where our loved ones walked; and, as hounds easily follow the scent before the dew be risen, so God teaches us, while yet our sorrow is wet, to follow on and find our dear ones in heaven.

God wishes to exhaust all means of kindness before His hand takes hold on justice.

God’s glory is His goodness.

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; God’s sovereignty is not in His intellect; God’s sovereignty is in His love.

Going out into life—that is dying. Christ is the door out of life.

Good-humor makes all things tolerable.

Good-nature is one of the richest fruits of true Christianity.

Good-nature is worth more than knowledge, more than money, more than honor, to the persons who possess it, and certainly to everybody who dwells with them, in so far as mere happiness is concerned.

Greatness lies, not in being strong, but in the right using of strength.

Happiness is not the end of life; character is.

Happy is the man who has that in his soul which acts upon the dejected as April airs upon violet roots. Gifts from the hand are silver and gold, but the heart gives that which neither silver nor gold can buy. To be full of goodness, full of cheerfulness, full of sympathy, full of helpful hope, causes a man to carry blessings of which he is himself as unconscious as a lamp is of its own shining. Such a one moves on human life as stars move on dark seas to bewildered mariners; as the sun wheels, bringing all the seasons with him from the south.

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

He must have an artist’s eye for color and form who can arrange a hundred flowers as tastefully, in any other way, as by strolling through a garden, and picking here one and there one, and adding them to the bouquet in the accidental order in which they chance to come. Thus we see every summer day the fair lady coming in from the breezy side hill with gorgeous colors and most witching effects. If only she could be changed to alabaster, was ever a finer show of flowers in so fine a vase? But instead of allowing the flowers to remain as they were gathered, they are laid upon the table, divided, rearranged on some principle of taste, I know not what, but never again have that charming naturalness and grace which they first had.

He who is false to present duty breaks a thread in the loom, and will find the flaw when he may have forgotten its cause.

He who would look with contempt upon the farmer’s pursuit is not worthy the name of a man.

Heaven is a place of restless activity, the abode of never-tiring thought.

Heaven will be inherited by every man who has heaven in his soul.

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

Home should be the center of joy, equatorial and tropical.

Human life is God’s outer church. Its needs and urgencies are priests and pastors.

“I can forgive, but I cannot forget,” is only another way of saying “I will not forgive.” A forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note, torn in two and burned up, so that it never can be shown against the man.

I have great hope of a wicked man, slender hope of a mean one. A wicked man may be converted and become a prominent saint. A mean man ought to be converted six or seven times, one right after the other, to give him a fair start and put him on an equality with a bold, wicked man.

I have known men who thought the object of conversion was to cleanse them as a garment is cleansed, and that when they are converted they were to be hung up in the Lord’s wardrobe, the door of which was to be shut, so that no dust could get at them. A coat that is not used the moths eat; and a Christian who is hung up so that he shall not be tempted, the moths eat him; and they have poor food at that.

I know it is more agreeable to walk upon carpets than to lie upon dungeon floors, I know it is pleasant to have all the comforts and luxuries of civilization; but he who cares only for these things is worth no more than a butterfly, contented and thoughtless, upon a morning flower; and who ever thought of rearing a tombstone to a last summer’s butterfly?

I met a brother who, describing a friend of his, said he was like a man who had dropped a bottle and broken it, and put all the pieces in his bosom, where they were cutting him perpetually.

I think half the troubles for which men go slouching in prayer to God are caused by their intolerable pride. Many of our cares are but a morbid way of looking at our privileges. We let our blessings get mouldy, and then call them curses.

I think you might dispense with half your doctors, if you would only consult Doctor Sun more, and be more under the treatment of these great hydropathic doctors, the clouds!

I will not say it is not Christian to make beads of others’ faults, and tell them over every day; I say it is infernal. If you want to know how the Devil feels, you do know, if you are such an one.

I would much rather fight pride than vanity, because pride has a stand-up way of fighting. You know where it is. It throws its black shadow on you, and you are not at a loss where to strike. But vanity is that delusive, that insectiferous, that multiplied feeling, and men that fight vanities are like men that fight midges and butterflies. It is easier to chase them than to hit them.

If a boy is not trained to endure and to bear trouble, he will grow up a girl; and a boy that is a girl has all a girl’s weakness without any of her regal qualities. A woman made out of a woman is God’s noblest work; a woman made out of a man is His meanest.

If a man meets with injustice, it is not required that he shall not be roused to meet it; but if he is angry after he has had time to think upon it, that is sinful. The flame is not wrong, but the coals are.

If any man is rich and powerful, he comes under the law of God by which the higher branches must take the burnings of the sun, and shade those that are lower; by which the tall trees must protect the weak plants beneath them.

If Christ is the wisdom of God and the power of God in the experience of those who trust and love Him, there needs no further argument of His divinity.

If God but cares for our inward and eternal life, if by all the experiences of this life He is reducing it and preparing for its disclosure, nothing can befall us but prosperity. Every sorrow shall be but the setting of some luminous jewel of joy. Our very morning shall be but the enamel around the diamond; our very hardships but the metallic rim that holds the opal, glancing with strange interior fires.

If there be any one whose power is in beauty, in purity, in goodness, it is a woman.

If you are idle, you are on the road to ruin; and there are few stopping-places upon it. It is rather a precipice than a road.

If you attempt to beat a man down and to get his goods for less than a fair price, you are attempting to commit burglary, as much as though you broke into his shop to take the things, without paying for them. There is cheating on both sides of the counter, and generally less behind it than before it.

In a great affliction there is no light either in the stars or in the sun; for when the inward light is fed with fragrant oil; there can be no darkness though the sun should go out. But when, like a sacred lamp in the temple, the inward light is quenched, there is no light outwardly, though a thousand suns should preside in the heavens.

In friendship your heart is like a bell struck every time your friend is in trouble.

In the early ages men ruled by strength; now they rule by brain, and so long as there is only one man in the world who can think and plan, he will stand head and shoulders above him who cannot.

In the ordinary business of life, industry can do anything which genius can do, and very many things which it cannot.

In things pertaining to enthusiasm no man is sane who does not know how to be insane on proper occasions.

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

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

Indeed, 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.

It is a bitter thought to an avaricious spirit that by and by all these accumulations must be left behind. We can only carry away from this world the flavor of our good or evil deeds.

It is a higher exhibition of Christian manliness to be able to bear trouble than to get rid of it.

It is a view of God that compensates every thing else, and enables the soul to rest in His bosom. How, when the child in the night screams with terror, hearing sounds that it knows not of, is that child comforted and put to rest? Is it by a philosophical explanation that the sounds were made by the rats in the partition? Is it by imparting entomological knowledge? No; it is by the mother taking the child in her lap, and singing sweetly to it, and rocking it. And the child thinks nothing of the explanation, but only of the mother.

It is not in the nature of true greatness to be exclusive and arrogant.

It is not what a man gets, but what a man is that he should think of. He should first think of his character and then of his condition. He that has character need have no fears about his condition. Character will draw after it condition. Circumstances obey principles.

It is not work that kills men, it is worry. Work is healthy, you can hardly put more upon a man than he can bear. Worry is rust upon the blade. It is not the revolution that destroys the machinery, but the friction. Fear secretes acids, but love and trust are sweet juices.

It is one of the worst effects of prosperity to make a man a vortex instead of a fountain; so that, instead of throwing out, he learns only to draw in.

It is slow work to be born again.

It is sometimes of God’s mercy that men in the eager pursuit of worldly aggrandizement are baffled; for they are very like a train going down an inclined plane,—putting on the brake is not pleasant, but it keeps the car on the track.

It is the color which love wears, and cheerfulness, and joy—these three. It is the light in the window of the face by which the heart signifies to father, husband, or friend that it is at home and waiting.

It is the end of art to inoculate men with the love of nature.

It was the German schoolhouse which destroyed Napoleon III. France, since then, is making monster cannon and drilling soldiers still, but she is also building schoolhouses. As long as war is possible, anything that makes better soldiers people want.

It will not do to be saints at meeting and sinners everywhere else.

John Wesley quaintly observed that the road to heaven is a narrow path, not intended for wheels, and that to ride in a coach here and to go to heaven hereafter, was a happiness too much for man.

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

Laws and institutions are constantly tending to gravitate. Like clocks, they must be occasionally cleansed, and wound up, and set to true time.

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

Learning, to be of much use, must have a tendency to spread itself among the common people.

Let it ever be the most joyful and praiseful day of the seven.

Let parents who hate their offspring rear them to hate labor, and to inherit riches; and before long they will be stung by every vice, racked by its poison, and damned by its penalty.

Let the day have a blessed baptism by giving your first waking thoughts into the bosom of God. The first hour of the morning is the rudder of the day.

Life would be a perpetual flea-hunt if a man were obliged to run down all the innuendoes, inveracities, insinuations and suspicions which are uttered against him.

Like the cellar-growing vine is the Christian who lives in the darkness and bondage of fear. But let him go forth, with the liberty of God, into the light of love, and he will be like the plant in the field, healthy, robust, and joyful.

Living is death; dying is life. We are not what we appear to be. On this side of the grave we are exiles, on that citizens; on this side orphans, on that children; on this side captives, on that freemen; on this side disguised, unknown, on that disclosed and proclaimed as the sons of God.

Love cannot endure indifference. It needs to be wanted. Like a lamp, it needs to be fed out of the oil of another’s heart, or its flame burns low.

Love is more just than justice.

Love is ownership.

Love is the medicine of all moral evil. By it the world is to be cured of sin.

Love is the river of life in this world. Think not that ye know it who stand at the little tinkling rill, the first small fountain. Not until you have gone through the rocky gorges, and not lost the stream; not until you have gone through the meadow, and the stream has widened and deepened until fleets could ride on its bosom; not until beyond the meadow you have come to the unfathomable ocean, and poured your treasures into its depths—not until then can you know what love is.

Love is the wine of existence.

Love without faith is as bad as faith without love.

Man is that name of power which rises above them all, and gives to every one the right to be that which God meant he should be.

Many men are mere warehouses full of merchandise—the head, the heart, are stuffed with goods.***There are apartments in their souls which were once tenanted by taste, and love, and joy, and worship, but they are all deserted now, and the rooms are filled with earthy and material things.

Many men build as cathedrals were built,—the part nearest the ground finished, but that part which soars toward heaven, the turrets and the spires, forever incomplete.

Many men want wealth,—not a competence alone, but a five-story competence. Everything subserves this; and religion they would like as a sort of lightning-rod to their houses, to ward off by and by the bolts of Divine wrath.

Many will say, “I can find God without the help of the Bible, or church, or minister.” Very well. Do so if you can. The Ferry Company would feel no jealousy of a man who should prefer to swim to New York. Let him do so if he is able, and we will talk about it on the other shore; but probably trying to swim would be the thing that would bring him quickest to the boat. So God would have no jealousy of a man’s going to heaven without the aid of the Bible, or church, or minister; but let him try to do so, and it will be the surest way to bring him back to them for assistance.

May we be satisfied with nothing that shall not have in it something of immortality.

Memory can glean, but can never renew. It brings us joys faint as is the perfume of the flowers, faded and dried, of the summer that is gone.

Men do not avail themselves of the riches of God’s grace. They love to nurse their cares, and seem as uneasy without some fret as an old friar would be without his hair girdle. They are commanded to cast their cares upon the Lord, but even when they attempt it, they do not fail to catch them up again, and think it meritorious to walk burdened.

Men must read for amusement as well as for knowledge.

Men of dissolute lives have little incentive to look forward to the hopes and glories of immortality. A due conception of these would be incompatible with such a life.

Men think God is destroying them because he is tuning them. The violinist screws up the key till the tense cord sounds the concert pitch; but it is not to break it, but to use it tunefully, that he stretches the string upon the musical rack.

Men who neglect Christ, and try to win heaven through moralities, are like sailors at sea in a storm, who pull, some at the bowsprit and some at the mainmast, but never touch the helm.

Men will imitate and admire his unmoved firmness, his inflexible conscience for the right; and yet his gentleness, as tender as a woman’s, his moderation of spirit, which not all the heat of party could inflame, nor all the jars and disturbances of this country shake out of its place: I swear you to an emulation of his justice, his moderation, and his mercy.

Mirth is God’s medicine. Everybody ought to bathe in it. Grim care, moroseness, anxiety,—all this rust of life, ought to be scoured off by the oil of mirth. It is better than emery. Every man ought to rub himself with it. A man without mirth is like a wagon without springs, in which one is caused disagreeably to jolt by every pebble over which it runs.

Mirth is the sweet wine of human life. It should be offered sparkling with zestful life unto God.

Mirthfulness is in the mind, and you cannot get it out. It is the blessed spirit that God has set in the mind to dust it, to enliven its dart places, and to drive asceticism, like a foul fiend, out at the back door. It is just as good, in its place, as conscience or veneration. Praying can no more be made a substitute for smiling than smiling can for praying.

Morality is character and conduct, such as is required by the circle or community in which the man’s life happens to be placed.

Morality is good, and is accepted of God, as far as it goes; but the difficulty is, it does not go far enough.

Morality must always precede and accompany religion, and yet religion is much more than morality.

Most of the debts of Europe represent condensed drops of blood.

Music cleanses the understanding, inspires it, and lifts it into a realm which it would not reach if it were left to itself.

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

Nature is a vast repository of manly enjoyments.

Never forget what a man has said to you when he was angry. If he has charged you with anything, you had better look it up. Anger is a bow that will shoot sometimes where another feeling will not.

Next to ingratitude, the most painful thing to bear is gratitude.

Next to the pastoral came the agricultural life. When you add to that the manufacturing phase of development, society begins to fill out, and needs but wings to fly, and commerce is its wings.

No grace can save any man unless he helps himself.

No land ever, even in war, did so brave and bold a thing as to take from the plantation a million black men who could not read the Constitution or the spelling-book, and who could hardly tell one hand from the other, and permit them to vote, in the sublime faith that liberty, which makes a man competent to vote, would render him fit to discharge the duties of the voter. And I beg to say, as I am bound to say, that when this one million unwashed black men came to vote, though much disturbance occurred—as much disturbance always occurs upon great changes—they proved themselves worthy of the trust that had been confided to them.

No man can tell whether he is rich or poor by turning to his ledger. It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich or poor according to what he is, not according to what he has.

No man is more cheated that the selfish man.

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

Not that which men do worthily, but that which they do successfully, is what history makes haste to record.

Not thine the sorrow, but ours, sainted soul! Thou hast indeed entered into the promised land, while we are yet on the march. To us remain the rocking of the deep, the storm upon the land, days of duty and nights of watching; but thou are sphered high above all darkness and fear, beyond all sorrow and weariness. Rest, oh, weary heart!

Nothing can be further apart than true humility and servility.

October is nature’s funeral month. Nature glories in death more than in life. The month of departure is more beautiful than the month of coming—October than May. Every green thing loves to die in bright colors.

October is the opal month of the year. It is the month of glory, of ripeness. It is the picture-month.

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

Of all joyful, smiling, ever-laughing experiences, there are none like those which spring from true religion.

One might as well attempt to calculate mathematically the contingent forms of the tinkling bits of glass in a kaleidoscope as to look through the tube of the future and foretell its pattern.

One should go to sleep as homesick passengers do, saying, “Perhaps in the morning we shall see the shore.”

Ordinarily rivers run small at the beginning, grow broader and broader as they proceed, and become widest and deepest at the point where they enter the sea. It is such rivers that the Christian’s life is like. But the life of the mere worldly man is like those rivers in Southern Africa, which, proceeding from mountain freshets, are broad and deep at the beginning, and grow narrower and more shallow as they advance. They waste themselves by soaking into the sands, and at last they die out entirely. The farther they run the less there is of them.

Our children that die young are like those spring bulbs which have their flowers prepared beforehand, and leave nothing to do but to break ground, and blossom, and pass away. Thank God for spring flowers among men, as well as among the grasses of the field.

Our government is built upon the vote. But votes that are purchasable are quicksands, and a government built on them stands upon corruption and revolution.

Our sweetest experiences of affection are meant to be suggestions of that realm which is the home of the heart.

Poetry is the robe, the royal apparel, in which truth asserts its divine origin.

Poverty is very good in poems, but it is very bad in a house. It is very good in maxims and sermons, but it is very bad in practical life.

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

Providence is but another name for natural law. Natural law itself would go out in a minute if it were not for the divine thought that is behind it.

Reading is a dissuasion from immorality. Reading stands in the place of company.

Reason can tell how love affects us, but cannot tell what love is.

Reason is a permanent blessing of God to the soul. Without it there can be no large religion.

Refinement is the lifting of one’s self upwards from the merely sensual; the effort of the soul to etherealize the common wants and uses of life.

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

Religion is the fruit of the Spirit, a Christian character, a true life.

Religion is using everything for God.

Religion, in one sense, is a life of self-denial, just as husbandry, in one sense, is a work of death.

Repentance is but another name for aspiration.

Riches are not an end of life, but an instrument of life.

Riches without law are more dangerous than is poverty without law.

Rumor has winged feet like Mercury.

Scepticism is a barren coast, without a harbor or lighthouse.

Self-contemplation is apt to end in self-conceit.

Self-denial does not belong to religion as characteristic of it; it belongs to human life; the lower nature must always be denied when you are trying to rise to a higher sphere.

Self-government by the whole people is the teleologic idea. The republican form of government is the noblest and the best, as it is the latest.

Selfishness at the expense of others’ happiness is demonism.

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

So we fall asleep in Jesus. We have played long enough at the games of life, and at last we feel the approach of death. We are tired out, and we lay our heads back on the bosom of Christ, and quietly fall asleep.

Some men are, in regard to ridicule, like tin-roofed buildings in regard to hail: all that hits them bounds rattling off; not a stone goes through.

Some men give so that you are angry every time you ask them to contribute. They give so that their gold and silver shoot you like a bullet. Other persons give with such beauty that you remember it as long as you live; and you say, “It is a pleasure to go to such men.” There are some men that give as springs do; whether you go to them or not, they are always full; and your part is merely to put your dish under the ever-flowing stream. Others give just as a pump does where the well is dry, and the pump leaks.

Some men will not shave on Sunday, and yet they spend all the week in shaving their fellow-men; and many folks think it very wicked to black their boots on Sunday morning, yet they do not hesitate to black their neighbor’s reputation on week-days.

Some of God’s noblest sons, I think, will be selected from those that know how to take wealth, with all its temptations, and maintain godliness therewith. It is hard to be a saint standing in a golden niche.

Some one calls biography the home aspect of history.

Some people are proud of their humility.

Some people think black is the color of heaven, and that the more they can make their faces look like midnight, the more evidence they have of grace. But God, who made the sun and the flowers, never sent me to proclaim to you such a lie as that.

Sophistry is the fallacy of argument.

Sorrow is Mount Sinai. If one will, one may go up and talk with God, face to face.

Sorrow makes men sincere.

Sorrows, as storms, bring down the clouds close to the earth; sorrows bring heaven down close; and they are instruments of cleansing and purifying.

Success is full of promise till men get it; and then it is a last year’s nest, from which the bird has flown.

Success surely comes with conscience in the long run, other things being equal. Capacity and fidelity are commercially profitable qualities.

Suffering is part of the divine idea.

That is true cultivation which gives us sympathy with every form of human life, and enables us to work most successfully for its advancement.

That was a judicious mother who said, “I obey my children for the first year of their lives, but ever after I expect them to obey me.”

The advertisements in a newspaper are more full of knowledge in respect to what is going on in a State or community than the editorial columns are.

The Bible is God’s chart for you to steer by, to keep you from the bottom of the sea, and to show you where the harbor is, and how to reach it without running on rocks or bars.

The Bible is the most betrashed book in the world. Coming to it through commentaries is much like looking at a landscape through garret windows, over which generations of unmolested spiders have spun their webs.

The Bible stands alone in human literature, in its elevated conception of manhood, in character and conduct.

The body is like a piano, and happiness is like music. It is needful to have the instrument in good order.

The clearest window that ever was fashioned, if it is barred by spiders’ webs, and hung over with carcasses of insects, so that the sunlight has forgotten to find its way through, of what use can it be? Now, the Church is God’s window; and if it is so obscured by errors that its light is darkness, how great is that darkness!

The conditions of city life may be made healthy, so far as the physical constitution is concerned; but there is connected with the business of the city so much competition, so much rivalry, so much necessity for industry, that I think it is a perpetual, chronic, wholesale violation of natural law. There are ten men that can succeed in the country, where there is one that can succeed in the city.

The cynic is one who never sees a quality in a man, and never fails to see a bad one. He is the human owl, vigilant in darkness and blind to light, mousing for vermin, and never seeing noble game. The cynic puts all human actions into two classes—openly bad and secretly bad. All virtue and generosity and disinterestedness are merely the appearance of good; but selfish at the bottom. He holds that no man does a good thing except for profit. The effect of his conversation upon your feelings is to chill and sear them; to send you away sour and morose. His criticisms and hints fall indiscriminately upon every lovely thing, like frost upon flowers.

The disciples found angels at the grave of Him they loved; and we should always find them too, but that our eyes are too full of tears for seeing.

The first merit of pictures is the effect which they can produce upon the mind; and the first step of a sensible man should be to receive involuntary effects from them. Pleasure and inspiration first, analysis afterward.

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 great lever by which to raise and save the world is the unbounded love and mercy of God.

The great men of earth are the shadow men, who, having lived and died, now live again and forever through their undying thoughts. Thus living, though their footfalls are heard no more, their voices are louder than the thunder, and unceasing as the flow of tides or air.

The greatest architect and the one most needed is hope.

The head learns new things, but the heart forevermore practices old experiences. Therefore our life is but a new form of the way men have lived from the beginning.

The highest order that was ever instituted on earth is the order of faith.

The history of governments through the ages is a history red, nay, lurid. Law represents the effort of men to organize society; governments, the efforts of selfishness to overthrow liberty.

The humblest individual exerts some influence, either for good or evil, upon others.

The ignorant classes are the dangerous classes. Ignorance is the womb of monsters.

The imagination is the secret and harrow of civilization. It is the very eye of faith.

The meanest thing in the world is—the devil.

The morbid states of health, the irritableness of disposition arising from unstrung nerves, the impatience, the crossness, the fault-finding of men, who, full of morbid influences, are unhappy themselves, and throw the cloud of their troubles like a dark shadow upon others, teach us what eminent duty there is in health.

The more sincere we are in our belief, as a rule, the less demonstrative we are.

The most efficacious secular book that ever was published in America is the newspaper.

The most miserable pettifogging in the world is that of a man in the court of his own conscience.

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

The mother’s heart is the child’s schoolroom.

The mystery of history is an insoluble problem.

The newspaper is a greater treasure to the people than uncounted millions of gold.

The pen is the tongue of the hand: a silent utterer of words for the eye.

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

The rarest feeling that ever lights a human face is the contentment of a loving soul.

The reason that men are so slow to confess their vices is because they have not yet abandoned them.

The religion that fosters intolerance needs another Christ to die for it.

The soul is a temple; and God is silently building it by night and by day. Precious thoughts are building it; disinterested love is building it; all-penetrating faith is building it.

The soul without imagination is what an observatory would be without a telescope.

The superfluous blossoms on a fruit tree are meant to symbolize the large way God loves to do pleasant things.

The tidal wave of God’s providence is carrying liberty throughout the globe.

The truest self-respect is not to think of self.

The way to avoid evil is not by maiming our passions, but by compelling them to yield their vigor to our moral nature. Thus they become, as in the ancient fable, the harnessed steeds which bear the chariot of the sun.

The word of God tends to make large-minded, noble-minded men.

The world’s battlefields have been in the heart chiefly, and there the greatest heroism has been secretly exercised.

The worst prison is not of stone. It is of a throbbing heart, outraged by an infamous life.

Theology is but a science of mind applied to God. As schools change theology must necessarily change. Truth is everlasting, but our ideas of truth are not. Theology is but our ideas of truth classified and arranged.

There are joys which long to be ours. God sends ten thousand truths, which come about us like birds seeking inlet; but we are shut up to them, and so they bring us nothing, but sit and sing awhile upon the roof, and then fly away.

There are many persons of combative tendencies, who read for ammunition, and dig out of the Bible iron for balls. They read, and they find nitre and charcoal and sulphur for powder. They read, and they find cannon. They read, and they make portholes and embrasures. And if a man does not believe as they do, they look upon him as an enemy, and let fly the Bible at him to demolish him. So men turn the word of God into a vast arsenal, filled with all manner of weapons, offensive and defensive.

There are many persons who think Sunday is a sponge with which to wipe out the sins of the week.

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 some men’s souls that are so thin, so almost destitute of what is the true idea of soul, that were not the guardian angels so keen-sighted, they would altogether overlook them.

There are sorrows that are not painful, but are of the nature of some acids, and give piquancy and flavor to life.

There can be no barrenness in full summer. The very sand will yield something. Rocks will have mosses, and every rift will have its windflower, and every crevice a leaf; while the fertile soil will be reared a gorgeous troop of growths, that will carry their life in ten thousand forms, but all with praise to God. And so it is when the soul knows its summer. Love redeems its weakness, clothes its barrenness, enriches its poverty, and makes its very desert to bud and blossom as the rose.

There have been many men who left behind them that which hundreds of years have not worn out. The earth has Socrates and Plato to this day. The world is richer yet by Moses and the old prophets than by the wisest statesmen. We are indebted to the past. We stand in the greatness of ages that are gone rather than in that of our own. But of how many of us shall it be said that, being dead, we yet speak?

There is a good day coming for the South. Through darkness and tears and blood she has sought it. It has been an unconscious Via Dolorosa. But, in the end, it will be worth all it has cost. Her institutions before were deadly. She nourished death in her bosom. The greater her secular prosperity the more sure was her ruin. Every year of delay but made the change more terrible. Now, by an earthquake, the evil is shaken down. Her own historians in a better day shall write that from that day the sword cut off the cancer she began to find her health.

There is a patience that cackles. There are a great many virtues that are hen-like. They are virtues, to be sure; but everybody in the neighborhood has to know about them.

There is always work, and tools to work withal, for those who will.

There is an army of memorable sufferers who suffer inwardly and not outwardly. The world’s battlefields 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 battlefields of history.

There is an ugly kind of forgiveness in this world,—a kind of hedgehog forgiveness, shot out like quills. Men take one who has offended, and set him down before the blowpipe of their indignation, and scorch him, and burn his fault into him; and when they have kneaded him sufficiently with their fiery fists, then they forgive him.

There is no faculty of the human soul so persistent and universal as that of hatred.

There is no friendship, no love, like that of the parent for the child.

There is no part of government which cannot better suffer derangement than the ballot. If you strike the ballot with disease, it is heart disease.

There is no such thing as preaching patience into people unless the sermon is so long that they have to practice it while they hear. No man can learn patience except by going out into the hurly-burly world, and taking life just as it blows. Patience is but lying to and riding out the gale.

There is no such thing as white lies: a lie is as black as a coal-pit, and twice as foul.

There is not a single heart but has its moments of longing.

There is nothing in this world so fiendish as the conduct of a mean man when he has the power to revenge himself upon a noble one in adversity. It takes a man to make a devil; and the fittest man for such a purpose is a snarling, waspish, red-hot, fiery creditor.

There is nothing that is so wonderfully created as the human soul. There is something of God in it. We are infinite in the future, though we are finite in the past.

There is nothing which vanity does not desecrate.

There is tonic in the things that men do not love to hear; and there is damnation in the things that wicked men love to hear. Free speech is to a great people what winds are to oceans and malarial regions, which waft away the elements of disease, and bring new elements of health. And where free speech is stopped miasma is bred, and death comes fast.

There ought to be such an atmosphere in every Christian church that a man going there and sitting two hours should take the contagion of heaven, and carry home a fire to kindle the altar whence he came.

These appetites are very humiliating weaknesses. That our grace depends so largely upon animal condition is not quite flattering to those who are hyperspiritual.

They who refuse education to a black man would turn the South into a vast poorhouse, and labor into a pendulum, necessity vibrating between poverty and indolence.

Thine, O death, was the furrow: we cast therein the precious seed. Now let us wait and see what God shall bring forth for us. A single leaf falls—the bud at its axil will shoot forth many leaves. The husbandman bargains with the year to give back a hundred grains for the one buried. Shall God be less generous? Yet, when we sow, our hearts think that beauty is gone out, that all is lost. But when God shall bring again to our eyes the hundredfold beauty and sweetness of that which we planted, how shall we shame over that dim faith that, having eyes, saw not, and ears, heard not, though all heaven and all the earth appeared, and spake, to comfort those who mourn!

Think of a man in a chronic state of anger!

Thinking is creating with God, as thinking is writing with the ready writer; and worlds are only leaves turned over in the process of composition, about his throne.

This world is God’s workshop for making men in.

This world is not a platform where you will hear Thalberg-piano-playing. It is a piano manufactory, where are dust and shavings and boards, and saws and files and rasps and sandpapers. The perfect instrument and the music will be hereafter.

Thorough selfishness destroys or paralyzes enjoyment. A heart made selfish by the contest for wealth is like a citadel stormed in war, utterly shattered.

Thou, Everlasting Strength, hast set Thyself forth to bear our burdens. May we bear Thy cross, and bearing that, find there is nothing else to bear; and touching that cross, find that instead of taking away our strength, it adds thereto. Give us faith for darkness, for trouble, for sorrow, for bereavement, for disappointment; give us a faith that will abide though the earth itself should pass away a faith for living, a faith for dying.

Though a man declares himself an atheist, it in no way alters his obligations.

Titles are too “thin” for the nineteenth century.

To be a Christian is to obey Christ no matter how you feel.

To the Christian, these shades are the golden haze which heaven’s light makes, when it meets the earth, and mingles with its shadows.

To the covetous man life is a nightmare, and God lets him wrestle with it as best he may.

Trouble teaches men how much there is in manhood.

True elegance becomes the more so as it approaches simplicity.

True obedience is true liberty.

True politeness is the spirit of benevolence showing itself in a refined way. It is the expression of good-will and kindness. It promotes both beauty in the man who possesses it, and happiness in those who are about him. It is a religious duty, and should be a part of religious training.

Truthfulness is godliness.

Undoubtedly we render our consciences callous by evil indulgences; but we cannot entirely subdue that still, small voice.

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.

Victories that are cheap are cheap. Those only are worth having which come as the result of hard fighting.

Vigilance is not only the price of liberty, but of success of any sort.

Watch lest prosperity destroy generosity.

We are apt to believe in Providence so long as we have our own way; but if things go awry, then we think, if there is a God, He is in heaven, and not on earth.

We go to the grave of a friend saying, “A man is dead;” but angels throng about him, saying, “A man is born.”

We know much of a writer by his style. An open and imperious disposition is shown in short sentences, direct and energetic. A secretive and proud mind is cold and obscure in style. An affectionate and imaginative nature pours out luxuriantly, and blossoms all over with ornament.

We know that the gifts which men have do not come from the schools. If a man is a plain, literal, factual man, you can make a great deal more of him in his own line by education than without education, just as you can make a great deal more of a potato if you cultivate it than if you do not; but no cultivation in this world will ever make an apple out of a potato.

We let our blessings get mouldy, and then call them curses.

We may cover a multitude of sins with the white robe of charity.

We only see in a lifetime a dozen faces marked with the peace of a contented spirit.

We pray for those who have ceased to pray. We pray for those that need prayer more than ever, that have fewer and fewer seasons even of thought, that grow hard with years, that are less and less troubled by sin, and that are more and more irreverent of religion. We pray for the children of Christian parents who sometimes weep at the memory of father and mother, but who never have thought of God.

We should so live and labor in our time that what came to us as seed may go to the next generation as blossom, and that what came to us as blossom may go to them as fruit. This is what we mean by progress.

We sleep, but the loom of life never stops; and the pattern which was weaving when the sun went down is weaving when it comes up to-morrow.

Weak minds may be injured by novel-reading; but sensible people find both amusement and instruction therein.

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

Were one to ask me in which direction I think man strongest, I should say, his capacity to hate.

What a pity flowers can utter no sound! A singing rose, a whispering violet, a murmuring honeysuckle—oh, what a rare and exquisite miracle would these be!

What is the Bible in your house? It is not the Old Testament, it is not the New Testament, it is not the Gospel according to Matthew, or Mark, or Luke, or John; it is the Gospel according to William; it is the Gospel according to Mary; it is the Gospel according to Henry and James; it is the Gospel according to your name. You write your own Bible.

What is the disposition which makes men rejoice in good bargains? There are few people who will not be benefited by pondering over the morals of shopping.

What place is so rugged and so homely that there is no beauty, if you only have a sensibility to beauty?

What profusion is there in His work! When trees blossom there is not a single breastpin, but a whole bosom full of gems; and of leaves they have so many suits that they can throw them away to the winds all summer long. What unnumbered cathedrals has He reared in the forest shades, vast and grand, full of curious carvings, and haunted evermore by tremulous music; and in the heavens above, how do stars seem to have flown out of His hand faster than sparks out of a mighty forge!

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

When a man can look upon the simple wild-rose, and feel no pleasure, his taste has been corrupted.

When a man has no longer any conception of excellence above his own, his voyage is done, he is dead,—dead in trespasses and sin of blear-eyed vanity.

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 flowers are full of heaven-descended dews, they always hang their heads; but men hold theirs the higher the more they receive, getting proud as they get full.

When God thought of mother, He must have laughed with satisfaction, and framed it quickly—so rich, so deep, so divine, so full of soul, power, and beauty, was the conception.

When men enter into the state of marriage, they stand nearest to God.

When our children die, we drop them into the unknown, shuddering with fear. We know that they go out from us, and we stand, and pity, and wonder. If we receive news that a hundred thousand dollars had been left them by some one dying, we should be thrown into an ecstasy of rejoicing; but when they have gone home to God, we stand, and mourn, and pine, and wonder at the mystery of Providence.

When there is love in the heart there are rainbows in the eyes, which cover every black cloud with gorgeous hues.

Where some think, and others do not, there is developed aristocracy. Where all have come to think we have democracy,—the government of the people by themselves.

While a man is stringing a harp, he tries the strings, not for music, but for construction. When it is finished it shall be played for melodies. God is fashioning the human heart for future joy. He only sounds a string here and there to see how far His work has progressed.

Who shall recount our martyr’s sufferings for this people? Since the November of 1860, his horizon has been black with storms. By day and by night he trod a way of danger and darkness. On his shoulders rested a government dearer to him than his own life. At its integrity millions of men at home were striking; upon it foreign eyes lowered. It stood like a lone island in a sea full of storms; and every tide and wave seemed eager to devour it. Upon thousands of hearts great sorrows and anxieties have rested, but not on one such, and in such measure, as upon that simple, truthful, noble soul, our faithful and sainted Lincoln.

Women are a new race, recreated since the world received Christianity.

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 cannot play the hypocrite before God; and to obtain pardon you must cease to sin, as well as to be exercised by a spirit of repentance.

You may get a large amount of truth into a brief space.

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.

Your honors here may serve you for a time, as it were for an hour, but they will be of no use to you beyond this world. Nobody will have heard a word of your honors in the other life. Your glory, your shame, your ambitions, and all the treasures for which you push hard and sacrifice much will be like wreaths of smoke. For these things, which you mostly seek, and for which you spend your life, only tarry with you while you are on this side of the flood.