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


A gallant man is above ill words.

Abundance consists not alone in material possession, but in an uncovetous spirit.

Ceremony keeps up things; ’tis like a penny glass to a rich spirit, or some excellent water; without it the water were spilt, and the spirit lost.

Equity is a roguish thing: for law we have a measure, know what to trust to; equity is according to the conscience of him that is chancellor, and as that is larger or narrower, so is equity. ’Tis all one as if they should make the standard for the measure we call a foot a chancellor’s foot; what an uncertain measure would this be! One chancellor has a long foot, another a short foot, a third an indifferent foot. ’Tis the same in the chancellor’s conscience.

He that has not religion to govern his morality is not a dram better than my mastiff dog; so long as you stroke him, and please him, and do not pinch him, he will play with you as fine as may be,—he is a very good moral mastiff; but if you hurt him, he will fly in your face, and tear out your throat.

He that hath a scrupulous conscience is like a horse that is not well weighed; he starts at every bird that flies out of the hedge.

Humility is a virtue all preach, none practice, and yet everybody is content to hear. The master thinks it good doctrine for his servant, the laity for the clergy, and the clergy for the laity.

Ignorance of the law excuses no man; not that all men know the law, but because it is an excuse every man will plead, and no man can tell how to confute him.

In a troubled state we must do as in foul weather upon a river, not think to cut directly through, for the boat may be filled with water; but rise and fall as the waves do, and give way as much as we conveniently can.

Marriage is a desperate thing.

Never tell your resolution beforehand.

No man is the wiser for his learning; it may administer matter to work in, or objects to work upon; but wit and wisdom are born with a man.

Nothing is text but what is spoken of in the Bible and meant there for person and place; the rest is application; which a discreet man may do well; but it is his scripture, not the Holy Ghost’s. First, in your sermons use your logic, and then your rhetoric; rhetoric without logic is like a tree with leaves and blossoms, but no root.

Old friends are best. King James used to call for his old shoes. They were easiest for his feet.

Philosophy is nothing but discretion.

Preachers say, “Do as I say, not as I do.” But if a physician had the same disease upon him that I have, and he should bid me do one thing and he do quite another, could I believe him?

Preaching, in the first sense of the word, ceased as soon as ever the gospel was written.

Religion is like the fashion. One man wears his doublet slashed, another laced, another plain; but every man has a doublet. So every man has his religion. We differ about trimming.

Syllables govern the world.

Take a straw and throw it up into the air, you may see by that which way the wind is.

Talk what you will of the Jews,—that they are cursed: they thrive wherever they come; they are able to oblige the prince of their country by lending him money; none of them beg; they keep together; and as for their being hated, why, Christians hate one another as much.

The happiness of married life depends upon the power of making small sacrifices with readiness and cheerfulness.

They that are against superstition oftentimes run into it of the wrong side. If I wear all colors but black, then I am superstitious in not wearing black.

They that govern most make least noise. You see when they row in a barge, they that do drudgery work, slash, and puff, and sweat; but he that governs sits quietly at the stern, and scarce is seen to stir.

Thou little thinkest what a little foolery governs the whole world.

’Tis not sensible to call a man traitor that has an army at his heels.

Wise men say nothing in dangerous times.

Wit and wisdom differ; wit is upon the sudden turn, wisdom is bringing about ends.

Women ought not to know their own wit, because they will still be showing it, and so spoil it.

You will want a book which contains not man’s thoughts, but God’s—not a book that may amuse you, but a book that can save you—not even a book that can instruct you, but a book on which you can venture an eternity—not only a book which can give relief to your spirit, but redemption to your soul—a book which contains salvation, and conveys it to you, one which shall at once be the Saviour’s book and the sinner’s.