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


The true clergyman is a reflex of his Master.

André Dacier.

The defects of a preacher are soon spied.


He—the country parson—is not witty or learned or eloquent, but holy.

George Herbert.

The clergyman who lives in the city may have piety, but he must have taste.


The pulpit is a clergyman’s parade; the parish is his field of active service.


If you would lift me you must be on a higher ground.


There is nothing noble in a clergyman but burning zeal for the salvation of souls.

William Law.

Recollect for your encouragement the reward that awaits the faithful minister.

Robert Hall.

  • Embryos and idiots, eremites and friars,
  • White, black, and grey, with all their trumpery.
  • Milton.

  • Around his form his loose long robe was thrown,
  • And wrapt a breast bestowed on heaven alone.
  • Byron.

  • There goes the parson, oh illustrious spark!
  • And there, scarce less illustrious, goes the clerk.
  • Cowper.

    I never saw, heard, nor read, that the clergy were beloved in any nation where Christianity was the religion of the country.


    As there are certain mountebanks and quacks in physic, so there are much the same also in divinity.


    Nothing is more detestable than a professed declaimer who retails his discourses as a quack does his medicines.


    I do not envy a clergyman’s life as an easy life, nor do I envy the clergyman who makes it an easy life.

    Dr. Johnson.

    The Christian messenger cannot think too highly of his Prince, or too humbly of himself.


  • From such apostles, oh ye mitred heads,
  • Preserve the church; and lay not careless hands
  • On skulls that cannot teach, and will not learn.
  • Cowper.

    There are passages of the Bible that are soiled forever by the touches of the hands of ministers who delight in the cheap jokes they have left behind them.

    Phillips Brooks.

    The ascendency of the sacerdotal order was long the ascendency which naturally and properly belonged to intellectual superiority.


    Suppose, however, that something like moderation were visible in this political sermon, yet politics and the pulpit are terms that have little agreement.


  • Ev’n children followed with endearing wile
  • And pluck’d his gown to share the good man’s smile.
  • Goldsmith.

  • Love and meekness, lord,
  • Become a churchman better than ambition:
  • Win straying souls with modesty again,
  • Cast none away.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Make not the church to us an instrument
  • Of bondage, to yourselves of liberty:
  • Obedience there confirms your government,
  • Our sovereigns, God’s subalterns, you be.
  • Lord Brooks.

  • The proud he tamed, the penitent he cheered,
  • Nor to rebuke the rich offender feared;
  • His preaching much, but more his practice wrought,
  • A living sermon of the truths he taught.
  • Dryden.

  • At church with meek and unaffected grace,
  • His looks adorn’d the venerable place;
  • Truth from his lips prevail’d with double sway,
  • And fools, who came to scoff, remain’d to pray.
  • Goldsmith.

  • He that negotiates between God and man,
  • As God’s ambassador, the grand concerns
  • Of judgment and of mercy, should beware
  • Of lightness in his speech.
  • Cowper.

  • I venerate the man, whose heart is warm,
  • Whose hands are pure, whose doctrine and whose life
  • Coincident, exhibit lucid proof
  • That he is honest in the sacred cause.
  • Cowper.

  • He was a shepherd and no mercenary,
  • And though he holy was and virtuous,
  • He was to sinful men full piteous;
  • His words were strong, but not with anger fraught;
  • A love benignant he discreetly taught.
  • To draw mankind to heaven by gentleness
  • And good example was his business.
  • Chaucer.

  • Others of graver mien, behold, adorn’d
  • With holy ensigns, how sublime they move,
  • And bending oft their sanctimonious eyes,
  • Take homage of the simple-minded throng;
  • Ambassadors of heaven!
  • Akenside.

    The life of a conscientious clergyman is not easy. I have always considered a clergyman as the father of a larger family than he is able to maintain. I would rather have chancery suits upon my hands than the cure of souls.

    Dr. Johnson.

  • Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
  • Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven;
  • Whilst, like a puff’d and reckless libertine,
  • Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,
  • And recks not his own road.
  • Shakespeare.

  • In man or woman, but far most in man,
  • And most of all in man that ministers,
  • And serves the altar, in my soul I loathe
  • All affectation. ’Tis my perfect scorn:
  • Object of my implacable disgust.
  • Cowper.

  • It never was a prosperous world
  • Since priests have interfer’d with temporal matters;
  • The custom of their ancestors they slight,
  • And change their shirts of hair for robes of gold;
  • Thus luxury and interest rule the church,
  • Whilst piety and conscience dwell in caves.
  • Bancroft.

  • Their sheep have crusts, and they the bread;
  • The chips and they the cheer:
  • They have the fleece, and eke the flesh,
  • (O seely sheep the while!)
  • The corn is theirs—let others thresh,
  • Their hands they may not file.
  • Spenser.

  • His talk was now of tythes and dues;
  • He smok’d his pipe, and read the news;
  • Knew how to preach old sermons next,
  • Vamp’d in the preface and the text;
  • At christenings well could act his part,
  • And had the service all by heart;
  • Wish’d women might have children fast,
  • And thought whose sow had farrow’d last;
  • Against dissenters would repine,
  • And stood up firm for right divine;
  • Found his head fill’d with many a system,
  • But classic authors—he ne’er miss’d ’em.
  • Swift.

  • Your Lordship and your Grace, what school can teach
  • A rhetoric equal to those parts of speech?
  • What need of Homer’s verse, or Tully’s prose,
  • Sweet interjections! if he learn but those?
  • Let rev’rend churls his ignorance rebuke,
  • Who starve upon a dog’s ear’d Pentateuch,
  • The Parson knows enough who knows a Duke.
  • Cowper.

  • Behold the picture! Is it like? Like whom?
  • The things that mount the rostrum with a skip
  • And then skip down again. Pronounce a text,
  • Cry hem; and reading what they never wrote,
  • Just fifteen minutes huddle up their work,
  • And with a well-bred whisper close the scene.
  • Cowper.

  • If we must pray,
  • Rear in the streets bright altars to the gods,
  • Let virgin’s hands adorn the sacrifice;
  • And not a grey-beard forging priest come here,
  • To pry into the bowels of their victim,
  • And with their dotage mad the gaping world.
  • Lee.

  • Near yonder copse, where once the garden smil’d,
  • And still where many a garden flower grows wild,
  • There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose,
  • The village preacher’s modest mansion rose.
  • A man he was to all the country dear,
  • And passing rich with forty pounds a year;
  • Remote from towns he ran his godly race,
  • Nor e’er had chang’d nor wish’d to change his place;
  • Unskilful he to fawn, or seek for power,
  • By doctrines fashion’d to the varying hour;
  • Far other aims his heart had learn’d to prize,
  • More bent to raise the wretched than to rise.
  • Goldsmith.