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


An excuse is worse and more terrible than a lie; for an excuse is a lie guarded.


Men think they may justly do that for which they have a precedent.


  • Oftentimes, excusing of a fault
  • Doth make the fault the worse by the excuse;
  • As patches, set upon a little breach,
  • Discredit more in hiding of the fault,
  • Than did the fault before it was so patched.
  • Shakespeare.

    An excuse for sin is a statement of the circumstances under which a man did wrong. When we say, “I could not help it; circumstances were too much for me,” do our hearts believe it to be true? We say, “My temperament, my inherited appetite, business exigencies, irresistible pressure,” as though we were compelled to do wrong. The first man in the long line of apologetic succession said, “The woman tempted me,” but did not say, ‘and made me eat’.” Whatever he might wish implied, he could only say, “And I did eat.” No unconsenting soul can be made to sin, and so sin is inexcusable.

    Maltbie Babcock.