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


It is not the way to convert a sinner to knock him down first and then reason with him.

S. Irenæus Prime.

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

Samuel Johnson.

Your great employment is to bring the individual souls of men to Christ.

E. N. Kirk.

  • But the unfaithful priest, what tongue
  • Enough shall execrate?
  • Pollok.

    The life of a pious minister is visible rhetoric.


    Surely that preaching which comes from the soul works most on the soul.


    The priesthood hath in all nations, and all religions, been held highly venerable.


    I find on inquiring among successful pastors, successful in the sense of winning men to Christ in profession, that they depend largely on personal contact.

    D. A. Goodsell.

    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 minister is to be a live man, a real man, a true man, a simple man, great in his love, great in his life, great in his work, great in his simplicity, great in his gentleness.

    John Hall.

    This is the ministry and its work—not to drill hearts and minds and consciences into right forms of thought and mental postures, but to guide to the living God who speaks.

    F. W. Robertson.

  • Of right and wrong he taught
  • Truths as refined as ever Athens heard;
  • And (strange to tell!) he practised what he preach’d.
  • Armstrong.

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

    It would be well if some who have taken upon themselves the ministry of the Gospel, that they would first preach to themselves, then afterwards to others.

    Cardinal Pole.

    Men of God have always, from time to time, walked among men, and made their commission felt in the heart and soul of the commonest hearer.


    The day that witnesses the conversion of our ministers into political and philosophical speculators or scientific lecturers, will witness the final decay of clerical weight and influence.


  • 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.

  • 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.

    The minister who would be most like the Master must go and, like Him, lay the warm, kindly hand on the leper, the diseased, the wretched. He must touch the blind eyes with something from himself. The tears must be in his own eyes over the dead who are to be raised to spiritual life. Jesus is our great exemplar.

    John Hall.

  • Nor to rebuke the rich offender fear’d;
  • His preaching much, but more his practice wrought,
  • (A living sermon of the truths he taught,)
  • For this by rules severe his life he squar’d,
  • That all might see the doctrine which they heard.
  • Dryden.

  • 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. ’Tis pitiful
  • To court a grin where you should woo a soul;
  • To break a jest, when pity would inspire
  • Pathetic exhortation; and address
  • The skittish fancy with facetious tales,
  • When sent with God’s commission to the heart.
  • Cowper.

    One great want of the times is a commanding ministry—a ministry of a piety at once sober and earnest, and of mightiest moral power. Give us these men, “full of faith and of the Holy Ghost,” who will proclaim old truths with new energy, not cumbering them with massive drapery nor hiding them beneath piles of rubbish. Give us these men! men of sound speech, who will preach the truth as it is in Jesus, not with faltering tongue and averted eye, as if the mind blushed at its own credulity—not distilling into it an essence so subtle and so speedily decomposed that a chemical analysis alone can detect the faint odor which tells it has been there—but who will preach it apostlewise, that is, “first of all,” at once a principle shrined in the heart and a motive mighty in the life—the source of all morals and the inspiration of all charity—the sanctifier of every relationship, and the sweetener of every toil. Give us these men! men of zeal untiring—whose hearts of constancy quail not although dull men sneer, and proud men scorn, and timid men blush, and cautious men deprecate, and wicked men revile.

    Wm. M. Punshon.