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


Precept must be upon precept.


Human laws made to direct the will ought to give precepts, and not counsels.


Precepts are the rules by which we ought to square our lives.


Be brief, that the mind may catch thy precepts, and the more easily retain them.


Precepts or maxims are of great weight; and a few useful ones at hand do more toward a happy life than whole volumes that we know not where to find.


He that lays down precepts for the government of our lives and moderating our passions obliges human nature, not only in the present, but in all succeeding generations.


Most precepts that are given are so general that they cannot be applied, except by an exercise of just as much discretion as would be sufficient to frame them.


Precept and example, like the blades of a pair of scissors, are admirably adapted to their end when conjoined; separated, they lose the greater portion of their utility.


Precepts are like seeds; they are little things which do much good; if the mind which receives them has a disposition, it must not be doubted that his part contributes to the generation, and adds much to that which has been collected.


If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor men’s cottages, princes’ palaces. It is a good divine that follows his own instructions. I can easier teach twenty what were good to be done, than be one of the twenty to follow mine own teaching.


It was observed of the Jesuits, that they constantly inculcated a thorough contempt of worldly things in their doctrines, but eagerly grasped at them in their lives. They were wise in their generation; for they cried down worldly things, because they wanted to obtain them, and cried up spiritual things, because they wanted to dispose of them.


I thought that to forgive our enemies had been the highest effort of the heathen ethic; but that the returning good for evil was an improvement of the Christian morality. But I had the mortification to meet with that interloper, Socrates, in Plato, enforcing the divine precept of loving our enemies. Perhaps for this reason, among others, he was styled by Erasmus “a Christian before Christianity.”