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


We must follow, not force Providence.


God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb.


Duties are ours; events are God’s.


Chance is a nickname for Providence.


God’s providence is on the side of clear heads.

Henry Ward Beecher.

He who sends the storm steers the vessel.

Rev. T. Adams.

Heaven trims our lamps while we sleep.

A. Bronson Alcott.

There’s a special providence in the fall of a sparrow.


Nothing with God can be accidental.


Providence protects us in all the details of our lot.

Mme. de Staël.

  • How just is Providence in all its works,
  • How swift to overtake us in our crimes!
  • Lansdowne.

  • Who finds not Providence all good and wise,
  • Alike in what it gives, and what denies.
  • Pope.

  • Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze,
  • Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees.
  • Pope.

    Everything that happens in this world is a part of a great plan of God running through all time.

    Henry Ward Beecher.

  • Fear not, but trust in Providence,
  • Wherever thou may’st be.
  • Thomas Haynes Bayly.

  • ***his providence
  • Out of our evil seek to bring forth good.
  • Milton.

  • And pleas’d th’ Almighty’s orders to perform,
  • Rides in the whirlwind and directs the storm.
  • Addison.

  • If heaven send no supplies,
  • The fairest blossom of the garden dies.
  • William Browne.

  • ’Tis Providence alone secures
  • In every change both mine and yours.
  • Cowper.

    God hangs the greatest weights upon the smallest wires.


    A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.


    Gifts come from on high in their own peculiar forms.


    The superfluous blossoms on a fruit tree are meant to symbolize the large way in which God loves to do pleasant things.

    Henry Ward Beecher.

  • That’s best
  • Which God sends. ’Twas His will: it is mine.
  • Owen Meredith.

    He that doth the ravens feed, yea, providently caters for the sparrow, be comfort to my age.


  • There is a divinity that shapes our ends,
  • Rough-hew them how we will.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Happy the man who sees a God employ’d
  • In all the good and ill that checker life!
  • Cowper.

  • Behind a frowning providence
  • He hides a smiling face.
  • Cowper.

    He that will watch Providence shall never want a Providence to watch.


  • But heaven hath a hand in these events;
  • To whose high will we bound our calm contents.
  • Shakespeare.

  • There is a Power whose care
  • Teaches thy way.
  • William Cullen Bryant.

    Surely the equity of Providence has balanced peculiar sufferings with peculiar enjoyments.


    We are not to lead events, but to follow them.


    There is a sweet little cherub that sits up aloft, to keep watch for the life of poor Jack.


    Now is it surprising, because it is Providence that has given us the country and the art of man that has built the cities.


    Providence is but another name for natural law. Natural law itself would go out in a minute if it were not for the divine thought that is behind it.

    Henry Ward Beecher.

    We are apt to believe in Providence so long as we have our own way; but if things go awry, then we think, if there is a God, He is in heaven, and not on earth.

    Henry Ward Beecher.

  • I must not quarrel with the will
  • Of highest dispensation, which herein,
  • Haply had ends above my reach to know.
  • Milton.

    Surely there are in every man’s life certain rubs, doublings, and wrenches, which pass a while under the effects of chance, but at the last, well examined, prove the mere hand of God.

    Sir Thomas Browne.

  • O God, Thy arm was here;
  • And not to us, but to Thy arm alone,
  • Ascribe we all!
  • Shakespeare.

    Providence certainly does not favor individuals, but the deep wisdom of its counsels extends to the instruction and ennoblement of all.

    Wilhelm von Humboldt.

    It is not given to our weak intellects to understand the steps of Providence as they occur: we comprehend them only as we look back upon them in the far-distant past.

    George B. McClellan.

    God’s plans, like lilies pure and white, unfold; we must not tear the close-shut leaves apart; time will reveal the calyxes of gold.

    May Riley Smith.

  • In some time, His good time, I shall arrive;
  • He guides me and the bird
  • In His good time.
  • Robert Browning.

    A cockle-fish may as soon crowd the ocean into its narrow shell, as vain man ever comprehend the decrees of God!

    Bishop Beveridge.

    We sometimes had those little rubs which Providence sends to enhance the value of its flavors.


  • Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,
  • A hero perish, or a sparrow fall,
  • Atoms or systems into ruin hurl’d,
  • And now a bubble burst, and now a world.
  • Pope.

    But he never would believe that Providence had sent a few men into the world, ready booted and spurred to ride, and millions ready saddled and bridled to be ridden.

    Richard Rumbold.

  • Behind the dim unknown,
  • Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above His own.
  • Lowell.

  • God made bees, and bees made honey,
  • God made man, and man made money;
  • Pride made the devil, and the devil made sin;
  • So God made a cole-pit to put the devil in.
  • Transcribed by James Henry Dixon.

  • That very law which moulds a tear,
  • And bids it trickle from its source,
  • That law preserves the earth a sphere,
  • And guides the planets in their course.
  • Sam’l Rogers.

    He who ruleth the raging of the sea knows also how to check the designs of the ungodly. I submit myself with reverence to His Holy Will. O Abner, I fear my God, and I fear none but Him.


    The heavens do not send good haps in handfuls, but let us pick out our good by little, and with care, from out much bad, that still our little world may know its king.

    Sir P. Sidney.

  • I know not where His islands lift
  • Their fronded palms in air;
  • I only know I cannot drift
  • Beyond His love and care.
  • Whittier.

  • All which is real now remaineth,
  • And fadeth never:
  • The hand which upholds it now sustaineth
  • The soul forever.
  • Whittier.

  • But every human path leads on to God;
  • He holds a myriad finer threads than gold,
  • And strong as holy wishes, drawing us
  • With delicate tension upward to Himself.
  • E. C. Stedman.

  • We, ignorant of ourselves,
  • Beg often our own harms, which the wise powers
  • Deny us for our good; so find we profit,
  • By losing of our prayers.
  • Shakespeare.

    However benevolent may be the intentions of Providence, they do not always advance the happiness of the individual. Providence has always higher ends in view, and works in a pre-eminent degree on the inner feelings and disposition.

    Wilhelm von Humboldt.

  • Yes, Thou art ever present, Power supreme!
  • Not circumscrib’d by time, nor fix’d to space,
  • Confin’d to altars, nor to temples bound.
  • In wealth, in want, in freedom, or in chains,
  • In dungeons or on thrones, the faithful find Thee!
  • Hannah More.

  • What in me is dark,
  • Illumine; what is low, raise and support;
  • That to the height of this great argument
  • I may assert eternal Providence,
  • And justify the ways of God to men.
  • Milton.

    Duties are ours; events are God’s. This removes an infinite burden from the shoulders of a miserable, tempted, dying creature. On this consideration only can he securely lay down his head and close his eyes.


    It is remarkable that Providence has given us all things for our advantage near at hand; but iron, gold, and silver, being both the instruments of blood and slaughter and the price of it, nature has hidden in the bowels of the earth.


    I asked a hermit once in Italy how he could venture to live alone, in a single cottage, on the top of a mountain, a mile from any habitation? He replied that, “Providence was his very next-door neighbor.”


  • Go, mark the matchless working of the power
  • That shuts within the seed the future flower:
  • Bids these in elegance of form excel,
  • In colour these, and those delight the smell,
  • Sends nature forth, the daughter of the skies,
  • To dance on earth, and charm all human eyes.
  • Cowper.

  • He maketh kings to sit in soverainty;
  • He maketh subjects to their powre obey;
  • He pulleth downe, He setteth up on hy:
  • He gives to this, from that He takes away;
  • For all we have is His: what He list doe he may.
  • Spenser.

    You may say, “I wish to send this ball so as to kill the lion crouching yonder, ready to spring upon me. My wishes are all right, and I hope Providence will direct the ball.” Providence won’t. You must do it; and if you do not, you are a dead man.


  • And I will trust that He who heeds
  • The life that hides in mead and wold,
  • Who hangs yon alder’s crimson beads,
  • And stains these mosses green and gold,
  • Will still, as He hath done, incline
  • His gracious care to me and mine.
  • Whittier.

    Providence has a wild, rough, incalculable road to its end, and it is of no use to try to whitewash its huge, mixed instrumentalities, or to dress up that terrific benefactor in a clean shirt and white neckcloth or a student in divinity.


  • Somewhat of goodness, something true
  • From sun and spirit shining through
  • All faiths, all worlds, as through the dark
  • Of ocean shines the lighthouse spark,
  • Attests the presence everywhere
  • Of love and providential care.
  • Whittier.

    Divine Providence tempers His blessings to secure their better effect. He keepys our joys and our fears on an even balance, that we may neither presume nor despair. By such compositions God is pleased to make both our crosses more tolerable and our enjoyments more wholesome and safe.

    W. Wogan.

    The decrees of Providence are inscrutable. In spite of man’s short-sighted endeavors to dispose of events according to his own wishes and his own purposes, there is an Intelligence beyond his reason, which holds the scales of justice, and promotes his well-being, in spite of his puny efforts.


  • All Nature is but art unknown to thee;
  • All chance direction, which thou canst not see;
  • All discord, harmony not understood;
  • All partial evil, universal good;
  • And spite of pride, in erring reason’s spite,
  • One truth is clear, Whatever is is right.
  • Pope.

    Long may it remain in this mixed world a question not easy of decision, which is the more beautiful evidence of the Almighty’s goodness, the soft white hand formed for the ministrations of sympathy and tenderness, or the rough hard hand which the heart softens, teaches, and guides in a moment.


  • Through heaven and earth
  • God’s will moves freely, and I follow it,
  • As color follows light. He overflows
  • The ornamental walls with deity,
  • Therefore with love; His lightnings go abroad,
  • His pity may do so, His angels must,
  • Whene’er He gives them charges.
  • Mrs. Browning.

    To make our reliance upon Providence both pious and rational, we should, in every great enterprise we take in hand, prepare all things with that care, diligence, and activity, as if there were no such thing as Providence for us to depend upon; and again, when we have done all this, we should as wholly and humbly rely upon it, as if we had made no preparations at all.


  • The ways of heaven are dark and intricate,
  • Puzzled in mazes, and perplex’d with errors;
  • Our understanding traces them in vain,
  • Lost and bewilder’d in the fruitless search;
  • Nor sees with how much art the windings run,
  • Nor where the regular confusion ends.
  • Addison.

    If God but cares for our inward and eternal life, if by all the experiences of this life He is reducing it and preparing for its disclosure, nothing can befall us but prosperity. Every sorrow shall be but the setting of some luminous jewel of joy. Our very morning shall be but the enamel around the diamond; our very hardships but the metallic rim that holds the opal, glancing with strange interior fires.


    Round about what is lies a whole mysterious world of what might be—a psychological romance of possibilities and things that do not happen. By going out a few minutes sooner or later, by stopping to speak with a friend at a corner, by meeting this man or that, or by turning down this street instead of the other, we may let slip some great occasion of good, or avoid some impending evil, by which the whole current of our lives would have been changed. There is no possible solution to the dark enigma but the one word “Providence.”


  • God smiles as He has always smiled;
  • Ere suns and moons could wax and wane,
  • Ere stars were thundergirt, or piled
  • The Heavens, God thought on me His child;
  • Ordained a life for me, arrayed
  • Its circumstances, every one
  • To the minutest; ay, God said
  • This head this hand should rest upon
  • Thus, ere He fashioned star or sun.
  • Robert Browning.

  • O, all-preparing Providence divine!
  • In Thy large book what secrets are enroll’d!
  • What sundry helps doth Thy great power assign,
  • To prop the course which Thou intend’st to hold?
  • What mortal sense is able to define
  • Thy mysteries, Thy counsels many fold?
  • It is Thy wisdom strangely that extends
  • Obscure proceedings to apparent ends.
  • Drayton.

  • And is there care in heaven? and is there love
  • In heavenly spirits to the creatures base,
  • That may compassion of their evils move?
  • There is; else much more wretched were the case
  • Of men than beasts. But O! th’ exceeding grace
  • Of highest God that loves His creatures so,
  • And all His works with mercy doth embrace,
  • That blessed angels He sends to and fro
  • To serve to wicked man, to serve His wicked foe!
  • How oft do they their silver bowers leave
  • To come to succour us that succour want?
  • How oft do they with golden pinions cleave
  • The flitting skies, like flying pursuivant,
  • Against foul fiends to aid us militant?
  • They for us fight, they watch and duly ward,
  • And their bright squadrons round about us plant;
  • And all for love, and nothing for reward:
  • O why should heavenly God to men have such regard?
  • Spenser.