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


The source of all good and of all comfort.


Religion is life essential.

George MacDonald.

Religion, richest favor of the skies.


Religion is the pious worship of God.


A religious life is a struggle, and not a hymn.

Mme. de Staël.

Restore to God His due in tithe and time.

George Herbert.

Religion is civilization, the highest.

Earl of Beaconsfield.

The best religion is the most tolerant.

Mme. de Girardin.

Religion to be permanently influential must be intelligent.

E. L. Magoon.

Religion—that voice of the deepest human experience.

Matthew Arnold.

No man’s religion ever survives his morals.


Religious contention is the devil’s harvest.

La Fontaine.

Sacred religion! Mother of Form and Fear!

Sam’l Daniel.

Religion implies revelation.

Roswell D. Hitchcock.

To be of no Church is dangerous.

Sam’l Johnson.

Religion is not a dogma, nor an emotion, but a service.

Roswell D. Hitchcock.

Religion is the best armor in the world, but the worst cloak.


We are religious by nature.

Charles H. Parkhurst.

Religion gives a dignity to distress.

James Hervey.

A man has no more religion than he acts out in his life.

Henry Ward Beecher.

Religion without joy,—it is no religion.

Theodore Parker.

Religion is using everything for God.

Henry Ward Beecher.

No religion but blasphemes a little.

Victor Hugo.

Religion is no more national than conscience.


I am sorry to see how small a piece of religion will make a cloak.

Sir William Waller.

A man devoid of religion, is like a horse without a bridle.

From the Latin.

Never trust anybody not of sound religion, for he that is false to God can never be true to man.

Lord Burleigh.

All true religion must stand on true morality.

Henry Ward Beecher.

Let us think less of men and more of God.


  • Religion crowns the statesman and the man,
  • Sole source of public and of private peace.
  • Young.

  • Religion, if in heavenly truths attired,
  • Needs only to be seen to be admired.
  • Cowper.

    Nothing but religion is capable of changing pains into pleasures.


  • He wears his faith but as the fashion of
  • His hat; it ever changes with the next block.
  • Shakespeare.

    Religion is not in want of art; it rests on its own majesty.


    Nowhere would there be consolation, if religion were not.


    The religion of one age is the literary entertainment of the next.


    The greatest vicissitude of things amongst men, is the vicissitude of sects and religions.


    It [Calvanism] established a religion without a prelate, a government without a king.

    George Bancroft.

    Persecution is a bad and indirect way to plant religion.

    Sir Thomas Browne.

  • Religion does not censure or exclude
  • Unnumbered pleasures, harmlessly pursued.
  • Cowper.

  • An Atheist’s laugh’s a poor exchange
  • For Deity offended!
  • Burns.

  • Religion stands on tiptoe in our land,
  • Ready to pass to the American strand.
  • Herbert.

    If we make religion our business, God will make it our blessedness.

    H. G. J. Adam.

    Systems of faith are different, but God is one.


    Obedience is a part of religion, and an element of peace.


    If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be without it?


    Measure not men by Sundays, without regarding what they do all the week after.


    Religion must always be a crab fruit; it cannot be grafted, and keep its wild beauty.


    A house without family worship has neither foundation nor covering.


    Religion is fire which example keeps alive, and which goes out if not communicated.


    Religion should be the rule of life, not a casual incident of it.

    Earl of Beaconsfield.

    Nothing can be hostile to religion which is agreeable to justice.


    Religion is the only metaphysic that the multitude can understand and adopt.


    Where religion is a trade, morality is a merchandise.

    H. W. Shaw.

    When religion doth with virtue join, it makes a hero like an angel shine.


    The dispute about religion, and the practice of it, seldom go together.


  • There lives more faith in honest doubt,
  • Believe me, than in half the creeds.
  • Tennyson.

  • Not he who scorns the Saviour’s yoke
  • Should wear His cross upon the heart.
  • Schiller.

  • As if Religion were intended
  • For nothing else but to be mended.
  • Butler.

    It is religion that has formed the Bible, and not the Bible which has formed religion.

    Raphael D’ C. Levin.

    I am of the religion of all those who are brave and good.

    Henry IV.

    Nothing can inspire religious duty or animation but religion.

    Lord Cockburn.

  • He whom God chooseth, out of doubt doth well:
  • What they that choose their God do, who can tell?
  • Lord Brooke.

    Religion is only in the service of the people; it is not in the rosary and the prayer-carpet.


    There is nothing solid and substantial in this world but religious ideas.


    Difference of religion breeds more quarrels than difference of politics.

    Wendell Phillips.

    What a solace Christianity must be to one who has an undoubted conviction of its truth!

    Napoleon I.

    We may as well tolerate all religions, since God Himself tolerates all.


    Be sure that religion cannot be right that a man is the worse for having.

    William Penn.

    Thicken your religion a little. It is evaporating altogether by being subtilized.

    Mme. de Sévigné.

    When kings interfere in matters of religion, they enslave instead of protecting it.


    Religion is the hospital of the souls that the world has wounded.

    J. Petit-Senn.

    In religion, as in friendship, they who profess most are ever the least sincere.


    Which is more misshapen,—religion without virtue, or virtue without religion?


  • Religion, blushing, veils her sacred fires,
  • And unawares Morality expires.
  • Pope.

    Place not thy amendment only in increasing thy devotion, but in bettering thy life.

    Thomas Fuller.

    The Puritan did not stop to think; he recognized God in his soul, and acted.

    Wendell Phillips.

  • For virtue’s self may too much zeal be had;
  • The worst of madmen is a saint run mad.
  • Pope.

    Genuine religion is matter of feeling rather than matter of opinion.


    Religion converts despair, which destroys, into resignation, which submits.

    Lady Blessington.

    The religions of the world are the ejaculations of a few imaginative men.


    Educate men without religion, and you make them but clever devils.

    Duke of Wellington.

    Religion intrenches upon some of our privileges, invades none of our pleasures.


    Every religion is good that teaches man to be good.

    Thomas Paine.

  • The rigid saint, by whom no mercy’s shown
  • To saints whose lives are better than his own.
  • Churchill.

    His religion at best is an anxious wish,—like that of Rabelais, a great Perhaps.


    Religion is the fruit of the Spirit, a Christian character, a true life.

    Henry Ward Beecher.

    Religion contracts the circle of our pleasures, but leaves it wide enough for her votaries to expatiate in.


    The religious instinct will never be replaced by law or even philanthropy.

    Hugh R. Haweis.

    Some persons, instead of making a religion for their God, are content to make a god of their religion.

    Sir Arthur Helps.

    There was never law, or sect, or opinion did so magnify goodness as the Christian religion doth.


    The ground of all religion, that which makes it possible, is the relation in which the human soul stands to God.

    J. C. Shairp.

    To judge religion we must have it—not stare at it from the bottom of a seemingly interminable ladder.

    George MacDonald.

    Religion is the basis of civil society, and the source of all good and of all comfort.


    Religion, in one sense, is a life of self-denial, just as husbandry, in one sense, is a work of death.

    Henry Ward Beecher.

    Religion and liberty are inseparable. Religion is voluntary, and cannot and ought not to be forced.

    Philip Schaff.

    Men will wrangle for religion; write for it; fight for it; die for it; anything but live for it.


    Human things must be known to be loved; but Divine things must be loved to be known.


    A man who feels that his religion is a slavery has not begun to comprehend the real nature of religion.

    J. G. Holland.

    Of all joyful, smiling, ever-laughing experiences, there are none like those which spring from true religion.

    Henry Ward Beecher.

    Religion is the tie that connects man with his Creator, and holds him to His throne.

    Daniel Webster.

    Religion is such a belief of the Bible as maintains a living influence on the heart.

    Richard Cecil.

    By religion I mean perfected manhood,—the quickening of the soul by the influence of the Divine Spirit.

    H. W. Beecher.

    The body of all true religion consists, to be sure, in obedience to the will of the Sovereign of the world, in a confidence in His declarations, and in imitation of His perfections.


    It is well said, in every sense, that a man’s religion is the chief fact with regard to him.


    Sacrifice is the first element of religion, and resolves itself in theological language into the love of God.


    The language of religion can alone suit every situation and every mode of feeling.

    Mme. de Staël.

    The true office of religion is to bring out the whole nature of man in harmonious activity.

    W. E. Channing.

    The secret of a man’s nature lies in his religion, in what he really believes about this world and his own place in it.


    All the sobriety which religion needs or requires is that which real earnestness produces.

    Henry Ward Beecher.

    Ah! what a divine religion might be found out if charity were really made the principle of it instead of faith!


    Nothing exposes religion more to the reproach of its enemies than the worldliness and hard-heartedness of the professors of it.

    Matthew Henry.

    Religion is neither a theology nor a theosophy; it is more than that, it is a discipline, a law, a yoke, an indissoluble engagement.


    The flower of youth never appears more beautiful than when it bends towards the Sun of Righteousness.

    Matthew Henry.

    The main object of the gospel is to establish two principles,—the corruption of nature, and the redemption by Christ Jesus.


    A man’s religion is himself. If he is right-minded toward God, he is religious; if the Lord Jesus Christ is his schoolmaster, then he is Christianly religious.

    Henry Ward Beecher.

    Things divine are not attainable by mortals who understand sensual things.


    True religion and virtue give a cheerful and happy turn to the mind, admit of all true pleasures, and even procure for us the highest.


    It is not the church we want, but the sacrifice; not the emotion of admiration, but the act of adoration; not the gift, but the giving.


    Take away God and religion, and men live to no purpose, without proposing any worthy end of life to themselves.


    It is not the business of religion in these days to isolate herself from the world like John the Baptist. She must go down into the world like Jesus Christ.

    Hugh R. Haweis.

    Religion must be loved as a kind of country and nursing-mother. It was religion that nourished our virtues, that showed us heaven, that taught us to walk in the path of duty.


    An everlasting lodestar, that beams the brighter in the heavens the darker here on earth grows the night.


    The religions we call false were once true. They also were affirmations of the conscience correcting the evil customs of their times.


    Religion is the eldest sister of Philosophy; on whatever subjects they may differ, it is unbecoming in either to quarrel, and most so about their inheritance.


    Religion is, in its essence, the most gentlemanly thing in the world. It will alone gentilize, if unmixed with cant; and I know nothing else that will, alone.


    True religion is the foundation of society. When that is once shaken by contempt, the whole fabric cannot be stable nor lasting.


    I believe in religion against the religious; in the pitifulness of orisons, and in the sublimity of prayer.

    Victor Hugo.

    Religion finds the love of happiness and principle of duty separated in us and its mission is to unite them.

    Author Unknown.

    Mystery, such as is given of God, is beyond the power of human penetration, yet not in opposition to it.

    Mme. de Staël.

    Unless we place our religion and our treasure in the same thing, religion will always be sacrificed.


    Religion is life, philosophy is thought; religion looks up, friendship looks in. We need both thought and life, and we need that the two shall be in harmony.

    James Freeman Clarke.

    None but God can satisfy the longings of the immortal soul; that as the heart was made for Him, so He only can fill it.


    Sincerity is the indispensable ground of all conscientiousness, and by consequence of all heartfelt religion.


    He who thinks to save anything by his religion, besides his soul, will be a loser in the end.

    Bishop Barlow.

    The writers against religion, whilst they oppose every system, are wisely careful never to set up any of their own.


    A man in whom religion is an inspiration, who has surrendered his being to its power, who drinks it, breathes it, bathes in it, cannot speak otherwise than religiously.

    J. G. Holland.

    It has been said that true religion will make a man a more thorough gentleman than all the courts of Europe.

    Charles Kingsley.

    The religion of Christ is peace and good-will,—the religion of Christendom is war and ill-will.


    Where true religion has prevented one crime, false religions have afforded a pretext for a thousand.


    The Word of God proves the truth of religion; the corruption of man, its necessity; government, its advantages.


  • High on the world, see where religion stands
  • And bears the open volume in her hands.
  • William Holmes.

    All who have been great and good without Christianity, would have been much greater and better with it.


    “Drink deep or taste not,” is a direction fully as applicable to religion, if we would find it a source of pleasure, as it is to knowledge.


    Religion finds the love of happiness and the principles of duty separated in us; and its mission, its masterpiece, is to reunite them.


    It is a great disgrace to religion, to imagine that it is an enemy to mirth and cheerfulness, and a severe exacter of pensive looks and solemn faces.

    Walter Scott.

    Pure religion may generally be measured by the cheerfulness of its professors, and superstition by the gloom of its victims.


    Over all the movements of life religion scatters her favors, but reserves the choicest, her divine blessing, for the last hour.


    All belief which does not render more happy, more free, more loving, more active, more calm, is, I fear, an erroneous and superstitious belief.


    Religion is the mortar that binds society together; the granite pedestal of liberty; the strong backbone of the social system.


    Religion consists not so much in joyous feelings as in a constant exercise of devotedness to God.


    It is rare to see a rich man religious; for religion preaches restraint, and riches prompt to unlicensed freedom.


    If there be not a religious element in the relations of men, such relations are miserable and doomed to ruin.


    The sum and substance of the preparation needed for a coming eternity is that you believe what the Bible tells you, and do what the Bible bids you.


    The body of all true religion consists, to be sure, in obedience to the will of the Sovereign of the world, in a confidence in His declarations, and an imitation of His perfections.

    Edmund Burke.

    Religion is faith in an infinite Creator, who delights in and enjoins that rectitude which conscience commands us to seek. This conviction gives a Divine sanction to duty.

    W. E. Channing.

    There is something in religion when rightly comprehended that is masculine and grand. It removes those little desires which are the constant hectic of a fool.

    Richard Cecil.

  • Speak low to me, my Saviour, low and sweet,
  • From out the hallelujahs, sweet and low,
  • Lest I should fear and fall, and miss Thee so
  • Who art not missed by any that entreat.
  • E. B. Browning.

    Wonderful! that the Christian religion, which seems to have no other object than the felicity of another life, should also constitute the happiness of this.


    The only impregnable citadel of virtue is religion; for there is no bulwark of mere morality, which some temptation may not overtop or undermine, and destroy.

    Jane Porter.

  • God is not dumb, that He should speak no more;
  • If thou hast wanderings in the wilderness
  • And find’st not Sinai, ’tis thy soul is poor.
  • Lowell.

    But our captain counts the image of God, nevertheless, His image—cut in ebony as if done in ivory; and in the blackest Moors he sees the representation of the King of heaven.


    My principles in respect of religious interest are two,—one is, that the Church shall not meddle with politics, and the government shall not meddle with religion.


    Religion cannot change, though we do; and, if we do, we have left God; and whither he can go that goes from God, his own sorrows will soon enough instruct him.

    Jeremy Taylor.

    My Fathers and Brethren, this is never to be forgotten that New England is originally a plantation of religion, not a plantation of trade.

    John Higginson.

  • Other hope had she none, nor wish in life, but to follow
  • Meekly, with reverent steps, the sacred feet of her Saviour.
  • Longfellow.

  • Dresse and undresse thy soul; mark the decay
  • And growth of it; if, with thy watch, that too
  • Be down, then winde up both; since we shall be
  • Most surely judged, make thy accounts agree.
  • Herbert.

    We do ourselves wrong, and too meanly estimate the holiness above us, when we deem that any act or enjoyment good in itself, is not good to do religiously.

    Nath. Hawthorne.

    Puritanism, believing itself quick with the seed of religious liberty, laid, without knowing it, the egg of democracy.


  • The Cross!
  • There, and there only (though the deist rave,
  • And atheist, if Earth bears so base a slave);
  • There and there only, is the power to save.
  • Cowper.

  • Near, so very near to God,
  • Nearer I cannot be;
  • For in the person of His Son
  • I am as near as he.
  • Catesby Paget.

    If we subject everything to reason, our religion will have nothing mysterious or supernatural. If we violate the principles of reason, our religion will be absurd and ridiculous.


  • The solitary monk who shook the world
  • From pagan slumber, when the gospel trump
  • Thunder’d its challenge from his dauntless lips
  • In peals of truth.
  • Robert Montgomery.

    Our religious needs are our deepest needs. There is no peace till they are satisfied and contented. The attempt to stifle them is in vain. If their cry be drowned by the noise of the world, they do not cease to exist. They must be answered.

    I. T. Hecker.

    Religion is the answer to that cry of Reason which nothing can silence, that aspiration of the soul which no created thing can meet, that want of the heart which all creation cannot supply.

    I. T. Hecker.

    Too soon did the doctors of the church forget that the heart—the moral nature—was the beginning and the end, and that truth, knowledge, and insight were comprehended in its expansion.

    S. T. Coleridge.

    Religion is like the fashion. One man wears his doublet slashed, another laced, another plain; but every man has a doublet. So every man has his religion. We differ about trimming.

    John Selden.

    A religion that never suffices to govern a man, will never suffice to save him. That which does not distinguish him from a sinful world, will never distinguish him from a perishing world.

    John Howe.

    Religion is the fear of God, and its demonstration good works; and faith is the root of both: “For without faith we cannot please God;” nor can we fear what we do not believe.

    William Penn.

    When we take our last remove, I fear that we shall find that a great deal which we call religion, and which we were at the trouble of lugging about with us through our whole pilgrimage, is perfectly worthless, fit only to be burned.

    Wm. Goodell.

    The pleasure of the religious man is an easy and portable pleasure, such an one as he carries about in his bosom, without alarming either the eye or the envy of the world.


    Natural religion supplies still all the facts which are disguised under the dogma of popular creeds. The progress of religion is steadily to its identity with morals.


    I have lived long enough to know what I did not at one time believe,—that no society can be upheld in happiness and honor without the sentiment of religion.

    La Place.

    Whether religion be true or false, it must be necessarily granted to be the only wise principle and safe hypothesis for a man to live and die by.


    There are three modes of bearing the ills of life; by indifference, which is the most common; by philosophy, which is the most ostentatious; and by religion, which is the most effectual.


    We cannot change the profound and resistless tendencies of the age toward religious liberty. It is our business to guide and control their application.


    A true religious instinct never deprived man of one single joy; mournful faces and a sombre aspect are the conventional affectations of the weak-minded.

    Hosea Ballou.

    Leave the matter of religion to the family altar, the church, and the private school, supported entirely by private contributions; keep the Church and the State forever apart.

    U. S. Grant.

    There are a good many pious people who are as careful of their religion as of their best service of china, only using it on holy occasions, for fear it should get chipped or flawed in working-day wear.

    Douglas Jerrold.

    All the principles which religion teaches, and all the habits which it forms, are favorable to strength of mind. It will be found that whatever purifies fortifies also the heart.


    Too many people embrace religion from the same motives that they take a companion in wedlock, not from true love of the person, but because of a large dowry.

    Hosea Ballou.

    To have religion upon authority, and not upon conviction, is like a finger-watch, to be set forwards or backwards, as he pleases that has it in keeping.

    William Penn.

    To what excesses do men rush for the sake of religion, of whose truth they are so little persuaded, and to whose precepts they pay so little regard!

    La Bruyère.

    Religion is, in fact, the dominion of the soul; it is the hope, the anchor of safety, the deliverance from evil. What a service has Christianity rendered to humanity!

    Napoleon I.

    Religion is indeed woman’s panoply; no one who wishes her happiness would divest her of it; no one who appreciates her virtues would weaken her best security.


    Man without religion is a diseased creature, who would persuade himself he is well and needs not a physician; but woman without religion is raging and monstrous.


    Religion, if it be true, is central truth; and all knowledge which is not gathered round it, and quickened and illuminated by it, is hardly worthy the name.


    It is the great beauty of true religion that it shall be universal, and a departure in any instance from universality is a corruption of religion itself.


    True religion teaches us to reverence what is under us, to recognize humility and poverty, and, despite mockery and disgrace, wretchedness, suffering, and death, as things divine.


    You may discover tribes of men without policy, or laws, or cities, or any of the arts of life; but nowhere will you find them without some form of religion.


  • I take possession of man’s mind and deed,
  • I care not what the sects may brawl;
  • I sit as God, holding no form of creed,
  • But contemplating all.
  • Tennyson.

    Without religion the highest endowments of intellect can only render the possessor more dangerous if he be ill disposed; if well disposed, only more unhappy.


    No ritual is too much, provided it is subsidiary to the inner work of worship; and all ritual is too much unless it ministers to that purpose.


    Diversity of worship has divided the human race into seventy-two nations. From among all their dogmas, I have selected one,—Divine Love.

    Omar Khayyám.

    There is nothing wanting to make all rational and disinterested people in the world of one religion, but that they should talk together every day.


    Freedom of religion is one of the greatest gifts of God to man, without distinction of race and color. He is the author and lord of conscience, and no power on earth has a right to stand between God and the conscience.

    Philip Schaff.

    The duties of religion, sincerely and regularly performed, will always be sufficient to exalt the meanest and to exercise the highest understanding.

    Dr. Johnson.

    The ship retains her anchorage, yet drifts with a certain range, subject to wind and tide; so we have for an anchorage the cardinal truths of the gospel.


    Lukewarm persons think they may accommodate points of religion by middle ways and witty reconcilements,—as if they would make an arbitrament between God and man.


    The true religion of Jesus Christ our Saviour is that which penetrates, and which receives all the warmth of the heart, and all the elevation of the soul, and all the energies of the understanding, and all the strength of the will.

    Dean Stanley.

    How religious the whole creation becomes as Science passes to and fro, touching the swarms of facts with her wand of order, to make them fall into line and present their thoughts.

    John Weiss.

    A man’s religion consists, not of the many things he is in doubt of and tries to believe, but of the few he is assured of and has no need of effort for believing.


    Our Saviour hath enjoined us a reasonable service; all His laws are in themselves conducible to the temporal interest of them that observe them.


    Religion in a magistrate strengthens his authority, because it procures veneration, and gains a reputation to it. In all the affairs of this world, so much reputation is in reality so much power.


    The religion of a sinner stands on two pillars; namely, what Christ did for us in the flesh, and what He performs in us by His Spirit. Most errors arise from an attempt to separate these two.


    Test each sect by its best or its worst, as you will,—by its high-water mark of virtue or its low-water mark of vice. But falsehood begins when you measure the ebb of any other religion against the flood-tide of your own.

    T. W. Higginson.

  • Children of men! the unseen Power, whose eye
  • Forever doth accompany mankind,
  • Hath look’d on no religion scornfully
  • That men did ever find.
  • Matthew Arnold.

    At bottom every religion is anti-Christian which makes the form, the thing, the letter, the substance. Such a materialistic religion, in order to be at all consistent, ought to maintain a material infallibility.


    Humility and love, whatever obscurities may involve religious tenets, constitute the essence of true religion. The humble is formed to adore; the loving, to associate with eternal love.


    “When I was young, I was sure of many things; there are only two things of which I am sure now; one is, that I am a miserable sinner; and the other, that Jesus Christ is an all sufficient Saviour.” He is well taught who gets these two lessons.

    John Newton.

    Religion is for the man in humble life, and to raise his nature, and to put him in mind of a state in which the privileges of opulence will cease, when he will be equal by nature, and may be more than equal by virtue.


    In a word, the free Church in a free State has been the programme which led me to my first efforts, and which I continue to regard as just and true, reasonable and practical, after the studies of thirty years.

    Count Cavour.

    All natural results are spontaneous. The diamond sparkles without effort, and the flowers open impulsively beneath the summer rain. And true religion is a spontaneous thing,—as natural as it is to weep, to love, or to rejoice.


    The external part of religion is doubtless of little value in comparison with the internal, and so is the cask in comparison with the wine contained in it: but if the cask be staved in, the wine must perish.

    Bishop Horne.

    The faith that does not throw a warmth as of summer around the sympathies and charities of the heart, and drop invigorations like showers upon the conscience and the will is as false as it is unsatisfying.

    Paul Potter.

    There are but two religions, Christianity and paganism, the worship of God and idolatry. A third between these is not possible. Where idolatry ends, there Christianity begins; and where idolatry begins, there Christianity ends.


    Religion, like its votaries, while it exists on earth, must have a body as well as a soul. A religion purely spiritual might suit a being as pure, but men are compound animals; and the body too often lords it over the mind.


    There are at bottom but two possible religions—that which rises in the moral nature of man, and which takes shape in moral commandments, and that which grows out of the observation of the material energies which operate in the external universe.


    Living religion grows not by the doctrines but by the narratives of the Bible: the best Christian religious doctrine is the life of Christ, and after that the sufferings and deaths of His followers, even those not related in Holy Writ.


    Religion is not a method, it is a life, a higher and supernatural life, mystical in its root and practical in its fruits; a communion with God, a calm and deep enthusiasm, a love which radiates, a force which acts, a happiness which overflows.


  • ’Tis some relief, that points not clearly known,
  • Without much hazard may be let alone;
  • And, after hearing what our Church can say,
  • If still our reason runs another way,
  • That private reason ’tis more just to curb,
  • Than by disputes the public peace disturb;
  • For points obscure are of small use to learn,
  • But common quiet is mankind’s concern.
  • Dryden.

    If it be the characteristic of a worldly man that he desecrates what is holy, it should be of the Christian to consecrate what is secular, and to recognize a present and presiding Divinity in all things.


    I have now disposed of all my property to my family. There is one thing more I wish I could give them, and that is the Christian religion. If they had that, and I had not given them one shilling, they would have been rich; and if they had not that, and I had given them all the world, they would be poor.

    Patrick Henry.

    The spirit of true religion breathes gentleness and affability; it gives a native, unaffected ease to the behavior; it is social, kind, cheerful; far removed from the cloudy and illiberal disposition which clouds the brow, sharpens the temper, and dejects the spirit.


    The way to judge of religion is by doing our duty. Religion is rather a Divine life than a Divine knowledge. In heaven, indeed, we must first see, and then love; but here, on earth, we must first love, and love will open our eyes as well as our hearts, and we shall then see and perceive and understand.

    Jeremy Taylor.

    On the whole we must repeat the often repeated saying, that it is unworthy a religious man to view an irreligious one either with alarm or aversion; or with any other feeling than regret, and hope, and brotherly commiseration.


    If we are told a man is religious, we still ask, What are his morals? But if we hear at first that he has honest morals, and is a man of natural justice and good temper, we seldom think of the other question, whether he be religious and devout.


    In vain do science and philosophy pose as the arbiters of the human mind, of which they are in fact only the servants. Religion has provided a conception of life, and science travels in the beaten path. Religion reveals the meaning of life, and science only applies this meaning to the course of circumstances.


    If I have read religious history aright, faith, hope, and charity have not always been found in a direct ratio with a sensibility to the three concords; and it is possible, thank heaven! to have very erroneous theories and very sublime feelings.

    George Eliot.

  • God knows, I’m no the thing I should be,
  • Nor am I even the thing I could be,
  • But twenty times I rather would be
  • An atheist clean,
  • Than under gospel colours hid be
  • Just for a screen.
  • Burns.

    Religions are not proved, are not demonstrated, are not established, are not overthrown by logic! They are of all the mysteries of nature and the human mind, the most mysterious and most inexplicable; they are of instinct and not of reason.


    If we traverse the world, it is possible to find cities without walls, without letters, without kings, without wealth, without coin, without schools and theatres; but a city without a temple, or that practiseth not worship, prayer, and the like, no one ever saw.


    True religion is always mild, propitious, and humble; plays not the tyrant, plants no faith in blood, nor bears destruction on her chariot-wheels; but stoops to polish, succor, and redress, and builds her grandeur on the public good.

    James Miller.

    Religion, in its purity, is not so much a pursuit as a temper; or rather it is a temper, leading to the pursuit of all that is high and holy. Its foundation is faith; its action, works; its temper, holiness; its aim, obedience to God in improvement of self, and benevolence to men.

    J. Edwards.

    Religion, to have any force upon men’s understandings,—indeed, to exist at all,—must be supposed paramount to law, and independent for its substance upon any human institution, else it would be the absurdest thing in the world, an acknowledged cheat.


    A religion giving dark views of God, and infusing superstitious fear of innocent enjoyment, instead of aiding sober habits, will, by making men at abject and sad, impair their moral force, and prepare them for intemperance as a refuge from depression or despair.


    Religion is the final centre of repose; the goal to which all things tend; apart from which man is a shadow, his very existence a riddle, and the stupendous scenes of nature which surround him as unmeaning as the leaves which the sibyl scattered in the wind.

    Robert Hall.

  • All our scourging of religion
  • Began with tumult and sedition;
  • When hurricanes of fierce commotion
  • Became strong motives to devotion,
  • As carnal seamen, in a storm,
  • Turn pious converts and reform.
  • Butler.

    Let us accept different forms of religion among men, as we accept different languages, wherein there is still but one human nature expressed. Every genius has most power in his own language, and every heart in its own religion.


    He who possesses religion finds a providence not more truly in the history of the world than in his own family history; the rainbow, which hangs a glistering circle in the heights of heaven, is also formed by the same sun in the dew-drop of a lowly flower.


    People of gayety and fashion have occasionally a feeling that a little easy quantity of religion would be a good thing; because, after all, we cannot stay in this world always, and there may be hardish matters to settle in the other place.

    John Foster.

    Man, being not only a religious, but also a social being, requires for the promotion of his rational happiness religious institutions, which, while they give a proper direction to devotion, at the same time make a wise, and profitable improvement of his social feelings.

    Hosea Ballou.

    Most religion-mongers have bated their paradises with a bit of toasted cheese. They have tempted the body with large promises of possessions in their transmortal El Dorado. Sancho Panza will not quit his chimney-corner, but under promise of imaginary islands to govern.


    See, then, how powerful religion is; it commands the heart, it commands the vitals. Morality,—that comes with a pruning-knife, and cuts off all sproutings, all wild luxuriances; but religion lays the axe to the root of the tree. Morality looks that the skin of the apple be fair; but religion searcheth to the very core.

    Nathaniel Culverwell.

    He that has not religion to govern his morality is not a dram better than my mastiff dog; so long as you stroke him, and please him, and do not pinch him, he will play with you as fine as may be,—he is a very good moral mastiff; but if you hurt him, he will fly in your face, and tear out your throat.


  • Religion’s lustre is, by native innocence
  • Divinely pure, and simple from all arts;
  • You daub and dress her like a common mistress,
  • The harlot of your fancies; and by adding
  • False beauties, which she wants not, make the world
  • Suspect her angel’s face is foul beneath,
  • And will not bear all lights.
  • Rowe.

    When in our days Religion is made a political engine, she exposes herself to having her sacred character forgotten. The most tolerant become intolerant towards her. Believers, who believe something else besides what she teaches, retaliate by attacking her in the very sanctuary itself.


    Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert those pillars of human happiness, those firmest props of the duties of men and citizens.


    A man with no sense of religious duty is he whom the Scriptures describe in such terse but terrific language, as living “without God in the world.” Such a man is out of his proper being, out of the circle of all his duties, out of the circle of all his happiness, and away, far, far away, from the purposes of his creation.


    Many people make their own God; and he is much what the French may mean when they talk of le bon Dieu,—very indulgent, rather weak, near at hand when we want anything, but far away out of sight when we have a mind to do wrong. Such a God is as much an idol as if he were an image of stone.

    J. C. Hare.

    Religion does what philosophy could never do; it shows the equal dealings of Heaven to the happy and the unhappy, and levels all human enjoyments to nearly the same standard. It gives to both rich and poor the same happiness hereafter, and equal hopes to aspire after it.


    I extend the circle of real religion very widely. Many men fear God, and love God, and have a sincere desire to serve him, whose views of religious truth are very imperfect, and in some points utterly false. But may not many such persons have a state of heart acceptable before God?


    Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.


    My idea of the Christian religion is, that it is an inspiration and its vital consequences—an inspiration and a life—God’s life breathed into a man and breathed through a man—the highest inspiration and the highest life of every soul which it inhabits; and, furthermore, that the soul which it inhabits can have no high issue which is not essentially religious.

    J. G. Holland.

    Carry religious principles into common life, and common life will lose its transitoriness. The world passes away. The things seen are temporal. Soon business, with all its cares and anxieties, the whole “unprofitable stir and fever of the world” will be to us a thing of the past. But religion does something better than sigh and moan over the perishableness of earthly things. It finds in them the seeds of immortality.

    John Caird.

  • Forth from his dark and lonely hiding place,
  • (Portentous sight) the owlet atheism,
  • Sailing on obscene wings athwart the noon,
  • Drops his blue-fring’d lids, and holds them close,
  • And hooting at the glorious sun in Heaven,
  • Cries out, “Where is it?”
  • Coleridge.

    I do not find that the age or country makes the least difference; no, nor the language the actors spoke, nor the religion which they professed, whether Arab in the desert or Frenchman in the Academy, I see that sensible men and conscientious men all over the world were of one religion.


    A prince who loves and fears religion is a lion who stoops to the hand that strokes or to the voice that appeases him. He who fears and hates religion is like the savage beast that growls and bites the chain, which prevents his flying on the passenger. He who has no religion at all is that terrible animal who perceives his liberty only when he tears in pieces, and when he devours.


    There are those to whom a sense of religion has come in storm and tempest; there are those whom it has summoned amid scenes of revelry and idle vanity; there are those, too, who have heard its “still small voice” amid rural leisure and placid retirement. But perhaps the knowledge which causeth not to err is most frequently impressed upon the mind during the season of affliction.

    Walter Scott.

    It has been said that men carry on a kind of coasting trade with religion. In the voyage of life, they profess to be in search of heaven, but take care not to venture so far in their approximations to it, as entirely to lose sight of the earth; and should their frail vessel be in danger of shipwreck, they will gladly throw their darling vices overboard, as other mariners their treasures, only to fish them up again when the storm is over.


    It has been said that true religion will make a man a more thorough gentleman than all the courts in Europe. And it is true; you may see simple laboring men as thorough gentlemen as any duke, simply because they have learned to fear God; and, fearing Him, to restrain themselves, which is the very root and essence of all good-breeding.

    Rev. C. Kingsley.

    Religion is as necessary to reason as reason is to religion. The one cannot exist without the other. A reasoning being would lose his reason, in attempting to account for the great phenomena of nature, had he not a Supreme Being to refer to; and well has it been said, that if there had been no God, mankind would have been obliged to imagine one.


    Pour the balm of the Gospel into the wounds of bleeding nations. Plant the tree of life in every soil, that suffering kingdoms may repose beneath its shade and feel the virtue of its healing leaves, till all the kindred of the human family shall be bound together in one common bond of amity and love, and the warrior shall be a character unknown but in the page of history.

    Thomas Raffles.

    I endeavor in vain to give my parishioners more cheerful ideas of religion; to teach them that God is not a jealous, childish, merciless tyrant; that He is best served by a regular tenor of good actions, not by bad singing, ill-composed prayers, and eternal apprehensions. But the luxury of false religion is to be unhappy!

    Sydney Smith.

    It is the property of the religious spirit to be the most refining of all influences. No external advantages, no culture of the tastes, no habit of command, no association with the elegant, or even depth of affection, can bestow that delicacy and that grandeur of bearing which belong only to the mind accustomed to celestial conversation,—all else is but gilt and cosmetics, beside this, as expressed in every look and gesture.


    Let a man choose what condition he will, and let him accumulate around him all the goods and all the gratifications seemingly calculated to make him happy in it; if that man is left at any time without occupation or amusement, and reflects on what he is, the meagre, languid felicity of his present lot will not bear him up. He will turn necessarily to gloomy anticipations of the future; and except, therefore, his occupation calls him out of himself, he is inevitably wretched.


    Religion is universal; theology is exclusive,—religion is humanitarian; theology is sectarian,—religion unites mankind; theology divides it,—religion is love, broad and all-comprising as God’s love; theology preaches love and practises bigotry. Religion looks to the moral worth of man; theology to his creed and denomination. Religion is light and love, and virtue and peace, unadulterated and immaculate; but theology is the apple of discord, which disunites and estranges one from another.

    Dr. M. Lilienthal.

    There is a great deal we never think of calling religion that is still fruit unto God, and garnered by Him in the harvest. The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, patience, goodness. I affirm that if these fruits are found in any form, whether you show your patience as a woman nursing a fretful child, or as a man attending to the vexing detail of a business, or as a physician following the dark mazes of sickness, or as a mechanic fitting the joints and valves of a locomotive; being honest and true besides, you bring forth truth unto God.

    Robert Collyer.

    Religion is not a perpetual moping over good books. Religion is not even prayer, praise, holy ordinances,—these are necessary to religion—no man can be religious without them. But religion is mainly and chiefly the glorifying God amid the duties and trials of the world; the guiding of our course amid adverse winds and currents of temptation by the sunlight of duty and the compass of Divine truth, the bearing up manfully, wisely, courageously, for the honor of Christ, our great Leader in the conflict of life.

    John Caird.

    True religion is not what men see and admire; it is what God sees and loves; the faith which clings to Jesus in the darkest hour; the sanctity which shrinks from the approach of evil; the humility which lies low at the feet of the Redeemer, and washes them with tears; the love which welcomes every sacrifice; the cheerful consecration of all the powers of the soul; the worship which, rising above all outward forms, ascends to God in the sweetest, dearest communion—a worship often too deep for utterance, and than which the highest heaven knows nothing more sublime.

    Richard Fuller.

  • Could not that wisdom which first broached the wine,
  • Have thicken’d it with definitions?
  • And jagg’d his seamless coat, had that been fine,
  • With curious questions and divisions?
  • But all the doctrine which he taught and gave
  • Was clear as heav’n, from whence it came:
  • At least those beams of truth, which only save,
  • Surpass in brightness any flame,
  • Love God, and love your neighbor; watch and pray;
  • Do as you would be done unto:
  • O dark instructions, ev’n dark as day!
  • Who can these gordian knots undo?
  • Herbert.