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


Live for something.


The great aim of human life.

Horace Mann.

The useful and the beautiful are never separated.


Have I done aught of value to my fellow-men? Then have I done much for myself.


It is my humble prayer that I may be of some use in my day and generation.

Hosea Ballou.

A cock, having found a pearl, said that a grain of corn would be of more value to him.

Pierre Leroux.

  • Foul cankering rust the hidden treasure frets,
  • But gold that’s put to use, more gold begets.
  • Shakespeare.

    Have I done anything for society? I have then done more for myself. Let that truth be always present to thy mind, and work without cessation.


    When the air balloon was first discovered, some one flippantly asked Dr. Franklin what was the use of it. The doctor answered this question by asking another: “What is the use of a new-born infant? It may become a man.”


  • Nought so vile that on the earth doth live,
  • But to the earth some special good doth give;
  • Nor aught so good, but, strain’d from that fair use
  • Revolts from true birth, stumbling on abuse:
  • Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied;
  • And vice sometime ’s by action dignified!
  • Shakespeare.

    Thousands of men breathe, move, and live; pass off the stage of life and are heard of no more. Why? They did not a particle of good in the world; and none were blest by them, none could point to them as the instrument of their redemption; not a line they wrote, not a word they spoke, could be recalled, and so they perished—their light went out in darkness, and they were not remembered more than the insects of yesterday. Will you thus live and die, O man immortal? Live for something.


    Nothing in this world is so good as usefulness. It binds your fellow-creatures to you, and you to them; it tends to the improvement of your own character; and it gives you a real importance in society, much beyond what any artificial station can bestow.

    Sir Benjamin Brodie.

    How often do we sigh for opportunities of doing good, whilst we neglect the openings of Providence in little things, which would frequently lead to the accomplishment of most important usefulness! Dr. Johnson used to say, “He who waits to do a great deal of good at once will never do any.” Good is done by degrees. However small in proportion the benefits which follow individual attempts to do good, a great deal may thus be accomplished by perseverance, even in the midst of discouragements and disappointments.