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James Wood, comp.  Dictionary of Quotations.  1899.
 
Renan
 
  A man belongs to his age and race, even when he acts against them.  1
  Dans la morale, comme l’art, dire n’est rien, faire est tout—In morals as in art, talking is nothing, doing is all.  2
  Democracy is the most powerful solvent of military organisation. The latter is founded on discipline; the former on the negation of discipline.  3
  God is the number, the weight, and the measure which makes the world harmonious and eternal.  4
  God is the reason of those who have no reason.  5
  Had religion been a mere chimæra, it would long ago have been extinct; were it susceptible of a definite formula, that formula would long ago have been discovered.  6
  He who obeys is almost always better than he who commands.  7
  If the true did not possess an objective value, human curiosity would have died out centuries ago.  8
  In morals, as in art, saying is nothing, doing is all.  9
  In regard to virtue, each one finds certainty by consulting his own heart.  10
  Is it right to despair, and shall truth make us sad?  11
  It is far from universally true that to get a thing you must aim at it. There are some things which can only be gained by renouncing them.  12
  It is for the sake of him (the virtuous man) and of those like him that the earth exists and maintains itself in being.  13
  Le bon sens vulgaire est un mauvais juge quand il s’agit des grandes choses—Good common-sense is a bad judge when it is a question of high matters.  14
  Les plus grands hommes d’une nation sont ceux qu’elle met à mort—The greatest men of a nation are those whom it puts to death.  15
  Like a large heart overflowing with an impotent and vague love, the universe is ceaselessly in the agony of transformation.  16
  Man is like the worker at Gobelins, who weaves on the wrong side a tapestry of which he does not see the design.  17
  Man lives where he acts.  18
  Many and many a heart of woman, who has not uttered a word during her whole life, has felt more truly and intensely than the poet that has sung most sweetly.  19
  Moses and Mahomet were not men of speculation, but men of action; and it is the stress they laid upon the latter that has given them the power they wield over the destinies of mankind.  20
 
 
  Nature acts towards us like an Oriental potentate with Mamelukes under him, whom he employs for some mysterious purpose, but to whom he never shows himself in person.  21
  No idea can succeed except at the expense of sacrifices; no one ever escapes without a stain from the struggle of life.  22
  Pressure alone causes water to rise and directs it.  23
  Restraint and obstruction (la gêne) constitute the principle of movement.  24
  So soon as sacrifice becomes a duty and necessity to man, I see no limit to the horizon which opens before him.  25
  The family virtues are indispensable to the proper continuance of a society.  26
  The glory of philosophy lies not in solving the problem, but in putting it.  27
  The good nature of the dog is not discouraged, although it often brings upon him only rebuffs; the abusive treatment of man never offends him, because he loves man.  28
  The great agent of the march of the world is pain, the unsatisfied being that craves for development and is ill at ease in the process.  29
  The greatest men of a nation are those whom it puts to death.  30
  The life of an egoist is a tissue of inconsistencies, of actions that, from his own point of view, are absurd and foolish.  31
  The obscure is what transcends us, and what imposes itself upon us by transcending us.  32
  The question of education is for the modern world a question of life or death, a question on which depends the future.  33
  The universe is that great egoist that decoys us by the grossest bird-calls.  34
  The virtue of man is, in a word, the great proof of God.  35
  There is no object of desire the supreme vanity of which we do not recognise and confess when once we have embraced it.  36
  True influence is latent influence.  37
  Virtue is an absolute Amen, uttered with reference to the obscure ends that Providence pursues through us.  38
  When people complain of life, it is almost always because they have asked impossible things from it.  39
  Without great men nothing can be done.  40
 
 
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