Reference > Quotations > James Wood, comp. > Dictionary of Quotations
James Wood, comp.  Dictionary of Quotations.  1899.
James Wood
  Except in knowing what it has to do and how to do it, the soul cannot resolve the riddle of its destiny.  1
  Get once into the secret of any Christian act, and you get practically into the secret of Christianity itself.  2
  God narrows Himself to come near man, and man narrows himself to come near God.  3
  Good is never a something into which a man can be borne, but always a something born of the man, which he himself carries, and which does not carry him.  4
  Happiness springs not from a large fortune, but temperate habits and simple wishes. Riches increase not by increase of the supply of want, but by decrease of the sense of it,—the minimum of it being the maximum of them.  5
  Having is in no case the fruit of lusting, but of living.  6
  In Christ the infinite itself has come down to the level of the finite, and the finite has been raised to the level of the infinite, and in His single person the spirit of the universe stands revealed.  7
  In the religion of Christ, as in the philosophy of Hegel, the negative principle is the creative, or determinative, principle. Christianity begins in No, subsists in No, and survives in No, to the spirit of the world; this it at first peremptorily spurns, and then calmly disregards as of no account.  8
  It is St. Christopher that carries Christ, not Christ St. Christopher—i.e., in this myth, it is not Christ that bears the Church, but the Church that bears Christ.  9
  Love and the Soul, working together, might go on producing Venuses without end, each different, and all beautiful; but divorced and separated, they may continue producing indeed, yet no longer any being, or even thing, truly godlike.  10
  Love’s true function in the world is as the regenerator and restorer of social life, the reconciler and uniter of living men.  11
  Man loves before he sees; his heart is open before his eyes; love must irradiate his world for him before he well knows he is in it, what it is made of, and what to make of it.  12
  Mankind suffer to this hour, and will for long, as is like, because they do not know what to make of the fire of Prometheus. He dared to purloin from the gods and commit into the hands of ordinary men an element (fire), which, as the result has shown, only gods and their wise-hearted offspring can with safety handle.  13
  Men are at best only stewards, and they are very select men indeed who are elected of heaven to this honour. The most want the necessary discrimination, and are in their place only when, like Athenian maidens, “bearers of the basket.”  14
  No man can be said to have the spirit who does not walk in it, or to be born of the spirit until the spirit is born of him.  15
  No man who does not choose, enter into and walk in some narrow way of life, will ever have any moral character, any clearness of purpose, any wisdom of intelligence, or any tenderness or strength of heart.  16
  No teaching is spiritually profitable, that is of true vital avail, translateable into flesh and blood, unless with the teaching we imbibe the spirit that dictates it.  17
  Not so easily can a man tear up the roots of his old life, and transplant himself into a new soil and a foreign atmosphere.  18
  Once true, still more twice true, in the life of the spirit is always true.  19
  Put a young healthy soul full of life under the teaching of the Graces, and the soul’s body and workmanship will become transparent of the soul’s self.  20
  Reality is, no doubt, greater and more vital to know, in so real a world and life, than any fiction; and the thoughts of God, which the facts are, are infinitely more precious than the fancies of men about them, or even according to them; yet is man’s power of fancying, or fantasying, in harmony with the fact, the measure of his knowledge of it and vital relationship to it, and the divinely appointed means withal whereby the fact itself is brought home to our affections.  21
  Terrible penalty, with the ass-ears or without them, inevitable as death, written for ever in heaven, against all who, like Midas, misjudge the inner and the upper melodies, and prefer gold to goodness, desire to duty, falsehood to fact, wild nature to God, and a sensual piping Pan to a high-souled, wise-hearted, and spirit-breathing Apollo.    Apropos to the fable of Midas.  22
  The cry of the God-forsaken is from the heart of God himself.  23
  The end of man is at no moment a pleasure, but a performance; and life always and only the continual fulfilment of a worthy purpose with a will.  24
  The essence of faith lies in this, a deep sense and conviction that in what we do, though it were single-handed, with all men standing aloof, and even saying nay to it, we have God and all his universe at our back.  25
  The goddess Athene is armed with the Gorgon’s head.  26
  The Greeks were the first to exalt spirit to lordship over nature; it was Christ who first taught us what that spirit is in itself.  27
  The individual loves and hatreds, which sum up existence and life, are the brood of Eros; for hatred is only love in some form, crossed and thwarted, and always in nature so much hostility, so much affection of some kind is there.  28
  The is of this moment is not the explanation of the is of the next. Except in the idea of God there is no nexus between the two.  29
  The lower has oftentimes to be with sorrow sacrificed to the higher duties of the soul.  30
  The milder virtues subsist only in co-existence with the severer, and the heart which pronounces a blessing on the poor and the merciful utters with the same breath sentence of excommunication against all who are proud-spirited and cruel-hearted.  31
  The noble ones who have lived among us have not left us; they only truly came to us when they departed, and they were then first kissed by us into immortality.  32
  The only evolution of any really human interest, and worthy of any human regard, is the evolution that springs from resolution and the birth of freedom in the self-conscious soul.  33
  The perfection of spiritual virtue lies in being always all there, a whole man present in every movement and moment.  34
  The pious-hearted are cared for by the gods; and by men honoured and worshipped as divinities, when once they have by death stripped off for ever their week-day garments.    After Ovid.  35
  The presence of the Eternal is a presence that articulates and imparts itself in time.  36
  The spirit was long ago liberated from the blind law of nature, and the task it is called to now is to unfold itself with freedom and clearness in the sunlight, i.e., in its own light now at length conscious of itself.  37
  The spiritual is ever the inner in a man becoming outer, the invisible becoming visible, the supernatural becoming natural, the infinite becoming finite, and the eternal veiling itself in the guise of time; never an emancipation from the flesh, but ever an incarnation in flesh.  38
  The spiritual man is free to rule his world, not his world to rule him.  39
  The spiritual problem which Christ resolved was pretty much this—the derivation of that from within man which was conceived to be above man, by the reperception of the forgotten truth that it was in His own image God made man. He first opened up the well within.  40
  The Stoic was a proud man, and not a humble, and he was content if he could only have his own soul for a prey. He did not see that the salvation of one man is impossible except in the salvation of other men, and that no man can save another unless he descend into that other’s case, and be, as it were, in that other’s stead.  41
  The true fire of heaven always comes from heaven direct.  42
  The true life of man, like God’s, lies in the ungrudging imparting of himself to alike the worthy and unworthy without fear of forfeiture or claim of reward.  43
  The whole spiritual universe exists only in process—what Hegel calls “Der Process des Geistes”—the process of the spirit, that is to say, not as become, but as becoming; and if it once ceases to become, it ceases as such to be.  44
  The whole universe is at all moments saving “Nay” to the Spirit of God, and God’s Spirit is at all moments saying “Yea” to the stolid “Nay” of the universe, which would fain be let alone; but stubborn as the material looks and is, it has to obey, and does obey, the voice of God.  45
  The wisest is omnipresent, and reveals His secrets universally to the seeing eye and the hearing ear. The revelation in all its fullness is nowhere wanting, only the sense to discern it, and the courage to be true to it.  46
  The world owes infinitely more to those who have no history than to those who have; and the silent noble ones, who have enriched and exalted it by their mere presence, form a much grander and greater host than those do whose names stand emblazoned in written story, and are the loud boast of all.  47
  The worship of beauty apart from the soul becomes an idolatry enkindling desire instead of a reverence awakening devotion.  48
  There is no brotherhood possible, at any rate stable, between man and man but a brotherhood of labour.  49
  This is a great—properly the greatest—moment in a man’s life, when, reconciling himself to necessity, he is able with clearness of purpose to say, “Let the will of the gods be done.”  50
  To be borne seems to many ever more kingly than to bear; and a ship carried with the breeze is, in their eyes, a lordlier spectacle than when it stands against it, victoriously braving it.  51
  To have the gift of life and bread to sustain it with can never suffice as a substitute for the ministry and service which the life itself is given us that we may fulfil. To find and work out this is man’s only satisfaction and true reward.  52
  Venus is beautiful, no doubt; but the artist that created her is more beautiful still.  53
  Vital truth is in its very nature self-evident; carries its witness within itself, and needs only to be understood to be at once accepted as true.  54
  We must accept the post to which Heaven appoints us, and do the duty to which Heaven calls us, and think it no shame, but an honour, to hold any office, however lowly, under heaven’s King.  55
  We must, if we would husband life and not waste it, bravely resolve to dispense with the dispensable, to content ourselves with the minimum of want, to stake our reputation, if such be dear to us, upon intrinsic worth, and show once again, if we can, by our mere life and labour, what are the “roots of honour” and the “veins of wealth.”  56
  What cares any man for appearances except as signs of what otherwise he cannot see?  57
  What signifies the loss of a Hercules even to the loss of an idea?  58
  What the Maker sends us remains mysteriously with us after the bearer of it is dead and gone; and we, as we “mourn over, long for, and love distant and departed” goodness, are more embraced and possessed by it than we were when it was present with us only in the flesh, and we could look upon it and handle it.  59
  When the artist forgets himself in admiration of his work, there is a fatal inversion and subversion of all art whatsoever; and for Love to worship Venus, his own creation, except as an index and light to himself, is in reality Love’s apostasy, not his apotheosis.  60
  Why insist, ye heroes, against the will of Jupiter, in pressing a Hercules into your enterprise? Know ye not that for him there is quite other work appointed, which he must do all alone, and not another with him?  61
  “Will-to-do,” which is the spirit of the true God, is eternally incompatible with “wish-to-have,” which is the proper spirit of the false.  62

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