Reference > Quotations > C.N. Douglas, comp. > Forty Thousand Quotations > Primary Author Index
C.N. Douglas, comp.  Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical.  1917.
  A coward’s fear can make a coward valiant.  1
  A sentence well couched takes both the sense and the understanding. I love not those cart-rope speeches that are longer than the memory of man can fathom.  2
  All earthly delights are sweeter in expectation than enjoyment; but all spiritual pleasures more in fruition than expectation.  3
  Any man shall speak the better when he knows what others have said, and sometimes the consciousness of his inward knowledge gives a confidence to his outward behavior, which of all other is the best thing to grace a man in his carriage.  4
  Business is the salt of life, which not only gives a grateful smack to it, but dries up those crudities that would offend, preserves from putrefaction and drives off all those blowing flies that would corrupt it.  5
  By gaming we lose both our time and treasure—two things most precious to the life of man.  6
  Contemplation is necessary to generate an object, but action must propagate it.  7
  Discontents are sometimes the better part of our life. I know not well which is the most useful; joy I may choose for pleasure, but adversities are the best for profit; and sometimes those do so far help me, as I should, without them, want much of the joy I have.  8
  Every man should study conciseness in speaking: it is a sign of ignorance not to know that long speeches, though they may please the speaker, are the torture of the hearer.  9
  Fear, if it be not immoderate, puts a guard about us that does watch and defend us; but credulity keeps us naked, and lays us open to all the sly assaults of ill-intending men: it was a virtue when man was in his innocence; but since his fall, it abuses those that own it.  10
  For converse among men, beautiful persons have less need of the mind’s commending qualities. Beauty in itself is such a silent orator, that it is ever pleading for respect and liking, and by the eyes of others is ever sending to their hearts for love.  11
  God has made no one absolute.  12
  Gold is the fool’s curtain, which hides all his defects from the world.  13
  He that always waits upon God is ready whenever He calls. Neglect not to set your accounts even; he is a happy man who so lives as that death at all times may find him at leisure to die.  14
  He that despairs degrades the Deity, and seems to intimate that He is insufficient, or not just to His word; and in vain hath read the scriptures, the world, and man.  15
  He that, when he should not, spends too much, shall, when he would not, have too little to spend.  16
  He who would be singular in his apparel had need have something superlative to balance that affectation.  17
  Honesty is a warrant of far more safety than fame.  18
  Hope is to a man as a bladder to a learning swimmer—it keeps him from sinking in the bosom of the waves, and by that help he may attain the exercise; but yet it many times makes him venture beyond his height, and then if that breaks, or a storm rises, he drowns without recovery. How many would die, did not hope sustain them! How many have died by hoping too much! This wonder we find in Hope, that she is both a flatterer and a true friend.  19
  Human life has not a surer friend, nor oftentimes a greater enemy, than hope. It is the miserable man’s god, which in the hardest gripe of calamity never fails to yield to him beams of comfort. It is the presumptuous man’s devil, which leads him a while in a smooth way, and then suddenly breaks his neck.  20
  I love the man that is modestly valiant; that stirs not till he most needs, and then to purpose. A continued patience I commend not.  21
  If ever I should affect injustice, it would be in this, that I might do courtesies and receive none.  22
  Irresolution is a worse vice than rashness. He that shoots best may sometimes miss the mark; but he that shoots not at all can never hit it. Irresolution loosens all the joints of a state; like an ague, it shakes not this nor that limb, but all the body is at once in a fit. The irresolute man is lifted from one place to another; so hatcheth nothing, but adles all his actions.  23
  It is a most unhappy state to be at a distance with God; man needs no greater infelicity than to be left to himself.  24
  It is much safer to reconcile an enemy than to conquer him; victory may deprive him of his poison, but reconciliation of his will.  25
  It is rare to see a rich man religious; for religion preaches restraint, and riches prompt to unlicensed freedom.  26
  It is to be doubted whether he will ever find the way to heaven who desires to so thither alone.  27
  Knowledge is the treasure of the mind, but discretion is the key to it, without which it is useless. The practical part of wisdom is the best.  28
  Meditation is the soul’s perspective glass, whereby, in her long remove, she discerneth God, as if He were nearer at hand.  29
  Men are like wine,—not good before the lees of clownishness be settled.  30
  Negligence is the rest of the soul, that corrodes through all her best resolves.  31
  No man can expect to find a friend without faults; nor can he propose himself to be so to another. Without reciprocal mildness and temperance there can be no continuance of friendship. Every man will have something to do for his friend, and something to bear with in him. The sober man only can do the first; and for the latter, patience is requisite. It is better for a man to depend on himself, than to be annoyed with either a madman or a fool.  32
  Perfection is immutable. But for things imperfect, change is the way to perfect them. It gets the name of wilfulness when it will not admit of a lawful change to the better. Therefore constancy without knowledge cannot be always good. In things ill it is not virtue, but an absolute vice.  33
  Pleasures can undo a man at any time, if yielded to.  34
  Praise has different effects, according to the mind it meets with; it makes a wise man modest, but a fool more arrogant, turning his weak brain giddy.  35
  Promises may get friends, but it is performance that must nurse and keep them.  36
  Reason and right give the quickest despatch.  37
  Riches, though they may reward virtues, yet they cannot cause them; he is much more noble who deserves a benefit than he who bestows one.  38
  Show me the man who would go to heaven alone if he could, and in that man I will show you one who will never be admitted into heaven.  39
  Some are so uncharitable as to think all women bad, and others are so credulous as to believe they are all good. All will grant her corporeal frame more wonderful and more beautiful than man’s. And can we think God would put a worse soul into a better body?  40
  Surely, if we considered detraction to be bred of envy, nested only in deficient minds, we should find that the applauding of virtue would win us far more honor than the seeking slyly to disparage it. That would show we loved what we commended, while this tells the world we grudge at what we want in ourselves.  41
  Take heed of a speedy professing friend; love is never lasting which flames before it burns.  42
  That man is but of the lower part of the world that is not brought up to business and affairs.  43
  The boundary of man is moderation. When once we pass that pale our guardian angel quits his charge of us.  44
  The irresolute man flecks from one egg to another, so hatches nothing.  45
  The noblest part of a friend is an honest boldness in the notifying of errors. He that tells me of a fault, aiming at my good, I must think him wise and faithful—wise in spying that which I see not; faithful in a plain admonishment, not tainted with flattery.  46
  There is no detraction worse than to overpraise a man, for if his worth proves short of what report doth speak of him, his own actions are ever giving the lie to his honor.  47
  There is no man but for his own interest hath an obligation to be honest. There may be sometimes temptations to be otherwise; but, all cards cast up, he shall find it the greatest ease, the highest profit, the best pleasure, the most safety, and the noblest fame, to hold the horns of this altar, which, in all assays, can in himself protect him.  48
  There is no one subsists by himself alone.  49
  Time is like a ship which never anchors; while I am on board, I had better do those things that may profit me at my landing, than practice such as shall cause my commitment when I come ashore.  50
  To be gentle is the test of a lady.  51
  To be humble to our superiors is duty; to our equals, courtesy; to our inferiors, generosity.  52
  To go to law, is for two persons to kindle a fire at their own cost, to warm others, and singe themselves to cinders; and because they cannot agree, to what is truth and equity, they will both agree to unplume themselves, that others may be decorated with their feathers.  53
  Truth and fidelity are the pillars of the temple of the world; when these are broken, the fabric falls, and crushes all to pieces.  54
  Vice is a peripatetic, always in progression.  55
  Virtue dwells at the head of a river, to which we cannot get but by rowing against the stream.  56
  Virtue is the truest liberty.  57
  Virtue were a kind of misery if fame were all the garland that crowned her.  58
  We pick our own sorrows out of the joys of other men, and from their sorrows likewise we derive our joys.  59
  When two friends part they should lock up one another’s secrets, and interchange their keys.  60
  Where there is plenty, charity is a duty, not a courtesy.  61
  Works without faith are like a fish without water, it wants the element it should live in. A building without a basis cannot stand; faith is the foundation, and every good action is as a stone laid.  62
  Yet even this hath this inconvenience in it—that it makes its possessor neglect the furnishing of the mind with nobleness. Nay, it oftentimes is a cause that the mind is ill.  63
  Zeal without humility is like a ship without a rudder, liable to be stranded at any moment.  64

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