Reference > Quotations > C.N. Douglas, comp. > Forty Thousand Quotations > Primary Author Index
C.N. Douglas, comp.  Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical.  1917.
  A Christian is God Almighty’s gentleman; a gentleman, in the vulgar, superficial way of understanding the word, is the devil’s christian. But to throw aside these polished and too current counterfeits for something valuable and sterling, the real gentleman should be gentle in everything, at least in everything that depends on himself—in carriage, temper, constructions, aims, desires. He ought, therefore, to be mild, calm, quiet, even, temperate—not hasty in judgment, not exorbitant in ambition, not overbearing, not proud, not rapacious, not oppressive; for these things are contrary to gentleness. Many such gentlemen are to be found, I trust; and many more would be were the true meaning of the name borne in mind and duly inculcated.  1
  A mother should give her children a superabundance of enthusiasm; that after they have lost all they are sure to lose on mixing with the world, enough may still remain to prompt and support them through great actions. A cloak should be of three-pile, to keep its gloss in wear.  2
  A statesman, we are told, should follow public opinion. Doubtless, as a coachman follows his horses; having firm hold on the reins, and guiding them.  3
  A weak mind sinks under prosperity as well as under adversity. A strong and deep one has two highest tides,—when the moon is at the full, and when there is no moon.  4
  A youth’s love is the more passionate; virgin love is the more idolatrous.  5
  Books, as Dryden has aptly termed them, are spectacles to read nature. Æschylus and Aristotle, Shakespeare and Bacon, are priests who preach and expound the mysteries of man and the universe. They teach us to understand and feel what we see, to decipher and syllable the hieroglyphics of the senses.  6
  By the ancients, courage was regarded as practically the main part of virtue; by us, though I hope we are not less brave, purity is so regarded now.  7
  Children always turn towards the light. Oh that grown-up people in this world became like little children!  8
  Christianity has carried civilization along with it, whithersoever it has gone; and, as if to show that the latter does not depend on physical causes, some of the countries the most civilized in the days of Augustus are now in a state of hopeless barbarism.  9
  Crimes sometimes shock us too much; vices almost always too little.  10
  Entireness, illimitableness is indispensable to Faith. What we believe, we must believe wholly and without reserve; wherefore the only perfect and satisfying object of Faith is God. A Faith that sets bounds to itself, that will believe so much and no more, that will trust thus far and no further, is none.  11
  Examples would indeed be excellent things were not people so modest that none will set, and so vain that none will follow them.  12
  Few persons have courage enough to seem as good as they really are.  13
  Forms and regularity of proceeding, if they are not justice, partake much of the nature of justice, which, in its highest sense, is the spirit of distributive order.  14
  Friendship is love without its flowers or veil.  15
  He who does evil that good may come pays a toll to the devil to let him into heaven.  16
  How deeply rooted must unbelief be in our hearts when we are surprised to find our prayers answered.  17
  I could hardly feel much confidence in a man who had never been imposed upon.  18
  Instead of watching the bird as it flies above our heads, we chase his shadow along the ground; and, finding we cannot grasp it, we conclude it to be nothing.  19
  Is not every true lover a martyr?  20
  It is a proof of our natural bias to evil, that gain is slower and harder than loss in all things good; but in all things bad getting is quicker and easier than getting rid of.  21
  It is said that Windham, when he came to the end of a speech, often found himself so perplexed by his own subtlety that he hardly knew which way he was going to give his vote. This is a good illustration of the fallaciousness of reasoning, and of the uncertainties which attend its practical application.  22
  It is well for us that we are born babies in intellect. Could we understand half what mothers say and do to their infants, we should be filled with a conceit of our own importance, which would render us insupportable through life. Happy the boy whose mother is tired of talking nonsense to him before he is old enough to know the sense of it.  23
  It is with flowers as with moral qualities; the bright are sometimes poisonous; but, I believe, never the sweet.  24
  Lord Lyttleton says true domestic bliss shuns too strong a light.  25
  Love, it has been said, flows downward. The love of parents for their children has always been far more powerful than that of children for their parents; and who among the sons of men ever loved God with a thousandth part of the love which God has manifested to us?  26
  Many actions, like the Rhone, have two sources,—one pure, the other impure.  27
  Many are ambitious of saying grand things, that is, of being grandiloquent. Eloquence is speaking out  *  *  *  a quality few esteem, and fewer aim at.  28
  Many men spend their lives in gazing at their own shadows, and so dwindle away into shadows thereof.  29
  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.  30
  Men think highly of those who rise rapidly in the world; whereas nothing rises quicker than dust, straw, and feathers.  31
  Moral prejudices are the stopgaps of virtue; and, as is the case with other stopgaps, it is often more difficult to get either out or in through them than through any other part of the fence.  32
  Much of this world’s wisdom is still acquired by necromancy,—by consulting the oracular dead.  33
  Mythology is not religion. It may rather be regarded as the ancient substitute, the poetical counterpart, for dogmatic theology.  34
  Nature is mighty. Art is mighty. Artifice is weak. For nature is the work of a mightier power than man. Art is the work of man under the guidance and inspiration of a mightier power. Artifice is the work of mere man, in the imbecility of his mimic understanding.  35
  Never put much confidence in such as put no confidence in others. A man prone to suspect evil is mostly looking in his neighbor for what he sees in himself. As to the pure all things are pure, even so to the impure all things are impure.  36
  None but a fool is always right.  37
  Nothing good bursts forth all at once. The lightning may dart out of a black cloud; but the day sends his bright heralds before him, to prepare the world for his coming.  38
  Nothing is farther than earth from heaven; nothing is nearer than heaven to earth.  39
  Only when the voice of duty is silent, or when it has already spoken, may we allowably think of the consequences of a particular action.  40
  Purity is the feminine, truth the masculine, of honor.  41
  Since the generality of persons act from impulse, much more than from principle, men are neither so good nor so bad as we are apt to think them.  42
  Some men so dislike the dust kicked up by the generation they belong to, that, being unable to pass, they lag behind it.  43
  Some people carry their hearts in their heads; very many carry their heads in their hearts. The difficulty is to keep them apart, yet both actively working together.  44
  Some persons take reproof good-humoredly enough, unless you are so unlucky as to hit a sore place. Then they wince and writhe, and start up and knock you down for your impertinence, or wish you good morning.  45
  Sudden resolutions, like the sudden rise of the mercury in the barometer, indicate little else than the changeableness of the weather.  46
  The business of philosophy is to circumnavigate human nature.  47
  The cross was two pieces of dead wood; and a helpless, unresisting Man was nailed to it; yet it was mightier than the world, and triumphed, and will ever triumph over it.  48
  The difference between those whom the world esteems as good and those whom it condemns as bad, is in many cases little else than that the former have been better sheltered from temptation.  49
  The grand difficulty is to feel the reality of both worlds, so as to give each its due place in our thoughts and feelings, to keep our mind’s eye and our heart’s eye ever fixed on the land of promise, without looking away from the road along which we are to travel toward it.  50
  The greatest truths are the simplest; and so are the greatest men.  51
  The intellect of the wise is like glass; it admits the light of heaven and reflects it.  52
  The next best thing to a very good joke is a very bad one.  53
  The power of faith will often shine forth the most when the character is naturally weak.  54
  The praises of others may be of use in teaching us, not what we are, but what we ought to be.  55
  The question is not whether a doctrine is beautiful, but whether it is true. When we want to go to a place, we don’t ask whether the road leads through a pretty country, but whether it is the right road, the road pointed out by authority, the turnpike-road.  56
  The ultimate tendency of civilization is towards barbarism.  57
  The virtue of Paganism was strength; the virtue of Christianity is obedience.  58
  There is a glare about worldly success which is very apt to dazzle men’s eyes.  59
  There is as much difference between good poetry and fine verses as between the smell of a flower-garden and of a perfumer’s shop.  60
  There is no being eloquent for atheism. In that exhausted receiver the mind cannot use its wings,—the clearest proof that it is out of its element.  61
  They who boast of their tolerance merely give others leave to be as careless about religion as they are themselves. A walrus might as well pride itself on its endurance of cold.  62
  They who disbelieve in virtue because man has never been found perfect, might as reasonably deny the sun because it is not always noon.  63
  Thought is the wind, knowledge the sail, and mankind the vessel.  64
  To Adam Paradise was home. To the good among his descendants home is paradise.  65
  True goodness is like the glow-worm in this, that it shines most when no eyes except those of heaven are upon it.  66
  Unless society can effect by education what Lord Monboddo holds man to have done by willing it, and can get rid of her tail, it will be wisest to let the educated classes keep their natural station at the head.  67
  Vice is the greatest of all Jacobins, the archleveller.  68
  We like slipping, but not falling: our real desire is to be tempted enough.  69
  We look to our last sickness for repentance, unmindful that it is during a recovery men repent, not during a sickness.  70
  What a person praises is perhaps a surer standard, even, than what he condemns, of his character, information, and abilities. No wonder, then, that in this prudent country most people are so shy of praising anything.  71
  What hypocrites we seem to be whenever we talk of ourselves! Our words sound so humble, while our hearts are so proud.  72
  When will talkers refrain from evil speaking? When listeners refrain from evil hearing. At present there are many so credulous of evil, they will receive suspicions and impressions against persons whom they don’t know, from a person whom they do know—an authority good for nothing.  73
  When you doubt between words, use the plainest, the commonest, the most idiomatic. Eschew fine words as you would rouge, love simple ones as you would native roses on your cheek.  74

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