Reference > Quotations > C.N. Douglas, comp. > Forty Thousand Quotations > Primary Author Index
C.N. Douglas, comp.  Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical.  1917.
George MacDonald
        A gentle wind of western birth,
From some far summer sea,
Wakes daisies in the wintry earth.
        A voice is in the wind I do not know;
A meaning on the face of the high hills
Whose utterance I cannot comprehend.
A something is behind them: that is God.
        Alas! how easily things go wrong!
A sigh too deep, or a kiss too long,
Ant then comes a mist and a weeping rain,
And life is never the same again.
        And in thy own sermon, thou
That the sparrow falls dost allow,
It shall not cause me any alarm;
For neither so comes the bird to harm,
Seeing our Father, thou hast said,
Is by the sparrow’s dying bed;
Therefore it is a blessed place,
And the sparrow in high grace.
        And so all growth that is not towards God
Is growing to decay.
        Anemone, so well
Named of the wind, to which thou art all free.
        Hang-head Bluebell,
Bending like Moses’ sister over Moses,
Full of a secret that thou dar’st not tell!
        Light-leaved acacias, by the door,
  Stood up in balmy air,
Clusters of blossomed moonlight bore,
  And breathed a perfume rare.
        The holy spirit of the Spring
  Is working silently.
        The west is broken into bars
  Of orange, gold, and gray;
Gone is the sun, come are the stars,
  And night infolds the day.
        Where did you get that pearly ear?
God spoke and it came out to hear.
        Woo on, with odour wooing me,
  Faint rose with fading core;
For God’s rose-thought, that blooms in thee,
  Will bloom forevermore.
  A perfect faith would lift us absolutely above fear.  13
  A true friend is forever a friend.  14
  Affliction is but the shadow of God’s wing.  15
  Age is not all decay; it is the ripening, the swelling of the fresh life within, that withers and bursts the husk.  16
  Ah, what is it we send up thither, where our thoughts are either a dissonance or a sweetness and a grace?  17
  Alas! this time is never the time for self-denial, it is always the next time. Abstinence is so much more pleasant to contemplate upon the other side of indulgence.  18
  All growth that is not towards God is growing to decay.  19
  All haste implies weakness.  20
  Ambition is but the evil shadow of aspiration.  21
  As to the pure all things are pure, so the common mind sees far more vulgarity in others than the mind developed in genuine refinement.  22
  As you grow ready for it, somewhere or other you will find what is needful for you in a book or a friend.  23
  Beauty and sadness always go together. Nature thought Beauty too rich to go forth upon the earth without a meet alloy.  24
  Better to have the poet’s heart than brain.  25
  But for money and the need of it, there would not be half the friendship in the world. It is powerful for good if divinely used. Give it plenty of air, and it is sweet as the hawthorn; shut it up, and it cankers and breeds worms.  26
  But there is no veil like light—no adamantine armor against hurt like the truth.  27
  Common people, whether lords or shop-keepers, are slow to understand that possession, whether in the shape of birth or lands or money or intellect, is a small affair in the difference between men.  28
  Difficulty adds to result, as the ramming of powder sends the bullet the further.  29
  Division has done more to hide Christ from the view of men than all the infidelity that has ever been spoken.  30
  Every soul has a landscape that changes with the wind that sweeps the sky, with the clouds that return after its rain.  31
  Faith is obedience, not compliance.  32
  Fear is faithlessness.  33
  For the greatest fool and rascal in creation there is yet a worse condition; and that is, not to know it, but to think himself a respectable man.  34
  Friends, if we be honest with ourselves, we shall be honest with each other.  35
  God hides nothing. His very work from the beginning is revelation—a casting aside of veil after veil, a showing unto men of truth after truth. On and on from fact Divine He advances, until at length in His Son Jesus He unveils His very face.  36
  God Himself—His thoughts, His will, His love, His judgments, are men’s home. To think His thoughts, to choose His will, to judge His judgments, and thus to know that He is in us, with us, is to be at home. And to pass through the valley of the shadow of death is the way home, but only thus, that as all changes have hitherto led us nearer to this home, the knowledge of God, so this greatest of all outward changes—for it is but an outward change—will surely usher us into a region where there will be fresh possibilities of drawing nigh in heart, soul, and mind to the Father of us all.  37
  God never gave man a thing to do concerning which it were irreverent to ponder how the Son of God would have done it.  38
  He who is faithful over a few things is a lord of cities. It does not matter whether you preach in Westminster Abbey or teach a ragged class, so you be faithful. The faithfulness is all.  39
  How many people would like to be good, if only they might be good without taking trouble about it! They do not like goodness well enough to hunger and thirst after it, or to sell all that they have that they may buy it; they will not batter at the gate of the kingdom of heaven; but they look with pleasure on this or that aerial castle of righteousness, and think it would be rather nice to live in it.  40
  I came from God, and I’m going back to God, and I won’t have any gaps of death in the middle of my life.  41
  I do not myself believe there is any misfortune. What men call such is merely the shadowside of a good.  42
  I do not think that the road to contentment lies in despising what we have not got. Let us acknowledge all good, all delight that the world holds, and be content without it.  43
  I find the doing of the will of God leaves me no time for disputing about His plans.  44
  I want to help you to grow as beautiful as God meant you to be when He thought of you first.  45
  I wish it were never one’s duty to quarrel with anybody; I do so hate it: but not to do it sometimes is to smile in the devil’s face.  46
  I wondered over again for the hundredth time what could be the principle which, in the wildest, most lawless, fantastically chaotic, apparently capricious work of nature, always kept it beautiful.  47
  If I can put one touch of a rosy sunset into the life of any man or woman, I shall feel that I have worked with God.  48
  In giving, a man receives more than he gives; and the more is in proportion to the worth of the thing given.  49
  It has been well said that no man ever sank under the burden of the day. It is when to-morrow’s burden is added to the burden of to-day that the weight is more than a man can bear.  50
  It is a happy thing for us that this is really all we have to concern ourselves about—what to do next. No man can do the second thing. He can do the first.  51
  It is only by loving a thing that you can make it yours.  52
  It is when to-morrow’s burden is added to the burden of to-day that the weight is more than a man can bear.  53
  It needs brains to be a real fool.  54
  It’s right to trust in God; but, if you don’t stand to your halliards your craft’ll miss stays, and your faith’ll be blown out of the bolt-ropes in the turn of a marlinspike.  55
  Joy cannot unfold the deepest truths. Cometh white-robed Sorrow, stooping and wan, and flingeth wide the door she must not enter.  56
  Life and religion are one, or neither is any thing.  57
  Mind, it is our best work that He wants, not the dregs of our exhaustion. I think He must prefer quality to quantity.  58
  Moderation is the basis of justice.  59
  No indulgence of passion destroys the spiritual nature so much as respectable selfishness.  60
  No man can make haste to be rich without going against the will of God, in which case it is the one frightful thing to be successful.  61
  Obedience is the key to every door.  62
  Real good-breeding is independent of the forms and refinements of what has assumed to itself the name of society.  63
  Relative to getting rid of it, a fault is serious or not in proportion to the depth of its root rather than the amount of its foliage.  64
  Religion is life essential.  65
  The best preparation for the future is the present well seen to, the last duty done.  66
  The direct foe of courage is the fear itself, not the object of it; and the man who can overcome his own terror is a hero, and more.  67
  The doing of things from duty is but a stage on the road to the kingdom of truth and love.  68
  The ideal is the only absolute real; and it must become the real in the individual life as well, however impossible they may count it who never tried it.  69
  The possession of wealth is, as it were, prepayment, and involves an obligation of honor to the doing of correspondent work.  70
  The principal part of faith is patience.  71
  The region of the senses is the unbelieving part of the human soul.  72
  The seed dies into a new life, and so does man.  73
  The whole trouble is, that we won’t let God help us.  74
  The world is full of resurrections. Every night that folds us up in darkness is a death; and those of you that have been out early, and have seen the first of the dawn, will know it—the day rises out of the night like a being that has burst its tomb and escaped into life.  75
  There are women who fly their falcons at any game, little birds and all.  76
  There is an aching that is worse than any pain.  77
  There is but one thing that can free a man from superstition, and that is belief. All history proves it. The most sceptical have ever been the most credulous.  78
  There is no inborn longing that shall not be fulfilled. I think that is as certain as the forgiveness of sins.  79
  There is no strength in unbelief. Even the unbelief of what is false is no source of might. It is the truth shining from behind that gives the strength to disbelieve.  80
  There is one show of breeding vulgarity seldom assumes,—simplicity.  81
  They are not the best students who are most dependent on books. What can be got out of them is at best only material; a man must build his house for himself.  82
  Things come to the poor that can’t get in at the door of the rich. Their money somehow blocks it up. It is a great privilege to be poor—one that no man covets, and but a very few have sought to retain, but one that yet many have learned to prize.  83
  Those who do it always would as soon think of being conceited of eating their dinner as of doing their duty. What honest boy would pride himself on not picking a pocket? A thief who was trying to reform would.  84
  Timely service, like timely gifts, is doubled in value.  85
  To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved.  86
  To have what we want is riches, but to be able to do without it is power.  87
  To judge religion we must have it—not stare at it from the bottom of a seemingly interminable ladder.  88
  To receive honestly is the best thanks for a good thing.  89
  Truth is a very different thing from fact; it is the loving contact of the soul with spiritual fact, vital and potent. It does not work in the soul independently of all faculty or qualification there for setting it forth or defending it. Truth in the inward parts is a power, not an opinion.  90
  What a man is lies as certainly upon his countenance as in his heart, though none of his acquaintances may be able to read it. The very intercourse with him may have rendered it more difficult.  91
  What can money do to console a man with a headache?  92
  When I look into the blue sky, it seems so deep, so peaceful, so full of a mysterious tenderness, that I could lie for centuries, and wait for the dawning of the face of God out of the awful loving-kindness.  93
  When we are out of sympathy with the young, then I think our work in this world is over.  94
  Will is not unfrequently weakness.  95
  You can’t live on amusement. It is the froth on water,—an inch deep, and then the mud!  96

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