Reference > Quotations > C.N. Douglas, comp. > Forty Thousand Quotations > Primary Author Index
C.N. Douglas, comp.  Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical.  1917.
                    Afflictions clarify the soul,
And like hard masters, give more hard directions,
Tutoring the non-age of uncurbed affections.
        Expect, but fear not, Death: Death cannot kill,
Till Time (that first must seal his patent) will.
Would’st thou live long? keep Time in high esteem:
Whom gone, if thou canst not recall, redeem.
        My soul, the seas are rough, and thou a stranger
In these false coasts; O keep aloof; there’s danger;
Cast forth thy plummet; see, a rock appears;
Thy ships want sea-room; make it with thy tears.
        No man’s condition is so base as his;
None more accurs’d than he; for man esteems
Him hateful, ’cause he seems not what he is;
God hates him, ’cause he is not what he seems;
What grief is absent, or what mischief can
Be added to the hate of God and man?
        The way to bliss lies not on beds of down,
And he that had no cross deserves no crown.
        ’T is not, to cry God mercy, or to sit
And droop, or to confess that thou hast fail’d:
’Tis to bewail the sins thou didst commit;
And not commit those sins thou hast bewail’d.
He that bewails and not forsakes them too;
Confesses rather what he means to do.
        What treasures here do Mammon’s sons behold!
Yet know that all that glitters is not gold.
  A fool’s heart is in his tongue; but a wise man’s tongue is in his heart.  8
  A promise is a child of the understanding and the will; the understanding begets it, the will brings it forth. He that performs delivers the mother; he that breaks it murders the child. If he be begotten in the absence of the understanding it is a bastard, but the child must be kept. If thou mistrust thy understanding, promise not; if thou hast promised, break it not: it is better to maintain a bastard than to murder a child.  9
  Abused patience turns to fury.  10
  Afflictions clarify the soul.  11
  As there is no worldly gain without some loss, so there is no worldly loss without some gain. If thou hast lost thy wealth, thou hast lost some trouble with it; if thou art degraded from thy honor, thou art likewise freed from the stroke of envy; if sickness hath blurred thy beauty, it hath delivered thee from pride. Set the allowance against the loss, and thou shalt find no loss great; he loses little or nothing that reserves himself.  12
  Be always displeased at what thou art, it thou desire to attain to what thou art not; for where thou hast pleased thyself, there thou abidest.  13
  Be as far from desiring the popular love as fearful to deserve the popular hate; ruin dwells in both: the one will hug thee to death; the other will crush thee to destruction: to escape the first, be not ambitious; to avoid the second, be not seditious.  14
  Be neither too early in the fashion, nor too long out of it, nor too precisely in it; what custom hath civilized is become decent, till then ridiculous; where the eye is the jury thy apparel is the evidence.  15
  Be not too great a niggard in the commendations of him that professes thy own quality: if he deserve thy praise, thou hast discovered thy judgment; if not, thy modesty: honor either returns or reflects to the giver.  16
  Be not too rash in the breaking of an inconvenient custom; as it was gotten, so leave it by degrees. Danger attends upon too sudden alterations; he that pulls down a bad building by the great may be ruined by the fall, but he that takes it down brick by brick may live to build a better.  17
  Be not too slow in the breaking of a sinful custom; a quick, courageous resolution is better than a gradual deliberation; in such a combat he is the bravest soldier that lays about him without fear or wit. Wit pleads, fear disheartens; he that would kill Hydra had better strike off one neck than five heads: fell the tree, and the branches are soon cut off.  18
  Be very circumspect in the choice of thy company. In the society of thine equals thou shalt enjoy more pleasure; in the society of thy superiors thou shalt find more profit. To be the best in the company is the way to grow worse; the best means to grow better is to be the worst there.  19
  Be very vigilent over thy child in the April of his understanding, lest the frost of May nip his blossoms; While he is a tender twig, straighten him; whilst he is a new vessel, season him; such as thou makest him, such commonly shalt thou find him. Let his first lesson be obedience, and his second shall be what thou wilt.  20
  Be wisely worldly, but not worldly wise.  21
  Before thou reprehend another, take heed thou art not culpable in what thou goest about to reprehend. He that cleanses a blot with blotted fingers makes a greater blur.  22
  Before thy undertaking of any design, weigh the glory of thy action with the danger of the attempt; if the glory outweigh the danger, it is cowardice to neglect it; if the danger exceed the glory, it is rashness to attempt it; if the balances stand poised, let thy own genius cast them.  23
  Beware of drunkenness, lest all good men beware of thee; where drunkenness reigns, there reason is an exile, virtue a stranger, God an enemy; blasphemy is wit, oaths are rhetoric, and secrets are proclamations.  24
  Blessedness is promised to the peacemaker, not to the conqueror.  25
  Charity feeds the poor, so does pride; charity builds an hospital, so does pride. In this they differ: charity gives her glory to God; pride takes her glory from man.  26
  Close thine ear against him that shall open his mouth secretly against another; if thou receive not his words, they fly back and wound the reporter; if thou receive them, they flee forward and wound the receiver.  27
  Deliberate long before thou consecrate a friend, and when thy impartial justice concludes him worthy of thy bosom, receive him joyfully, and entertain him wisely; impart thy secrets boldly, and mingle thy thoughts with his: he is thy very self; and use him so; if thou firmly think him faithful, thou makest him so.  28
  Demean thyself more warily in thy study than in the street. If thy public actions have a hundred witnesses, thy private have a thousand. The multitude looks but upon thy actions; thy conscience looks into them: the multitude may chance to excuse thee, if not acquit thee; thy conscience will accuse thee, if not condemn thee.  29
  Diogenes found more rest in his tub than Alexander on his throne.  30
  Every man’s vanity ought to be his greatest shame; and every man’s folly ought to be his greatest secret.  31
  Fear nothing but what thy industry may prevent; be confident of nothing but what fortune cannot defeat; it is no less folly to fear what is impossible to be avoided than to be secure when there is a possibility to be deprived.  32
  Flatter not thyself in thy faith to God, if thou wantest charity for thy neighbor; and think not thou hast charity for thy neighbor if thou wantest faith to God. Where they are not both together, they are both wanting; they are both dead if once divided.  33
  Gaze not on beauty too much, lest it blast thee; nor too long, lest it blind thee; nor too near, lest it burn thee. If thou like it, it deceives thee; if thou love it, it disturbs thee; if thou hunt after it, it destroys thee. If virtue accompany it, it is the heart’s paradise; if vice associate it, it is the soul’s purgatory. It is the wise man’s bonfire, and the fool’s furnace.  34
  Give not thy tongue too great a liberty, lest it take thee prisoner. A word unspoken is like the sword in the scabbard, thine; if vented, thy sword is in another’s hand. If thou desire to be held wise, be so wise as to hold thy tongue.  35
  God hath given to mankind a common library, his creatures; and to every man a proper book, himself, being an abridgement of all the others: if thou read with understanding, it will make thee a great master of philosophy, and a true servant to the divine Author; if thou but barely read, it will make thee thy own wise man, and the Author’s fool.  36
  God is alpha and omega in the great world: endeavor to make Him so in the little world; make Him thy evening epilogue and thy morning prologue; practice to make Him thy last thought at night when thou sleepest, and thy first thought in the morning when then awakest; so shall thy fancy be sanctified in the night, and thy understanding rectified in the day; so shall thy rest be peaceful, thy labors prosperous, thy life pious, and thy death glorious.  37
  God’s pleasure is at the end of our prayers.  38
  Gold is Cæsar’s treasure, man is God’s; thy gold hath Cæsar’s image, and thou hast God’s; give, therefore, those things unto Cæsar which are Cæsar’s, and unto God which are God’s.  39
  Hath any wronged thee? be bravely revenged; slight it, and the work is begun; forgive it, and it is finished; he is below himself that is not above an injury,  40
  Hath fortune dealt thee ill cards? let wisdom make thee a good gamester. In a fair gale, every fool may sail, but wise behavior in a storm commends the wisdom of a pilot; to bear adversity with an equal mind is both the sign and glory of a brave spirit.  41
  He is below himself who is not above an injury.  42
  He that discovers himself, till he hath made himself master of his desires, lays himself open to his own ruin, and makes himself prisoner to his own tongue.  43
  He that gives all, though but little, gives much; because God looks not to the quantity of the gift, but to the quality of the givers; he that desires to give more than he can hath equaled his gift to his desire, and hath given more than he hath.  44
  He that gives time to resolve gives leisure to deny, and warning to prepare.  45
  He that has no cross deserves no crown.  46
  Heaven is never deaf but when man’s heart is dumb.  47
  His glory now lies buried in the dust.  48
  I’ll ne’er distrust my God for cloth and bread while lilies flourish and the raven ’s fed.  49
  If any speak ill of thee, flee home to thy own conscience, and examine thy heart: if thou be guilty, it is a just correction; if not guilty, it is a fair instruction: make use of both; so shalt thou distil honey out of gall, and out of an open enemy create a secret friend.  50
  If God send thee a cross, take it up willingly and follow him. Use it wisely, lest it be unprofitable. Bear it patiently, lest it be intolerable. If it be light, slight it not. If it be heavy, murmur not. After the cross is the crown.  51
  If opinion hath lighted the lamp of thy name, endeavor to encourage it with thy own oil, lest it go out and stink; the chronical disease of popularity is shame; if thou be once up, beware; from fame to infamy is a beaten road.  52
  If thou desire the love of God and man, be humble; for the proud heart, as it loves none but itself, so it is beloved of none but by itself; the voice of humility is God’s music, and the silence of humility is God’s rhetoric. Humility enforces where neither virtue nor strength can prevail nor reason.  53
  If thou desire to be held wise, be so wise as to hold thy tongue.  54
  If thou desire to see thy child virtuous, let him not see his father’s vices; thou canst not rebuke that in children that they behold practiced in thee; till reason be ripe, examples direct more than precepts; such as thy behavior is before thy children’s faces, such commonly is theirs behind their parents’ backs.  55
  If thou expect death as a friend, prepare to entertain it; if thou expect death as an enemy, prepare to overcome it; death has no advantage, but when it comes a stranger.  56
  If thou hast no inferiors, have patience awhile, and thou shalt have no superiors. The grave requires no marshal.  57
  If thou neglectest thy love to thy neighbor, in vain thou professest thy love to God; for by thy love to God the love to thy neighbor is begotten, and by the love to thy neighbor, thy love to God is nourished.  58
  If thou seest anything in thyself which may make thee proud, look a little further and thou shalt find enough to humble thee; if thou be wise, view the peacock’s feathers with his feet, and weigh thy best parts with thy imperfections.  59
  If thou wouldst be justified, acknowledge thy injustice; he that confesses his sin begins his journey toward salvation; he that is sorry for it mends his pace; he that forsakes it is at his journey’s end.  60
  If thou wouldst preserve a sound body, use fasting and walking; if a healthful soul, fasting and praying; walking exercises the body, praying exercises the soul, fasting cleanses both.  61
  If thy daughter marry well, thou hast found a son; if not, thou hast lost a daughter.  62
  If thy desire to raise thy fortunes encourage thy delights to the casts of fortune, be wise betimes, lest thou repent too late; what thou gettest, thou gainest by abused providence: what thou losest, thou losest by abused patience; what thou winnest is prodigally spent; what thou losest is prodigally lost; it is an evil trade that prodigality drives; and a bad voyage where the pilot is blind.  63
  If thy faith have no doubts, thou has just cause to doubt thy faith; and if thy doubts have no hope, thou hast just reason to fear despair; when therefore thy doubts shall exercise thy faith, keep thy hopes firm to qualify thy doubts; so shall thy faith be secured from doubts; so shall thy doubts be preserved from despair.  64
  If thy words be too luxuriant, confine them, lest they confine thee; he that thinks he never can speak enough may easily speak too much. A full tongue and an empty brain are seldom parted.  65
  If virtue accompany it, it is the heart’s paradise; if vice associate it, it is the soul’s purgatory.  66
  If you desire to be magnanimous, undertake nothing rashly, and fear nothing thou undertakest; fear nothing but infamy; dare anything but injury; the measure of magnanimity is neither to be rash nor timorous.  67
  In all thy actions think God sees thee; and in all His actions labor to see Him; that will make thee fear Him; this will move thee to love Him; the fear of God is the beginning of knowledge, and the knowledge of God is the perfection of love.  68
  In giving of thy alms, inquire not so much into the person, as his necessity. God looks not so much upon the merits of him that requires, as into the manner of him that relieves; if the man deserve not, thou hast given it to humanity.  69
  In the commission of evil, fear no man so much as thyself; another is but one witness against thee, thou art a thousand; another thou mayest avoid, thyself thou canst not. Wickedness is its own punishment.  70
  It is no happiness to live long, nor unhappiness to die soon; happy is he that hath lived long enough, to die well.  71
  Knowledge descries; wisdom applies.  72
  Let the fear of a danger be a spur to prevent it; he that fears otherwise gives advantage to the danger; it is less folly not to endeavor the prevention of the evil thou fearest than to fear the evil which thy endeavor cannot prevent.  73
  Let the foundation of thy affection be virtue, then make the building as rich and as glorious as thou canst; if the foundation be beauty or wealth, and the building virtue, the foundation is too weak for the building, and it will fall: happy is he, the palace of whose affection is founded upon virtue, walled with riches, glazed with beauty, and roofed with honor.  74
  Let the greater part of the news thou hearest be the least part of what thou believest.  75
  Let the words of a virgin, though in a good cause and to a good purpose, be neither violent, many, nor first, nor last; it is less shame for a virgin to be lost in a blushing silence than to be found in a bold eloquence.  76
  Luxury is an enticing pleasure, a bastard mirth, which hath honey in her mouth, gall in her heart, and a sting in her tail.  77
  Make philosophy thy journey, theology thy journey’s end: philosophy is a pleasant way, but dangerous to him that either tires or retires; in this journey it is safe neither to loiter nor to rest, till thou hast attained thy journey’s end; he that sits down a philosopher rises up an atheist.  78
  Make use of time, if thou lovest eternity; know yesterday cannot be recalled, to-morrow cannot be assured: to-day is only thine; which if thou procrastinate, thou losest; which lost, is lost forever: one to-day is worth two to-morrows.  79
  Meditation is the life of the soul; action is the soul of meditation; honor is the reward of action; so meditate, that thou mayst do; so do, that thou mayst purchase honor; for which purchase, give God the glory.  80
  Mercy turns her back to the unmerciful.  81
  Money is both the generation and corruption of purchased honor; honor is both the child and slave of potent money: the credit which honor hath lost, money hath found. When honor grew mercenary, money grew honorable. The way to be truly noble is to contemn both.  82
  Necessity of action takes away the fear of the act, and makes bold resolution the favorite of fortune.  83
  Neutrality is dangerous, whereby thou becomest a necessary prey to the conqueror.  84
  No labor is hard, no time is long, wherein the glory of eternity is the mark we level at.  85
  Of all the difficulties in a state, the temper of a true government most felicities and perpetuates it; too sudden alterations distemper it. Had Nero tuned his kingdom as be did his harp, his harmony had been more honorable, and his reign more prosperous.  86
  Of all vices take heed of drunkenness; other vices are but fruits of disordered affections—this disorders, nay, banishes reason; other vices but impair the soul—this demolishes her two chief faculties, the understanding and the will; other vices make their own way—this makes way for all vices; he that is a drunkard is qualified for all vice.  87
  Opinion is a bold bastard.  88
  Physicians, of all men, are most happy; whatever good success soever they have the world proclaimeth, and what faults they commit the earth covereth.  89
  Pleasures bring effeminacy, and effeminacy foreruns ruin; such conquests, without blood or sweat, sufficiently do revenge themselves upon their intemperate conquerors.  90
  Prize not thyself by what thou hast, but by what thou art; he that values a jewel by her golden frame, or a book by her silver clasps, or a man by his vast estate, errs; if thou art not worth more than the world can make thee, thy Redeemer had a bad pennyworth, or thou an uncurious Redeemer.  91
  Proportion thy charity to the strength of thy estate, lest God proportion thy estate to the weakness of thy charity; let the lips of the poor be the trumpet of thy gift, lest in seeking applause, thou lose thy reward. Nothing is more pleasing to God than an open hand and a close mouth.  92
  Put off thy cares with thy clothes; so shall thy rest strengthen thy labor; and so shall thy labor sweeten thy rest.  93
  Rather do what is nothing to the purpose than be idle; that the devil may find thee doing. The bird that sits is easily shot, when fliers scape the fowler. Idleness is the Dead Sea that swallows all the virtues, and the self-made sepulchre of a living man.  94
  Reason can discover things only near,—sees nothing that’s above her.  95
  Scandal breeds hatred; hatred begets division; division makes faction, aid faction brings ruin.  96
  Sin is a basilisk whose eyes are full of venom. If the eye of thy soul see her first, it reflects her own poison and kills her; if she see thy soul, unseen, or seen too late, with her poison, she kills thee: since therefore thou canst not escape thy sin, let not thy sin escape thy observation.  97
  So use prosperity, that adversity may not abuse thee: if in the one, security admits no fears, in the other, despair will afford no hopes; be that in prosperity can foretell a danger can in adversity foresee deliverance.  98
  Sweet tastes have sour closes; and he repents on thorns that sleeps in beds of roses.  99
  Temper your enjoyments with prudence, lest there be written upon your heart that fearful word “satiety.”  100
  That friendship will not continue to the end that is begun for an end.  101
  The birds of the air die to sustain thee; the beasts of the field die to nourish thee; the fishes of the sea die to feed thee. Our stomachs are their common sepulchre. Good God! with how many deaths are our poor lives patched up! how full of death is the life of momentary man!  102
  The heart is a small thing, but desireth great matters. It is not sufficient for a kite’s dinner, yet the whole world is not sufficient for it.  103
  The light of the understanding, humility kindleth and pride covereth.  104
  The passage of Providence lies through many crooked ways; a despairing heart is the true prophet of approaching evil; his actions may weave the webs of fortune, but not break them.  105
  The sufficiency of merit is to know that my merit is not sufficient.  106
  The way to subject all things to thyself is to subject thyself to reason; thou shalt govern many, if reason govern thee. Wouldst thou be crowned the monarch of a little world? command thyself.  107
  The world is deceitful; her end is doubtful, her conclusion is horrible, her judge is terrible, and her judgment is intolerable.  108
  There be three sorts of government—monarchical, aristocratical, democratical; and they are apt to fall three several ways into ruin—the first, by tyranny; the second, by ambition; the last, by tumults. A commonwealth grounded upon any one of these is not of long continuance; but, wisely mingled, each guards the other and makes that government exact.  109
  They who cannot be induced to fear for love will never be enforced to love for fear. Love opens the heart, fear shuts it; that encourages, this compels; and victory meets encouragement, but flees compulsion.  110
  Things temporal are sweeter in the expectation, things eternal are sweeter in the fruition; the first shames thy hope, the second crowns it; it is a vain journey, whose end affords less pleasure than the way.  111
  Think not thy love to God merits God’s love to thee; His acceptance of thy duty crowns His own gifts in thee; man’s love to God is nothing but a faint reflection of God’s love to man.  112
  Though virtue give a ragged livery, she gives a golden cognizance; if her service make thee poor, blush not. Thy poverty may disadvantage thee, but not dishonor thee.  113
  Thy ignorance in unrevealed mysteries is the mother of a saving faith, and thy understanding in revealed truths is the mother of a sacred knowledge; understand not therefore that thou mayest believe, but believe that thou mayest understand; understanding is the wages of a lively faith, and faith is the reward of an humble ignorance.  114
  Thy pride is but the prologue of thy shame; where vain-glory commands, there folly counsels; where pride rides, there shame lackeys.  115
  To bear adversity with an equal mind is both the sign and glory of a brave spirit.  116
  To fear death is the way to live long; to be afraid of death is to be long a dying.  117
  Too much is a vanity; enough is a feast.  118
  Use law and physic only for necessity; they that use them otherwise abuse themselves into weak bodies, and light purses; they are good remedies, bad businesses, and worse recreations.  119
  Virtue is nothing but an act of loving that which is to be beloved, and that act is prudence, from whence not to be removed by constraint is fortitude; not to be allured by enticements is temperance; not to be diverted by pride is justice.  120
  What money creates, money preserves: If thy wealth decays, thy honor dies; it is but a slippery happiness which fortunes can give, and frowns can take; and not worth the owning which a night’s fire can melt, or a rough sea can drown.  121
  When ambitious men find an open passage, they are rather busy than dangerous; and if well watched in their proceedings, they will catch themselves in their own snare, and prepare a way for their own destruction.  122
  When the flesh presents thee with delights, then present thyself with dangers; where the world possesses thee with vain hopes, there possess thyself with true fear; when the devil brings thee oil, bring thou vinegar. The way to be safe is never to be secure.  123
  With a bloody flux of oaths vows deep revenge.  124
  Wouldst thou know the lawfulness of the action which thou desirest to undertake, let thy devotion recommend it to Divine blessing: if it be lawful, thou shalt perceive thy heart encouraged by thy prayer; if unlawful, thou shalt find thy prayer discouraged by thy heart. That action is not warrantable which either blushes to beg a blessing, or, having succeeded, dares not present a thanksgiving.  125
  Wouldst thou multiply thy riches? diminish them wisely; or wouldst thou make thy estate entire? divide it charitably. Seeds that are scattered increase; but, hoarded up, they perish.  126
  Wrinkle not thy face with too much laughter, lest thou become ridiculous; neither wanton thy heart with too much mirth, lest thou become vain: the suburbs of folly is vain mirth, and profuseness of laughter is the city of fools.  127

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