Reference > Quotations > C.N. Douglas, comp. > Forty Thousand Quotations > Primary Author Index
C.N. Douglas, comp.  Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical.  1917.
  A good inclination is but the first rude draught of virtue, but the finishing strokes are from the will; which, if well disposed, will by degrees perfect,—if ill disposed, will by the superinduction of ill habits quickly deface it.  1
  A good name is properly that reputation of virtue that every man may challenge as his right and due in the opinions of others, till he has made forfeit of it by the viciousness of his actions.  2
  A great sin is a course of wickedness abridged into one act.  3
  A lie is like a vizard, that may cover the face indeed, but can never become it.  4
  A man never outlives his conscience, and that, for this cause only, he cannot outlive himself.  5
  A palsy may as well shake an oak, or a fever dry up a fountain, as either of them shake, dry up, or impair the delight of conscience. For it lies within, it centres in the heart, it grows into the very substance of the soul, so that it accompanies a man to his grave; he never outlives it.  6
  Abstinence is the great strengthener and clearer of reason.  7
  Action is the highest perfection and drawing forth of the utmost power, vigor, and activity of man’s nature.  8
  Adam knew no disease so long as temperance from the forbidden fruit secured him. Nature was his physician; and innocence and abstinence would have kept him healthful to immortality.  9
  After some account of good, evil will be known by consequence, as being only a privation, or absence of good.  10
  All deception in the course of life is, indeed, nothing else but a lie reduced to practice and falsehood passing from words into things.  11
  All nations that grew great out of little or nothing did so merely by the public-mindedness of particular persons.  12
  Anger is a transient hatred; or at least very like it.  13
  As by flattery a man opens his bosom to his mortal enemy; so by detraction and slander he shuts the same to his best friends.  14
  As the repute of wisdom, so of wit also, is very casual, sometimes a lucky saying or a pertinent reply has procured an esteem of wit to persons otherwise very shallow; so that, if such a one should have the ill-hap to strike a man dead with a smart saying, it ought in all reason and conscience to be judged but a chance medley.  15
  As there are certain mountebanks and quacks in physic, so there are much the same also in divinity.  16
  Certainly the highest and dearest concerns of a temporal life are infinitely less valuable than those of an eternal; and consequently ought, without any demur at all, to be sacrificed to them, whenever they come in competition.  17
  Charity commands us, where we know no ill, to think well of all; but friendship that always goes a step higher, gives a man a peculiar right and claim to the good opinion of his friend.  18
  Compare a Solomon, an Aristotle, or an Archimedes, to a child that newly begins to speak, and they do not more transcend such a one than the angelical understanding exceeds theirs, even in its most sublime improvements and acquisitions.  19
  Conscience is its own counsellor.  20
  Conscience never commands nor forbids anything authentically, but there is some law of God which commands and forbids it first.  21
  Consult the acutest poets and speakers, and they will confess that their quickest and most admired conceptions were such as darted into their minds like sudden flashes of lightning, they know not how nor whence.  22
  Contempt naturally implies a man’s esteeming of himself greater than the person whom he contemns; he therefore that slights, that contemns an affront is properly superior to it; and he conquers an injury who conquers his resentments of it. Socrates, being kicked by an ass, did not think it a revenge proper for Socrates to kick the ass again.  23
  Deeds always overbalance; and downright practice speaks more plainly than the fairest profession.  24
  Defeat should never be a source of discouragement, but rather a fresh stimulus.  25
  Even when there is a real stock of wit, yet the wittiest sayings and sentences will be found in a great measure the issue of chance, and nothing else but so many lucky hits of a roving fancy.  26
  Every man living shall assuredly meet with an hour of temptation, a certain critical hour, which shall more especially try what mettle his heart is made of.  27
  Every morsel to a satisfied hunger is only a new labor to a tired digestion.  28
  Every single gross act of sin is much the same thing to the conscience that a great blow or fall is to the head; it stuns and bereaves it of all use of its senses for a time.  29
  Excess is not the only thing which breaks men in their health, and in the comfortable enjoyment of themselves; but many are brought into a very ill and languishing habit of body by mere sloth; and sloth is in itself both a great sin, and the cause of many more.  30
  Faith must be not only living, but lively, too; it must be brightened and stirred up by a particular exercise of those virtues specifically requisite to a due performance of duty.  31
  Flatterers are the bosom enemies of princes.  32
  Flints may be melted—we see it daily—but an ungrateful heart cannot; no, not by the strongest and the noblest flame.  33
  For the external expressions and vent of sorrow, we know that there is a certain pleasure in weeping; it is the discharge of a big and swelling grief, of a full and strangling discontent; and therefore he that never had such a burden upon his heart as to give him opportunity thus to ease it has one pleasure in this world yet to come.  34
  Friendship consists properly in mutual offices, and a generous strife in alternate acts of kindness.  35
  From the beginning of the world to this day there was never any great villainy acted by men, but it was in the strength of some great fallacy put upon their minds by a false representation of evil for good or good for evil.  36
  Give any one fortune, and he shall be thought a wise man.  37
  God afflicts with the mind of a father, and kills for no other purpose but that he may raise again.  38
  God expects from men something more at such times, and that it were much to be wished for the credit of their religion as well as the satisfaction of their conscience that their Easter devotions would in some measure come up to their Easter dress.  39
  God may, by almighty grace, hinder the absolute completion of sin in final obduracy.  40
  God’s power never produces what His goodness cannot embrace.  41
  Government is an art above the attainment of an ordinary genius.  42
  He is a treacherous supplanter and underminer of the peace of all families and societies. This being a maxim of an unfailing truth, that nobody ever pries into another man’s concerns but with a design to do, or to be able to do him a mischief.  43
  He that despairs measures Providence by his own little contracted model.  44
  He that is a good man is three-quarters of his way towards the being a good Christian, wheresoever he lives, or whatsoever he is called.  45
  He that prolongs his meals, and sacrifices his time as well as his other conveniences, to his luxury, how quickly does he outset his pleasure!  46
  He that tears away a man’s good name tears his flesh from his bones, and, by letting him live, gives him only a cruel opportunity of feeling his misery, of burying his better part, and surviving himself.  47
  He that thinks he shows boldness or height of mind by a scurrilous reply to a scurrilous provocation measures himself by a false standard, and acts not the spirit of a man, but the spleen of a wasp.  48
  He who has a soul wholly devoid of gratitude should set his soul to learn of his body: for all the parts of that minister to one another.  49
  He who has no mind to trade with the Devil should be so wise as to keep from his shop.  50
  He who is truly a good man is more than half way to being a Christian, by whatever name he is called.  51
  He who will fight the devil at his own weapon, must not wonder if he finds him an overmatch.  52
  Honor is but the reflection of a man’s own actions shining bright in the face of all about him, and from thence rebounding upon himself.  53
  Idleness is both a great sin, and the cause of many more.  54
  Idolatry is certainly the first-born of folly, the great and leading paradox; nay, the very abridgment and sum total of all absurdities.  55
  If anything can legalize revenge, it should be injury from an extremely obliged person; but revenge is so absolutely the peculiar of heaven that no consideration whatever can empower even the best men to assume the execution of it.  56
  If it is a pleasure to be envied and shot at, to be maligned standing and to be despised falling, then it is a pleasure to be great.  57
  If the calumniator bespatters and belies me, I will endeavor to convince him by my life and manners, but not by being like him.  58
  If there be any truer measure of a man than by what he does, it must be by what he gives.  59
  Ill-nature consists of a proneness to do ill turns, attended with a secret joy upon the sight of any mischief that befalls another.  60
  Impatience is a quality sudden, eager and insatiable, which grasps at all, and admits of no delay; scorning to wait God’s leisure, and attend humbly and dutifully upon the issues of His wise and just Providence.  61
  In all worldly things that a man pursues with the greatest eagerness and intention of mind imaginable, he finds not half the pleasure in the actual possession of them, as he proposed to himself in the expectation.  62
  In great families, some one false, paltry, tale-bearer, by carrying stories from one to another, shall inflame the minds and discompose the quiet of the whole family.  63
  In the soul, when the supreme faculties move regularly, the inferior passions and faculties following, there arises a serenity infinitely beyond the highest quintessence of worldly delight.  64
  Innocence is like polished armor; it adorns and it defends.  65
  It is a noble and a great thing to cover the blemishes and to excuse the failings of a friend; to draw a curtain before his stains, and to display his perfections; to bury his weaknesses in silence, but to proclaim his virtues upon the housetop.  66
  It is fit and necessary that some persons in the world should be in love with a splendid servitude.  67
  It is not the back, but the heart, that must bleed for sin.  68
  It is the work of fancy to enlarge, but of judgment to shorten and contract; and therefore this must be as far above the other as judgment is a greater and nobler faculty than fancy or imagination.  69
  It would be a rarity worth seeing could any one show us such a thing as a perfectly reconciled enemy.  70
  Jeer not others upon any occasion. If they be foolish, God hath denied them understanding; if they be vicious, you ought to pity, not revile them; if deformed, God framed their bodies, and will you scorn His workmanship? Are you wiser than your Creator? If poor, poverty was designed for a motive to charity, not to contempt; you cannot see what riches they have within.  71
  Look over the whole creation, and you shall see that the band, or cement, that holds together all the parts of this great and glorious fabric is gratitude.  72
  Men are atheistical because they are first vicious, and question the truth of Christianity because they hate the practice.  73
  Modesty is a kind of shame or bashfulness proceeding from the sense a man has of his own defects compared with the perfections of him whom he comes before.  74
  Much reading is like much eating,—wholly useless without digestion.  75
  Nature itself, after it has done an injury, will ever be suspicious; and no man can love the person he suspects.  76
  No evangelical precept jostles out that of a lawful self-preservation.  77
  No man ever offended his own conscience but first or last it was revenged upon him for it.  78
  No man’s religion ever survives his morals.  79
  No villainy or flagitious action was ever yet committed but, upon a due inquiry into the cause of it, it will be found that a lie was first or last the principal engine to effect it.  80
  No wringing of the hands and knocking the breast, or wishing one’s self unborn; all which are but the ceremonies of sorrow, the pomp and ostentation of an effeminate grief, which speak not so much the greatness of the misery as the smallness of the mind.  81
  Nothing is comparable to the pleasure of an active and prevailing thought,—a thought prevailing over the difficulty and obscurity of the object, and refreshing the soul with new discoveries and images of things; and thereby extending the bounds of apprehension, and as it were enlarging the territories of reason.  82
  Novelty is the great parent of pleasure.  83
  Of covetousness we may truly say that it makes both the Alpha and Omega in the devil’s alphabet, and that it is the first vice in corrupt nature which moves, and the last which dies.  84
  Old age seizes upon an ill-spent youth like fire upon a rotten house.  85
  One man pursues power in order to possess wealth, and another pursues wealth in order to possess power; which last is the safer way, and generally followed.  86
  One man, perhaps, proves miserable in the study of law, who might have flourished in that of physic or divinity; another runs his head against the pulpit, who might have been serviceable to his country at the plough; and a third proves a very dull and heavy philosopher, who possibly would have made a good mechanic, and have done well enough at the useful philosophy of the spade or anvil.  87
  Pain is an outcry of sin.  88
  Partiality is properly the understanding’s judging according to the inclination of the will and affections, and not according to the exact truth of things, or the merits of the cause.  89
  Passion is the drunkenness of the mind.  90
  People young, and raw, and self-natured, think it an easy thing to gain love, and reckon their own friendship a sure price of any man’s; but when experience shall have shown them the hardness of most hearts, the hollowness of others, and the baseness and ingratitude of almost all, they will then find that a true friend is the gift of God, and that He only who made hearts can unite them.  91
  Piety enjoins no man to be dull.  92
  Premeditation of thought and brevity of expression are the great ingredients of that reverence that is required to a pious and acceptable prayer.  93
  Pride is of such intimate connection with ingratitude that the actions of ingratitude seem directly resolvable into pride as the principal reason of them.  94
  Pride is the common forerunner of a fall. It was the devil’s sin, and the devil’s ruin; and has been, ever since, the devil’s stratagem, who, like an expert wrestler, usually gives a man a lift before he gives him a throw.  95
  Reason is not compatible with zeal run mad.  96
  Religion intrenches upon some of our privileges, invades none of our pleasures.  97
  Repentance hath a purifying power, and every tear is of a cleansing virtue; but these penitential clouds must be still kept dropping: one shower will not suffice; for repentance is not one single action, but a course.  98
  Reproach is a concomitant of greatness.  99
  Seldom is there much spoke, but something or other had better not been spoke.  100
  Seldom shall we see in cities, courts, and rich families, where men live plentifully and eat and drink freely, that perfect health, that athletic soundness and vigor of constitution which is commonly seen in the country, in poor houses and cottages, where nature is their cook, and necessity their caterer, and where they have no other doctor but the sun and fresh air, and that such a one as never sends them to the apothecary.  101
  Similes prove nothing, but yet greatly lighten and relieve the tedium of argument.  102
  Sin is the fruitful parent of distempers, and ill lives occasion good physicians.  103
  Sin is the only thing in the world which never had an infancy, that knew no minority.  104
  Society is built upon trust.  105
  Some corrupt in their morals as vice could make them, have yet been solicitous to have their children soberly, virtuously, and piously brought up.  106
  Sorrow, being the natural and direct offspring of sin, that which first brought sin into the world, must, by necessary consequences, bring in sorrow also.  107
  That besotting intoxication which verbal magic brings upon the mind.  108
  That is not wit which consists not with wisdom.  109
  The authority of conscience stands founded upon its vicegerency and deputation under God.  110
  The covetous person lives as if the world were made altogether for him, and not he for the world.  111
  The devil himself would be but a contemptible adversary were he not sure of a correspondent, and a party that held intelligence with him in our own breasts. All the blowing of a fire put under a caldron could never make it boil over, were there not a fullness of water within it.  112
  The generality of men are wholly governed by names in matters of good and evil, so far as the qualities relate to and affect the actions of men.  113
  The grateful person, being still the most severe exactor of himself, not only confesses, but proclaims his debt.  114
  The herb feeds upon the juice of a good soil, and drinks in the dew of heaven as eagerly, and thrives by it as effectually, as the stalled ox that tastes everything that he eats or drinks.  115
  The image of God was no less resplendent in man’s practical understanding,—namely, that storehouse of the soul in which are treasured up the rules of action and the seeds of morality.  116
  The imputation of being a fool is a thing which mankind, of all others, is the most impatient of, it being a blot upon the prime and specific perfection of human nature.  117
  The lasting and crowning privilege of friendship is constancy.  118
  The most voluptuous and loose person breathing, were he tied to follow his hawks and his hounds, his dice and his courtships every day, would find it the greatest torment and calamity that could befall him; he would fly to the mines and galleys for his recreation.  119
  The pleasure of the religious man is an easy and portable pleasure, such an one as he carries about in his bosom, without alarming either the eye or the envy of the world.  120
  The poor man’s wisdom is despised.  121
  The Scripture vouches Solomon for the wisest of men; and they are his proverbs that prove him so. The seven wise men of Greece, so famous for their wisdom all the world over, acquired all that fame each of them by a single sentence consisting of two or three words.  122
  The seven wise men of Greece, so famous for their wisdom all the world over, acquired all that fame, each of them, by a single sentence consisting of two or three words.  123
  The shortest and surest way to prove a work possible is strenuously to set about it; and no wonder if that proves it possible that for the most part makes it so.  124
  The soul and spirit that animates and keeps up society is mutual trust.  125
  The Stoics held a fatality, and a fixed, unalterable course of events; but they held also that they fell out by a necessity emergent from and inherent in the things themselves, which God Himself could not alter.  126
  The tale-bearer and the tale-hearer should be both hanged up, back to back, one by the tongue, the other by the ear.  127
  The understanding, that should be to the blind faculty of the will, is blind itself; and so brings all the inconveniences that attend a blind follower under the conduct of a blind guide.  128
  The unsuitableness of one man’s aspect to another man’s fancy has raised such aversion as has produced a perfect hatred of him.  129
  The very society of joy redoubles it; so that, whilst it lights upon my friend it rebounds upon myself, and the brighter his candle burns the more easily will it light mine.  130
  The vices of old age have the stiffness of it, too; and as it is the unfittest time to learn in, so the unfitness of it to unlearn will be found much greater.  131
  The vulgar and the many are fit only to be led or driven.  132
  Their dull ribaldry must be offensive to any one who does not, for the sake of the sin, pardon the ugliness of its circumstances.  133
  There are such things as a man shall remember with joy upon his death-bed; such as shall cheer and warm his heart even in that last and bitter agony.  134
  There are two functions of the soul,—contemplation and practice,—according to the general division of objects; some of which only entertain our speculations, other employ our actions.  135
  There can be no greater labor than to be always dissembling; there being so many ways by which a smothered truth is apt to blaze and break out.  136
  There is a certain majesty in plainness; as the proclamation of a prince never frisks in its tropes or fine conceits, in numerous and well-turned periods, but commands in sober, natural expressions.  137
  There is a vast difference between sins of infirmity and those of presumption, as vast as between inadvertency and deliberation.  138
  There is an evil spirit continually active and intent to seduce.  139
  There is hardly any noble quantity or endowment of the mind but must own temperance, either for its parent or its nurse.  140
  There is no action in the behavior of one man toward another of which human nature is more impatient than of contempt, it being the undervaluing of a man upon a belief of his utter uselessness and inability.  141
  There is no harder work in the world than sin.  142
  There is no such thing as a perfect secrecy to encourage a rational mind to the perpetration of any base action; for a man must first extinguish and put out the great light within him, his conscience; he must get away from himself, and shake off the thousand witnesses which he always carries about him, before he can be alone.  143
  There is no weariness like that which rises from doubting, from the perpetual jogging of unfixed reason. The torment of suspense is very great; and as soon as the wavering, perplexed mind begins to determine, be the determination which way soever, it will find itself at ease.  144
  There is none so homely but loves a looking-glass.  145
  There is not the least flower but seems to hold up its head and to look pleasantly, in the secret sense of the goodness of its Heavenly Maker.  146
  There never was any heart truly great and generous that was not also tender and compassionate.  147
  They have no other doctor but sun and the fresh air, and that such an one as never sends them to the apothecary.  148
  They who lie soft and warm in a rich estate seldom come to heat themselves at the altar.  149
  This is the great instrument and engine of nature, the bond and cement of society, the spring and spirit of the universe. Love is such an affection as cannot so properly be said to be in the soul, as the soul to be in that. It is the whole man wrapt up into one desire, all the powers, vigor, and faculties of the soul abridged into one inclination.  150
  Those are generally good at flattering who are good for nothing else.  151
  Though reason is not to be relied upon as universally sufficient to direct us what to do, yet it is generally to be relied upon and obeyed where it tells us what we are not to do.  152
  To all intents and purposes, he who will not open his eyes is, for the present, as blind as he who cannot.  153
  To make our reliance upon Providence both pious and rational, we should, in every great enterprise we take in hand, prepare all things with that care, diligence, and activity, as if there were no such thing as Providence for us to depend upon; and again, when we have done all this, we should as wholly and humbly rely upon it, as if we had made no preparations at all.  154
  True repentance has a double aspect; it looks upon things past with a weeping eye, and upon the future with a watchful eye.  155
  Truth makes the face of that person shine who speaks and owns it.  156
  Variety is nothing else but a continued novelty.  157
  Virtue is that which must tip the preacher’s tongue and the ruler’s sceptre with authority.  158
  We may compare the soul to a linen cloth; it must be first washed to take off its native hue and color, and to make it white; and afterwards it must be ever and anon washed to preserve it white.  159
  What makes a governor justly despised is viciousness and ill morals. Virtue must tip the preacher’s tongue and the ruler’s sceptre with authority.  160
  Whatever the will commands, the whole man must do; the empire of the will over all the faculties being absolutely overruling and despotic.  161
  When once infidelity can persuade men that they shall die like beasts, they will soon be brought to live like beasts also.  162
  When the tongue is the weapon, a man may strike where he cannot reach; and a word shall do execution both further and deeper than the mightiest blow.  163
  When thy brother has lost all that he ever had, and lies languishing, and even gasping under the utmost extremities of poverty and distress, dost thou think to lick him whole again only with thy tongue?  164
  Where fraud and falsehood invade society, the band presently breaks.  165
  You may rest upon this as an unfailing truth, that there neither is, nor never was, any person remarkably ungrateful, who was not also insufferably proud. In a word, ingratitude is too base to return a kindness, too proud to regard it, much like the tops of mountains, barren indeed, but yet lofty; they produce nothing; they feed nobody; they clothe nobody; yet are high and stately, and look down upon all the world.  166

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.