Reference > Quotations > C.N. Douglas, comp. > Forty Thousand Quotations > Primary Author Index
C.N. Douglas, comp.  Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical.  1917.
        Most joyful let the Poet be;
It is through him that all men see.
  A beautiful literature springs from the depth and fulness of intellectual and moral life, from an energy of thought and feeling, to which nothing, as we believe, ministers so largely as enlightened religion.  2
  A friend gives himself to his beloved, and the higher his excellence the richer the gift.  3
  A friend is he who sets his heart upon us, is happy with us and delights in us; does for us what we want, is willing and fully engaged to do all he can for us, on whom we can rely in all cases.  4
  A general loftiness of sentiment, independence of men, consciousness of good intentions, self-oblivion in great objects, clear views of futurity: thoughts of the blessed companionship of saints and angels, trust in God as the friend of truth and virtue,—these are the states of mind in which I should live.  5
  A man in earnest finds means, or, if he cannot find, creates them.  6
  A man may quarrel with himself alone; that is, by controverting his better instincts and knowledge when brought face to face with temptation.  7
  A religion giving dark views of God, and infusing superstitious fear of innocent enjoyment, instead of aiding sober habits, will, by making men at abject and sad, impair their moral force, and prepare them for intemperance as a refuge from depression or despair.  8
  A theology at war with the laws of physical nature would be a battle of no doubtful issue. The laws of our spiritual nature give still less chance of success to the system which would thwart or stay them.  9
  A true friend embraces our objects as his own. We feel another mind bent on the same end, enjoying it, ensuring it, reflecting it, and delighting in our devotion to it.  10
  A true friend will appear such in leaving us to act according to our intimate conviction,—will cherish this nobleness of sentiment, will never wish to substitute his power for our own.  11
  All noble enthusiasms pass through a feverish stage and grow wiser and more serene.  12
  All that a man does outwardly is but the expression and completion of his inward thought. To work effectually, he must think clearly; to act nobly, he must think nobly. Intellectual force is a principal element of the soul’s life, and should be proposed by every man as the principal end of his being.  13
  All virtue lies in individual action, in inward energy, in self-determination. The best books have most beauty.  14
  Be true to your own highest convictions.  15
  Beauty is an all-pervading presence. It unfolds to the numberless flowers of the spring; it waves in the branches of the trees and the green blades of grass; it haunts the depths of the earth and the sea, and gleams out in the hues of the shell and the precious stone. And not only these minute objects, but the ocean, the mountains, the clouds, the heavens, the stars, the rising and setting sun, all overflow with beauty.  16
  Books are the true levellers. They give to all who faithfully use them the society, the spiritual presence, of the best and greatest of our race.  17
  Christianity is indeed peculiarly fitted to the more improved stages of society, to the more delicate sensibilities of refined minds, and especially to that dissatisfaction with the present state which always grows with the growth of our moral powers and affections.  18
  Compassionate Saviour! We welcome Thee to our world. We welcome Thee to our hearts. We bless Thee for the Divine goodness Thou hast brought from heaven; or the souls Thou hast warmed with love to man, and lifted up in love to God; the efforts of divine philanthropy which Thou hast inspired; and for that hope of a pure celestial life, through which Thy disciples triumph over death.  19
  Contempt of all outward things, which come in competition with duty, fulfills the ideal of human greatness. This conviction, that readiness to sacrifice life’s highest material good and life itself, is essential to the elevation of human nature, is no illusion of ardent youth, nor outburst of blind enthusiasm. It does not yield to growing wisdom. It is confirmed by all experience. It is sanctioned by conscience—that universal and eternal lawgiver whose chief dictate is, that every thing must be yielded up for the right.  20
  Courage, considered in itself or without reference to its causes, is no virtue, and deserves no esteem. It is found in the best and the worst, and is to be judged according to the qualities from which it springs and with which it is conjoined.  21
  Error soon passes away, unless upheld by restraint on thought. History tells us (and the lesson is invaluable) that the physical force which has put down free inquiry has been the main bulwark of the superstitions and illusions of past ages.  22
  Even in evil, that dark cloud which hangs over the creation, we discern rays of light and hope, and gradually come to see in suffering and temptation proofs and instruments of the sublimest purposes of wisdom and love.  23
  Every human being has a work to carry on within, duties to perform abroad, influences to exert, which are peculiarly his, and which no conscience but his own can teach.  24
  Every man is a volume if you know how to read him.  25
  Every mind was made for growth, for knowledge; and its nature is sinned against when it is doomed to ignorance.  26
  Every thing here, but the soul of man, is a passing shadow. The only enduring substance is within. When shall we awake to the sublime greatness, the perils, the accountableness, and the glorious destinies of the immortal soul?  27
  Faith is love taking the form of aspiration.  28
  Fiction is no longer a mere amusement; but transcendent genius, accommodating itself to the character of the age, has seized upon this province of literature, and turned fiction from a toy into a mighty engine.  29
  Friends are to incite one another to God’s works.  30
  Friends should not be chosen to flatter. The quality we should prize is that rectitude which will shrink from no truth. Intimacies which increase vanity destroy friendship.  31
  Friendship heightens all our affections. We receive all the ardor of our friend in addition to our own. The communication of minds gives to each the fervor of each.  32
  From the loss of our friends teach us how to enjoy and improve those who remain.  33
  God be thanked for books. They are the voices of the distant and the dead, and make us heirs of the spiritual life of past ages.  34
  He is to be educated because he is a man, and not because he is to make shoes, nails, and pins.  35
  Home is the chief school of human virtue.  36
  Home—the nursery of the Infinite.  37
  I see nothing worth living for but the divine virtue which endures and surrenders all things for truth, duty, and mankind.  38
  Immortality is the glorious discovery of Christianity.  39
  In general, we do well to let an opponent’s motives alone. We are seldom just to them. Our own motives on such occasions are often worse than those we assail.  40
  In the best books great men talk to us, give us their most precious thoughts, and pour their souls into ours.  41
  Is mutual service the bond of friendship?  42
  It is men of faith, not sceptics, who have made the world aware that they were in it.  43
  Knowledge is essential to freedom.  44
  Labor is discovered to be the great, the grand conqueror, enriching and building up nations more surely than the proudest battles.  45
  Let every man, if possible, gather some good books under his roof, and obtain access for himself and family to some social library. Almost any luxury should be sacrificed to this.  46
  Let our prayers, like the ancient sacrifices, ascend morning and evening; let our days begin and end with God.  47
  Let us aspire towards this living confidence, that it is the will of God to unfold and exalt without end the spirit that entrusts itself to Him in well-doing as to a faithful Creator.  48
  Let us rise into blest assurance that everywhere and forever we are enfolded, penetrated, guarded, guided, kept by the power of the Father and Friend, who can never forsake us; and that all spirits who have begun to seek, know, love, and serve the All-Perfect One on earth shall be reunited in a celestial home, and be welcomed together into the freedom of the universe, and the perpetual light of His presence.  49
  Love is the life of the soul. It is the harmony of the universe.  50
  Many shiver from want of defence against the cold; but there is vastly more suffering among the rich from absurd and criminal modes of dress, which fashion has sanctioned, than among the poor from deficiency of raiment.  51
  Mistake, error, is the discipline through which we advance.  52
  No amusement seems more to have a foundation in our nature. The animation of youth overflows spontaneously in harmonious movements. The true idea of dancing entitles it to favor. Its end is to realize perfect grace in motion; and who does not know that a sense of the graceful is one of the higher faculties of our nature?  53
  No evil is intolerable but a guilty conscience.  54
  No man living in deliberate violation of his duty, in willful disobedience to God’s commands, as taught by conscience, can possibly make progress in acquaintance with the Supreme Being. Vain are all acts of worship in church or in secret, vain are religious reading and conversation, without this instant fidelity.  55
  No man receives the true culture of a man in whom the sensibility to the beautiful is not cherished; and I know of no condition in life from which it should be excluded. Of all luxuries this is cheapest and the most at hand; and it seems to me to be the most important to those conditions where coarse labor tends to give a grossness to the mind.  56
  No man should part with his own individuality and become that of another.  57
  No other fame can be compared with that of Jesus. He has a place in the human heart that no one who ever lived has in any measure rivaled. No name is pronounced with a tone of such love and veneration. All other laurels wither before His. His are ever kept fresh with tears of gratitude.  58
  Nothing can supply the place of books. They are cheering or soothing companions in solitude, illness, affliction. The wealth of both continents would not compensate for the good they impart.  59
  O God, animate us to cheerfulness! May we have a joyful sense of our blessings, learn to look on the bright circumstances of our lot, and maintain a perpetual contentedness.  60
  Oh, the unspeakable littleness of a soul which, intrusted with Christianity, speaking in God’s name to immortal beings, with infinite excitements to the most enlarged, fervent love, sinks down into narrow self-regard, and is chiefly solicitous of his own honor.  61
  One anecdote of a man is worth a volume of biography.  62
  Other blessings may be taken away, but if we have acquired a good friend by goodness, we have a blessing which improves in value when others fail. It is even heightened by sufferings.  63
  Other sages have spoken to me of God. But from whom could I have learned the essence of divine perfection as from Him, who was in a peculiar sense the Son, representative, and image of God—who was especially an incarnation of the unbounded love of the Father? And from what other teacher could I have learned to approach the Supreme Being with that filial spirit, which forms the happiness of my fellowship with Him? From other seers I might have heard of heaven; but when I behold in Jesus the spirit of heaven, dwelling actually on earth, what a new comprehension have I of that better world!  64
  Peace is the fairest form of happiness.  65
  People should be guarded against temptation to unlawful pleasures by furnishing them the means of innocent ones. In every community there must be pleasures, relaxations and means of agreeable excitement; and if innocent are not furnished, resort will be had to criminal. Man was made to enjoy as well as labor, and the state of society should be adapted to this principle of human nature.  66
  Poetry reveals to us the loveliness of nature, brings back the freshness of youthful feeling, revives the relish of simple pleasures, keeps unquenched the enthusiasm which warmed the springtime of our being, refines youthful love, strengthens our interest in human nature, by vivid delineations of its tenderest and softest feelings, and, through the brightness of its prophetic visions, helps faith to lay hold on the future life.  67
  Precept is instruction written in the sand, the tide flows over it and the record is gone. Example is graven on the rock, and the lesson is not soon lost.  68
  Progress, the growth of power, is the end and boon of liberty; and without this, a people may have the name, but want the substance and spirit of freedom.  69
  Religion is faith in an infinite Creator, who delights in and enjoins that rectitude which conscience commands us to seek. This conviction gives a Divine sanction to duty.  70
  Religion, if it be true, is central truth; and all knowledge which is not gathered round it, and quickened and illuminated by it, is hardly worthy the name.  71
  She was little known beyond her home; but there she silently spread around her that soft, pure light, the preciousness of which is never fully understood till it is quenched.  72
  Since its introduction, human nature has made great progress, and society experienced great changes; and in this advanced condition of the world, Christianity, instead of losing its application and importance, is found to be more and more congenial and adapted to man’s nature and wants. Men have outgrown the other institutions of that period when Christianity appeared, its philosophy, its modes of warfare, its policy, its public and private economy; but Christianity has never shrunk as intellect has opened, but has always kept in advance of men’s faculties, and unfolded nobler views in proportion as they have ascended. The highest powers and affections which our nature has developed, find more than adequate objects in this religion. Christianity is indeed peculiarly fitted to the more improved stages of society, to the more delicate sensibilities of refined minds, and especially to that dissatisfaction with the present state, which always grows with the growth of our moral powers and affections.  73
  Sincerity, truth, faithfulness, come into the very essence of friendship.  74
  Sometimes a common scene in nature—one of the common relations of life—will open itself to us with a brightness and pregnancy of meaning unknown before. Sometimes a thought of this kind forms an era in life. It changes the whole future course. It is a new creation.  75
  Taught by experience to know my own blindness, shall I speak as if I could not err, and as if others might not in some disputed points be more enlightened than myself?  76
  That some of the indigent among us die of scanty food is undoubtedly true; but vastly more in this community die from eating too much than from eating too little.  77
  The attempt to make one false impression on the mind of a friend respecting ourselves is of the nature of perfidy. Sincerity should be observed most scrupulously.  78
  The beloved friend does not fill one part of the soul, but, penetrating the whole, becomes connected with all feeling.  79
  The diffusion of these silent teachers books through the whole community is to work greater effects than artillery, machinery, and legislation. Its peaceful agency is to supersede stormy revolutions. The culture which it is to spread, whilst an unspeakable good to the individual, is also to become the stability of nations.  80
  The domestic relations precede, and in our present existence are worth more than all our other social ties. They give the first throb to the heart, and unseal the deep fountains of its love. Home is the chief school of human virtue. Its responsibilities, joys, sorrows, smiles, tears, hopes, and solicitudes form the chief interest of human life.  81
  The great duty of God’s children is to love one another. This duty on earth takes the name and form of the law of humanity. We are to recognize all men as brethren, no matter where born, or under what sky, or institution or religion they may live. Every man belongs to the race, and owes a duty to mankind. Every nation belongs to the family of nations, and is to desire the good of all. Nations are to love one another.  *  *  *  Men cannot vote this out of the universal acclamation.  *  *  *  Men cannot, by combining themselves into narrower or larger societies, sever the sacred, blessed bond which joins them to their kind.  *  *  *  The law of humanity must reign over the assertion of all human rights.  82
  The great hope of society is individual character.  83
  The greatest man is he who chooses the right with invincible resolution, who resists the sorest temptations from within and without, who bears the heaviest burdens cheerfully, who is calmest in storms and most fearless under menace and frowns, whose reliance on truth, on virtue, on God, is most unfaltering. I believe this greatness to be most common among the multitude, whose names are never heard.  84
  The greatest truths are wronged if not linked with beauty, and they win their way most surely and deeply into the soul, when arranged in this their natural and fit attire.  85
  The miracles of Christ were studiously performed in the most unostentatious way. He seemed anxious to veil His majesty under the love with which they were wrought.  86
  The more discussion the better, if passion and personality be eschewed; and discussion, even if stormy, often winnows truth from error—a good never to be expected in an uninquiring age.  87
  The only freedom worth possessing is that which gives enlargement to a people’s energy, intellect and virtues.  88
  The sages and heroes of history are receding from us, and history contracts the record of their deeds into a narrower and narrower page. But time has no power over the name and deeds and words of Jesus Christ.  89
  The sense of duty is the fountain of human rights. In other words, the same inward principle which teaches the former bears witness to the latter. Duties and rights must stand and fall together.  90
  The sin that now rises to memory as your bosom sin, let this first of all be withstood and mastered. Oppose it instantly by a detestation of it, by a firm will to conquer it, by reflection, by reason, and by prayer.  91
  The strongest love which the human heart has ever felt has been that for its Heavenly Parent. Was it not then constituted for this love?  92
  The true characteristic of genius—without despising rules, it knows when and how to break them.  93
  The true office of religion is to bring out the whole nature of man in harmonious activity.  94
  The world is governed much more by opinion than by laws. It is not the judgment of courts, but the moral judgment of individuals and masses of men, which is the chief wall of defence around property and life. With the progress of society, this power of opinion is taking the place of arms.  95
  They that have read about everything are thought to understand everything too; but it is not always so. Reading furnishes the mind only with the materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours. We are of the ruminating kind, and it is not enough to cram ourselves with a great load of collection,—we must chew them over again.  96
  True friends have no solitary joy or sorrow.  97
  True love is the parent of a noble humility.  98
  War will never yield but to the principles of universal justice and love; and these have no sure root but in the religion of Jesus Christ.  99
  We cannot enjoy a friend here. If we are to meet it is beyond the grave. How much of our soul a friend takes with him! We half die in him.  100
  We have only to be patient, to pray, and to do His will, according to our present light and strength, and the growth of the soul will go on. The plant grows in the mist and under clouds as truly as under sunshine; so does the heavenly principle within.  101
  We never know a greater character until something congenial to it has grown up within ourselves.  102
  What a sublime doctrine it is, that goodness cherished now is eternal life already entered on!  103
  What blessedness it is to dwell amidst this transparent air, which the eye can pierce without limit, amidst these floods of pure, soft, cheering light, under this immeasureable arch of heaven, and in sight of these countless stars! An infinite universe is each moment opened to our view. And this universe is the sign and symbol of Infinite Power, Intelligence, Purity, Bliss, and Love.  104
  Whatever expands the affections, or enlarges the sphere of our sympathies—whatever makes us feel our relation to the universe, and all that it inherits, in time and in eternity, to the great and beneficent Cause of all, must unquestionably refine our nature, and elevate us in the scale of being.  105
  Whatever high station you may be placed in by fortune, remember this, that God will not estimate you by the office, but by the manner in which you fill it.  106
  When I compare the clamorous preaching and passionate declamation too common in the Christian world with the composed dignity, the deliberate wisdom, the freedom from all extravagance, which characterized Jesus, I can imagine no greater contrast; and I am sure that the fiery zealot is no representative of Christianity.  107
  When our friends die, in proportion as we loved them, we die with them—we go with them. We are not wholly of the earth.  108
  While earthly objects are exhausted by familiarity the thought of God becomes to the devout man continually brighter, richer, vaster; derives fresh luster from all that he observes of nature and Providence, and attracts to itself all the glories of the universe.  109
  Without depth of thought or earnestness of feeling or strength of purpose, living an unreal life, sacrificing substance to show, substituting the fictitious for the natural, mistaking a crowd for society, finding its chief pleasure in ridicule, and exhausting its ingenuity in expedients for killing time, fashion is among the last influences under which a human being who respects himself, or who comprehends the great end of life, would desire to be placed.  110

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