My dear Readers:
Many years ago I read a book, FORTY THOUSAND QUOTATIONS, Prose and Poetical; Compiled by Charles Noel Douglas, 1940, Blue Ribbon Books, 14 West 49th Street, New York, NY (Halcyon House: New York). As I read the book I typed the ones that touched my mind and heart, and I have gone back to these through the years for new inspiration. I would like to share these with you, along with comments I made on some of them (in parentheses).
* Who does the best his circumstances allows, Does well, acts nobly; angels could do no more. Young. (Mk.14: 8.)
* Too much is vanity; enough is a feast. Quarles. (Moderation.)
* Abundance changes the value of things. Terence.
* Not what we have, but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance. J. Petit-Senn.
* Great abundance of riches can not be gathered and kept by any man without sin. Erasmus.
* Remember that it is not he who gives abuse or blows who affronts, but the view we take of these things as insulting. When, therefore, anyone provokes you, be assured that it is your own opinion which provokes you. Epictetus.
* There are no accidents so unfortunate from which skillful men will not draw some advantage, nor so fortunate that foolish men will not turn them to their hurt. La Rochefoucauld.
* Moral conduct includes every thing in which men are active and for which they are accountable. They are active in their desires, their intentions, and in every thing they say and do of choice; and for all these things they are accountable to God. Emmons.
* We can not do all things. Virgil.
* Activity is the presence of function, – character is the record of function. Greenough.
* Remember that in all miseries lamenting becomes fools, and action wise folk. Sir P. Sidney.
* Speak out in acts; the time for words has passed, and deeds alone suffice. Whittier.
* 'Tis human actions paint the chart of time. Montgomery.
* A great mind is a good sailor, as a great heart is. Emerson.
* Act well at the moment, and you have performed a good action to all eternity. Lavater.
* I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts. Locke.
* Deliberate with caution, but act with decision; and yield with graciousness, or oppose with firmness. Colton.
* Our grand business undoubtedly is, not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand. Carlyle.
* I have lived to know that the secret of happiness is never to allow your energies to stagnate. Adam Clarke.
* Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity. Chapin.
* To live is not merely to breathe: it is to act; it is to make use of our organs, senses, faculties, – of all those parts of ourselves which give us the feeling of existence. Rousseau.
* It is not to taste sweet things, but to do noble and true things, and vindicate himself under God's heaven as a God made man, that the poorest son of Adam dimly longs. Show him the way of doing that, the dullest day-drudge kindles into a hero. Carlyle.
* It is good policy to strike while the iron is hot; it is still better to adopt Cromwell's procedure, and make the iron hot by striking. The master-spirit who can rule the storm is great, but he is much greater who can both raise and rule it. EL Magoon. (Action first, then feeling follows!)
* All the means of action – the shapeless masses, the materials – lie everywhere about us; what we need is the celestial fire to change the flint into transparent crystal, bright and clear. Longfellow. (Creativity, Divine spark, Holy Spirit. "Fan into flame the gift of God." 2 Tim. 1: 6b NIV.)
* Time's best gift to us is serenity. Bovee.
* Better that we should err in action than wholly refuse to perform. The storm is so much better than the calm, as it declares the presence of a living principle. Stagnation is something worse than death. It is corruption also. Simms.
* No one knows what he is doing while he is acting rightly, but of what is wrong we are always conscious. Goethe.
* Newton's great generalization, which he called the "third law of motion," was that "Action and reaction are always equal to each other;" and that law has been one of the most pregnant of all truths about the mystery of Force, – one of the brightest windows through which modern eyes have looked into the world of Nature. Phillips Brooks.
* That action is not warrantable which either blushes to beg a blessing, or, having succeeded, dares not present a thanksgiving. Quarles.
* Amid the most mercenary ages it is but a secondary sort of admiration that is bestowed upon magnificence. Shenstone. (We might ask who are our heroes!)
* That which astonishes, astonishes once; but whatever is admirable becomes more and more admirable. Joubert.
* To cultivate sympathy you must be among living creatures, and thinking about them; and to cultivate admiration, you must be among beautiful things and looking at them. Ruskin.
* If I were but sure that I should live to see the coming of the Lord, it would be the joyfulest tidings in the world. O that I might see His kingdom come! It is the characteristic of His saints to love His appearing, and to look for that blessed hope. `The Spirit and the bride say, Come. ' "Even so, come, Lord Jesus." Richard Baxter.
* God brings men into deep waters, not to drown them, but to cleanse them. Aughey.
* Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortunes; but great minds rise above them. Washington Irving.
* The brightest crowns that are worn in heaven have been tried and smelted and polished and glorified through the furnace of tribulation. Chapin.
* Our dependence upon God ought to be so entire and absolute that we should never think it necessary, in any kind of distress, to have recourse to human consolations. Thomas a Kempis.
* Must not earth be rent before her gems are found? Mrs. Hemans.
* Men think God is destroying them because he is tuning them. The violinist screws up the key till the tense chord sounds the concert pitch; but it is not to break it, but to use it tunefully, that he stretches the string upon the musical rack. Beecher.
* Storms purify the atmosphere. Beecher.
* Times of great calamity and confusion have ever been productive of the greatest minds. The purest ore is produced from the hottest furnace, and the brightest thunderbolt is elicited from the darkest storm. Colton.
* Begin nothing without considering what the end may be. Lady MW Montague.
* It has been well observed that few are better qualified to give others advice than those who have taken the least of it themselves. Goldsmith.
* Harsh counsels have no effect; they are like hammers which are always repulsed by the anvil. Helvetius.
* A man takes contradiction and advice much more easily than people think, only he will not bear it when violently given, even though it be well founded. Hearts are flowers; they remain open to the softly falling dew, but shut up in the violent downpour of rain. Richter.
* No one was ever the better for advice: in general, what we called giving advice was properly taking an occasion to show our own wisdom at another's expense; and to receive advice was little better than tamely to afford another the occasion of raising himself a character from our defects. Lord Shaftesbury.
* Love is strong in its passion; affection is powerful in its gentleness. Michelet.
* I may not to the world impart / The secret of its power, / But treasured in my inmost heart / I keep my faded flower. Ellen C. Howarth.
* Caresses, expressions of one sort or another, are necessary to the life of the affections as leaves are to the life of a tree. If they are wholly restrained love will die at the roots. Hawthorne.
* Sanctified afflictions are spiritual promotions. Matthew Henry.
* Patience can not remove, but it can always dignify and alleviate, misfortune. Laurence Sterne.
* The loss of a beloved connection awakens an interest in heaven before unfelt. Bovee.
* The eternal stars shine out as soon as it is dark enough. Carlyle.
* Grace will ever speak for itself and be fruitful in well-doing; the sanctified cross is a fruitful tree. Rutherford.
* Affliction of itself does not sanctify anybody, but the reverse. I believe in sanctified afflictions, but not in sanctifying afflictions. CH Spurgeon.
* When God makes the world too hot for His people to hold, they will let it go. T. Powell.
* … There is no Gethsemane without its angel! Rev. T. Binney.
* The damps of autumn sink into the leaves and prepare them for the necessity of their fall; and thus insensibly are we, as years close around us, detached from our tenacity of life by the gentle pressure of recorded sorrow. WS Landor.
* As the most generous vine, if it is not pruned, runs out into many superfluous stems, and grows at last weak and fruitless; so doth the best man, if he be not cut short of his desires and pruned with afflictions. If it be painful to bleed, it is worse to wither. Let me be pruned, that I may grow, rather than be cut up to burn. Bishop Hall.
* The cloud which appeared to the prophet Ezekiel carried with it winds and storms, but it was environed with a golden circle, to teach us that the storms of affliction, which happen to God's children, are encompassed with brightness and smiling felicity. N. Caussin.
* There is an elasticity in the human mind, capable of bearing much, but which will not show itself until a certain weight of affliction be put upon it; its powers may be compared to those vehicles whose springs are so contrived that they get on smoothly enough when loaded, but jolt confoundedly when they have nothing to bear. Colton.
* The truth is, when we are under any affliction we are generally troubled with a malicious kind of melancholy; we only dwell and pore upon the sad and dark occurrences of Providence, but never take notice of the more benign and bright ones. Our way in this world is like a walk under a row of trees, checkered with light and shade; and because we can not all along walk in the sunshine, we therefore perversely fix only upon the darker passages, and so lose all the comfort of our comforts. We are like froward children who, if you take away one of their playthings from them, throw away all the rest in spite. Bishop Hopkins.
* Oh, when we are journeying through the murky night and the dark woods of affliction and sorrow, it is something to find here and there a spray broken, or a leafy stem bent down with the tread of His foot, and the brush of His hand as He passed; and to remember that the path He trod He has hallowed, and thus to find lingering fragrance and hidden strength in the remembrance of Him as "in all points tempted like as we are," bearing grief for us, bearing grief with us, bearing grief like us. Alexander Maclaren.
* Age either transfigures or petrifies. Marie Ebner-Eschenbach.
* Have a care lest the wrinkles in the face extend to the heart. Marguerite de Valois.
* I love everything that's old, – old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wine. Goldsmith.
* Forty is the old age of youth; fifty is the youth of old age. Victor Hugo.
* Gray hairs seem to my fancy like the light of a soft moon, silvering over the evening of life. Richter.
* Time has laid his hand upon my heart gently, not smiting it; but as a harper lays his open palm upon his harp, to deaden its vibrations. Longfellow.
* There is a vast deal of vital air in loving words. Landor.
* The surest sign of age is loneliness. While one finds company in himself and his pursuits, he can not be old, whatever his years may be. Alcott.
* The farmers are the founders of civilization. Daniel Webster.
* The divine chemistry works in the subsoil. Hawthorne.
* The sun, which ripens the corn and fills the succulent herb with nutriment, also pencils with beauty the violet and the rose. JC Abbott.
* God Almighty first planted a garden; and indeed it is the purest of human pleasures; it is the greatest refreshment to the spirits of man. Bacon.
* Nothing presents a more mournful aspect than a family divided by anger and animosity. Zachokke.
* They are never alone that are accompanied with noble thoughts. Sir Philip Sydney.
* Nothing is too high for the daring of mortals; we storm heaven itself with our folly. Horace.
* Remarkable places are like the summits of rocks; eagles and reptiles only can get there. Madame Necker.
* Most people would succeed in small things if they were not troubled with great ambition. Longfellow.
* The tallest trees are most in the power of the winds, and ambitious men of the blasts of fortune. William Penn.
* To be ambitious of true honor, of the true glory and perfection of our natures, is the very principle and incentive of virtue; but to be ambitious of titles, of place, of ceremonial respects and civil pageantry, is as vain and little as the things are which we court. Sir P. Sidney.
* A noble man compares and estimates himself by an idea which is higher than himself, and a mean man by one which is lower than himself. The one produces aspiration; the other, ambition. Ambition is the way in which a vulgar man aspires. Beecher.
* There is no greater unreasonableness in the world than in the designs of ambition; for it makes the present troublesome, and discontented, for the uncertain acquisition of an honor which nothing can secure; and, besides a thousand possibilities of miscarrying, it relies upon no greater certainty than our life; and when we are dead all the world sees who was the fool. Jeremy Taylor.
* The origin of all mankind was the same; it is only a clear and good conscience that makes a man noble, for that is derived from heaven itself. Seneca.
* No man is nobler born than another, unless he is born with better abilities and a more amiable disposition. They who make such a parade with their family pictures and pedigrees, are, properly speaking, rather to be called noted or notorious than noble persons. I thought it right to say this much, in order to repel the insolence of men who depend entirely upon chance and accidental circumstances for distinction, and not at all on public services and personal merit. Seneca.
* Men in rage strike those that wish them best. Shakespeare.
* People hardly ever do anything in anger, of which they do not repent. Richardson.
* Violence in the voice is often only the death-rattle of reason in the throat. JF Boyes.
* Anger is not only the prevailing sin of argument, but its greatest stumbling-block. Gladstone.
* A man deep-wounded may feel too much pain to feel much anger. George Eliot.
* Anger ventilated often hurries towards forgiveness; anger concealed often hardens into revenge. Bulwer-Lytton.
* In the same degree in which a man's mind is nearer to freedom from all passion, in the same degree also is it nearer to strength. Marcus Antonius.
* Anger wishes all mankind had only one neck; love, that it had only one heart; grief, two tear-garlands; pride, two bent knees. Richter.
* Those passionate persons who carry their heart in their mouth are rather to be pitied than feared; their threatenings serving no other purpose than to forearm him that is threatened. Fuller.
* Anger blows out the lamp of the mind. In the examination of a great and important question, every one should be serene, slow-pulsed, and calm. RG Ingersoll.
* Angry and choleric men are as ungrateful and unsociable as thunder and lightening, being in themselves all storm and tempest; but quiet and easy natures are like fair weather, welcome to all. Clarendon.
* If a man meets with injustice, it is not required that he shall not be roused to meet it; but if he is angry after he has had time to think upon it, that is sinful. The flame is not wrong, but the coals are. Beecher.
* In proportion as our cares are employed upon the future, they are abstracted from the present, from the only time which we can call our own, and of which, if we neglect the apparent duties to make provision against visionary attacks, we shall certainly counteract our own purpose. Dr. Johnson.
* Let blockheads read what blockheads wrote. Chesterfield.
* Can your solicitude alter the cause or unravel the intricacy of human events? Blair.
* Anxiety has no place in the life of one of God's children. Christ's serenity was one of the most unmistakable signs of His filial trust. He was tired and hungry and thirsty and in pain; but we can not imagine Him anxious or fretful. Maltbie Babcock.
* Collect as pearls the words of the wise and virtuous. Abd-el-Kader.
* The little and short sayings of nice and excellent men are of great value, like the dust of gold, or the least spark of diamonds. Tillotson.
* A maxim is the exact and noble expression of an important and indisputable truth. Sound maxims are the germs of good; strongly imprinted in the memory, they nourish the will. Joubert.
* He may justly be numbered among the benefactors of mankind who contracts the great rules of life into short sentences, that may be easily impressed on the memory, and taught by frequent recollection to recur habitually to the mind. Johnson.
* A few words worthy to be remembered suffice to give an idea of a great mind. There are single thoughts that contain the essence of a whole volume, single sentences that have the beauties of a large work, a simplicity so finished and so perfect that it equals in merit and in excellence a large and glorious composition. Joubert.
* Polished brass will pass upon more people than rough gold. Chesterfield.
* If you are surprised at the number of our maladies, count our cooks. Seneca.
* Choose rather to punish your appetites than to be punished by them. Tyrius Maximus.
* All philosophy in two words, – sustain and abstain. Epictetus.
* Hunger is a cloud out of which falls a rain of eloquence and knowledge; when the belly is empty, the body becomes spirit; when it is full, the spirit becomes body. Saadi.
* When the million applaud you, seriously ask yourself what harm you have done; when they censure you, what good! Colton.
* The silence that accepts merit as the most natural thing in the world, is the highest applause. Emerson.
* It is only by loving a thing that you can make it yours. George Macdonald.
* To appreciate the noble is a gain which can never be torn from us. Goethe.
* You may fail to shine, in the opinion of others, both in your conversation and actions, from being superior, as well as inferior to them. Greville.
* It is with certain good qualities as with the senses; those who are entirely deprived of them can neither appreciate nor comprehend them. Rochefoucauld.
* We are accustomed to see men deride what they do not understand; and snarl at the good and beautiful because it lies beyond their sympathies. Goethe.
* We must never undervalue any person. The workman loves not that his work should be despised in his presence. Now God is present everywhere, and every person is His work. De Sales.
* The more enlarged is our own mind, the greater number we discover of men of originality. Your common-place people see no difference between one man and another. Pascal.
* It is very singular how the fact of a man's death often seems to give people a truer idea of his character, whether for good or evil, than they have ever possessed while he was living and acting among them. Hawthorne.
* To feel, to feel exquisitely, is the lot of very many; it is the charm that lends a superstitious joy to fear. But to appreciate belongs to the very few; to one or two alone, here and there, the blended passion and understanding that constitute in its essence worship. Elizabeth Sheppard.
* Of what use is fortune or talent to a cold and defective nature? Emerson.
* A Gothic church is a petrified religion. Coleridge.
* The poetry of bricks and mortar. Horace Greeley.
* The architect built his great heart into those sculptured stones. Longfellow.