BEECHER, Henry Ward Quotes
(1813-1887), American clergyman
Of all earthly music that which reaches farthest into heaven is the beating of a truly loving heart.
Our sweetest experiences of affection are meant to point us to that realm which is the real and endless home of the heart.
Tears are often the telescope by which men see far into heaven.
Affliction comes to us all not to make us sad, but sober; not to make us sorry, but wise; not to make us despondent, but by its darkness to refresh us, as the night refreshes the day; not to impoverish, but to enrich us, as the plough enriches the field; to multiply our joy, as the seed, by planting, is multiplied a thousand-fold.
He that would look with contempt on the pursuits of the farmer, is not worthy the name of a man.
A noble man compares and estimates himself by an idea which is higher than himself; and a mean man, by one lower than himself.—The one produces aspiration; the other ambition, which is the way in which a vulgar man aspires.
The church has been so fearful of amusements that the devil has had the charge of them; the chaplet of flowers has been snatched from the brow of Christ, and given to Mammon.
When we borrow trouble, and look forward into the future and see what storms are coming, and distress ourselves before they come, as to how we shall avert them if they ever do come, we lose our proper trustfulness in God. When we torment ourselves with imaginary dangers, or trials, or reverses, we have already parted with that perfect love which casteth out fear.
We are not to make the ideas of contentment and aspiration quarrel, for God made them fast friends.—A man may aspire, and yet be quite content until it is time to rise; and both flying and resting are but parts of one contentment. The very fruit of the gospel is aspiration. It is to the heart what spring is to the earth, making every root, and bud, and bough desire to be more.
Sink the Bible to the bottom of the ocean, and still man's obligations to God would be unchanged.—He would have the same path to tread, only his lamp and his guide would be gone;—the same voyage to make, but his chart and compass would be overboard.
A book is a garden, an orchard, a storehouse, a party, a company by the way, a counsellor, a multitude of counsellors.
Books are the metempsychosis; the symbol and presage of immortality.—The dead are scattered, and none shall find them; but behold they are here.
The meanest, most contemptible kind of praise is that which first speaks well of a man, and then qualifies it with a " but."
God made the human body, and it is the most exquisite and wonderful organization which has come to us from the divine hand.—It is a study for one's whole life.—If an undevout astronomer is mad, an undevout physiologist is madder.
In this world it is not what we take up, but what we give up, that makes us rich.
There is no system which equals Calvinism in intensifying, to the last degree, ideas of moral excellence and purity of character.—It has always worked for liberty.—There never was a system since the world began, which puts upon man such motives to holiness, or builds batteries which sweep the whole ground of sin with such horrible artillery.
"Many of our cares," says Scott, " are but a morbid way of looking at our privileges."—We let our blessings get mouldy, and then call them curses.
Men do not avail themselves of the riches of God's grace.—They love to nurse their cares, and seem as uneasy without some fret as an old friar would be without his hair girdle.—They are commanded to cast their cares on the Lord; but even when they attempt it, they do not fail to catch them up again, and think it meritorious to walk burdened.
I don't like these cold, precise, perfect people, who, in order not to speak wrong, never speak at all, and in order not to do wrong, never do anything.
It is impossible to indulge in habitual severity of opinion upon our fellow-men without injuring the tenderness and delicacy of our own feelings.
It is not what a man gets, but what a man is, that he should think of.—He should think first of his character, and then of his condition: for if he have the former, he need have no fears about the latter.—Character will draw condition after it.—Circumstances obey principles.
A man's character is the reality of himself.—His reputation is the opinion others have formed of him.—Character is in him;—reputation is from other people—that is the substance, this is the shadow.
A man may be outwardly successful all his life long, and die hollow and worthless as a puff-ball; and he may be externally defeated all his life long, and die in the royalty of a kingdom established within him.—A man's true estate of power and riches, is to be in himself; not in his dwelling, or position, or external relations, but in his own essential character.—That is the realm, in which he is to live, if he is to live as a Christian man.
A man should fear when he enjoys only the good he does publicly.—Is it not publicity rather than charity, which he loves? Is it not vanity, rather than benevolence, that gives such charities?
You cannot teach a child to take care of himself unless you will let him try to take care of himself. He will make mistakes; and out of these mistakes will come his wisdom.
The true idea of self-restraint is to let a child venture.—The mistakes of children are often better than their no-mistakes.
A Christian is nothing but a sinful man who has put himself to school to Christ for the honest purpose of becoming better.
Christianity works while infidelity talks. She feeds the hungry, clothes the naked, visits and cheers the sick, and seeks the lost, while infidelity abuses her and babbles nonsense and profanity. "By their fruits ye shall know them."
The conditions of city life may be made healthy, so far as the physical constitution is concerned.—But there is connected with the business of the city so much competition, so much rivalry, so much necessity for industry, that I think it is a perpetual, chronic, wholesale violation of natural law.—There are ten men that can succeed in the country, where there is one that can succeed in the city.
It is the triumph of civilization that at last communities have obtained such a mastery over natural laws that they drive and control them. The winds, the water, electricity, all aliens that in their wild form were dangerous, are now controlled by human will, and are made useful servants.
If a man can have only one kind of sense, let him have common sense.—If he has that and uncommon sense too, he is not far from genius.
The overweening self-respect of conceited men relieves others from the duty of respecting them at all.
There is a sense in which a man looking at the present in the light of the future, and taking his whole being into account, may be contented with his lot: that is Christian contentment.—But if a man has come to that point where he is so content that he says, "I do not want to know any more, or do any more, or be any more," he is in a state in which he ought to be changed into a mummy! —Of all hideous things a mummy is the most hideous; and of mummies, the most hideous are those that are running about the streets and talking.
That is true cultivation which gives us sympathy with every form of human life, and enables us to work most successfully for its advancement. Refinement that carries us away from our fellowmen is not God's refinement.
A cunning man overreaches no one half as much as himself.
The cynic is one who never sees a good quality in a man, and never fails to see a bad one.—He is the human owl, vigilant in darkness and blind to light, mousing for vermin, and never seeing noble game.
Living is death; dying is life.—On this side of the grave we are exiles, on that, citizens; on this side, orphans; on that, children; on this side, captives; on that, freemen; on this side disguised, unknown; on that, disclosed and proclaimed as the sons of God.
As long as we are living, God will give us living grace, and he wont give us dying grace till it's time to die. What's the use of trying to feel like dying when you aint dying, nor anywhere near
When once a concealment or a deceit has been practiced in matters where all should be fair and open as day, confidence can never be restored, any more than you can restore the white bloom to the grape or plum that you once pressed in your hand.
No matter what a man's aims, or resolutions, or professions may be, it is by one's deeds that he is to be judged, both by God and man.
Defeat is a school, in which truth always grows strong.
It is defeat that turns bone to flint, and gristle to muscle, and makes men invincible, and formed those heroic natures that are now in ascendency in the world.—Do not then be afraid of defeat. —You are never so near to victory as when defeated in a good cause.
The history of the gospel has been the history of the development and growth of Christian democratic ideas.
The real democratic American idea is, not that every man shall be on a level with every other, but that every one shall have liberty, without hindrance, to be what God made him.
Despondency is ingratitude; hope is God's worship.
To make beads of the faults of others, and tell them over every day, is infernal.—If you want to know how devils feel, you do know if you are such an one.
Difficulties are God's errands; and when we are sent upon them we should esteem it a proof of God's confidence—as a compliment from him.
It is sometimes of God's mercy that men in the eager pursuit of worldly aggrandizement are baffled; for they are very like a train going down an inclined plane—putting on the brake is not pleasant, but it keeps the car on the track and from ruin.
A man in old age is like a sword in a shop window.—Men that look upon the perfect blade do not imagine the process by which it was completed.—Man is a sword; daily life is the workshop; and God is the artificer; and those cares which beat upon the anvil, and file the edge, and eat in, acid-like, the inscription on the hilt—those are the very things that fashion the man.
If you attempt to beat a man down and so get his goods for less than a fair price, you are attempting to commit burglary as much as though you broke into his shop to take the things without paying for them.—There is cheating on both sides of the counter, and generally less behind it than before.
Education is the knowledge of how to use the whole of oneself. Many men use but one or two faculties out of the score with which they are endowed. A man is educated who knows how to make a tool of every faculty—how to open it, how to keep it sharp, and how to apply it to all practical purposes.
Whatever is only almost true is quite false, and among the most dangerous of errors, because being so near truth, it is the more likely to lead astray.— Precise knowledge is the only true knowledge, and he who does not teach exactly, does not teach at all.
As plants take hold, not for the sake of staying, but only that they may climb higher, so it is with men.—By every part of our nature we clasp things above us, one after another, not for the sake of remaining where we take hold, but that we may go higher.
It is the passions that wear—the appetites that grind out the force of life. —Excitement in the higher realm of thought and feeling does not wear out or waste men.—The moral sentiments nourish and feed us.
Never be afraid because the community teems with excitement.—Silence and death are dreadful.—The rush of life, the vigor of earnest men, and the conflict of realities, invigorate, cleanse, and establish the truth.
Expedients are for an hour, but principles are for the ages.—Just because the rains descend, and the winds blow, we cannot afford to build on the shifting sands.
If God has taught us all truth in teaching us to love, then he has given us an interpretation of our whole duty to our households.—We are not bom as the partridge in the wood, or the ostrich of the desert, to be scattered everywhere; but we are to be grouped together, and brooded by love, and reared day by day in that first of churches, the family.
God planted fear in the soul as truly as he planted hope or courage.—It is a kind of bell or gong which rings the mind into quick life and avoidance on the approach of danger.—It is the soul's signal for rallying.
Feeling does not become stronger in the religious life by waiting, but by using it.
Flowers are the sweetest things that God ever made and forgot to put a soul into.
What a pity flowers can utter no sound?—A singing rose, a whispering violet, a murmuring honeysuckle,—oh, what a rare and exquisite miracle would these be!
"I can forgive, but I cannot forget," is only another way of saying, "I will not forgive."—Forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note—torn in two, and burned up, so that it never can be shown against one.
It is one of the severest tests of friendship to tell your friend his faults.—So to love a man that you cannot bear to see a stain upon him, and to speak painful truth through loving words, that is friendship.
We should live for the future, and yet should find our life in the fidelities of the present; the last is the only method of the first.
Gambling with cards, or dice, or stocks, is all one thing; it is getting money without giving an equivalent for it.
The very word "God" suggests care, kindness, goodness; and the idea of God in his infinity, is infinite care, infinite kindness, infinite goodness.—We give God the name of good: it is only by shortening it that it becomes God.
Good nature, like a bee, collects honey from every herb. Ill nature, like the spider, sucks poison from the sweetest flower.
Good nature is one of the richest fruits of true Christianity.
Good nature is often a mere matter of health.—With good digestion we are apt to be good natured; with bad digestion, morose.
A republican government is in a hundred points weaker than one that is autocratic; but in this one point it is the strangest that ever existed—it has educated a race of men that are men.
God appoints our graces to be nurses to other men's weaknesses.
You pray for the graces of faith and hope and love; but prayer alone will not bring them.—They must be wrought in you through labor and patience and suffering.—They are not kept put up in bottles for us, to be had for the mere asking; they must be the outgrowth of the life.—Prayer for them will be answered, but God will have us work out each one in the way of duty.
The disciples found angels at the grave of him they loved, and we should always find them, too, but that our eyes are too full of tears for seeing.
We go to the grave of a friend, saying, "A man is dead," but angels throng about him, saying, "A man is bom."
All the sobriety religion needs or requires is that which real earnestness produces.—When men say "be sober," they usually mean "be stupid."—When the Bible says "be sober," it means "rouse up to the earnestness and vivacity of life."—The old scriptural sobriety was effectual doing; ascetic sobriety is effectual dullness.
Greatness lies not in being strong, but in the right using of strength.
The strength and the happiness of a man consists in finding out the way in which God is going, and going in that way, too.
Happiness is not the end of life; character is.
Half the spiritual difficulties that men and women suffer arise from a morbid state of health.
What the heart has once owned and had, it shall never lose.
To us who are Christians, is it not a solemn, but a delightful thought, that perhaps nothing but the opaque bodily eye prevents us from beholding the gate which is open just before us; and nothing but the dull ear prevents us from hearing the ringing of those bells of joy which welcome us to the heavenly land?
The world's battlefields have been in the heart chiefly; more heroism has been displayed in the household and the closet, than on the most memorable battlefields of history.
Ideas are cosmopolitan.—They have the liberty of the world.—You have no right to take the sword and cross the bounds of other nations, and enforce on them laws or institutions they are unwilling to receive.—But there is no limit to the sphere of ideas. Your thoughts and feelings, the whole world lies open to them, and you have the right to send them into any latitude, and to give them sweep around the earth, to the mind of every human being.
When young men are beginning life, the most important period, it is often said, is that in which their habits are formed.—That is a very important period.—But the period in which the ideas of the young are formed and adopted is more important still.—For the ideal with which you go forth to measure things determines the nature, so far as you are concerned, of everything you meet.
If you are idle you are on the way to ruin, and there are few stopping places upon it.—It is rather a precipice than a road.
The soul without imagination is what an observatory would be without a telescope.
An impure man is every good man's enemy.
The blossom cannot tell what becomes of its odor, and no man can tell what becomes of his influence and example, that roll away from him, and go beyond his ken on their perilous mission.
Our gifts and attainments are not only to be light and warmth in our own dwellings, but are also to shine through the windows into the dark night, to guide and cheer bewildered travelers on the road.
Every man should use his intellect, not as he uses his lamp in the study, only for his own seeing, but as the lighthouse uses its lamps, that those afar off on the sea may see the shining, and learn their way.
Intelligence increases mere physical ability one half.—The use of the head abridges the labor of the hands.
Nothing dies so hard, or rallies so often as intolerance.
He that invents a machine augments the power of a man and the well-being of mankind.
Joy is more divine than sorrow, for joy is bread and sorrow is medicine.
The love of knowledge in a young mind is almost a warrant against the infirm excitement of passions and vices.
If we would have anything of benefit, we must earn it, and earning it become shrewd, inventive, ingenious, active, enterprising.
Thinking cannot be clear till it has had expression.—We must write, or speak, or act our thoughts, or they will remain in a half torpid form.—Our feelings must have expression, or they will be as clouds, which, till they descend in rain, will never bring up fruit or flower. —So it is with all the inward feelings; expression gives them development.—Thought is the blossom; language the opening bud; action the fruit behind it.
A law is valuable not because it is law, but because there is right in it.
There is no liberty to men whose passions are stronger than their religious feelings; there is no liberty to men in whom ignorance predominates over knowledge; there is no liberty to men who know not how to govern themselves.
Let us pity those poor rich men who live barrenly in great bookless houses! Let us congratulate the poor that, in our day, books are so cheap that a man may every year add a hundred volumes to his library for the price of what his tobacco and beer would cost him. Among the earliest ambitions to be excited in clerks, workmen, journeymen, and, indeed, among all that are struggling up from nothing to something, is that of owning, and constantly adding to a library of good books. A little library, growing larger every year, is an honorable part of a young man's history. It is a man's duty to have books. A library is not a luxury, but one of the necessaries of life.
Age and youth look upon life from the opposite ends of the telescope; to the one it is exceedingly long, to the other exceedingly short.
Young love is a flame; very pretty, often very hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. The love of the older and disciplined heart is as coals, deep-burning, unquenchable.
We never know how much one loves till we know how much he is willing to endure and suffer for us; and it is the suffering element that measures love.—The characters that are great, must, of necessity, be characters, that shall be willing, patient, and strong to endure for others.—To hold our nature in the willing service of another, is the divine idea of manhood, of the human character.
I know it is more agreeable to walk upon carpets than to lie upon dungeon floors; I know it is pleasant to have all the comforts and luxuries of civilization; but he who cares only for these things is worth no more than a butterfly contented and thoughtless upon a morning flower; and who ever thought of rearing a tombstone to a last summers butterfly?
A man in the right, with God on his side, is in the majority though he be alone.
A man's ledger does not tell what he is, or what lie is worth.—Count what is in man, not what is on him, if you would know what he is worth—whether rich or poor.
The highest manhood resides in disposition, not in mere intellect.
A man ought to carry himself in the world as an orange tree would if it could walk up and down in the garden, swinging perfume from every little censer it holds up to the air.
Early marriages are permanent moralities; deferred marriages are temptations to wickedness.
I have great hope of a wicked man; slender hope of a mean one. A wicked man may be converted and become a prominent saint. A mean man ought to be converted six or seven times, one right after the other, to give him a fair start and put him on an equality with a bold, wicked man.
Memory can glean, but never renew.—it brings us joys faint as is the perfume of the flowers, faded and dried, of the summer that is gone.
Metaphysicians are whetstones, on which to sharpen dull intellects.
A man that puts himself on the ground of moral principle, though the whole world be against him, is mightier than them all; for the orb of time becomes such a man's shield, and every step brings him nearer to the hand of omnipotence.—Take ground for truth, and justice, and rectitude, and piety, and fight well, and there can be no question as to the result.—We are to feel that right is itself a host.—Never be afraid of minorities, so that minorities are based on principles.
Mirthfulness is in the mind, and you cannot get it out. It is the blessed spirit that God has set in the mind to dust it, to enliven its dark places, and to drive asceticism, like a foul fiend, out of the back-door. It is just as good, in its place, as conscience or veneration. Praying can no more be made a substitute for smiling than smiling can for praying.
No blister draws sharper than interest on money.—It works day and night; in fair weather and foul.—It gnaws at a man's substance with invisible teeth.—It binds industry with its film, as a fly is bound with a spider's web.—Debt rolls a man over and over, binding him hand and foot, and letting him hang on the fatal mesh, till the long-legged interest devours him.—One had better make his bed of Canada thistles, than attempt to lie at ease upon interest.
There is no true and abiding morality that is not founded in religion.
Morality without religion has no roots.—It becomes a thing of custom, changeable, transient, and optional.
Every young man would do well to remember that all successful business stands on the foundation of morality.
Let the day have a blessed baptism by giving your first waking thoughts into the bosom of God.—The first hour of the morning is the rudder of the day.
The babe at first feeds upon the mother's bosom, but is always on her heart.
The mother's heart is the child's schoolroom.
God made man to go by motives, and he will not go without them, any more than a boat without steam, or a balloon without gas.
What profusion is there in His work! When trees blossom there is not a single breastpin, but a whole bosom-full of gems; and of leaves they have so many suits that they can throw them away to the winds all summer long. What unnumbered cathedrals has He reared in the forest shades, vast and grand, full of curious carvings, and haunted evermore by tremulous music; and in the heavens above, how do stars seem to have flown out of His hand faster than sparks out of a mighty forge!
Newspapers are the schoolmasters of the common people—a greater treasure to them than uncounted millions of gold.
Let parents who hate their offspring rear them to hate labor and to inherit riches, and before long they will be stung by every vice, racked by its poison, and damned by its penalty.
Private opinion is weak, but public opinion is almost omnipotent.
The first merit of pictures is the effect they produce on the mind; and the first step of a sensible man should be to receive involuntary impressions from them.—Pleasure and inspiration first; analysis, afterward.
We never know the love of the parent till we become parents ourselves. When we first bend over the cradle of our own child, God throws back the temple door, and reveals to us the sacredness and mystery of a father's and a mother's love to ourselves.—And in later years, when these have gone from us, there is always a certain sorrow, that we cannot tell them we have found it out.—One of the deepest experiences of a noble nature in reference to the loved ones that have passed beyond this world, is the thought of what he might have been to them, and done for them, if he had known, while they were living, what he has learned since they died.
The way to avoid evil is not by maiming our passions, but by compelling them to yield their vigor to our moral nature.—Thus they become, as in the ancient fable, the harnessed steeds that bear the chariot of the sun.
There is no such thing as preaching patience into people unless the sermon is so long that their have to practice it while they hear. No man can learn patience except by going out into the hurly-burly world, and taking life just as it blows. Patience is but lying to and riding out the gale.
The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is, that one often comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't.
The purest pleasures lie within the circle of useful occupation.—Mere pleasure, sought outside of usefulness, is fraught with poison.
There is not a person we employ who does not, like ourselves, desire recognition, praise, gentleness, forbearance, patience.
Prayer, as the first, second, and third element of the Christian life, should open, prolong, and conclude each day. The first act of the soul in early morning should be a draught at the heavenly fountain. It will sweeten the taste for the day. A few moments with God at that calm and tranquil season, are of more value than much fine gold. And if you tarry long so sweetly at the throne, you will come out of the closet as the high priest of Israel came from the awful ministry at the altar of incense, suffused all over with the heavenly fragrance of that communion.
Prayer covers the whole of a man's life. There is no thought, feeling, yearning, or desire, however low, trifling, or vulgar we may deem it, which, if it affects our real interest or happiness, we may not lay before God and be sure of his sympathy. His nature is such that our often coming does not tire him. The whole burden of the whole life of every man may be rolled on to God and not weary him, though it has wearied the man.
When flowers are full of heaven-descended dews, they always hang their heads; but men hold theirs the higher the more they receive, getting proud as they get full.
A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves.
Expedients are for the hour; principles for the ages.
We should so live and labor in our time that what came to us as seed may go to the next generation as blossom, and what came to us as blossom may go to them as fruit.—This is what we mean by progress.
No man is prosperous whose immortality is forfeited.—No man is rich to whom the grave brings eternal bankruptcy.—No man is happy upon whose path there rests but a momentary glimmer of light, shining out between clouds that are closing over him in darkness forever.
Watch lest prosperity destroy generosity.
The German Protestant declared, "I have rights as against the church"; the Puritan Protestant, "I have rights as against the government"; the Independent, or American Protestant, "I have rights as against civil governments, church governments, and all mankind. These God gave me, and I will preserve." These were the three great strides which landed on Plymouth Rock.
Everything that happens in the world is part of a great plan of God running through all time.
Some one has said that in war providence is on the side of the strongest regiments. And I have noticed that providence is on the side of clear heads and honest hearts;—and wherever a man walks faithfully in the ways that God has marked out for him, providence, as the Christian says,—luck, as the heathen says,—will be on that man's side.—In the long run you will find that God's providence is in favor of those that keep his laws, and against those that break them.
The whole of life and experience goes to show, that right or wrong doing, whether as to the physical or the spiritual nature, is sure in the end to meet its appropriate reward or punishment.—Penalties may be delayed, but they are sure to come.
The exposition of future punishment in God's word is not to be regarded as a threat, but as a merciful declaration.—If in the ocean of life, over which we are bound to eternity, there are these rocks and shoals, it is no cruelty to chart them down; it is an eminent and prominent mercy.
I read for three things: first, to know what the world has done during the last twenty-four hours, and is about to do today; second, for the knowledge that I specially want in my work; and third, for what will bring my mind into a proper mood.
There never was a person who did anything worth doing that did not receive more than he gave.
Refinement is the lifting of one's self upwards from the merely sensual, the effort of the soul to etherealize the common wants and uses of life.
Whenever education and refinement grow away from the common people, they are growing toward selfishness, which is the monster evil of the world. That is true cultivation which gives us sympathy with every form of human life, and enables us to work most successfully for its advancement. Refinement that carries us away from our fellowmen is not God's refinement.
Men who walk on tiptoe all through life, holding up their skirts for fear they shall touch their fellows—who are delicate and refined in feeling, and who ring all the bells of taste high up in their own belfry where no one else can hear them, these dainty fools are the greatest sinners of all, for they use their higher faculties to serve the devil with.
Many would like religion as a sort of lightning rod to their houses, to ward off, by and by, the bolts of divine wrath.
Repentance may begin, instantly, but reformation often requires a sphere of years.
A reputation for good judgment, fair dealing, truth, and rectitude, is itself a fortune.
Reputation is sometimes as wide as the horizon, when character is but the point of a needle.—Character is what one really is; reputation what others believe him to be.
It is a higher exhibition of Christian manliness to be able to bear trouble than to get rid of it.
Riches are not an end of life, but an instrument of life.
A fortune is usually the greatest of misfortunes to children. It takes the muscles out of the limbs, the brain out of the head, and virtue out of the heart. In this world, it is not what we take up, but what we give up, that makes us rich.
No man can tell whether he is rich or poor by turning to his ledger.—It is the heart that makes a man rich.—He is rich according to what he is, not according to what he has.
Some of God's noblest sons, I think, will be selected from those that know how to take wealth, with all its temptations, and maintain godliness therewith. It is hard to be a saint standing in a golden niche.
A world without a Sabbath would be like a man without a smile, like a summer without flowers, and like a homestead without a garden. It is the joyous day of the whole week.
There are many persons who look on Sunday as a sponge to wipe out the sins of the week.
Sunday is the common people's great Liberty day, and they are bound to see to it that work does not come into it.
To that in men which is secular and animal, Sunday says, "Rest"; to that which is intellectual, moral, and social, "Grow."
Through the week we go down into the valleys of care and shadow.—Our Sabbaths should be hills of light and joy in God's presence; and so as time rolls by we shall go on from mountain top to mountain top, till at last we catch the glory of the gate, and enter in to go no more out forever.
God's altar stands from Sunday to Sunday, and the seventh day is no more for religion than any other—it is for rest.—The whole seven are for religion, and one of them for rest, for instruction, for social worship, for gaining strength for the other six.
When we think of saints we are apt to think of very pale, still persons, who are all the while wishing they weren't alive, and all that. My ideal of a saint is a brown woman, with red arms, who gets up early in the morning and goes to work for others—who stands the brunt of household work, and who bears with children that she did not bear. That is my saint. Rather a busy, bustling saint, but she is a saint. People say of her, "What a homely, good creature she is." To my mind that is more complimentary than to have the pope put her in the calendar.
The elect are whosoever will, and the nonelect, whosoever won't.
Sects and Christians that desire to be known by the undue prominence of doing some single feature of Christianity, are imperfect just in proportion to the distinctness of their peculiarities. The power of Christian truth is in its unity and sympathy, and not in the saliency or brilliancy of any of its special doctrines. The spirit of Christ is the great essential truth.
Conceited men are a harmless kind of creatures, who, by their overweening self-respect, relieve others from the duty of respecting them at all.
Self-denial does not belong to religion as characteristic of it; it belongs to human life.—The lower nature must always be denied when you are trying to rise to a higher sphere.—It is no more necessary to be self-denying to be a Christian, than it is to be an artist, or an honest man, or a man at all in distinction from a brute.—Of all joyous experiences there are none like those which spring from true religion.
Selfishness is that detestable vice which no one will forgive in others, and no one is without in himself.
Our gifts and attainments are not only to be light and warmth in our own dwellings, but are to shine through the window, into the dark night, to guide and cheer bewildered travellers on the road.
Whenever education and refinement grow away from the common people, they are growing toward selfishness, which is the monster evil of the world.
It is often said it is no matter what a man believes if he is only sincere. But let a man sincerely believe that seed planted without ploughing is as good as with; that January is as favorable for seed-sowing as April; and that cockle seed will produce as good a harvest as wheat, and is it so?
Life would be a perpetual flea-hunt if a man were obliged to run down all the innuendoes, inveracities, insinuations, and suspicions which are uttered against him.
What would the nightingale care if the toad despised her singing? She would still sing on, and leave the cold toad to his dark shadows. And what care I for the sneers of men who grovel upon earth? I will still sing on in the ear and bosom of God.
If any man is rich and powerful he comes under the law of God by which the higher branches must take the burnings of the sun, and shade those that are lower; by which the tall trees must protect the weak plants beneath them.
There are two ways of escaping from suffering; the one by rising above the causes of conflict, the other by sinking below them.—The one is the religious method; the other is the vulgar, worldly method.—The one is Christian elevation; the other is stoicism.
The strength of a man consists in finding out the way God is going, and going in that way too.
Success is full of promise till men get it, and then it is as a last year's nest, from which the bird has flown.
To become an able and successful man in any profession, three things are necessary, nature, study, and practice.
God washes the eyes by tears until they can behold the invisible land where tears shall come no more.
The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers, but for the wide world's joy.—So God sits, effulgent, in heaven, not for a favored few, but for the universe of life, and there is no creature so poor or low that he may not look up with childlike confidence, and say, "My father! thou art mine."
A helping word to one in trouble is often like a switch on a railroad track—an inch between wreck and smooth-rolling prosperity.
Happy is the man who has that in his soul which acts upon the dejected as April airs upon violet roots. Gifts from the hand are silver and gold, but the heart gives that which neither silver nor gold can buy. To be full of goodness, full of cheerfulness, full of sympathy, full of helpful hope, causes a man to carry blessings of which he is himself as unconscious as a lamp is of its own shining. Such a one moves on human life as stars move on dark seas to bewildered mariners; as the sun wheels, bringing all the season with him from the south.
Tears are often the telescope through which men see far into heaven.
Temptations without imply desires within; men ought not to say, "How powerfully the devil tempts," but "How strongly I am tempted."
Pride slays thanksgiving, but an humble mind is the soil out of which thanks naturally grew.—A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves.
If one should give me a dish of sand, and tell me there were particles of iron in it, I might look for them with my eyes, and search for them with my clumsy fingers, and be unable to detect them; but let me take a magnet and sweep through it, and how would it draw to itself the almost invisible particles by the mere power of attraction.—The unthankful heart, like my finger in the sand, discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day, and as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings, only the iron in God's sand is gold!
Theology is but the science of mind applied to God. As schools change, theology must necessarily change. Truth is everlasting, but our ideas of truth are not. Theology is but our ideas of truth classified and arranged.
The way to begin a Christian life is not to study theology.—Piety before theology. Right living will produce right thinking.—Theologies are well in their place, but repentance and love must come before all other experiences.
A man might frame, and let loose a star, to roll in its orbit, and yet not have done so memorable a thing before God, as he who lets go a golden-orbed thought to roll through the generations of time.
Unless a man can link his written thoughts with the everlasting wants of men, so that they shall draw from them as from wells, there is no more immortality to the thoughts and feelings of the soul than to the muscles and the bones.
We sleep, but the loom of life never stops, and the pattern which was weaving when the sun went down is weaving when it comes up in the morning.
A traitor is good fruit to hang from the boughs of the tree of liberty.
We are always in the forge, or on the anvil; by trials God is shaping us for higher things.
There are many trials in life which do not seem to come from unwisdom or folly; they are silver arrows shot from the bow of God, and fixed inextricably in the quivering heart.—They are to be borne.—They were not meant, like snow or water, to melt as soon as they strike; but the moment an ill can be patiently borne it is disarmed of its poison, though not of its pain.
It is trial that proves one thing weak and another strong.—A house built on the sand is in fair weather just as good as if builded on a rock.—A cobweb is as good as the mightiest cable when there is no strain upon it.
Troubles are often the tools by which God fashions us for better things.
There are many troubles which you cannot cure by the Bible and the hymn book, but which you can cure by a good perspiration and a breath of fresh air.
Oh, ye infidel philosophers, teach me how to find joy in sorrow, strength in weakness, and light in darkest days; how to bear buffeting and scorn; how to welcome death, and to pass through it into the sphere of life, and this not for me only, but for the whole world that groans and travails in pain; and till you can do this, speak not to me of a better revelation than the Bible.
When a man has no longer any conception of excellence above his own, his voyage is done; he is dead; dead in the trespasses and sins of blear-eyed vanity.
Men often abstain from the grosser vices as too coarse and common for their appetites, while the vices that are frosted and ornamented are served up to them as delicacies.
Victories that are easy are cheap.—Those only are worth having which come as the result of hard fighting.
Do not be troubled because you have not great virtues. God made a million spears of grass where he made one tree. The earth is fringed and carpeted, not with forests, but with grasses. Only have enough of little virtues and common fidelities, and you need not mourn because you are neither a hero nor a saint.
Very few men acquire wealth in such a manner as to receive pleasure from it.—As long as there is the enthusiasm of the chase they enjoy it.—But when they begin to look around and think of settling down, they find that that part by which joy enters in, is dead in them.—They have spent their lives in heaping up colossal piles of treasure, which stand at the end, like the pyramids in the desert, holding only the dust of things.
Many men want wealth, not a competence merely, but a five-story competence, and religion they would like as a sort of lightning-rod to their houses, to ward off, by and by, the bolts of divine wrath.
What we call wisdom is the result of all the wisdom of past ages.—Our best institutions are like young trees growing upon the roots of the old trunks that have crumbled away.
I would rather speak the truth to ten men than blandishments and lying to a million.—Try it, ye who think there is nothing in it; try what it is to speak with God behind you—to speak so as to be only the arrow in the bow which the Almighty draws.
The world is God's workshop for making men.
The heavens and the earth alike speak of God, and the great natural world is but another Bible, which clasps and binds the written one; for nature and grace are one—grace the heart of the flower, and nature its surrounding petals.
So it is that men sigh on, not knowing what the soul wants, but only that it needs something.—Our yearnings are homesicknesses for heaven.—Our sighings are sighings for God, just as children that cry themselves asleep away from home, and sob in their slumber, not knowing that they sob for their parents.—The soul's inarticulate moanings are the affections yearning for the Infinite, and having no one to tell them what it is that ails them.