FOSTER, John Quotes
(1836-1917), American lawyer
There are innumerable souls that would resent the charge of the fool's atheism, yet daily deny God in very deed.
The atheist is one of the most daring beings in creation—a contemner of God who explodes his laws by denying his existence.
The bigot sees religion, not as a sphere, but a line; and it is the line in which he is moving. He is like an African buffalo—sees right forward, but nothing on the right or the left. He would not perceive a legion of angels or devils at the distance of ten yards, on the one side or the other.
Few are sufficiently sensible of the importance of that economy in reading which selects, almost exclusively, the very first order of books. Why, except for some special reason, read an inferior book, at the very time you might be reading one of the highest order?
Death is not, to the Christian, what it has often been called, "Paying the debt of nature." No, it is not paying a debt; it is rather like bringing a note to a bank to obtain solid gold in exchange for it. You bring a cumbrous body which is nothing worth, and which you could not wish to retain long; you lay it down, and receive for it, from the eternal treasures, liberty, victory, knowledge, and rapture.
What a superlatively grand and consoling idea is that of death! Without this radiant idea—this delightful morning star, indicating that the luminary of eternity is going to rise, life would, to my view, darken into midnight melancholy. The expectation of living here, and living thus always, would be indeed a prospect of overwhelming despair. But thanks to that fatal decree that dooms us to die; thanks to that gospel which opens the visions of an endless life; and thanks above all to that Saviour friend who has promised to conduct the faithful through the sacred trance of death, into scenes of Paradise and everlasting delight.
It is a poor and disgraceful thing not to be able to reply, with some degree of certainty, to the simple questions, "What will you be? What will you do?"
We have such an habitual persuasion of the general depravity of human nature, that in falling in with strangers we almost always reckon on their being irreligious, till we discover some specific indication of the contrary.
Envy's memory is nothing but a row of hooks to hang up grudges on. Some people's sensibility is a mere bundle of aversions; and you hear them display and parade it, not in recounting the things they are attached to, but in telling you how many things and persons "they cannot bear."
It is wonderful what strength and boldness of purpose and energy will come from the feeling that we are in the way of duty.
Our object in life should be to accumulate a great number of grand questions to be asked and resolved in eternity.—Now we ask the sage, the genius, the philosopher, the divine, but none can tell; but, we will open our queries to other respondents—we will ask angels, redeemed spirits, and God.
I have often maintained that fiction may be much more instructive than real history.
One of the strongest characteristics of genius is the power of lighting its own fire.
In a majority of things habit is a greater plague than ever afflicted Egypt.—In religious character it is a grand felicity.
Nothing can be more destructive to vigor of action than protracted, anxious fluctuation, through resolutions adopted, rejected, resumed, and suspended, and nothing causes a greater expense of feeling.—A man without decision can never be said to belong to himself; he is as a wave of the sea, or a feather in the air which every breeze blows about as it listeth.
Meekness is imperfect if it be not both active and passive, leading us to subdue our own passions and resentments, as well as to bear patiently the passions and resentments of others.
I congratulate you and myself, that life is passing fast away. What a superlatively grand and consoling idea is that of death! Without this radiant idea, life would, to my view, darken into midnight melancholy. Oh, the expectation of living here and living thus always, would be indeed a prospect of overwhelming despair! But thanks be to that fatal decree that dooms us to die, and to that Gospel which opens the vision of an endless life; and thanks, above all, to that Saviour Friend who has promised to conduct all the faithful through the sacred trance of death, into scenes of paradise and everlasting delight!
Death is not to the Christian, what it has often been called, "Paying the debt of nature"; it is rather bringing a note to the bank to obtain solid gold for it.—You bring a cumbrous body which is nothing worth, and lay it down, and receive for it, from the eternal treasures, liberty, victory, knowledge, and rapture.
An observant man, in all his intercourse with society and the world, constantly and unperceived marks on every person and thing the figure expressive of its value, and therefore, on meeting that person or thing, knows instantly what kind and degree of attention to give it.—This is to make something of experience.
Youthful follies growing on old age, are like the few young shoots on the bare top of an old stump of an oak.
All pleasure must be bought at the price of pain.—The difference between false and true pleasure is this: for the true, the price is paid before you enjoy it; for the false, after you enjoy it.
Power, to its last particle, is duty.
A man of ability, for the chief of his reading, should select such works as he feels are beyond his own power to have produced. What can other books do for him but waste his time or augment his vanity?
The pleasure of reading without application is a dangerous pleasure. Useless books we should lay aside, and make all possible good use of those from which we may reap some fruit.
Few are sufficiently sensible of the importance of that economy in reading which selects, almost exclusively, the very first order of books.—Why should a man, except for some special reason, read an inferior book at the very time he might be reading one of the highest order.
How important, often, is the pain of guilt, as a stimulant to amendment and reformation.
How dangerous to defer those momentous reformations which the conscience is solemnly preaching to the heart. If they are neglected, the difficulty and indisposition are increasing every month. The mind is receding, degree after degree, from the warm and hopeful zone; till at last, it enter the arctic circle, and become fixed in relentless and eternal ice.
Confront improper conduct, not by retaliation, but by example.
But little is accomplished, because but little is vigorously attempted; and but little is attempted, because difficulties are magnified. A timorously cautious spirit, so far from acting with resolution, will never think itself in possession of the preliminaries for acting at all. Perhaps perseverance has been the radical principle of every truly great character.
Retribution is one of the grand principles in the divine administration of human affairs; a requital is imperceptible only to the willfully unobservant. There is everywhere the working of the everlasting law of requital: man always gets as he gives.
The pride of dying rich raises the loudest laugh in hell.
Fiction may be more instructive than real history; but the vast rout of romances and novels, as they are, do incalculable mischief. I wish we could collect all together, and make one vast fire of them. I should exult to see the smoke of them ascend, like that of Sodom and Gomorrah: the judgment would be as just.
Fine sensibilities are like woodbines, delightful luxuries of beauty to twine round a solid, upright stem of understanding; but very poor things, if, unsustained by strength, they are left to creep along the ground.
To have thought far too little, we shall find in the review of life, among our capital faults.
Keep forever in view the momentous value of life; aim at its worthiest use—its sublimest end; spurn, with disdain, those foolish trifles and frivolous vanities, which so often consume life, as the locusts did Egypt; and devote yourself, with the ardor of a passion, to attain the most divine improvements of the human soul. In short, hold yourself in preparation to make the transition to another life, whenever you shall be claimed by the Lord of the world.
Time is the greatest of all tyrants. As we go on toward age, he taxes our health, limbs, faculties, strength, and features.
Youth is not like a new garment, which we can keep fresh and fair by wearing sparingly. Youth, while we have it, we must wear daily, and it will fast wear away.