He who reforms himself, has done much toward reforming others; and one reason why the world is not reformed, is, because each would have others make a beginning, and never thinks of himself doing it.
When error is confuted, vice reproved, and hypocrisy exposed, some are sure to complain of uncourteousness, uncharitableness, and an unchristian spirit. Such men would have been loud in their complaints, and bitter in their censure, of the prophets and apostles, and would have doubted the personal piety, and ultimate salvation, of Luther, and Knox, and Whitefield.
It is easier to enrich ourselves with a thousand virtues, than to correct ourselves of a single fault.
The great fundamental principle of the Reformation was the individual responsibility of the human soul to its Maker and Judge.
Public reformers had need first practice on their own hearts that which they propose to try on others.
It has been the fate of all bold adventurers and reformers, to be esteemed insane.
Charles Fox said that restorations were the most bloody of all revolutions; and he might have added that reformations are the best mode of preventing the necessity of either.
He that has energy enough to root out a vice, should go further, and try to plant a virtue in its place; otherwise he will have his labor to renew.—A strong soil that has produced weeds may be made to produce wheat.
We are reformers in spring and summer; in autumn and winter we stand by the old—reformers in the morning, conservatives at night. Reform is affirmative, conservatism is negative; conservatism goes for comfort, reform for truth.
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.
One vicious habit each year rooted out, in time might make the worst man good.
Many hope the tree may be felled that they may gather chips by the fall.
The true reformer is the seminal reformer, not the radical. And this is the way the Sower, who went forth to sow his seed, did really reform the world, without making any open assault to uproot what was already existing.
It is well known what strange work there has been in the world, under the name and pretence of reformation; how often it has turned out to be, in reality, deformation; or, at best, a tinkering sort of business, where, while one hole has been mended, two have been made.
To reform a man, you must begin with his grandmother.
He who reforms himself, has done more toward reforming the public, that a crowd of noisy, impotent patriots.
What lasting progress was ever made in social reformation, except when every step was ensured by appeals to the understanding and the will?
Long is the way and hard, that out of hell leads up to light.
There was a time when it was not the fashion for public men to say, "Show me a proved abuse, and I will do my best to correct it."—Times are changed.—Men now say, "Show me a practical improvement, and that improvement I will do my best to realize."
Reformation is a work of time. A national taste, however wrong it may be, cannot be totally changed at once; we must yield a little to the prepossession which has taken hold on the mind, and we may then bring people to adopt what would offend them, if endeavored to be introduced by violence.
Conscious remorse and anguish must be felt, to curb desire, to break the stubborn will, and work a second nature in the soul.
The true social reformer is the faithful preacher of the gospel, and the only organization truly potent for the perfection of society is the Christian church.
They say best men are moulded out of faults, and, for the most, become much more the better for being a little bad!
The true reformer will not only hate evil, but will earnestly endeavor to fill its place with good.
What you dislike in another, take care to correct in yourself.
Necessity reforms the poor, and satiety the rich.
Mere outward reformation differs as much from regeneration as white-washing an old rotten house differs from pulling it down and building a new one in its place.
There is a boldness, a spirit of daring, in religious reformers, not to be measured by the general rules which control men's purposes and actions.