Charles Caleb Colton

Charles Caleb

English Writer, Clergyman and Collector

Author Quotes

The profoundly wise do not declaim against superficial knowledge in others, so much as the profoundly ignorant; on the contrary, they would rather assist it with their advice that overwhelm it with their contempt; for they know that there was a period when even a Bacon or a Newton were superficial, and that he who has little knowledge is far more likely to get more that has none.

The only things in which we can be said to have any property are our actions. Our thoughts may be bad, yet produce no poison; they may be good, yet produce no fruit. Our riches may be taken away by misfortune, our reputation by malice, our spirits by calamity, our health by disease, our friends by death. But our actions must follow us beyond the grave; with respect to them alone, we cannot say that we shall carry nothing with us when we die, neither that we shall go naked out of the world.

The only kind office performed for us by our friends of which we never complain is our funeral; and the only thing which we most want, happens to the be the only thing we never purchase - our coffin.

The most zealous converters are always the most rancorous when they fail of producing conversion.

The man who has so little knowledge of human nature as to seek happiness by changing anything but his own dispositions, will waste his life in fruitless efforts, and multiply the griefs which he proposes to remove.

The intoxication of anger, like that of the grape, shows us to others, but hides us from ourselves. We injure our own cause in the opinion of the world when we too passionately defend it.

The greatest and the most amiable privilege which the rich enjoy over the poor is that which they exercise the least, the privilege of making others happy.

The firmest friendships have been formed in mutual adversity; as iron is most strongly united by the fiercest flame.

The farther we advance in knowledge, the more simplicity shall we discover in those primary rules that regulate all the apparently endless, complicated, and multiform operations of the Godhead.

The consideration of the small addition often made by wealth to the happiness of the possessor may check the desire and prevent the insatiability which sometimes attends it... Gross and vulgar minds will always pay a higher respect to wealth than to talent; for wealth, although it be a far less efficient source of power than talent, happens to be far more intelligible.

The celebrated Galen said that employment was nature's physician. It is indeed so important to happiness that indolence is justly considered the parent of misery.

The author, however, who has thought more than he has read, read more than he has written, and written more than he has published, if he does not command success, has at least deserved it.

Taking medicine is often only making a new disease to cure or hide the old one.

Subtract from the great man all that he owes to opportunity, all that he owes to chance, and all that he gained by the wisdom of his friends and the folly of his enemies, and the giant will often be seen as a pygmy.

Speaking generally, no man appears great to his contemporaries, for the same reason that no man is great to his servants - both know too much of him.

Some read to think, these are rare; some to write, these are common; some to talk, and these are the great majority.

Religion has treated knowledge sometimes as an enemy, sometimes as an hostage; often as a captive and more often as a child; but knowledge has become of age, and religion must either renounce her acquaintance, or introduce her as a companion and respect her as a friend.

Reply with wit to gravity, and with gravity to wit. Make a full concession to your adversary; give him every credit for the arguments you know you can answer, and slur over those you feel you cannot. But above all, if he has the privilege of making his reply, take special care that the strongest thing you have to urge be the last.

Pure truth, like pure gold, has been found unfit for circulation, because men have discovered that it is far more convenient to adulterate the truth than to refine themselves.

Reform is a good replete with paradox; it is a cathartic which our political quacks, like our medical, recommend themselves; it is admired by all who cannot effect it, and abused by all who can; it is thought pregnant with danger, for all time that is present, but would have been extremely profitable for that which is past, and will be highly salutary for that which is to come.

Pride, like the magnet, constantly points to one object, self; but unlike the magnet, it has no attractive pole, but at all points repels.

Posthumous charities are the very essence of selfishness, when bequeathed by those who, when alive, would part with nothing.

Power will intoxicate the best hearts, as wine the strongest heads. No man is wise enough, or good enough, to be trusted with unlimited power.

Posthumous charities are the very essence of selfishness when bequeathed by those who, even alive, would part with nothing.

Physicians must discover weaknesses of the human mind, and even condescend to humour them, or they will never be called in to cure the infirmities of the body.

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Charles Caleb
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English Writer, Clergyman and Collector