Harry Emerson Fosdick

Harry Emerson
Fosdick
1878
1969

American Liberal Protestant Minister, Teacher, Author

Author Quotes

Men will work hard for money. They will work harder for other men. But men will work hardest of all when they are dedicated to a cause. Until willingness overflows obligation, men fight as conscripts rather than following the flag as patriots. Duty is never worthily performed until it is performed by one who would gladly do more if only he could.

The men of faith might claim for their positions ancient tradition, practical usefulness, and spiritual desirability, but one query could prick all such bubbles: Is it scientific? That question has searched religion for contraband goods, stripped it of old superstitions, forced it to change its categories of thought and methods of work, and in general has so cowed and scared religion that many modern-minded believers... instinctively throw up their hands at the mere whisper of it... When a prominent scientist comes out strongly for religion, all the churches thank Heaven and take courage, as though it were the highest possible compliment to God to have Eddington believe in Him. Science has become the arbiter of this generation's thought, until to call even a prophet and a seer 'scientific' is to cap the climax of praise.

Money is a person's personal energy reduced to portable form. It can go where he could not go; speak languages he could not speak; lift burdens he could not touch with his fingers; save lives with which he cannot deal directly.

The most extraordinary thing about the oyster is this. Irritation gets into his shell. He does not like them. But when he cannot get rid of them he uses the irritation to do the loveliest thing an oyster ever has the chance to do. If there are irritations in our lives today, there is only one prescription: make a pearl. It may have to be a pearl of patience, but…make a pearl.

No character is ultimately tested until it has suffered.

The process has now run full circle: Preaching originates in personal counseling; preaching is personal counseling on a group basis; personal counseling originates in preaching. Personal counseling imparts to the preacher a practical familiarity with human nature which he would not otherwise obtain.

All altruism springs from putting yourself in the other person's place.

No man is the whole of himself; his friends are the rest of him.

The real war is inward of which the outer action is but the echo and reverberation.

Always take a job that is too big for you.

No man need stay the way he is.

The Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea are made of the same water. It flows down, clean and cool, from the heights of Herman and the roots of the cedars of Lebanon. the Sea of Galilee makes beauty of it, the Sea of Galilee has an outlet. It gets to give. It gathers in its riches that it may pour them out again to fertilize the Jordan plain. But the Dead Sea with the same water makes horror. For the Dead Sea has no outlet. It gets to keep.

At very best, a person wrapped up in himself makes a small package.

No steam or gas ever drives anything until it is confined. No Niagara is ever turned into light and power until it is tunneled. No life ever grows until it is focused, dedicated and disciplined.

The steady discipline of intimate friendship with Jesus results in men becoming like Him.

Consider how impossible nobility of character would be if our goodness were untried innocence instead of victorious virtue.

Nothing in this world is more inspiring than a soul up against crippling circumstances who carries it off with courage and faith and undefeated character—nothing!

The world is moving so fast these days that the man who says it can't be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it.

Fear imprisons, faith liberates; fear paralyzes, faith empowers; fear disheartens, faith encourages; fear sickens, faith heals; fear makes useless, faith makes serviceable.

Of all mad faiths maddest is the faith that we can get rid of faith.

Whatever the situation and however disheartening it may be, it is a great hour when a man ceases adopting difficulties as an excuse for despondency and tackles himself as the real problem. No mood need be his master.

God has put within our lives meanings and possibilities that quite outrun the limits of mortality.

One watches people starting out in life quite adequately, handling life with active vigor, as they run, one after another, into experiences where something deeper than vigor is needed. Serious failure, for example. Some night in his lifetime everyone comes home to find a new guest there-disappointment. What he had set his heart on has gone. . . . If one is to come through difficult experiences unembittered, unspoiled, still a real person, one needs deep resources. . . . Not alone in such experiences as sorrow and failure does this need arise but in man's search for the indispensable spiritual requirements of a satisfying life - inner peace, for example, some serenity in the soul to come home to at night and to out from in the morning. Who does not need that? But no one can get inner peace by pouncing on it, by vigorously willing to have it. Peace is a margin of power around our daily need. Peace is a consciousness of springs too deep for earthly droughts to dry up. Peace is an awareness of reserves from beyond ourselves, so that our power is not so much in us as through us.

Granted the endless variations of moral customs, still the essential standards persist. As in a scientific laboratory, all else may change but the standards are unalterable- disinterested love of truth, fidelity to facts, accuracy in measurement, exactness of verification-so, in life as a whole, the towering ethical criteria remain unshaken. Falsehood is never better than truth, theft better than honesty, treachery better than loyalty, cowardice better than courage.

Picture yourself vividly as winning and that alone will contribute immeasurably to success. Great living starts with a picture, held in your imagination, of what you would like to do or be.

Author Picture
First Name
Harry Emerson
Last Name
Fosdick
Birth Date
1878
Death Date
1969
Bio

American Liberal Protestant Minister, Teacher, Author