Harry Emerson Fosdick

Harry Emerson
Fosdick
1878
1969

American Liberal Protestant Minister, Teacher, Author

Author Quotes

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.

One of the most devastating experiences in human life is disillusionment. Of course there are some illusions the disillusionment of which is healthy. It takes two things to bowl over a tree - a heavy wind outside and decay inside. Much of the moral wreckage is caused by inner cynicism - a disgust with life's futility, an inability to see sense in it. A person in that mood is an easy mark for the next high wind.

When will the churches learn that intolerance, personal or ecclesiastical, is an evidence of weakness: The confident can afford to be calm and kindly; only the fearful must defame and exclude.

We used to say that we were punished for our sins, as though God were a judge on a bench who passed on the case and meted out penalty. The truth goes much deeper than that. We are not punished for our sins, but by them. It is our sins themselves that rise to slay us.

We have no definition of God; we have only a roadway that leads out toward God. We are convinced beyond peradventure that he who travels merely the path of electrons, atoms, molecules toward a vision of the ultimate misses it, and that he who travels the road of spiritual values – goodness, truth, beauty – finds it. The eternal and creative Power cannot be adequately approached through the metrical world alone; the innermost nature of the ultimate is revealed also in the personal world of spiritual values.

Two opposing mysteries are in the world – goodness and evil. If we deny God, then goodness is a mystery, for no one has ever suggested how spiritual life could rise of an unspiritual source, how souls could come from dust. If we affirm God, then evil is a mystery, for why, we ask, should love create a world with so much pain and sin? Our task is not to solve insoluble problems. It is to balance these alternatives – no God and the mystery of man’s spiritual life, against God and the mystery of evil.

The place where man vitally finds God... is within his own experience of goodness, truth, and beauty, and the truest images of God are therefore to be found in man’s spiritual life.

The first question to be answered by any individual or any social group, facing a hazardous situation, is whether the crisis is to be met as a challenge to strength or as an occasion for despair.

Religion is something that only secondarily can be taught. It must primarily be absorbed.

Prayer is the hospitality of the soul entertaining the Most High.

Our wills are the slaves of the accumulated influence of our interior companionships. What we can do is to get new mental images.

Only a theoretical deity is left to any man who has ceased to commune with God and a theoretical deity saves no man from sin and disheartenment.

One of the supreme hours of human experience arrives when a man gets his eye on something concerning which he is persuaded that is the eternal truth.

Moral evil is still the central problem of mankind.

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

American Liberal Protestant Minister, Teacher, Author