William Henry Channing

William Henry

American Writer, Unitarian Clergyman and Philosopher

Author Quotes

Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict.

I have expressed my strong interest in the mass of the people; and this is founded, not on their usefulness to the community, so much as on what they are in themselves.... Indeed every man, in every condition, is great. It is only our own diseased sight which makes him little. A man is great as a man, be he where or what he may. The grandeur of his nature turns to insignificance all outward distinctions.

Most joyful the Poet be; It is through him that all men see.

Secret study, silent thought is, after all, the mightiest agent in human affairs. What a man does outwardly is but the expression and completion of his inward thought.

The worst tyrants are those which establish themselves in our own breasts.

We ought, indeed, to expect occasional obscurity in such a book at the Bible.... God's wisdom is a pledge that whatever is necessary for us, and necessary for salvation, is revealed too plainly to be mistaken.

Difficulty is the element, and resistance the true work of a man.

Ideas are the mightiest influence on earth. One great thought breathed into a man may regenerate him.

Natural amiableness is too often seen in company with sloth, uselessness, with the vanity of fashionable life.

The best books for a man are not always those which the wise recommend, but often those which meet the peculiar wants, the natural thirst of his mind, and therefore awaken interest and rivet thought.

There are periods when to dare is the highest wisdom.

We smile at the ignorance of the savage who cuts down the tree in order to reach its fruit; but the same blunder is made by every person who is over eager and impatient in the pursuit of pleasure.

Do anything rather than give yourself to reverie.

In reverential sympathy with the mighty power around me, I became conscious of power within.

No calculations of interest, no schemes of policy can do the work of love, of the spirit of human brotherhood. There can be no peace without but through peace within.

The chief evil of war is more evil. War is the concentration of all human crimes. Here is its distinguishing, accursed brand. Under its standard gather violence, malignity, rage, fraud, perfidy, rapacity, and lust. If it only slew man, it would do little. It turns man into a beast of prey.

There are seasons, in human affairs, of inward and outward revolution, when new depths seem to be broken up in the soul, when new wants are unfolded in multitudes, and a new and undefined good is thirsted for. These are periods when...to dare is the highest wisdom.

What is mysterious, secret, unknown, cannot at the same time be known as an object of faith.

Each of us is meant to have a character all our own, to be what no other can exactly be, and do what no other can exactly do.

Influence is to be measured, not by the extent of surface it covers, but by its kind.

No man receives the full culture of a man in whom the sensibility to the beautiful is not cherished; and there is no condition of life from which it should be excluded. Of all luxuries this is the cheapest, and the most at hand, and most important to those conditions where coarse labor tends to give grossness to the mind.

The cry has been that when war is declared, all opposition should therefore be hushed. A sentiment more unworthy of a free country could hardly be propagated. If the doctrine be admitted, rulers have only to declare war and they are screened at once from scrutiny.... In war, then, as in peace, assert the freedom of speech and of the press. Cling to this as the bulwark of all our rights and privileges.

Through the vulgar error of undervaluing what is common, we are apt indeed to pass these by as of little worth. But as in the outward creation, so in the soul, the common is the most precious.

Even in evil, we discern rays of light and hope, and gradually come to see, in suffering and temptation, proofs and instruments of the sublimest purposes of wisdom and love.

Innocent amusements are such as excite moderately, and such as produce a cheerful frame of mind, not boisterous mirth; such as refresh, instead of exhausting, the system; such as recur frequently, rather than continue long; such as send us back to our daily duties invigorated in body and spirit; such as we can partake of in the presence and society of respectable friends; such as consist with and are favorable to a grateful piety; such as are chastened by self-respect, and are accompanied with the consciousness that life has a higher end than to be amused.

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William Henry
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American Writer, Unitarian Clergyman and Philosopher