William Henry Channing

William Henry

American Writer, Unitarian Clergyman and Philosopher

Author Quotes

Beauty is an all-pervading presence. It unfolds to the numberless flowers of the Spring; it waves in the branches of the trees and in the green blades of grass; it haunts the depths of the earth and the sea, and gleams out in the hues of the shell and the precious stone. And not only these minute objects, but the ocean, the mountains, the clouds, the heavens, the stars, the rising and the setting sun all overflow with beauty. The universe is its temple; and those people who are alive to it cannot lift their eyes without feeling themselves encompassed with it on every side.

How easy to be amiable in the midst of happiness and success.

Life has a higher end, than to be amused.

Our leading principle in interpreting Scripture is this, that the Bible is a book written for men, in the language of men, and that its meaning is to be sought in the same manner as that of other books. We believe that God, when he speaks to the human race, conforms, if we may so say, to the established rules of speaking and writing. How else would the Scriptures avail us more, than if communicated in an unknown tongue?

The only God whom our thoughts can rest on, our hearts cling to, and our conscience can recognize, is the God whose image dwells in our own souls.

War will never yield but to the principles of universal justice and love.

But the ground of a man's culture lies in his nature, not in his calling. His powers are to be unfolded on account of their inherent dignity, not their outward direction. He is to be educated, because he is a man, not because he is to make shoes, nail, or pins.

I affirm, and would maintain, that true religion consists in proposing, as our great end, a growing likeness to the Supreme Being.

Literature ? the expression of a nation's mind in writing.

Perhaps in our presence, the most heroic deed on earth is done in some silent spirit, the loftiest purpose cherished, the most generous sacrifice made, and we do not suspect it. I believe this greatness to be most common among the multitude, whose names are never heard.

The reveries of youth, in which so much energy is wasted, are the yearnings of a Spirit made for what it has not found but must forever seek as an Ideal.

We do not pretend to know the whole nature and properties of God, but still we can form some clear ideas of him, and can reason from these ideas as justly as from any other. The truth is, that we cannot be said to comprehend any being whatever, not the simplest plant or animal. All have hidden properties. Our knowledge of all is limited.

Conscience is an oracle of the Divinity.

I call that mind free which is not passively framed by outward circumstances, which is not swept away by the torrent of events, which is not the creature of accidental impulse, but which bends events to its own improvement, and acts from an inward spring, from immutable principles which it has deliberately espoused.

Man's spiritual nature is no dream of theologians to vanish before the light of natural science. It is the grandest reality on earth.

Poetry reveals to us the loveliness of nature, brings back the freshness of youthful feelings, reviews the relish of simple pleasures, keeps unquenched the enthusiasm which warmed the springtime of our being, refines youthful love, strengthens our interest in human mature, by vivid delineations of its tenderest and softest feelings, and through the brightness of its prophetic visions, helps faith to lay hold on the future life.

The wise only possess ideas, the great part of mankind are possessed by them.

We grow by love ... others are our nutriment.

Courage considered in itself or without reference to its causes, is no virtue, and deserves no esteem

I do and I must reverence human nature. I bless it for its kind affections. I honor it for its achievements in science and art, and still more for its examples of heroic and saintly virtue. These are marks of a divine origin and the pledges of a celestial inheritance; and I thank God that my own lot is bound up with that of the human race.

Men are never very wise and select in the exercise of a new power.

Practice makes perfect, so be careful what you practice.

The world is governed by opinion.

We look forward to the time when the power to love will replace the love of power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace.

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

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William Henry
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American Writer, Unitarian Clergyman and Philosopher