American Unitarian Clergy
William Ellery Channing
American Unitarian Clergy
Literature is "The expression of a nation's mind in writing."
All that man does outwardly is but the expression and completion of his inward thought. To work effectually, he must think clearly; to act nobly, he must think nobly. Intellectual force is a principal element of the soul's life, and should be proposed by every man as the principal end of his being.
Secret study, silent thought, is, after all, the mightiest agent in human affairs.
Everything here, but the soul of man, is a passing shadow. The only enduring substance is within. When shall we awake to the sublime greatness, the perils, the accountableness, and the glorious destines of the immortal soul?
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.
God be thanked for books; they are the voices of the distant and the dead, and make us heirs of the spiritual life of past ages.
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.
He who is false to the present duty breaks a thread in the loom, and you will see the effect when the weaving of a lifetime is unraveled.
The mind in proportion as it is cut off from free communication with nature, with revelation, with God, with itself, loses its life, just as the body droops when debarred from the air and the cheering light from heaven.
I call that mind free which jealously guards its intellectual rights and powers, which calls no man master, which does not content itself with a passive or hereditary faith, and receives new truth as an angel for Heaven.
The more discussion the better, if passion and personality be eschewed. Discussion, even if stormy, often winnows truth from error - a good never to be expected in an uninquiring age.
Ideas are the mightiest influence on earth. One great thought breathed in to a man may regenerate him.
The office of government is not to confer happiness, but to give men opportunity to work out happiness for themselves.
In the long run, truth is aided by nothing so much as by opposition.
The world is governed much more by opinion than by laws. It is not the judgment of courts, but the moral judgment of individuals and masses of men, which is the chief wall of defense around property and life. With the progress of society, this power of opinion is taking the place of arms.
It has often been observed, that those who have the most time at their disposal profit by it the least. A single hour in the day, steadily given to the study of some interesting subject, brings unexpected accumulations of knowledge.
They who have read about everything are thought to understand everything, but it is not always so; reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours. We are of the ruminating kind, and it is not enough to cram ourselves with a great load of collections - we must chew them over again.
It is chiefly through books that we enjoy intercourse with superior minds, and these invaluable means of communication are in the reach of all. In the best books, great men talk to us, give us their most precious thoughts, and pour their souls into ours.