How willingly I would as a poet exchange some of this lumbering, ponderous, helpless knowledge of books for some experience of life and man. But all this grumbling is a vile thing.
Books are but waste paper unless we spend in action the wisdom we get from thought.
In science, read, by preference, the newest works; in literature, the oldest. The classic literature is always modern. New books revive and redecorate old ideas; old books suggest and invigorate new ideas.
The oldest books are still only just out to those who have not read them.
Religion is not a perpetual moping over good books. Religion is not even prayer, praise, holy ordinances, these are necessary to religion - no man can be religious without them. But religion is mainly and chiefly the glorifying of god amid the duties and trials of the world; the guiding of our course amid adverse winds and currents of temptation by the sunlight of duty and the compass of Divine truth, the bearing up manfully, wisely, courageously, for the honor of Christ, our great Leader in the conflict of life.
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.
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.
It is chiefly through books that we enjoy intercourse with superior minds.
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.
It is a good thing to read books of quotations. The quotations when engraved upon the memory give you good thoughts. They also make you anxious to read the authors and look for more.
Books are a guide in youth, and an entertainment for age. They support us under solitude, and keep us from becoming a burden to ourselves. They help us to forget the crossness of men and things, composed our cares and our passions, and lay our disappointments asleep. When we are weary of living, we may repair to the dead, who have nothing of peevishness, pride or design in their conversation.
Half the gossip of society would perish if the books that are truly worth reading are read.
When I want to discover something, I begin by reading up everything that has been done along that line in the past, that's is what all these books in the library are for. I see what has been accomplished at great labor and expense in the past. I gather the data of many thousands of experiments as a starting point, and then I make thousands of more.
Bad books are like intoxicating drinks; they furnish neither nourishment, nor medicine. Both improperly excite; the one the mind; the other by body. The desire for each increases by being fed. Both ruin; one the intellect; the other the health; and together, the soul. The safeguard against each is the same - total abstinence from all that intoxicates either body or mind.
Nature and revelation are alike God's books; each may have mysteries, but in each there are plain practical lessons for everyday duty.
Think as well as read, and when you read. Yield not your minds to the passive impressions which others may make upon them. Hear what they have to say; but examine it, weight it, and judge for yourselves. This will enable you to make a right use of books - to use them as helpers, not as guides to your understanding; as counselors, not as dictators of what you are to think and believe.
We should be as careful of the books we read, as of the company we keep. The dead very often have more power than the living.
In the first place, the human mind, no matter how highly trained, is not capable of grasping the Universe. We are like a little child entering a huge library. The walls are covered to the ceiling with books in many tongues. The little child knows that someone must have written these books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books - a mysterious order which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of the human mind to God. And because I believe this, I am not an atheist.
Books are the quietest and most constant of friends and the most patient of teachers.
A man's life is made by the hours when great ideas lay hold upon him. And, except by way of living persons, there is no channel down which great ideas come oftener into human lives than by way of books.