Zeal

Nothing has wrought more prejudice to religion, or brought more disparagement upon truth, than boisterous and unseasonable zeal.

Through zeal knowledge is gotten, through lack of zeal knowledge is lost; let a man who knows this double path of gain and loss thus place himself that knowledge may grow.

Moderation, which consists in an indifference about little things, and in a prudent and well-proportioned zeal about things of importance, can proceed from nothing but true knowledge, which has its foundation in self-acquaintance.

Kindness has converted more sinners than either zeal, eloquence, or learning.

At least two thirds of our miseries spring from human stupidity, human malice and those great motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity, idealism, dogmatism and proselytizing zeal on behalf of religious or political idols.

Nothing is more unjust, however common, than to charge with hypocrisy him that expresses zeal for those virtues which he neglects to practice; since he may be sincerely convinced of the advantages of conquering his passions, without having yet obtained the victory; as a man may be confident of the advantages of a voyage or a journey, without having courage or industry to undertake it, and may honestly recommend to others those attempts which he neglects himself.

There is a wholly mistaken zeal in politics as well as in religion. By persuading others, we convince ourselves.

There is not a vice which more effectually contracts and deadens the feelings, which more completely makes a man’s affections center in himself, and excludes all others from partaking in them, than the desire of accumulating possessions. When the desire has once gotten hold of the heart, it shuts out all other considerations, but such as may promote its views. In its zeal for the attainment of its end, it is not delicate in the choice of means. As it closes the heart, so also it clouds the understanding. It cannot discern between right and wrong; it takes evil for good, and good for evil; it calls darkness light, and light darkness. Beware, then, of the beginning of covetousness, for you know not where it will end.

Zeal without knowledge is like expedition to a man in the dark.

Zeal is very blind, or badly regulated, when it encroaches upon the rights of others.

Violent zeal for truth has a hundred to one odds to be either petulancy, ambition, or pride.

Anger is a noble infirmity, the generous failing of the just, the one degree that riseth above zeal, asserting the prerogative of virtue.

Unless the cause of peace based on law gathers behind it the force and zeal of a religion, it hardly can hope to succeed.

The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.

Zeal and curiosity are the twin scourges of the soul: the latter prompts us to poke our noses into everything; the former prevents our leaving anything in doubt or undecided.

We do that in our zeal our calmer moment would be afraid to answer.

There is a holy anger, excited by zeal, which moves us to reprove with warmth those whom our mildness failed to correct.

Prayer is not a vain attempt to change God’s will: it is a filial desire to learn God’s will and share it. Prayer is not a substitute for work: it is the secret spring and indispensable ally of all true work – the clarifying of work’s goal, the purifying of its motives, and the renewing of its zeal.

Zeal, not rightly directed, is pernicious; for as it makes a good cause better, so it makes a bad cause worse.

If we have learned anything at all in the two thousand years of Christian history, we should have learned that few things are more dangerous than zeal without knowledge.