Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Charles Kingsley

English Clergyman, Novelist, Poet, Priest of the Church of England, University Professor and Historian

"Make a rule, and pray to God to help you to keep it, never, if possible, to lie down at night without being able to say: "I have made one human being at least a little wiser, or a little happier, or at least a little better this day.""

"Science frees us in many ways... from the bodily terror which the savage feels. But she replaces that, in the minds of many, by a moral terror which is far more overwhelming."

"If you wish to be miserable, think about yourself; about what you want, what you like, what you respect people ought to pay you, what people think of you; and then to you nothing will be pure. You will spoil everything you touch; you will make sin and misery for yourself out of everything God sends you; you will be as wretched as you choose."

"Thank God every morning when you get up that you have something to do which must be done, whether you like it or not. Being forced to work, or forced to do your best, will bred in you temperance, self-control, diligence, strength of will, content, and a hundred other virtues which the idle never know."

"We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about."

"That is not faith, to see God only in what is strange and rare; but this is faith, to see God in what is most common and simple, to know God's greatness not so much from disorder as from order, not so much from those strange sights in which God seems (but only seems) to break His laws, as from those common ones in which He fulfills His laws."

"What right has any free, reasonable soul on earth to sell himself for a shilling a day to murder any man, right or wrong?"

"What I want is, not to possess religion, but to have a religion that shall possess me."

"Be good . . . and let who will be clever."

"Because I believe in a God of absolute and unbounded love, therefore I believe in a loving anger of His which will and must devour and destroy all which is decayed, monstrous, abortive in His universe till all enemies shall be put under His feet, and God shall be all in all."

"Being forced to work, and forced to do your best, will breed in you temperance and self-control, diligence and strength of will, cheerfulness and content, and a hundred virtues which the idle will never know."

"A blessed thing it is for any man or woman to have a friend, one human soul whom we can trust utterly, who knows the best and worst of us, and who loves us in spite of all our faults."

"Ah, my friends, we must look out and around to see what God is like. It is when we persist in turning our eyes inward and prying curiously over our own imperfections that we learn to make God after our own image, and fancy that our own darkness and hardness of heart are the patterns of His light and love."

"All we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about."

"A man may learn from his Bible to be a more thorough gentleman than if he had been brought up in all the drawing-rooms in London."

"Cheerfulness is full of significance; it suggests good health, a clear conscience, and a soul at peace with all human nature."

"Depend upon it, a man never experiences such pleasure or grief after fourteen years as he does before, unless in some cases, in his first lovemaking, when the sensation is new to him."

"Did not learned men, too, hold, till within the last twenty-five years, that a flying dragon was an impossible monster? And do we not now know that there are hundreds of them found fossil up and down the world? People call them Pterodactyles: but that is only because they are ashamed to call them flying dragons, after denying so long that flying dragons could exist."

"Do as you would be done by."

"And we shall be made truly wise if we be content; content, too, not only with what we can understand, but content with what we do not understand--the habit of mind which theologians call--and rightly--faith in God."

"Be good, my child, and let who will be clever; Do noble deeds, not dream them all day long; and so make life, death, and that vast forever one grand, sweet song."

"Do you feel that you have lost your way in life? Then God Himself will show you your way. Are you utterly helpless, worn out, body and soul? Then God's eternal love is ready and willing to help you up, and revive you. Are you wearied with doubts and terrors? Then God's eternal light is ready to show you your way; God's eternal peace ready to give you peace. Do you feel yourself full of sins and faults? Then take heart; for God's unchangeable will is, to take away those sins, and purge you from those faults."

"Do noble things, not dream them all day long."

"Do not fancy, as too many do, that thou canst praise God by singing hymns to Him in church once a week, and disobeying Him all the week long. He asks of thee works as well as words; and more, He asks of thee works first and words after."

"Do to-day's duty, fight to-day's temptation; and do not weaken and distract yourself by looking forward to things which you cannot see, and could not understand if you saw them."

"Do you think that a man is renewed by God's Spirit, when except for a few religious phrases, and a little more outside respectability, he is just the old man, the same character at heart he ever was?"

"Every duty that is bidden to wait comes back with seven fresh duties at its back."

"Every morning I wake up, give thanks to God, because you have something to do, whether you like the job it would not. Forced to work and the work will best preserve your modesty, self-control ability, diligence, persistence, satisfaction, and a hundred other virtues which are not known by people who are careless."

"Duty--the command of heaven, the eldest voice of God."

"Every winter, When the great sun has turned his face away, The earth goes down into a vale of grief, And fasts, and weeps, and shrouds herself in sables, Leaving her wedding-garlands to decay-- Then leaps in spring to his returning kisses."

"Except a living man there is nothing more wonderful than a book! A message to us from the dead, - from human souls whom we never saw, who lived perhaps thousands of miles away; and yet these, on those little sheets of paper, speak to us, teach us, comfort us, open their hearts to us as brothers."

"Friendship is like a glass ornament, once it is broken it can rarely be put back together exactly the same way."

"Grandeur... consists in form, and not in size: and to the eye of the philosopher, the curve drawn on a paper two inches long, is just as magnificent, just as symbolic of divine mysteries and melodies, as when embodied in the span of some cathedral roof."

"Except a living man, there is nothing more wonderful than a book."

"Feelings are like chemicals--the more you analyze them the worse they smell. So it is best not to stir them up very much, only enough to convince one's self that they are offensively wrong, and then look away as far as possible, out of one's self, for a purifying power; and that we know can only come from Him who holds our hearts in His hands, and can turn us whither He will."

"For science is . . . like virtue, its own exceeding great reward."

"For men must work and women must weep, And the sooner it's over the sooner to sleep, And good-bye to the bar and its moaning."

"I believe not only in "special providences," but in the whole universe as one infinite complexity of "special providences.""

"He was one of those men who possess almost every gift, except the gift of the power to use them."

"Have charity; have patience; have mercy. Never bring a human being, however silly, ignorant, or weak--above all, any little child--to shame and confusion of face. Never by petulance, by suspicion, by ridicule, even by selfish and silly haste--never, above all, by indulging in the devilish pleasure of a sneer--crush what is finest and rouse up what is coarsest in the heart of any fellow-creature."

"I am not aware that payment, or even favors, however gracious, bind any man's soul and conscience in questions of highest morality and highest importance."

"It is a painful fact, but there is no denying it, the masts are the tools of circumstances; thistle-down on the breeze, straw on the river, their course is shaped for them by the currents and eddies of the stream of life; but only in proportion as they are things, not men and women. Man was meant to be not the slave, but the master, of circumstances, and in proportion as he recovers his humanity, in every sense of the great obsolete word,--in proportion as he gets back the spirit of manliness, which is self-sacrifice, affection, loyalty to an idea beyond himself, a God above himself, so far will he rise above circumstances, and wield them at his will."

"If you wish to be like a little child, study what a little child could understand,--Nature; and do what a little child could do,--love."

"It has been said that true religion will make a man a more thorough gentleman than all the courts in Europe. And it is true; you may see simple laboring men as thorough gentlemen as any duke, simply because they have learned to fear God; and, fearing Him, to restrain themselves, which is the very root and essence of all good-breeding."

"It is only the great hearted who can be true friends. The mean and cowardly, Can never know what true friendship means."

"Love can make us fiends as well as angels."

"Music is a sacred, a divine, a God-like thing, and was given to man by Christ to lift our hearts up to God, and make us feel something of the glory and beauty of God, and of all which God has made."

"No earnest thinker is a plagiarist pure and simple. He will never borrow from others that which he has not already, more or less, thought out for himself."

"One good man, one man who does not put on his religion once a week with his Sunday coat, but wears it for his working dress, and lets the thought of God grow into him, and through and through him, till everything he says and does becomes religious, that man is worth a thousand sermons -- he is a living Gospel -- he comes in the spirit and power of Elias -- he is the image of God. And men see his good works, and admire them in spite of themselves, and see that they are God-like, and that God's grace is no dream, but that the Holy Spirit is still among men, and that all nobleness and manliness is His gift, His stamp, His picture: and so they get a glimpse of God again in His saints and heroes, and glorify their Father who is in heaven."

"Nothing that man ever invents will absolve him from the universal necessity of being good as God is good, righteous as God is righteous, and holy as God is holy."