Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Richard Cecil

English Divine, Leading Evangelical Anglican

"An idle man has a constant tendency to torpidity. He has adopted the Indian maxim - that it is better to walk than to run, and better to stand than to walk, and better to sit than to stand, and better to lie than to sit. He hugs himself into the notion, that God calls him to be quiet."

"Aversion from reproof is not wise. It is a mark of a little mind. A great man can afford to lose; a little, insignificant fellow is afraid of being snuffed out."

"Eloquence is vehement simplicity."

"Example is more forcible than precept."

"Hypocrisy is folly. It is much easier, safer, and pleasanter to be the thing which a man aims to appear, than to keep up the appearance of what he is not."

"If there is any person whom you dislike, that is the one of whom you should never speak."

"The very heart and root of sin is in an independent spirit. We erect the idol self; and not only wish others to worship, but worship ourselves."

"To love to preach is one thing - to love those to whom we preach, quite another."

"We are too fond of our own will; we want to be doing what we fancy mighty things: but the great point is to do small things, when called to them, in a right spirit."

"A contemplative life has more the appearance of a life of piety than any other; but it is the divine plan to bring faith into activity and exercise."

"All extremes are error. The reverse of error is not truth, but error still. Truth lies between these extremes."

"An accession of wealth is a dangerous predicament for a man. At first he is stunned, if the accession be sudden; he is very humble and very grateful. Then he begins to speak a little louder; people think him more sensible, and soon he thinks himself so."

"Every man is an original and solitary character. None can either understand or feel the book of his own life like himself."

"Every man will have his own criterion in forming his judgment of others. I depend very much on the effect of affliction. I consider how a man comes out of the furnace; gold will lie for a month in the furnace without losing a grain."

"How simply I can trust in man, and how little in God! How unreasonable is a pure act of faith in one like ourselves, if we cannot repose the same faith in God."

"I could write down twenty cases, wherein I wished God had done otherwise than he did; but which I now see, had I had my own will, would have led to extensive mischief. The life of a Christian is a life of paradoxes."

"I extend the circle of real religion very widely. Many men fear God, and love God, and have sincere desire to serve him, whose views of religious truth are very imperfect, and in some points utterly false. But may not many such persons have a state of heart acceptable before God?"

"It requires as much reflection and wisdom to know what is not to be put into a sermon as what is."

"Power rests in tranquillity."

"The first step to knowledge is to know that we are ignorant."

"The grandest operations, both in nature and in grace, are the most silent and imperceptible. The shallow brook babbles in its passage, and is heard by every one; but the coming on of the seasons is silent and unseen. The storm rages and alarms, but its fury is soon exhausted, and its effects are partial and soon remedied; but the dew, though gentle and unheard, is immense in quantity, and the very life of large portions of the earth. And these are pictures of the operations of the grace in the church and in the soul."

"There are but two classes of the wise; the men who serve God because they have found him, and the men who seek him because they have found him not."

"A man who puts aside his religion because he is going into society, is like one taking off his shoes because he is about to walk upon thorns."

"A wise man looks upon men as he does on horses; all their caparisons of title, wealth, and place, he considers but as harness."

"An exquisite watch went irregularly, though no defect could be discovered in it. At last it was found that the balance wheel had been near a magnet; and here was all the mischief. If the soundest mind be magnetized by any predilection, it must act irregularly."

"As a man loves gold, in that proportion he hates to be imposed upon by counterfeits; and in proportion as a man has regard for that which is above price and better than gold, he abhors that hypocrisy which is but its counterfeit."

"Aversion from reproof is not wise. It is a mark of a little mind. A great man can afford to lose; a little, insignificant fellow is afraid of being snuffed out."

"Duties are ours, events are God's. This removes an infinite burden from the shoulders of a miserable, tempted, dying creature. On this consideration only can he securely lay down his head and close his eyes."

"Appointments once made, become debts. If I have made an appointment with you, I owe you punctuality; I have no right to throw away your time, if I do my own."

"Every man is an original and solitary character."

"Every year of my life I grow more convinced that it is wisest and best to fix our attention on the beautiful and the good, and dwell as little as possible on the evil and the false."

"God's way of answering the Christian's prayer for more patience, experience, hope and love often is to put him into the furnace of affliction."

"Faith makes all evil good to us, and all good better; unbelief makes all good evil, and all evil worse. Faith laughs at the shaking of the spear; unbelief trembles at the shaking of a leaf, unbelief starves the soul; faith finds food in famine, and a table in the wilderness. In the greatest danger, faith says, "I have a great God." When outward strength is broken, faith rests on the promises. In the midst of sorrow, faith draws the sting out of every trouble, and takes out the bitterness from every affliction."

"Gravity must be natural and simple; there must be urbanity and tenderness in it."

"He who sows, even with tears, the precious seed of faith, hope, and love, shall doubtless come again with joy, bringing his sheaves with him, because it is the very nature of that seed to yield a joyful harvest."

"He has seen but little of life who does not discern everywhere the effect of early education on men's opinions and habits of thinking. Children bring out of the nursery that which displays itself throughout their lives."

"If a man has a quarrelsome temper, let him alone. The world will soon find him employment. He will soon meet with someone stronger than himself, who will repay him better than you can. A man may fight duels all his life, if he is disposed to quarrel."

"If a minister takes one step into the world, his hearers will take two."

"If I have made an appointment with you, I owe you punctuality, I have no right to throw away your time, if I do my own"

"If you believe the doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe the military, nothing is safe"

"Metaphysicians can unsettle things, but they can erect nothing. They can pull down a church, but they cannot build a hovel."

"Method is like packing things in a box; a good packer will get in half as much again as a bad one."

"Method is the very hinge of business, and there is no method without punctuality"

"Never was there a man of deep piety, who has not been brought into extremities"

"Nothing can be proposed so wild or so absurd as not to find a party, and often a very large party to espouse it."

"Philosophy is a proud, sullen detector of the poverty and misery of man. It may turn him from the world with a proud, sturdy contempt; but it cannot come forward and say, here are rest, grace, pardon, peace, strength, and consolation."

"Providence is a greater mystery than revelation. The state of our world is more humiliating to our reason than the doctrines of the Gospel. A reflecting Christian sees more to excite his astonishment, and to exercise his faith, in the state of things between Temple Bar [in Dublin] and St. Paul's [in London], than in what he reads from Genesis to Revelation."

"Recollection is the life of religion. The Christian wants to know no new thing, but to have his heart elevated more above the world by secluding himself from it as much as his duties will allow, that religion may effect its great end by bringing its sublime hopes and prospects into more steady action on the mind."

"Self-will is so ardent and active, that it will break a world to pieces, to make a stool to sit on."

"Solitude shows us what we should be; society shows us what we are."