Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Theodore T. Munger

American Clergy

"Life is given for wisdom, and yet we are not wise; for goodness, and we are not good; for overcoming evil, and evil remains; for patience and sympathy and love, and yet we are fretful and hard and weak and selfish. We are keyed not to attainment, but to struggle toward it."

"It is a sad thing to begin life with low conceptions of it. It may not be possible for a young man to measure life; but it is possible to say, I am resolved to put life to its noblest and best use."

"Proverbs are but rules, and rules do not create character. They prescribe conduct, but do not furnish a full and proper motive. They are usually but half truths, and seldom contain the principle of the action they teach."

"Proverbs are the condensed wisdom of long experience in brief, epigrammatic form, easily remembered and always ready for use. They are the alphabet of morals; and are commonly prudential watchwords and warnings, and so lean toward a selfish view of life."

"The habit of saving is itself an education; it fosters every virtue, teaches self-denial, cultivates the sense of order, trains to forethought, and so broadens the mind."

"The meaning, the value, the truth of life can be learned only by an actual performance of its duties, and truth can be learned and the soul saved in no other way."

"There is no road to success but through a clear strong purpose. Nothing can take its place. A purpose underlies character, culture, position, attainment of every sort."

"Providence has nothing good or high in store for one who does not resolutely aim at something high or good. A purpose is the eternal condition of success."

"Science cannot determine origin, and so cannot determine destiny. As it presents only a sectional view of creation, it gives only a sectional view of everything in creation."

"The experience of life nearly always works toward the confirmation of faith. It is the total significance of life that it reveals God to man; and life only can do this; neither thought, nor demonstration, nor miracle, but only life, weaving its threads of daily toil and trial and joy into a pattern on which, at last, is inscribed the name of "God.""

"Large enterprises make the few rich, but the majority prosper only through the carefulness and detail of thrift."

"Debt is the secret foe of thrift, as vice and idleness are its open foes. The debt habit is the twin brother of poverty."

"Youth is the opportunity to do something and to become somebody."

"Everything in nature is a puzzle until it finds its solution in man, who solves it in some way with God, and so completes the circle of creation."

"Faith marches at the head of the army of progress. It is found beside the most refined life, the freest government, the profoundest philosophy, the noblest poetry, the purest humanity."

"As a mental discipline the reading of newspapers is hurtful. - What can be worse for the mind than to think of forty things in ten minutes."

"Aside from the moral contamination incident to the average theatre, the influence intellectually is degrading. Its lessons are morbid, distorted, and superficial; they do not mirror life."

"Doubt is almost a natural phase of life; but as certainly as it is natural, it is also temporary, unless it is unwisely wrought into conduct."

"If I could get the ear of every young man but for one word, it would be this; make the most and best of yourself. - There is no tragedy like a wasted life - a life failing of its true end, and turned to a false end."

"If you are animated by right principles, and are fully awakened to the true dignity of life, the subject of amusements may be left to settle itself."

"Ill-luck, is, in nine cases out of ten, the result of saying pleasure first and duty second, instead of duty first and pleasure second."

"Knowledge and personality make doubt possible, but knowledge is also the cure of doubt; and when we get a full and adequate sense of personality we are lifted into a region where doubt is almost impossible, for no man can know himself as he is, and all the fullness of his nature, without also knowing God."

"The claim of the theatre as a school of morals is false; not because it is immoral, but because it cannot, from its own nature, be a teacher of morals. - The abuses that have clustered about it are enormous. - In evil days it sinks to the bottom of the scale of decency, and in best days it hardly rises to the average."

"The lessons we learn in sadness and from loss are those that abide. - Sorrow clarifies the mind, steadies it, forces it to weigh things correctly. - The soil moist with tears best feeds the seeds of truth."

"The unrest of this weary world is its unvoiced cry after God."

"When pleasure rules the life, mind, sensibility, and health shrivel and waste, till at last, and not tardily, no joy in earth or heaven can move the worn-out heart to response."

"A purpose is the eternal condition of success."

"He is already poverty-stricken whose habits are not thrifty."