Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Tyron Edwards

American Theologian best known for compiling "A Dictionary of Thoughts"

"Anxiety is the rust of life, destroying its brightness and weakening its power. A childlike and abiding trust in Providence is its best preventive and remedy."

"Between two evils, choose neither; between two goods, choose both."

"Deviation from either truth or duty is a downward path, and none can say where the descent will end. "He that despiseth small things shall fall little by little.""

"Duty performed gives clearness and firmness to faith, and faith thus strengthened through duty becomes the more assured and satisfying soul."

"Firmness in adherence to truth and duty is generally most decided when most intelligent and conscientious, and is sometimes mistaken for obstinacy by those who do not comprehend its nature and motive."

"Give work rather than alms to the poor. The former drives out indolence, the latter industry. There are two kinds of charity, remedial and preventative. The former is often injurious in its tendency; the latter is always praiseworthy and beneficial."

"He is one of the noblest conquerors who carries on a successful warfare against his own appetites and passions, and has them under wise and full control."

"He who can suppress a moment's anger may prevent a day of sorrow. To rule one's anger is well; to prevent it is still better."

"High aims form high characters, and great objects bring out great minds."

"Indolence is the dry rot of even a good mind and a good character; the practical uselessness of both. It is the waste of what might be a happy and useful life."

"It is the fixed law of the universe, that little things are but parts of the great. The grass does not spring up full grown, by eruptions: it rises by an increase so noiseless and gentle, as not to disturb an angel's ear - perhaps to be invisible to an angel's eye. The rain does not fall in masses, but in drops, or even in the breath-like moisture of the fine mist. The planets do not leap from end to end of their orbits, but inch by inch, and line by line, it is that they circle the heavens. Intellect, feeling, habit, character, all become what they are through the influence of little things. And in morals and religion, it is by little things - by little influences acting on us, or seemingly little decisions made by us, that everyone of us is going, not by leaps, yet surely by inches, either to life or death eternal."

"People never improve unless they look to some standard or example higher and better than themselves."

"Piety and morality are but the same spirit differently manifested. Piety is religion with its face toward God; morality is religion with its face toward the world."

"Preventives of evil are far better than remedies; cheaper and easier of application, and surer of result."

"Quiet and sincere sympathy is often the most welcome and efficient consolation to the afflicted. Said a wise man to one in deep sorrow, "I did not come to comfort you; God only can do that; but I did come to say how deeply and tenderly I feel for you in your affliction.""

"Right actions for the future are the best explanations or apologies for wrong ones in the past; the best evidence of regret for them that we can offer, or the world receive."

"Sincerity is no test of truth - no evidence of correctness of conduct. You may take poison sincerely believing it the needed medicine, but will it save your life?"

"Some of the best lessons we ever learn we learn from our mistakes and failures. The error of the past is the wisdom and success of the future."

"Superstitions are, for the most part, but the shadows of great truths."

"The first impulse of conscience is apt to be right; the first impulse of appetite or passion is generally wrong. We should be faithful to the former, but suspicious of the latter."

"The influences of little things are as real, and as constantly about us, as the air we breathe or the light by which we see. These are the small - the often invisible - the almost unthought of strands, which are inweaving and twisting by millions, to bind us to character - to good or evil here, and to heaven or hell hereafter."

"The prejudiced and obstinate man does not so much hold opinions, as his opinions hold him."

"There is nothing so elastic as the human mind. Like imprisoned steam, the more it is pressed the more it rises to resist the pressure. The more we are obliged to do, the more we are able to accomplish."

"Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny."

"To murder character is as truly a crime as to murder the body: the tongue of the slanderer is brother to the dagger of the assassin."

"To rejoice in another’s prosperity is to give content to your own lot; to mitigate another’s grief is to alleviate or dispel your own."

"True humility is not an abject, groveling, self-despising spirit; it is but a right estimate of ourselves as God sees us."

"We always weaken what we exaggerate."

"We never reach our ideals, whether of mental or moral improvement, but the thought of them shows us our deficiencies, and spurs us on to higher and better things."

"Whatever our place, allotted to us by Providence, that for us is the post of honor and duty. God estimates us not by the position we are in, but by the way in which we fill it."

"A holy life is not an ascetic, or gloomy, or solitary life, but a life regulated by divine truth and faithful in Christian duty. It is living above the world while we are still in it."

"Age does not depend upon years, but upon temperament and health. Some men are old, and some never grow so."

"Always have a book at hand, in the parlor, on the table, for the family; a book of condensed thought and striking anecdote, of sound maxims and truthful apothegms. It will impress on your mind a thousand valuable suggestions, and teach your children lessons of truth and duty. Such a book is a casket of jewels for your household."

"Change of opinion is often only the progress of sound thought and growing knowledge; and though sometimes regarded as an inconsistency, it is but the noble inconsistency natural to a mind ever ready for growth and expansion of thought, and that never fears to follow where truth and duty may lead the way."

"Contemplation is to knowledge, what digestion is to food - the way to get life out of it."

"Doubt, indugled and cherished, is in danger of becoming denial; but if honest, and bent on thorough investigation, it may soon lead to dull establishment in the truth"

"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."

"Duty performed gives clearness and firmness to faith, and faith becomes the more assured and satisfying to the soul."

"Duty performed is a moral tonic; if neglected, the tone and strength of both mind and heart are weakened, and the spiritual health undermined."

"Happiness is like manna; it is to be gathered in grains, and enjoyed every day. It will not keep; it cannot be accumulated; nor have we got to go out of ourselves or into remote places to gather it, since it has rained down from a Heaven, at our very door."

"Have a time and place for everything, and do everything in its time and place, and you will not only accomplish more, but have far more leisure than those who are always hurrying, as if vainly attempting to overtake time that has been lost."

"He that never changes his opinions, never corrects his mistakes, and will never be wiser on the morrow than he is to-day."

"He that resolves upon any great and good end, has, by the very resolution, scaled the chief barrier to it. He will find such resolution removing difficulties, searching out or making means, giving courage for despondency, and strength for weakness and like the star to the wise men of old, ever guiding him nearer and nearer to perfection."

"He who can suppress a moment's anger may prevent a day of sorrow."

"Hell is truth seen too late - duty neglected in its season."

"If you would thoroughly know anything, teach it to others."

"Imperfect knowledge is the parent of doubt: thorough and honest research dispels it."

"It is not true that there are no enjoyments in the ways of sin; there are, many and various. But the great and radical defect of them all is, that they are transitory and insubstantial, at war with reason and conscience, and always leave a sting behind... They may and often do satisfy us for a moment; but it is death in the end. It is the bread of heaven and the water of life that can so satisfy that we shall hunger no more and thirst no more forever."

"It was said of one of the most intelligent men who ever lived in New England, that when asked how he came to know so much about everything, he replied, by constantly realizing my own ignorance, and never being afraid or ashamed to ask questions."

"Most of our censure of others is only oblique praise of self, uttered to show the wisdom and superiority of the speaker. It has all the invidiousness of self-praise, and all the ill-desert of falsehood."