Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Edwin Hubbell Chapin

American Unitarian Clergy

"To me there is something thrilling and exalting in the thought that we are drifting forward into a splendid mystery - into something that no mortal eye hath yet seen, and no intelligence has yet declared."

"A great many men — some comparatively small men now — if put in the right position, would be Luthers and Columbuses."

"A patient, humble temper gathers blessings that are marred by the peevish, and overlooked by the aspiring."

"A true man never frets about his place in the world, but just slides into it by the gravitation of his nature, and swings there as easily as a star."

"All evil, in fact the very existence of evil, is inexplicable till we refer to the fatherhood of God. - It hangs a huge blot in the universe till the orb of divine love rises behind it. - In that we detect its meaning. - It appears to us but a finite shadow, as it passes across the disk of infinite light."

"All nature is a vast symbolism; every material fact has sheathed within it a spiritual truth."

"Do not ask if a man has been through college; ask if a college has been through him - if he is a walking university."

"Do not judge from mere appearances; for the lift laughter that bubbles on the lip often mantles over the depths of sadness, and the serious look may be the sober veil that covers a divine peace and joy. The bosom can ache beneath diamond brooches; and many a blithe heart dances under coarse wool."

"Gaiety is often the reckless ripple over depths of despair."

"Hill and valley, seas and constellations, are but stereotypes of divine ideas appealing to, and answered by the living soul of man."

"I know a good many people, I think, who are bigots, and who know they are bigots, and are sorry for it, but they dare not be anything else."

"In the history of man it has been very generally the case, that when evils have grown insufferable they have touched the point of cure."

"It is a great thing, when the cup of bitterness is pressed to our lips, to feel that it is not fate or necessity, but divine love working upon us for good ends."

"It is a most fearful fact to think of, that in every heart there is some secret spring that would be weak at the touch of temptation, and that is liable to be assailed. Fearful, and yet salutary to think of, for the thought may serve to keep our moral nature braced. It warns us that we can never stand at ease, or lie down in the field of life, without sentinels of watchfulness and campfires of prayer."

"It is difficult to believe that a true gentleman will ever become a gamester, a libertine, or a sot."

"It is exceedingly deleterious to withdraw the sanction of religion from amusement. If we feel that it is all injurious we should strip the earth of its flowers and blot out its pleasant sunshine."

"It is the penalty of fame that a man must ever keep rising. - "Get a reputation, and then go to bed," is the absurdest of all maxims. - "Keep up a reputation or go to bed," would be nearer the truth."

"It is the veiled angel of sorrow who plucks away one thing and another that bound us here in ease and security, and, in the vanishing of these dear objects, indicates the true home of our affections and our peace."

"Let us not fear that the issues of natural science shall be scepticism or anarchy. - Through all God's works there runs a beautiful harmony. - The remotest truth in his universe is linked to that which lies nearest the throne."

"Mercy among the virtues is like the moon among the stars, - not so sparkling and vivid as many, but dispensing a calm radiance that hallows the whole. It is the bow that rests upon the bosom of the cloud when the storm is past. It is the light that hovers above the judgment seat."

"Modest expression is a beautiful setting to the diamond of talent and genius."

"No language can express the power and beauty and heroism and majesty of a mother's love. It shrinks not where man cowers, and grows stronger where man faints, and over the wastes of worldly fortune sends the radiance of its quenchless fidelity like a star in heaven."

"No more duty can be urged upon those who are entering the great theater of life than simple loyalty to their best convictions."

"Not armies, not nations, have advanced the race; but here and there, in the course of ages, an individual has stood up and cast his shadow over the world."

"Not in achievement, but in endurance, of the human soul, does it show its divine grandeur and its alliance with the infinite."

"O, how much those men are to be valued who, in the spirit with which the widow gave up her two mites, have given up themselves! How their names sparkle! How rich their very ashes are! How they will count up in Heaven!"

"Often the elements that move and mold society, are the results of the sister's counsel, and the mother's prayer."

"Ostentation is the signal flag of hypocrisy."

"Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seamed with scars; martyrs have put on their coronation robes glittering with fire; and through their tears have the sorrowful first seen the gate of heaven."

"Pride is the master sin of the devil, and the devil is the father of lies."

"Profaneness is a brutal vice. - He who indulges in it is no gentleman. - I care not what his stamp may be in society, or what clothes he wears, or what culture he boasts. - Despite all his refinement, the light and habitual taking of God's name in vain, betrays a coarse and brutal will."

"Public feeling now is apt to side with the persecuted, and our modern martyr is full as likely to be smothered with roses as with coals."

"The angels may have wider spheres of action and nobler forms of duty than ourselves, but truth and right to them and to us are one and the same thing."

"The bosom can ache beneath diamond brooches; and many a blithe heart dances under coarse wool."

"The brightest crowns that are worn in heaven have been tried, and smelted, and polished, and glorified through the furnace of tribulation."

"The city is an epitome of the social world. - All the belts of civilization intersect along its avenues. - It contains the products of every moral zone and is cosmopolitan, not only in a national, but in a moral and spiritual sense."

"The conservative may clamor against reform, but he might as well clamor against the centrifugal force. - He sighs for "the good old times." - He might as well wish the oak back into the acorn."

"The downright fanatic is nearer to the heart of things than the cool and slippery disputant."

"The individual and the race are always moving; and as we drift into new latitudes new lights open in the heavens ttore immediately over us."

"The mere leader of fashion has no genuine claim to supremacy; at least, no abiding assurance of it. He has embroidered his title upon his waistcoat, and carries his worth in his watch chain; and if he is allowed any real precedence for this, it is almost a moral swindle - a way of obtaining goods under false pretences."

"The public sense is in advance of private practice."

"The weak sinews become strong by their conflict with difficulties. - Hope is bom in the long night of watching and tears. - Faith visits us in defeat and disappointment, amid the consciousness of earthly frailty and the crumbling tombstones of mortality."

"The worst effect of sin is within, and is manifest not in poverty, and pain, and bodily defacement, but in the discrowned faculties, the unworthy love, the low ideal, the brutalized and enslaved spirit."

"There are interests by the sacrifice of which peace is too dearly purchased. One should never be at peace to the shame of his own soul - to the violation of his integrity or of his allegiance to God."

"There is less misery in being cheated than in that kind of wisdom which perceives, or thinks it perceives, that all mankind are cheats."

"There is no mockery like the mockery of that spirit which looks around in the world and believes that all is emptiness."

"There never was a man all intellect; but just in proportion as men become so they become like lofty mountains, all ice and snow the higher they rise above the warm heart of the earth."

"Those old ages are like the landscape that shows best in the purple distance, all verdant and smooth, and bathed in mellow light."

"Through every rift of discovery some seeming anomaly drops out of the darkness, and falls, as a golden link into the great chain of order."

"Tribulation will not hurt you, unless as it too often does; it hardens you and makes you sour, narrow and skeptical."