Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Providence

"The best answer to all objections urged against prayer is that fact that man cannot help praying; for we may be sure that which is so spontaneous and ineradicable in human nature has its fitting objects and methods in the arrangement of a boundless Providence." - Edwin Hubbell Chapin

"How often do we sigh for opportunities of doing good, whist we neglect the openings of Providence in little things, which would frequently lead to the accomplishment of most important usefulness!... Good is done by degrees. However small in proportion the benefits which follow individual attempts to do good, a great deal may thus be accomplished by perseverance, even in the midst of discouragements and disappointments." - George Crabbe

"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." - Tyron Edwards

"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." - Tyron Edwards

"At first glance, life appears meaningless, futile, full of contradictions and absurdities. But a deeper, meditating look uncovers beauty, order and harmony, revealing life as a supreme accomplishment of eternal wisdom... All of creation is an act of love and providence, a drama imbued with meaning... In simple words: Life is a mission of awareness and awakening and deep enlightenment. We are here to sense this divine presence beyond all phenomena. We are here to recognize a deep urge in our hearts to act in harmony, in conformity and in love with these divinities." - Mustapha Mahmoud

"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets: Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it." - W. H. Murray, fully William Hutchinson Murray

"If you would be free from sin, fly temptation: he that does not endeavor to avoid the one cannot expect Providence to protect him from the other. If the first sparks of ill were quenched, there would be no flame, for how can he kill, that dares not be angry; or be an adulterer in act, who does not transgress in thought; or be perjured, that fears an oath; or defraud, that does not allow himself to covet?" - Thomas W. Palmer

"Providence expects that we should make this world our own, and not live in it as though it were a rented tenement. We can only make it our own through some service, and that service is to lend it love and beauty from our soul." -

"Providence is the very divine reason which arranges all things, and rests with the supreme disposer of all; while fate is that ordering which is a part of all changeable things, and by means of which Providence binds all things together in their own order. Providence embraces all things equally, however different they may be, even however infinite: when they are assigned to their own places, forms, and times, Fate sets them in an orderly motion; so that this development of the temporal order, unified in the intelligence of the mind of God, is Providence. The working of this unified development in time is called Fate. These are different, but the one hangs upon the other. For this order, which is ruled by Fate, emanates from the directness of Providence." - Boethius, fully Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius NULL

"For health and the constant enjoyment of life, give me a keen and ever present sense of humor; it is the next best thing to an abiding faith in providence." - George Barrell Cheever

"Grand and manifold as were its phases, there is yet no difficulty in understanding the character of Washington. He was no Veiled Prophet. He never acted a part. Simple, natural, and unaffected, his life lies before us - a fair and open manuscript. He disdained the arts which wrap power in mystery in order to magnify it. He practiced the profound diplomacy of truthful speech - the consummate tact of direct attention. Looking ever to the All-Wise Disposer of events, he relied on that Providence which helps men by giving them high hearts and hopes to help themselves with the means which their Creator has put at their service. There was no infirmity in his conduct over which charity must fling its veil; no taint of selfishness from which purity averts her gaze; no dark recess of intrigue that must be lit up with colored panegyric; no subterranean passage to be trod in trembling, lest there be stirred the ghost of a buried crime." - John W. Daniel, fully John Warwick Daniel

"If by saying that all men are born free and equal, you mean that they are all equally born; it is true, but true in no other sense; birth, talent, labor, virtue, and providence, are forever making differences." - David Eugene Edwards

"Providence has decreed that those common acquisitions - money, gems, plate, noble mansions and dominion - should be sometimes bestowed on the indolent and unworthy; but those things which constitute our true riches, and which are properly our own, must be procured by our own labor." -

"God, who is liberal in all his other gifts, shows us, by the wise economy of his providence, how circumspect we ought to be in the management of our time, for he never gives us two moments together." - François Fénelon, fully Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon

"I believe that we are conforming to the divine order and the will of Providence when we are doing even indifferent things that belong to our condition." - François Fénelon, fully Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon

"Experience join'd with common sense, to mortals is a providence." - John Richard Green

"My soul was not only brought into harmony with itself and with God, but with God’s providence. In the exercise of faith and love, I endured and performed whatever came in God’s providence, in submission, in thankfulness, and silence." -

"Never was there a time, in the history of the world, when moral heroes were more needed. The world waits for such, the providence of God has commanded science to labor and prepare the way for such. For them she is laying her iron tracks, and stretching her wires and bridging the oceans. But where are they? Who shall breathe into our civil and political relations the breath of a higher life? Who shall touch the eyes of a paganized science, and of a pantheistic philosophy, that they may see God? Who shall consecrate to the glory of God the triumphs of science? Who shall bear the life-boat to the stranded and perishing nations." -

"Nature is but the echo of the soul, and images nothing therefore of the Divine creation and providence which is not primarily impressed by the soul." - Henry James, Sr.

"The march of Providence is so slow and our desires to impatient; the work of progress is so immense and our mean of aiding it so feeble; the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing ways, and are thus discouraged. It is history that teaches us to hope." - Robert Full

"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." - Theodore T. Munger

"That plenty should produce either covetousness or prodigality is a perversion of providence; and yet the generality of men are the worse for their riches." - William Penn

"Go, wiser thou! and in thy scale of sense weigh thy opinion against providence." - Alexander Pope

"Never live in hope or expectation, while your arms are folded. God helps those that help themselves. Providence smiles on those who put their shoulders to the wheel that propels to wealth and happiness." - Charles Simmons

"The ways of the heart, like the ways of providence, are mysterious." - Henry Ware

"Providence has given human wisdom the choice between two fates: either hope and agitation, or hopelessness and calm." - Yevgeny Abromovich Baratynsky

"Providence embraces all things equally, however different they may be, even however infinite; when they are assigned to their own places, forms and times, Fate sets them in an orderly motion; so that this development of the temporal order, unified in the intelligence of the mind of God, is Providence." -

"Nature is not at variance with Art, nor Art with Nature, they both being servants of His Providence. Art is the perfection of Nature... Nature is the Art of God." -

"A firm persuasion of the superintendence of Providence over all our concerns is absolutely necessary to our happiness. Without it, we cannot be said to believe in the Scripture, or practice anything like resignation to his will. If I am convinced that no affliction can befall me without the permission of God, I am convinced likewise that he sees and knows that I am afflicted: believing this, I must in the same degree believe that if I pray to him for deliverance, he hears me: I must needs know, likewise, with equal assurance, that if he hears, he will also deliver me, if that will upon the whole be most conducive to my happiness: and if he does not deliver me, I may be well assured that he has none but the most benevolent intention in declining it." - William Cowper

"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative [or creation] there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too... Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace and power in it." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"When good befalls a man he calls it Providence, when evil Fate." - Knut Hamsun

"The belief in free-will is not in the least incompatible with the belief in Providence, provided you do not restrict the Providence to fulminating nothing but fatal decrees." - William James

"The notion of the world’s being a great machine, going on without the interposition of God… is the notion of material and fate… to exclude providence and God’s government in reality out of the world." -

"It is impossible that anything so natural, so necessary, and so universal as death should ever have been designed by Providence as an evil to mankind." - Jonathan Swift, pen names, M.B. Drapier, Lemuel Gulliver, Isaac Bickerstaff

"Divine Providence has granted this gift to man, that those things which are honest are also the most advantageous." -

"There is no other reward but nearness to God, and there is no other punishment but estrangement from God. God does not reward us with wealth; God does not punish us with sickness. The good have suffered sickness and the evil have enjoyed wealth. The reward of a good life is goodness, and the reward of an evil life is evil. Kinship with God, or estrangement from God – that is Providence." -

"Faith in providence is faith altogether. It is the courage to say yes to one’s life and life in general, in spite of the driving forces of fate, in spite of the catastrophes of existence and the breakdown of meaning." -

"If a great change is to be made in human affairs, the minds of men will be fitted to it; the general opinions and feelings will draw that way. Every fear and hope will forward it; and they who persist in opposing this mighty current will appear rather to resist the decrees of Providence itself, than the mere designs of men. They will not be so much resolute and firm as perverse and obstinate." - Edmund Burke

"Any one in the creation is sufficient to demonstrate a Providence to a humble and grateful mind." - Epictetus "the Stoic" NULL

"When the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no further. But when it beholdeth the chain of them confederate and linked together, it must fly to Providence and Deity." - Francis Bacon

"It is easier to discover a deficiency in individuals, in states, and in Providence, than to see their real import and value." - Georg Hegel, fully Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

"Men almost universally have acknowledged a Providence, but that fact has had no force to destroy natural aversions and fears in the presence of events." - George Santayana

"Both houses of Congress have, by their joint Committee, requested me “To recommend to the People of the United States, a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful Hearts the many Signal Favours of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a Form of Government for their Safety and Happiness”... That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks for his kind Care and Protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation; for the signal and manifold Mercies, and the favourable Interpositions of his Providence in the Course & Conclusion of the late War; for the great Degree of Tranquillity, Union, and Plenty, which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational Manner in which we have been enabled to establish Constitutions of Government for our Safety and Happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious Liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general, for all the great and various Favours which he hath been pleased to confer upon us... to enable us all, whether in public or private Stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually... to promote the Knowledge and Practice of true Religion and Virtue, and the increase of Science among them and us; and generally to grant unto all mankind such a Degree of temporal Prosperity as He alone knows to be best." - George Washington

"Providence is but another name for natural law. Natural law itself would go out in a minute if it were not for the divine thought that is behind it." - Henry Ward Beecher

"All the grand agencies which the progress of mankind evolves are the aggregate result of countless wills, each of which, thinking merely of its own end, and perhaps fully gaining it, is at the same time enlisted by Providence in the secret service of the world." - James Martineau

"The first party of painted savages who raised a few huts upon the Thames did not dream of the London they were creating, or know that in the lighting the fire on their hearth they were kindling one of the great foci of Time... All the grand agencies which the progress of mankind evolves are formed in the same unconscious way. They are the aggregate results of countless single wills, each of which, thinking merely of its own end, and perhaps fully gaining it, is at the same time enlisted by Providence in the secret service of the world." - James Martineau

"Man learns to see providence in the great universal forces of nature, in the wind and the rain, in the soil underfoot and in the cloud overhead." - John Burroughs

"There are perhaps some circumstances of life in which Providence has no intention that people should be content." - John Ruskin

"If Providence is omnipotent, Providence intends whatever happens, and the fact of its happening proves that providence intended it. If so, everything which a human being can do, is predestined by Providence and is a fulfillment of its design." - John Stuart Mill