Quotes by Henry Ward Beecher

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Henry Ward Beecher (June 24, 1813 - March 8, 1887) was a theologically liberal American Congregationalist clergyman and reformer, and author who was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, the eighth of nine children of Lyman Beecher by ...

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Young love is a flame; very pretty, often very hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. The love of the older and disciplined heart is as coals, deep-burning, unquenchable.

I never knew how to worship until I knew how to love.
Love is the river of life in the world.
Never forget what a person says to you when they are angry.
Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?
There is no friendship, no love, like that of the parent for the child.
Keep a fair-sized cemetery in your back yard, in which to bury the faults of your friends.
Books are not made for furniture, but there is nothing else that so beautifully furnishes a house.
The mother's heart is the child's schoolroom.
He is rich or poor according to what he is, not according to what he has.
Troubles are often the tools by which God fashions us for better things.
Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you, never excuse yourself.
There never was a person who did anything worth doing, who did not receive more than he gave.
I can forgive, but I cannot forget, is only another way of saying, I cannot forgive.
The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one often comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't.
In this world it is not what we take up, but what we give up, that makes us rich.
Fear secretes acids; but love and trust are sweet juices.
Now comes the mystery.
The cynic is one who never sees a good quality in a man, and never fails to see a bad one. He is the human owl, vigilant in darkness and blind to light, mousing for vermin, and never seeing noble game.
The strength of a man consists in finding out the way God is going, and going that way.
Ones best success comes after their greatest disappointments.
Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.
I can forgive, but I cannot forget, is only another way of saying, I will not forgive. Forgiveness ought to be like a canceled note -- torn in two, and burned up, so that it never can be shown against one.
God pardons like a mother, who kisses the offense into everlasting forgiveness.
Every charitable act is a stepping stone towards heaven.
A book is a garden, an orchard, a storehouse, a party, a company by the way, a counselor, a multitude of counselors.
We are always on the anvil; by trials God is shaping us for higher things.
All words are pegs to hang ideas on.
A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs-jolted by every pebble in the road.
There is no faculty of the human soul so persistent and universal as that of hatred.
See that each hour's feelings, and thoughts and actions are pure and true; then your life will be also.
No matter what looms ahead, if you can eat today, enjoy the sunlight today, mix good cheer with friends today, enjoy it and bless God for it. Do not look back on happiness -- or dream of it in the future. You are only sure of today; do not let yourself be cheated out of it.
No man is sane who does not know how to be insane on proper occasions.
To know that one has a secret is to know half the secret itself.
To become an able and successful man in any profession, three things are necessary, nature, study and practice.
Laws and institutions, like clocks, must occasionally be cleaned, wound up, and set to true time.
Every man should keep a fair-sized cemetery in which to bury the faults of his friends.
Living is death; dying is life. We are not what we appear to be. On this side of the grave we are exiles, on that citizens; on this side orphans, on that children;
The most dangerous people are the ignorant.
Life would be a perpetual flea hunt if a man were obliged to run down all the innuendoes, inveracities, and insinuations and misrepresentations which are uttered against him.
The dog is the god of frolic.
If a man meets with injustice, it is not required that he shall not be roused to meet it; but if he is angry after he has had time to think upon it, that is sinful. The flame is not wring, but the coals are.
Victories that are easy are cheap. Those only are worth having which come as the result of hard fighting.
We never know the love of the parent till we become parents ourselves.
I don't like these cold, precise, perfect people who, in order not to speak wrong, never speak at all, and in order not to do wrong, never do anything.
Selfishness is that detestable vice which no one will forgive in others, and no one is without himself.
Laughter is day, and sobriety is night; a smile is the twilight that hovers gently between both, more bewitching than either.
The soul without imagination is what an observatory would be without a telescope.
A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves.
The worst thing in the world next to anarchy, is government.
Genius unexerted is no more genius than a bushel of acorns is a forest of oaks.
Education is the knowledge of how to use the whole of oneself. Many men use but one or two faculties out of the score with which they are endowed. A man is educated who knows how to make a tool of every faculty--how to open it, how to keep it sharp, and how to apply it to all practical purposes.
A man's character is the reality of himself; his reputation, the opinion others have formed about him; character resides in him, reputation in other people; that is the substance, this is the shadow.
Clothes and manners do not make the man; but when he is made, they greatly improve his appearance
The continuance and frequent fits of anger produce in the soul a propensity to be angry; which oftentimes ends in choler, bitterness, and moronity, when the mid becomes ulcerated, peevish, and querulous, and is wounded by the least occurrence.
It is not work that kills men; it is worry. Work is healthy; you can hardly put more upon a man than he can bear. Worry is the rust upon the blade. It is not the revolution which destroys the machinery but the friction. Fear secretes acids; but love and trust are sweet juices
Mirth is the sweet wine of human life. It should be offered sparkling with zestful life unto God.
We sleep, but the loom of life never stops, and the pattern which was weaving when the sun went down is weaving when it comes up in the morning.
The first hour of the morning is the rudder of the day.
Good nature is worth more than knowledge, more than money, more than honor, to the persons who possess it.
Do not be afraid of defeat. You are never so near to victory as when defeated in a good cause.
Well married a person has wings, poorly married shackles.
God made man to go by motives, and he will not go without them, any more than a boat without steam or a balloon without gas.
The moment an ill can be patiently handled, it is disarmed of its poison, though not of its pain.
It is not well for a man to pray cream and live skim milk.
God's providence is on the side of clear heads.
A library is but the soul's burying ground. It is a land of shadows.
Nothing dies so hard, or rallies so often as intolerance.
He is greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his own.
The real man is one who always finds excuses for others, but never excuses himself.
Heaven will be inherited by every man who has heaven in his soul.
The head learns new things, but the heart forever practices old experiences.
He who hunts for flowers will finds flowers; and he who loves weeds will find weeds.
Giving The best thing to give to your enemy is forgiveness; to an opponent, tolerance; to a friend, your heart; to your child, a good example; to a father, deference; to your mother, conduct that will make her proud of you; to yourself, respect; to all men.
In things pertaining to enthusiasm, no man is sane who does not know how to be insane on proper occasions.
He who is false to present duty breaks a thread in the loom, and will find the flaw when he may have forgotten its cause.
No man is such a conqueror, as the one that has defeated himself.
It is defeat that turns bone to flint; it is defeat that turns gristle to muscle; it is defeat that makes men invincible.
Interest works night and day in fair weather and in foul. It gnaws at a man's substance with invisible teeth.
That is true culture which helps us to work for the social betterment of all.
The ignorant classes are the dangerous classes.
The Church is not a gallery for the exhibition of eminent Christians, but a school for the education of imperfect ones.
A Christian is nothing but a sinful man who has put himself to school for Christ for the honest purpose of becoming better.
Any law that takes hold of a mans daily life cannot prevail in a community, unless the vast majority of the community are actively in favor of it. The laws that are the most operative are the laws which protect life.
When we borrow trouble, and look forward into the future and see what storms are coming, and distress ourselves before they come, as to how we shall avert them if they ever do come, we lose our proper trustfulness in God. When we torment ourselves with imaginary dangers, or trials, or reverses, we have already parted with that perfect love which casteth out fear.
A tool is but the extension of a man's hand, and a machine is but a complex tool. And he that invents a machine augments the power of a man and the well-being of mankind.
A grindstone that had not grit in it, how long would it take to sharpen an ax? And affairs that had not grit in them, how long would they take to make a man?
Theology is but our ideas of truth classified and arranged.
Theology is a science of mind applied to God.
To array a man's will against his sickness is the supreme art of medicine.
It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is, not according to what he has.
Private opinion is weak, but public opinion is almost omnipotent.
The meanest, most contemptible kind of praise is that which first speaks well of a man, and then qualifies it with a But.
Expedients are for the hour, but principles are for the ages.
Repentance is another name for aspiration.
Riches are not an end of life, but an instrument of life.
A man's true state of power and riches is to be in himself.
Success is full of promise till one gets it, and then it seems like a nest from which the bird has flown.
Suffering is part of the divine idea.
In this world, full often, our joys are only the tender shadows which our sorrows cast.
Gambling with cards or dice or stocks is all one thing. It's getting money without giving an equivalent for it.
What a mother sings to the cradle goes all the way down to the coffin.
The humblest individual exerts some influence, either for good or evil, upon others.
We are not to make the ideas of contentment and aspiration quarrel, for God made them fast friends. A man may aspire, and yet be quite content until it is time to raise; and both flying and resting are but parts of one contentment. The very fruit of the gospel is aspiration. It is to the heart what spring is to the earth, making every root, and bud, and bough desire to be more. -
The world's battlefields have been in the heart chiefly; more heroism has been displayed in the household and the closet, than on the most memorable battlefields in history.
It's not the work which kills people, it's the worry. It's not the revolution that destroys machinery it's the friction.
Next to ingratitude the most painful thing to bear is gratitude.
God appoints our graces to be nurses to other men's weaknesses.
True obedience is true freedom.
The babe at first feeds upon the mother's bosom, but it is always on her heart.
Defeat is a school in which truth always grows strong.
Death is the dropping of the flower that the fruit may swell.
We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started.
When a nation's young men are conservative, its funeral bell is already rung.
The philosophy of one century is the common sense of the next.
The test of Christian character should be that a man is a joy-bearing agent to the world.
The real democratic American idea is, not that every man shall be on a level with every other man, but that every man shall have liberty to be what God made him, without hindrance.
All ambitions are lawful except those that climb upward on the miseries or credulities of mankind.
Affliction comes to us, not to make us sad but sober; not to make us sorry but wise.
Let a little preliminary exultation of a new man in a new place be forgiven, ye who are now established! Remember your own household fervor on first setting up, while we recount our economic joy, and anticipations of modern conveniences that would take away all human care, and speed life upon a downhill path, where it was to be easier to move than to stand still!
A good village primary school ought to be a cross between a nursery and a play-room; and the teacher ought to be playmate, nurse, and mother, all combined.
There are more quarrels smothered by just shutting your mouth, and holding it shut, than by all the wisdom in the world.
Work is not a curse, but drudgery is!
In the ordinary business of life, industry can do anything which genius can do, and very many things which it cannot.
The one great poem of New England is her Sunday.
Every man should be born again on the first day of January. Start with a fresh page. Take up one hole more in the buckle if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstances; but on the first of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were and are past.
There is a temperate zone in the mind, between luxurious indolence and exacting work; and it is to this region, just between laziness and labor, that summer reading belongs.
The best fire in winter is made up of exercise, and the poorest of whiskey. He that keeps warm on liquor is like a man who pulls his house to pieces to feed the fireplace.
God uses suffering as a whetstone, to make men sharp with.
A liberal use of wine makes after-dinner speaking much easier. Men will then laugh heartily at the oldest kind of a chestnut.
Never be grandiloquent when you want to drive home a searching truth. Don't whip with a switch that has the leaves on, if you want it to tingle.
Even to this hour, the first acquaintance with oysters is with much hesitation and squeamish apprehension. Who, then, first gulped the dainty thing, and forever after called himself blessed?
Prayer is often an argument of laziness: "Lord, my temper gives me a vast deal of inconvenience, and it would be a great task for me to correct it; and wilt thou be pleased to correct it for me, that I may get along easier?" If prayer was answered under such circumstances, independent of action of natural laws, it would be paying a premium on indolence.