Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Charles Caleb Colton

English Writer, Clergyman and Collector

"There are three modes of bearing the ills of life; by indifference, which is the most common; by philosophy, which is the most ostentatious; and by religion, which is the most effectual."

"There are two things that declare, as with a voice from heaven, that he that fills that eternal throne must be on side of virtue, and that which he befriends must finally prosper and prevail. The first is that the bad are never completely happy and at ease, although possessed of everything that this world can bestow; and that the good are never completely miserable, although deprived of everything that this world can take away. The second is that we are so framed and constituted that the most vicious cannot but pay a secret though unwilling homage to virtue, inasmuch as the worst men cannot bring themselves thoroughly to esteem a bad man, although he may be their dearest friend, nor can they thoroughly despise a good man, although he may be their bitterest enemy."

"There is a difference between the two temporal blessings - health and money; money is the most envied, but the least enjoyed; health is the most enjoyed, but the least envied; and this superiority of the latter is still more obvious when we reflect that the poorest man would not part with health for money, but the richest would gladly part with all his money for health."

"There is a diabolical trio existing in the natural man, implacable, inextinguishable, co-operative and consentaneous, pride, envy, and hate; pride that makes us fancy we deserve all the goods that others possess; envy that some should be admired while we are overlooked; and hate, because all that is bestowed on others, diminishes the sum we think due to ourselves."

"There is no bigotry like that of "free thought" run to seed."

"There is no cruelty so inexorable and unrelenting as that which proceeds from a bigoted and presumptuous supposition of doing service to God. The victim of the fanatical persecutor will find that the stronger the motives he can urge for mercy are, the weaker will be his chance for obtaining it, for the merit of his destruction will be supposed to rise in value in proportion as it is effected at the expense of every feeling both of justice and of humanity."

"There is this paradox in pride - it makes some men ridiculous, but prevents others from becoming so."

"There is this difference between the two temporal blesses - health and money; money is the most envied, but the least enjoyed; health is the most enjoyed, but the least envied; and this superiority of the latter is still more obvious when we reflect that the poorest man would not part with health for money, but the richest man would gladly part with all his money for health."

"There is this paradox in fear: he is most likely to inspire it in others who has none himself!"

"There is this difference between happiness and wisdom, that he that thinks himself the happiest man, really is so; but he who thinks himself the wisest, is generally the greatest fool."

"Those who visit foreign nations, but who associate only with their own countrymen, change their climate, but not their customs; they see new meridians, but the same men; and with heads as empty as their pockets, return home with traveled bodies, but untraveled minds."

"Those who worship gold in a world so corrupt as this we live in have at least one thing to plead in defensed of their idolatry - the power of their idol. It is true that, like other idols, it can neither move, see, hear, feel, nor understand; but, unlike other idols, it has often communicated all these powers to those she had them not, and annihilated them in those who had. This idol can boast of two peculiarities; it is worshipped in all climates, without a single temple, and by all classes, without a single hypocrite."

"Those who have finished by making others think with them, have usually been those who began by daring to think with themselves."

"They that are loudest in their threats are the weakest in the execution of them. It is probably that the who is killed by lightning hears no noise; abut the thunder-clap which follows, and which most alarms the ignorant is the surest proof of their safety."

"Time is the measurer of all things, but is itself immeasurable; and the grand discloser of all things, but is itself undisclosed."

"Those works... are the most valuable, that set our thinking faculties in the fullest operation."

"Time, that black and narrow isthmus between two eternities."

"Time, the cradle of hope, but the grave of ambition, is the stern corrector of fools, but the salutary counselor of the wise, bringing all they dread to the one, and all they desire to the other; it warns us with a voice tht even the sagest discredit too long, and the silliest believe too late. Wisdom walks before it, opportunity with it, and repentance behind it; he that has made it his friend will have little to fear from his enemies, but he that has made it his enemy will have little to hope from his friends."

"Time is the most undefinable yet paradoxical of things; the past is gone, the future has not come, and the present becomes the past even while we attempt to define it, and, like a flash of the lightning, as once exists and expires."

"To be obliged to beg our daily happiness from others bespeaks a more lamentable poverty than that of him who begs his daily bread."

"To admit that there is any such thing as chance, in the common acceptation of the term, would be to attempt to establish a power independent of God."

"Times of general calamity and confusion have ever been productive of the greatest minds. The purest ore is produced from the hottest furnace, and the brightest thunderbolt is elicited from the darkest storm."

"To know a man, observe how he wins his object, rather than how he loses it; for when we fail, our pride supports; when we succeed, it betrays us."

"To cure us of our immoderate love of gain, we should seriously consider how many goods there are that money will not purchase, and these the best; and how many evils there are that money will not remedy, and these the worst."

"To dare to live alone is the rarest courage; since there are many who had rather meet their bitterest enemy in the field, than their own hearts in their closet."

"To know the pains of power, we must go to those who have it; to know its pleasures, we must go to those who are seeking it. The pains of power are real; its pleasures imaginary."

"True contentment depends not upon what we have; a tub was large enough for Diogenes, but the world was too little for Alexander."

"To sentence a man of true genius to the drudgery of a school is put a racehorse in a mill."

"To-morrow! It is a period nowhere to be found in all the hoary registers of time, unless, perchance, in the fool's calendar. Wisdom disclaims the word, nor holds society with those who own it."

"Truth can hardly be expected to adapt herself to the crooked policy and wily sinuosities of worldly affairs; for truth, like light, travel only in straight lines."

"True friendship is like sound health; the value of it is seldom known until it is lost."

"Two things, well considered, would prevent many quarrels; first to have it well ascertained whether we are not disputing about terms rather than things; and secondly, to examine whether that on which we differ is worth contending about."

"Tyrants have not yet discovered any chains that can fetter the mind."

"War kills men, and men deplore the loss; but war also crushes bad principles and tyrants, and so saves societies."

"We ask advice, but we mean approbation."

"We should act with as much energy as those who expect everything from themselves; and we should pray with as much earnestness as those who expect everything from God."

"We often pretend to fear what we really despise, and more often to despise what we really fear."

"We are ruined, not by what we really want, but by what we think we do; therefore, never go abroad in search of your wants: for if they be real wants they will come in search of you. He that buys what he does not want, will soon want what he cannot buy."

"We strive as hard to hide our hearts from ourselves as from others, and always with more success; for in deciding upon our own case we are both judge, jury, and executioner, and where sophistry cannot overcome the first, or later the second, self-love is always ready to defeat the sentence by bribing the mind."

"We should pray with as much earnestness as those who expect everything from God; we should act with as much energy as those who expect everything from themselves."

"We may doubt the existence of matter, if we please, and like Berkeley deny it, without subjecting ourselves to the shame of a very conclusive confutation; but there is this remarkable difference between matter and mind, that he that doubts the existence of mind, by doubting proves it."

"Wealth, after all, is a relative thing, since he that has little, and wants less, is richer than he that has much but wants more."

"When in the company of sensible men, we ought to be doubly cautious of talking too much, lest we lose two good things - their good opinion and our own improvement; for what we have to say we know, but what to say we know not."

"When in reading we meet with any maxim that may be of use, we should take it for our own, and make an immediate application of it, as we would of the advice of a friend whom we have purposely consulted."

"When we feel a strong desire to thrust our advice upon others, it is usually because we suspect their weakness; but we ought rather to suspect our own."

"When young, we trust ourselves too much and we trust others too little when old. Rashness is the error of youth, timid caution of age. Manhood is the isthmus between the two extremes; the ripe and fertile season of action, when alone we can hope to find the head to contrive, united with the hand to execute."

"Where we cannot invent, we may at least improve; we may give somewhat of novelty to that which was old, condensation to that which was diffuse, perspicuity to that which was obscure, and currency to that which was recondite."

"Where true religion has prevented one crime, false religions have afforded a pretext for a thousand."

"Who are they that would have all mankind look backward instead of forward, and regulate their conduct by things that have been done? Those who are most ignorant as to all things that are doing. Bacon said, time is the greatest of innovators; he might also have said the greatest of improvers."

"Words indeed are but the sings and counters of knowledge, and their currency should be strictly regulated by the capital which they represent."