Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"We settle things by a majority vote, and the psychological effect of doing that is to create the impression that the majority is probably right. Of course, on any fine issue the majority is sure to be wrong. Think of taking a majority vote on the best music. Jazz would win over Chopin. Or on the best novel. Many cheap scribblers would win over Tolstoy. And any day a prizefight will get a bigger crowd, larger gate receipts and wider newspaper publicity than any new revelation of goodness, truth or beauty could hope to achieve in a century." - Harry Emerson Fosdick

"Religion implies revelation." - Roswell Dwight Hitchcock

"An idea, to be suggestive, must come to the individual with the force of a revelation." - William James

"What education is to the individual man, revelation is to the whole human race... Education gives man nothing which he could not also get from within himself; it gives him that which he could get form within himself, only quicker and more easily. In the same way too, revelation gives nothing to the human race which reason could not arrive at on its own; only it has given, and still gives to it, the most important of these things sooner." - Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

"Music is a higher revelation than philosophy." -

"It doth not yet appear what we shall be. We lie here in our nest, unfledged and weak, guessing dimly at our future, and scarce believing what even now appears. But the power is in us, and that power is finally to be revealed. And what a revelation will that be!" - Horace Bushnell

"The mind in proportion as it is cut off from free communication with nature, with revelation, with God, with itself, loses its life, just as the body droops when debarred from the air and the cheering light from heaven." - William Ellery Channing

"There was plainly wanting a divine revelation to recover mankind out of their universal corruption and degeneracy." - Samuel Clarke

"We are weak today in ideal matters because intelligence is divorced from aspiration. The bare force of circumstance compels us onwards in the daily detail of our beliefs and acts, but our deeper thoughts and desires turn backwards. When philosophy shall have co-operated with the course of events and made clear and coherent the meaning of the daily detail, science and emotion will interpenetrate, practice and imagination will embrace. Poetry and religious feeling will be the unforced flowers of life. To further this articulation and revelation of the meanings of the current course of events is the task and problem of philosophy in days of transition." - John Dewey

"We may have the confidence of another without possessing his heart. If his heart be ours, there is no need of revelation or of confidence, all is open to us." - Du Coeur NULL

"Nature and revelation are alike God's books; each may have mysteries, but in each there are plain practical lessons for everyday duty." - Tyron Edwards

"To make clear fundamental ends and valuations, and to set them for the fast in the emotional life of an individual, seems to me precisely the most important function which religion has to perform in the social life of a man... They come into being not through demonstration but through revelation, through the medium of powerful personalities." - Albert Einstein

"Nothing, indeed, is so likely to shock us at first as the manifest revelation of ourselves." - Henry Havelock Ellis

"The essence of music is revelation... There is something marvelous in music. I might almost say it is, in itself, a marvel. Its position is somewhere between the region of thought and that of a phenomena; a glimmering medium between mind and matter, related to both and yet differing from either. Spiritual, and yet requiring rhythm; material, and yet independent of space... It is spirit, yet in need of time, rhythm; it is matter, yet independent of space." - Heinrich Heine

"A great man is a gift, in some measure of a revelation of God. A great man, living for high ends, is the divinest thing that can be seen on earth. The value and interest of history are derived chiefly from the lives and services of the eminent men whom it commemorates." - George Stillman Hillard

"The artist is one to whom all experience is revelation." - Ludwig Lewisohn

"He that takes away reason to make way for revelation puts out the light of both, and does much the same as if he would persuade a man to put out his eyes the better to receive the remote light of an invisible star by a telescope." - John Locke

"The works of nature and the works of revelation display religion to mankind in characters so large and visible that those who are not quite blind may in them see and read the first principles and most necessary parts of it, and from thence penetrate into those infinite depths filled with the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." - John Locke

"Revelation can be more perilous than Revolution." - Vladimir Nabokov, fully Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov

"Has anyone at the end of the nineteenth century a distinct conception of what poets of strong ages call inspiration? If not, I will describe it. If one had the slightest residue of superstition left in one, one would hardly be able to set aside the idea that one is merely incarnation, merely mouthpiece, merely medium of overwhelming forces. The concept of revelation , in the sense that something suddenly, with unspeakable certainty and subtlety, becomes visible, audible, something that shakes and overturns one to the depths, simply describes the fact. One hears, one does not seek; one takes, one does not ask who gives; a thought flashes up like lightning, with necessity, unfalteringly formed - I have never had any choice... Everything is in the highest degree involuntary but takes place as in a tempest of a feeling of freedom, of absoluteness, of power, of divinity... The involuntary nature of image, of metaphor is the most remarkable thing of all; one no longer has any idea what is image, what metaphor, everything presents itself as the readiest, the truest, the simplest means of expression." - Friedrich Nietzsche, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

"That there is but one Life, one Cosmic Principle, one Consciousness permeating the whole universe... Whoever is open to Truth does not care from what source it comes. It is Truth, that is sufficient... Revelation is discloser of the soul." - Paramananda, fully Swami Paramananda, born Suresh Chandra Guha-Thakurta NULL

"The only way to judge an event in life is to look at it from high enough, to see it in the order and dimension of the timeless. When we see pain, suffering and inequalities, we don’t understand or we jump to false conclusions. We see only the broken arc of a complete circle. Instead, life is a field for progress and progressive harmony. Each one of us has a part to play which he alone can execute. This role, based on our real nature - what Hindu scriptures call svabhava - can be discovered. An individual’s aim in life must be to find out the “law of his being” and act according to his svadharma. This discovery is no easy task. Normally, we are aware of our ego, the surface self that is a bundle of contradictory impulses. But we can find the true self, our best self, by a process of standing back and surveying our needs. Abandoning desire and self-assertion, accepting the challenges of life in a state of stable, unwavering peace will result in this supreme revelation. When life’s shocks turn our eyes inward, we rise above contingencies of time and place. Our perspective changes. The greatest sorrows is transformed into a luminous vibration. We see into the life of things. Life itself, a single, immense organism, moves toward a greater and higher harmony as more and more cells become conscious of their uniqueness. Life, then, is not Macbeths’s “tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” It is a grand orchestra in which discordant notes contribute to the total harmony." - V. S. Seturaman

"In the end we shall have to say that there is no solution of an intellectual kind and that it is part of the general mystical paradox that the mystical revelation transcends the intellect." - W. T. Stace, fully Walter Terence Stace

"The Bible is a book of faith, and a book of doctrine, and a book of morals, and a book of religion, of special revelation from God; but it is also a book which teaches man his own individual responsibility, his own dignity, and his equality with his fellow man." - Daniel Webster

"Clergymen and peopled who use phrases without wisdom sometimes talk of suffering as a mystery. It is really a revelation." -

"All revelation is given, not in the form of directly communicated knowledge, but through events occurring in the historical experience of mankind, events which are apprehended by faith as the “mighty acts” of God." -

"I must despise the world which does not know that music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy." - Ludwig van Beethoven

"Religions are not revealed; they are evolved. If a religion were revealed by God, that religion would be perfect in whole and in part, and would be as perfect as the first moment of its revelation as after ten thousand years of practice." - Robert Blatchford, fully Robert Peel Glanville Blatchford

"At best God can only reveal himself to us in terms of our experience in our historic setting. And the revelation that comes to us is to cooperate with God to bring form and order into the world as it is." - John Elof Boodin

"Every new experience is a new opportunity of knowing God. Every new experience is like a jewel set into the texture of our life, on which God shines and makes interpretation and revelation of Himself." - Phillips Brooks

"If the Day of Judgment came tomorrow, and God asked us what we had made of His revelation, of His grace and our freedom… we would be hard put to it to explain the advantages of a machine civilization whose highest efficiency is used for murder and slavery." - R. L. Bruckberger, fully Raymond Léopold Bruckberger

"Miracles are not proofs, but the necessary results, of revelation." - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

"We cannot leave behind what has once been true, for progress is an advance into truth, a deeper appreciation and love of what is familiar, be it a birthright, or a gift such as Revelation." - Martin D’Arcy, fully Fr. Martin Cyril D'Arcy

"Each single human life in the world amounts to nothing less than a private revelation of God, a revelation which would be enough for the whole world, if an inspired pen recorded it." -

"Reason and revelation cannot be in conflict because they are on different sides of the gap; revelation is part of that to which we react while reason is part of our reaction." - Nels F. S. Ferré, fully Nels Fredrick Solomon Ferré

"Tradition is the witness of the Spirit; the Spirit’s unceasing revelation and preaching of good tidings… It is, primarily, the principle of growth and regeneration." - Georges Florovsky, fully Georges Vasilievich Florovsky

"Art is revelation. If painting shows only what is there, it is not art. Art like fine music or high literature must carry the beholder beyond this world and all that appears in it, transport him to the shores of the eternal world and enable him to see and hear the things not given to the tongue of man to utter." - James M. Gillis

"We have become so preoccupied with power and control over nature that we have lost an important dimension of our being, the disposition of thankfulness, of commemoration, of perceiving and enjoying something for its own sake. Instead of viewing these immediate objects of our environment in terms of their own being, we have come to regard them solely in terms of what they are for us. And to such an exploitative mentality, nature’s own voice becomes mute. Approached as material merely, to be worked up and pressed into the service of a self-styled lord of creation, she contains no revelation and no blessing." - J. Glenn Gray

"Spiritual truth is beyond meaning; it doesn’t `mean’ anything. It can only be known, and that knowledge can only come about by becoming. Meaning is a mentation and a definition. Spiritual truth is a subjective awareness which is innately beyond intellection. For instance, what does a beautiful sunset `mean’? It doesn’t `mean’ anything; it is just startling that which it is, complete and total in and of itself. God is direct awareness and experience, a realization, a revelation, and the absolute perfection of pure subjectivity." - David R. Hawkins, fully David Ramon Hawkins

"By divine revelation is meant the entrance of truth into the depth of living. As long as truth does not hold sway over the whole life, cognition and life are two separate entities, God and man are living apart from each other." - Toyohiko Kagawa

"Revelation does not give anything to the human race which human reason, if left to itself, would not attain; but it has given and still gives the most important of these things earlier." - Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

"What education is to the individual, revelation is to the whole human race." - Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

"He that takes away reason, to make way for revelation, puts out the light of both." - John Locke

"Religion is proposed not as a transcendent revelation of the nature of man and the world, but as a means of weathering the storms of life, or of deepening one’s spiritual existence, or of preserving the social order, or of warding off anxiety." - Leo Lowenthal and Norbert Guterman

"Religion, according to the Hindu, is not compounded of dogmas and creeds. Religion is a way of life in consonance with rationality and Truth. Truth is not and cannot be revealed once and for all - it must ever be a progressive revelation." - Harold F. Mazumdar

"Inspiration presupposes revelation. Inspiration may be called the guardian of revelation." - Vincent McNabb

"Before reaching us, divine revelation has passed through social contests whose coloring it tended to assume; and to catch its spirit it is often necessary to relive the past and breathe its atmosphere." - Ferdinand Prat

"The divine expresses itself in three different ways, as creation, revelation, and redemption." - Fritz A. Rothschild

"Man is the revelation of the Infinite, and it does not become finite in him. It remains the Infinite." -

"Most religions are absolutist. Claims to revelation militate against rational argument and compromise. In this sense all religions contain totalitarian possibilities; for totalitarianism, which welds the state into a single body “knit together as one man” is really the religious impulse, the worship of leadership and ideology, the cult of Person or Book, directed towards secular ends." - Malise Ruthven