Charles Kingsley
Quotations


Do you feel that you have lost your way in life? Then God Himself will show you your way. Are you utterly helpless, worn out, body and soul? Then God's eternal love is ready and willing to help you up, and revive you. Are you wearied with doubts and terrors? Then God's eternal light is ready to show you your way; God's eternal peace ready to give you peace. Do you feel yourself full of sins and faults? Then take heart; for God's unchangeable will is, to take away those sins, and purge you from those faults.

Let us ask ourselves seriously and honestly, "What do I believe after all? What manner of man am I after all? What sort of show would I make after all, if the people around me knew my heart and all my secret thoughts?" What sort of show then do I already make in the sight of Almighty God, who sees every man exactly as he is?

Take comfort, and recollect however little you and I may know, God knows; He knows Himself and you and me and all things; and His mercy is over all His works.

I believe not only in "special providences," but in the whole universe as one infinite complexity of "special providences."

Do not fancy, as too many do, that thou canst praise God by singing hymns to Him in church once a week, and disobeying Him all the week long. He asks of thee works as well as words; and more, He asks of thee works first and words after.

And therefore let us say, in utter faith, "Come as Thou seest best—but in whatsoever way Thou comest—even so come, Lord Jesus."

We ought to reverence books; to look on them as useful and mighty things.—If they are good and true, whether they are about religion, politics, farming, trade, law, or medicine, they are the message of Christ, the maker of all things—the teacher of all truth.

Except a living man, there is nothing more wonderful than a book! a message to us from the dead—from human souls we never saw, who lived, perhaps, thousands of miles away. And yet these, in those little sheets of paper, speak to us, arouse us, terrify us, teach us, comfort us, open their hearts to us as brothers.

The age of chivalry is never past, so long as there is a wrong left unredressed on earth.

He was one of those men who possess almost every gift, except the gift of the power to use them.

Every duty that is bidden to wait comes back with seven fresh duties at its back.

Do today's duty, fight today's temptation, and do not weaken and distract yourself by looking forward to things which you cannot see, and could not understand if you saw them.

This is the feeling that gives a man true courage—the feeling that he has a work to do at all costs; the sense of duty.

Nothing is so infectious as example.

How many serious family quarrels, marriages out of spite, and alterations of wills, might have been prevented by a gentle dose of blue pill!—What awful instances of chronic dyspepsia in the characters of Hamlet and Othello! Banish dyspepsia and spirituous liquors from society, and you have no crime, or at least so little that you would not consider it worth mentioning.

Make a rule, and pray to God to help you to keep it, never, if possible, to lie down at night without being able to say: "I have made one human being at least a little wiser, or a little happier, or at least a little better this day."

Do what thou dost as if the earth were heaven, and thy last day the day of judgment.

There are two freedoms, the false where one is free to do what he likes, and the true where he is free to do what he ought.

If you wish to be miserable, think about yourself; about what you want, what you like, what respect people ought to pay you, what people think of you; and then to you nothing will be pure. You will spoil everything you touch; you will make sin and misery for yourself out of everything God sends you; you will be as wretched as you choose.

Study nature as the countenance of God.

No earnest thinker is a plagiarist pure and simple. He will never borrow from others that which he has not already, more or less, thought out for himself.

Do today's duty, fight today's temptation; do not weaken and distract yourself by looking forward to things you cannot see, and could not understand if you saw them.

It has been said that true religion will make a man a more thorough gentleman than all the courts in Europe. And it is true that you may see simple laboring men as thorough gentlemen as any duke, simply because they have learned to fear God; and, fearing him, to restrain themselves, which is the very root and essence of all good breeding.

What I want is, not to possess religion, but to have a religion that shall possess me.

Think about yourself, about what you want, what you like, what respect people ought to pay you, what people think of you, and then to you nothing will be pure. May God keep our hearts pure from that selfishness which is the root of all sin.

If I am ever obscure in my expressions, do not fancy that therefore I am deep. If I were really deep, all the world would understand, though they might not appreciate. The perfectly popular style is the perfectly scientific one. To me an obscurity is a reason for suspecting a fallacy.

Stick to the old truths and the old paths, and learn their divineness by sick beds, and in everyday work, and do not darken your mind with intellectual puzzles, which may breed disbelief, but can never breed vital religion or practical usefulness.

So give me the political economist, the sanitary reformer, the engineer; and take your saints and virgins, relics and miracles. The spinning-jenny and the railroad, Cunard's liners and the electric telegraph, are to me, if not to you, signs that we are, on some points at least, in harmony with the universe; that there is a mighty spirit working among us, who cannot be your anarchic and destroying Devil, and therefore may be the Ordering and Creating God.

Science frees us in many ways from the bodily terror which the savage feels. But she replaces that, in the minds of many, by a moral terror which is far more overwhelming.

Tell us not that the world is governed by universal law; the news is not comfortable, but simply horrible, unless you can tell us, or allow others to tell us, that there is a loving giver, and a just administrator of that law.

For to be discontented with the divine discontent, and to be ashamed with the noble shame, is the very germ and first upgrowth of all virtue.

The world goes up and the world goes down, / And the sunshine follows the rain; / And yesterday's sneer and yesterday's frown / Can never come over again.

Toil is the true knight's pastime.

Nothing like one honest look, one honest thought of Christ upon His cross. That tells us how much He has been through, how much He endured, how much He conquered, how much God loved us, who spared not His only begotten Son, but freely gave Him for us. Dare we doubt such a God? Dare we murmur against such a God?

And what is the joy of Christ? The joy and delight which springs forever in His great heart, from feeling that He is forever doing good; from loving all, and living for all; from knowing that if not all, yet millions on millions are grateful to Him, and will be forever.

Never trample on any soul though it may be lying in the veriest mire; for that last spark of self-respect is its only hope, its only chance; the last seed of a new and better life:—the voice of God that whispers to it: "You are not what you ought to be, and you are not what you can be. You are still God's child, still an immortal soul. You may rise yet and fight a good fight yet, and be a man once more, after the likeness of God who made you, and Christ who died for you!"

The health of a church depends not merely on the creed which it professes, not even on the wisdom and holiness of a few great ecclesiastics, but on the faith and virtue of its individual members.

And how high is Christ's cross? As high as the highest heaven, and the throne of God, and the bosom of the Father—that bosom out of which forever proceed all created things. Ay, as high as the highest heaven! for—if you will receive it—when Christ hung upon the cross, heaven came down on earth, and earth ascended into heaven. .

This is eternal life; a life of everlasting love, showing itself in everlasting good works; and whosoever lives that life, he lives the life of God, and hath eternal life. .

The righteousness which is by faith in Christ is a loving heart and a loving life, which every man will long to lead who believes really in Jesus Christ.

Ah, my friends, we must look out and around to see what God is like. It is when we persist in turning our eyes inward, and prying curiously over our own imperfections, that we learn to make God after our own image, and fancy that our own darkness and hardness of heart are the patterns of His light and love.

Whatever may be the mysteries of life and death, there is one mystery which the cross of Christ reveals to us, and that is the infinite and absolute goodness of God. Let all the rest remain a mystery so long as the mystery of the cross of Christ gives us faith for all the rest.

If thou art fighting against thy sins, so is God. On thy side is God who made all, and Christ who died for all and the Spirit who alone gives wisdom, purity, and nobleness.



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