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Dr. William Ellery Channing Quotes


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The diffusion of these silent teachers--books--through the whole community is to work greater effects than artillery, machinery, and legislation. Its peaceful agency is to supersede stormy revolutions. The culture which it is to spread, whilst an unspeakable good to the individual, is also to become the stability of nations.
 

The domestic relations precede, and in our present existence are worth more than all our other social ties. They give the first throb to the heart, and unseal the deep fountains of its love. Home is the chief school of human virtue. Its responsibilities, joys, sorrows, smiles, tears, hopes, and solicitudes form the chief interest of human life.
 

The great duty of God's children is to love one another. This duty on earth takes the name and form of the law of humanity. We are to recognize all men as brethren, no matter where born, or under what sky, or institution or religion they may live. Every man belongs to the race, and owes a duty to mankind. Every nation belongs to the family of nations, and is to desire the good of all. Nations are to love one another. * * * Men cannot vote this out of the universal acclamation. * * * Men cannot, by combining themselves into narrower or larger societies, sever the sacred, blessed bond which joins them to their kind. * * * The law of humanity must reign over the assertion of all human rights.
 

The great hope of society is in individual character.
[Character]
 

The greatest man is he who chooses the Right with invincible resolution, who resists the sorest temptations from within and without, who bears the heaviest burdens cheerfully, who is calmest in storms and most fearless under menace and frowns, whose reliance on truth, on virtue, on God, is most unfaltering; and is this a greatness which is apt to make a show, or which is most likely to abound in conspicuous station? . . . I believe this greatness to be most common among the multitude, whose names are never heard.
 

The greatest truths are wronged if not linked with beauty; and they win their way most surely and deeply into the soul when arrayed in this their natural and fit attire.
 

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.
[Nature]
 

The miracles of Christ were studiously performed in the most unostentatious way. He seemed anxious to veil His majesty under the love with which they were wrought.
 

The more discussion the better, if passion and personality be eschewed; and discussion, even if stormy, often winnows truth from error--a good never to be expected in an uninquiring age.
 

The office of government is not to confer happiness, but to give men the opportunity to work out happiness for themselves.
 

The only freedom worth possessing is that which gives enlargement to a people's energy, intellect, and virtues.
 

The reveries of youth, in which so much energy is wasted, are the yearnings of a Spirit made for what it has not found but must forever seek as an Ideal.
 

The sages and heroes of history are receding from us, and history contracts the record of their deeds into a narrower and narrower page. But time has no power over the name and deeds and words of Jesus Christ.
 

The sense of duty is the fountain of human rights. In other words, the same inward principle which teaches the former bears witness to the latter. Duties and rights must stand and fall together.
 

The sin that now rises to memory as your bosom sin, let this first of all be withstood and mastered. Oppose it instantly by a detestation of it, by a firm will to conquer it, by reflection, by reason, and by prayer.
 

The spirit of liberty is not merely, as multitudes imagine, a jealousy of our own particular rights, but a respect for the rights of others, and an unwillingness that any man, whether high or low, should be wronged and trampled under foot.
 

The strongest love which the human heart has ever felt has been that for its Heavenly Parent. Was it not then constituted for this love?
 

The true office of religion is to bring out the whole nature of man in harmonious activity.
 

The world is governed much more by opinion than by laws. It is not the judgment of courts, but the moral judgment of individuals and masses of men, which is the chief wall of defence around property and life. With the progress of society, this power of opinion is taking the place of arms.
 

The worst tyrants are those which establish themselves in our own breasts.
 


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