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Frederick W. Robertson Quotes


An English divine.
(1816 - 1853)

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A holy act strengthens the inward holiness. It is a seed of life growing into more life.
[Action]
 

A principle is one thing; a maxim or rule is another. - A principle requires liberality; a rule says, "one tenth." - A principle says, "forgive"; a rule defines "seven times."
[Principles]
 

A silent man is easily reputed wise. The unknown is always wonderful. A man who suffers none to see him in the common jostle and undress of life easily gathers round him a mysterious veil of unknown sanctity, and men honor him for a saint.
[Silence]
 

All truth undone becomes unreal; "he that doeth his will shall know," says Jesus.
[Truth]
 

Commerce tends to wear off those prejudices which maintain destruction and animosity between nations. - It softens and polishes the manners of men. - It unites them by one of the strongest of all ties - the desire of supplying their mutual wants. - It disposes them to peace by establishing in every state an order of citizens bound by their interest to be the guardians of public tranquillity.
[Commerce]
 

Defeat in doing right is nevertheless victory.
 

Disagreement is refreshing when two men lovingly desire to compare their views to find out truth. - Controversy is wretched when it is only an attempt to prove another wrong. - Religious controversy does only harm. - It destroys humble inquiry after truth, and throws all the energies into an attempt to prove ourselves right - a spirit in which no man gets at truth.
 

Do right, and God's recompense to you will be the power of doing more right.
[Duty]
 

Do you wish to become rich? - You may become so if you desire it in no half-way, but thoroughly. - Do you wish to master any science or accomplishment? - Give yourself to it and it lies beneath your feet. - This world is given as the prize for the men in earnest; and that which is true of this world, is truer still of the world to come.
 

Every natural longing has its natural satisfaction. If we thirst, God has created liquids to gratify thirst. If we are susceptible of attachment, there are beings to gratify that love. If we thirst for life and love eternal, it is likely that there are an eternal life and an eternal love to satisfy that craving.
[Immortality]
 

Evil is but the shadow, that, in this world, always accompanies good. - You may have a world without shadow, but it will be a world without light - a mere dim, twilight world. If you would deepen the intensity of the light, you must be content to bring into deeper blackness and more distinct and definite outline, the shade that accompanies it.
 

Experience tells us that each man most keenly and unerringly detects in others the vice with which he is most familiar himself.
[Vice]
 

False notions of liberty are strangely common. People talk of it as if it meant the liberty of doing whatever one likes - whereas the only liberty that a man, worthy of the name of man, ought to ask for, is, to have all restrictions, inward and outward, removed that prevent his doing what he ought.
[Liberty]
 

Hell is as ubiquitous as condemning conscience.
[Hell]
 

How different is the poet from the mystic. - The former uses symbols, knowing they are symbols; the latter mistakes them for realities.
[Poetry]
 

However dark and profitless, however painful and weary, existence may have become, life is not done, and our Christian character is not won, so long as God has anything left for us to suffer, or anything left for us to do.
 

I read hard, or not at all; never skimming, and never turning aside to merely inviting books; and Plato, Aristotle, Butler, Thucydides, Jonathan Edwards, have passed, like the iron atoms of the blood, into my mental constitution.
[Reading]
 

I will tell you what to hate. Hate hypocrisy; hate cant; hate intolerance, oppression, injustice, Pharisaism; hate them as Christ hated them - with a deep, abiding, God-like hatred.
[Hatred]
 

If there be anything common to us by nature, it is the members of our corporeal frame; yet the apostle taught that these, guided by the spirit as its instruments, and obeying a holy will, become transfigured, so that, in his language, the body becomes a temple of the Holy Ghost, and the meanest faculties, the lowest appetites, the humblest organs are ennobled by the spirit mind which guides them.
 

Imagination ennobles appetites which in themselves are low, and spiritualizes acts which, else, are only animal. - But the pleasures which begin in the senses only sensualize.
[Imagination]
 


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