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James W. Alexander Quotes

American clergy
(1804 - 1859)

Few habits are more injurious than musing, which differs from thinking as pacing one's chamber does from walking abroad. The mind learns nothing, and is not strengthened, but weakened, returning perpetually over the same barren track. Where the thoughts are somber, the evil is doubly great, and not only time and vigor are squandered, but melancholy becomes fixed. It is really a disease, and the question how it should be treated is one of the most important in anthropology.

It should be the lesson of our life to grow into a holy independence of every judgment which has not the sanction of conscience and of God. - No man can lift up his head with manly calmness and peace who is the slave of other men's judgments.

Resignation and faith behold God in the smallest hair that falls; and the happiest life is that of him who has bound together all the affairs of life, great and small, and intrusted them to God.

The hiding places of men are discovered by affliction. - As one has aptly said, "Our refuges are like the nests of birds; in summer they are hidden away among the green leaves, but in winter they are seen among the naked branches."

The study of God's word, for the purpose of discovering God's will, is the secret discipline which has formed the greatest characters.

The true recipe for a miserable existence is to quarrel with Providence.

There are many great truths which we do not deny, and which nevertheless we do not fully believe.

There are pauses amidst study, and even pauses of seeming idleness, in which a process goes on which may be likened to the digestion of food. In those seasons of repose, the powers are gathering their strength for new efforts; as land which lies fallow recovers itself for tillage.

There cannot be named a pursuit or enterprise of human beings, in which there is so little possibility of failure, as praying for sanctification.