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William Ellery Channing Quotes

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They who have read about everything are thought to understand everything, too, but it is not always so; reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours. We are of the ruminating kind, and it is not enough to cram ourselves with a great load of collections - we must chew them over again.

To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly; to listen to the stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart; to bear on cheerfully, do all bravely, awaiting occasions, worry never; in a word to, like the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common.

We can apply to slavery no worse name than its own. Men have always shrunk instinctively from this state, as the most degraded. No punishment, save death, has been more dreaded; and, to avoid it, death has often been endured. Slavery virtually dissolves the domestic relations. It ruptures the most sacred ties upon earth. It violates home. It lacerates best affections; produces and gives license to cruelty; compels the master systematically to degrade the mind of the slave; and to resist that improvement which is the design and end of the Creator. - Millions may rise up and tell me that the slave suffers little from cruelty. I know too much of human nature, human history, and human passion, to believe them.

We never know a greater character unless there is in ourselves something congenial to it.

We smile at the ignorance of the savage who cuts down the tree in order to reach its fruit; but the same blunder is made by every person who is over eager and impatient in the pursuit of pleasure.

Were the labor and capital, now spent on pernicious luxuries, to be employed in the intellectual, moral, and religious culture of the whole people, how immense would be the gain, in every respect, though for a short time material products were diminished. A better age will look back with wonder and scorn on the misdirected industry of the present times.

Whatever expands the affections, or enlarges the sphere of our sympathies - whatever makes us feel our relation to the universe and all that it inherits in time and in eternity, and to the great and beneficent cause of all, must unquestionably refine our nature, and elevate us in the scale of being.

Without depth of thought, or earnestness of feeling, or strength of purpose, living an unreal life, sacrificing substance to show, substituting the fictitious for the natural, mistaking a crowd for society, finding its chief pleasure in ridicule, and exhausting its ingenuity in expedients for killing time, fashion is among the last influences under which a human being who respects himself, or who comprehends the great end of life, would desire to be placed.

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