William Channing Quotes (52 Quotes)


    To extinguish the free will is to strike the conscience with death, for both have but one and the same life.

    The great end in religious instruction, is not to stamp our minds upon the young, but to stir up their own not to make them see with our eyes, but to look inquiringly and steadily with their own not to give them a definite amount of knowledge, but to inspire a fervent love of truth not to form an outward regularity, but to touch inward springs not to bind them by ineradicable prejudices to our particular sect or peculiar notions, but to prepare them for impartial, conscientious judging of whatever subjects may be offered to their decision not to burden memory, but to quicken and strengthen the power of thought.

    It is a greater work to educate a child, in the true and larger sense of the word, than to rule a state.

    Courage considered in itself or without reference to its causes, is no virtue, and deserves no esteem

    He is to be educated not because he's to make shoes, nails, and pins, but because he is a man.


    The more a person analyzes his inner self, the more insignificant he seems to himself. This is the first lesson of wisdom. Let us be humble, and we will become wise. Let us know our weakness, and it will give us power.

    No calculations of interest, no schemes of policy can do the work of love, of the spirit of human brotherhood. There can be no peace without but through peace within.


    What is mysterious, secret, unknown, cannot at the same time be known as an object of faith.

    Through the vulgar error of undervaluing what is common, we are apt indeed to pass these by as of little worth. But as in the outward creation, so in the soul, the common is the most precious.

    But the ground of a man's sic culture lies in his nature, not in his calling. His powers are to be unfolded on account of their inherent dignity, not their outward direction. He is to be educated, because he is a man, not because he is to make shoes, nail, or pins.

    The chief evil of war is more evil. War is the concentration of all human crimes. Here is its distinguishing, accursed brand. Under its standard gather violence, malignity, rage, fraud, perfidy, rapacity, and lust. If it only slew man, it would do little. It turns man into a beast of prey.


    Perhaps in our presence, the most heroic deed on earth is done in some silent spirit, the loftiest purpose cherished, the most generous sacrifice made, and we do not suspect it. I believe this greatness to be most common among the multitude, whose names are never heard.

    Christianity is not only confirmed by miracles, but is in itself, in its very essence, a miraculous religion.

    The less of government the better, if society were kept in peace and prosperity.



    Men are never very wise and select in the exercise of a new power.

    To give a generous hope to a man of his own nature, is to enrich him immeasurably.

    Happily in this community we all are bred and born to work and this honorable mark, set on us all, should bind together the various portions of the community.

    I do and I must reverence human nature. I bless it for its kind affections. I honor it for its achievements in science and art, and still more for its examples of heroic and saintly virtue. These are marks of a divine origin and the pledges of a celestial inheritance and I thank God that my own lot is bound up with that of the human race.

    There are seasons, in human affairs, of inward and outward revolution, when new depths seem to be broken up in the soul, when new wants are unfolded in multitudes, and a new and undefined good is thirsted for. These are periods when...to dare is the highest wisdom.

    Literature -- the expression of a nation's mind in writing.

    It the soul is truly an image of the infinity of God, and no words can do justice to its grandeur.

    Science and art may invent splendid modes of illuminating the apartments of the opulent but these are all poor and worthless compared with the common light which the sun sends into all our windows, which pours freely, impartially over hill and valley, which kindles daily the eastern and western sky and so the common lights of reason, and conscience, and love, are of more worth and dignity than the rare endowments which give celebrity to a few.

    No man receives the full culture of a man in whom the sensibility to the beautiful is not cherished and there is no condition of life from which it should be excluded. Of all luxuries this is the cheapest, and the most at hand, and most important to those conditions where coarse labor tends to give grossness to the mind.

    Our leading principle in interpreting Scripture is this, that the Bible is a book written for men, in the language of men, and that its meaning is to be sought in the same manner as that of other books. We believe that God, when he speaks to the human race, conforms, if we may so say, to the established rules of speaking and writing. How else would the Scriptures avail us more, than if communicated in an unknown tongue

    Innocent amusements are such as excite moderately, and such as produce a cheerful frame of mind, not boisterous mirth such as refresh, instead of exhausting, the system such as recur frequently, rather than continue long such as send us back to our daily duties invigorated in body and spirit such as we can partake of in the presence and society of respectable friends such as consist with and are favorable to a grateful piety such as are chastened by self-respect, and are accompanied with the consciousness that life has a higher end than to be amused.

    The wise only possess ideas, the great part of mankind are possessed by them.


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