Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers: Letter “A”

oldenglishA“He That Lays Down Precepts For Governing Our Lives, And Moderating Our Passions, Obliges Humanity Not Only In The Present, But In All Future Generations.” ~ Seneca

“If You Would Be Pungent, Be Brief; For It Is With Words As With Sunbeams —The More They Are Condensed, The Deeper They Burn.” ~Southey.

The superior man acquaints himself with many sayings of antiquity and many deeds of the past, in order to strengthen his character thereby. ~ John Milton

BURNING WORDS OF BRILLIANT WRITERS; A Cyclopedia Of Quotations From The Literature Of All Ages designed for the use of the Senate, the Bar, the Pulpit, and the Orator. For the complete book of quotes go here.

“A”

ABILITY.

Ability involves responsibility. Power to its last particle is duty. — Alexander Maclaren.

Man is not altogether an imbecile. True, “circumstances do make the man.” But they make him only in the sense and degree that he permits them to make him. — G. D. Boardman.

What we do upon a great occasion will probably depend upon what we already are; what we are will be the result of previous years of self-discipline, under the grace of Christ or the absence of it. — H. P. LiDDON.

ACCOUNTABILITY.

Moral conduct includes everything in which men are active and for which they are accountable. They are active in their desires, their affections, their designs, their intentions, and in everything they say and do of choice; and for all these things they are accountable to God. — Emmons.

When illusions are over, when the distractions of sense, the vagaries of fancy, and the tumults of passion have dissolved even before the body is cold, which once they so thronged and agitated, the soul merges into intellect, intellect into conscience, conscience into the unbroken, awful solitude of its own personal accountability; and though the inhabitants of the universe were within the spirit’s ken, this personal accountability is as strictly alone and unshared, as if no being were throughout immensity but the spirit and its God. — Henry Giles.

ACTION.

The end of man is an action, and not a thought, though it were the noblest. — Thomas Carlyle.

Existence was given us for action, rather than indolent and aimless contemplation; our worth is determined by the good deeds we do, rather than by the fine emotions we feel. They greatly mistake, who suppose that God cares for no other pursuit than devotion. — E. L. Magoon.

Christian life is action: not a speculating, not a debating, but a doing. One thing, and only one, in this world has eternity stamped upon it. Feelings pass; resolves and thoughts pass; opinions change. What you have done lasts — lasts in you. Through ages, through eternity, what you have done for Christ, that, and only that, you are. — F. W. Robertson.

It is well to think well; it is divine to act well. — Horace Mann.

Man, being essentially active, must find in activity his joy, as well as his beauty and glory; and labor, like every thing else that is good, is its own reward. — Bishop Whipple.

Tempests may shake our dwellings and dissipate our commerce, but they scourge before them the lazy elements, which otherwise would stagnate into pestilence.

Be thy best thoughts to work divine addressed;
Do something,— do it soon — with all thy might;
An angel’s wing would droop if long at rest,
And God Himself inactive were no longer blessed.  — Carlos Wilcox.

When I read the life of such a man as Paul, how I blush to think how sickly and dwarfed Christianity is at the present time, and how many hundreds there are who never think of working for the Son of God and honoring Christ.  — D. L. Moody.

I have lived to know that the secret of happiness is never to allow your energies to stagnate. — Adam Clarke.

I have never heard anything about the resolutions of the disciples, but a great deal about the Acts of the Apostles. — Horace Mann.

The life of man is made up of action and endurance; and life is fruitful in the ratio in which it is laid out in noble action or in patient perseverance. — H. P. Liddon.

Act well at the moment, and you have performed a good action to all eternity. — Lavater.

Look around you, and you will behold the universe full of active powers. Action is, so to speak, the genius of nature. By motion and exertion, the system of being is preserved in vigor. By its different parts always acting in subordination one to another, the perfection of the whole is carried on. The heavenly bodies perpetually revolve. Day and night incessantly repeat their appointed course. Continual operations are going on in the earth and in the waters. Nothing stands still. All is alive and stirring throughout the universe. In the midst of this animated and busy scene, is man alone to remain idle in his place? Belongs it to him to be the sole inactive and slothful being in the creation, when in so many various ways he might improve his own nature; might advance the glory of the God who made him; and contribute his part in the general good? — Blair.

Activity in the kingdom of God augments the power of spiritual life, and deepens the consciousness of religious realities. — William Adams.

The history of the Church of Christ from the days of the Apostles has been a history of spiritual movements. — H. P. Liddon.

It is much easier to settle a point than to act on it. — Richard Cecil.

Unselfish and noble acts are the most radiant epochs in the biography of souls. — David Thomas.

Haste thee on from grace to glory,
Armed by faith and winged by prayer,
Heaven’s eternal day’s before thee;
God’s own hand shall guide thee there. — H. F. Lyte.

I do not say the mind gets informed by action,— bodily action; but it does get earnestness and strength by it, and that nameless something that gives a man the mastership of his faculties. — Wm. Mountford.

The essential elements of giving are power and love — activity and affection — and the consciousness of the race testifies that in the high and appropriate exercise of these is a blessedness greater than any other. — Mark Hopkins.

All mental discipline and symmetrical growth are from activity of the mind under the yoke of the will or personal power. — Mark Hopkins.

Napoleon was the most effective man in modern times — some will say of all times. The secret of his character was, that while his plans were more vast, more various, and, of course, more difficult than those of other men, he had the talent at the same time, to fill them up with perfect promptness and precision, in every particular of execution. — Horace Bushnell.

Time is short, your obligations are infinite. Are your houses regulated, your children instructed, the afflicted relieved, the poor visited, the work of piety accomplished? — Massillon.

Let us remember that Elijah’s God was with him only while he was occupied in noble and effectual services. When thus engaged, he exulted in the conscious majesty of a life which had upon it the stamp and signature of Divine power. — Richard Fuller.

It is no use for one to stand in the shade and complain that the sun does not shine upon him. He must come out resolutely on the hot and dusty field where all are compelled to antagonize with stubborn difficulties, and pertinaciously strive until he conquers, if he would deserve to be crowned. — E. L. Magoon.

The fact is that in order to do any thing in this world worth doing, we must not stand shivering on the bank thinking of the cold and the danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can. — Sydney Smith.

What is done is done; has already blended itself with the boundless, ever living, ever working universe, and will also work there for good or evil, openly or secretly, throughout all time. — Thomas Carlyle.

Consider and act with reference to the true ends of existence. This world is but the vestibule of an immortal life. Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity. — E. H. Chapin.

Our actions must clothe us with an immortality loathsome or glorious. —C. C. Colton.

Accuse not Nature, she hath done her part; do thou but thine. — Milton.

ADOPTION.

Adoption is an act of God’s free grace, whereby we are received into the number, and have a right to all the privileges, of the sons of God. — Westminster Catechism.

We need a spirit of adoption to take us out of the foundling hospital of the world, and to put us into the celestial family. — G. D. Boardman.

Faith unites us to Christ, and acquiesces in the redemption purchased by Him as the meritorious cause of our adoption. — Fisher’s Catechism.

ADVERSITY.

God kills thy comforts from no other design but to kill thy corruptions; wants are ordained to kill wantonness, poverty is appointed to kill pride, reproaches are permitted to destroy ambition. — John Flavel.

Adversity borrows its sharpest sting from impatience. — Bishop Horne.

In the day of prosperity we have many refuges to resort to; in the day of adversity, only one. — Horatius Bonar.

How full of briers is this working-day world! — Shakspeare.

For one man who can stand prosperity, there are a hundred that will stand adversity. — Thomas Carlyle.

AFFLICTION.

Afflictions are but the shadow of God’s wings. — Geo. Macdonald.

Human character is never found “to enter into its glory,” except through the ordeal of affliction. Its force cannot come forth without the offer of resistance, nor can the grandeur of its free will declare itself, except in the battle of fierce temptation. — James Martineau.

Affliction is the school in which great virtues are acquired, in which great characters are formed. — Hannah More.

The damps of autumn sink into the leaves and prepare them for the necessity of their fall; and thus insensibly are we, as years close around us, detached from our tenacity of life by the gentle pressure of recorded sorrow. — W. S. Landor.

God sometimes washes the eyes of His children with tears in order that they may read aright His providence and His commandments. — T. L. Cuyler.

Be still, sad heart, and cease repining,
Behind the clouds the sun is shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all;
Into each life some rain must fall,—
Some days must be dark and dreary.
— Longfellow.

Extraordinary afflictions are not always the punishment of extraordinary sins, but sometimes the trial of extraordinary graces. — Matthew Henry.

Affliction of itself does not sanctify any body, but the reverse. I believe in sanctified afflictions, but not in sanctifying afflictions. — C. H. Spurgeon.

Heaven gives us friends to bless the present scene;
Resumes them, to prepare us for the next.  —Young.

Afflictions are but as a dark entry into our Father’s house. — Thomas Brooks.

Most of the grand truths of God have to be learned by trouble; they must be burned into us by the hot iron of affliction, otherwise we shall not truly receive them. —C. H. Spurgeon.

What seem to us but dim funereal tapers may be heaven’s distant lamps. — Longfellow.

Every man will have his own criterion in forming his judgment of others. I depend very much on the effect of affliction. I consider how a man comes out of the furnace; gold will lie for a month in the furnace without losing a grain. — Richard Cecil.

The Lord gets His best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction. — C. H. Spurgeon.

Night brings out stars as sorrow shows us truths. — P. J. Bailey.

If you would not have affliction visit you twice, listen at once, and attentively, to what it teaches. — Burgh.

Grace will ever speak for itself and be fruitful in well-doing; the sanctified cross is a fruitful tree. — Rutherford.

We should be more anxious that our afflictions should benefit us than that they should be speedly removed from us. — Robert Hall.

Seek holiness rather than consolation. — John Owen.

It is the best thing for a stricken heart to be helping others. . — A. H. K.

The cup which my Saviour giveth me, can it be anything but a cup of salvation? — Alexander Maclaren.

The truly great and good, in affliction, bear a countenance more princely than they are wont; for it is the temper of the highest hearts, like the palm tree, to strive most upward when they are most burdened. — Sir Philip Sidney.

What He tells thee in the darkness,
Weary watcher for the day,
Grateful lip and heart should utter
When the shadows flee away.
— F. R. Havergal.

As sure as God ever puts His children into the furnace, He will be in the furnace with them. — C. H. Spurgeon.

The truest help we can render an afflicted man is not to take his burden from him, but to call out his best strength, that he may be able to bear the burden. — Phillips Brooks.

Oh, when we are journeying through the murky night and the dark woods of affliction and sorrow, it is something to find here and there a spray broken, or a leafy stem bent down with the tread of His foot and the brush of His hand as He passed; and to remember that the path He trod He has hallowed, and thus to find lingering fragrance and hidden strength in the remembrance of Him as “in all points tempted like as we are,” bearing grief for us, bearing grief with us, bearing grief like us. — Alexander Maclaren.

Christ leads me through no darker rooms
Than He went through before.  — Richard Baxter.

However bitter the cup we have to drink, we are sure it contains nothing unnecessary or unkind; and we should take it from His hand with as much meekness as we accept of eternal life with thankfulness. — William Goodell.

In the dark and cloudy day,
When earth’s riches flee away,
And the last hope will not stay,
Saviour, comfort me.

AMBITION.

Ambition is the way in which a vulgar man aspires. — H. W. Beecher.

Virtue is choked with foul ambition. — Shakspeare.

Ambition is a gilded misery, a secret poison, a hidden plague, the engineer of deceit, the mother of hypocrisy, the parent of envy, the original of vices, the moth of holiness, the blinder of hearts, turning medicines into maladies, and remedies into diseases. — Thomas Brooks.

Ambition is but avarice on stilts. – W. S. Landor.

AMUSEMENT.

Amusements are to religion like breezes of air to the flame; gentle ones will fan it, but strong ones will put it out. — David Thomas.

Any pleasure which takes and keeps the heart from God is sinful, and unless forsaken, will be fatal to the soul. — Richard Fuller.

People should be guarded against temptation to unlawful pleasures by furnishing them the means of innocent ones. In every community there must be pleasures, relaxations, and means of agreeable excitement; and if innocent are not furnished, resort will be had to criminal. Man was made to enjoy as well as labor; and the state of society should be adapted to this principle of human nature. — W. E. Channing.

Recreation is not the highest kind of enjoyment; but in its time and place it is quite as proper as prayer. — S. Irenjeus Prime

Whatever we do to please ourselves, and only for the sake of the pleasure, not for an ultimate object, is “play,” the “pleasing thing,” not the useful thing. The first of all English games is making money. That is an all-absorbing game; and we knock each other down oftener in playing at that than at football, or any other rougher sport; and it is absolutely without purpose; no one who engages heartily in that game ever knows why. Ask a great money-maker what he wants to do with his money — he never knows. He doesn’t make it to do any thing with it. He gets it only that he may get it. “What will you make of what you have got’ ” you ask, “Well, I’ll get more,” he says. Just as at cricket you get more runs. There is no use in the runs; but to get more of them than other people is the game. And there is no use in the money; but to have more of it than other people is the game. —C. H. Spurgeon.

ANGER.

An unsanctified temper is a fruitful source of error, and a mighty impediment to truth. — E. L. Magoon.

He submits himself to be seen through a microscope, who suffers himself to be caught in a fit of passion. — Lavater.

Our passions are like convulsion fits, which make us stronger for the time, but leave us weaker forever after. — Dean Swift.

If anger proceeds from a great cause, it turns to fury; if from a small cause, it is peevishness; and so is always either terrible or ridiculous. — Jeremy Taylor.

The proud man hath no God; the envious man hath no neighbor; the angry man hath not himself. — Bishop Hall.

There was a man here last night — you needn’t be afraid that I shall mention his name — who said that his will was given up to God, and who got mad because the omnibus was full, and he had to walk a mile to his lodgings. — D. L. Moody.

When I had twice or thrice made a resolute resistance to anger, the like befell me that did the Thebans; who, having once foiled the Lacedemonians, never after lost so much as one battle which they fought against them. — Plutarch.

The sun should not set upon our anger, neither should he rise upon our confidence. — C. C. COLTON.

APOSTASY.

The kiss of the apostate was the most bitter earthly ingredient in the agonies which Christ endured. — E. L. Magoon.

Still in the garden shadows art Thou pleading,
Staining the night dews with Thine agony;
But one is there Thy woe and prayer unheeding,
And to their guileless prey Thy murderers leading,
Lord, is it I?  — George Huntingdon.

O God, the Father, of heaven, have mercy upon us miserable sinners.

ASPIRATION.

“Lord, is it I?” Thou knowest my temptations,
My spirit willing, though my flesh is weak;
My earnest striving, and my often failing;
Sinning, repenting, still Thy grace I seek.

O God, Thou art my God; early will I seek Thee; my soul thirsteth for Thee; my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is. — Psalms.

There is not a heart but has its moments of longing,— yearning for something better, nobler, holier than it knows now. — H. W. Beecher.

Aspiration, worthy ambition, desires for higher good for good ends — all these indicate a soul that recognizes the beckoning hand of the good Father who would call us homeward towards Himself — all these are the ground and justification for a Christian discontent; but a murmuring, questioning, fault-finding spirit has direct and sympathetic alliance with nothing but the infernal. — J. G. Holland.

In truth, there is no religion, no worship in our prosperity and ease. So far as we are happy, we are in a state of satisfied desire; so far as we are religious, we are in a state of aspiration and unsatisfied desire. — James Martineau.

Father! forgive the heart that clings
Thus trembling to the things of time,
And bid my soul, on angel’s wings
Ascend into a purer clime.
— Jane Roscoe.

ASSURANCE.

Assurance of hope is more than life. It is health, strength, power, vigor, activity, energy, manliness, beauty. — J. C. Ryle.

True assurance makes a man more humble and self-denied but presumptuous confidence puffs up with spiritual pride and self-conceit; the one excites to the practice of every commanded duty, but the other encourages sloth and indolence. — Fisher’s Catechism.

You have a valuable house or farm. It is suggested that the title is not good. You employ counsel. You have the deeds examined. You search the records for mortgages, judgments and liens. You are not satisfied until you have a certificate, signed by the great seal of the State, assuring you that the title is good. Yet how many leave their title to heaven an undecided matter! Why do you not go to the records and find it? Give yourself no rest day or night until you can read your title clear to mansions in the skies.” —T. Dewitt Talmage.

The more the soul is conformed to Christ, the more confident it will be of its interest in Christ. — Thomas Brooks.

The best assurance any one can have of his interest in God, is doubtless the conformity of his soul to Him. When our heart is once turned into a conformity with the mind of God, when we feel our will conformed to His will, we shall then presently perceive a spirit of adoption within ourselves, teaching us to say, “Abba, Father.” — Cudworth.

If you would have clear and irrefragable for a perpetual joy, a glory and a defense, the unwavering confidence, “I am Thy child,” go to God’s throne, and lie down at the foot of it, and let the first thought be, ” My Father in heaven; ” and that will brighten, that will establish, that will make omnipotent in your life, the witness of the Spirit that you are the child of God. — Alexander Maclaren.

One of those poor fellows that had become a Christian was badgered by his companions; and one of them said, “How do you know that Jesus Christ has forgiven your sins?” The man turned at once and said, ” How do you know when you have got sugar in your tea?” — John B. Gough.

Every one of us may know what is the ruling purpose of his life; and he who knows that his ruling purpose is to trust and follow Christ knows that he is a Christian. — W. Gladden.

“Compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses.” let us with firm and cheerful trust endure all trials, discharge all duties, accept all sacrifices, fulfill the law of universal and impartial love, and adopt as our own that cause of truth, righteousness, humanity, liberty, and holiness,— which being the cause of the All-Good, cannot but triumph over all powers of evil. Let us rise into blest assurance that everywhere and forever we are enfolded, penetrated, guarded, guided, kept by the power of the Father and Friend, who can never forsake us; and that all spirits who have begun to seek, know, love, and serve the All-Perfect One on earth shall be reunited in a celestial home, and be welcomed together into the freedom of the universe, and the perpetual light of His presence.  —W. E. Channing.

There are believers who by God’s grace, have climbed the mountains of full assurance and near communion, their place is with the eagle in his eyrie, high aloft; they are like the strong mountaineer, who has trodden the virgin snow, who has breathed the fresh, free air of the Alpine regions, and therefore his sinews are braced, and his limbs are vigorous; these are they who do great exploits, being mighty men, men of renown. — C. H. Spurgeon.

If you have not the faith of assurance, practice at least the faith of adherence. That,at least, is in your power. Cleave to God exactly as if you were certain of being accepted of Him at last; and thus fulfilling His own conditions, you will be accepted of Him, whether you are assured of it beforehand or not.  — Jacques Bonneval.

ATHEISM.

The thing formed says that nothing formed it; and that which is made is, while that which made it is not! The folly is infinite. — Jeremy Taylor.

That the universe was formed by a fortuitous concourse of atoms, I will no more believe than that the accidental jumbling of the alphabet would fall into a most ingenious treatise of philosophy. — Dean Swift.

A little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion. — Francis Bacon.

Atheism is rather in the life than in the heart of man. — Francis Bacon.

Atheism can benefit no class of people; neither the unfortunate, whom it bereaves of hope, nor the prosperous, whose joys it renders insipid, nor the soldier, of whom it makes a coward, nor the woman whose beauty and sensibility it mars, nor the mother,who has a son to lose, nor the rulers of men, who have no surer pledge of the fidelity of their subjects than religion. —François-René de Chateaubriand.

Ingersoll’s atheism can never become an institution; it can never be more than a destitution. — Robert Collyer.

They that deny a God destroy man’s nobility, for certainly man is of kin to the beasts by his body; and if he be not of kin to God by his spirit, he is a base and ignoble creature. — Francis Bacon.

No one is so much alone in the universe as a denier of God. With an orphaned heart, which has lost the greatest of fathers, he stands mourning by the immeasurable corpse of nature, no longer moved and sustained by the Spirit of the universe. — Jean Paul Richter.

Religion assures us that our afflictions shall have an end; she comforts us, she dries our tears, she promises us another life. On the contrary, in the abominable worship of atheism, human woes are the incense, death is the priest, a coffin the altar, and annihilation the Deity. — François-René de Chateaubriand.

Nothing enlarges the gulf of atheism more than the wide passage that lies between the faith and lives of men pretending to teach Christianity. — Stillingfleet.

I want you to have courage to declare yourself to be an atheist, or to serve your god with all your might and power in perfect consecration, whatever or whoever that god may be — whether it be the crocodile of the Nile or our Jehovah, “God over all blessed for evermore.” — Charles F. Deems.

Practically every man is an atheist, who lives without God in the world. — Guesses At Truth.

AVARICE.

It is impossible to conceive any contrast more entire and absolute than that which exists between a heart glowing with love to God, and a heart in which the love of money has cashiered all sense of God — His love, His presence, His glory; and which is no sooner relieved from the mockery of a tedious round of religious formalism, than it reverts to the sanctuaries where its wealth is invested, with an intenseness of homage surpassing that of the most devout Israelite who ever, from a foreign land, turned his longing eyes toward Jerusalem. — Richard Fuller.

Avarice is to the intellect what sensuality is to the morals. — Mrs. Jameson.

Objects close to the eye shut out much larger objects on the horizon; and splendors born only of the earth eclipse the stars. So a man sometimes covers up the entire disk of eternity with a dollar, and quenches transcendent glories with a little shining dust. — E. H. Chapin.

Poverty is want of much, but avarice of everything. — Publius Syrius.

Jesus, save me from the infatuation of avarice! I, too, will lay up a treasure, but Thou shalt have the keeping of it. — Christian Scriver.

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