Hoyt & Roberts, comps. Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations. 1922.


Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
Acts. XVII. 23.

Nearer, my God, to Thee—
Nearer to Thee—
E’en though it be a cross
That raiseth me;
Still all my song shall be
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!
Sarah Flower Adams—Nearer, my God, to Thee! An article in Notes and Queries states that the words were written by her sister, Mrs. Byrdes Flower Adams, and the music only by Sarah Flower Adams.

Homo cogitat, Deus indicat.
Man thinks, God directs.

At Athens, wise men propose, and fools dispose.

Ordina l’uomo, e dio dispone.
Man proposes, and God disposes.
Ariosto—Orlando Furioso. Ch. XLVI. 35.

Man says—“So, so.”
Heaven says—“No, no.”
Chinese Aphorism.

God’s Wisdom and God’s Goodness!—Ah, but fools
Mis-define thee, till God knows them no more.
Wisdom and goodness they are God!—what schools
Have yet so much as heard this simpler lore.
This no Saint preaches, and this no Church rules:
’Tis in the desert, now and heretofore.
Matthew Arnold—The Divinity. St. 3.

Deus scitur melius nesciendo.
God is best known in not knowing him.
St. Augustine—De Ordine. II. 16.

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.
Bacon—Essays. Of Atheism.

From thee all human actions take their springs,
The rise of empires, and the fall of kings.
Samuel Boyse—The Deity.

O Rock of Israel, Rock of Salvation, Rock struck and cleft for me, let those two streams of blood and water which once gushed out of thy side … bring down with them salvation and holiness into my soul.
Brevint—Works. P. 17. (Ed. 1679).

He made little, too little of sacraments and priests, because God was so intensely real to him. What should he do with lenses who stood thus full in the torrent of the sunshine.
Phillips Brooks—Sermons. The Seriousness of Life.

It never frightened a Puritan when you bade him stand still and listen to the speech of God. His closet and his church were full of the reverberations of the awful, gracious, beautiful voice for which he listened.
Phillips Brooks—Sermons. The Seriousness of Life.

That we devote ourselves to God is seen
In living just as though no God there were.
Robert Browning—Paracelsus. Pt. I.

God is the perfect poet,
Who in his person acts his own creations.
Robert Browning—Paracelsus. Pt. II.

God’s in His Heaven—
All’s right with the world!
Robert Browning—Pippa Passes. Pt. I.

All service is the same with God,
With God, whose puppets, best and worst,
Are we: there is no last nor first.
Robert Browning—Pippa Passes. Pt. IV.

Of what I call God,
And fools call Nature.
Robert Browning—The Ring and the Book. The Pope. L. 1,073.

“There is no god but God!—to prayer—lo!
God is great!”
Byron—Childe Harold. Canto II. St. 59.

A picket frozen on duty—
A mother starved for her brood—
Socrates drinking the hemlock,
And Jesus on the rood;
And millions who, humble and nameless,
The straight, hard pathway trod—
Some call it Consecration,
And others call it God.
W. H. Carruth—Evolution.

Nihil est quod deus efficere non possit.
There is nothing which God cannot do.
Cicero—De Divinatione. II. 41.

God! sing, ye meadow-streams, with gladsome voice!
Ye pine-groves, with your soft and soul-like sounds!
And they too have a voice, yon piles of snow,
And in their perilous fall shall thunder, God!
Coleridge—Hymn before Sunrise in the Vale of Chamouni.

God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty.
I Corinthians. I. 27.

I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
I Corinthians. III. 6.

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.
Cowper—Hymn. Light Shining out of Darkness.

God never meant that man should scale the Heavens
By strides of human wisdom. In his works,
Though wondrous, he commands us in his word
To seek him rather where his mercy shines.
Cowper—Task. Bk. III. L. 217.

But who with filial confidence inspired,
Can lift to Heaven an unpresumptuous eye,
And smiling say, My Father made them all.
Cowper—Task. Bk. V. The Winter Morning Walk. L. 745.

Acquaint thyself with God, if thou would’st taste
His works. Admitted once to his embrace,
Thou shalt perceive that thou wast blind before:
Thine eye shall be instructed; and thine heart
Made pure shall relish with divine delight
Till then unfelt, what hands divine have wrought.
Cowper—Task. Bk. V. L. 782.

There is a God! the sky his presence shares,
His hand upheaves the billows in their mirth,
Destroys the mighty, yet the humble spares
And with contentment crowns the thought of worth.
Charlotte Cushman—There is a God.

My God, my Father, and my Friend,
Do not forsake me in the end.
Wentworth Dillon—Translation of Dies Iræ.

’Twas much, that man was made like God before:
But, that God should be made like man, much more.
Donne—Holy Sonnets. Sonnet XXII.

By tracing Heaven his footsteps may be found:
Behold! how awfully he walks the round!
God is abroad, and wondrous in his ways
The rise of empires, and their fall surveys.
Dryden—Britannia Rediviva. L. 75.

Too wise to err, too good to be unkind,—
Are all the movements of the Eternal Mind.
John East—Songs of My Pilgrimage.

God is divine Principle, supreme incorporeal Being, Mind, Spirit, Soul, Life, Truth, Love.
Mary B. G. Eddy—Science and Health. Ch. XIV. Ed. 1906. P. 465.

There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind, and its infinite manifestation, for God is All in All. Spirit is immortal Truth; Matter is mortal error.
Mary B. G. Eddy—Science and Health. Ch. XIV. Ed. 1906. P. 468.

When the Master of the universe has points to carry in his government he impresses his will in the structure of minds.
Emerson—Letters and Social Aims. Immortality.

He was a wise man who originated the idea of God.

Henceforth the Majesty of God revere;
Fear him and you have nothing else to fear.
Fordyce—Answer to a Gentleman who Apologized to the Author for Swearing.

Wie einer ist, so ist sein Gott,
Darum ward Gott so oft zu Spott.
As a man is, so is his God; therefore God was so often an object of mockery.

I know
My God commands, whose power no power resists.
Robert Greene—Looking-Glass for London and England.

Some men treat the God of their fathers as they treat their father’s friend. They do not deny him; by no means: they only deny themselves to him, when he is good enough to call upon them.
J. C. and A. W. Hare—Guesses at Truth.

Restore to God His due in tithe and time;
A tithe purloin’d cankers the whole estate.
Herbert—The Temple. The Church Porch. St. 65.

I askt the seas and all the deeps below
My God to know,
I askt the reptiles, and whatever is
In the abyss;
Even from the shrimps to the leviathan
Enquiry ran;
But in those deserts that no line can sound
The God I sought for was not to be found.
Thos. Heywood—Searching after God.

Forgetful youth! but know, the Power above
With ease can save each object of his love;
Wide as his will, extends his boundless grace.
Homer—Odyssey. Bk. III. L. 285. Pope’s trans.

O thou, whose certain eye foresees
The fix’d event of fate’s remote decrees.
Homer—Odyssey. Bk. IV. L. 627. Pope’s trans.

Dangerous it were for the feeble brain of man to wade far into the doings of the Most High; whom although to know be life, and joy to make mention of his name, yet our soundest knowledge is to know that we know him not as indeed he is, neither can know him; and our safest eloquence concerning him is our silence, when we confess without confession that his glory is inexplicable, his greatness above our capacity and reach.
Hooker—Ecclesiastical Polity. Bk. I. Ch. II. 3.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the heavens of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretch’d from sky to sky.
Rabbi Mayir ben Isaac. Trans. of Chaldee Ode, sung in Jewish Synagogues during the service of the first day of the Feast of the Pentecost. Given in the original Chaldee in Notes and Queries, Dec. 31, 1853. P. 648. In Grose’s Olio. P. 292, and in Book of Jewish Thoughts. P. 155. Same idea in Chaucer—Balade Warnynge Men to Beware of Deceitful Women. Also in Remedie of Love. See Modern Universal History. P. 430. Note. Miss C. Sinclair—Hill and Valley. P. 35. (Same idea.) Smart given as English translator by one authority. See also Des Knaben Wunderhorn.

But if the sky were paper and a scribe each star above,
And every scribe had seven hands, they could not write all my love.
Dürsli und Bäbeli. Old public house ditty of the Canton de Soleure or Solothurn. Original in Swiss dialect. Given in Notes and Queries, Feb. 10, 1872. P. 114.

From thee, great God, we spring, to thee we tend,—
Path, motive, guide, original, and end.
Samuel Johnson—Motto to The Rambler. No. 7.

The sun and every vassal star,
All space, beyond the soar of angel’s wings,
Wait on His word: and yet He stays His car
For every sigh a contrite suppliant brings.
Keble—The Christian Year. Ascension Day.

Nam homo proponit, sed Deus disponit.
Man proposes, but God disposes.
Thos. à Kempis—Imitation of Christ. Bk. I. Ch. XIX. Thos. Dibdin’s trans.

O God, I am thinking Thy thoughts after Thee.
Kepler—When Studying Astronomy.

All but God is changing day by day.
Charles Kingsley—The Saints’ Tragedy. Prometheus.

God! there is no God but he, the living, the self-subsisting.
Koran. Ch. II. Pt. III.

There is no god but God.
Koran. Ch. III.

L’impossibilité où je suis de prouver que Dieu n’est pas, me decouvre son existence.
The very impossibility in which I find myself to prove that God is not, discloses to me His existence.
La Bruyère—Les Caractères. XVI.

Homo proponit et Deus disponit.
And governeth alle goode virtues.
Langland—Vision of Piers Ploughman. Vol. II. P. 427. L. 13,984. (Ed. 1824).
John Gerson is credited with same. Saying quoted in Chronicles of Battel Abbey. (1066 to 1177). Trans. by Lower, 1851. P. 27. Homer—Iliad. XVII. 515. Pindar—Olymp. XIII. 149. Demosthenes—De Corona. 209. Plautus—Bacchid. I. 2. 36. Ammianus Marcellinus—Hist. XXV. 3. Fenelon—Sermon on the Epiphany. 1685. Montaigne—Essay. Bk. II. Ch. XXXVII. Seneca—Epistles. 107. Cleanthus—Fragment. Cervantes—Don Quixote. I. 22. Dante—Paradise. VIII. L. 134. Schiller—Wallenstein’s Death. I. 7. 32. Ordericus Vitalis—Ecclesiastica Historia. Bk. III. (1075).

Sire, je n’avais besoin de cet hypothèse.
Sire, I had no need for that hypothesis.
La Place to Napoleon, who asked why God was not mentioned in Traite de la Méchanique Céleste.

Denn Gott lohnt Gutes, hier gethan, auch hier noch.
For God rewards good deeds done here below—rewards them here.
Lessing—Nathan der Weise. I. 2.

“We trust, Sir, that God is on our side.” “It is more important to know that we are on God’s side.”
Lincoln—Reply to deputation of Southerners during Civil War.

God had sifted three kingdoms to find the wheat for this planting.
Longfellow—The Courtship of Miles Standish. IV.

An’ you’ve gut to git up airly
Ef you want to take in God.
Lowell—The Biglow Papers. First Series. No. 1. St. 5.

Estne dei sedes nisi terra et pontus et aër
Et cœlum et virtus? Superos quid quærimus ultra?
Jupiter est quodcumque vides, quodcumque moveris.
Is there any other seat of the Divinity than the earth, sea, air, the heavens, and virtuous minds? why do we seek God elsewhere? He is whatever you see; he is wherever you move.
Lucan—Pharsalia. IX. 578.

Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott
Ein gute Wehr und Waffen,
Er hilft uns frei aus aller Not,
Die uns jetzt hat betroffen.
A mighty fortress is our God,
A bulwark never failing,
Our helper he amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing.
Martin Luther—Ein feste Burg. Trans. by F. H. Hedge.

I fear no foe with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Henry Francis Lyte—Eventide.

A voice in the wind I do not know;
A meaning on the face of the high hills
Whose utterance I cannot comprehend.
A something is behind them: that is God.
George MacDonald—Within and Without. Pt. I. Sc. 1.

Exemplumque dei quisque est in imagine parva.
Every one is in a small way the image of God.
Manilius—Astronomica. IV. 895.

Quis cœlum possit nisi cœli munera nosse?
Et reperire deum nisi qui pars ipse deorum est?
Who can know heaven except by its gifts? and who can find out God, unless the man who is himself an emanation from God?
Manilius—Astronomica. II. 115.

The Lord who gave us Earth and Heaven
Takes that as thanks for all He’s given.
The book he lent is given back
All blotted red and smutted black.
Masefield—Everlasting Mercy. St. 27.

One sole God;
One sole ruler,—his Law;
One sole interpreter of that law—Humanity.
Mazzini—Life and Writings. Young Europe. General Principles. No. 1.

Too wise to be mistaken still
Too good to be unkind.
Samuel Medley—Hymn of God.

What in me is dark,
Illumine; what is low, raise and support;
That to the height of this great argument
I may assert eternal Providence,
And justify the ways of God to men.
Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. I. L. 22.

These are thy glorious works, Parent of good.
Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. V. L. 153.

Who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best: his state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o’er land and ocean without rest.
Milton—Sonnet. On His Blindness.

Gott-trunkener Mensch.
A God-intoxicated man.
Novalis (of Spinoza).

Trumpeter, sound for the splendour of God!
. . . . . .
Trumpeter, rally us, up to the heights of it!
Sound for the City of God.
Alfred Noyes—Trumpet Call. Last lines.

Est deus in nobis; et sunt commercia cœli.
There is a God within us and intercourse with heaven.
Ovid—Ars Amatoria. Bk. III. 549. (Milton’s “Looks commercing with the skies” said to be inspired by this phrase.)

Est deus in nobis: agitante calescimus illo.
There is a God within us, and we glow when he stirs us.
Ovid—Fasti. Bk. VI. 6.

Sed tamen ut fuso taurorum sanguine centum,
Sic capitur minimo thuris honore deux.
As God is propitiated by the blood of a hundred bulls, so also is he by the smallest offering of incense.
Ovid—Tristium. II. 75.

Nihil ita sublime est, supraque pericula tendit
Non sit ut inferius suppositumque deo.
Nothing is so high and above all danger that is not below and in the power of God.
Ovid—Tristium. IV. 8. 47.

Fear God. Honour the King.
I Peter. II. 17.

One on God’s side is a majority.
Wendell Phillips—Speech. Harper’s Ferry. Nov. 1, 1859.

God is truth and light his shadow.

God is a geometrician.
Attributed to Plato, but not found in his works.

Est profecto deus, qui, quæ nos gerimus, auditque et videt.
There is indeed a God that hears and sees whate’er we do.
Plautus—Captivi. II. 2. 63.

Laugh where we must, be candid where we can,
But vindicate the ways of God to man.
Pope—Essay on Man. Ep. I. L. 15.

Lo, the poor Indian! whose untutored mind
Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind.
Pope—Essay on Man. Ep. I. L. 99.

To Him no high, no low, no great, no small;
He fills, He bounds, connects and equals all!
Pope—Essay on Man. Ep. I. L. 277.

He mounts the storm, and walks upon the wind.
Pope—Essay on Man. Ep. II. L. 110.

Slave to no sect, who takes no private road,
But looks through Nature up to Nature’s God.
Pope—Essay on Man. Ep. IV. L. 331.

He from thick films shall purge the visual ray,
And on the sightless eyeball pour the day.

Thou Great First Cause, least understood.
Pope—Universal Prayer.

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork.
Psalms. XIX. 1.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
Psalms. XXIII. 2.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Psalms. XLVI. 1.

Je crains Dieu, cher Abner, et n’ai point d’autre crainte.
I fear God, dear Abner, and I have no other fear.
Racine—Athalie. Act I. Sc. 1.

There is no respect of persons with God.
Romans. II. 11. Acts X. 34.

Fear of God before their eyes.
Romans. III. 18.

If God be for us, who can be against us?
Romans. VIII. 31.

Give us a God—a living God,
One to wake the sleeping soul,
One to cleanse the tainted blood
Whose pulses in our bosoms roll.
C. G. Rosenberg—The Winged Horn. St. 7.

We may scavenge the dross of the nation, we may shudder past bloody sod,
But we thrill to the new revelation that we are parts of God.
Robert Haven Schauffler—New Gods for Old.

Es lebt ein Gott zu strafen und zu rächen.
There is a God to punish and avenge.
Schiller—Wilhelm Tell. IV. 3. 37.

Nihil ab illo [i.e. a Deo] vacat; opus suum ipse implet.
Nothing is void of God; He Himself fills His work.
Seneca—De Beneficiis. IV. 8.

Deum non immolationibus et sanguine multo colendum: quæ enim ex trucidatione immerentium voluptas est? sed mente pura, bono honestoque proposito. Non templa illi, congestis in altitudinem saxis, struenda sunt; in suo cuique consecrandus est pectore.
God is not to be worshipped with sacrifices and blood; for what pleasure can He have in the slaughter of the innocent? but with a pure mind, a good and honest purpose. Temples are not to be built for Him with stones piled on high; God is to be consecrated in the breast of each.
Seneca—Fragment. V. 204.

God is our fortress, in whose conquering name
Let us resolve to scale their flinty bulwarks.
Henry VI. Pt. II. Act II. Sc. 1. L. 26.

God shall be my hope,
My stay, my guide and lantern to my feet.
Henry VI. Pt. II. Act II. Sc. 3. L. 24.

And to add greater honours to his age
Than man could give him, he died fearing God.
Henry VIII. Act IV. Sc. 2. L. 67.

God helps those who help themselves.
Algernon Sidney—Discourse Concerning Government. Ch. II. Ovid—Metamorphoses. X. 586. Pliny the Elder, viewing the Eruption of Vesuvius, Aug., 79. Schiller—William Tell. I. 2. Simonides is quoted as author by Claudian. Sophocles—Fragments. Terence—Phormio. I. 4. Vergil—Æneid. X. 284. Quoted as a proverb by old and modern writers.

From Piety, whose soul sincere
Fears God, and knows no other fear.
W. Smyth—Ode for the Installation of the Duke of Gloucester as Chancellor of Cambridge.

Ad majorem Dei gloriam.
For the greater glory of God.
Motto of the Society of Jesus.

The divine essence itself is love and wisdom.
Swedenborg—Divine Love and Wisdom. Par. 28.

God, the Great Giver, can open the whole universe to our gaze in the narrow space of a single lane.
Rabindranath Tagore—Jivan-smitri.

Ha sotto i piedi il Fato e la Natura.
Ministri umili; e’l moto e chi’l misura.
Under whose feet (subjected to His grace),
Sit nature, fortune, motion, time, and place.
Tasso—Gerusalemme. IX. 66.

At last I heard a voice upon the slope
Cry to the summit, “Is there any hope?”
To which an answer pealed from that high land,
But in a tongue no man could understand;
And on the glimmering limit far withdrawn,
God made himself an awful rose of dawn.
Tennyson—Vision of Sin. V.

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Francis Thompson—The Hound of Heaven.

But I lose
Myself in Him, in Light ineffable!
Come then, expressive Silence, muse His praise.
These, as they change, Almighty Father, these
Are but the varied God. The rolling Year
Is full of Thee.
Thomson—Hymn. L. 116.

What, but God?
Inspiring God! who boundless Spirit all,
And unremitting Energy, pervades,
Adjusts, sustains, and agitates the whole.
Thomson—The Seasons. Spring. L. 849.

The being of God is so comfortable, so convenient, so necessary to the felicity of Mankind, that, (as Tully admirably says) Dii immortales ad usum hominum fabricati pene videantur, if God were not a necessary being of himself, he might almost seem to be made on purpose for the use and benefit of men.
Archbishop Tillotson—Works. Sermon 93. Vol. I. P. 696. (Ed. 1712). Probable origin of Voltaire’s phrase.

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in thee.
Augustus Toplady—Living and Dying Prayer. “Rock of Ages” is trans. from the Hebrew of “everlasting strength.” Isaiah. XXVI. 4.

None but God can satisfy the longings of an immortal soul; that as the heart was made for Him, so He only can fill it.
Richard Chenevix Trench—Notes on the Parables. Prodigal Son.

God, from a beautiful necessity, is Love.
Tupper—Of Immortality.

I believe that there is no God, but that matter is God and God is matter; and that it is no matter whether there is any God or no.
The Unbeliever’s Creed. Connoisseur No. IX, March 28, 1754.

Si genus humanum et mortalia temnitis arma,
At sperate deos memores fandi atque nefandi.
If ye despise the human race, and mortal arms, yet remember that there is a God who is mindful of right and wrong.
Vergil—Æneid. I. 542.

Si Dieu n’existait pas, il faudrait l’inventer.
If there were no God, it would be necessary to invent him.
Voltaire—Epitre à l’Auteur du Livre des Trois Imposteurs. CXI. See Œuvres Complètes de Voltaire. Vol. I. P. 1076. Ed. Didot, 1827. Also in letter to Frederick, Prince Royal of Prussia.

Je voudrais que vous écrasassiez l’infâme.
I wish that you would crush this infamy.
Voltaire to D’Alembert June 23, 1760. Attributed to Voltaire by Abbé Barruch—Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism. Generally quoted “Écrasez l’infâme.” A. De Morgan contends that the popular idea that it refers to God is incorrect. It refers probably to the Roman Catholic Church, or the traditions in the church.

God on His throne is eldest of poets:
Unto His measures moveth the Whole.
William Watson—England my Mother. Pt. II.

The God I know of, I shall ne’er
Know, though he dwells exceeding nigh.
Raise thou the stone and find me there,
Cleave thou the wood and there am I.
Yea, in my flesh his spirit doth flow,
Too near, too far, for me to know.
William Watson—The Unknown God. Third and fourth lines are from “newly discovered sayings of Jesus.” Probably an ancient Oriental proverb.

The Somewhat which we name but cannot know.
Ev’n as we name a star and only see
Its quenchless flashings forth, which ever show
And ever hide him, and which are not he.
William Watson—Wordsworth’s Grave. I. St. 6.

God is and all is well.
Whittier—My Birthday.

I know not where His islands lift
Their fronded palms in air;
I only know I cannot drift
Beyond His love and care.
Whittier—The Eternal Goodness. St. 20.

A God all mercy is a God unjust.
Young—Night Thoughts. Night IV. L. 234.

By night an atheist half believes in God.
Young—Night Thoughts. Night V. L. 177.

A Deity believed, is joy begun;
A Deity adored, is joy advanced;
A Deity beloved, is joy matured.
Each branch of piety delight inspires.
Young—Night Thoughts. Night VIII. L. 720.

A God alone can comprehend a God.
Young—Night Thoughts. Night LX. L. 835.

Thou, my all!
My theme! my inspiration! and my crown!
My strength in age—my rise in low estate!
My souls ambition, pleasure, wealth!—my world!
My light in darkness! and my life in death!
My boast through time! bliss through eternity!
Eternity, too short to speak thy praise!
Or fathom thy profound of love to man!
Young—Night Thoughts. Night IV. L. 586.

Though man sits still, and takes his ease,
God is at work on man;
No means, no moment unemploy’d,
To bless him, if he can.
Young—Resignation. Pt. I. St. 119.