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


Children of men! the unseen Power, whose eye
Forever doth accompany mankind,
Hath look’d on no religion scornfully
That men did ever find.
Matthew Arnold—Progress. St. 10.

There was never law, or sect, or opinion did so much magnify goodness, as the Christian religion doth.
Bacon—Essays. Of Goodness, and Goodness of Nature.

The greatest vicissitude of things amongst men, is the vicissitude of sects and religions.
Bacon—Of Vicissitude of Things.

Religio peperit divitias et filia devoravit matrem.
Religion brought forth riches, and the daughter devoured the mother.
Saying of St. Bernard. Religio censum peperit, sed filia matri caussa suæ leti perniti osa fuit. See Reusner’s Ænigmatographia. Ed. 2. 1602. Pt. I. Page 361. Heading of an epigram ascribed to Henricus Meibomius.

Tant de fiel entre-t-il dans l’âme des dévots?
Can such bitterness enter into the heart of the devout?
Boileau—Lutrin. I. 12.

No mere man since the Fall, is able in this life perfectly to keep the commandments.
Book of Common Prayer. Shorter Catechism.

Curva trahit mites, pars pungit acuta rebelles.
The crooked end obedient spirits draws,
The pointed, those rebels who spurn at Christian laws.
Broughton—Dictionary of all Religions. (1756). The croisier is pointed at one end and crooked at the other. “Curva trahit, quos virga regit, pars ultima pungit”; is the Motto on the Episcopal staff said to be preserved at Toulouse.

Persecution is a bad and indirect way to plant religion.
Sir Thomas Browne—Religio Medici. XXV.

Speak low to me, my Saviour, low and sweet
From out the hallelujahs, sweet and low,
Lest I should fear and fall, and miss Thee so
Who art not missed by any that entreat.
E. B. Browning—Comfort.

The body of all true religion consists, to be sure, in obedience to the will of the Sovereign of the world, in a confidence in His declarations, and in imitation of His perfections.
Burke—Reflections on the Revolution in France.

But the religion most prevalent in our northern colonies is a refinement on the principle of resistance, it is the dissidence of dissent, and the protestantism of the Protestant religion.
Burke—Speech on Conciliation with America.

The writers against religion, whilst they oppose every system, are wisely careful never to set up any of their own.
Burke—A Vindication of Natural Society. Preface. Vol. I. P. 7.

People differ in their discourse and profession about these matters, but men of sense are really but of one religion.***“What religion?”***the Earl said, “Men of sense never tell it.”
Bishop Burnet—History of his Own Times. Vol. I. Bk. I. Sec. 96. Footnote by Onslow, referring to Earl of Shaftesbury.

An Atheist’s laugh’s a poor exchange
For Deity offended!
Burns—Epistle to a Young Friend.

G— knows I’m no the thing I should be,
Nor am I even the thing I could be,
But twenty times I rather would be
An atheist clean,
Than under gospel colours hid be,
Just for a screen.
Burns—Epistle to Rev. John M’Math. St. 8.

One religion is as true as another.
Burton—Anatomy of Melancholy. Bk. III. Sec. IV. Memb. 2. Subsec. 1.

As if Religion were intended
For nothing else but to be mended.
Butler—Hudibras. Pt. I. Canto I. L. 205.

Synods are mystical Bear-gardens,
Where Elders, Deputies, Church-wardens,
And other Members of the Court,
Manage the Babylonish sport.
Butler—Hudibras. Pt. I. Canto III. L. 1,095.

So ’ere the storm of war broke out,
Religion spawn’d a various rout
Of petulant capricious sects,
The maggots of corrupted texts,
That first run all religion down,
And after every swarm its own.
Butler—Hudibras. Pt. III. Canto II. L. 7.

There’s naught, no doubt, so much the spirit calms as rum and true religion.
Byron—Don Juan. Canto II. St. 34.

His religion at best is an anxious wish,—like that of Rabelais, a great Perhaps.
Carlyle—Essays. Burns.

On the whole we must repeat the often repeated saying, that it is unworthy a religious man to view an irreligious one either with alarm or aversion; or with any other feeling than regret, and hope, and brotherly commiseration.
Carlyle—Essays. Voltaire.

I realized that ritual will always mean throwing away something; Destroying our corn or wine upon the altar of our gods.
G. K. Chesterton—Tremendous Trifles. Secret of a Train.

The rigid saint, by whom no mercy’s shown
To saints whose lives are better than his own.
Churchill—Epistle to Hogarth. L. 25.

Deos placatos pictas efficiet et sanctitas.
Piety and holiness of life will propitiate the gods.
Cicero—De Officiis. II. 3.

Res sacros non modo manibus attingi, sed ne cogitatione quidem violari fas fuit.
Things sacred should not only be untouched with the hands, but unviolated in thought.
Cicero—Orationes in Verrem. II. 4. 45.

Forth from his dark and lonely hiding place,
(Portentous sight!) the owlet atheism,
Sailing on obscene wings athwart the noon,
Drops his blue-fring’d lids, and holds them close,
And hooting at the glorious sun in Heaven,
Cries out, “Where is it?”
Coleridge—Fears in Solitude.

Life and the Universe show spontaneity;
Down with ridiculous notions of Deity!
Churches and creeds are lost in the mists;
Truth must be sought with the Positivists.
Mortimer Collins—The Positivists.

Men will wrangle for religion; write for it; fight for it; die for it; anything but—live for it.
C. C. Colton—Lacon. Vol. I XXV.

Religion, if in heavenly truths attired,
Needs only to be seen to be admired.
Cowper—Expostulation. L. 492.

The Cross!
There, and there only (though the deist rave,
And atheist, if Earth bears so base a slave);
There and there only, is the power to save.
Cowper—The Progress of Error. L. 613.

Religion does not censure or exclude
Unnumbered pleasures, harmlessly pursued.
Cowper—Retirement. L. 782.

Pity! Religion has so seldom found
A skilful guide into poetic ground!
The flowers would spring where’er she deign’d to stray
And every muse attend her in her way.
Cowper—Table Talk. L. 688.

Sacred religion! Mother of Form and Fear!
Samuel Daniel—Musophilus. St. 47.

“As for that,” said Waldenshare, “sensible men are all of the same religion.” “Pray what is that?” inquired the Prince. “Sensible men never tell.”
Benj. Disraeli—Endymion. Ch. LXXXI. Borrowed from Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper (Lord Shaftesbury.)

You can and you can’t,—You shall and you shan’t—You will and you won’t—And you will be damned if you do—And you will be damned if you don’t.
Dow (“Crazy Dow”) defining Calvinism, in Reflections on the Love of God, by L. D.

Gardez-vous bien de lui les jours qu’il communie.
Beware of him the days that he takes Communion.
Du Lorens—Satires. I.

L’institut des Jesuites est une épée dont la poigée est à Rome et la pointe partout.
The Order of Jesuits is a sword whose handle is at Rome and whose point is everywhere.
André M. J. Dupin—Procès de tendance (1825). Quoted by him as found in a letter to Mlle. Voland from Abbé Raynal. Rousseau quotes it from D’Aubigné—Anti-Coton, who ascribes it to the saying of the Society of Jesus which is “a sword, the blade of which is in France, and the handle in Rome.”

I do not find that the age or country makes the least difference; no, nor the language the actors spoke, nor the religion which they professed whether Arab in the desert or Frenchman in the Academy, I see that sensible men and conscientious men all over the world were of one religion.
Emerson—Lectures and Biographical Sketches. The Preacher. P. 215.

I like the church, I like a cowl,
I love a prophet of the soul;
And on my heart monastic aisles
Fall like sweet strains or pensive smiles;
Yet not for all his faith can see,
Would I that cowlèd churchman be.
Emerson—The Problem.

Die Theologie ist die Anthropologie.
Theology is Anthropology.
Feuerbach—Wesen des Christenthums.

There are at bottom but two possible religions—that which rises in the moral nature of man, and which takes shape in moral commandments, and that which grows out of the observation of the material energies which operate in the external universe.
Froude—Short Studies on Great Subjects. Calvinism. P. 20.

Sacrifice is the first element of religion, and resolves itself in theological language into the love of God.
Froude—Short Studies on Great Subjects. Sea Studies.

But our captain counts the image of God, nevertheless, his image—cut in ebony as if done in ivory; and in the blackest Moors he sees the representation of the King of heaven.
Fuller—Holy and Profane States. The Good Sea-Captain. Maxim 5.

Indeed, a little skill in antiquity inclines a man to Popery; but depth in that study brings him about again to our religion.
Fuller—Holy and Profane States. The True Church Antiquary. Maxim 1.

Am I my brother’s keeper?
Genesis. IV. 9.

We do ourselves wrong, and too meanly estimate the holiness above us, when we deem that any act or enjoyment good in itself, is not good to do religiously.
Hawthorne—Marble Faun. Bk. II. Ch. VII.

From Greenland’s icy mountains,
From India’s coral strand,
Where Afric’s sunny fountains
Roll down their golden sand;
From many an ancient river,
From many a palmy plain,
They call us to deliver
Their land from error’s chain.
Reginald Heber—Missionary Hymn.

La couronne vaut bien une messe (Paris vaut bien une messe.)
The crown, (or Paris), is well worth a mass.
Attributed to Henry IV.

Religion stands on tiptoe in our land,
Ready to pass to the American strand.
Herbert—The Church Militant. L. 235.

Dresse and undresse thy soul: mark the decay
And growth of it: if, with thy watch, that too
Be down, then winde up both: since we shall be
Most surely judged, make thy accounts agree.
Herbert—Temple. Church Porch. St. 76.

My Fathers and Brethren, this is never to be forgotten that New England is originally a plantation of religion, not a plantation of trade.
John Higginson—Election Sermon. The Cause of God and His People in New England. May 27, 1663.

No solemn, sanctimonious face I pull,
Nor think I’m pious when I’m only bilious—
Nor study in my sanctum supercilious
To frame a Sabbath Bill or forge a Bull.
Hood—Ode to Rae Wilson.

Should all the banks of Europe crash,
The bank of England smash,
Bring all your notes to Zion’s bank,
You’re sure to get your cash.
Henry Hoyt—Zion’s Bank, or Bible Promises Secured to all Believers. Pub. in Boston, 1857. Probably a reprint of English origin.

My creed is this:
Happiness is the only good.
The place to be happy is here.
The time to be happy is now.
The way to be happy is to help make others so.
Robert G. Ingersoll—On the Title Page of Vol. XII. Farrell’s Ed. of his Works.

I belong to the Great Church which holds the world within its starlit aisles; that claims the great and good of every race and clime; that finds with joy the grain of gold in every creed, and floods with light and love the germs of good in every soul.
Robert G. Ingersoll—Declaration in Discussion with Rev. Henry M. Field on Faith and Agnosticism. Farrell’s Life. Vol. VI.

I envy them, those monks of old
Their books they read, and their beads they told.
G. P. R. James—The Monks of Old.

Sir, I think all Christians, whether Papists or Protestants, agree in the essential articles, and that their religious differences are trivial, and rather political than religious.
Samuel Johnson—Boswell’s Life. Ch. V. 1763.

To be of no Church is dangerous.
Samuel Johnson—Life of Milton.

Other hope had she none, nor wish in life, but to follow
Meekly, with reverent steps, the sacred feet of her Saviour.
Longfellow—Evangeline. Pt. II. V. L. 35.

Puritanism, believing itself quick with the seed of religious liberty, laid, without knowing it, the egg of democracy.
Lowell—Among My Books. New England Two Centuries Ago.

God is not dumb, that he should speak no more;
If thou hast wanderings in the wilderness
And find’st not Sinai, ’tis thy soul is poor.

But he turned up his nose at their murmuring and shamming,
And cared (shall I say?) not a d—n for their damning;
So they first read him out of their church and next minute
Turned round and declared he had never been in it.
Lowell—A Fable for Critics. L. 876.

Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum!
How many evils has religion caused!
Lucretius—De Rerum Natura. I. 102.

Blessed is the man that hath not walked in the way of the Sacramentarians, nor sat in the seat of the Zwinglians, nor followed the Council of the Zurichers.
Martin Luther—Parody of First Psalm.

The Puritan hated bear-baiting, not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators.
Macaulay—History of England. Vol. I. Ch. II.

No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown.
William Penn—No Cross, No Crown.

It was a friar of orders grey
Walked forth to tell his beads.
Thos. Percy—The Friar of Orders Grey.

Religion, which true policy befriends,
Designed by God to serve man’s noblest ends,
Is by that old deceiver’s subtle play
Made the chief party in its own decay,
And meets the eagle’s destiny, whose breast
Felt the same shaft which his own feathers drest.
K. Phillips. On Controversies in Religion.

The Puritan did not stop to think; he recognized God in his soul, and acted.
Wendell Phillips—Speech. Dec. 18, 1859.

We have a Calvinistic creed, a Popish liturgy, and an Arminian clergy.
William Pitt (Earl of Chatham)—See Prior’s Life of Burke. Ch. X. (1790).

So upright Quakers please both man and God.
Pope—The Dunciad. Bk. IV. L. 208.

To happy convents, bosom’d deep in vines,
Where slumber abbots purple as their wines.
Pope—The Dunciad. Bk. IV. L. 301.

Religion, blushing, veils her sacred fires,
And unawares Morality expires.
Pope—The Dunciad. Bk. IV. L. 649.

For virtue’s self may too much zeal be had;
The worst of madmen is a saint run mad.
Pope—To Murray. Ep. VI. of Horace. L. 26.

I think while zealots fast and frown,
And fight for two or seven,
That there are fifty roads to town,
And rather more to Heaven.
Praed—Chant of Brazen Head. St. 8.

He that hath no cross deserves no crown.

Ils ont les textes pour eux; disait-il, j’en suis faché pour les textes.
They have the texts in their favor; said he, so much the worse for the texts.
Royer-Collard—Words of disapproval of the Fathers of Port Royal on their doctrine of grace.

Humanity and Immortality consist neither in reason, nor in love; not in the body, nor in the animation of the heart of it, nor in the thoughts and stirrings of the brain of it;—but in the dedication of them all to Him who will raise them up at the last day.
Ruskin—Stones of Venice. Vol. I. Ch. II.

Religion is like the fashion, one man wears his doublet slashed, another laced, another plain; but every man has a doublet; so every man has a religion. We differ about the trimming.
John Selden—Table Talk. P. 157. (Ed. 1696).

[Lord Shaftesbury said] “All wise men are of the same religion.” Whereupon a lady in the room … demanded what that religion was. To whom Lord Shaftesbury straight replied, “Madam, wise men never tell.”
Lord Shaftesbury (Said by first and third Earl). John Toland—Clidophorus. Ch. XIII. Attributed to Samuel Rogers by Froude—Short Studies on Great Subjects. Plea for the Free Discussion of Theological Difficulties. Attributed also to Franklin.

I always thought
It was both impious and unnatural
That such immanity and bloody strife
Should reign among professors of one faith.
Henry VI. Pt. I. Act V. Sc. 1. L. 11.

In religion,
What damned error, but some sober brow
Will bless it and approve it with a text.
Merchant of Venice. Act III. Sc. 2. L. 77.

The moon of Mahomet
Arose, and it shall set:
While, blazoned as on heaven’s immortal noon,
The cross leads generations on.
Shelley—Hellas. L. 237.

A religious life is a struggle and not a hymn.
Madame de Staël—Corinne. Bk. X. Ch. V.

Religion has nothing more to fear than not being sufficiently understood.
Stanislaus (King of Poland)—Maxims. No. 36.

What religion is he of?
Why, he is an Anythingarian.
Swift—Polite Conversation. Dialogue I.

He made it a part of his religion, never to say grace to his meat.
Swift—Tale of a Tub. Sec. XI.

We have enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.
Swift—Thoughts on Various Subjects. Collected by Pope and Swift. Found in Spectator No. 459.

Honour your parents; worship the gods; hurt not animals.
Triptolemus, according to Plutarch. From his traditional laws or precepts.

Once I journeyd far from home
To the gate of holy Rome;
There the Pope, for my offence,
Bade me straight, in penance, thence
Wandering onward, to attain
The wondrous land that height Cokaigne.
Robert Wace—The Land of Cokaigne.

When I can read my title clear
To mansions in the skies,
I’ll bid farewell to every fear,
And wipe my weeping eyes.
Watts—Songs and Hymns. Bk. II. No. 65.

The world has a thousand creeds, and never a one have I;
Nor church of my own, though a million spires are pointing the way on high.
But I float on the bosom of faith, that bears me along like a river;
And the lamp of my soul is alight with love, for life, and the world, and the Giver.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox—Heresy.

So many gods, so many creeds—
So many paths that wind and wind
While just the art of being kind
Is all the sad world needs.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox—The World’s Need.

Who God doth late and early pray
More of his Grace than Gifts to lend;
And entertains the harmless day
With a Religious Book or Friend.
Sir Henry Wotton—The Character of a Happy Life. St. 5.

Religion’s all. Descending from the skies
To wretched man, the goddess in her left
Holds out this world, and, in her right, the next.
Young—Night Thoughts. Night IV. L. 550.

But if man loses all, when life is lost,
He lives a coward, or a fool expires.
A daring infidel (and such there are,
From pride, example, lucre, rage, revenge,
Or pure heroical defect of thought),
Of all earth’s madmen, most deserves a chain.
Young—Night Thoughts. Night VII. L. 199.