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S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.

Robert Hall

  • [An eloquent Baptist minister; born in Leicestershire, England, 1764; educated at Aberdeen; preached at Cambridge, Leicester, and Bristol; died 1831.]
  • The battle of Waterloo and its results appeared to me to put back the clock of the world six degrees.

  • GREGORY: Life, note A.
  • He said of Bishop Watson, “He married public virtue in his early days, but seemed forever afterwards to be quarrelling with his wife.”—Ibid.
  • He called John Wesley “the quiescence of turbulence;” because, while he set all in motion, he himself was perfectly calm and phlegmatic.
  • Of a nervously modest man, Mr. Hall remarked, “Poor Mr. —— seems to beg pardon of all flesh for being in this world.”
  • To a man who asked him for a glass of brandy and water, he said, “You should ask for liquid fire and distilled damnation.”—Ibid.
  • Reviewing Mrs. Hannah More, he called “throwing soft peas against a rock.”—Ibid.
  • I keep my nonsense for the fireside, while you publish yours from the pulpit.

  • To a minister who expressed his surprise at Mr. Hall’s frivolous conversation after preaching a serious discourse.
  • He said of a certain clergyman, “His head is so full of every thing but religion, that one might be tempted to fancy that he has a Sunday soul, which he screws on in due time, and takes off every Monday morning.”
  • When a lady replied, to a request for a subscription, that she would wait and see, Mr. Hall said, “She is watching, not to do good, but to escape from it.”
  • Being told that his animation increased with years, he replied, “Then I am like touchwood,—the more decayed, the easier fired.”
  • Some one said that the Archbishop of Canterbury’s chaplain came into the room to say grace at dinner, and then retired; Mr. Hall remarked, “His grace, not choosing to present his own requests to the King of kings, calls in a deputy to take up his messages.”
  • He called Tom Paine’s writings against the Bible, “a mouse nibbling at the wing of an archangel.”
  • When told that it was reported he was about to marry, he replied, “I marry Miss ——! I would as soon marry Beelzebub’s eldest daughter, and go home and live with the old folks!”
  • He called Owen, the geologist, “a valley of dry bones.”
  • A tedious friend visited him at the asylum during a temporary aberration of mind, and asked him what brought him there: “What’ll never bring you, sir,” replied Hall,—“too much brain, sir; too much brain, sir!”
  • The only passage in an egotistical clergyman’s discourse which Mr. Hall pronounced very fine was “the passage from the pulpit into the vestry.”