Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Right of Citizens to Be Armed

"Whereas, to preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them; nor does it follow from this, that all promiscuously must go into actual service on every occasion. The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by a truly anti-republican principle; and when we see many men disposed to practice upon it, whenever they can prevail, no wonder true republicans are for carefully guarding against it."
- Federal Farmer, Antifederalist Letter, No. 18

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Quote #90: St. Stephen

Since today is St. Stephen's Day, I thought it might be fitting to have a quote dedicated to the first believer to give up his life rather than renounce the Christian faith.  Here's the story of his martyrdom, as found in the Acts of the Apostles:

But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, "Look!  I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!"

Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at  him with one accord;
and they cast him out of the city and stoned him.  And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.

And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."  Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not charge them with this sin."  And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
Acts 7.54-60 (New King James Version).

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Quote #89: "Love Came Down at Christmas"

Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and Angels gave the sign.

Worship we the Godhead,
Love Incarnate, Love Divine;
Worship we our Jesus:
But wherewith for sacred sign?

Love shall be our token,
Love shall be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.
 - Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), English poet.

Friday, December 11, 2009

4 short quotes

  • Quote #85:  "Anxiety is the hand maiden of creativity." - T.S. Eliot (1888-1965), Anglo-American poet.
  • Quote #86:  "Wisdom is oftentimes nearer when we stoop than when we soar." - William Wordsworth (1770-1850), English poet.
  • Quote #87:  "A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years mere study of books." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), American author and linguist.
  • Quote #88:  "Man is a mixture of good and evil, and he can never be perfected in this life. The notion of his natural goodness is a delusive theory which will blow up any social order that is predicated upon it." - Richard M. Weaver (1910-1963), scholar and rhetorical theorist.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Why George Washington was Great

"The great Searcher of human hearts is my witness, that I have no wish, which aspires beyond the humble and happy lot of living and dying a private citizen on my own farm."

- George Washington

Friday, November 27, 2009

Quote #83: on schadenfreude

"Do not rejoice at the fall of your enemy;
do not gloat when he is brought down,
or the Lord will be displeased at the sight,
and will cease to be angry with him."
- Proverbs 24.17-18 (Revised English Bible translation).

Friday, November 20, 2009

Quote #82: on the difficulty of discerning God's will

"Certainly there is no contending against the Will of God; but still there is some difficulty in ascertaining, and applying it, to particular cases." - Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865), 16th president of the United States.

Quote #81: on revenge

"Giving up our desire to take revenge is a hard sacrifice, perhaps the hardest, which Christ requires of us.  For our whole human nature cries out for vengence against our enemies.  The desire for revenge is stronger in our human blood than any other desire.  But - and we know it - we can no longer take revenge.  If my enemy stands there before my eyes, and I am overcome by the obsession to finally be able to take revenge, then Jesus Christ stands at once behind my enemy and entreats me:  do not lift up your hand, but leave vengence to me; I will take it."

- Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Christ's Love and Our Enemies (1938).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Quote #80: on beauty

"Beauty is indeed a good gift of God; but that the good may not think it a great good, God dispenses it even to the wicked." - St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A.D.).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Cost of Freedom

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it."
--Thomas Paine, The Crisis, No. 4, 1777

Friday, October 30, 2009

Quote #78: most people have their price

"Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder." - George Washington (1732-1799), American founding father and first president of the United States.

Monday, October 19, 2009

"If the public are bound to yield obedience to laws to which they cannot give their approbation, they are slaves to those who make such laws and enforce them."

- Candidus in The Boston Gazette, 1772

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Quote #76: on happiness

From an early Christian letter dating from the second century A.D.:

And once you love Him, you will be an imitator of His kindness. And you must not be surprised that man can become an imitator of God. He can, since He so wills. Certainly, to be happy does not mean to tyrannize over one's neighbors, or to wish to have an advantage ove rthe weaker ones, or to be rich and therefore able to use force against one's inferiors. It is not in such matters that one can imitate God; no, such amtters are foreign to His majesty. On the other hand, he who takes his neighbor's burden upon himself, who is willing to benefit his inferior in a matter in which he is his superior, who provides the needy with what he himself has received from God and thus becomes the god of the recipients -- he, I say, is an imitator of God!
- Epistle to Diognetus 10.4-6 (Ancient Christian Writers translation).

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Quote #75: a marriage blessing

One of my favorite passages from one of my favorite plays:

Honor, riches, marriage blessing,
Long continuance, and increasing,
Hourly joys be stil upon you!
June sings her blessings on you.
Earth's increase, foison plenty,
Barns and garners never empty,
Vines with clust'ring bunches growing,
Plants with goodly burden bowing;
Spring come to you at the farthest
In the very end of harvest.
Scarcity and want shall shun you,
Ceres' blessing so is on you.

- William Shakespeare, from The Tempest, IV, i.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Quote #74: the meaning of Jesus' birth

"The birth of Jesus provides our entrance into the reality and meaning of creation: this is the world of the Father revealed by Jesus. Jesus shows us that the creation is something to be lived, not just looked at, and the way he did it becomes the way we do it."

- Eugene H. Peterson, Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places (Eerdmans: 2005), pg. 137

Monday, October 5, 2009

"I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death."

- Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, No. 1, 1776

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Quote #72: "the sacred had finally overspread the world."

A great Jewish scholar meditates on what the destruction of the Second Temple meant for Jewish practice in the world:

If we appreciate the force of powerful emotions aroused by the Temple cult, we may understand how grand a revolution was effected in the simple declaration, so long in coming, that with the destruction of the Temple the realm of the sacred had finally overspread the world. We must now see in ourselves, in our selfish motives to be immolated, the noblest sacrifice of all. So Rabban Gamaliel son of Rabbi Judah the Patriarch said, "Do His will as if it was your will, so that He may do your will as if it ws His will. Make your will of no effect before His will, that He may make the will of others of no effect before your will." His will is that we love our neighbors as ourselves. Just was willingly as we would contribute bricks and mortar for the building of a sanctuary, so willingly we ought to contribute love, renunciation, self-sacrifice, for the building of a sacred community. If one wants to do something for God in a time when the Temple is no more, the offering must be the gift of selfless compassion. The holy altar must be the streets and marketplaces of the world.
- Jacob Neuser, Judaism in the Beginning of Christianity (Fortress Press: 1984), pgs. 98-99.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Quote LXXI: On Education, The Consumation Of

"The start of learning, thus, lies in reading, but its consummation lies in meditation."

Hugh of St. Victor

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Quote #70: on controling one's emotions

"Do not give in too much to feelings. A overly sensitive heart is an unhappy possession on this shaky earth."

- Goethe (1749-1832), German philosopher and writer.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Quote #69: on human improvement

"Beavers build houses; but they build them in nowise differently, or better now, than they did, five thousand years ago. Ants, and honey-bees, provide food for winter; but just in the same way they did, when Solomon referred the sluggard to them as patterns of prudence. Man is not the only animal who labors; but he is the only one who improves his workmanship."

- Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), American statesman and president.

Monday, September 21, 2009

"No morn ever dawned more favorable than ours did; and no day was ever more clouded than the present! Wisdom and good examples are necessary at this time to rescue the political machine from the impending storm."

- George Washington, letter to James Madison, 1786

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Quote #67: on the importance of tomorrow

"Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday."

- John Wayne (1907-1979), American actor and cultural icon.

Quote #66: on justice and leadership

Sage advice from the pre-Christian Jewish tradition on the need for those charged with leadership in the community to seek both justice and holiness:
Love justice, you rulers of the earth; set your mind upon the Lord in the right way, and seek him in singleness of heart; for he is to be found by those who trust him without question, and he makes himself known to those who never doubt him. Dishonest thinking cuts people off from God, and if fools like liberties with his power he shows them up for what they are. Wisdom will not enter a shifty soul, nor make her home in a body that is mortgaged to sin. This holy spirit of discipline will shun falsehood; she cannot stay in the presence of unreason, and will withdraw at the approach of injustice.
- Wisdom of Solomon 1.1-5 (circa 2nd century B.C.) (Revised English Bible translation).

The Love of Law and Liberty

"Law and liberty cannot rationally become the objects of our love, unless they become the objects of our knowledge."
- James Wilson, Of the Study of the Law in the United States, 1790

Monday, September 14, 2009

Quote #64: on standing armies

I've cross posted this quote over at my own blog:

Keep within the requisite limits a standing military force, always remembering that an armed and trained militia is the firmest bulwark of republics - that without standing armies their liberty can never be in danger, nor with large ones safe.
- James Madison (1751-1836), American Founding Father and 4th President of the United States.

Quote #63: on emotions

"All the knowledge I possess everyone else can acquire, but my heart is all my own."

- Goethe (1749-1832), German philosopher and writer.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Quote #62: on good government

"A good government implies two things; first, fidelity to the objects of the government; secondly, a knowledge of the means, by which those objects can be best attained."

- Jospeh Story (1779-1845), Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Quote #61: on Christian citizenship in the face of a hostile secular regime

A little bit of rhetorical overkill, but the sentiment is sound and in the tradition of St. Paul:

A Christian in an enemy to no one, much less to the emperor; he knows the emperor was raised up by God; therefore, a Christian honors him, reveres him, favors him, and hope for his preservation along with all the empire as long as the world lasts. In fact, the world will last only as long as the empire. We honor the emperor to the degree permitted to us and necessary for him, as a man who is second only to God, who is protected by God, and who is therefore inferior only to God.
- Tertullian (160-220 A.D.), early Christian apologist, Ad Scapulaum 2.

Quote LX

"People who have what they want are fond of telling people who haven't what they want that they really don't want it."

-Ogden Nash (1902-1971)

Quote LIX

"A precedent embalms a principle."

-Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Quote LVIII: The Pursuit of Truth

"The life of study is austere and imposes grave obligations. It pays, it pays richly; but it exacts an initial outlay that few are capable of. The athletes of the mind, like those of the playing field, must be prepared for privations, long training, a sometimes superhuman tenacity. We must give ourselves from the heart, if truth is to give itself to us. Truth serves only its slaves."

- A. G. Sertillanges from The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Quote #57: on goodness and beauty

"Beauty is indeed a good gift of God; but that the good may not think it a great good, God dispenses it even to the wicked."

- St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Christian bishop and Church Father.

Quote LVI

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."

-Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

Quote #55: Loss of Liberty

"No people will tamely surrender their liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and virtue is preserved. On the contrary, when people are universally ignorant, and debauched in their manners, they will sink under their own weight without the aid of foreign invaders."

- Samuel Adams, letter to James Warren, 1775

Monday, September 7, 2009

Quote #54: on the flawed nature of human decision-making

"Men decide far more problems by hate, love, lust, rage, sorrow, joy, hope, fear, illusion, or some other inward emotion, than by reality, authority, any legal standard, judicial precedent, or statute."

- Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 B.C. - 7 A.D.), Roman statesman and philosopher.

Quote #53: The Purpose of Education

"Education is for the purpose of teaching men to know their true condition, to understand what freedom is and at what price it is bought, and to comprehend the meaning of civilization."

- Calvin Coolidge

Quote #52

"The American Republic will endure until the day congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."

-Alexis de Toucqueville (1805-1859) from Democracy in America (Vol.II)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Quote #51: why a republic is greater than an empire

Building on Jake's theme of exploring the nature of republics, here's a great quote by one of the great orators of the American political tradition:

"Behold a republic standing erect while empires all around are bowed beneath the weight of their own armaments -- a republic whose flag is loved while other flags are only feared."

- William Jennings Bryan (1860-1925), American statesman and three-time Democratic Party nominee for the presidency.

Quote #50

Here it is. The Fiftieth Quote. I thought this one was an appropriate reminder of what we still have in America despite everything that is going wrong today.

"Republic. I like the sound of the word. It means people can live free, talk free, go or come, buy or sell, be drunk or sober, however they choose. Some words give you a feeling. Republic is one of those words that makes me tight in the throat - the same tightness a man gets when his baby takes his first step or his first baby shaves and makes his first sound as a man. Some words can give you a feeling that makes your heart warm. Republic is one of those words."

-John Wayne as Davy Crockett in The Alamo (1960)

Quote No. XLVIII

"A distinctive feature of the modern world is its passion for the present and fascination with the future at the expense of the past. Progress, choice, change, novelty, and the myth of newer-the-truer and latest-is-the-greatest reign unchallenged, while ideas and convictions from earlier times are boxed up in the cob-webbed attic of nostalgia and irrelevance."

-Os Guinness

Quote #47: on the Lord's advent

From the Old Testament reading assigned for today in the Roman Catholic lectionary:

"Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God; he will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing; for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the glowing sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water: in the habitation of jackals, where they lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes."

- Isaiah 35.4-7 (American Standard Version).

Quote #46: on redemption

"Wherein is it possible for us, wicked and impious creatures, to be justified, except in the only Son of God? O sweet reconciliation! O untraceable ministry! O unlooked-for blessing! that the wickedness of many should be hidden in one godly and righteous man, and the righteousness of one justify a host of sinners!"

- St. Justin Martyr (100 - 165 A.D.), early Christian theologian, Roman philosopher and martyr for the faith.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Quote No. XLIX

"From the early and the ancient Chinese down to the classical, medieval, and renaissance eras, a rich body of teaching on rulers and the requirements for ruling flourished. Leadership did not simply happen. It was thought through, taught, and cultivated."

-Os Guinness

Quote XLV

"Anyone who can appease a man's conscience can take his freedom away from him."

-The Cigarette Smoking Man (X-Files)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Quote XLIV

"Freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it."


Quote #43: on virtue in a republic

"Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure(and) which insures to the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments." -- Charles Carroll of Carollton, American founding father (1737-1832).

And welcome back to regular posting, Jake!

Quote XLII

"History will never accept difficulties as an excuse."

-John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Quote #41

"Our natural, inalienable rights are now considered to be a dispensation from government, and freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp as it is at this moment." -- Ronald Reagan.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Quote #40

"A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have." -- President Gerald Ford.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Quote #39

"In order to advance a principle of freedom, and in order not to threaten the religious establishments of the several states, the founders did a historically unprecedented thing. In the first provision of the First Amendment, they declared that the national government abdicated control of religious brlief and practice. To be sure, this was a matter of practical politics as well as principle. Given the competing Protestant denominations of the time, it was unthinkable that the founders would establish one as the national religion. But practical politics can also be in the service of principle." -- Richard John Neuhaus, American Babylon, pg. 39.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Quote #38

"The aim of any good constitution is to achievein a society a high degree of political harmony,so that order and justice and freedom may be maintained." -- Russell Kirk

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Quote #37

"The principle reason for performing exterior penance is to secure three effects:
1. To make satisfaction for past sins;
2. To overcome oneself, that is, to make our sensual nature obey reason, and to bring all of our lower faculties into greater subjection to the higher;
3. To obtain some grace or gift that one earnestly desires. Thus it may be that one wants a deep sorrow for sin, or tears, either because of his sins or because of the pains and sufferigns of Christ our Lord; or he may want the solution of some doubt that is in his mind." -- St. Ignatius Loyola, Spiritual Exercises.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Quote #36

"If democracy, in essence, means the abolition of class domination, then why should not a socialist minister charm the whole bourgeois world by orations on class collaboration?" -- Vladimir Lenin, What Is To Be Done? (1901).

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A thought on quotation...

Why do quotes from famous and notable folks fascinate some of us so? I don't really know the answer, other than to say that we can learn from little snippets of the thoughts of others in a way that is both enjoyable and not too labor-intensive.

Quote #35

Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station, it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes, and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success the functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own, nor those of my fellow-citizens at large less than either. No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency; and in the important revolution just accomplished in the system of their united government the tranquil deliberations and voluntary consent of so many distinct communities from which the event has resulted can not be compared with the means by which most governments have been established without some return of pious gratitude, along with an humble anticipation of the future blessings which the past seem to presage. These reflections, arising out of the present crisis, have forced themselves too strongly on my mind to be suppressed. You will join with me, I trust, in thinking that there are none under the influence of which the proceedings of a new and free government can more auspiciously commence.
--President George Washington, First Inaugural Address (1789).

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Where are my co-bloggers?

I see that since the New Year I've been the only one posting...I wonder what's happened to my fellow bloggers...I'm happy to keep posting quotes, but it would be more fun if my co-bloggers showed up a bit more consistently...Just sayin'.

Quote #XXXIV

"You've got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was." -- Irish proverb.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Quote No. XXXIII

"Nearly all marriages, even happy ones, are mistakes: in the sense that almost certainly (in a more perfect world, or even with a little more care in this very imperfect one) both partners might be found more suitable mates. But the real soul-mate is the one you are actually married to." -- JRR Tolkien.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Quote #XXXI

"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." -- John Adams, American founding father and second president of the United States.

Quote #XXX

"All your schemes of an equal division of property, and for keeping all the members of a community equal in their condition, are fallacious, and, if they could be carried out, would end only in establishing universal poverty, universal ignorance, and universal barbarism." -- Orestes Brownson.

St. Augustine (by Sandro Botticelli)

St. Ignatius Loyola (by Francisco Zurbaran)

Benjamin Rush (by Charles Willson Peale)

Patrick Henry at the Virginia House of Burgesses (by Henry Rothermel)

Edmund Burke (by Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Samuel Adams (by John Singleton Copley)

Alexander Hamilton (by John Trumbull)