When men are prosperous, they are in love with life. Nature grows beautiful, the arts begin to flourish, there is work for painter and sculptor, the poet is born, the stage is erected - and this life with which men are in love is represented in a thousand forms.
Nothing has been left undone by the enemies of freedom. Every art and artifice, every cruelty and outrage has been practiced and perpetrated to destroy the rights of man. In this great struggle, every crime has been rewarded and every virtue has been punished.
As long as we can get redress in the courts, as long as the laws shall be honestly administered, as long as honesty and intelligence sit upon the bench, as long as intelligence sits in the chairs of jurors, this country will stand, the law will be enforced, and the law will be respected.
When every church becomes a school, every cathedral a university, every clergyman a teacher, and all their hearers brave and honest thinkers, then - and not until then - will the dream of poet, patriot, philanthropist and philosopher become a real and blessed truth.
Homes make patriots. He who has sat by his own fireside with wife and children will defend it. Few men have been patriotic enough to shoulder a musket in defense of a boarding house. The prosperity and glory of our country depend upon the number of people who are the owners of homes.
The literature of many lands is rich with the tributes that gratitude, admiration and love have paid to the great and honored dead. These tributes disclose the character of nations, the ideals of the human race.
Suspicion is only another form of cowardice. The man who suspects constantly suspects because he is afraid. Whenever you find a man with a free, frank, generous, brave nature, you will find that man without suspicion.
You need not go back four thousand years for heroines. The world is filled with them today. They do not belong to any nation, nor to any religion, nor exclusively to any race. Wherever woman is found, they are found.
The superior man is the providence of the inferior. He is eyes for the blind, strength for the weak, and a shield for the defenseless. He stands erect by bending above the fallen. He rises by lifting others.
A fact never went into partnership with a miracle. Truth scorns the assistance of wonders. A fact will fit every other fact in the universe, and that is how you can tell whether it is or is not a fact. A lie will not fit anything except another lie.
This great question of predestination and free will, of free moral agency and accountability, and being saved by the grace of God, and damned for the glory of God, have occupied the mind of what we call the civilized world for many centuries.
I say that no man can be greater than the man who bravely and heroically sacrifices his life for the good of others. No man can be greater than the one who meets death face to face, and yet will not shrink from what he believes to be his highest duty.
We can conceive of eternity because we cannot conceive of a cessation of time. We can conceive of infinite space because we cannot conceive of so much matter that our imagination will not stand upon the farthest star and see infinite space beyond.
I can imagine no sweeter way to end one's life than in the quiet of the country, out of the mad race for money, place and power - far from the demands of business - out of the dusty highway where fools struggle and strive for the hollow praise of other fools.
Surely there is grandeur in knowing that in the realm of thought, at least, you are without a chain; that you have the right to explore all heights and depth; that there are no walls nor fences, nor prohibited places, nor sacred corners in all the vast expanse of thought.
I will not attack your doctrines nor your creeds if they accord liberty to me. If they hold thought to be dangerous - if they aver that doubt is a crime, then I attack them one and all, because they enslave the minds of men.
It has been said that a man of genius should select his ancestors with great care - and yet there does not seem to be as much in heredity as most people think. The children of the great are often small.
Our fathers founded the first secular government that was ever founded in this world. Recollect that. The first secular government - the first government that said every church has exactly the same rights and no more; every religion has the same rights, and no more.
Whoever marries simply for himself will make a mistake; but whoever loves a woman so well that he says, 'I will make her happy,' makes no mistake. And so with the woman who says, 'I will make him happy.'
Intelligence, integrity and courage are the great pillars that support the State. Above all, the citizens of a free nation should honor the brave and independent man - the man of stainless integrity, of will and intellectual force.
Few nations have been so poor as to have but one god. Gods were made so easily, and the raw material cost so little, that generally the god market was fairly glutted and heaven crammed with these phantoms.
The grandest ambition that any man can possibly have is to so live and so improve himself in heart and brain as to be worthy of the love of some splendid woman; and the grandest ambition of any girl is to make herself worthy of the love and adoration of some magnificent man.
The credulity of the church is decreasing, and the most marvelous miracles are not either 'explained,' or allowed to take refuge behind the mistakes of the translators, or hide in the drapery of allegory.
Some president wishes to be re-elected, and thereupon speaks about the Bible as "the corner-stone of American Liberty." This sentence is a mouth large enough to swallow any church, and from that time forward the religious people will be citing that remark of the politician to substantiate the inspiration of the Scriptures.
In making up my mind as to what Mr. Lincoln really believed, I do not take into consideration the evidence of unnamed persons or the contents of anonymous letters; I take the testimony of those who knew and loved him, of those to whom he opened his heart and to whom he spoke in the freedom of perfect confidence.
There is something wrong in a government where they who do the most have the least. There is something wrong when honesty wears a rag, and rascality a robe; when the loving, the tender, east a crust, while the infamous sit at banquets.
Christianity has such a contemptible opinion of human nature that it does not believe a man can tell the truth unless frightened by a belief in god. No lower opinion of the human race has ever been expressed.
A false friend, an unjust judge, a braggart, hypocrite, and tyrant, sincere in hatred, jealous, vain and revengeful, false in promise, honest in curse, suspicious, ignorant, infamous and hideous-such is the God of the Pentateuch.
Orthodox Christians have the habit of claiming all great men, all men who have held important positions, men of reputation, men of wealth. As soon as the funeral is over clergymen begin to relate imaginary conversations with the deceased, and in a very little while the great man is changed to a Christian - possibly to a saint.
It is perfectly delightful to take advantage of the conscientious labors of those who go through and through volume after volume, divide with infinite patience the gold from the dross, and present us with the pure and shining coin. Such men may be likened to bees who save us numberless journeys by giving us the fruit of their own.
I believe in the religion of reason -- the gospel of this world; in the development of the mind, in the accumulation of intellectual wealth, to the end that man may free himself from superstitious fear, to the end that he may take advantage of the forces of nature to feed and clothe the world.
Talent has the four seasons: spring, that is to say, the sowing of the seeds; summer, growth; autumn, the harvest; winter, intellectual death. But there is now and then a genius who has no winter, and, no matter how many years he may live, on the blossom of his thought no snow falls. Genius has the climate of perpetual growth.
Is there an intelligent man or woman now in the world who believes in the Garden of Eden story? If you find any man who believes it, strike his forehead and you will hear an echo. Something is for rent.
No man should kill himself as long as he can be of the least use to anybody, and if you cannot find some person that you are willing to do something for, find a good dog and take care of him. You have no idea how much better you will feel.
I honestly believe that the doctrine of hell was born in the glittering eyes of snakes that run in frightful coils watching for their prey. I believe it was born with the yelping, howling, growling and snarling of wild beasts... I despise it, I defy it, and I hate it.
I believe that there is something far nobler than loyalty to any particular man. Loyalty to the truth as we perceive it - loyalty to our duty as we know it - loyalty to the ideals of our brain and heart - is, to my mind, far greater and far nobler than loyalty to the life of any particular man or God. . . .
Age after age, the strong have trampled upon the weak; the crafty and heartless have ensnared and enslaved the simple and innocent, and nowhere, in all the annals of mankind, has any god succored the oppressed
When one of your children tells a lie, be honest with him; tell him that you have told hundreds of them yourself. Tell him it is not the best way; that you have tried it. Tell him as the man did in Maine when his boy left home: "John, honesty is the best policy; I have tried both."
No man of sense in the whole world believes in devils any more than he does in mermaids, vampires, gorgons, hydras, naiads, dryads, nymphs, fairies, the Fountain of Youth, [or] the Philosopher's Stone. . . .
Had he been willing to live a hypocrite, he would have been respectable, he at least could have died surrounded by other hypocrites, and at his death there would have been an imposing funeral, with miles of carriages, filled with hypocrites, and above his hypocritical dust there would have been a hypocritical monument covered with lies.
All religious systems enslave the mind. Certain things are demanded-certain things must be believed-certain things must be done-and the man who becomes the subject or servant of this superstition must give up all idea of indivuality or hope of intellectual growth or progress.
Religion supports nobody. It has to be supported. It produces no wheat, no corn; it ploughs no land; it fells no forests. It is a perpetual mendicant. It lives on the labors of others, and then has the arrogance to pretend that it supports the giver.
Love is the magician, the enchanter, that changes worthless things to joy, and makes right royal kings and queens of common clay. It is the perfume of that wondrous flower, the heart, and without that sacred passion, that divine swoon, we are less than beasts; but with it, earth is heaven, and we are gods.
If priests had not been fond of mutton, lambs never would have been sacrified to god. Nothing was ever carried to the temple that the priest could not use, and it always happened that god wanted what his agents liked.
Give any orthodox church the power, and to-day they would punish heresy with whip, and chain, and fire. As long as a church deems a certain belief essential to salvation, just so long it will kill and burn if it has the power.
He (Thomas Paine) saw oppression on every hand; injustice everywhere; hypocrisy at the altar; venality on the bench, tyranny on the throne; and with a splendid courage he espoused the cause of the weak against the strong
Man must learn to rely upon himself. Reading bibles will not protect him from the blasts of winter, but houses, fires. and clothing will. To prevent famine, one plow is worth a million sermons, and even patent medicines will cure more diseases than all the prayers uttered since the beginning of the world.
If the account given in Genesis is really true, ought we not, after all, to thank this serpent? He was the first schoolmaster, the first advocate of learning, the first enemy of ignorance, the first to whisper in human ears the sacred word liberty, the creator of ambition, the author of modesty, of inquiry, of doubt, of investigation, of progress and of civilization.
The notion that faith in Christ is to be rewarded by an eternity of bliss, while a dependence upon reason, observation, and experience merits everlasting pain, is too absurd for refutation, and can be believed only by that unhappy mixture of insanity and ignorance, called faith.
The credulity of the church is decreasing, and the most marvelous miracles are not either 'explained, or allowed to take refuge behind the mistakes of the translators, or hide in the drapery of allegory
The minister asks, 'What right have you to hope? It is sacrilegious to you.' But, whether the clergy like it or not, I shall always express my real opinion, and shall always be glad to say to those who mourn: 'There is in death, as I believe, nothing worse than sleep. Hope for as much better as you can.'
When a man really believes that it is necessary to do a certain thing to be happy forever, or that a certain belief is necessary to ensure eternal joy, there is in that man no spirit of concession. He divides the whole world into saints and sinners, into believers and unbelievers, into God's sheep and Devil's goats, into people who will be glorified and people who are damned.
No one, in the world's whole history, ever attempted to substantiate a truth by a miracle. Truth scorns the assistance of miracle. Nothing but falsehood ever attested itself by signs and wonders. No miracle ever was performed, and no sane man ever thought he had performed one, and until one is performed, there can be no evidence of the existence of any power superior to, and independent of nature.
All the punishment in the world will not reform a man, unless he knows that he who inflicts it upon him does it for the sake of reformation, and really and truly loves him, and has his good at heart. Punishment inflicted for gratifying the appetite makes man afraid but debases him.
The few took advantage of the ignorant many. They pretended to have received messages from the Unknown. They stood between the helpless multitude and the gods. They were the carriers of flags of truce. At the court of heaven they presented the cause of man, and upon the labor of the deceived they lived.
The Unitarian Church has done more than any other church to substitute character for creed, and to say that a man should be judged by his spirit; by the climate of his heart; by the autumn of his generosity; by the spring of his hope; that he should be judged by what he does; by the influence that he exerts, rather than by the mythology he may believe.
Love is natural. Back of allceremony burns and will forever burn the sacred flame. There has been no time in the world's history when that torch was extinguished. In all ages, in all climes, among all people, there has been true, pure, and unselfish love.
Nothing discloses real character like the use of power. It is easy for the weak to be gentle. Most people can bear adversity. But if you wish to know what a man really is, give him power. This is the supreme test. It is the glory of Lincoln that, having almost absolute power, he never abused it, except upon the side of mercy.
I do not believe in loving enemies; I have pretty hard work to love my friends. Neither do I believe in revenge. No man can afford to keep the viper of revenge in his heart. But I believe in justice, in self-defense.
Life is a narrow vale between the cold and barren peaks of two eternities. We strive in vain to look beyond the heights. We cry aloud-and the only answer is the echo of our wailing cry. From the voiceless lips of the unreplying dead there comes no word. But in the night of Death Hope sees a star and listening Love can hear the rustling of a wing.
A good character, like a Gibraltar, will stand against the testimony of all the rascals in the universe, no matter how they assail it. It will stand, and it will stand firmer and grander the more it is assaulted.
I say, let us think. Let each one express his thought. Let us become investigators, not followers, not cringers and crawlers. If there is in Heaven an infinite being, he never will be satisfied with the worship of cowards and hypocrites.
It is hard to conceive of the utter demoralization, of the political blindness and immorality, of the patriotic dishonesty, of the cruelty and degradation of a people who supplemented the incomparable Declaration of Independence with the Fugitive Slave Law.
Voltaire made up his mind to destroy the superstition of his time. He fought with every weapon that genius could devise or use. He was the greatest of all caricaturists, and he used this wonderful gift without mercy.
Wherever the sword of rebellion is drawn to protect the rights of man, I am a rebel. Wherever the sword of rebellion is drawn to give man liberty, to clothe him in all his just rights, I am on the side of that rebellion.