„There is something so gratifying to human vanity in fancying ourselves superior to most around us, that we believe few young men attain their majority without imbibing more or less of the taint of unbelief, and passing through the mists of a vapid moral atmosphere, before they come to the clear, manly, and yet humble perceptions that teach most of us, in the end, our own insignificance, the great benevolence as well as wisdom of the scheme of redemption, and the philosophy of the Christian religion, as well as its divinity.
Perhaps the greatest stumbling-block of the young is a disposition not to yield to their belief unless it conforms to their own crude notions of propriety and reason. If the powers of man were equal to analyzing the nature of the Deity, to comprehending His being, and power, and motives, there would be some little show of sense in thus setting up the pretence of satisfying our judgments in all things, before we yield our credence to a religious system. But the first step we take brings with it the instructive lesson of our incapacity, and teaches the wholesome lesson of humility. From arrogantly claiming a right to worship a deity we comprehend, we soon come to feel that the impenetrable veil that is cast around the Godhead is an indispensable condition of our faith, reverence, and submission.“

—  James Fenimore Cooper, Preface
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James Fenimore Cooper3
scrittore statunitense 1789 - 1851
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„Our faith is a Virtue that cometh of our Nature-Substance into our Sense-soul by the Holy Ghost; in which all our virtues come to us: for without that, no man may receive virtue. For it is nought else but a right understanding, with true belief, and sure trust, of our Being: that we are in God, and God in us, Whom we see not.“

—  Julian of Norwich English theologian and anchoress 1342 - 1416
Context: Our faith is a Virtue that cometh of our Nature-Substance into our Sense-soul by the Holy Ghost; in which all our virtues come to us: for without that, no man may receive virtue. For it is nought else but a right understanding, with true belief, and sure trust, of our Being: that we are in God, and God in us, Whom we see not. And this virtue, with all other that God hath ordained to us coming therein, worketh in us great things. For Christ’s merciful working is in us, and we graciously accord to Him through the gifts and the virtues of the Holy Ghost. This working maketh that we are Christ’s children, and Christian in living. Variant: Faith is nought else but a right understanding, with true belief and sure trust, of our Being: that we are in God, and God is in us: Whom we see not.

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„There is but one thing needful — to possess God. All our senses, all our powers of mind and soul, all our external resources, are so many ways of approaching the divinity, so many modes of tasting and of adoring God. We must learn to detach ourselves from all that is capable of being lost, to bind ourselves absolutely only to what is absolute and eternal, and to enjoy the rest as a loan, as a usufruct…. To worship, to comprehend, to receive, to feel, to give, to act: this our law, our duty, our happiness, our heaven.“

—  Henri-Frédéric Amiel Swiss philosopher and poet 1821 - 1881
16 July 1848 Only one thing is necessary: to possess God — All the senses, all the forces of the soul and of the spirit, all the exterior resources are so many open outlets to the Divinity; so many ways of tasting and of adoring God. We should be able to detach ourselves from all that is perishable and cling absolutely to the eternal and the absolute and enjoy the all else as a loan, as a usufruct…. To worship, to comprehend, to receive, to feel, to give, to act: this our law, our duty, our happiness, our heaven. As translated in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919)

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„The idea of a God we infer from our experimental dependence on something superior to ourselves in wisdom, power and goodness, which we call God; our senses discover to us the works of God which we call nature, and which is a manifest demonstration of his invisible essence.“

—  Ethan Allen American general 1738 - 1789
Context: The idea of a God we infer from our experimental dependence on something superior to ourselves in wisdom, power and goodness, which we call God; our senses discover to us the works of God which we call nature, and which is a manifest demonstration of his invisible essence. Thus it is from the works of nature that we deduce the knowledge of a God, and not because we have, or can have any immediate knowledge of, or revelation from him. Ch. V Section II - Containing Observations on the Providence and Agency of God, as it Respects the Natural and Moral World, with Strictures on Revelation in General

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„We start with enthusiasm — out we go each of us to our task in all the brightness of sunrise, and hope beats along our pulses; we believe the world has no blanks except to cowards, and we find, at last, that, as far as we ourselves are concerned, it has no prizes; we sicken over the endless unprofitableness of labour most when we have most succeeded, and when the time comes for us to lay down our tools we cast them from us with the bitter aching sense, that it were better for us if it had been all a dream. We seem to know either too much or too little of ourselves — too much, for we feel that we are better than we can accomplish; too little, for, if we have done any good at all, it has heen as we were servants of a system too vast for us to comprehend. We get along through life happily between clouds and sunshine, forgetting ourselves in our employments or our amusements, and so long as we can lose our consciousness in activity we can struggle on to the end. But when the end comes, when the life is lived and done, and stands there face to face with us; or if the heart is weak, and the spell breaks too soon, as if the strange master-worker has no longer any work to offer us, and turns us off to idleness and to ourselves; in the silence then our hearts lift up their voices, and cry out they can find no rest here, no home. Neither pleasure, nor rank, nor money, nor success in life, as it is called, have satisfied, or can satisfy; and either earth has nothing at all which answers to our cravings, or else it is something different from all these, which we have missed finding — this peace which passes understanding — and from which in the heyday of hope we had turned away, as lacking the meretricious charm which then seemed most alluring.
I am not sermonizing of Religion, or of God, or of Heaven, at least not directly.“

—  James Anthony Froude English historian, novelist, biographer, and editor of Fraser's Magazine 1818 - 1894
Confessions Of A Sceptic

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„Not in our day, but at no distant one, we may shake a rod over the heads of all, which may make the stoutest of them tremble. But I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power, the greater it will be.“

—  Thomas Jefferson 3rd President of the United States of America 1743 - 1826
Context: We concur in considering the government of England as totally without morality, insolent beyond bearing, inflated with vanity and ambition, aiming at the exclusive dominion of the sea, lost in corruption, of deep-rooted hatred towards us, hostile to liberty wherever it endeavors to show its head, and the eternal disturber of the peace of the world. In our estimate of Bonaparte, I suspect we differ. [... ] Our form of government is odious to him, as a standing contrast between republican and despotic rule; and as much from that hatred, as from ignorance in political economy, he had excluded intercourse between us and his people, by prohibiting the only articles they wanted from us, that is, cotton and tobacco. Whether the war we have had with England, and the achievements of that war, and the hope that we may become his instruments and partisans against that enemy, may induce him, in future, to tolerate our commercial intercourse with his people, is still to be seen. For my part, I wish that all nations may recover and retain their independence; that those which are overgrown may not advance beyond safe measures of power, that a salutary balance may be ever maintained among nations, and that our peace, commerce, and friendship, may be sought and cultivated by all. It is our business to manufacture for ourselves whatever we can, to keep our markets open for what we can spare or want; and the less we have to do with the amities or enmities of Europe, the better. Not in our day, but at no distant one, we may shake a rod over the heads of all, which may make the stoutest of them tremble. But I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power, the greater it will be. Letter to http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/mtj:@field(DOCID+@lit(tj110158)) Thomas Leiper (12 June 1815). Published in The Works of Thomas Jefferson in Twelve Volumes http://oll.libertyfund.org/ToC/0054.php, Federal Edition, Paul Leicester Ford, ed., New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1904, Vol. 11 http://oll.libertyfund.org/Texts/Jefferson0136/Works/0054-11_Bk.pdf, pp. 477–478. The sentence "I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power, the greater it will be." was used by US-President Barack Obama in his A New Beginning Speech.

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