425) Wisdom from G. K. Chesterton

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) was an English journalist and author.  He wrote over 100 books and over 4000 newspaper columns and articles.  He was an adult convert to Christianity, a member of the Roman Catholic Church, and an ardent defender of the faith.  For more about Chesterton go to http://www.chesterton.org

gk chesterton, quotes, sayings, right, wrong, wisdom


To have a right to do something is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.

 Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors.  It is the democracy of the dead.  Tradition refuses to submit to that arrogant oligarchy who merely happen to be walking about. 

If God is abolished from the land, the government will become the god. (paraphrased)

When you break the big laws, you do not get freedom; you do not even get anarchy.  You get the small laws.

Self-denial is the test and definition of self-government.

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.

We are learning to do a great many clever things…   The next great task will be to learn not to do them.

The first two facts which a healthy boy or girl feel about sex are these:  first that it is beautiful and then that it is dangerous.

The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people.

There are some desires that are not desirable.

In the struggle for existence, it is only on those who hang on for ten minutes after all is hopeless, that hope begins to dawn.

If there were no God, there would be no atheists.

The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.

The test of all happiness is gratitude.

Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.

It has been often said, very truly, that religion is the thing that makes the ordinary man feel extraordinary; it is an equally important truth that religion is the thing that makes the extraordinary man feel ordinary.

The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man.

The truth is, of course, that the brevity of the Ten Commandments is an evidence, not of the gloom and narrowness of a religion, but, on the contrary, of its liberality and humanity.  It is shorter to state the things forbidden than the things permitted: precisely because most things are permitted, and only a few things are forbidden.

These are the days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed except his own.

Civilization has run on ahead of the soul of man, and is producing faster than he can think and give thanks.

Great truths can only be forgotten and can never be falsified.

Most modern freedom is at root fear. It is not so much that we are too bold to endure rules;  it is rather that we are too timid to endure responsibilities.

What we call freedom is often simply the free choice of the soul between one set of limitations and another.

Merely having an open mind is nothing; the object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.

Psalm 119:33-34  —  Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end.   Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart. 

Proverbs 23:12  —  Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.

Philippians 3:12b-14  —  …I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.   Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.   But one thing I do:  Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Almighty God, we pray that you give us clean hands, clean words, and clean thoughts.  Help us to stand for the difficult right against the easy wrong.  Save us from habits that harm.  Teach us to work as hard and play as fair in your sight alone as if the whole world were looking on.  Forgive us when we are unkind, and help us forgive those who are unkind to us.  Keep us ready to help others even though it be at some cost to ourselves, and send us chances to do good every day, so that in so doing we may grow more like your dear Son.  In his name we pray.  Amen.
–United Lutheran Church Hymnal, 1917