Inspirational quotes to feed your soul and brighten your day.

438 Inspiring Quotes by Henry Ward Beecher

  • Last updated Jun 28 2021

Welcome to our collection of quotes by Henry Ward Beecher.

Wikipedia Summary for Henry Ward Beecher

Henry Ward Beecher (June 24, 1813 – March 8, 1887) was an American Congregationalist clergyman, social reformer, and speaker, known for his support of the abolition of slavery, his emphasis on God's love, and his 1875 adultery trial. His rhetorical focus on Christ's love has influenced mainstream Christianity to this day.

Henry Ward Beecher was the son of Lyman Beecher, a Calvinist minister who became one of the best-known evangelists of his era. Several of his brothers and sisters became well-known educators and activists, most notably Harriet Beecher Stowe, who achieved worldwide fame with her abolitionist novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. Henry Ward Beecher graduated from Amherst College in 1834 and Lane Theological Seminary in 1837 before serving as a minister in Indianapolis and Lawrenceburg, Indiana.

In 1847, Beecher became the first pastor of the Plymouth Church in Brooklyn, New York. He soon acquired fame on the lecture circuit for his novel oratorical style in which he employed humor, dialect, and slang. Over the course of his ministry, he developed a theology emphasizing God's love above all else. He also grew interested in social reform, particularly the abolitionist movement. In the years leading up to the Civil War, he raised money to purchase slaves from captivity and to send rifles—nicknamed "Beecher's Bibles"—to abolitionists fighting in Kansas. He toured Europe during the Civil War, speaking in support of the Union.

After the war, Beecher supported social reform causes such as women's suffrage and temperance. He also championed Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, stating that it was not incompatible with Christian beliefs. He was widely rumored to be an adulterer, and in 1872 the Woodhull & Claflin's Weekly published a story about his affair with Elizabeth Richards Tilton, the wife of his friend and former co-worker Theodore Tilton. In 1874, Tilton filed charges for "criminal conversation" against Beecher. The subsequent trial resulted in a hung jury and was one of the most widely reported trials of the century.

Beecher's long career in the public spotlight led biographer Debby Applegate to call her biography of him The Most Famous Man in America.

--Henry Ward Beecher

Longer Version:

The first hour of the morning is the rudder of the day. It is a blessed baptism which gives the first waking thoughts into the bosom of God.



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Longer Version:

Every man should be born again on the first day of January. Start with a fresh page. Take up one hole more in the buckle if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstance; but on the first of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were and past.


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Longer Version:

A library is but the soul's burial ground; it is the land of shadows. Yet one is impressed with the thought, the labor, and the struggle, represented in this vast catacomb of books. Who could dream, by the placid waters that issue from the level mouths of brooks into the lake, all the plunges, the whirls, the divisions, and foaming rushes that had brought them down to the tranquil exit? And who can guess through what channels of disturbance, and experiences of sorrow, the heart passed that has emptied into this Dead Sea of books?


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Longer Version:

Greatness lies, not in being strong, but in the right using of strength; and strength is not used rightly when it serves only to carry a man above his fellows for his own solitary glory. He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his own.



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Longer Version:

Pride slays thanksgiving, but a humble mind is the soil out of which thanks naturally grow. A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves.


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Longer Version:

The sun does not shine for a few trees, and flowers, but for the wide world's joy. The lonely pine on the mountain-top waves its sombre boughs and cries, 'Thou art my sun.' And the little meadow violet lifts its cup of blue, and whispers with its perfumed breath, 'Thou art my sun.' And the grain in a thousand fields rustles in the wind, and makes answer, 'Thou art my sun.' So God sits effulgent in heaven, not for a favored few, but for the universe of life; and there is no creature so poor or so low that he may not look up with childish confidence and say, 'My Father, Thou art mine.


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Longer Version:

A thoughtful mind, when it sees a nation's flag, sees not the flag only, but the nation itself; and whatever may be its symbols, its insignia, he reads chiefly in the flag the government, the principles, the truths, the history which belongs to the nation that sets it forth.



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Longer Version:

Mirth is God's medicine. Everybody ought to bathe in it.



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Longer Version:

Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven. By these tendrils we clasp it and climb thitherward. And why do we think that we are separated from them? We never half knew them, nor in this world could.



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Longer Version:

Now comes the mystery! (last words).


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Longer Version:

I can forgive, but I cannot forget, is only another way of saying, I will not forgive. Forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note -- torn in two, and burned up, so that it never can be shown against one.



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Longer Version:

It is not work that kills men; it is worry. Work is healthy; you can hard put more upon a man than he can bear. Worry is rust upon the blade. It is not the revolution that destroys the machinery, but the friction.


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Longer Version:

A cup of coffee real coffee home-browned, home ground, home made, that comes to you dark as a hazel-eye, but changes to a golden bronze as you temper it with cream that never cheated, but was real cream from its birth, thick, tenderly yellow, perfectly sweet, neither lumpy nor frothing on the Java: such a cup of coffee is a match for twenty blue devils and will exorcise them all.


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Longer Version:

No matter what looms ahead, if you can eat today, enjoy the sunlight today, mix good cheer with friends today, enjoy it and bless God for it. Do not look back on happiness -- or dream of it in the future. You are only sure of today; do not let yourself be cheated out of it.


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