Elias Lyman Magoon

American minister

Elias Lyman Magoon (October 20, 1810 – November 25, 1886) was an American clergyman and religious writer.



Proverbs for the People (1849)

Proverbs for the People. Boston: Gould, Kendall and Lincoln, 1849.
  • Religion, to be permanently influential, must be intelligent.
    • Ch. 1, p. 18.
  • While the censorious man is most severe in judging others, he is invariably the most ready to repel any animadversions made upon himself; upon the principle well understood in medical circles, that the feeblest bodies are always the most sensitive,
    • Ch. 2, pp. 35–36.
  • In what a delightful communion with God does that man live who habitually seeketh love! With the same mantle thrown over him from the cross—with the same act of amnesty, by which we hope to be saved—injuries the most provoked, and transgressions the most aggravated, are covered in eternal forgetfulness.
    • Ch. 2, p. 38.
  • An unsanctified temper is a fruitful source of error, and a mighty impediment to truth.
    • Ch. 3, p. 42.
  • Voluptuous habits speedily bind all the powers of the soul in loathsome vassalage, and exclude every thought except such as relate to the beastly pleasures of which it is the slave. Distracted by cravings as inexorable as they are base, and in their vileness perpetually reproduced,—tantalized by the impure fountains of a diseased imagination, and oppressed with its own effeminacy,—the mind loses its vigor and its productiveness. Every faculty rapidly deteriorates and decays; memory becomes extinguished, inanity destroys resolution, and the heart is as cold and callous as a cinder extinct. It ceases to love, to sympathize, and diffuse the delicious tears that sanctify friendship's shrine. The whole countenance assumes an expression of obdurateness and repugnance. The features, marked with premature decay, proclaim that the source of gentle sentiments, pure emotions, and innocent joys, is exhausted, like a limpid fountain invaded by the scoria and flame of a volcano. All the elements of life seem to have retreated into their abused organs only to perish there. Even the organs themselves are withered, and worse than dead; their infirmities, maladies, sufferings, rush in a multitude upon the degraded victim, and overwhelm him in awful retribution.
    • Ch. 5, p. 70.
  • A virtuous youth and frugal manhood always create a Pisgah for the veteran in righteousness, from which he may calmly survey the stars, and read his " title clear to mansions in the skies," while yet in the flesh he can soar on the wings of meditation above the clouds, and catch glimpses of the heavenly world that lies in the placid and everlasting orient before him.
    • Ch. 5, pp. 71–72.
  • True greatness does not consist so much in doing extraordinary things, as in conducting ordinary affairs with a noble demeanor and from a right motive. It is necessary and most profitable to remember the advice to Titus, "Showing all good fidelity in all things."
    • Ch. 7, p. 98.
  • Nothing is so contemptible as habitual contempt. It is impossible to remain long under its control without being dwarfed by its influence.
    • Ch. 10, p. 147.
  • The passive idler of all men in the world is the most difficult to please. Those who do the least themselves are always the severest critics upon the noble achievements of others.
    • Ch. 11, p. 164.
  • The worst idleness is that of the heart. Think of the condition and prospects of a voiceless, thankless, prayerless heart.
    • Ch. 12, p. 168.
  • It is not the placidity of stupid ease that we should covet, but the repose that is requisite for the renewal of exhausted strength, the serenity that succeeds the storm, and the salubrity that repays its ravages.
    • Ch. 12, p. 173.
  • The Lord's visitations of distinguished favor are always to the diligent. That great men may not be ashamed of honest vocations, the greatest that have ever lived have been contented, happy, and honored while in the pursuit of humble trades.
    • Ch. 12, p. 173.
  • The gospel does not abolish industry, but changes its nature and chief design; it dignifies toil, mitigates the evils connected therewith, and creates new motives to diligence. The triumph achieved on Calvary never was designed to supersede the duty of close application to enterprising duty. Its first command compels us to some honorable and useful pursuit. Its language is," Study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands as we commanded you." " If any man will not work, neither let him eat."
    • Ch. 12, p. 178.
  • Existence was given us for action, rather than indolent and aimless contemplation; our worth is determined by the good deeds we do, rather than by the fine emotions we feel. They greatly mistake, who suppose that God cares for no other pursuit than devotion.
    • Ch. 12, pp. 178–179.
  • Perseverance is the master impulse of the firmest souls, the discipline of the noblest virtues, and the guaranty of acquisitions the most invigorating in their use and inestimable in their worth.
    • Ch. 13, p. 182.
  • The imperial heroes who rule over the opinions of their fellow men for good or ill, are victory-organized; they march towards the execution of their purpose, as if they were intent on the conquest of a world. With a bold front and piercing eye, they are repelled by no obstacles, and entertain not the slightest doubt as to a final triumph; days and nights, like their fortune, health, and every thing dear in existence, they consecrate to the success of their particular enterprise. As with hooks of steel, they grapple the most stubborn difficulties, and relax neither hand nor foot so long as there remains one vital energy in their will.
    • Ch. 13, p. 183
  • Invariably will you find perseverance exemplified as the radical principle in every truly great character. It facilitates, perfects, and consolidates the execution of the plan conceived, and renders profitable its results when attained. By continuing to advance steadily in the same way, light constantly increases, obstacles disappear, efficient habits are confirmed, experience is acquired, the use of the best means is reduced to easy action, and success becomes more sure.
    • Ch. 13, p. 186
  • The practice of perseverance is the discipline of the noblest virtues. To run well, we must run to the end. It is not the fighting but the' conquering that gives a hero his title to renown.
    • Ch. 13, p. 188.
  • The most profitable and praiseworthy genius in the world is untiring industry.
    • Ch. 13, p. 189.
  • It is no use for one to stand in the shade and complain that the sun does not shine upon him. He must come out resolutely on the hot and dusty field where all are compelled to antagonize with stubborn difficulties, and pertinaciously strive until he conquers, if he would deserve to be crowned.
    • Ch. 13, pp. 191–192.
  • The character and conquest of the invincible champion are ever the same. A Lacedaemonian died while writing with his own blood on a rock — " Sparta has conquered!" But, O, there is an illustration higher and better than any derived from mere earthly annals. Jesus veiled His glory in the skies; shrouded divinity in mortality, and with godhead and humanity coalesced in His person, entered the lists with more than mortal strife against the powers of hell. He drank the bitter cup with sublimer resignation than the sages of earth ever knew; contended victoriously where finite champions must inevitably have been destroyed; fell, like the strong man, destroying His foes by His death; persevered on our behalf in all the fearful descent from the august throne of the Eternal to the stony floor of the cold and gloomy sepulchre; that Hope's sweet fountain might gush up for mankind in Golgotha, and Salvation plant her banner with immortal triumph at the portal of the conquered tomb.
    • Ch. 13, p. 194.
  • Providence has clearly ordained that the only path fit and salutary for man on earth is the path of persevering fortitude—the unremitting struggle of deliberate self-preparation and humble but active reliance on Divine aid.
    • Ch. 14, p. 201.
  • Whatever we are directed to pray for, we are also exhorted to work for; we are not permitted to mock Jehovah, asking that of Him which we deem not worth our pains to acquire.
    • Ch. 14, p. 205.
  • Language the most forcible proceeds from the man who is most sincere. The way to speak with power, or to write words that pierce mankind to the quick, is to speak and write honestly.
    • Ch. 15, p. 214.
  • True emotions and sincere words never perish. The great heart of humanity gladly receives and embalms every true utterance of the humblest of its offspring.
    • Ch. 15, p. 219.
  • The advent of truth, like the dawn of day, agitates the elements, while it disperses the gloom.
    • Ch. 15, p. 219.
  • The kiss of the apostate was the most bitter earthly ingredient in the agonies which Christ endured.
    • Ch. 18, p. 270.
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