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C.N. Douglas, comp.  Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical.  1917.
 
Chateaubriand
 
  A moral character is attached to autumnal scenes; the leaves falling like our years, the flowers fading like our hours, the clouds fleeting like our illusions, the light diminishing like our intelligence, the sun growing colder like our affections, the rivers becoming frozen like our lives—all bear secret relations to our destinies.  1
  A weakness natural to superior and to little men, when they have committed a fault, is to wish to make it pass as a work of genius, a vast combination which the vulgar cannot comprehend. Pride says these things and folly credits them.  2
  Are you angry? Look at the child who has erred, he suspects no trouble, he dreams of no harm; you will borrow something of that innocence, you will feel appeased.  3
  Aristocracy has three successive ages,—the age of superiorities, the age of privileges, and the age of vanities; having passed out of the first, it degenerates in the second, and dies away in the third.  4
  As long as the heart preserves desire, the mind preserves illusions.  5
  As soon as a true thought has entered our mind, it gives a light which makes us see a crowd of other objects which we have never perceived before.  6
  Atheism can benefit no class of people; neither the unfortunate, whom it bereaves of hope, nor the prosperous, whose joys it renders insipid, nor the soldier, of whom it makes a coward, nor the woman whose beauty and sensibility it mars, nor the mother, who has a son to lose, nor the rulers of men, who have no surer pledge of the fidelity of their subjects than religion.  7
  Christianity is perfect, men are imperfect. Now a perfect consequence cannot spring from an imperfect principle. Christianity, therefore, is not the work of man. If Christianity is not the work of man, it can have come from none but God. If it came from God, men cannot have acquired a knowledge of it except by revelation. Therefore, Christianity is a revealed religion.  8
  Christianity, which is always true to the heart, knows no abstract virtues, but virtues resulting from our wants, and useful to all.  9
  It is genius that brings into being, and it is taste that preserves. Without taste genius is nought but sublime folly.  10
  It is necessary to repent for years in order to efface a fault in the eyes of men; a single tear suffices with God.  11
  It is with sorrows, as with countries, each man has his own.  12
  Justice is the bread of the nation; it is always hungry for it.  13
  Let us not disdain glory too much—nothing is finer except virtue. The height of happiness would be to unite both in this life.  14
  Meanwhile the globe begins to tremble on its axis; the moon is covered with a bloody veil, the threatening stars hang half detached from the vault of heaven, and the agony of the world commences. Then, all at once, the fatal hour strikes; God suspends the movements of the creation, and the earth has passed away like an exhausted river. Now resounds the trumpet of the angel of judgment; and the cry is heard, “Arise, ye dead!” The sepulchres burst open with a terrific noise, the human race issues all at once from the tomb, and the assembled multitudes fill the valley of Jehoshaphat. Behold, the Son of Man appears in the clouds; the powers of hell ascend from the depths of the abyss to witness the last judgment pronounced upon the ages; the goats are separated from the sheep, the wicked are plunged into the gulf, the just ascend triumphantly to heaven, God returns to His repose, and the reign of eternity commences.  15
  Music is the child of prayer, the companion of religion.  16
  Religion assures us that our afflictions shall have an end; she comforts us, she dries our tears, she promises us another life. On the contrary, in the abominable worship of atheism, human woes are the incense, death is the priest, a coffin the altar, and annihilation the Deity.  17
  The Grecian history is a poem, Latin history a picture, modern history a chronicle.  18
  The heart is like the tree that gives balm for the wounds of man only when the iron has pierced it.  19
  There is no religion without mystery. God Himself is the great secret of Nature.  20
 
 
  There is virtue in the look of a great man [after meeting Washington]. I felt myself warmed and refreshed by it during the rest of my life.  21
  We can prostrate ourselves in the dust when we have committed a fault, but it is not best to remain there.  22
  Whence comes the powerful impression that is made upon us by the tomb? Are a few grains of dust deserving of our veneration? Certainly not; we respect the ashes of our ancestors for this reason only—because a secret voice whispers to us that all is not extinguished in them. It is this that confers a sacred character on the funeral ceremony among all the nations of the globe; all are alike persuaded that the sleep, even of the tomb, is not everlasting, and that death is but a glorious transfiguration.  23
 
 
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