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  • The pulpit only "teaches" to be honest; the market-place "trains" to over-reaching and fraud; and "teaching" has not a tithe of the efficiency of "training". Christ never wrote a "Tract" in his life, but he went about doing good.

  • People seldom improve when they have no other model but themselves to copy after.

  • Indeed a wise and good man will turn examples of all sorts, to his own advantage. The good he will make his patterns, and strive to equal or excel them. The bad he will by all means avoid.
    • Thomas à Kempis The Imitation of Christ book 1 Ch. 25
      • George Stanhope translation

  • None preaches better than the ant, and she says nothing.

  • Men trust their ears less than their eyes.

  • If thou desire to see thy child virtuous, let him not see his father's vices: thou canst not rebuke that in them, that they behold practised in thee; till reason be ripe, examples direct more than precepts: such as thy behaviour is before thy children's faces, such commonly is theirs behind their parents' backs.

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)

Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).
  • The best teachers of humanity are the lives of great men.
    • C. H. Fowler, p. 217.

  • We can do more good by being good than in any other way.

  • No man or woman of the humblest sort can really be strong, gentle, pure, and good, without the world being the better for it, without somebody being helped and comforted by the very existence of that goodness.

  • What you learn from bad habits and in bad society, you will never forget, and it will be a lasting pang to you. I tell you in all sincerity, not as in the excitement of speech, but as I would confess and have confessed before God, I would give my right hand if I could forget that which I have learned in bad society.
    • John B. Gough, p. 217.

  • You cannot undo your acts. If you have depraved another's will, and injured another's soul, it may be in the grace of God that hereafter you will be personally accepted, and the consequence of your guilt inwardly done away; but your penitence cannot undo the evil you have done. The forgiveness of God — the blood of Christ itself — does not undo the past.

  • Though Manasseh repented, his son Amon followed in the footsteps of his father in his wickedness, but not in his righteousness. Children will imitate their fathers in their vices, seldom in their repentance.


  • Example is more forcible than precept. People look at my six days in the week to see what I mean on the seventh.
    • Rev. R. Cecil

  • No reproof or denunciation is so potent as the silent influence of a good example.

  • Advice may be wrong, but examples prove themselves.
    • H. W. Shaw

  • The best teachers of humanity are the lives of great men.