John Selden

From Wikiquote
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Wise men say nothing in dangerous times.

John Selden (December 16, 1584 - November 30, 1654) was an English jurist, legal antiquary and oriental scholar.


  • You will want a book which contains not man's thoughts, but God's — not a book that may amuse you, but a book that can save you — not even a book that can instruct you, but a book on which you can venture an eternity — not only a book which can give relief to your spirit, but redemption to your soul — a book which contains salvation, and conveys it to you, one which shall at once be the Saviour's book and the sinner's.
    • as reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 29.

Table Talk (1689)

  • Scrutamini scripturas (Let us look at the scriptures). These two words have undone the world.
    • Bible, Scripture.
  • The House of Commons is called the Lower House, in twenty Acts of Parliament; but what are twenty Acts of Parliament amongst Friends?
    • House of Commons.
  • Old friends are best. King James used to call for his old shoes; they were easiest for his feet.
    • Friends.
  • Humility is a virtue all preach, none practice; and yet everybody is content to hear.
    • Humility.
  • 'Tis not the drinking that is to be blamed, but the excess.
    • Humility.
  • Commonly we say a judgement falls upon a man for something in him we cannot abide.
    • Judgements.
  • Equity is a roguish thing. For Law we have a measure, know what to trust to; Equity is according to the conscience of him that is Chancellor, and as that is larger or narrower, so is Equity. 'T is all one as if they should make the standard for the measure we call a "foot" a Chancellor's foot; what an uncertain measure would this be! One Chancellor has a long foot, another a short foot, a third an indifferent foot. 'T is the same thing in the Chancellor's conscience.
    • Equity.
  • Gentelmen heve ever been more temperate in their religion than common people, as having more reason.
    • "gentelmen".
  • Ignorance of the law excuses no man; not that all men know the law, but because 'tis an excuse every man will plead, and no man can tell how to refute him.
    • Law.
  • The parish makes the constable, and when the constable is made he governs the parish.
    • Law.
  • No man is the wiser for his learning.
    • Learning.
  • Wit and wisdom are born with a man.
    • Learning.
  • Few men make themselves masters of the things they write or speak.
    • Learning.
  • Take a straw and throw it up into the air — you may see by that which way the wind is.
    • Libels.
  • Philosophy is nothing but discretion.
    • Philosophy.
  • Of all actions of a man's life his marriage does least concern other people, yet of all actions of our life 'tis most meddled with by other people.
    • Marriage.
  • Marriage is a desperate thing.
    • Marriage.
  • Thou little thinkest what a little foolery governs the world.
    • Pope. Compare: "Behold, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed", Oxenstiern (1583–1654).
  • They that govern the most make the least noise.
    • Power.
  • Syllables govern the world.
    • Power.
  • Never king dropped out of the clouds.
    • Power.
  • The law against witches does not prove there be any; but it punishes the malice of those people that use such means to take away men's lives.
    • Witches.
  • Never tell your resolution beforehand.
    • Wisdom.
  • Wise men say nothing in dangerous times.
    • Wisdom.
  • Pleasure is nothing else but the intermission of pain.
    • Pleasure.
  • Preachers say, Do as I say, not as I do.
    • Preaching.
  • A king is a thing men have made for their own sakes, for quietness' sake. Just as in a family one man is appointed to buy the meat.
    • Of a King.
Wikipedia has an article about:
Wikisource has original works by or about: