Thomas Fuller

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For the author of Gnomologia, see Thomas Fuller (physician)
Do not in an instant what an age cannot recompence.

Thomas Fuller (baptized 19 June 160816 August 1661) was an English preacher, historian, and scholar.


A fox should not be of the jury at a goose's trial.
He knows little who will tell his wife all he knows.
  • A fox should not be of the jury at a goose's trial.
    • Proverbs (1732), p. 116
  • Though blood be the best sauce for victory, yet must it not be more than the meat.
    • The History of the Holy War (1639), Book I, Ch. 24
  • Drawing near her death, she sent most pious thoughts as harbingers to heaven; and her soul saw a glimpse of happiness through the chinks of her sickness-broken body.
    • Life of Monica (1642)
  • He was one of a lean body and visage, as if his eager soul, biting for anger at the clog of his body, desired to fret a passage through it.
    • Life of the Duke of Alva (1642). Compare: "A fiery soul, which, working out its way, Fretted the pigmy-body to decay, And o'er-inform'd the tenement of clay", John Dryden, Absalom and Achitophel, part i. line 156
  • Thus, as it is always darkest just before the day dawneth, so God useth to visit His servants with greatest afflictions when he intendeth their speedy advancement.
    • A Pisgah Sight of Palestine (1650), Book II, ch. XI
  • Miracles are the swaddling-clothes of infant churches.
  • There is a great difference between painting a face and not washing it.
    • Church History, Book VII, Section 32
  • Often the cockloft is empty in those whom Nature hath built many stories high.
    • Andronicus, or the Unfortunate Politician (1646), Sect. vi. Par. 18, 1. Compare: "My Lord St. Albans said that Nature did never put her precious jewels into a garret four stories high, and therefore that exceeding tall men had ever very empty heads", Francis Bacon, Apothegms, No. 17
  • By the same proportion that a penny saved is a penny gained, the preserver of books is a Mate for the Compiler of them.
    • The History of the Worthies of England (1662) ; Worthies of Huntingtonshire – John Yong
  • Many favors which God giveth us ravel out for want of hemming, through our own unthankfulness; for though prayer purchaseth blessings, giving praise doth keep the quiet possession of them.
    • Reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 579
  • Music is nothing else but wild sounds civilised into time and tune.
    • The History of the Worthies of England (1662): Musicians

The Holy State and the Profane State (1642)

To be angry for every toy debases the worth of thy anger; for he who will be angry for any thing, will be angry for nothing.
  • He knows little who will tell his wife all he knows.
    • The Good Husband
  • She commandeth her husband, in any equal matter, by constant obeying him.
    • The Good Wife
  • [T]hey which play with the devils rattles, will be brought by degrees to wield his sword[.]
    • The Witch
  • One that will not plead that cause wherein his tongue must be confuted by his conscience.
    • The Good Advocate
  • A little skill in antiquity inclines a man to Popery; but depth in that study brings him about again to our religion.
    • The True Church Antiquary; compareable to: "A little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion", Francis Bacon, Of Atheism.
  • But our captain counts the image of God — nevertheless his image — cut in ebony as if done in ivory, and in the blackest Moors he sees the representation of the King of Heaven.
    • The Good Sea-Captain
  • To smell to a turf of fresh earth is wholesome for the body; no less are thoughts of mortality cordial to the soul.
    • The Virtuous Lady
  • Light, God's eldest daughter, is a principal beauty in a building.
    • Of Building
  • The lion is not so fierce as painted.
    • Of Preferment. Compare: "is bark is worse than his bite", George Herbert, Jacula Prudentum
  • Their heads sometimes so little that there is no room for wit; sometimes so long that there is no wit for so much room.
    • Of Natural Fools
  • The Pyramids themselves, doting with age, have forgotten the names of their founders.
    • Of Tombs
  • Learning hath gained most by those books by which the printers have lost.
    • Of Books
  • Deceive not thyself by overexpecting happiness in the married estate. Remember the nightingales which sing only some months in the spring, but commonly are silent when they have hatched their eggs.
    • Of Marriage
  • They that marry ancient people, merely in expectation to bury them, hang themselves in hope that one will come and cut the halter.
    • Of Marriage
  • Fame sometimes hath created something of nothing.
    • Of Fame
  • Anger is one of the sinews of the soul; he that wants it hath a maimed mind, and with Jacob sinew-shrunk in the hollow of his thigh must needs halt. Nor is it good to converse with such as cannot be angry, and with the Caspian sea never ebbe nor flow. This Anger is either Heavenly, when one is of∣fended for God: or Hellish, when offended with God and Goodnes: or Earthly, in temporal matters. Which Earthly Anger (whereof we treat) may also be Hellish, if for no cause, no great cause, too hot, or too long.
    • Of Anger
  • Be not angry with any without a cause. If thou beest, thou must not onely, as the Proverb saith, be appeas'd with∣out amends (having neither cost nor damage given thee) but, as our Saviour saith, be in danger of the judgement.
    • Of Anger
  • Be not mortally angry with any for a venial fault. He will make a strange combustion in the state of his soul, who at the landing of every cockboat sets the beacons on fire. To be angry for every toy debases the worth of thy anger; for he who will be angry for any thing, will be angry for nothing.
    • Of Anger
  • Let not thy anger be so hot, but that the most torrid zone thereof may be habitable. Fright not people from thy pre∣sence with the terrour of thy intolerable impatience. Some men, like a tiled house, are long before they take fire, but once on flame there is no coming near to quench them.
    • Of Anger
  • Take heed of doing irrevocable acts in thy passion, As the revealing of secrets, which makes thee a bankrupt for society ever after: neither do such things which done once are done for ever, so that no bemoaning can amend them. Sampsons hair grew again, but not his eyes: Time may restore some losses, others are never to be repaird. Wherefore in thy rage make no Persian decree which cannot be revers'd or repeald; but rather Polonian laws which (they say) last but three dayes: Do not in an instant what an age cannot recompence.
    • Of Anger
  • Heat of passion makes our souls to chap, and the devil creeps in at the crannies.
    • Of Anger
  • Scoff not at the natural defects of any which are not in their power to amend. Oh 't is cruelty to beat a cripple with his own crutches.
    • Of Jesting

Good Thoughts in Bad Times; And Good Thoughts in Worse Times

  • LORD

WHAT faults I correct in my son, I commit myself: I beat him for dabbling in the dirt, whilst my own soul doth wallow in sin: I beat him for crying to cut his meat yet am not myself contented with that state thy Providence hath carved unto me: I beat him for crying when he is to go to sleep, and yet I fear I myself shall cry, when thou callest me to sleep with my fathers. Alas! I am more childish than my child, and what I inflict on him, I justly deserve to receive from thee - only here is the difference: I pray and desire that my correction on my child may do him good; it is in thy power Lord, to effect, that thy correction on me shall do me good.

  • LORD

How near was I to danger, yet escaped! I was upon the brink of the brink of it yet fell not in; they are well kept who are kept by thee. Excellent Archer! thou didst hit the mark in missing it, as meaning to fright not hurt me. Let me not now be such a fool, as to pay my thanks to blind fortune for a favor, which the eye of Providence hath bestowed upon me. Rather let the narrowness of my escape make my thankfulness to thy goodness the larger, lest my ingratitude justly cause, that whereas this arrow but hit my hat, the next pierce my head.

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