Tryon Edwards

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Tryon Edwards (18091894) was an American theologian, author. and minister of the Second Congregational Church in New London, Connecticut, from 1845 to 1857, after having served in Rochester, New York.

Sourced[edit]

Unless otherwise noted, all quotes in this section are as they appear in A Dictionary of Thoughts: Being a Cyclopedia of Laconic Quotations from the Best Authors of the World, both Ancient and Modern (1908), F. B. Dickerson Company, ed. Tryon Edwards.
  • Accuracy of statement is one of the first elements of truth; inaccuracy is a near kin to falsehood.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 3.
  • Age does not depend upon years, but upon temperament and health. Some men are born old, and some never grow so.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, pp. 11–12.
  • Anecdotes are sometimes the best vehicles of truth, and if striking and appropriate are often more impressive and powerful than argument.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 20.
  • Anxiety is the rust of life, destroying its brightness and weakening its power. – A childlike and abiding trust in Providence is its best preventive and remedy.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 22.
  • Prejudices are rarely overcome by argument; not being founded in reason they cannot be destroyed by logic.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 26.
  • The desires and longings of man are vast as eternity, and they point him to it.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 29.
  • The leaves in autumn do not change color from the blighting touch of frost, but from the process of natural decay. They fall when the fruit is ripened, and their work is done. And their splendid coloring is but their graceful and beautiful surrender of life when they have finished their summer offering of service to God and man. And one of the great lessons the fall of the leaf teaches is this : Do your work well, and then be ready to depart when God shall call.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 33.
  • Have something to say ; say it ; and stop when you’ve done.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 51.
  • Never be so brief as to become obscure.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 52.
  • Between two evils, choose neither; between two goods, choose both.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 68.
  • Compromise is but the sacrifice of one right or good in the hope of retaining another – too often ending in the loss of both.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 80.
  • We never do evil so thoroughly and heartily as when led to it by an honest but perverted, because mistaken, conscience.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 83.
  • Contemplation is to knowledge, what digestion is to food – the way to get life out of it.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 86.
  • Most controversies would soon be ended, if those engaged in them would first accurately define their terms, and then adhere to their definitions.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 88.
  • Credulity is belief on slight evidence, with no evidence, or or against evidence. In this sense it is the infidel, not the believer, who is credulous. 'The simple,' says Solomon, 'believeth every word.'
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 96.
  • This world is the land of the dying ; the next is the land of the living.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 103.
  • Deference is the instinctive respect which we pay to the great and good. The unconcious acknowledgement of the superiority or excellence of others.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 108.
  • Thoughts lead on to purposes ; puposes go forth in actions ; actions form habits ; habits decide character ; and character fixes our destiny.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, pp. 114-115.
  • Deviation from either truth or duty is a downward path, and none can say where the descent will end. – 'He that despiseth small things shall fall by little and little.'
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 115.
  • The great end of education is, to discipline rather than to furnish the mind ; to train it to the use of its own powers, rather than fill it with the accumulation of others.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 134.
  • The first evil choice or act is linked to the second ; and each one to the one that follows, both by the tendency of our evil nature and by the power of habit, which holds us as by a destiny. – As Lessing says, 'Let the devil catch you but by a single hair, and you are his forever.'
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 152.
  • People never improve unless they look to some standard or example higher and better than themselves.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 156.
  • Facts are God’s arguments : we should be careful never to misunderstand or pervert them.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 162.
  • Fables, like parables, are more ancient than formal arguments and are often the most effective means of presenting and impressing both truth and duty.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 162.
  • Science has sometimes been said to be opposed to faith, and inconsistent with it. But all science, in fact, rests on a basis of faith, for it assumes the permanence and uniformity of natural laws – a thing which can never be demonstrated.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 165.
  • Any act often repeated soon forms a habit : and habit allowed, steadily gains in strength. — At first it may be but as the spider’s web, easily broken through, but if not resisted it soon binds us with chains of steel.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 212.
  • Hell is truth seen too late — duty neglected in its season.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 225.
  • True humility is not an abject, groveling, self-despising spirit ; it is but a right estimate of ourselves as God sees us.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 236.
  • There is often as much independence in not being led, as in not being driven.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 253.
  • Some men are born old, and some never seem so. If we keep well and cheerful we are always young, and at last die in youth, even when years would count us old.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 385.
  • Sinful and forbidden pleasures are like poisoned bread ; they may satisfy appetite for the moment, but there is death in them at the end.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 416.
  • He that is possessed with a prejudice is possessed with a devil, and one of the worst kind of devils, for it shuts out the truth, and often leads to ruinous error.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 438.
  • The prejudiced and obstinate man does not so much hold opinions, as his opinions hold him.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 438.
  • Preventives of evil are far better than remedies ; cheaper and easier of application, and surer in result.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 442.
  • Sense, brevity and point are the elements of a good proverb.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 452.
  • The certainty of punishment, even more than its severity, is the preventive of crime.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 456.
  • Always have a book at hand, in the parlor, on the table, for the family ; a book of condensed thought and striking anecdote, of sound maxims and truthful apothegms. It will impress on your own mind a thousand valuable suggestions, and teach your children a thousand lessons of truth and duty. Such a book is a casket of jewels for your household.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 464.
  • We should be as careful of the books we read, as of the company we keep. The dead very often have more power than the living.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 465.
  • Right actions for the future are the best apologies for wrong ones in the past – the best evidence of regret for them that we can offer, or the world receive.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 483.
  • Sin with the multitude, and your responsibility and guilt are as great and as truly personal, as if you alone had done the wrong.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 489.
  • Ridicule may be the evidence of wit or bitterness and may gratify a little mind, or an ungenerous temper, but it is no test of reason or truth.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 497.
  • It has been said that science is opposed to, and in conflict with revelation. But the history of the former shows that the greater its progress, and the more accurate its investigations and results, the more plainly it is seen not only not to clash with the latter, but in all things to confirm it. The very sciences from which objections have been brought against religion have, by their own progress, removed those objections, and in the end furnished full confirmation of the inspired Word of God.”
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 506.
  • He is one of the noblest conquerors who carries on a successful warfare against his own appetites and passions, and has them under wise and full control.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 512.
  • The first step to improvement, whether mental, moral, or religious, is to know ourselves – our weaknesses, errors, deficiencies, and sins, that, by divine grace, we may overcome and turn from them all.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 517.
  • Whatever the place allocated us by providence, that is for us the post of honor and duty. – God estimates us not by the position we are in, but by the way in which we fill it.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 545; also reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 203.
  • The highest attainment, as well as enjoyment of the spiritual life, is to be able at all times and in all things to say, 'Thy will be done.'
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 550.
  • Thoroughly to teach another is the best way to learn for yourself.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 562.
  • Temperance is to the body what religion is to the soul, the foundation and source of health and strength and peace.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 567.
  • If rich men would remember that shrouds have no pockets, they would, while living, share their wealth with their children, and give for the good of others, and so know the highest pleasure that wealth can give.
    • A Dictionary of Thoughts, p. 623.


Misattributed[edit]

  • Anxiety is the poison of human life ; the parent of many sins and of more miseries. – In a world where everything is doubtful, and where we may be disappointed, and be blessed in disappointment, why this restless stir and commotion of mind? – Can it alter the cause, or unravel the mystery of human events?
    • Misattributed to Tryon Edwards by a number of websites, thinkexist.com and quoteland.com among others. This quote does appear on p. 23 of Edwards' compilation, A Dictionary of Thoughts; however, it is clearly identified there as a quote by Hugh Blair, the Scottish author and preacher.
    • A genuine Tryon Edwards quote on the subject of anxiety appears above in the Sourced section ( from p. 22 of A Dictionary of Thoughts. )

External links[edit]

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