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  • CHARLES SPURGEON - THE SALT-CELLARS -
    PROVERBS & QUAINT SAYINGS -
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    RAGGED colts may make handsome horses.

    But they will need breaking in, and a good. deal of curry-comb.

    Never despair of a boy because he has high spirits. This will sober down into quiet energy.

    Rags are the livery of laziness.

    They may come of blameless poverty, but they seldom do; for the industrious poor patch and mend. Thou barefooted lout!

    Why not cobble and clout?

    Rainbow at night is the shepherd’s delight, Rainbow in the morning gives the shepherd warning.

    These weather signs vary according to the place, and do not apply universally. Other weather prophets foresee rain when — “Last night the sun went pale to bed, The moon in halos hid her head; The boding shepherd heaves a sigh, For see, a rainbow spans the sky!” Rainy days will come; prepare for them.

    Just as bees store honey against the coming of winter. Wise saving is not mean: the best of men may see That rainy day which surely comes to man and bee.

    Rainy days will surely come; Take your friend’s umbrella home.

    We see in the shops” Umbrellas -Recovered.” We should like to recover those we have lent; but to return an umbrella is a lost art. A plain-spoken preacher delivered the following from his desk: “I would announce to the congregation that, probably by mistake, there was left at the meeting-house this morning a small cotton umbrella, much damaged by time and wear, and of an exceeding pale blue color, in place whereof was taken a very large black silk umbrella of great beauty. Blunders of this sort, my brethren, are getting a little too common.” There is nothing so rigidly Catholic as an umbrella, it keeps Lent the year round.

    Raise no more devils than you can lay.

    Do not provoke animosities which you cannot pacify, nor set in motion elements of disorder which you will be unable to control. It is easy to open the cages of wild beasts and let them loose; but who will coax tigers back again?

    Rake not the bottom of an old canal.

    Old quarrels and old charges are best left alone. Raise no unsavory odors. If evil will die, let it die.

    Rank folly is a weed which often grows in the ranks of fashion.

    And elsewhere too. Whether the grass be long or short, this greenstuff is sure to grow. There is a rather rude verse which brings this matter very closely home: — Of fools the world is full, Whom if you would not see, Follow one simple rule, Effectual it will be.

    Alone you must remain, And, as you hate an ass, Excuse my being plain, Quick! Smash your looking-glass.

    Rare birds are sure to be noticed.

    More was at first made of a black swan than of all the royal birds on the Thames. Something eccentric and out of the common soon commands attention; yet wise men value not things by their rarity, but by their real worth.

    Rash presumption is a ladder, which will break the mounter’s neck. Who climbs too high may break his neck:

    Let this thy pert presumption check.

    Rashness is not valor.

    It has for a while led to the same sort of action as that which comes of true courage, but it will not bear the test of time.

    Rather look on the good of evil men than on the evil of good men.

    It is a great thing to have an eye for goodness everywhere; but it is a disease to be always spying out the faults of the truly excellent.

    See most of the least, and least of the worst in your fellows.

    Rather the egg to-day than the hen to-morrow.

    Present advantage is thus set above future gain. This proverb is true, or not true, according to its application.

    Rats play a rare game When cats are too tame.

    If authority does not show its power, the lovers of disorder will play their pranks. Why have we cats if they are afraid of rats?

    Raw leather will stretch.

    There’s a good deal of it in use for making consciences just now. Awkward corners of truth away they will whittle; If their creed does not suit, they will stretch it a little.

    Read men as well as books.

    Or else the most interesting records will be unknown to you. Read man as well as manuscripts. Be not mere book-worms. “The proper study of mankind is man.” Where is wisdom in that sentence of Hobbes, “If I had read as much as other men, I should have been as ignorant.”

    Reading maketh a full man, conversation a ready man, and writing an exact man.

    Ready money has the pick of the market.

    Those whose pay is questionable will have questionable wares sent to them. Nobody is eager to press the best of his goods upon longwinded purchasers.

    Ready money gets the first; Doubtful credit takes the worst.

    Ready money is a wonderful medicine.

    To the estate it is a balm, to the temper a calm, to no wise man a harm. Go thou with money in thy palm, it worketh like a charm.

    Another proverb is: Ready money works great cures.

    Ready money is sweet as honey. so says the tradesman: it enables him to replenish his stock, and turn over his capital. Credit is not creditable to those who have cash. Everybody is glad to get his money; he calls it sugar.

    Ready money is the secret of economy.

    For people who pay know where they are, and are able to regulate their expenses by knowing how the money goes. Besides, they buy better. Yet true is the old proverb, “Ready money will away. Even on cash principles money evaporates very fast.

    Reason governs the wise man, and cudgels the feel.

    The wise obey reason, and so are rightly led; But the feel refuses obedience to common sense, and therefore before long he endures remorse, which is repentance armed with a scourge of thorns and briars. Reason binds the man; but he is never more free than when he yields to its constraint.

    Reason is most reasonable when it leaves off reasoning’ on things above reason.

    This saying of Sir Philip Sydney deserves such frequent quotation as to make it proverbial, if it be not already so. The mysteries of faith are not contrary to reason, But they are so much above and beyond it that they can only be received by faith.

    Reason lies between bridle and spur.

    The medium between reserve and resolve, Between restraint and energy, is hard to hit; but it is the golden mean. Between the Bridle and the spur How very apt we are to err ‘.

    Reason not with the great: ‘Tis a perilous gait.

    It requires much courage to argue with those on whom you are dependent: you may be proving away your bread and butter. Still, if truth requires it, we dare face a parliament of kings.

    Reasoning often banishes reason.

    Argument confuses where men are not anxious after truth. It is easy for reason to throw dust into its own eyes.

    Rebukes ought to have a grain more of sugar than of salt.

    Or else they may be rejected and resented. Yet it is not easy to sugar the pill of reproof. Let us try to do so, for rebuke is sharp enough in itself without the addition of needless severity. Rebuke with soft words and hard arguments.

    Reckless youth makes rueful eld.

    When the sins of youth lie in a man’s bones in his later years, he has bitter cause to mourn his folly; but his mourning cannot remove the consequences of his early faults. Wild oats sown in our young days make an awful harvest in the autumn of life.

    Recklessness soon wrecks an estate.

    Let us therefore act with thoughtfulness, be our estate little or great, for we don’t want it wrecked. Though some men do as do they would, Let the thrifty do as do they should.

    Red Lane needs watching.

    That is to say, we must be careful of what goes down our throat. “Doctor,” said a patient to one of the great hydropathic lights of Malvern, whom ill-health had obliged him to consult, “Do you think that a little spirits, now and then, would hurt me very much?” “Why, no, sir,” said the doctor, deliberately, “I do not know that a little, now and then, would hurt very much; but, sir, if you don’t take any, you won’t be hurt at all.”

    Reform your wife’s husband.

    I mean your children’s father. Try your level best to make your own roof-tree “the Reformer’s Tree in the Home Park.”

    Regard the world with open eye, For sure the blind eat many a fly.

    This is not the world to be blind in. We need all our wits about us, or we shall be killed, cooked, and eaten before we know it. If we escape so dire a fate, still the clouds of flies will half choke us if we do not see them and brush them off.

    Rejoice in little, shun what is extreme:

    A boat floats safest in a little stream.

    Relatives are best with a wall between them.

    Else they take sundry liberties; these liberties are resented, and the fat gets into the fire. Family quarrels arise out of freedoms which are very naturally taken, but are not quite so naturally liked by those upon whom they encroach.

    Religion is the best of armor, and the worst of cloaks.

    As a defense it wards off ten thousand ills; but as a pretense it is the worst form of deceit.

    Religion lies more in walk than in talk.

    People should prefer the “w” to the “t.” Words are all very fine, but character has far more weight in it.

    Remove an old tree, and it will wither and die.

    It is not well to make great changes in old age.

    Remove not the ancient land-marks which thy fathers have set up.

    A curse was solemnly pronounced by the law of Moses on those who did so. (See Deuteronomy 27:17.) Neither openly nor secretly were the boundary stones to be shifted. The old land-marks of truthful doctrine, holy practice, and lawful custom, should be kept in their appointed places. Mark the men who move land-marks, and move yourself away from them.

    Renewed spirits can forego ardent spirits. Raised from the dead I quit my beer; My joys from canted w(h)ines are clear; Made free, I am no brand(i)ed slave; No spirit vault’s my spirit’s grave.

    Rent and taxes never sleep; Up and earn them, lest you weep.

    No three letters are so remunerative to a tradesman as N.R.G. He must use them or run short of L.S.D.

    Repair the gutter, or you’ll have to repair the whole house.

    The wet will run down the walls, or get through the roof, and the damage will be most serious. Remember the stitch in time in connection with every form of business.

    Repentance costs dear.

    That is to say, it is far better to avoid a wrong action than to do it, and have to repent of it. It is a great waste of time and labor to go the wrong road, even if you are happy enough to return from it into the right path. Do not buy repentance at a high rate by rushing into sin.

    Repentance is never too soon.

    It is a blessing that it is never too late, if it be but true. It is the heart’s medicine, and the sooner it deals with the disease of sin the better. To delay repentance is sinful and dangerous.

    Repent, or God will break the thread By which thy doom hangs o’er thy head.

    Report makes crows blacker than they are.

    No doubt an ill story grows, and the worst are made out worse than they really are. They say that even the devil is not so bad as he is painted; but of that we have great doubt.

    Report makes the wolf bigger than he is.

    Thus men are needlessly frightened, and the wolf has all the more chance to worry the sheep. No good comes of exaggeration. Yet the wolves of the present day are able, by their sheeps’ coats, to make themselves out to be no wolves at all; and our great danger is not from undue alarm, but from deadly indifference.

    Reputation is commonly measured by the acre.

    The multitude judge of a man’s worth by what he is worth, and if he has a great estate he must needs be a great man. It is not always for what he has done, but for how much he owns, that a man is considered a man of mark. According to this, the best judge of character is a land-surveyor. Squire Broadacres shall be asked to take the chair at our next public meeting, though he is mute as a mackerel; for he speaks guineas.

    Resist the devil, but flee from lust.

    Fenelon makes Mentor say to his young’ disciple, in the island of Calypso, “Fly, Telemaque, fly! There remains no way of conflict, but by flight.” By this means Joseph conquered. It is the only mode of conquest in this most seductive of conflicts.

    Respect a man, that you may make him respect himself.

    In this way some may be raised out of the gutter. Your generous treatment will make them feel their manhood. Treat them like men, and they will try to live up to your idea of them.

    Respect yourself, or no one else will respect you.

    Play the feel on your own account, and others will play the feel with you. Paul said to Timothy, “ Let no man despise thy youth.”

    Despise it they will if the young man despises it.

    Rest and let rest; bless and be blest.

    Rest, but do not rust.

    Rest in order to future work; and so time and manage the vacation that it shall not make you vacant. When you are called to do nothing, do it heartily. Rest as hard as you can, that you may the sooner get to your work again, and do it better than ever.

    Rest comes from unrest, and unrest from rest.

    When the heart has been troubled for sin, it is driven to repose in Jesus; and, on the other hand, when the soul has for a while rejoiced in peace, it is toe apt to grow carnally secure, and then it falls into distress almost as bitter as at the first.

    Rest is honest when work is finished.

    Then rest is deserved, and so it may be freely enjoyed. “Toiling — rejoicing — sorrowing, Onward through life he goes; Each morning sees some task begun, Each evening sees it close; Something attempted, something done, Has earned a night’s repose.” Longfellow’s “: Village Blacksmith.” Rest is won only by work.

    The lazy man idles away his time, but does not rest: even if he has a holiday, he is restless. The science of rest is quite beyond the reach of the non-worker.

    Rest on the Sabbath, or you will be worse than a slave. “ A Sabbath well spent Brings a week of content, With rest for the toils of the morrow; But a Sabbath profaned, Whate’er may be gained, Is sure to be followed by sorrow.” Revenge is sweet when it avenges injury with love.

    Any other form of revenge is bitter. Revenge of a wrong only makes another wrong. To heap kindness on an enemy is after the manner of God. The sandal-tree, most sacred tree of all, Perfumes the very ax which works its fall.

    Rich enough is he who does not want. “A man contented’s greatly rich, Possessed of e’er so small; But not contented, though most rich, lie poorest is of all.” Rich men have no faults.

    Say, rather, they have no friend kind enough to tell them of their faults. Their spots are covered by their money, in the judgment of those who wish to get something out of them. Yet riches sometimes cause arrogance, and a man with a big purse is apt to grow purse-proud. This sort of bumptiousness is a fault of the most contemptible kind.

    Riches adorn the house, but virtue adorns the man.

    It enters into the very being of the man, and is a beauty of the highest order. Yet Herrick ve ry properly complains — How rich a man is, all desire to know, But none inquire if good he be or no.

    Riches and cares are inseparable.

    The care to get, to keep, to increase, to invest, to transmit: these and innumerable other worms gnaw at the heart which is the slave of wealth. Riches are the shell, and the kernel is care. High stations have, heavy duties. Why long to be burdened with a lump of clay, and a load of care? Isaac Walton says: “Cares that are the keys that keep those riches hang often so heavily at the rich man’s girdle that they clog him with weary days and restless nights, even when others sleep quietly.”

    Riches are not his who gathers them, but his who uses them.

    Why starve yourself to feast an unknown heir?

    Riches are often abused, but never refused.

    Sages decry them and desire them. They say, “Riches rule the roost”; yet all men wish them to roost on their tree. Colton says, “Many speak the truth when they say that they despise riches and preferment; but they mean the riches and preferment possessed by other men.” Riches are unstable; Beauty will decay; But faithful love will ever last Till death drive it away.

    Brooks says, “Riches are like bad servants, whose shoes are made of running leather, and will never tarry long with one master. Love, however, suffereth long, and is kind; and where it fixes its abode it remains till death.” A Scotch proverb says, “Riches are got with pain, kept with care, and lost with grief.” Riches have made more men covetous than covetousness hath made men rich.

    Riches, like manure, do no good till they are spread.

    One wonders how men can and such pleasure in hoarding. Surely it must be as one says, “They are manured to it.” Riches must be spread abroad. Fork them out. Dispurse and disperse. What heaps now lie reeking up offensively to heaven! If generosity does not use them, death will diffuse them.

    Riches take to themselves wings and fly away.

    Do not let yours thus depart. Clip their wings, and send the feathers to the Stockwell Orphanage, to feather the nest of the five hundred orphans. Address, C. H. Spurgeon, “Westwood,” Upper Norwood.

    It is a sweet thought, that while riches may take wings and fly from us, grace takes wings and flies with us to heaven. Hugh Stowell Brown remarks most wisely: “Riches do often make to themselves wings and fly away; and they are not the wings of a goose, that can hardly fly over a hedge; nor the wings of a pigeon, that will return to its dovecote; nor the wings of any common or weakly bird, that might not fly fast, or might drop the prey from its bill; no, they are the wings of an eagle, a rapacious bird, a strong bird, a bird of swift and lofty and untiring flight, a bird not easily shot when flying, not easily reached when in its aerie; there is little hope of recovering what the eagle carries away; and thus riches lost are, as a rule, lost for ever.”

    Riches will ourselves abuse, Unless we rightly learn to use. If we hoard them for ourselves, they are like waters collected in a stagnant pool, breeding all manner of evils; but if by generosity we let them flow abroad they become a fountain of fertility. Wisdom is needed with wealth. The Greeks of old said — “Abundance is a blessing to the wise:

    The use of riches in discretion lies.

    Learn this, ye men of wealth! A heavy purse In a fool’s pocket is a heavy curse.” Ride on, but look before you.

    Go ahead, but know which way you are going, lest you rush to ruin. Keep your eyes in advance of your nose.

    Right, if pulled too tight, turns to wrong.

    Sometimes it is right to waive a right; especially when it would involve hardship to push your claim to an extreme. Rights should fit like bracelets, and not grip like handcuffs.

    Right mixture makes good mortar.

    Due proportion and thorough blending of various graces make up a good character. Also in forming a partnership a wise arrange-merit and a good spirit will secure lasting unity. In marriage a fit blend is almost everything.

    Right wrongs no man.

    He that is the gainer by right makes no man a loser, for no man can lose what is not rightfully his own. Right is right all round.

    Rivers need a spring.

    That they may begin they must have a source: that they may continue they must be supplied from flowing springs. A worthy course of life must have a holy motive to sustain it, Rogues reckon all men rascals.

    They know themselves, and their suppose none to he better than they themselves are. The dog who runs away with stolen meat thinks that every other dog would rob him of it. Men see themselves in other men’s eyes. Innocence is not suspicious; but guilt is always ready to turn informer.

    Rome was not built in a day, but many are building it in the night.

    Yet nobody seems to care. Protestants enter very faint protests, and Rome everywhere finds room enough for growth, Roses fade away:

    Thorns for ever stay.

    This is a hard saying, and by no means true. Our sorrows pass away even as our joys. There is a Rose which never fades, and this takes away the sharpness of the thorns, both in life and death.

    Rotten apples abide no handling.

    When a matter is far gone in the wrong direction, people cannot bear you to mention it. “Let ill alone” is the motto of very many.

    The state of affairs is very bad, therefore you must not stir in it, nor even look at it. Remember who it was in the gospel that said, “Let us alone.”

    Rough nets are not the best bird-catchers.

    And in the case of birds of the human order, the less of roughness the better. He that would win a soul must have a tender heart and a gentle tongue. Who scares the linnet Shall not win it.

    Rub your sore eye with your elbow.

    That is to say, don’t rub it at all. So my father uses to say to me at the dinner table, “Pick your teeth with your elbow “; that is, let them alone when in the company of others.

    Rubs and snubs and drubs make the man.

    They develop the hardier qualities, and prepare the man to bear prosperity should God be pleased to send it. As Kingslely, in his “Ode to the North-East Wind,” says: “‘Tis the hard gray winter Breeds hard Englishmen.” Rue and balm grow in the same garden.

    The sorrow and the succor, the cross and the comfort, are generally joined together Our dangers and delights are near allies:

    From the same stem the rose and prickle rise.

    Rule your children, or you’ll ruin them.

    Unruly children are not happy even as children, and when they grow up they prove a curse to all around. Break them in, or they will break out, and in the end break your hearts. An aged woman, speaking of the days when her children were all young and all around her, said, “I let them be happy, but I aye keepit the crown on my head.” In contrast to this it has been said that this is “the age of obedient parents.”

    Rule your temper, or it will ruin you.

    No danger is greater than that which may come from an ungoverned temper. Better sleep on a bed of dynamite. This is harder for some than for others. “A grove of cactus in the tropics is almost sure to swarm with serpents; and there are natures in which bad passions breed and multiply as if that were the law of their being. It is easy for a man who is free naturally from such pests in look down on the unfortunates, and scourge them with rebukes. ‘ I wish,’ said a certain cool, phlegmatic old gentleman to his neighbor, ‘that you would govern your temper.’ ‘My dear sir,’ was the answer, ‘ I control more temper in five minutes than you do in five years.’” — Dr. Willcox.

    Run! run! Here’s a cockney with a gun.

    You are likely to be shot if you get within range; unless you can keep near the game, so as to be aimed at, in which case you are as safe as the Bank of England.

    Rust consumes more than use wears.

    Leave a knife outdoors sticking in the earth, and it will be eaten up a hundred to one more than if it had been in constant use.

    SAYINGS OF A MORE SPIRITUAL SORT.

    Reason makes us men, grace makes us saints.

    Unaided reason never rises to saintship; and yet there is the highest reason for being saintly.

    Religion without Christ is a lamp without oil. “The foolish took their lamps, but took no oil with them.” Jesus says, “Without me ye can do nothing.”

    Religion without head is fire without wood.

    It runs to superstition and fanaticism; and after blazing with fury, it dies down into ashes, which the wind carries away.

    Religion without heart is a dead formality.

    The heart is the life, the essence, the joy of it; and that gone, all is gone but the mere shell. “The puffing system is an advertisement of hollowness. He whose religion is ever on his lips, has seldom any of that valuable treasure in his heart; it keeps watch, like a liveried porter at his door, but there is nobody at home, and there is nothing to steal; if it were well lodged in his soul, he would not be so afraid of its escape.”

    Remember the shame of sin when tempted by the sweet of sin.

    Repentance looks upon the past with a weeping eye, and upon the future with a watchful eye.

    Repentance must be universal to be effectual.

    Every sin is to be bewailed, and forsaken: one sin reserved will ruin all our hope. One leak will sink a ship; one bullet, in the heart will kill a man; one sin delighted in will ruin a soul. Brooks says, “He that turns not from every sin, turns not aright from any one sin.”

    Resignation is putting God between one’s self and one’s grief.

    Thus one is shielded in the best possible manner. Accept affliction, and the sharpness of it is gone.

    Rest not till you rest in Christ.

    For any rest, short of Christ, is like the deadly pause of Lot’s wife, which sealed her destruction.

    Rest the body and feast the soul, And keep for God the Sabbath whole. Chateaubriand says that during the time of the Revolution, when an attempt was made to substitute decades for Sabbaths, the peasants of France were in the habit of saying, “Our oxen know when Sunday comes, and will not work on that day.”

    Retire, and read thy Bible to be gay.”

    Righteous men believe themselves to be sinners, and sinners believe themselves to be righteous.

    So says Pascal, in his “Pensees”; and his saying is true. The late Dr. did not satisfy, by his preaching, the Calvinistic portion of his flock. “Why, sir,” said they, “we think you dinna tell us enough about renouncing our ain righteousness.” “Renouncing your ain righteousness!” vociferated the doctor, “I never saw any ye had to renounce.”

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