"The New Testament is remarkable for its pure morality; the best of the Hindoo Scripture, for its pure intellectuality. The readeris nowhere raised into and sustained in a higher, purer, or rarer region of thought than in the Bhagvat-Geeta.... It is unquestionably one of the noblest and most sacred scriptures which have come down to us."
"The New Testament is an invaluable book, though I confess to having been slightly prejudiced against it in my very early days by the church and the Sabbath-school, so that it seemed, before I read it, to be the yellowest book in the catalogue. Yet I early escaped from their meshes. It is hard to get the commentaries out of one's head and taste its true flavor.... It would be a poor story to be prejudiced against the Life of Christ because the book has been edited by Christians. In fact, I love this book rarely, though it is a sort of castle in the air to me, which I am permitted to dream."
"A healthy man, with steady employment, as wood-chopping at fifty cents a cord, and a camp in the woods, will not be a good subjectfor Christianity. The New Testament may be a choice book to him on some, but not on all or most of his days. He will rather go a-fishing in his leisure hours. The Apostles, though they were fishers too, were of the solemn race of sea-fishers, and never trolled for pickerel on inland streams."
"We know of no scripture which records the pure benignity of the gods on a New England winter night. Their praises have never beensung, only their wrath deprecated. The best scripture, after all, records but a meagre faith. Its saints live reserved and austere. Let a brave, devout man spend the year in the woods of Maine or Labrador, and see if the Hebrew Scriptures speak adequately to his condition and experience."
"For eighteen hundred years, though perchance I have no right to say it, the New Testament has been written; yet where is the legislator who has wisdom and practical talent enough to avail himself of the light which it sheds on the science of legislation?"
"Is it not singular that, while the religious world is gradually picking to pieces its old testaments, here are some coming slowlyafter, on the seashore, picking up the durable relics of perhaps older books, and putting them together again?"
"The newspaper is a Bible which we read every morning and every afternoon, standing and sitting, riding and walking. It is a Biblewhich every man carries in his pocket, which lies on every table and counter, and which the mail, and thousands of missionaries, are continually dispersing. It is, in short, the only book which America has printed, and which America reads. So wide is its influence."
"He has the earnestness of a prophet. In an age of pedantry and dilettantism, he has no grain of these in his composition. There isnowhere else, surely, in recent readable English, or other books, such direct and effectual teaching, reproving, encouraging, stimulating, earnestly, vehemently, almost like Mahomet, like Luther.... His writings are a gospel to the young of this generation; they will hear his manly, brotherly speech with responsive joy, and press forward to older or newer gospels."
"But it is fit that the Past should be dark; though the darkness is not so much a quality of the past as of tradition. It is not adistance of time, but a distance of relation, which makes thus dusky its memorials. What is near to the heart of this generation is fair and bright still. Greece lies outspread fair and sunshiny in floods of light, for there is the sun and daylight in her literature and art. Homer does not allow us to forget that the sun shone,--nor Phidias, nor the Parthenon."
"There is a sort of homely truth and naturalness in some books which is very rare to find, and yet looks cheap enough. There may benothing lofty in the sentiment, or fine in the expression, but it is careless country talk. Homeliness is almost as great a merit in a book as in a house, if the reader would abide there. It is next to beauty, and a very high art. Some have this merit only."