"Be not too hasty to trust or admire the teachers of morality;
they discourse like angels but they live like men."
Rasselas, 1759
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- Joe, Rochester, MI      
This is excellant
 -- chris woods, El Paso, tx     
    "So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world's brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Gentiles, who seek human wisdom. So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it's all nonsense." the Apostle Paul.
     -- Ron Forberg, Decatur, GA     
    Ron, I smile, said well. Historical morality continues, no matter what the teachers preach.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Brilliant! without a being the practice of morality is impossible. It can't be that foolish if we are being saved, and from what. Why bring God into this statement - the word Angels is used only to get the point across to the believers. What absolute rubbish - bring a child into the world void of all human contact and tell me the child will grown up knowing morality. Sad we are still living in the dark ages.
     -- RobertSRQ     
    Funny -- no sooner than a statement like this is made, the preachers chime in to prove the quote right. In other words, beware those who dare to say 'God said this' and 'God said that' for they are just as likely deceived as those they think they are 'saving.' I prefer the honesty of a guy who says, 'hey, I am a sinner, I cannot be trusted, so watch your wallet' rather than an evangelist professing the dangers of disbelieving him. If we all are sinners in need of saving, then I suggest we mind our own business and admit we don't know squat.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    Archer, good, your on a roll... Its funny too, whenever a car cuts infront of me there's usually a fish on the boot/trunk
     -- RobertSRQ     
     -- warren, olathe      
     -- Paula, Grand Rapids, MI      
    "They live like men" is perhaps the central point of Johnson's quote, not so much that they speak like angels. It does however, beg the question, is there something wrong with living like a man? Certainly some men lead more moral lives than others, but I don't care for Johnson's implication that simply living like a man is inherently inferior to speaking like an angel.
     -- A.Woods, Gloucester     
    What he's saying is, "Beware of articulate hyocrisy." In this election year (2008) that is especially true--but we have had many examples in every year we've lived through. And yet, people still don't seem to learn to see beyond the words to the actions. Will people ever learn?
     -- Don, Cheney, WA     
     -- alginon thrapeworthy, minesota      
    Poetry is the supreme fiction, madame.
    Take the moral law and make a nave of it
    And from the nave build haunted heaven. Thus,
    The conscience is converted into palms,
    Like windy citherns hankering for hymns.
    We agree in principle. That's clear. But take
    The opposing law and make a peristyle,
    And from the peristyle project a masque
    Beyond the planets. Thus, our bawdiness,
    Unpurged by epitaph, indulged at last,
    Is equally converted into palms,
    Squiggling like saxophones. And palm for palm,
    Madame, we are where we began. Allow,
    Therefore, that in the planetary scene
    Your disaffected flagellants, well-stuffed,
    Smacking their muzzy bellies in parade,
    Proud of such novelties of the sublime,
    Such tink and tank and tunk-a-tunk-tunk,
    May, merely may, madame, whip from themselves
    A jovial hullabaloo among the spheres.
    This will make widows wince. But fictive things
    Wink as they will. Wink most when widows wince.
     -- W, Stevens, Austin     
    Didn't know Wallace Stevens was from Austin!
     -- Zo Raster, Austin by God Texas     
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