"Be not too hasty to trust or admire the teachers of morality;
they discourse like angels but they live like men."
by:
Dr. Samuel Johnson
(1709-1784) English author, poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer
Source:
Rasselas, 1759
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- Joe, Rochester, MI      
This is excellant
 -- chris woods, El Paso, tx     
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    "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     
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    Ron, I smile, said well. Historical morality continues, no matter what the teachers preach.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    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     
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    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     
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    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     
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     -- 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     
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    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     
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     -- 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     
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    Didn't know Wallace Stevens was from Austin!
     -- Zo Raster, Austin by God Texas     
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    The nobility of a truly Noble message far transcends the mortal limitations of its messenger.

    As the Apostle Paul expressed it:

    " But we have this Treasure in earthen vessels ..."

    ~ 2 Corinthians 4:7
     -- Patrick Henry, Red Hill     
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     -- jim k, austin      
    Dr. Johnson, a very faithful man, very gifted, endured many hardships in his life. Sleeping on the streets at times, brought to low estate. Seeing the hypocrisy of the local clergy as they truly lived. Saying one thing and doing another. That would make up to a great degree, the tyrannical influence of a Threskeia religion upon the thrown of England. Seeking to distance ourselves from such hypocrisy, and tyranny, walls of separation among secs concerning the Liberty of the individual had to be eliminated. America became the perfect launching point for such an experiment. Not caring if one danced, drank, smoked, or played cards, or the foods they ate or did not, had to be removed from the table of discussion. Ones personal liberty to be governed by moderation and responsibility. Yes good conscience is in the room, of which the apostle Paul spoke a great deal, honesty was and is paramount when being a messenger for the Highest Authority. Interestingly enough, the 13th apostle, the meanest, baddest, attorney, the Chief sinner, became next in line as the greatest rebel and a pattern to all there after, who would believe this message of Liberty and Freedom from oppression. The message of salvation. In this life and also in that which is to come. Saul, a Hebrew name was changed to Paul ( watch makers term ) a gentile name. Acts 13. saved by grace through faith, the Grace of God, and the Faith of Christ ( propitiation in the blood ) a free gift to all of humanity extending to the ends of the world. As Paul states he was Not called, or elected according to his works. Being given the power of edification of liberty and not the destruction thereof. All became guilty that mercy might be given to all. Very circumspect. The power of sovereignty projected upon Paul by the Creator, ( A New Creature ) to deliver a very special message of good things, giving hope to the oppressed. Preach what you live is required as also to maintain good works, ( not for salvation ) but, for those At Liberty, that the ministry be not evil spoken of. Liberty is a responsibility, for All are subject to the laws of our Creator's nature.
     -- Ronw13, OR     
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    My favorite quote, also used by Hunter S. Thompson: "I wonder, Madam," replied the Doctor, "that you have not penetration to see the strong inducement to this excess; for he who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man."
     -- L. Hanson, Edmonton, AB     
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    That is why we can not let men define morality. The minute we do we are on the road to anarchy, which will result in a totalitarian dictatorship.
     -- warren, olathe     
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