But I personally find Chesterton's philosophy quite difficult to comprehend (although some of which I can appreciate to be deeply profound) and his poetic writing style is quite different from our modern-day writing.
But anyhow, below are some of the quotes which I like very much:
- To let no bird fly past unnoticed, to spell patiently the stones and weeds, to have the mind a storehouse of sunsets, requires a discipline in pleasure and an education in gratitude
- As an old-fashioned person, who still believes that Reason is a gift of God and a guide to truth, I must confine myself to saying that I do not want a God whom I have made, but a God who has made met
- The devil can quote Scripture for his purpose; and the text of Scripture which he now most commonly quotes is, “The Kingdom of heaven is within you.” That text has been the stay and support of more Pharisees and prigs and self-righteous spiritual bullies than all the dogmas in creation; it has served to identify self-satisfaction with the peace that passes all understanding.
- As we have taken the circle as the symbol of reason and madness, we may very well take the cross as the symbol at once of mystery and of health. Buddhism is centripetal, but Christianity is centrifugal: it breaks out. For the circle is perfect and infinite in its nature; but it is fixed for ever in its size; it can never be larger or smaller. But the cross, though it has at its heart a collision and a contradiction, can extend its four arms for ever without altering its shape. Because it has a paradox in its centre it can grow without changing. The circle returns upon itself and is bound. The cross opens its arms to the four winds; it is a signpost for free travellers
- Here am only trying to describe the enormous emotions which cannot be described. And the strongest emotion was that life was as precious as it was puzzling. It was an ecstasy because it was an adventure; it was an adventure because it was an opportunity. The goodness of the fairy tale was not affected by the fact that there might be more dragons than princesses; it was good to be in a fairy tale. The test of all happiness is gratitude; and I felt grateful, though I hardly knew to whom. Children are grateful when Santa Claus puts in their stockings gifts of toys or sweets. Could I not be grateful to Santa Claus when he put in my stockings the gift of two miraculous legs? We thank people for birthday presents of cigars and slippers. Can I thank no one for the birthday present of birth?
- ...the paradox of Christianity; that we can only really understand all myths when we know that one of them is true
- It is always simple to fall; there are an infinity of angles at which one falls, only one at which one stands
- But charity means pardoning what is unpardonable, or it is no virtue at all. Hope means hoping when things are hopeless, or it is no virtue at all. And faith means believing the incredible, or it is no virtue at all
- Nothing short of the extreme and strong and startling doctrine of the divinity of Christ will give that particular effect that can truly stir the popular sense like a trumpet; the idea, of the king himself serving in the ranks like a common soldier. By making that figure merely human we make that story much less human. We take away the point of the story which actually pierces humanity; the point of the story which is quite literally the point of a spear
- We must hate the world enough to want to change it, and yet love the world enough to think it worth changing
- And the more I considered Christianity, the more I found that while it had established a rule and order, the chief aim of that order was to give room for good things to run wild
- It is the highest and holiest of the paradoxes that the man who really knows he cannot pay his debt will be forever paying it. He will be forever giving back what he cannot give back, and cannot be expected to give back
- You can only find truth with logic if you have already found truth without it.
- Poetry is sane because it floats easily in an infinite sea; reason seeks to cross the infinite sea, and so make it finite. The result is mental exhaustion.... To accept everything is an exercise, to understand everything a strain. The poet only desires exaltation and expansion. The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head -- and it is his head that splits.
- Man has always lost his way. He has been a tramp ever since Eden; but he always knew, or thought he knew, what he was looking for. . . But in the bleak and blinding hail of skepticism to which he has been now so long subjected, he has begun for the first time to be chilled, not merely in his hopes, but in his desires. For the first time in history he begins really to doubt the object of his wanderings on earth. He has always lost his way; but now he has lost his address
- The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people
- A man who has faith must be prepared not only to be a martyr, but to be a fool.
- Don't ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up
- The command of Christ is impossible, but it is not insane; it is rather sanity preached to a planet of lunatics
- Truth, of course, must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for we have made fiction to suit ourselves
- When Christ at a symbolic moment was establishing His great society, He chose for its corner-stone neither the brilliant Paul nor the mystic John, but a shuffler, a snob, a coward - in a word, a man
- Until we realize that things might not be, we cannot realize that things are. Until we see the background of darkness we cannot admire the light as a single and created thing. As soon as we have seen the darkness, all light is lightening, sudden, blinding, and divine.
- Humility was largely meant as a restraint upon the arrogance and infinity of the appetite of man. He was always outstripping his mercies with his own newly invented needs. His very power of enjoyment destroyed half his joys. By asking for pleasure, he lost the chief pleasure; for the chief pleasure is surprise. Hence it became evident that if a man would make his world large, he must be always making himself small. Even the haughty visions, the tall cities, and the toppling pinnacles are the creations of humility. Giants that tread down forests like grass are the creations of humility. Towers that vanish upwards above the loneliest star are the creations of humility. For towers are not tall unless we look up at them; and giants are not giants unless they are larger than we. All this gigantesque imagination, which is, perhaps, the mightiest of the pleasures of man, is at bottom entirely humble. It is impossible without humility to enjoy anything-- even pride
- All men are ordinary men; the extraordinary men are those who know it
- One is the paradox of hope or faith – that the more hopeless is the situation the more hopeful must be the man
- Christianity is always out of fashion because it is always sane; and all fashions are mild insanities
- There is a great man who makes every man feel small. But the real great man is the man who makes every man feel great.
(Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this e-book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”)
Other quotes by G.K. Chesterton found in the internet:
“Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”
“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”
“I am not absentminded. It is the presence of mind that makes me unaware of everything else.”
“The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost.”
“There are no uninteresting things, only uninterested people.”
“There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.”
“There is the great lesson of 'Beauty and the Beast,' that a thing must be loved before it is lovable.”
“To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.”
“If there were no God, there would be no atheists.”
“The word "good" has many meanings. For example, if a man were to shoot his grandmother at a range of five hundred yards, I should call him a good shot, but not necessarily a good man.”
“Dear Sir: Regarding your article 'What's Wrong with the World?' I am. Yours truly,”
“Love is not blind; that is the last thing that it is. Love is bound; and the more it is bound the less it is blind.”
“A dead thing goes with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.”
“We fear men so much, because we fear God so little. One fear cures another. When man's terror scares you, turn your thoughts to the wrath of God.”