Habit with him has all the test of truth;
"It must be right--I've done it from my youth."
This stands for argument with many. What they have done they will do; as if continuance in evil produced an excuse for it, whereas it aggravates the wrong exceedingly. Is a Thug justified in murder because he has always done so?
Habits are soon assumed; but when we strive
To strip them off, 'tis being flayed alive.
At first, a bad habit is a spider's web, then a net of thread, next a bond of rope, and soon a fetter of steel. Cease from an evil habit before it holds you like an octopus.
Hair by hair old heads grow bare.
Decline is gradual, and therefore sometimes it is unnoticed. It may be thus with us spiritually: "Grey hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not."--Hosea vii. 9.
Half an acre is better than no land.
Especially half an acre in the City of London.
Half an hour's hanging is quite long enough.
One could be content with much less than that.
Half doing is many a man's undoing.
Those fellows who never really finish anything are regarded as being only half-baked themselves, and no man cares to hire them.
Half-heart is no heart.
To be half inclined is to be disinclined; to be half persuaded is to be unpersuaded; to be half-hearted in a matter is to have no heart at all for it.
Half the world's mischief, folly, and woe,
Comes from a "Yes," which ought to be "No".
One of the first words a young man should learn to say is "No." It ought to be as easy to say "No" to a man as to say "Boo" to a goose, but it is not; and so the young fellow is led by the nose, and to ruin he goes.
Handle your tools without mittens.
Dainty gentility spoils people for labour. Preachers in gloves remind us of the saying, "Cats in gloves catch no mice."
Hands are many, but heads are few.
The thinkers are still in the minority. Plenty of bellows, but where are the brains? Pimples everywhere, but few capacious sense-boxes.
Handsome apples are sometimes sour.
Pretty women may have very bad tempers.
Handsome is that handsome does.
"Now, my pretty gentleman!" as the gipsy says, mind you behave handsomely.
Happy is he that is happy in his children.
John wrote, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." It is a choice mercy, a crowning mercy.
Hard of feeling is worse than hard of hearing.
We can buy the deaf man a horn, but the unfeeling man has a horny heart already. None are so deaf as those who refuse to hear in the heart. Hard rocks need hard hammers. Hence the heavy blows which God deals with his law and with afflictions, so as to break stubborn hearts.
Hard with hard builds no houses; soft binds hard.
Mortar is wanted as well as stone, and love must be mixed with with our firmness. Two strong-minded persons have need of a great deal of love to keep them together.
Hard words often come from soft heads.
Very generally this is true; and yet certain very hard-headed men can speak bullets.
Hard work wins soft rest: sweat earns sweet.
He that has earned rest shall have it: but he who never works does not know what rest means.
No restful age shall come to me
Unless in youth I've industry.
Hares and cares start up unawares.
But if the cares ran away as fast as the hares we need not mind them.
Hares are not caught with drums.
It remains to be seen whether men will be won to religion by brass bands. In other matters, timid people are rather repelled than won over by loud argument.
Harm watch, harm catch.
Look for evil, and it comes; and the same with good.
Harry Heartless will make a bad husband.
Better let him remain a bachelor.
Hast thou a soft heart? It is of God's breaking.
Hast thou a sweet wife? She is of God's making.
Haste trips up its own heels.
Hasty climbers have sudden falls.
"Up like a rocket, and down like a stick," is often verified. It is a good thing for a man to endure difficulty and opposition when rising in life, for such an experience gives permanence to character.
Hasty questions should have slow answers.
Perhaps no reply at all would be better. Two hasty persons going at it, hammer and tongs, make great mirth for the devil.
Hat in hand goes through the land.
Politeness, courtesy, obligingness clear many a man's path.
Haughty looks are naughty looks.
Have a deaf ear for hasty words.
It will serve your turn better than quick hearing, for that might provoke you. Let rash and foolish language go in at one ear and out at the other, and let nothing wrong remain on the memory.
Have a hand to give, and a heart to forgive.
Have a mind before you speak your mind.
Some blunder out whatever comes first, and then they feel bound to stick to it through thick and thin. If they only thought wisely at the first, they might save themselves and others a world of trouble.
Have an open ear and a closed mouth.
Hear, see, and say nothing, and live in peace.
Have four and spend five;
Be poor and never thrive.
Have more than thou showest,
Speak less than thou knowest,
Spend less than thou owest.
Have no faith in a man who has no faith.
If he does not believe in God, do not believe in him.
Have not a mouth for every matter.
Leave things alone which are no business of yours, and which you do not understand.
Have not thou such friends abroad
Thou couldst not welcome to thy board.
If a man ought not to be introduced to your wife and daughters, he is not likely to be of much benefit to yon or your reputation.
Have not thy cloak to make when it begins to rain.
Have peace with men, but war with sin.
A good distinction; hate the sin, but love the sinner.
Have the potatoes and bacon done,
And nice white cloth as the clock strikes one.
The meals nicely cooked keep the husband in humour, and prevent his seeking the public-house and its temptations.
Have thy distaff ready, and God will send thee flax.
Be prepared to do your work, and work will come sooner or later. Don't so much look for a position as for fitness to fill it.
Have you a good master?
Stick to him the faster.
Don't impose on his good nature; but the more kind he is, the more be you worthy of such kindness. Alas! the British workman is too much like the man in the story, who said, "My master is so good, that I cannot do too much for him; and I don't mean to try."
He begins to grow bad who thinks himself good.
Pride is growing up in his heart; and what is worse than that?
He boiled four eggs for himself, and gave the poor the broth.
It is wonderful what worthless rubbish some people will give away. The man in our proverb is like that other benefactor in the epigram--
"Ancho is charitable, all must own,
He steals a ham, and gives the poor the bone."
He cannot speak well who cannot hold his tongue.
He lacks power over himself; and this is fatal to the success of an orator. No man can be called a good driver, who cannot hold his horse in when the time comes.
He deserves no sweets who will taste no sours.
We must take things as they come. He ought not to eat who must needs have all the fat, or all the lean. In no country can a man have all fine weather. In no form of life will all things happen to our mind.
He does much who does a little well.
He doeth much who loveth much.
Love to God is the mainspring of activity, and sets a man doing much. Even when the good work is apparently little, the abundance of love which is in it makes it much in the sight of God.
"He doeth well who doeth good
To those of his own brotherhood;
He doeth better who doth bless
The stranger in his wretchedness :
Yet best, yea, best of all, doth he
Who helps a fallen enemy!"
He drinketh wine; his nose will shine.
He enjoys much who is thankful for a little.
He fawned on me, and then bit my heel.
It is the nature of curs to curry favour with you, and then curse you. Curs occur to most men.
He fishes on who catches one.
The smallest success keeps him at his sport. We have seen anglers who have gone on day after day, though they caught nothing. One of them said he had been by the water three days, and had only one bite. To the remark, "I How can you keep on?" he answered, "You get to like it, and feel as if you must keep on even when you get nothing." It would be well if fishers of men had always the same constraining love for their work.
He has a nose of noses,
And sniffs more things than roses.
Some are great discerners of spirits, and live by finding out what nobody else suspected. They have no nose for virtue, lavender, and other sweet things; but at Stinker's Reach they feel at home, for there they are able to enjoy the sensation of shouting "Horrible! Abominable! Enough to poison a fox!" Never at ease till they cannot bear it any longer; their superior nose of discernment is the organ of misery to them.
He has bad food who feeds on others' faults.
Yet to some the faults of others are a sweetmeat. A dish of scandal is very savoury to gossips. Only a foul bird will feast on carrion; but such foul birds go in flocks.
He has found a mare's nest, and is laughing at the eggs.
Spoken of one who has found something very ludicrous where he expected a great discovery. The case often occurs.
He has most who wants least.
He has much to do who would please everybody.
Yes: he has more to do than he will ever accomplish. Who can serve a hundred masters?
"Suit every one? You never will!
That's settled any minute;
The task is far beyond your skill,
So never you begin it.
Whate'er the world says, Never mind!
Go on, your duty doing;
On every side there's some fresh kind
Of gossip ever brewing."
He has not a penny, but yet he boasts his pedigree.
He talks about Lord Donomore and Lady All-spent. If his gentility were put up to auction, it would not bring him in a pennyworth of cabbages. Yet see how high he holds his head. He is a horse of pedigree with three game legs, and broken wind.
He has not five farthings, but he gives himself fifty airs.
The poorer the prouder. There is no repressing "His Emptiness." He spreads himself over all things and questions; and yet he cannot manage a shop where the stock-in trade is a herring and
He hath little joy of life
Who hath found a scolding wife.
He hath peace who holds his peace.
He is a bad gardener who roots up the plants.
He is a bad minister who drives away the congregation, scatters his church, alienates his friends, and destroys all the useful societies.
He is a fool who fools other people.
Nothing is more ridiculous than the hoax or practical joke; and yet it passes for wit among those who are short of wit.
He is a good speaker who makes his hearers good.
Whatever his style may be, he has spoken well if he has led his hearers to the Lord Jesus, who makes all good who come to him.
He is a good waggoner who can turn in a little space
To manage comfortably and economically with a very small income is the height of wisdom. We know women who can do more on £100 a year, than others will with three times the amount.
He is a great coward who is afraid to do good.
He is a great thief who would steal the ten commandments.
Much more he that would steal from us the whole Bible!
He is a man who acts like a man.
He is a poor fiddler who has only one tune.
Monotony is wearisome: but some speakers, preachers, and talkers harp for ever on one string. There are more subjects in the world than one. "Always partridge," as the French say, is very wearisome : what would "always frog" be? Ding, dong; ding, dong, and that without end, is a thing of horror, and a woe for ever.
He is a poor smith who cannot bear smoke.
In all pursuits there are inconveniences which we must put up with; and it is so in every form of holy service.
He is a stupid who loses patience with a stupid.
"Ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise."--2 Cor. xi. 12. We find out how foolish we are when a great stupid brushes our fur the wrong way, and raises our dander.
He is a weak friend who cannot bear with his friend's weakness.
He is best who has done best.
With few exceptions this is the rule. "By their fruits shall ye know them."--Matt. vii. 20.
He is blind who thinks he sees everything.
The observant man recognizes many mysteries into which he cannot pretend to see, and he remembers that the world is too wide for the eye of any one man. But modern sophists are cock-sure of everything, especially if it contradicts the Bible.
He is free who dares to be
In the right with two or three.
This liberty has to be paid for; but there is a sweetness in it which those only know who have tasted it.
He is kind to himself who is kind to his wife.
Is she not bone of your bone? Does not your happiness interweave itself with hers?
He is no one's friend who is his own enemy
He is not the best carpenter who makes the most chips.
But the reverse. He who does his work in a masterly manner is usually very neat and clean in it. The proverb, however, means that the best workers make no fuss, and create no disorder.
He is right sure who is surely right.
He is very absent-minded who searches for the ass on which he is riding.
He must be brother to that other Celestial, who cried out, "Here's my bundle, here's my umbrella; but where am I?"
He is very blind who cannot see the sun.
How blind must he be who cannot see the God who made the sun!
He that is blind will nothing see,
What light soe'er about him be.
He is wise who follows the wise.
He is wise who knows his own business.
He may not be a university man, but he knows enough to get through the universe.
He knows the water best who has waded through
There is nothing like personal experience.
He laughs at scars who never felt a wound.
The power to sympathize can only come by personal suffering.
He laughs best who laughs last.
Because he will be surest of his laugh, and will probably laugh at those who laughed at him. If he can laugh when the whole thing is ended, he has the best cause for his merriment.
He likes mutton too well who eats the wool.
We are not bound to follow a man, faults and all.
He lives longest who is awake most hours.
That is to say, if he is not kept awake by sickness, or care, or excessive labour; for these may shorten life though they add to the waking hours. Doubtless early rising is a great addition to our opportunities for work.
He liveth long who liveth well.
Indeed the way to measure life is not by its years, but by its deeds.
He looks as if butter would not melt in his mouth.
This is the sort of man whom you must never trust.
He loses indeed who loses at last.
He loses least in a quarrel who has had least to say in it.
He may well swim who has his head held up.
Just so! We are able to swim the seas of temptation only because grace keeps us from sinking.
He may wisely run who finds he cannot stand his ground.
He means to buy, for he finds fault with the goods.
"It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer." Just because he means to be a buyer.
He must be a wise man himself who can distinguish one.
So said Diogenes, and we will not contradict him.
He pares his apple that would cleanly feed.
Well said, Mr. Herbert. Tell the story, if worth telling, but not with the oath or the smut: that can be left out with great advantage.
He preaches well who lives well.
Even if he does not open his mouth his example is a sermon.
He promiseth to turn your iron into gold,
but he will turn your gold into iron.
True of the gentleman who presents you with a prospectus of a Company which is to pay a quite impossible dividend. No doubt the concern will pay those who get it up.
He put his finger in the pie, and burned his nail off.
He rides well who never stumbles.
Where is that man? Where is his horse?
He runs far who never turns.
Unless he breaks his neck. He will run too far, if his way be not the right one.
He shuts his eyes, and thinks none see.
He talks much who has least to say.
"How would you wish your hair to be cut?" asked the barber one day of Archelaus, King of Macedon, and the King made answer, "Silently." Alas! this is too rare a method anywhere, in anything.
It was said of one man,
He argued with the greatest zest,
'Twas very hard to put him out;
And strange to say, he talked the best
Of what he knew the least about.