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    Character is much better kept than recovered. 

    Thomas Paine.

    One can acquire everything in solitude -- except character. -

    Stendhal in "Fragments, I", Christianity Today, November 22, 1993, p. 37.

    Will Rogers was known for his laughter, but he also knew how to weep. One day he was entertaining at the Milton H. Berry Institute in Los Angeles, a hospital that specialized in rehabilitating polio victims and people with broken backs and other extreme physical handicaps. Of course, Rogers had everybody laughing, even patients in really bad condition; but then he suddenly left the platform and went to the rest room. Milton Berry followed him to give him a towel; and when he opened the door, he saw Will Rogers leaning against the wall, sobbing like a child. He closed the door, and in a few minutes, Rogers appeared back on the platform, as jovial as before.

    If you want to learn what a person is really like, ask three questions: What makes him laugh? What makes him angry? What makes him weep? These are fairly good tests of character that are especially appropriate for Christian leaders. I hear people saying, "We need angry leaders today!" or "The time has come to practice militant Christianity!" Perhaps, but "the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God" (James 1:20).

    What we need today is not anger but anguish, the kind of anguish that Moses displayed when he broke the two tablets of the law and then climbed the mountain to intercede for his people, or that Jesus displayed when He cleansed the temple and then wept over the city. The difference between anger and anguish is a broken heart. It's easy to get angry, especially at somebody else's sins; but it's not easy to look at sin, our own included, and weep over it.

    Warren W. Wiersbe, The Integrity Crisis, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991, pp. 75-76.

    In great matters men show themselves as they wish to be seen, in small matter, as they are. 

    Gamaliel Bradford, quoted in New Dictionary of Thoughts, edited by Tryon Edwards (Ferguson).

    A talent is formed in stillness, a character in the world's torrents. 


    When Oscar Wilde arrived for a visit to the U.S. in 1882, he was asked by customs officials if he had anything to declare. He replied: "Only my genius." Fifteen years later, alone and broken in prison, he reflected on his life of waste and excess. "I have been a spendthrift of my genius...I forgot that every little action of the common day makes or unmakes character." 

    Imprimis, Volume 20, Number 9.

    A number of years ago the Douglas Aircraft company was competing with Boeing to sell Eastern Airlines its first big jets. War hero Eddie Rickenbacker, the head of Eastern Airlines, reportedly told Donald Douglas that the specifications and claims made by Douglas's company for the DC-8 were close to Boeing's on everything except noise suppression. Rickenbacker then gave Douglas one last chance to out-promise Boeing on this feature. After consulting with his engineers, Douglas reported that he didn't feel he could make that promise. Rickenbacker replied, "I know you can't, I just wanted to see if you were still honest." 

    Today in the Word, MBI, October, 1991, p. 22.

    Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones. 

    Phillips Brooks.

    Sow a thought, reap an act; sow an act, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.


    Character is not made in crisis--it is only exhibited. 


    Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation. Your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are. 

    John Wooden, former coach of the UCLA Bruins basketball team, quoted in Sanctity of Life, C. Swindoll, Word, 1990, p. 91.

    Character is simply long habit continued. 


    Only what we have wrought into our character during life can we take with us. 


    Henry Wingblade used to say that Christian personality is hidden deep inside us. It is unseen, like the soup carried in a tureen high over a waiter's head. No one knows what's inside--unless the waiter is bumped and he trips! Just so, people don't know what's inside us until we've been bumped. But if Christ is living inside, what spills out is the fruit of the Spirit. 

    Carl Lundquist.

    W. Michael Blumenthal, chairman of Unisys, talks about the mistakes he made in hiring: In choosing people for top positions, you have to try to make sure they have a clear sense of what is right and wrong, a willingness to be truthful, the courage to say what they think and to do what they think is right, even if the politics militate against that. This is the quality that should really be at the top. I was too often impressed by the intelligence and substantive knowledge of an individual and did not always pay enough attention to the question of how honest, courageous and good a person the individual really was. 

    Jerry Flint, in Forbes.

    We do not need more knowledge, we need more character! 

    Calvin Coolidge.

    Character is what you are in the dark. 

    D.L. Moody.

    Character is a by-product; it is produced in the great manufacture of daily duty. 

    Woodrow Wilson.

    The gods had given me almost everything. But I let myself be lured into long spells of senseless and sensual ease...Tired of being on the heights, I deliberately went to the depths in search for new sensation. What the paradox was to me in the sphere of thought, perversity became to me in the sphere of passion. I grew careless of the lives of others. I took pleasure where it pleased me, and passed on. I forgot that every little action of the common day makes or unmakes character, and that therefore what one has done in the secret chamber, one has some day to cry aloud from the house-top. I ceased to be lord over myself. I was no longer the captain of my soul, and did not know it. I allowed pleasure to dominate me. I ended in horrible disgrace. 

    Oscar Wilde, quoted by Wm. Barclay, Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians, p. 100.

    The Presidency to this day rests more on the character of the person who inhabits the office than on anything else. The Founding Fathers designed it that way. It was their idea to find a man in America with a great character and let him invest a tradition and shape a national character. They found George Washington. He did his job splendidly. When he took the Presidency, he wrote: "I walk on untrodden ground. There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not hereafter be drawn into precedent." 

    Hugh Sidey, political columnist, in Time.


    Surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of man he is. If there are rats in a cellar, you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats; it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way, the suddenness of the provocation does not make me ill-tempered; it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am. 

    C.S. Lewis.

    The supreme test of goodness is not in the greater but in the smaller incidents of our character and practice; not what we are when standing in the searchlight of public scrutiny, but when we reach the firelight flicker of our homes; not what we are when some clarion-call rings through the air, summoning us to fight for life and liberty, but our attitude when we are called to sentry-duty in the grey morning, when the watch-fire is burning low. It is impossible to be our best at the supreme moment if character is corroded and eaten into by daily inconsistency, unfaithfulness, and besetting sin. 

    F.B. Meyer in Our Daily Walk.

    Ah! If our likeness to God does not show itself in trifles, what is there left for it to show itself in? For our lives are all made up of trifles. The great things come three or four of them in the seventy years; the little ones every time the clock ticks. 

    Alexander Maclaren.


    who cannot be bought;
    whose word is their bond;
    who put character above wealth;
    who possess opinions and a will;
    who are larger than their vocations;
    who do not hesitate to take chances;
    who will not lose their individuality in a crowd;
    who will be as honest in small things as in great things;
    who will make no compromise with wrong;
    whose ambitions are not confined to their own selfish desires;
    who will not say they do it" because everybody else does it";
    who are true to their friends through good report and evil report, in adversity as well as in prosperity;
    who do not believe that shrewdness, cunning, and hardheadedness are the best qualities for winning success;
    who are not ashamed or afraid to stand for the truth when it is unpopular;
    who can say "no" with emphasis, although all the rest of the
    world says "yes."

    Charles Swindoll, Living Above the Level of Mediocrity, p.107-8.

    "I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversity, but slinks out of the race where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat." 

    John Milton, Courage - You Can Stand Strong in the Face of Fear, Jon Johnston, 1990, SP Publications, p. 34.

    The best index to a person's character is (a) how he treats people who can't do him any good, and (b) how he treats people who can't fight back. 

    Abigail Van Buren.

    Six ways to learn everything you ever need to know about a man before you decide to marry him: 1) watch him drive in heavy traffic. 2) Play tennis with him. 3) Listen to him talk to his mother when he doesn't know you're listening. 4) See how he treats those who serve him (waiters, maids). 5) Notice what he's willing to spend his money to buy. 6) Look at his friends. And if you still can't make up your mind, then look at his shoes. A man who keeps his shoes in good repair generally tends to the rest of his life too. 

    Lois Wyse, Good Housekeeping, April 1985.

    A group of educators and scholars, alarmed at soaring rates of teenage homicides, suicides and out-of-wedlock births, attacked what it called the "timidity" of schools in instilling good character traits in the young. The 27 academics warned that "schools in general are not doing enough to counter the symptoms of serious decline in youth character." The report, "Developing Character: Transmitting Knowledge," cited government statistics showing that out-of-wedlock births to white females ages 15-19 have increased 800 percent since 1940, and the rate of death by homicide for white males, 15-24 climbed 315 percent. 

    Spokesman- Review, November 21, 1984.


    Fame is a vapor,
    Popularity an accident.
    Riches take wings.
    Only one thing endures,

    Horace Greely.