Gems from Chesterton

G. K. Chesterton died two-thirds of a century ago,
yet would anyone dare to say that these quotes are out of date?


The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried. –What is Wrong with the World.

A new philosophy generally means in practice the praise of some old vice. –All Things Considered.

Pessimism is at best an emotional half-holiday: joy is the uproarious labour by which all things live. –Orthodoxy.

The true object of all human life is play. Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground –A Motley Wisdom.

I am proud of being fettered by antiquated dogmas and enslaved by dead creeds (as my journalistic friends repeat with so much pertinacity), for I know very well that it is the heretical creeds that are dead and that it is only the reasonable dogma that lives long enough to be called antiquated. -Autobiography.

Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a god who knew the way out of the grave. -The Everlasting Man.

The secret of life lies in laughter and humility. -Heretics.

Virtue is not the absence of vices or the avoidance of moral dangers; virtue is a vivid and separate thing, like pain or a particular smell. Mercy does not mean not being cruel or sparing people revenge or punishment; it means a plain and positive thing like the sun, which one has either seen or not seen. Chastity does not mean abstention from sexual wrong; it means something flaming, like Joan of Arc.-Selected Essays.

[With the coming of Christianity] we must be much more angry with theft than before, and yet much kinder to thieves than before. There was room for wrath and love to run wild. 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. –Orthodoxy