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On Silence

   He who has understanding spares his words,
     And a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.

                                                  Proverbs 17:27

   Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace.

                                                  Proverbs 17:28

   In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, 
      But he who restrains his lips is wise. 

                                                  Proverbs 10:19   

   He who guards his mouth preserves his life, 
     But he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction. 

                                                  Proverbs 13:3

   Whoever guards his mouth and tongue 
     Keeps his soul from troubles. 

                                                  Proverbs 21:23   

   The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, 
     But the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil. 

                                                  Proverbs 15:28   

   A fool's mouth is his destruction, 
     And his lips are the snare of his soul. 

                                                   Proverbs 18:7   

   The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, 
     And his glory is to overlook a transgression. 

                                                   Proverbs 19:11   

   A fool vents all his feelings, 
     But a wise man holds them back. 

                                                   Proverbs 29:11   

   Do you see a man hasty in his words? 
     There is more hope for a fool than for him. 

                                                   Proverbs 29:20   

   But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they 
   will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your 
   words you will be justified, and by your words you will be 

                                        Jesus  (Matthew 12:36-37)   

   He can never speak well, who knows not how to hold his peace. 


   True silence is the rest of the mind, and is to the spirit what 
   sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.  It is a 
   great virtue; it covers folly, keeps secrets, avoids disputes, 
   and prevents sin. 

   Silence, when nothing need be said, is the eloquence of 


   Speech is great, but silence is greater. 

   He who, silent, loves to be with us, and who loves us in our 
   silence, has touched one of the keys that ravish hearts.

   A good word is an easy obligation; but not to speak ill 
   requires only our silence, which costs us nothing. 


   The temple of our purest thoughts is silence. 

                                                      Sarah J. Hale 

   Let us be silent that we may hear the whispers of the gods. 

   It is the wise head that makes the still tongue. 

                                                       W. J. Lucas

   Most men speak when they do not know how to be silent.  He is 
   wise who knows how to hold his peace.  Tie your tongue lest it 
   be wanton and luxuriate; keep it within the banks; a rapidly 
   flowing river soon collects mud. 

   Fellows who have no tongues are often all eyes and ears. 


   A silent man is easily reputed wise.  The unknown is always 
   wonderful.  A man who suffers none to see him in the common 
   jostle and undress of life easily gathers round him a 
   mysterious veil of unknown sanctity, and men honor him for a 
                                                F. W. Robertson 

   Silence is the ornament and safeguard of the ignorant. 

   Silence is the safest respondent for all the contradiction that 
   arises from impertinence, vulgarity, or envy. 


   The main reason why silence is so efficacious an element of 
   repute is, first, because of the magnification which 
   proverbially belongs to the unknown;  and, secondly, because 
   silence provokes no man's envy, and wounds no man's self-love.

   Silence in times of suffering is the best. 


   The unspoken word never does harm. 


   Silence and reserve suggest latent power.  What some men think 
   has more effect than what others say.                            

   Nothing is so good for an ignorant man as silence;  if he were 
   sensible of this he would not be ignorant. 

   If you would pass for more than your value, say little.  It is 
   easier to look wise than to talk wisely. 

   The more a man desirous to pass at a value above his worth, 
   can, by dignified silence, contrast with the garrulity of 
   trivial minds, the more will the world give him credit for the 
   wealth he does not possess. 


   A judicious silence is always better than truth spoken without 

                                                        De Sales

   Silence is a figure of speech, unanswerable, short, cold, but 
   terribly severe. 
                                                Theodore Parker 

   A judicious reticence is hard to learn, but it is one of the 
   great lessons of life. 

   If thou desire to be held wise, be so wise as to hold thy 


   There is a silence, the child of love, which expresses 
   everything, and proclaims more loudly than the tongue is able 
   to do. 

   A person that would secure to himself great deference will, 
   perhaps, gain his point by silence as effectually as by 
   anything he can say. 


   As men of sense and genius say much in few words, so on the 
   other hand the weak and foolish speak much and say little. 


   Talkers and futile persons are commonly vain and credulous 
   withal, for he that talketh what he knoweth will also talk what 
   he knoweth not; therefore set it down that a habit of secrecy 
   is both politic and moral. 

   Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from 
   giving wordy evidence of the fact. 
                                                   George Elliot 

   If any man think it a small matter to bridle his tongue, he is 
   much mistaken; for it is a point to be silent when occasion 
   requires, and better than to speak, though never so well. 


   It is only reason that teaches silence; the heart teaches us to 


   It is better to be silent, or to say things of more value than 
   silence.  Sooner throw a pearl at hazard than an idle or 
   useless word; and do not say a little in many words, but a 
   great deal in a few. 

   None preaches better than the ant, and she says nothing. 


   I think the first virtue is to restrain the tongue; he 
   approaches nearest to the gods who knows how to be silent, even 
   though he is in the right. 


   Silence never shows itself to so great an advantage as when it 
   is made the reply to calumny and defamation. 

   Where the river is deepest it makes the least sound.

                                                   Italian Proverb

   Some men envelop themselves in such an impenetrable cloak of 
   silence, that the tongue will afford us no symptoms of the 
   mind.  Such taciturnity, indeed, is wise if they are fools, but 
   foolish if they are wise, and the only method to form a 
   judgment of these mutes, is narrowly to observe when, where, 
   and how they smile. 

   Silence is the safest course for any man to adopt who distrusts 

   Euripides was wont to say that silence was an answer to a wise 
   man; but we seem to have a greater occasion for it in our 
   dealing with fools and unreasonable persons; for men of 
   breeding and sense will be satisfied with reason and fair 

   Of all virtues, Zeno made choice of silence; for by it, said 
   he, I hear other men's imperfections, and conceal my own. 

   A man's profundity may keep him from opening on a first 
   interview, and his caution on a second; but I should suspect 
   his emptiness, if he carried on his reserve to a third. 


   Silence is a virtue in those who are deficient in 

   If the prudence of reserve and decorum dictates silence in some 
   circumstances, in others prudence of a higher order may justify 
   us in speaking our thoughts. 

   Silence is the highest wisdom of a fool as speech is the 
   greatest trial of a wise man.  If thou wouldst be known as 
   wise, let thy words show thee so; if thou doubt thy words, let 
   thy silence feign thee so.  It is not a greater point of wisdom 
   to discover knowledge than to hide ignorance. 


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