Higher Law Quotations


No man loses ever on a lower level by magnanimity on a higher.—Walden
Strange that so few ever come to the woods to see how the pine lives and grows and spires, lifting its evergreen arms to the light,—to see its perfect success; but most are content to behold it in the shape of many broad boards brought to market, and deem that its true success! But the pine is no more lumber than man is, and to be made into boards and houses is no more its true and highest use than the truest use of a man is to be cut down and made into manure. There is a higher law affecting our relation to pines as well as to men. A pine cut down, a dead pine, is no more a pine than a dead human carcass is a man.—The Maine Woods
The Christians, now and always, are they who obey the higher law, who discover it to be according to their constitution to interfere.—Journal, 17 June 1854
The man who takes the liberty to live is superior to all the laws, by virtue of his relation to the lawmaker. "That is active duty," says the Vishnu Purana, "which is not for our bondage; that is knowledge which is for our liberation: all other duty is good only unto weariness; all other knowledge is only the cleverness of an artist."—"A Walk to Wachusett"
The New Testament is remarkable for its pure morality; the best of the Hindoo Scripture, for its pure intellectuality. The reader is nowhere raised into and sustained in a higher, purer, or rarer region of thought than in the Bhagvat-Geeta.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
The unwritten laws are the most stringent.—Journal, 6 September 1851
The whole body of what is now called moral or ethical truth existed in the golden age as abstract science. Or, if we prefer, we may say that the laws of Nature are the purest morality.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
There is no law so strong which a little gladness may not transgress. Pile up your books, the records of sadness, your saws and your laws. Nature is glad outside, and her merry worms within will ere long topple them down.—Journal, 3 January 1853
We inspire friendship in men when we have contracted friendship with the gods.—Journal, June 1850
We might so simplify the rules of moral philosophy, as well as of arithmetic, that one formula would express them both. All the moral laws are readily translated into natural philosophy, for often we have only to restore the primitive meaning of the words by which they are expressed, or to attend to their literal instead of their metaphorical sense. They are already supernatural philosophy.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
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