Spurgeon: John Ploughman’s Talk

Sleep with one eye open: many see more with one eye than others with two.

There are many snares for birds; many nets for fishes; many traps for men.

While foxes abound, we must not be geese.

No man can give another experience.

When you see a man with a lot of religion displayed in his shop window, be sure he keeps a very small stock within.

Sign nothing without reading it: lawyer’s homes are built with fool’s money.

Never wade into water where you cannot see the bottom.

See the sack opened before you buy what’s in it.

He who trades in the dark asks to be cheated.

Do not bite until you know if it’s bread or stone.

Don’t cry “fried fish” till they are in the net.

Nothing comes out of a sack but what was put into it.

Always give up the road to bulls and madmen.

Never fight with a chimney-sweep, for he’s sure to blacken you.

Set the trap as soon as you smell a rat; but mind you don’t catch your own fingers in it.

They ride a tall horse – and jump over any Bible text which doesn’t suit their notions…every clock must be set according their watches.

They are all sting and no honey: all grunt and no bacon..

The boaster brags his kettles are gold and silver, but you’ll find that the boaster and the liar are first cousins.

The best garden has a few weeds in it.

Let your confidence in friends be weighed in the scales of prudence.

Trust not great weights to slender threads.

Presumption is a ladder, which will break the climber’s neck.

Light thoughts make a great weight of sin.

Though thoughts are toll-free, they are not sin-free.

Evil thoughts are the malt that sin is brewed from; the nest in which evil birds lay their eggs.

The Lord has a window into the closet of the soul to which there are no shutters.

With heaven there are no secrets.

You say you can’t help having bad thoughts – but do you hate them?

We can’t keep thieves from looking in our windows, but why let them in?

We can’t help the birds from landing in our hair, but don’t let them nest there.
He who turns something over and over in his mouth does so because he likes the flavor, and he who meditates upon evil will soon commit it.
To keep chaff out of the basket, one sure plan is to keep it filled with wheat.

To keep out vain thoughts, have the mind stored with thoughts of God.

Beer is only fool’s milk to drown their wits in.

Married life is not all sugar: but grace in the heart will keep out most of the sour.

When husbands and wives are well-yoked, how light their load becomes.

Home should be a Bethel: not a Babel.

The husband should be the house-band, binding all together.

When the home is ruled by God’s word, angels would feel at home there.

Young colts must be broken, or they will make wild horses.

Men who strike in anger usually miss their mark.

God helps us to hold the reins firmly and still not hurt the horse’s mouth.

If the father drops the reigns, the family coach will soon be in the ditch.

Spare the rod, and the child will become a rod to you.

Not to cross our children is the way to make a cross of them.

God save us from those who are angels in church and devils at home.

A good husband makes a good wife: his rib is the best part of his body.

We multiply joys by sharing them and lighten them by dividing them.

The wagon of care rolls lightly as they pull together, and, when it gets a bit heavy, they love each other all the more, and so lighten the load.

If the husband won’t keep sugar in the cupboard, no wonder his wife gets sour.

The wife is not the bread-winner but the bread-maker.

Want of bread makes want of love: lean dogs fight.

Matrimony came from Paradise and leads to it.

Where love is scarce, faults are plentiful.

If she can put up with me, I should not put her put down.

It’s not everybody who’ll remember to keep his gunpowder out of the candle.

Don’t be all vinegar, or she will spit you out.

A man must have a backbone – or how can he hold his head up?

He that makes himself a sheep will find that the wolves are not all dead.

Some men will give you good wishes and nothing more: but part company when the shoe of conscience begins to pinch your foot.

He who lies on the ground must expect to be trodden on.

Put your foot down where you mean to stand, and let no man move you.

A friend to everybody is a friend to nobody.

Getting spots off leopards is easy compared to trying to teach an obstinate man.

Rash vows are better broken than kept.
He who never changes, never mends; he who never yields, never conquers.

Give to a pig when it grunts and a child when it cries, and you’ll have fine pig and a spoiled child.

If you have no headaches in child-rearing, you’ll have heartaches later.
Can’t do it sticks in the mud; but “try” soon drags the wagon out of the rut.
The fox said “try” and got away from the hounds.
The bee said “try” and turned flowers into honey.
The ox said “try” and ploughed the field.
The lark said “try” and found his new wings took him to where his Father was singing.  “Try” made meat out of mushrooms.

Faint heart never won fair lady.

Believe in God and stick to hard work and see if the mountains are not removed.

Don’t wait for helpers. Try those two old friends – your strong arms.

You need not be a mule because you were born in a stable.

Teach a cow for seven years, but she’ll never learn to sing.

Teach a pig as long as you like, but he will never play the flute.

The bird can marry the fish: but where will they live?

If the fox wants poultry for his cubs, he must carry the chickens himself.

The hare must run for himself, or the hounds will have him.

Trust in God, and keep your powder dry.

Don’t preach in gloves: cats in mittens catch no mice.

Money you earn is sweeter than any you get from a dead man’s bag.

What his father got with a rake, he threw away with a shovel.

He that waits for a dead man’s shoes may long go barefoot.

Hopes that grow out of graves are a grave mistake.

A gentleman without means is the same as plum-pudding without plums.

A young gambler is sure to become an old beggar.

The drunkard drinks and washes out what little sense he has.

Plain water neither makes a man sick nor in debt.

If fools didn’t go to market, bad goods would never be sold.

A good horse cannot be a bad color.

Where eggs are five for a penny, four of them are rotten.

They buy what they neither want nor need because it is a bargain.

Some are as merry as mice on small wages, and others are wretched as rats in a trap on twice that amount.

If you have little money, have little desires.

Poverty is no shame: discontentment is.

Hunger finds no fault with the cook. 
Complainers think the snow falls thickest round their door, the hail rattles hardest on their windows, and that their own small feathers are as heavy as lead.
Patience is good medicine, but not every garden grows the herbs to make it with.

They chew the bitter pill, but have no sense to swallow it with a cup of patience.

Every time the sheep bleats, it loses a mouthful, and every time we complain, we miss a blessing.
He who lives on hope alone has a slim diet.

Hope is an anchor: but an anchor must have something to hold on to.

Hope without grounds is a knife without a blade.

Hope is hopeless when it looks for crops without sowing seeds.

He who marries a rich girl and hopes to make her a good wife might as well buy a goose and expect it to turn into a thoroughbred.

Jesus said a man might as well try gather grapes from a thorn tree as look for a happy hereafter at the end of a bad life.

When a man dies drunk, they say I hope he’s gone to heaven. You may as well walk into a pond and hope to come out dry.

Ploughing the air is not half as profitable as it is easy – and he who does so hopes to find apricots on a pear tree.

They hope to ride in coaches…and the coaches run over them.

Expect to get half of what you earn – and none of what you lend – and you’ll be closer to the mark.

You can leave an inheritance; but better not to tell your son of it, for fear he will not plough so straight a furrow.

He who has tasted a sour apple has greater appreciation for a sweet one.

A light breakfast in the morning of life whets the appetite for a feast later.

Fly when your wings have grown feathers.

Very good wheat can be grown in a little field.

Good cheese sells itself.

They sleep when it’s time to plough then weep when harvest comes.

They eat all their apples for dinner and wonder why there’s none left for breakfast.

The dog in the kennel barks at the fleas: the hunting dog doesn’t even know they are there.

They who set a stout heart against a steep hill shall climb it yet.

Little pigeons can carry great messages.

Be an abstainer: water is the strongest drink – it drives mills.

Those who go to the tavern to find happiness climb a tree to find fish.

Beer money will build a house.

Never ask a greedy man for money till you have boiled a flint soft.

Never offer a mirror to a blind man.

Leave hornet’s nests alone. 
Many are like cat’s feet: they show soft pads, but carry sharp claws.

Like owls, they look like big birds, but are all feathers.

If you scrub other people’s pigs, you’ll soon need scrubbing yourself.

Keep your spoon out of other people’s soup and you won’t get scalded.

Don’t push a man into the war if he will not fight.

It’s a waste of powder to shoot at the man in the moon. 
Don’t shoot at lame ducks; a good man’s dog can pick them up anytime.

To the boaster, all their molehills are mountains. All their ducks are swans.

They paint with a broom and brag themselves blind.

The minnow thought itself a fish – but the fisherman knew better.

Silence is a fine jewel, but is very little worn.

Still waters run deepest, and the shallowest brooks make the most noise.

No flies will go down your throat if you keep your mouth shut.

Think much: say little. Be quick to work and slow to talk.

If it’s true that “a man is immortal till his work is done”, then they will not die in a hurry: for they have not yet begun to work.

Waste the spring and you’ll have a lean harvest.

He who waits to be fed will wait till he’s dead.

The higher the monkey climbs, the more his tail is seen.

To them, Solomon was a fool. Great boast; but little roast.

They won’t mend the roof, so they build a new cottage.

Drums sound loud, for there is nothing in them.

Boats without cargo float high in the water.

Dogs that bark much run when it’s time to fight.

The anvil is not afraid of the hammer.

I would not choose to sit on a barrel of gunpowder and smoke a pipe.

I’d rather have truth on my side if I went barefoot.

Better a clear conscience with cold cabbage than sin with roast beef.

Never say die till you are dead.

As you may one day be under the same window yourself, be careful when you are throwing out dirty water.

All the neighbors are cousins to the rich man.

Eaten bread is soon forgotten.

While the pot boils, friendships bloom.
In times of prosperity, friends aplenty:
In times of adversity? Not one in twenty.

The lawyer will cover you with his wings, then pick at you with his bill till there is nothing left.

Some pretend to be friends with the fallen man because there is still a bit of meat to be picked off his bones.
Did you ever hear the crows read a burial service over the dead before they ate it?

“The house is on fire!”…and all the neighbors warm themselves.

“He ought to have locked the barn!”, they cry but no one offers to buy him a new horse.

“It’s a pity he went so far out on the ice!” they say but that won’t save the man from drowning.
“He has fallen on the road!”  they cry then they run their carts over him.

“He is down” but let him stay there: there will be more room for the rest of us.

Feel for me….but feel in your pocket first.

Good advice is poor food for a hungry family.

All the world gathers to beat the man who is down.

Most men who go down-hill meet with Judas before they reach the bottom.

The fox walked into the hen house and said “Good morning, my very dear friends.”

The dog wags his tail till he gets the bone: then bites the man who feeds him.

When a man wants to beat a dog, he soon finds a stick.

Those who knock you down kick you for not standing up.

Jonah went to the bottom…but he got to shore again all the same.

A good man may be put in the fire…but he cannot be burnt.

A good character is the best tombstone.

Those who were helped by you will remember you when your grave flowers are long withered.

Carve your name on hearts: not in marble.

He who dresses in peacock feathers will soon be plucked.

Never mind the coat: give me the man. The shell is nothing: the kernel is everything.

You may color a rock, but you cannot make it cheese.

He is a fool who has but a shilling and spends a pound.

Hair by hair, heads get bald.

The barrel is soon empty if it leaks but a drop a minute.

Never stretch your legs further than the blanket will reach, or you will soon be cold.

Earn all you can, save all you can, give all you can.

Giving to God is putting your money in the best bank.

Short accounts are soon cleared.

Better to go to bed hungry than to rise in debt.

Never stop the plough to catch a mouse.

No sweat: no sweet.

He who would have the crow’s eggs must first climb the tree.

Hares don’t run into the mouths of sleeping dogs.

You’ll have plenty of bacon if you feed the pig.

The cat will get the mouse if she sits at the hole long enough.
He is a poor blacksmith that is afraid of his own sparks.

Don’t be afraid of getting your hands dirty: there is plenty of soap around.

You cannot get honey if you are afraid of bees, nor sow corn if you are afraid of the mud.

God sends every bird its food; but He doesn’t throw it into the nest.
God gives us our daily bread…but it is through our own labor.
An honest man will not make a dog of himself for the sake of getting a bone.

Cheats never thrive: clean money for me or none at all.

Some have two stomachs: one for drinking and one for eating but no stomach for work.

Stay out of the sluggard’s way or you may catch his disease.

He would sell his mother’s coffin if he was short of firewood.

They sank the ship because they spared the tar.

The mouse wins little by nibbling the cheese if she gets caught in the trap.

Better walk barefoot than ride in a carriage to hell.

He who wears stolen shoes will have blisters on his feet.

Every donkey thinks itself to be one of the king’s horses.

Money is round and rolls away easily.

Wear what you can afford. If it doesn’t suit others, let them shut their eyes.

Everyone knows a tadpole from a fish.

Don’t be like the blacksmith who wore a white apron.

A great wife is better than a great income.

Heaven bless the wives, they fill our hives with little bees and honey.
They soothe the shocks and mend our socks and they don’t spend the money.

He who sows in the field of thoughtlessness will reap the harvest of poverty.

He who pays Peter with money borrowed from Paul is putting one foot in the mud to pull the other foot out.

Better a poor horse than an empty stall: better half a loaf than none at all.

A small fire that warms you is better than a large one that burns you.

A great deal of water can be had from a small pipe if the bucket’s there to catch it.

You can burst a bag by trying to fill it too full.

In great rivers great fish are found but take heed lest you be drowned.

He who goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing.

Out of debt: out of danger.

I never feel safe with a borrowed shovel for fear I may break it. I dig in peace when I dig with my own shovel.

If you have a lot of beans, you may put more in the soup.

Where will the donkey go where she will not have to work? 
Where can the cow go and not get milked?

Where will you find land without stones or meat without bones?

“I can improve my situation” said the bird as she got out of the net and into the pie.

Those who know the world best trust it least.

Maxim of the Moment

Raise the bar a little higher each time you succeed. - Mia Hamm