100+ Best GK Chesterton Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Gilbert Keith Chesterton KC*SG was an English writer, philosopher, lay theologian, and literary and art critic. Profoundly inspirational GK Chesterton quotes will encourage growth in life, make you wiser and broaden your perspective.

Famous GK Chesterton Quotes

The mere brute pleasure of reading the sort of pleasure a cow must have in grazing. – GK Chesterton

Buddhism is not a creed, it is a doubt. – GK Chesterton

Let a man walk ten miles steadily on a hot summer’s day along a dusty English road, and he will soon discover why beer was invented. – GK Chesterton

Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions. – GK Chesterton

Journalism is popular, but it is popular mainly as fiction. Life is one world, and life seen in the newspapers is another. – GK Chesterton

All my authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. – GK Chesterton

We call a man a bigot or a slave of dogma because he is a thinker who has thought thoroughly and to a definite end. – GK Chesterton

The fatal metaphor of progress, which means leaving things behind us, has utterly obscured the real idea of growth, which means leaving things inside us. – GK Chesterton

We make our friends; we make our enemies; but God makes our next door neighbour. – GK Chesterton

One sees great things from the valley; only small things from the peak. – GK Chesterton

Those thinkers who cannot believe in any gods often assert that the love of humanity would be in itself sufficient for them; and so, perhaps, it would, if they had it. – GK Chesterton

What people call impartiality may simply mean indifference, and what people call partiality may simply mean mental activity. – GK Chesterton

Being ‘contented’ ought to mean in English, as it does in French, being pleased. Being content with an attic ought not to mean being unable to move from it and resigned to living in it; it ought to mean appreciating all there is in such a position. – GK Chesterton

Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere. – GK Chesterton

A woman uses her intelligence to find reasons to support her intuition. – GK Chesterton

There is no such thing on earth as an uninteresting subject; the only thing that can exist is an uninterested person. – GK Chesterton

Art consists of limitation. The most beautiful part of every picture is the frame. – GK Chesterton

There is a great deal of difference between an eager man who wants to read a book and the tired man who wants a book to read. – GK Chesterton

If I can put one touch of rosy sunset into the life of any man or woman, I shall feel that I have worked with God. – GK Chesterton

To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless. – GK Chesterton

It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It is that they can’t see the problem. – GK Chesterton

The family is the test of freedom; because the family is the only thing that the free man makes for himself and by himself. – GK Chesterton

There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds. – GK Chesterton

I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite. – GK Chesterton

The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land. – GK Chesterton

Man does not live by soap alone; and hygiene, or even health, is not much good unless you can take a healthy view of it or, better still, feel a healthy indifference to it. – GK Chesterton

Democracy means government by the uneducated, while aristocracy means government by the badly educated. – GK Chesterton

The honest poor can sometimes forget poverty. The honest rich can never forget it. – GK Chesterton

Men always talk about the most important things to perfect strangers. In the perfect stranger we perceive man himself; the image of a God is not disguised by resemblances to an uncle or doubts of wisdom of a mustache. – GK Chesterton

Happy is he who still loves something he loved in the nursery: He has not been broken in two by time; he is not two men, but one, and he has saved not only his soul but his life. – GK Chesterton

The perplexity of life arises from there being too many interesting things in it for us to be interested properly in any of them. – GK Chesterton

A stiff apology is a second insult… The injured party does not want to be compensated because he has been wronged; he wants to be healed because he has been hurt. – GK Chesterton

The purpose of Compulsory Education is to deprive the common people of their commonsense. – GK Chesterton

Love means to love that which is unlovable; or it is no virtue at all. – GK Chesterton

The aim of life is appreciation; there is no sense in not appreciating things; and there is no sense in having more of them if you have less appreciation of them. – GK Chesterton

I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act. – GK Chesterton

Man is an exception, whatever else he is. If he is not the image of God, then he is a disease of the dust. If it is not true that a divine being fell, then we can only say that one of the animals went entirely off its head. – GK Chesterton

And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow. – GK Chesterton

Women prefer to talk in twos, while men prefer to talk in threes. – GK Chesterton

A puritan is a person who pours righteous indignation into the wrong things. – GK Chesterton

No man who worships education has got the best out of education… Without a gentle contempt for education no man’s education is complete. – GK Chesterton

A teacher who is not dogmatic is simply a teacher who is not teaching. – GK Chesterton

Marriage is an adventure, like going to war. – GK Chesterton

There is nothing the matter with Americans except their ideals. The real American is all right; it is the ideal American who is all wrong. – GK Chesterton

It is as healthy to enjoy sentiment as to enjoy jam. – GK Chesterton

Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another. – GK Chesterton

All architecture is great architecture after sunset; perhaps architecture is really a nocturnal art, like the art of fireworks. – GK Chesterton

The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost. – GK Chesterton

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. – GK Chesterton

Science in the modern world has many uses; its chief use, however, is to provide long words to cover the errors of the rich. – GK Chesterton

An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered. – GK Chesterton

Large organization is loose organization. Nay, it would be almost as true to say that organization is always disorganization. – GK Chesterton

The word ‘good’ has many meanings. For example, if a man were to shoot his grandmother at a range of five hundred yards, I should call him a good shot, but not necessarily a good man. – GK Chesterton

Education is the period during which you are being instructed by somebody you do not know, about something you do not want to know. – GK Chesterton

The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid. – GK Chesterton

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly. – GK Chesterton

With any recovery from morbidity there must go a certain healthy humiliation. – GK Chesterton

The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese. – GK Chesterton

The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective. – GK Chesterton

In matters of truth the fact that you don’t want to publish something is, nine times out of ten, a proof that you ought to publish it. – GK Chesterton

Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to that arrogant oligarchy who merely happen to be walking around. – GK Chesterton

The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people. – GK Chesterton

Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried. – GK Chesterton

The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all. – GK Chesterton

Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die. – GK Chesterton

Do not free a camel of the burden of his hump; you may be freeing him from being a camel. – GK Chesterton

Youth is the period in which a man can be hopeless. The end of every episode is the end of the world. But the power of hoping through everything, the knowledge that the soul survives its adventures, that great inspiration comes to the middle-aged. – GK Chesterton

Without education we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously. – GK Chesterton

The greenhorn is the ultimate victor in everything; it is he that gets the most out of life. – GK Chesterton

When you have really exhausted an experience you always reverence and love it. – GK Chesterton

To be clever enough to get all that money, one must be stupid enough to want it. – GK Chesterton

The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see. – GK Chesterton

Never invoke the gods unless you really want them to appear. It annoys them very much. – GK Chesterton

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. – GK Chesterton

‘My country, right or wrong’ is a thing no patriot would ever think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying ‘My mother, drunk or sober.’ – GK Chesterton

A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author. – GK Chesterton

Lying in bed would be an altogether perfect and supreme experience if only one had a colored pencil long enough to draw on the ceiling. – GK Chesterton

Fable is more historical than fact, because fact tells us about one man and fable tells us about a million men. – GK Chesterton

Journalism largely consists of saying ‘Lord Jones is Dead’ to people who never knew that Lord Jones was alive. – GK Chesterton

The whole order of things is as outrageous as any miracle which could presume to violate it. – GK Chesterton

There is a road from the eye to heart that does not go through the intellect. – GK Chesterton

I regard golf as an expensive way of playing marbles. – GK Chesterton

Ritual will always mean throwing away something: destroying our corn or wine upon the altar of our gods. – GK Chesterton

Cruelty is, perhaps, the worst kid of sin. Intellectual cruelty is certainly the worst kind of cruelty. – GK Chesterton

A man who says that no patriot should attack the war until it is over… is saying no good son should warn his mother of a cliff until she has fallen. – GK Chesterton

Artistic temperament is the disease that afflicts amateurs. – GK Chesterton

We are justified in enforcing good morals, for they belong to all mankind; but we are not justified in enforcing good manners, for good manners always mean our own manners. – GK Chesterton

The only defensible war is a war of defense. – GK Chesterton

White… is not a mere absence of colour; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black… God paints in many colours; but He never paints so gorgeously, I had almost said so gaudily, as when He paints in white. – GK Chesterton

I’ve searched all the parks in all the cities and found no statues of committees. – GK Chesterton

One may understand the cosmos, but never the ego; the self is more distant than any star. – GK Chesterton

Men feel that cruelty to the poor is a kind of cruelty to animals. They never feel that it is an injustice to equals; nay it is treachery to comrades. – GK Chesterton

All slang is metaphor, and all metaphor is poetry. – GK Chesterton

Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it. – GK Chesterton

The true object of all human life is play. Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground. – GK Chesterton

Literature is a luxury; fiction is a necessity. – GK Chesterton

Music with dinner is an insult both to the cook and the violinist. – GK Chesterton

A radical generally meant a man who thought he could somehow pull up the root without affecting the flower. A conservative generally meant a man who wanted to conserve everything except his own reason for conserving anything. – GK Chesterton

The present condition of fame is merely fashion. – GK Chesterton

Man seems to be capable of great virtues but not of small virtues; capable of defying his torturer but not of keeping his temper. – GK Chesterton

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