Pearls from the Writings of Ivan Panin

These pearls are taken from “The writings of Ivan Panin” and they were printed in the following HQ Letters

Contents Exerpts from

Pearls of Wisdom - PROVERBS 4:5-9

Interesting for the Scots: "When Sir Walter Scott, who himself had written some 60 books, lay on his death bed, he asked his son-in-law Lockhart for "the book". "Which book, Sir Walter?" "There is only one Book," he gave answer, and pointed to The Bible. Thus with one word - death here as elsewhere proving a rather stern eyeopener - be assigned their true place to his toil of a life time, his Waverleys, Marmions, Lake Ladies, and the rest. Already some 15 decades before Scott, one mightier than he, had declared vociferously enough that there is only one BOOK worth reading, this self-same Bible... And what makes Pascal a greater than Scott is that he did not have to wait for death to open his eyes, but saw at 26 years of age what it took Sir Walter threescore years (60) to learn, and only after bitter disappointment and sorrow. “

("The Writings of Ivan Panin" 15)

  • My neighbour tells me, “There is no God!” I give him his dinner this much I owe to him. I keep an eye on my spoons this much I owe to myself!
  • Two men please God: who loves Him with all his heart because he knows Him, who seeks Him with all his heart because he knows Him not!
  • From God men may keep away, but they cannot get away!
  • The most comfortable place for the child is the bosom of the mother; the most natural place for the man is the bosom of the Father. And as much of the babe's restlessness is due to separation from the bosom of the mother, so all of man's restlessness is due to his absence from the bosom of The Father.
  • By falling before God we rise toward Him.
  • By soaring we may rise toward Heaven, only by stooping do we rise toward God.
  • Man is not "great" till he beholds his own littleness.
  • To be filled, man must come to God as the bucket comes to the well empty. And, like the bucket, must be content to be first turned upside down.
  • We must come to God as children if we are to walk as men.
  • Tears of pain may draw men to God. Tears of penitence draw God to men.

("The Writings of Ivan Panin" 118)

  • Furrows are cut in your heart, then give God the opportunity to sow there the seeds of Grace.
  • Loneliness among men may lead to self-destruction; loneliness with God only leads to selfcrucifixion.
  • There can be no true peace with self without the death of Christ; no true peace with God without the death of self.
  • God gives men the right beginning and assures them of the right ending if they but do the right continuing.
  • The more one knows the less he speaks; the All-Knowing One is thus the Great Silent One.
  • God often shuts every door about us, never the door above us.
  • God assures folk that He will fulfil His promises, but not how.
  • Man loves God for what he can receive from Him. God loves man for what He can give to him.
  • Human love lives on what it receives, Divine Love on what it gives.
  • Men measure a gift by its value to the receiver. God measures it by its value to the giver.
  • I used to doubt God. Now I only doubt my knowledge of Him.
  • True love to man comes only after a crucifixion: true love to God, only after a resurrection.
  • True love to God brings our hearts nearer to men, but removes our heads further from them.
  • To be delivered from all fear we must have one fear of God.
  • To be happy in the world one must learn to let go; to be happy in God one must learn to hold on.
  • When man finds nothing in the world to satisfy his heart God is ready for him. When man finds nothing in his heart to satisfy the world, he is ready for God.

("The Writings of Ivan Panin" 200)

  • To be at peace with men we cannot afford to have decided opinions on anything; to be at peace with God, we must have decided opinions of many things.
  • In three things men can afford to be unlike God: though God never hopes, man must ever hope; though God does not forever love, man must ever love; though God must sometimes judge, man must never judge.
  • The fool's problem is solved when he is satisfied with himself; the wise man's problem is not solved till he is satisfied with God.
  • The freest man is he who is made a captive of God and is then captivated by God.
  • Two things hide the stars: the clouds of the night, the light of the day. Two things hide God: deep adversity, high prosperity.
  • The silence of God is a Christian's most perplexing and hence sorest trial. When in this valley, one easily believes that the Great God hath turned His face away for aye. There then remains only the consolation that, He was silent also to the Syrophenician woman and called her even dog. Yet the cry of her heart was answered the very next moment. Not easily understood is Christian's God; and one may as well accept Him with all His Ways past finding out though they be; and keep on still trusting. "Impossible it is to please Him without trust"... (HEBREWS 11:6).

("The Writings of Ivan Panin" 218)

  • When Peter found himself denying His Lord, or convicted of dissembling, he hardly turned his face upward with a "Well, in everything give thanks!" even though there is a time when one can be thankful for even sin. And when Paul found at last his thrice uttered prayer unanswered, he hardly forthwith clapped his hands in joy with: "Well, rejoice always!"
  • God has a way of afflicting folk rather unexpectedly when certain prayer is being offered for their welfare. Perhaps this is what they need first: a pruning away of all mere wood; a cutting of all the tendrils that hold them to this life, a throwing out of the ballast that hinders the rise heavenward. "Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth."
  • The ship's destination is the haven; its destiny the ocean. The soul's destination is rest; its destiny, the storm.
  • Man enters the world weeping, while all around him smile; man leaves the world with all around him weeping, and he himself does not smile.
  • Before coming into life we must go through a baptism of water; before going into death we must go through a baptism of fire.

("The Writings of Ivan Panin" 435)

  • In Nature even the longest winter is followed by a spring; in man the longest winter, if not broken by Grace, is followed only by a still longer one.
  • Both the wise man of the world and the man of God soon discover the vanity of this life. But the man of the world rests not until he has expressed his woe in words; the man of God rests not until he ceases from words.
  • The value of the tree is in the shade it gives in Summer, the fruit in the Autumn, the beauty in the Spring, the fuel in the Winter. The beauty, the fruit and the shade these it can give without losing its life. But to give the heat it must be cut and chopped, and go into the fire. And all the while it is Winter.
  • There is acidity in the salt of tears that washes away many a stain.
  • It is not the water without the ship that sinks it, but the water within it.
  • The secret of sorrow is; men think God has a plan for them. He only has a plan through them.
  • It is the driest wood that gives the quickest heat; it is the wrung-out heart that gives the speediest relief.
  • To be hardened, the iron must first be softened.

("The Writings of Ivan Panin" 507)

  • Shells we find on the beach; for pearls we must dive.
  • Bear up under suffering; and it will soon bear thee up.
  • In the furnace gold is melted, clay is hardened.
  • To yield his best, man, like the soil, must be first torn up and then turned over.
  • It is the ripest fruit that falls when the tree is shaken. That would be a consolation if only it were not equally true of the poorest also.
  • Unhappy with poverty? Then you will hardly be happy with riches.
  • Our necessaries are ever supplied us by a gracious God, if we take account of Him. It is for our luxuries that we are made to pay.
  • Temporal riches are obtained by acquiring, eternal by renouncing.
  • Few perish from the lack of money; many, from the love of money.
  • Yes and no stand at the extremities of Truth. Between these there is a world of half-truths, quarter-truths, tithes of truths, and the rest of the series is of the infinity of falsehoods.
  • Men have to find truth, not because it is lost, but because they are lost.
  • Truth is loved by few, lived by still fewer.

("The Writings of Ivan Panin" 652)

  • Who loves truth even in the little will soon love her as a whole. Who hates truth even in the little will soon hate her as a whole. Even a small hole, close to the eye, gives the whole landscape. Even a speck upon the eye shuts off the whole view.
  • Every truth is useful, but not necessarily the whole truth: the blanket covering the rest of your body keeps you warm; covering the head also, it may smother you.
  • All martyrdom is merely paying the price of possessing truth in advance of others.

("The Writings of Ivan Panin" 669)

  • To convict him the truth need be only in your mind; but to convince him it must also be in his.
  • Truth is a searchlight. In the hands of those wielding, it illumines. Those who would fain hide there from, it confuses.
  • All martyrdom is merely paying the price of possessing truth in advance of others.
  • Who loves the light even without the heat must still be ready to burn away his life in its flame.
  • Into truth men must be led; into error they fall themselves.
  • All like truth, few love it.
  • A lie has no feet and cannot stand? But it has wings, and can fly.
  • A man is divided by falsehood and united by truth. Men are often divided by truth and united by falsehood!

("The writings of Ivan Panin" 700)

  • In clouds we must all be. It is only a question whether we shall in the end find ourselves above or below them.
  • Slander travels by express, the truth follows in an ox-cart.
  • Error does for the soul what the root does for the tree. It assimilates all that is underground, in the dark. Truth is to the mind what the leaves are to the tree: seeks light and air for itself, and gives shade to all else.
  • Errors are the only possessions we must pay to be rid of them.
  • Deceit is the egg; suspiciousness is its hatched viper.
  • Never is lack of faith in one's concern shown so much as when willing to lie for it.
  • The truth we owe to those who have injured us can best be told in anger. It is best told in love.
  • The wounds inflicted by error can be healed by truth. The wounds inflicted by truth can be healed only by grace.
  • Truth shines even in darkness; error prospers only in darkness.
  • To study error for the sake of refuting it is to marry a bad woman for the sake of beating her.
  • The truth every age must learn for itself; error is handed down from generation to generation.
  • The best way to defend your error is to confess it.
  • The liar needs two things: a long memory; a short tongue.

("The writings of Ivan Panin" 771)


  • Left out in the rain the cask (barrel) swelled and burst its hoops. There, at last I am rid of these wretched bands, thought the cask. But when the sun came out it fell to pieces.
  • The dove when flying observed that it had to beat against the air. It prayed to be spared its resistance. The dove had its prayer answered, and was put in to a vacuum. But on trying to fly it fell to the ground.
  • The vine weary of clipping at last prayed to be delivered there from. The kindly husbandman heeded its request, and its growth ran all into wood. But when next year the new owner came, he cut down the unprofitable vine.
  • A man was met of God in a hay field, and was there converted. Full of joy he meets his neighbour. "Have you found the Lord?" "Yes, praise His Name, long ago."... "Where did you find Him?"... "One day in my chamber."... "You are mistaken, friend. A man cannot truly find God unless in a hay field." This man afterwards became a theologian!

 Faith, Love, Hope:

  • Faith, Hope, Love, is the order of their longevity. Faith may die in the Autumn, hope may live into the Winter, love lives through the Winter.
  • Faith designs the bridge, hope throws it across the gulf, love crosses it.
  • Want of faith springs from too much knowledge. Want of love, from too little want of hope, from both.
  • Which first, faith, love, hope? I conceive them as an equilateral triangle; at every turn each of the three points is at the top.

("The writings of Ivan Panin" 795)

  • Pure faith can dwell only in a clean heart; pure love, only in a clear head.
  • Faith is the sixth sense added to the natural man from above after he surrenders the other five.
  • True faith is like the sunflower: keeps ever sunward even when not shined upon.
  • It is faith never to despair, and it is still faith to toil on even in despair.
  • Reason is the eye; faith, the telescope wherewith to see the things beyond the range of reason.
  • Appreciation is sight, admiration is love. Folk do not appreciate because they have not head enough; they do not admire because they have not heart enough.
  • Argument seldom even convinces, and this with many words. Love may even convict, and this with few words.
  • Both love and hatred are blind; but love is blind to faults; hatred to merits
  • By loving the loveable you show forth their worth; by loving the hateful you show forth yours.
  • Even the small soul can love in return, only the great soul hates not in return.
  • Open mouth and open ears seldom go together; open heart and open hands must go together.
  • True love has these two marks: it is first tender, then enduring.
  • To be in love is to carry about a piece of coal in the belief that it is a diamond. To walk in love is to be ever transforming the coal into a diamond.

("The writings of Ivan Panin" 837)

  • To love the loveable is human; to love the despicable this is divine.
  • When the heart changes lovers, it is because it has not yet been in love with a soul, but only in love with love.
  • Who loves only some men will be loved by many. Who loves all men will be loved by some and hated by many.
  • To rise you must love your superior; to keep from falling you must love also your inferiors.
  • Who has not known sorrow has not yet begun to understand life; who has not loved, has not yet begun even life itself.
  • To become beloved one needs only to be able to give; to remain beloved one must also be able to receive.
  • Love, like the sea, levels all things by covering them with itself. (1 PETER 4:8)
  • Love is the only possession of which the more one gives the less thereof he parts with. (PROVERBS 10:12; SONG OF SOLOMON 8:7)

("The writings of Ivan Panin" 858)

  • Humility removes the cataract, love renovates the eye.
  • If you have talents, love will enhance their presence; if you have none, love will make up for their absence.
  • Love is a flame; and like the flame loses naught of its own by lighting a thousand others: (1 CORINTHIANS 13:8)
  • Love is a vine: produces in abundance, but will not do its best till twined round another.
  • Love will not speak evil of any, but neither will it speak good of all.
  • One may think best in English and feel best in German; one may chat best in French and sing best in Italian; one may scold best in Russian and pray best in any tongue; but love is best uttered only in silence.
  • Only he can truly love men who has first learned to despise man.
  • There is no true friendship without much love; there is much love without true friendship.
  • Both selfishness and love have keen sight: but selfishness looks through a microscope, and sees only what is small or near; love look through a telescope, and sees what is great or far.
  • Love is the one talent within reach of us all.

("The writings of Ivan Panin" 911)

  • The love that only covers defects is like paint and putty: useful, indeed, but equally superficial.
  • Love "sees" faults, hatred "looks" at them.
  • Love sees what is good in a friend; charity sees it also in the enemy!
  • Charity is like the sun: which makes even the mud to shine.
  • Who sees most, censures least.
  • Only look far enough, and even parallel lines at last merge into one.
  • By all means expect no one to be without fault; only be sure not to be on the lookout for that fault.
  • A frequent but great blunder (mistake): judging the quality of the honey by the sting of the bee.
  • It is on the whitest cloth that the spot is most noticeable.

("The writings of Ivan Panin" 932)


  • Men are never so forgetful of what they should do in their own place as when telling what they would do in another's.
  • Half of what we hear is seldom so, the other half is not exactly so.
  • Condemn not one till you have been in his place.
  • Condemn no one. If repentant, he has already judged himself. If unrepentant, God shall surely judge him.
  • Who dwells with pleasure on the faults of others only shows forth his own.
  • The weaknesses of others if dwelt upon become ours.
  • Who has an eye for the weaknesses of others has seldom one for his own.
  • When satan fails in driving folk in to their own sin, he succeeds in setting them to judge the sins of others.
  • If we were to spend our leisure in improving our own ills we should have none left for dwelling upon those of our neighbours.
  • Two things we are safe in not believing: half the good said of us; nearly all the ills spoken of others.

("The writings of Ivan Panin" 968)

  • The vessel that holds not water may still hold grain. It matters not so much what one cannot do as what one can do.
  • The pupil of the eye contracts in the light and dilates in the dark: perhaps to teach us the need of enlarged vision in the presence of all darkness.
  • Lay not up against your neighbour the sin of yesterday. He may have repented thereof today.
  • It is a wise youth that keeps accumulating for future use. It is a wise man that keeps ridding himself of the accumulations of youth.
  • Parent's love is best shown by timely severity; their wisdom by timely gentleness.
  • In youth the days are short and the years are long; in old age the years are short and the days are long.
  • Who wishes not to break the heart of the man must not fear to break the will of the child.
  • The younger grow wise chiefly by learning; the older, by unlearning.

("The writings of Ivan Panin" 995)

  • The child should always survive in the man; the boy only at times.
  • All wish for long life, few know that it means old age.
  • In youth we hope to avoid errors; in mature age we are content if we have succeeded in correcting them.
  • The danger of youth is to be led astray by the abundance of passion; the danger of age is to be led astray by its scarcity.
  • Two great mistakes: to think oneself young at thirty; to think oneself old at fifty.
  • The child's education is not finished till it has learned to obey; the man's, not till he has learned to command.
  • This life is only a preparation for the next, hence education does not end with any age, but is meant to last through every age. Only in childhood and youth education consists in learning; in middle age it has alas! to consist chiefly in unlearning. Blessed he who in his old age needs no longer to unlearn yet can keep on learning...

("The writings of Ivan Panin" 1039)

  • A sinner one is born and this without his consent. A saint is made; and this only with his consent.
  • Men can change a saint into a sinner, but not a sinner into a saint. The chemist can reduce the diamond to carbon. He cannot make the carbon into diamond.
  • The sinner needs to learn that it is wrong to live only for the day; the saint needs to learn that it is wrong to live other than in the day.
  • The sinner needs to learn that God can be a merciful judge; the saint, that He can also be a stern Father.
  • That they are sinners few are willing to deny; that they are sinning, few are ready to admit.
  • When a man confesses that he is a great sinner, he is already a smaller one.
  • Sins like a spot can be washed out in blood; sin like a stain, can be burnt out only in fire.
  • The bad man makes enemies; the good man already has them.

("The writings of Ivan Panin" 1066)

  • "Good" men are seldom loved when all is known about them. “Bad” men are often loved even when all is known about them.
  • It is not so difficult to do the right as to abstain from doing the wrong.
  • Men are wise enough as long as they seek wisdom; they are not so wise when they think they have found it.
  • The only way to avoid the sight of fools is to remain in one's chamber, and break the mirror.
  • Silence may sometimes be foolish before the wise; it is always wise before the foolish.
  • There are three kinds of eyes: Who see the pin and keeps away before it pricks them these are the wise. Who see the pin and keep away after it pricks them these are the simple. Who see the pin and keep not away after it pricks them these are the fools.
  • The folly of casting pearls before swine is only equalled by that of trying to persuade them that the mire they so love is filthy.
  • The fool's favourite weapon is a sword; the wise man's, a shield.
  • The wise see even without their eyes; the foolish hardly listen even with their ears.
  • The wise hold their opinions, fools are held by them.
  • The rich man is he who though he has little thinks he has much. The wise man is he who though he knows much thinks he knows little.
  • All things move. It is the part of a wise man to find his rest while moving with them.
  • The fool wishes for all he sees, believes all he hears, tells all he knows, spends all he has.

("The writings of Ivan Panin" 1168)

  • Fools are of no particular age, and there is an abundance of them in all ages
  • Animals, when once they have gained our affection, never lose it. They cannot talk!
  • Do sheep ever follow a stranger? Yes, but only when they are sickly.
  • Even the lion must crouch before the victorious spring.
  • The worm you may crush today, might feed on you tomorrow.
  • The dog, though whipped many times, licks his master's hand again if petted but once. And shalt thou upbraid thy God who hath fed thee twenty times where He hath left thee to sorrow but once?
  • For health in the flesh a cool head must be joined to warm feet. For health of the spirit it must be joined to warm hands.
  • Physical heights once climbed are reascended easier than before. Spiritual heights once descended are hardly ever reclimbed as easily as before.
  • Physical strength is measured by what one can carry; spiritual, by what one can bear.
  • When the body is exhausted man is best prostrate on his back. When the spirit is exhausted, man is best prostrate on his face.

("The writings of Ivan Panin" 1222)

  • Where the presence of life is uncertain hold the mirror over the face. Life in the flesh then announces itself by moisture on the glass. Life in the Spirit by moisture in the eye!
  • Whether the body be on its knees at prayer is a matter of convenience. That the Spirit be on its knees even when not in prayer is a matter of necessity.
  • To remain hungry after being fed is the sign of a sick body. To be satisfied after being fed is the sign of a sick Spirit.
  • With the deaf in the flesh, it may be well to be loud; with the deaf in the Spirit it is best to be still.
  • Water will not mix with oil, but neither can oil sink in it. Water is the symbol of the world, oil of
  • the Spirit.
  • Temporal blessings make us joy in life; Spiritual blessings make us joy also in death.
  • Knowledge of the world is mostly knowledge of the evil therein!
  • The ambition of all worldlings is summed up in one word: to have a large tomb in exchange for a small life!
  • The world does not change, it is only your world that changes.
  • The only way to conquer the world is to forsake it.
  • To be successful in the world one needs only to float with the current; to be successful in the Kingdom one must intelligently handle the oars.

("The writings of Ivan Panin" 1256)

  • To be wise in the world we need only suspect men as much as they deserve. To be wise in the Kingdom we must love them more than they deserve.
  • To succeed in the world you must know how to assert yourself. To succeed in the Kingdom you need only to know how to deny yourself.
  • The good learn early that there are wicked folk in the world; the bad learn late that there are good folk in the world.
  • What if the world know thee not? Enough if He knoweth thee Who made the world.
  • To know how to use everyone is the height of earthly wisdom. To know how to be of use to every one is the height of heavenly wisdom.
  • True success is attained in the world by at all times holding on; in the Kingdom, by first letting go.
  • Discontent is a mark either of your not yet having found your place in the world, or of your having already lost it in the Kingdom.

("The writings of Ivan Panin" 1294)

  • In the world, success is measured by the ability to go up; in the Kingdom, by the ability to come down.
  • The surest way to leave happiness behind is to run after it.
  • It took men long to learn that happiness is found not without but within; it will take them longer to learn that neither can it be found within, but above.
  • We must learn to detach ourselves from all that can be lost, that we may become attached to the only One that is ever ready to be found!
  • Life is too short for regrets, and for mourning it is only long enough when its tears fertilize the heart.
  • Every earthly hope is an egg, but the serpent hatches thence as often as the dove....
  • Only hard diamond cuts hard diamond; but the hardest heart can be cut only by the tenderest.
  • The head can never form a good heart, but it can rule an evil one.
  • The mouth should seldom be open; the ears often; the heart always.
  • The key to the heart of others is carried within our own.

("The writings of Ivan Panin" 1352)

  • Where prosperity turns the head it shrivels also the heart. Where adversity enlarges the heart it in nowise shrivels the head.
  • Corruption of the heart, confusion of the head.
  • To gain entrance into the hearts of others we need only the opening of theirs; to abide in the hearts of others we need also the opening of ours.
  • Like the candle Christians also must be consumed in giving out his light; but unlike the candle he must keep on shining after he is consumed.
  • Two things are required of a well: it must not freeze in Winter, it must not run dry in Summer. Two things are required of piety: it must not be chilled by adversity, it must not wither with prosperity.
  • Christianity has suffered little from those who bear not the name of Christ, it has suffered much from those who do. The sun is obscured not by other stars, but by the fog it raises itself!

("The writings of Ivan Panin" 1387)

  • To bear the Master's image, Christian also like the wax, must first be melted.
  • The secret of Christian's life is to walk upon a narrow path with a wide heart.
  • The puddle does not contain the heavens, but it can reflect them. What if I have not the Master's full power? I can still reflect the Master's image.
  • A Christian has been defined as a fulfilled man. If filled with the Spirit, yes; otherwise Christian is first of all an emptied man.
  • Since the blood of Christ has been shed for us we need not always condemn ourselves; but since the blood of Christ yet pleads for us we must ever still suspect ourselves.
  • Keep on rising and you will at last find yourself alone, but with God. Keep on sinking and you will at last find yourself not alone, but with satan.
  • The Bible is the only book that furnishes not only a photographic gallery for every one of the race, but also a list of the stations on whatever road one may be travelling. The gallery is indeed a rogue's gallery, but the way it leads on is from satan's prison unto God's Throne.
  • The most helpful commentary on the Bible is affliction.
  • Washed you may be in water, cleansed you must be in blood.
  • Two great enemies of pure religion: forms, formulae.
  • To die for their religion many are ready; to live for it, few. It is easier to die bravely than to live bravely.
  • Christianity offers no immunity from storms, it does offer an anchor in the storm.
  • It may cost much to be a Christian now. It will cost more later not to be!

("The writings of Ivan Panin" 1421)