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Directory of Mark Twain's maxims, quotations, and various opinions:

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PREACHER

It was the most earnest ambition I ever had....Not that I ever really wanted to be a preacher, but because it never occurred to me that a preacher could be damned. It looked like a safe job.
- Mark Twain, a Biography

...it is not a new thing for a thoroughly good and well-meaning preacher's soft heart to run away with his soft head.
- "Temperance and Women's Rights"

Preachers are always pleasant company when they are off duty.
- Letter to San Francisco Alta California, written April 30, 1867; published June 10, 1867

I have always preached...If the humor came of its own accord and uninvited, I have allowed it a place in my sermon, but I was not writing the sermon for the sake of humor. I should have written the sermon just the same whether any humor applied for admission or not.
- Mark Twain in Eruption
Twain by Bundy
Portrait of Twain by Bundy
Courtesy of Dave Thomson

Now I don't know how you regard the ministry, but I would rather be a shining light in that department than the greatest lawyer that ever trod the earth. What is the pride of saving the widow's property or the homicide's trivial life, to snatching an immortal soul in mercy from the jaws of hell? Bah! the one is the feeble glitter of the firefly, & the other the regal glory of the sun.
- Letter to Orion Clemens, 10/19-20/1865

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