This is a common observation that through long and frequent usage has become an established proverb.

Words are often deceptive, hypocritical, false, flattering, and insincere. They are therefore not to be taken as evidence of the truth. Actions may be, and sometimes are, deceptive, but not as much so as words; and are therefore more satisfactory proof of the real disposition and character of a person. Hence there is just ground, as universally acknowledged, to adopt the proverb that stands at the head of this article.


  • Someone flatters you with words of love and friendship, but acts unfriendly in public;
  • They speak to you of their courage, but prove themselves cowards when it comes time to act;
  • They use flattery, pretending to think highly of us when we are present, yet talk differently when absent;
  • They profess to be of a strong religious faith, yet practice differently; indulging in sin and the neglect of duty.

In all of these cases, a person’s actions speak louder than words.

We also learn that when words and actions align, when they agree in expressing the same thoughts, in good faith and sincerity, they should be acknowledged as a sign of truth; and thus you should strive for all of your words, actions and thoughts to agree, so that you may maintain the credit and character of an honest and good person.

Beautifully restored map of Hudson, Wisconsin from 1870

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