A proverb: The mills of God grind slowly

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Henry~

Senior Member
HK
The mills of god grind,yet they grind exceeding small
The mills of God grind slowly

Are their meaning same? Which one is more popular? Or both are used rarely?
They both mean the dark sides never have good endings?
 
  • katie_here

    Senior Member
    England/English
    I was going to say "I think it means that all things come to those that wait".

    but googling I came across this.

    Retribution
    • THOUGH the mills of God grind slowly, Yet they grind exceeding small; Though with patience he stands waiting, With exactness grinds he all.
    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    Which means that no matter how long it takes, he who needs to be punished will be punished. God watches all, and the day of reckoning will come.

    Does this help.

    Edited to say its not an expression I've ever used, nor ever heard used. (That's not to say though that it isn't popular somewhere else).
     

    Silver

    Senior Member
    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    I was going to say "I think it means that all things come to those that wait".

    but googling I came across this.

    Retribution
    • THOUGH the mills of God grind slowly, Yet they grind exceeding small; Though with patience he stands waiting, With exactness grinds he all.
    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    Which means that no matter how long it takes, he who needs to be punished will be punished. God watches all, and the day of reckoning will come.

    Does this help.

    Edited to say its not an expression I've ever used, nor ever heard used. (That's not to say though that it isn't popular somewhere else).

    I have a question concerning this proverb.

    If I say "The mills of God grind slowly" it means "all things come to those that wait", and when I say "the mills of God grind slowly, Yet they grind exceeding small; Though with patience he stands waiting, With exactness grinds he all." it means "no matter how long it takes, he who needs to be punished will be punished. God watches all, and the day of reckoning will come." Is that right?

    So my question is:

    When I say "The mills of God grind slowly" it won't mean "no matter how long it takes, he who needs to be punished will be punished. God watches all, and the day of reckoning will come. "

    Reason to ask this question:

    I got this proverb in Chinese, but I only got this part (The mills of God grind slowly), and its Chinese definition is "no matter how long it takes, he who needs to be punished will be punished. God watches all, and the day of reckoning will come. ", and I ask this question.

    Put simply, can "The mills of God grind slowly" mean "no matter how long it takes, he who needs to be punished will be punished. God watches all, and the day of reckoning will come. "?

    Thanks a lot
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I don't think it means "all things come to those that wait". It has more to do with retribution and the final "balancing of the books" than something good coming. There is a sense of foreboding to it, in my opinion. In casual terms, "it will come back to bite you/them in the end".
     

    DLHB

    New Member
    Chinese
    I happened to find this saying in my book THE DICTIONARY OF CLICHES by James Rogers.

    The entry in the book " Mills of God (The Gods) Grind Slowly", and the defination/explanations are as following,

    Quoted

    At some point a sinner will be punished; many decisions or events that are important in one's life take time in coming. Some 1,600 years ago the Greek philosopher Sextus Empiricus wrote: "The mills of the gods grind slowly, but they grind small." One of Longfellow's translations was 17th-century poem, "Retribution," by Friedrich von Logau:
    Though the mills of God grind slowly, Yet they grind exceeding small; Though with patience he stands waiting, With exactness grinds he all.

    Unquoted

    According to above, can it also mean that all things come to those that wait, other than the punishment part ?
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    According to above, can it also mean that all things come to those that wait, other than the punishment part ?
    Not unless you consider being ground between millstones and spit out in exceedingly small bits of flesh something other than punishment.

    I agree with JamesM.
     

    Pablo Piel de Oreja

    New Member
    English - USA
    Mortal, sinful "man" is the grain. Perfect flour is God's man. All imperfection must be eliminated, and no sin, evil, or error can escape the coming realization of the absolute perfection of His spiritual creation. It can refer to the absolute punishment, destruction, of all sin, but Truth is positive, so the "becoming perfect" as He is, encourages rather than brings dismay. Only the sinner would view this with a sense of foreboding.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    I first came across this in German, in my teens - always thought it was by Goethe!

    The modern English equivalent might be "What goes around, comes around", meaning that the good or bad deeds that you commit will come back to you in reward or retribution, sooner or later. Karma.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Mortal, sinful "man" is the grain. Perfect flour is God's man. All imperfection must be eliminated, and no sin, evil, or error can escape the coming realization of the absolute perfection of His spiritual creation.
    Very cheerful... :D I usually hear it used where someone's misdeeds (usually, but not always, not too serious) have been discovered after a long time.
     

    KHUMONG

    New Member
    Khiamniungan
    The mills of god grind,yet they grind exceeding small
    The mills of God grind slowly

    Are their meaning same? Which one is more popular? Or both are used rarely?
    They both mean the dark sides never have good endings?
    "Though the mills of God grind slowly; Yet they grind exceeding small;Though with patience He stands waiting, With exactness grinds He all."
    i hope you understood?
     
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