Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

William Penn

English Quaker and American Colonist, Founder of Pennsylvania, Real Estate Entrepreneur

"Choose thy clothes by thine own eyes, not another's."

"Content not thyself that thou art virtuous in the general; for one link being wanting, the chain is defective. Perhaps thou art rather innocent than virtuous, and owest more to thy constitution than to thy religion."

"Cunning to wise, is as an Ape to a Man."

"Death is but crossing the world, as friends do the seas; they live in one another still. For they must needs be present, that love and live in that which is omnipresent. In this divine glass, they see face to face; and their converse is free as well as pure. This is the comfort of friends, that though they may be said to die, yet their friendship and society are, in the best sense, ever present, because immortal."

"Death is no more than a turning of us over from Time to Eternity."

"Death then, being the way and condition of life, we cannot love to live if we cannot bear to die."

"Despise no body, nor no condition; lest it come to be thine own."

"Did we believe a final Reckoning and Judgment; or did we think enough of what we do believe, we would allow more Love in Religion than we do; since Religion itself is nothing else but Love to God and Man. He that lives in Love lives in God, says the Beloved Disciple: And to be sure a Man can live nowhere better. It is most reasonable Men should value that Benefit, which is most durable. Now Tongues shall cease, and Prophecy fail, and Faith shall be consummated in Sight, and Hope in Enjoyment; but Love remains."

"Dislike what deserves it, but never hate: for that is of the nature of malice; which is almost ever to persons, not things, and is one of the blackest qualities sin begets in the soul."

"Do good with what thou hast, or it will do thee no good."

"Do not use thyself to dispute against thine own judgment to show thy wit, lest it prepare thee to be indifferent about what is right; nor against another man to vex him, or for mere trial of skill, since to inform or be informed ought to be the end of all conferences."

"Eat therefore to live, and do not live to eat."

"Equivocation is half way to lying and lying the whole way to hell."

"Excess in apparel is another costly folly. The very trimming of the vain world would clothe all the naked ones."

"Experience is a safe guide."

"Far too many executives have become more concerned with the four P's - pay, perks, power and prestige - rather than making profits for shareholders."

"For as men in battle are continually in the way of shot, so we, in this world, are ever within the reach of Temptation."

"For disappointments, that come not by our own folly, they are the trials or corrections of Heaven: and it is our own fault, if they prove not our advantage."

"For though Death be a dark passage, it leads to immortality, and that is recompence enough for suffering of it."

"For we put the power in the people."

"Force may make hypocrites, but it can never make converts."

"Friends are true Twins in Soul; they Sympathize in everything, and have the Love and Aversion. One is not happy without the other, nor can either of them be miserable alone. As if they could change Bodies, they take their turns in Pain as well as in Pleasure; relieving one another in their most adverse Conditions. What one enjoys, the other cannot Want. Like the Primitive Christians, they have all things in common, and no Property but in one another."

"Friendship is the next Pleasure we may hope for: And where we find it not at home, or have no home to find it in, we may seek it abroad. It is an Union of Spirits, a Marriage of Hearts, and the Bond thereof Vertue."

"Friendship is the union of spirits, a marriage of hearts, and the bond thereof virtue."

"Friendship loves a free air, and will not be penned up in straight and narrow enclosures."

"Generally, money lies nearest them that are nearest their graves."

"Government seems to me to be a part of religion itself— a thing sacred in its institutions and ends."

"Governments, like clocks, go from the motion men give them, and as governments are made and moved by men, so by them they are ruined too. Wherefore governments rather depend upon men, than men upon governments. Let men be good, and the government cannot be bad; if it be ill, they will cure it. But if men be bad, let the government be never so good, they will endeavour to warp and spoil it to their turn."

"Haste makes Work which Caution prevents."

"Have a care, therefore, where there is more sail than ballast."

"Have wholesome, but not costly Food, and be rather cleanly than dainty in ordering it."

"He that covets can no more be a moral man than he that steals, since he does so in his mind."

"He that espouses parties, can hardly divorce himself from their fate; and more fall with their party than rise with it."

"He that lives in Love lives in God, says the Beloved Disciple: And to be sure a Man can live nowhere better. It is most reasonable Men should value that Benefit, which is most durable. Now Tongues shall cease, and Prophecy fail, and Faith shall be consummated in Sight, and Hope in Enjoyment; but Love remains."

"He that lives to live forever, never fears dying."

"How vilely he has lost himself who becomes a slave to his servant, and exalts him to the dignity of his Maker! Gold is the God, the wife, the friend of the money-monger of the world."

"Humility and knowledge in poor clothes excel pride and ignorance in costly attire."

"I desire to gain your Love and Friendship by a kind, Just and Peaceful Life."

"I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again."

"I have sometimes thought that people are, in a sort, happy, that nothing can put out of countenance with themselves, though they neither have nor merit other people's."

"I know no religion that destroys courtesy, civility, and kindness."

"I remember a passage of one of Queen Elizabeth's great men, as advice to his friend. "The advantage," says he, "I had upon others at court was that I always spoke as I thought; which being not believed by them, I both preserved a good conscience, and suffered no damage from that freedom"; which, as it shows the vice to be older than our times, so does it that gallant man's integrity to be the best way of avoiding it."

"I will never do this, says one, yet does it: I am resolved to do this, says another; but flags upon second Thoughts: Or does it, tho’ awkwardly, for his Word’s sake: As if it were worse to break his Word, than to do amiss in keeping it."

"If a civil word or two will render a man happy, he must be a wretch, indeed, who will not give them to him. - Such a disposition is like lighting another man's candle by one's own, which loses none of its brilliancy by what the other gains."

"If love be not thy chiefest motive, thou wilt soon grow weary of a married state, and stray from thy promise, to search out thy pleasures in forbidden places."

"If Man be the Index or Epitomy of the World, as Philosophers tell us, we have only to read our selves well to be learned in it."

"If men be good, government cannot be bad."

"If men will not be governed by God, they will be ruled by tyrants."

"If men would once consider one another reasonably, they would either reconcile their differences, or more amicably maintain them."

"If there be three distinct and separate Persons, then three distinct and separate Substances. . . . And since the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Spirit is God . . . then unless the Father, Son and Spirit are three distinct Nothings, they must be three distinct Substances, and consequently three distinct Gods."