Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

William Penn

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

"The usefullest truths are plainest; and while we keep to them, our differences cannot rise high."

"There is a troublesome humor some men have, that if they may not lead, they will not follow; but had rather a thing were never done, than not done their own way, tho' other ways very desirable."

"There is a truth and beauty in rhetoric; but it oftener serves ill turns than good ones."

"There is a zeal without knowledge, that is superstition. There is a zeal against knowledge, that is interest or faction; there is a zeal with knowledge, that is religion; and if you will view the countries of cruelty, you will find them superstitious rather than religious. Religion is gentle, it makes men better, more friendly, loving and patient than before."

"There is one great God and power that has made the world and all things therein, to whom you and I and all people owe their being and well-being, and to whom you and I must one day give an account for all that we do in this world. This great God has written his law in our hearts, by which we are taught and commanded to love and help and do good to one another, and not to do harm and mischief one unto another. Now this great God has been pleased to make me concerned in your parts of the world, and the king of the country where I live has given unto me a great province therein, but I desire to enjoy it with your friends, else what would the great God say to us, who has made us not to devour and destroy one another, but live soberly and kindly together in the world."

"There is truth and beauty in rhetoric; but it oftener serves ill turns than good ones."

"They have a Right to censure, that have a Heart to help: The rest is Cruelty, not Justice."

"They must first judge themselves, that presume to censure others: And such will not be apt to overshoot the Mark. We are too ready to retaliate, rather than forgive, or gain by Love and Information. And yet we could hurt no Man that we believe loves us. Let us then try what Love will do: For if Men did once see we Love them, we should soon find they would not harm us. Force may subdue, but Love gains: And he that forgives first, wins the Lawrel. If I am even with my Enemy, the Debt is paid; but if I forgive it, I oblige him forever."

"They that censure, should practice. Or else let them have the first stone, and the last too."

"They that Marry for Money cannot have the true Satisfaction of Marriage; the requisite Means being wanting."

"They that soar too high, often fall hard."

"This Enchiridion, I present thee with, is the Fruits of Solitude: A School few care to learnin, tho’ None instructs us better. Some Parts of it are the Result of serious Reflections: Others the Flashings of Lucid Intervals: Writ for private Satisfaction and now publish’d for Help to Human Conduct."

"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."

"This is the comfort of the godly: the grave cannot hold them, and they live as soon as they die."

"Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants."

"Those who would mend the world must first mend themselves."

"Time is what we want most, but what alas! we use worst."

"'Tis no sin to be tempted, but to be overcome."

"'Tis the glory of a man to vail to truth; as it is the mark of a good nature to be easily entreated."

"To be dexterous in danger is a virtue; but to court danger to show it, is weakness."

"To be virtuous is to overcome our evil inclinations. If thou hast not conquer'd thyself in that which is thy own particular weakness, thou hast no title to virtue, tho' thou art free of other men's."

"To delay justice is injustice."

"To do evil that good may come of it is for bunglers in politics as well as mortals."

"To have religion upon authority, and not upon conviction, is like a finger-watch, to be set forwards or backwards, as he pleases that has it in keeping."

"To have striven, to have made the effort, to have been true to certain ideals - this alone is worth the struggle."

"To hazard much to get much has more of avarice than wisdom."

"True godliness does not turn men out of the world, but enables them to live better in it and excites their endeavors to mend it."

"Truth never lost ground by enquiry."

"Unless virtue guides us, our choice must be wrong."

"We are apt to love praise, but not deserve it. But if we would deserve it, we must love virtue more than that."

"We are too careless of posterity, not considering that as they are so the next generation will be."

"We are very apt to be full of ourselves, instead of Him that made what we so much value, and but for whom we have no reason to value ourselves. For we have nothing that we can call our own, no, not ourselves; for we are all but tenants, and at will too, of the great Lord of ourselves, and of this great farm, the world that we live upon."

"We have a call to do good, as often as we have the power and occasion."

"We meet on the broad pathway of good faith and good will; no advantage shall be taken on either side, but all shall be openness and love. I will not call you children, -- for parents sometimes chide their children too severely; nor brothers only, -- for brothers differ. The friendship between me and you I will not compare to a chain; for that the rains might rust, or the falling tree might break. We are the same as if one man's body were to be divided into two parts; we are all one flesh and blood."

"Wear none of thine own Chains; but keep free, whilst thou art free."

"Were better to be of no church, than to be bitter for any."

"Were the superfluities of a nation valued, and made a perpetual tax or benevolence, there would be more alms-houses than poor, schools than scholars, and enough to spare for government besides."

"Where charity keeps pace with gain, industry is blessed."

"Where Example keeps pace with Authority, Power hardly fails to be obey'd"

"Where judgment has wit to express it, there's the best orator."

"Where God does not govern, tyrants will rule."

"Whereas the glory of Almighty God and the good of mankind is the reason and end of government, therefore, government in itself is a venerable ordinance of God."

"Wit gives an edge to sense, and recommends it extremely."

"You are now fixed at the mercy of no governor that comes to make his fortune great; you shall be governed by laws of your own making and live a free, and if you will, a sober and industrious life. I shall not usurp the right of any, or oppress his person. God has furnished me with a better resolution and has given me his grace to keep it."