Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.


"Through every mortal sin which is contrary to God’s commandments, an obstacle is placed to the outpouring of charity, since from the very fact that a man chooses to prefer sin to God’s friendship, which requires that we should follow His will, it follows that the habit of charity is lost at once through one mortal sin." -

"Enjoy your possessions as mortal; see to them as though immortal." - Austonius, fully Decimus Magnus Ausonius

"The trouble of the many and various aims of mortal men bring them much care, and herein they go forward by different paths but strive to reach one end, which is happiness. And that good is that, to which if any man attain, he can desire nothing further... Happiness is a state which is made perfect by the union of all good things. This end all men seek to reach, as I said, though by different paths. For there is implanted by nature in the minds of men a desire for the true good; but error leads them astray towards false goods by wrong paths." - Boethius, fully Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius NULL

"There is no peace except where I am, saith the Lord... As space spreads everywhere, and all things move and change within it, but it moves not nor changes, so I am the space within the soul, of which the space without is but the similitude and mental image; cometh thou to inhabit me, thou hast the entrance to all life - death shall no longer divide thee from whom thou lovest. I am the sun that shines upon all creatures from within - gazest thou upon me thou shalt be filled with joy eternal. Be not deceived. Soon this outer world shall drop off - thou shalt slough it away as a man sloughs his mortal body. Learn even now to spread thy wings in that other world - the world of equality - to swim in the ocean, my child, of me and my love. (Ah! have I not taught thee by the semblance of this outer world, but its alienations and deaths and mortal sufferings - all for this? For joy, ah! joy unutterable!)" -

"Heroes, notwithstanding the high ideas which, by the means of flatterers, they may entertain of themselves, or the world may conceive of them, have certainly ore of mortal than divine about them." - Henry Fielding

"A man has only one way of being immortal on this earth: he has to forget he is mortal." - Hippolyte Jean Giraudoux

"It is dangerous for mortal beauty, or terrestrial virtue, to be examined by too strong a light. The torch of Truth shows much that we cannot, and all that we would not, see." -

"There is no mortal truly wise and restless at once; wisdom is the repose of minds." - Johann Kaspar Lavater

"That man who lives for self alone lives for the meanest mortal known." - Joaquin Miller, formally Cincinnatus Heine (or Hiner) Miller

"There is no existence that is constant, either of our being or of that of objects. And we, and our judgment, and all mortal things go on flowing and rolling unceasingly. Thus nothing certain can be established about one thing by another, both the judging and the judged being in continual change and motion." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"Laughter, indeed, is God’s therapy... in order that we might understand that at the heart of our mortal existence there lies a mystery, at once unutterably beautiful and hilariously funny." - Madame de Motteville, Françoise Bertaut de Motteville

"Lust is an enemy to the purse, a foe to the person, a canker to the mind, a corrosive to the conscience, a weakness of the wit, a besotter of the senses, and finally a mortal bane to all the body." - Pliny the Elder, full name Casus Plinius Secundus NULL

"No scene of mortal life but teems with mortal woe." -

"Trifles make up the happiness or the misery of human [mortal] life." - Alexander Smith

"Trifles make up the happiness or the misery of mortal life." - Alexander Smith

"Let's learn and label properly Disappointment and Discouragement for what they are - two completely different states of mind. Disappointment can be a spur to improvement that will contribute to success. But Discouragement is a mortal enemy that destroys courage and robs one of the will to fight. It is not circumstance that causes Discouragement, but one's own reaction to that circumstance. Everyone must meet Disappointment, many times; it is simply a part of life. When it is met, we may resign ourselves to Discouragement and failure. Or we may recognize each Disappointment as an asset by which we can profit, and take new strength from a lesson learned. The choice is ours, each time, to make." - John M. Wilson, fully John Moulder Wilson

"Anxiety is the poison of human life. It is the parent of many sins, and of more miseries. In a world where everything is doubtful, where you may be disappointed, and be blessed in disappointment,—what means this restless stir and commotion of mind? Can your solicitude alter the cause or unravel the intricacy of human events? Can your curiosity pierce through the cloud which the Supreme Being hath made impenetrable to mortal eye? To provide against every important danger by the employment of the most promising means is the office of wisdom; but at this point wisdom stops." -

"There is one way of attaining what we may term, if not utter, at least mortal happiness; it is by a sincere and unrelaxing activity for the happiness of others." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, fully Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton

"Every new idea has something of the pain and peril of childbirth about it; ideas are just as mortal and just as immortal as organized beings are." - Samuel Butler

"To me there is something thrilling and exalting in the thought that we are drifting forward into a splendid mystery - into something that no mortal eye hath yet seen, and no intelligence has yet declared." - Edwin Hubbell Chapin

"Truth is immortal; error is mortal." - Mary Baker Eddy

"There is one expense no mortal can recover: a human life. For money, there are ways." - Euripedes NULL

"I have the happiness of the passing moment, and what more can mortal ask?" - George Gissing, fully George Robert Gissing

"Some tears belong to us because we are unfortunate; others, because we are humane; many because we are mortal. But most are caused by our being unwise. It is these last only that of necessity produce more." - James Henry Leigh Hunt

"Disease generally begins that equality which death completes; the distinctions which set one man so much above another are very little perceived in the gloom of a sick-chamber, where it will be vain to expect entertainment from the gay, or instruction from the wise; where all human glory is obliterated, the wit is clouded, the reasoner perplexed, and the hero subdued; where the highest and brightest of mortal being finds nothing left behind him but the consciousness of innocence." -

"There is something in obstinacy which differs from every other passion. Whenever it fails, it never recovers, but either breaks like iron, or crumbles sulkily away, like a fractured arch. Most other passions have their periods of fatigue and rest, their suffering and their cure; but obstinacy has no resource, and the first wound is mortal." -

"All of us have mortal bodies, composed of perishable matter, but the soul lives forever: it is a portion of the Deity housed in our bodies." - Josephus, fully Titus Flavius Josephus, aka Joseph ben Matthias or Matityahu NULL

"Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal." - John F. Kennedy, fully John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy

"The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe - the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God." - John F. Kennedy, fully John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy

"The thinker dies, but his thoughts are beyond the reach of destruction. Men are mortal; but ideas are immortal." - Walter Lippmann

"Friendships ought to be immortal, hostilities mortal." - Livy, formally Titus Livius, aka Titus Livy NULL

"Have faith in your immortal nature. Know that you are Spirit. Those who think they are limited and mortal, that they are born and that they die, are superstitious. Anything that is weakening, anything that is degenerating, anything that tells us that we are limited human beings is a terrible superstition. By all the means in our power we must overcome it. Let us tear aside this veil of superstition, recognize our true nature, and know that we are eternal, imperishable and immortal." - Paramananda, fully Swami Paramananda, born Suresh Chandra Guha-Thakurta NULL

"“You can’t go home again” is the expression of the fear that home is always changing, never stable, all too mortal (and that the individual is, too), and it is a warning to the individual that society, the hometown, the cozy rural small-town community, can destroy all freedom." -

"Death is the means of transition to future life, which is the ultimate goal of mortal existence." - Sa'di (or Saadi), pen name of Abū-Muḥammad Muṣliḥ al-Dīn bin Abdallāh Shīrāzī, born Muslih-uddin NULL

"Dress covers the mortal body and adorns it, but style is the vehicle of the spirit." - Sydney Smith

"All men think all mortal but themselves." -

"The eternal secret of all great art, yes of every mortal achievement... Concentration." - Stefan Zweig

"For a lifetime people struggle to prolong their mortal lives." - Al-Akhtal, full name Ghiyath ibn Ghawth al-Taghlibi al-Akhtal NULL

"If we see life’s purpose as the achievement of future goals, several problems arise. If we are mortal, the problem is simply that there will come a time when we have no future. Life would end with meaning unfulfilled, since death would eventually rob us of the future where the purposes for our actions lie." - Julian Baggini

"The pangs of pain, of failure, in this mortal lot, are the birth-throes of transition to better things." - John Elof Boodin

"It is impossible to realize perfect Truth so long as we are imprisoned in this mortal frame. We can only visualize it in out imagination. We cannot, through the instrumentality of this ephemeral body, see face to face Truth, which is eternal. That is why one has ultimately to fall back on faith." - Mahatma Gandhi, fully Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, aka Bapu

"By equating God and the universe, we give back to the world what long ago was taken away. The world we live in, with our thoughts, passions, delights, and whatever stirs the mortal frame, must surely take on a deeper meaning. Songs are more than longitudinal sound vibrations, sunsets more than transverse electromagnetic oscillations, inspirations more than the discharge of neurons, all touched with a mystery that deepens, the more we contemplate and seek to understand." - Edward Robert "Ted" Harrison

"Our friendships should be immortal, our enmities mortal." -

"Practically in all the progress that man has made is due to the fact that he is mortal… If there were no death, life would become a thing stagnant, monotonous, and unspeakably burdensome." - Robert William Mackenna

"The worst type of sin, in fact the only “mortal sin” which has enslaved man for the greater part of history, is the institutionalized sin. Under the institution, vice appears to be, or is actually turned into, virtue. Apathy toward evil is thus engendered; recognition of sin becomes totally effaced; sinful institutions become absolutized, almost idolized, and sin becomes absolutely moral." - Laurenti Magesa

"The body is mortal but the changeless Spirit within is immortal. It pervades the universe and is indestructible. No one has the power to change the changeless." - Bibhuti Mazumder

"I have seen a place – its name is Eternal Hatred. It is built in the deepest abyss of the stones of mortal sin. Pride was the first stone – this was seen in Lucifer." - Mechthild of Magdeburg, also Mechtild NULL

"This world is a most holy Temple, into which man is brought there to behold Statues and Images, not wrought by mortal hands, but such as by the secret thought of God hath made sensible, as intelligible unto us." -

"Love is immortality struggling within a mortal frame, and all the mortal pains that flesh is heir to become golden with immortal life as they are touched by love." -

"In a moment of extreme danger things can be done which have previously been thought impossible. Mortal danger is an effective antidote for fixed ideas." - Erwin Rommel, fully Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel