Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"‘Tis precept and principle, not an estate, that makes a man good for something." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"A great estate is a great disadvantage to those who do not know hot to use it, for nothing is more common than to see wealthy persons live scandalously and miserably; riches do them no service in order to virtue and happiness; it is precept and principle, not an estate, that makes a man good for something." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"An ounce of practice is worth a pound of precept." - R. D. Blackmore, fully Richard Doddridge Blackmore

"Example is more forcible than precept." - Richard Cecil

"Precept and example, like the blades of a pair of scissors, are admirably adapted to their end when conjoined; separated, they lose the greater portion of their utility." - Paul Chatfield, pseudonym for Horace Smith

"Example is always more efficacious than precept." -

"Example is better than precept." - David Macbeth Moir

"Example prevails more than precept." - Francis Osborn

"Too many follow example rather than precept; but it is safer to learn rather from precept than example. Man a wise teacher does not follow his own teaching; for it is easier to say, do this, than to do it. If then I see good doctrine with an evil life, though I pity the last, I will follow the first. Good sayings belong to all; evil actions only to their authors." - Arthur Warwick

"Charity is a magnet with more power to attract the divine influence than any other precept." -

"Examples is more forcible than precept. People look at my six days in the week to see what I mean on the seventh." - Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury

"In ancient days the most celebrated precept was, “Know thyself;” in modern times it has been supplanted by the more fashionable maxim, “Know thy neighbor, and everything about him.”" -

"Old Times have bequeathed us a precept, to be merry and wise, but who has been able to observe it?" -

"In almost everything, experience is more valuable than precept." -

"Men trust their eyes rather than their ears; the road by precept is long and tedious, by example short and effectual." -

"In 1881… “The false and repulsive precept that mankind is perpetually called upon to avenge the sins and errors of the forefathers upon the innocent descendents, has ruled the world far too long, and has blotted the countries of Europe with shameful and abominable deeds, from which we turn away in horror.”" - Ignaz von Döllinger, fully Johann Ignaz von Döllinger

"When we pray for any virtue, we should cultivate the virtue as well as pray for it; the form of your prayers should be the rule of your life; every petition to god is a precept to man." - Jeremy Taylor

"Example is the best precept." - Aesop NULL

"Example is the best precept." -

"Example is the best precept." -

"Young men have strong passions, and tend to gratify them indiscriminately... They have as yet met with few disappointments. Their lives are mainly spent not in memory but in expectation; for expectation refers to the future, memory to the past, and youth has a long future before it and a short past behind it: on the first day of one’s life one has nothing at all to remember, and can only look forward... They would always rather do noble deeds than useful ones: their lives are regulated more by moral feeling than by reasoning; and whereas reasoning leads us to choose what is useful, moral goodness leads us to choose what is noble. They are fonder of their friends, intimates, and companions than older men are, because they like spending their days in the company of others, and have not yet come to value either their friends or anything else by their usefulness to themselves. All their mistakes are in the direction of doing things excessively and vehemently. They disobey Chilon’s precept by overdoing everything; they love too much and hate too much, and the same thing with everything else. They think they know everything, and are always quite sure about it." - Aristotle NULL

"There is no moral precept that does not have something inconvenient about it." - Denis Diderot

"It is by imitation, far more than by precept, that we learn everything; and what we learn thus, we acquire not only more efficiently, but more pleasantly. This forms our manners, our opinions, our lives." - Edmund Burke

"Virtue... in so far as it is based on internal freedom, contains a positive command for man, namely, that he should bring all his powers and inclinations under his rule (that of reason); and this is a positive precept of command over himself which is additional to the prohibition, namely, that he should not allow himself to be governed by his feelings and inclinations (the duty of apathy); since, unless reason takes the reins of government into its own hands, the feelings and inclinations play the master over the man." - Immanuel Kant

"Education does not mean teaching people what they do not know. It means teaching them to behave as they do not behave. It is not teaching the youth the shapes of letters and the tricks of numbers, and then leaving them to turn their arithmetic to roguery, and their literature to lust. It means, on the contrary, training them into the perfect exercise and kingly continence of their bodies and souls. It is a painful, continual and difficult work, to be done by kindness, by watching, by warning, by precept and by praise, but above all - by example." - John Ruskin

"Each of us occupies two temporal modalities of being: one which exists in the present and one which stretches through time to our lives’ limits. While the former constantly demands our attention, it is upon the latter that every precept of behavior and hope of happiness is based." - Robert Grudin

"The precept “Resist not evil,” was given to prevent us from taking pleasure in revenge, in which the mind is gratified by the sufferings of others, but not to make us neglect the duty of restraining men from sin." -

"Temperance, that virtue without pride, and fortune without envy, that gives indolence of body with an equality of mind; the best guardian of youth and support of old age; the precept of reason as well as religion, and physician of the soul as well as the body; the tutelary goddess of health and universal medicine of life." - William Temple, fully Sir William Temple, 1st Baronet

"That learning which thou gettest by thy own observation and experience, is far beyond that which thou gettest by precept; as the knowledge of a traveler exceeds that which is got by reading." - Thomas Kempis, aka Thomas à Kempis, Thomas von Kempen, Thomas Haemerkken or Hammerlein or Hemerken or Hämerken

"Our works are the mirror wherein the spirit first sees its natural lineaments. Hence, too, the folly of that impossible precept, Know thyself; till it be translated into this partially possible one, Know what thou canst work at." - Thomas Carlyle

"Let him who gropes painfully in darkness or uncertain light, and prays vehemently that the dawn may ripen into day, lay this precept well to heart: “Do the duty which lies nearest to thee,” which thou knowest to be a duty! Thy second duty will already have become clearer." - Thomas Carlyle

"To do each day two things one dislikes is a precept I have followed scrupulously: Every day I have got up and I have gone to bed." - W. Somerset Maugham, fully William Somerset Maugham

"Where one person shapes their life by precept and example, there are a thousand who have shaped it by impulse and circumstances." - James Russell Lowell

"The fundamental precept of liberty is toleration. We can not permit any inquisition either within or without the law or apply any religious test to the holding of office. The mind of America must be forever free." - Calvin Coolidge, fully John Calvin Coolidge, Jr.

"The simplest and shortest ethical precept is to be served as little as possible... to serve others as much as possible." - Leo Tolstoy, aka Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy or Tolstoi

"Surely the love of our country is a lesson of reason, not an institution of nature. Education and habit, obligation and interest, attach us to it, not instinct. It is, however, so necessary to be cultivated, and the prosperity of all societies, as well as the grandeur of some, depends upon it so much, that orators by their eloquence, and poets by their enthusiasm, have endeavoured to work up this precept of morality into a principle of passion. But the examples which we find in history, improved by the lively descriptions and the just applauses or censures of historians, will have a much better and more permanent effect than declamation, or song, or the dry ethics of mere philosophy." - Henry St John, Lord Bolingbroke, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke

"Teachers have a huge responsibility for developing the language of their pupils, both spoken and written. I do not believe that teacher-training puts enough emphasis on this, nor on the connection between linguistic poverty and behaviour. Teachers have to tackle both together, and must be ready themselves to articulate the limits they will impose on rudeness, violence and disregard for the feeling and interests of others. If teachers are not explicitly to introduce, by precept and example, the basic rules of civilised, morally good behaviour, then they should quickly leave the profession." - Mary Warnock, fully Helen Mary Warnock, Baroness Warnock

""Hate the sin and not the sinner" is a precept which, though easy enough to understand, is rarely practiced, and that is why the poison of hatred spreads in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi, fully Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, aka Bapu

"Rabbi Judah the Prince said: “Which is the proper course that a man should choose for himself? That which is an honor to him and elicits honor from his fellow men. Be as scrupulous about a light precept as of a weighty one, for you do not know the reward allotted for each precept. Balance the loss incurred by the fulfillment of a precept against the gain and the accruing from a transgression against the loss it involves. Reflect on three things and you will never come to sin: Know what is above you --a seeing eye, a hearing ear, and all your deeds recorded in a book.”" - Pirke Avot, "Verses of the Fathers" or "Ethics of the Fathers" NULL

"It is a maxim universally agreed upon in agriculture, that nothing must be done too late; and again, that everything must be done at its proper season; while there is a third precept which reminds us that opportunities lost can never be regained." - Pliny the Elder, full name Casus Plinius Secundus NULL

"He who refuses to teach a precept to his pupil is guilty of theft, just as one who steals from the inheritance of his father," - Rabbinical Proverbs

"They who perform one precept in this world will find it recorded for their benefit in the world to come; as it is written, 'Thy righteousness will go before thee, the glory of the Lord will gather thee in." - Rabbinical Proverbs

"The first precept was never to accept a thing as true until I knew it as such without a single doubt." - René Descartes

"It is not as though Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law was a precept from which splendid fiction could not be drawn; it is rather that what these small-time rebels choose to do is so trivial, so cheap, and in the end, so dreary." - Robertson Davies

"We need you, we need your youth, your strength, and your idealism, to help us make right what is wrong." - Ronald Reagan, fully Ronald Wilson Reagan

"Instead of sitting down satisfied with the efforts we have already made, which is the wish of our enemies, the necessity of the times, more than ever, calls for our utmost circumspection, deliberation, fortitude, and perseverance." - Samuel Adams

"In civilized society external advantages make us more respected. - A man with a good coat on his back meets with a better reception than he who has a bad one. - You may analyze this and say, what is there in it? - But that will avail you nothing, for it is a part of a general system." - Samuel Johnson, aka Doctor Johnson

"The conceptions I have summarized here I first put forward only tentatively, but in the course of time they have won such a hold over me that I can no longer think in any other way." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"Live in such a way that you embody true peace, that you can be peace in every moment of your daily life. It is possible for everyone to generate the energy of peace in every step." - Thich Nhất Hanh

"If any two men desire the same thing, which nevertheless they cannot both enjoy, they become enemies; and on the way to their end, which is principally their own conservation, and sometimes their dedication only, endeavor to destroy or subdue one another." - Thomas Hobbes