Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"Idleness is the hot-bed of temptation, the cradle of disease, the waster of time, the canker-worm of felicity. To him that has no employment, life in a little while will have no novelty; and when novelty is laid in the grave, the funeral of comfort will soon follow." - Richard Baxter

"To guard the mind against the temptation of thinking that there are no good people, say to them: “Be such as you would like to see others, and you will find those who resemble you.”" -

"Temptation is the fire that brings up the scum of the heart." - Thomas Boston

"When you have overcome one temptation, you must be ready to enter the lists with another. As distrust, in some sense, is the mother of safety, so security is the gate of danger. A man had need to fear this most of all, that he fears not at all." - Thomas Brooks

"There is no memory with less satisfaction in it than the memory of some temptation we resisted." -

"The temptation is not here, where you are reading about it or praying about it. It is down in your shop among bales and boxes, ten-penny nails, and sand-paper." - Edwin Hubbell Chapin

"Vanity is a strong temptation to lying; it makes people magnify their merit, over flourish their family, and tell strange stories of their interest and acquaintance." - Jeremy Collier

"On this earth all is temptation. Crosses tempt us by irritating our pride, and prosperity by flattering it. Our life is a continual combat... We must pass on unmoved, while temptations rage around us, as the traveler, overtaken by a storm, simply wraps his cloak more closely about him, and pushes on more vigorously toward his destined home." - François Fénelon, fully Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon

"The habit of virtue cannot be formed in the closet; good habits are formed by acts of reason in a persevering struggle with temptation." - Bernard Gilpin

"The absence of temptation is the absence of virtue." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Gossip is always a personal confession either of malice or imbecility, and the young should not only shun it, but by the most thorough culture relieve themselves from all temptation to indulge in it." - Josiah Gilbert Holland, also Joshua Gilbert Holland

"Patience is the guardian of faith, the preserver of peace, the cherisher of love, the teacher of humility; patience, governs the flesh, strengthens the spirit, sweetens the temper, stifles anger, extinguishes envy, subdues the hand, tramples upon temptation, endures persecutions, consummates martyrdom; patience produces unity in the church, loyalty in the state, harmony in families and societies; she comforts the poor and moderates the rich; she makes us humble in prosperity, cheerful in adversity, unmoved by calumny and reproach; she teaches us to forgive those who have injured us, and to be the first in asking forgiveness of those whom we have injured; she delights the faithful, and invites the unbelieving; she adorns the woman, and approves the man; is loved in a child, praised in a young man, admired in an old man; she is beautiful in either sex and every age." - George Horne

"Inherent in revivalism is the temptation to stress results and to justify whatever produces them." - W. S. Hudson

"I have great admiration for power, a great terror of weakness, especially in my own sex, yet feel that my love is for those who overcome the mental and moral suffering and temptation through excess of tenderness rather than through excess of strength." - Anna Jameson

"Humanly speaking, there is a certain degree of temptation which will overcome any virtue. Now, in so far as you approach temptation to a man, you do him an injury, and if he is overcome, you share his guilt." -

"When a beautiful woman yields to temptation, let her consult her pride, though she forgets her virtue." -

"One learns more metaphysics from a single temptation than from all the philosophers." - James Russell Lowell

"Character is the product of daily, hourly actions, and words and thoughts; daily forgiveness, unselfishness, kindnesses, sympathies, charities, sacrifices for the good of others, struggles against temptation, submissiveness under trial. Oh, it is these, like the blending colors in a picture or the blending notes of music which constitute the man." - James Ramsay MacDonald

"Where there are no distinctions there can be no superiority; perfect equality affords no temptation." - Thomas Paine

"If you would be free from sin, fly temptation: he that does not endeavor to avoid the one cannot expect Providence to protect him from the other. If the first sparks of ill were quenched, there would be no flame, for how can he kill, that dares not be angry; or be an adulterer in act, who does not transgress in thought; or be perjured, that fears an oath; or defraud, that does not allow himself to covet?" - Thomas W. Palmer

"God is better served in resisting a temptation to evil than in many formal prayers." - William Penn

"The virtue which has never been attacked by temptation is deserving of no monument." - Madeleine Scuderi, also Madeleine de Scudéry, aka Sapho

"To be worth anything, character must be capable of standing firm upon its feet in the world of daily work, temptation, and trial; and able to bear the wear and tear of actual life. Cloistered virtues do not count for much." - Samuel Smiles

"Temptation rarely comes in working hours. It is in their leisure time that men are made or marred." - William Mackergo Taylor

"To attempt to resist temptation, to abandon our bad habits, and to control our dominant passions in our own unaided strength, is like attempting to check by a spider’s thread the progress of as ship of the first rate, borne along before wind and tide." - Benjamin Waugh

"Idleness is a constant sin, and labor is a duty. Idleness is the devil's home for temptation and for unprofitable, distracting musings; while labor profiteth others and ourselves." - Anne Baxter

"Religion is not a perpetual moping over good books. Religion is not even prayer, praise, holy ordinances, these are necessary to religion - no man can be religious without them. But religion is mainly and chiefly the glorifying of god amid the duties and trials of the world; the guiding of our course amid adverse winds and currents of temptation by the sunlight of duty and the compass of Divine truth, the bearing up manfully, wisely, courageously, for the honor of Christ, our great Leader in the conflict of life." - John Caird

"The violence that surrounds us in our streets and in our homes and in our world is evidence that we have succumbed to the temptation of the desert. We face and deep and profound spiritual crisis." - Joan Brown Campbell

"Vanity is a strong temptation to lying; it makes people magnify their merit, over-flourish their family, and tell strange stories of their interest and acquaintance." - Jeremy Collier

"Those who devote themselves to the peaceful study of nature have but little temptation to launch out upon the tempestuous sea of ambition; they will scarcely be hurried away by the more violent or cruel passions, the ordinary failings of those ardent persons who do not control their conduct; but, pure as the objects of their researches, they will feel for everything about them the same benevolence which they see nature display toward all her productions." - Georges Cuvier, fully Jean Léopold Nicolas Frédéric Cuvier

"We often wonder that certain men and women are left by God to the commission of sins that shock us. We wonder how, under the temptation of a single hour, they fall from the very heights of virtue and of honor into sin and shame. The fact is that there are no such falls as these, or there are next to none. These men and women are those who have dallied with temptation - have exposed themselves to the influence of it, and have been weakened and corrupted by it." -

"No man’s spirits were ever hurt by doing his duty; on the contrary, one good action, one temptation resisted and overcome, one sacrifice of desire or interest, purely for conscience’ sake, will prove a cordial for weak and low spirits, far beyond what either indulgence or diversion or company can do for them." - William Paley, Archdeacon of Saragossa

"No place, no company, no age, no person is temptation-free; let no man boast that he was never tempted, let him not be high-minded, but fear, for he may be surprised in that very instant wherein he boasteth that he was never tempted at all." - Ichabod Smith Spencer

"There is not any memory with less satisfaction than the memory of some temptation we resisted." - James Branch Cabell

"The temptation of Protestantism has always been to magnify freedom at the expense of unity. The temptation of Roman Catholicism, on the other hand, has been to magnify unity at the expense of freedom." - Samuel McCrea Cavert

"Character is distilled out of our daily confrontation with temptation, out of our regular response to the call of duty. It is formed as we learn to cherish principles and to submit to self-discipline. Character is the sum total of all the little decisions, the small deeds, the daily reactions to the choices that confront us. Character is not obtained instantly. We have to mold and hammer and forge ourselves into character. It is a distant goal to which there is no shortcut." - Sidney Greenberg

"Greatness is a matter not of size but of quality, and it is within the reach of every one of us. Greatness lies in the faithful performance of whatever duties life places upon us and in the generous performance of the small acts of kindness that God has made possible for us. There is greatness in patient endurance; in unyielding loyalty to a goal; in resistance to the temptation to betray the best we know; in speaking up for the truth when it is assailed; in steadfast adherence to vows given and promises made. God does not ask us to do extraordinary things. He asks us to do ordinary things extraordinarily well." - Sidney Greenberg

"Temptation is the voice of the suppressed evil; conscience is the voice of the repressed good." - James Arthur Hadfield

"Character so conceived has three interrelated parts: moral knowing, moral feeling, and moral behavior. Good character consists of knowing the good, desiring the good, and doing the good – habits of the mind, habits of the heart, and habits of action. When we think about the kind of character we want for our children, it’s clear that we want them to be able to judge what is right, care deeply about what is right, and then do what they believe to be right – even in the face of pressure from without and temptation from within." - Thomas Lickona, fully Thomas Edward Lickona

"As we go up the scale of spiritual excellence, temptation follows us all the way, becoming more refined as our lives are more refined, more subtle as our spiritual sensitiveness is keener." -

"Where there is no temptation, there can be little claim to virtue." - William H. Prescott, fully William Hicking Prescott

"Everyone likes to think that they have done reasonably well in life, so that it comes as a shock to find our children believing differently. The temptation is to tune them out; it takes much more courage to listen." - John D. Rockefeller III

"To be worth anything, character must be capable of standing firm upon its feet in the world of daily work, temptation, and trial." - Samuel Smiles

"What augments our spiritual forces? A temptation which has become overcome." - Alexander Yelchaninov

"Trials, temptations, disappointments -- all these are helps instead of hindrances, if one uses them rightly. They not only test the fibre of a character, but strengthen it. Every conquered temptation represents a new fund of moral energy. Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before." - James Buckham

"Greater is he who is above temptation than he who, being tempted, overcomes." - Amos Bronson Alcott

"Thinking for oneself is always arduous and is sometimes painful. The temptation to stop thinking and to take dogma on faith is strong. Yet, since the intellect does possess the capacity to think for itself, it also has the impulse and feels the obligation. We may therefore feel sure that the intellect will always refuse, sooner or later, to take traditional doctrines on trust." - Arnold J. Toynbee, fully Arnold Joseph Toynbee

"To be an enemy is a sin; to have one is a temptation." - Benjamin Whichcote

"Life is so mysterious. People are in misery, and they don’t know how to get out, get help or free themselves. Life is total freedom, but we’re trapped in our own civilization, culture, religion, teachings. We’re equipped with fear, ignorance, unhappiness. Desire is the big evil, the big temptation. Many people carry on in life without knowing this. We do so much for our bodies but not for our souls. Pay attention to yourself, monitor your thinking and capture the villains within. Know what it is in you that would make people suffer more, make people suffer less. Know this and you know how to use your thinking and abilities to bring peace. Certain people have certain duties, a talent. The meaning of life is to see this mission, fulfill it and make the maximum use of your life and your benefit and mankind’s." - Bernie S. Siegel

"Our wealth is often a snare to ourselves, and always a temptation to others." - Charles Caleb Colton