Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"Let it never be forgotten that it is not by means of war that states are rendered fit for the enjoyment of constitutional freedom; on the contrary, whilst terror and bloodshed reign in the land, involving men's minds in the extremities of hopes and fears, there can be no process of thought, no education going on, by which alone can a people be prepared for the enjoyment of rational liberty." - Richard Cobden

"May we never let the things we can't have, or don't have, or shouldn't have, spoil our enjoyment of the things we do have and can have. As we value our happiness let us not forget it, for one of the greatest lessons in life is learning to be happy without the things we cannot or should not have." - Richard L. Evans, fully Richard Louis Evans

"Any enjoyment or profit we get from life, we get Now; to kill Now is to abridge our own lives." - Robertson Davies

"Every other enjoyment malice may destroy; every other panegyric envy may withhold; but no human power can deprive the boaster of his own encomiums." - Robertson Davies

"That discipline which corrects the eagerness of worldly passions, which fortifies the heart with virtuous principles, which enlightens the mind with useful knowledge, and furnishes to it matter of enjoyment from within itself, is of more consequence to real felicity than all the provisions which we can make of the goods of fortune." - Robert Bridges, fully Robert Seymour Bridges

"In the act of perception there are accordingly these two things, the mind engaged in a certain act, and the thing called the tree which is not mental." - Samuel Alexander

"The best perfection of a religious man is to do common things in a perfect manner. A constant fidelity in small things is a great and heroic virtue." - Saint Bonaventure, born John of Fidanza Bonaventure

"Every man is a liar, and no one is without sin except the one God. It has therefore been held that from man and woman, that is, through the mingling of their bodies, no one is thought to be without defect. But he who is without defect is also without this conception." - Saint Ambrose, born Aurelius Ambrosius NULL

"Poor innocent little creatures (to animals bound for slaughter): if you were reasoning beings and could speak you would curse us. For we are the cause of your death, and what have you done to deserve it?" - Saint Isaac of Nineveh, also Isaac the Syrian, Isaac of Qatar and Isaac Syrus NULL

"Stillness mortifies the outward senses and resurrects the inward movements, whereas agitation does the opposite, that is, it resurrects the outward senses and deadens the inward movements." - Saint Isaac of Nineveh, also Isaac the Syrian, Isaac of Qatar and Isaac Syrus NULL

"We follow the ways of wolves, the habits of tigers: or, rather we are worse than they. To them nature has assigned that they should be thus fed, while God has honored us with rational speech and a sense of equity. And yet we are become worse than the wild beast." - John Chrysostom, fully Saint John Chrysostom

"The men who work seven or eight hours are not the men who can be bought." - Samuel Gompers

"Life is not long, and too much of it must not pass in idle deliberation on how it shall be spent." - Samuel Johnson, aka Doctor Johnson

"Success produces confidence, confidence relaxes industry, and negligence ruins that reputation which accuracy had raised." - Samuel Johnson, aka Doctor Johnson

"The law is the last result of human wisdom acting upon human experience for the benefit of the public" - Samuel Johnson, aka Doctor Johnson

"Whatever be the motive of an insult it is always best to overlook it; for folly scarcely can deserve resentment, and malice is punished by neglect." - Samuel Johnson, aka Doctor Johnson

"Biographies of great, but especially of good men, are most instructive and useful as helps, guides, and incentives to others. Some of the best are almost equivalent to gospels - teaching high living, high thinking, and energetic actions for their own and the world's good." - Samuel Smiles

"The enjoyer (jiva), the objects of enjoyment and the Ruler (Isvara)-the triad described by the knowers of Brahman-all this is nothing but Brahman. This Brahman alone, which abides eternally within the self, should be known. Beyond It, truly, there is nothing else to be known." - Shvetashvatara Upanishad

"The Great Lord is the beginning, the cause which unites the soul with the body; He is above the three kinds of time and is seen to be without parts. After having worshipped that adorable God dwelling in the heart, who is of many forms and is the true source of all things, man attains final Liberation." - Shvetashvatara Upanishad

"The Supreme Lord is higher than Virat, beyond Hiranyagarbha. He is vast and is hidden in the bodies of all living beings. By knowing Him who alone pervades the universe, men become immortal." - Shvetashvatara Upanishad

"Those who know Him who can be realised by the pure heart, who is called incorporeal, who is the cause of creation and destruction, who is all good and the creator of the sixteen parts-those who know the luminous Lord are freed from embodiment." - Shvetashvatara Upanishad

"Sexuality is the key to the problem of the psychoneuroses and of the neuroses in general. No one who disdains the key will ever be able to unlock the door." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"Logical and rational thinking shows us that since it is impossible for a person to save himself from the difficulties and misfortunes of life, it makes sense to accept them with a positive attitude. This ensures a person a happy life." - Simcha Zissel of Kelm, fully Rabbi imcha Zissel Ziv Broida, aka the Elder of Kelm

"Every man is a liar, and no one is without sin except the one God. It has therefore been held that from man and woman, that is, through the mingling of their bodies, no one is thought to be without defect. But he who is without defect is also without this conception." - Ambrose, aka Saint Ambrose, fully Aurelius Ambrosius NULL

"Have the courage to face a difficulty lest it kick you harder than you bargain for." - Stanislaw I, born Stanisław Leszczyński, also spelled Stanislaus NULL

"The free, independent spirit who commits himself to no dogma and will not decide in favor of any party has no homestead on earth." - Stefan Zweig

"One of the most arrogant undertakings, to my mind, is to write the biography of a man which pretends to go beyond external facts and gives the inmost motives. One of the most mendacious is autobiography." - Theodor Haecker

"There never was a great institution or a great man that did not, sooner or later, receive the reverence of mankind." - Theodore Parker

"While the Jews of the United States have remained loyal to their faith, and their race traditions, they have become indissolubly incorporated in the great army of American Citizenship." - Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

"It is a difficult matter to gain the affection of a cat. He is a philosophical, methodical animal, tenacious of his own habits, fond of order and neatness, and disinclined to extravagant sentiment. He will be your friend, if he finds you worthy of friendship, but not your slave." - Théophile Gautier, fully Pierre Jules Théophile Gautier, aka Le Bon Theo

"In private prayer we have a far greater advantage as so the exercise of our own gifts and graces and parts that we have in public duties we are more passive, but in private duties we are more active. Now, the more our gifts and parts and graces are exercised, the more they are strengthened and increased. All acts strengthen habits. The more sin is acted, the more it is strengthened. And so it is with our gifts and graces; the more they are acted, the more they are strengthened." - Thomas Brooks

"The privilege of giving or withholding moneys is an important barrier against the undue exertion of prerogative which if left altogether without control may be exercised to our great oppression; and all history shows how efficacious its intercession for redress of grievances and reestablishment of rights, and how improvident would be the surrender of so powerful a mediator." - Thomas Jefferson

"Yet the hour of emancipation is advancing ... this enterprise is for the young; for those who can follow it up, and bear it through to its consummation. It shall have all my prayers, and these are the only weapons of an old man." - Thomas Jefferson

"My aversion from music rests on political grounds." - Thomas Mann, fully Paul Thomas Mann

"Anyone who regards love as a deal made on the basis of “needs” is in danger of falling into a purely quantitative ethic. If love is a deal, then who is to say that you should not make as many deals as possible?" - Thomas Merton

"The greatest efforts in sports came when the mind is as still as a glass lake." - Tim Gallwey, fully W. Timothy Gallwey

"The sea has been called deceitful and treacherous, but there lies in this trait only the character of a great natural power, which, to speak according to our own feelings, renews its strength, and, without reference to joy or sorrow, follows eternal laws which are imposed by a higher Power." - Wilhelm von Humboldt, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Christian Karl Ferdinand von Humboldt

"True resignation, which always brings with it the confidence that unchangeable goodness will make even the disappointment of our hopes, and the contradictions of life, conducive to some benefit, casts a grave but tranquil light over the prospect of even a toilsome and troubled life." - Wilhelm von Humboldt, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Christian Karl Ferdinand von Humboldt

"The greatest mistake is trying to be more agreeable than you can be." - Walter Bagehot

"The Self, The Ego, and The Shadow operate in time and out of time. The ego operates almost exclusively in time. The Ego is the chief organ of Temporal Awareness." - W. Brugh Joy, fully William Brugh Joy

"I could isolate, consciously, little. Everything seemed blurred, yellow-clouded, yielding nothing tangible. Her inept acrostics, maudlin evasions, theopathies every recollection formed ripples of mysterious meaning. Everything seemed yellow-ly blurred, illusive, lost." - Vladimir Nabokov, fully Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov

"Taking the first footstep with a good thought the second with a good word and the third with a good deed I entered Paradise." - Zoroaster, aka Zarathustra or Zarathushtra Spitama NULL

"And there were always choices to make. Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you would become the plaything of circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity to become molded into the form of the typical inmate." - Viktor Frankl, fully Viktor Emil Frankl

"These words frequently came to my mind after I became acquainted with those martyrs whose behavior in camp, whose suffering and death, bore witness to the fact that the last inner freedom cannot be lost. It can be said that they were worthy of their sufferings; the way they bore their suffering was a genuine inner achievement." - Viktor Frankl, fully Viktor Emil Frankl

"Behold and Acknowledge the Glory that you have witnessed; proclaim the joy that you have experienced; confer the Grace that you have earned." - Atharva Veda, or Atharvaveda

"The error is the night of spirits and the trap of innocence." - Vauvenargues, Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues NULL

"Nature and revelation are alike God's books; each may have mysteries, but in each there are plain practical lessons for everyday duty." - Tryon Edwards

"The highest obedience in the spiritual life is to be able always, and in all things, to say, "Not my will, but thine be done."" - Tryon Edwards

"The institution of marriage keeps the moral world in being, and secures it from an untimely dissolution. Without it, natural affection and amiableness would not exist, domestic education would become extinct, industry and economy be unknown, and man would be left to the precarious existence of the savage. But for this institution, learning and refinement would expire, government sink into the gulf of anarchy; and religion, hunted from earth, would hasten back to her native heavens." - Timothy Dwight, fully Timothy Dwight IV

"Between levity and cheerfulness there is a wide distinction; and the mind which is most open to levity is frequently a stranger to cheerfulness. It has been remarked that transports of intemperate mirth are often no more than flashes from the dark cloud; and that in proportion to the violence of the effulgence is the succeeding gloom. Levity may be the forced production of folly or vice; cheerfulness is the natural offspring of wisdom and virtue only. The one is an occasional agitation; the other a permanent habit. The one degrades the character; the other is perfectly consistent with the dignity of reason, and the steady and manly spirit of religion. To aim at a constant succession of high and vivid sensations of pleasure is an idea of happiness perfectly chimerical. Calm and temperate enjoyment is the utmost that is allotted to man. Beyond this we struggle in vain to raise our state; and in fact depress our joys by endeavoring to heighten them. Instead of those fallacious hopes of perpetual festivity with which the world would allure us, religion confers upon us a cheerful tranquillity. Instead of dazzling us with meteors of joy which sparkle and expire, it sheds around us a calm and steady light, more solid, more equal, and more lasting." - Hugh Blair