Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Matthew Hale, fully Sir Matthew Hale

English Barrister, Judge and Lawyer, noted for his treatise "The History of the Pleas"

"Laziness grows on people; it begins in cobwebs and ends in iron chains. The more business a man has to do the more he is able to accomplish, for he learns to economize his time."

"Abatements may take away infallible concludency in these evidences of fact, yet they may be probable and inductive of credibility, though not of science."

"All the laws of this kingdom have some monuments or memorials thereof in writing, yet all of them have not their original in writing; for some of those laws have obtained their force by immemorial usage or custom."

"All the notions we have of duration is partly by the successiveness of its own operations, and partly by those external measures that it finds in motion."

"Among the objects of knowledge two especially commend themselves to our contemplation: the knowledge of God and the knowledge of ourselves."

"Be careful that you believe not hastily strange news and strange stories; and be much more careful that you do not report them, though at the second hand; for if it prove an untruth (as commonly strange stories prove so), it brings an imputation of levity upon him that reports it, and possibly some disadvantage to others."

"According to a juridical account and legal signification, time within memory, by the statute of Westminster, was settled in the beginning of the reign of King Richard the First."

"All before Richard I is before time of memory; and what is since is, in a legal sense, within the time of memory."

"All other knowledge merely serves the concerns of this life, and is fitted to the meridian thereof: they are such as will be of little use to a separate soul."

"Certain passive strictures, or signatures, of that wisdom which hath made and ordered all things with the highest reason."

"Considering the casualties of wars, transmigrations, especially that of the general flood, there might probably be an obliteration of all those monuments of antiquity that ages precedent at some time have yielded."

"Contemplation of human nature doth by a necessary connection and chain of causes carry us up to the Deity."

"Hither conscience is to be referred: If by a comparison of things done with the rule there be a consonancy, then follows the sentence of approbation; if discordant from it, the sentence of disapprobation."

"For if you look over the State of Religion as it standeth in Christendom, there is no Church whatsoever which will accept you as a Member of its Communion, but upon some particular terms of Belief, or Practice, which Christ never appointed, and it may be such as an honest and a wise Christian cannot consent to. I am not more able to give up my Reason to the Church of England, than to give up my Senses to the Church of Rome; it looks like a Trick in all Churches to take away the use of Men’s Reason, that they may render us Vassals and Slaves to all their Dictates and Commands.”"

"Jurors are not bound to believe two witnesses, if the probability of the fact does reasonably encounter them."

"Implanted instincts in brutes are in themselves highly reasonable and useful to their ends, and evincible by true reason to be such."

"Let your words be few, especially when your superiors, or strangers, are present, lest you betray your own weakness, and rob yourselves of the opportunity which you might otherwise have had, to gain knowledge, wisdom, and experience, by hearing those whom you silence by your impertinent talking…. Be careful not to interrupt another when he is speaking: hear him out, and you will understand him the better, and be able to give him the better answer."

"Languages of countries are lost by transmission of colonies of a different language."

"Many conclusions of moral and intellectual truths seem, upon this account, to be congenite with us, connatural to us, and engraven in the very frame of the soul."

"Neither the divine determinations, persuasions or inflections of the understanding or will of rational creatures doth deceive the understanding, pervert the will, or necessitate either to any moral evil."

"Next to the knowledge of God this knowledge of ourselves seems most worthy of our endeavour."

"Prudence is principally in reference to actions to be done, and due means, order, reason, and method of doing or not doing."

"Scholars sometimes in common speech, or writing in their native language, give terminations and idiotisms suitable to their native language unto words newly invented."

"Talk unbelief, and you will have unbelief; but talk faith, and you will have faith. According to the seed sown will be the harvest."

"Many things that obtain as common law had their original by parliamentary acts, or constitutions made in writings by the king, lords, and commons."

"Many excellent things are in nature which by reason of the remoteness from us, and unaccessibleness to them, are not within any of our faculties to apprehend."

"Men or women that are greedy of acquaintance, or hasty in it, are oftentimes snared in ill company before they are aware, and entangled so, that they cannot easily get loose from it after, when they would."

"Talk well of the absent whenever you have the opportunity."

"The animal soul sooner expands and evolves itself to its full orb and extent than the human soul."

"The influx of the knowledge of God, in relation to everlasting life, is infinitely of moment."

"Run not into debt, either for wares sold or money borrowed; be content to want things that are not of absolute necessity, rather than to run up the score."

"Opinion is, when the assent of the understanding is so far gained by evidence of probability that it rather inclines to one persuasion than to another, yet not altogether without a mixture of uncertainty or doubting."

"The intellectual husbandry is a good field, and it is the worst husbandry in the world to sow it with trifles."

"The intellectual faculty is a goodly field, capable of great improvement, and it is the worst husbandry in the world to sow it with trifles and impertinences."

"The due contemplation of the human nature doth, by a necessary connection and chain of causes, carry us up to the unavoidable acknowledgment of the Deity; because it carries every thinking man to an original of every successive individual."

"The moral of that poetical fiction, that the uppermost link of all the series of subordinate causes is fastened to Jupiter’s chair, signifies … that Almighty God governs and directs subordinate causes and effects."

"The moral goodness and congruity, or evilness, unfitness, and unseasonableness, of moral and natural action, falls not within the verge of a brutal faculty."

"The more business a man has to do, the more he is able to accomplish, for he learns to economize his time."

"The more business one has, the more you are able to accomplish, for you learn to economize your time."

"The thread and train of consequences in intellective ratiocination is often long, and chained together by divers links, which cannot be done in imaginative ratiocination, by some attributed to brutes."

"The proper acts of the intellect are intellection, deliberation, and determination or decision."

"The sagacities and instincts of brutes, the spontaneousness of many of their animal motions, are not explicable without supposing some active determinate power connected to and inherent in their spirits, of a higher extraction than the bare natural modification of matter."

"The vanity of loving fine clothes and new fashion, and placing value on ourselves by them is one of the most childish pieces of folly."

"The vanity of loving fine clothes and new fashions, and valuing ourselves by them, is one of the most childish pieces of folly that can be."

"The will is not a bare appetitive power, as that of the sensual appetite; but it is a rational appetite."

"There is a certain magic or charm in company, for it will assimilate, and make you like to them, by much conversation with them: if they be good company, it is a great means to make you good, or confirm you in goodness; but if they be bad, it is twenty to one but they will infect and corrupt you. Therefore be wary and shy in choosing and entertaining, or frequenting any company or companions; be not too hasty in committing yourself to them; stand off awhile till you have inquired of some (that you know by experience to be faithful) what they are; observe what company they keep; be not too easy to gain acquaintance, but stand off, and keep a distance yet awhile, till you have observed and learnt touching them. Men or women that are greedy of acquaintance, or hasty in it, are oftentimes snared in ill company before they are aware, and entangled so that they cannot easily loose from it after, when they would."

"The various dialects of the English in the north and west render their expressions many times unintelligible to the other, and both scarce intelligible to the midland."

"There is no book like the Bible for excellent learning, wisdom, and use."

"There is the same necessity for the divine influence and regimen to order and govern, conserve and keep together, the universe in that consistence it hath received, as it was at first to give it before it could receive it."

"There is the same necessity for the divine influence to keep together the universe in that consistence it hath received as it was first to give it."