Great Throughts Treasury

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

Saint Augustine, aka Augustine of Hippo, St. Austin, Bishop of Hippo NULL

Latin-speaking Philosopher and Theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province whose writings were very influential in the development of Western Christianity

"All sin is a form of lying...Total abstinence is easier than perfect moderation."

"At any rate it is now quite clear that neither future nor past actually exists. Nor is it right to say that there are times, past, present and future. Perhaps it would be more correct to say: there are three times, a present of things past, a present of things present, a present of things future. For these three exist in the mind, and I find them nowhere else: the present of things past is memory, the present of things present is sight, the present of things future is expectation."

"Bad company is like a nail driven into a post, which, after the first and second blow, may be drawn out with little difficulty; but being once driven up to the head, the pincers cannot take hold to draw it out, but which can only be done by the destruction of the wood."

"Before God can deliver us we must undeceive ourselves."

"Do you remember how small grains of sand are? Yet if enough are placed in a ship, they sink it."

"Every disorder of the soul is its own punishment."

"Faith is to believe, on the word of God, what we do not see, and its reward is to see and enjoy what we believe."

"For what other end do we propose to ourselves that to attain to the kingdom of which there is no end?"

"He is the greater friend whose censure heals than he whose flattery anoints the head."

"He only can attain to virtue who knows and imitates God - which knowledge and imitation are the only cause of blessedness... for philosophy is directed to the obtaining of the blessed life, and he who loves God is blessed in the enjoyment of God."

"If there is free will, all things do not happen according to fate; if all things do not happen according to fate, there is not a certain order of causes; and if there is not a certain order of causes, neither is there a certain order of things foreknown by God - for things cannot come to pass except they are preceded by efficient causes - but if there is no fixed and certain order of causes foreknown by God, all things cannot be said to happen according as He foreknew that they would happen... But it does not follow that, though there is for God a certain order of all causes, there must therefore be nothing depending on the free exercise of our own wills, for our wills themselves are included in that order of causes which is certain to God and is embraced by His foreknowledge, for human wills are also causes of human actions; and He Who foreknew all the causes of things would certainly among those causes not have been ignorant of our wills."

"If we conceive of some point of time which cannot be divided into even the minutes parts of moments, that is the only point that can be called present: and that point flees at such lightning speed from being future to being past, that it has no extent of duration at all."

"Indeed, man wishes to be happy even when he so lives as to make happiness impossible."

"It is no advantage to be near the light if the eyes are closed."

"It is with the desire for peace that wars are waged, even by those who take pleasure in exercising their warlike nature in command and battle. And hence it is obvious that peace is the end sought for by war. For every man seeks peace by waging war, but no man seeks war by making peace... Even wicked men wage war to maintain the peace of their own circle, and wish that, if possible, all men belonged to them, that all men and things might serve but one head, and might, either through love or fear, yield themselves to peace with him!"

"It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels."

"Justice is unstable and changeable? No, but the times over which justice presides are not alike, for they are times."

"Necessity has no law."

"Punishment is justice for the unjust."

"Purity of soul cannot be lost without consent."

"Should you ask me, "What is the first thing in religion?" I should reply, "The first, second, and third things therein - nay, all - is humility.""

"Superfluities do not hurt."

"Suspicion is the poison of true friendship."

"The great good is wisdom."

"The love of our neighbor hath its bounds in each man's love of himself."

"The people... is an assemblage associated by a common acknowledgment of right and by a community of interests... Where there is no true justice there can be no right."

"The true religion commands us to put away all disquietude of heart, and agitation of mind, and also all commotions and tempests of the soul."

"The world is a great book, of which they who never stir from home read only a page."

"There is something in humility which, strangely enough, exalts the heart, and something in pride which debases it. This seems, indeed, to be contradictory, that loftiness should debase and lowliness exalt. But pious humility enables us to submit to what is above us; and nothing is more exalted above us than God; and therefore humility, by making us subject to God, exalts us. But pride, being a defect of nature, by the very act of refusing subjection and revolution from Him who is supreme, falls to a low condition."

"This is the very perfection of a man, to find out his own imperfection."

"Thou hast commanded that an ill-regulated mind should be its own punishment."

"Thou hast made us of Thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless 'til they repose in Thee."

"Time takes no holiday. It does not roll idly by, but through our senses works its own wonders in the mind. Time came and went from one day to the next; in its coming and its passing it brought me other hopes and other memories. "

"To abstain from sin when a man cannot sin is to be forsaken by sin, not to forsake it."

"To wisdom belongs the intellectual apprehension of eternal things; to knowledge, the rational knowledge of temporal things."

"When one has this intelligent self-love is commanded to love his neighbor as himself, what else is enjoined than that he shall do all in his power to commend to him the love of God? This is the worship of God, this is true religion, this right piety, this the service due to God only."

"When we return from error, it is through knowing that we return."

"Wine-drinking is the mother of all mischief, the root of crimes, the spring of vices, the whirlwind of the brain, the overthrow of the sense, the tempest of the tongue, the ruin of the body, the shame of life, the stain of honesty, and the plague and corruption of the soul."

"All those of you who rejoice in peace, now it is time to judge the truth.... Undoubtedly in days gone by there were holy men as Scripture tells, For God stated that he left behind seven thousand men in safety, And there are many priests and kings who are righteous under the law, There you find so many of the prophets, and many of the people too. Tell me which of the righteous of that time claimed an altar for himself? That wicked nation perpetrated a very large number of crimes, They sacrificed to idols and may prophets were put to death, Yet not a single one of the righteous withdrew from unity. The righteous endured the unrighteous while waiting for the winnower: They all mingled in one temple but were not mingled in their hearts; They said such things against them yet they had a single altar. "

"A wanton eye is the messenger of an unchaste heart."

"After saying all that, what have we said, my God, my life, my holy sweetness? What does anyone who speaks of you really say? Yet woe betide those who fail to speak, while the chatterboxes go on saying nothing."

"A good conscience is the palace of Christ; the temple of the Holy Ghost; the paradise of delight; the standing Sabbath of the saints."

"A thing is not necessarily true because badly uttered, nor false because spoken magnificently."

"A person can do other things against his will; but belief is possible only in one who is willing."

"Already I had learned from thee that because a thing is eloquently expressed it should not be taken to be as necessarily true; nor because it is uttered with stammering lips should it be supposed false. Nor, again, is it necessarily true because rudely uttered, nor untrue because the language is brilliant. Wisdom and folly both are like meats that are wholesome and unwholesome, and courtly or simple words are like town-made or rustic vessels — both kinds of food may be served in either kind of dish."

"An unjust law is no law at all."

"And even now we labor in our residual gloom, until in your only Son we become your righteousness; for that righteousness is like God's high and holy mountains, while your judgments, which were all the being we then had, are like the deep."

"And men go abroad to admire the heights of mountains, the mighty waves of the sea, the broad tides of rivers, the compass of the ocean, and the circuits of the stars, yet pass over the mystery of themselves without a thought."

"As for our proper peace, we have it double with God; here below by faith, and hereafter above by sight. But all peace we have here, be it public or peculiar, is rather a solace to our misery, than any assurance of our felicity."

"As a youth I prayed, "Give me chastity and continence, but not yet.""