Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

William Penn

English Quaker and American Colonist, Founder of Pennsylvania, Real Estate Entrepreneur

"Be not provoked by injuries to commit them."

"Clear therefore thy head, and rally, and manage thy thoughts rightly, and thou wilt save time, and see and do thy business well; for thy judgment will be distinct, thy mind free, and the faculties strong and regular."

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

"It is safer to learn than teach; and who conceals his opinion has nothing to answer for."

"He that does good for good's sake seeks neither paradise nor reward, but he is sure of both [at last] in the end."

"Knowledge is the treasure, but judgment is the treasurer of a wise man."

"Passion may not unfitly be termed the mob of the man, that commits a riot on his reason."

"Sincerity goes farther than capacity."

"Love labor: for if thou dost not want it for food, thou mayest for physic. It is wholesome for the body and good for thy mind."

"Men may tire themselves in a labyrinth of search, and talk of God; but if we would know Him indeed, it must be from the impressions we receive of Him; and the softer our hearts are, the deeper and livelier those will be upon us."

"Men who fight about religion have no religion to fight about, since they do in the name of religion the thin which religion itself forbids. To be furious in religion is to be irreligiously religious. It were better to be of no church than to be bitter in any."

"True religion shows its influence in every part of our conduct: it is like the sap of a living tree, which penetrates the most distant boughs."

"True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment."

"Truth often suffers more by the heat of its defenders than from the arguments of its opposers."

"We are too apt to love Praise, but not to Deserve it."

"To be a man's own fool is bad enough, but the vain man is everybody's."

"The jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves."

"To be innocent is to be not guilty; but to be virtuous is to overcome our evil inclinations."

"And he that lives to live forever never fears dying."

"And yet we are very apt to be full of ourselves, instead of Him that made what we so much value, and but for whom we can have no reason to value ourselves. For we have nothing that we can call our own, no, not ourselves; for we are all but tenants, and at will too, of the great Lord of ourselves, and the rest of this great farm, the world that we live upon."

"Believe nothing against another, but on good authority; nor report what may hurt another, unless it be a greater hurt to another to conceal it."

"Content not thyself that thou art virtuous in the general; for one link being wanting, the chain is defective."

"Death is but crossing the World, as Friends do the Seas."

"[On children] Above all things endeavor to breed them up in the love of virtue, and that holy plain way of it which we have lived in, that the world in no part of it get into my family. I had rather they were homely than finely bred as to outward behavior; yet I love sweetness mixed with gravity, and cheerfulness tempered with sobriety."

"Do what good thou canst unknown; and be not vain of what ought rather to be felt than seen."

"Eat to live, and do not live to eat. That's like a Man, but this below a Beast."

"False-dealing travels a short road, and surely detected."

"Five things are requisite to a good officer - ability, clean hands, despatch, patience, and impartiality."

"Frugality is good, if liberality be joined with it. The first is leaving off superfluous expenses; the last bestowing them to the benefit of others that need. The first without the last begets covetousness; the last without the first begets prodigality. Both together make an excellent temper. Happy the place where that is found."

"Hasty resolutions are of the nature of vows; and to be equally avoided."

"If thou thinkest twice before thou speakest once, thou wilt speak twice the better for it."

"He who is taught to live upon little owes more to his father's wisdom than he who has a great deal left him does to his father's care."

"If thou wouldst conquer thy weakness, thou must never gratify it. No man is compelled to evil; his consent only makes it his. It is no sin to be tempted, but to be overcome."

"Inquiry is human; blind obedience brutal. Truth never loses by the one but often suffers by the other... O God, help us not to despise or oppose what we do not understand."

"Love is indeed Heaven upon Earth; since Heaven above would not be Heaven without it: For where there is not Love; there is Fear: But perfect Love casts out Fear. And yet we naturally fear most to offend what we most Love. What we Love, we'll Hear; what we Love, we'll Trust; and what we Love, we'll serve, ay, and suffer for too. If you love me (says our Blessed Redeemer) keep my Commandments. Why? Why then he'll Love us; then we shall be his Friends; then he'll send us the Comforter; then whatsover we ask, we shall receive; and then where he is we shall be also, and that forever. Behold the Fruits of Love; the Power, Vertue, Benefit and Beauty of Love! Love is above all; and when it prevails in us all, we shall all be Lovely, and in Love with God and one with another. "

"Next to God, thy parents."

"No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown."

"Not to be provoked is best; but if moved, never correct till the fume is spent; for every stroke our fury strikes is sure to hit ourselves at last."

"Religion is the fear of God, and its demonstration good works; and faith is the root of both: “For without faith we cannot please God;” nor can we fear what we do not believe."

"Show is not substance; realities govern wise men."

"That plenty should produce either covetousness or prodigality is a perversion of providence; and yet the generality of men are the worse for their riches."

"The difference between passion and love is that this is fixed, that volatile. Love grows, passion wastes, by enjoyment; and the reason is that one springs from a union of souls, and other from a union of sense."

"The truest end of life is to know the life that never ends."

"The wisdom of nations lies in their proverbs, which are brief and pithy. Collect and learn them; they are notable measures of directions for human life; you have much in little they save time in speaking; and upon occasion may be the fullest and safest answers."

"There can be no Friendship where there is no Freedom. Friendship loves a free Air, and will not be penned up in streight and narrow Enclosures. It will speak freely, and act so too; and take nothing ill where no ill is meant; nay, where it is, ’twill easily forgive, and forget too, upon small Acknowledgments."

"There is nothing of which we are apt to be so lavish as of time, and about which we ought to be more solicitous, since without it we can do nothing in this world. Time is what we want most, but what, alas! we use worst."

"To be furious in religion is to be irreligiously religious."

"True silence is the rest of the mind, and is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment. It is a great virtue: it covers folly, keeps secrets, avoids disputes, and prevents sin."

"What man in his right mind would conspire his own hurt? Men are beside themselves when they transgress against their convictions."

"When thou are obliged to speak, be sure to speak the truth; for equivocation is half-way to lying, and lying is the whole way to hell."