Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

William Temple, fully Archbishop William Temple

English Priest in the Church of England, Bishop of Manchester, Archbishop of York and Archbishop of Canterbury

"The right relation between prayer and conduct is not that conduct is supremely important and prayer may help it, but that prayer is supremely important and conduct tests it."

"A government which by alienating the affections, losing the opinions, and crossing the interests, of the people, leaves out of its compass the greatest part of their consent, may justly be said, in the same degree it loses ground, to narrow its bottom."

"All the precepts of Christianity command us to moderate our passions, to temper our affections, towards all things below."

"All the world is perpetually at work, only that our poor mortal lives should pass the happier for that little time we possess them, or else end the better when we lose them: upon this occasion riches came to be coveted, honors esteemed, friendship pursued, and virtues admired."

"A man must often exercise, or fast, or take physic, or be sick."

"All spirits, by frequent use, destroy, and at last extinguish, the natural heat of the stomach."

"A weak unequal faction may animate a government; but when it grows equal in strength, and irreconcilable by animosity, it cannot end without some crisis."

"All government may be esteemed to grow strong or weak as the general opinion in those that govern is seen to lessen or increase."

"Books, like proverbs, receive their chief value from the stamp and esteem of ages through which they passed."

"By all human laws, as well as divine, self-murder has ever been agreed on as the greatest crime."

"By luxury we condemn ourselves to greater torments than have yet been invented by anger or revenge, or inflicted by the greatest tyrants upon the worst of men."

"Commonwealths were nothing more in their original but free cities; though sometimes, by force of order and discipline they have extended themselves into mighty dominions."

"As French has more fineness and smoothness at this time, so it had more compass, spirit, and force in Montaigne?s age."

"All the writings of the ancient Goths were composed in verse, which were called runes, or viises, and from thence the term of wise came."

"Authority is by nothing so much strengthened and confirmed as by custom; for no man easily distrusts the things which he and all men have been always bred up to."

"As gardening has been the inclination of kings and the choice of philosophers, so it has been the common favourite of public and private men; a pleasure of the greatest and the care of the meanest; and, indeed, an employment and a possession for which no man is too high nor too low."

"Cruelty ? argues not only a depravedness of nature, but also a meanness of courage and imbecility of mind."

"Forces came to be used by good princes only upon necessity of providing for their defence."

"Frugal and industrious men are friendly to the established government, as the idle and expensive are dangerous."

"Good breeding is as necessary a quality in conversation, to accomplish all the rest, as grace in motion and dancing."

"Goodness, as that which makes men prefer their duty and their promise before their passions or their interest, and is properly the object of trust, in our language goes rather by the name of honesty: though what we call an honest man the Romans called a good man; and honesty, in their language, as well as in French, rather signifies a composition of those qualities which generally acquire honour and esteem."

"Health is the soul that animates all enjoyments of life, which fade, and are tasteless, if not dead, without it. A man starves at the best and the greatest tables, makes faces at the noblest and most delicate wines, is poor and wretched in the midst of the greatest treasures and fortunes, with common diseases; strength grows decrepit, youth loses all vigour, and beauty all charms; music grows harsh, and conversation disagreeable; palaces are prisons, or of equal confinement; riches are useless, honour and attendance are cumbersome, and crowns themselves are a burden: but if diseases are painful and violent, they equal all conditions of life, make no difference between a prince and a beggar; and a fit of the stone or the colic puts a king to the rack, and makes him as miserable as he can do the meanest, the worst, and most criminal of his subjects."

"Company are to be avoided that are good for nothing; those to be sought and frequented that excel in some quality or other."

"Contentment with the divine will is the best remedy we can apply to misfortunes."

"Humility does not mean thinking less of yourself than of other people, nor does it mean having a low opinion of your own gifts. It means freedom from thinking about yourself one way or the other at all."

"I had reasoned myself into an opinion that the use of physicians, unless in some acute disease, was a venture, and that their greatest practicers practised least upon themselves."

"I have always looked upon alchemy in natural philosophy to be like enthusiasm in divinity, and to have troubled the world much to the same purpose."

"I prefer a God who once and for all impressed his will upon creation, to one who continually busied about modifying what he had already done."

"If you think how many diseases and how much poverty there is in the world, you will fall down upon your knees, and, instead of repining at one affliction, will admire so many blessings received at the hand of God."

"In case of excesses, I take the German proverbial cure, by a hair of the same beast, to be the worst in the world."

"In conversation, humor is more than wit, easiness more than knowledge."

"In every garden four things are necessary to be provided for,?flowers, fruit, shade, and water; and whoever lays out a garden without all these must not pretend to any perfection. It ought to lie to the best parts of the house, or to those of the master?s commonest use; so as to be but like one of the rooms out of which you step into another. The part of your garden next your house (besides the walks that go round it) should be a parterre for flowers, or grass-plots bordered with flowers; or if, according to the newest mode, it be cast all into grass-plots and gravel walks, the dryness of these should be relieved with fountains, and the plainness of those with statues; otherwise, if large, they have an ill effect upon the eye. However, the part next the house should be open, and no other fruit but upon the walls. If this take up one-half of the garden, the other should be fruit-trees, unless some grove for shade lie in the middle: if it take up a third part only, then the next third may be dwarf trees, and the last standard fruit; or else the second part fruit-trees, and the third all sorts of winter-greens, which provide for all seasons of the year. I will not enter upon any account of flowers, having only pleased myself with seeing or smelling them, and not troubled myself with the care, which is more the ladies? part than the men?s; but the success is wholly in the gardener."

"Human status ought not to depend upon the changing demands of the economic process. The Malvern Manifesto: Drawn up by a Conference of the Province of York, January 10, 1941; signed for the Conference by Temple, then Archbishop of York (later Archbishop of Canterbury)."

"He that by harshness of nature and arbitrariness of commands uses his children like servants is what they mean by a tyrant."

"In the days of His earthly ministry, only those could speak to him who came where He was: if He was in Galilee, men could not find Him in Jerusalem; if He was in Jerusalem, men could not find Him in Galilee. His Ascension means that He is perfectly united with God; we are with Him wherever we are present to God; and that is everywhere and always. Because He is "in Heaven" He is everywhere on earth: because He is ascended, He is here now. Our devotion is not to hold us by the empty tomb; it must lift up our hearts to heaven so that we too "in heart and mind thither accent and with Him continually dwell:" it must also send us forth into the world to do His will; and these are not two things, but one."

"In this world whatever is called good is comparatively with other things of its kind, or with the evil mingled in its composition: so he is a good man that is better than men comparatively are, or in whom the good qualities are more than the bad."

"Is it a small crime to wound himself by anguish of heart, to deprive himself of all the pleasures, or eases, or enjoyments of life?"

"It is a mistake to assume that God is interested only, or even chiefly, in religion."

"It is best to leave nature to her course, who is the sovereign physician in most diseases."

"It may easily be conceived by any that can allow for the lameness and shortness of translations out of languages and manners of writing differing from ours."

"It seems necessary in the choice of persons for greater employments to consider their bodies as well as their minds, and ages and health as well as their abilities."

"Leisure and solitude are the best effect of riches, because mother of thought. Both are avoided by most rich men, who seek company and business; which are signs of being weary of themselves."

"Man is a thinking being, whether he will or no: all he can do is to turn his thoughts the best way."

"Man's wisdom is his best friend."

"Man's wisdom is his best friend; folly his worst enemy."

"Men are apt to play with their healths and their lives as they do with their clothes."

"My worth is what I am worth to God; and that is a marvelous great deal, for Christ died for me. Thus, incidentally, what gives to each of us His highest worth gives the same worth to everyone; in all that"

"Nature gives us many children and friends, to take them away; but takes none away to give them us again."

"No circumstances are likely to contribute more to the advancement of learning, than exact temperance, great pureness of air, equality of climate, and long tranquility of government."

"No duty in religion is more justly required by God Almighty than a perfect submission to his will in all things."