Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

William Temple, fully Sir William Temple, 1st Baronet

English Statesman and Essayist

"Temperance, that virtue without pride, and fortune without envy, that gives indolence of body with an equality of mind; the best guardian of youth and support of old age; the precept of reason as well as religion, and physician of the soul as well as the body; the tutelary goddess of health and universal medicine of life."

"The best rules to form a young man, are; to talk little, to hear much, to reflect alone upon what has passed in company, to distrust one's own opinions, and value others that deserve it."

"The greatest pleasure of life is love."

"No possessions are good but by the good use we make of them; without which wealth, power, friends, and servants, do not help to make our lives more unhappy."

"The first ingredient in conversation is truth; the next, good sense; the third, good humor; and the fourth, wit."

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

"Man alone is born crying, lives complaining, and dies disappointed."

"The only way for a rich man to be healthy is by exercise and abstinence, to live as if he were poor."

"The first ingredient in conversation is truth, the next good sense, the third good humor, and the fourth with."

"The best rules to form a young man are to talk little, to hear much, to reflect alone upon what has passed in company, to distrust one’s own opinions, and value others that deserve it."

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

"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."

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

"Health is the soul that animates all the enjoyments of life, which fade and are tasteless without it."

"Learning passes for wisdom among those who want both."

"Science has its being in a perpetual mental restlessness."

"The test of democracy is not whether the majority prevails, but whether the minority is tolerated."

"I believe in the Holy Catholic Church, and I only regret it does not exist."

"Fellowship with God is the goal to which God calls us; it is fellowship with Love – utter, self-forgetful, and self-giving Love."

"Beethoven composed his Mass in De major while Napoleon was advancing on Vienna; when he came to the last chorus – “Dona nobis pacem” – he wrote above his score, “Prayer for inward and outward peace.” TI is seldom that the nature of man’s utmost need is presented to him in a manner so vivid; but at all times it is true that the need of man is for inward and outward peace."

"The greatest pleasure in life is love; the greatest possession is health; the greatest ease is sleep; and the greatest medicine is a true friend."

"To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God."

"One great gain that the scientific use of the comparative method of religion has brought us is the duty of genuine reverence for other men’s beliefs... Whatever thoughts any human soul is seeking to live by, deserve the reverence of every other human soul."

"The heart of Religion is not an opinion about God, such as philosophy might reach as the conclusion of an argument; it is a personal relation with God."

"Philosophy seeks knowledge for the sake of understanding, while religion seeks knowledge for the sake of worship."

"When all is done, human life is, at the greatest and beset, but like a forward child that must be played with and humored a little to keep it quite till it falls asleep, and then the care is over."

"Ecstatic worship which is devoid of charity is for all practical purposes heathen."