Great Throughts Treasury

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

William Ralph Inge

English Prelate, Dean of Westminster, Writer

"As a man thinketh in his heart so is he."

"As a rule, the game of life is worth playing, but the struggle is the prize."

"Hatred toward any human being cannot exist in the same heart as love to God."

"On the whole, the unhappiest people seem to be those who have no particular cause for being happy except that they are so."

"The aim of education is the knowledge not of facts but of values."

"The dole is utterly demoralizing; its chief effect is to turn the unemployed into the unemployable."

"The greatest obstacle to progress is not man's inherited pugnacity, but his incorrigible tendency to parasitism."

"The happiest people seem to be those who have no particular cause for being happy except that they are so."

"The happy people are those who are producing something; the bored people are those who are consuming much and producing nothing. Boredom is a certain sign that we are allowing our faculties to rust in idleness. When people are bored, they generally look about for a new pleasure, or take a holiday. There is no greater mistake: what they want is some hard piece of work, some productive drudgery. Doctors are fond of sending their fashionable patients to take a rest cure. In nine cases out of ten a work cure would do them far more good."

"The object of studying philosophy is to know one's own mind, not other people's."

"To seek for the truth, for the sake of knowing the truth, is one of the noblest objects a man can live for."

"Worry is interest paid on trouble before it comes due."

"A man may build himself a throne of bayonets, but he cannot sit on it."

"Nature takes away any faculty that is not used."

"Overpopulation... has created conditions favorable to the survival of the unfit and the elimination of the fit."

"Public opinion, a vulgar, impertinent, anonymous tyrant who deliberately makes life unpleasant for anyone who is not content to be the average man."

"Religion is a way of walking, not a way of talking."

"The nations which have put mankind most in their debt have been small states - Israel, Athens, Florence, Elizabethan England."

"The wisdom of the wise is an uncommon degree of common sense."

"The wise man is he who knows the relative value of things."

"Time is a child of eternity, and resembles its parent as much as it can."

"To become a popular religion, it is only necessary for a superstition to enslave a philosophy."

"What is originality? Undetected plagiarism."

"Action is the normal completion of the act of will which begins as prayer. That action is not always external, but it is always some kind of effective energy."

"All Faith consists essentially in the recognition of a world of spiritual values behind, yet not apart from, the world of natural phenomena."

"Bereavement is the deepest initiation into the mysteries of human life, an initiation more searching and profound than even happy love… Bereavement is the sharpest challenge to our trust in God; if faith can overcome this, there is no mountain which it cannot remove."

"Christianity promises to make men free; it never promises to make them independent."

"Events in the past may roughly be divided into those which probably never happened and those which do not matter. This is what makes the trade of historian so attractive."

"A person may build themselves a throne of bayonets, but they cannot sit on it."

"Faith always contains an element of risk, of venture; and we are impelled to make the venture by the affinity and attraction which we feel in ourselves."

"I have never understood why it should be considered derogatory to the Creator to suppose that he has a sense of humor."

"If the universe is running down like a clock, the clock must have been wound up at a date which we could name if we knew it. The world, if it is to have an end in time, must have had a beginning in time"

"It is astonishing with how little wisdom mankind can be governed, when that little wisdom is its own."

"The belief in progress, not as an ideal but as an indisputable fact, not as a task for humanity but as a law of Nature, has been the working faith of the West for about a hundred and fifty years."

"The divine in the creation is only adequately represented when the whole of the time-process is gathered up into its final meaning and purpose, when, in fact, the mode of becoming is united with the mode of being. This I conceive to be the eternal world – not a world of immobility in contrast with a world of change, but a world in which the antinomy of becoming and being, of motion and rest, is transcended."

"The enemies of Freedom do not argue; they shout and they shout."

"The proper time to influence the character of a child is about 100 years before it is born."

"The truly religious man is always more concerned about what God will do in him that what He will do to him; in this intense desire for purification of his motives he almost wishes that heaven and hell were blotted out, that he might serve God for Himself alone."

"We are fellow workers with God in realizing His purposes in time."

"A cat can be trusted to purr when she is pleased, which is more than can be said for human beings."

"A monarch frequently represents his subjects better than an elected assembly; and if he is a good judge of character he is likely to have more capable and loyal advisers."

"Admiration for ourselves and our institutions is too often measured by our contempt and dislike for foreigners."

"A man is never so truly and intensely himself as when he is most possessed by God. It is impossible to say where, in the spiritual life, the human will leaves off and divine grace begins."

"A good government remains the greatest of human blessings, and no nation has ever enjoyed it."

"All human love is a holy thing, the holiest thing in our experience."

"Anxiety is the interest paid on trouble before it is due."

"Beneath the dingy uniformity of international fashions in dress, man remains what he has always been; a splendid fighting animal, a self-sacrificing hero, and a blood thirsty savage."

"Boredom is a certain sign that we are allowing our faculties to rust in idleness."

"Civilization is a disease which is almost invariably fatal."

"A nation is a society united by a delusion about its ancestry and by common hatred of its neighbors."