Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Law

"All of the moral precepts belong to the law of nature." -

"When a thing is done again and again, it seems to proceed from a deliberate judgment of reason. Accordingly, custom has the force of a law, abolishes law, and is the interpreter of law." -

"A firm faith is the best theology; a good life is the best philosophy, a clear conscience the best law; honesty the best policy, and temperance the best physic." - Arthur Aughey

"I saw there was no boundary lines between vegetable and animal life, and hence no beginning nor end to either... All physical phenomena, at their best, are dull and murky till they come up into spiritual life. As an illustration that every law has its universality take the familiar law or principle that action and reaction are equal. What is this but reaping the whirlwind after one has sown the wind, or how does natural law differ from this teaching: ‘Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap?’ Are they aught but different strains in the great cosmic melody?" - H. B.

"Hatred, which could destroy so much, never failed to destroy the man who hated and this was an immutable law." -

"Beauty, like truth and justice, lives within us; like virtue, and like moral law, it is a companion of the soul." - George Bancroft

"What is a law, if those who make it become the forwardest to break it?" - James Beattie

"Law is the embodiment of the moral sentiment of the people." - William Blackstone, fully Sir William Blackstone

"The law of the harvest is to reap more than you sow. Sow an act, and you reap a habit; sow a habit, and you reap a character; sow a character, and you reap a destiny." - George Dana Boardman "The Younger"

"In the government you called civilized, the happiness of the people is constantly sacrificed to the splendor of the empire. Hence the origin of your codes of criminal and civil laws; hence your dungeons and prisons. We have no prisons; we have no written laws; and yet judges are as highly revered among us as they are among you, and their decisions are as much regarded. We have among us no exalted villains above the control of our laws. Daring wickedness is here never allowed to triumph over helpless innocence. The estates of widows and orphans are never devoured by enterprising swindlers. We have no robbery under the pretext of law." - Joseph Brant, aka Thayendanegea

"The nobles charities, the best fruits of learning, the richest discoveries, the best institutions of law and justice, every greatest thing the world has seen, represents, more or less directly, the fruitfulness and creativeness of religion." - Horace Bushnell

"The law speaks too softly to be heard amid the din of arms." - Gaius Marius

"The great duty of God’s children is to love one another. This duty on earth takes the name and form of the law of humanity. We are to recognize all men as brethren, no matter where born, or under what sky, or institution or religion they may live. Every man belongs to the race, and owes a duty to mankind... Men cannot, by combining themselves into narrower or larger societies, sever the sacred, blessed bond which joins them to their kind... The law of humanity must reign; over the assertion of all human rights." - William Ellery Channing

"Unlimited power corrupts the possessor; and this I know, that, where law ends, there tyranny begins." - William Pitt, Lord Chatham or Lord William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, aka The Elder Pitt and The Great Commander

"In the end, we are all the sum total of our actions. Character cannot be counterfeited, nor can it be put on and cast off as if it were a garment to meet the whim of the moment. Like the markings on wood which are ingrained in the very heart of the tree, character requires time and nurture for growth and development. Thus also, day by day, we write our own destiny; for inexorably we become what we do. This I believe, is the supreme logic and the law of life." - Madame Chiang Kai-Shek, born Soong Mei-ling or May-ling

"With endless patience you shall carry out your duty, and your firmness shall be tempered with tenderness for your people. Neither anger nor fury shall lodge in your mind, and all your words and actions shall be marked with calm deliberation. In all your deliberations in the Council, in your efforts at lawmaking, in all your official acts, self-interest shall be cast into oblivion. Cast not away the warnings of any others, if they should chide you for any error or wrong you may do, but return to the way of the Great Law, which is just and right. Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the earth - the unborn of the future Nation." - Constitution of the Five Nations NULL

"The search for static security - in the law and elsewhere - is misguided. The fact is security can only be achieved through constant change, through discarding old ideas that have outlived their usefulness and adapting others to current facts." -

"“What” we do belongs to the world. In the “how,” the way we do it, we infallibly revel to ourselves whether our attitude is in harmony with the inner law or in contradiction to it, in accordance with our right form or opposed to it, open to Divine Being or closed to it. What is our right “form”? It is none other than that in which we are transparent to Divine Being. And to be transparent means that we are able to experience Divine Being in our selves and to reveal it in the world." - Karlfried Graf Von Dürckheim, fully Karl Friedrich Alfred Heinrich Ferdinand Maria Graf Eckbrecht von Dürckheim-Montmartin

"He who does reverence to his own sect, while disparaging the sects of others wholly from attachment to his own, with intent to enhance the glory of his own sect, in reality by such conduct inflicts the severest injury on his own sect. Concord therefore is meritorious, to wit, hearkening and hearkening willingly to the Law of Piety, as accepted by other people." - Edicts of Ashoka NULL

"It is the fixed law of the universe, that little things are but parts of the great. The grass does not spring up full grown, by eruptions: it rises by an increase so noiseless and gentle, as not to disturb an angel's ear - perhaps to be invisible to an angel's eye. The rain does not fall in masses, but in drops, or even in the breath-like moisture of the fine mist. The planets do not leap from end to end of their orbits, but inch by inch, and line by line, it is that they circle the heavens. Intellect, feeling, habit, character, all become what they are through the influence of little things. And in morals and religion, it is by little things - by little influences acting on us, or seemingly little decisions made by us, that everyone of us is going, not by leaps, yet surely by inches, either to life or death eternal." - Tyron Edwards

"The best general means to insure the profitable employment of our time is to accustom ourselves to living in continual dependence upon the Spirit of God and His law, receiving, every instant, whatever He is pleased to bestow; consulting Him in every action, and having recourse to Him in our weaker moments when virtue seems to fail." - François Fénelon, fully Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon

"When the Golden Rule becomes the law of human life all this will be changed. The employer will ask how much he can pay the worker, not how little. The workman will ask how much he can do, not how little. We may not be able to reach this condition, but the war can be restricted and its evils ameliorated." - William Henry Harrison

"The religious instinct will never be replaced by law or even philanthropy." - Hugh Reginald Haweis

"To this war of every man, against every man, this is also consequent that nothing can be unjust. The notions of right and wrong, justice and injustice have there no place. Where there is no common power, there is no law: where no law, no injustice. Force, and fraud, are in war the two cardinal virtues. Justice, and injustice, are none of the faculties neither of the body, nor mind. If they were, they might be in a man that were alone in the world, as well as his sense, and passions. They are qualities, that relate to men in society, not in solitude. It is consequent also to the same condition, that there be no propriety, no dominion, no mine and thing distinct; but only that to be every man’s, that he can get; and for so long, as he can keep it." - Thomas Hobbes

"Consumption, celebrity and the quest for perfection in this world are all subject to the law of diminishing returns: each successive acquisition and achievement will mean less than the one before. Diminishing returns are finally leading to diminished expectations about the promise of finding happiness without caring for our souls. Perhaps we are now ready to reject the hucksters of materialisms that have lured us down so many dead ends, and start again on the road that will lead us back to God." - Arianna Huffington, born Arianna Stassinopoulos

"Nature will not forgive those who fail to fulfill the law of their being. The law of human beings is wisdom and goodness, not limited acquisition." - Robert Hutchins, fully Robert Maynard Hutchins

"Our current neglect of Law is yet another of the many indications that twentieth-century educators have ceased to be concerned with questions of ultimate truth or meaning and (apart from mere vocational training) are interested solely in the dissemination of a rootless and irrelevant culture, and the fostering of the solemn foolery of scholarship for scholarship’s sake." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"Acceptance is such an important commodity, some have called it "the first law of personal growth." Acceptance is simply seeing something the way it is and saying, "that is the way it is." Acceptance is not approval, consent, permission, authorization, sanction, concurrence, agreement, compliance, sympathy, endorsement, confirmation, support, ratification, assistance, advocating, backing, maintaining, authenticating, reinforcing, cultivating, encouraging, furthering, promoting, aiding, abetting or even liking what is." - John-Roger & Peter McWilliams NULL

"No love and no expression of love may, in the merely human and worldly sense, be deprived of a relationship to God. Love is a passionate emotion, but in this emotion, even before he enters into a relation with the object of his love, the man just first enter into a relationship with God, and thereby realize the claim that love is the fulfillment of the law." - Søren Kierkegaard, fully Søren Aabye Kierkegaard

"Justice is immortal, eternal, and immutable, like God Himself; and the development of law is only then a progress when it is directed towards those principles which always like Him, are eternal; and whenever prejudice of error succeeds in establishing in customary law any doctrine contrary to eternal justice." - Louis Kossuth, also Lajos Kossuth, fully Lajos Kossuth de Udvard et Kossuthfalva

"The greatest of all injustice is that which goes under the name of law; and of all sorts of tyranny, the forcing the letter of the law against the equity is the most insupportable." - Roger L'Estrange, fully Sir Roger L'Estrange

"Obstinacy is the strength of the weak. Firmness founded upon principle, upon the truth and right, order and law, duty and generosity, is the obstinacy of sages." - Johann Kaspar Lavater

"It is not true that a man can believe or disbelieve what he will. But it is certain that an active desire to find any proposition true will unconsciously tend to that result, by dismissing importunate suggestions which run counter to the belief, and welcoming those which favor it. The psychological law, that we only see what interests us, and only assimilate what is adapted to our condition, causes the mind to select its evidence." - George Henry Lewes

"There is no right without parallel duty, no liberty without the supremacy of the law, no high destiny without earnest perseverance, no greatness without self-denial." - Francis Lieber

"The attempted transformation of the Indian by the white man and the chaos that has resulted are but the fruits of the white man’s disobedience of a fundamental and spiritual law. “Civilization” has been thrust upon me since the days of reservations, and it has not added one whit to my sense of justice, to my reverence for the rights of life, to my love of truth, honesty, and generosity, or to my faith in Wakan Tanka, God of the Lakotas. For after all the great religions have been preached and expounded, or have been revealed by brilliant scholars, or have been written in fine books and embellished in fine language with finer covers, man - all man - is still confronted with the Great Mystery." - Chief Luther Standing Bear

"Population, when unchecked, increases in a geometrical ratio. Subsistence increases only in an arithmetical ratio. A slight acquaintance with numbers will show the immensity of the first power in comparison to the second. By that law of our nature which makes food necessary to the life of man, the effects of these two unequal powers must be kept equal. This implies a strong and constantly operating check on population from the difficulty of subsistence. This difficulty must fall somewhere and must necessarily be severely felt by a large portion of mankind." - Thomas Malthus, fully Thomas Robert Malthus

"Since man is endowed with intelligence and determines his own ends, it is up to him to put himself in tune with the ends necessarily demanded by his nature. This means that there is, by very virtue of human nature, an order or a disposition which human reason can discover and according to which the human will must act in order to attune itself to the necessary ends of the human being. The unwritten law, or natural law, is nothing more than that." - Jacques Maritain

"The office of the moral law is that of a pedagogue, to protect and educate us in the use of freedom. At the end of this period of instruction, we are enfranchised from every servitude, even from the servitude of law, since Love made us one in spirit with the wisdom that is the source of Law." - Jacques Maritain

"The moral law of the universe is progress." - Guiseppe Mazzini

"Nothing is impossible to the man that can will. Is that necessary? That shall be. This is the only law of success." - Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, comte de Mirabeau

"We should never create by law what can be accomplished by morality." - Baron de Montesquieu, fully Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu

"Because of the law of cessation, a man is "as he thinketh in his heart." Nothing can happen without its adequate cause." - Don Carlos Musser

"What is good” I asked in a musing mood. Order, said the law court; Knowledge said the school; Truth, said the wise man; Pleasure, said the fool; Love, said the maiden; Beauty, said the sage. Fame, said the soldier; Equity, said the seer. Spoke my heart sadly: “The answer is not here.” then within my bosom softly this I heard: “Each heart holds the secret: Kindness is the word.”" -

""Waste not, want not," is the law of nature." - John Platt

"The most creative job in the world. It involves taste, fashion, decorating, recreation, education, transportation, psychology, cuisine, designing, literature, medicine, handicraft, art, horticulture, economics, government, community relations, pediatrics, geriatrics, entertainment, maintenance, purchasing, direct mail, law, accounting, religion, energy, and management. Anyone who can handle all those has to be somebody special. She is. She’s a homemaker." - United Technologies Corporation NULL

"Even when there is no law, there is conscience... An evil conscience is often quiet, but never secure." - Publius Syrus

"The guilty fear the law, the guiltless Fortune." - Publius Syrus

"The rule of law is essentially a negative value. The law inevitably creates a great danger of arbitrary power - the rule of law is designed to minimize the danger created by the law itself. Similarly, the law may be unstable, obscure, retrospective, etc., and thus infringe people’s freedom and dignity. The rule of law is designed to prevent his danger as well. Thus the rule of law is a negative virtue in two senses: conformity to it does not cause good except through avoiding evil and the evil which is avoided is evil which could only have been caused by the law itself." - Joseph Raz

"It is in the law of our humanity that man must know good through evil. No great principle ever triumphed but through much evil. No man ever progressed to greatness and goodness but through great mistakes." -

"When a law is proposed in the people’s assembly, what is asked of them is not precisely whether they approve of the proposition or reject it, but whether it is in conforming with the general will which is theirs; each by giving his vote gives his opinion on this question, and the counting of votes yields a declaration of the general will. When, therefore, the opinion contrary to my own prevails, this proves only that I have made a mistake, and that what I believed to be the general will was not so. If my particular opinion had prevailed against the general will, I should have done something other than what I had willed, and then I should not have been free. This presupposes, it is true, that all characteristics of the general will are still to be found in the majority; when these cease to be there, no matter what position men adopt, there is no longer any freedom." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau