Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Moral law

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

"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

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

"Religion is not mere conformity to moral law, it is an espousal of moral ideals, a dedication of the heart, a loyal devotion, the perpetual renewal of a right spirit within us." - Durant Drake

"It is the consciousness of love by which man reconciles himself with God, or rather with his own nature as represented in the moral law." - Ludwig Feuerbach, fully Ludwig Andreas von Feuerbach

"The moral law has its seat in the soul of man. Truth is within ourselves. There is an inmost center in us all where Truth abides in fullness." - Mahatma Gandhi, fully Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, aka Bapu

"The moral law obliges us to regard every man as an end in himself." - Wilhelm von Humboldt, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Christian Karl Ferdinand von Humboldt

"It is not safe to be immoral… Against the rock of moral law, earth’s conquerors and exploiters hurl themselves eventually to their own destruction. While yet there is time.. we must take steps to prevent the helpless rush of man to his doom." - Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, fully Sir or Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

"Since the moral law can rightfully command us to live as aspirants to eternity, eternity must really be our destination." - Alfred Edward Taylor

"I recognize no moral law in politics. Politics is a game, in which every sort of trick is permissible, and in which the rules are constantly being changed by the players to suit themselves." - Adolph Hitler

"I recognize no moral law in politics. Politics is a game, in which every sort of trick is permissible, and in which the rules are constantly being changed by the players to suit themselves." -

"The most profoundly revolutionary achievement of the United States of America was the subordination of society to moral law." - Ayn Rand, born Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum

"There is no place in the highest heavens above nor in the deepest waters below where the moral law does not reign." - Confucius, aka Kong Qiu, Zhongni, K'ung Fu-tzu or Kong Fuzi NULL

"Freedom and the consciousness of it as a faculty of following the moral law with unyielding resolution is independence of inclinations, at least as motives determining (though not as affecting) our desire, and so far as I am conscious of this freedom in following my moral maxims, it is the only source of an unaltered contentment which is necessarily connected with it and rests on no special feeling." - Immanuel Kant

"That in the order of ends, man (and with him every rational being) is an end in himself, that is, that he can never be used merely as a means by any (not even by God) without being at the same time an end also himself, that therefore humanity in our person must be holy to ourselves, this follows now of itself because he is the subject of the moral law, in other words, of that which is holy in itself, and on account of which and in agreement with which alone can anything be termed holy. For this moral law is founded on the autonomy of his will, as a free will which by its universal laws must necessarily be able to agree with that to which it is to submit itself." - Immanuel Kant

"Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the oftener and the more steadily we reflect on them: the starry heavens above and the moral law within." - Immanuel Kant

"Idolatry... is a superstitious delusion that one can make oneself acceptable to the Supreme Being by other means than that of having the moral law at heart." - Immanuel Kant

"Now the perfect accordance of the will to the moral law is holiness, a perfection of which no rational being of sensible world is capable at any moment of his existence." - Immanuel Kant

"The whole course of our life must be subject to moral maxims; but this is impossible, unless with the moral law, which is a mere idea, reason connects an efficient cause which ordains to all conduct which conforms to the moral law an issue either in this or another life, which is in exact conformity with our highest aims." - Immanuel Kant

"The moral law is written on the tablets of eternity. For every false word or unrighteous deed, for cruelty and oppression, for lust or vanity, the price has to be paid at last." - James Froude, fully James Anthony Froude

"It was the deep belief of the founders of the republic could succeed only with virtuous citizens. Only if there was a moral law within would citizens be able to maintain a free government." - Robert Bellah, fully Robert Neelly Bellah

"In the past we have admitted the right of the individual to injure the future of the Republic for his own present profit. In fact there has been a good deal of a demand for unrestricted individualism, for the right of the individual to injure the future of all of us for his own temporary and immediate profit. The time has come for a change. As a people we have the right and the duty, second to moral law, of requiring and doing justice, to protect ourselves and our children against the wasteful development of our natural resources, whether that waste is caused by the actual destruction of such resources or by making them impossible of development hereafter." - Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

"On a non-theistic view of the Universe...the moral law cannot well be thought of as having any actual existence. The objective validity of the moral law can indeed be and no doubt is asserted, believed in and acted upon without reference to any theological creed; but it cannot be defended or fully justified without the presupposition of Theism." - Hastings Rashdall

"But each one of us is guilty insofar as he remained inactive. The guilt of passivity is different. Impotence excuses; no moral law demands a spectacular death. Plato already deemed it a matter of course to go into hiding in desperate times of calamity, and to survive. But passivity knows itself morally guilty of every failure, every neglect to act whenever possible, to shield the imperiled, to relieve wrong, to countervail. Impotent submission always left a margin of activity which, though not without risk, could still be cautiously effective. Its anxious omission weighs upon the individual as moral guilt. Blindness for the misfortune of others, lack of imagination of the heart, inner differences toward the witnessed evil--that is moral guilt." - Karl Jaspers, fully Karl Theodor Jaspers

"The understanding can conceive the whole world, and paint in itself the invisible pictures of all things. It is capable of apprehending and discoursing of things superior to its own nature. It is suited to all objects, as the eye to all colors, or the ear to all sounds. How great is the memory to retain such varieties, such diversities! The will also can accommodate other things to itself. It invents arts for the use of man; prescribes rules for the government of states; ransacks the bowels of nature; makes endless conclusions, and steps in reasoning from one thing to another, for the knowledge of truth. It can contemplate and form notions of things higher than the world." - Stephen Charnock

"It [space travel] will free man from his remaining chains, the chains of gravity which still tie him to this planet. It will open to him the gates of heaven." - Wernher von Braun, fully Wernher Magnus Maximilian, Freiherr von Braun

"Politic man ordained imagination as the fateful sin. Grandmother and her basketful of pears must be the crux for our compendia." - Wallace Stevens

"An optimist is a person who sees only the lights in the picture, whereas a pessimist sees only the shadows. An idealist, however, is one who sees the light and the shadows, but in addition sees something else: the possibility of changing the picture, of making the lights prevail over the shadows." - Felix Adler