Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Nature

"The greatest manifestation of your love for the Almighty can be expressed on your day of death. Before your death, you might be thinking about how you have not fulfilled all of your wishes and plans. In the moments before your death you might have complaints against the Almighty, or you might fatalistically accept your death by saying, What can be done? My body is giving in to the laws of nature. The doctors have given up hope.” Both of these attitudes are wrong You now face the greatest challenge of your life. You have the potential to submit yourself to the will of the Almighty with love. This level takes preparation. If a person has not mastered control of his thoughts, he is likely to waste his last moments thinking of petty resentments and desires. Frequently confusion and fear of death swallow up every other thought unless one has prepared for that moment." - Shlomo Wolbe, aka Wilhelm Wolbe

"He who asks of life nothing but the improvement of his own nature, and a continuous moral progress toward inward contentment and religious submission, is less liable than anyone else to miss and waste life." -

"A rational nature admits of nothing but what is serviceable to the rest of mankind." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"Nothing is evil which is according to nature." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"Our understanding are always liable to error. Nature and certainty is very hard to come at; and infallibility is mere vanity and pretense." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts, therefore guard accordingly; and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

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

"The intellectual soul, because it can comprehend universals, has a power extending to the infinite; therefore it cannot be limited by nature either to certain fixed natural judgments, or to certain fixed means whether of defense or of clothing, as is the case with other animals, the souls of which have knowledge and power in regard to fixed particular things. Instead of all these, man has by nature his reason and his hands, which are the organs of organs, since by their means man can make for himself instruments of an infinite variety, and for any number of purposes." -

"Youth is a cause of hope for three reasons... And these three reasons may be gathered from the three conditions of the good which is the object of hope - namely, that it is future, arduous and possible... For youth has much of the future before it, and little of the past; and therefore since memory is of the past, and hope of the future, it has little to remember and lives very much in hope. Again, youths, on account of the heat of their nature, are full of spirit, so that their heart expands, and it is owing to the heart being expanded that one tends to that which is arduous; therefore youths are spirited and hopeful. Likewise they who have not suffered defeat, nor had experience of obstacles to their efforts, are prone to count a thing possible to them. Therefore youths, through inexperience of obstacles and of their own shortcomings, easily count a thing possible, and consequently are of good hope." -

"Virtue, the strength and beauty of the soul, is the best gift of heaven; a happiness that, even above the smiles and frowns of fate, exalts great Nature’s favorites; a wealth that ne’er encumbers, nor can be transferr’d." - John Armstrong

"The regeneration of a sinner is an evidence of power in the highest sphere - moral nature; with the highest prerogative - to change nature; and operating to the highest result - not to create originally, which is great; but to create anew, which is greater." - William Arthur

"The ability to find fault is believed, by some people, to be a sure sign of great wisdom, when, in most cases, it only indicates narrowness of mind and ill nature." - Arthur Aughey

"I live in the world, but I seem to myself not of it!.. Natural phenomena are but the shadows of the spirit form which they spring, as the human face changes under the influence of love, hatred or fear... When, O when, shall I be able to reveal its poetry? I see everywhere and in ever object unceasing motion, and in that motion a creative force forever and forever repeating and re-repeating the same simple process as to infinity. Through all nature the grand rhythms roll and heaven and earth are filled with the melody. Men are but boys chasing shadows. The spiritual significance of the world none seem to see - the infinite simplicity of its process are none care to understand." - H. B.

"Indecision and hesitation are the weakness of a careful nature always intent on the saving of face and losing it thereby." - Henry Christopher "H.C." Bailey

"Look at nature with science as a lens. The rock swarms, the clod dances; the mineral is but the vegetable stepping down, and the animal an ascending plant; the man, a beast extended; and the angel, a developed human soul." -

"It is when we detect our own weaknesses that we come to pity or despise mankind. The human nature from which we then turn away is the human nature we have discovered in the depths of our own being. The evil is so well screened, the secret so universally kept, that in this case each individual is the dupe of all: however severely we may profess to judge other men, at bottom we think them better than ourselves. On this happy illusion much of our social life is grounded." - Henri Bergson, aka Henri-Louis Bergson

"Action, so to speak, is the genius of nature." - Hugh Blair

"The world of imagination is the world of eternity. It is the divine bosom into which we shall all go after the death of the vegetated body. This world of imagination is infinite and eternal, whereas the world of generation, of vegetation, is finite and temporal. There exist in that eternal world the permanent realities of everything which we see reflected in this vegetable glass of nature." - William Blake

"Perhaps the most important lesson the world has learned in the past fifty years is that it is not true that "human nature is unchangeable."" - Bruce Bliven

"Young people imagine there is great value in fame. Those with life experience know that in truth publicity is extremely short-lived. The nature of the world is that every piece of news makes an impression for only a very short time. After those few minutes the impression is erased and quickly forgotten. It is as if it never was." - Yosef Leib Bloch, fully R' Yosef Yehudah Leib Bloch

"It is our duty to give meaning to the life of future generations by sharing our knowledge and experience; by teaching an appreciation of work well done and a respect for nature, the source of all life; by encouraging the young to venture off the beaten path and avoid complacency by challenging their emotions." - Paul Bocuse

"Nature thrives on patience; man on impatience." - Paul Boese

"In other living creatures ignorance of self is nature; in man it is vice." - Boethius, fully Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius NULL

"The trouble of the many and various aims of mortal men bring them much care, and herein they go forward by different paths but strive to reach one end, which is happiness. And that good is that, to which if any man attain, he can desire nothing further... Happiness is a state which is made perfect by the union of all good things. This end all men seek to reach, as I said, though by different paths. For there is implanted by nature in the minds of men a desire for the true good; but error leads them astray towards false goods by wrong paths." - Boethius, fully Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius NULL

"Part of human nature resents change, loves equilibrium, while another part welcomes novelty, loves the excitement of disequilibrium. There is no formula for the resolution of this tug-of-war, but it is obvious that absolute surrender to either of them invites disaster." - Wernher von Braun, fully Wernher Magnus Maximilian, Freiherr von Braun

"Mindfulness should be strong everywhere, for mindfulness keeps the mind away from distraction, into which it might fall, since faith, energy and understanding partake of the nature of distraction: and away from idleness, into which it might fall, since concentration partakes of the nature of idleness." - Bhadantācariya Buddhaghoṣa

"Art is the effort of man to express the ideas which nature suggests to him of a power above nature, whether that power be within the recesses of his own being, or in the Great First Cause of which nature, like himself, is but the effect." -

"In early youth, if we find it difficult to control our feelings, so we find it difficult to vent them in the presence of others. On the spring side of twenty, if anything affects us, we rush to lock ourselves up in our room, or get away into the street or the fields; in our earlier years we are still the savages of nature, and we do as the poor brutes do. The wounded stag leaves the herd; and if there is anything on a dog’s faithful heart, he slinks away into a corner." -

"There is an ill-breeding to which, whatever our rank and nature, we are almost equally sensitive, the ill-breeding that comes from want of consideration for others." -

"In the wildest anarchy of man’s insurgent appetites and sins there is still a reclaiming voice, a voice which, even when in practice disregarded, it is impossible not to own; and to which, at the very moment that we refuse our obedience, we find that we cannot refuse the homage of what ourselves do feel and acknowledge to be the best, the highest principles of our nature." - Thomas Chalmers

"The human mind feels restless and dissatisfied under the anxieties of ignorance. It longs for the repose of conviction; and to gain this repose it will often rather precipitate its conclusions than wait for the tardy lights of observation and experiment. There is such a thing, too, as the love of simplicity and system, a prejudice of the understanding which disposes it to include al the phenomena of nature under a few sweeping generalities, and indolence which loves to repose on the beauties of a theory rather than encounter the fatiguing detail of its evidences." - Thomas Chalmers

"A man who lacks nobility cannot have kindliness, he can only have good nature." -

"Every mind was made for growth, for knowledge; and its nature is sinned against when it is doomed to ignorance." - William Ellery Channing

"The best answer to all objections urged against prayer is that fact that man cannot help praying; for we may be sure that which is so spontaneous and ineradicable in human nature has its fitting objects and methods in the arrangement of a boundless Providence." - Edwin Hubbell Chapin

"The deepest life of nature is silent and obscure; so often the elements that move and mould society are the results of the sister’s counsel and the mother’s prayer." - Edwin Hubbell Chapin

"Pleasure and pain, though directly opposite, are yet so contrived by nature as to be constant companions; and it is a fact that the same motions and muscles of the face are employed both in laughing and crying." - Pierre Charron

"If we did not take great pains, and were not at great expense to corrupt our nature, our nature would never corrupt us." - Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon, aka Lord Clarendon

"Men live best upon small means. Nature has provided for all, if they only knew how to use her gifts." -

"Envy is an ill-natured vice, and is made up of meanness and malice. It wishes the force of goodness to be strained, and the measure of happiness abated. It laments over prosperity, and sickens at the sight of health. It oftentimes wants spirit as well as good nature." - Jeremy Collier

"Envy lies between two beings equal in nature, though unequal in circumstances." - Jeremy Collier

"What can be more honorable than to have courage enough to execute the commands of reason and conscience, to maintain the dignity of our nature, and the station assigned us?" - Jeremy Collier

"How things look on the outside of us depends on how things are on the inside of us. Stay close to the heart of nature and forget his troubled world. Remember, there is nothing wrong with nature, the trouble is in ourselves." - Parks Cousins

"Nature is but a name for an effect, whose cause is God." - William Cowper

"Deceivers are the most dangerous members of society. They trifle with the best affections of our nature, and violate the most sacred obligations." - George Crabbe

"Whatever amuses, serves to kill time, to lull the faculties, and to banish reflection. Whatever entertains, usually awakens the understanding or gratifies the fancy. Whatever diverts, is lively in its nature, and sometimes tumultuous in its effects." - George Crabbe

"Life is not the creature of circumstance. Indeed, in the whole universe of everything that is, life alone, life by its very nature, is the antagonist of circumstance... If there is any one thing that is utterly clear about the nature of life, it is that it was meant to master circumstance. The spirit conquers all things when the spirit wills it, and no excuse remains when we fail to live as we wish." - Arthur Powell Davies

"There is but one book for genius - nature." - Madame Deluzy, Luzy Dorothee

"Happiness is fundamental in morals only because happiness is not something to be sought for, but is something now attained, even in the midst of pain and trouble, whenever recognition of our ties with nature and with fellow-men releases and informs our action." - John Dewey

"Moral principles that exalt themselves by degrading human nature are in effect committing suicide." - John Dewey

"Scientific principles and laws do not lie on the surface of nature. They are hidden, and must be wrested from nature by an active, and elaborate technique of inquiry... Pure reasoning as a means of arriving at truth is like the spider who spins a web out of himself. The web is orderly and elaborate, but is s only a trap." - John Dewey