Great Throughts Treasury

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


"The end of wisdom is repentance and good works." -

"Repentance should be attained through joy." -

"He who seeks repentance for the past, should woo the angel virtue for the future." -

"Repentance, to be of any avail, must work a change of heart and conduct." - Theodore Cuyler, fully Theodore Ledyard Cuyler

"Our hearts must not only be broken with sorrow, but be broken from sin, to constitute repentance." - Orville Dewey

"Repentance, without amendment, is like continually pumping without mending the leak." - Lewis W. Dillwyn, fully Lewis Weston Dillwyn

"It often falls out, that the end of passion is the beginning of repentance." - Owen Feltham

"Confession is the first step to repentance." - Edmund Gayton

"Men are not blamed for such actions as they perform ignorantly and casually, whatever may be the consequences. Why? but because the principles of these actions are only momentary, and terminate in them alone. Men are less blamed for such actions as they perform hastily and unpremeditatedly than for such as proceed from deliberation. For what reason? but because a hasty temper, though a constant cause or principle in the mind, operates only by intervals, and infects not the whole character. Again, repentance wipes off every crime, if attended with a reformation of life and manners. How is this to be accounted for? but by asserting that actions render a person criminal merely a they are proofs of criminal principles in the mind." - David Hume

"Vice leaves repentance in the soul like an ulcer in the flesh, which is always scratching and lacerating itself; for reason effaces all other griefs and sorrows, but it begets that of repentance, which is so much the more grievous, by reason it springs within, as the cold and hot of fevers are more sharp than those that only strike upon the outward skin." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"Repentance should be with joy. If repentance is sincere, the person will be joyful even though he is humble. If repentance is insincere, the person will be depressed and irritable and will react with anger toward people who speak with him." - Mordechai of Lekhivitz NULL

"He that waits for repentance waits for that which cannot be had as long as it is waited for. It is absurd for a man to wait for that which he himself has to do." - William Nevins

"There is evil in the world, but it can be overcome through repentance and aspiration, and therein lies the true meaning and adventure in life." - Abba Hillel Silver

"Late repentance is seldom true, but true repentance is never too late." - Ralph Venning

"Mere sorrow, which weeps and sits still, is not repentance. Repentance is sorrow converted into action; into a movement toward a new and better life." - M. R. Vincent

"No repentance on earth can undo the past." - Brooke Foss Westcott

"Better is one hour of repentance and good deeds in this world than a whole life in the World to Come." - Babylonian Talmud

"If you trap the moment before it's ripe, the tears of repentance you'll certainly wipe; but if once you let the ripe moment go you can never wipe off the tears of woe." - William Blake

"The strongest proof of repentance is the endeavor to atone." - Mary Elizabeth Braddon

"The moment you can make a very simple discovery, viz., that obligation to God is your privilege, and is not imposed as a burden, your experience will teach you many things - that duty is liberty, that repentance is a release from sorrow, that sacrifice is gain, that humility is dignity, that the truth from that which you hide is a healing element that bathes your disordered life, and that even the penalties and terrors of God are the artillery only to protection to His realm." - Horace Bushnell

"Great is repentance: it brings healing to the world." - Hama ben Hanina

"It is a common error, and the greater and more mischievous for being so common, to believe that repentance best becomes and most concerns dying men. Indeed, what is necessary every hour of our life is necessary in the hour of death too, as long as one lives he will have need of repentance, and therefore it is necessary in the hour of death too; but he who hath constantly exercised himself in it in his health and vigor, will do it with less pain in his sickness and weakness; and he who hath practiced it all his life, will do it with more ease and less perplexity in the hour of his death." -

"Prayer does half, repentance does all." - Joshua ben Levi, or Yehoshua ben Levi

"Repentance is a hearty sorrow for our past misdeeds, and is a sincere resolution and endeavor, to the utmost of our power, to conform all our actions to the law of God. It does not consist in one single act of sorrow, but in doing works meet for repentance; in a sincere obedience to the law of Christ for the remainder of our lives." - John Locke

"A heart renewed - a loving heart - a penitent and humble heart - a heart broken and contrite, purified by love - that and only that is the rest of men. Spotlessness may do for angels, repentance unto life is the highest that belongs to man." -

"The opportunity of making happy is more scarce than we imagine; the punishment of missing it is, never to meet with it again; and the use owe make of it leaves us an eternal sentiment of satisfaction or repentance." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"People in our culture have a morbid tendency to avoid blame, because they do not wish to take the trouble to change their conduct in any way: blame-avoidance and blame-transference are therefore endemic amongst us. These are substitutes for repentance and renewal." - Behavior Research Project NULL

"The end of passion is the beginning of repentance." -

"Prayer in action; it requires complete mobilization of heart, mind, and soul… For the soul, home is where the prayer is... Prayer calls for self-reflection, for contrition and repentance, examining and readjusting deeds and motivations, for recanting the ugly compulsions we follow, the tyranny of acquisitiveness, hatred, envy, resentment." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"He that feels himself alarmed by his conscience, anxious for the attainment of a better state and afflicted by the memory of his past faults, may justly conclude that the great work of repentance has begun." - Samuel Johnson, aka Doctor Johnson

"Repentance was perhaps best defined by a small girl: “It’s to be sorry enough to quit.”" -

"Reason effaces other griefs and sorrows, but engenders those of repentance." -

"The road to unity is the road to repentance. It demands resolute turning away from all those loyalties to the lesser values of the self, the denomination, and the nation, which deny the inclusiveness of divine love." - Richard Niebuhr, fully Helmut Richard Niebuhr

"Repentance is not an emotion. It is not feeling sorry for your sins. It is a decision. It is deciding that you have been wrong in supposing that you could manage your own life and be your own god." - Eugene Peterson

"Our repentance is not so much regret for the ill we have done as fear of the ill that may happen to us in consequence." -

"The pain that gives us self-knowledge, willingly sought and moved through, is at the heart of repentance of any kind. Pain is… the open space - one meaning of the ancient Hebrew word for salvation - the point of intersection and integration of our selves with one another and all the Creation." - Maggie Ross, pen name for Martha Reeves

"Repentance… is about being restored to ourselves." - Maggie Ross, pen name for Martha Reeves

"Repentance is not self-regarding, but God-regarding. It is not self-loathing, but God-loving." - Fulton Sheen, fully Archbishop Fulton John Sheen

"Repentance is… not only a realization of failure, not only a burst of contrition for having failed the good, not only a readiness to admit this failure freely… but also a determination not to fail the good again." - Douglas Van Steere

"Our repentance is not so much regret for the evil we have done as fear of what may happen to us because of it." -

"Affliction appears to be the guide to reflection; the teacher of humility; the parent of repentance; the nurse of faith; the strengthener of patience, and the promoter of charity." - Author Unknown NULL

"Repentance begins with humility." - Bahya ben Joseph ibn Pakuda NULL

"True repentance consists in the heart being broken for sin and broken from sin. Some often repent, yet never reform; they resemble a man traveling in a dangerous path, who frequently starts and stops, but never turns back." - Bonnell Thornton

"The seeds of repentance are sown in youth by pleasure, but the harvest is reaped in age by pain." - Charles Caleb Colton

"Time, the cradle of hope, but the grave of ambition, is the stern corrector of fools, but the salutary counselor of the wise, bringing all they dread to the one, and all they desire to the other; it warns us with a voice tht even the sagest discredit too long, and the silliest believe too late. Wisdom walks before it, opportunity with it, and repentance behind it; he that has made it his friend will have little to fear from his enemies, but he that has made it his enemy will have little to hope from his friends." - Charles Caleb Colton

"Our repentance is not so much regret for the evil we have done as fear of what may happen to us because of it." - François de La Rochefoucauld, François VI, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, Prince de Marcillac, Francois A. F. Rochefoucauld-Liancourt

"Repentance… is recoil, recoil not from the bad act and its painful consequences, but from the principle underlying the act." - Felix Adler

"He who cannot find time to consult his Bible will one day find he has time to be sick; he who has no time to pray must find time to die; he who can find no time to reflect is most likely to find time to sin; he who cannot find time for repentance will find an eternity in which repentance will be of no avail; he who cannot find time to work for others may find an eternity in which to suffer for himself." - Hannah More

"Remorse is impotent; it will sin again. Only repentance is strong; it can end everything." - Henry Miller, aka Henry Valentine Miller