Great Throughts Treasury

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


"There is a vigilance and judgment about trifles which men only get by living in a creed; and those are the trifles of detail, on which the success of execution depends." - Marina Horner

"The exactest vigilance and caution can never maintain a single day of unmingled innocence, much less can the utmost efforts of incorporated mind reach the summits of speculative virtue." -

"Vigilance in watching opportunity; tact and daring in seizing upon opportunity; force and persistence in crowding opportunity to its utmost possible achievement - these are the martial virtues which must command success." - Austin Phelps

"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." - Thomas Jefferson

"Perhaps there is no property in which men are more distinguished from each other, than in the various degrees in which they possess the faculty of observation. The great herd of mankind pass their lives in listless inattention and indifference as to what is going on around them, being perfectly content to satisfy the mere cravings of nature, while those who are destined to distinction have lynx-eyed vigilance that nothing can escape." - William Wirt

"There is no meaning in life except the meaning man gives his life by the unfolding of his power, by living productively… Only constant vigilance, activity, and effort can keep us from failing in the one task that matters – the full development of our powers within the limitations set up by the laws of our existence." - Erich Fromm, fully Erich Seligmann Fromm

"How freely we live life depends both on our political system and on our vigilance in defending its liberties. How long we live depends both on our genes and on the quality of our health care. How well we live ~ that is, how thoughtfully, how nobly, how virtuously, how joyously, how lovingly - depends both on our philosophy and on the way we apply it to all else. The examined life is a better life." - Lou Marinoff

"Constant alertness is needed. “Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom” - freedom from the ego-mind: wordlings have made a catch-phrase out of what is a truth." - Arthur W Osborn

"Vigilance is not only the price of liberty, but of success of any sort." - Henry Ward Beecher

"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." - John Philpot Curran

"The condition upon which God has given liberty to man is eternal vigilance." - John Philpot Curran

"The price of eternal vigilance is indifference." -

"When good people in any country cease their vigilance and struggle, then evil men prevail." -

"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." - Wendell Phillips

"The price of eternal vigilance is indifference." - Marshall McLuhan, fully Herbert Marshall McLuhan

"It takes constant vigilance not to slip into negativity or simple apathy. It takes courage to believe over any given period of time that we are getting better and not sliding into decline." - Julia Cameron

"With a double vigilance should we watch our actions, when we reflect that good and bad ones are never childless, and that in both cases the offspring goes beyond the parent,--every good begetting a better, every bad a worse." - Paul Chatfield, pseudonym for Horace Smith

"When good people in any country cease their vigilance and struggle, then evil men prevail." - Pearl S. Buck, fully Pearl Sydenstricker Buck, also known by her Chinese name Sai Zhenzhu

"We, that would be known the father of our people, in our study, and vigilance for their safety, must not change their ploughshares into swords, and force them from the secure shade of their own vines, to be scorched with the flames of war." - Philip Massinger

"But the temptation to wallow and disport myself in the purple prose of the doting collector is strong, and it will need all my vigilance to resist it." - Robertson Davies

"There is nothing which even Satan fears so much as prayer that is offered during vigilance at night. And even if it is offered with distraction, it does not return empty, unless perhaps that which is asked for is unsuitable." - Saint Isaac of Nineveh, also Isaac the Syrian, Isaac of Qatar and Isaac Syrus NULL

"This is the fruit of humility. And once a person has become humble, straightaway mercy encircles and embraces him; and once mercy has approached, immediately his heart becomes aware of God helping him. Then his heart is filled with faith, and from this he understands that prayer is the haven of help, the fountain of salvation, a treasury of assurance, a saving anchor in time of storm, a source of recovery at times of sickness, a staff for the weak, a shelter in time of trials, an illumination to those in darkness. [paraphrased]" - Saint Isaac of Nineveh, also Isaac the Syrian, Isaac of Qatar and Isaac Syrus NULL

"Scandal often does as much harm to the listeners as to those who devise it, even if it were to do no other harm than disturb the mind, as it does, and give rise to temptations to speak or write about it to others." - Saint Vincent de Paul

"The excellence of aphorisms consists not so much in the expression of some rare or abstruse sentiment, as in the comprehension of some useful truth in few words." - Samuel Johnson, aka Doctor Johnson

"Every man meets his Waterloo at last." - Wendell Phillips

"There are times when we must sink to the bottom of our misery to understand truth, just as we must descend to the bottom of a well to see the stars in broad daylight." - Václav Havel

"If your prayers are not being answered, search your consciousness and see if there is not someone whom you have yet to forgive. Find out if there is not some old thing about which you are very resentful. Search and see if you are not really holding a grudge (it may be camouflaged in some self-righteous way) against some individual, or some body of people, a nation, a race, a social class, some religious movement of which you disapprove perhaps, a political party, or what-not. If you are doing so, then you have an act of forgiveness to perform, and when this is done, you will probably make your demonstration. If you cannot forgive at present, you will have to wait for your demonstration until you can, and you will have to postpone finishing your recital of the Lord's Prayer too, or involve yourself in the position that you do not desire the forgiveness of God." - Emmet Fox

"That government is best which governs the least, so taught the courageous founders of this nation. This simple declaration is diametrically opposed to the all too common philosophy that the government should protect and support one from the cradle to the grave. The policy of the Founding Fathers has made our people and our nation strong. The opposite leads inevitably to moral decay." - Ezra Taft Benson