C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


Covetousness, which is idolatry.


The soul of man is infinite in what it covets.

Ben Jonson.

The covetous man.


We never desire earnestly what we desire in reason.

La Rochefoucauld.

To the covetous man life is a nightmare, and God lets him wrestle with it as best he may.

Henry Ward Beecher.

Covetousness is ever attended with solicitude and anxiety.

Benjamin Franklin.

He deservedly loses his own property, who covets that of another.


Those who give not till they die show that they would not then if they could keep it any longer.

Bishop Hall.

Covetousness swells the principal to no purpose, and lessens the use to all purposes.

Jeremy Taylor.

The covetous man heaps up riches, not to enjoy them, but to have them.


The covetous person lives as if the world were made altogether for him, and not he for the world.


The covetous man explores the whole world in pursuit of a subsistence, and fate is close at his heels.


Some men are so covetous, as if they were to live forever; and others so profuse, as if they were to die the next moment.


The things which belong to others please us more, and that which is ours, is more pleasing to others.


Take heed and beware of covetousness; for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.


Covetous men need money least, yet they most affect it; but prodigals, who need it most have the least regard for it.

Alexander Wilson.

Why are we so blind? That which we improve, we have, that which we hoard is not for ourselves.

Madame Deluzy.

Covetousness, by a greediness of getting more, deprives itself of the true end of getting; it loses the enjoyment of what it has got.


When all sins are old in us, and go upon crutches, covetousness does but then lie in her cradle.


When workmen strive to do better than well, they do confound their skill in covetousness.


Covetousness is a sort of mental gluttony, not confined to money, but craving honor, and feeding on selfishness.


Covetousness, like a candle ill made, smothers the splendor of a happy fortune in its own grease.

F. Osborn.

Poor in abundance, famished at a feast, man’s grief is but his grandeur in disguise, and discontent is immortality.


  • Those that much covet are with gain so fond,
  • That what they have not, that which they possess,
  • They scatter and unloose it from their bond,
  • And so, by hoping more, they have but less.
  • Shakespeare.

    The only sovereign remedy is to give Christ the pre-eminence in our hearts; for then we shall undervalue all temporal things in comparison of Him.

    Fisher’s Catechism.

    The covetous man is like a camel with a great hunch on his back; heaven’s gate must be made higher and broader, or he will hardly get in.

    Thomas Adams.

    The only instance of a despairing sinner left upon record in the New Testament is that of a treacherous and greedy Judas.

    Bishop Mant.

    Covetousness, like jealousy, when it has once taken root, never leaves a man but with his life.

    Thomas Hughes.

    If money be not thy servant, it will be thy master. The covetous man cannot so properly be said to possess wealth, as that it may be said to possess him.


    The covetous man pines in plenty, like Tantalus up to the chin in water, and yet thirsty.

    Rev. T. Adams.

    Where necessity ends, desire and curiosity begin; and no sooner are we supplied with everything nature can demand than we sit down to contrive artificial appetites.


    Of covetousness we may truly say that it makes both the Alpha and Omega in the devil’s alphabet, and that it is the first vice in corrupt nature which moves, and the last which dies.


    To think well of every other man’s condition, and to dislike our own, is one of the misfortunes of human nature. “Pleased with each other’s lot, our own we hate.”


    He that visits the sick, in hopes of a legacy, let him be never so friendly in all other cases, I look upon him in this, to be no better than a raven, that watches a weak sheep only to peck out its eyes.


    Although the beauties, riches, honors, sciences, virtues, and perfections of all men living were in the present possession of one, yet somewhat above and beyond all this would still be sought and earnestly thirsted for.


    Covetousness teaches men to be cruel and crafty, industrious and evil, full of care and malice; and after all this, it is for no good to itself, for it dares not spend those heaps of treasure which it has snatched.

    Jeremy Taylor.

    Covetous men are fools, miserable wretches, buzzards, madmen, who live by themselves, in perpetual slavery, fear, suspicion, sorrow, discontent, with more of gall than honey in their enjoyments; who are rather possessed by their money than possessors of it.


    A circle cannot fill a triangle, so neither can the whole world, if it were to be compassed, the heart of man; a man may as easily fill a chest with grace as the heart with gold. The air fills not the body, neither doth money the covetous mind of man.


    Suppose a more complete assemblage of sublunary enjoyments, and a more perfect system of earthly felicity than ever the sun beheld, the mind of man would instantly devour it, and, as if it was still empty and unsatisfied, would require something more.


  • I am not covetous for gold,
  • Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
  • It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
  • Such outward things dwell not in my desires:
  • But if it be a sin to covet honor
  • I am the most offending soul alive.
  • Shakespeare.

    The covetous man heaps up riches, not to enjoy them, but to have them; and starves himself in the midst of plenty, and most unnaturally cheats and robs himself of that which is his own; and makes a hard shift, to be as poor and miserable with a great estate, as any man can be without it.


    It was with good reason that God commanded through Moses that the vineyard and harvest were not to be gleaned to the last grape or grain; but something to be left for the poor. For covetousness is never to be satisfied; the more it has, the more it wants. Such insatiable ones injure themselves, and transform God’s blessings into evil.


    There is not a vice which more effectually contracts and deadens the feelings, which more completely makes a man’s affections center in himself, and excludes all others from partaking in them, than the desire of accumulating possessions. When the desire has once gotten hold on the heart, it shuts out all other considerations, but such as may promote its views. In its zeal for the attainment of its end, it is not delicate in the choice of means. As it closes the heart, so also it clouds the understanding. It cannot discern between right and wrong; it takes evil for good, and good for evil; it calls darkness light, and light darkness. Beware, then, of the beginning of covetousness, for you know not where it will end.

    Bishop Mant.