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


True repentance is to cease from sin.

St. Ambrose.

Repentance is accepted remorse.

Madame Swetchine.

Repentance follows hasty counsels.


And wet his grave with my repentant tears.


But with the morning cool repentance came.


To grieve over sin is one thing, to repent is another.

F. W. Robertson.

True repentance also involves reform.

Hosea Ballou.

Repentance is second innocence.

De Bonald.

Repentance is but another name for aspiration.


Illusion is brief, but repentance is long.


Repentance is heart sorrow, and a clear life ensuing.


He who is sorry for having sinned is almost innocent.


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


  • Sorrow for past ills, doth restore frail man
  • To his first innocence.
  • Nabbs.

    Before God can deliver us from ourselves, we must undeceive ourselves.

    St. Augustine.

    Repentance is a goddess and the preserver of those who have erred.


    Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.


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


    If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.


    Repentance clothes in grass and flowers the grave in which the past is laid.


    If you would be good, first believe that you are bad.


    Let us be quick to repent of injuries while repentance may not be a barren anguish.

    Dr. Johnson.

    Repentance is not so much remorse for what we have done as the fear of consequences.

    La Rochefoucauld.

    Repentance must be something more than mere remorse for sins: it comprehends a change of nature befitting heaven.

    Lew Wallace.

    Sins may be forgiven through repentance, but no act of wit will ever justify them.


    Late repentance is seldom true, but true repentance is never too late.

    R. Venning.

    Self-condemnation is God’s absolution; and pleading guilty, acquittal at his bar.


    Repentance is a magistrate that exacts the strictest duty and humility.


    Every one goes astray, but the least imprudent are they who repent the soonest.


    True repentance consists in the heart being broken for sin, and broken from sin.


    Sweet tastes have sour closes; and he repents on thorns that sleeps in beds of roses.


    Of all acts is not, for a man, repentance the most divine? The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none.


    The strongest proof of repentance is the endeavor to atone.

    Miss Braddon.

    That golden key that opes the palace of eternity.


    It is foolish to lay out money in the purchase of repentance.


    None but the guilty know the withering pains of repentance.

    Hosea Ballou.

    Repentance, without amendment, is like continually pumping without mending the leak.


    Slight sorrow for sin is sufficient, provided it at the same time produces amendment.


  • Who after his transgression doth repent,
  • Is halfe, or altogether, innocent.
  • Herrick.

    Once again I do receive thee honest. Who by repentance is not satisfied is nor of heaven nor earth.


    What is past is past. There is a future left to all men, who have the virtue to repent and the energy to atone.


    The slightest sorrow for sin is sufficient, if it produces amendment; and the greatest is insufficient, if it does not.


    If hearty sorrow be a sufficient ransom for offence, I tender it here; I do as truly suffer, as ever I did commit.


    Whatever stress some may lay upon it, a death-bed repentance is but a weak and slender plank to trust our all upon.


    All of us who are worth anything spend our manhood in unlearning the follies, or expiating the mistakes of our youth.


  • Under your good correction, I have seen,
  • When, after execution, judgment hath
  • Repented o’er his doom.
  • Shakespeare.

    To err is human; but contrition felt for the crime distinguishes the virtuous from the wicked.


    True repentance has a double aspect; it looks upon things past with a weeping eye, and upon the future with a watchful eye.


    When a man has been guilty of any vice or folly, I think the best atonement he can make for it is to warn others not to fall into the like.


    God hath promised pardon to him that repenteth, but he hath not promised repentance to him that sinneth.

    St. Anselm.

    We look to our last sickness for repentance, unmindful that it is during a recovery men repent, not during a sickness.


  • When the scourge
  • Inexorable, and the torturing hour
  • Calls us to penance.
  • Milton.

    Repentance is no other than a recanting of the will, and opposition to our fancies, which lead us which way they please.


  • Come, fair repentance, daughter of the skies!
  • Soft harbinger of soon returning virtue!
  • The weeping messenger of grace from heav’n!
  • Brown.

    Repentance is for pale faces; they killed Christ, the good man. If Christ had come to red men, we would not have killed him.

    Red Jacket.

  • They say, best men are moulded out of faults;
  • And, for the most, become much more the better
  • For being a little bad.
  • Shakespeare.

    The seeds of repentance are sown in youth by pleasure, but the harvest is reaped in age by pain.


    Many believe the article of remission of sins, but they believe it without the condition of repentance or the fruits of holy life.

    Jeremy Taylor.

    It is never too late with us, so long as we are still aware of our faults and bear them impatiently,—of long as noble propensities, greedy of conquest, stir within us.


    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.


    Confess yourself to Heaven; repent what is past; avoid what is to come; and do not spread the compost on the weeds, to make them ranker.


    Virtue is the daughter of Religion; Repentance, her adopted child,—a poor orphan who, without the asylum which she offers, would not know where to hide her sole treasure, her tears!

    Madame Swetchine.

    Right actions for the future are the best explanations or apologies for wrong ones in the past; the best evidence of regret for them that we can offer, or the world receive.

    T. Edwards.

    The effect of every burden laid down is to leave us relieved; and when the soul has laid down that of its faults at the feet of God, it feels as though it had wings.

    Eugénie de Guérin.

    A wounded conscience is often inflicted as a punishment for lack of true repentance; great is the difference betwixt a man’s being frightened at and humbled for his sins.


    Neither angel nor archangel, nor yet even the Lord Himself (who alone can say, “I am with you”), can, when we have sinned, release us, unless we bring repentance with us.

    St. Ambrose.

    Well, I’ll repent, and that suddenly, while I am in some liking; I shall be out of heart shortly, and then I shall have no strength to repent.


    Repentance is true and genuine, if we are grieved for sin as it is offensive to God, if we are forsaking and turning from it both in heart and life, and, particularly, if we are deeply affected with the sin of unbelief.

    Fisher’s Catechism.

  • Repentance,
  • A salve, a comfort, and a cordial;
  • He that hath her, the keys of heaven hath:
  • This is the guide, this is the post, the path.
  • Drayton.

  • Presume not that I am the thing I was:
  • For heaven doth know, so shall the world perceive,
  • That I have turned away my former self;
  • So will I those that kept me company.
  • Shakespeare.

    Ah! gracious Heaven gives us eyes to see our own wrong, however dim age may make them; and knees not too stiff to kneel, in spite of years, cramp, and rheumatism.


    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.

    F. W. Robertson.

    It will require more than a few hours of fasting and prayer to cast out such demons as selfishness, worldliness, and unbelief. Repentance, to be of any avail, must work a change of heart and of conduct.

    T. L. Cuyler.

    The law stops every man’s mouth. God will have a man humble himself down on his face before Him, with not a word to say for himself. Then God will speak to him, when he owns that he is a sinner, and gets rid of all his own righteousness.

    D. L. Moody.

    True repentance has as its constituent elements not only grief and hatred of sin, but also an apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ. It hates the sin, and not simply the penalty; and it hates the sin most of all because it has discovered God’s love.

    Wm. M. Taylor.

    Repentance hath a purifying power, and every tear is of a cleansing virtue; but these penitential clouds must be still kept dropping: one shower will not suffice; for repentance is not one single action, but a course.


    Some tears belong to us because we are unfortunate; others, because we are humane; many because we are mortal. But most are caused by our being unwise. It is these last only that of necessity produce more.

    Leigh Hunt.

    It is one thing to mourn for sin because it exposes us to hell, and another to mourn for it because it is an infinite evil. It is one thing to mourn for it because it is injurious to ourselves; another, to mourn for it because it is offensive to God. It is one thing to be terrified; another, to be humbled.

    Gardiner Spring.

    Repentance does not consist in one single act of sorrow, though that, being the first and leading act, gives denomination to the whole; but in doing works meet for repentance, in a sincere obedience to the law of Christ for the remainder of our lives.


    The scriptural doctrine in regard to repentance is not, that a man must repent in order to his being qualified to go to Christ; it is rather that he must go to Christ in order to his being able to repent. From Him comes the grace of contrition as well as the cleansing of expiation.

    Henry Melvill.

    As it is never too soon to be good, so it is never too late to amend: I will, therefore, neither neglect the time present, nor despair of the time past. If I had been sooner good, I might perhaps have been better; if I am longer bad, I shall, I am sure, be worse.

    Arthur Warwick.

    Repentance, however difficult to be practiced, is, if it be explained without superstition, easily understood. Repentance is the relinquishment of any practice from the conviction that it has offended God.

    Dr. Johnson.

    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.


    Place not thy amendment only in increasing thy devotion, but in bettering thy life. This is the damning hypocrisy of this age; that it slights all good morality, and spends its zeal in matters of ceremony, and a form of godliness without the power of it.


    O wretched state! O bosom black as death! O limed soul that, struggling to be free, art more engaged! Help, angels! Make assay! Bow, stubborn knees! and, heart with strings of steel, be soft as sinews of the new-born babe!


    Is it not in accordance with divine order that every mortal is thrown into that situation where his hidden evils can be brought forth to his own view, that he may know them, acknowledge them, struggle against them, and put them away?

    Anna Cora Mowatt.

  • ’T is not, to cry God mercy, or to sit
  • And droop, or to confess that thou hast fail’d:
  • ’Tis to bewail the sins thou didst commit;
  • And not commit those sins thou hast bewail’d.
  • He that bewails and not forsakes them too;
  • Confesses rather what he means to do.
  • Quarles.

  • I will to-morrow, that I will,
  • I will be sure to do it;
  • To-morrow comes, to-morrow goes,
  • And still thou art to do it.
  • Thus still repentance is deferred,
  • From one day to another:
  • Until the day of death is come,
  • And judgment is the other.
  • Drexelius.

    Some well-meaning Christians tremble for their salvation, because they have never gone through that valley of tears and sorrow, which they have been taught to consider as an ordeal that must be passed through before they can arrive at regeneration. To satisfy such minds, it may be observed that the slightest sorrow for sin is sufficient, if it produce amendment, and that the greatest is insufficient, if it do not.


    Repentance is not like the summer fruits, fit to be taken a little and in their own time; it is like bread, the provisions and support of life, the entertainment of every day; but it is the bread of affliction to some, and the bread of carefulness to all; and he that preaches this with the greatest severity, it may be, takes the liberty of an enemy, but he gives the counsel and the assistance of a friend.

    Jeremy Taylor.

  • Before
  • We end our pilgrimage, ’tis fit that we
  • Should leave corruption, and foul sin, behind us,
  • But with wash’d feet and hands, the heathens dar’ not
  • Enter their profane temples; and for me
  • To hope my passage to eternity
  • Can be made easy, till I have shook off
  • The burthen of my sins in free confession,
  • Aided with sorrow, and repentance for them,
  • Is against reason.
  • Massinger.

  • My Saviour, mid life’s varying scene
  • Be Thou my stay;
  • Guide me, through each perplexing path,
  • To perfect day.
  • In weakness and in sin I stand;
  • Still faith can clasp Thy mighty hand,
  • And follow at Thy dear command.
  • My Saviour, I have nought to bring
  • Worthy of Thee;
  • A broken heart Thou wilt not spurn;
  • Accept of me.
  • I need Thy righteousness Divine,
  • I plead Thy promises as mine,
  • I perish if I am not Thine.
  • Elizabeth A. E. Godwin.

  • Habitual evils change not on a sudden,
  • But many days must pass, and many sorrows;
  • Conscious remorse, and anguish must be felt,
  • To curb desire, to break the stubborn will,
  • And work a second nature in the soul,
  • Ere virtue can resume the place she lost.
  • Rowe.

    Alas! it is not till time with reckless hand has torn out half the leaves from the book of human life, to light the fires of passion with from day to day, that man begins to see that the leaves which remain are few in number, and to remember faintly at first, and then more clearly, that upon the early pages of that book was written a story of happy influence which he would fain read over again.