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


Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation.


When a man resists sin on human motives only, he will not hold out long.

Bishop Wilson.

Temptation is the fire that brings up the scum of the heart.


Better shun the bait than struggle in the snare.


Life hath quicksands; life hath snares.


It is opportunity that makes the thief.


Keep away from the fire!


The woman that deliberates is lost.


Temptation hath a music for all ears.

N. P. Willis.

Might shake the saintship of an anchorite.


To beguile many and be beguil’d by one.


How oft the sight of means to do ill deeds makes deeds ill done! Shakespeare.

It is one thing to be tempted, another thing to fall.


God is better served in resisting a temptation to evil than in many formal prayers.

William Penn.

Temptations are a file which rub off much of the rust of self-confidence.


We like slipping, but not falling: our real desire is to be tempted enough.


Most dangerous is that temptation that doth goad us on to sin in loving virtue.


Honest bread is very well—it’s the butter that makes the temptation.

Douglas Jerrold.

If you take temptations into account, who is to say that he is better than his neighbor?


Devils soonest tempt, resembling spirits of light.


  • In part she is to blame that has been tried.
  • He comes too late that comes to be denied.
  • Lady M. W. Montagu.

    Some temptations come to the industrious, but all temptations attack the idle.


    Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.


    Many a dangerous temptation comes to us in fine gay colors, that are but skin-deep.

    Matthew Henry.

  • I am that way going to temptation,
  • Where prayers cross.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Bell, book and candle shall not drive me back,
  • When gold and silver becks me to come on.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Know’st thou not any whom corrupting gold
  • Would tempt unto a close exploit of death?
  • Shakespeare.

    He who has no mind to trade with the Devil should be so wise as to keep from his shop.


    Find out what your temptations are, and you will find out largely what you are yourself.

    Henry Ward Beecher.

    The realization of God’s presence is the one sovereign remedy against temptation.


  • The devil tempts us not; ’tis we tempt him,
  • Beckoning his skill with opportunity.
  • George Eliot.

    It is the bright day that brings forth the adder, and that craves wary walking.


    Temptations, like misfortunes, are sent to test our moral strength.

    Marguerite de Valois.

    Obscurity and innocence, twin sisters, escape temptations which would pierce their gossamer armor in contact with the world.


    Virtue, alas! not unfrequently trips and falls on the sharp-edged rock of poverty.

    Eugene Sue.

  • How many perils doe enfold
  • The righteous man to make him daily fall.
  • Spenser.

    Great possessions and great want of them are both strong temptations.


    When devils will the blackest sins put on, they do suggest at first with heavenly shows.


    The devil was piqued such saintship to behold, and longed to tempt him.


    There are times when it would seem as if God fished with a line, and the devil with a net.

    Mme. Swetchine.

    Love cries victory when the tears of a woman become the sole defence of her virtue.

    La Fontaine.

    The virtue which has never been attacked by temptation is deserving of no monument.

    Mlle. de Scudéri.

    Every Christian is endued with a power whereby he is enabled to resist temptations;


    Every bird has its decoy, and every man is led and misled in his own peculiar way.


    No man is matriculated to the art of life till he has been well tempted.

    George Eliot.

    One learns more metaphysics from a single temptation than from all the philosophers.


    Every temptation is an opportunity of our getting nearer to God.

    J. Q. Adams.

    An honest heart is not to be trusted with itself in bad company.


    An acknowledged love sanctifies every little freedom; and little freedoms beget great ones.


    The devil is very near at hand to those who, like monarchs, are accountable to none but God for their actions.

    Gustavus Adolphus.

    My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.


    When a beautiful woman yields to temptation, let her consult her pride, though she forgets her virtue.


    If thou wouldst conquer thy weakness, thou must never gratify it. No man is compelled to evil; his consent only makes it his. It is no sin to be tempted, but to be overcome.

    William Penn.

  • But Satan now is wiser than of yore,
  • And tempts by making rich, not making poor.
  • Pope.

    The time for reasoning is before we have approached near enough to the forbidden fruit to look at it and admire.

    Margaret Percival.

    Shut the door of that house of pleasure which you hear resounding with the loud voice of a woman.


  • In part to blame is she,
  • Which hath without consent bin only tride;
  • He comes too neere, that comes to be denide.
  • Sir Thos. Overbury.

  • Temptations hurt not, though they have accesse;
  • Satan o’ercomes none but by willingnesse.
  • Herrick.

  • Sometimes we are devils to ourselves,
  • When we will tempt the frailty of our powers,
  • Presuming on their changeful potency.
  • Shakespeare.

    Occasions of adversity best discover how great virtue or strength each one hath. For occasions do not make a man frail, but they show what he is.

    Thomas à Kempis.

    Do not give dalliance too much the rein; the strongest oaths are straw to the fire in the blood.


    A beautiful woman, if poor, should use double circumspection; for her beauty will tempt others, her poverty herself.


  • To fly the boar, before the boar pursues,
  • Were to incense the boar to follow us,
  • And make pursuit where he did mean no chase.
  • Shakespeare.

    The Devil has a great advantage against us inasmuch as he has a strong bastion and bulwark against us in our own flesh and blood.


    If men had only temptations to great sins, they would always be good; but the daily fight with little ones accustoms them to defeat.


    Christian! thou knowest thou carriest gunpowder about thee. Desire them that carry fire to keep at a distance. It is a dangerous crisis, when a proud heart meets with flattering lips.

    John Flavel.

    Temptations, when we meet them at first, are as the lion that roared upon Samson; but if we overcome them, the next time we see them we shall find a nest of honey within them.

    John Bunyan.

    Every man living shall assuredly meet with an hour of temptation, a certain critical hour, which shall more especially try what mettle his heart is made of.


  • In the hour of my distress,
  • When temptations me oppress,
  • And when I my sins confess,
  • Sweet Spirit, comfort me.
  • Robert Herrick.

  • Oftentimes, to win us to our harm,
  • The instruments of darkness tell us truths;
  • Win us with honest trifles, to betray us
  • In deepest consequence.
  • Shakespeare.

    We are surrounded by abysses, but the greatest of all depths is in our own heart, and an irresistible leaning leads us there. Draw thyself from thyself!


    The temptation is not here, where you are reading about it or praying about it. It is down in your shop among bales and boxes, ten-penny nails, and sand-paper.


    A vacant mind invites dangerous inmates, as a deserted mansion tempts wandering outcasts to enter and take up their abode in its desolate apartments.


    Let a man be but in earnest in praying against a temptation as the tempter is in pressing it, and he needs not proceed by a surer measure.

    Bishop South.

    I may not here omit those two main plagues, and common dotages of human kind, wine and women, which have infatuated and besotted myriads of people: they go commonly together.


    Humanly speaking, there is a certain degree of temptation which will overcome any virtue. Now, in so far as you approach temptation to a man, you do him an injury, and if he is overcome, you share his guilt.


    The difference between those whom the world esteems as good and those whom it condemns as bad, is in many cases little else than that the former have been better sheltered from temptation.


    When tempted, the shortest and surest way is to act like a little child at the breast; when we show it a frightful monster, it shrinks back and buries its face in its mother’s bosom, that it may no longer behold it.


    No place, no company, no age, no person is temptation-free; let no man boast that he was never tempted, let him not be high-minded, but fear, for he may be surprised in that very instant wherein he boasteth that he was never tempted at all.


    Prince Eugene informed a confidential friend that in the course of his life he had been exposed to many Potiphars, to all or whom he had proved a Joseph, merely because he had so many other things to attend to.


    Who ever lives looking for pleasure only, his senses uncontrolled, immoderate in his enjoyments, idle and weak, the tempter will certainly overcome him, as the wind blows down a weak tree.


    When the flesh presents thee with delights, then present thyself with dangers; where the world possesses thee with vain hopes, there possess thyself with true fear; when the devil brings thee oil, bring thou vinegar. The way to be safe is never to be secure.


    To attempt to resist temptation, to abandon our bad habits, and to control our dominant passions in our own unaided strength, is like attempting to check by a spider’s thread the progress of a ship of the first rate, borne along before wind and tide.

    Rev. Dr. Waugh.

    A world of little cares is continually arising, which busy or affluent life knows nothing of, to open the first door to distress. Hunger is not among the postponable wants; and a day, even a few hours, in such a condition is often the crisis of a life of ruin.

    Thomas Paine.

    Life is very difficult. It seems right to me sometimes that we should follow our strongest feelings; but then such feelings continually come across the ties that all our former life has made for us,—the ties that have made others dependent on us,—and would cut them in two.

    George Eliot.

    If you wish to be like the gods on earth, to be free in the realms of the dead, pluck not the fruit from the garden! In appearance it may glisten to the eye; but the perishable pleasure of possession quickly avenges the curse of curiosity.


    One does not require nor think of a fire often in spring or autumn; yet I don’t know how it is, but when we have happened by chance to pass near one, the sensation it communicates is so pleasant that we feel rather inclined to indulge it. This is analogous to temptation,—and the moral is, “keep away from the fire.”


    St. Augustine teaches us that there is in each man a Serpent, an Eve, and an Adam. Our senses and natural propensities are the Serpent; the excitable desire is the Eve; and reason is the Adam. Our nature tempts us perpetually; criminal desire is often excited; but sin is not completed till reason consents.


    It has been wisely said, “that well may thy guardian angel suffer thee to lose thy locks, when thou darest wilfully to lay thy head in the lap of temptation!” Was it not easier for the hero of Judæa to avoid the touch of the fair Philistine, than to elude her power when held in her arms?

    Jane Porter.

  • Between the acting of a dreadful thing
  • And the first motion, all the interim is
  • Like a phantasma, or a hideous dream:
  • The genius and the mortal instruments
  • Are then in council; and the state of man,
  • Like to a little kingdom, suffers then
  • The nature of an insurrection.
  • Shakespeare.

    When I cannot be forced, I am fooled out of my integrity. He cannot constrain if I do not consent. If I do but keep possession, all the posse of hell cannot violently eject me; but I cowardly surrender to his summons. Thus there needs no more to be my undoing but myself.


    Temptation is a fearful word. It indicates the beginning of a possible series of infinite evils. It is the ringing of an alarm bell, whose melancholy sounds may reverberate through eternity. Like the sudden, sharp cry of “Fire!” under our windows by night, it should rouse us to instantaneous action, and brace every muscle to its highest tension.

    Horace Mann.

    On this earth all is temptation. Crosses tempt us by irritating our pride, and prosperity by flattering it. Our life is a continual combat, but one in which Jesus Christ fights for us. We must pass on unmoved, while temptations rage around us, as the traveler, overtaken by a storm, simply wraps his cloak more closely about him, and pushes on more vigorously toward his destined home.


  • ’Tis the temptation of the devil
  • That makes all human actions evil;
  • For saints may do the same things by
  • The spirit, in sincerity,
  • Which other men are tempted to,
  • And at the devil’s instance do:
  • And yet the actions be contrary,
  • Just as the saints and wicked vary.
  • Butler.

    We often wonder that certain men and women are left by God to the commission of sins that shock us. We wonder how, under the temptation of a single hour, they fall from the very heights of virtue and of honor into sin and shame. The fact is that there are no such falls as these, or there are next to none. These men and women are those who have dallied with temptation—have exposed themselves to the influence of it, and have been weakened and corrupted by it.

    J. G. Holland.