Conscience is justice’s best minister. It threatens, promises, rewards, and punishes, and keeps all under its control. — The busy must attend to its remonstrances; the most powerful submit to its reproof, and the angry endure its up-braidings. — While conscience is our friend, all is peace; but if once offended, farewell to the tranquil mind.
—Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689–1762) English Aristocrat, Poet, Novelist, Writer
In many walks of life, a conscience is a more expensive encumbrance than a wife or a carriage.
—Thomas de Quincey (1785–1859) English Essayist, Writer, Author, Scholar
Conscience is a man’s compass.
—Vincent van Gogh (1853–90) Dutch Painter
In matters of conscience, the law of the majority has no place.
—Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869–1948) Indian Hindu Political leader, Philosopher, Civil Rights Activist
He who commits a wrong will himself inevitably see the writing on the wall, though the world may not count him guilty.
—Martin Farquhar Tupper (1810–89) English Poet, Writer
A conscience without God is like a court without a judge.
—Alphonse de Lamartine (1790–1869) French Writer, Poet, Politician, Memoirist
A man’s moral conscience is the curse he had to accept from the gods in order to gain from them the right to dream.
—William Faulkner (1897–1962) American Novelist, Short Story Writer
The chief requisites for a courtier are a flexible conscience and an inflexible politeness.
—Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington (1789–1849) Irish Novelist, Writer
Be fearful only of thyself, and stand in awe of none more than of thine own conscience. — There is a Cato in every man — a severe censor of his manners. — And he that reverences this judge will seldom do anything he need repent of.
—Richard Burton (1925–84) Welsh Actor
Most of us follow our conscience as we follow a wheelbarrow. We push it in front of us in the direction we want to go.
—Billy Graham (1918–91) American Baptist Religious Leader
Conscience serves us especially to judge of the actions of others.
—Jean Antoine Petit-Senn (1792–1870) Swiss Poet
Though the dungeon, the scourge, and the executioner be absent, the guilty mind can apply the goad and scorch with blows.
—Lucretius Roman Poet, Philosopher
Before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.
—Harper Lee (1926–2006) American Novelist
The only guide to man is his conscience; the only shield to his memory is the rectitude and sincerity of his actions. It is very imprudent to walk through life without this shield, because we are so often mocked by the failure of our hopes and the upsetting of our calculations; but with this shield, however the fates may play, we march always in the ranks of honor.
—Winston Churchill (1874–1965) British Head of State, Political leader, Historian, Journalist, Author
No matter how big a house you have or how slick a car you drive, the only thing you can take with you at the end of your life is your conscience.
—Robin Sharma (b.1965) American Management Consultant
When you have a great and difficult task, something perhaps almost impossible, if you only work a little at a time, every day a little, suddenly the work will finish itself.
—Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen)
God may forgive your sins, but your nervous system won’t.
—Alfred Korzybski (1879–1950) Polish-born American Philosopher, Scientist, Mathematician
The man who acts never has any conscience; no one has any conscience but the man who thinks.
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) German Poet, Novelist, Playwright, Philosopher
No evil is intolerable but a guilty conscience.
—William Ellery Channing
There is no witness so terrible and no accuser so powerful as conscience which dwells within us.
—Sophocles (495BCE–405BCE) Ancient Greek Dramatist, Poet
A good conscience fears no witness, but a guilty conscience is solicitous even in solitude.—If we do nothing but what is honest, let all the world know it.—But if otherwise, what does it signify to have nobody else know it, so long as I know it myself?—Miserable is he who slights that witness.
—Seneca the Younger (Lucius Annaeus Seneca) Roman Philosopher, Political leader, Dramatist
Conscience is a great ledger book in which all our offences are written and registered, and which time reveals to the sense and feeling of the offender.
—Richard Burton (1925–84) Welsh Actor
Conscience and cowardice are really the same things.
—Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) Irish Poet, Dramatist, Short Story Writer, Journalist, Writer
Our conscience is not the vessel of eternal verities. It grows with our social life, and a new social condition means a radical change in conscience.
—Walter Lippmann (1889–1974) American Journalist, Political Commentator, Writer