Wisdom of Life

Isaac Newton: On the Wisdom of Life, Science & God

“I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies but not the madness of people.”

“Live your life as an Exclamation rather than an Explanation.”

“To arrive at the simplest truth requires years of contemplation.”

I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me. What we know is a drop, what we don’t know is an ocean.

Plato is my friend, Aristotle is my friend, but my greatest friend is truth. Truth is ever to be found in the simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things. Nature is pleased with simplicity. And nature is no dummy. Truth is the offspring of silence and meditation. I keep the subject constantly before me and wait ’til the first dawnings open slowly, by little and little, into a full and clear light. If I am anything, which I highly doubt, I have made myself so by hard work. My powers are ordinary. Only my application brings me success. If others would think as hard as I did, then they would get similar results.

No great discovery was ever made without a bold guess. If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been due more to patient attention, than to any other talent. A vulgar mechanic can practice what he has been taught or seen done, but if he is in an error he knows not how to find it out and correct it, and if you put him out of his road he is at a stand. Whereas he that is able to reason nimbly and judiciously about figure, force, and motion, is never at rest till he gets over every rub. All my discoveries have been made in answer to prayer. He who thinks half-heartedly will not believe in God; but he who really thinks has to believe in God.

Sir Isaac Newton was asked how he discovered the law of gravity. He replied, “By thinking about it all the time.

If I have done the public any service, it is due to my patient thought.

A man may imagine things that are false, but he can only understand things that are true. Tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy. Man builds too many walls and not enough bridges. The other part of the true religion is our duty to man. We must love our neighbour as our selves, we must be charitable to all men for charity is the greatest of graces, greater then even faith or hope and covers a multitude of sins. We must be righteous and do to all men as we would they should do to us. Godliness — consists in the knowledge love and worship of God; humanity — in love, righteousness and good offices towards man.

Trials are medicines which our gracious and wise Physician prescribes because we need them; and he proportions the frequency and weight of them to what the case requires. Let us trust his skill and thank him for his prescription. If two angels were sent down from heaven — one to conduct an empire and the other to sweep the streets — they would feel no inclination to change employment because an angel would know that no matter what we are doing, it’s an opportunity to bring joy, deepen our understanding and expand our life.

God without dominion, providence, and final causes, is nothing else but Fate and Nature. Blind metaphysical necessity, which is certainly the same always and everywhere, could produce no variety of things. All that diversity of natural things which we find suited to different times and places could arise from nothing but the ideas and will of a Being necessarily existing. As a blind man has no idea of colors, so have we no idea of the manner by which the all-wise God perceives and understands all things. God created everything by number, weight and measure.

The wonderful arrangement and harmony of the cosmos would only originate in the plan of an almighty omniscient being. This is and remains my greatest comprehension.

This most beautiful system of the sun, planets and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. A Heavenly Master governs all the world as Sovereign of the universe. We are astonished at Him by reason of His perfection, we honor Him and fall down before Him because of His unlimited power. From blind physical necessity, which is always and everywhere the same, no variety adhering to time and place could evolve, and all variety of created objects which represent order and life in the universe could happen only by the willful reasoning of its original Creator. This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont, to be called Lord God or Universal Ruler.

And from true lordship it follows that the true God is living, intelligent, and powerful; from the other perfections, that he is supreme, or supremely perfect. He is eternal and infinite, omnipotent and omniscient; that is, he endures from eternity to eternity; and he is present from infinity to infinity; he rules all things, and he knows all things that happen or can happen.

“To every action there is always an equal and opposite or contrary, reaction.”

“You have to make the rules, not follow them.”

“Nature is exceedingly simple and harmonious with itself.”


~Sir Isaac Newton PRS was an English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, theologian, and author widely recognised as one of the greatest mathematicians and physicists of all time and among the most influential scientists. He was a key figure in the philosophical revolution known as the Enlightenment.

Quotes from Isaac Newton, The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy

Excellence Reporter 2021

Categories: Wisdom of Life

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