He who controls others may be powerful but he who has mastered himself is mightier still. -- Lao Tsu
He who reigns within himself, and rules passions, desires, and fears, is more than a king. -- John Milton
“He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” Proverbs. 16:32
'The tempers and lives of men are books for common people to read—and they will read them, though they should read nothing else!'
- Andrew Fuller quoted in A Treatise on Temper—its Use and Abuse
“Self-control is one of the finest things in any life….
A man has self-control when he sits in his place and has his hands on all the reins of his life. His is kingly when he has complete master of his temper, his speech, his feelings, his appetites; when he can be quiet under injury and wrong; hurt to the quick but showing no sign, patient and still under severe provocation; when he can stand amid temptations and not yield to them….
Not only is self-control strong — it is also beautiful. Anger is not beautiful. Ungoverned temper is not lovely. Rage is demonic. But a spirit calm, strong, and unflustered, amid storms of feeling and all manner of disturbing emotions, is sublime in its beauty. ‘A temper under control, a heart subdued into tenderness and patience, a voice cheerful with hope, and a countenance bright with kindness, are invaluable possessions to any man or woman.’
The beauty of self-control! It is always beautiful, and the lack of it is always a blemish. A lovely face which has won us by its grace instantly loses its charm and winsomeness when in some excitement bad temper breaks out. An angry countenance is disfiguring….It should be practiced not only on great occasions but on the smallest. A hundred times a day it will save us from weakness and fluster and make us strong a quiet. It is the outcome of peace. If the heart is still and quiet with the peace of Christ, the whole life is under heavenly guard. The king is on his throne and there is no misrule anywhere.
How can we get the mastery over ourselves? It is not attained by a mere resolve. We cannot simply assert our self-mastery, and then have it. We cannot put self-control on the throne, by a mere proclamation. It is an achievement which must be won by ourselves, and won by degrees. It is a lesson which must be learned, a long lesson which it takes many days to learn. ...
We need divine help in learning the lesson. Yet we must be diligent in doing our part. God helps those who help themselves. When we strive to be calm and self-controlled he puts his own strength into our heart. ...
But however long it may take us to reach this heavenly achievement we should never be content until we have reached it. This is the sum of all learning and experience. It is the completeness of all spiritual culture. …”
J. R. Miller in The Beauty of Self-control