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.
Food improperly taken, not only produces diseases, but affords those that are already engendered both matter and sustenance; so that, let the father of disease be what it may, intemperance is its mother.
Of all vanities and fopperies, the vanity of high birth is the greatest. True nobility is derived from virtue, not from birth. Titles, indeed, may be purchased; but virtue is the only coin that makes the bargain valid.
A mere madness — to live like a wretch that he may die rich.
As the ivy twines around the oak, so do misery and misfortune encompass the happiness of man. Felicity, pure and unalloyed, is not a plant of earthly growth; her gardens are the skies.
Do what thy manhood bids thee do, from none but self expect applause; he noblest lives and noblest dies who makes and keeps his self-made laws. All other Life is living Death, a world where none but Phantoms dwell, a breath, a wind, a sound, a voice, a tinkling of the camel-bell.
Topics: Man, Being Ourselves
Covetous men are fools, miserable wretches, buzzards, madmen, who live by themselves, in perpetual slavery, fear, suspicion, sorrow, discontent, with more of gall than honey in their enjoyments; who are rather possessed by their money than possessors of it; bound ‘prentices to their property; mean slaves and drudges to their substance.
Employment, which Galen calls “nature’s physician,” is so essential to human happiness that indolence is justly considered as the mother of misery.
Topics: Happiness, Idleness, Work, Occupation
Misery assails riches, as lightning does the highest towers; or as a tree that is heavy laden with fruit breaks its own boughs, so do riches destroy the virtue of their possessor.
Virtue, wisdom, goodness, and real worth, like the loadstone, never lose their power. These are the true graces, which are linked hand in hand, because it is by their influence that human hearts are so firmly united to each other.
Peregrinations charm our senses with such unspeakable and sweet variety, that some count him unhappy that never travelled — a kind of prisoner, and pity his case, that, from his cradle to his old age, he beholds the same, and still the same.
Worldly wealth is the devil’s bait; and those whose minds feed upon riches, recede in general from real happiness, in proportion as their stores increase; as the moon, when she is fullest of light, is farthest from the sun.
Sports and gaming, whether pursued from a desire of gain or the love of pleasure, are as ruinous to the temper and disposition of the one addicted to them, as they are to his fame and fortune.
I have no wife or children, good or bad, to provide for; a mere spectator of other men’s fortunes and adventures, and how they play their parts; which, methinks, are diversely presented unto me, as from a common theatre or scene.
Speak with contempt of no man. — Every one hath a tender sense of repu tation. — And every man hath a sting, which he may, if provoked too far, dart out at one time or another.
If adversity hath killed his thousands, prosperity hath killed his ten thousands; therefore adversity is to be preferred. The one deceives, the other instructs; the one is miserably happy, the other happily miserable; and therefore many philosophers have voluntarily sought adversity and commend it in their precepts.
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