Most men want knowledge, not for itself, but for the superiority which knowledge confers; and the means they employ to secure this superiority are as wrong as the ultimate object, for no man can ever end with being superior, who will not begin with being inferior.
Topics: Knowledge, Power
It is always considered as a piece of impertinence in England, if a man of less than two or three thousand a year has any opinions at all upon important subjects.
There is the same difference between the tongues of some, as between the hour and the minute hand; one goes ten times as fast, and the other signifies ten times as much.
It is always right that a man should be able to render a reason for the faith that is within him.
Why destroy present happiness by a distant misery which may never come at all, or you may never live to see it?—Every substantial grief has twenty shadows, and most of them shadows of your own making.
Pulpit discourses have insensibly dwindled from speaking to reading; a practice of itself sufficient to stifle every germ of eloquence.
Politeness is good nature regulated by good sense.
Education gives fecundity of thought, copiousness of illustration, quickness, vigor, fancy, words, images, and illustrations; it decorates every common thing, and gives the power of trifling without being undignified and absurd.
Old friendships are destroyed by toasted cheese, and hard salted meat has led to suicide. Unpleasant feelings of the body produce correspondent sensations of the mind, and a great scene of wretchedness is sketched out by a morsel of indigestible and misguided food.
There is one piece of advice, in a life of study, which I think no one will object to: and that is, every now and then to be completely idle, to do nothing at all.
When I hear any man talk of an unalterable law, the only effect it produces on me is to convince me that he is an unalterable fool.
Brevity to writing is what charity is to all other virtues; righteousness is nothing without the one, nor authorship without the other.
Virtue is so delightful, whenever it is perceived, that men have found it their interest to cultivate manners, which are, in fact, the appearances of certain virtues; and now we are come to love the sign better than the thing signified, and to prefer manners without virtue, to virtue without manners.
The most curious offspring of shame is shyness.
The avaricious love of gain, which is so feelingly deplored, appears to us a principle which, in able hands, might be guided to the most salutary purposes. The object is to encourage the love of labor, which is best encouraged by the love of money.
Say everything for vice which you can, magnify any pleasures as much as you please, but don’t believe you have any secret for sending on quicker the sluggish blood, and for refreshing the faded nerve.
It is a bore, I admit, to be past seventy, for you are left for execution, and are daily expecting the death-warrant; but it is not anything very capital we quit. We are, at the close of life, only hurried away from stomach-aches, pains in the joints, from sleepless nights and unamusing days, from weakness, ugliness, and nervous tremors; but we shall all meet again in another planet, cured of all our defects.
Topics: Aging, Age
Do not assume that because I am frivolous I am shallow; I don’t assume that because you are grave you are profound
The taste for emotion may become a dangerous taste; we should be very cautious how we attempt to squeeze out of human life more ecstasy and paroxysm than it can well afford.
The greatest curse that can be entailed on mankind is a state of war. All the atrocious crimes committed in years of peace, all that is spent in peace by the secret corruptions, or by the thoughtless extravagance of nations, are mere trifles compared with the gigantic evils which stalk over this world in a state of war. God is forgotten in war; every principle of Christianity is trampled upon.
Errors to be dangerous must have a great deal of truth mingled with them.—It is only from this alliance that they can ever obtain an extensive circulation.—From pure extravagance, and genuine, unmingled falsehood, the world never has, and never can sustain any mischief.
Dislike of innovation proceeds sometimes from the disgust excited by false humanity, canting hypocrisy, and silly enthusiasm.
There is but one method, and that is hard labor; and a man who will not pay that price for greatness had better at once dedicate himself to the pursuit of the fox, or to talk of bullocks, and glory in the goad.
Topics: Labor, Greatness
Every increase of knowledge may possibly render depravity more depraved, as well as it may increase the strength of virtue. It is in itself only power; and its value depends on its application.
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