« PreviousContinue »
There is nothing wanting to make all rational and disinterested people in the world of one religion, but that they should talk together every day.
Men are grateful in the same degree that they are resentful.
Young men are subtle argners: the cloak of honour covers all their faults; as that of passion all their follies.
Economy is no disgrace: it is better living on a little, than outliving a great deal.
Next to the satisfaction I receive in the prosperity of an honest man, I am best pleased with the confusion of a rascal.
What is often termed shyness is nothing more than refined sense, and an indifference to common observations.
The higher character a person supports, the more he should regard his minutest actions.
Every person insensibly fixes upon some degree of refinement in his discourse, some measure of thought which he thinks worth, exhibitirg. It is wise to fix this pretty high, although it occasions us to talk the less.
To endeavour all our days.to fortify our minds with learning and philosophy, is to spend so much in armour, that we have nothing left to defend.
Deference often shrinks and withers as much upon the approach of intimacy, as the sensitive plant does upon the touch of a finger.
Men are sometimes accused of pride, merely because their accusers would be proud themselves, if they were in their places.
People frequently use this expression," I am inclined to think so and so;" not considering, that they are then speaking the most literal of all truths.
Modesty makes large amends for the pain it gives the persons who labour under it, by the prejudice it affords every worthy person in their favour.
The difference there is betwixt honour and honesty seems to be chiefly in the motive. The honest man does that from duty, which the man of honour does for the sake of character.
A liar begins with making falsehood appear like truth, and ends with making truth itself appear like falsehood.
Virtue should be considered as a part of taste; and we should as much avoid deceit, or sinister meanings in discourse, as we would puns, bad language, or false grammar.
DEFERENCE is the most complicate, the most indirect, and the most elegant of all compliments.
He that lies in bed all a summer's morning loses the chief pleasure of the day: he that gives up his youth to indolence undergoes a loss of the same kind.
Shining characters are not always the most agreeable ones. The mild radiance of an emerald is by no means less pleas. ing than the glare of the ruby.
To be a rake, and to glory in the character, discovers at the same time a bad disposition, and a bad taste.
How is it possible to expect, that mankind will take advice, when they will not so much as take warning?
Although men are accused for not knowing their own weakness, yet perhaps as few know their own strength. It is in men as in soils, where sometimes there is a vein of gold, which the owner knows not of.
Fine sense and exalted sense are not half so valuable as common sense. There are forty men of wit for one man of sense; and he that will carry nothing about him but gold, will be every day at a loss for want of ready change.
Learning is like mercury, one of the most powerful and excellent things in the world in skilful hands ; in unskilful, most mischievous.
A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the
wrong; which is but saying in other words, that he is wiser to day than he was yesterday.
Wherever I find a great deal of gratitude in a poor man, I take it for granted there would be as much generosity if he were a rich man.
Flowers of rhetoric in sermons or serious discourses are like the blue and red flowers in corn, pleasing to those who come only for amusement, but prejudicial to him who would reap. the profit.
It often happens, that those are the best people, whose characters have been most mjured by slanderers : as we usually find that to be the sweetest fruit, which the birds, have been pecking at. The eye of the critic is often like a microscope ; made so:
very fine and nice, that it discovers the atoms, grains, and minutest particles, without ever comprehending the whole, comparing the parts, or seeing all at once the harmony.
Men's zeal for religion is much of the same kind as that which they show for a football : whenever it is contested for, every one is ready to venture their lives and limbs in the dispute; but when that is once at an end, it is no more thought on, but sleeps in oblivion, buried in rubbish, which no one thinks it worth his pains to rake into, much less to
Honour is but a fictitious kind of honesty; a mean but a necessary substitute for it in societies who have none : it is a sort of paper credit, with which men are obliged to trade, who are deficient in the sterling cash of true morality and religion.
Persons of great delicacy should know the certainty of the following truth : there are abundance of cases which occasion suspense, in which whatever they determine they will repent of the determination : and this through a propensity of human nature to fancy happiness in those schemes which
it does not pursue.
The chief advantage, that ancient writers can boast over modern ones, seems owing to simplicity. Every noble truth and sentiment was expressed by the former in a natural manner; in word and phrase simple, perspicuous, and incapable of improvement. What then remained for later writers, but affectation, witticism, and conceit?
What a piece of work is man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculties ! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god!
If to do, were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor men's cottages princes palaces. He is a good divine who follows his own instructions: I can easier teach twenty what were good to be done, than to be one of the twenty to follow my own teaching.
The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together: our virtues would be proud, if our faults whipped them not; and our crimes would despair, if they were not cherished by our virtues.
Men's evil manners live in brass; their virtues we write in water.
The sense of death is most in apprehension;
How far the little candle throws his beams ! So shines a good deed in a naughty world.
-Love all, trust a few,
power than in use: keep thy friend Under thy own life's key; be check'd for silence, But never task'd for speech.
The cloudcapp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
Oufr indiscretion sometimes serves us well, When our deep plots do fail; and that should teach us, There's a divinity that shapes our ends, Roughhew them how we will.
The Poet's eye, in a fine phrenzy rolling, Doth glance from Heav'n to earth, from earth to Heav'n ; And as Imagination bodies forth The form of things unknown, the Poet's pen Turns them to shape, and gives to airy nothing A local habitation and a name,
Heaven doth with us as we with torches do, Not light them for themselves : for if our virtues Did not go forth of us, 'twere all alike As if we had them not. Spirits are not finely touch’d, But to fine issues : nor nature never lends The smallest scruple of her excellence, But, like a thrifty goddess, she determines. Herself the glory of a creditor, Both thanks and use.
What stronger breastplate than a heart untainted?
Or, World! thy slippery turns : Friends now fast sworn
So it falls out,
Cowards die many times before their deaths;