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Content thyself to be obscurely good. When vice prevails, and impious men bear sway, the post of honor is a private station.
I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable.
Animals, in their generation, are wiser than the sons of men but their wisdom is confined to a few particulars, and lies in a very narrow compass.
I value my garden more for being full of blackbirds than of cherries, and very frankly give them fruit for their songs.
Laughter, while it lasts, slackens and unbraces the mind, weakens the faculties, and causes a kind of remissness and dissolution in all the powers of the soul.
'We are always doing', says he, 'something for Posterity, but I would fain see Posterity do something for us.
A cloudy day or a little sunshine have as great an influence on many constitutions as the most recent blessings or misfortunes.
A good conscience is to the soul what health is to the body; it preserves constant ease and serenity within us; and more than countervails all the calamities and afflictions which can befall us from without.
An ostentatious man will rather relate a blunder or an absurdity he has committed, than be debarred from talking of his own dear person.
Books are the legacies that a great genius leaves to mankind, which are delivered down from generation to generation as presents to the posterity of those who are yet unborn.
Cheerfulness keeps up a kind of daylight in the mind, and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity.
Education is a companion which no misfortune can depress, no crime can destroy, no enemy can alienate,no despotism can enslave. At home, a friend, abroad, an introduction, in solitude a solace and in society an ornament.It chastens vice, it guides virtue, it gives at once grace and government to genius. Without it, what is man A splendid slave, a reasoning savage.
Education is a companion which no misfortune can depress, no crime can destroy, no enemy can alienate,no despotism can enslave. At home, a friend, abroad, an introduction, in solitude a solace and in society an ornament.It chastens vice, it guides virtue, it gives at once grace and government to genius. Without it, what is man? A splendid slave, a reasoning savage.
Exercise ferments the humors, casts them into their proper channels, throws off redundancies, and helps nature in those secret distributions, without which the body cannot subsist in its vigor, nor the soul act with cheerfulness.
From social intercourse are derived some of the highest enjoyments of life; where there is a free interchange of sentiments the mind acquires new ideas, and by frequent exercise of its powers, the understanding gains fresh vigor.
He who would pass his declining years with honor and comfort, should, when young, consider that he may one day become old, and remember when he is old, that he has once been young.
How beautiful is death, when earn'd by virtue Who would not be that youth What pity is it That we can die but once to serve our country
I have somewhere met with the epitaph on a charitable man which has pleased me very much. I cannot recollect the words, but here is the sense of it: What I spent I lost; what I possessed is left to others; what I gave away remains with me.
I think I may define taste to be that faculty of the soul which discerns the beauties of an author with pleasure, and the imperfections with dislike.
If men would consider not so much wherein they differ, as wherein they agree, there would be far less of uncharitableness and angry feeling.
If we hope for what we are not likely to possess, we act and think in vain, and make life a greater dream and shadow than it really is.
If you wish success in life, make perseverance your bosom friend, experience your wise counselor, caution your elder brother and hope your guardian genius.
If you wish to succeed in life, make perseverance your bosom friend, experience your wise counselor, caution your elder brother, and hope your guardian genius.
It is folly for an eminent person to think of escaping censure, and a weakness to be affected by it. All the illustrious persons of antiquity, and indeed of every age, have passed through this fiery persecution. There is no defense against reproach but obscurity; it is a kind of concomitant to greatness, as satires and invectives were an essential part of a Roman triumph.
Laughter, while it lasts, slackens and unbraces the mind, weakens the faculties and causes a kind of remissness and dissolution in all the powers of the soul; and thus it may be looked on as weakness in the composition of human nature. But if we consider the frequent reliefs we receive from it and how often it breaks the gloom which is apt to depress the mind and damp our spirits, with transient, unexpected gleams of joy, one would take care not to grow too wise for so great a pleasure of life.
Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses and disappointments; but let us have patience and we soon shall see them in their proper figures.
Ridicule is generally made use of to laugh men out of virtue and good sense, by attacking everything praiseworthy in human life.
Suspicion is not less an enemy to virtue than to happiness; he that is already corrupt is naturally suspicious, and he that becomes suspicious will quickly be corrupt.
The Fear of Death often proves Mortal, and sets People on Methods to save their Lives, which infallibly destroy them.
The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love and something to hope for.
The greatest sweetener of human life is Friendship. To raise this to the highest pitch of enjoyment, is a secret which but few discover.
The most violent appetites in all creatures are lust and hunger the first is a perpetual call upon them to propagate their kind, the latter to preserve themselves.
There are many shining qualities on the mind of man; but none so useful as discretion. It is this which gives a value to all the rest, and sets them at work in their proper places, and turns them to the advantage of their possessor. Without it, learning is pedantry; wit, impertinence; virtue itself looks like weakness; and the best parts only qualify a man to be more sprightly in errors, and active to his own prejudice. Though a man has all other perfections and wants discretion, he will be of no great consequence in the world; but if he has this single talent in perfection, and but a common share of others, he may do what he pleases in his station of life.
There is not any present moment that is unconnected with some future one. The life of every man is a continued chain of incidents, each link of which hangs upon the former. The transition from cause to effect, from event to event, is often carried on by secret steps, which our foresight cannot divine, and our sagacity is unable to trace. Evil may at some future period bring forth good; and good may bring forth evil, both equally unexpected.
Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.
True happiness is of a retired nature, and an enemy to pomp and noise it arises, in the first place, from the enjoyment of one's self, and in the next from the friendship and conversation of a few select companions.
What an absurd thing it is to pass over all the valuable parts of a man, and fix our attention on his infirmities.
What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure but scattered along life's pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.
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