Whatever purifies the heart also fortifies it.
Willingness to be taught what we do not know, is the sure pledge of growth both in knowledge and wisdom.
Worry not about the possible troubles of the future; for if they come, you are but anticipating and adding to their weight; and if they do not come, your worry is useless; and in either case it is weak and in vain, and a distrust of God's providence.
We should ever have it fixed in our memories, that by the character of those whom we choose for our friends, our own is likely to be formed, and will certainly be judged of by the world. We ought, therefore, to be slow and cautious in contracting intimacy; but when a virtuous friendship is once established, we must ever consider it as a sacred engagement.
By indulging this fretful temper you alienate those on whose affection much of your comfort depends.
It is for the sake of man, not of God, that worship and prayers are required; that man may be made better - that he may be confirmed in a proper sense of his dependent state, and acquire those pious and virtuous dispositions in which his highest improvement consists.
The elevated sentiments and high examples which poetry, eloquence, and history are often bringing under our view naturally tend to nourish in our minds public spirit, the love of glory, contempt of external fortune, and the admiration of what is truly illustrious and great.
Compassion is an emotion of which we ought never to be ashamed. Graceful, particularly in youth, is the tear of sympathy, and the heart that melts at the tale of woe. We should not permit ease and indulgence to contract our affections, and wrap us up in a selfish enjoyment; but we should accustom ourselves to think of the distresses of human, life, of the solitary cottage; the dying parent, and the weeping orphan. Nor ought we ever to sport with pain and distress in any of our amusements, or treat even the meanest insect with wanton cruelty. Hugh Blair
It is not easy to describe in words the precise impression which great and sublime objects make upon us when we behold them; but every one has a conception of it. It produces a sort of internal elevation and expansion; it raises the mind much above its ordinary state, and fills it with a degree of wonder and astonishment which it cannot well express. The emotion is certainly delightful, but it is altogether of the serious kind; a degree of awfulness and solemnity, even approaching to severity, commonly attends it when at its height, very distinguishable from the more gay and brisk emotion raised by beautiful objects.
The least degree of ambiguity, which leaves the mind in suspense as to the meaning, ought to be avoided with the greatest care.
Conscience is too great a power in the nature of man to be altogether subdued: it may for a time be repressed and kept dormant; but conjectures there are in human life which awaken it; and when once re-awakened, it flashes on the sinner’s mind with all the horrors of an invisible ruler and a future judgment.
It is pride which plies the world with so much harshness and severity. - We are as rigorous to offences as if we had never offended.
The roses of pleasure seldom last long enough to adorn the brow of him who plucks them, and they are the only roses which do not retain their sweetness after they have lost their beauty.
Dissimulation in youth is the forerunner of perfidy in old age. - It degrades parts and learning, obscures the luster of every accomplishment, and sinks us into contempt. - The path of falsehood is a perplexing maze. - One artifice leads on to another, till, as the intricacy of the labyrinth increases, we are left entangled in our own snare.
It is proper also to observe, that genius is a word which, in common acceptation, extends much further than to the objects of taste. It is used to signify that talent or aptitude which we receive from nature for excelling in any one thing whatever. Thus, we speak of a genius for mathematics, as well as a genius for poetry—of a genius for war, for politics, or for any mechanical employment.
The self-conceit of the young is the great source of those dangers to which they are exposed.
Exercise is the chief source of improvement in our faculties
Life will frequently languish, even in the hands of the busy, if they have not some employment subsidiary to that which forms their main pursuit.
The sinner is not only liable to that disappointment of success which so often prostrates all the designs of men, but liable to a disappointment still more cruel, of being successful and miserable at once.
Fretfulness of temper will generally characterize those who are negligent of order.
Nothing, except what flows from the heart, can render even external manners truly pleasing.
The soul of man can never divest itself wholly of anxiety about its fate hereafter: there are hours when, even to the prosperous, in the midst of their pleasures, eternity is an awful thought; but how much more when those pleasures, one after another, begin to withdraw; when life alters its forms, and becomes dark and cheerless—when its changes warn the most inconsiderate that what is so mutable will soon pass entirely away. Then with pungent earnestness comes home that question to the heart, “Into what world are we next to go?” How miserable the man who, under the distractions of calamity, hangs doubtful about an event which so nearly concerns him; who, in the midst of doubts and anxieties, approaching to that awful boundary which separates this world from the next, shudders at the dark prospect before him, wishing to exist after death, and yet afraid of that existence; catching at every feeble hope which superstition can afford him, and trembling in the same moment from reflection upon his crimes!
A fourth rule for constructing sentences with proper strength is to make the members of them go on rising and growing in their importance above one another. This sort of arrangement is called a climax, and is always considered as a beauty in composition.
From reading the most admired productions of genius, whether in poetry or prose, almost every one rises with some good impressions left on his mind; and though these may not always be durable, they are at least to be ranked among the means of disposing the heart to virtue. One thing is certain, that without possessing the virtuous affections in a strong degree, no man can attain eminence in the sublime parts of eloquence. He must feel what a good man feels, if he expects greatly to move or to interest mankind. They are the ardent sentiments of honour, virtue, magnanimity, and public spirit, that only can kindle that fire of genius, and call up into the mind those high ideas which attract the admiration of ages; and if this spirit be necessary to produce the most distinguished efforts of eloquence, it must be necessary also to our relishing them with proper taste and feeling.
O cursed lust of gold! when, for thy sake, the fool throws up his interest in both worlds, first starved in this, then damned in that to come!