It is not true that suffering ennobles the character; happiness does that sometimes, but suffering, for the most part, makes men petty and vindictive.
The fullest instruction, and the fullest enjoyment are never derived from books, till we have ventilated the ideas thus obtained, in free and easy chat with others.
You are not angry with people when you laugh at them. Humor teaches tolerance.
It is salutary to train oneself to be no more affected by censure than by praise.
The great tragedy of life is not that men perish, but they cease to love.
You can't learn too soon that the most useful thing about a principle is that it can always be sacrificed to expediency.
It's a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.
The petty cares, the minute anxieties, the infinite littles which go to make up the sum of human experience, like the invisible granules of powder, give the last and highest polish to a character.
Man has always sacrificed truth to his vanity, comfort and advantage. He lives... by make-believe.
Then let us laugh. It is the cheapest luxury man enjoys, and, as Charles Lamb says, "is worth a hundred groans in any state of the market." It stirs up the blood, expands the chest, electrifies the nerves, clears away the cobwebs from the brain, and gives the whole system a shock to which the voltaic-pile is as nothing. Nay, itâ€™s delicious alchemy converts even tears into the quintessence of merriment, and makes wrinkles themselves expressive of youth and frolic.
Nature cuts queer capers with menâ€™s phizzes at times, and confounds all the deductions of philosophy. Character does not put all its goods, sometimes not any of them, in its shop-window.
There is a wide difference between general acquaintance and companionship. You may salute a man and exchange compliments with him daily, yet know nothing of his character, his inmost tastes and feelings.
A great deal of the joy of life consists in doing perfectly, or at least to the best of one's ability, everything which one attempts to do... The smallest thing well done, becomes artistic.
Old age has its pleasures, which, though different, are not less than pleasures of youth.
To be contented,--what, indeed, is it? Is it not to be satisfied,--to hope for nothing, to aspire to nothing, to strive for nothing,--in short to rest in inglorious ease, doing nothing for your country, for your own or others' material, intellectual, or moral improvement, satisfied with the condition in which you or they are placed? Such a state of feeling may do very well where nature has fixed an inseparable and ascertained barrier,--a "thus far, shalt thou go and no farther,"--to our wishes, or where we are troubled by ills past remedy. In such cases it is the highest philosophy not to fret or grumble, when, by all our worrying and self-teasing, we cannot help ourselves a jot or tittle, but only aggravate and intensify an affliction that is incurable. To soothe the mind down into patience is then the only resource left us, and happy is he who has schooled himself thus to meet all reverses and disappointments. But in the ordinary circumstances of life this boasted virtue of contentment.
As frost, raised to its utmost intensity, produces the sensation of fire, so any good quality, overwrought and pushed to excess, turns into its own contrary.
One well-cultivated talent, deepened and enlarged, is worth 100 shallow faculties. The first law of success in this day, when so many things are clamoring for attention, is concentration-to bend all the energies to one point, and to go directly to that point, looking neither to the right nor to the left.
Tolerance is another word for difference.
Excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of habit.
Only a mediocre person is always at his best.
Tradition is a guide and not a jailer.
God has so framed us as to make freedom of choice and action the very basis of all moral improvement, and all our faculties, mental and moral, resent and revolt against the idea of coercion.
Out of the same substances one stomach will extract nutriment, another poison; and so the same disappointments in life will chasten and refine one man's spirit, and embitter another's.
Unless a man has trained himself for his chance, the chance will only make him ridiculous.