Contemplation

The greatest of all pleasures consists in the contemplation of truth.

Life was not given for indolent contemplation and study of self, nor for brooding over emotions of piety: actions and actions only determine the worth.

Let us unite contemplation with action. In the harmony of the two, lies the perfection of character. They are not contradictory and incompatible, but mutually helpful to each other.

Our souls must become expanded by the contemplation of Nature’s grandeur, before we can fully comprehend the greatness of man.

Adoration is an activity of the loving, but still separate individuality. Contemplation is the state of union with the divine Ground of all being. The highest prayer is the most passive. Inevitably; for the less there is of self, the more there is of God.

The contemplation of the Divine Being, and the exercise of virtue, are in their nature so far from excluding all gladness of heart, that they are perpetual sources of it. In a word, the true spirit of religion cheers as well as composes the soul. It banishes, indeed, all levity of behavior, all vicious and dissolute mirth, but in exchange fills the mind with a perpetual serenity, uninterrupted cheerfulness, and an habitual inclination to please others as well as to be pleased in itself.

Few people even scratch the surface, much less exhaust the contemplation of their own experience.

Art itself is essentially ethical; because every true work of art must have a beauty and grandeur cannot be comprehended by the beholder except through the moral sentiment. The eye is only a witness; it is not a judge. The mind judges what the eye reports to it; therefore, whatever elevates the moral sentiment to the contemplation of beauty and grandeur is in itself ethical.

The act of contemplation then creates the thing contemplated.

Not alone to know, but to act according to thy knowledge, is thy destination, proclaims the voice of thy inmost soul. Not for indolent contemplation and study of thyself, nor for brooding over emotions of piety - no, for action was existence given thee; thy actions, and thy actions alone, determine thy worth.

The study of the properties of numbers, Plato tells us, habituate the mind to the contemplation of pure truth, and raises us above the material universe. He would have his disciples apply themselves to this study, not that they may be able to buy or sell, not that they may qualify themselves to be shopkeepers or traveling merchants, but that they may learn to withdraw their minds from the ever-shifting spectacle of this visible and tangible world, and fix them on the immutable essences of things.

This divination of the spiritual in the things of sense, and which expresses itself I the things of sense, is precisely what we call Poetry. Metaphysics too pursues a spiritual prey, but in a very different formal object. Whereas metaphysics stands in the line of knowledge and of the contemplation of truth, poetry stands in the line of making and of the delight procured by beauty. The difference is an all-important one, and one that it would be harmful to disregard. Metaphysics snatches at the spiritual in an idea, by the most abstract intellection; poetry reaches it in the flesh, by the very point of the sense sharpened through intelligence... Metaphysics gives chase to essences and definitions, poetry to any flash of existence glittering by the way, and any reflection of an invisible order. Metaphysics isolates mystery in order to know it; poetry, thanks to the balances it constructs, handles and utilizes mystery as an unknown force.

A corporation is an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of law.

A true philosopher makes death his common practice, while he lives, and every day by contemplation strives to separate the soul, far as he can, from off the body.

Humor is the contemplation of the finite from the point of view of the infinite.

The contemplation of night should lead to elevating rather than to depressing ideas. Who can fix his mind on transitory and earthly things, in presence of those glittering myriads of worlds; and who can dread death or solitude in the midst of this brillings, animated universe, composed of countless suns and worlds, all full of light and life and motion?

We may naturally believe that it is not the singular prosperity of the few, but the greater well-being of all that is most pleasing in the sight of the Creator and Preserver of men. What appears to me to be man’s decline, is His eye, advancement; what afflicts me is acceptable to Him. A state of equality is perhaps less elevated, but it is more just: and its justice constitutes its greatness and its beauty. I would strive, then, to raise myself to this point of the divine contemplation and thence to view and judge the concerns of men.

The bed of death brings every human being to his pure individuality, to the intense contemplation of that deepest and most solemn of all relations - the relation between the creature and his Creator.

Action limits us; whereas I the state of contemplation we are endlessly expansive.

All true prayer is worship – the ascription of worth to the Eternal. Without adoration, thanksgiving may become a miserliness, petition a selfish clamor, intercession a currying of special favors for our friends, and even contemplation may turn into a refined indulgence.