English Writer and Prelate
John Tillotson, Archbishop of Canterbury
English Writer and Prelate
Our chief wisdom consists in knowing our follies and faults, that we may correct them. True wisdom is a thing very extraordinary. Happy are they that have it; and next to them, not the many that think they have it, but the few that are sensible of their own defects and imperfections, and know that they have it not.
Mere success is one of the worst arguments in the world of a good cause, and the most improper to satisfy conscience: and yet in the issue it is the most successful of all other arguments, and does in a very odd, but effectual, way, satisfy the consciences of a great many men, by showing them their interest.
Man counts happiness in a thousand shapes; and the faster he follows it the swifter it flies from him. Almost everything promiseth happiness to us at a distance, but when we come nearer, either we fall short of it, or it falls short of our expectation; and it is hard to say which of there is the greatest disappointment. Our hopes are usually bigger than the enjoyment can satisfy; and an evil long feared, besides that it may never come, is many times more painful and troublesome than the evil itself when it comes.
In our pursuit of the things of this world, we usually prevent enjoyment by expectation; we anticipate our happiness, and eat out the heart and sweetness of worldly pleasures by delightful forethoughts of them; so that when we come to possess them, they do not answer the expectation, or satisfy the desires which were raised about them, and they vanish into nothing.
In matters of great concern, and which must be done, there is no surer argument of a weak mind than irresolution - to be undetermined where the case is plain, and the necessity urgent. To be always intending to live a new life, but never to find time to set about it, this is as if a man should put off eating, drinking, and sleeping, from one day and night to another, till he is starved and destroyed.
To be able to bear provocation is an argument of great reason, and to forgive it of a great mind.
A good word is an easy obligation; but not to speak ill requires only our silence, which costs us nothing.
The art of using deceit and cunning grow continually weaker and less effective to the user.
Fill each day with life and heart. There is no pleasure in the world comparable to the delight and satisfaction that a good person takes in doing good.
Our belief or disbelief of a thing does not alter the nature of the thing.
If the show of any thing be good for any thing, I am sure sincerity is better; for why does any man dissemble, or seem to be that which he is not, but because he thinks it good to have such a quality as he pretends to?
Great is the advantage of patience.
They who are in the highest places, and have the most power, have the least liberty, because they are the most observed.
Charity should be the habit of our estimates; kindness of our feelings; benevolence of our affections; cheerfulness of our social intercourse; generosity of our living; improvement of our progress; prayer of our desires; fidelity of our sex-examination; being and doing good of our entire life.
Was ever any wicked man free from the stings of a guilty conscience?
When we have practiced good action awhile, they become easy; when they are easy, we take pleasure in them; when they please us, we do them frequently; and then, by frequency of act, they grow into a habit.
We anticipate our own happiness, and eat out the heart and sweetness of worldly pleasures by delightful forethought of them.
He who is sincere has the easiest task in the world, for, truth being always consistent with itself, he is put to no trouble about his words and actions; it is like traveling on a plain road, which is sure to bring you to your journey's end better than byways in which many lose themselves.
Whatever convenience may be thought to be in falsehood and dissimulation, it is soon over; but the inconvenience of it is perpetual, because it brings a man under everlasting jealousy and suspicion, so that he is not believed when he speaks the truth, nor trusted when perhaps he means honestly.
If our souls be immortal, this makes amends for the frailties of life and the sufferings of this state.
When a man has once forfeited the reputation of his integrity, he is set fast, and nothing will then serve his turn, neither truth nor falsehood.
If people would but provide for eternity with the same solicitude and real care as they do for this life, they could not fail of heaven.