Every man, no matter how great or small, must be viewed not as a means to an end, but as an end in himself.
After all, what is vanity? If it means only a certain wish to look one’s best, is it not another name for self-respect? If it means inordinate self-admiration (very rare among persons with some occupation), it is less wicked than absurd.
Forgiveness means giving up, letting go. It has nothing to do with condoning behavior. It's just letting the whole thing go. 'I forgive you for not being the way I want you to be. I forgive you and set you free.' (Affirmation sets you free.)
Learning isn't a means to an end; it is an end in itself.
Suffering is a great teacher. Suffering teaches you the limitations of your power; it reminds you of the frailty of your health, the instability of your possessions, and the inadequacy of your means which have only been lent to you and must be returned as soon as the Owner desires it. Suffering visits you and teaches you the nothingness of your false greatness. It teaches you modesty.
The secret of all success is to know how to deny yourself. Prove that you can control yourself, and you are an educated man; and without this all other education is good for nothing... To you self-denial may only mean weariness, restraint, ennui; but it means, also, love, perfection, sanctification.
The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.
Custom is the great guide of human life. It is that principle alone which renders our experience useful to us, and makes us expect, for the future, a similar train of events with those which have appeared I the past. Without the influence of custom, we should be entirely ignorant of every matter of fact beyond what is immediately present to the memory and senses. We should never know how to adjust means to ends, or to employ our natural powers in the production of any effect. There would be an end at once of all action, as well as of the chief part of speculation.
It is universally allowed that nothing exists without a cause of its existence, and that chance, when strictly examined, is a mere negative word, and means not any real power which has anywhere a being in nature. But it is pretended that some causes are necessary, some not necessary.
The aim and purpose of human life is the unitive knowledge of God. Among the indispensable means to that end is right conduct, and by the degree and kind of virtue achieved, the degree of liberating knowledge may be assessed and its quality evaluated. In a word, the tree is known by its fruits; God is not mocked.
The end cannot justify the means, for the simple and obvious reason that the means employed determine the nature of the ends produced.
When, for whatever reason, men and women fail to transcend themselves by means of worship, good works and spiritual exercises, they are apt to resort to religion’s chemical surrogates.
Faith is one of the forces by which men live, and the total absence of it means collapse.
The ultimate test for us of what a truth means is the conduct it dictates or inspires.
There is an everlasting struggle in every mind between the tendency to keep unchanged, and the tendency to renovate, its ideas. Our education is a ceaseless compromise between the conservative and the progressive factors... Most of us grow more and more enslaved to the stock conceptions with which we have once become familiar, and less and less capable of assimilating impressions in any but the old ways... Genius, in truth, means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way.
Men are disposed to live honestly, if the means of doing so are open to them.
The greatest assassin of life is haste, the desire to reach things before the right time which means overreaching them.
Responsibility means, "the ability to respond." In any of life's challenges, opportunities or disasters, we can respond in whatever way we choose. Our response dictates what life hands us next.
Every man is rich or poor, according to the proportion between his desires and enjoyments. Of riches as of everything else, the hope is more than the enjoyment. While we consider them as the means to be used at some future time for the attainment of felicity, ardor after them secures us from weariness of ourselves; but no sooner do we sit down to enjoy our acquisitions than we find them insufficient to fill up the vacuities of life.
Wisdom and virtue are by no means sufficient, without the supplemental laws of good-breeding, to secure freedom from degenerating into rudeness, or self-esteem from swelling into insolence. A thousand incivilities may be committed, and a thousand offices neglected, without any remorse of conscience or reproach from reason.