Merit

Men of real merit, and whose noble and glorious deeds we are ready to acknowledge, are yet not to be endured when they vaunt their own actions.

Equality does not seem to take the same form in acts of justice and in friendship; for in acts of justice what is equal in the primary sense is that which is in proportion to merit, while quantitative equality is secondary, but in friendship quantitative equality is primary and proportion to merit secondary.

Some of the virtues are intellectual and others moral, philosophic wisdom and understanding and practical wisdom being intellectual, liberality and temperance moral. For in speaking about a man’s character we do not say that he is wise or has understanding but that he is good-tempered or temperate; yet we praise the wise man also with respect to his state of mind; and of states of mind we call those which merit praise virtues.

Unwelcome are the loiterer, who makes appointments he never keeps; the consulter, who asks advice he never follows; the boaster, who seeks for praise he does not merit; the complainer, who whines only to be pitied; the talker, who talks only because he loves to talk always; the profane and obscene jester, whose words defile; the drunkard, whose insanity has tot the better of his reason; and the tobacco-chewer and smoker, who poisons the atmosphere and nauseates others.

The fool mistakes power for virtue, acclaim for merit, nonconformity for dangerousness, conviction for truth, revenge for justice, license for liberty, and kindness for weakness.

There is no sphere in heaven where the soul remains a shorter time than in the sphere of merit; there is none where it abides longer than in the sphere of grace (love).

Contemporaries appreciate the man rather than the merit; posterity will regard the merit rather than the man.

For all the practical purposes of life, truth might as well be in a prison as in the folio of a schoolman; and those who release her from her cow-webbed shelf and teach her to live with men have the merit of liberating, if not of discovering, her.

Contemporaries appreciate the man rather than his merit; posterity will regard the merit rather than the man.

There is no cruelty so inexorable and unrelenting as that which proceeds from a bigoted and presumptuous supposition of doing service to God. The victim of the fanatical persecutor will find that the stronger the motives he can urge for mercy are, the weaker will be his chance for obtaining it, for the merit of his destruction will be supposed to rise in value in proportion as it is effected at the expense of every feeling both of justice and of humanity.

Works of true merit are seldom very popular in their own day; for knowledge is on the march and men of genius are the videttes that are far in advance of their comrades. They are not with them, not in the camp, but beyond it.

Works of true merit are seldom very popular in their own day; for knowledge is on the march and men of genius are the videttes that are far in advance of their comrades. They are not with them, but before them; not in the camp, but beyond it.

To exhibit superior merit is not the way to win men's hearts. To exhibit inferior merit is the way.

Confidence always pleases those who receive it. It is a tribute we pay to their merit, a deposit we commit to their trust, a ledge that gives them to claim upon us, a kind of dependence to which we voluntarily submit.

Moderation has been created a virtue to limit the ambition of great men, and to console undistinguished people for their want of fortune and their lack of merit.

Moderation must not claim the merit of combating and conquering ambition; for they can never exist in the same subject. Moderation is the languor and sloth of the soul; ambition its activity and ardor.

The contempt of riches in the philosophers was a concealed desire of revenging on fortune the injustice done to their merit, by despising the good she denied them.

There is a kind of greatness which does not depend upon fortune; it is a certain manner that distinguishes us, and which seems to destine us for great things; it is the value we insensibly set upon ourselves; it is by this quality that we gain the deference of other men, and it is this which commonly raises us more above them, than birth, rank, or even merit itself.