Perplexity

If time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be the greatest prodigality, since lost time is never found again; and what we call time enough always proves little enough. Let us then be up and doing, and doing to the purpose; so by diligence shall we do more with less perplexity.

It is a common error, and the greater and more mischievous for being so common, to believe that repentance best becomes and most concerns dying men. Indeed, what is necessary every hour of our life is necessary in the hour of death too, as long as one lives he will have need of repentance, and therefore it is necessary in the hour of death too; but he who hath constantly exercised himself in it in his health and vigor, will do it with less pain in his sickness and weakness; and he who hath practiced it all his life, will do it with more ease and less perplexity in the hour of his death.

In every step of the inquiry we are compelled to feel and acknowledge the immeasurable disproportion between the size of the object and the capacity of the human mind. We may strive to abstract the notions of time, of space, and of matter, which so closely adhere to all the perceptions of our experimental knowledge. But as soon as we presume to reason of infinite substance, of spiritual generation, as often as we deduce any positive conclusions from a negative idea, we are involved in darkness, perplexity, and inevitable contradiction.

Perplexity is the beginning of knowledge.

In all perplexity there is a portion of fear, which predisposes the mind to anger.

It is necessary to have lived in this insulator which is called the national assembly, in order to perceive how the men who are the most completely ignorant of the state of the country are almost always the ones who represent it. I set myself to read everything that the distribution bureau sends the representatives: proposals, reports, brochures, even the Moniteur and the Bulletin of the laws. The greater part of my colleagues of the left and the extreme left were in the same perplexity of spirit, in the same ignorance of the daily facts. The national workshops were spoken of only with a kind of fright; for fear of the people is the defect of all those who belong to authority; the people, as concerns power, is the enemy.

Many never think on God but in extremity of fear; and then, perplexity not suffering them to be idle, they think and do as it were in a frenzy.

It is advantageous to an author that his book should be attacked as well as praised. Fame is a shuttlecock. If it be struck only at one end of the room, it will soon fall to the ground. To keep it up, it must be struck at both ends.

We will not praise Mahomet's moral precepts as always of the superfinest sort; yet it can be said that there is always a tendency to good in them; that they are the true dictates of a heart aiming towards what is just and true

The universal human yearning for something permanent, enduring, without shadow of change.

All those snug junketings and public gormandizings, for which the ancient magistrates were equally famous with their modern successors.

Her mighty lakes, like oceans of liquid silver; her mountains, with bright aerial tints; her valleys, teeming with wild fertility; her tremendous cataracts, thundering in their solitudes; her boundless plains, waving with spontaneous verdure; her broad, deep rivers, rolling in solemn silence to the ocean; her trackless forests, where vegetation puts forth all its magnificence; her skies, kindling with the magic of summer clouds and glorious sunshine - no, never need an American look beyond his own country for the sublime and beautiful of natural scenery.