More than all, and above all Washington was master of himself. If there be one quality more than another in his character which may exercise a useful control over the men of the present hour, it is the total disregard of self when in the most elevated positions for influence and example.
Real joy seems dissonant from the human character in its present condition; and if it be felt, it must come from a higher region, for the world is shadowed by sorrow; thorns array the ground; the very clouds, while they weep fertility on our mountains, seem also to shed a tear on man’s grave who departs, unlike the beauties of summer, to return no more; who fades unlike the sons of the forest, which another summer beholds new clothed, when he is unclothed and forgotten.
Since God hath always an eternal and present state, His knowledge, surpassing time’s notions, remaineth in the simplicity of His presence and, comprehending the infinite of what is past and to come, considereth all things as though they were in the act of being accomplished.
Life is short - while we speak it flies; enjoy, then, the present, and forget the future; such is the moral of ancient poetry, a graceful and a wise moral - indulged beneath a southern sky, and all deserving the phrase applied to it, “The philosophy of the garden.”
History is the depository of great actions, the witness of what is past, the example and instructor of the present, and monitor to the future.
If it be the characteristic of a worldly man that he desecrates what is holy, it should be of the Christian to consecrate what is secular, and to recognize a present and presiding Divinity in all things.
It is children only who enjoy the present; their elders either live on the memory of the past or the hope of the future.
The domestic relations precede, and in our present existence are worth more than all our other social ties. They give the first throb to the heart, and unseal the deep fountains of its love. Home is the chief school of human virtue. Its responsibilities, joys, sorrows, smiles, tears, hopes, and solicitudes form the chief interest of human life.
We live in the present, we dream of the future, but we learn eternal truths from the past.
With endless patience you shall carry out your duty, and your firmness shall be tempered with tenderness for your people. Neither anger nor fury shall lodge in your mind, and all your words and actions shall be marked with calm deliberation. In all your deliberations in the Council, in your efforts at lawmaking, in all your official acts, self-interest shall be cast into oblivion. Cast not away the warnings of any others, if they should chide you for any error or wrong you may do, but return to the way of the Great Law, which is just and right. Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the earth - the unborn of the future Nation.
The past is only memories; the future is but illusory hopes; focus on the present; for that is where your life really is; and it consists only of tests.
Education as growth or maturity should be an ever-present process.
To be being fully alive, the future is not ominous but a promise; it surrounds the present like a halo.
We always live at the time we live and not at some other time, and only by extracting at each present time the full meaning of each present experience are we prepared for doing the same thing in the future. This is the only preparation which in the long run amounts to anything.
We may make our future by the best use of the present. There is no moment like the present; not only so, but, moreover, there is no moment at all, that is; no instant force and energy, but in the present. The man who will not execute his resolutions when they are fresh upon him can have no hope from them afterwards.
The surest method of arriving at a knowledge of God's eternal purposes about us is to be found in the right use of the present moment. Each hour comes with some little faggot of God's will fastened upon its back.
The absent are never without fault, nor the present without excuse.
Pride is a deeply rooted ailment of the soul. The penalty is misery; the remedy lies in the sincere, life-long cultivation of humility, which means self-evaluation and a proper perspective toward past, present and future.
Moral stimulation is good but moral complacency is the most dangerous habit of mind we can develop, and that danger is serious and ever-present.
There is only one object... for which we have at present the strength... and that is the moral object -the emancipation of ourselves from the inner slavery and spiritual degradation which assimilation has produced within us.