Virtue

He who would govern his actions by the laws of virtue must regulate his thought by those of reason.

Humanly speaking, there is a certain degree of temptation which will overcome any virtue. Now, in so far as you approach temptation to a man, you do him an injury, and if he is overcome, you share his guilt.

If misery be the effect of virtue, it; ought to be reverenced; if of ill-fortune, to be pitied; and of vice, not to be insulted, because it is perhaps itself a punishment adequate to the crime by which it was produced.

It is dangerous for mortal beauty, or terrestrial virtue, to be examined by too strong a light. The torch of Truth shows much that we cannot, and all that we would not, see.

Marriage is the strictest tie of perpetual friendship, and there can be no friendship without confidence, and no confidence without integrity; and he must expect to be wretched, who pays to beauty, riches, or politeness that regard which only virtue and piety can claim.

Solitude is dangerous to reason, without being favorable to virtue.

Suspicion is no less an enemy to virtue than to happiness. He that is already corrupt is naturally suspicious, and he that becomes suspicious will quickly be corrupt.

The exactest vigilance and caution can never maintain a single day of unmingled innocence, much less can the utmost efforts of incorporated mind reach the summits of speculative virtue.

The greatest human virtue bears no proportion to human vanity. We always think ourselves better than we are, and are generally desirous that others should think us still better than we think ourselves. To praise us for actions or dispositions which deserve praise is not to confer a benefit, but to pay a tribute. We have always pretensions to fame which, in our own hearts, we know to be disputable, and which we are desirous to strengthen by a new suffrage; we have always hopes which we suspect to be fallacious, and of which we eagerly snatch at every confirmation.

Virtue is too often merely local.

Where there is yet shame, there may in time be virtue.

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.

Wisdom is knowing what to do next, skill is knowing how to do it, and virtue is doing it.

When a beautiful woman yields to temptation, let her consult her pride, though she forgets her virtue.

Rarely they rise by virtue’s aid who lie plunged in the depth of helpless poverty.

The one and only nobility is virtue.

The thirst for fame is much greater than that for virtue; for who would embrace virtue itself if you take away its rewards.

The only moral virtue of war is that it compels the capitalist system to look itself in the face and admit it is a fraud. It compels the present society to admit that it has no morals it will not sacrifice for gain.

It is characteristic of our age to endeavour to replace virtues by technology. That is to say, wherever possible we strive to use methods of physical or social engineering to achieve goals which our ancestors thought attainable only by the training of character. Thus we try so far as possible to make contraception take the place of chastity, and anesthetics to take the place of fortitude; we replace resignation by insurance policies and munificence by the Welfare state. It would be idle romanticism to deny that such techniques and institutions are often less painful and more efficient methods of achieving the goods and preventing the evils which unaided virtue once sought to achieve and avoid. But it would be an equal and opposite folly to hope that the take-over of virtue by technology may one day be complete.

Subjectivity is the truth. By virtue of the relationship subsisting between the eternal truth and the existing individual, the paradox came into being. Let us now go further, let us suppose that the eternal essential truth is itself a paradox. How does the paradox come into being? By putting the eternal essential truth into juxtaposition with existence. Hence when we posit such a conjunction with the truth itself, the truth becomes a paradox. The eternal truth has come into being in time: this is the paradox.