Man does not choose of necessity... in all particular goods, the reason can consider an aspect of some good, and the lack of some good, which has the aspect of evil; and in this respect, it can apprehend any single one of such goods as to be chosen or to be avoided. The perfect good alone which is Happiness, cannot be apprehended by the reason as an evil, or as lacking in any way. Consequently man wills Happiness of necessity, nor can he will not to be happy, or to be unhappy. Now since choice is not of the end, but of the means... it is not of the perfect good, which is Happiness, but of other particular goods. Therefore man chooses not of necessity, but freely.
Life is not the creature of circumstance. Indeed, in the whole universe of everything that is, life alone, life by its very nature, is the antagonist of circumstance... If there is any one thing that is utterly clear about the nature of life, it is that it was meant to master circumstance. The spirit conquers all things when the spirit wills it, and no excuse remains when we fail to live as we wish.
Lying is an ugly vice... Since mutual understanding is brought about solely by way of words, he who breaks his word betrays human society. It is the only instrument by means of which our wills and thoughts communicate, it is the interpreter of our soul. If it fails us, we have no more hold on each other, no more knowledge of each other. If it deceives us, it breaks up all our relations and dissolves all the bonds of our society.
Yet it may be asked how a man can be at once free and forced to conform to wills which are not his own. How can the opposing minority be both free and subject to laws to which they have not consented? I answer that the question is badly formulated. The citizen consents to all the laws, even to those that are passed against his will, and even to those which punish him when he dares to break any one of them. The constant will of all the members of the state is the general will; it is through it that they are citizens and are free.
Our memories are independent of our wills. It is not so easy to forget.
It will easily be seen in what consist the difference between a man who is led by affect or opinion alone and one who is led by reason. The former, whether he wills it or not, does those things of which he is entirely ignorant, but the latter does the will of no one but himself, and does those things only which he knows are of greatest importance in life, and which he therefore desires above all things. I call the former, therefore, a slave, and the latter free.
If there is free will, all things do not happen according to fate; if all things do not happen according to fate, there is not a certain order of causes; and if there is not a certain order of causes, neither is there a certain order of things foreknown by God - for things cannot come to pass except they are preceded by efficient causes - but if there is no fixed and certain order of causes foreknown by God, all things cannot be said to happen according as He foreknew that they would happen... But it does not follow that, though there is for God a certain order of all causes, there must therefore be nothing depending on the free exercise of our own wills, for our wills themselves are included in that order of causes which is certain to God and is embraced by His foreknowledge, for human wills are also causes of human actions; and He Who foreknew all the causes of things would certainly among those causes not have been ignorant of our wills.
Inspiration always comes when a man wills it, but it does not always depart when he wishes.
Nothing is small or great in God's sight. Whatever He wills becomes great to us, however seemingly trifling; and if once the voice of conscience tells us that He requires anything of us, we have no right to measure its importance.
Nothing is small or great in God’s sight. Whatever He wills becomes great to us, however seemingly trifling; and if once the voice of conscience tells us that He requires anything of us, we have no right to measure its importance.
As the flowers follow the sun, and silently hold up their petals to be tinted and enlarged by its shining, so must we, if we would know the joy of God, hold our souls, wills, hearts, and minds, still before Him, whose voice commands, whose love warns, whose truth makes fair our whole being. God speaks for the most pat in such silence only. If the soul be full of tumult and jangling voices, His voice is little likely to be heard.
Do not let the loud utterances of your own wills anticipate, nor drown, the still, small voice in which God speaks. Bridle impatience till He does. If you cannot hear His whisper, wait till you do. Take care of running before you are sent. Keep your wills in equipoise till God’s hand gives the impulse and direction.
Our wills are ours to make them Thine.
He produces not only our choice, but also the very freedom that is in our chance... In order to understand that God creates our free will in us, we must understand only that He wills us to be free. But He will not only that we should be free in power, but that we should be free in its exercise.
Whatever that which feels, which has knowledge, which wills, which has the power of growth, it is celestial and divine, and for that reason must of necessity be eternal.
When we pray for another, it is not an attempt to alter God’s mind toward him. In prayer we add our wills to God’s good will… that in fellowship with Him He and we may minister to those whom both He and we love.
Bitter is the criticism for which, with the best of wills, we can derive no benefit.
Our wills are the slaves of the accumulated influence of our interior companionships. What we can do is to get new mental images.
Speculating will not do. It takes the forward movement of deliberate, dynamic living to make this journey – especially the longest and most important journey of all, the journey from our heads to our hearts and from our hearts to our wills. If the journey is life, then only through living will truths gain force that are otherwise barren platitudes.
The unreflective person thinks and imagines that when he prays, the important thing, the thing he must concentrate upon, is that God should hear what he is praying for. And yet in the true, eternal sense it is just the reverse; the true relation in prayer is not when God hears what is prayed for, but when the person continues to pray until he is the one who hears, who hears what God wills.