American Lawyer, Military Man, Journalist and Diplomat
"An observant man, in all his intercourse with society and the world, constantly and unperceived marks on every person and thing the figure expressive of its value, and therefore, on meeting that person or thing, knows instantly what kind and degree of attention to give it. This is to make something of experience."
"All reason is retrospect; it consists in the application of facts and principles previously known. This will show the very great importance of knowledge, especially that kind which is called experience."
"Keep forever in view the momentous value of life; aim at its worthiest use - its sublimest end; spurn, with disdain, those foolish trifles and frivolous vanities, who so often consume life, as the locusts did Egypt; and devote yourself, with the ardor of a passion, to attain the most divine improvements of the human soul."
"It is a poor and disgraceful thing not to be able to reply, with some degree of certainty, to the simple questions, "What will you be? What will you do?""
"All pleasure must be bought at the price of pain. The difference between false and true pleasure is this; for the true, the price is paid before you enjoy it; for the false, after you enjoyed it."
"Few are sufficiently sensible of the importance of that economy in reading which selects, almost exclusively, the very first order of books. Why should a man, except for some special reason, read an inferior book at the very time he might be reading one of the highest order."
"How little of our knowledge of mankind is derived from intentional accurate observation! Most of it has, unsought, found its way into the mind from the continual presentations of the objects to our unthinking view. It is a knowledge of sensation more than of reflection."
"Nothing can be more destructive to vigor of action than protracted, anxious fluctuation, through resolutions adopted, rejected, resumed, and suspended, and nothing causes a greater expense of feeling. A man without decision can never be said to belong to himself; he is as a wave of the sea, or a feather in the air which every breeze blows about as it listeneth."
"Our object in life should be to accumulate a great number of questions to be asked and resolved in eternity. Now we ask the sage, the genius, the philosopher, the divine, but none can tell; but we will open our queries to other respondents - we will ask angels, redeemed spirits, and God."
"It is wonderful what strength and boldness of purpose and energy will come from the feeling that we are in the way of duty."
"The bigot sees religion, not as a sphere, but a line; and it is the line in which he is moving. He is like as African buffalo - sees right forward, but nothing on the right or the left. He would not perceive a legion of angels or devils at the distance of ten yards, on the one side or the other."
"What a superlatively grand and consoling idea is that of death! Without this radiant idea - this delightful morning star, indicting that the luminary of eternity is going to rise, life would, to my view, darken into midnight melancholy. The expectation of living here, and living thus always, would be indeed a prospect of overwhelming despair. But thanks to that fatal decree that dooms us to die; thanks to that gospel which opens the vision of an endless life; and thanks above all to that Saviour friend who has promised to conduct the faithful through the sacred trance of death, into scenes of Paradise and everlasting delight."
"Why should a man, except for some special reason, read an inferior book at the very time he might be reading one of the highest order?"
"When we withdraw from human intercourse into solitude, we are more peculiarly committed in the presence of the divinity; yet some men retire into solitude to devise or perpetrate crimes. This is like a man going to meet and brave a lion in his own gloomy desert, in the very precincts of his dread abode."