French Essayist, Moralist
"Avoid singularity. There may often be less vanity in following the new modes than in adhering to the old ones. It is true that the foolish invent them, but the wise may conform to, instead of contradicting, them."
"Politeness is a kind of anesthetic which envelops the asperities of our character so that other people be not wounded by them. We should never be without it, even when we contend with the rude."
"Politeness is to goodness what words are to thought. It tells not only on the manners, but on the mind and the heart; it renders the feelings, the opinions, the words, moderate and gentle."
"Remorse is the punishment of crime; repentance, its expiation. The former appertains to a tormented conscience; the later to a soul changed for the better."
"There is in the soul a taste for the good, just as there is in the body an appetite for enjoyment."
"We should always keep a corner of our heads open and free, that we may make room for the opinions of our friends. Let us have heart and head hospitality."
"Genuine witticisms surprise those who say them as much as those who listen to them; they arise in us in spite of us, or, at least, without our participation - like everything inspired."
"History needs distance, perspective. Facts and events which are too well attested cease, n some sort, to be malleable."
"Imitate time; it destroys everything slowly; it undermines, it wears away, it detaches, it does not wrench."
"Maxims are to the intellect what laws are to actions; they do not enlighten, but they guide and direct, and, although themselves blind, are protective."
"Old age takes from the man of intellect no qualities save those which are useless to wisdom."
"One man finds in religion his literature and his science, another finds in it his joy and his duty."