Gentleness in the gait is what simplicity is in the dress. Violent gesture or quick movement inspires involuntary disrespect. One looks for a moment at a cascade; but one sits for hours, lost in thought, and gazing upon the still water of a lake. A deliberate gait, gentle manners, and a gracious tone of voice - all of which may be acquired - give a mediocre man an immense advantage over those vastly superior to him. To be bodily tranquil, to speak little, and to digest without effort are absolutely necessary to grandeur of mind or of presence, or to proper development of genius.
A man without religion or spiritual vision is like a captain who finds himself in the midst of an uncharted sea, without compass, rudder and steering wheel. He never knows where he is, which way he is going and where he is going to land.
Discretion is the perfection of reason, and a guide to us in all the duties of life; cunning is a kind of instinct, that only looks after our immediate interests and welfare. Discretion is only found in men of strong sense and good understanding; cunning is often to be met with in brutes themselves, and in persons who are but the fewest removes from them.
All men have their frailties; and whoever looks for a friend without imperfections, will never find what he seeks. We love ourselves notwithstanding our faults, and we ought to love our friends in like manner.
The best teacher is... the one who kindles an inner fire, arouses moral enthusiasm, inspires the student with a vision of what he may become and reveals the worth and permanency of moral and spiritual and cultural values.
There can be no conquest to the man who dwells in the narrow and small environment of a groveling life, and there can be no vision to the man the horizon of whose vision is limited by the bounds of self. But the great things of the world, the great accomplishments of the world, have been achieved by men who had high ideals and who have received great visions. The path is not easy, the climbing is rugged and hard, but the glory at the end is worthwhile.
True vision requires far more than the eye. It takes the whole man. For what we see is no more and no less than what we are.
Infidelity and faith look both through the perspective glass, but at contrary ends. Infidelity looks through the wrong end of the glass; and, therefore, sees those objects near which are afar off, and makes great things little - diminishing the greatest spiritual blessings, and removing far from us threatened evils. Faith looks at the right end, and brings the blessings that are far off in time close to our eye, and multiplies God’s mercies, which, in a distance, lost their greatness.
Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
An orgy looks particularly alluring seen through the mists of righteous indignation.
Pride looks back upon its past deeds, and calculating with nicety what it has done, it commits itself to rest; whereas humility looks to that which is before, and discovering how much ground remains to be trodden, it is active and vigilant. Having gained one height, pride looks down with complacency on that which is beneath it; humility looks up to a higher and yet higher elevation. The one keeps us on this earth, which is congenial to its nature; the other directs our eye, and tends to lift us up to heaven.
Life is sufficiently miraculous already - only we do not notice it. If we catch a glimpse of its mystery, we border momentarily on new emotions and thoughts, but this comes from within, as a momentary, individual awakening of the spirit. Eckhart says that we are at fault as long as we see God in what is outside us... All the liberating inner truth and vision that we need, apart from outer truth and facts about things is... ‘native within us.’
The fact is that we can find happiness only in serving others. Just as a car is designed to move, so is a man designed to serve. And if he looks for happiness in anything other than service and sacrifice, he will always be disappointed.