Just as a tested and rugged virtue of the moral hero is worth more than the lovely, tender, untried innocence of the child, so is the massive strength of a soul that has conquered truth for itself worth more than the soft peach-bloom faith of a soul that takes truth on trust.
I respect the man who knows distinctly what he wishes. The greater part of all the mischief in the world arises from the fact that men do not sufficiently understand their own aims. They have undertaken to build a tower, and spend no more labor on the foundation than would be necessary to erect a hut.
Idleness is the bane of body and mind, the nurse of naughtiness, the chief author of all mischief, one of the seven deadly sins, the cushion upon which the devil chiefly reposes, and a great cause not only of melancholy, but of many other diseases; for the mind is naturally active; and if it be not occupied about some honest business, it rushes into mischief or sinks into melancholy.
Small crimes always precede great crimes. Whoever has been able to transgress the limits set by law may afterwards violate the most sacred rights; crime, like virtue, has its degrees, and never have we seen timid innocence pass suddenly to extreme licentiousness.
Yet have I ever heard it said that spies and tale-bearers have done more mischief in this world than poisoned bowl or the assassin’s dagger.
Reveal not every secret you have to a friend, for how can you tell but that friend may hereafter become an enemy. And bring not all the mischief you are able to do upon an enemy, for he may one day become your friend.
The mischief of flattery is not that it persuades any man that he is what he is not, but that it suppresses the influence of honest ambition, by raising an opinion that honor may be gained without the toil of merit.