One of the favorite maxims of my father was the distinction between the two sorts of truths, profound truths recognized by the fact that the opposite is also a profound truth, in contrast to trivialities where opposites are obviously absurd.
Always have a book at hand, in the parlor, on the table, for the family; a book of condensed thought and striking anecdote, of sound maxims and truthful apothegms. It will impress on your mind a thousand valuable suggestions, and teach your children lessons of truth and duty. Such a book is a casket of jewels for your household.
Justice is a name for certain moral requirements, which, regarded collectively, stand higher in the scale of social utility, and are therefore of more paramount obligation, than any others; though particular cases may occur in which some other social duty is so important, as to overrule any one of the general maxims of justice. Thus, to save a life, it may not only be allowable, but a duty, to steal, or take by force, the necessary food or medicine, or to kidnap, and compel to officiate, the only qualified medical practitioner. In such cases, as we do not call anything justice which is not a virtue, we usually say, not that justice must give way to some other moral principle, but that what is just in ordinary case is, by reason of that other principle, not just in the particular case. By this useful accommodation of language, the character of indefeasibility attributed to justice is kept up, and we are saved from the necessity of maintaining that there can be laudable injustice.
In the conduct of life, habits count for more than maxims, because habit is a living maxim, becomes flesh and instinct. To reform one's maxims is nothing: it is but to change the title of the book. To learn new habits is everything, for it is to reach the substance of life. Life is but a tissue of habits.
Legislators confounded in one code the two currents of custom of which we have just been speaking, the maxims which represent principles of morality and social union wrought out as a result of life in common, and the mandates which are meant to ensure external existence to inequality.
Puritanism prolonged in America the medieval Christian view of the world and of human destiny. It taught men to distrust their natural inclinations as well as their natural faculties, and to find their origin and their salvation in a supernatural order.... The Enlightenment, on the other hand, was humane, optimistic, and eudaemonistic. The fact that Benjamin Franklin formulated maxims for conduct only served to accentuate the difference in the ultimate ground of moral appeal. The puritan maxims consisted largely in prohibitions, and were imposed by the will of God; the maxims of the new philosophy were recipes for success, discovered by common sense, and motivated by the end of happiness.
It's not how old you are, it's how hard you work at it.
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Few men have depth enough to hear or tell the truth.
The maxims of men reveal their characters.
The mercy is better than justice.