Some people carry their hearts in their heads; very many carry their heads in their hearts. The difficulty is to keep them apart, yet both actively working together.
In general, one cannot judge the true extent of a person’s fortune by outward appearances. The little a righteous man has may be far better than the noisy abundance in which many lawless delight. The modest possessions of a righteous man make him much happier than the great fortunes of many evildoers about which so much ado is made in the world.
The only difference betwixt the natural vices and justice lies in this, that the good, which results from the former, arises from every single act, and is the object of some natural passion: whereas a single act of justice, consider’d in itself, may often be contrary to the public good; and ‘tis only the concurrence of mankind, in a general scheme or system of action, which is advantageous.
He who thinks much says but little in proportion to his thoughts. He selects that language which will convey his ideas in the most explicit and direct manner. He tries to compress as much thought as possible into a few words. On the contrary, the man who talks everlastingly and promiscuously, who seems to have an exhaustless magazine of sound crowds so many words into his thoughts that he always obscures, and very frequently conceals them.
Consumption, celebrity and the quest for perfection in this world are all subject to the law of diminishing returns: each successive acquisition and achievement will mean less than the one before. Diminishing returns are finally leading to diminished expectations about the promise of finding happiness without caring for our souls. Perhaps we are now ready to reject the hucksters of materialisms that have lured us down so many dead ends, and start again on the road that will lead us back to God.
Faith is a pre-condition of all systematic knowing, all purposive doing and all decent living. Societies are held together, not primarily by the fear of the many for the coercive power of the few, but by a widespread faith in the other fellow’s decency.
All ills spring from some vice, either in ourselves or others; and even many of our diseases proceed from the same origin. Remove the vices, and the ills follow. You must only take care to remove all the vices. If you remove part, you may render the matter worse. By banishing vicious luxury, without curing sloth and an indifference to others, you only diminish industry in the state, and add nothing to men’s charity or their generosity.
So long as we are on a search for pain-free human relationships, or shifting responsibility for all our hurt and all our fears of abandonment, or seeking ourselves in others, we have not yet found the thread that will lead us toward God, or ourselves. When we learn to accept ourselves - not just our public achievements and private successes, not just the divine being we are evolving into, but also our failures, inadequacies, cowardices and fears - then we will be able to embrace the strangers among us, because we will, finally, have embraced the stranger inside ourselves.
If you love knowledge, you will be a master of knowledge. What you have come to know, pursue by exercise; what you have not learned, seek to add to your knowledge, for it is as reprehensible to hear a profitable saying and not grasp it as to be offered a good gift by one's friends and not accept it. Believe that many precepts are better than much wealth , for wealth quickly fails us, but precepts abide through all time.
It is universally acknowledged that there is a great uniformity among the actions of men, in all nations and ages, and that human nature remains still the same, in its principles and operations. The same motives always produce the same actions: the same events follow the same causes. Ambition, avarice, self-love, vanity, friendship, generosity, public spirit: these passions, mixed in various degrees, and distributed through society, have been from the beginning of the world, and still are, the source of all the actions and enterprises, which have ever been observed among mankind.
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One of the most useless of all things is to take a deal of trouble in providing against dangers that never come. How many toil to lay up riches which they never enjoy; to provide for exigencies that never happen; to prevent troubles that never come; sacrificing present comfort and enjoyment in guarding against the wants of a period they may never live to see.