Perfection is immutable. But for things imperfect, change is the way to perfect them. It gets the name of willfulness when it will not admit of a lawful change to the better. Therefore constancy without knowledge cannot be always good. In things ill it is not virtue, but an absolute vice.
The pinions of your soul will have power to still the untamed body. The creature will yield only to watchful, strenuous constancy of habit. Purify your soul from all undue hope and fear about earthly things, mortify the body, deny self - affections as well as appetites - and the inner eye will begin to exercise its clear and solemn vision.
Is there no constancy in earthy things? No happiness in us, but what must alter? No life, without the heavy load of fortune? What miseries we are, and to ourselves? Ev’n then when full content seems to sit by us, what daily sores and sorrows.
Every affection of the mind that is attended with either pain or pleasure, hope or fear, is the cause of an agitation whose influence extends to the heart, and there induces change from the natural constitution, in the temperature, the pulse and the rest, which impairing all nutrition in its source and abating the powers at large, it is no wonder that various forms of incurable disease in the extremities and in the trunk are the consequence, inasmuch as in such circumstances the whole body labors under the effects of vitiated nutrition and want of native heat.
The relation of existence to time is characterized by two polar elements: temporality and uninterruptedness. Existence is evanescent and always faces the prospect of annihilation, of being thrown out of the stream of time, yet it also exhibits some degree of permanence as the continuous duration in time. Without an element of constancy there could be no permanence within temporality and no knowledge of reality, since our categories of reason are “mirrors, in which the things are reflected in the light of their constancy… Things perish within time, while time itself is everlasting… The present moment is not a terminal but a signal of beginning, an act of creation.
There are two kinds of constancy in love, one arising from incessantly finding in the loved one fresh objects to love, the other from regarding it as a point of honor to be constant.
The tranquillity or agitation of our temper does not depend so much on the big things which happen to us in life, as on the pleasant or unpleasant arrangements of the little things which happen daily.
The passion of desire is an agitation of the soul caused by the spirits which dispose it to wish for the future the things which it represents to itself as agreeable. Thus we do not only desire the presence of the absent good, but also the conservation of the present, and further, the absence of evil, both of that which we already have, and of that which we believe we might experience in time to come.
Anger is rooted in our lack of understanding of ourselves and of the causes, deep-seated as well as immediate, that brought about this unpleasant state of affairs. Anger is also rooted in desire, pride, agitation and suspicion. The primary roots of our anger are in ourselves. Our environment and other people are only secondary. It is not difficult for us to accept the enormous damage brought abut by a natural disaster, such as an earthquake or a flood. But when damage is caused by another person, we don’t have much patience. We know that earthquakes and floods have causes, and we should see that the person who has precipitated our anger also has reasons, deep-seated and immediate, for what he has done.