Dissimulation in youth is the forerunner of perfidy in old age; its first appearance is the fatal omen of growing depravity and future shame. It degrades parts and learning obscures the luster of every accomplishment and sinks us into contempt. The path of falsehood is a perplexing maze. After the first departure from sincerity, it is not in our power to stop; one artifice unavoidably leads on to another, till, as the intricacy of the labyrinth increases, we are left entangled in our snare.
Affectation proceeds from one of these two causes - vanity or hypocrisy; for as vanity puts us on affecting false characters, in order to purchase applause; so hypocrisy sets us on an endeavor to avoid censure, by concealing our vices under an appearance of their opposite virtues.
Corrupt as men are, they are yet so much the creatures of reflection, and so strongly addicted to sentiments of right and wrong, that their attachment to a public cause can rarely be secured, or their animosity be kept alive, unless their understandings are engaged by some appearance of truth and rectitude.
It is in life that we have to ‘perfect’ ourselves. If we limit ‘this life’ to one single journey between birth and death there is not enough time. People give up trying, just because of this appearance of things. They do not bend the life round in a circle, but leave the whole matter to the ‘hereafter’. We cannot grasp that beyond the ‘end’ lies the beginning... Beyond our life we meet - our life. We cannot turn in any other direction!
What is man’s life compared to the life of the whole Universe? If man’s life is nothing but a minute part of the life of the whole world if he inserted into the cycle of all the Universe so that his appearance and reappearance is dependent upon the gigantic cosmic processes that belong to the Universe, what chance has he of altering anything in his destiny?
There is no sense of weariness like that which closes a day of eager and unintermitted pursuit of pleasure. The apple is eaten and the core sticks in the throat. Expectation has given way to ennui, and appetite to satiety.