Change of opinion is often only the progress of sound thought and growing knowledge; and though sometimes regarded as an inconsistency, it is but the noble inconsistency natural to a mind ever ready for growth and expansion of thought, and that never fears to follow where truth and duty may lead the way.
The school should always have as its aim that the young man leave it as a harmonious personality, not as a specialist. This in my opinion is true in a certain sense even in technical schools.... The development of general ability for independent thinking and judgment should always be placed foremost, not the acquisition of special knowledge.
I develop the habit of expressing myself in terms of modest diffidence, never using, when I advanced anything that may possibly be disputed, the words certainly, undoubtedly, or any other that give the air of positiveness to an opinion, but rather say, I conceive or apprehend a thing to be so and so: It appear to me or should not think it, so or so, for such and such reasons; or I imagine it to be so, or it is so, if I am not mistaken. This habit I believe has been of great advantage to me when I have had occasion to inculcate my opinion and persuade men into measures that I have been, time to time, engaged in promoting.
By means of rational thought we have reached the opinion that God knows in advance only the possibilities open to a man in his freedom, not the particular decisions he will make.. It is the opinion of our religion that God never changes... and yet we find in the words of the prophets that God does repent over some things... It is impossible to solve this contradiction if we adopt the view that God knows particular things as particulars.
A statesman should follow public opinion as a coachman follows his horses; having firm hold on the reins, and guiding them.
In civilized life, where the happiness, and indeed almost the existence, of man depends so much upon the opinion of his fellow-men, he is constantly acting a studied part. The bold and peculiar traits of native character are refined away or softened down by the leveling influence of what is termed good-breeding, and he practices so many petty deceptions and affects so many generous sentiments for the purposes of popularity that it is difficult to distinguish his real from his artificial character.
The nature of God is incomprehensible; that is to say, we understand nothing of what He is, but only that He is; and therefore the attributes we give Him are not to tell one another what He is, nor to signify our opinion of His nature, but our desire to honor Him with such names as we conceive most honorable amongst ourselves.
The artisan or scientist or the follower of whatever discipline who has the habit of comparing himself not with other followers but with the discipline itself will have a lower opinion of himself, the more excellent he is.
A study of the history of opinion is a necessary preliminary to the emancipation of the mind. I do not know which makes man more conservative - to know nothing but the present, or nothing but the past.
It is an established opinion among some men that there are in the understanding certain innate principles, some primary notions, stamped, as it were, upon the mind of man which the soul receives in its very first being, and brings into the world with it. It would be sufficient to convince unprejudiced readers of the falseness of this supposition, if I should only show how many men obtain to all the knowledge they have, without the help of any such innate impressions... Let us suppose the mind to be a blank tablet; how comes it to be furnished? To this answer in one word, from experience.