We must not reject a proven doctrine because it is opposed to some isolated opinion of this or that great authority... No man must surrender his private judgment. The eyes are directed forwards, not backwards.
Men and women must be educated, in a great degree, by the opinions and manners of the society they live in. In every age there has been a stream of popular opinion that has carried all before it, and given a family character, as it were, to the century. It may then be fairly inferred, that, till society be differently constituted, much cannot be expected from education.
The irrational desire which overcomes the tendency of opinion towards right, and is led away to the enjoyment of beauty, and especially of personal beauty, by the desires which are her own kindred - that supreme desire, I say, which by leading conquers and by the force of passion is reinforced, from this very force, receiving a name, is called love.
My opinion is that in the world of knowledge the idea of good appears last of all, and is seen only with an effort; and, when seen, is also inferred to be the universal author of all things beautiful and right, parent of light and of the lord of light in this visible world, and the immediate source of reason and truth in the intellectual; and that this is the power upon which he who would act rationally either in public or private life must have his eye fixed.
It is very easy in the world to live by the opinion of the world. It is very easy in solitude to be self-centered. But the finished man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. I knew a man of simple habits and earnest character who never put out his hands nor opened his lips to court the public, and having survived several rotten reputations of younger men, honor came at last and sat down with him upon his private bench from which he had never stirred.
The highest and most profitable learning is the knowledge of ourselves. To have a low opinion of our own merits, and to think highly of others, is an evidence of wisdom. All men are frail, but thou shouldst reckon none so frail as thyself.
Our own opinion of ourselves should be lower than that formed by others, for we have a better chance at our imperfections.
Differences of opinion give me but little concern; but it a real pleasure to be brought into communication with anyone who is in earnest, and who really looks to God's will as his standard of right and wrong, and judges of actions according to their greater or lesser conformity.