Never put much confidence in such as put no confidence in others. A man prone to suspect evil is mostly looking in his neighbor for what he sees in himself. As to the pure all things are pure, even so to the impure all things are impure.
When a miser contents himself with giving nothing, and saving what he has got, and is in others respects guilty of no injustice, he is, perhaps, of all bad men the least injurious to society; the evil he does is properly nothing more than the omission of the good he might do. If, of all the vices, avarice is the most generally detested, it is the effect of an avidity common to all men; it is because men hate those from whom they can expect nothing. The greedy misers rail at sordid misers.
No man, perhaps, is so wicked as to commit evil for its own sake. Evil is generally committed under the hope of some advantage the pursuit of virtue seldom obtains. Yet the most successful result of the most virtuous heroism is never without its alloy.
To bear up under loss; to fight the bitterness of defeat and the weakness of grief; to be victor over anger, to smile when tears are close; to resist disease and evil men and base instincts; to hate hate and to love love; to go on when it would seem good to die; to look up with unquenchable faith in something ever more about to be - that is what any man can do, and be great.
Moral philosophy is nothing else but the science of what is good and evil in the conversation and society of mankind. God and evil are names that signify our appetites and aversions, which in different tempers, customs and doctrines of men are different.
The human species... capacity for good is infinite, since they can, they desire, make room within themselves for divine Reality. But at the same time their capacity for evil is, not indeed infinite (since evil is always ultimately self-destructive and therefore temporary), but uniquely great. Hell is total separation from God, and the devil is the will to that separation... To be diabolic on the grand scale, one must, like Milton’s Satan, exhibit in a high degree all the moral virtues, except only charity and wisdom.
Men are not blamed for such actions as they perform ignorantly and casually, whatever may be the consequences. Why? but because the principles of these actions are only momentary, and terminate in them alone. Men are less blamed for such actions as they perform hastily and unpremeditatedly than for such as proceed from deliberation. For what reason? but because a hasty temper, though a constant cause or principle in the mind, operates only by intervals, and infects not the whole character. Again, repentance wipes off every crime, if attended with a reformation of life and manners. How is this to be accounted for? but by asserting that actions render a person criminal merely a they are proofs of criminal principles in the mind.
Wonder, connected with principle of rational curiosity, is the source of all knowledge and discovery, and it is a principle even of piety; but wonder which ends in wonder, and is satisfied with wonder, is the quality of an idiot.
Custom is the great guide of human life. It is that principle alone which renders our experience useful to us, and makes us expect, for the future, a similar train of events with those which have appeared I the past. Without the influence of custom, we should be entirely ignorant of every matter of fact beyond what is immediately present to the memory and senses. We should never know how to adjust means to ends, or to employ our natural powers in the production of any effect. There would be an end at once of all action, as well as of the chief part of speculation.
It’s quite true what philosophy says, that life must be understood backwards. But one then forgets the other principle, that it must be lived forwards. A principle which, the more one thinks it through, precisely leads to the conclusion that life in time can never properly be understood, just because no moment can acquire the complete stillness needed to orient oneself backwards.