When a law is proposed in the people’s assembly, what is asked of them is not precisely whether they approve of the proposition or reject it, but whether it is in conforming with the general will which is theirs; each by giving his vote gives his opinion on this question, and the counting of votes yields a declaration of the general will. When, therefore, the opinion contrary to my own prevails, this proves only that I have made a mistake, and that what I believed to be the general will was not so. If my particular opinion had prevailed against the general will, I should have done something other than what I had willed, and then I should not have been free. This presupposes, it is true, that all characteristics of the general will are still to be found in the majority; when these cease to be there, no matter what position men adopt, there is no longer any freedom.
The confirmed prejudices of a thoughtful life, are as hard to change as the confirmed habits of an indolent life: and as some must trifle away age, because they trifled away youth, others must labor on in a maze of error, because they have wandered there too long to find their way out.
The rule of law is essentially a negative value. The law inevitably creates a great danger of arbitrary power - the rule of law is designed to minimize the danger created by the law itself. Similarly, the law may be unstable, obscure, retrospective, etc., and thus infringe people’s freedom and dignity. The rule of law is designed to prevent his danger as well. Thus the rule of law is a negative virtue in two senses: conformity to it does not cause good except through avoiding evil and the evil which is avoided is evil which could only have been caused by the law itself.
That charity alone endures which flows from a sense of duty and a hope in God. this is the charity that treads in secret those paths of misery from which all but the lowest of human wretches have fled; this is that charity which no labor can weary, no ingratitude detach, no horror disgust; that toils, that pardons, that suffers; that is seen by no man, and honored by no man, but, like the great laws of Nature, does the work of God in silence, and looks to a future and better world for its reward.
When we pray, we should feel the seriousness of speaking directly to the Almighty. The concept of seriousness should not be mistaken for sadness since sadness is a transgression. Seriousness should stem from the true joy of fulfilling a mitzvah [biblical law or good deed], the joy of having the merit to pray to the Almighty.
Socialists are filled with the enthusiasm of equality... Equality of possession or of rights and equality before the law are diametrically opposed to each other. The object of equality before the law is to make the state entirely neutral.
Truth is the disciple of the ascetic, the quest of the mystic, the faith of the simple, the ransom of the weak, the standard of the righteous, the doctrine of the meek, and the challenge of Nature. Together, all these constitute the Law of the Universe.
Facts, when combined with ideas, constitute the greatest force in the world. They are greater than armaments, greater than finance, greater than science, business and law because they constitute the common denominator of all of them.
We must be knit together in this work as one man; we must entertain each other in brotherly affection; we must uphold a familiar commerce together in all meekness, gentleness, patience and liberality. We must delight in each other, make others’ conditions our own, rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together; always having before our eyes our commission and community as members of the same body.