When we live habitually with the wicked, we become necessarily either their victim or their disciple; when we associate, on the contrary, with virtuous men, we form ourselves in imitation of their virtues, or, at least, lose every day something of our faults.
The best thing to give to your enemy is forgiveness; to an opponent, tolerance; to a friend, your heart; to your child, a good example; to a father, deference; to your mother, conduct that will make her proud of you; to yourself, respect; to all men, charity.
Humanity is much more shown in our conduct towards animals, where we are irresponsible except to heaven, than towards our fellow-creatures, where we are restrained by the laws, by public opinion, and fear of retaliation.
People may change their minds as often as their coats, and new sets of rules of conduct may be written every week, but the fact remains that human nature has not changed and does not change, that inherent human beliefs stay the same; the fundamental rules of human conduct continue to hold.
The first American mingled with her pride a singular humility. Spiritual arrogance was foreign to his nature and teaching. He never claimed that his power of articulate speech was proof of superiority over “dumb creation”; on the other hand, speech to him is a perilous gift. He believes profoundly in silence - the sign of perfect equilibrium. silence is the absolute poise or balance of body, mind and spirit. The an who preserves his selfhood ever calm and unshaken by the storms of existence - not a leaf, as it were, astir on the tree, not a ripple upon the surface of the shining pool - his, in the mind of the unlettered sage, is the ideal attitude and conduct of life.
Though a hundred crooked paths may conduct to a temporary success, the one plain and straight path of public and private virtue can alone lead to a pure and lasting fame and the blessings of posterity.
To arrive at perfection, a man should have very sincere friends, or inveterate enemies; because he would be made sensible of his good or ill conduct either by the censures of the one or the admonitions of the others.
He who does reverence to his own sect, while disparaging the sects of others wholly from attachment to his own, with intent to enhance the glory of his own sect, in reality by such conduct inflicts the severest injury on his own sect. Concord therefore is meritorious, to wit, hearkening and hearkening willingly to the Law of Piety, as accepted by other people.
The end of all moral speculations is to teach us our duty; and, by proper representations of deformity of vice, and beauty of virtue, beget correspondent habits, and engage us to avoid the one and embrace the other. But is this ever to be expected from inferences and conclusions of the understanding, which of themselves have no hold of the affections, or set in motion the active powers of men? They discover truths: but where the truths which they discover are indifferent, and beget no desire or aversion, they can have no influence on conduct and behavior.
It is our daily duty to consider that in all circumstances of life, pleasurable, painful, or otherwise, the conduct of every human being affects, more or less, the happiness of others, especially of those in the same house; and that, as life is made up, for the most part, not of great occasions, but of small everyday moments, it is the giving to those moments their greatest amount of peace, pleasantness, and security, that contributes most to the sum of human good. Be peaceable. Be cheerful. Be true.