Industry is not only the instrument of improvement, but the foundation of pleasure. He who is a stranger to it may possess, but cannot enjoy; for it is labor only which gives relish to pleasure. It is the appointed vehicle of every good to man. It is the indispensable condition of possessing a sound mind in a sound body.
Nothing serves better to illustrate a man’s character than the things which he finds ridiculous. the ridiculous arises from a moral contrast which is innocently placed before the senses. The sensual man will often laugh when there is nothing to laugh at. Whatever it may be that moves him, he will always reveal the fact that he is pleased with himself.
How mysterious in this human life, with all its diversities of contrast and compensation; this web of checkered destinies,; this sphere of manifold allotment, where man lives in his greatness and grossness, a little lower than the angels, a little higher than the brutes.
He who thinks much says but little in proportion to his thoughts. He selects that language which will convey his ideas in the most explicit and direct manner. He tries to compress as much thought as possible into a few words. On the contrary, the man who talks everlastingly and promiscuously, who seems to have an exhaustless magazine of sound crowds so many words into his thoughts that he always obscures, and very frequently conceals them.
I have often seen individuals who simply outgrow a problem which had destroyed others. This ‘outgrowing’, revealed itself on further experience to be the raising of the level of consciousness. Some higher or wider interest arose on the person’s horizon, and through the widening of his view, the insoluble problem, lost its urgency. It was not solved logically in its own terms, but faded out in contrast to a new and strong life-tendency. It was not repressed and made unconscious, but merely appeared in a different light, and so became different itself. What, on a lower level, had led the wildest conflicts and emotions full of panic, viewed from the higher level of the personality, now seemed like a storm in the valley seen from a high mountain top. This does not mean that the thunderstorm is robbed of its reality; it means that instead of being in it, one is now above it.
Success in business does not depend upon genius. Any young man of ordinary intelligence who is normally sound and not afraid to work should succeed in spite of obstacles and handicaps if he plays the game fairly and keeps everlastingly at it.
I know of but one remedy against the fear of death that is effectual and that will stand the test of a sick-bed, or of a sound mind - that is, a good life, a clear conscience, an honest heart, and a well-ordered conversation; to carry the thoughts of dying men about us, and so to live before we die as we shall wish we had when we come to it.
If men knew what felicity dwells in the cottage of a godly man, how sound he sleeps, how quiet his rest, how composed his mind, how free from care, how easy his position, how moist his mouth, how joyful his heart, they would never admire the noises, the diseases, the throngs of passions, and the violence of unnatural appetites that fill the house of the luxurious and the heart of the ambitious.
Vain man would trace the mystic maze with foolish wisdom, arguing, charge his God, his balance hold, and guide his angry rod, new-mould the spheres, and mend the skies’ design, and sound th’ immense with his short scanty line. Do thou, my soul, the destined period wait, when God shall solve the dark decrees of fate, His now unequal dispensation clear, and make all wise and beautiful appear.
To be rich, to be famous? do these profit a year hence, when other names sound louder than yours, when you lie hidden away under ground, along with the idle titles engraven on your coffin? But only true love lives after you, follows your memory with secret blessings or pervades you, and intercedes for you. Non omnis moriar, if, dying, nor am lost and hopeless living, if a sainted departed soul still loves and prays for me.