To seem disturbed at calumny, is the way to make it believed, and stabbing your defamer, will not prove you innocent. — Live an exemplary life, and then your good character will overcome and refute the calumny.
Anxiety is the poison of human life; the parent of many sins and of more miseries. — In a world where everything is doubtful, and where we may be disappointed, and be blessed in disappointment, why this restless stir and commotion of mind? — Can it alter the cause, or unravel the mystery of human events?
Topics: Worry, Anxiety
Time hurries on with a resistless, unremitting stream, yet treads more soft than e’er did midnight thief that slides his hand under the miser’s pillow, and carries off his prize.
Silence is one of the great arts of conversation, as allowed by Cicero himself, who says “there is not only an art, but an eloquence in it.” A well-bred woman may easily and effectually promote the most useful and elegant conversation without speaking a word. — The modes of speech are scarcely more variable than the modes of silence.
Sentiment and principle are often mistaken for each other, though, in fact, they widely differ. — Sentiment is the virtue of ideas; principle the virtue of action. — Sentiment has its seat in the head; principle, in the heart. Sentiment suggests fine harangues and subtle distinctions; principle conceives just notions, and performs good actions in consequence of them. Sentiment refines away the simplicity of truth, and the plainness of piety; and “gives us virtue in words, and vice in deeds.” Sentiment may be called the Athenian who knew what was right; and principle, the Lacedemonian who practised it.
Of all the follies incident to youth, there are none which blast their prospects, or render them more contemptible, than self-conceit, presumption, and obstinacy. By checking progress in improvement, they fix one in long immaturity, and produce irreparable mischief.
Worry not about the possible troubles of the future; for if they come, you are but anticipating and adding to their weight; and if they do not come, your worry is useless; and in either case it is weak and in vain, and a distrust of God’s providence.
It is for the sake of man, not of God, that worship and prayers are required; that man may be made better — that he may be confirmed in a proper sense of his dependent state, and acquire those pious and virtuous dispositions in which his highest improvement consists.
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 indispensable condition of possessing a sound mind in a sound body, and is the appointed vehicle of every good to man.
Dissimulation in youth is the forerunner of perfidy in old age. — It degrades parts and learning, obscures the luster of every accomplishment, and sinks us into contempt. — The path of falsehood is a perplexing maze. — One artifice leads on to another, till, as the intricacy of the labyrinth increases, we are left entangled in our own snare.
Between levity and cheerfulness there is a wide distinction; the mind that is most open to the former is frequently a stranger to the latter. — Levity may be the offspring of folly or vice; cheerfulness is the natural offspring of wisdom and virtue.
There is no man in any rank who is always at liberty to act as he would incline. In some quarter or other he is limited by circumstances.
Topics: Ubiquity of Problems, Reality, Opportunities
True gentleness is founded on a sense of what we owe to him who made us, and to the common nature which we all share. — It arises from reflection on our own failings and wants, and from just views of the condition and duty of men. — It is native feeling heightened and improved by principle.
Compassion is an emotion of which we ought never to be ashamed. Graceful, particularly in youth, is the tear of sympathy, and the heart that melts at the tale of woe. We should not permit ease and indulgence to contract our affections, and wrap us up in a selfish enjoyment; but we should accustom ourselves to think of the distresses of human, life, of the solitary cottage; the dying parent, and the weeping orphan. Nor ought we ever to sport with pain and distress in any of our amusements, or treat even the meanest insect with wanton cruelty.
That discipline which corrects the eagerness of worldly passions, which fortifies the heart with virtuous principles, which enlightens the mind with useful knowledge, and furnishes to it matter of enjoyment from within itself, is of more consequence to real felicity than all the provisions which we can make of the goods of fortune.
Topics: Self-improvement, Discipline
All the principles which religion teaches, and all the habits which it forms, are favorable to strength of mind. It will be found that whatever purifies, also fortifies the heart.
- Walter Scott Scottish Novelist
- Francis Jeffrey, Lord Jeffrey Scottish Judge
- Adam Smith Scottish Philosopher
- David Livingstone Scottish Congregationalist Clergyman
- Thomas Carlyle Scottish Writer
- Seneca the Elder (Marcus Annaeus Seneca) Roman Rhetorician
- Robert Louis Stevenson Scottish Novelist
- Thomas Reid Scottish Philosopher
- Robert Burns Scottish Poet
- George Matheson Scottish Theologian