THE MOST EXTENSIVE
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A right mind and generous affection hath more beauty and charms than all other symmetries in the world besides; and a grain of honesty and native worth is of more value than all the adventitious ornaments, estates, or preferments; for the sake of which some of the better sort so oft turn knaves.
After all, the most natural beauty in the world is honesty and moral truth; for all beauty is truth.
All politeness is owing to liberty. We polish one another, and rub off our corners and rough sides by a sort of amicable collision. To restrain this is inevitably to bring a rust upon men's understandings.
As many as are the difficulties which Virtue has to encounter in this world, her force is yet superior.
Gravity is of the very essence of imposture; it does not only mistake other things, but is apt perpetually almost to mistake itself.
How comes it to pass, then, that we appear such cowards in reasoning, and are so afraid to stand the test of ridicule?
I would be virtuous for my own sake, though nobody were to know it; as I would be clean for my own sake, though nobody were to see me.
If we are told a man is religious we still ask what are his morals? But if we hear at first that he has honest morals, and is a man of natural justice and good temper, we seldom think of the other question, whether he be religious and devout.
In nature, all is managed for the best with perfect frugality and just reserve, profuse to none, but bountiful to all; never employing on one thing more than enough, but with exact economy retrenching the superfluous, and adding force to what is principal in everything.
It is necessary a writing critic should understand how to write. And though every writer is not bound to show himself in the capacity of critic, every writing critic is bound to show himself capable of being a writer; for if he be apparently impotent in this latter kind, he is to be denied all title or character in the other.
It is not wit merely, but temper, which must form the well-bred man. In the same manner it is not a head merely, but a heart and resolution, which must complete the real philosopher.
- [Good Breeding]
It is the hardest thing in the world to be a good thinker without being a good self-examiner.
It is the same with understanding as with eyes; to a certain size and make, just so much light is necessary, and no more. Whatever is beyond brings darkness and confusion.
Never did any soul do good but it came readier to do the same again, with more enjoyment. Never was love or gratitude or bounty practiced but with increasing joy, which made the practicer still more in love with the fair act.
No one was ever the better for advice: in general, what we called giving advice was properly taking an occasion to show our own wisdom at another's expense; and to receive advice was little better than tamely to another the occasion of raising himself a character from our defects.
Nothing affects the heart like that which is purely from itself, and of its own nature; such as the beauty of sentiments, the grace of actions, the turn of characters, and the proportions and features of a human mind.
Nothing is more ridiculous than ridicule.
Pedantry and bigotry are millstones, able to sink the best book which carries the least part of their dead weight. The temper of the pedagogue suits not with the age; and the world, however it may be taught, will not be tutored.
Prejudice is a mist, which in our journey through the world often dims the brightest and obscures the best of all the good and glorious objects that meet us on our way.
Reason and virtue alone can bestow liberty.
Remember that there is nothing in God but what is godlike; and that He is either not at all, or truly and perfectly good.
The face of Truth is not less fair and beautiful for all the counterfeit visors which have been put upon her.
The greatest of fools is he who imposes on himself, and in his greatest concern thinks certainly he knows that which he has least studied, and of which he is most profoundly ignorant.
- [Fools : Self-deceit]
The heart is never neutral.
The most natural beauty in the world is honesty and moral truth. For all beauty is truth. True features make the beauty of a face, and true proportions the beauty of architecture; as true measures that of harmony and music.
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