All reason is retrospect; it consists in the application of facts and principles previously known. This will show the very great importance of knowledge, especially that kind which is called experience.
An observant man, in all his intercourse with society and the world, carries a pencil constantly in his hand, and, unperceived, marks on every person and thing the figure expressive of its value, and therefore instantly on meeting that person or thing again, knows what kind and degree of attention to give it. This is to make something of experience.
Burkes sentences are pointed at the end, instinct with pungent sense to the last syllable. They are like a charioteers whip, which not only has a long and effective lash, but cracks and inflicts a still smarter sensation at the end.
Casual thoughts are sometimes of great value. One of these may prove the key to open for us a yet unknown apartment in the palace of truth, or a yet unexplored tract in the paradise of sentiment that environs it.
He who would do some great thing in this short life, must apply himself to the work with such a concentration of his forces as to the idle spectators, who live only to amuse themselves, looks like insanity.
How little of our knowledge of mankind is derived from intentional accurate observation! Most of it has, unsought, found its way into the mind from the continual presentations of the objects to our unthinking view. It is a knowledge of sensation more than of reflection.
How many of these minds are there to whom scarcely any good can be done! They have no excitability. You are attempting to kindle a fire of stone. You must leave them as you find them, in permanent mediocrity.
Mr. T. sees religion, not as a sphere, but as a line, and it is the identical line in which he is moving. He is like an African buffalo,sees right forward, but nothing on the right hand or on the left.
People of gayety and fashion have occasionally a feeling that a little easy quantity of religion would be a good thing; because, after all, we cannot stay in this world always, and there may be hardish matters to settle in the other place.
When we withdraw from human intercourse into solitude, we are more peculiarly committed in the presence of the divinity; yet some men retire into solitude to devise or perpetrate crimes. This is like a man going to meet and brave a lion in his own gloomy desert, in the very precincts of his dread abode.