C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.
As I see in the body, so I know in the soul; they are oft most desperately sick who are least sensible of their disease; whereas he that fears each light wound for mortal seeks a timely cure, and is healed. I will not reckon it my happiness that I have many sores, but since I have them, I am glad they grieve me. I know the cure is not the more dangerous because my wounds are more grievous; I should be more sick if I complained less.
As in the greater world for man, so in the little world of man,as in the outward riches of the one, so in the inner treasures of the other, many possess much, and enjoy but little; many have much, and use but little; others use much, and but little well. I shall not so much endeavor to have much wherewithal to do as to do much with that little I have. It shall not so much grieve me that I am a poor treasurer, as joy me if I had been a good steward. I could wish I had more to use well, but more wish well to use that I have. If he were so blamed that employed not one talent well, what would become of me if I had ten and abused them?
As it is never too soon to be good, so it is never too late to amend: I will, therefore, neither neglect the time present, nor despair of the time past. If I had been sooner good, I might perhaps have been better; if I am longer bad, I shall, I am sure, be worse.
He gives not best that gives most; but he gives most who gives best. If then I cannot give bountifully, yet I will give freely; and what I want in my hand, supply by my heart. He gives well that gives willingly.
I cannot be certain not to meet with evil company, but I will be careful not to keep with evil company. I would willingly sort myself with such as should either teach or learn goodness; and if my companion cannot make me better, nor I him good, I will rather leave him ill than he shall make me worse.
I may grieve with the smart of an evil as soon as I feel it, but I will not smart with the grief of an evil as soon as I hear of it. My evil, when it cometh, may make my grief too great; why, then, should my grief, before it comes, make my evil greater?
I will be silent and barren of discourse when I chance to hear a tale, rather than go with child therewith, till anothers ears be my midwife, to deliver me of such a deformed monster. I may hear a tale of delight, and perhaps smile at an innocent jest. I will not jest nor joy at a tale disgracing an innocent person.
I will not much commend others to themselves, I will not at all commend myself to others. So to praise any to their faces is a kind of flattery, but to praise myself to any is the height of folly. He that boasts his own praises speaks ill of himself, and much derogates from his true deserts. It is worthy of blame to affect commendation.
It is not good to speak evil of all whom we know bad; it is worse to judge evil of any who may prove good. To speak ill upon knowledge shows a want of charity; to speak ill upon suspicion shows a want of honesty. I will not speak so bad as I know of many; I will not speak worse than I know of any. To know evil of others and not speak it, is sometimes discretion; to speak evil of others and not know it, is always dishonesty. He may be evil himself who speaks good of others upon knowledge, but he can never be good himself who speaks evil of others upon suspicion.
It is the nature of man to be proud, when man by nature hath nothing to be proud of. He more adorneth the creature than he adoreth the Creator; and makes not only his belly his god, but his body. I am ashamed of their glory whose glory is their shame. If nature will needs have me to be proud of something, I will be proud only of this, that I am proud of nothing.
Meditation is a busy search in the storehouse of phantasy for some ideas of matters, to be cast in the moulds of resolution into some forms of words or actions; in which search, when I have used my greatest diligence. I find this is the best conclusion, that to meditate on the best is the best of meditations; and a resolution to make a good end is a good end of my resolutions.
Merrily and wittily said Platitus, who was one of the merry wits of his time, I would, said he, by my will have tale-bearers and tale-hearers punishedthe one hanging by the tongue, the other by the ears. Were his will a law in force with us, many a tattling gossip would have her vowels turned to mutes, and be justly tongue-tied, that desires to be tied by the teeth at your table.
There are two things necessary for a traveler to bring him to the end of his journeya knowledge of his way, a perseverance in his walk. If he walk in a wrong way, the faster he goes the farther he is from home; if he sit still in the right way, he may know his home, but never come to it: discreet stays make speedy journeys. I will first then know my way, ere I begin my walk; the knowledge of my way is a good part of my journey.
There is no security in evil society, where the good are often made worse, the bad seldom better, for it is the peevish industry of wickedness to find or make a fellow. It is like they will be birds of a feather that use to flock together. For such commonly doth their conversation make us as they are with whom we use to converse.
When I see leaves drop from their trees in the beginning of autumn, just such, think I, is the friendship of the world. Whilst the sap of maintenance lasts my friends swarm in abundance; but in the winter of my need they leave me naked.
Who observes not that the voice of the people, yea of that people that voiced themselves the people of God, did prosecute the God of all people, with one common voice, He is worthy to die. I will not, therefore, ambitiously beg their voices for my preferment; nor weigh my worth in that uneven balance, in which a feather of opinion shall be moment enough to turn the scales and make a light piece go current, and a current piece seem light.