If the devil ever laughs, it must be at hypocrites; they are the greatest dupes he has: they serve him better than any others, and receive no wages: nay, what is still more extraordinary, they submit to greater mortifications to go to hell, than the sincerest Christian to go to heaven.
I would rather see all affairs go to wrack and ruine than falsifie my faith to secure them. For as to this vertue of dissimulation, which is now in so great request, I mortally hate it; and of all vices, find none that does evidence so much baseness and meanness of spirit. Tis a cowardly and servile humour to hide and disguise a mans self under a vizor, and not to dare to shew himself what he is. By that our followers are traind up to treachery. Being brought up to speak what is not true, they make no conscience of a lye. A generous heart ought not to belye its own thoughts, but will make it self seen within, all there is good, or at least manly.
Michel de Montaigne: Essays, Cottons 3d ed., ch. lxxiv.
The favourable and good word of men comes oftentimes at a very easy rate; and by a few demure looks and affected whims, set off with some odd devotional postures and grimaces, and such other little acts of dissimulation, cunning men will do wonders.
Hypocrisy is much more eligible than open infidelity and vice: it wears the livery of religion, and is cautious of giving scandal: nay, continued disguises are too great a constraint; men would leave off their vices rather than undergo the toil of practising them in private.
It is possible for a man who hath the appearance of religion to be wicked and an hypocrite; but it is impossible for a man who openly declares against religion to give any reasonable security that he will not be false and cruel.