S. Austin Allibone, comp. Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay. 1880.
Nor do apophthegms only serve for ornament and delight, but also for action and civil use, as being the edge tools of speech, which cut and penetrate the knots of business and affairs. 1
The first and most ancient inquirers into truth were wont to throw their knowledge into aphorisms, or short, scattered, unmethodical sentences. 2
Julius Cæsar did write a collection of apophthegms, as appears in an epistle of Cicero. It is a pity his book is lost, for I imagine they were collected with judgment and choice. 3
We may magnify the apophthegms, or reputed replies of wisdom, whereof many are to be seen in Laertius and Lycosthenes. 4
Exclusively of the abstract sciences, the largest and worthiest portion of our knowledge consists of aphorisms, and the greatest and best of men is but an aphorism.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
Every man who has seen the world knows that nothing is so useless as a general maxim. If it be very moral and very true, it may serve for a copy to a charity boy. If, like those of Rochefoucault, it be sparkling and whimsical, it may make an excellent motto for an essay. But few indeed of the many wise apophthegms which have been uttered, from the time of the Seven Sages of Greece to that of Poor Richard, have prevented a single foolish action.
Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay:
Machiavelli, March, 1827. 6
In a numerous collection of our Saviours apophthegms there is not to be found one example of sophistry or of false subtilty, or of any thing approaching thereunto.
The word parable is sometimes used in Scripture in a large and general sense, and applied to short, sententious sayings, maxims, or aphorisms.
Bishop Beilby Porteus.
It is astonishing the influence foolish apothegms have upon the mass of mankind, though they are not unfrequently fallacies.
Rev. Sydney Smith.
scattering short apothegms and little pleasant stories,
his son was, in his infancy taught to abhor