Reference > Quotations > S. Austin Allibone, comp. > Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay
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S. Austin Allibone, comp.  Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay.  1880.
 
William Paley
 
  In a numerous collection of our Saviour’s apophthegms there is not to be found one example of sophistry or of false subtilty, or of any thing approaching thereunto.
William Paley.    
  1
 
  The fair way of conducting a dispute is to exhibit, one by one, the arguments of your opponent, and, with each argument, the precise and specific answer you are able to make to it.
William Paley.    
  2
 
  There is such a thing as a peculiar word or phrase cleaving, as it were, to the memory of the writer or speaker, and presenting itself to his utterance at every turn. When we observe this, we call it a cant word or a cant phrase.
William Paley.    
  3
 
  There must be chance in the midst of design; by which we mean, that events which are not designed necessarily arise from the pursuit of events which are designed.
William Paley.    
  4
 
  The opposites of apparent chance are constancy and sensible interposition.
William Paley.    
  5
 
  Health and sickness, enjoyment and suffering, riches and poverty, knowledge and ignorance, power and subjection, liberty and bondage, civilization and barbarity, have all their offices and duties: all serve for the formation of character.
William Paley.    
  6
 
  I seem, for my own part, to see the benevolence of the Deity more clearly in the pleasures of very young children than in anything in the world.
William Paley.    
  7
 
  Amongst the causes assigned for the continuance and diffusion of the same moral sentiments amongst mankind, may be mentioned imitation. The efficacy of this principle is more observable in children; indeed, if there be anything in them which deserves the name of an instinct, it is their propensity to imitation. Now, there is nothing which children imitate or apply more readily than expressions of affection and aversion, of approbation, hatred, resentment, and the like; and when these passions and expressions are once connected, which they soon will be by the same association which unites words with their ideas, the passion will follow the expression, and attach upon the object to which the child has been accustomed to apply the epithet.
William Paley.    
  8
 
  The propagation of Christianity, in the manner and under the circumstances in which it was propagated, is an unique in the history of the species.
William Paley.    
  9
 
  Lactantius also argues in defence of the religion from the consistency, simplicity, disinterestedness and sufferings of the Christian historians.
William Paley.    
  10
 
  No man’s spirits were ever hurt by doing his duty: on the contrary, one good action, one temptation resisted and overcome, one sacrifice of desire or interest purely for conscience’s sake, will prove a cordial for weak and low spirits far beyond what either indulgence, or diversion, or company can do for them.
William Paley.    
  11
 
  Education, in the more extensive sense of the word, may comprehend every preparation that is made in our youth for the sequel of our lives.
William Paley.    
  12
 
  The great principle of human satisfaction is engagement.
William Paley.    
  13
 
  The wise prove, and the foolish confess, by their conduct, that a life of employment is the only life worth leading.
William Paley.    
  14
 
  Eternity is a negative idea clothed with a positive name. It supposes in that to which it is applied, a present existence; and is the negation of a beginning or of an end of that existence.
William Paley.    
  15
 
 
 
  Of the origin of evil no universal solution has been discovered; I mean, no solution which reaches all cases of complaint.
William Paley.    
  16
 
  Whatever improvement we make in ourselves, we are thereby sure to meliorate our future condition.
William Paley.    
  17
 
  What is public history but a register of the successes and disappointments, the vices, the follies, and the quarrels, of those who engage in contention for power?
William Paley.    
  18
 
  The law of honour is a system of rules constructed by people of fashion, and calculated to facilitate their intercourse with one another.
William Paley.    
  19
 
  An eloquent historian, beside his more direct, and therefore fairer, attacks upon the credibility of evangelic story, has contrived to weave into his narration one continued sneer upon the cause of Christianity, and upon the character and writings of its ancient patrons. Who can refute a sneer?
William Paley.    
  20
 
  To me it appears, and I think it material to be remarked, that a disbelief of the established religion of their country has no tendency to dispose men for the reception of another; but that, on the contrary, it generates a settled contempt of all religious pretensions whatever. General infidelity is the hardest soil which the propagators of a new religion can have to work upon.
William Paley.    
  21
 
  One great cause of our insensibility to the goodness of our Creator is the very extensiveness of his bounty.
William Paley.    
  22
 
  How many bitter thoughts does the innocent man avoid! Serenity and cheerfulness are his portion. Hope is continually pouring its balm into his soul. His heart is at rest, whilst others are goaded and tortured by the stings of a wounded conscience, the remonstrances and risings up of principles which they cannot forget; perpetually teased by returning temptations, perpetually lamenting defeated resolutions.
William Paley.    
  23
 
  The characteristic symptom of human madness is the rising up in the mind of images not distinguishable by the patient from impressions on the senses.
William Paley.    
  24
 
  An instinct is a propensity prior to experience, and independent of instruction.
William Paley.    
  25
 
  The maxims of natural justice are few and evident.
William Paley.    
  26
 
  A law presupposes an agent; this is only the mode according to which an agent proceeds; it implies a power, for it is the order according to which that power acts. Without this agent, without this power, which are both distinct from itself, the law does nothing, is nothing.
William Paley.    
  27
 
  The first maxim of a free state is, that the laws be made by one set of men and administered by another: in other words, that the legislative and judicial characters be kept separate.
William Paley.    
  28
 
  The wisdom of man hath not devised a happier institution than that of juries, or one founded in a juster knowledge of human life or of human capacity.
William Paley.    
  29
 
  To do what we will is natural liberty; to do what we will consistently with the interests of the community to which we belong, is civil liberty; that is to say, the only liberty to be desired in a state of civil society.  30
  I should wish to act, no doubt, in every instance as I pleased; but I reflect that the rest also of mankind would then do the same; to which state of universal independence and self-direction I should meet with so many checks and obstacles to my own will, from the opposition and interference of other men’s, that not only my happiness but my liberty would be less than whilst the whole community were subject to the domination of equal laws. The boasted liberty of a state of nature exists only in a state of solitude. In every kind and degree of union and intercourse with his species it is possible that the liberty of the individual may be augmented by the very laws which restrain it; because he may gain more from the limitation of other men’s freedom than he suffers from the diminution of his own.  31
  Natural liberty is the right of common upon a waste; civil liberty is the safe, exclusive, unmolested enjoyment of a cultivated enclosure.
William Paley.    
  32
 
  Of all views under which human life has ever been considered, the most reasonable, in my judgment, is that which regards it as a state of probation.
William Paley.    
  33
 
  A lie is a breach of promise: for whoever seriously addresses his discourse to another tacitly promises to speak the truth, because he knows that truth is expected.
William Paley.    
  34
 
  It is wilful deceit that makes a lie. A man may act a lie, as by pointing his finger in a wrong direction when a traveller inquires of him his road.
William Paley.    
  35
 
  Pain itself is not without its alleviations. It may be violent and frequent, but it is seldom both violent and long-continued; and its pauses and intermissions become positive pleasures. It has the power of shedding a satisfaction over intervals of ease, which, I believe, few enjoyments exceed.
William Paley.    
  36
 
  Let not a father hope to excuse an inofficious disposition of his fortune by alleging that every man may do what he will with his own.
William Paley.    
  37
 
  Whilst politicians are disputing about monarchies, aristocracies, and republics, Christianity is alike applicable, useful, and friendly to them all.
William Paley.    
  38
 
  That man is to be accounted poor, of whatever rank he be, and suffers the pains of poverty, whose expenses exceed his resources; and no man is, properly speaking, poor but he.
William Paley.    
  39
 
  Property communicates a charm to whatever is the object of it. It is the first of our abstract ideas: it cleaves to us the closest and the longest. It endears to the child its plaything, to the peasant his cottage, to the landholder his estate. It supplies the place of prospect and scenery. Instead of coveting the beauty of distant situations, it teaches every man to find it in his own. It gives boldness and grandeur to plains and fens, tinge and colouring to clays and fallows.
William Paley.    
  40
 
  The slave-trade is inimical to every improvement in the morals and civil condition of the Africans.
William Paley.    
  41
 
  The West Indian slave is placed for life in subjection to a dominion and system of laws the most merciless and tyrannical that ever were tolerated upon the face of the earth.
William Paley.    
  42
 
  It is not the rigour, but the inexpediency, of laws and acts of authority, which makes them tyrannical.
William Paley.    
  43
 
  The four Cardinal virtues are prudence, fortitude, temperance, and justice.
William Paley.    
  44
 
  Passive virtues are of all others the severest and most sublime.
William Paley.    
  45
 
  [Christianity] hath humanized the conduct of wars.
William Paley.    
  46
 
  In strictness of language there is a difference between knowledge and wisdom; wisdom always supposing action, and action directed by it.
William Paley.    
  47
 
  The wisdom of the Deity, as testified in the works of creation, surpasses all idea we have of wisdom drawn from the highest intellectual operations of the highest of intelligent beings with whom we are acquainted; and (which is of the chief importance to us), whatever be its compass or extent, which it is evidently impossible that we should be able to determine, it must be adequate to the conduct of that order of things under which we live.
William Paley.    
  48
 
  The art in which the secret of human happiness in a great measure consists, is to set the habits in such a manner that every change may be a change for the better. The habits themselves are much the same; for whatever is made habitual becomes smooth, and easy, and nearly indifferent. The return to an old habit is likewise easy, whatever the habit be. Therefore the advantage is with those habits which allow of an indulgence in the deviation from them.
William Paley: Moral and Polil. Philos.: Human Happiness.    
  49
 
  Throughout the whole of life, as it is diffused in nature, and as far as we are acquainted with it, looking to the average of sensations, the plurality and the preponderancy is in favour of happiness by a vast excess. In our own species, in which perhaps the assertion may be more questionable than in any other, the prepollency of good over evil, of health, for example, and ease, over pain and distress, is evinced by the very notice which calamities excite. What inquiries does the sickness of our friends produce! What conversation their misfortunes! This shows that the common course of things is in favour of happiness; that happiness is the rule, misery the exception. Were the order reversed, our attention would be called to examples of health and competency, instead of disease and want.
William Paley: Natural Theology, chap. xxvi.    
  50
 
  To novelty, to acuteness of sensation, to hope, to ardour of pursuit, succeeds what is, in no inconsiderable degree, an equivalent for them all, “perception of ease.” Herein is the exact difference between the young and the old. The young are not happy but when enjoying pleasure; the old are happy when free from pain. And this constitution suits with the degrees of animal power which they respectively possess. The vigour of youth has to be stimulated to action by impatience of rest; whilst to the imbecility of age, quietness and repose become positive gratifications. In one important step the advantage is with the old. A state of ease is, generally speaking, more attainable than a state of pleasure. A constitution, therefore, which can enjoy ease is preferable to that which can taste only pleasure. This same perception of ease oftentimes renders old age a condition of great comfort, especially when riding at its anchor after a busy or tempestuous life.
William Paley: Natural Theology.    
  51
 
  But whatever may be the fortune of our lives, one great extremity at least, the hour of approaching death, is certainly to be passed through. What ought then to occupy us? What can then support us? Prayer. Prayer with our blessed Lord was a refuge from the storm: almost every word he uttered during that tremendous scene was prayer—prayer the most earnest, the most urgent; related, continued, proceeding from the recesses of the soul; private, solitary; prayer for deliverance; prayer for strength; above everything, prayer for resignation.
William Paley: Sermons.    
  52
 
 
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