How common it is for men first to throw dirt in the face of religion, and then persuade themselves it is its natural complexion! They represent it to themselves in a shape least pleasing to them, and then bring that as a plea why they give it no better entertainment.
Those who apply themselves to learning are forced to acknowledge one God, incorruptible and unbegotten; who is the only true being, and abides forever above the highest heavens, from whence He beholds all the things that are done in heaven and earth.
Edward Stillingfleet: Defence of Disc. on Romish Idolatry.
True wisdom and greatness of mind raise a man above the need of using little tricks and devices. Sincerity and honesty carries one through many difficulties which all the arts he can invent would never help him through. For nothing doth a man more real mischief in the world than to be suspected of too much craft; because every one stands upon his guard against him, and suspects plots and designs where there are none intended: insomuch that though he speaks with all the sincerity that is possible, yet nothing he saith can be believed.
That is the truest wisdom of a man which doth most conduce to the happiness of life. For wisdom as it refers to action lies in the proposal of a right end, and the choice of the most proper means to attain it: which end doth not refer to any one part of a mans life, but to the whole as taken together. He therefore only deserves the name of a wise man, not that considers how to be rich and great when he is poor and mean, nor how to be well when he is sick, nor how to escape a present danger, nor how to compass a particular design; but he that considers the whole course of his life together, and what is fit for him to make the end of it, and by what means he may best enjoy the happiness of it.