C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.
A great man is an abstraction of some one excellence; but whoever fancies himself an abstraction of excellence, so far from being great, may be sure that he is a blockhead, equally ignorant of excellence or defect of himself or others.
Let a mans talents and virtues be what they may, we only feel satisfaction in his society as he is satisfied in himself. We cannot enjoy the good qualities of a friend if he seems to be none the better for them.
Could all mankind lay claim to that estimate which they pass upon themselves, there would be little or no difference betwixt lapsed and perfect humanity; and God might again review His image with paternal complacency, and still pronounce it good.
I do profess to be no less than I seem; to serve him truly that will put me in trust; to love him that is honest, to converse with him that is wise, and says little; to fear judgment; to fight, when I cannot choose; and to eat no fish.
Every man, in judging of himself, is his own contemporary. He may feel the gale of popularity, but he cannot tell how long it will last. His opinion of himself wants distance, wants time, wants numbers, to set it off and confirm it.