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.
 
Mind
 
  When we turn our serious attention to the economy of the mind, we perceive that it is capable of a variety of processes of the most remarkable and most important nature. We find, also, that we can exert a voluntary power over these processes by which we control, direct, and regulate them at our will,—and that when we do not exert this power the mind is left to the influence of external impressions, or casual trains of association, often unprofitable, and often frivolous. We thus discover that the mind is the subject of culture and discipline, which, when duly exercised, must produce the most important results on our condition as rational and moral beings; and that the exercise of them involves a responsibility of the most solemn kind, which no man can possibly put away from him.
Dr. John Abercrombie.    
  1
 
  If the minds of men were laid open, we should see but little difference between that of the wise and that of the fool: there are infinite reveries and numberless extravagancies pass through both.
Joseph Addison.    
  2
 
  If the human intellect hath once taken a liking to any doctrine,… it draws everything else into harmony with that doctrine, and to its support.
Francis Bacon.    
  3
 
  The mind of man is able to discern universal propositions … by its native force, without any previous notion or applied reasoning, which method of attaining truth is by a peculiar name styled intellection.
Isaac Barrow.    
  4
 
  The dimness of our intellectual eyes Aristotle fitly compares to those of an owl at noonday.
Robert Boyle.    
  5
 
  I strongly recommend you to follow the analogy of the body in seeking the refreshment of the mind. Everybody knows that both man and horse are very much relieved and rested if, instead of lying down and falling asleep, or endeavouring to fall asleep, he changes the muscles he puts in operation; if instead of level ground he goes up and down hill, it is a rest both to the man walking and the horse which he rides: a different set of muscles is called into action. So I say, call into action a different class of faculties, apply your minds to other objects of wholesome food to yourselves as well as of good to others, and, depend upon it, that is the true mode of getting repose in old age. Do not overwork yourselves: do everything in moderation.
Lord Brougham.    
  6
 
  The days of men are cast up by septenaries, and every seventh year conceived to carry some altering character in temper of mind or body.  7
 
  Besides this, the mind of man itself is too active and restless a principle ever to settle on the true point of quiet. It discovers every day some craving want in a body which really wants but little. It every day invents some new artificial rule to guide that nature which, if left to itself, were the best and surest guide. It finds out imaginary beings prescribing imaginary laws; and then it raises imaginary terrors to support a belief in the beings, and an obedience to the laws. Many things have been said, and very well, undoubtedly, on the subjection in which we should preserve our bodies to the government of our understanding; but enough has not been said upon the restraint which our bodily necessities ought to lay on the extravagant sublimities and eccentric rovings of our minds. The body, or, as some love to call it, our inferior nature, is wiser in its own plain way, and attends to its own business more directly, than the mind with all its boasted subtlety.
Edmund Burke: Vindic. of Nat. Society, 1756.    
  8
 
  The more accurately we search into the human mind, the stronger traces we everywhere find of His wisdom who made it. If a discourse on the use of the parts of the body may be considered as a hymn to the Creator, the use of the passions, which are the organs of the mind, cannot be barren of praise to him, nor unproductive to ourselves of that noble and uncommon union of science and admiration, which a contemplation of the works of infinite wisdom alone can afford to a rational mind; whilst, referring to him whatever we find of right or good or fair in ourselves, discovering his strength and wisdom even in our own weakness and imperfection, honouring them where we discover them clearly, and adoring their profundity where we are lost in our search, we may be inquisitive without impertinence, and elevated without pride; we may be admitted, if I may dare to say so, into the counsels of the Almighty by a consideration of his works.
Edmund Burke: Essay on the Sublime and Beautiful, 1756.    
  9
 
  We say that destruction is the order of nature, and some say that men must not hope to escape the universal law. Now we deceive ourselves in this use of words; there is in reality no destruction in the material world. True, the tree is resolved into its elements, but its elements survive; and, still more, they survive to fulfil the same end which they before accomplished. Not a power of nature is lost. The particles of the destroyed tree are left at liberty to form new, perhaps more beautiful and useful, combinations; they may shoot up into more luxuriant foliage, or enter into the structure of the highest animals. But were mind to perish, there would be absolute, irretrievable destruction; for mind, from its nature, is something individual, an uncompounded essence, which cannot be broken into parts and enter into union with other minds. I am myself, and can become no other being. My experience, my history, cannot become my neighbour’s. My consciousness, my memory, my interest in my past life, my affections, cannot be transferred. If in any instance I have withstood temptation, and through such resistance have acquired power over myself and a claim to the approbation of my fellow-beings, this resistance, this power, this claim, are my own; I cannot make them another’s. I can give away my property, my limbs; but that which makes myself—in other words, my consciousness, my recollections, my feelings, my hopes—these can never become parts of another mind. In the extinction of a thinking, moral being, who has gained truth and virtue, there would be an absolute destruction. This event would not be as the setting of the sun, which is a transfer of light to new regions; but a quenching of the light. It would be a ruin such as Nature nowhere exhibits: a ruin of what is infinitely more precious than the outward universe, and is not, therefore, to be inferred from any of the changes of the material world.
W. Ellery Channing.    
  10
 
  The understanding can conceive the whole world, and paint in itself the invisible pictures of all things. It is capable of apprehending and discoursing of things superior to its own nature. It is suited to all objects, as the eye to all colours, or the ear to all sounds. How great is the memory to retain such varieties, such diversities! The will also can accommodate other things to itself. It invents arts for the use of man; prescribes rules for the government of states; ransacks the bowels of nature; makes endless conclusions, and steps in reasoning from one thing to another, for the knowledge of truth. It can contemplate and form notions of things higher than the world.
Stephen Charnock: Attributes.    
  11
 
  Who ever knew mere matter understand, think, will? and what it hath not, it cannot give. That which is destitute of reason and will, could never reason and will. It is not the effect of the body; for the body is fitted with members to be subject to it. It is in part ruled by the activity of the soul, and in part by the counsel of the soul; it is used by the soul, and knows not how it is used. Nor could it be from the parents, since the souls of the children often transcend those of the parents in vivacity, acuteness, and comprehensiveness. One man is stupid, and begets a son with a capacious understanding; one is debauched and beastly in morals, and begets a son who from his infancy testifies some virtuous inclinations, which sprout forth in delightful fruit with the ripeness of his age. Whence should this difference arise,—a fool beget the wise man, and a debauched the virtuous man?
Stephen Charnock: Attributes.    
  12
 
  Whatever that be which thinks, which understands, which wills, which acts, it is something celestial and divine, and, upon that account, must necessarily be eternal.
Cicero.    
  13
 
  Cultivation to the mind is as necessary as food is to the body.
Cicero.    
  14
 
  Pleasures of the mind are more at command than those of the body. A man may think of a handsome performance, or of a notion that pleases him, at his leisure. This entertainment is ready with little warning or expense; a short recollection brings it upon the stage, brightens the idea, and makes it shine as much as when it was first stamped upon the memory.
Jeremy Collier.    
  15
 
 
 
  Mental pleasures never cloy: unlike those of the body, they are increased by repetition, approved of by reflection, and strengthened by enjoyment.
Charles Caleb Colton.    
  16
 
  The mind of man is too light to bear much certainty among the ruffling winds of passion and opinion; and if the luggage be prized equally with the jewels, none will be lost out till all be shipwrecked.
Joseph Glanvill.    
  17
 
  The proper acts of the intellect are intellection, deliberation, and determination or decision.
Sir Matthew Hale.    
  18
 
  The intellectual faculty is a goodly field, capable of great improvement; and it is the worst husbandry in the world to sow it with trifles or impertinences.
Sir Matthew Hale.    
  19
 
  If we consider the mind merely with a view of observing and generalizing the various phenomena it reveals, that is, of analyzing them into capacities or faculties, we have one mental science, or one department of mental science; and this we may call the phenomenology of mind.
Sir William Hamilton.    
  20
 
  Modes or modifications of mind, in the Cartesian school, mean merely what some recent philosophers express by states of mind.
Sir William Hamilton.    
  21
 
  Toil of the mind destroys health by attracting the spirits from their task of concoction to the brain; whither they carry along with them clouds of vapours and excrementitious humours.  22
 
  The truly strong and sound mind is the mind that can embrace equally great things and small. I would have a man great in great things, and elegant in little things.
Dr. Samuel Johnson.    
  23
 
  The mind and memory are more sharply exercised in comprehending another man’s things than our own.
Ben Jonson.    
  24
 
  The mind is not always in the same state; being at times cheerful, melancholy, severe, peevish. These different states may not improperly be denominated tones.
Lord Kames.    
  25
 
  The blessings of fortune are the lowest; the next are the bodily advantages of strength and health; but the superlative blessings, in fine, are those of the mind.
Roger L’Estrange.    
  26
 
  There are not more differences in men’s faces, and the outward lineaments of their bodies, than there are in the makes and tempers of their minds; only there is this difference, that the distinguishing characters of the face, and the lineaments of the body, grow more plain with time, but the peculiar physiognomy of the mind is most discernible in children.
John Locke.    
  27
 
  Whatever ideas the mind can receive and contemplate without the help of the body, it can retain without the help of the body too; or else the soul, or any separate spirit, will have but little advantage by thinking.
John Locke.    
  28
 
  The mind by being engaged in a task beyond its strength, like the body strained by lifting at a weight too heavy, has often its force broken, and thereby gets an unaptness or an aversion to any vigorous attempt ever after.
John Locke.    
  29
 
  He that procures his child a good mind makes a better purchase for him than if he laid out the money for an addition to his former acres.
John Locke.    
  30
 
  The mind upon the suggestion of any new notion runs after similes to make it the clearer to itself; which, though it may be useful in explaining our thoughts to others, is no right method to settle true notions in ourselves.
John Locke.    
  31
 
  When men are grown up, and reflect on their own minds, they cannot find anything more ancient there than those opinions which were taught them before their memory began to keep a register of their actions.
John Locke.    
  32
 
  Less terrible is it to find the body wasted, the features sharp with the great life-struggle, than to look on the face from which the mind is gone—the eyes in which there is no recognition. Such a sight is a startling shock to that unconscious habitual materialism with which we are apt familiarly to regard those we love: for, in thus missing the mind, the heart, the affection that sprung to ours, we are suddenly made aware that it was the something within the form, and not the form itself, that was so dear to us. The form itself is still, perhaps, little altered; but that lip which smiles no welcome, that eye which wanders over us as strangers, that ear which distinguishes no more our voices—the friend we sought is not there! Even our own love is chilled back—grows a kind of vague superstitious terror. Yes! it was not the matter, still present to us, which had conciliated all those subtle nameless sentiments which are classed and fused in the word “affection,”—it was the airy, intangible, electric something—the absence of which now appalls us.
Lord Edward Bulwer-Lytton: The Caxtons.    
  33
 
  Mankind are in the end always governed by superiority of intellectual qualities, and none are more sensible of this than the military profession. When, on my return from Italy, I assumed the dress of the Institute, and associated with men of science, I knew what I was doing; I was sure of not being misunderstood by the lowest drummer in the army.
Napoleon I.    
  34
 
  In the anatomy of the mind, as of the body, more good will accrue to mankind by attending to the large, open, and perceptible parts than by studying too much finer nerves.
Alexander Pope.    
  35
 
  The mind of man hath two parts: the one always frequented by the entrance of manifold varieties; the other desolate and overgrown with grass, by which enter our charitable thoughts and divine contemplations.  36
 
  Logicians distinguish two kinds of operations of the mind: the first kind produces no effect without the mind; the last does. The first they call immanent acts, the second transitive. Conceiving, as well as projecting or resolving, are what the schoolmen called immanent acts of the mind, which produce nothing beyond themselves. But painting is a transitive act, which produces an effect distinct from the operation, and this effect is the picture.
Thomas Reid.    
  37
 
  Aristotle affirms the mind to be at first a mere rasa tabula; and that notions are not ingenite, and imprinted by the finger of nature, but by the latter and more languid impressions of sense, being only the reports of observation, and the result of so many repeated experiments.
Robert South.    
  38
 
  When age itself, which will not be defied, shall begin to arrest, seize, and remind us of our mortality by pains and dulness of senses; yet then the pleasure of the mind shall be in its full vigour.
Robert South.    
  39
 
  When the purpose we aim at does not ensue upon our first endeavours, the mind redoubles her efforts, under an apprehension that a stronger exertion may succeed where a weaker did not.
Abraham Tucker.    
  40
 
  The ample mind keeps the several objects all within sight and present to the soul.
Dr. Isaac Watts.    
  41
 
 
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