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.
 
James Beattie
 
  They who, by speech or writing, present to the ear or eye of modesty any of the indecencies I allude to, are pests of society.
James Beattie.    
  1
 
  Aristotle’s moral, rhetorical, and political writings, in which his excellent judgment is very little warped by logical subtleties, are far the most useful part of his philosophy.
James Beattie.    
  2
 
  There is not a book on earth so favourable to all the kind, and to all the sublime, affections, or so unfriendly to hatred and persecution, to tyranny, injustice, and every sort of malevolence, as the GOSPEL. It breathes nothing throughout but mercy, benevolence, and peace…. Such of the doctrines of the gospel as are level to human capacity appear to be agreeable to the purest truth and soundest morality. All the genius and learning of the heathen world, all the penetration of Pythagoras, Socrates, and Aristotle, had never been able to produce such a system of moral duty, and so rational an account of Providence and of man, as is to be found in the New Testament.
James Beattie.    
  3
 
  To think everything disputable is a proof of a weak mind and captious temper.
James Beattie.    
  4
 
  The captious turn of an habitual wrangler deadens the understanding, sours the temper, and hardens the heart.
James Beattie.    
  5
 
  The love of God ought continually to predominate in the mind, and give to every act of duty grace and animation.
James Beattie.    
  6
 
  The only poet, modern or ancient, who in the variety of his characters can vie with Homer, is our great English dramatist.
James Beattie.    
  7
 
  All such fooleries are quite inconsistent with that manly simplicity of manners which is so honourable to the national character.
James Beattie.    
  8
 
  The man is to be pitied who, in matters of moment, has to do with a staunch metaphysician: doubts, disputes, and conjectures will be the plague of his life.
James Beattie.    
  9
 
  Observe the effect of argumentation in poetry: we have too much of it in Milton; it transforms the noblest thoughts into drawling inferences, and the most beautiful language into prose.
James Beattie.    
  10
 
  It does not, however, appear that in things so intimately connected with the happiness of life as marriage and the choice of an employment, parents have any right to force the inclinations of their children.
James Beattie.    
  11
 
  Let us cherish sympathy. By attention and exercise it may be improved in every man. It prepares the mind for receiving the impressions of virtue: and without it there can be no true politeness. Nothing is more odious than that insensibility which wraps a man up in himself and his own concerns, and prevents his being moved with either the joys or the sorrows of another.
James Beattie.    
  12
 
  This happy sensibility to the beauties of nature should be cherished in young persons. It engages them to contemplate the Creator in his wonderful works; it purifies and harmonizes the soul, and prepares it for moral and intellectual discipline; it supplies a never-failing source of amusement; it contributes even to bodily health; and, as a strict analogy subsists between material and moral beauty, it leads the heart by an easy transition from the one to the other, and thus recommends virtue for its transcendent loveliness, and makes vice appear the object of contempt and abomination. An intimate acquaintance with the best descriptive poets—Spenser, Milton, and Thomson, but above all with the divine Georgic—joined to some practice in the art of drawing, will promote this amiable sensibility in early years; for then the face of nature has novelty superadded to its other charms, the passions are not pre-engaged, the heart is free from care, and the imagination warm and romantic.
James Beattie: Essays.    
  13
 
  It is strange to observe the callousness of some men, before whom all the glories of heaven and earth pass in daily succession without touching their hearts, elevating their fancy, or leaving any durable remembrance. Even of those who pretend to sensibility, how many are there to whom the lustre of the rising or setting sun, the sparkling concave of the midnight sky, the mountain forest tossing and roaring to the storm, or warbling with all the melodies of a summer evening; the sweet interchange of hill and dale, shade and sunshine, grove, lawn, and water, which an extensive landscape offers to the view; the scenery of the ocean, so lovely, so majestic, and so tremendous, and the many pleasing varieties of the animal and vegetable kingdoms, could never afford so much real satisfaction as the steam and noise of a ball-room, the insipid fiddling and squeaking of an opera, or the vexations and wranglings of a card-table!
James Beattie: Essays.    
  14
 
  While the bloom of youth lasts, and the smoothness of feature peculiar to that period, the human face is less marked with any strong character than in old age. A peevish or surly stripling may elude the eye of the physiognomist; but a wicked old man whose visage does not betray the evil temperature of his heart must have more cunning than it would be prudent for him to acknowledge. Even by the trade or profession the human countenance may be characterized. They who employ themselves in the nicer mechanic arts, that require the earnest attention of the artist, do generally contract a fixedness of feature suited to that one uniform sentiment which engrosses them while at work. Whereas other artists, whose work requires less attention, and who ply their trade and amuse themselves with conversation at the same time, have, for the most part, smoother and more unmeaning faces: their thoughts are more miscellaneous, and therefore their features are less fixed in one uniform configuration. A keen penetrating look indicates thoughtfulness and spirit: a dull torpid countenance is not often accompanied with great sagacity.  15
 
 
  This, though there may be many an exception, is in general true of the visible signs of our passions; and it is no less true of the audible. A man habitually peevish, or passionate, or querulous, or imperious, may be known by the sound of his voice, as well as by his physiognomy.
James Beattie: Essays.    
  16
 
 
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