Reference > Quotations > S. Austin Allibone, comp. > Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay
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CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
S. Austin Allibone, comp.  Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay.  1880.
 
Robert South
 
  The lightsome passion of joy was not that which now often usurps the name; that trivial, vanishing, superficial thing that only gilds the apprehensions, and plays upon the surface of the soul.
Robert South.    
  1
 
  Action is the highest perfection and drawing forth of the utmost power, vigour, and activity of man’s nature. God is pleased to vouchsafe the best that he can give only to the best that we can do. The properest and most raised conception that we have of God is, that he is a pure act, a perpetual, incessant motion.
Robert South.    
  2
 
  The schools dispute, whether in morals the external action superadds anything of good or evil to the internal elicit act of the will: but certainly the enmity of our judgments is wrought up to an high pitch before it rages in an open denial.
Robert South.    
  3
 
  Since the event of an action usually follows the nature or quality of it, and the quality follows the rule directing it, it concerns a man in the framing of his actions not to be deceived in the rule.
Robert South.    
  4
 
  We may deny God in all those acts that are capable of being morally good or evil: those are the proper scenes in which we act our confessions or denials of him.
Robert South.    
  5
 
  Deeds always over-balance, and downright practice speaks more plainly than the fairest profession.
Robert South.    
  6
 
  For a man to found a confident practice upon a disputable principle is brutishly to outrun his reason.
Robert South.    
  7
 
  Actions that promote society and mutual fellowship seem reducible to a proneness to do good to others and a ready sense of any good done by others.
Robert South.    
  8
 
  If he acts piously, soberly, and temperately, he acts prudentially and safely.
Robert South.    
  9
 
  Affection is still a briber of the judgment; and it is hard for a man to admit a reason against the thing he loves, or to confess the force of an argument against an interest.
Robert South.    
  10
 
  The sinner’s conscience is the best expositor of the mind of God, under any judgment or affliction.
Robert South.    
  11
 
  Age, which unavoidably is but one remove from death, and consequently should have nothing about it but what looks like a decent preparation for it, scarce ever appears of late days but in the high mode, the flaunting garb and utmost gaudery of youth.
Robert South.    
  12
 
  Those who by the prerogative of their age should frown youth into sobriety imitate and strike in with them, and are really vicious that they may be thought young.
Robert South.    
  13
 
  Let not men flatter themselves that though they find it difficult at present to combat and stand out against an ill practice, yet that old age would do that for them which they in their youth could never find in their hearts to do for themselves.
Robert South.    
  14
 
  The vices of old age have the stiffness of it too; and as it is the unfittest time to learn in, so the unfitness of it to unlearn will be found much greater.
Robert South.    
  15
 
 
 
  Tiberius was bad enough in his youth; but superlatively and monstrously so in his old age.
Robert South.    
  16
 
  The humble and contented man pleases himself innocently and easily, while the ambitious man attempts to please others sinfully and difficultly, and perhaps unsuccessfully too.
Robert South.    
  17
 
  He that would reckon up all the accidents preferments depend upon, may as well undertake to count the sands or sum up infinity.
Robert South.    
  18
 
  The ambitious person must rise early, and sit up late, and pursue his design with a constant, indefatigable attendance; he must be infinitely patient and servile.
Robert South.    
  19
 
  Anger is a transient hatred; or, at least, very like it.
Robert South.    
  20
 
  It might have pleased in the heat and hurry of his rage, but must have displeased in cool, sedate reflection.
Robert South.    
  21
 
  He cannot consider the strength, poise the weight, and discern the evidence of the clearest argumentations where they would conclude against his desires.
Robert South.    
  22
 
  Men are atheistical because they are first vicious; and question the truth of Christianity because they hate the practice.
Robert South.    
  23
 
  Though he were really a speculative atheist, yet if he would but proceed rationally he could not however be a practical atheist, nor live without God in this world.
Robert South.    
  24
 
  Consult the acutest poets and speakers, and they will confess that their quickest, most admired conceptions were such as darted into their minds like sudden flashes of lightning, they know not how nor whence.
Robert South.    
  25
 
  He that is comely when old and decrepit surely was very beautiful when he was young.
Robert South.    
  26
 
  For he had no catechism but the creation, needed no study but reflection, and read no book but the volume of the world.
Robert South.    
  27
 
  As the calling dignifies the man, so the man much more advances his calling.
Robert South.    
  28
 
  Calumny robs the public of all that benefit that it may justly claim from the worth and virtue of particular persons, by rendering their virtue utterly insignificant.
Robert South.    
  29
 
  If the calumniator bespatters and belies me, I will endeavour to convince him by my life and manners, but not by being like himself.
Robert South.    
  30
 
  It is necessary in such a chain of causes to ascend to and terminate in some first, which should be the original of motion, and the cause of all other things, but itself be caused by none.
Robert South.    
  31
 
  When the tongue is the weapon, a man may strike where he cannot reach, and a word shall do execution both further and deeper than the mightiest blow.
Robert South.    
  32
 
  Nothing can justly be despised that cannot justly be blamed: where there is no choice there can be no blame.
Robert South.    
  33
 
  Some utterly proscribe the name of chance, as a word of impious and profane signification; and indeed if taken by us in that sense in which it was used by the heathen, so as to make anything casual in respect to God himself, their exception ought justly to be admitted.
Robert South.    
  34
 
  To say a thing is chance or casualty, as it relates to second causes, is not profaneness, but a great truth; as signifying no more than that there are some events beside the knowledge, purpose, expectation, and power of second causes.
Robert South.    
  35
 
  As a man thinks or desires in his heart, such, indeed, he is; for then most truly, because most incontrollably, he acts himself.
Robert South.    
  36
 
  When thy brother has lost all that he ever had, and lies languishing, and even gasping under the utmost extremities of poverty and distress, dost thou think to lick him whole again only with thy tongue?
Robert South.    
  37
 
  The measures that God marks out to thy charity are these: thy superfluities must give place to thy neighbour’s great convenience; thy convenience must yield to thy neighbour’s necessity; and, lastly, thy very necessities must yield to thy neighbour’s extremity.
Robert South.    
  38
 
  Some who have been corrupt in their morals have yet been infinitely solicitous to have their children piously brought up.
Robert South.    
  39
 
  The vast distance that sin hath put between the offending creature and the offended Creator required the help of some great umpire and intercessor to open him a new way of access to God; and this Christ did for us as mediator.
Robert South.    
  40
 
  The arguments brought by Christ for the confirmation of his doctrine were in themselves sufficient.
Robert South.    
  41
 
  Christianity teaches nothing but what is perfectly suitable to and coincident with the ruling principle of a virtuous and well-inclined man.
Robert South.    
  42
 
  Our religion is a religion that dares to be understood; that offers itself to the search of the inquisitive, to the inspection of the severest and the most awakened reason; for, being secure of her substantial truth and purity, she knows that for her to be seen and looked into is to be embraced and admired; as there needs no greater argument for men to love the light than to see it.
Robert South.    
  43
 
  The Christian religion is the only means that God has sanctified to set fallen man upon his legs again, to clarify his reason, and to rectify his will.
Robert South.    
  44
 
  Though it be not against strict justice for a man to do those things which he might otherwise lawfully do, albeit his neighbour doth take occasion from thence to conceive in his mind a false belief, yet Christian charity will, in many cases, restrain a man.
Robert South.    
  45
 
  They might justly wonder that men so taught, so obliged to be kind to all, should behave themselves so contrary to such heavenly instructions, such indissoluble obligations.
Robert South.    
  46
 
  What means the service of the church so imperfectly and by halves read over? What makes them mince and mangle that in their practice which they could swallow whole in their subscriptions?
Robert South.    
  47
 
  God is the fountain of honour, and the conduit by which he conveys it to the sons of men are virtues and generous practices. Some, indeed, may please and promise themselves high matters from full revenues, stately palaces, court interests, and great dependences. But that which makes the clergy glorious, is to be knowing in their profession, unspotted in their lives, active and laborious in their charges, bold and resolute in opposing seducers, and daring to look vice in the face, though never so potent and illustrious; and, lastly, to be gentle, courteous, and compassionate to all. These are our robes and our maces, our escutcheons and highest titles of honour.
Robert South.    
  48
 
  But as there are certain mountebanks and quacks in physic, so there are much the same also in divinity.
Robert South.    
  49
 
  It is a sad thing when men shall repair to the ministry not for preferment but refuge; like malefactors flying to the altar only to save their lives.
Robert South.    
  50
 
  Faithful ministers are to stand and endure the brunt: a common soldier may fly, when it is the duty of him that holds the standard to die upon the place.
Robert South.    
  51
 
  Let the minister be low, his interest inconsiderable, the word will suffer for his sake; the message will still find reception according to the dignity of the messenger.
Robert South.    
  52
 
  Company, in any action, gives credit and countenance to the agent; and so much as the sinner gets of this so much he casts off of shame.
Robert South.    
  53
 
  Company, though it may reprieve a man from his melancholy, yet cannot secure him from his conscience.
Robert South.    
  54
 
  Company, he thinks, lessens the shame of vice by sharing it, and abates the torrent of a common odium by deriving it into many channels, and thereby if he cannot wholly avoid the eye of the observer, he hopes to distract it at least by a multiplicity of the object.
Robert South.    
  55
 
  It concerns all who think it worth while to be in earnest with their immortal souls not to abuse themselves with a false confidence; a thing so easily taken up, and so hardly laid down.
Robert South.    
  56
 
  “Conscience” is a Latin word, and, according to the very notation of it, imports a double or joint knowledge; one of a divine law, and the other of a man’s own action; and so is the application of a general law to a particular instance of practice.
Robert South.    
  57
 
  Every man brings such a degree of this light into the world with him, that though it cannot bring him to heaven, yet it will carry him so far that if he follows it faithfully he shall meet with another light which shall carry him quite through.
Robert South.    
  58
 
  There is an innate light in every man, discovering to him the first lines of duty in the common notions of good and evil.
Robert South.    
  59
 
  The authority of conscience stands founded upon its vicegerency and deputation under God.
Robert South.    
  60
 
  Conscience never commands nor forbids any thing authentically but there is some law of God which commands or forbids it first.
Robert South.    
  61
 
  If conscience be naturally apprehensive and sagacious, certainly we should trust and rely upon the reports of it.
Robert South.    
  62
 
  Let every one, therefore, attend the sentence of his conscience; for he may be sure it will not daub nor flatter.
Robert South.    
  63
 
  The reason of mankind cannot suggest any solid ground of satisfaction but in making God our friend, and in carrying a conscience so clear as may encourage us with confidence to cast ourselves upon him.
Robert South.    
  64
 
  Conscience is its own counsellor, the sole master of its own secrets; and it is the privilege of our nature that every man should keep the key of his own breast.
Robert South.    
  65
 
  If a man accustoms himself to slight those first motions to good, or shrinkings of his conscience from evil, conscience will by degrees grow dull and unconcerned.
Robert South.    
  66
 
  All resistance of the dictates of conscience brings a hardness and stupefaction upon it.
Robert South.    
  67
 
  No honour, no fortune, can keep a man from being miserable when an enraged conscience shall fly at him, and take him by the throat.
Robert South.    
  68
 
  The testimony of a good conscience will make the comforts of heaven descend upon man’s weary head like a refreshing dew or shower upon a parched land. It will give him lively earnests and secret anticipations of approaching joy; it will bid his soul go out of the body undauntedly, and lift up his head with confidence before saints and angels. The comfort which it conveys is greater than the capacities of mortality can appreciate, mighty and unspeakable, and not to be understood till it is felt.
Robert South.    
  69
 
  A palsy may as well shake an oak, or a fever dry up a fountain, as either of them shake, dry up, or impair the delight of conscience. For it lies within, it centres in the heart, it grows into the very substance of the soul, so that it accompanies a man to his grave,—he never outlives it; and that for this cause only, because he cannot outlive himself.
Robert South.    
  70
 
  It is not necessary for a man to be assured of the righteousness of his conscience by such an infallible certainty of persuasion as amounts to the clearness of a demonstration; but it is sufficient if he knows it upon grounds of such a probability as shall exclude all rational grounds of doubting.
Robert South.    
  71
 
  The lasting and crowning privilege, or rather property, of friendship is constancy.
Robert South.    
  72
 
  Constancy is such a stability and firmness of friendship as overlooks and passes by lesser failures of kindness, and yet still retains the same habitual good will to a friend.
Robert South.    
  73
 
  There are two functions, contemplation and practice, according to the general division of objects; some of which entertain our speculation, others employ our actions.
Robert South.    
  74
 
  There is no action in the behaviour of one man towards another of which human nature is more impatient than of contempt; it being an undervaluing of a man upon a belief of his utter uselessness and inability, and a spiteful endeavour to engage the rest of the world in the same slight esteem of him.
Robert South.    
  75
 
  Nothing can be a reasonable ground of despising a man but some fault chargeable upon him; and nothing can be a fault that is not naturally in a man’s power to prevent: otherwise it is a man’s unhappiness, his mischance or calamity, but not his fault.
Robert South.    
  76
 
  Our language, by a peculiar significance of dialect, calls the covetous man the miserable man.
Robert South.    
  77
 
  To run the world back to its first original, and view nature in its cradle, to trace the outgoings of the Ancient of days in the first instance of his creative power, is a research too great for mortal inquiry.
Robert South.    
  78
 
  Aristotle held that it streamed by connatural result and emanation from God; so that there was no instant assignable of God’s eternal existence in which the world did not also co-exist.
Robert South.    
  79
 
  God, surveying the works of creation, leaves us this general impress or character upon them, that they were exceeding good.
Robert South.    
  80
 
  It cannot but be matter of very dreadful consideration to any one, sober and in his wits, to think seriously with himself, what horror and confusion must needs surprise that man, at the last day of account, who had led his whole life by one rule, when God intends to judge him by another.
Robert South.    
  81
 
  O the inexpressible horror that will seize upon a sinner when he stands arraigned at the bar of divine justice! when he shall see his accuser, his judge, the witnesses, all his remorseless adversaries!
Robert South.    
  82
 
  Could I give you a lively representation of guilt and horror on this hand, and point out eternal wrath and decipher eternal vengeance on the other, then might I show you the condition of a sinner hearing himself denied by Christ.
Robert South.    
  83
 
  Loss of sight is the misery of life, and usually the forerunner of death: when the malefactor comes once to be muffled, and the fatal cloth drawn over his eyes, we know that he is not far from his execution.
Robert South.    
  84
 
  There are such things as a man shall remember with joy upon his death-bed; such as shall cheer and warm his heart even in that last and bitter agony.
Robert South.    
  85
 
  All deception in the course of life is, indeed, nothing else but a lie reduced to practice, and falsehood passing from words to things.
Robert South.    
  86
 
  Whosoever deceives a man makes him ruin himself; and by causing an error in the great guide of his actions, his judgment, he causes an error in his choice, the misguidance of which must naturally engage him to his destruction.
Robert South.    
  87
 
  All deception is a misapplying of those signs which, by compact or institution, were made the means of men’s signifying or conveying their thoughts.
Robert South.    
  88
 
  Let those consider this who look upon it as a piece of art, and the masterpiece of conversation, to deceive and make a prey of a credulous and well-meaning honesty.
Robert South.    
  89
 
  There can he no greater labour than to be always dissembling; there being so many ways by which a smothered truth is apt to blaze and break out.
Robert South.    
  90
 
  He that despairs measures Providence by his own little contracted model.
Robert South.    
  91
 
  All mankind acknowledge themselves able and sufficient to do many things which actually they never do.
Robert South.    
  92
 
  Many secret indispositions and aversions to duty will steal upon the soul, and it will require both time and close application of mind to recover it to such a frame as shall dispose it for the spiritualities of religion.
Robert South.    
  93
 
  There is no such way of giving God the glory of his infinite knowledge as by an obediential practice of those duties and commands which seem most to thwart and contradict our own.
Robert South.    
  94
 
  Those plain and legible lines of duty requiring us to demean ourselves to God humbly and devoutly, to our governors obediently, to our neighbours justly, and to ourselves soberly and temperately.
Robert South.    
  95
 
  Doing is expressly commanded, and no happiness allowed to anything short of it.
Robert South.    
  96
 
  Questionless, duty moves not so much upon command as promise: now, that which proposes the greatest and most suitable rewards to obedience, and the greatest punishments to disobedience, doubtless is the most likely to enforce the one and prevent the other.
Robert South.    
  97
 
  He who endeavours to know his duty, and practises what he knows, has the equity of God to stand as a mighty wall or rampart between him and damnation for any infirmities.
Robert South.    
  98
 
  That besotting intoxication which verbal magic brings upon the mind.
Robert South.    
  99
 
  It would be a rarity worth the seeing could any one show us such a thing as a perfectly reconciled enemy.
Robert South.    
  100
 
  That which lays a man open to an enemy, and that which strips him of a friend, equally attacks him in all those interests that are capable of being weakened by the one and supported by the other.
Robert South.    
  101
 
  There is no such thing in nature as an honest and lawful envy; but it is intrinsically evil, and imports in it an essential obliquity, not to be taken off or separated from it.
Robert South.    
  102
 
  Thou who repinest at the plenty of thy neighbour and the greatness of his incomes, consider what are frequently the dismal consequences of all this.
Robert South.    
  103
 
  Where things are least to be put to the venture, as the eternal interests of the other world ought to be, there every, even the least, probability, or likelihood, of danger should be provided against.
Robert South.    
  104
 
  Certainly the highest and dearest concerns of a temporal life are infinitely less valuable than those of an eternal; and consequently ought, without any demur at all, to be sacrificed to them, whensoever they come in competition with them.
Robert South.    
  105
 
  Eternal happiness and eternal misery, meeting with a persuasion that the soul is immortal, are, of all others, the first the most desirable, and the latter the most horrible, to human apprehension.
Robert South.    
  106
 
  Does that man take a rational course to preserve himself, who refuses the endurance of those lesser troubles to secure himself from a condition inconceivably more miserable?
Robert South.    
  107
 
  Nothing that is self-evident can be the proper subject of examination.
Robert South.    
  108
 
  No man, in matters of this life, requires an assurance either of the good which he designs, or of the evil which he avoids, from arguments demonstratively certain.
Robert South.    
  109
 
  With ordinary minds it is the suitableness, not the evidence, of a truth that makes it to be yielded to; and it is seldom that anything practically convinces a man that does not please him first.
Robert South.    
  110
 
  There was no such defect in man’s understanding but that it would close with the evidence.
Robert South.    
  111
 
  He is to encounter an enemy made up of wiles and stratagems; an old serpent, a long-experienced deceiver.
Robert South.    
  112
 
  Shame and pain, poverty and sickness, yea death and hell itself, are but the trophies of those fatal conquests got by that grand impostor, the devil, over the deluded sons of men.
Robert South.    
  113
 
  After some account of good, evil will be known by consequence, as being only a privation, or absence, of good.
Robert South.    
  114
 
  The knowledge drawn from experience is quite of another kind from that which flows from speculation or discourse.
Robert South.    
  115
 
  The greater part of the world take up their persuasions concerning good and evil by an implicit faith and a full acquiescence in the word of those who shall represent things to them under these characters.
Robert South.    
  116
 
  Since the Scripture promises eternal happiness and pardon of sin upon the sole condition of faith and sincere obedience, it is evident that he only can plead a title to such a pardon whose conscience impartially tells him that he has performed the required condition.
Robert South.    
  117
 
  His faith must be not only living, but lively too: it must be brightened and stirred up by a particular exercise of those virtues specifically requisite to a due performance of this duty.
Robert South.    
  118
 
  The obedient, and the man of practice, shall outgrow all their doubts and ignorances; till persuasion pass into knowledge, and knowledge advance into assurance.
Robert South.    
  119
 
  Where fraud and falsehood invade society the band presently breaks, and men are put to a loss where to league and to fasten their dependances.
Robert South.    
  120
 
  Fame and glory transport a man out of himself: it makes the mind loose and gairish, scatters the spirits, and leaves a kind of dissolution upon all the faculties.
Robert South.    
  121
 
  What is common fame, which sounds from all quarters of the world, and resounds back to them again, but generally a loud, rattling, impudent lie?
Robert South.    
  122
 
  The Stoics held a fatality, and a fixed unalterable course of events; but then they held also that they fell out by a necessity emergent from and inherent in the things themselves, which God himself could not alter.
Robert South.    
  123
 
  Even our first parents ate themselves out of Paradise; and Job’s children junketed and feasted together often.
Robert South.    
  124
 
  Those are generally good at flattering who are good for nothing else.
Robert South.    
  125
 
  Though they know that the flatterer knows the falsehood of his own flatteries, yet they love the impostor, and with both arms hug the abuse.
Robert South.    
  126
 
  Foolishness, being properly a man’s deviation from right reason, in point of practice must needs consist in his pitching upon such an end as is unsuitable to his condition, or pitching upon means unsuitable to the compassing of his end.
Robert South.    
  127
 
  Of things of the most accidental and mutable nature God’s prescience is certain.
Robert South.    
  128
 
  Albeit the will is not capable of being compelled to any of its actings, yet it is capable of being made to act with more or less difficulty, according to the different impressions it receives from motives or objects.
Robert South.    
  129
 
  All mankind acknowledge themselves able and sufficient to do many things which actually they never do.
Robert South.    
  130
 
  Love is the greatest of human affections, and friendship the noblest and most refined improvement of love.
Robert South.    
  131
 
  People young and raw and soft-natured think it an easy thing to gain love, and reckon their own friendship a sure price of any man’s; but when experience shall have shown them the hardness of most hearts, the hollowness of others, and the baseness and ingratitude of almost all, they will then find that a friend is the gift of God, and that he only who made hearts can unite them.
Robert South.    
  132
 
  He creates those sympathies and suitablenesses of nature that are the foundation of all true friendship, and by his providence brings persons so affected together.
Robert South.    
  133
 
  Many offer at the effects of friendship, but they do not last: they are promising in the beginning, but they fail and jade and tire in the prosecution.
Robert South.    
  134
 
  Whoever has a faithful friend to guide him in the dark passages of life, may carry his eyes to another man’s head, and yet see never the worse.
Robert South.    
  135
 
  Even reckoning makes lasting friends; and the way to make reckonings even is to make them often.
Robert South.    
  136
 
  It is a noble and great thing to cover the blemishes and to excuse the failings of a friend; to draw a curtain before his stains, and to display his perfections; to bury his weaknesses in silence, but to proclaim his virtues upon the house-top.
Robert South.    
  137
 
  If matter of fact breaks out with too great an evidence to be denied, why, still there are other lenitives, that friendship will apply before it will be brought to the decretory rigours of a condemning sentence.
Robert South.    
  138
 
  Charity itself commands us, where we know no ill, to think well of all; but friendship, that always goes a pitch higher, gives a man a peculiar right and claim to the good opinion of his friend.
Robert South.    
  139
 
  All apologies for and alleviations of faults, though they are the heights of humanity, yet they are not the favours, but the duties, of friendship.
Robert South.    
  140
 
  This friendship is of that strength as to remain unshaken by such assaults, which yet are strong enough to shake down and annihilate the friendship of little puny minds.
Robert South.    
  141
 
  When a man shall have done all that he can to make one his friend, and emptied his purse to create endearment between them, he may, in the end, be forced to write vanity and frustration.
Robert South.    
  142
 
  Those, though in highest place, who slight and disoblige their friends, shall infallibly come to know the value of them, by having none when they shall most need them.
Robert South.    
  143
 
  An hasty word, or an indiscreet action, does not dissolve the bond, but that friendship may be still sound in heart, and so outgrow and wear off these little distempers.
Robert South.    
  144
 
  Joy, like a ray of the sun, reflects with a greater ardour and quickness when it rebounds upon a man from the breast of his friend.
Robert South.    
  145
 
  That religion, teaching a future state of souls, is a probability, and that its contrary cannot, with equal probability, be proved, we have evinced.
Robert South.    
  146
 
  The voice of God himself speaks in the heart of men, whether they understand it or no; and by secret intimations gives the sinner a foretaste of that direful cup which he is like to drink more deeply of hereafter.
Robert South.    
  147
 
  There is no nation, though plunged into never such gross idolatry, but has some awful sense of a Deity, and a persuasion of a state of retribution after this life.
Robert South.    
  148
 
  It is the nature of every artificer to tender and esteem his own work; and if God should not love His creature it would reflect some disparagement upon His workmanship, that He should make anything that He could not own. God’s power never produces what His goodness cannot embrace. God oftentimes, in the same man, distinguishes between the sinner and the creature; as a creature He can love him, while as a sinner He does afflict him.
Robert South.    
  149
 
  By our law, no good is to be left undone towards all: not the good of the tongue, the hand, the heart.
Robert South.    
  150
 
  By good, good morally so called, bonum honestum ought chiefly to be understood; and that the good of profit or pleasure, the bonum utile or jucundum, hardly come into any account here.
Robert South.    
  151
 
  Hardly shall you find any one so bad but he desires the credit of being thought good.
Robert South.    
  152
 
  Desires, by a long estrangement from better things, come at length to loathe them.
Robert South.    
  153
 
  There is that controlling worth in goodness that the will cannot but like and desire it; and, on the other side, that odious deformity in vice, that it never offers itself to the affections of mankind but under the disguise of the other.
Robert South.    
  154
 
  Bare communion with a good church can never alone make a good man: if it could, we should have no bad ones.
Robert South.    
  155
 
  Government is an art above the attainment of an ordinary genius.
Robert South.    
  156
 
  To men in governing most things fall out accidentally, and come not into any compliance with their preconceived ends; but they are forced to comply subsequently, and to strike in with things as they fall out, by postliminous after-applications of them to their purposes.
Robert South.    
  157
 
  It is a proposition of eternal verity, that none can govern while he is despised.
Robert South.    
  158
 
  What makes a governor justly despised is viciousness and ill morals. Virtue must tip the preacher’s tongue and the ruler’s sceptre with authority.
Robert South.    
  159
 
  Of contempt, and the malign hostile influence it has upon government, every man’s experience will inform him.
Robert South.    
  160
 
  A third thing that makes a government justly despised is fearfulness of, and mean compliances with, bold popular offenders.
Robert South.    
  161
 
  Governments that once made such a noise, as founded upon the deepest counsels and the strongest force, yet by some slight miscarriage, which let in ruin upon them, are now so utterly extinct that nothing remains of them but a name; nor are there the least traces of them to be found but only in story.
Robert South.    
  162
 
  But the grace of God is pleased to move us by ways suitable to our nature, and to sanctify these sensible helps to higher purposes.
Robert South.    
  163
 
  Gratitude is properly a virtue disposing the mind to an inward sense and an outward acknowledgement of a benefit received, together with a readiness to return the same, or the like, as the occasions of the doer shall require, and the abilities of the receiver extend to.
Robert South.    
  164
 
  Gratitude consists adequately in these two things: first, that it is a debt; and, secondly, that it is such a debt as is left to every man’s ingenuity whether he will pay or no.
Robert South.    
  165
 
  The grateful person, being still the most severe exacter of himself, not only confesses, but proclaims, his debts.
Robert South.    
  166
 
  Look over the whole creation, and you shall see that the band, or cement, that holds together all the parts of this great and glorious fabric is gratitude.
Robert South.    
  167
 
  A truly pious mind receives a temporal blessing with gratitude, a spiritual one with ecstasy and transport.
Robert South.    
  168
 
  Certain it is, that by a direct gradation of consequences from this principle of merit, that the obligation to gratitude flows from, and is enjoined by, the first dictates of nature.
Robert South.    
  169
 
  He who has a soul wholly devoid of gratitude should set his soul to learn of his body; for all the parts of that minister to one another.
Robert South.    
  170
 
  No moralists or casuists that treat scholastically of justice, but treat of gratitude, under that general head, as a part of it.
Robert South.    
  171
 
  Reproach is a concomitant to greatness.
Robert South.    
  172
 
  If it is a pleasure to be envied and shot at, to be maligned standing, and to be despised falling; then is it a pleasure to be great and to be able to dispose of men’s fortunes.
Robert South.    
  173
 
  There never was any heart truly great and generous that was not also tender and compassionate: it is this noble quality that makes all men to be of one kind; for every man would be a distinct species to himself were there no sympathy among individuals.
Robert South.    
  174
 
  When my concernment takes up no more room than myself, then, so long as I know where to breathe, I know also where to be happy.
Robert South.    
  175
 
  In the soul, when the supreme faculties move regularly, the inferior passions and faculties following, there arises a serenity infinitely beyond the highest quintessence and elixir of worldly delight.
Robert South.    
  176
 
  Nothing can make a man happy but that which shall last as long as he lasts: for an immortal soul shall persist in being, not only when profit, pleasure, and honour, but when time itself, shall cease.
Robert South.    
  177
 
  Though men’s persons ought not to be hated, yet without all peradventure their practices justly may.
Robert South.    
  178
 
  Seldom shall one see in rich families that athletic soundness and vigour of constitution which is seen in cottages, where Nature is cook and Necessity caterer.
Robert South.    
  179
 
  Adam knew no disease so long as temperance from the forbidden fruit secured him. Nature was his physician, and innocence and abstinence would have kept him healthful to immortality.
Robert South.    
  180
 
  For a man to doubt whether there be any hell, and thereupon to live as if absolutely there were none, but when he dies to find himself confuted in the flames, this must be the height of woe and disappointment, and a bitter conviction of an irrational venture and absurd choice.
Robert South.    
  181
 
  What are most of the histories of the world but lies? Lies immortalized and consigned over as a perpetual abuse and flaw upon prosperity.
Robert South.    
  182
 
  Let a man be very tender and regardful of every pious motion made by the Spirit of God to his heart.
Robert South.    
  183
 
  As God sometimes addresses himself in this manner to the hearts of men, so if the heart will receive such motions by a ready compliance they will return more frequently, and still more and more powerfully.
Robert South.    
  184
 
  It is not every sinful violation of conscience that can quench the spirit, but it must be a long inveterate course and custom of sinning that at length produces and ends in such a cursed effect.
Robert South.    
  185
 
  Though hope be indeed a lower and lesser thing than assurance, yet, as to all purposes of a pious life, it may prove more useful.
Robert South.    
  186
 
  Those notions are universal, and what is universal must needs proceed from some universal constant principle, the same in all particulars; which can be nothing else but human nature.
Robert South.    
  187
 
  The humble and contented man pleases himself innocently and easily, while the ambitious man attempts to please others sinfully and difficultly.
Robert South.    
  188
 
  It is obvious to distinguish between an act of pusillanimity and an act of great modesty or humility.
Robert South.    
  189
 
  The favourable and good word of men comes oftentimes at a very easy rate; and by a few demure looks and affected whims, set off with some odd devotional postures and grimaces, and such other little acts of dissimulation, cunning men will do wonders.
Robert South.    
  190
 
  Nor is excess the only thing by which sin breaks men in their health, and the comfortable enjoyment of themselves; but many are also brought to a very ill and languishing habit of body by mere idleness; and idleness is both itself a great sin, and the cause of many more.
Robert South.    
  191
 
  Idolatry is not only an accounting or worshipping that for God which is not God, but it is also a worshipping the true God in a way unsuitable to his nature, and particularly by the mediation of images and corporal resemblances.
Robert South.    
  192
 
  Idolatry is certainly the first-born of folly, the great and leading paradox; nay, the very abridgment and sum total of all absurdities.
Robert South.    
  193
 
  Few consider into what degree of sottishness and confirmed ignorance men may sink themselves.
Robert South.    
  194
 
  Ill-nature … consists of a proneness to do ill turns, attended with a secret joy upon the sight of any mischief that befalls another, and of an utter insensibility of any kindness done him.
Robert South.    
  195
 
  Wheresoever you see ingratitude, you may as infallibly conclude that there is a growing stock of ill-nature in that breast, as you may know that man to have the plague upon whom you see the tokens.
Robert South.    
  196
 
  Could we but prevail with the greatest debauchees among us to change their lives, we should find it no very hard matter to change their judgments.
Robert South.    
  197
 
  Nor could they have slid into those brutish immoralities of life had they duly manured those first practical notions and dictates of right reason which the nature of man is originally furnished with.
Robert South.    
  198
 
  A mere inclination to a thing is not properly a willing of that thing; and yet in matters of duty men frequently reckon it for such: for otherwise how should they so often plead and rest in the honest and well-inclined dispositions of their minds, when they are justly charged with an actual non-performance of the law?
Robert South.    
  199
 
  Diligence is a steady, constant, and pertinacious study, that naturally leads the soul into the knowledge of that which at first seemed locked up from it.
Robert South.    
  200
 
  When once infidelity can persuade men that they shall die like beasts, they will soon be brought to live like beasts also.
Robert South.    
  201
 
  Two vices I shall mention as being of near cognation to ingratitude: pride, and hard-heartedness, or want of compassion.
Robert South.    
  202
 
  How black and base a vice ingratitude is may be seen in those vices which it is always in combination with, pride, and hard-heartedness, or want of compassion.
Robert South.    
  203
 
  Ingratitude and compassion never cohabit in the same breast; which shows the superlative malignity of this vice, and the baseness of the mind in which it dwells.
Robert South.    
  204
 
  All examples represent Ingratitude as sitting in its throne, with Pride at its right hand, and Cruelty at its left,—worthy supporters of such a reigning impiety.
Robert South.    
  205
 
  There is not any one vice incident to the mind of man against which the world has raised such a loud and universal outcry as against ingratitude.
Robert South.    
  206
 
  I may truly say of the mind of an ungrateful person, that it is kindness-proof. It is impenetrable, unconquerable; unconquerable by that which conquers all things else, even by love itself. Flints may be melted,—we see it daily,—but an ungrateful heart cannot; no, not by the strongest and the noblest flame.
Robert South.    
  207
 
  By an exact parity of reason, we may argue, if a man has no sense of those kindnesses that pass upon him from one like himself, whom he sees and knows, how much less shall his heart be affected with the grateful sense of His favours whom he converses with only by imperfect speculations, by the discourses of reason, or the discoveries of faith?
Robert South.    
  208
 
  The unthankful stand reckoned among the most enormous sinners; which evinces the virtue opposite to unthankfulness to bear the same place in the rank of duties.
Robert South.    
  209
 
  This shows the high malignity of fraud, that in the natural course of it it tends to the destruction of common life, by destroying trust and mutual confidence.
Robert South.    
  210
 
  An innocent nature could hate nothing that was innocent: in a word, so great is the commutation that the soul then hated only that which now only it loves, i.e., sin.
Robert South.    
  211
 
  God will not take the drunkard’s excuse, that he has so long accustomed himself to intemperate drinking that now he cannot leave it off.
Robert South.    
  212
 
  An innate light discovers the common notions of good and evil, which by cultivation and improvement may be advanced to higher and brighter discoveries.
Robert South.    
  213
 
  The commandments of God being conformable to the dictates of right reason, man’s judgment condemns him when he violates any of them, and so the sinner becomes his own tormentor.
Robert South.    
  214
 
  It may deserve our best skill to inquire into those rules by which we may guide our judgment.
Robert South.    
  215
 
  The knowledge of what is good and what is evil, what ought and what ought not to be done, is a thing too large to be compassed, and too hard to be mastered, without brains and study, parts and contemplation.
Robert South.    
  216
 
  Where a long course of piety has purged the heart, and rectified the will, knowledge will break in upon such a soul like the sun shining in his full might.
Robert South.    
  217
 
  If God gives grace, knowledge will not stay long behind; since it is the same spirit and principle that purifies the heart and clarifies the understanding.
Robert South.    
  218
 
  In a seeing age, the very knowledge of former times passes but for ignorance in a better dress.
Robert South.    
  219
 
  Laboriousness shuts the doors and closes all the avenues of the mind whereby a temptation might enter.
Robert South.    
  220
 
  Care and toil came into the world with sin, and remain ever since inseparable from it.
Robert South.    
  221
 
  In the beginning of speech there was an implicit compact, founded upon common consent, that such words, voices, or gestures should be signs whereby they would express their thoughts.
Robert South.    
  222
 
  How inevitably does an immoderate laughter end in a sigh!
Robert South.    
  223
 
  The obliging power of the law is neither founded in, nor to be measured by, the rewards and punishments annexed to it.
Robert South.    
  224
 
  All law that a man is obliged by is reducible to the law of nature, the positive law of God in his word, and the law of man enacted by the civil power.
Robert South.    
  225
 
  It [the divine law] may be taken as a covenant conveying life, upon absolute, entire, indefective obedience, and awarding death to those who fail in the least punctilio.
Robert South.    
  226
 
  To the Jews join the Egyptians, the first masters of learning.
Robert South.    
  227
 
  Most people in the world are acted by levity and humour, by strange and irrational changes.
Robert South.    
  228
 
  A man’s life is an appendix to his heart.
Robert South.    
  229
 
  To have an orthodox belief and a true profession concurring with a bad life is only to deny Christ with greater solemnity.
Robert South.    
  230
 
  Let all enquiries into the mysterious points of theology be carried on with fervent petitions to God that he would dispose their minds to direct all their skill to the promotion of a good life.
Robert South.    
  231
 
  The great inequality of all things to the appetites of a rational soul appears from this, that in all worldly things a man finds not half the pleasure in the actual possession that he proposed in the expectation.
Robert South.    
  232
 
  Love is the great instrument of nature, the bond and cement of society, the spirit and spring of the universe. Love is such an affection as cannot so properly be said to be in the soul, as the soul to be in that: it is the whole nature wrapt up into one desire.
Robert South.    
  233
 
  The soul may sooner leave off to subsist than to love; and, like the vine, it withers and dies if it has nothing to embrace.
Robert South.    
  234
 
  An invisible hand from heaven mingles hearts and souls by strange, secret, and unaccountable conjunctions.
Robert South.    
  235
 
  Love is like a painter, who in drawing the picture of a friend having a blemish in one eye, would picture only the other side of the face.
Robert South.    
  236
 
  A lie is properly an outward signification of something contrary to, or at least beside, the inward sense of the mind: so that when one thing is signified or expressed, and the same thing not meant or intended, that is properly a lie.
Robert South.    
  237
 
  A lie is properly a species of injustice, and a violation of the right of that person to whom the false speech is directed; for all speaking, or signification of one’s mind, implies an act or address of one man to another.
Robert South.    
  238
 
  A lie is like a vizard, that may cover the face indeed, but can never become it.
Robert South.    
  239
 
  No villainy or flagitious action was ever yet committed but, upon a due enquiry into the causes of it, it will be found that a lie was first or last the principal engine to effect it.
Robert South.    
  240
 
  Schoolmen and casuists, having too much philosophy to clear a lie from that intrinsic inordination and deviation from right reason inherent in the nature of it, held that a lie was absolutely and universally sinful.
Robert South.    
  241
 
  This is the liar’s lot: he is accounted a pest and a nuisance; a person marked out for infamy and scorn.
Robert South.    
  242
 
  As the calling dignifies the man, so the man much more advances his calling. As a garment, though it warms the body, has a return with an advantage, being much more warmed by it.
Robert South.    
  243
 
  Not the least transaction of sense and motion in man but philosophers are at a loss to comprehend.
Robert South.    
  244
 
  The sole measure of all his courtesies is, what return they will make him, and what revenue they will bring him in.
Robert South.    
  245
 
  How often may we meet with those who are one while courteous, but within a small time after are so supercilious, sharp, troublesome, fierce, and exceptions that they … become the very sores and burdens of society!
Robert South.    
  246
 
  We are to carry it from the hand to the heart, to improve a ceremonial nicety into a substantial duty, and the modes of civility into the realities of religion.
Robert South.    
  247
 
  The witnessing of the truth was then so generally attended with this event [martyrdom] that martyrdom now signifieth not only to witness, but to witness to death.
Robert South.    
  248
 
  Frequent consideration of a thing wears off the strangeness of it; and shows it in its several lights, and various ways of appearance, to the view of the mind.
Robert South.    
  249
 
  There can be no study without time; and the mind must abide and dwell upon things, or be always a stranger to the inside of them.
Robert South.    
  250
 
  A man by revoking and recollecting within himself former passages will be apt still to inculcate these sad memoirs to his conscience.
Robert South.    
  251
 
  When a man shall be just about to quit the stage of this world, to put off his mortality, and to deliver up his last accounts to God, his memory shall serve him for little else but to terrify him with a frightful review of his past life.
Robert South.    
  252
 
  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.    
  253
 
  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.    
  254
 
  A miracle is a work exceeding the power of any created agent, consequently being an effect of the divine omnipotence.
Robert South.    
  255
 
  Modesty is a kind of shame or bashfulness proceeding from the sense a man has of his own defects compared with the perfections of him whom he comes before.
Robert South.    
  256
 
  The morality of an action is founded in the freedom of that principle by virtue of which it is in the agent’s power, having all things ready and requisite to the performance of an action, either to perform or not perform it.
Robert South.    
  257
 
  It holds in all operative principles whatsoever, but especially in such as relate to morality; in which not to proceed is certainly to go backward.
Robert South.    
  258
 
  Good and evil in morality, as the east and west are in the frame of the world, founded in and divided by that unalterable situation which they have respectively in the whole body of the universe.
Robert South.    
  259
 
  The generality of men are wholly governed by names, in matters of good and evil, so far as these qualities relate to and affect the actions of men.
Robert South.    
  260
 
  Novelty is the great-parent of pleasure.
Robert South.    
  261
 
  When men first take up an opinion, and then afterwards seek for reasons for it, they must be contented with such as the absurdity of it will afford.
Robert South.    
  262
 
  Some as corrupt in their morals as vice could make them, have yet been solicitous to have their children soberly, virtuously, and piously brought up.
Robert South.    
  263
 
  Partiality is properly the understanding’s judging according to the inclination of the will and affections, and not according to the exact truth of things, or the merits of the cause.
Robert South.    
  264
 
  The fumes of passion do as really intoxicate, and confound the judging and discerning faculty, as the fumes of drink discompose and stupefy the brain of a man overcharged with it.
Robert South.    
  265
 
  During the commotion of the blood and spirits, in which passion consists, whatsoever is offered to the imagination in favour of it tends only to deceive the reason: it is indeed a real trepan upon it, feeding it with colours and appearances instead of arguments.
Robert South.    
  266
 
  Take any passion of the soul of man while it is predominant and afloat; and, just in the critical height of it, nick it with some lucky or unlucky word; and you may as certainly overrule it to your own purpose, as a spark of fire falling upon gunpowder will infallibly blow it up.
Robert South.    
  267
 
  Great and strange calms usually portend the most violent storms; and therefore, since storms and calms do always follow one another, certainly, of the two, it is much more eligible to have the storm first, and the calm afterwards: since a calm before a storm is commonly a peace of a man’s making; but a calm after a storm a peace of God’s.
Robert South.    
  268
 
  Adam, in the state of innocence, came into the world a philosopher, which sufficiently appealed by his writing the natures of things upon their names: he could view essences in themselves, and read forms without the comment of their respective properties.
Robert South.    
  269
 
  What admirable things occur in the remains of several other philosophers! Short, I confess, of the rules of Christianity, but generally above the lives of Christians.
Robert South.    
  270
 
  As in many things the knowledge of philosophers was short of the truth, so almost in all things their practice fell short of their knowledge: the principles by which they walked were as much below those by which they judged as their feet were below their head.
Robert South.    
  271
 
  Epicurus’s discourse concerning the original of the world is so ridiculously merry, that the design of his philosophy was pleasure, and not instruction.
Robert South.    
  272
 
  They have no other doctor but sun and the fresh air, and that, such an one as never sends them to the apothecary.
Robert South.    
  273
 
  The unsuitableness of one man’s aspect to another man’s fancy has raised such an aversion as has produced a perfect hatred of him.
Robert South.    
  274
 
  If God has interwoven such a pleasure with our ordinary calling, how much superior must that be which arises from the survey of a pious life? Surely as much as Christianity is nobler than a trade.
Robert South.    
  275
 
  Pleasure, in general, is the consequent apprehension of a suitable object suitably applied to a rightly disposed faculty.
Robert South.    
  276
 
  That pleasure is man’s chiefest good, because indeed it is the perception of good that is properly pleasure, is an assertion most certainly true; though under the common acceptance of it, not only false, but odious: for, according to this, pleasure and sensuality pass for terms equivalent; and therefore he who takes it in this sense alters the subject of the discourse.
Robert South.    
  277
 
  The sinner, at his highest pitch of enjoyment, is not pleased with it so much, but he is afflicted more; and as long as these inward rejolts and recoilings of the mind continue, the sinner will find his accounts of pleasure very poor.
Robert South.    
  278
 
  The pleasure of the religious man is an easy and portable pleasure, such an one as he carries about in his bosom, without alarming either the eye or envy of the world: a man putting all his pleasures into this one is like a traveller’s putting all his goods into one jewel.
Robert South.    
  279
 
  A pleasure that a man may call as properly his own as his soul and his conscience, neither liable to accident, nor exposed to injury: it is the foretaste of heaven, and the earnest of eternity.
Robert South.    
  280
 
  The thorough-paced politician must laugh at the squeamishness of his conscience, and read it another lecture.
Robert South.    
  281
 
  The vulgar and the many are fit only to be led or driven.
Robert South.    
  282
 
  Was he not a man of wisdom? Yes, but he was poor: But was he not also successful? True, but still he was poor: Grant this, and you cannot keep off that unavoidable sequel in the next verse, the poor man’s wisdom is despised.
Robert South.    
  283
 
  It is not barely a man’s abridgment in his external accommodations which makes him miserable; but when his conscience shall tell him that it was his sin and his folly which brought him under that abridgment.
Robert South.    
  284
 
  There are two functions of the soul,—contemplation and practice,—according to the general division of objects, some of which only entertain our speculations, others employ our actions.
Robert South.    
  285
 
  The active informations of the intellect filling the passive reception of the will, like form closing with matter, grew actuate into a third and distinct perfection of practice.
Robert South.    
  286
 
  None but the careless and the confident would rush rudely into the presence of a great man: and shall we, in our applications to the great God, take that to be religion which the common reason of mankind will not allow to be manners?
Robert South.    
  287
 
  But you will ask, Upon what account is it that prayer becomes efficacious with God to procure us the good things we pray for? I answer, Upon this, that it is the fulfilling of that condition upon which God has promised to convey his blessings to men.
Robert South.    
  288
 
  The extemporizing faculty is never more out of its element than in the pulpit; though even here it is much more excusable in a sermon than in a prayer.
Robert South.    
  289
 
  Nothing great ought to be ventured on without preparation; but, above all, how sottish is it to engage extempore where the concern is eternity!
Robert South.    
  290
 
  It will be found a work of no small difficulty to dispossess a vice from that heart where long possession begins to plead prescription.
Robert South.    
  291
 
  To all intents and purposes, he who will not open his eyes is, for the present, as blind as he that cannot.
Robert South.    
  292
 
  Pride swelled thee to a proportion ready to burst; it brought thee to feed upon air, and to starve thy soul only to pauper thy imagination.
Robert South.    
  293
 
  Pride is of such intimate connection with ingratitude that the actions of ingratitude seem directly resolvable into pride, as the principal reason of them.
Robert South.    
  294
 
  He looked upon it as morally impossible for persons infinitely proud to frame their minds to an impartial consideration of a religion that taught nothing but self-denial and the cross.
Robert South.    
  295
 
  He acts upon the surest and most prudential grounds who, whether the principles which he acts upon prove true or false, yet secures a happy issue in his actions.
Robert South.    
  296
 
  He who fixes upon false principles treads upon infirm ground, and so sinks; and he who fails in his deductions from right principles stumbles upon firm ground, and so falls.
Robert South.    
  297
 
  That is accounted probable which has better arguments producible for it than can be brought against it.
Robert South.    
  298
 
  Is not the separate property of a thing the great cause of its endearment amongst all mankind?
Robert South.    
  299
 
  Each man has but a limited right to the good things of the world; and the natural allowed way by which he is to compass the possession of these things is by his own industrious acquisition of them.
Robert South.    
  300
 
  There was a full entire harmony and consent of all the divine predictions, receiving their completion in Christ.
Robert South.    
  301
 
  If the prophecies are not fulfilled in Jesus, it is impossible to know when a prophecy is fulfilled, and when not, which would utterly evacuate the use of them.
Robert South.    
  302
 
  Creation must needs infer providence, and God’s making the world irrefragably proves that he governs it too; or that a being of dependent nature remains nevertheless independent upon him in that respect.
Robert South.    
  303
 
  Let no man who owns a providence grow desperate under any calamity or strait whatsoever, but compose the anguish of his thoughts upon this one consideration, that he comprehends not those strange unaccountable methods by which providence may dispose of him.
Robert South.    
  304
 
  In all our undertakings God will be either our friend or our enemy; for Providence never stands neuter.
Robert South.    
  305
 
  Providence never shoots at rovers: there is an arrow that flies by night as well as by day, and God is the person that shoots it.
Robert South.    
  306
 
  All nations that grew great out of little or nothing did so merely by the public-mindedness of particular persons.
Robert South.    
  307
 
  If I build my felicity upon my reputation I am happy as long as the railer will give me leave.
Robert South.    
  308
 
  Though reason is not to be relied upon as universally sufficient to direct us what to do, yet it is generally to be relied upon, and obeyed, where it tells us what we are not to do.
Robert South.    
  309
 
  For a rational creature to conform himself to the will of God in all things carries in it a rational rectitude or goodness; and to disobey or oppose his will in anything imports a moral obliquity.
Robert South.    
  310
 
  Nor is that man less deceived that thinks to maintain a constant tenure of pleasure by a continual pursuit of sports and recreations: for all these things, as they refresh a man when weary, so they weary him when refreshed.
Robert South.    
  311
 
  As he forbore one act, so he might have forborne another, and after that another, and so on till he had by degrees weakened, and at length mortified and extinguished, the habit itself.
Robert South.    
  312
 
  Some men, from a false persuasion that they cannot reform their lives and root out their old vicious habits, never so much as attempt, endeavour, or go about it.
Robert South.    
  313
 
  In persons already possessed with notions of religion, the understanding cannot be brought to change them, but by great examination of the truth and firmness of the one, and the flaws and weakness of the other.
Robert South.    
  314
 
  Those two great things that so engross the desires and designs of both the nobler and ignobler sort of mankind are to be found in religion; namely, wisdom and pleasure.
Robert South.    
  315
 
  This is a confidence of all the most ungrounded and irrational. For upon what ground can a man promise himself a future repentance who cannot promise himself a futurity?
Robert South.    
  316
 
  It can be no duty to write his heart upon his forehead, and to give all the inquisitive and malicious world a survey of those thoughts which is the prerogative of God only to know.
Robert South.    
  317
 
  If anything can legalize revenge, it should be injury from an extremely obliged person: but revenge is so absolutely the peculiar of heaven, that no consideration whatever can empower even the best men to assume the execution of it.
Robert South.    
  318
 
  Nothing the united voice of all history proclaims so loud, as the certain unfailing curse that has pursued and overtook sacrilege.
Robert South.    
  319
 
  If men loved to be deceived and fooled about their spiritual estate, they cannot take a surer course than by taking their neighbour’s word for that which can be known only from their own heart.
Robert South.    
  320
 
  Neither a bare approbation of, nor a mere wishing, nor unactive complacency in, nor, lastly, a natural inclination to, things virtuous and good, can pass before God for a man’s willing of such things: and, consequently, if men, upon this account, will needs take up and acquiesce in an airy ungrounded persuasion that they will those things which really they not will, they fall thereby into a gross and fatal delusion.
Robert South.    
  321
 
  Some judge it advisable for a man to account with his heart every day; and this, no doubt, is the best and surest course; for still the oftener the better.
Robert South.    
  322
 
  This method, faithfully observed, must keep a man from breaking or running behind-hand in his spiritual estate: which without frequent accountings he will hardly be able to prevent.
Robert South.    
  323
 
  He cannot sincerely consider the strength, poise the weight, and discern the evidence, of the clearest argumentations, where they would conclude against his desires.
Robert South.    
  324
 
  No evangelical precept justles out that of a lawful self-preservation.
Robert South.    
  325
 
  It is a quality that confines a man wholly within himself, leaving him void of that principle which alone should dispose him to communicate and impart those redundancies of good that he is possessed of.
Robert South.    
  326
 
  When the supreme faculties move regularly, the inferior affections following, there arises a serenity and complacency upon the whole soul.
Robert South.    
  327
 
  Is there anything that more embitters the enjoyments of this life than shame?
Robert South.    
  328
 
  Shame contracts the spirits, fixes the ramblings of fancy, and gathers the man into himself.
Robert South.    
  329
 
  Sin is to the soul like fire to combustible matter; it assimilates before it destroys it.
Robert South.    
  330
 
  Sin, taken into the soul, is like a liquor poured in a vessel; so much of it as it fills, it also seasons: the touch and tincture go together: so that although the body of the liquor should be poured out again, yet still it leaves that tang behind it.
Robert South.    
  331
 
  Though sin offers itself in never so pleasing and alluring a dress at first, yet the remorse and inward regrets of the soul upon the commission of it infinitely overbalance those faint and transient gratifications it affords the senses.
Robert South.    
  332
 
  The wages that sin bargains with the sinner are life, pleasure, and profit; but the wages it pays him with are death, torment, and destruction: he that would understand the falsehood and deceit of sin thoroughly must compare its promises and its payments together.
Robert South.    
  333
 
  Compare the harmlessness, the credulity, the tenderness, the modesty, and the ingenious pliableness to virtuous counsels, which is in youth untainted, with the mischievousness, the slyness, the craft, the impudence, the falsehood, and the confirmed obstinacy in an aged long-practised sinner.
Robert South.    
  334
 
  The last fatal step is, by frequent repetition of the sinful act, to continue and persist in it, till at length it settles into a fixed confirmed habit of sin; which, being that which the apostle calls the finishing of sin, ends certainly in death; death not only as to merit, but also as to actual infliction.
Robert South.    
  335
 
  Solitude and singularity can neither daunt nor disgrace him, unless we could suppose it a disgrace to be singularly good.
Robert South.    
  336
 
  As by flattery a man is usually brought to open his bosom to his mortal enemy, so by detraction, and a slanderous misreport of persons, he is often brought to shut the same even to his best and truest friends.
Robert South.    
  337
 
  A servant commonly is less free in mind than in condition; his very will seems to be in bonds and shackles, and desire itself under durance and captivity.
Robert South.    
  338
 
  Heaven, when the creature lies prostrate in the weakness of sleep and weariness, spreads the covering of night and darkness to conceal it.
Robert South.    
  339
 
  Man can effect no great matter by his personal strength but as he acts in society and conjunction with others.
Robert South.    
  340
 
  There is no such thing as perfect secrecy, to encourage a rational mind to the perpetration of any base action; for a man must first extinguish and put out the great light within him, his conscience: he must get away from himself, and shake off the thousand witnesses which he always carries about him, before he can be alone.
Robert South.    
  341
 
  Sorrow being the natural and direct offspring of sin, that which first brought sin into the world must, by necessary consequence, bring in sorrow too.
Robert South.    
  342
 
  The image of God was no less resplendent in man’s practical understanding; namely, that storehouse of the soul, in which are treasured up the rules of action and the seeds of morality.
Robert South.    
  343
 
  There are two functions of the soul, contemplation and practice, according to that general division of objects, some of which only entertain our speculations, others also employ our actions; so the understanding with relation to these is divided into speculative and practic.
Robert South.    
  344
 
  Heights that scorn our prospect, and depths of which reason will never touch the bottom, yet surely the pleasure arising from thence is great and noble; forasmuch as they afford perpetual matter to the inquisitiveness of human reason, and so are large enough for it to take its full scope and range in.
Robert South.    
  345
 
  There is an evil spirit continually active, and intent to seduce.
Robert South.    
  346
 
  In states notoriously irreligious a secret and irresistible power countermands their deepest projects, splits their counsels, and smites their most refined policies with frustration and a curse.
Robert South.    
  347
 
  When the corruption of men’s manners, by the habitual improvement of this vicious principle, comes, from personal, to be general and universal, so as to diffuse and spread itself over the whole community, it naturally and directly tends to the ruin and subversion of the government where it so prevails.
Robert South.    
  348
 
  The only persons amongst the heathens who sophisticated nature and philosophy were the Stoics; who affirmed a fatal, unchangeable concatenation of causes, reaching even to the elicite acts of man’s will.
Robert South.    
  349
 
  The Stoics looked upon all passions as sinful defects and irregularities, as so many deviations from right reason; making passion to be only another name for perturbation.
Robert South.    
  350
 
  The Stoics held a fatality, and a fixed, unalterable course of events; but then they held also that they fell out by a necessity emergent from and inherent in the things themselves, which God himself could not alter.
Robert South.    
  351
 
  There is a certain majesty in plainness; as the proclamation of a prince never frisks it in tropes or fine conceits, in numerous and well-turned periods, but commands in sober natural expressions.
Robert South.    
  352
 
  We learn the great reasonableness of not only a contented, but also a thankful, acquiesence in any condition and under the crossest and severest passages of Providence.
Robert South.    
  353
 
  If a man succeeds in any attempt, though undertook with never so much rashness, his success shall vouch him a politician, and good luck shall pass for deep contrivance: for give any one fortune, and he shall be thought a wise man.
Robert South.    
  354
 
  Nature itself, after it has done an injury, will ever be suspicious; and no man can love the person he suspects.
Robert South.    
  355
 
  Nothing can so peculiarly gratify the noble dispositions of human nature as for one man to see another so much himself as to sigh his griefs, and groan his pains, to sing his joys, and do and feel everything by sympathy and secret inexpressible communications.
Robert South.    
  356
 
  Men more easily pardon ill things done than said; such a peculiar rancour and venom do they leave behind in men’s minds, and so much more poisonously and incurably does the serpent bite with his tongue than his teeth.
Robert South.    
  357
 
  In great families, some one false, paltry tale-bearer, by carrying stories from one to another, shall inflame the minds and discompose the quiet of the whole family.
Robert South.    
  358
 
  Teaching is not a flow of words, nor the draining of an hour-glass, but an effectual procuring that a man know something which he knew not before, or to know it better.
Robert South.    
  359
 
  He that governs well leads the blind; but he that teaches gives him eyes: and it is glorious to be a subworker to grace, in freeing it from some of the inconveniences of original sin.
Robert South.    
  360
 
  Is there anything which reflects a greater lustre upon a man’s person than a severe temperance, and a restraint of himself from vicious pleasures?
Robert South.    
  361
 
  Every man living shall assuredly meet with an hour of temptation, a certain critical hour, which shall more especially try what mettle his heart is made of.
Robert South.    
  362
 
  Reflect upon a clear, unblotted, acquitted conscience, and feed upon the ineffable comforts of the memorial of a conquered temptation.
Robert South.    
  363
 
  When the supreme faculties move regularly, the inferior passions and affections following, there arises a serenity and complacency upon the whole soul, infinitely beyond the greatest bodily pleasures, the highest quintessence and elixir of worldly delights.
Robert South.    
  364
 
  Truth is a stronghold, fortified by God and nature, and diligence is properly the understanding’s laying siege to it; so that it must be perpetually observing all the avenues and passes to it, and accordingly making its approaches.
Robert South.    
  365
 
  The law of Christianity is eminently and transcendently called the word of truth.
Robert South.    
  366
 
  The understanding, that should be eyes to the blind faculty of the will, is blind itself; and so brings all the inconveniences that attend a blind follower under the conduct of a blind guide.
Robert South.    
  367
 
  Hardly shall you meet with man or woman so aged or ill-favoured but if you will commend them for comeliness, nay, and for youth too, shall take it well.
Robert South.    
  368
 
  A love of vice as such, a delighting in sin for its own sake, is an imitation, or rather an exemplification, of the malice of the devil.
Robert South.    
  369
 
  An homage which nature commands all understandings to pay to virtue; and yet it is but a faint, unactive thing; for, in defiance of the judgment, the will may still remain as much a stranger to virtue as before.
Robert South.    
  370
 
  There is as much difference between the approbation of the judgment, and the actual volitions of the will, as between a man’s viewing a desirable thing with his eye, and reaching after it with his hand.
Robert South.    
  371
 
  Every warrior may be said to be a soldier of fortune, and the best commanders to have a lottery for their work.
Robert South.    
  372
 
  It may contribute to his misery, heighten the anguish and sharpen the sting of conscience, and so add fury to the everlasting flames, when he shall reflect upon the abuse of wealth and greatness.
Robert South.    
  373
 
  Nothing can support minds drooping and sneaking, and inwardly reproaching them, from a sense of their own guilt, but to see others as bad.
Robert South.    
  374
 
  A wish is properly the desire of a man sitting or lying still; but an act of the will is a man of business vigorously going about his work.
Robert South.    
  375
 
  When the will has exerted an act of command upon any faculty of the soul, or member of the body, it has done all that the whole man, as a moral agent, can do for the actual exercise or employment of such a faculty or member.
Robert South.    
  376
 
  There cannot be a more important case of conscience for men to be resolved in than to know certainly how far God accepts the will for the deed, and how far he does not; and to be informed truly when men do really will a thing, and when they have really no power to do what they have willed.
Robert South.    
  377
 
  Where there is a real stock of wit, yet the wittiest sayings and sentences wilt be found in a great measure the issues of chance, and nothing else but so many lucky hits of a roving fancy.
Robert South.    
  378
 
  Lewd, shallow-brained huffs make atheism and contempt of religion the badge of wit.
Robert South.    
  379
 
  In the first establishments of speech there was an implicit compact, founded upon common consent, that such and such words should be signs whereby they would express their thoughts one to another.
Robert South.    
  380
 
  A word unadvisedly spoken on the one side, or misunderstood on the other, has raised such an aversion to him as in time has produced a perfect hatred of him.
Robert South.    
  381
 
  God never accepts a good inclination instead of a good action, where that action may be done; nay, so much the contrary, that if a good inclination be not seconded by a good action, the want of that action is made so much the more criminal and inexcusable.
Robert South.    
  382
 
  The doctrine that asserts that it is in men’s power to supererogate, and do works of perfection over and above what is required of them by way of precept, tends to the undermining and hindrance of a godly life.
Robert South.    
  383
 
  The world is maintained by intercourse; and the whole course of nature is a great exchange, in which one good turn is, and ought to be, the stated price of another.
Robert South.    
  384
 
  For the preferments of the world, he that would reckon up all the accidents that they depend upon, may as well undertake to count the sands, or to sum up infinity.
Robert South.    
  385
 
  Compare the harmlessness, the tenderness, the modesty, and the ingenuous pliableness, which is in youth, with the mischievousness, the slyness, the craft, the impudence, the falsehood, and the confirmed obstinacy found in an aged, long-practised sinner.
Robert South.    
  386
 
  It is idleness that creates impossibilities; and where men care not to do a thing, they shelter themselves under a persuasion that it cannot be done. The shortest and the surest way to prove a work possible, is strenuously to set about it; and no wonder if that proves it possible that for the most part makes it so.
Robert South: Sermons.    
  387
 
  It is wonderful to consider how a command or call to be liberal, either upon a civil or religious account, all of a sudden impoverishes the rich, breaks the merchant, shuts up every private man’s exchequer, and makes those men in a minute have nothing who, at the very same instant, want nothing to spend. So that, instead of relieving the poor, such a command strangely increases their number, and transforms rich men into beggars presently.
Robert South: Sermons.    
  388
 
 
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