S. Austin Allibone, comp. Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay. 1880.
Books are the food of youth, the delight of old age; the ornament of prosperity, the refuge and comfort of adversity; a delight at home, and no hindrance abroad; companions by night, in travelling, in the country.
There is, I know not how, in the minds of men, a certain presage, as it were, of a future existence; and this takes the deepest root and is most discoverable in the greatest geniuses and most exalted souls.
Some men make a womanish complaint that it is a great misfortune to die before our time. I would ask, What time? Is it that of nature? But she, indeed, has lent us life, as we do a sum of money, only no certain day is fixed for payment. What reason, then, to complain if she demands it at pleasure, since it was on this condition you received it?
Vicious habits are so great a stain to human nature, and so odious in themselves, that every person actuated by right reason would avoid them, though he were sure they would be always concealed both from God and man, and had no future punishment entailed upon them.
But if I err in believing that the souls of men are immortal, I willingly err; nor while I live would I wish to have this delightful error extorted from me; and if after death I shall feel nothing, as some minute philosophers think, I am not afraid lest dead philosophers should laugh at me for the error.
Cicero: De Senect., cap. ult., ed. Verburgii, x. 375, 8vo.
When I consider the wonderful activity of the mind, so great a memory of what is past, and such a capacity of penetrating into the future; when I behold such a number of arts and sciences, and such a multitude of discoveries thence arising; I believe and am firmly persuaded that a nature which contains so many things within itself cannot be mortal.