SMITH, Sydney Quotes
(1771-1845), English divine
All affectation proceeds from the supposition of possessing something better than the rest of the world possesses. Nobody is vain of possessing two legs and two arms, because that is the precise quantity of either sort of limb which everybody possesses.
Brevity to writing is what charity is to all other virtues; righteousness is nothing without the one, nor authorship without the other.
Children are excellent physiognomists, and soon discover their real friends.—Luttrell calls them all lunatics, and so in fact they are.—What is childhood but a series of happy delusions?
Contempt is commonly taken by the young for an evidence of understanding; but it is neither difficult to acquire, nor meritorious when acquired. To discover the imperfections of others is penetration; to hate them for their faults is contempt. We may be clearsighted without being malevolent, and make use of the errors we discover, to learn caution, not to gratify satire.
A great deal of talent is lost in this world for the want of a little courage.
Education gives fecundity of thought, copiousness of illustration, quickness, vigor, fancy, words, images, and illustrations; it decorates every common thing, and gives the power of trifling without being undignified and absurd.
The taste for emotion may become a dangerous taste; we should be very cautious how we attempt to squeeze out of human life more ecstasy and paroxysm than it can well afford.
No enjoyment, however inconsiderable, is confined to the present moment. A man is the happier for life from having made once an agreeable tour, or lived for any length of time with pleasant people, or enjoyed any considerable interval of innocent pleasure.
To do anything in this world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in, and scramble through as well as we can.
Errors to be dangerous must have a great deal of truth mingled with them.—It is only from this alliance that they can ever obtain an extensive circulation.—From pure extravagance, and genuine, unmingled falsehood, the world never has, and never can sustain any mischief.
The dearest things in the world are our neighbor's eyes; they cost everybody more than anything else in housekeeping.
Life is to be fortified by many friendships.—To love and to be loved is the greatest happiness of existence.
I have come to the conclusion that mankind consume too much food.
There is but one method, and that is hard labor; and a man who will not pay that price for greatness had better at once dedicate himself to the pursuit of the fox, or to talk of bullocks, and glory in the goad.
Why destroy present happiness by a distant misery which may never come at all, or you may never live to see it?— Every substantial grief has twenty shadows, and most of them shadows of your own making.
The haunts of happiness are varied, but I have more often found her among little children, home firesides, and country houses than anywhere else.
All mankind are happier for having been happy, so that if you make them happy new, you make them happy twenty years hence by the memory of it.
Humanity is a duty made known and enjoined by revelation, and ever keeping pace with the progress of Christianity.
If idleness do not produce vice or malevolence, it commonly produces melancholy.
Have the courage to be ignorant of a great number of things, in order to avoid the calamity of being ignorant of everything.
Old friendships are destroyed by toasted cheese, and hard salted meat has led to suicide. Unpleasant feelings of the body produce correspondent sensations of the mind, and a great scene of wretchedness is sketched out by a morsel of indigestible and misguided food.
Dislike of innovation proceeds sometimes from the disgust excited by false humanity, canting hypocrisy, and silly enthusiasm.
We must despise no sort of talents; they all have their separate uses and duties; all have the happiness of man for their object; they all improve, exalt, and gladden life.
The only way to make the mass of mankind see the beauty of justice, is by showing them, in pretty plain terms, the consequence of injustice.
You may find people ready enough to do the Samaritan without the oil and two-pence.
Every increase of knowledge may possibly render depravity more depraved, as well as it may increase the strength of virtue. It is in itself only power; and its value depends on its application.
Most men want knowledge, not for itself, but for the superiority which knowledge confers; and the means they employ to secure this superiority are as wrong as the ultimate object, for no man can ever end with being superior, who will not begin with being inferior.
There is but one method of success, and that is hard labor; and a man who will not pay that price for distinction had better at once dedicate himself to the pursuit of the fox.
There are many ways of being frivolous, only one way of being intellectually great; that is honest labor.
Man could direct his ways by plain reason, and support his life by tasteless food, but God has given us wit, and flavor, and brightness, and laughter to enliven the days of man's pilgrimage, and to charm his pained steps o'er the burning marle.
When I hear any man talk of an unalterable law, the only effect it produces on me is to convince me that he is an unalterable fool.
Manners are the shadows of virtues; the momentary display of those qualities which our fellow creatures love and respect. If we strive to become, then, what we strive to appear, manners may often be rendered useful guides to the performance of our duties.
Manners are the shadows of virtues, the momentary display of those qualities which our fellow-creatures love and respect.
Marriage resembles a pair of shears, so joined that they cannot be separated; often moving in opposite directions, yet always punishing any one who comes between them.
I once gave a lady two-and-twenty receipts against melancholy; one was a bright fire; another, to remember all the pleasant things said to her; another, to keep a box of sugarplums on the chimney-piece and a kettle simmering on the hob. I thought this mere trifling at the moment, but have in after life discovered how true it is that these little pleasures often banish melancholy better than higher and more exalted objects; and that no means ought to be thought too trifling which can oppose it either in ourselves or in others.
The avaricious love of gain, which is so feelingly deplored, appears to us a principle which, in able hands, might be guided to the most salutary purposes. The object is to encourage the love of labor, which is best encouraged by the love of money.
All musical people seem to be happy; it is to them the engrossing pursuit; almost the only innocent and unpunished passion.
Whatever you are by nature, keep to it; never desert your own line of talent. Be what nature intended you for, and you will succeed; be anything else and you will be ten thousand times worse than nothing.
It is always considered as a piece of impertinence in England, if a man of less than two or three thousand a year has any opinions at all upon important subjects.
As pedantry is an ostentatious obtrusion of knowledge, in which those who hear us cannot sympathize, it is a fault of which soldiers, sailors, sportsmen, gamesters, cultivators, and all men engaged in a particular occupation, are quite as guilty as scholars; but they have the good fortune to have the vice only of pedantry, while scholars have both the vice and the name for it too.
Politeness is good nature regulated by good sense.
Poverty is no disgrace to a man but it is confoundedly inconvenient.
Among the smaller duties of life, I hardly know any one more important than that of not praising where praise is not due. Reputation is one of the prizes for which men contend: it produces more labor and more talent than twice the wealth of a country could ever rear up. It is the coin of genius, and it is the imperious duty of every man to bestow it with the most scrupulous justice and the wisest economy.
The object of preaching, is, constantly to remind mankind of what they are constantly forgetting; not to supply the defects of human intelligence, but to fortify the feebleness of human resolutions; to recall mankind from the bypaths where they turn into that broad path of salvation which all know, but few tread.
Pulpit discourses have insensibly dwindled from speaking to reading; a practice of itself sufficient to stifle every germ of eloquence.
Never try to reason the prejudice out of a man.—It was not reasoned into him, and cannot be reasoned out.
Pride is not the heritage of man; humility should dwell with frailty, and atone for ignorance, error, and imperfection.
We should accustom the mind to keep the best company by introducing it only to the best books.
We are told, "Let not the sun go down in your wrath," but I would add, never act or write till it has done so. This rule has saved me from many an act of folly. It is wonderful what a different view we take of the same event four-and-twenty hours after it has happened.
Repose is agreeable to the human mind; and decision is repose. A man has made up his opinions; he does not choose to be disturbed; and he ismuch more thankful to the man who confirms him in his errors, and leaves him alone, than he is to the man who refutes him, or who instructs him at the expense of his tranquility.
Learn from the earliest days to inure your principles against the perils of ridicule: you can no more exercise your reason if you live in the constant dread of laughter, than you can enjoy your life if you are in the constant terror of death.
A true sarcasm is like a swordstick—it appears, at first sight, to be much more innocent than it really is, till, all of a sudden, there leaps something out of it—sharp and deadly and incisive—which makes you tremble and recoil.
Living a good deal alone will, I believe, correct me of my faults; for a man can do without his own approbations in society, but he must make great exertions to gain it when he lives alone. Without it I am convinced solitude is not to be endured.
Solitude cherishes great virtues and destroys little ones.
Whatever you are from nature, keep to it; never desert your own line of talent. Be what nature intended you for, and you will succeed; be anything else, and you will be ten thousand times worse than nothing.
There is the same difference between the tongues of some, as between the hour and the minute hand; one goes ten times as fast, and the other signifies ten times as much.
If you wish to keep the mind clear and the body healthy, abstain from all fermented liquors.
I have asked several men what passes in their minds when they are thinking, and I could never find any man who could think for two minutes together. Everybody has seemed to admit that it was a perpetual deviation from a particular path, and a perpetual return to it; which, imperfect as the operation is, is the only method in which we can operate with our minds to carry on any process of thought.
Try to make at least one person happy every day, and then in ten years you may have made three thousand, six hundred and fifty persons happy, or brightened a small town by your contribution to the fund of general enjoyment.
How nature delights and amuses us by varying even the character of insects; the ill-nature of the wasp, the sluggishness of the drone, the volatility of the butterfly, the slyness of the bug!
Say everything for vice which you can, magnify any pleasures as much as you please, but don't believe you have any secret for sending on quicker the sluggish blood, and for refreshing the faded nerve.
Virtue is so delightful, whenever it is perceived, that men have found it their interest to cultivate manners, which are, in fact, the appearances of certain virtues; and now we are come to love the sign better than the thing signified, and to prefer manners without virtue, to virtue without manners.
The greatest curse that can be entailed on mankind is a state of war. All the atrocious crimes committed in years of peace, all that is spent in peace by the secret corruptions, or by the thoughtless extravagance of nations, are mere trifles compared with the gigantic evils which stalk over this world in a state of war. God is forgotten in war; every principle of Christianity is trampled upon.
Genuine and innocent wit is surely the flavor of the mind. Man could not direct his way by plain reason, and support his life by tasteless food; but God has given us wit, and flavor, and brightness, and laughter, and perfumes, to enliven the days of man's pilgrimage, and to charm his pained steps over the burning marl.
The writer does the most who gives his reader the most knowledge, and takes from him the least time.