Nothing is such an obstacle to the production of excellence as the power of producing what is good with ease and rapidity.
There is a moral excellence attainable by all who have the will to strive for it; but there is an intellectual and physical superiority which is above the reach of our wishes, and is granted to only a few.
One that desires to excel should endeavor it in those things that are in themselves most excellent.
Those who attain to any excellence commonly spend life in some one single pursuit, for excellence is not often gained upon easier terms.
Excellence is never granted to man but as the reward of labor. It argues no small strength of mind to persevere in habits of industry without the pleasure of perceiving those advances, which, like the hand of a clock, whilst they make hourly approaches to their point, yet proceed so slowly as to escape observation.
Virtue and genuine graces in themselves speak what no words can utter.
Human excellence, apart from God, is like the fabled flower which, according to the Rabbis, Eve plucked when passing out of paradise; severed from its native root it is only the touching memorial of a lost Eden—sad while charming and beautiful, but dead.