Most of the trades, professions, and ways of living among mankind, take their original either from the love of pleasure, or the fear of want. The former, when it becomes too violent, degenerates into luxury, and the latter into avarice.
Let parents who hate their offspring rear them to hate labor and to inherit riches, and before long they will be stung by every vice, racked by its poison, and damned by its penalty.
The highest excellence is seldom attained in more than one vocation. The roads leading to distinction in separate pursuits diverge, and the nearer we approach the one, the farther we recede from the other.
You see men of the most delicate frames engaged in active and professional pursuits who really have no time for idleness. Let them become idle,—let them take care of themselves, let them think of their health,—and they die! The rust rots the steel which use preserves.
Employment, which Galen calls "nature's physician," is so essential to human happiness that indolence is justly considered as the mother of misery.
The busy have no time for tears.
Nature has made occupation a necessity to us; society makes it a duty; habit may make it a pleasure.
It is an undoubted truth, that the less one has to do the less time one finds to do it in. One yawns, one procrastinates, one can do it when one will, and, therefore, one seldom does it all; whereas those who have a great deal of business, must (to use a vulgar expression) buckle to it; and then they always find time enough to do it in.
I have lived to know that the great secret of human happiness is this: never suffer your energies to stagnate. The old adage of "too many irons in the fire," conveys an abominable lie. You cannot have too many—poker, tongs, and all—keep them all going.
Absence of occupation is not rest; a mind quite vacant, is a mind distressed.
The crowning fortune of a man is to be born with a bias to some pursuit which finds him in employment and happiness.
Indolence is a delightful but distressing state; we must be doing something to be happy. Action is no less necessary than thought to the instinctive tendencies of the human frame.
Every Egyptian was commanded by law annually to declare by what means he maintained himself; and if he omitted to do it, or gave no satisfactory account of his way of living, he was punishable with death. This law Solon brought from Egypt to Athens, where it was inviolably observed as a most equitable regulation.
Cheerfulness is the daughter of employment; and I have known a man come home, in high spirits, from a funeral, merely because he has had the management of it.
Occupation is the necessary basis of all enjoyment.
He who will not apply himself to business, evidently discovers that he means to get his bread by cheating, stealing, or begging, or else is wholly void of reason.
Occupation was one of the pleasures of paradise, and we cannot be happy without it.
The prosperity of a people is proportionate to the number of hands and minds usefully employed. To the community, sedition is a fever, corruption is a gangrene, and idleness is an atrophy. Whatever body or society wastes more than it acquires, must gradually decay; and every jeing that continues to be fed, and ceases to labor, takes away something from the public stock.
You cannot give an instance of any man who is permitted to lay out his own time, contriving not to have tedious hours.
No thoroughly occupied man was ever yet very miserable.
Occupation is the scythe of time.
Let a man choose what condition he will, and let him accumulate around him all the goods and gratifications seemingly calculated to make him happy in it; if that man is left at any time without occupation or amusement, and reflects on what he is, the meagre, languid felicity of his present lot will not bear him up. He will turn necessarily to gloomy anticipations of the future; and unless his occupation calls him out of himself, he is inevitably wretched.
The want of occupation is no less the plague of society, than of solitude.
The great happiness of life, I find after all, to consist in the regular discharge of some mechanical duty.
Every base occupation makes one sharp in its practice, and dull in every other.
It was a maxim with the Jews, "that he that did not bring up his son to some honest calling, brought him up to be a thief."
Temptation rarely comes in working hours. It is in their leisure time that men are made or marred.
I take it to be a principal rule of life, not to be too much addicted to any one thing.
We protract the career of time by employment, we lengthen the duration of our lives by wise thoughts and useful actions. Life to him who wishes not to have lived in vain is thought and action.