The willing contemplation of vice is vice.
No vassalage is so ignoble, no servitude so miserable, as that of vice; mines and galleys, mills and dungeons, are words of ease compared to the service of sin; therefore, the bringing sinners to repentance is so noble, so tempting a design, that it drew even God himself from heaven to prosecute it.
Men often abstain from the grosser vices as too coarse and common for their appetites, while the vices that are frosted and ornamented are served up to them as delicacies.
The hatred of the vicious will do you less harm than their conversation.
The end of a dissolute life is, most commonly, a desperate death.
One vice worn out makes us wiser than fifty tutors.
Virtue will catch as well as vice by contact; and the public stock of honest, manly principle will daily accumulate. We are not too nicely to scrutinize motives as long as action is irreproachable. It is enough to deal out its infamy to convicted guilt and declared apostasy.
Wise men will apply their remedies to vices, not to names; to the causes of evil which are permanent, not the occasional organs by which they act, and the transitory modes in which they appear.
Vice incapacitates a man from all public duty; it withers the powers of his understanding, and makes his mind paralytic.
Vice loses half its evil by losing all its grossness.
Vice—that digs her own voluptuous tomb.
This is the essential evil of vice, that it debases a man.
The most fearful characteristic of vice is its irresistible fascination—the ease with which it sweeps away resolution, and wins a man to forget his momentary outlook, and his throb of penitence, in the embrace of indulgence.
Vice stings us even in our pleasures, but virtue consoles us even in our pains.
He that has energy enough in his constitution to root out a vice should go a little farther, and try to plant a virtue in its place, otherwise he will have his labor to renew; a strong soil that has produced weeds, may be made to produce wheat with far less difficulty than it would cost to make it produce nothing.
The good make a better bargain, and the bad a worse, than is usually supposed; for the rewards of the one, and the punishments of the other not unfrequently begin on this side of the grave; for vice has more martyrs than virtue; and it often happens that men suffer more to be damned than to be saved.
Great examples to virtue, or to vice, are not so productive of imitation as might at first sight be supposed. There are hundreds that want energy, for one that wants ambition; and sloth has prevented as many vices in some minds as virtue in others. Idleness is the grand Pacific Ocean of life, and in that stagnant abyss, the most salutary things produce no good, the most noxious no evil. Vice, indeed, abstractedly considered, may be, and often is, engendered in idleness, but the moment it becomes efficiently vice, it must quit its cradle and cease to be idle.
When Mandeville maintained that private vices were public benefits, he did not calculate the widely destructive influence of bad example. To affirm that a vicious man is only his own enemy is about as wise as to affirm that a virtuous man is only his own friend.
A society composed of none but the wicked could not exist; it contains within itself the seeds of its own destruction, and, without a flood, would be swept away from the earth by the deluge of its own iniquity. The moral cement of all society is virtue; it unite and preserves, while vice separates and destroys. The good may well be termed the salt of the earth, for where there is no integrity there can be no confidence; and where there is no confidence there can be no unanimity.
The martyrs to vice far exceed the martyrs to virtue, both in endurance and in number. So blinded are we by our passions that we suffer more to be damned than to be saved.
The vicious obey their passions as slaves do their masters.
Vice is the bane of a republic, and saps the foundations of liberty.—If our industry, economy, temperance, justice, and public faith, are once extinguished by the opposite vices, our boasted constitution which is built on the pillars of virtue, must necessarily fall.
What maintains one vice would bring up two children.
Let thy vices die before thee.
Vices are as truly contrary to each other as to virtue.
Society is the atmosphere of souls; and we necessarily imbibe from it something which is either infectious or salubrious. The society of virtuous persons is enjoyed beyond their company, while vice carries a sting into solitude. The society or company you keep is both the indication of your character and the former of it. In vicious society you will feel your reverence for the dictates of conscience wear off, and that name at which angels bow and devils tremble, you will hear contemned and abused. The Bible will supply materials for unmeaning jest or impious buffooner; the consequence of this will be a practical deviation from virtue, the principles will become sapped, the fences of conscience broken down; and when debauchery has corrupted the character a total inversion will take place, and the sinner will glory in his shame.
Many a man's vices have at first been nothing worse than good qualities run wild.
Crimes sometimes shock us too much; vices almost always too little.
Beware of the beginnings of vice.—Do not delude yourself with the belief that it can be argued against in the presence of the exciting cause.—Nothing but actual flight can save you.
People do not persist in their vices because they are not weary of them, but because they cannot leave them off. It is the nature of vice to leave us no resource but in itself.
To attack vices in the abstract, without touching persons, may be safe fighting, but it is fighting with shadows.
The vices operate like age; bringing on disease before its time, and in the prime of youth they leave the character broken and exhausted.
No man ever arrived suddenly at the summit of vice.
Vice can deceive under the shadow and guise of virtue.
I know no friends more faithful and more inseparable than hard-heartedness and pride, humility and love, lies and impudence.
Every age and nation has certain characteristic vices, which prevail almost universally, which scarcely any person scruples to avow, and which even rigid moralists but faintly censure. Succeeding generations change the fashion of their morals with the fashion of their hats and their coaches; take some other kind of wickedness under their patronage, and wonder at the depravity of their ancestors.
The martyrs to vice far exceed the martyrs to virtue, both in endurance and in number. So blinded are we to our passions, that we suffer more to insure perdition than salvation. Religion does not forbid the rational enjoyments of life as sternfy as avarice forbids them. She does not require such sacrifices of ease as ambition; or such renunciation of quiet as pride. She does not murder sleep like dissipation; or health like intemperance; or scatter wealth like extravagance or gambling. She does not embitter life like discord; or shorten it like duelling; or harrow it like revenge. She does not impose more vigilance than suspicion; mere anxiety than selfishness; or half as many mortifications as vanity!
There are vices which have no hold upon us, but in connection with others, and which, when you cut down the trunk, fall like the branches.
A few vices are sufficient to darken many virtues.
As to the general design of providence, the two extremes of vice may serve to keep up the balance of things. When we speak against one capital vice, we ought to speak against its opposite; the middle betwixt both is the point for virtue.
Vice is a monster of so frightful mien as to be hated needs but to be seen; yet seen too oft, familiar with her face, we first endure, then pity, then embrace.
But when to mischief mortals bend their will, how soon they find fit instruments of ill!
Vices are often habits rather than passions.
Experience tells us that each man most keenly and unerringly detects in others the vice with which he is most familiar himself.
We do not despise all those who have vices, but we do despise all those who have not a single virtue.
When our vices have left us we flatter ourselves that we have left them.
Why is there no man who confesses his vices? It is because he has not yet laid them aside. It is a waking man only who can tell his dreams.
Vices are contagious, and there is no trusting the well and sick together.
Vice repeated is like the wandering wind; blows dust in others' eyes, to spread itself.
The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices make instruments to plague us.
There is no vice so simple but assumes some mark of virtue on its outward parts.
Our pleasant vices are made the whip to scourge us.
One sin doth provoke another.
Virtue seems to be nothing more than a motion consonant to the system of things; were a planet to fly from its orbit it would represent a vicious man.
In actions of life, who seeth not the filthiness of evil wanteth a great foil to perceive the beauty of virtue.
Vice is but a nurse of agonies.
What we call vice in our neighbor may be nothing less than a crude virtue. To him who knows nothing more of precious stones than he can learn from a daily contemplation of his breastpin, a diamond in the mine must be a very uncompromising sort of stone.
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.
Vices that are familiar we pardon, and only new ones do we reprehend.
Vice always leads, however fair at first, to wilds of woe.
The vicious man lives at random, and acts by chance, for he that walks by no rule can carry on no settled or steady design.
Vices and frailties correct each other, like acids and alkalies. If each vicious man had but one vice, I do not know how the world could go on.