Every man is ready to give in a long catalogue of those virtues and good qualities he expects to find in the person of a friend; but very few of us are careful to cultivate them in ourselves.
Virtue consists in doing our duty in the various relations we sustain to ourselves, to our fellowmen, and to God, as it is made known by reason, revelation, and Providence.
Certainly, virtue is like precious odors, most fragrant when they are incensed or crushed; for prosperity doth best discover vice, but adversity doth best discover virtue.
Keep thy spirit pure from worldly taint by the repellent strength of virtue.
Do not be troubled because you have not great virtues. God made a million spears of grass where he made one tree. The earth is fringed and carpeted, not with forests, but with grasses. Only have enough of little virtues and common fidelities, and you need not mourn because you are neither a hero nor a saint.
On every occasion in which virtue is exercised, if something is not added to happiness, something is taken, away from anxiety.
The great slight the men of wit who have nothing but wit; the men of wit despise the great who have nothing but greatness; the good man pities them both, if with greatness or wit, they have not virtue.
Never expecting to find perfection in men, in my commerce with my contemporaries I have found much human virtue. I have seen not a little public spirit; a real subordination of interest to duty; and a decent and regulated sensibility to honest fame and reputation. The age unquestionably produces daring profligates and insidious hypocrites. What then? Am I not to avail myself of whatever good is to be found in the world because of the mixture of evil that will always be in it? The smallness of the quantity in currency only heightens the value. They who raise suspicions on the good, on account of the behavior of ill men, are of the party of the latter.
If you can be well without health, you may be happy without virtue.
While shame keeps its watch virtue is not wholly extinguished in the heart.
No state of virtue is complete save as it is won by a conflict with evil, and fortified by the struggles of a resolute and even bitter experience.
Virtue is not to be considered in the light of mere innocence, or abstaining from harm; but as the exertion of our faculties in doing good.
No virtue can be real that has not been tried. The gold in the crucible alone is perfect; the loadstone tests the steel, and the diamond is tried by the diamond, while metals gleam the brighter in the furnace.
By what causes has so inconsiderable a beginning, as that of the colonies of New England, under such formidable, and apparently almost insurmountable difficulties, resulted, in so brief a period, in such mighty consequences? They are to be found in the high moral and intellectual qualities of the pilgrims: their faith, piety, and confident trust in a superintending Providence; their stern virtues; their patriotic love of liberty and order; their devotion to learning; and their indomitable courage and perseverance. These are the causes which surmounted every obstacle, and which have led to such mighty results.
Many new years you may see, but happy ones you cannot see without deserving them. These virtue, honor, and knowledge alone can merit, alone can produce.
It is not virtue, but a deceptive copy and imitation of virtue, when we are led to the performance of duty by pleasure as its recompense.
There is but one pursuit in life which it is in the power of all to follow, and of all to attain. It is subject to no disappointments, since he that perseveres makes every difficulty an advancement, and every conquest a victory and this is the pursuit of virtue. Sincerely to aspire after virtue is to gain her; and zealously to labor after her ways is to receive them.
Virtue without talent is a coat of mail without a sword; it may indeed defend the wearer, but will not enable him to protect his friend.
No man can purchase his virtue too dear, for it is the only thing whose value must ever increase with the price it has cost us. Our integrity is never worth so much as when we have parted with our all to keep it.
He that is good will infallibly become better, and he that is bad will as certainly become worse; for vice, virtue, and time are three things that never stand still.
Virtue is uniform and fixed, because she looks for approbation only from Him who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
There are two things that declare, as with a voice from heaven, that he that fills that eternal throne must be on the side of virtue, and that which he befriends must finally prosper and prevail. The first is that the bad are never completely happy and at ease, although possessed of everything that this world can bestow; and that the good are never completely miserable, although deprived of everything that this world can take away. The second is that we are so framed and constituted that the most vicious cannot but pay a secret though unwilling homage to virtue, inasmuch as the worst men cannot bring themselves thoroughly to esteem a bad man, although he may be their dearest friend, nor can they thoroughly despise a good man, although he may be their bitterest enemy.
To be able under all circumstances to practise five things constitutes perfect virtue; these five are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.
Virtue I love, without austerity; pleasure, without effeminacy; and life, without fearing its end.
The most virtuous of all men, says Plato, is he that contents himself with being virtuous without seeking to appear so.
All bow to virtue, and then walk away.
Hast thou virtue? Acquire also the graces and beauties of virtue.
That virtue which requires to be ever guarded is scarce worth the sentinel.
Virtues go ever in troops; so thick that sometimes some are hid in the crowd, which yet are virtues though they appear not.
They who disbelieve in virtue because man has never been found perfect, might as reasonably deny the sun because it is not always noon.
The virtue of Paganism was strength; the virtue of Christianity is obedience.
Virtue has many preachers, but few martyrs.
Beware of making your moral staples consist of the negative virtues.—It is good to abstain, and to teach others to abstain, from all that is sinful or hurtful.—But making a business of it leads to emaciation of character unless one feeds largely on the more nutritious diet of active benevolence.
Blessed is the memory of those who have kept themselves unspotted from the world! Yet more blessed and more dear the memory of those who have kept themselves unspotted in the world!
Virtue is the habitual sense of right, and the habitual courage to act up to that sense of right, combined with benevolent sympathies, and the charity which thinketh no evil. The union of the highest conscience and highest sympathy fulfils my notion of virtue.
Many who have tasted all the pleasures of sin have forsaken it and come over to virtue; but there are few, if any, who having tried the sweets of virtue could ever be drawn off from it, or find in their hearts to fall back to their former course.
Nothing is more unjust, however common, than to charge with hypocrisy him chat expresses zeal for these virtues which he neglects to practise; since he may be sincerely convinced of the advantages of conquering his passions without having yet obtained the victory, as a man may be confident of the advantages of a voyage or a journey, without having courage or industry to undertake it, and may honestly recommend to others those attempts which he neglects himself.
If he does really think there is no distinction between virtue and vice, why, sir, when he leaves our house let us count our spoons.
Virtue by calculation is the virtue of vice.
It has ever been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.
Virtue is an angel; but she is a blind one and must ask of knowledge to show her the pathway that leads to her goal. Mere knowledge, on the other hand, like a Swiss mercenary, is ready to combat either in the ranks of sin or under the banners of righteousness—ready to forge cannon balls or to print New Testaments, to navigate a corsair's vessel or a missionary ship.
It would not be easy, even for an unbeliever, to find a better translation of the rule of virtue from the abstract into the concrete, than to endeavor so to live that Christ would approve our life.
I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary. The virtue that knows not the utmost that vice promises to her followers, and rejects it, is but a blank virtue, not a pure.
We are apt to mistake our vocation in looking out of the way for occasions to exercise great and rare virtues, and stepping over the ordinary ones which lie directly in the road before us. When we read we fancy we could be martyrs; when we come to act we find we cannot bear a provoking word.
Virtue is its own reward, and brings with it the truest and highest pleasure; but if we cultivate it only for pleasure's sake, we are selfish, not religious, and will never gain the pleasure, because we can never have the virtue.
A large part of virtue consists in good habits.
The virtue of a man ought to be measured not by his extraordinarjr exertions, but by his everyday conduct.
To be innocent is to be not guilty; but to be virtuous is to overcome our evil feelings and intentions.
Content not thyself that thou art virtuous in the general; for one link being wanting, the chain is defective. Perhaps thou art rather innocent than virtuous, and owest more to thy constitution than to thy religion.
Every condition of life, if attended with virtue, is undisturbed and delightful; but when vice is intermixed, it renders even things that appear sumptuous and magnificent, distasteful and uneasy to the possessor.
The virtues, like the Muses, are always seen in groups. A good principle was never found solitary in any breast.
Wealth is a weak anchor, and glory cannot support a man; this is the law of God, that virtue only is firm, and cannot be shaken by a tempest.
This is the law of God, that virtue only is firm, and cannot be shaken by a tempest.
What the world calls virtue is a name and a dream without Christ. The foundation of all human excellence must be laid deep in the blood of the Redeemer's cross and in the power of his resurrection.
Perfect virtue is to do unwitnessed what we should be capable of doing before all the world.
Virtue is a state of war, and to live in it we have always to combat with ourselves.
Live virtuously, and you cannot die too soon, nor live too long.
There is a nobility without heraldry. Though I want the advantage of a noble birth, said Marius, yet my actions afford me a greater one; and they who upbraid me with it are guilty of an extreme injustice in not permitting me to value myself upon my own virtue, as much as they value themselves upon the virtue of others.
Virtue is certainly the most noble and secure possession a man can have. Beauty is worn out by time or impaired by sickness—riches lead youth rather to destruction than welfare, and without prudence are soon lavished away; while virtue alone, the only good that is ever durable, always remains with the person that has once entertained her. She is preferable both to wealth and a noble extraction.
Guilt, though it may attain temporal splendor, can never confer real happiness; the evil consequences of our crimes long survive their commission, and, like the ghosts of the murdered, forever haunt the steps of the malefactor; while the paths of virtue, though seldom those of worldly greatness, are always those of pleasantness and peace.
It is the edge and temper of the blade that make a good sword, not the richness of the scabbard; and so it is not money or possessions that make man considerable, but his virtue.
Virtue is that perfect good which is the complement of a happy life; the only immortal thing that belongs to mortality.
I would be virtuous for my own sake, though nobody were to know it; as I would be clean for my own sake, though nobody were to see me.
We rarely like the virtues we have not.
Our virtues would be proud if our faults whipped them not; and our Crimea would despair if they were not cherished by our virtues.
Our life is short, but to expand that span to vast eternity is virtue's work.
Virtue is the dictate of reason, or the remains of the divine light, by which men are made beneficent and beneficial to each other. Religion proceeds from the same end, and the good of mankind so entirely depends upon these two, that no people ever enjoyed anything worth desiring that was not the product of them.
I willingly confess that it likes me better when I find virtue in a fair lodging than when I am bound to seek it in an ill-favored creature.
The only impregnable citadel of virtue is religion; for there is no bulwark of mere morality which some temptation may not overtop, or undermine and destroy.
I am no herald to inquire of men's pedigrees; it sufficeth me if I know their virtues.
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.
Were there but one virtuous man in the world, he would hold up his head with confidence and honor; he would shame the world, and not the world him.
A great deal of virtue, at least the outward appearance of it, is not so much from any fixed principle, as the terror of what the world will say, and the liberty it will take upon the occasions we shall give.
When men grow virtuous in old age they are merely making an offering to God of the devil's leavings.
He who thinks no man above him but for his virtue, and none below him but for his vice, can never be obsequious or assuming in a wrong place, but will frequently emulate men in rank below him, and pity those above him.
Every virtue gives a man a degree of fecility in some kind: honesty gives a man a good report; justice, estimation; prudence, respect; courtesy and liberality, affection; temperance gives health; fortitude, a quiet mind, not to be moved by any adversity.
Good company and good discourse are the very sinews of virtue.
Virtue, not rolling suns, the mind matures; that life is long which answers life's great end.