"What we take for virtue is often but an assemblage of various ambitions and activities that chance, or our own astuteness, have arranged in a certain manner; and it is not always out of courage or purity that men are brave, and women chaste."
"Virtue is the adherence in action to the nature of things, and the nature of things makes it prevalent. It consists in a perpetual substitution of being for seeming, and with sublime propriety God is described as saying, I A--."
"The sentiment of virtue is a reverence and delight in the presence of certain divine laws. It perceives that this homely game of life we play, covers, under what seem foolish details, principles that astonish."
"Evil can be got very easily and exists in quantity: the road to her is very smooth, and she lives near by. But between us and virtue the gods have placed the sweat of our brows; the road to her is long and steep, and it is rough at first; but when a man has reached the top, then she is easy to attain, although before she was hard."
"In sum, all actions and habits are to be esteemed good or evil by their causes and usefulness in reference to the commonwealth, and not by their mediocrity, nor by their being commended. For several men praise several customs, and, contrarily, what one calls vice, another calls virtue, as their present affections lead them."
"Justice is a moral virtue, merely because it has that tendency to the good of mankind, and indeed is nothing but an artificial invention to that purpose. The same may be said of allegiance, of the laws of nations, of modesty, and of good manners. All these are mere human contrivances for the interest of society."
"Several moralists have recommended it as an excellent method of becoming acquainted with our own hearts, and knowing our progress in virtue, to recollect our dreams in a morning, and examine them with the same rigour that we would our most serious and most deliberate actions."
"Riches are valuable at all times, and to all men; because they always purchase pleasures, such as men are accustomed to, and desire: Nor can any thing restrain or regulate the love of money, but a sense of honour and virtue; which, if it be not nearly equal at all times, will naturally abound most in ages of knowledge and refinement."