"Vices enter into the composition of virtues as poisons into the composition of certain medicines. Prudence and common sense mix them together, and make excellent use of them against the misfortunes that attend human life."
"I cannot love anyone if I hate myself. That is the reason why we feel so extremely uncomfortable in the presence of people who are noted for their special virtuousness, for they radiate an atmosphere of the torture they inflict on themselves. That is not a virtue but a vice."
"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."