"Patriotism having become one of our topicks, Johnson suddenly uttered, in a strong determined tone, an apophthegm, at which many will start: "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." But let it be considered that he did not mean a real and generous love of our country, but that pretended patriotism which so many, in all ages and countries, have made a cloak of self-interest."
"Sincerity is a certain openness of heart. It is to be found in very few, and what we commonly look upon to be so is only a cunning sort of dissimulation, to insinuate ourselves into the confidence of others."
"Humility is often only the putting on of a submissiveness by which men hope to bring other people to submit to them; it is a more calculated sort of pride, which debases itself with a design of being exalted; and though this vice transform itself into a thousand several shapes, yet the disguise is never more effectual nor more capable of deceiving the world than when concealed under a form of humility."
"No habit or quality is more easily acquired than hypocrisy, nor any thing sooner learned than to deny the sentiments of our hearts and the principle we act from: but the seeds of every passion are innate to us, and nobody comes into the world without them."
"Hypocrisy is the most difficult and nerve-racking vice that any man can pursue; it needs an unceasing vigilance and a rare detachment of spirit. It cannot, like adultery or gluttony, be practised at spare moments; it is a whole-time job."
"What! Would you make no distinction between hypocrisy and devotion? Would you give them the same names, and respect the mask as you do the face? Would you equate artifice and sincerity? Confound appearance with truth? Regard the phantom as the very person? Value counterfeit as cash?"
"The New Year is the season in which custom seems more particularly to authorize civil and harmless lies, under the name of compliments. People reciprocally profess wishes which they seldom form and concern which they seldom feel."
"This is the day when people reciprocally offer, and receive, the kindest and the warmest wishes, though, in general, without meaning them on one side, or believing them on the other. They are formed by the head, in compliance with custom, though disavowed by the heart, in consequence of nature."
"If we divine a discrepancy between a man's words and his character, the whole impression of him becomes broken and painful; he revolts the imagination by his lack of unity, and even the good in him is hardly accepted."
"Every man alone is sincere. At the entrance of a second person, hypocrisy begins. We parry and fend the approach of our fellow-man by compliments, by gossip, by amusements, by affairs. We cover up our thought from him under a hundred folds."