"When a natural discourse paints a passion or an effect, one feels within oneself the truth of what one reads, which was there before, although one did not know it. Hence one is inclined to love him who makes us feel it, for he has not shown us his own riches, but ours."
"Sneezing absorbs all the functions of the soul just as much as the [sexual] act, but we do not draw from it the same conclusions against the greatness of man, because it is involuntary; although we bring it about, we do so involuntarily. It is not for the sake of the thing in itself but for another end, and is therefore not a sign of man's weakness, or his subjection to this act."
"There is a lot of difference between tempting and leading into error. God tempts but does not lead into error. To tempt is to provide opportunities for us to do certain things if we do not love God, but putting us under no necessity to do so. To lead into error is to compel a man necessarily to conclude and follow a falsehood."
"Can anything be more ridiculous than that a man should have the right to kill me because he lives on the other side of the water, and because his ruler has a quarrel with mine, though I have none with him?"
"Curiosity is only vanity. Most frequently we wish to know only to talk. Thus we would not take a sea voyage--if we were never to speak of it--for the sole pleasure of seeing without hope of ever communicating it."
"We do not concern ourselves about being esteemed in towns through which we pass. But if we are to remain a while there, we are so concerned. How long is necessary? A time commensurate with our vain and paltry life."
"We do not content ourselves with the life we have in ourselves and in our being; we desire to live an imaginary life in the mind of others, and for this purpose we endeavor to shine. We labor unceasingly to adorn and preserve this imaginary existence and neglect the real."
"Vanity is so anchored in the heart of man that a soldier, a soldier's servant, a cook, a porter brags and wishes to have his admirers. Even philosophers wish for them. Those who write against vanity want to have the glory of having written well; and those who read it desire the glory of having read it. I who write this have perhaps this desire, and perhaps those who will read it."
"Belief is a wise wager. Granted that faith cannot be proved, what harm will come to you if you gamble on its truth and it proves false? If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation, that He exists."
"Thus so wretched is man that he would weary even without any cause for weariness... and so frivolous is he that, though full of a thousand reasons for weariness, the least thing, such as playing billiards or hitting a ball, is sufficient enough to amuse him."