"Of all our faults, the one we avow most easily is idleness; we persuade ourselves that it is allied to all the peaceable virtues, and as for the others, that it does not destroy them utterly, but only suspends the exercise of their functions."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"When the philosophers despised riches, it was because they had a mind to vindicate their own merit, and take revenge upon the injustice of fortune by vilifying those enjoyments which she had not given them."