"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."
"The virtues of society are vices of the saint. The terror of reform is the discovery that we must cast away our virtues, or what we have always esteemed such, into the same pit that has consumed our grosser vices."
"The merit of those who fill a space in the world's history, who are borne forward, as it were, by the weight of thousands whom they lead, shed a perfume less sweet than do the sacrifices of private virtue."
"When we see a soul whose acts are all regal, graceful, and pleasant as roses, we must thank God that such things can be and are, and not turn sourly on the angel, and say, "Crump is a better man with his grunting resistance to all his native devils."
"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."
"A rich man was never insulted in his life: but this man must be stung. A rich man was never in danger from cold, or hunger, or war, or ruffians,--and you can see why he was not, from the moderation of his ideas. 'Tis a fatal disadvantage to be cockered, and to eat too much cake."
"If the accumulated wealth of the past generations is thus tainted,--no matter how much of it is offered to us,--we must begin to consider if it were not the nobler part to renounce it, and to put ourselves in primary relations with the soil and nature, and abstaining from whatever is dishonest and unclean, to take each of us bravely his part, with his own hands, in the manual labor of the world."
"Let the amelioration in our laws of property proceed from the concession of the rich, not from the grasping of the poor. Let us understand that the equitable rule is, that no one should take more than his share, let him be ever so rich."
"But a cultivated man becomes ashamed of his property, out of new respect for his nature. Especially he hates what he has if he see that it is accidental,--came to him by inheritance, or gift, or crime; then he feels that it is not having; it does not belong to him, has no root in him and merely lies there because no revolution or no robber takes it away."
"Conservatism is affluent and openhanded, but there is a cunning juggle in riches. I observe that they take somewhat for everything they give. I look bigger, but am less; I have more clothes, but am nit so warm; more armor, but less courage; more books, but less wit."