"Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it. It is only expressing feebly your desire that it should prevail. A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority."
"If there were one who lived wholly without the use of money, the State itself would hesitate to demand it of him. But the rich man--not to make any invidious comparison--is always sold to the institution which makes him rich.... Thus his moral ground is taken from under his feet."
"As for your friend, my prospective reader, I hope he ignores Fort Sumter, and "Old Abe," and all that; for that is just the most fatal, and, indeed, the only fatal weapon you can direct against evil ever; for, as long as you know of it, you are particeps criminis. What business have you, if you are an "angel of light," to be pondering over the deeds of darkness, reading the New York Herald, and the like."
"In a thousand apparently humble ways men busy themselves to make some right take the place of some wrong,--if it is only to make abetter paste blacking,--and they are themselves so much the better morally for it."
"Do what you know you ought to do. Why should we ever go abroad, even across the way, to ask a neighbor's advice? There is a nearerneighbor within us incessantly telling us how we should behave. But we wait for the neighbor without to tell us of some false, easier way."
"How wholesome winter is, seen far or near; how good, above all mere sentimental, warm-blooded, short-lived, soft-hearted, moral goodness, commonly so called. Give me the goodness which has forgotten its own deeds,--which God has seen to be good, and let be."
"We select granite for the underpinning of our houses and barns; we build fences of stone; but we do not ourselves rest on an underpinning of granitic truth, the lowest primitive rock. Our sills are rotten."
"An efficient and valuable man does what he can, whether the community pay him for it or not. The inefficient offer their inefficiency to the highest bidder, and are forever expecting to be put into office. One would suppose that they were rarely disappointed."