"Your Christians, whom one persecutes in vain, have something in them that surpasses the human. They lead a life of such innocence, that the heavens owe them some recognition: that they arise the stronger the more they are beaten down is hardly the result of common virtues."
"Virtuous people are simply those who have ... not been tempted sufficiently, because they live in a vegetative state, or because their purposes are so concentrated in one direction that they have not had the leisure to glance around them."
"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."
"The chief assertion of religious morality is that white is a colour. Virtue is not the absence of vices or the avoidance of moral dangers; virtue is a vivid and separate thing, like pain or a particular smell."
"To me it seems that liberty and virtue were made for each other. If any man wish to enslave his country, nothing is a fitter preparative than vice; and nothing leads to vice so surely as irreligion."