Surely, if we considered detraction to be bred of envy, nested only in deficient minds, we should find that the applauding of virtue would win us far more honor than the seeking slyly to disparage it. That would show we loved what we commended, while this tells the world we grudge at what we want in ourselves.
Of all trees , I observe God hath chosen the vine, a low plant that creeps upon the helpful wall; of all beasts, the soft and patient lamb; of all fowls, the mild and guileless dove . Christ is the rose of the field, and the lily of the valley. When God appeared to Moses , it was not in the lofty cedar nor the sturdy oak nor the spreading palm; but in a bush, a humble, slender, abject shrub; as if He would, by these elections, check the conceited arrogance of man.
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No man can expect to find a friend without faults; nor can he propose himself to be so to another. Without reciprocal mildness and temperance there can be no continuance of friendship. Every man will have something to do for his friend, and something to bear with in him. The sober man only can do the first; and for the latter, patience is requisite. It is better for a man to depend on himself, than to be annoyed with either a madman or a fool.
Irresolution is a worse vice than rashness. He that shoots best may sometimes miss the mark; but he that shoots not at all can never hit it. Irresolution loosens all the joints of a state; like an ague, it shakes not this nor that limb, but all the body is at once in a fit. The irresolute man is lifted from one place to another; so hatcheth nothing, but addles all his actions.
Human life has not a surer friend, nor oftentimes a greater enemy, than hope. It is the miserable man's god, which in the hardest gripe of calamity never fails to yield to him beams of comfort. It is the presumptuous man's devil, which leads him a while in a smooth way, and then suddenly breaks his neck.
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Hope is to a man as a bladder to a learning swimmer--it keeps him from sinking in the bosom of the waves, and by that help he may attain the exercise; but yet it many times makes him venture beyond his height, and then if that breaks, or a storm rises, he drowns without recovery. How many would die, did not hope sustain them! How many have died by hoping too much! This wonder we find in Hope, that she is both a flatterer and a true friend.
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Arrogance is a weed which grows upon a dunghill; it is from the rankness of the soil that she has her height and spreadings: witness, clowns, fools, and fellows, who from nothing, are lifted up some few steps on fortune's ladder: where, seeing the glorious representment of honour above them, they are so eager to embrace it, that they strive to leap thither at once, and by over-reaching themselves in the way, they fail of the end, and fall.
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There is no man but for his own interest hath an obligation to be honest. There may be sometimes temptations to be otherwise; but, all cards cast up, he shall find it the greatest ease, the highest profit, the best pleasure, the most safety, and the noblest fame, to hold the horns of this altar, which, in all assays, can in himself protect him.