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It is not enough to know, we must also apply; it is not enough to will, we must also do.
Perfection is the measure of heaven, and the wish to be perfect the measure of man.
It is not worth while to do anything for the world that we have with us, as the existing order may in a moment pass away. It is for the past and the future that we must work : for the past, to acknowledge its merits ; for the future, to try to increase its value.
Let every man ask himself with which of his faculties he can and will somehow influence his
age. Let no one think that people have waited for him as for the Saviour.
Character in matters great and small consists in a man steadily pursuing the things of which he feels himself capable.
(Selected from “The Wisdom of Goethe," by John Stuart
Blackie.) Who is the happiest person ?- he whose nature asks for nothing that the world does not wish and use.
Wouldst thou be a happy liver,
Live with the world whoso has nerve
You were as well to let the devil
Use well the moment; what the hour
know, The biggest man can do his biggest work no better than
Wouldst thou live well in the land,
Like the star
(A. D. 1754–1824.)
JOSEPH JOUBERT was born at Montignac, in Perigord, France, in 1754. He began the study of law, but abandoned it to enter the College of the Fathers of the Christian Doctrine, at Toulouse, where he remained for some years, both teaching and studying. He then removed to Paris, and continued to live a studious life, his home becoming one of the most attractive centres of the best society of the time. Nothing that he wrote was published until several years after his death, which occurred in 1824. A volume of his much esteemed aphorisms was then given to the world, under the editorship of Châteaubriand. It is from a partial translation of these “Pensées,” or “Thoughts,” as they were entitled, that the selection given below is borrowed. A more complete publication of Joubert's writings, including his correspondence, was made in France in 1842.
SELECTIONS FROM THE PENSÉES OF JOUBERT.
(Translated by Henry Atwell.)
The passions must be purified. They may all become innocent if well directed and controlled. Hatred itself may be a praiseworthy emotion if provoked in us by a lively love of good.
If you are poor, distinguish yourself by your virtues ; if rich, by your good deeds.
Be saving; but not at the cost of all liberality. Have the son of a king, and the hand of a wise economist.
Living requires but little life; doing requires much. We should always keep open and free a corner of our
head in which to make room for the opinions of our friends. Let us have heart and head hospitality.
It is better to debate a question without settling it, than to settle it without debate.
Politeness is a sort of guard which covers the rough edges of our character, and prevents their wounding oth
We should never throw it off, even in our conflicts with coarse people.
Consult the ancients, listen to the aged. He is far from wise who has but his own wisdom, and but indifferently learned who possesses but his own knowledge.
To think what we do not feel is to lie to one's-self. Whatever we think should be thought by our whole being, soul and body.
Men must either be the slaves of duty or of force.
Order is the co-ordination of the means to the end, of the parts to the whole, of the whole to its destination, of action to duty, of a work to its model, of recompense to merit.
Order is to arrangement what the soul is to the body, and what mind is to matter. Arrangement without order is a body without a soul.
Imitate time. It destroys slowly. It undermines, wears, loosens, separates. It does not uproot.
Let us bear well in mind that education does not consist merely in adorning the memory and enlightening the understanding. Its main business should be to direct the will.
(A. D. 1759–1796.)
In some important matters of morals, Robert Burns was better fitted to be a teacher by warning example than by precept, as he himself tacitly confesses in the last couplet of the verses subjoined. But there was a fine true quality in his nature, at the bottom, which imparts perfect genuineness to the good advice contained in this “Epistle to a Young Friend,” and assures us of the sincerity with which it was given. The “Epistle” was written in 1786, the year in which his first volume of poems was published, at Kilmarnock, and in which he first visited Edinburgh. He wrote it just before fame came to him, and when he was undoubtedly at his best, in every way.
The date and the sentiment of the little poem lend great interest to it in connection with the life of Burns. He was but twenty-seven years old when he wrote it; for he was born at Alloway, near Ayr, Scotland, in 1759. He lived but ten years after writing it, dying at Dumfries in 1796.
BURNS' EPISTLE TO A YOUNG FRIEND.
I lang hae thought, my youthfu' friend,
A something to have sent you,
Than just a kind memento.
Let time and chance determine;
Perhaps, turn out a sermon.