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Charles Caleb Colton Quotes

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We are ruined, not by what we really want, but by what we think we do; therefore, never go abroad in search of your wants: for if they be real wants they will come in search of you. He that buys what he does not want, will soon want what he cannot buy.

We are sure to be losers when we quarrel with ourselves; it is civil war.

We ask advice, but we mean approbation.

We cannot think, too highly of our nature, nor too humbly of ourselves. When we see the martyr to virtue, subject as he is to the infirmities of a man, yet suffering the tortures of a demon, and bearing them with the magnanimity of a God, do we not behold a heroism that angels may indeed surpass, but which they cannot imitate, and must admire.

We follow the world in approving others; we go far before it in approving ourselves.

We hate some persons because we do not know them; and will not know them because we hate them.

We injure mysteries, which are matters of faith, by any attempt at explanation, in order to make them matters of reason. Could they be explained, they would cease to be mysteries; and it has been well said that a thing is not necessarily against reason, because it happens to be above it.

We may doubt the existence of matter, if we please, and like Berkeley deny it, without subjecting ourselves to the shame of a very conclusive confutation; but there is this remarkable difference between matter and mind, that he that doubts the existence of mind, by doubting proves it.

We often pretend to fear what we really despise, and more often despise what we really fear.

We ought not to be over-anxious to encourage innovation, in cases of doubtful improvement, for an old system must ever have two advantages over a new one; it is established and it is understood.

We own almost all our knowledge not to those who have agreed but to those who have differed.

We should not be too niggardly in our praise, for men will do more to support a character than to raise one.

We should pray with as much earnestness as those who expect everything from God; and should act with as much energy as those who expect everything from themselves.

We strive as hard to hide our hearts from ourselves as from others, and always with more success; for in deciding upon our own case we are both judge, jury, and executioner, and where sophistry cannot overcome the first, or flattery the second, self-love is always ready to defeat the sentence by bribing the third.

Wealth after all is a relative thing since he that has little and wants less is richer than he that has much and wants more.

What is earthly happiness? that phantom of which we hear so much and see so little; whose promises are constantly given and constantly broken, but as constantly believed; that cheats us with the sound instead of the substance, and with the blossom instead of the fruit.

When in reading we meet with any maxim that may be of use, we should take it for our own, and make an immediate application of it, as we would of the advice of a friend whom we have purposely consulted.

When in the company of sensible men, we ought to be doubly cautious of talking too much, lest we lose two good things - their good opinion and our own improvement; for what we have to say we know, but what they have to say we know not.

When Mandeville maintained that private vices were public benefits, he did not calculate the widely destructive influence of bad example. To affirm that a vicious man is only his own enemy is about as wise as to affirm that a virtuous man is only his own friend.

When millions applaud you seriously ask yourself what harm you have done; and when they disapprove you, what good.

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