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Charles Caleb Colton Quotes

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If you would be known, and not know, vegetate in a village; if you would know, and not be known, live in a city.

Ignorance lies at the bottom of all human knowledge, and the deeper we penetrate the nearer we come to it. - For what do we truly know, or what can we clearly affirm of any one of those important things upon which all our reasonings must of necessity be built - time and space, life and death, matter and mind.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

In all places, and in all times, those religionists who have believed too much, have been more inclined to violence and persecution than those who have believed too little.

In all societies it is advisable to associate if possible with the highest; not that they are always the best, but because, if disgusted there, we can always descend; but if we begin with the lowest to ascend is impossible.

In civil jurisprudence it too often happens that there is so much law, that there is no room for justice, and that the claimant expires of wrong in the midst of right, as mariners die of thirst in the midst of water.

In life we shall find many men that are great, and some that are good, but very few men that are both great and good.

In most quarrels there is a fault on both sides. A quarrel may be compared to a spark, which cannot be produced without a flint as well as steel. Either of them may hammer on wood forever; no fire will follow.

In politics, as in religion, we have less charity for those who believe the half of our creed, than for those who deny the whole of it.

In proportion as nations get more corrupt, more disgrace will attach to poverty, and more respect to wealth. There are two questions that would completely reverse this order of things: "What keeps some persons poor? and what has made some others rich?" The true answer to these queries would often make the poor man more proud of his poverty than the rich man is of his wealth, and the rich man more justly ashamed of his wealth, than the poor man unjustly is of his poverty.

In pulpit eloquence, the grand difficulty lies here; to give the subject all the dignity it so fully deserves, without attaching any importance to ourselves. The Christian messenger cannot think too highly of his Prince, or too humbly of himself.

In religion as in politics it so happens that we have less charity for those who believe half our creed, than for those who deny the whole of it.

Infidelity, alas! is not always built upon doubt, for this is diffident, nor philosophy always upon wisdom, for this is meek; but pride is neither.

Intemperance is a dangerous companion. - It throws people off their guard, betrays them to a great many indecencies, to ruinous passions, to disadvantages in fortune; makes them discover secrets, drive foolish bargains, engage in gambling, and often stagger from the tavern to the stews.

It has been shrewdly said that when men abuse us, we should suspect ourselves, and when they praise us, them. It is a rare instance of virtue to despise censure which we do not deserve, and still more rare to despise praise, which we do. But that integrity that lives only on opinion would starve without it.

It has been well observed, that the tongue discovers the state of the mind no less than that of the body; but, in either case, before the philosopher or the physician can judge, the patient must open his mouth.

It is a curious paradox that precisely in proportion to our own intellectual weakness, will be our credulity as to the mysterious powers assumed by others.

It is a mortifying truth, and ought to teach the wisest of us humility, that many of the most valuable discoveries have been the result of chance rather than of contemplation, and of accident rather than of design.

It is almost as difficult to make a man unlearn his errors as his knowledge. Malinformation is more hopeless than non-information; for error is always more busy than ignorance. Ignorance is a blank sheet, on which we may write; but error is a scribbled one, from which we must first erase. Ignorance is contented to stand still with her back to the truth; but error is more presumptuous, and proceeds in the wrong direction. Ignorance has no light, but error follows a false one. The consequence is, that error, when she retraces her steps, has farther to go before she can arrive at truth, than ignorance.

It is always safe to learn, even from our enemies; seldom safe to venture to instruct, even our friends.

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