If we can advance any propositions that are both true and new, these are indisputably our own, by right of discovery; and if we can repeat what is old more briefly and brightly than others, this also becomes our own, by right of conquest. .
It is almost as difficult to make a man unlearn his errors as his knowledge. Mal-information 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, on 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 same direction. Ignorance has no light, but error follows a false one. The consequence is, that error, when she retraces her footsteps, has further to go, before she can arrive at the truth, than ignorance. .
Many ... begin to make converts from motives of charity, but continue to do so from motives of pride. … Charity is contented with exhortation and example, but pride is not to be so easily satisfied. ... Whenever we find ourselves more inclined to persecute than persuade, we may then be certain that our zeal has more of pride in it than of charity. .
is the vice of a good constitution or of a bad memory—of a constitution so treacherously good that it never bends till it breaks; or of a memory that recollects the pleasures of getting intoxicated, but forgets the pains of getting sober. .
The consequences of things are not always proportionate to the apparent magnitude of those events that have produced them. Thus the American Revolution, from which little was expected, produced much; but the French Revolution, from which much was expected, produced little. .
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