Justice without force is powerless; force without justice is tyrannical.
Noble deeds that are concealed are most esteemed.
We sail within a vast sphere, ever drifting in uncertainty, driven from end to end.
Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.
The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.
All men's miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.
Belief is a wise wager. Granted that faith cannot be proved, what harm will come to you if you gamble on its truth and it proves false? If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation, that He exists.
In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don't.
If we examine our thoughts, we shall find them always occupied with the past and the future.
Small minds are concerned with the extraordinary, great minds with the ordinary.
Human beings must be known to be loved; but Divine beings must be loved to be known.
Man's greatness lies in his power of thought.
Habit is a second nature that destroys the first. But what is nature? Why is habit not natural? I am very much afraid that nature itself is only a first habit, just as habit is a second nature.
Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so established, that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it.
Imagination disposes of everything; it creates beauty, justice, and happiness, which are everything in this world.
Nature is an infinite sphere of which the center is everywhere and the circumference nowhere.
If you gain, you gain all. If you lose, you lose nothing. Wager then, without hesitation, that He exists.
The weather and my mood have little connection. I have my foggy and my fine days within me; my prosperity or misfortune has little to do with the matter.
Love has reasons which reason cannot understand.
Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much.
Thus so wretched is man that he would weary even without any cause for weariness... and so frivolous is he that, though full of a thousand reasons for weariness, the least thing, such as playing billiards or hitting a ball, is sufficient enough to amuse him.
When we are in love we seem to ourselves quite different from what we were before.
I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had the time to make it shorter.
It is not good to be too free. It is not good to have everything one wants.
If all men knew what others say of them, there would not be four friends in the world.
All human evil comes from a single cause, man's inability to sit still in a room.
I have discovered that all human evil comes from this, man's being unable to sit still in a room.
Faith is different from proof; the latter is human, the former is a Gift from God.
Time heals griefs and quarrels, for we change and are no longer the same persons. Neither the offender nor the offended are any more themselves.
The eternal silence of these infinite spaces frightens me.
Jesus is the God whom we can approach without pride and before whom we can humble ourselves without despair.
People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.
We know the truth, not only by the reason, but also by the heart.
There are only two kinds of men: the righteous who think they are sinners and the sinners who think they are righteous.
The least movement is of importance to all nature. The entire ocean is affected by a pebble.
The strength of a man's virtue should not be measured by his special exertions, but by his habitual acts.
It is the fight alone that pleases us, not the victory.
Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness.
Eloquence is a painting of the thoughts.
Can anything be stupider than that a man has the right to kill me because he lives on the other side of a river and his ruler has a quarrel with mine, though I have not quarrelled with him?
Justice and power must be brought together, so that whatever is just may be powerful, and whatever is powerful may be just.
Little things console us because little things afflict us.
We view things not only from different sides, but with different eyes; we have no wish to find them alike.
Since we cannot know all that there is to be known about anything, we ought to know a little about everything.
Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature, but he is a thinking reed.
Too much and too little wine. Give him none, he cannot find truth; give him too much, the same.
The struggle alone pleases us, not the victory.
Happiness is neither without us nor within us. It is in God, both without us and within us.
You always admire what you really don't understand.
The present letter is a very long one, simply because I had no leisure to make it shorter.
People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come in to the mind of others.
We are only falsehood, duplicity, contradiction; we both conceal and disguise ourselves from ourselves.
Contradiction is not a sign of falsity, nor the lack of contradiction a sign of truth.
Nothing gives rest but the sincere search for truth.
It is the heart which perceives God and not the reason. That is what faith is: God perceived by the heart, not by the reason.
The greatness of man is great in that he knows himself to be wretched. A tree does not know itself to be wretched.
Nothing is so intolerable to man as being fully at rest, without a passion, without business, without entertainment, without care.
Do you wish people to think well of you? Don't speak well of yourself.
The supreme function of reason is to show man that some things are beyond reason.
All of our reasoning ends in surrender to feeling.
Two things control men's nature, instinct and experience.
There are two kinds of people one can call reasonable: those who serve God with all their heart because they know him, and those who seek him with all their heart because they do not know him.
The finite is annihilated in the presence of the infinite, and becomes a pure nothing. So our spirit before God, so our justice before divine justice.
The last act is bloody, however pleasant all the rest of the play is: a little earth is thrown at last upon our head, and that is the end forever.
Men despise religion. They hate it and are afraid it may be true.
The charm of fame is so great that we like every object to which it is attached, even death.
The sensitivity of men to small matters, and their indifference to great ones, indicates a strange inversion.
We conceal it from ourselves in vain - we must always love something. In those matters seemingly removed from love, the feeling is secretly to be found, and man cannot possibly live for a moment without it.
In each action we must look beyond the action at our past, present, and future state, and at others whom it affects, and see the relations of all those things. And then we shall be very cautious.
Truly it is an evil to be full of faults; but it is a still greater evil to be full of them and to be unwilling to recognize them, since that is to add the further fault of a voluntary illusion.
Continuous eloquence wearies. Grandeur must be abandoned to be appreciated. Continuity in everything is unpleasant. Cold is agreeable, that we may get warm.
As men are not able to fight against death, misery, ignorance, they have taken it into their heads, in order to be happy, not to think of them at all.
Law, without force, is impotent.
Vanity of science. Knowledge of physical science will not console me for ignorance of morality in time of affliction, but knowledge of morality will always console me for ignorance of physical science.
Vanity is but the surface.
Faith embraces many truths which seem to contradict each other.
Evil is easy, and has infinite forms.
The consciousness of the falsity of present pleasures, and the ignorance of the vanity of absent pleasures, cause inconstancy.
Earnestness is enthusiasm tempered by reason.
He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God's providence to lead him aright.
It is incomprehensible that God should exist, and it is incomprehensible that he should not exist.
Our nature consists in motion; complete rest is death.
Through space the universe encompasses and swallows me up like an atom; through thought I comprehend the world.
One must know oneself. If this does not serve to discover truth, it at least serves as a rule of life and there is nothing better.
A trifle consoles us, for a trifle distresses us.
Imagination decides everything.
We never love a person, but only qualities.
We only consult the ear because the heart is wanting.
Desire and force between them are responsible for all our actions; desire causes our voluntary acts, force our involuntary.
If our condition were truly happy, we would not seek diversion from it in order to make ourselves happy.
Justice is what is established; and thus all our established laws will necessarily be regarded as just without examination, since they are established.
The gospel to me is simply irresistible.
The self is hateful.
If we must not act save on a certainty, we ought not to act on religion, for it is not certain. But how many things we do on an uncertainty, sea voyages, battles!
The only shame is to have none.
The immortality of the soul is a matter which is of so great consequence to us and which touches us so profoundly that we must have lost all feeling to be indifferent about it.
Faith indeed tells what the senses do not tell, but not the contrary of what they see. It is above them and not contrary to them.
Man's true nature being lost, everything becomes his nature; as, his true good being lost, everything becomes his good.
I maintain that, if everyone knew what others said about him, there would not be four friends in the world.
Nothing is as approved as mediocrity, the majority has established it and it fixes its fangs on whatever gets beyond it either way.