S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.
[The Chinese philosopher; born 551 B.C.; at twenty-two came forward as a public teacher; one of the chief ministers of the king, 499, and, later, minister of justice; spent the rest of his life, after retiring from public affairs, in travel, inculcating his doctrines; died 478.]
Those who have been united in life should not be parted after death.
Causing the remains of his mother to be buried beside those of his father.“Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided” (2 Sam. i. 23).He said of a woman whose father-in-law, husband, and son had been killed by tigers, but who preferred to remain where she was, because the government was not oppressive, “Oppressive government is more cruel than a tiger.”He told one of his disciples to take a horse from his carriage, and present it in payment of the funeral expenses of a friend, with whose family he had been condoling while on a journey. “I dislike,” he said, “the thought of my tears not being followed by any thing.”
He who exercises government by means of his virtue may be compared to the north-pole star, which keeps its place, and all the other stars turn towards it.
This and the following are from the “Analects,” or “Table” Talk,” London, 1867:—When I have presented one corner of a subject to any one, and he cannot from it learn the other three, I do not repeat my lesson.In the book of poetry are three hundred pieces; but the design of them all may be embraced in that one sentence, “Have no depraved thoughts.” [Socrates said, “I pray thee, O God, that I may be beautiful within.”]Learning without thought is labor lost: thought without learning is perilous.
“A little learning is a dangerous thing.”
POPE: Essay on Criticism. II. 15
Gravity is only the bark of wisdom’s tree, but it preserves it.
La Rochefoucauld defined gravity as a mystery of matter invented to conceal faults of mind (un mystère de corps inventé pour dissimuler les défauts de l’esprit).He who offends against Heaven has none to whom he can pray.When we see men of worth, we should think of becoming like them: when we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inward and examine ourselves.What you do not like when done to yourself, do not do to others. [A negative form of the Golden Rule.]I am not concerned that I have no office: I am concerned how I may fit myself for one. I am not concerned that I am not known: I seek to be worthy to be known.When the accomplishments and solid qualities are equally blended, we then have the man of complete virtue.The superior man thinks of virtue: the small man thinks of comfort. The superior man thinks of the sanctions of law: the small man thinks of the favors which he may receive.The superior man is affable, but not adulatory: the mean man is adulatory, but not affable.I have not seen a person who loved virtue, or one who hated what was not virtuous. [In the discouragement of his latter days.]What the superior man seeks is in himself: what the small man seeks is in others.A poor man who does not flatter, and a rich man who is not proud, are passable characters; but they are not equal to the poor who are cheerful, and the rich who yet love the rules of propriety.Extravagance leads to insubordination, and parsimony to meanness. It is better to be mean than insubordinate.A man can enlarge his principles: principles do not enlarge the man.The cautious seldom err.