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Hugh Blair Quotes


A Scottish author, considered one of the first great theorists of written discourse.
(1718 - 1800)

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Adversity, how blunt are all the arrows of thy quiver in comparison with those of guilt.
[Adversity]
 

Affectation is certain deformity. - By forming themselves on fantastic models the young begin with being ridiculous, and often end in being vicious.
[Affectation]
 

All the principles which religion teaches, and all the habits which it forms, are favorable to strength of mind. It will be found that whatever purifies, also fortifies the heart.
[Religion]
 

Anxiety is the poison of human life; the parent of many sins and of more miseries. - In a world where everything is doubtful, and where we may be disappointed, and be blessed in disappointment, why this restless stir and commotion of mind? - Can it alter the cause, or unravel the mystery of human events?
[Anxiety]
 

Between levity and cheerfulness there is a wide distinction; the mind that is most open to the former is frequently a stranger to the latter. - Levity may be the offspring of folly or vice; cheerfulness is the natural offspring of wisdom and virtue.
 

Dissimulation in youth is the forerunner of perfidy in old age. - It degrades parts and learning, obscures the luster of every accomplishment, and sinks us into contempt. - The path of falsehood is a perplexing maze. - One artifice leads on to another, till, as the intricacy of the labyrinth increases, we are left entangled in our own snare.
 

Exercise is the chief source of improvement in our faculties.
 

Gentleness corrects whatever is offensive in our manner.
 

He who goes no further than bare justice, stops at the beginning of virtue.
[Justice]
 

How shocking must thy summons be, O death, to him that is at ease in his possessions! who, counting on long years of pleasure here, is quite unfurnished for the world to come.
[Death]
 

In the eye of that Supreme Being to whom our whole internal frame is uncovered, motives and dispositions hold the place of actions.
[Motives]
 

It is for the sake of man, not of God, that worship and prayers are required; that man may be made better - that he may be confirmed in a proper sense of his dependent state, and acquire those pious and virtuous dispositions in which his highest improvement consists.
[Worship]
 

It is pride which plies the world with so much harshness and severity. - We are as rigorous to offences as if we had never offended.
 

Nothing, except what flows from the heart, can render even external manners truly pleasing.
[Manners]
 

O cursed lust of gold! when, for thy sake, the fool throws up his interest in both worlds, first starved in this, then damned in that to come!
[Gold]
 

Of all the follies incident to youth, there are none which blast their prospects, or render them more contemptible, than self-conceit, presumption, and obstinacy. By checking progress in improvement, they fix one in long immaturity, and produce irreparable mischief.
[Conceit]
 

Only mediocrity of enjoyment is allowed to man.
[Enjoyment]
 

Pride fills the world with harshness and severity; we are rigorous to offences as if we had never offended.
[Pride]
 

Pride makes us esteem ourselves; vanity to desire the esteem of others. - It is just to say as Swift has done, that a proud man is too proud to be vain.
[Vanity]
 

Sentiment and principle are often mistaken for each other, though, in fact, they widely differ. - Sentiment is the virtue of ideas; principle the virtue of action. - Sentiment has its seat in the head; principle, in the heart. Sentiment suggests fine harangues and subtle distinctions; principle conceives just notions, and performs good actions in consequence of them. Sentiment refines away the simplicity of truth, and the plainness of piety; and "gives us virtue in words, and vice in deeds." Sentiment may be called the Athenian who knew what was right; and principle, the Lacedemonian who practised it.
 


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