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WILLIAM MATTHEWS
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As frost, raised to its utmost intensity, produces the sensation of fire, so any good quality, overwrought and pushed to excess, turns into its own contrary.
      - [Excess]

God has so framed us as to make freedom of choice and action the very basis of all moral improvement, and all our faculties, mental and moral, resent and revolt against the idea of coercion.
      - [Choice]

In the world a man lives in his own age; in solitude, in all the ages.
      - [Solitude]

Intercourse is after all man's best teacher. "Know thyself" is an excellent maxim; but even self-knowledge cannot be perfected in closets and cloisters--nor amid lake scenery, and on the sunny side of the mountains. Men who seldom mix with their fellow-creatures are almost sure to be one-sided--the victims of fixed ideas, that sometimes lead to insanity.
      - [Intercourse]

Nature cuts queer capers with men's phizzes' at times; and confounds all the deductions of philosophy. Character does not put all its goods, sometimes not any of them, in its shop-window.
      - [Face]

Out of the same substances one stomach will extract nutriment, another poison; and so the same disappointments in life will chasten and refine one man's spirit, and embitter another's.
      - [Disappointment]

Solitary reading will enable a man to stuff himself with information; but, without conversation, his mind will become like a pond without an outlet--a mass of unhealthy stagnature. It is not enough to harvest knowledge by study; the wind of talk must winnow it, and blow away the chaff; then will the clear, bright grains of wisdom be garnered, for our own use or that of others.
      - [Conversation]

Talking, is a digestive process which is absolutely essential to the mental constitution of the man who devours many books.
      - [Talking]

The countenance may be rightly defined as the title page which heralds the contents of the human volume, but like other title pages, it sometimes puzzles, often misleads, and often says nothing to the purpose.
      - [Countenance]

The fullest instruction, and the fullest enjoyment are never derived from books, till we have ventilated the ideas thus obtained, in free and easy chat with others-.
      - [Conversation]

The petty cares, the minute anxieties, the infinite littles which go to make up the sum of human experience, like the invisible granules of powder, give the last and highest polish to a character.
      - [Experience]

Then let us laugh. It is the cheapest luxury man enjoys, and, as Charles Lamb says, "is worth a hundred groans in any state of the market." It stirs up the blood, expands the chest, electrifies the nerves, clears away the cobwebs from the brain, and gives the whole system a shock to which the voltaic-pile is as nothing. Nay, its delicious alchemy converts even tears into the quintessence of merriment, and makes wrinkles themselves expressive of youth and frolic.
      - [Laughter]

There is a wide difference between general acquaintance and companionship. You may salute a man and exchange compliments with him daily, yet know nothing of his character, his inmost tastes arid feelings.
      - [Acquaintances]

To be contented,--what, indeed, is it? Is it not to be satisfied,--to hope for nothing, to aspire to nothing, to strive for nothing,--in short to rest in inglorious ease, doing nothing for your country, for your own or others' material, intellectual, or moral improvement, satisfied with the condition in which you or they are placed? Such a state of feeling may do very well where nature has fixed an inseparable and ascertained barrier,--a "thus far, shalt thou go and no farther,"--to our wishes, or where we are troubled by ills past remedy. In such cases it is the highest philosophy not to fret or grumble, when, by all our worrying and self-teasing, we cannot help ourselves a jot or tittle, but only aggravate and intensify an affliction that is incurable. To soothe the mind down into patience is then the only resource left us, and happy is he who has schooled himself thus to meet all reverses and disappointments. But in the ordinary circumstances of life this boasted virtue of contentment, so far from being laudable, would be an evil of the first magnitude. It world be, in fact, nothing less than a trigging of the wheels of all enterprise,--a cry of "Stand still!" to the progress of the whole social world.
      - [Contentment]

What are the precise characteristics of an epigram it is not easy to define. It differs from a joke, in the fact that the wit of the latter dies in the words, and cannot therefore be conveyed in another language; while an epigram is a wit of ideas, and hence, is translatable. Like aphorisms, songs and sonnets, it is occupied with some single point, small and manageable; but whilst a song conveys a sentiment, a sonnet a poetical, and an aphorism a moral reflection, an epigram expresses a contrast.
      - [Epigrams]

What keeps persons down in the world, besides lack of capacity, is not a philosophical contempt of riches or honors, but thoughtlessness and improvidence, a love of sluggish torpor, and of present gratification. It is not from preferring virtue to wealth--the goods of the mind to those of fortune--that they take no thought for the morrow; but from want of forethought and stern self-command. The restless, ambitious man too often directs these qualities to an unworthy object; the contented man is generally deficient in the qualities themselves. The one is a stream that flows too often in a wrong channel, and needs to have its course altered, the other is a stagnant pool.
      - [Failure]

What lasting progress was ever made in social reformation, except when every step was insured by appeals to the understanding and the will?
      - [Reformation]

What matters it that a soldier has a sword of dazzling finish, of the keenest edge, and finest temper, if he has never learned the art of fence.
      - [Experience]

With the civilized man contentment is a myth. From the cradle to the grave he is forever longing and striving after something better, an indefinable something, some new object yet unattained.
      - [Contentment]


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