To care for anyone else enough to make their problems one's own, is ever the beginning of one's real ethical development.
Act so as to elicit the best in others and thereby in thyself.
What I state as certain is certain for me. It has approved itself as such in my experience. Let others consult their experience, and see how far it tallies with that which is here set forth.
We measure our enjoyments by the sum expended.
Where the roots of private virtue are diseased, the fruit of public probity cannot but be corrupt.
You do not build your own houses, nor make your own garments, nor bake your own bread, simply because you know that if you were to attempt all these things they would all be more or less ill done.
Every dogma, every philosophic or theological creed, was at its inception a statement in terms of the intellect of a certain inner experience.
May the humanity that is within every human being be held precious. The vice that underlies all vices is that we are held cheap by others, and far worse, that in our innermost soul we think cheaply of ourselves.
We cannot adopt the way of living that was satisfactory a hundred years ago. The world in which we live has changed, and we must change with it.
People may be said to resemble not the bricks of which a house is built, but the pieces of a picture puzzle, each differing in shape, but matching the rest, and thus bringing out the picture.
The freedom of thought is a sacred right of every individual man, and diversity will continue to increase with the progress, refinement, and differentiation of the human intellect.
In order to join vigorously in the moral work of the world I must believe that somehow the best I can accomplish will endure, will leave its trace on things, will aid the final consummation.
It is the moral element contained in it that alone gives value and dignity to a religion, and only in so far as its teachings serve to stimulate and purify our moral aspirations does it deserve to retain its ascendency over mankind.
As the light of morning strikes now one peak and then another, some being illuminated while others are in the shadow, so the light of the essential moral principle shines now upon one duty and then upon another, while others are in the shadow.
Act so as to encourage the best in others, and by so doing you will develop the best in yourself.
The hero is one who kindles a great light in the world, who sets up blazing torches in the dark streets of life for men to see by. The saint is the man who walks through the dark paths of the world, himself a light.
The past speaks to us in a thousand voices, warning and comforting, animating and stirring to action.
Man is like a tree, with the mighty trunk of intellect, the spreading branches of imagination, and the roots of the lower instincts that bind him to the earth. The moral life, however, is the fruit he bears; in it his true nature is revealed.
Simplicity should not be identified with bareness.
No one can fail to see that the power of the Church among large numbers in many communities is today diminishing, or has already ceased.
The ethical manifold, conceived of as unified, furnishes, or rather is, the ideal of the whole.
No religion can long continue to maintain its purity when the church becomes the subservient vassal of the state
An anxious unrest, a fierce craving desire for gain has taken possession of the commercial world, and in instances no longer rare the most precious and permanent goods of human life have been madly sacrificed in the interests of momentary enrichment.
The platform of an Ethical Society is itself the altar; the address must be the fire that burns thereon.
FOR a long time the conviction has been dimly felt in the community that, without prejudice to existing institutions, the legal day of weekly rest might be employed to advantage for purposes affecting the general good.
Ethical religion can be real only to those who are engaged in ceaseless efforts at moral improvement. By moving upward we acquire faith in an upward movement, without limit.
We stand, as it were, on the shore, and see multitudes of our fellow beings struggling in the water, stretching forth their arms, sinking, drowning, and we are powerless to assist them.
Perhaps a hundred people assembled one evening, May 15, 1876, at the time when the country was celebrating the hundredth anniversary of its political independence.
The Ethical Society, therefore, is like a Church in maintaining, and emphasizing the importance of maintaining the custom of public assemblies on Sunday.
The office of the public teacher is an unenviable and thankless one.
The right for the right's sake is the motto which everyone should take for his own life. With that as a standard of value we can descend into our hearts, appraise ourselves, and determine in how far we already are moral beings, in how far not yet.
Ethical religion affirms the continuity of progress toward moral perfection. It affirms that the spiritual development of the human race cannot be prematurely cut off, either gradually or suddenly; that every stone of offence against which we stumble is a stepping-stone to some greater good:;; that, at the end of days, if we choose to put it so, or, rather, in some sphere beyond the world of space and time, all the rays of progress will be summed and centred in a transcendent focus.
We should teach our children nothing which they shall ever need to unlearn; we should strive to transmit to them the best possessions, the truest thought, the noblest sentiments of the age in which we live.
It may be impossible for a man by merely willing it to add wings to his body, but it is possible for any man, by merely willing it, to add wings to his soul. This perennial miracle of the moral nature is capable of happening at any time.
The Infinite, from which comes the impulse that lead us to activity, is not the highest Reason, but higher than reason; not the highest Goodness, but higher than goodness.
Dogma is the convictions of one man imposed authoritatively upon others.
Religion is a wizard, a sibyl . . . She faces the wreck of worlds, and prophesies restoration. She faces a sky blood-red with sunset colours that deepen into darkness, and prophesies dawn. She faces death, and prophesies life.
Few are there that will leave the secure seclusion of the scholar's life, the peaceful walks of literature and learning, to stand out a target for the criticism of unkind and hostile minds.
People may be said to resemble the pieces of a puzzle, each unique, yet each essential to bring out a complete picture.
Admitting the force of these contentions, nevertheless, the custom of meeting together in public assembly for the consideration of the most serious, the most exalted topics of human interest is too vitally precious to be lost.