Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness.
If our state were really happy, we should not need to take our minds off it in order to make ourselves happy.
Contradiction is not a sign of falsity, nor the lack of contradiction a sign of truth.
Let us imagine a number of men in chains, and all condemned to death, where some are slaughtered each day in the sight of the others, and those who remain see their own fate in that of their fellows, and wait their turn, looking at each other sorrowfully and without hope. It is an image of the condition of men.
Justice and truth are too such subtle points that our tools are too blunt to touch them accurately.
We must learn our limits. We are all something but none of us are everything.
Do you want it always to cost me the blood of my humanity while you do not even shed a tear?
The eternal being exists for ever if he once exists.
We must sit by these rivers, not under or in them, but above, not standing upright, but sitting down, so that we remain humble by sitting, and safe by remaining above.
Even those who write against fame wish for the fame of having written well, and those who read their works desire the fame of having read them.
There is internal war in man between reason and the passions. If he had only reason without passions ... If he had only passions without reason ... But having both, he cannot be without strife, being unable to be at peace with the one without being at war with the other. Thus he is always divided against, and opposed to himself.
We do not display greatness by going to one extreme, but in touching both at once, and filling all the intervening space.
There are some who see clearly that man has no other enemy but concupiscence, which turns him away from God, and not [human] enemies, no other good but God, and not a rich land.
We show greatness, not by being at one extreme, but by touching both at once and occupying all the space in between.
To understand is to forgive.
If we look at our work immediately after completing it, we are still too involved; if too long afterwards, we cannot pick up the thread again.
The virtue of a man ought to be measured not by his extraordinary exertions, but by his every-day conduct.
Everything that is written merely to please the author is worthless.
Immateriality of the soul. When philosophers have subdued their passions, what material substance has managed to achieve this?
The motions of Grace, the hardness of heart; external circumstances.
To make a man a saint, it must indeed be by grace; and whoever doubts this does not know what a saint is, or a man.