Reference > Quotations > John Bartlett, comp. > Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. > Henri Frédéric Amiel
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John Bartlett (1820–1905).  Familiar Quotations, 10th ed.  1919.
 
Henri Frédéric Amiel. (1821–1881)
 
 
1
      There is no repose for the mind except in the absolute; for feeling, except in the infinite; for the soul, except in the divine.
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2
      Only one thing is necessary: to possess God—All the senses, all the forces of the soul and of the spirit, all the exterior resources are so many open outlets to the Divinity; so many ways of tasting and of adoring God. We should be able to detach ourselves from all that is perishable and cling absolutely to the eternal and the absolute and enjoy the all else as a loan, as a usufruct…. To worship, to comprehend, to receive, to feel, to give, to act: this our law, our duty, our happiness, our heaven.
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3
      Heroism is the brilliant triumph of the soul over the flesh, that is to say over fear: fear of poverty, of suffering, of calumny, of illness, of loneliness and of death. There is no real piety without heroism. Heroism is the dazzling and glorious concentration of courage.
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4
      Truth is the secret of eloquence and of virtue, the basis of moral authority; it is the highest summit of art and of life.
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5
      Life is the apprenticeship to progressive renunciation, to the steady diminution of our claims, of our hopes, of our powers, of our liberty.
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6
      Doing easily what others find difficult is talent; doing what is impossible for talent is genius.
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7
      A man without passion is only a latent force, only a possibility, like a stone waiting for the blow from the iron to give forth sparks.
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8
      The efficacy of religion lies precisely in what is not rational, philosophic or eternal; its efficacy lies in the unforeseen, the miraculous, the extraordinary. Thus religion attracts more devotion according as it demands more faith,—that is to say, as it becomes more incredible to the profane mind. The philosopher aspires to explain away all mysteries, to dissolve them into light. Mystery on the other hand is demanded and pursued by the religious instinct; mystery constitutes the essence of worship, the power of proselytism. When the “cross” became the “foolishness” of the cross, it took possession of the masses.
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9
      If ignorance and passion are the foes of popular morality, it must be confessed that moral indifference is the malady of the cultivated classes. The modern separation of enlightenment and virtue, of thought and conscience, of the intellectual aristocracy from the honest and common crowd is the greatest danger that can threaten liberty.
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