It is the evil that lives in ourselves that is ever least tolerant of the evil that dwells within others.
Who is a righteous man and who is an evil man? Many people think a righteous man is one who does not transgress, and the evil person is one who constantly transgresses. But even the very righteous also transgress and even the very wicked perform good deeds. The essential difference between the two is that a righteous person tries to overcome his desires to do wrong and the evil person does not.
There is not a vice which more effectually contracts and deadens the feelings, which more completely makes a man’s affections center in himself, and excludes all others from partaking in them, than the desire of accumulating possessions. When the desire has once gotten hold of the heart, it shuts out all other considerations, but such as may promote its views. In its zeal for the attainment of its end, it is not delicate in the choice of means. As it closes the heart, so also it clouds the understanding. It cannot discern between right and wrong; it takes evil for good, and good for evil; it calls darkness light, and light darkness. Beware, then, of the beginning of covetousness, for you know not where it will end.
Life is given for wisdom, and yet we are not wise; for goodness, and we are not good; for overcoming evil, and evil remains; for patience and sympathy and love, and yet we are fretful and hard and weak and selfish. We are keyed not to attainment, but to struggle toward it.
The oldest and best known evil is always more tolerable than a new and unexperienced one.
We can never be despised as much as we deserve. Pity and commiseration are mingled with some esteem for the thing we pity; the things we laugh at we consider worthless. I do not think there is as much unhappiness in us as vanity, nor as much malice as stupidity. We are not so full of evil as of inanity; we are not as wretched as we are worthless.
The first idea that the child must acquire, in order to be actively disciplined, is that of the difference between good and evil, and the task of the educator lies in seeing that the child does not confound good with immobility, and evil with activity.