To remember that once we were near the salvation of Christ, so near that our right hand might have touched and taken it, and after all that hand was withheld; this is a memory which will enhance remorse forever.
William Adams, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 165.
We do not desire that the unanimity of a jury should be the result of anything but the unanimity of conviction. It is true that a single juryman, or two or three constituting a small minority, may, if their own convictions are not strong and deeply rooted, think themselves justified in giving way to the majority. If is very true, if jurymen have only doubts or weak convictions, they may yield to the stronger and more determined view of their fellows; but I hold it to be of the essence of a juryman's duty, if he has a firm and deeply rooted conviction, either in the affirmative or the negative of the issue he has to try, not to give up that conviction, although the majority may be against him, from any desire to purchase his freedom from confinement or constraint, or the various other inconveniences to which jurors are subject.
No man ever truly believed, who was not first made sensible of unbelief. True conviction of sin — how difficult it is, when its appearances and modes of life are so fair, when it twines itself so cunningly about, or creeps so insidiously into, our amiable qualities, and sets off its internal disorders by so many outward charms and attractions.
Horace Bushnell, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 164.
In immediate feeling, one human being never understands the other. As soon as something happens to him personally, he understands everything differently. When he himself is suffering, he does not understand another’s suffering, and when he himself is happy he still does not understand it. Immediate feeling selfishly understands everything in relation to itself and therefore is in the disunion of double-mindedness with all others, because there can be unity only in the soundly understood equality of sincerity, and in selfish shortsightedness his conviction is continually being changed, or it is chance that it is not changed, since the reason for this is that by chance his life is not touched by any change. But such firmness of conviction is a delusion on the part of the pampered, because a conviction is not firm when everything forces it upon one, as it were, and makes it firm, but its firmness manifests itself in the ups and downs of everything. Rarely, indeed, does a person’s life avoid all changes, and in the changes the conviction of immediate feeling is a delusion, the momentary impression blown up into a view of life as a whole.
I do not believe in violent changes, nor do I expect them. Things in possession have a very firm grip. One of the strongest cements of society is the conviction of mankind that the state of things into which they are born is a part of the order of the universe, as natural, let us say, as that the sun should go round the earth. It is a conviction that they will not surrender except on compulsion, and a wise society should look to it that this compulsion be not put upon them. For the individual man there is no radical cure, outside of human nature itself, for the evils to which human nature is heir.
Es ist nicht der Kampf der Meinungen, welcher die Geschichte so gewaltthätig gemacht hat, sondern der Kampf des Glaubens an die Meinungen, das heisst der Ueberzeugungen.
Translation: It is not the struggle of opinions that has made history so violent, but rather the struggle of belief in opinions, that is, the struggle of convictions.
Friedrich Nietzsche, Menschliches, Allzumenschliches (Human, All Too Human), Section IX, "Man Alone with Himself" / excerpt from aphorism 630, translated by Helen Zimmern (1878).
It is no certain evidence, that because the conscience feels the weight of sin, the heart is humbled on account of it; that because the conscience approves of the rectitude of the Divine justice, the heart bows to the Divine sovereignty. The most powerful conviction of sin, therefore, is not conclusive evidence of Christian character.
Gardiner Spring, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 165.
The most human thing about anyone is a thing he learns and … and earns. It’s a thing he can’t have when he’s very young; if he gets it at all, he gets it after a long search and a deep conviction. After that it’s truly part of him as long as he lives.