Virtue

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In respect of its substance and the definition which states its essence virtue is a mean, with regard to what is best and right an extreme. ~ Aristotle
People who are eccentric enough to be quite seriously virtuous understand each other everywhere, discover each other easily, and form a silent opposition to the ruling immorality that happens to pass for morality. ~ Friedrich Schlegel
That which especially distinguishes a high order of man from a low order of man, that which constitutes human goodness, human nobleness, is surely not the degree of enlightenment with which men pursue their own advantage; but it is self-forgetfulness; it is self-sacrifice; it is the disregard of personal pleasure, personal indulgence, personal advantage, remote or present, because some other line of conduct is more right. ~ James Anthony Froude
Virtue is harder to be got than knowledge of the world; and, if lost in a young man, is seldom recovered. ~ John Locke
If the acts that are in accordance with the virtues have themselves a certain character it does not follow that they are done justly or temperately. The agent also must be in a certain condition when he does them. ~ Aristotle

Virtue (Latin: virtus, Ancient Greek: ἀρετή "arete") is moral excellence.

A · B · C · D · E · F · G · H · I · J · K · L · M · N · O · P · Q · R · S · T · U · V · W · X · Y · Z · Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers · See also · External links

A[edit]

  • Virtue is the mistress of all things. Virtue is the master of all things.
  • Virtue’s true reward is happiness itself, for which the virtuous work, whereas if they worked for honor, it would no longer be virtue, but ambition.
  • Virtue is the health of the soul.
  • If the acts that are in accordance with the virtues have themselves a certain character it does not follow that they are done justly or temperately. The agent also must be in a certain condition when he does them. ... He must choose the acts, and choose them for their own sakes, and ... his action must proceed from a firm and unchangeable character.
  • Virtue, then, is a state of character concerned with choice, lying in a mean ... it is a mean between two vices, that which depends on excess and that which depends on defect.
  • Virtue ... is a mean between two vices, that which depends on excess and that which depends on defect; and again it is a mean because the vices respectively fall short of or exceed what is right in both passions and actions, while virtue both finds and chooses that which is intermediate. Hence in respect of its substance and the definition which states its essence virtue is a mean, with regard to what is best and right an extreme.
  • If he [Anthony] heard of a good man anywhere, like the prudent bee, he went forth and sought him, nor turned back to his own palace until he had seen him; and he returned, having got from the good man as it were supplies for his journey in the way of virtue.
  • He subjected himself in sincerity to the good men whom he visited, and learned thoroughly where each surpassed him in zeal and discipline. He observed the graciousness of one; the unceasing prayer of another; he took knowledge of another's freedom from anger and another's loving-kindness; he gave heed to one as he watched, to another as he studied; one he admired for his endurance, another for his fasting and sleeping on the ground; the meekness of one and the long-suffering of another he watched with care, while he took note of the piety towards Christ and the mutual love which animated all. Thus filled, he returned to his own place of discipline, and henceforth would strive to unite the qualities of each, and was eager to show in himself the virtues of all.

B[edit]

  • When Heracles was quite a young man and was nearly of the age at which you yourselves are now, while he was deliberating which of the two roads he should take, the one leading through toils to virtue, or the easiest, two women approached him, and these were Virtue and Vice. Now at once, although they were silent, the difference between them was evident from their appearance. For the one had been decked out for beauty through the art of toiletry, and was overflowing with voluptuousness, and she was leading a whole swarm of pleasures in her train; now these things she displayed, and promising still more than these she tried to draw Heracles to her. But the other was withered and squalid, and had an intense look, and spoke quite differently; for she promised nothing dissolute or pleasant, but countless sweating toils and labours and dangers through every land and sea. But the prize to be won by these was to become a god, as the narrative of Prodicus expressed it; and it was this second woman that Heracles in the end followed.
  • Virtue will have greater claims
    To love, than rank with vice combin'd.
    • Lord Byron, “To E,” Poetical Works, Volume 1

C[edit]

  • A difficult form of virtue is to try in your own life to obey what you believe to be God's will.
    • John Duke Coleridge, Reg. v. Ramsey (1883), 1 CabaM and Ellis's Q. B. D. Rep. 145; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 244.
  • Persecution is a very easy form of virtue.
    • John Duke Coleridge, Reg. v. Ramsey (1883), 1 Cababd and Ellis's Q. B. D. Rep. 145; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 244.
  • To be able to practise five things everywhere under heaven constitutes perfect virtue ... gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.
  • To gain a reputation for virtue, grieve over those you injure.

D[edit]

E[edit]

  • Men imagine that they communicate their virtue or vice only by overt actions, and do not see that virtue or vice emit a breath every moment.

F[edit]

  • That which especially distinguishes a high order of man from a low order of man, that which constitutes human goodness, human nobleness, is surely not the degree of enlightenment with which men pursue their own advantage; but it is self-forgetfulness; it is self-sacrifice; it is the disregard of personal pleasure, personal indulgence, personal advantage, remote or present, because some other line of conduct is more right.

G[edit]

  • Only Virtue is sufficient unto herself. She makes us love the living and remember the dead.

J[edit]

  • "I know, of course, nothing about vice; but I have known virtue when it was very tiresome."
    "Ah, then it was a poor affair. It was poor virtue. The best virtue is never tiresome."
    Miss Vivian looked at him a little, with her fine discriminating eye.
    "What a dreadful thing to have to think any virtue poor!"
  • Wisdom is knowing what to do next. Virtue is doing it.
    • David Starr Jordan, "Ideals of Stanford", quoted in The Land of Sunshine: A Southern California Magazine, Vol. 9, No. 1. (Los Angeles, June 1898), p. 11.

L[edit]

M[edit]

  • Virtues are dispositions not only to act in particular ways, but also to feel in particular ways. To act virtuously is not, as Kant was later to think, to act against inclination; it is to act from inclination formed by the cultivation of the virtues.
  • Everybody makes fun of virtue, which by now has, as its primary meaning, an affection of prudery practiced by hypocrites and the impotent.
  • Let this great maxim be my virtue’s guide,—
    In part she is to blame that has been tried:
    He comes too near that comes to be denied.
  • Virtue is not a chemical product, as Taine once described it: it is a historic product, like language and literature; and this means that if we cease to care about it, cease to cultivate it, cease to transmit its funded values, a large part of it will become meaningless, like a dead language to which we have lost the key. That, I submit, is what has happened in our own lifetime.

N[edit]

  • Between two vices, virtue does not always dwell, but often, but all too often only weakness and lame impotence.
    • Friedrich Nietzsche, Untimely Meditations, “David Strauss,” § 1.11, cited in W. Kauffman, Nietzsche, p. 136.

P[edit]

  • Virtue is infinitely various. There is no situation in which a rational being is placed, from that of the best instructed Christian down to the condition of the rudest barbarian, which affords not room for moral agency; for the acquisition, exercise, and display of voluntary qualities, good and bad. Health and sickness, enjoyment and suffering, riches and poverty, knowledge and ignorance, power and subjection, liberty and bondage, civilisation and barbarity, have all their offices and duties, all serve for the formation of character: for when we speak of a state of trial, it must be remembered, that characters are not only tried, or proved, or detected, but that they are generated also, and formed, by circumstances. The best dispositions may subsist under the most depressed, the most afflicted fortunes.
    • William Paley Natural Theology Ch. 26 : The Goodness of the Deity.
  • Aristotle and the other classics observed that democracy was constantly prone to overestimate those virtues (manly courage, patriotism, piety) that were within the reach of the poor majority, while neglecting those virtues or excellences requiring unusual capacity, education, leisure, and broad political experience.
    • Thomas L. Pangle, Introduction to The Rebirth of Classical Political Rationalism (Chicago: 1989), p. xix.
  • We can never enter upon the path to virtue unless we have hope as our guide and companion.
    • Letter to Demetrias by Pelagius as translated by B. Rees, in Readings in World Christian History (2013), pp. 206-210
  • What need is there of long journeying on the land or voyaging on the seas to seek and search for virtue, whose roots have been set by their Maker ever so near us, as the wise legislator of the Jews also says, “in thy mouth, in thy heart and in thy hand,” thereby indicating in a figure, words, thoughts and actions?
    • Philo, Every Good Man is Free, 68.
  • Those who prefer idleness to labor, not only prevent the growths but also wither and destroy the roots. But those who consider inaction mischievous and are willing to labor, do as the husbandman does with fine young shoots. By constant care they rear the virtues into stems rising up to heaven, saplings ever blooming and immortal, bearing and never ceasing to bear the fruits of happiness, or as some hold, not so much bearing as being in themselves that happiness.
    • Philo, Every Good Man is Free, 69.

R[edit]

  • Men that are free, well-born, well-bred, and conversant in honest companies, have naturally an instinct and spur that prompts them unto virtuous actions, and withdraws them from vice, which is called honor. Those same men, when by base subjection and constraint they are brought under and kept down, turn aside from that noble disposition by which they formerly were inclined to virtue.
  • As the saints and prophets were often forced to practise long vigils and fastings and prayers before their ecstasies would fall upon them and their visions would appear, so Virtue in its purest and most exalted form can only be acquired by means of severe and long continued culture of the mind. Persons with feeble and untrained intellects may live according to their conscience; but the conscience itself will be defective. … To cultivate the intellect is therefore a religious duty; and when this truth is fairly recognized by men, the religion which teaches that the intellect should be distrusted and that it should be subservient to faith, will inevitably fall.

S[edit]

  • People who are eccentric enough to be quite seriously virtuous understand each other everywhere, discover each other easily, and form a silent opposition to the ruling immorality that happens to pass for morality.
because it is known both by God and by mortals.
When it is present, people imitate it,
and they long for it when it has gone;
throughout all time it marches, crowned in triumph.
  • Unde clare intelligimus, quantum illi a vera virtutis aestimatione aberrant, qui pro virtute et optimis actionibus, tanquam pro summa servitute, summis praemiis a Deo decorari exspectant, quasi ipsa virtus Deique servitus non esset ipsa felicitas et summa libertas.
    • We may thus clearly understand, how far astray from a true estimate of virtue are those who expect to be decorated by God with high rewards for their virtue, and their best actions, as for having endured the direst slavery; as if virtue and the service of God were not in itself happiness and perfect freedom.

T[edit]

  • The problem with people who have no vices is that generally you can be pretty sure they're going to have some pretty annoying virtues.
    • Elizabeth Taylor, as quoted in The Seven Deadly Sins (2000) by Steven Schwartz, p. 23.
  • Virtue cannot be separated into male and female. ... The difference is one of bodies not of souls.
    • Theodoret as cited in The First Thousand Years: A Global History of Christianity (2012), p. 106.
  • I wanted to damage every man in the place, and every woman--and not in their bodies or in their estate, but in their vanity — the place where feeble and foolish people are most vulnerable. So I disguised myself and came back and studied you. You were easy game. You had an old and lofty reputation for honesty, and naturally you were proud of it — it was your treasure of treasures, the very apple of your eye. As soon as I found out that you carefully and vigilantly kept yourselves and your children out of temptation, I knew how to proceed. Why, you simple creatures, the weakest of all weak things is a virtue which has not been tested in the fire.
  • Our virtues and our failings are inseparable, like force and matter. When they separate, man is no more.
    • Nikola Tesla, "The Problem of Increasing Human Energy, with Special Reference to Harvesting the Sun's Energy", Century Illustrated Magazine (June 1900)

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)[edit]

Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).

  • Virtue consists in doing our duty in the several relations we sustain in respect to ourselves, to our fellow men, and to God, as known from reason, conscience, and revelation.
  • The paths of virtue, though seldom those of worldly greatness, are always those of pleasantness and peace.
  • Virtue is not a mushroom, that springeth up of itself in one night when we are asleep, or regard it not; but a delicate plant, that groweth slowly and tenderly, needing much pains to cultivate it, much care to guard it, much time to mature it, in our untoward soil, in this world's unkindly weather.
  • No state of virtue is complete, however total the virtue, save as it is won by a conflict with evil, and fortified by the struggles of a resolute and even bitter experience.
  • What the world calls virtue is a name and a dream without Christ. The foundation of all human excellence must be laid deep in the blood of the Redeemer's cross, and in the power of His resurrection.
  • A virtuous youth and frugal manhood always create a Pisgah for the veteran in righteousness, from which he may calmly survey the stars, and read his " title clear to mansions in the skies," while yet in the flesh he can soar on the wings of meditation above the clouds, and catch glimpses of the heavenly world that lies in the placid and everlasting orient before him.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:

Virtues
AltruismAsceticismAspirationBeneficenceBenevolenceBraveryCarefulnessCharityCheerfulnessCleanlinessCommon senseCompassionConstancyCourageDignityDiligenceDiscretionEarnestnessFaithFidelityForethoughtForgivenessFriendshipFrugalityGentlenessGoodnessGraceGratitudeHolinessHonestyHonorHopeHospitalityHumanityHumilityIntegrityIntelligenceJusticeKindnessLoveLoyaltyMercyModerationModestyOptimismPatiencePhilanthropyPrudencePunctualityPuritySelf-controlSinceritySobrietySympathyTemperanceTolerance

Vices
AggressionAngerApathyArroganceBigotryContemptCowardiceCrueltyDishonestyDrunkennessEgotismEnvyEvil speakingGluttonyGreedHatredHypocrisyIdlenessIgnoranceImpatienceImpenitenceIngratitudeInhumanityIntemperanceJealousyLazinessLustMaliceNeglectObstinacyPhilistinismPrejudicePretensionPrideRecklessnessSelf-righteousnessSelfishnessSuperficialityTryphéUnkindnessUsuryVanityWorldliness