Man is only a reed, the weakest in nature; but he is a thinking reed. There is no need for the whole universe to take up arms to crush him: a vapor, a drop of water is enough to kill him. But even if the universe were to crush him, man would still be nobler than his slayer, because he knows that he is dying and the advantage the universe has over him. The universe knows nothing of this.
I do not admire a virtue like valour when it is pushed to excess, if I do not see at the same time the excess of the opposite virtue, as one does in Epaminondas, who displayed extreme valour and extreme benevolence. For otherwise it is not an ascent, but a fall. We do not display our greatness by placing ourselves at one extremity, but rather by being at both at the same time, and filling up the whole of the space between them.
If we let ourselves believe that man began with divine grace, that he forfeited this by sin, and that he can be redeemed only by divine grace through the crucified Christ, then we shall find peace of mind never granted to philosophers. He who cannot believe is cursed, for he reveals by his unbelief that God has not chosen to give him grace.
It is not good to be too free. It is not good to have everything one wants.
The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing: we know this in countless ways.
We never live, but we hope to live; and as we are always arranging to be happy, it must be that we never are so.