Quotes on Humility
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38. Humility; Simplicity
I mentioned that I was afraid I put into my journal too many little incidents. Johnson: "There is nothing, Sir, too little for a creature as man. It is by studying little things that we attain the great art of having as little misery and as much happiness as possible."
Boswell: Life

924. Humility; Religion; Simplicity
"Of the divine Author of our religion it is impossible to peruse the evangelical histories, without observing how little he favoured the vanity of inquisitiveness; how much more rarely he condescended to satisfy curiosity than to relieve distress; and how much he desired that his followers should rather excel in goodness than in knowledge. His precepts tend immediately to the rectification of the moral principles, and the direction of daily conduct, without ostentation, without art, at once irrefragable and plain; such as well meaning simplicity may readily conceive, and of which we cannot mistake the meaning, but when we are afraid to find it."
Johnson: Rambler #81 (December 25, 1750)

1,048. Humility; Religion
"The sentiments and worship proper to a fallen and offending being we have all to learn, as we have all to practise."
Johnson: Milton (Lives of the Poets)

1,050. Fallibility; Humanity; Humility
"Faults and defects every work of man must have."
Johnson: Milton (Lives of the Poets)

1,172. Humility; Vanity
"He that never extends his view beyond the praises or rewards of men will be dejected by neglect and envy, or infatuated by honours and applause. But the consideration that life is only deposited in his hands to be employed in obedience to a master who will regard his endeavours, not his success, would have preserved him from trivial elations and discouragements, and enabled him to proceed with constancy and cheerfulness, neither enervated by commendation nor intimidated by censure."
Johnson: Rambler #127 (June 4, 1751)

1,285. Humility
"Diffidence may check resolution and obstruct performance, but compensates its embarrassments by more important advantages; it conciliates the proud, and softens the severe; averts envy from excellence, and censure from miscarriage."
Johnson: Rambler #159 (September 24, 1751)

1,338. Humility
"A request made with diffidence and timidity is easily denied, because the petitioner himself seems to doubt its fitness."
Johnson: Rambler #166 (October 19, 1751)

1,353. Humility; Quality
"They who most deserve praise are often afraid to decide in favour of their own performances; they know how much is still wanting to their completion, and wait with anxiety and terror the determination of the public."
Johnson: Rambler #169 (October 29, 1751)

1,407. Conviviality; Curiosity; Humility; Progress

"I am far from any intention to limit curiosity, or confine the labours of learning to arts of immediate and necessary use. It is only from the various essays of experimental industry, and the vague excursions of mind set upon discovery, that any advancement of knowledge can be expected; and though many must be disappointed in their labours, yet they are not to be charged with having spent their time in vain; their example contributed to inspire emulation, and their miscarriage taught others the way to success.

"But the distant hope of being one day useful or eminent ought not to mislead us too far from that study which is equally requisite to the great and mean, to the celebrated and obscure; the art of moderating the desires, of repressing the appetites; and of conciliating or retaining the favour of mankind."

Johnson: Rambler #180 (December 7, 1751)

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