We reason ourselves into all kinds of folly and
(William Law, "A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life")
The misery of our condition appears in this, that we use
our powers and abilities to the torment and vexation of
ourselves, and our fellow creatures.
God Almighty has entrusted us with the use of reason,
and we use it to the disorder and corruption of our nature.
We reason ourselves into all kinds of folly and misery,
make our lives the sport of foolish and extravagant passions . . .
seeking after imaginary happiness in all kinds of shapes;
creating to ourselves a thousand needs;
amusing our hearts with false hopes and fears;
using the world worse than irrational animals;
envying, vexing, and tormenting one another with
restless passions, and unreasonable contentions.
Let any man but look back upon his own life,
and see what use he has made of his reason . . .
what foolish passions,
what vain thoughts,
what needless labors,
what extravagant projects,
have taken up the greatest part of his life!
How foolish he has been in his words and conversation;
how seldom he has done well with judgment;
how seldom he has been able to please himself;
how often he has displeased others;
how often he has changed his counsels;
hated what he loved, and loved what he hated;
how often he has been enraged and elated at trifles;
pleased and displeased with the very same things,
and constantly changing from one vanity to another!
Most people would rather choose to die, than to have . . .
all their secret follies,
all the errors of their judgments,
all the vanity of their minds,
all the falseness of their pretenses,
the frequency of their vain and disorderly passions,
their uneasiness, hatred, envies, and vexations,
made known unto the world.