Every fresh act of benevolence is the herald of deeper satisfaction; every charitable act a stepping-stone towards heaven.
True politeness is the spirit of benevolence showing itself in a refined way. It is the expression of good-will and kindness. It promotes both beauty in the man who possesses it, and happiness in those who are about him. It is a religious duty, and should be a part of religious training.
Men can never acquire respect by benevolence alone, though they may gain love, so that the greatest beneficence only procures them honor when it is regulated by worthiness.
We may scatter the seeds of courtesy and kindness about us at little expense. Some of them will fall on good ground, and grow up into benevolence in the minds of others, and all of them will bear fruit of happiness in the bosom whence they spring. Once blest are all the virtues; twice blest, sometimes.
What is in reality cowardice and faithlessness, we call charity, and consider it the part of benevolence sometimes to forgive men’s evil practice for the sake of their accurate faith, and sometimes to forgive their confessed heresy for the sake of their admirable practice.
Religion, in its purity, is not so much a pursuit as a temper; or rather it is a temper, leading to the pursuit of all that is high and holy. Its foundation is faith; its action, works; its temper, holiness; its aim, obedience to God in improvement of self, and benevolence to men.
Half the misery of human life might be extinguished if men would alleviate the general curse they live under by mutual offices of compassion, benevolence and humanity.
Although Freedom is, primarily, an undeveloped idea, the means it uses are external and phenomenal; presenting themselves in History to our sensuous vision. The first glance at History convinces us that the actions of men proceed from their needs, their passions, their characters and talents; and impresses us with the belief that such needs, passions and interests are the sole springs of action — the efficient agents in this scene of activity. Among these may, perhaps, be found aims of a liberal or universal kind — benevolence it may be, or noble patriotism; but such virtues and general views are but insignificant as compared with the World and its doings. We may perhaps see the Ideal of Reason actualized in those who adopt such aims, and within the sphere of their influence; but they bear only a trifling proportion to the mass of the human race; and the extent of that influence is limited accordingly. Passions, private aims, and the satisfaction of selfish desires, are on the other hand, most effective springs of action. Their power lies in the fact that they respect none of the limitations which justice and morality would impose on them; and that these natural impulses have a more direct influence over man than the artificial and tedious discipline that tends to order and self-restraint, law and morality. When we look at this display of passions, and the consequences of their violence; the Unreason which is associated not ,only with them, but even (rather we might say especially) with good designs and righteous aims; when we see the evil, the vice, the ruin that has befallen the most flourishing kingdoms which the mind of man ever created, we can scarce avoid being filled with sorrow at this universal taint of corruption: and, since this decay is not the work of mere Nature, but of the Human Will — a moral embitterment — a revolt of the Good Spirit (if it have a place within us) may well be the result of our reflections.
More than anything else I have come to see meditation as a radical act of love, an inward gesture of benevolence and kindness toward ourselves and toward others, a gesture of the heart that recognizes our perfection even in our obvious imperfection, with all our shortcomings, our wounds, our attachments, our vexations, and our persistent habits of unawareness.
When virtue is lost, benevolence appears, when benevolence is lost right conduct appears, when right conduct is lost, expedience appears. Expediency is the mere shadow of right and truth; it is the beginning of disorder.
When any relationship is characterized by difference, particularly a disparity in power, there remains a tendency to model it on the parent-child-relationship. Even protectiveness and benevolence toward the poor, toward minorities, and especially toward women have involved equating them with children.
The boon and benevolence which is not thanked for, is like the sin which is not forgiven.
In proportion as mankind becomes wise — yes, in exact proportion to that wisdom — should be the extinction of the unequal system under which they now subsist. Government is, in fact, the mere badge of their depravity. They are so little aware of the inestimable benefits of mutual love as to indulge, without thought, and almost without motive, in the worst excesses of selfishness and malice. Hence, without graduating human society into a scale of empire and subjection, its very existence has become impossible. It is necessary that universal benevolence should supersede the regulations of precedent and prescription, before these regulations can safely be abolished. Meanwhile, their very subsistence depends on the system of injustice and violence, which they have been devised to palliate.
Only he who gratefully remembers the love and benevolence bestowed upon him is a real human being.
Amid all that illusion which such momentary visitations of seriousness and of sentiment throw around the character of man, let us never lose sight of the test, that “By their fruits ye shall know them.” It is not coming up to this test, that you hear and are delighted. It is that you hear and do. This is the ground upon which the reality of your religion is discriminated now; and on the day of reckoning, this is the ground upon which your religion will be judged then; and that award is to be passed upon you which will fix and perpetuate your destiny forever.
Shakespeare is an intellectual miracle.
Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not yet sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor; a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides.
Love to faults is always blind;
Always is to joy inclin’d,
Lawless, wing’d and unconfin’d,
And breaks all chains from every mind.
Deceit to secrecy confin’d,
Lawful, cautious and refin’d;
To anything but interest blind,
And forges fetters for the mind.
You throw the sand against the wind And the wind blows it back again.
If you have to prove you are worthy of credit, your credit is already gone.