Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Anthony Ashley Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury

English Philosopher

"I would be virtuous for my own sake, thought nobody were to know it; as I would be clean for my own sake, though nobody could see me."

"It is the hardest thing in the world to be a good thinker without being a good self-examiner."

"It is the same with understanding as with eyes; to a certain size and make, just so much light is necessary, and no more. Whatever is beyond brings darkness and confusion."

"Never did any soul do good but it came readier to do the same again, with more enjoyment. Never was love with more enjoyment. Never was love or gratitude or bounty practiced but with increasing joy, which made the practicer still more in love with the fair act."

"The most natural beauty in the world is honesty and moral truth."

"No one was ever the better for advice: in general, what we called giving advice was properly taking an occasion to show our own wisdom at another’s expense; and to receive advice was little better than tamely to afford another the occasion of raising himself a character from our defects."

"There is a melancholy which accompanies all enthusiasm."

"Truth is the most powerful thing in the world, since even fiction itself must be governed by it, an can only please by its resemblance. The appearance of reality is necessary to make any passion agreeably represented, and to be able to move others we must be moved ourselves, or at least seem to be so, upon some probably grounds."