Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Joseph Butler

English Bishop

"Virtue, as such, naturally procures considerable advantages to the virtuous."

"Virtue is not to be considered in the light of mere innocence, or abstaining from harm; but as the exertion of our faculties in doing good."

"Conscience and self-love, if we understand our true happiness, always lead us the same way. Duty and interest are perfectly coincident; for the most part in this world, but entirely and in every instance if we take in the future, and the whole; this being implied in the notion of a good and perfect administration of things."

"An obstinate man does not hold opinions - they hold him."

"Both our senses and our passions are a supply to the imperfection of our nature; thus they show that we are such sort of creatures as to stand in need of those helps which higher orders of creatures do not."

"Every man is to be considered in two capacities, the private and public; as designed to pursue his own interest, and likewise to contribute to the good of others."

"Happiness does not consist in self-love. "

"As this world was not intended to be a state of any great satisfaction or high enjoyment, so neither was it intended to be a mere scene of unhappiness and sorrow."

"Man may act according to that principle or inclination which for the present happens to be strongest, and yet act in a way disproportionate to, and violate his real proper nature."

"The sum of the whole is plainly this: The nature of man considered in his single capacity, and with respect only to the present world, is adapted and leads him to attain the greatest happiness he can for himself in the present world."

"But to us, probability is the very guide of life."