Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Benevolence

"There is scarcely a man who is not conscious of the benefits which his own mind has received from the performance of single acts of benevolence. How strange that so few of us try a course of the same medicine!" -

"Of all the virtues necessary to the completion of the perfect man, there is none to be more delicately implied and less ostentatiously vaunted than that of exquisite feeling or universal benevolence." -

"To be happy you must forget yourself. Learn benevolence; it is the only cure of a morbid temper." -

"Benevolence is not in word and in tongue, but in deed and in truth. It is a business with men as they are, and with human life as drawn by the rough hand of experience. It is a duty which you must perform at the call of principle; though there be no voice of eloquence to give splendor to your exertions, and no music of poetry to lead your willing footsteps through the bowers of enchantment. It is not the impulse of high and ecstatic emotion. It is an exertion of principle. :You must go to the poor man’s cottage, though no verdure flourish around it, the gentleness of its murmurs. If you look for the romantic simplicity of fiction you will be disappointed; but it is your duty to persevere in spite of every discouragement. Benevolence is not merely a feeling but a principle; not a dream of rapture for the fancy to indulge in, but a business for the hand to execute." - Thomas Chalmers

"Good-breeding is benevolence in trifles, or the preference of others to ourselves in the daily occurrences of life." - William Pitt, Lord Chatham or Lord William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, aka The Elder Pitt and The Great Commander

"It seems not to be true that there is a power in the universe, which watches over the well-being of every individual with parental care and brings all his concerns to a happy ending. On the contrary, the destinies of man are incompatible with a universal principle of benevolence or with - what is to some degree contradictory - a universal principle of justice... Dark, unfeeling, and unloving powers determine human destiny; the system of rewards and punishments, which according to religion, governs the world, seems to have no existence." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"By benevolence man rises to a height where he meets God. Therefore do a good deed before you begin your prayers." - Achai Gaon, known as Ahai of Sabha or Aha of Sabha

"What is the elevation of the soul? A prompt, delicate, certain feeling for all that is beautiful, all that is grand; a quick resolution to do the greatest good by the smallest means; a great benevolence joined to a great strength and great humility." - Johann Kaspar Lavater

"The virtue of benevolence... is of so comprehensive a nature, that it contains the principle of every moral duty." - Catharine Macaulay Graham, born Catharine Sawbridge

"Politeness has been well defined as benevolence in small things." -

"A sincere acquaintance with ourselves teaches us humility; and from humility springs that benevolence which compassionates the transgressors we condemn, and prevents the punishments we inflict from themselves partaking of crime, in being rather the wreaking of revenge than the chastisements of virtue." - Jane Porter

"To attain excellence in society, an assemblage of qualification is requisite: disciplined intellect, to think clearly, and to clothe thought with propriety and elegance; knowledge of human nature, to suit subject to character; true politeness, to prevent giving pain; a deep sense of morality, to preserve the dignity of speech; and a spirit of benevolence, to neutralize its asperities, and sanctify its powers." - Lydia Sigourney, fully Lydia Huntley Sigourney, née Lydia Howard Huntley

"Charity should be the habit of our estimates; kindness of our feelings; benevolence of our affections; cheerfulness of our social intercourse; generosity of our living; improvement of our progress; prayer of our desires; fidelity of our sex-examination; being and doing good of our entire life." - John Tillotson, Archbishop of Canterbury

"Out of the ashes of misanthropy benevolence rises again; we find many virtues where we had imagined all was vice, many acts of disinterested friendship where we had fancied all was calculation and fraud - and so gradually from the two extremes we pass to the proper medium; and, feeling that no human being is wholly good or wholly base, we learn that true knowledge of mankind which induces us to expect little and forgive much. The world cures alike the optimist and the misanthrope." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, fully Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton

"Those who devote themselves to the peaceful study of nature have but little temptation to launch out upon the tempestuous sea of ambition; they will scarcely be hurried away by the more violent or cruel passions, the ordinary failings of those ardent persons who do not control their conduct; but, pure as the objects of their researches, they will feel for everything about them the same benevolence which they see nature display toward all her productions." - Georges Cuvier, fully Jean Léopold Nicolas Frédéric Cuvier

"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 tempter, holiness; its aim, obedience to God in improvement of self and benevolence to men." - Tyron Edwards

"Insatiable ambition, the thirst of raising their respective fortunes, not so much from real want as from the desire to surpass others, inspired all men with a vile propensity to injure one another, and with a secret jealousy, which is the more dangerous, as it puts on the mask of benevolence, to carry its point with greater security. In a word, there arose rivalry and competition on the one hand, and conflicting interests on the other, together with a secret desire on both of profiting at the expense of others. All these evils were the first effects of property, and the inseparable attendants of growing inequality." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"Kind words are benedictions. They are not only instruments of power, but of benevolence and courtesy; blessings both to the speaker and hearer of them." - Frederic Saunders

"Peace is not absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice." -

"God’s wisdom is infinite; it transcends all our powers of expression. So of his mercy and his benevolence. Infinite existence is everlasting existence. When we speak of God as the Infinite Existence, we mean that allhis attribute are infinite." -

"One should not (seek to) please others in an improper way, not be lavish of his words... To cultivate one’s person and fulfill one’s word is called good conduct. When the conduct is (thus) ordered, and the words are accordant with the (right) course, we have the substance of the rules of propriety... The course (of duty), virtue, benevolence, and righteousness cannot be fully carried out without the rules of propriety... nor can the clearing up of quarrels and discriminating in disputes be accomplished." - Book of Li, aka Book of Rites or Record of Rites or Classic Rites NULL

"In the United States, there’s a Puritan ethic and a mythology of success: He who is successful is good. In Latin countries, in Catholic countries, a successful person is a sinner. In Puritan countries, success shows God’s benevolence. In Catholic countries, your God loves you only when you’ve suffered." - Umberto Eco

"Morality is primarily a means of preserving the community and saving it from destruction. Next it is a means of maintaining the community on a certain plane and in a certain degree of benevolence." - Friedrich Nietzsche, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

"Nobody but a beggar chooses to depend chiefly upon the benevolence of his fellow-citizens." - Adam Smith

"It is time for you to understand the purpose of your life. You are a chalice for God’s Love and a vehicle for Him to bless the world. Realize your Divine purpose and your will is aligned with His. Goodness is the theme of all life. See the Perfection in your life and you recapture your Childhood Vision. As you give up patterns of evaluation and cynicism, you accept the benevolence of God. Pain is born of resistance, and joy is a function of the acceptance of God’s whole and Holy Love for you. Find purpose in your joy, and you find purpose in God." - Alan Cohen

"It is time for you to understand the purpose of your life. You are a chalice for God’s Love and a vehicle for Him to bless the world. Realize your Divine purpose and your will is aligned with His. Goodness is the theme of all life. See the Perfection in your life and you recapture your Childhood Vision. As you give up patterns of evaluation and cynicism, you accept the benevolence of God. Pain is born of resistance, and joy is a function of the acceptance of God’s whole and Holy Love for you. Find purpose in your joy, and you find purpose in God." -

"It is time for you to understand the purpose of your life. You are a chalice for God’s Love and a vehicle for Him to bless the world. Realize your Divine purpose and your will is aligned with His. Goodness is the theme of all life. See the Perfection in your life and you recapture your Childhood Vision. As you give up patterns of evaluation and cynicism, you accept the benevolence of God. Pain is born of resistance, and joy is a function of the acceptance of God’s whole and Holy Love for you. Find purpose in your joy, and you find purpose in God." -

"Supreme Being is as impartial as the sun. If one flower bud opens when the run arise and another does not, it is due to its own preparedness and not to any partiality of the sun. Similarly, Divine Grace flows everywhere, always; it is only man’s willingness and ability to respond to it that varies. Supreme Being cannot be propitiated. Being all benevolence, it can not be induced to become more benevolent to one than to another or in one instance than in another. All things manifest Supreme Being in its innumerable aspects; all things issue forth from it and return to it." - Arthur W Osborn

"Every virtue carries with it its own reward, but none in so distinguished and pre-eminent a degree as benevolence." - Author Unknown NULL

"Education does not commence with the alphabet; it begins with a mother's look, with a father's nod of approbation, or a sign of reproof; with a sister's gentle pressure of the hand, or a brother's noble act of forbearance; with handfuls of flowers in green dells, on hills, and daisy meadows; with birds' nests admired, but not touched; with creeping ants, and almost imperceptible emmets; with humming-bees and glass beehives; with pleasant walks in shady lanes, and with thoughts directed in sweet and kindly tones and words to nature, to beauty, to acts of benevolence, to deeds of virtue, and to the source of all good to God Himself!" - Author Unknown NULL

"Peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice." -

"Ye men of gloom and austerity, who paint the face of Infinite Benevolence with an eternal frown, read in the everlasting book, wide open to your view, the lesson it would teach. Its pictures are not in black and somber hues, but bright and glowing tints; its music - save when ye drown it - is not in sights and groans, but songs and cheerful sounds. Listen to the million voices in the summer air, and find one dismal as your own." - Charles Dickens, fully Charles John Huffam Dickens

"To be fond of learning is to draw close to wisdom. To practice with vigor is to draw close to benevolence. To know the seen of shame is to draw close to courage. He who knows these three things knows how to cultivate his own character. Knowing how to cultivate his own character, he knows how to govern other men. Knowing how to govern other men, he knows how to govern the world, it states, and its families." - Confucius, aka Kong Qiu, Zhongni, K'ung Fu-tzu or Kong Fuzi NULL

"No quality is rarer than true benevolence; even those who imagine they possess it are generally merely of a weak or complaisant nature." - François de La Rochefoucauld, François VI, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, Prince de Marcillac, Francois A. F. Rochefoucauld-Liancourt

"The power of perpetuating our property in our families is one of the most valuable and interesting circumstances belonging to it, and that which tends the most to perpetuation of society itself. It makes our weakness subservient to our virtue; it grafts benevolence even upon avarice. The possession of family wealth and of the distinction which attends hereditary possessions (as most concerned into it), are the natural securities for this transmission." - Edmund Burke

"The power of perpetuating our property in our families is one of the most valuable and interesting circumstances belonging to it, and that which tends the most to the perpetuation of society itself. It makes our weakness subservient to our virtue; it grafts benevolence even upon avarice." - Edmund Burke

"The doctrine that Universal Happiness is the ultimate standard must not be understood to imply that Universal Benevolence is the only right or always best motive of action... it is not necessary that the end which gives the criterion of rightness should always be the end at which we consciously aim; and if experience shows that the general happiness will be more satisfactorily attained if men frequently act from other motives than pure universal philanthropy, it is obvious that these other motives are reasonably to be preferred on Utilitarian principles." - Henry Sidgwick

"Every fresh act of benevolence is the herald of deeper satisfaction; every charitable act a stepping-stone towards heaven." - Henry Ward Beecher

"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." - Henry Ward Beecher

"Why should men work? Because their hearts want some outlet to give expression to the feeling of earnest sympathy that is in them. Where a man has a strong and large benevolence, he will always be busy, and pleasantly busy." - Henry Ward Beecher

"No amount of preaching, exhortation, sympathy, benevolence, will render the condition of our working-women what it should be so long as the kitchen and the needle are substantially their only resources." - Horace Greeley

"Generosity during life is a very different thing from generosity in the hour of death; one proceeds from genuine liberality and benevolence, the other from pride or fear." - Horace Mann

"Both love of mankind, and respect for their rights are duties; the former however is only a condition, the latter an unconditional, purely imperative duty, which he must be perfectly certain not to have transgressed who would give himself up to the secret emotions arising from benevolence." - Immanuel Kant

"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." - Immanuel Kant

"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." - Jeremy Bentham

"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." - John Ruskin

"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." - Jonathan Edwards

"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." - Joseph Addison

"Benevolence is the distinguishing characteristic of man. As embodied in man's conduct, it is called the path of duty." - Mencius, born Meng Ke or Ko NULL

"Try your best to treat others as you wish to be treated yourself, and you will find that this is the shortest way to benevolence." - Mencius, born Meng Ke or Ko NULL