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William Wilberforce Quotes

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We are too young to realize that certain things are impossible... So we will do them anyway.

If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large.

And, sir, when we think of eternity, and of the future consequences of all human conduct, what is there in this life that should make any man contradict the dictates of his conscience, the principles of justice, the laws of religion, and of God?

Accustom yourself to look first to the dreadful consequences of failure; then fix your eye on the glorious prize which is before you; and when your strength begins to fail, and your spirits are well nigh exhausted, let the animating view rekindle your resolution, and call forth in renewed vigour the fainting energies of your soul.

You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.

William Wilberforce Quotes

True Christians consider themselves not as satisfying some rigorous creditor, but as discharging a debt of gratitude.

We have different forms assigned to us in the school of life, different gifts imparted. All is not attractive that is good. Iron is useful, though it does not sparkle like the diamond. Gold has not the fragrance of a flower. So different persons have various modes of excellence, and we must have an eye to all.

Is it not the great end of religion, and, in particular, the glory of Christianity, to extinguish the malignant passions; to curb the violence, to control the appetites, and to smooth the asperities of man; to make us compassionate and kind, and forgiving one to another; to make us good husbands, good fathers, good friends; and to render us active and useful in the discharge of the relative social and civil duties?

Selfishness is one of the principal fruits of the corruption of human nature; and it is obvious that selfishness disposes us to over-rate our good qualities, and to overlook or extenuate our defects.

Let him then, who would be indeed a Christian, watch over his ways and over his heart with unceasing circumspection. Let him endeavour to learn, both from men and books, particularly from the lives of eminent Christians, what methods have been actually found most effectual for the conquest of every particular vice, and for improvement in every branch of holiness. Thus studying his own character, and observing the most secret workings of his own mind, and of our common nature; the knowledge which he will acquire of the human heart in general, and especially of his own, will be of the highest utility, in enabling him to avoid or to guard against the occasions of evil: and it will also tend, above all things, to the growth of humility, and to the maintenance of that sobriety of spirit and tenderness of conscience, which are eminently characteristic of the true Christian.

This perpetual hurry of business and company ruins me in soul if not in body. More solitude and earlier hours!

Let true Christians then, with becoming earnestness, strive in all things to recommend their profession, and to put to silence the vain scoffs of ignorant objectors. Let them boldly assert the cause of Christ in an age when so many, who bear the name of Christians, are ashamed of Him: and let them consider as devolved on Them the important duty of suspending for a while the fall of their country, and, perhaps, of performing a still more extensive service to society at large; not by busy interference in politics, in which it cannot but be confessed there is much uncertainty; but rather by that sure and radical benefit of restoring the influence of Religion, and of raising the standard of morality.

It makes no sense to take the name of Christian and not cling to Christ. Jesus is not some magic charm to wear like a piece of jewelry we think will give us good luck. He is the Lord. His name is to be written on our hearts in such a powerful way that it creates within us a profound experience of His peace and a heart that is filled with His praise.

How can we judge fairly of the characters and merits of men, of the wisdom or folly of actions, unless we have . . . an accurate knowledge of all particulars, so that we may live as it were in the times, and among the persons, of whom we read, see with their eyes, and reason and decide on their premises?

In an age in which infidelity abounds, do we observe parents carefully instructing their children in the principles of faith which they profess? Or do they furnish their children with arguments for the defense of that faith? ...it is not surprising to see them abandon a position which they are unable to defend.

Lovely flowers are the smiles of god's goodness.

We can scarcely indeed look into any part of the sacred volume without meeting abundant proofs, that it is the religion of the Affections which God particularly requires. Love, Zeal, Gratitude, Joy, Hope, Trust, are each of them specified; and are not allowed to us as weaknesses, but enjoined on us as our bounden duty, and commended to us as our acceptable worship.

God Almighty has set before me two Great Objects: the supression of the Slave Trade and the Reformation of Manners.

 the supression of the Slave Trade and the Reformation of Manners.

I mean not to accuse any one, but to take the shame upon myself, in common, indeed, with the whole parliament of Great Britain, for having suffered this horrid trade to be carried on under their authority. We are all guilty—we ought all to plead guilty, and not to exculpate ourselves by throwing the blame on others; and I therefore deprecate every kind of reflection against the various descriptions of people who are more immediately involved in this wretched business.

The distemper of which, as a community, we are sick, should be considered rather as a moral than a political malady.

Christianity has been successfully attacked and marginalized… because those who professed belief were unable to defend the faith from attack, even though its attackers’ arguments were deeply flawed.

Servile, and base, and mercenary, is the notion of Christian practice among the bulk of nominal Christians. They give no more than they dare not with-hold; they abstain from nothing but what they must not practise.

It is the distinguishing glory of Christianity not to rest satisfied with superficial appearances, but to rectify the motives, and purify the heart.

It must be conceded by those who admit the authority of Scripture (such only he is addressing) that from the decision of the word of God there can be no appeal.

Both man and woman have their own parts to play in bringing faith to the next generation, and the woman's role is particularly important. How can we ever think that the female sex is inferior when we see the essential responsibility God has given women in this world? Their sensitivity to spiritual concerns seems to be farm more innate and natural than a man's. Mothers and wives often are the medium for our intercourse with the heavenly world, the faithful repositories of spiritual knowledge and wisdom. We should all be careful to avail ourselves of the benefits they have to offer both the present generation and the one that will follow us.

Some might say that one’s faith is a private matter and should not be spoken of so publicly. They might assert this in public, but what do they really think in their hearts? The fact is, those who say such things usually don’t even have a concern for faith in the privacy of their interior lives.

Why is it so hard to get people to study the Scriptures? Common sense tells us what revelation commands: 'Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God'--'Search the Scriptures'--'Be ready to give to every one a reason of the hope that is in you.' These are the words of the inspired writers, and these injunctions are confirmed by praising those who obey the admonition. And yet, for all that we have the Bible in our houses, we are ignorant of its contents. No wonder that so many Christians know so little about what Christ actually taught; no wonder that they are so mistaken about the faith that they profess.

What a difference it would be if our system of morality were based on the Bible instead of the standards devised by cultural Christians.

Watering places - the sports of the field - cards! never-failing cards! - the assembly - the theater - all contribute their aid - amusements are multiplied, and combined, and varied, 'to fill up the void of a listless and languid life;' and by the judicious use of these different resources, there is often a kind of sober settled plan of domestic dissipation, in which with all imaginable decency year after year wears away in unprofitable vacancy.

A private faith that does not act in the face of oppression is no faith at all.

of oppression is no faith at all.

“No man, ever indulged more freely or happily in that playful facetiousness which gratifies all without wounding any.

No man has a right to be idle. Where is it that in such a world as this, that health, and leisure, and affluence may not find some ignorance to instruct, some wrong to redress, some want to supply, some misery to alleviate?

Blessed be to God for the day of rest and religious occupation wherein earthly things assume their true size.

because they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, he gave them over to a reprobate mind.

In the calmness of the morning before the mind is heated and weary by the turmoil of the day, you have a season of unusual importance for communing with God and with yourself.

I would suggest that faith is everyone’s business. The advance or decline of faith is so intimately connected to the welfare of a society that it should be of particular interest to a politician.

how interest can draw a film across the eyes, so think, that total blindness could do no more; and how it is our duty therefore to trust not to the reasonings of interested men, or to their way of colouring a transaction.

How can you measure the value of the good news of Christ? It is spoken of in the Bible as light in the darkness, freedom from slavery and life from death. Look at how much the Early Church valued the message. They received it with great joy and overflowing gratitude.

The objects of the present life fill the human eye with a false magnification because of their immediacy.

O what a blessing is Sunday, interposed between the waves of worldly business like the divine path of the Israelites through the sea! There is nothing in which I would advise you to be more strictly conscientious than in keeping the Sabbath day holy. I can truly declare that to me the Sabbath has been invaluable.

Christ should be a Christian’s delight and glory. I will endeavor by God’s help to excite in myself an anxiety and longing for the joys of heaven .

The instructive admonitions, “give an account of thy stewardship,“—“occupy till I come;” are forgotten. Thus the generous and wakeful spirit of Christian Benevolence, seeking and finding every where occasions for its exercise, is exploded, and a system of decent selfishness is avowedly established in its stead; a system scarcely more to be abjured for its impiety, than to be abhorred for its cold insensibility to the opportunities of diffusing happiness.

You can choose to look the other way but never again can you say that you never knew.

but never again can you say that you never knew.

Our enmities soften and melt away; we are ashamed of thinking much of the petty injuries which we may have suffered, when we consider what the Son of God, ‘who did no wrong, neither was guile found in his mouth,’ patiently endured.

Great indeed are our opportunities; great also is our responsibility.

Measure your progress by your experience of the love of God and its exercise before men...In contrast, servile, base, and mercenary is the notion of Christian practice among the bulk of nominal Christians. They give no more than they dare not withhold. They abstain from nothing but what they dare not practice. When you state to them the doubtful quality of any action, and the consequent obligation to refrain from it, they reply to you in the very spirit of Shylock, " they cannot find it in the bond." In short, they know Christianity only as a system of restraints. It is robbed of every liberal and generous principle. It is rendered almost unfit for the social relationships of life, and only suited to the gloomy walls of a cloister, in which they would confine it. But true Christians would consider themselves as not satisfying some rigorous creditor, but as discharging a debt of gratitude. Accordingly, theirs is not the stinted return of a constrained obedience, but the large and liberal measure of voluntary service.

If there is no passionate love for Christ at the center of everything, we will only jingle and jangle our way across the world, merely making a noise as we go.

If you love someone who is ruining his or her life because of faulty thinking, and you don't do anything about it because you are afraid of what others might think, it would seem that rather than being loving, you are in fact being heartless.

It is the true duty of every man to promote the happiness of his fellow creatures to the utmost of his power.

Life as we know it, with all its ups and downs, will soon be over. We all will give an accounting to God of how we have lived.

Can one serve God and one's nation in parliament?

Surely the principles of Christianity lead to action as well as meditation.

Surely the experience of all good men confirms the proposition that without a due measure of private devotions the soul will grow lean.

God has so made the mind of man that a peculiar deliciousness resides in the fruits of personal industry.

a peculiar deliciousness resides in the fruits of personal industry.

If then we would indeed be “filled with wisdom and spiritual understanding;” if we would “walk worthy of the Lord unto all well pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;” here let us fix our eyes! “Laying aside every weight, and the sin that does so easily beset us; let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The first years in Parliament I did nothing - nothing to any purpose. My own distinction was my darling object.

I devoted myself for whatever might be the term of my future life, to the service of my God and Saviour.

There is no shortcut to holiness; it must be the business of our whole lives.

Let everyone regulate his conduct... by the golden rule of doing to others as in similar circumstances we would have them do to us, and the path of duty will be clear before him.

What should we suppose must naturally be the consequence of our carrying on a slave trade with Africa? With a country, vast in its extent, not utterly barbarous, but civilized in a very small degree? Does any one suppose a slave trade would help their civilization?

What plea can we have to urge in our defense, if we remain willingly and obstinately ignorant of the way which leads to life with such transcendent means of knowing it?

Of all things, guard against neglecting God in the secret place of prayer.

Ingratitude sickens the heart, and chills and thickens the very life’s blood of benevolence.

I am disturbed when I see the majority of so-called Christians having such little understanding of the real nature of the faith they profess. Faith is a subject of such importance that we should not ignore it because of the distractions or the hectic pace of our lives.

So enormous, so dreadful, so irremediable did the [slave] trade's wickedness appear that my own mind was completely made up for abolition. Let the consequences be what they would: I from this time determined that I would never rest until I had effected its abolition.

Its guilt therefore in these cases, is not to be measure by its effects on the happiness of mankind; nor is it to be denominated true or false glory, accordingly as the ends to which it is directed are beneficial or mischievous, just or unjust objects of pursuit; but it is false, because it exalts that which ought to be abased, and criminal, because it encroaches on the prerogative of God.

Their more lowly paths have been allotted to them by the hand of God . . . it is their part faithfully to discharge its duties, and contentedly to bear its inconveniences.

To live our lives and miss that great purpose we were designed to accomplish is truly a sin. It is inconceivable that we could be bored in a world with so much wrong to tackle, so much ignorance to reach and so much misery we could alleviate

May God enable me to have a single eye and a simple heart, desiring to please God, to do good to my fellow creatures, and testify my gratitude to my adorable Redeemer.

My walk is a public one. My business is in the world, and I must mix in the assemblies of men or quit the post which Providence seems to have assigned me.

Christianity recognizes no innocence or goodness of heart, but in the remission of sin, and in the effects of the operation of divine grace.

True practical Christianity (never let it be forgotten) consists in devoting the heart and life to God; in being supremely and habitually governed by a desire to know, and a disposition to fulfill his will, and in endeavoring under the influence of these motives to 'live to his glory.' Where these essential requisites are wanting, however amiable the character may be, however creditable and respectable among men, yet, as it possesses not the grand distinguishing essence, it must not be complimented with the name of Christianity.

As soon as ever I had arrived thus far in my investigation of the slave trade, I confess to you sir, so enormous so dreadful, so irremediable did its wickedness appear that my own mind was completely made up for the abolition. A trade founded in iniquity, and carried on as this was, must be abolished, let the policy be what it might,—let the consequences be what they would, I from this time determined that i would never rest till I had effected its abolition.

Can you tell a plain man the road to heaven? Certainly, turn at once to the right, then go straight forward.

William Wilberforce Quotes

The gospel freely admitted makes a man happy. It gives him peace with God, and makes him happy in God. It gives to industry a noble, contented look which selfish drudgery never wore; and from the moment that a man begins to do his work for his Saviour's sake, he feels that the most ordinary employments are full of sweetness and dignity, and that the most difficult are not impossible. And if any of you, my friends, is weary with his work, if dissatisfaction with yourself or sorrow of any kind disheartens you, if at any time you feel the dull paralysis of conscious sin, or the depressing influence of vexing thoughts, look to Jesus, and be happy. Be happy, and your joyful work will prosper well.

As much pains were taken to make me idle as were ever taken to make me studious.
In short, Christians in general are everywhere denominated the servants and the children of God, and are required to serve him with that submissive obedience, and that affectionate promptitude of duty, which belong to those endearing relations.

No one expects to attain to the height of learning, or arts, or power, or wealth, or military glory, without vigorous resolution, strenuous diligence, and steady perseverance. Yet we expect to be Christians without labour, study, or inquiry.

There are four things that we ought to do with the Word of God - admit it as the Word of God, commit it to our hearts and minds, submit to it, and transmit it to the world.

Let it not be said that I was silent when they needed me.

Our motto must continue to be perseverance. And ultimately I trust the Almighty will crown our efforts with success.

All men of enlightened understandings, who acknowledge the moral government of God, must also acknowledge, that vice must offend and virtue delight him. In short they must, more or less, assent to the Scripture declaration, “without holiness no man shall see the Lord.

Men of authority and influence may promote good morals. Let them in their several stations encourage virtue. Let them favor and take part in any plans which may be formed for the advancement of morality.

If . . . a principle of true Religion [i.e., true Christianity] should . . . gain ground, there is no estimating the effects on public morals, and the consequent influence on our political welfare.

Bountiful as is the hand of Providence, its gifts are not so bestowed as to seduce us into indolence, but to rouse us to exertion.

Wherever we direct our view, we discover the melancholy proofs of our depravity; whether we look to ancient or modern times, to barbarous or civilized nations, to the conduct of the world around us, or to the monitor within the breast; whether we read, or hear, or act, or think, or feel, the same humiliating lesson is forced upon us.

When blessed with wealth, let them withdraw from the competition of vanity and be modest, retiring from ostentation, and not be the slaves of fashion.

Sulky labor, and the labor of sorrow are little worth: if you could only shed tranquility over the conscience and infuse joy into the soul, you would do more to make the man a thorough worker than if you could lend him the force of Hercules, or the hundred arms of Briareus.

No matter how loud you shout, you will not drown out the voice of the people!

I must secure more time for private devotions. I have been living far too public for me. The shortening of devotions starves the soul, it grows lean and faint. I have been keeping too late hours.

Read the Bible, read the Bible! Let no religious book take its place. Through all my perplexities and distresses, I seldom read any other book, and I as rarely felt the want of any other.

They know indeed that they are mortal, but they do not feel it.

To the one, a little natural moderation and quietness of temper may be sufficient to conduct us: but to the other, we can only attain by much discipline and slow advances; and when we think we have made great way, we shall often find reason to confess in the hour of trial, that we had greatly, far too greatly, over-rated our progress.

Africa, your sufferings have been the theme that has arrested and engaged my heart. Your sufferings no tongue can express, no language impart.

I continually find it necessary to guard against that natural love of wealth and grandeur which prompts us always, when we come to apply our general doctrine to our own case, to claim an exception.

I take courage - I determine to forget all my other fears, and I march forward with a firmer step in the full assurance that my cause will bear me out, and that I shall be able to justify upon the clearest principles, every resolution in my hand, the avowed end of which is, the total abolition of the slave trade.

Never, never will we desist till we extinguish every trace of this bloody traffic, of which our posterity, looking back to the history of these enlightened times will scarce believe that it has been suffered to exist so long a disgrace and dishonor to this country.

Men of authority and influence may promote good morals. Let them in their several stations encourage virtue. Let them favor and take part in any plans which may be formed for the advancement of morality.

If any country were indeed filled with men, each thus diligently discharging the duties of his own station without breaking in upon the rights of others, but on the contrary endeavoring, so far as he might be able, to forward their views and promote their happiness, all would be active and harmonious in the goodly frame of human society.

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