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5 Famous Quotes by William Wilberforce
8/24/1759 - 7/29/1833
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About William Wilberforce

Commemoration of William Wilberforce, Social Reformer, 1833 It is indeed a most lamentable consequence of the practice of regarding religion as a compilation of statutes, and not as an internal principle, that it soon comes to be considered as being conversant about external actions rather than about habits of mind. This sentiment sometimes has even the hardiness to insinuate and maintain itself under the guise of extraordinary concern for practical religion; but it soon discovers the falsehood of this pretension, and betrays its real nature. The expedient, indeed, of attaining to superiority in practice by not wasting any of the attention on the internal principles from which alone practice can flow, is about as reasonable, and will answer about as well, as the economy of an architect who should account it mere prodigality to expend any of his materials in laying foundation, from an idea that they might be more usefully applied to the raising of the superstructure. We know what would be the fate of such an edifice.

Christianity Quotes, by William Wilberforce

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Commemoration of William Wilberforce, Social Reformer, 1833 A just pride, a proper and becoming pride, are terms which we daily hear from Christian lips. To possess a high spirit, to behave with proper spirit when used ill -- by which is meant, a quick feeling of injuries, and a promptness in resenting them -- entitles to commendation; and a meek-spirited disposition, the highest Scripture eulogium, expresses ideas of disapprobation and contempt. Vanity and vainglory are suffered without interruption to retain their natural possession of the heart.

Christianity Quotes, by William Wilberforce

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Commemoration of William Wilberforce, Social Reformer, 1833 The generality of nominal Christians... are almost entirely taken up with the concerns of the present world. They know indeed that they are mortal, but they do not feel it. The truth rests in their understandings, and cannot gain admission into their hearts. This speculative persuasion is altogether different from that strong practical impression of the infinite importance of eternal things, which, attended with a proportionate sense of the shortness and uncertainty of all below, while it prompts to activity from a conviction that the night cometh when no man can work, produces a certain firmness of texture, which hardens us against the buffetings of fortune, and prevents our being very deeply penetrated by the cares and interests, the good or evil, of this transitory state.

Christianity Quotes, by William Wilberforce

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Commemoration of William Wilberforce, Social Reformer, 1833 All these several artifices, whatever they may be, to unhallow the Sunday, and to change its character (it might be almost said, to mitigate its horrors,) prove but too plainly, however we may be glad to take refuge in religion, when driven to it by the loss of every other comfort, and to retain, as it were, a reversionary interest in an asylum, which may receive us when we are forced from the transitory enjoyments of our present state; that in itself wears to us a gloomy and forbidding aspect, and not a face of consolation and joy; that the worship of God is with us a constrained, not a willing, service, which we are glad therefore to abridge, though we dare not omit it.

Christianity Quotes, by William Wilberforce

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Commemoration of William Wilberforce, Social Reformer, 1833 It seems to be an opinion pretty generally prevalent, that kindness and sweetness of temper; sympathizing, benevolent, and generous affections; attention to what in the world's estimation are the domestic, relative, and social duties; and, above all, a life of general activity and usefulness, may well be allowed, in our imperfect state, to make up for the defect of what, in strict propriety of speech, is termed religion. Many, indeed, will unreservedly declare, and more will hint, the opinion that the difference between the qualities above mentioned and religion, is rather a verbal or logical, than a real and essential difference; for in truth, what are they but religion in substance if not in name? 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? We do not deny that, in the general mass of society, and particularly in the lower orders, such conduct and tempers can not be diffused and maintained by any other medium than that of religion. But if the end be effected, surely it is only an unnecessary refinement to dispute about the means. It is even to forget your own principles; and to refuse its just place to solid, practical virtue, while you assign too high a value to speculative opinions.

Christianity Quotes, by William Wilberforce

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