> Author Index > B - Authors > Joseph Butler Quotes

Joseph Butler Quotes


An English bishop, theologian, apologist, and philosopher.
(1692 - 1752)

Pages: 12Next

An obstinate man does not hold opinions - they hold him.
[Opinion]
 

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.
 

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.
 

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

Compassion is a call, a demand of nature, to relieve the unhappy as hunger is a natural call for food.
 

Consequently it will often happen there will be a desire of particular objects, in cases where they cannot be obtained without manifest injury to others.
 

Every man hath a general desire of his own happiness; and likewise a variety of particular affections, passions, and appetites to particular external objects.
 

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.
 

Every one of our passions and affections hath its natural stint and bound, which may easily be exceeded; whereas our enjoyments can possibly be but in a determinate measure and degree.
 

For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
 

God Almighty is, to be sure, unmoved by passion or appetite, unchanged by affection; but then it is to be added that He neither sees nor hears nor perceives things by any senses like ours; but in a manner infinitely more perfect.
 

Happiness does not consist in self-love.
 

Happiness or satisfaction consists only in the enjoyment of those objects which are by nature suited to our several particular appetites, passions, and affections.
 

However, without considering this connection, there is no doubt but that more good than evil, more delight than sorrow, arises from compassion itself; there being so many things which balance the sorrow of it.
 

Love of our neighbour, then, has just the same respect to, is no more distant from, self-love, than hatred of our neighbour, or than love or hatred of anything else.
 

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.
 

Pain and sorrow and misery have a right to our assistance: compassion puts us in mind of the debt, and that we owe it to ourselves as well as to the distressed.
 

People might love themselves with the most entire and unbounded affection, and yet be extremely miserable.
 

Prejudice may be considered as a continual false medium of viewing things, for prejudiced persons not only never speak well, but also never think well of those whom they dislike, and the whole character and conduct is considered with an eye to that particular thing which offends them.
[Prejudice]
 

Remember likewise there are persons who love fewer words, an inoffensive sort of people, and who deserve some regard, though of too still and composed tempers for you.
 


Pages: 12Next