C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


For charity shall cover the multitude of sins.


Charity is the scope of all commands.


He is truly great who hath a great charity.

Thomas à Kempis.

Charity, which renders good for bad, blessings for curses.


What we frankly give, forever is our own.


They serve God well who serve His creatures.

Mrs. Norton.

As the purse is emptied the heart is filled.

Victor Hugo.

True charity, a plant divinely nurs’d.


And learn the luxury of doing good.


Gently to hear, kindly to judge.


That comes too late that comes for the asking.


Charity is a virtue of the heart and not of the hands.


Gifts and alms are the expressions, not the essence, of this virtue.


Charity is an eternal debt and without limit.

Pasquier Quesnel.

Be charitable and indulgent to every one but yourself.


But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.

Matthew vi. 3.

Did universal charity prevail, earth would be a heaven and hell a fable.


Charity resembleth fire, which inflameth all things it toucheth.


We are rich only through what we give, and poor only through what we refuse.

Madame Swetchine.

That charity which is the perfection and ornament of religion.


  • The drying up a single tear has more
  • Of honest fame, than shedding seas of gore.
  • Byron.

    An effort made for the happiness of others lifts us above ourselves.

    L. M. Child.

    No communication or gift can exhaust genius or impoverish charity.


    Faith and hope themselves shall die, while deathless charity remains.


    A friar who asks alms for God’s sake begs for two.


    You must have a genius for charity as well as for anything else.


    Alas for the rarity of Christian charity under the sun.


    The place of charity, like that of God, is everywhere.

    Professor Vinet.

    You find people ready enough to do the Samaritan, without the oil and twopence.

    Sydney Smith.

    A poor man serv’d by thee, shall make thee rich.

    Mrs. Browning.

    These can be no Christianity where there is no charity.


    To pity distress is but human; to relieve it is Godlike.

    Horace Mann.

    I will chide no breather in the world but myself; against whom I know most faults.


    Wherever the tree of beneficence takes root, it sends forth branches beyond the sky!


  • A tear for pity and a hand
  • Open as day for melting charity.
  • Shakespeare.

    There is no dearth of charity in the world in giving, but there is comparatively little exercised in thinking and speaking.

    Sir Philip Sidney.

  • For true charity
  • Though ne’er so secret finds its just reward.
  • May.

    Charity ever finds in the act reward, and needs no trumpet in the receiver.

    Beaumont and Fletcher.

    Large charity doth never soil, but only whitens soft white hands.


    That charity which longs to publish itself, ceases to be charity.


    The secret pleasure of a generous act is the great mind’s great bribe.


    The smallest act of charity shall stand us in great stead.


    True charity is liable to excesses and transports.


    My poor are my best patients. God pays for them.


    A hand as fruitful as the land that feeds us; His dew falls everywhere.


  • ’Tis not enough to help the feeble up,
  • But to support him after.
  • Shakespeare.

    The highest exercise of charity is charity towards the uncharitable.


    The heart of a girl is like a convent—the holier the cloister, the more charitable the door.


    Cast thy bread upon the waters; for thou shalt find it after many days.


    It is fruition, and not possession, that renders us happy.


  • It was sufficient that his wants were known,
  • True charity makes other’s wants its own.
  • Robert Danborne.

    And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.


    No sound ought to be heard in the church but the healing voice of Christian charity.


    A woman who wants a charitable heart wants a pure mind.


    Nothing will make us so charitable and tender to the faults of others as by self-examination thoroughly to know our own.


  • Good is no good, but if it be spend,
  • God giveth good for none other end.
  • Spenser.

    The charities that soothe and heal and bless, lie scattered at the feet of men like flowers.


    There is no virtue can be sooner missed or later welcomed; it begins the rest, and sets them all in order.


    Give to him that asketh thee; and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.


    He who receives a good turn should never forget it; he who does one should never remember it.


    Defer not charities till death. He who does so is rather liberal of another man’s substance than his own.


    With malice toward none, charity for all, with firmness in the right—as God gives us to see the right—let us strive on to finish the work we are in.

    Abraham Lincoln.

    How white are the fair robes of charity, as she walketh amid the lowly habitations of the poor!

    Hosea Ballou.

    Posthumous charities are the very essence of selfishness, when bequeathed by those who, when alive, would part with nothing.


    Earth has not a spectacle more glorious or more fair to show than this—love tolerating intolerance; charity covering, as with a vail, even the sin of the lack of charity.

    F. W. Robertson.

    Charity is that sweet-smelling savor of Jesus Christ, which vanishes and is extinguished from the moment that it is exposed.


    Charity itself consists in acting justly and faithfully in whatever office, business and employment a person is engaged in.


    Ah! what a divine religion might be found out if charity were really made the principle of it instead of faith!


    It is wicked to withdraw from being useful to the needy; and cowardly to give way to the worthless.


    A rich man without charity is a rogue; and perhaps it would be no difficult matter to prove that he is also a fool.


    Our possessions are wholly in our performances. He owns nothing to whom the world owes nothing.


    It is with charity as with money—the more we stand in need of it, the less we have to give away.


    Prayer carries us half way to God, fasting brings us to the door of His palace and alms-giving procures us admission.


    A man should fear when he enjoys only what good he does publicly. Is it not the publicity, rather than the charity, that he loves?


    In all works of liberality something more is to be considered besides the occasion of the givers; and that is the occasion of the receivers.

    Thomas Sprat.

    In giving alms, let us rather look at the needs of the poor than his claim to your charity.

    J. Petit-Senn.

    True charity is spontaneous and finds its own occasion; it is never the offspring of importunity, nor of emulation.

    Hosea Ballou.

    We should give as we would receive, cheerfully, quickly and without hesitation; for there is no grace in a benefit that sticks to the fingers.


    Charity is a flower not naturally of earthly growth, and it needs manuring with a promise of profit.


    That charity is bad which takes from independence its proper pride, from mendicity its salutary shame.


    It is good to be charitable; but to whom? That is the point. As to the ungrateful, there is not one who does not at last die miserable.

    La Fontaine.

    Great minds, like heaven, are pleased in doing good, though the ungrateful subjects of their favors are barren in return.


    The spirit of the world encloses four kinds of spirits, diametrically opposed to charity—the spirit of resentment, spirit of aversion, spirit of jealousy and the spirit of indifference.


    Why should not our solemn duties and our hastening end render us so united that personal contention would be impossible; in a general sympathy, quickened by the breach of a forbearing and pitying charity?

    Henry Giles.

    Charity in various guises is an intruder the poor see often; but courtesy and delicacy are visitants with which they are seldom honored.


    In charity to all mankind, bearing no malice or ill-will to any human being, and even compassionating those who hold in bondage their fellow-men, not knowing what they do.

    John Quincy Adams.

    He that rightly understands the reasonableness and excellency of charity will know that it can never be excusable to waste any of our money in pride and folly.

    William Law.

    If thou neglectest thy love to thy neighbor, in vain thou professest thy love to God; for by thy love to God, the love to thy neighbor is begotten, and by the love to thy neighbor thy love to God is nourished.

    Francis Quarles.

    Though we may sometimes unintentionally bestow our beneficence on the unworthy, it does not take from the merit of the act. For charity doth not adopt the vices of its objects.


    Our true acquisitions lie only in our charities. We gain only as we give. There is no beggar so destitute as he who can afford nothing to his neighbor.


    I would have none of that rigid circumspect charity which is never done without scrutiny, and which always mistrusts the truth of the necessities laid open to it.


    Charity is a principle of prevailing love to God and good will to men which effectually inclines one endued with it to glorify God and to do good to others.


    Heaven be their resource who have no other but the charity of the world, the stock of which, I fear, is no way sufficient for the many great claims which are hourly made upon it.


    Use every man after his desert, and who shall ’scape whipping? Use them after your own honor and dignity; the less they deserve, the more merit is in your bounty.


    Even the wisdom of God hath not suggested more pressing motives, more powerful incentives to charity, than these, that we shall be judged by it at the last dreadful day.


    What we employ in charitable uses during our lives is given away from ourselves; what we bequeath at our death is given from others only, as our nearest relations.


    Beneficence is a duty. He who frequently practices it, and sees his benevolent intentions realized, at length comes really to love him to whom he has done good.


    Be not frightened at the hard words “imposition,” “imposture;” give, and ask no questions. Cast thy bread upon the waters. Some have, unawares, entertained angels.


  • Then gently scan your brother man,
  • Still gentler, sister woman;
  • Though, they may gang a gennin’ wrang,
  • To step aside is human.
  • Burns.

  • A beggar through the world am I—
  • From place to place I wander by.
  • Fill up my pilgrim’s scrip for me,
  • For Christ’s sweet sake and charity.
  • Lowell.

    It maketh God man, and man God; things temporal, eternal; mortal, immortal; it maketh an enemy a friend, a servant a son, vile things glorious, cold hearts fiery, and hard things liquid.

    St. Bonaventura.

  • In faith and hope the world will disagree,
  • But all mankind’s concern is charity;
  • All must be false that thwart this one great end,
  • And all of God that bless mankind or mend.
  • Pope.

    As every lord giveth a certain livery to his servants, charity is the very livery of Christ. Our Saviour, Who is the Lord above all lords, would have His servants known by their badge, which is love.


    Charity is that rational and constant affection which makes us sacrifice ourselves to the human race, as if we were united with it, so as to form one individual, partaking equally in its adversity and prosperity.


    When I die, I should be ashamed to leave enough to build me a monument if there were a wanting friend above ground. I would enjoy the pleasure of what I give by giving it alive and seeing another enjoy it.


    I have no respect for that self-boasting charity which neglects all objects of commiseration near and around it, but goes to the end of the earth in search of misery, for the purpose of talking about it.

    George Mason.

    The charities of life are scattered everywhere, enamelling the vales of human beings as the flowers paint the meadows. They are not the fruit of study, nor the privilege of refinement, but a natural instinct.


    He who has never denied himself for the sake of giving has but glanced at the joys of charity. We owe our superfluity, and to be happy in the performance of our duty we must exceed it.

    Mme. Swetchine.

    I thank heaven I have often had it in my power to give help and relief, and this is still my greatest pleasure. If I could choose my sphere of action now, it would be that of the most simple and direct efforts of this kind.


    The last, best fruit which comes to late perfection, even in the kindliest soul, is tenderness toward the hard, forbearance toward the unforbearing, warmth of heart toward the cold, philanthropy toward the misanthropic.


    In giving of thy alms, inquire not so much into the person, as his necessity. God looks not so much upon the merits of him that requires, as into the manner of him that relieves; if the man deserve not, thou hast given it to humanity.


    I have much more confidence in the charity which begins in the home and diverges into a large humanity, than in the world-wide philanthropy which begins at the outside, of our horizon to converge into egotism.

    Mrs. Jameson.

    When thy brother has lost all that he ever had, and lies languishing, and even gasping under the utmost extremities of poverty and distress, dost thou think to lick him whole again only with thy tongue?


    Poplicola’s doors were opened on the outside, to save the people even the common civility of asking entrance; where misfortune was a powerful recommendation, and where want itself was a powerful mediator.


    Shall we repine at a little misplaced charity—we who could no way foresee the effect—when an all-knowing, all-wise Being showers down every day His benefits on the unthankful and undeserving?


    The desire of power in excess caused the angels to fall; the desire of knowledge in excess caused man to fall; but in charity there is no excess, neither can angel or man come in danger by it.


    To complain that life has no joys while there is a single creature whom we can relieve by our bounty, assist by our counsels or enliven by our presence, is to lament the loss of that which we possess, and is just as irrational as to die of thirst with the cup in our hands.


    Flatter not thyself in thy faith to God, if thou wantest charity for thy neighbor; and think not thou hast charity for thy neighbor, if thou wantest faith to God; where they are not both together, they are both wanting; they are both dead, if one divided.


    And when Christ came to implant in human bosoms pure, disinterested Christian charity, He brought it as an exotic from heaven, and God had to coin a name for it, for there was no word in all the polyglots of earth that would properly describe it. The thing itself was a thing unknown until the angels heralded it and Jesus brought it.

    Author Unknown.

    Goodness answers to the theological virtue charity, and admits no excess but error. The desire of power in excess caused the angels to fall; the desire of knowledge in excess caused man to fall; but in charity there is no excess; neither can angel nor man come in danger by it.


    The best thing to give to your enemy is forgiveness; to an opponent, tolerance; to a friend, your heart; to your child, a good example; to a father, deference; to your mother, conduct that will make her proud of you; to yourself, respect; to all men, charity.

    Mrs. Balfour.

    Proportion thy charity to the strength of thy estate, lest God proportion thy estate to the weakness of thy charity; let the lips of the poor be the trumpet of thy gift, lest in seeking applause, thou lose thy reward. Nothing is more pleasing to God than an open hand and a close mouth.


  • In silence,***
  • Steals on soft-handed Charity,
  • Tempering her gifts, that seem so free,
  • By time and place,
  • Till not a woe the bleak world see,
  • But finds her grace.
  • Keble.

    There is a debt of mercy and pity of charity and compassion, of relief and succor due to human nature, and payable from one man to another; and such as deny to pay it the distressed in the time their abundance may justly expect it will be denied themselves in a time of want. “With what measure you mete it shall be measured to you again.”


    Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not: charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is of easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in inquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.


  • ’Mongst all your virtues
  • I see not charity written, which some call
  • The first born of religion; and I wonder,
  • I cannot see it in yours. Believe it, sir,
  • There is no virtue can be sooner miss’d
  • Or later welcom’d; it begins the rest,
  • And sets them all in order.
  • Middleton.

    I have learned from Jesus Christ Himself what charity is, and now we ought to practise it; for He says: “By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye love one another.” Never can I, therefore, please myself in the hope that I may obtain the name of a servant of Christ if I possess not a true and unfeigned charity within me.

    St. Basil.

    Whoever would entitle himself after death through the merits of his Redeemer, to the noblest of rewards, let him serve God throughout life in this most excellent of all duties, doing good to our brethren. Whoever is sensible of his offences, let him take this way especially of evidencing his repentance.

    Archbishop Secker.

  • True charity, a plant divinely nursed,
  • Fed by the love from which it rose at first,
  • Thrives against hope, and in the rudest scene,
  • Storms but enliven its unfading green;
  • Exub’rant is the shadow it supplies,
  • Its fruit on earth, its growth above the skies.
  • Cowper.

  • Let shining Charity adorn your zeal,
  • The noblest impulse generous minds can feel.
  • Aaron Hill.

  • Would’st thou from sorrow find a sweet relief,
  • Or is thy heart oppress’d with woe untold?
  • Balm would’st thou gather for corroding grief?—
  • Pour blessings round thee, like a shower of gold.
  • Carlos Wilcox.

    It is an old saying, that charity begins at home; but this is no reason it should not go abroad. A man should live with the world as a citizen of the world; he may have a preference for the particular quarter or square, or even alley, in which he lives, but he should have a generous feeling for the welfare of the whole.


    The soul of the truly benevolent man does not seem to reside much in his own body. Its life, to a great extent, is a mere reflex of the lives of others. It migrates into their bodies, and identifying its existence with their existence, finds its own happiness in increasing and prolonging their pleasures, in extinguishing or solacing their pains.

    Horace Mann.

    If there be a pleasure on earth which angels cannot enjoy, and which they might almost envy man the possession of, it is the power of relieving distress—if there be a pain which devils might pity man for enduring, it is the death-bed reflection that we have possessed the power of doing good, but that we have abused and perverted it to purposes of ill.


    Active beneficence is a virtue of easier practice than forbearance after having conferred, or than thankfulness after having received a benefit. I know not, indeed, whether it be a greater and more difficult exercise of magnanimity, for the one party to act as if he had forgotten, or for the other as if he constantly remembered the obligation.


    Shut not thy purse-strings always against painted distress. Act a charity sometimes. When a poor creature (outwardly and visibly such) comes before thee, do not stay to inquire whether the “seven small children,” in whose name he implores thy assistance, have a veritable existence. Rake not into the bowels of unwelcome truth to save a halfpenny. It is good to believe him.


    In all other human gifts and passions, though they advance nature, yet they are subject to excess; but charity alone admits no excess. For so we see, by aspiring to be like God in power the angels transgressed and fell; by aspiring to be like God in knowledge man transgressed and fell; but by aspiring to be like God in goodness or love, neither man nor angel ever did or shall transgress. For unto the imitation we are called.


    Think not you are charitable if the love of Jesus and His brethren be not purely the motive of your gifts. Alas! you might not give your superfluities, but “bestow all your goods to feed the poor;” you might even “give your body to be burned” for them, and yet be utterly destitute of charity, if self-seeking, self-pleasing or self-ends guide you; and guide you they must, until the love of God be by the Holy Ghost shed abroad in your heart.


  • O chime of sweet Saint Charity,
  • Peal soon that Easter morn
  • When Christ for all shall risen be,
  • And in all hearts new-born!
  • That Pentecost when utterance clear
  • To all men shall be given,
  • When all shall say My Brother here,
  • And hear My Son in heaven!
  • Lowell.

    The shepherds led the pilgrims to Mount Charity, where they showed them a man that had a bundle of cloth lying before him, out of which he cut coats and garments for the poor that stood about him; yet his bundle or roll of cloth was never the less. Then said they: “What should this be?” “This is,” said the shepherds, “to show you that he who has a heart to give of his labor to the poor shall never want wherewithal. ‘He that watereth shall be watered himself.’ And the cake that the widow gave to the prophet did not cause that she had the less in her barrel.”


    That charity alone endures which flows from a sense of duty and a hope to God. This is the charity that treads in secret those paths of misery from which all but the lowest of human wretches have fled; this is that charity which no labor can weary, no ingratitude detach, no horror disgust; that toils, that pardon, that suffers; that is seen by no man, and honored by no man, but, like the great laws of Nature, does the work of God in silence, and looks to a future and better world for its reward.

    Sydney Smith.

    Almost all the virtues that can be named are enwrapt in one virtue of charity and love:—“for it suffereth long,” and so it is longanimity; it “is kind,” and so it is courtesy; it “vaunteth not itself,” and so it is modesty; it “is not puffed up,” and so it is humility; it “is not easily provoked,” and so it is lenity; it “thinketh no evil,” and so it is simplicity; it “rejoiceth in the truth,” and so it is verity; it “beareth all things,” and so it is fortitude; it “believeth all things,” and so it is faith; it “hopeth all things,” and so it is confidence; it “endureth all things,” and so it is patience; it “never faileth,” and so it is perseverance.