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


That household god, a man’s own self.


The force of selfishness is inevitable.


Be not in the desire of thine own ease.


No man is more cheated that the selfish man.

Henry Ward Beecher.

Offended self-love never forgives.


Selfishness at the expense of others’ happiness is demonism.

Henry Ward Beecher.

Selfishness, if but reasonably tempered with wisdom, is not such an evil trait.


Where all are selfish, the sage is no better than the fool, and only rather more dangerous.


Selfishness is that detestable vice which no one will forgive in others, and no one is without in himself.

Henry Ward Beecher.

It is difficult to persuade mankind that the love of virtue is the love of themselves.


If a man fancies that he loves his mistress for her own sake, he is very much mistaken.

La Rochefoucauld.

Selfishness, when it is punished by the world, is mostly punished because it is connected with egotism.

Sir Arthur Helps.

No indulgence of passion destroys the spiritual nature so much as respectable selfishness.

George MacDonald.

Selfishness in art, as in other things, is sensibility kept at home.

Washington Allston.

The same people who can deny others everything are famous for refusing themselves nothing.

Leigh Hunt.

Selfishness is the making a man’s self his own centre, the beginning and end of all he doeth.

John Owen.

To be selfish is to sacrifice the nobler for the meaner ends, and to be sordidly content.

Hugh R. Haweis.

  • Less, less of self each day,
  • And more, my God, of Thee!
  • Horatius Bonar.

  • And though all cry down self, none means
  • His own self in a literal sense.
  • Butler.

    All the good maxims which are in the world fail when applied to one’s self.


    “I am always nearest to myself,” says the Latin proverb.


    Beware of no man more than of yourself; we carry our worst enemies within us.

    C. H. Spurgeon.

    It is self-love and its offspring self-deception, which shut the gates of heaven, and lead men, as if in a delicious dream, to hell.

    Christian Scriver.

  • How pleased is every paltry elf
  • To prate about that thing, himself!
  • Churchill.

    Each one wishes for his own advantage, rather than that of others.


    Hence we cannot see our own faults; when others transgress we become censors.


    To be saved is only this,—salvation from our own selfishness.


    It is to be doubted whether he will ever find the way to heaven who desires to so thither alone.


    We can neither change nor overpower God’s eternal suffrage against selfishness and meanness.

    James Martineau.

    I learned that no man in God’s wide earth is either willing or able to help any other man.


    It is astonishing how well men wear when they think of no one but themselves.


    In the North the first words are, Help me; in the South, Love me.


    What can one possibly introduce into a mind that is already full, and full of itself?


    O my God, how true it is that we may have of Thy gifts and yet may be full of ourselves!

    Mme. Guyon.

    The fondness we have for self furnishes another long rank of prejudices.

    Dr. Watts.

    Lo! now, what hearts have men! they never mount as high as woman in her selfless mood.


    We erect the idol self, and not only wish others to worship, but worship ourselves.


    Be, as many now are, luxurious to yourself, parsimonious to your friends.


    Everyone for his home, everyone for himself.

    M. Dupin.

    It never enters the lady’s head that the wet-nurse’s baby probably dies.

    Harriet Martineau.

    Where all are selfish, the sage is no better than the fool, and only rather more dangerous.


    The force of selfishness is as inevitable and as calculable as the force of gravitation.


    We wish to constitute all the happiness, or, if that cannot be, the misery of the one we love.

    La Bruyère.

    It is very natural for a young friend and a young lover to think the persons they love have nothing to do but to please them.


    Selfishness, not love, is the actuating motive of the gallant.

    Mme. Roland.

    The selfish man suffers more from his selfishness than he from whom that selfishness withholds some important benefit.


    The fawning courtier and the surly squire often mean the same thing,—each his own interest.

    Bishop Berkeley.

    It is not truth, justice, liberty, which men seek; they seek only themselves. And O that they knew how to seek themselves aright!


    If we look only to self even in spiritual things, it is still selfishness, though possibly on a somewhat higher plane than before.

    A. P. Van Giesen.

    Thorough selfishness destroys or paralyzes enjoyment. A heart made selfish by the contest for wealth is like a citadel stormed in war, utterly shattered.

    Henry Ward Beecher.

    If you seek in the spirit of selfishness, to grasp all as your own, you shall lose all, and be driven out of the world, at last, naked and forlorn, to everlasting poverty and contempt.

    Jonathan Edwards.

    Our selfishness is so robust and many-clutching that, well encouraged, it easily devours all sustenance away from our poor little scruples.

    George Eliot.

    A vice utterly at variance with the happiness of him who harbors it, and, as such, condemned by self-love.


    Take the selfishness out of this world and there would be more happiness than we should know what to do with.

    H. W. Shaw.

    We can neither change nor overpower God’s eternal suffrage against selfishness and meanness.

    James Martineau.

    Behold the fine appointment he makes with me; that man never did love anyone but himself.

    Mme. de Maintenon.

    No man is much pleased with a companion who does not increase, in some respect, his fondness for himself.

    Dr. Johnson.

  • The selfish heart deserves the pain it feels;
  • More gen’rous sorrow, while it sinks, exalts,
  • And conscious virtue mitigates the pang.
  • Young.

    The very heart and root of sin is in an independent spirit. We erect the idol self; and not only wish others to worship, but worship ourselves.

    Richard Cecil.

    There are some people who think that all the world should share their misfortune, although they do not share in the sufferings of anybody else.

    Achilles Poincelot.

    There is an ill-breeding to which, whatever our rank and nature, we are almost equally sensitive,—the ill-breeding that comes from want of consideration for others.


    Self-interest, that leprosy of the age, attacks us from infancy, and we are startled to observe little heads calculate before knowing how to reflect.

    Mme. de Girardin.

    Milton has carefully marked in his Satan the intense selfishness, the alcohol of egotism, which would rather reign in hell than serve in heaven.


    The essence of true nobility is neglect of self. Let the thought of self pass in, and the beauty of a great action is gone, like the bloom from a soiled flower.


    Sordid selfishness doth contract and narrow our benevolence, and cause us, like serpents, to infold ourselves within ourselves, and to turn out our stings to all the world besides.

    Walter Scott.

    A long experience impresses me with the belief that selfishness does not grow in intensity as we move downward in society from class to class.


  • Enough of self, that darling luscious theme,
  • O’er which philosophers in raptures dream;
  • Of which with seeming disregard they write
  • Then prizing most when most they seem to slight.
  • Churchill.

    How often, in this cold and bitter world, is the warm heart thrown back upon itself! Cold, careless, are we of another’s grief; we wrap ourselves in sullen selfishness.

    L. E. Landon.

    As frost to the bud, and blight to the blossom, even such is self-interest to friendship; for confidence cannot dwell where selfishness is porter at the gate.


    How much that the world calls selfishness is only generosity with narrow walls,—a too exclusive solicitude to maintain a wife in luxury, or make one’s children rich.

    T. W. Higginson.

    Our infinite obligations to God do not fill our hearts half as much as a petty uneasiness of our own; nor His infinite perfections as much as our smallest wants.

    Hannah More.

  • Glory, built
  • On selfish principles, is shame and guilt;
  • The deeds that men admire as half divine,
  • Stark naught, because corrupt in their design.
  • Cowper.

    The selfish man cuts away the sand from under his own feet, he digs his own grave; and every time, from the beginning of the world until now, God Almighty pushes him into the grave and covers him up.

    C. H. Fowler.

    We are too much haunted by ourselves; we project the central shadow of ourselves on everything around us. And then comes in the gospel to rescue us from this selfishness. Redemption is this—to forget self in God.

    F. W. Robertson.

    Formerly thy soul was great, ardent, vast; the entire circle of the universe found place in thy heart. O Charles, that thou hast become small, that thou hast become miserable, since thou lovest no one but thyself!


    There are too many who reverse both the principles and the practice of the Apostles; they become all things to all men, not to serve others, but themselves; and they try all things only to hold fast that which is bad.


    There are some tempers—how shall I describe them—formed either of such impenetrable matter, or wrought up by habitual selfishness to such an utter insensibility of what becomes of the fortunes of their fellow-creatures, as if they were not partakers of the same nature, or had no lot or connection at all with the species.


    Aristotle has said that man is by nature a social animal, and he might have added, a selfish one too. Heroism, self-denial, and magnanimity in all instances, where they do not spring from a principle of religion, are but splendid altars on which we sacrifice one kind of self-love to another.


  • Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
  • The wretch, concentred all in self,
  • Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
  • And, doubly dying, shall go down
  • To the vile dust from whence he sprung,
  • Unwept, unhonour’d and unsung.
  • Scott.

  • Explore the dark recesses of the mind,
  • In the soul’s honest volume read mankind,
  • And own, in wise and simple, great and small,
  • The same grand leading principle in all;
  • *****
  • Far parent and for child, for wife and friend,
  • Our first great mover, and our last great end
  • Is one; and by whatever name we call
  • The ruling tyrant, Self, is all in all.
  • Churchill.