William Wilberforce quotes speak deeply about having a relationship with God and about love for our fellow man. He was a devout Christian who cared about how Christians should live and the impact they could have if they practice this life the right way. Wilberforce fought to abolish slavery just like Frederick Douglass. One of America’s Founding Fathers, George Washington had issues with slavery but only freed his slaves in 1799.
William Wilberforce was a British slave abolitionist, philanthropist and politician. He was a member of the British parliament for many years which aided his influence to free all who were oppressed as slaves. Wilberforce died in 1833 so he wasn’t alive to see Abraham Lincoln officially end slavery in the U.S. Below are a number of his quotes.
“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”
“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.”
“We are too young to realize that certain things are impossible... So we will do them anyway.”
“To multiply the comforts of affluence, to provide for the gratification of appetite, to be luxurious without diseases, and indolent without lassitude, seems the chief study of their lives. Others again seem more to attach themselves to what have been well termed the ‘pomps and vanities of this world.’ Magnificent houses, grand equipages, numerous retinues, splendid entertainments, high and fashionable connections, appear to constitute, in their estimation, the supreme happiness of life.”
“A soft luxurious course of habitual indulgence, is the practice of the bulk of modern Christians: and that constant moderation, that wholesome discipline of restraint and self-denial, which are requisite to prevent the unperceived encroachments of the inferior appetites, seem altogether disused, as the exploded austerities of monkish superstition...
“because they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, he gave them over to a reprobate mind.”
“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.”
“No man, ever indulged more freely or happily in that playful facetiousness which gratifies all without wounding any.”
“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.”
“Blessed be to God for the day of rest and religious occupation wherein earthly things assume their true size.”
“You can choose to look the other way but never again can you say that you never knew.”
“What a difference it would be if our system of morality were based on the Bible instead of the standards devised by cultural Christians.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“The distemper of which, as a community, we are sick, should be considered rather as a moral than a political malady.”
“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?”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“This perpetual hurry of business and company ruins me in soul if not in body. More solitude and earlier hours!”
“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.”
“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.”
“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 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.”
“true Christians consider themselves not as satisfying some rigorous creditor, but as discharging a debt of gratitude”
“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.”
William Wilberforce quotes clearly show the life of a man who dedicated his life to God and the betterment of his fellow man. I hope many of his quotes prove an inspiration to all who would do the best that they can to make the world a better place.