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quotations about charity

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

CHARLES CALEB COLTON, Lacon, or Many Things in Few Words

Let your heart feel for the afflictions and distresses of every one, and let your hand give in proportion to your purse; remembering always the estimation of the widow's mite, but, that it is not every one who asketh that deserveth charity; all, however, are worthy of the inquiry, or the deserving may suffer.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to Bushrod Washington, Jan. 15, 1783

A charitable man is like an apple tree--he gives his fruit and is silent; the philanthropist is like the successful hen.

AUSTIN O'MALLEY, Keystones of Thought

There is so much wretchedness in the world, that we may safely take the word of any mortal professing to need our assistance; and, even should we be deceived, still the good to ourselves resulting from a kind act is worth more than the trifle by which we purchase it.

NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE, American Note-Books, Aug. 30, 1842

Charity is the note that resolves the discord.

AUSTIN O'MALLEY, Keystones of Thought

Charity begins at home.


Charity that is always beginning at home stays there.

AUSTIN O'MALLEY, Keystones of Thought

The living need charity more than the dead.

GEORGE ARNOLD, The Jolly Old Pedagogue

The small charity that comes from the heart is better than the great charity that comes from the head.

IVAN PANIN, Thoughts

The bread of charity is life itself for the needy; he who withholds it is a man of blood.

BEN SIRA, Sirach 34:21

He that distributeth not
That which he hath received--
His food, his drink, his sustenance--
Unto devotee, brahman, beggar, wayfarer--
Such a low man as he, they say, is like
Unto a lack of rain.


If you combine all the spectral rays into a single beam, you get white light; and, if you combine all the virtues into a single beam, you get charity.

AUSTIN O'MALLEY, Keystones of Thought

Where charity keeps pace with gain, industry is blessed.

WILLIAM PENN, Some Fruits of Solitude

Some men mistake generosity for charity: these flatter themselves that they are giving gratuitously, whilst they are merely rewarding secret services offered their vanity.

NORMAN MACDONALD, Maxims and Moral Reflections

Do not give, as many rich men do, like a hen that lays her egg and then cackles.

HENRY WARD BEECHER, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit

As the furnace purifies the silver, so does charity rid wealth of its dross.


As water collected in a tank gets pure by filtration, so accumulated wealth is preserved by being employed in charity.

CHANAKYA, Vridda-Chanakya

Charity . . . is the opium of the privileged.

CHINUA ACHEBE, Anthills of the Savannah

When our cup runs over, we let others drink the drops that fall, but not a drop from within the rim, and call it charity; when the crumbs are swept from our table, we think it generous to let the dogs eat them; as if that were charity which permits others to have what we cannot keep.


Nothing contributes more to make men polite and civilized, than true and genuine Charity.

WELLINS CALCOTT, Thoughts Moral and Divine

Charity is ... a universal remedy against discord, and an holy cement for mankind.

WILLIAM PENN, Some Fruits of Solitude

A benefactor is a representative of God.

BENJAMIN WHICHCOTE, Moral and Religious Aphorisms

Charity is the only lubricant that keeps the axle of the world creaking.

AUSTIN O'MALLEY, Keystones of Thought

A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog.

JACK LONDON, "My Life in the Underworld"

Charity no sooner begins to take root in the heart, but it makes all those weaknesses vanish at once. It softens what is hard and rough; it cures that presumption and haughtiness that pretends to decide and judge of every thing; it instructs us how to doubt, and how to reflect; to be teachable and not to rely too much on our own wisdom and understanding. It destroys all manner of positiveness, and moderates the very tone of our voice; and in such persons, as are already polite and endowed with the qualities that render people lovely to the rest of mankind, it gives this charming outside a motive and an inward principle far different from self-love.

WELLINS CALCOTT, Thoughts Moral and Divine

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

HOSEA BALLOU, Treasury of Thought

We should be sure, when we rebuke a want of charity, to do it with charity.

CHRISTIAN NESTELL BOVEE, Intuitions and Summaries of Thought

When Charity walks into the lower places of Want, we most distinctly see the purity of her robes.

ELIZA COOK, Diamond Dust

Aside from higher considerations, charity often operates as a vastly wise and prudent principle--a great safeguard to its possessor. Men have committed murder for jealousy's sake, and anger's sake, and hatred's sake, and selfishness' sake, and spiritual pride's sake; but no man that ever I heard of, ever committed a diabolical murder for sweet charity's sake. Mere self-interest, then, if no better motive can be enlisted, should, especially with high-tempered men, prompt all beings to charity and philanthropy.

HERMAN MELVILLE, Bartleby, the Scrivener

I as little fear that God will damn a man that has charity, as I hope that the priests can save one who has not.

ALEXANDER POPE, "Thoughts on Various Subjects"

When we do any good to others, we do as much, or more, good to ourselves.

BENJAMIN WHICHCOTE, Moral and Religious Aphorisms

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

ELIZA COOK, Diamond Dust

The existence of poverty is the proof of an unjust and ill-organised society, and our public charities are but the first tardy awakening in the conscience of a robber.

SRI AUROBINDO, Thoughts and Aphorisms

Browse Charity Quotes II

Read T. Augustus Forbes Leith's short essay: On Charity


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