Reference > Quotations > S. Austin Allibone, comp. > Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay
S. Austin Allibone, comp.  Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay.  1880.
  There is not a more pleasing exercise of the mind than gratitude. It is accompanied with such an inward satisfaction that the duty is sufficiently rewarded by the performance. It is not, like the practice of many other virtues, difficult and painful, but attended with so much pleasure, that were there no positive command which enjoined it, nor any recompense laid up for it hereafter, a generous mind would indulge in it for the natural gratification that accompanies it.  1
  If gratitude is due from man to man, how much more from man to his Maker! The Supreme Being does not only confer upon us those bounties which proceed more immediately from his hand, but even those benefits which are conveyed to us by others. Every blessing we enjoy, by what means soever it may be derived upon us, is the gift of him who is the Author of good and Father of mercies.  2
  If gratitude when exerted towards another naturally produces a very pleasing sensation in the mind of a grateful man, it exalts the soul into rapture when it is employed on this great object of gratitude, on this beneficent Being who has given us everything we already possess, and from whom we expect everything we yet hope for.
Joseph Addison: Spectator, No. 453.    
  I may perhaps be pardoned if I conclude this memoir with a valueless but sincere tribute of admiration and gratitude to Peter Leopold, the late Earl [Cowper]…. From him I received kind and encouraging notice when I was poor and obscure; and his benevolent and exhilarating smile is one of the most delightful images in my memory of pleasures to return no more.
Lord Campbell: Lord Chancellors: Life of Lord Cowper.    
  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.
Rt. Hon. George Canning.    
  No metaphysician ever felt the deficiency of language so much as the grateful.
Charles Caleb Colton: Lacon.    
  There is a selfishness even in gratitude, when it is too profuse; to be overthankful for one favour is in effect to lay out for another.
Richard Cumberland.    
  Amongst the many acts of gratitude we owe to God, it may be accounted one, to study and contemplate the perfections and beauties of his works of creation. Every new discovery must necessarily raise in us a fresh sense of the greatness, wisdom, and power of God. He hath so ordered things that almost every part of the creation is for our benefit, either to the support of our being, the delight of our senses, or the agreeable exercise of the rational faculty. If there are some few poisonous animals and plants fatal to man, these may serve to heighten the contrary blessings; since we could have no idea of benefits were we insensible of their contraries; and seeing God has given us reason, by which we are able to choose the good and avoid the evil, we suffer very little from the malignant parts of the creation.
Jonathan Edwards.    
  Gratitude and love are almost opposite affections: love is often an involuntary passion, placed upon our companions without our consent, and frequently conferred without our previous esteem. We love some men we know not why; our tenderness is naturally excited in all their concerns; we excuse their faults with the same indulgence and approve their virtues with the same applause with which we consider our own. While we entertain the passion, it pleases us, we cherish it with delight, and give it up with reluctance, and love for love is all the reward we expect or desire.  9
  Gratitude, on the contrary, is never conferred but where there have been previous endeavours to excite it; we consider it as a debt, and our spirits wear a load till we have discharged the obligation. Every acknowledgment of gratitude is a circumstance of humiliation; and some are found to submit to frequent mortifications of this kind, proclaiming what obligations they owe, merely because they think it in some measure cancels the debt.  10
  Thus love is the most easy and agreeable, and gratitude the most humiliating affection of the mind: we never reflect on the man we love, without exulting in our choice, while he who has bound us to him by benefits alone, rises to our ideas as a person to whom we have in some measure forfeited our freedom.
Oliver Goldsmith: Citizen of the World, Letter LXVI.    
  A grateful beast will stand upon record against those that in their prosperity forget their friends that to their loss and hazard stood by and succoured them in their adversity.
Roger L’Estrange.    
  The nature and office of justice being to dispose the mind to a constant and perpetual readiness to render to every man his due, it is evident that if gratitude be a part of justice, it must be conversant about something that is due to another.
John Locke.    
  Gratitude is a virtue which, according to the general apprehensions of mankind, approaches more nearly than any other social virtue to justice.
Dr. Samuel Parr.    
  As gratitude is a necessary and a glorious, so also is it an obvious, a cheap, and an easy virtue: so obvious, that wherever there is life there is place for it; so cheap, that the covetous man may be grateful without expense; and so easy, that the sluggard may be so likewise without labour.
  Gratitude is properly a virtue disposing the mind to an inward sense and an outward acknowledgement of a benefit received, together with a readiness to return the same, or the like, as the occasions of the doer shall require, and the abilities of the receiver extend to.
Robert South.    
  Gratitude consists adequately in these two things: first, that it is a debt; and, secondly, that it is such a debt as is left to every man’s ingenuity whether he will pay or no.
Robert South.    
  The grateful person, being still the most severe exacter of himself, not only confesses, but proclaims, his debts.
Robert South.    
  Look over the whole creation, and you shall see that the band, or cement, that holds together all the parts of this great and glorious fabric is gratitude.
Robert South.    
  A truly pious mind receives a temporal blessing with gratitude, a spiritual one with ecstasy and transport.
Robert South.    
  Certain it is, that by a direct gradation of consequences from this principle of merit, that the obligation to gratitude flows from, and is enjoined by, the first dictates of nature.
Robert South.    
  He who has a soul wholly devoid of gratitude should set his soul to learn of his body; for all the parts of that minister to one another.
Robert South.    
  No moralists or casuists that treat scholastically of justice, but treat of gratitude, under that general head, as a part of it.
Robert South.    
  Gather together into your spirit, and its treasure-house the memory, not only all the promises of God, but also the former senses of the divine favours.
Jeremy Taylor.    
  If you think how many diseases and how much poverty there is in the world, you will fall down upon your knees, and, instead of repining at one affliction, will admire so many blessings received at the hand of God.
Sir William Temple.    

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