Willliam Wilberforce (1759-1833) was a British politician, philanthropist, and a leader in the movement to abolish the slave trade in the British Empire.
Let everyone regulate his conduct by the golden rule of doing to others as in similar circumstances we would have them do to us, and the path of duty will be clear before him.
When we think of eternity, and of the future consequences of all human conduct, what is there in this life that should make any man go against the dictates of his conscience, the principles of justice, and the laws of God?
The objects of the present life fill the human eye with a false magnification because of their immediacy.
I take courage, I determine to forget all my other fears, and I march forward with a firm step in the full assurance that my cause will bear me out, and that I shall be able to justify upon the clearest principles, every resolution in my hand; the goal of which is the total abolition of the slave trade.
To all the inhabitants of the British Empire, who value the favor of God, or are alive to the interests or honor of their country– to all who have any respect for justice, or any feelings of humanity, I would solemnly address myself: I call upon them, as they shall hereafter answer, in the great day of account, for the use they shall have made of any power or influence with which God entrusted them, to employ their best endeavors, to terminate the business of Negro Slavery. (edited)
— from An Appeal to the Religion, Justice, and Humanity of the Inhabitants of the British Empire
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.
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 our defects.
The majority of nominal Christians are almost entirely taken up with the concerns of the present world. They know indeed that they are mortal, but they do not feel it. They understand the truth, but it cannot gain admission into their hearts. This attitude is altogether different from that strong impression of the infinite importance of eternal things, which, combined with a sense of the shortness and uncertainty of this life, can produce a certain firmness, which hardens us against the buffetings of fate, and prevents our being very deeply bothered by the cares and interests, the good or evil, of this transitory state. (edited)
Luke 6:31 — (Jesus said), “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
James 4:17 — Anyone… who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.
James 4:13-15 — Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
Almighty and merciful Father, who hast created me to love and serve thee, enable me… that I may henceforward lead a new life in thy faith and fear. Thou who knowest my frailties and infirmities strengthen and support me. Grant me thy Holy Spirit, that after all lapses, I may now continue steadfast in obedience, (and) that after long habits of negligence and sin, I may, at last, work out my salvation with diligence and constancy, purify my thoughts from pollutions, and fix my affections on things eternal. Much of my time past has been spent in sloth, let not what remains, O Lord, be given me in vain, but let me from this time lead a better life and serve thee with a quiet mind. Amen. –Samuel Johnson (in 1758)