William Wilberforce Quotes – The Ultimate List

This list of William Wilberforce quotes will show you why he is a true hero. 

William Wilberforce almost single-handedly put an end to human slavery.

True to his genius and true to his love for all of God's children, he also founded the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSCPA).

How did he know to help both humans and animals?

Look at his quotes below about the golden rule and you can see how he always knew to do the right thing at a time when so many people were doing the wrong thing. 

Bonus (Free pdf ebook)

Download the free pdf eBook "William Wilberforce Quotes: The Ultimate List" and get 5 BONUS quotes - It includes some of his best quotes not on this list. 

William Wilberforce Quotes

Wisdom Quotes

William Wilberforce

William Wilberforce

We are too young to realize that certain things are impossible... So we will do them anyway.


God Almighty has set before me two great objects: the suppression of the slave trade and the reformation of manners.

-William Wilberforce

My walk is a public one. My business is in the world, and I must mix in the assemblies of men or quit the post which Providence seems to have assigned me.

-William Wilberforce

The first years in Parliament I did nothing - nothing to any purpose. My own distinction was my darling object.

-William Wilberforce

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.

-William Wilberforce

Both man and woman have their own parts to play in bringing faith to the next generation, and the woman's role is particularly important. How can we ever think that the female sex is inferior when we see the essential responsibility God has given women in this world? Their sensitivity to spiritual concerns seems to be far more innate and natural than a man's. Mothers and wives often are the medium for our intercourse with the heavenly world, the faithful repositories of spiritual knowledge and wisdom. We should all be careful to avail ourselves of the benefits they have to offer both the present generation and the one that will follow us.

-William Wilberforce

When I do address my dear girl, I ought to consider how I can best testify my friendship: for friendship let there be between us; never can you have a friend more warmly attached to you or more interested in your wellbeing and happiness than myself.

-William Wilberforce

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.

-William Wilberforce

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

If you love someone who is ruining his or her life because of faulty thinking, and you don't do anything about it because you are afraid of what others might think, it would seem that rather than being loving, you are in fact being heartless.

-William Wilberforce

Great indeed are our opportunities; great also is our responsibility

-William Wilberforce

As much pains were taken to make me idle as were ever taken to make me studious.

-William Wilberforce

The objects of the present life fill the human eye with a false magnification because of their immediacy.

-William Wilberforce

Golden Rule Quotes

William Wilberforce with scroll

William Wilberforce

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.


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.

-William Wilberforce

You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.

-William Wilberforce

It is the true duty of every man to promote the happiness of his fellow creatures to the utmost of his power.

-William Wilberforce

Slavery Quotes

As soon as ever I had arrived thus far in my investigation of the slave trade, I confess to you sir, so enormous so dreadful, so irremediable did its wickedness appear that my own mind was completely made up for the abolition. A trade founded in iniquity, and carried on as this was, must be abolished, let the policy be what it might,—let the consequences be what they would, I from this time determined that I would never rest till I had effected its abolition.

William Wilberforce a an older man

William Wilberforce

What should we suppose must naturally be the consequence of our carrying on a slave trade with Africa? With a country, vast in its extent, not utterly barbarous, but civilized in a very small degree? Does any one suppose a slave trade would help their civilization?

-William Wilberforce

Let us not despair; it is a blessed cause, and success, ere long, will crown our exertions. Already we have gained one victory; we have obtained, for these poor creatures, the recognition of their human nature, which, for a while was most shamefully denied. This is the first fruits of our efforts; let us persevere and our triumph will be complete. Never, never will we desist till we have wiped away this scandal from the Christian name, released ourselves from the load of guilt, under which we at present labour, and extinguished every trace of this bloody traffic, of which our posterity, looking back to the history of these enlightened times, will scarce believe that it has been suffered to exist so long a disgrace and dishonour to this country.

-William Wilberforce

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 contradict the dictates of his conscience, the principles of justice, the laws of religion, and of God? Sir, the nature and all the circumstances of this trade are now laid open to us; we can no longer plead ignorance, we can not evade it; it is now an object placed before us, we can not pass it; we may spurn it, we may kick it out of our way, but we can not turn aside so as to avoid seeing it; for it is bro directly before our eyes that this House must decide, and must justify to all the world, and to their own consciences, the rectitude of the grounds and principles of their decision.

-William Wilberforce

A Chairman of the General Committee of the African Institution, and by order of that body I have the honour to address you on Subject highly important to the great objects of its Establishment; Objects interesting to the humane and good of every Country, and such as the conduct of the American Government and people leads the Institution to hope will obtain in the United States an Approbation at least as general as they have received in Great Britain. The African Institution has also particular reason to believe that in you, Sir, the efforts of a Society formed for promoting Civilization and happiness in Africa, will meet with all that Encouragement and Support, which your high Station enables you, with propriety, to give to them --William Wilberforce writing to Thomas Jefferson about the slave trade

-William Wilberforce

Christianity Quotes

If there is no passionate love for Christ at the center of everything, we will only jingle and jangle our way across the world, merely making a noise as we go

William Wilberforce Painting

William Wilberforce

If then we would indeed be “filled with wisdom and spiritual understanding;” if we would “walk worthy of the Lord unto all well pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;” here let us fix our eyes! “Laying aside every weight, and the sin that does so easily beset us; let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

-William Wilberforce

I devoted myself for whatever might be the term of my future life, to the service of my God and Saviour.

-William Wilberforce

I am disturbed when I see the majority of so-called Christians having such little understanding of the real nature of the faith they profess. Faith is a subject of such importance that we should not ignore it because of the distractions or the hectic pace of our lives.

-William Wilberforce

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

-William Wilberforce

Can you tell a plain man the road to heaven? Certainly, turn at once to the right, then go straight forward.

-William Wilberforce

The gospel freely admitted makes a man happy. It gives him peace with God, and makes him happy in God. It gives to industry a noble, contented look which selfish drudgery never wore; and from the moment that a man begins to do his work for his Saviour's sake, he feels that the most ordinary employments are full of sweetness and dignity, and that the most difficult are not impossible. And if any of you, my friends, is weary with his work, if dissatisfaction with yourself or sorrow of any kind disheartens you, if at any time you feel the dull paralysis of conscious sin, or the depressing influence of vexing thoughts, look to Jesus, and be happy. Be happy, and your joyful work will prosper well.

-William Wilberforce

All men of enlightened understandings, who acknowledge the moral government of God, must also acknowledge, that vice must offend and virtue delight him. In short they must, more or less, assent to the Scripture declaration, “without holiness no man shall see the Lord.

-William Wilberforce

Christianity recognizes no innocence or goodness of heart, but in the remission of sin, and in the effects of the operation of divine grace

-William Wilberforce

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.

-William Wilberforce

True Christians consider themselves not as satisfying some rigorous creditor, but as discharging a debt of gratitude.

-William Wilberforce

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.

-William Wilberforce

Surely the principles of Christianity lead to action as well as meditation.

-William Wilberforce

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.

-William Wilberforce

Life as we know it, with all its ups and downs, will soon be over. We all will give an accounting to God of how we have lived.

-William Wilberforce

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?

-William Wilberforce

Can one serve God and one's nation in parliament?

-William Wilberforce

Of all things, guard against neglecting God in the secret place of prayer.

-William Wilberforce

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 jewellery 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.

-William Wilberforce

Bonus (Free pdf ebook)

Download the free pdf ebook "William Wilberforce Quotes: The Ultimate List" and get 5 BONUS quotes - It includes some of his best quotes not on this list.

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