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MOTIVE
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[ Also see Ambition Cause Desire Feeling Impulse Influence Instinct Intention Interest Justification Principles Purpose Reason ]

God made man to go by motives, and he will not go without them, any more than a boat without steam, or a balloon without gas.
      - Henry Ward Beecher

In the eye of that Supreme Being to whom our whole internal frame is uncovered, dispositions hold the place of actions.
      - Hugh Blair

Motives are better than actions. Men drift into crime. Of evil they do more than they contemplate, and of good they contemplate more than they do.
      - Christian Nestell Bovee

Pure motives do not insure perfect results.
      - Christian Nestell Bovee

Never fear to bring the sublimest motive to the smallest duty, and the most infinite comfort to the smallest trouble.
      - Phillips Brooks

If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him like a shadow that never leaves him.
      - Buddha (Gautama Buddha)

Man acts from adequate motives relative to his interest, and not on metaphysical speculations.
      - Edmund Burke

Man, it is not thy works, which are mortal, infinitely little, and the greatest no greater than the least, but only the spirit thou workest in, that can have worth or continuance.
      - Thomas Carlyle

Take away the motive, and you take away the sin.
      - Cervantes (Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra)

In general, we do well to let an opponent's motives alone. We are seldom just to them. Our own motives on such occasions are often worse than those we assail.
      - William Ellery Channing

Whatever touches the nerves of motive, whatever shifts man's moral position, is mightier than steam or caloric or lightning.
      - Edwin Hubbell Chapin

In a promise, what you thought, and not what you said, is always to be considered.
      - Cicero (Marcus Tullius Cicero) (often called "Tully" for short)

Motives are symptoms of weakness, and supplements for the deficient energy of the living principle, the law within us. Let them then be reserved for those momentous acts and duties in which the strongest and best-balanced natures must feel themselves deficient, and where humility no less than prudence prescribes deliberation.
      - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

No man does anything from a single motive.
      - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Iago's soliloquy--the motive-hunting of a motiveless malignity--how awful it is!
      - Samuel Taylor Coleridge,
        Shakespeare--Notes on Othello

As the grand discordant harmony of the celestial bodies may be explained by the simple principles of gravity and impulse, so also in that more wonderful and complicated microcosm, the heart of man, all the phenomena of morals are perhaps resolvable into one single principle, the pursuit of apparent good; for although customs universally vary, yet man in all climates and countries is essentially the same.
      - Charles Caleb Colton

We must not inquire too curiously into motives. They are apt to become feeble in the utterance; the aroma is mixed with the grosser air. We must keep the germinating grain away from the light.
      - George Eliot (pseudonym of Mary Ann Evans Cross)

What makes life dreary is the want of motive.
      - George Eliot (pseudonym of Mary Ann Evans Cross),
        Daniel Deronda (bk. VIII, ch. LXV)

Our impatience of miles, when we are in a hurry; but it is still best that a mile should have seventeen hundred and sixty yards.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Take egotism out, and you would castrate the benefactors. Luther, Mirabeau, Napoleon, John Adams, Andrew Jackson.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emerson's Journal,
        June, 1863

A good intention clothes itself with sudden power.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays--Fate

Bid a singer in a chorus, Know Thyself; and will he not turn for the knowledge to the others, his fellows in the chorus, and to his harmony with them?
      - attributed to Epictetus

Many actions, like the Rhone, have two sources,--one pure, the other impure.
      - Augustus William Hare

But weightier still are the contentment which comes from work well done, the sense of the value of science for its own sake, insatiable curiosity, and, above all, the pleasure of masterly performance and of the chase. These are the effective forces which move the scientist. The first condition for the progress of science is to bring them into play.
      - Lawrence Joseph Henderson,
        from his preface to Claude Bernard's "Experimental Medicine"

Who sweeps a room, as for Thy laws, makes that and the action fine.
      - George Herbert


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