Men are more accountable for their motives, than for anything else; and primarily, morality consists in the motives, that is in the affections.
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.
In the eye of that Supreme Being to whom our whole internal frame is uncovered, motives and dispositions hold the place of actions.
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.
It is motive alone that gives character to the actions of men.
If a man speaks or acts with pure thought, happiness follows him like a shadow that never leaves him.
Whatever touches the nerves of motive, whatever shifts man's moral position, is mightier than steam, or caloric, or lightning.
Our best conjectures, as to the true spring of actions, are very uncertain; the actions themselves are all we know from history. That Csesar was murdered by twenty-four conspirators, I doubt not; but I very much doubt whether their love of liberty was the sole cause.
Motives imply weakness, and the existence of evil and temptation.—Angelic natures would act from impulse alone.
The true motives of our actions, like the real pipes of an organ, are usually concealed; but the gilded and hollow pretext is pompously placed in the front for show.
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.
Many actions, like the Rhone, have two sources: one pure, the other impure.
Though a good motive cannot sanctify a bad action, a bad motive will always vitiate a good action.—In common and trivial matters we may act without motive, but in momentous ones the most careful deliberation is wisdom.
The two great movers of the human mind are the desire of good, and the fear of evil.
The morality of an action depends upon the motive from which we act.
Let the motive be in the deed and not in the event. Be not one whose motive for action is the hope of reward.
Acts are nothing except as they are fruits of a state, except as they indicate what the man is; words are nothing except as they express a mind or purpose.
He that does good for good's sake, seeks neither praise nor reward, but he is sure of both in the end.
We should often have reason to be ashamed of our most brilliant actions if the world could see the motives from which they spring.
Great actions, the luster of which dazzles us, are represented by politicians as the effects of deep design, whereas they are commonly the effects of caprice and passion.
However brilliant an action, it should not be esteemed great unless the result of a great and good motive.
It is not the incense, or the offering which is acceptable to God, but the purity and devotion of the worshiper.
The noblest motive is the public good.