We have every reason to conclude that moral action extends over the whole empire of God, that Benevolence exerts its noblest energies among the inhabitants of distant worlds, and that it is chiefly through the medium of reciprocal kindness and affection that ecstatic joy pervades the hearts of celestial intelligences, for we cannot conceive happiness to exist in any region of space, or among any class of intellectual beings, where love to the Creator and to one another is not a prominent and permanent affection.
Dr. Thomas Dick: Philos. of a Future State, Part I., Sec. VI.
Is the force of self-love abated, or its interest prejudiced, by benevolence? So far from it, that benevolence, though a distinct principle, is extremely serviceable to self-love, and then doth most service when it is least designed . And then, as to that charming delight which immediately follows the giving joy to another, or relieving his sorrow, and is, when the objects are numerous, and the kindness of importance, really inexpressible, what can this be owing to but a consciousness of a mans having done something praiseworthy, and expressive of a great soul?
Though it cannot be denied that, by diffusing a warmer colouring over the visions of fancy, sensibility is often a source of exquisite pleasure,to others, if not to the possessor,yet it should never be confounded with benevolence, since it constitutes, at best, rather the ornament of a fine than the virtues of a good mind.
In order to render men benevolent they must first be made tender: for benevolent affections are not the offspring of reasoning: they result from that culture of the heart, from those early impressions of tenderness, gratitude, and sympathy, which the endearments of domestic life are sure to supply, and for the formation of which it is the best possible school.
Benevolence is a duty. He who frequently practises it, and sees his benevolent intentions realized, at length comes really to love him to whom he has done good. When, therefore, it is said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, it is not meant, thou shalt love him first, and do good to him in consequence of that love, but, thou shalt do good to thy neighbour, and this thy beneficence will engender in thee that love to mankind which is the fulness and consummation of the inclination to do good.