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Origins of Sayings - Charity Begins at Home

About the history and origins behind the famous saying charity begins at home.

Stories behind Famous Sayings

The Saying: CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME.

Who Said It: Sir Thomas Browne

When: 1642

The Story behind It: An English physician by trade, Sir Thomas Browne was also a noted writer who had an avid interest in witchcraft, mystical symbolism, religion, and philosophy. While most of his beliefs have faded into historical obscurity, Browne holds a prominent place in literature because of his eloquent and splendid use of the English language. His first book, Religio Medici, was an unsuccessful attempt to bring together science and religion. In this work is Browne's comment on charity: "But how shall we expect charity towards others, when we are uncharitable to ourselves? 'Charity begins at home,' is the voice of the world; yet is every man his greatest enemy, and, as it were, his own executioner."

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