Quotations about   divine justice

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Fabius buries all his wives:
Chrestilla ends her husbands’ lives.
The torch which from the marriage-bed
They brandish soon attends the dead.
O Venus, link this conquering pair!
Their match will meet with issue fair,
Whereby for such a dangerous two
A single funeral will do!

[Effert uxores Fabius, Chrestilla maritos,
funereamque toris quassat uterque facem.
Victores committe, Venus: quos iste manebit
exitus, una duos ut Libitina ferat.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 8, epigram 43 [tr. Duff (1929)]
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Original Latin. Alternate translations:

Five wives hath he dispatch'd, she husbands five:
By both alike the undertakers thrive.
Venus assist! let them join hands in troth!
One common funeral, then, would serve them both.
[tr. Hay (1755)]

While Tom and Dolly many mates
Do carry off ('tis said)
Each shakes by turns (so will the Fates)
The Fun'ral torch in bed.
Oh fie, ma'am, Venus, end this rout,
Commit them to the Fleet,
And grant they may be carried out,
Both buried in one sheet.
[tr. Scott (1773)]

Both Fabby and Chrestil know well how to bury
A consort, and with sable torch to make merry.
Yoke, Venus, the victors; and, mutually loath,
Let one Libitana lay hold of them both.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 6, Part 2, ep. 47]

Fabius buries his wives, Chrestilla her husbands; each shakes a funeral torch over the nuptial couch. Unite these conquerers, Venus, and the result will then be that Libitina will carry them both off together.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1860)]

Fabius has buried all his wives;
Short are Chrestilla's husbands' lives.
And 'tis a funeral torch this pair
Do, at their nuptials, wave in air.
These conquerors, Venus, sure 'twere fit
Against each other now to pit:
So shall such end await the two,
That for them both one bier may do.
[tr. Webb (1879)]

Chrestilla has buried her husbands,
While Fabius has buried his wives;
Since they're both sure to make
Every marriage a wake,
Pray, Venus, unite their two lives.
[tr. Nixon (1911)]

Fabius buried his wives, Chrestilla her husbands, and each of them waves the funeral torch over a marriage-bed. Match the victors, Venus; this is the end that will await them -- one funeral to convey the pair.
[tr. Ker (1920)]

He poisons wives, she husbands by the dozen,
With Pluto's torch the marriage-bed they cozen.
Unite them, Venus, in the marriage tether,
So death shall carry off the two together.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]

They each took separate spouses to their bed,
Then swiftly to the graveyard each they led.
Conjoining both their marriage feats,
They'll serve each other funeral meats.[tr. Wills (2007)]

Added on 9-Jul-21 | Last updated 9-Jul-21
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“My thoughts are not your thoughts. For as high as the heavens are the above the earth, so are my thoughts above your thoughts, my ways above your ways.” It should be written over every preacher’s pulpit. […] Because so often we think that God’s ways are our ways. God’s thoughts are our thoughts. And we created God in our own image and likeness saying, “God approves of this. God forbids that. God desires the other.” […] This is where some of the worst atrocities of religion have come from. Because people have used this to give a sacred seal of a divine approval to some of their worst hatreds, loathings, and fears.

Karen Armstrong (b. 1944) British author, comparative religion scholar
NOW Interview with Bill Moyers, PBS (1 Mar 2002)
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Quoting Isaiah 55:8.
Added on 31-Aug-20 | Last updated 31-Aug-20
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Forasmuch therefore as your treading is upon the poor, and ye take from him burdens of wheat: ye have built houses of hewn stone, but ye shall not dwell in them; ye have planted pleasant vineyards, but ye shall not drink wine of them. For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: they afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right. Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it is an evil time.

Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the Lord, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken.

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
Amos 5:11-14
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Alt trans.:
  • [NRSV] "Therefore because you trample on the poor and take from them levies of grain, you have built houses of hewn stone, but you shall not live in them; you have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink their wine. For I know how many are your transgressions, and how great are your sins -- you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and push aside the needy in the gate. Therefore the prudent will keep silent in such a time; for it is an evil time. Seek good and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, just as you have said."
  • [GNT] "You have oppressed the poor and robbed them of their grain. And so you will not live in the fine stone houses you build or drink wine from the beautiful vineyards you plant. I know how terrible your sins are and how many crimes you have committed. You persecute good people, take bribes, and prevent the poor from getting justice in the courts. And so, keeping quiet in such evil times is the smart thing to do! Make it your aim to do what is right, not what is evil, so that you may live. Then the Lord God Almighty really will be with you, as you claim he is."
  • [TJB] "Well then, since you have trampled on the poor man, extorting levies on his wheat -- those houses you have built of dressed stone, you will never live in them; and those precious vineyards you have planted, you will never drink their wine. For I know that your crimes are many, and your sins enormous: persecutors of the virtuous, blackmailers, turning away the needy at the city gate. No wonder the prudent man keeps silent, the times are so evil. Seek good and not evil so that you may live, and that Yahweh, God of Sabaoth, may really be with you as you claim he is."
Added on 18-Feb-20 | Last updated 18-Feb-20
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Here lie I, Martin Elginbrodde:
Hae mercy o’ my soul, Lord God;
As I wad do, were I Lord God,
And ye were Martin Elginbrodde.

George MacDonald (1824-1905) Scottish novelist, poet
David Elginbrod, ch. 13 (1863)
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Added on 6-Jan-20 | Last updated 6-Jan-20
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And, when you, looking on your fellow men
Behold them doomed to endless misery,
How can you talk of joy and rapture then?
May God withhold such cruel joy from me!

Anne Brontë (1820-1849) British novelist, poet [pseud. Acton Bell]
“A Word to Calvinists” (28 May 1843)
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Added on 26-Jan-17 | Last updated 26-Jan-17
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Tell us not that the world is governed by universal law; the news is not comfortable, but simply horrible, unless you can tell us, or allow others to tell us, that there is a loving giver, and a just administrator of that law.

Charles Kingsley (1819-1875) English clergyman, historian, essayist, novelist (pseud. "Parson Lot")
“The Meteor Shower,” sermon (26 Nov 1866)
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Added on 27-Jul-16 | Last updated 27-Jul-16
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If Allah took mankind to task by that which they deserve, He would not leave a living creature on the surface of the earth.

Muhammad (570-632) Arabian merchant, prophet, founder of Islam [Mohammed]
Qur’an, 35.45 (AD 670?) [tr. Pickthall (1953)]
Added on 21-Dec-15 | Last updated 21-Dec-15
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Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.

Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) Roman emperor (161-180), Stoic philosopher
(Spurious)

Widely attributed to Marcus Aurelius, but no actual citation found, and with some discrepancies to his philosophy. The closest match appears to be Meditations 2.11, but it is a very poor match.

More information:
Added on 18-Apr-12 | Last updated 31-Mar-21
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O stranger, cease thy care;
Wise is the soul, but man is born to bear;
Jove weighs affairs of earth in dubious scales,
And the good suffers, while the bad prevails.
Bear, with a soul resign’d, the will of Jove;
Who breathes, must mourn: thy woes are from above.

[‘ξεῖν᾽, ἐπεὶ οὔτε κακῷ οὔτ᾽ ἄφρονι φωτὶ ἔοικας:
Ζεὺς δ᾽ αὐτὸς νέμει ὄλβον Ὀλύμπιος ἀνθρώποισιν,
ἐσθλοῖς ἠδὲ κακοῖσιν, ὅπως ἐθέλῃσιν, ἑκάστῳ:
καί που σοὶ τάδ᾽ ἔδωκε, σὲ δὲ χρὴ τετλάμεν ἔμπης.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Odyssey [Ὀδύσσεια], Book 6, l. 187ff (c. 700 BC) [tr. Pope (1725), l. 227ff]
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(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

Stranger! I discern in thee
Nor sloth, nor folly, reigns; and yet I see
Th’ art poor and wretched. In which I conclude,
That industry nor wisdom make endued
Men with those gifts that make them best to th’ eye;
Jove only orders man’s felicity.
To good and bad his pleasure fashions still
The whole proportion of their good and ill.
And he, perhaps, hath form’d this plight in thee,
Of which thou must be patient, as he free.
[tr. Chapman (1616)]

You seem to be a good man and discreet,
But Jove on good and bad such fortune lays,v Happy or otherwise, as he thinks meet;
And since distress is fallen to your share,
You must contented be to suffer it.
[tr. Hobbes (1675), l. 178ff]

Since, stranger! neither base by birth thou seem’st,
Nor unintelligent, (but Jove, the King
Olympian, gives to good and bad alike
Prosperity according to his will,
And grief to thee, which thou must patient bear,)
[tr. Cowper (1792), l. 233ff]

Stranger, who seemest neither vile nor vain, Zeus both to good and evil doth divide Wealth as he listeth. He perchance this pain Appointed; thou thy sorrow must stain. [tr. Worsley (1861), st. 25]

Sir guest! since thou no sorry wight dost seem;
And Zeus himself from Olympus deals out weal
To the good and band: -- to each as it pleaseth him:
And somehow he hath sent these things to thee;
So it becomes thee to endure them wholly.
[tr. Bigge-Wither (1869)]

Stranger, forasmuch as thou seemest no evil man nor foolish -- and it is Olympian Zeus himself that giveth weal to men, to the good and to the evil, to each one as he will, and this thy lot doubtless is of him, and so thou must in anywise endure it.
[tr. Butcher/Lang (1879)]

O guest, forsooth thou seemest no fool, and no man of ill.
But Zeus the Olympian giveth to menfolk after his will,
To each, be he good, be he evil, his share of the happy day;
And these things shall be of his giving; so bear it as ye may.
[tr. Morris (1887)]

Stranger, because you do not seem a common, senseless person, -- and Olympian Zeus himself distributes fortune to mankind and gives to high and low even as he wills to each; and this he gave to you, and you must bear it therefore.
[tr. Palmer (1891)]

Stranger, you appear to be a sensible, well-disposed person. There is no accounting for luck; Zeus gives prosperity to rich and poor just as he chooses, so you must take what he has seen fit to send you, and make the best of it.
[tr. Butler (1898), rev. Power/Nagy]

Stranger, since thou seemest to be neither an evil man nor a witless, and it is Zeus himself, the Olympian, that gives happy fortune to men, both to the good and the evil, to each man as he will; so to thee, I ween, he has given this lot, and thou must in any case endure it.
[tr. Murray (1919)]

Stranger -- for to me you seem no bad or thoughtless man -- it is Zeus himself who assigns bliss to men, to the good adn to the evil as he wills, to each his lot. Wherefore surely he gave you this unhappiness, and you must bear it.
[tr. Lawrence (1932)]

"Sir," said the white-armed Nausicaa, "your manners prove that you are no rascal and no fool; and as for these ordeals of yours, they must have been sent you by Olympian Zeus, who follows his own will in dispensing happiness to people whatever their merits. You have no choice but to endure."
[tr. Rieu (1946)]

Stranger, there is no quirk or evil in you
that I can see. You know Zeus metes out fortune
to good and bad men as it pleases him.
Hardship he sent to you, and you must bear it.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1961)]

You, stranger, since you do not seem to be
mad or malicious, know that only he --
Olympian Zeus -- allots felicity
to men, to both the noble and the base,
just as he wills. To you he gave this fate
and you must suffer it -- in any case.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1990)]

"Stranger," the white-armed princess answered staunchly,
"friend, you're hardly a wicked man, and no fool, I'd say --
it's Olympian Zeus himself who hands our fortunes out,
to each of us in turn, to the good and bad,
however Zeus prefers ...
He gave you pain, it seems. You simply have to bear it.
[tr. Fagles (1996)]

"Stranger, you do not seem to be a bad man
Or a fool. Zeus himself, the Olympian god,
Sends happiness to good men and bad men both,
To each as he wills. To you he has given these troubles,
Which you have no choice but to bear.
[tr. Lombardo (2000), l. 191ff]

Stranger, you do not strike me as either a rogue or a fool. It is Olympian Zeus himself who dispenses prosperity to men, to both good and bad, to each as he wishes; he must surely have sent you these troubles, and you must bear them as you may.
[tr. Verity (2016)]

Well, stranger, you seem a brave and clever man; you know that Zeus apportions happiness to people, to good and bad, each one as he decides. your troubles come from him, and you must bear them.
[tr. Wilson (2017)]

Added on 30-Jun-10 | Last updated 4-Aug-21
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Happiness is not a reward — it is a consequence. Suffering is not a punishment — it is a result.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“The Christian Religion,” Part 2, The North American Review (Nov 1881)
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A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hopes of reward after death.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
“Religion and Science,” New York Times Magazine (9 Nov 1930)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 21-Feb-21
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