Quotations about   doing good

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As in the Olympic Games it is not the most attractive and the strongest who are crowned, but those who compete (since it is from this group that winners come), so in life it is those who act rightly who will attain what is noble and good.

[ὥσπερ δ᾽ Ὀλυμπίασιν οὐχ οἱ κάλλιστοι καὶ ἰσχυρότατοι στεφανοῦνται ἀλλ᾽ οἱ ἀγωνιζόμενοι (τούτων γάρ τινες νικῶσιν), οὕτω καὶ τῶν ἐν τῷ βίῳ καλῶν κἀγαθῶν οἱ πράττοντες ὀρθῶς ἐπήβολοι γίνονται.]

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Nicomachean Ethics [Ἠθικὰ Νικομάχεια], Book 1, ch. 9 (1099a.4) (c. 325 BC) [tr. Crisp (2000)]
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(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

And as at the Olympic games it is not the finest and strongest men who are crowned, but they who enter the lists, for out of these the prize-men are selected; so too in life, of the honourable and the good, it is they who act who rightly win the prizes.
[tr. Chase (1847), ch. 6]

For as at the Olympic games it is not the fairest and the strongest who are crowned, but they that run -- for some of these it is that win the victory -- so too, among the noble and good in life, it is they that act rightly who become masters of life's prize.
[tr. Williams (1869)]

As in the Olympian games it is not the most beautiful and strongest persons who receive the crown, but they who actually enter the lists as combatants -- for it is some of these who become victors -- so it is they who act rightly that attain what is noble and good in life.
[tr. Welldon (1892), ch. 9]

And as at the Olympic games it is not the fairest and strongest who receive the crown, but those who contend (for among these are the victors), so in life, too, the winners are those who not only have all the excellences, but manifest these in deed.
[tr. Peters (1893)]

And as in the Olympic Games it is not the most beautiful and the strongest that are crowned but those who compete (for it is some of these that are victorious), so those who act win, and rightly win, the noble and good things in life.
[tr. Ross (1908)]

And just as at the Olympic games the wreaths of victory are not bestowed upon the handsomest and strongest persons present, but on men who enter for the competitions -- since it is among these that the winners are found, -- so it is those who act rightly who carry off the prizes and good things of life.
[tr. Rackham (1934), ch. 8, sec. 9]

And just as in the Olympic Games it is not the noblest and strongest who get the victory crown but the competitors (since it is among these that the ones who win are found), so also among the noble and good aspects of life it is those who act correctly who win the prizes.
[tr. Reeve (1948)]

And as at the Olympic Games it is not the most beautiful or the strongest who are crowned but those who compete (for it is some of these who become victors), so in life it is those who act rightly who become the winners of good and noble things.
[tr. Apostle (1975), ch. 9]

Just as at the Olympic Games it is not the best-looking or the strongest men present that are crowned with wreaths, but the competitors (because it is from them that the winners come), so it is those who act that rightly win the honors and rewards in life.
[tr. Thomson/Tredennick (1976)]

For just as it is not the noblest and strongest who are crowned with the victory wreath at the Olympic Games but rather the competitors (for it is certain of these who win), so also it is those who act correctly who attain the noble and good things in life.
[tr. Bartlett/Collins (2011)]

Added on 26-Oct-21 | Last updated 26-Oct-21
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What have I always believed? That on the whole, and by and large, if a man lived properly, not according to what any priests said, but according to what seemed decent and honest inside, then it would, at the end, more or less, turn out all right.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Small Gods (1992)
Added on 26-Jan-21 | Last updated 26-Jan-21
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We are all ready to be savage in some cause. The difference between a good man and a bad one is the choice of the cause.

William James (1842-1910) American psychologist and philosopher
Letter to E. L. Godkin (24 Dec 1895)
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Added on 29-Oct-20 | Last updated 29-Oct-20
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I think vital Religion has always suffer’d, when Orthodoxy is more regarded than Virtue. And the Scripture assures me, that at the last Day, we shall not be examin’d what we thought, but what we did; and our Recommendation will not be that we said Lord, Lord, but that we did GOOD to our Fellow Creatures.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher
Letter to his parents, Josiah and Abiah Franklin (13 Apr 1738)
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Franklin cites Matt. 26 in the letter, but it should be Matt. 25:31-46.
Added on 1-Oct-20 | Last updated 8-Jul-21
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We can do more good by being good than in any other way.

Rowland Hill (1795-1879) English teacher, inventor, social reformer.
(Attributed)

Quoted in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).
Added on 14-Dec-16 | Last updated 14-Dec-16
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By doing good we become good.

Rousseau - doing good - wist_info quote

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) French philosopher and writer
Emile, ch. 4 (1762) [tr. Foxley (1911)]
Added on 19-Jan-16 | Last updated 19-Jan-16
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The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! “Father, the atheists?” Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class. We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all. And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: We need that so much. We must meet one another doing good. “But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!” But do good: We will meet one another there.

Francis I (b. 1936) Argentinian Catholic Pope (2013- ) [b. Jorge Mario Bergoglio]
Homily (22 May 2013)
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Added on 5-Oct-15 | Last updated 5-Oct-15
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The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and do not do evil. All of us. “But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.” Yes, he can. He must. Not can: must! Because he has this commandment within him. Instead, this “closing off” that imagines that those outside, everyone, cannot do good is a wall that leads to war and also to what some people throughout history have conceived of: killing in the name of God. That we can kill in the name of God. And that, simply, is blasphemy. To say that you can kill in the name of God is blasphemy.

Francis I (b. 1936) Argentinian Catholic Pope (2013- ) [b. Jorge Mario Bergoglio]
Homily (22 May 2013)
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Added on 28-Sep-15 | Last updated 28-Sep-15
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We must be something in order to do something, but we must also do something in order to be something. The best rule, I think, is this: If we find it hard to do good, then let us try to be good. If, on the other hand, we find it hard to be good, then let us try to do good. Being leads to doing, doing leads to being. Yet below both as their common root is faith, — faith in God, in man, in ourselves, in the eternal superiority of right over wrong, truth over error, good over evil, love over all selfishness and all sin.

James Freeman Clarke (1810-1888) American theologian and author
(Attributed)

Quoted in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).
Added on 24-Oct-14 | Last updated 24-Oct-14
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A man who is good for anything ought not to calculate the chance of living or dying; he ought only to consider whether in doing anything he is doing right or wrong — acting the part of a good man or a bad.

Socrates (c.470-399 BC) Greek philosopher
In Plato, Apology, sec. 28b [tr. Jowett]
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Alternate translations:

  • "Thou doest wrong to think that a man of any use at all is to weigh the risk of life or death, and not to consider one thing only, whether when he acts he does the right thing or the wrong, performs the deeds of a good man or a bad." ["No Evil Can Happen to a Good Man"]
  • "You are mistaken, my friend, if you think that a man who is worth anything ought to spend his time weighing up the prospects of life and death. He has only one thing to consider in performing any action -- that is, whether he is acting rightly or wrongly, like a good man or a bad one." [tr. Trendennick]
Added on 24-Jul-07 | Last updated 2-Jul-21
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No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

Aesop (620?-560? BC) Legendary Greek storyteller
Fables [Aesopica], “The Lion and the Mouse” (6th C BC)

Alternate translation: "Kindness is seldom thrown away" [tr. James (1848)]
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 16-Sep-21
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