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    good deeds


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The benevolent and sublime reformer [Jesus] of that religion [Judaism] has told us only that god is good and perfect, but has not defined him. I am therefore of his theology, believing that we have neither words nor ideas adequate to that definition. and if we could all, after his example, leave the subject as undefinable, we should all be of one sect, doers of good & eschewers of evil. No doctrines of his lead to schism.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to Ezra Styles Ely (25 Jun 1819)
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Added on 3-Oct-22 | Last updated 3-Oct-22
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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 (1.9, 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 14-Dec-21
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Goodness is about what you do. Not who you pray to.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Snuff (2011)
 
Added on 13-Apr-21 | Last updated 19-Apr-21
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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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God is pleased with no music from below so much as in the thanksgiving songs of relieved widows, of supported orphans, of rejoicing, and comforted, and thankful persons.

Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667) English cleric and author
Sermon 25, “The Duties of the Tongue,” Part 4 [Eph. 4:29]
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Added on 5-Jul-17 | Last updated 5-Jul-17
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Man has three friends on whose company he relies. First, wealth — which goes with him only while good fortune lasts. Second, his relatives — they go only as far as the grave and leave him there. The third friend, his good deeds, go with him beyond the grave.

The Talmud (AD 200-500) Collection of Jewish rabbinical writings
(Attributed)

I could not find an actual citation for this quotation, but the story (the explanation of a parable, in which a man is summoned before a king, and while his dearest friend will not go with him, and his second best friend will only go to the palace gates, his least-loved friend goes with him before the throne) shows up with different translation in multiple sources:
  • The Talmud: SelectionsPart 5 "Civil and Criminal Laws -- the Holy Days" - "The Day of Atonement" [tr. Polano (1876)].
  • Isaac Aboav, Lamp of Light [Menorat Hamoar] [14th C], Fifth Lamp "Teshuvah," Sec. 2 [ch. 3]  in Leonard Kravitz and Kerry Olitzky, <i>Journey of the Soul: Traditional Sources on the</i> Teshuvah (1995).
  • Talmudic and Other Legends [tr., comp. Weiss (1888 ed.), "Man's Three Friends" (Pirke R. Eliezer).
 
Added on 15-Jun-17 | Last updated 15-Jun-17
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When all is said and all is done,
When all is lost or all is won —
In spite of musty theory,
Of purblind faith and vain conceit,
Of barren creed and sophistry:
In spite of all — success, defeat,
The Judge accords to worst and best,
Impartially, this final test:
What hast thou done with brawn and brain,
To help the world to lose or gain
An onward step? Canst reckon one
Unselfish, brave or noble deed,
That thou — nor counting cost! Hast done
To help a brother’s crying need?
Not what professed nor what believed
But what good thing hast thou achieved?

James Ball Naylor (1860-1945) American physician, writer, poet, politician
“The Final Test”
 
Added on 24-Jan-17 | Last updated 24-Jan-17
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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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To be good, and to do good, is all We have to do.

adams-be-good-and-do-good-wist_info-quote

John Adams (1735-1826) American lawyer, Founding Father, statesman, US President (1797-1801)
Letter to Nabby Adams (1776)
 
Added on 22-Nov-16 | Last updated 22-Nov-16
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Great minds, like heaven, are pleased in doing good,
Though the ungrateful subjects of their favors
Are barren in return.

Nicholas Rowe (1674-1718) English poet and dramatist
Tamerlane, Act 2, sc. 2 (1701)
 
Added on 16-Sep-16 | Last updated 16-Sep-16
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The virtues, like the body, become strong more by labor than by nourishment.

Jean Paul Richter (1763-1825) German novelist, art historian, aesthetician [Johann Paul Friedrich Richter; pseud. Jean Paul]
(Attributed)

Quoted in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).
 
Added on 20-Jul-16 | Last updated 20-Jul-16
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Here is my Creed: I believe in one God, Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by his Providence. That he ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable Service we can render to him, is doing Good to his other Children. That the Soul of Man is immortal, and will be treated with Justice in another Life respecting its Conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental Principles of all sound Religion, and I regard them as you do, in whatever Sect I meet with them.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher
Letter to Ezra Stiles (9 Mar 1790)
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Added on 16-Sep-13 | Last updated 8-Jul-21
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“Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
Matthew 6:1-6 (NIV)
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KJV:  "Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. "Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. "And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."
 
Added on 11-Mar-10 | Last updated 8-Jul-16
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