Quotations about   piety

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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)
    (Source)

Franklin cites Matt. 26 in the letter, but it should be Matt. 25:31-46.
Added on 1-Oct-20 | Last updated 1-Oct-20
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I don’t kno as i want tew bet enny money, and giv odds, on the man, who iz alwus anxious tew pray out loud, every chance he kan git.

[I don’t know as I want to bet any money, and give odds, on the man who is always anxious to pray out loud, every chance he can get.]

Josh Billings (1818-1885) American humorist [pseud. of Henry Wheeler Shaw]
Everybody’s Friend, Or; Josh Billing’s Encyclopedia and Proverbial Philosophy of Wit and Humor, “Mollassis Kandy” (1874)
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Added on 14-May-20 | Last updated 14-May-20
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In self-examination, take no account of yourself by your thoughts and resolutions in the days of religion and solemnity; examine how it is with you in the days of ordinary conversation and in the circumstances of secular employment.

Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667) English cleric and author
(Attributed)
    (Source)

Quoted in The Friends' Intelligencer (24 Jun 1882).
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[Dr. John] Campbell is a good man, a pious man. I am afraid he has not been in the inside of a church for many years; but he never passes a church without
pulling off his hat. This shews that he has good principles.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
Comment (1 Jul 1763)

In James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson (1791).
Added on 24-Feb-17 | Last updated 24-Feb-17
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The man of business goes on Sunday to the church with the regularity of the village blacksmith, there to renounce and abjure before his God the line of conduct which he intends to pursue with all his might during the following week.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Fabian Essays in Socialism, “The Basis of Socialism: Economic” (1889)
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To most Christians, the Bible is like a software license. Nobody actually reads it. They just scroll to the bottom and click, “I agree.”

Maher - Bible I Agree - wist_info quote

William "Bill" Maher (b. 1956) American comedian, political commentator, critic, television host.
(Attributed)
Added on 8-Jun-16 | Last updated 8-Jun-16
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Prayer is not a pious decoration of life but the breath of human existence.

Henri Nouwen (1932-1996) Dutch Catholic priest and writer
The Wounded Healer (1972)
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It is a great deal better to live a holy life than to talk about it. We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Light-houses don’t ring bells and fire cannon to call attention to their shining — they just shine.

Moody - light-houses - wist_info quote

Dwight Lyman "D. L." Moody (1837-1899) American evangelist and publisher
(Attributed)

Sometimes quoted, "they just shine on."
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Piety practised in solitude, like the flower that blooms in the desert, may give its fragrance to the winds of heaven, and delight those unbodied spirits that survey the works of God and the actions of men; but it bestows no assistance upon earthly beings, and however free from taints of impurity, yet wants the sacred splendour of beneficence.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
The Adventurer, #126 “Praises of Solitude”
    (Source)
Added on 2-May-14 | Last updated 2-May-14
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For though we love both the truth and our friends, piety requires us to honor the truth first.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Nicomachean Ethics, Book 1, ch. 6 (I.1096a16) [tr. T. Irwin (1985)]

Alt trans.: "Piety requires us to honor truth above our friends."
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Religious persecution may shield itself under the guise of a mistaken and over-zealous piety.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
Speech (18 Feb 1788)

Quoted in E. A. Bond (ed.), Speeches ... in the Trial of Warren Hastings, vol. 1 (1859)
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Prayer does not change God, but changes him who prays.

Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) Danish philosopher, theologian
Works of Love (1847)
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A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Politics [Πολιτικά], Book 5, ch. 11 / 1314b.39

Alt. trans.:

  • "Also he should appear to be particularly earnest in the service of the Gods; for if men think that a ruler is religious and has a reverence for the Gods, they are less afraid of suffering injustice at his hands, and they are less disposed to conspire against him, because they believe him to have the very Gods fighting on his side. At the same time his religion must not be thought foolish." [tr. Jowett (1885)]

  • "And, moreover, always to seem particularly attentive to the worship of the gods; for from persons of such a character men entertain less fears of suffering anything illegal while they suppose that he who governs them is religious and reverences the gods; and they will be less inclined to raise insinuations against such a one, as being peculiarly under their protection: but this must be so done as to give no occasion for any suspicion of hypocrisy." [tr. Ellis (1912)]

  • "And further he must be seen always to be exceptionally zealous as regards religious observances (for people are less afraid of suffering any illegal treatment from men of this sort, if they think that their ruler has religious scruples and pays regard to the gods, and also they plot against him less, thinking that he has even the gods as allies), though he should not display a foolish religiosity." [tr. Rackham (1932)]

  • "Further, he must always show himself to be seriously attentive to the things pertaining to the gods. For men are less afraid fo being treated in some respect contrary to the law by such persons, if they consider the ruler a god-fearing sort who takes thought for the gods, and they are less ready to conspire against him as one who has the gods too as allies. In showing himself of this sort, however, he must avoid silliness." [tr. Lord (1984)]
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 12-Feb-21
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