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Without the Way, there is no going;
Without the Truth, there is no knowing;
Without the Life, there is no living.

[Sine via non itur;
sine veritate non cognoscitur;
sine vita non vivitur.]

Thomas von Kempen
Thomas à Kempis (c. 1380-1471) German-Dutch priest, author
The Imitation of Christ [De Imitatione Christi], Book 3, ch. 56, v. 1 (3.56.1) (c. 1418-27) [ed. Parker (1841)]
    (Source)

The voice of Christ commenting on His own words in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life."

These precise words are most common translation over the years, also rendered (with varying punctuation and capitalization) by Bagster (1860), Anon. (1901), Croft/Bolton (1940), Daplyn (1952), and Creasy (1989).

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Without a way no man may go, and without the truth no man may know, and without life no man may live.
[tr. Whitford/Raynal (1530/1871)]

Without a way, no man can go; without the truth, no man can know; and without life no man can live
[tr. Whitford/Gardiner (1530/1955)]

Without the way there is no going aright, without truth there is no knowing aright, without life there is no living at all.
[tr. Page (1639), 3.56.3]

Without the Way can be no Walking; without the Truth no knowledge; without the Life no Living.
[tr. Stanhope (1696; 1706 ed.), ch. 61]

Without the way which I have opened, thou canst not return to paradise ; without the truth which I communicate, thou canst not know the way; and without the life which I quicken, thou canst not obey the truth.
[tr. Payne (1803), ch. 44]

Without the way, there is no journeying; without truth, there is no knowledge; without life, there is no living.
[tr. Dibdin (1851), 3.51.1]

Without the way thou canst not go, without the truth thou canst not know, without the life thou canst not live.
[tr. Benham (1874)]

Without the Way, there is no progress; without the Truth, there is no knowledge; without the Life, there is no living.
[tr. Sherley-Price (1952)]

Without a way, a road, there can be no going along it; without truth, no object of knowledge; without life, no living.
[tr. Knox-Oakley (1959)]

Without the way, there is no travelling, without the truth, no knowing, without the life, no living.
[tr. Knott (1962)]

Without the Way there is no journey. Without the Truth there is no knowledge. Without Life there is no living.
[tr. Rooney (1979)]

 
Added on 21-Sep-23 | Last updated 28-Sep-23
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More quotes by Thomas a Kempis

Gustave Dore - Inferno 4.42 - The virtuous pagans (1890)
Gustave Dore – Inferno 4.42 – The virtuous pagans (1890)

Down there, to judge only by what I heard,
there were no wails but just the sounds of sighs
rising and trembling through the timeless air,
The sounds of sighs of untormented grief
burdening these groups, diverse and teeming,
made of men and women and of infants.
Then the good master said, “You do not ask
what sort of souls are these you see around you.
Now you should know before we go on farther,
they have not sinned. But their great worth alone
was not enough, for they did not know Baptism
which is the gateway to the faith you follow,
and if they came before the birth of Christ
They did not worship God the way one should;
I myself am a member of this group.
For this defect, and for no other guilt,
we here are lost. In this alone we suffer:
cut off from hope, we live on in desire.”

[Quivi, secondo che per ascoltare,
non avea pianto mai che di sospiri
che l’aura etterna facevan tremare;
ciò avvenia di duol sanza martìri,
ch’avean le turbe, ch’eran molte e grandi,
d’infanti e di femmine e di viri.
Lo buon maestro a me: “Tu non dimandi
che spiriti son questi che tu vedi?
Or vo’ che sappi, innanzi che più andi,
ch’ei non peccaro; e s’elli hanno mercedi,
non basta, perché non ebber battesmo,
ch’è porta de la fede che tu credi;
e s’e’ furon dinanzi al cristianesmo,
non adorar debitamente a Dio:
e di questi cotai son io medesmo.
Per tai difetti, non per altro rio,
semo perduti, e sol di tanto offesi
che sanza speme vivemo in disio”.]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 1 “Inferno,” Canto 4, l. 25ff (4.25-42) (1309) [tr. Musa (1971)]
    (Source)

In the First Circle of Hell, Dante encounters the "virtuous pagans," without sin but who cannot go to heaven because they were not baptized (such as children), or because they were born before Christ and therefore could not be saved by faith. They are not physically punished, but languish in an otherwise-pleasant Limbo, longing to be united with God. (Dante did not invent Limbo, but popularized it.)

(Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

Loud Lamentations were not heard from thence,
But heavy Sighs which trembled through the air:
From th' anguish these of Mind, not Body, came
Of many Infants, Women, and of Men.
You do not ask me, my kind Master said,
What are these Spirits in this place you see;
This you should know before we farther pass.
These have not sinn'd; and 'though they had reward
Deserved for their meritorious acts,
'Twould not avail, since they were ne'er baptiz'd;
For this in your Belief's the Gate of Faith.
They who have lived before Christ appear'd
Have not with proper Prayers ador'd their God.
And I myself, alas! am one of those.
For these defects, and not for any crime,
We're lost; and, without other punishment,
We live desiring, yet depriv'd of hope.
[tr. Rogers (1782), l. 35ff]

Now thro' the void and viewless shadows drear,
Short sighs, thick-coming, led the list'ning ear,
Trembling in murmurs low along the gale:
No pang is here, no tort'ring hour is known,
Their irrecoverable loss alone
Matrons, and fires, and tender babes bewail.
"And can the mournful train that here abide
Unnotic'd pass thee by?" the Poet cry'd,
"These were of the race renown'd of ancient time:
Unknown a Saviour, unador'd a God,
Their blind presumptuous course in reason's road
They still pursu'd, unconscious of a crime.
No bleeding ransom of their sins they knew
Nor from the fount regeneration drew
The sacred symbol of eternal joy!
In ceaseless languors now forlorn they dwell,
Not heirs of Heav'n, nor denizens of Hell,
And of their sad society am I!"
[tr. Boyd (1802), st. 5-7]

Here, as mine ear could note, no plaint was heard
Except of sighs, that made th’ eternal air
Tremble, not caus’d by tortures, but from grief
Felt by those multitudes, many and vast,
Of men, women, and infants. Then to me
The gentle guide: “Inquir’st thou not what spirits
Are these, which thou beholdest? Ere thou pass
Farther, I would thou know, that these of sin
Were blameless; and if aught they merited,
It profits not, since baptism was not theirs,
The portal to thy faith. If they before
The Gospel liv’d, they serv’d not God aright;
And among such am I. For these defects,
And for no other evil, we are lost;
Only so far afflicted, that we live
Desiring without hope.
[tr. Cary (1814)]

Here never aught of louder plaint or moan
Disturbed the listener's hearing; but the air
Trembled eternally with sighs alone.
The cause, a grief where torment hath no share,
Endured of crowded hostings not a few,
Men, women, infants, all assembled there.
And thus the good preceptor -- "Canst thou view
So vast a throng, nor ask of whom the spirits?
I will thou learn, ere we our path pursue.
These were not sinners; yet, whatever their merits.
Suffice not them, wanting baptismal rite.
That each partaker of thy faith inherits.
And if they rose before the Christian light.
Duly they honoured not their Maker's name;
But what these are, am I: our fates unite.
For such default, and not for deeper blame,
Heaven have we lost; yet this our only smart.
Our hope is not, our longing still the same."
[tr. Dayman (1843)]

Here was no plaint, that could be heard, except of sighs, which caused the eternal air to tremble;
And this arose from the sadness, without torment, of the crowds that were many and great, both of children, and women and men.
The good Master said to me: "Thou askest not what spirits are these thou seest? I wish thee to know, before thou goest further,
that they sinned not; and though they have merit, it suffices not: for they had not Baptism, which is the portal of the faith that thou believest;
and seeing they were before Christianity, they worshipped not God aright; and of these am I myself.
For such defects, and for no other fault, are we lost; and only in so far afflicted, that without hope we live in desire."
[tr. Carlyle (1849)]

Here was no sound, to any listener's ear,
Of loud complaint, but frequent sighs of care,
Which made to tremble the eternal air.
It happened thus, from grief of torments void,
Possessing crowds beyond our sight and ken
Of infants, and of women, and of men.
The good master said, "You do not ask me
What are these spirits which you now descry --
Wouldst thou discover, ere we yet draw nigh?
These have not sinn'd, though merit they should have --
'Tis not enough, for baptism they have none,
A portion of the faith you also own:
They lived ere Christianity began;
The God of heaven adored not as they ought.
And of these here, I'm also in the fault
For these defects; for other evil none
Are lost, -- afflicted only thus so far:
Live in desire, but want hope's brightening star."
[tr. Bannerman (1850)]

There as I listen'd I could hear no sound
Of plaint or moan, but rather that of sighs
Which tremulous did stir th' eternal air;
This came not from the martyrdom of pain
But from the dole of those, many and great,
Of children, and of women, and of men.
My kindly master said -- "Thou askest not
Who be these spirits which thou seest now?
Yet here we further go, be to thee known
They sinned not; yet no merit claim'd by them
Availeth aught, because they never knew
The Grace Baptismal, portal of they creed:
And if they liv'd before the day of Grace
They could not in right spirit worship God:
And of that number I myself am one.
For this default and for no other guilt
We are lost souls; afflicted only thus,
That ever hopeless we must still desire."
[tr. Johnston (1867)]

There, in so far as I had power to hear, ⁠
⁠Were lamentations none, but only sighs,
⁠That tremulous made the everlasting air.
And this arose from sorrow without torment,
⁠Which the crowds had, that many were and great,
⁠Of infants and of women and of men. ⁠
To me the Master good: "Thou dost not ask
⁠What spirits these, which thou beholdest, are?
⁠Now will I have thee know, ere thou go farther,
That they sinned not; and if they merit had,
'T is not enough, because they had not baptism, ⁠
⁠Which is the portal of the Faith thou holdest;
And if they were before Christianity,
⁠⁠In the right manner they adored not God;
⁠⁠And among such as these am I myself.
For such defects, and not for other guilt,
⁠⁠Lost are we, and are only so far punished,
⁠⁠That without hope we live on in desire."
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

Here, so far as listening went, lamentation was not, save of sighs which made the everlasting mist tremble. And this befel of woe without torments which the crowds had, that were many and great, both of infants and of women and of men. The good Master to me: 'Thou demandest not what spirits these are whom thou seest ? Now will I that thou know ere thou go further, that they did not sin; and if they have deserts, it suffices not; because they had not baptism, which is a part of the faith which thou believest. And if they were before Christianity, they adored not God duly; and of this sort am I myself. For such defects, not for other crime, we are lost; and we are harmed only in so far as we live without hope in longing.'
[tr. Butler (1885)]

Here, in as far as hearing is aware,
⁠Was no loud weeping, but a sound of sighs.
⁠Which ever trembled in the eternal air,
And these from sorrow without torments rise,
⁠Sorrow that holds the crowds both many and great,
⁠Men, women, children, of all age and size.
Turned my good master to me: "Dost thou wait
⁠To ask what souls are these thou seest here?
⁠I will that thou shouldst know at once their state.
These have not sinned, and if their acts were fair,
⁠'Twas not sufficient, since they baptism lacked,
⁠The gateway of the Faith which thou dost share.
And if they lived ere Christ's law was a fact.
⁠They did not in fit fashion God adore;
⁠And I myself amongst these last am wreckt.
For such deficiencies, and nothing more,
⁠Our penalty is fixed, the lost among,
⁠To yearn for ever on this hopeless shore.
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

Here, so far as could be heard, there was no plaint but that of sighs which made the eternal air to tremble: this came of the woe without torments felt by the crowds, which were many and great, of infants and of women and of men. The good Master to me, “Thou dost not ask what spirits are these that thou seest. Now I would have thee know, before thou goest farther, that they sinned not; and if they have merits it sufficeth not, because they had not baptism, which is part of the faith that thou believest; and if they were before Christianity, they did not duly worship God: and of such as these am I myself. Through such defects, and not through other guilt, are we lost, and only so far harmed that without hope we live in desire.
[tr. Norton (1892)]

Here, so far as I could tell by listening, there was no wailing, but sighs only, making the air to tremble without ceasing; and this arose from the misery, albeit uncaused by torture, which the crowds felt, and they were many and great; babes and women and men. My gentle Master said to me: "Thou dost not ask what shades are these thou seest. I now would have thee know, or ever thou goest farther, that they have not sinned; and though they have good works to their account, it sufficeth not, for they knew not baptism, which is the gateway of the faith the which thou dost believe. And as they were before Christ's coming, they failed to worship God aright ; and of their number am I myself. For shortcomings such as these, and for no other fault, are we lost: and this our only punishment, that without hope we live in yearning.
[tr. Sullivan (1893)]

Therein, so far as listening was of service,
⁠There was no lamentation, save of sighing,
⁠That made the eternal weight of air to quiver.
This came to pass from sorrow without torments.
⁠That the crowds had, which were both great and many.
⁠Of little children, and of men, and women.
To me the master kind: "Dost thou not ask me
⁠What spirits these are here, whom thou beholdest?
⁠Now I would have thee know, ere thou go further,
That they sinned not: and yet that they have merits
⁠Sufficeth not, because they had not baptism.
⁠Which is a portion of the faith thou holdest:
And, if they were before the Christian advent,
⁠They did not render unto God due worship.
⁠And I of such as these myself am also.
For such defects, and not for other forfeit,
⁠Are we among the lost, and only troubled
⁠At this, that without hope we live in longing.
[tr. Griffith (1908)]

Here, so far as I could tell by listening, was no lamentation more than sighs which kept the air forever trembling; these came from grief without torments that was borne by the crowds, which were vast, of men and women and little children. The good Master said to me: "Does thou not ask what spirits are these thou seest? I would have the know, then, before thou goest farther, that they did not sin; but though they have merits it is not enough, for they had not baptism, which is the gateway of the faith thou holdest; and if they were here before Christianity they did not worship God aright, and of these I am one. For such defects, and not for any guilt, we are lost, and only so far afflicted that without hope we live in desire."
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]

Here was no sound that the ear could catch of rue,
⁠Save only of sighs, that still as they complain
⁠Make the eternal air tremble anew.
And this rose form the sorrow, unracked by pain,
⁠That was in the great multitude below
⁠Of children and of women and of men.
The good Master to me: "Wouldst thou not know
⁠'What spirits are these thou seest and hearest grieve?
⁠I'd have thee learn before thou farther go,
These sinned not: but the merit that they achieve
⁠Helps not, since baptism was not theirs, the gate
⁠Of that faith, which was given thee to believe.
And if ere Christ they came, untimely in date,
⁠They worshipped not with right experience;
⁠And I myself am numbered in their state.
For such defect, and for no other offence,
⁠We are lost, and only in so far amerced
⁠That without hope we languish in suspense."
[tr. Binyon (1943)]

We heard no loud complaint, no crying there,
⁠No sound of grief except the sound of sighing
⁠Quivering for ever through the eternal air;
Grief, not for torment, but for loss undying,
⁠By women, men, and children sighed for so,
⁠Sorrowers thick-thronged, their sorrows multiplying.
Then my good guide: "Thou dost not ask me who
⁠These spirits are,” said he, “whom thou perceivest?
⁠Ere going further, I would have thee know
They sinned not; yet their merit lacked its chiefest
⁠Fulfilment, lacking baptism, which is
⁠The gateway to the faith which thou believest;
Or, living before Christendom, their knees
⁠Paid not aright those tributes that belong
⁠To God; and I myself am one of these.
For such defects alone -- no other wrong --
⁠We are lost; yet only by this grief offended:
⁠That, without hope, we ever live, and long.
[tr. Sayers (1949)]

No tortured wailing rose to greet us here
⁠but sounds of sighing rose from every side,
⁠sending a tremor through the timeless air,
a grief breathed out of untormented sadness,
⁠the passive state of those who dwelled apart,
⁠men, women, children -- a dim and endless congress.
And the Master said to me: "You do not question
⁠what souls these are that suffer here before you?
⁠I wish you to know before you travel on
that these were sinless. And still their merits fail,
⁠for they lacked Baptism's grace, which is the door
⁠of the true faith you were born to. Their birth fell
before the age of the Christian mysteries,
⁠and so they did not worship God's Trinity
⁠in fullest duty. I am one of these.
For such defects are we lost, though spared the fire
⁠and suffering Hell in one affliction only:
⁠that without hope we live on in desire."
[tr. Ciardi (1954)]

Here there was no plaint, that could be heard, except of sighs, which caused the eternal air to tremble; and this arose from the sadness, without torments, of the crowds that were many and great, both of children and of women and men. The good master said to me, “Do you not ask what spirits are these that you see ? Now, before you go farther, I will have you know that they did not sin; but if they have merit, that does not suffice, for they did not have baptism, which is the portal of the faith you hold; and if they were before Christianity, they did not worship God aright, and I myself am one of these. Because of these shortcomings, and for no other fault, we are lost, and only so far afflicted that without hope we live in longing.”
[tr. Singleton (1970)]

Here, for as much as hearing could discover,
⁠there was no outcry louder than the sighs
⁠that caused the everlasting air to tremble.
The sighs arose from sorrow without torments,
⁠out of the crowds -- the many multitudes --
⁠of infants and of women and of men.
The kindly master said: “Do you not ask
⁠who are these spirits whom you see before you?
⁠I'd have you know, before you go ahead,
they did not sin; and yet, though they have merits,
⁠that’s not enough, because they lacked baptism,
⁠the portal of the faith that you embrace.
And if they lived before Christianity,
⁠they did not worship God in fitting ways;
⁠and of such spirits I myself am one.
For these defects, and for no other evil,
⁠we now are lost and punished just with this:
⁠we have no hope and yet we live in longing.”
[tr. Mandelbaum (1980)]

There, in so far as listening could tell me,
⁠The only lamentations were the sighs,
⁠Yet they made the eternal air tremble.
They came from the sadness, without any torment,
⁠Felt by the crowds -- there were many of them, and huge --
⁠Of infants and of men and of men.
The master said: "Are you not going to ask
⁠What sprits these are which you see in this place?
⁠I think you should know before you go on;
They have committed no sin, and if they have merits,
⁠That is not enough, because they are not baptized,
⁠Which all must be, to enter the faith which is yours.
And if they lived before the Christian era,
⁠They did not adore God as he should be adored:
⁠And I am one of those in that position.
For these deficiencies, and no other fault,
⁠We are lost; there is no other penalty
⁠Than to live here without hope, but with desire."
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

⁠Here we encountered
No laments that we could hear -- except for sighs
That trembled the timeless air: they emanated
From the shadowy sadnesses, not agonies,
Of multitudes of children and women and men.
He said, "And don't you ask, what spirits are these?
Before you go on, I tell you: they did not sin:
If they have merit, it can't suffice without
Baptism, portal to the faith you maintain.
Some lived before the Christian faith, so that
They did not worship God aright -- and I
Am one of these. Through this, no other fault,
We are lost, afflicted only this one way:
That having no hope, we live in longing."
[tr. Pinsky (1994), l. 19ff]

⁠Here, as far as could be heard, there was no weeping except of sighs which caused the eternal air to tremble;
⁠these resulted from grief without torture, felt by the crowds, which were many and large, of infants and of women and of men.
⁠My good master to me: “You do not ask what spirits are these you see? Now I wish you to know, before you walk further,
⁠that they did not sin; and if they have merits, it is not enough, because they did not receive baptism, which is the gateway to the faith that you believe.
⁠And if they lived before Christianity, they did not adore God as was needful: and of this kind am I myself.
⁠Because of such defects, not for any other wickedness, we are lost, and only so far harmed that without hope we live in desire.”
[tr. Durling (1996)]

Here there was no sound to be heard, except the sighing, that made the eternal air tremble, and it came from the sorrow of the vast and varied crowds of children, of women, and of men, free of torment. The good Master said to me: ‘You do not demand to know who these spirits are that you see. I want you to learn, before you go further, that they had no sin, yet, though they have worth, it is not sufficient, because they were not baptised, and baptism is the gateway to the faith that you believe in. Since they lived before Christianity, they did not worship God correctly, and I myself am one of them. For this defect, and for no other fault, we are lost, and we are only tormented, in that without hope we live in desire.’
[tr. Kline (2002)]

Here, there was no pandemonium of tortured groans;
only interminable sighs, which trembled the air
with a murderous hum; and this arose
from all the sadnesses, albeit painless,
of the multitude of men and women,
and children of every size.
Then he to me: "Why don't you ask me who these spirits are?
Before you go much further
on, I'd like it to be understood that they are
innocent of sin; however,
lacking Baptism, they could not claim
its saving grace, and thus are doomed forever;
living, as they did, before Christ came
they did not pay the Lord his due respect;
and I myself am classed as one of them.
For these faults, not for any other defect,
are we lost; our only pain
is hopeless, unfulfilled desire. These are the facts.
[tr. Carson (2002)]

Here, there was no pandemonium of tortured groans; only interminable sighs, which trembled the air with a murmurous hum; and this arose from all the sadnesses, albeit painless, of the multitude of men and women, and children of every size. Then he to me: "Why don't you ask me who these spirits are? Before you go much further on, I'd like it to be understood that they are innocent of sin; however, lacking Baptism, they could not claim its saving grace, and thus are doomed forever; living, as they did, before Christ came, they did not pay the Lord his due respect; and I myself am classed as one of them. For these faults, not for any other defect, are we lost; our only pain is hopeless, unfulfilled desire. These are the facts.
[tr. Carson (2002)]

Here in the dark (where only hearing told)
⁠there were no tears, no weeping, only sighs
⁠that caused a trembling in the eternal air --
sighs drawn from sorrowing, although no pain.
⁠This weighs on all of them, those multitudes
⁠of speechless children, women and full-grown men.
'You do not ask,' my teacher in his goodness said,
⁠'who all these spirits are that you see here?
⁠Do not, I mean, go further till you know:
these never sinned. And some attained to merit.
⁠But merit falls far short. None was baptized.
⁠None passed the gate, in your belief, to faith.
They lived before the Christian age began.
⁠They paid no reverence, as was due to God.
⁠And in this number I myself am one.
For such deficiencies, no other crime,
⁠we all are lost yet only suffer harm
⁠through living in desire, but hopelessly.'
[tr. Kirkpatrick (2006)]

Here, as far as I could tell by listening,
⁠was no lamentation other than the sighs
⁠that kept the air forever trembling.
These came from grief without torment
⁠borne by vast crowds
⁠of men, and women, and little children.
My master began: 'You do not ask about
⁠the souls you see? I want you to know,
⁠before you venture farther,
they did not sin. Though they have merit,
⁠that is not enough, for they were unbaptized,
⁠denied the gateway to the faith that you profess.
And if they lived before the Christians lived,
⁠they did not worship God aright.
⁠And among these I am one.
For such defects, and for no other fault,
⁠we are lost, and afflicted but in this,
⁠that without hope we live in longing.'
[tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]

And here there was no weeping; the only signs
⁠Of sorrow I heard were sighs that caused a gentle
⁠Trembling, stirring eternal air, yet rising
Not from tortured pain or punishment
⁠But only because there were so many, men
⁠And women and children. My Master asked this question
Of me: "Don't you mean to inquire, again,
⁠Who and what are the spirits you see in here?
⁠I want you to know, before you take another step,
These are not sinners; no matter what they deserve ⁠It can't be enough, for none have been baptized -- ⁠The gateway to Heaven in your faith's clearest terms. All those born before the coming of Christ
⁠Cannot be Christians, worshipping god as He
⁠Requires, and one of many such men am I.
These imperfections, and nothing more, no crimes,
⁠Bar us from Paradise, not punished, not hurt.
⁠We have no hope, we live for our great desire.
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

⁠To the extent
That I could hear at all, all cries were sighs.
The air without end shook to the lament
Not just of men and women: with surprise
I saw young children too. Why were they sent?
I thought, and once again my Master saw
Into my mind, and said: “You do not ask
Who these ones are, why here, and by what law?
I'll tell you, before we resume our task,
Of pain without a sin. But though they be
Ever so virtuous, no unbaptized
Souls are exempted from this penalty,
And if they lived before His Son, they prized
God insufficiently. And I was one
Of those. For such defects, and for no crime
More grave, we're lost: for something left undone
We're doomed to live without hope for all time.”
[tr. James (2013), l. 31ff]

 
Added on 26-Aug-23 | Last updated 10-Sep-23
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This noble spirit saved alive
Has foiled the Devil’s will!
“He who strives on and lives to strive
Can earn redemption still.”

[Gerettet ist das edle Glied
Der Geisterwelt vom Bösen,
„Wer immer strebend sich bemüht,
Den können wir erlösen.“]

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) German poet, statesman, scientist
Faust: a Tragedy [eine Tragödie], Part 2, Act 5, sc. 7 “Mountain Gorges,” l. 11934ff [Angels] (1808-1829) [tr. Luke (1994)]
    (Source)

(Source (German)). The portion in quotation marks is not actually a quote from anything, but Goethe's thesis being highlighted. Alternate translations:

Freed is the noble scion of
The Spirit-world from evil.
Him can we save that tireless strove
Ever to higher level.
[tr. Latham (1790)]

Rescued is the noble limb
Of the spirit-world from the bad one:
For he who toils and ever strives
Him can we aye deliver.
[tr. Bernays (1839)]

Saved is the spirit kingdom's flower
From evil and the grave.
"Who strives with all his power,
We are allowed to save."
[tr. Kaufmann (1961)]

Pure spirits' peer, from evil coil
He was vouchsafed exemption;
Whoever strives in ceaseless toil,
Him we may grant redemption.
[tr. Arndt (1976)]

He's saved from evil, the great soul,
Confounding clever Satan:
"Who strives, and keeps on striving still,
For him there is redemption!"
[tr. Greenberg (1998); in his 2004 revision, the last line reads "For him there is salvation."]

He’s escaped, this noble member
Of the spirit world, from evil,
Whoever strives, in his endeavour,
We can rescue from the devil.
[tr. Klein (2003)]

 
Added on 25-Oct-22 | Last updated 25-Oct-22
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          Long is the way
And hard, that out of Hell leads up to Light.

John Milton (1608-1674) English poet
Paradise Lost, Book 2, l. 432ff (1667)
    (Source)

See Virgil.
 
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The allotted function of art is not, as is often assumed, to put across ideas, to propagate thoughts, to serve as an example. The aim of art is to prepare a person for death, to plough and harrow his soul, rendering it capable of turning to good.

Andrei Tarkovsky
Andrei Tarkovsky (1932-1986) Russian film director, screenwriter, film theorist [Андрей Арсеньевич Тарковский]
Sculpting in Time (1986) [tr. Hunter-Blair]
    (Source)
 
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I doubt if there is anybody in this hall who really ever sought sobriety. I think we were trying to get away from drunkenness. I don’t think we should despise the negative. I have a feeling that if I ever find myself in Heaven, it will be from backing away from Hell.

Edward Dowling
Edward Dowling (1898-1960) American Jesuit priest ["Father Ed"]
Address to the Alcoholics Anonymous Twentieth Anniversary Convention, St. Louis, Missouri (Jul 1955)
    (Source)

Reprinted in Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age (1957). Dowling was spiritual advisor to Bill Wilson, co-founder of AA.

Variants of the final line are also attributed (though they only quoted it) to Mariette Hartley, Carrie Fisher, and Courtney Love.

More discussion about the history of quotation: If I Ever Find Myself in Heaven, It Will Be From Backing Away From Hell – Quote Investigator.
 
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But let us die, go plunging into the thick of battle.
One hope saves the defeated: they know they can’t be saved!

[Moriamur et in media arma ruamus.
Una salus victis, nullam sperare salutem.]

Virgil the Poet
Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
The Aeneid [Ænē̆is], Book 2, l. 353ff (2.353-354) [Aeneas] (29-19 BC) [tr. Fagles (2006), l. 443ff]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Then let's incounter death, fall bravely on,
Vanquish'd men's safety is to hope for none.
[tr. Ogilby (1649)]

Then let us fall, but fall amidst our foes:
Despair of life the means of living shows.
[tr. Dryden (1697)]

Let us meet death, and rush into the thickest of our armed foes. The only safety for the vanquished is to throw away all hopes of safety.
[tr. Davidson/Buckley (1854)]

Come -- rush we on our fate.
No safety may the vanquished find
Till hope of safety be resigned.
[tr. Conington (1866)]

Let us die,
And plunge into the middle of the fight.
The only safety of the vanquished is
To hope for none.
[tr. Cranch (1872)]

Let us die, and rush on their encircling weapons. The conquered have one safety, to hope for none.
[tr. Mackail (1885)]

Fall on a very midst the fire and die in press of war!
One hope there is for vanquished men, to cherish hope no more.
[tr. Morris (1900)]

Forward, then,
To die and mingle in the tumult's blare.
Sole hope to vanquished men of safety is despair.
[tr. Taylor (1907), st. 47, l. 421ff]

Let us fight
unto the death! To arms, my men, to arms!
The single hope and stay of desperate men
is their despair.
[tr. Williams (1910)]

Let us die, and rush into the midst of arms. One safety the vanquished have, to hope for none!
[tr. Fairclough (1916)]

So let us die,
Rush into arms. One safety for the vanquished
Is to have hope of none.
[tr. Humphries (1951)]

Let us die, let us charge into the battle's heart!
Losers have one salvation -- to give up all hope of salvation.
[tr. Day Lewis (1952)]

Then let
us rush to arms and die. The lost have only
this one deliverance: to hope for none.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1971), l. 477ff]

Come, let us die,
We'll make a rush into the thick of it.
The conquered have one safety: hope for none.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1981), l. 470ff]

Let us die. Let us rush into the thick of the fighting. The one safety for the defeated is to have no hope of safety.
[tr. West (1990)]

Let us die and rush into battle.
The beaten have one refuge, to have no hope of refuge.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

All that is left for us
Is to rush onto swords and die. The only chance
For the conquered is to hope for none.
[tr. Lombardo (2005)]

Let us die even as we rush into the thick of the fight. The only safe course for the defeated is to expect no safety.
[Routledge (2005)]

Let's die by plunging into war. Our only refuge is to have no hope of refuge.
[tr. Bartsch (2021)]

 
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The Promised Land always lies on the other side of a wilderness.

Havelock Ellis (1859-1939) British sexologist, physician, social reformer [Henry Havelock Ellis]
The Dance of Life, ch. 5 “The Art of Religion,” sec. 4 (1923)
    (Source)
 
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The problem is, many of the people in need of saving are in churches, and at least part of what they need saving from is the idea that God sees the world the same way they do.

Barbara Brown Taylor (b. 1951) American minister, academic, author
An Altar in the World, ch. 2 (2009)
    (Source)
 
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It must be made clear to men that the narrow path that leadeth unto life is as crowded with adventure as the broad path that leadeth to destruction.

Frank W. Boreham (1871-1959) Anglo-Australian preacher
The Ivory Spires (1934)
    (Source)
 
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It would be a pretty good bet that the gods of a world like this probably do not play chess and indeed this is the case. In fact no gods anywhere play chess. They haven’t got the imagination. Gods prefer simple, vicious games, where you Do Not Achieve Transcendence but Go Straight To Oblivion; a key to the understanding of all religion is that a god’s idea of amusement is Snakes and Ladders with greased rungs.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Wyrd Sisters (1988)
    (Source)
 
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The evangelist was preaching “sin and redemption,” the infinite grace of God and His pardon for human frailty. He was very much in earnest, and he meant well, but Jurgis, as he listened, found his soul filled with hatred. What did he know about sin and suffering — with his smooth, black coat and his neatly starched collar, his body warm, and his belly full, and money in his pocket — and lecturing men who were struggling for their lives, men at the death grapple with the demon powers of hunger and cold! — This, of course, was unfair; but Jurgis felt that these men were out of touch with the life they discussed, that they were unfitted to solve its problems; nay, they themselves were part of the problem — they were part of the order established that was crushing men down and beating them! They were of the triumphant and insolent possessors; they had a hall, and a fire, and food and clothing and money, and so they might preach to hungry men, and the hungry men must be humble and listen! They were trying to save their souls — and who but a fool could fail to see that all that was the matter with their souls was that they had not been able to get a decent existence for their bodies?

Upton Sinclair (1878-1968) American writer, journalist, activist, politician
The Jungle, ch. 23 (1906)
    (Source)
 
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Do you believe?
Belief will not save you.
Only actions
Guided and shaped
By belief and knowledge
Will save you.
Belief
Initiates and guides action —
Or it does nothing.

Octavia Butler (1947-2006) American writer
The Parable of the Talents, ch. 20, epigraph (1998)
    (Source)
 
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You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.

Mary Oliver (1935-2019) American poet
“Wild Geese,” Dream Work (1986)
    (Source)
 
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Be like the bird, who
Halting in his flight
On limb too slight
Feels it give way beneath him,
Yet sings
Knowing he hath wings.

[Soyez comme l’oiseau, posé pour un instant
Sur des rameaux trop frêles,
Qui sent ployer la branche et qui chante pourtant,
Sachant qu’il a des ailes!]

Victor Hugo (1802-1885) French writer
“In the Church of *** [Dans l’eglise de ***],” Songs of Dusk [Les chants du crepuscule], #33 sec. 6 (1836)
    (Source)

Full French poem. Alternative translations:
  • Be like the bird that, on a bough too frail
    To bear him, gaily sings!
    He carols -- thought he slender branches fail:
    He knows that he has wings. [Source]
  • Be like the bird that seeks its short repose
    And dauntless sings
    Upon that bending twig, because it knows
    That it has wings. [Source]
  • Be like that bird, that halting in her flight
    A while on boughs too slight;
    Feels them give way beneath her,
    And yet sings, yet sings,
    Knowing that she hath wings.
    [Laura Sedgwick Collins 1890s song, "Be Like That Bird"]
  • Thou art like the bird
    That alights and sings
    Though the frail spray bends --
    For he knows he has wings.[tr. Kemble (Butler)]
 
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How do you expect to arrive at the end of your own journey if you take the road to another man’s city? How do you expect to reach your own perfection by leading somebody else’s life?

Thomas Merton (1915-1968) French-American religious and writer [a.k.a. Fr. M. Louis]
New Seeds of Contemplation, ch. 14 “Integrity” (1962)
    (Source)
 
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HENRY: Every subject’s duty is the king’s; but every subject’s soul is his own.

Shakespeare
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Henry V, Act 4, sc. 1, l. 182ff (4.1.182-183) (1599)
    (Source)

Eschewing responsibility for his soldiers dying with unconfessed sins.
 
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The last business of Christ’s life was the saving of a poor penitent thief. That was part of His triumph. That was one of the glories attending His death.

Dwight Lyman "D. L." Moody (1837-1899) American evangelist and publisher
“The Penitent Thief” (sermon)
    (Source)
 
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Fools! who fancy Christ mistaken;
Man a tool to buy and sell;
Earth a failure, God-forsaken,
Ante-room of Hell.

Charles Kingsley (1819-1875) English clergyman, historian, essayist, novelist (pseud. "Parson Lot")
“The World’s Age” (1849)
    (Source)
 
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Love responsibility. Say: “It is my duty, and mine alone, to save the earth. If it is not saved, then I alone am to blame.” Love each man according to his contribution in the struggle. Do not seek friends; seek comrades-in-arms.

Nikos Kazantzakis (1883-1957) Greek writer and philosopher
The Saviors of God [Salvatores Dei], “The March: First Step: The Ego,” #15-16 (1923) [tr. Friar [1960])
    (Source)
 
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To ensure moral salvation, it is primarily necessary to depend on oneself, because in the moment of peril we are alone. And strength is not to be acquired instantaneously. He who knows that he will have to fight, prepares himself for boxing and dueling by strength and skill; he does not sit still with folded hands.

Maria Montessori (1870-1952) Italian educator, philosopher, educator, physician
The Advanced Montessori Method: Spontaneous Activity in Education, Vol. I (1917)
 
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Never trample on any soul though it may be lying in the veriest mire; for that last spark of self-respect is its only hope, its only chance; the last seed of a new and better life: — the voice of God that whispers to it: “You are not what you ought to be, and you are not what you can be. You are still God’s child, still an immortal soul. You may rise yet, and fight a good fight yet, and be a man once more, after the likeness of God who made you, and Christ who died for you!”

Charles Kingsley (1819-1875) English clergyman, historian, essayist, novelist (pseud. "Parson Lot")
Good News of God, Sermon 33 “The Friend of Sinners [Mark 2:15-16]” (1859)
    (Source)
 
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God will judge us by our own thoughts and deeds, not by what others say about us.

Anne Brontë (1820-1849) British novelist, poet [pseud. Acton Bell]
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, ch. 39 “A Scheme of Escape” (1848)
 
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“There are two types of people in this world,” Pete volunteers helpfully, “those who think there are only two types of people in the world, and everybody else.” He sips his wine thoughtfully. “But the first kind don’t put it that way. They usually think in terms of the saved and the damned, with themselves sitting pretty in the lifeboat.”

Charles "Charlie" Stross (b. 1964) British writer
The Apocalypse Codex (2012)
 
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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)
    (Source)
 
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You may rejoice to think yourselves secure,
You may be grateful for the gift divine,
That grace unsought which made your black hearts pure
And fits your earthborn souls in Heaven to shine.
But is it sweet to look around and view
Thousands excluded from that happiness,
Which they deserve at least as much as you,
Their faults not greater nor their virtues less?

Anne Brontë (1820-1849) British novelist, poet [pseud. Acton Bell]
“A Word to Calvinists” (28 May 1843)
    (Source)
 
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“Which of them shall be accounted greatest?” Let the churches stop trying to outstrip each other in the number of their adherents, the size of its sanctuary, the abundance of wealth. If we must compete let us compete to see which can move toward the greatest attainment of truth, the greatest service of the poor, and the greatest salvation of the soul and bodies of men. If the Church entered this kind of competition we can imagine what a better world this would be.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, social activist, preacher
“Cooperative Competition / Noble Competition,” sermon outline
    (Source)
 
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We believe that God forgives us our sins; but also that He will not do so unless we forgive other people their sins against us. There is no doubt about the second part of this statement. It is in the Lord’s Prayer; was emphatically stated by our Lord. If you don’t forgive you will not be forgiven. No part of His teaching is clearer, and there are no exceptions to it. He doesn’t say that we are to forgive other people’s sins provided they are not too frightful, or provided there are extenuating circumstances, or anything of that sort. We are to forgive them all, however spiteful, however mean, however often they are repeated. If we don’t, we shall be forgiven none of our own.

C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer, literary scholar, lay theologian [Clive Staples Lewis]
“On Forgiveness”
 
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Many a man is saved from being a thief by finding everything locked up.

howe-saved-from-being-a-thief-wist_info-quote

Edgar Watson "Ed" Howe (1853-1937) American journalist and author [E. W. Howe]
Ventures in Common Sense, 4.29 (1919)
 
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We send missionaries to China so the Chinese can get to heaven, but we won’t let them into our country.

Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973) American writer
(Attributed)

Quoted in Clifton Fadiman, The American Treasury: 1455-1955 (1955).
 
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If I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think he would prefer an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God, and whose every deed is foul, foul, foul.

Asimov - foul foul foul - wist_info quote

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) Russian-American author, polymath, biochemist
I, Asimov: A Memoir (1994)
 
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This is the whole of Christianity. There is nothing else. It is so easy to get muddled about that. It is easy to think that the Church has a lot of different objects — education, building, missions, holding services. Just as it is easy to think the State has a lot of different objects — military, political, economic, and what not. But in a way things are much simpler than that. The State exists simply to promote and to protect the ordinary happiness of human beings in this life. A husband and wife chatting over a fire, a couple of friends having a game of darts in a pub, a man reading a book in his own room or digging in his own garden — that is what the State is there for. And unless they are helping to increase and prolong and protect such moments, all the laws, parliaments, armies, courts, police, economics, etc., are simply a waste of time. In the same way the Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became Man for no other purpose. It is even doubtful, you know, whether the whole universe was created for any other purpose.

C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer, literary scholar, lay theologian [Clive Staples Lewis]
Mere Christianity, ch. 8 (1952)
    (Source)
 
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   “Even if some details of dogma aren’t true — or even all of ’em — think what a consolation religion and the church are to weak humanity!”
   “Are they? I wonder! Don’t cheerful agnostics, who know they are going to die dead, worry much less than good Baptists, who worry lest their sons and cousins and sweethearts fail to get into the Baptist heaven — or what is even worse, who wonder if they may not have guessed wrong — if God may not be a Catholic, maybe, or a Mormon or Seventh-day Adventist instead of a Baptist, and then they’ll go to hell themselves. Consolation? No!”

Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951) American novelist, playwright
Elmer Gantry (1927)
 
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He who fasteth and doth no Good, saveth his Bread but loseth his Soul.

Fuller - fasting - wist_info

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English physician, preacher, aphorist, writer
Gnomologia: Adages and Proverbs, #2382 (1732)
    (Source)
 
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The world is a great sculptor’s shop. We are the statues and there is a rumor going round the shop that some of us are some day going to come to life.

C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer, literary scholar, lay theologian [Clive Staples Lewis]
Mere Christianity, rev. ed., 4.1 (1952)
 
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A man who is happy at home doesn’t lie awake nights worrying about the hereafter.

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) American writer
Job: A Comedy of Justice (1984)
 
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Every good act is charity. A man’s true wealth hereafter is the good that he does in this world to his fellows.

Muhammad (570-632) Arabian merchant, prophet, founder of Islam [Mohammed]
(Attributed)
    (Source)

Attributed in Rev. James Wood (ed.) Dictionary of Quotations from Ancient and Modern, English and Foreign Sources (1893). Also sometimes attributed to Moliere.
 
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And in the end,
we were all just
humans,
drunk on the idea
that love,
only love,
could heal our brokenness.

Christopher Poindexter (contemp.) American poet
“The blooming of madness” (14 May 2013)
    (Source)

Usually misattributed (without line breaks) to F. Scott Fitzgerald. More information here.
 
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Man is born to live, not to prepare for life.

Boris Pasternak (1890-1960) Russian poet, novelist, and literary translator
Doctor Zhivago, 9.14 (1957) [tr Hayward and Harari (1958)]
 
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I believe that the present suffering is nothing compared to the coming glory that is going to be revealed to us. The whole creation waits breathless with anticipation for the revelation of God’s sons and daughters. Creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice — it was the choice of the one who subjected it — but in the hope that the creation itself will be set free from slavery to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of God’s children. We know that the whole creation is groaning together and suffering labor pains up until now. And it’s not only the creation. We ourselves who have the Spirit as the first crop of the harvest also groan inside as we wait to be adopted and for our bodies to be set free. We were saved in hope. If we see what we hope for, that isn’t hope. Who hopes for what they already see? But if we hope for what we don’t see, we wait for it with patience.

The Bible (The New Testament) (AD 1st - 2nd C) Christian sacred scripture
Romans 8:18-25
 
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There is nothing in the world that renders a man more unlike to a saint, and more like to Satan — than to argue from God’s mercy to sinful liberty; from divine goodness to licentiousness.

Thomas Brooks (1608-1680) English Puritan divine, writer
Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices (1652)
 
Added on 26-Nov-14 | Last updated 26-Nov-14
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It was the Unicorn who summed up what everyone was feeling. He stamped his right fore-hoof on the ground and neighed, and then cried: “I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this. Bree-hee-hee! Come further up, come further in!”

C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer, literary scholar, lay theologian [Clive Staples Lewis]
The Last Battle, ch. 15 (1956)
 
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Agape, the love of each one of us for the other, from the closest to the furthest, is in fact the only way that Jesus has given us to find the way of salvation and of the Beatitudes.

Francis I (b. 1936) Argentinian Catholic Pope (2013- ) [b. Jorge Mario Bergoglio]
“How the Church Will Change,” interview with Eugenio Scalfari, La Repubblica (1 Oct 2013) [tr. K Wallace]
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The true way is along a rope that is not spanned high in the air, but only just above the ground. It seems intended more to cause stumbling than to be walked upon.

[Der wahre Weg geht über ein Seil, das nicht in der Höhe gespannt ist, sondern knapp über dem Boden. Es scheint mehr bestimmt stolpern zu machen, als begangen zu werden.]

Franz Kafka (1883-1924) Czech-Austrian Jewish writer
Notebook, Aphorism #1 [tr. Kaiser and Wilkins]
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Added on 26-Nov-13 | Last updated 26-Nov-13
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The staircase that leads to God. What does it matter if it is make-believe, if we really climb it? What difference does it make who builds it, or if it is made of marble or word, of brick, stone, or mud? The essential thing is that it be solid and that in climbing it we feel the peace that is inaccessible to those who do not climb it.

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist, philosopher, essayist, poet
Pensées (1838) [ed. Auster (1983)]
 
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Even in the most wretched being there is a tiny hook on which a thread of salvation could be fastened.

Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach (1830-1916) Austrian writer
Aphorisms [Aphorismen] (1880) [tr. Scrase and Mieder (1994)]
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Good Works will never save you, but you can never be saved without them.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English physician, preacher, aphorist, writer
Gnomologia: Adages and Proverbs, #1738 (1732)
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The married state, with and without the affection suitable to it, is the completest image of heaven and hell we are capable of receiving in this life.

Richard Steele (1672-1729) Irish writer and politician
Spectator, #479 (9 Sep 1712)
 
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The care of every man’s soul belongs to himself. But what if he neglect the care of it? Well what if he neglect the care of his health or estate, which more nearly relate to the state? Will the magistrate make a law that he shall not be poor or sick? Laws provide against injury from others, but not from ourselves. God himself will not save men against their wills.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
“Notes on Religion” (Oct 1776?)
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Labeled by Jefferson "Scraps Early in the Revolution."
 
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Compulsion in religion is distinguished peculiarly from compulsion in every other thing. I may grow rich by art I am compelled to follow, I may recover health by medicines I am compelled to take agt. my own judgment, but I cannot be saved by a worship I disbelieve & abhor.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
“Notes on Religion” (Oct 1776?)
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Labeled by Jefferson "Scraps Early in the Revolution."
 
Added on 3-Jan-13 | Last updated 8-Aug-22
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If we would all ov us take kare ov our own souls, and let our nabors alone, thare would be less time lost, and more souls saved.

[If we would all of us take care of our own souls, and let our neighbors alone, there would be less time lost and more souls saved.]

Josh Billings (1818-1885) American humorist, aphorist [pseud. of Henry Wheeler Shaw]
Josh Billings: His Works, Complete (1873)
 
Added on 23-Jul-12 | Last updated 12-Dec-17
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The saving of our world from pending doom will come, not through the complacent adjustment of the conforming majority, but through the creative maladjustment of a nonconforming minority.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, social activist, preacher
Strength to Love, ch. 2 “Transformed Nonconformist,” sec. 3 (1963)
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As long as we love we will hope to live, and when the one dies that we love we will say: “Oh, that we could meet again,” and whether we do or not it will not be the work of theology. It will be a fact in nature. I would not for my life destroy one star of human hope, but I want it so that when a poor woman rocks the cradle and sings a lullaby to the dimpled darling, she will not be compelled to believe that ninety-nine chances in a hundred she is raising kindling wood for hell.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“What Must We Do To Be Saved?” Sec. 11 (1880)
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The wonderful thing about God’s love is that maybe we are going to be surprised at the people we find in Heaven that we didn’t expect, and possibly we’ll be surprised at those we’d thought would be there and aren’t. God has a particularly soft spot for sinners. Remember, Jesus says there is greater joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine needing no repentance. Ultimately it all hinges on one thing: our response to the divine invitation. There is hope for us all. God’s standards are quite low.

Desmond Tutu (1931-2021) South African cleric, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Nobel Laureate
Interview with Gyles Brandreth, Sunday Times (15 Apr 2001)
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Often paraphrased (possibly the version printed in the Sunday Times): "We may be surprised at the people we find in heaven. God has a soft spot for sinners. His standards are quite low."
 
Added on 21-Nov-11 | Last updated 26-Dec-21
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I propose good fellowship — good friends all around. No matter what we believe, shake hands and let it go. That is your opinion; this is mine: let us be friends. Science makes friends; religion, superstition, makes enemies. They say: Belief is important. I say: No, actions are important. Judge by deed, not by creed. Good fellowship — good friends — sincere men and women — mutual forbearance, born of mutual respect.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“What Must We Do To Be Saved?” sec. 11 (1880)
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Added on 9-Nov-11 | Last updated 11-Aug-14
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