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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)
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Added on 11-Aug-17 | Last updated 11-Aug-17
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Do not fancy, as too many do, that thou canst praise God by singing hymns to Him in church once a week, and disobeying Him all the week long. … Dost thou fancy as the heathen do, that God needs to be flattered with fine words? or that thou wilt be heard for thy much speaking, and thy vain repetitions? He asks of thee works as well as words; and more, He asks of thee works first and words after.

Charles Kingsley (1819-1875) English clergyman, historian, essayist, novelist (pseud. "Parson Lot")
The Good News of God, Sermon 4 “The Song of the Three Children (Daniel 3:16-18)” (1881)
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Added on 20-Jun-17 | Last updated 20-Jun-17
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The monuments of wit and learning are more durable than the monuments of power, or of the hands. For have not the verses of Homer continued twenty-five hundred years or more, without the loss of a syllable or letter; during which time infinite palaces, temples, castles, cities have been decayed and demolished?

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
Essex’s Device (1595)
Added on 3-Mar-16 | Last updated 3-Mar-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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An act of goodness surpasses a thousand prayers.

Sa'adi (1184-1283/1291?) Persian poet [a.k.a. Sa'di, Moslih Eddin Sa'adi, Mushrif-ud-Din Abdullah, Muslih-ud-Din Mushrif ibn Abdullah, Mosleh al-Din Saadi Shirazi, Shaikh Mosslehedin Saadi Shirazi]
The Maxims of Sa’di, 1 [tr. Nakosteen (1977)]
Added on 7-Apr-15 | Last updated 7-Apr-15
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The important thing is neither your nationality nor the religion you professed, but how your faith translated itself in your life.

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) First Lady of the US (1933-45), politician, diplomat, activist
“My Day” (23 Sep 1943)
Added on 11-Mar-15 | Last updated 11-Mar-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 does not sin by commission only, but often by omission.

Marcus Aurelius (121-180) Roman emperor (161-180), Stoic philosopher
Meditations, Book 9, #5 [tr. Staniforth (1964)]
Added on 13-Jun-14 | Last updated 1-Mar-16
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Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, commits sin.

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
James 4:17 (NRSV)

  • KJV: Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
  • NIV: If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin for them.
Added on 30-May-14 | Last updated 30-May-14
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For mortal to aid mortal — this is god; and this is the road to eternal glory.

Pliny the Elder (AD 23-79) Roman author, naturalist, philosopher, military commander [Gaius Plinius Secundus]
Natural History, 2.5 [tr. Rackham (1938)]
Added on 20-Jan-14 | Last updated 20-Jan-14
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But there were some things I believed in. Some things I had faith in. And faith isn’t about perfect attendance to services, or how much money you put on the little plate. It isn’t about going skyclad to the Holy Rites, or meditating each day upon the divine. Faith is about what you do. It’s about aspiring to be better and nobler and kinder than you are. It’s about making sacrifices for the good of others — even when there’s not going to be anyone telling you what a hero you are.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Changes, ch. 26 (2010)
Added on 14-Jan-14 | Last updated 14-Jan-14
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Heaven is not reached at a single bound;
But we build the ladder by which we rise
From the lowly earth to the vaulted skies,
And we mount to its summit round by round.

Josiah Gilbert Holland (1819-1881) American novelist, poet, editor [pseud. Timothy Titcomb]
“Gradatim”
Added on 18-Dec-13 | Last updated 18-Dec-13
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When I am dead,
I hope it may be said:
‘His sins were scarlet,
But his books were read’.

Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953) Franco-British writer, historian [Joseph Hilaire Pierre René Belloc]
“On His Books” (1923)
Added on 25-Jul-11 | Last updated 3-Jun-14
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Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
James 1:27 (NIV)

  • TEV: What God the Father considers to be pure and genuine religion is this: to take care of orphans and widows in their suffering and to keep oneself from being corrupted by the world.
  • KJV: Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
Added on 14-Sep-09 | Last updated 26-Oct-18
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Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it — he will be blessed in what he does.

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
James 1:22-25 (NIV)

  • KJV: But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
  • TEV: Do not deceive yourselves by just listening to his word; instead, put it into practice. Whoever listens to the word but does not put it into practice is like a man who looks in a mirror and sees himself as he is. He takes a good look at himself and then goes away and at once forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks closely into the perfect law that sets people free, who keeps on paying attention to it and does not simply listen and then forget it, but puts it into practice -- that person will be blessed by God in what he does.
Added on 11-Sep-09 | Last updated 30-May-14
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In our era, the road to holiness necessarily passes through the world of action.

Dag Hammarskjöld (1905-1961) Swedish diplomat, author, UN Secretary-General (1953-61)
Markings (1955) [tr. Sjoberg, Auden (1964)]
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Added on 21-May-08 | Last updated 16-Oct-17
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But I have ever thought religion a concern purely between our God and our consciences, for which we were accountable to him, and not to the priests. I never told my own religion, nor scrutinized that of another. I never attempted to make a convert, nor wished to change another’s creed. I have ever judged of the religion of others by their lives, and by this test, my dear Madam, I have been satisfied yours must be an excellent one, to have produced a life of such exemplary virtue and correctness. For it is in our lives, and not from our words, that our religion must be read. By the same test the world must judge me.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to Mrs. Samuel H. Smith [Margaret Bayard Smith] (6 Aug 1816)
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Added on 5-Dec-07 | Last updated 13-Apr-15
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What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
James 2:14-18 (KJV)
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Alt. trans.:
  • "What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? 17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith." (NRSV)
  • "My friends, what good is it for one of you to say that you have faith if your actions do not prove it? Can that faith save you? Suppose there are brothers or sisters who need clothes and don't have enough to eat. What good is there in your saying to them, “God bless you! Keep warm and eat well!”—if you don't give them the necessities of life? So it is with faith: if it is alone and includes no actions, then it is dead. But someone will say, “One person has faith, another has actions.” My answer is, “Show me how anyone can have faith without actions. I will show you my faith by my actions.” " (GNT)
Added on 7-Feb-05 | Last updated 8-Nov-17
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The words you’ve bandied are sufficient;
‘Tis deeds that I prefer to see.

[Der Worte sind genug gewechselt,
Lasst mich auch endlich Thaten sehn.]

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) German poet, statesman, scientist
Faust, “Vorspiel auf dem Theater,” l.214 (trans. Bayard Taylor) (1808)
Added on 6-Jul-04 | Last updated 21-May-14
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