Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Pious

"The sacred commandments were given for the sake of righteousness, to arouse pious thoughts and to form character." - Apocrypha NULL

"The pious sectarian is proud because he is confident of his right of possession in God. The man of devotion is meek because he is conscious of God’s right of love over his life and soul. The object of our possession becomes smaller than ourselves, and without acknowledging it in so many words the bigoted sectarian has an implicit belief that God can be kept secured for certain individuals in a cage which is of their own make. In a similar manner the primitive races of men believe that their ceremonials have a magic influence upon their deities." -

"There is something in humility which, strangely enough, exalts the heart, and something in pride which debases it. This seems, indeed, to be contradictory, that loftiness should debase and lowliness exalt. But pious humility enables us to submit to what is above us; and nothing is more exalted above us than God; and therefore humility, by making us subject to God, exalts us. But pride, being a defect of nature, by the very act of refusing subjection and revolution from Him who is supreme, falls to a low condition." - Saint Augustine, aka Augustine of Hippo, St. Austin, Bishop of Hippo NULL

"The life of a pious minister is visible rhetoric." - Richard Hooker

"There are a good many pious people who are as careful of their religion as of their best service of china, only using it on holy occasions, for fear it should get chipped or flawed in working-day wear." -

"The pious man and the atheist always talk of religion; the one speaks of what he loves, and the other of what he fears." - Baron de Montesquieu, fully Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu

"A kingdom is embellished by the wise, and religion rendered illustrious by the pious." - Sa'di (or Saadi), pen name of Abū-Muḥammad Muṣliḥ al-Dīn bin Abdallāh Shīrāzī, born Muslih-uddin NULL

"Funerals are always occasions for pious lying. A deep vein of superstition and a sudden touch of kindness always lead people to give the departed credit for more virtues than he possessed." - I. F. Stone, fully Isidor Feinstein Stone, born Isidor Feinstein

"It would be a pious act to share our clothes and food even with the wicked. For it is to the humanity in a man that we give, and not to his moral character." - Julian, aka Julian the Apostate, or Emperor Julian, fully Flavius Claudius Julianus Augustus NULL

"Sick or well, blind or seeing, bond or free, we are here for a purpose and however we are situated, we please God better with useful deeds than with many prayers or pious resignation. The temple or church is empty unless the good life fill it. The altar is holy if only it represents the altar of our heart upon which we offer the only sacrifices ever commanded – the love that is stronger than hate and the faith that overcometh doubt." - Helen Keller. aka Helen Adams Keller

"The Humble, Meek, Merciful, Just, Pious, and Devout Souls, are everywhere of one religion; when Death has taken off the Mask, they will know one another, tho’ the divers Liveries they wear here make them Strangers." - William Penn

"The contemplation of the pious is the immediate consciousness of the universal existence of all finite things, in and through the Infinite, and of all temporal things in and through the Eternal." - Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher

"What is it but blasphemy when God is merely my means to an end? That takes its toll. If we turn God into a puppet of our desires (even when that happens by the pious route of prayer) then he shuts up his heaven and we find ourselves thrown back into the silence of our unredeemed life." - Helmut Thielicke

"A good case can be made for the proposition that, although involved or passionate commitment to some cause or ideal is normally healthy and happiness-producing, devout, pious, or fanatic commitment to the same kind of cause or ideal is potentially pernicious and frequently (though not always) does much more harm than good." - Albert Ellis

"I am sometimes shocked by the blasphemies of those who think themselves pious."" - Bertrand Russell, fully Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell

"Religion [cannot] maintain itself apart from thought, but either advances to the comprehension of the idea, or, compelled by thought itself, becomes intensive belief - or lastly, from despair of finding itself at home in thought, flees back from it in pious horror, and becomes superstition." - Georg Hegel, fully Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

"Virtue that wavers is not virtue, but vice revolted from itself, and after a while returning. the actions of just and pious men do not darken in their middle course." - John Milton

"Superstition consists in a senseless fear of the gods, religion in the pious worship of them." - Cicero, fully Marcus Tullius Cicero, anglicized as Tully NULL

"Love is swift, sincere, pious, pleasant, gentle, strong, patient, faithful, prudent, long-suffering, manly, and never seeking her own." - Thomas Kempis, aka Thomas à Kempis, Thomas von Kempen, Thomas Haemerkken or Hammerlein or Hemerken or Hämerken

"Drawing near her death, she sent most pious thoughts as harbingers to heaven; and her soul saw a glimpse of happiness through the chinks of her sickness-broken body." - Thomas Fuller

"There is no alleviation for the sufferings of mankind except veracity of thought and of action, and the resolute facing of the world as it is when the garment of make-believe by which pious hands have hidden its uglier features is stripped off.." - Thomas Henry Huxley, aka T.H. Huxley and Darwin's Bulldog

"There are a good many pious people who are as careful of their religion as of their best service of china, only using it on holy occasions, for fear it should get chipped or flawed in working-day wear." - Douglas William Jerrold

"From one Soul of the Universe are all Souls derived... Of these Souls there are many changes, some into a more fortunate estate, and some quite contrary... Not all human souls but only the pious ones are divine. Once separated from the body, and after the struggle to acquire piety, which consists in knowing God and injuring none, such a soul becomes all intelligence. The impious soul, however, punishes itself by seeking a human body to enter into, for no other body can receive a human soul it cannot enter the body of an animal devoid of reason. Divine law preserves the human soul from such infamy... The soul passeth from form to form and the mansions of her pilgrimage are manifold. Thou puttest off thy bodies as raiment and as vesture dost thou fold them up. Thou art from old, O Soul of Man yea, thou art from everlasting." - Hermes Trismegistus

"Man’s task is to reconcile liberty with service, reason with faith. This is the deepest wisdom man can attain. It is our destiny to serve, to surrender. We have to conquer in order to succumb; we have to acquire in order to give away; we have to triumph in order to be overwhelmed. Man has to understand in order to believe, to know in order to accept. The aspiration is to obtain; the perfection is to dispense. This is the meaning of death: the ultimate self-dedication to the divine. Death so understood will not be distorted by the craving for immortality, for this act of giving away is reciprocity on man’s part for God’s gift of life. For the pious man it is a privilege to die." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"Religion is neither a state of mind nor an achievement of intellect. It does not rule hearts by the grace of man; its roots lie not in his inwardness. It is not an event in the soul but a matter of fact outside the soul. Even what starts as an experience in man transcends the human sphere, becoming an objective event outside him. In this power of transcending the soul, time, and space, the pious man sees the distinction of religious acts. " - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"The deepest wisdom man can attain is to know that his destiny is to aid, to serve. We have to conquer in order to succumb; we have to acquire in order to give away; we have to triumph in order to be overwhelmed. Man has to understand in order to believe, to know in order to accept. The aspiration is to obtain; the perfection is to dispense. This is the meaning of death: the ultimate self-dedication to the divine. Death so understood will not be distorted by the craving for immortality, for the act of giving away is reciprocity on man’s part for God’s gift of life. For the pious man it is a privilege to die." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"There is no vacuum of religion. Religion is neither the outgrowth of imagination nor the product of will. It is not an inner process, a feeling, or a thought, and should not be looked upon as a bundle of episodes in the life of man… The pious man believe that there is a secret interrelationship among all events, that the sweep of all we are doing reaches beyond the horizon of our comprehension, that there is a history of God and man in which everything is involved…Religion to him is the integration of the detail into the whole, the infusion of the momentary into the lasting. As time and space in any perception, so is the totality of life implied in every act of piety. There is an objective coherency that holds all episodes together… Man does not produce what is overwhelming and holy. The wonder occurs to him when he is ready to accept it." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"Under these conditions it is no wonder, that the movement of atheists, which declares religion to be just a deliberate illusion, invented by power-seeking priests, and which has for the pious belief in a higher Power nothing but words of mockery, eagerly makes use of progressive scientific knowledge and in a presumed unity with it, expands in an ever faster pace its disintegrating action on all nations of the earth and on all social levels. I do not need to explain in any more detail that after its victory not only all the most precious treasures of our culture would vanish, but — which is even worse — also any prospects at a better future." - Max Planck, fully Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck

"If someone comes to you and asks your help, you shall not turn him off with pious words, saying, “Have faith and take your troubles to God!” You shall act as if there were no God, as if there were only one person in all the world who could help this man–only yourself." - Moshe Leib of Sasov

"In order that these faults might be washed away, He [Jesus] then recommended several things to be done, and in particular the following as most pleasing to Himself, namely that men should approach the Altar with this purpose of expiating sin, making what is called a Communion of Reparation, - and that they should likewise make expiatory supplications and prayers, prolonged for a whole hour, - which is rightly called the "Holy Hour." These pious exercises have been approved by the Church and have also been enriched with copious indulgences." -

"A pious friend one day of Rabia asked, How she had learnt the truth of Allah wholly? By what instructions was her memory tasked— How was her heart estranged from this world’s folly? She answered—‘Thou, who knowest God in parts, Thy spirit’s moods and processes can tell; I only know that in my heart of hearts I have despised myself and loved Him well.’ " - Rābiʻa al-ʻAdawiyya al-Qaysiyya, aka Rabi'a of Basra or Basri, Saint Rabia of Basra

"Do not live near a pious fool." - Rabbinical Proverbs

"Sanctified afflictions are like so many artificers working on a pious man's crown to make it more bright and massive." - Ralph Cudworth

"Sunlight is one and the same wherever it falls; but only a bright surface like that of water, or of a mirror reflects it fully. So is the light Divine. It falls equally and impartially on all hearts, but the pure and pious hearts of holy men receive and reflect that light well." - Ramakrishna, aka Ramakrishna Paramhamsa or Sri Ramakrishna, born Gadadhar Chattopadhyay NULL

"On the conceits of pious theists and rationalistic atheists." - Reinhold Niebuhr, fully Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr

"In the absence of justice, what is sovereignty but organized robbery?" - Saint Augustine, aka Augustine of Hippo, St. Austin, Bishop of Hippo NULL

"The testimony of nature is weightier than the arguments of the learned." - Saint Ambrose, born Aurelius Ambrosius NULL

"God, wishing His elect to realize their own misery, often temporarily withdraws His favors: no more is needed to prove to us in a very short time what we really are." - Saint Teresa of Ávila, aka Saint Teresa of Jesus, baptized as Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada NULL

"Oh my Lord! How true it is that whoever works for you is paid in troubles! And what a precious price to those who love you if we understand its value." - Saint Teresa of Ávila, aka Saint Teresa of Jesus, baptized as Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada NULL

"When the righteous man truth away from his righteousness that he hath committed and doeth that which is neither quite lawful nor quite right, he will generally be found to have gained in amiability what he has lost in holiness." - Samuel Butler

"A wise man is cured of ambition by ambition itself; his aim is so exalted that riches, office, fortune and favor cannot satisfy him." - Samuel Johnson, aka Doctor Johnson

"Informing the patient of what he does not know because he has repressed it is only one of the necessary preliminaries to the treatment. If knowledge about the unconscious were as important for the patient as people inexperienced in psychoanalysis imagine, listening to lectures or reading books would be enough to cure him. Such measures, however, have as much influence on the symptoms of nervous illnas a distribution of menu-cards in a time of famine has upon hunger." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"Nothing can ever justify the assumption that any man, whoever he may be, has been deprived of this power. It is a power which is only real in this world in so far as it is exercised. The sole condition for exercising it is consent. This act of consent may be expressed, or it may not be, even tacitly; it may not be clearly conscious, although it has really taken place in the soul. Very often it is verbally expressed although it has not in fact taken place. But whether expressed or not, the one condition suffices: that it shall in fact have taken place. To anyone who does actually consent to directing his attention and love beyond the world, towards the reality that exists outside the reach of all human faculties, it is given to succeed in doing so. In that case, sooner or later, there descends upon him a part of the good, which shines through him upon all that surrounds him." - Simone Weil

"The world was subjected to him [God] through the law, because by the prescriptions of the law everyone was indicted and by the works of the law no one is justified. In other words, through the law sin is recognized, but its guilt is not relieved." - Ambrose, aka Saint Ambrose, fully Aurelius Ambrosius NULL

"To say the truth, I go so far as to praise and congratulate them. Yea! would that I were one of those who contend and incur hatred for the truth’s sake: or rather, I can boast of being one of them. For better is a laudable war than a peace which severs a man from God: and therefore it is that the Spirit arms the gentle warrior, as one who is able to wage war in a good cause." - Gregory Nazianzen, aka Saint Gregory of Nazianzus or Gregory the Theologian

"Be careful and do not lightly condemn the actions of others. We must consider the intention of our neighbor, which is often good and pure, although the act itself seems blameworthy." - Ignatius Loyola, aka Saint Ignatius of Loyola

"Who is sufficient for these things? No man is of himself sufficient; even the greatest of men come short of sufficiency. This may make thee then to be affected with insufficiency, who are so far below these men as shrubs are below the tall cedars; and yet they cannot teach it of themselves. Consider the weight of the work, even of preaching, which is all that thou hast to do now. It is the concern of souls. By the foolishness of preaching it pleases the Lord to save them that believe" - Thomas Boston

"No sun—no moon—no morn—no noon, no dawn—no dusk—no proper time of day, no warmth—no cheerfulness—no healthful ease, no road, no street, no t’ other side the way, no comfortable feel in any member— no shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees, no fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds, November!" - Thomas Hood