Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Purity

"Physical cleanliness leads to spiritual purity." -

"Enthusiasm is a virtue rarely to be met with in seasons of calm and unruffled prosperity.—It flourishes in adversity, kindles in the hour of danger, and awakens to deeds of renown.—The terrors of persecution only serve to quicken the energy of its purposes.—It swells in proud integrity, and, great in the purity of its cause, it can scatter defiance amidst hosts of enemies." - Thomas Chalmers

"What blessedness it is to dwell amidst this transparent air, which the eye can pierce without limit, amidst these floods of pure, soft, cheering light, under this immeasurable arch of heaven, and in sight of these countless stars! An infinite universe is each moment opened to our view. And this universe is the sing and symbol of Infinite Power, Intelligence, Purity, Bliss, and Love." - William Ellery Channing

"Purity of mind and idleness are incompatible." -

"Your capacity to keep you vow will depend on the purity of your life." -

"Purity is the feminine, truth the masculine, of honor." - Julius Charles Hare (1795-1855) and his brother Augustus William Hare

"Happy is the man who, by continually effacing all images and through introversion and the lifting up of his mind to God, at last forgets and leaves behind all such hindrances... If, therefore, thou desirest a safe stair and short path to arrive at the end of true bliss, then, with an intent mind, earnestly desire and aspire after continual cleanness of heart and purity of mind. Add to this a constant calm and tranquillity of the senses, and a recollecting of the affections of the heart, continually fixing them above. Work to simplify the heart, that being immovable and at peace from any invading vain phantasms... Thus continue, until thou becomest immutable and dost arrive at any vicissitude of space or time, reposing in that inward quiet and secret mansion of the deity." - Albertus Magnus, known as Albert the Great and Albert of Cologne

"True purity of taste is a quality of the mind; it is a feeling which can, with little difficulty, be acquired by the refinement of intelligence; whereas purity of manners is the result of wise habits, in which all the interests of the soul are mingled and in harmony with the progress of intelligence. That is why the harmony of good taste and of good manners is more common than the existence of taste without manners, or of manners without taste." - Pierre Louis Roederer

"Sectarianism is a perverse form of worldliness in the disguise of religion; it breeds a narrowness of heart in a greater measure than the cult of the world based upon material interest can ever do. For undisguised pursuit of self has its safety in openness, like filth exposed to the sun and air. But the self-magnification with its consequent lessening of God that goes on unchecked under the cover of sectarianism loses its chance of salvation because it defiles the very source of purity." -

"The highest wisdom is not founded on reason alone, not on those worldly sciences of physics, history, chemistry, and the like, into which intellectual knowledge is divided. The highest wisdom is one. The highest wisdom has but one science - the science of the whole - the science explaining the whole creation and man’s place in it. To receive that science it is necessary to purity and renew one’s inner self, and so before one can know, it is necessary to believe and to perfect one’s self. And to attain this end, we have the light called conscinece tht God has implanted in our souls." -

"The humorous man recognizes that absolute purity, absolute justice, absolute logic and perfection are beyond human achievement and that men have been able to live happily for thousands of years in a state of genial frailty." - Brooks Atkinson, fully Justin Brooks Atkinson

"The morning of life is like the dawn of a day, full of purity, of imagery, and harmony." - François-René de Chateaubriand, fully François-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand

"Grand and manifold as were its phases, there is yet no difficulty in understanding the character of Washington. He was no Veiled Prophet. He never acted a part. Simple, natural, and unaffected, his life lies before us - a fair and open manuscript. He disdained the arts which wrap power in mystery in order to magnify it. He practiced the profound diplomacy of truthful speech - the consummate tact of direct attention. Looking ever to the All-Wise Disposer of events, he relied on that Providence which helps men by giving them high hearts and hopes to help themselves with the means which their Creator has put at their service. There was no infirmity in his conduct over which charity must fling its veil; no taint of selfishness from which purity averts her gaze; no dark recess of intrigue that must be lit up with colored panegyric; no subterranean passage to be trod in trembling, lest there be stirred the ghost of a buried crime." - John W. Daniel, fully John Warwick Daniel

"Religion, in its purity, is not so much a pursuit as a temper; or rather it is a temper, leading to the pursuit of all that is high and holy. Its foundation is faith; its action, works; its tempter, holiness; its aim, obedience to God in improvement of self and benevolence to men." - Tyron Edwards

"How different the peace of god from that of the world! It calms the passions, preserves the purity of conscience, is inseparable from righteousness, unites us to God and strengthens us against temptations. The peace of the soul consists in an absolute resignation to the will of God." - François Fénelon, fully Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon

"It is astonishing what force, purity, and wisdom it requires for a human being to keep clear of falsehoods." - Margaret Fuller, fully Sara Margaret Fuller, Marchese Ossoli

"Those who are versed in the history of their country, in the history of the human race, must know that rigorous state prosecutions have always preceded the era of convulsion; and this era, I fear, will be accelerated by the folly and madness of our rulers. If the people are discontented, the proper mode of quieting their discontent is, not by instituting rigorous and sanguinary prosecutions, but by redressing their wrongs and conciliating their affections. Courts of justice, indeed, may be called in to the aid of ministerial vengeance; but if once the purity of their proceedings is suspected, they will cease to be objects of reverence to the nation; they will degenerate into empty and expensive pageantry, and become the partial instruments of vexatious oppression. Whatever may become of me, my principles will last forever. Individuals may perish; but truth is eternal. The rude blasts of tyranny may blow from every quarter; but freedom is that hardy plant which will survive the tempest and strike an everlasting root into the most unfavorable soil." - Joseph Gerrald

"Whether a prophet is true or false does not depend upon the correctness of his predictions. It depends upon the purity and sincerity of his concern for the things threatened by human sin and divine anger. Indeed his predictions are the more likely to be correct, the less he is a true prophet and the more affinities he has within himself to the destructive tendencies of his age." - Erich Heller

"Half the noblest passages in poetry are truisms; but these truism are the great truths of humanity; and he is the true poet who draws them from their fountains in elemental purity, and gives us a drink." - Letitia Elizabeth Landon

"To change his opinions is for one nature an expression of purity of mind, like somebody who changes his clothing; but for another nature it is only an expression of his vanity." - Friedrich Nietzsche, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

"There is an inward state of the heart which makes truth credible the moment it is stated. It is credible to some men because of what they are. Love is credible to a loving heart; purity is credible to a pure mind; life is credible to a spirit in which life beats strongly - it is incredible to other men." -

"We do not know either unalloyed happiness or unmitigated misfortune. Everything in this world is a tangled yarn; we taste nothing in its purity; we do not remain two moments in the same state. Our affections as well as bodies, are in a perpetual flux." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"The soul, advancing ever to the source of light and all perfection, lives, adores, and reigns in cloudless knowledge, purity and bliss." - Henry Ware

"Wherein does religion consist? It consists in doing as little harm as possible, in doing good in abundance, in the practice of love, of compassion, of truthfulness and purity, in all the walks of life." -

"Nobody is more dangerous than he who imagines himself pure in heart; for purity, by definition, is unassailable." - James Baldwin, fully James Arthur Baldwin

"It is through the strength of our physical body, the wisdom of our heart’s experience, and the purity of our intention that we determine the quality of our life." - Gregg Braden

"Propaganda by its very nature is an enterprise for perverting the significance of events and of insinuating false intentions… The propagandist must insist on the purity of his own intentions and, at the same time, hurl accusations at his enemy." - Jacques Ellul

"Purity and stillness are the correct principles for mankind." - Lao Tzu, ne Li Urh, also Laotse, Lao Tse, Lao Tse, Lao Zi, Laozi, Lao Zi, La-tsze

"If the union of man and woman is the fruit of a love that is given in purity, generosity and fidelity, then the body itself is spiritualized in the service of a love that ennobles it, and, with God’s blessing, sanctifies." - Jean Mouroux

"The love of beauty which exalts the poet; that devotion to the One and that ascent of science which makes the ambition of the philosopher, and that love and those prayers by which some devout and ardent soul tends in its moral purity towards perfection: these are the great highways conducting to that height above the actual and the particular, where we stand in the immediate presence of the Infinite, who shines out as from the deeps of the soul." -

"What's madness but nobility of soul at odds with circumstance? The day's on fire! I know the purity of pure despair, my shadow pinned against a sweating wall, that place among the rocks--is it a cave, or winding path? The edge is what I have. " - Theodore Roethke

"Purity of motivation is the goal; constancy of action is the way" - Fritz A. Rothschild

"Jainism describes a world without a creator God in which human beings’ true nature as “energy, consciousness, and bliss” has been tarnished by karma. The free movement of life force toward its fulfillment in purity as the supreme value, upheld by an ethic of radical non-violence (ahimsa), characterized by a respect for the life force of all beings and a recognition of the fundamental interconnectedness of all… ignore this truth about interconnectedness endangers ourselves and the planet, whether we subscribe to the Jain worldview or not." - Joseph Runzo and Nancy M. Martin

"Purity is for man, next to life, the greatest good, that purity that is procured by the law of Mazda to him who cleanses his own self with good thoughts, words and deeds." - Zoroaster, aka Zarathustra or Zarathushtra Spitama NULL

"The art of arts it the art of loving. Nature itself and God, nature’s author, are its teachers. For love itself is given by the creator of nature, and unless its natural purity has been soiled by some adulterous affection, love teaches itself, I say, to its own disciples, to the disciples of God." - William of Saint Thierry NULL

"The activity of philosophic wisdom is admittedly the pleasantest of virtuous activities; at all events the pursuit of it is thought to offer pleasures marvelous for their purity and their enduringness, and it is to be expected that those who know ill pass their time more pleasantly than those who inquire. And the self-sufficiency that is spoken of must belong most to the contemplative activity." - Aristotle NULL

"The widespread modern rejection of ritual in religion is depriving people of powerful aids for spiritual development and for defense against evil... Action cannot lead beyond action, and therefore no ritual can produce Liberation... But there are many who do not specifically seek Liberation but simply greater purity, greater devotion, general spiritual betterment, or who seek Liberation as the still unseen goal of a winding path; and it is for such as these that the appropriate ritual would be a powerful armament for progress and defense." - Arthur W Osborn

"Your ‘personal’ life cannot have a lasting intrinsic meaning. It can acquire a contingent meaning, but only by being fitted into and subordinated to something which ‘lasts’ and has a meaning in itself. Is this something what we attempt to identify when we speak of ‘Life’? Can your life have a meaning as a tiny fragment of life? Does Life exist? Seek and you shall find, experience Life as reality. Has Life a ‘meaning’? Experience Life as reality and the question becomes meaningless. Seek - ? Seek by daring to take the leap into unconditional obedience. Dare this when you are challenged, for only by the light of a challenge will you be able to see the cross-roads and, in full awareness of your choice, turn your back upon your personal life - with no right ever to look back. You will find that ‘in the pattern’ you are liberated from the need to live ‘with the herd’. You will find that, thus subordinated, your life will receive from Life all its meaning, irrespective of the conditions given you for its realization. You will find that the freedom of the continual farewell, the hourly self-surrender, gives to your experience of reality the purity and clarity which signify - seal-realization. You will find that obedience requires an act of will which must continually be re-iterated, and that you will fail, if anything in your personal life is allowed to slip back into the center." - Dag Hammarskjöld

"Haven’t you noticed that people always exaggerate the value of things they haven’t got? The poor think they need nothing but riches to be quite happy and good. Everybody worships truth, purity, unselfishness, for the same reason: because they have no experience of them. Oh, if they only knew!" - George Bernard Shaw

"Beauty, purity, respectability, religion, morality, art, patriotism, bravery and the rest… are mere words, useful for duping barbarians into adopting civilization, or the civilized poor into submitting to be robbed and enslaved. This is the family secret of the governing class." - George Bernard Shaw

"The spirit can for the time pervade and control every member and function of the body, and transmute what in form is the grossest sensuality into purity and devotion." - Henry David Thoreau, born David Henry Thoreau

"Simplicity is the character of the spring of life, costliness becomes its autumn; but a neatness and purity, like that of the snow-drop or lily of the valley, is the peculiar fascination of beauty, to which it lends enchantment, and gives what amiability is to the mind." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"Morality... must have the more power over the human heart the more purely it is exhibited. Whence it follows that, if the law of morality and the image of holiness and virtue are to exercise any influence at all on our souls, they can do so only so far as they are laid to heart in their purity as motives, unmixed with any view to prosperity, for it is in suffering that they display themselves most nobly." - Immanuel Kant

"The perspective of eternity is not a perspective from a certain place beyond the world, nor the point of view of a transcendent being; rather it is a certain form of thought and feeling that rational persons can adopt within the world. And having done so, they can, whatever their generation, bring together into one scheme all individual perspectives and arrive together at regulative principles that can be affirmed by everyone as he lives by them, each from his own standpoint. Purity of heart, if one could attain it, would be to see clearly and to act with grace and self-command from this point of view." - John Rawls, fully John Bordley Rawls

"The entire object of true education is to make people not merely do the right thing, but enjoy the right things; not merely industrious, but to love industry; not merely learned, but to love knowledge; not merely pure, but to love purity; not merely just, but to hunger and thirst after justice." - John Ruskin

"Religion, in its purity, is not so much a pursuit as a temper; or rather it is a temper, leading to the pursuit of all that is high and holy. Its foundation is faith; its action, works; its temper, holiness; its aim, obedience to God in improvement of self, and benevolence to men." - Jonathan Edwards

"Iron rusts from disuse; water loses its purity from stagnation and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigors of the mind." - Leonardo da Vinci, fully Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci

"Life is what we are alive to. It is not length, but breadth. To be alive only to appetite, pleasure, pride, money-making, and not to goodness and kindness, purity and love, history, poetry, music, flowers, stars, God and eternal hopes, it is to be all but dead." - Maltbie Babcock, fully Maltbie Davenport Babcock