Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Scripture

"Scripture does not teach philosophy, but merely obedience, and... all it contains has been adapted to the understanding and established opinions of the multitude." -

"Man was first created a single individual to teach the lesson that whoever destroys one life, Scripture ascribes it to him as though he had destroyed a whole world; and whoever saves one life, Scripture ascribes it to him as though he had saved a whole world." - Mishnah or The Mishnah NULL

"If there should be any [persons], who though ignorant in Mathematics, yet pretending a skill in those Learnings, should dare, upon the authority of some place of Scripture wrested to their purpose, to condemn and censure my Hypothesis, I value them not, but shall slight their inconsiderate judgment." - Nicholas Copernicus

"When a man lacks discrimination, his will wanders in all directions, after innumerable aims. Those who lack discrimination may quote the letter of the scripture; but they are really denying its inner truth. They are full of worldly desires and hungry for the rewards of heaven. They use beautiful figures of speech; they teach elaborate rituals, which are supposed to obtain pleasure and power for those who practice them. But, actually, they understand nothing except the law of Karma that chains men to rebirth. Those whose discrimination is stolen away by such talk grow deeply attached to pleasure and power. And so they are unable to develop that one-pointed concentration of the will, which leads a man to absorption in God." - Bhagavad Gītā, simply known as Gita NULL

"Nobody every outgrows Scripture; the book widens and deepens with our years." - Charles Haddon Spurgeon

"Every step of progress means a duty repudiated, and a scripture torn up." - George Bernard Shaw

"Night and day I pondered until I saw the connection between the justice of God and the statement that ‘the just shall live by his faith’. Then I grasped that the justice of God is that righteousness by which through grace and sheer mercy God justifies us through faith. Thereupon I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise. The whole of Scripture took on a new meaning, and whereas before the ‘justice of God’ had filled me with hate, now it became to me inexpressible sweet in greater love." - Martin Luther

"Brahman is a shoreless ocean. Shakti is the omnipresent, interdependent action of its waves... As long as Her inscrutable Will keeps consciousness manifest through the human form, one is tempted to think that there are two realities - the formless God and these confusing mirror images called the universe. But no, my friend, there are no such twoness whatsoever. There is no super-knowledge separate from or opposed to ordinary ignorance. There is not day as a reality apart from night. There is only wholeness or completeness - beyond night or day, beyond ignorance or knowledge, yet containing both, manifesting both. How to describe this dynamic plenitude? Not with words from any scripture or philosophy. What is simply is!" -

"Chopping wood is meditation. Carrying water is meditation. Be mindful 24 hours a day, not just during the one hour you may allot for formal meditation or reading scripture and reciting prayers. Each act must be carried out in mindfulness. Each act is a rite, a ceremony. Raising your cup of tea to your mouth is a rite. does the word “rite” seem too solemn? I use the word in order to jolt you into the realization of the life-and-death matter of awareness." - Thich Nhất Hanh

"The devil can quote Scripture for his purpose." -

"The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose. An evil soul, producing holy witness, is like a villain with a smiling cheek, a goodly apple, rotten at the heart." -

"The pastor ought to have two voices: one, for gathering the sheep; and another, for warding off and driving away wolves and thieves. The Scripture supplies him with the means of doing both" - John Calvin

"As far as sacred Scripture is concerned, however much forward men try to gnaw at it, nevertheless it clearly is crammed with thoughts that could not be humanly conceived. Let each of the prophets be looked into: none will be found who does not far exceed human measure. Consequently, those for whom prophetic doctrine is tasteless ought to be thought of as lacking taste buds." - John Calvin

"Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand." - Mark Twain, pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens

"Doubts are the foundation stones for a firm and robust faith. You will realise that doctrines are inventions of the human mind, as it tries to penetrate the mystery of God. You will realise that Scripture itself is the work of human minds....It is not what you believe that matters; it is how you respond with your heart and your actions. It is not just believing in Christ that matters; it is becoming like him....Jesus did not ask people to accept high-flown doctrines. In fact, he did not ask them to believe anything. Instead, he asked them to enter a relationship with God....Do not let your mind be seduced by theological speculation." - Pelagius NULL

"There is no greater scripture than nature, for nature is life itself." - Inayat Khan, aka Hazrat Inayat Khan, fully Pir-O-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan

"Rabbi Chananiah ben Teradion said: If two sit together and no words of Torah are interchanged between them, theirs is the session of the scornful, as it is written (Psalm 1:1) "Nor sit in the seat of scoffers." But when two sit together and words of Torah pass between them, the Divine Presence rests between them, as it is written (Malachi 3:16) "Then those who revered the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord took note and listened, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who revered the Lord and thought on his name." Scripture speaks here of two. Whence do we learn that if even one sits and occupies himself in the Torah, the Holy One blessed be He, appoints him a reward? Because it is written (Lamentations 3:28) "to sit alone in silence when the Lord has imposed it."" - Pirke Avot, "Verses of the Fathers" or "Ethics of the Fathers" NULL

"Rabbi Dostai ben Yannai said in the name of Rabbi Meir: He who forgets one word of his study, Scripture regards him as though he was liable for his life; for it is written (Deuteronomy 4:9) "But take care and watch yourselves closely, so as not to forget the things that your eyes have seen." Could this apply even if a man's study was too hard for him? Scripture says (ibid.): "Nor to let them slip from your mind all the days of your life." Thus a person is not guilty unless he deliberately puts those lessons away from his heart." - Pirke Avot, "Verses of the Fathers" or "Ethics of the Fathers" NULL

"Rabbi Jacob said: “If a man is walking by the way and is studying and then interrupts his study and says: How fine is this tree? Or How fine is this ploughed field? Scripture regards him as though he was liable for his life.”" - Pirke Avot, "Verses of the Fathers" or "Ethics of the Fathers" NULL

"How favored is man, for he was created after an image; as Scripture says, "for in an image, Elohim made man"" - Rabbi Akiva, fully Rebbe Akiva ben Yosef NULL

"He who does not engage in reproduction and propagation rises up against scripture and diminishes the Image (of God). For it says: 'For in the image of God he made man" (Gen 1:6) and 'be fruitful and multiply!'(Gen 1:7)." -

"The word 'God' is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, and religious scripture a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can (for me) change this." - Albert Einstein

"Brahman is a shoreless ocean. Shakti is the omnipresent, interdependent action of its waves... As long as Her inscrutable Will keeps consciousness manifest through the human form, one is tempted to think that there are two realities - the formless God and these confusing mirror images called the universe. But no, my friend, there are no such twoness whatsoever. There is no super-knowledge separate from or opposed to ordinary ignorance. There is not day as a reality apart from night. There is only wholeness or completeness - beyond night or day, beyond ignorance or knowledge, yet containing both, manifesting both. How to describe this dynamic plenitude? Not with words from any scripture or philosophy. What is simply is!" - Ramakrishna, aka Ramakrishna Paramhamsa or Sri Ramakrishna, born Gadadhar Chattopadhyay NULL

"Jesus Christ said more about money than about any other single thing because, when it comes to a man's real nature, money is of first importance. Money is an exact index to a man's true character. All through Scripture there is an intimate correlation between the development of a man's character and how he handles his money. " - Richard Halverson, fully Richard Christian Halverson

"Make careful choice of the books which you read: let the holy Scriptures ever have the preeminence. Let Scripture be first and most in your hearts and hands and other books be used as subservient to it. While reading ask yourself: 1. Could I spend this time no better? 2. Are there better books that would edify me more? 3. Are the lovers of such a book as this the greatest lovers of the Book of God and of a holy life? 4. Does this book increase my love to the Word of God, kill my sin, and prepare me for the life to come?" - Richard Baxter

"Once again, modern theologians will protest that the story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac should not be taken as literal fact. And, once again, the appropriate response is twofold. First, many many people, even to this day, do take the whole of their scripture to be literal fact, and they have a great deal of political power over the rest of us, especially in the United States and in the Islamic world. Second, if not as literal fact, how should we take the story? As an allegory? Then an allegory for what? Surely morals could one derive from this appalling story? Remember, all I am trying to establish for the moment is that we do not, as a matter of fact, derive our morals from scripture. Or, if we do, we pick and choose among the scriptures for the nice bits and reject the nasty. But then we must have some independent criterion for deciding which are the moral bits: a criterion which, wherever it comes from, cannot come from scripture itself and is presumably available to all of us whether we are religious or not." - Richard Dawkins

"Over the centuries, we've moved on from Scripture to accumulate precepts of ethical, legal and moral philosophy. We've evolved a liberal consensus of what we regard as underpinnings of decent society, such as the idea that we don't approve of slavery or discrimination on the grounds of race or sex, that we respect free speech and the rights of the individual. All of these things that have become second nature to our morals today owe very little to religion, and mostly have been won in opposition to the teeth of religion." - Richard Dawkins

"The God of the Old Testament himself, with his pitilessly vengeful jealousy, his racism, sexism, and terrifying bloodlust, will not be adopted as a literal role model by anybody you or I would wish to know. Yes, of course it is unfair to judge the customs of an earlier era by the enlightened standards of our own. But that is precisely my point! Evidently, we have some alternative source of ultimate moral conviction that overrides Scripture when it suits us." - Richard Dawkins

"Tradition, as held by the Romanists, is subordinate to Scripture and dependent on it, about as some parasite plants are on the tree that supports them. The former cling to the latter, and rest upon it; then gradually overspread it with their own foliage, till, by little and little, they weaken, and then smother it." - Richard Whately

"Our ideals are the blueprints of our lives." - Roy L. Smith, aka Mr. Methodist

"In order that we might receive that love whereby we should love, we were ourselves loved, while as yet we had it not." - Saint Augustine, aka Augustine of Hippo, St. Austin, Bishop of Hippo NULL

"For by plucking out self-love, which is, as they say, the beginning and mother of all evils, everything that comes from it and after it is plucked out as well. Once this is no more, absolutely no form or trace of evil can any longer subsist. All the forms of virtue are introduced, fulfilling the power of love, which gather together what has been separated, once again fashioning the human being in accordance with a single meaning and mode. It levels off and makes equal any inequality or difference inclination in anything, or rather binds it to that praiseworthy inequality, by which each is so drawn to his neighbor in preference to himself and so honors him before himself, that he is eager to spurn any obstacle in his desire to excel. And for this reason each one willingly frees himself from himself, by separating himself from any thoughts or properties to which he is privately inclined, and is gathered to the one singleness and sameness, in accordance with which nothing is in anyway separated from what is common to all, so that each is in each, and all in all, or rather in God and in others, and they are radiantly established as one, having the one logos of being in themselves, utterly single in nature and inclination. And in this God is understood: in him they are all beheld together and they are bound together and raised to him, as the source and maker. The logos of being of all beings by nature preserves itself pure and inviolate for our attention, who, with conscious zeal through the virtues and the toils that accompany them, have been purified from the passions that rebel against it." - Saint Maximus the Confessor NULL

"I receive Thee ransom of my soul. For love of Thee have I studied and kept vigil toiled preached and taught." - Saint Thomas Aquinas, aka Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis or Doctor Universalis

"If a word be worth one Shekel, silence is worth two." - Simeon ben Azai, sometimes Ben Azai

"As it is our duty to pray, so it is our duty to pray with the most fervent importunity. It is our duty to love God, but with the purest and most sublime affections; every command of God requires the whole strength of the creature to be employed in it. That love to God wherein all our duty to God is summed up, is to be with all our strength, with all our might, etc. Though in the covenant of grace he hath mitigated the severity of the law, and requires not from us such an elevation of our affections as was possible in the state of innocence, yet God requires of us the utmost moral industry to raise our affections to a pitch at least equal to what they are in other things. What strength of affection we naturally have, ought to be as much and more excited in acts of worship, than upon other occasions and our ordinary works." - Stephen Charnock

"Providence would seem to sleep unless faith and prayer awaken it. The disciples had but little faith in their Master's accounts, yet that little faith awakened him in a storm, and he relieved them. Unbelief doth only discourage God from showing his power in taking our parts." - Stephen Charnock

"Terrified consciences, that are Magor-missabib, see nothing but matter of fear round about. As they have lived without the bounds of the law, they are afraid to fall under the stroke of his justice: fear wishes the destruction of that which it apprehends hurtful: it considers him as a God to whom vengeance belongs, as the Judge of all the earth. The less hopes such an one hath of his pardon, the more joy he would have to hear that his judge should he stripped of his life: he would entertain with delight any reasons that might support him in the conceit that there were no God: in his present state such a doctrine would be his security from an account: he would as much rejoice if there were no God to inflame an hell for him, as any guilty malefactor would if there were no judge to order a gibbet for him." - Stephen Charnock

"Such as have made a considerable improvement of their gifts and graces, have hearts as large as their heads; whereas most men's heads have outgrown their hearts." - Thomas Brooks

"Each of those churches show certain books, which they call revelation, or the word of God. The Jews say, that their word of God was given by God to Moses, face to face; the Christians say, that their word of God came by divine inspiration: and the Turks say, that their word of God (the Koran) was brought by an angel from Heaven. Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all." - Thomas Paine

"Independence is my happiness, and I view things as they are, without regard to place or person; my country is the world, and my religion is to do good." - Thomas Paine

"Our character is what God and cats know of us." - Thomas Paine

"Abuse of the Gospel - Too many, Lord, abuse Thy grace In this licentious day, And while they boast they see Thy face, They turn their own away. Thy book displays a gracious light That can the blind restore; But these are dazzled by the sight, And blinded still the more. The pardon such presume upon, They do not beg but steal; And when they plead it at Thy throne, Oh! where's the Spirit's seal? Was it for this, ye lawless tribe, The dear Redeemer bled? Is this the grace the saints imbibe From Christ the living head? Ah, Lord, we know Thy chosen few Are fed with heavenly fare; But these, -- the wretched husks they chew, Proclaim them what they are. The liberty our hearts implore Is not to live in sin; But still to wait at Wisdom's door, Till Mercy calls us in. " - William Cowper

"Our law very often reminds one of those outskirts of cities where you cannot for a long time tell how the streets come to wind about in so capricious and serpent-like a manner. At last it strikes you that they grew up, house by house, on the devious tracks of the old green lanes; and if you follow on to the existing fields, you may often find the change half complete." - Walter Bagehot

"Cowards never won heaven. Do not claim that you are begotten of God and you have His royal blood running in your veins unless you can prove your lineage by His heroic spirit: to dare to be holy in spite of men and devils." - William Gurnall

"The best argument I know for an immortal life is the existence of a man who deserves one." - William James

"Reading is good, hearing is good, conversation and meditation are good; but then, they are only good at times and occasions, in a certain degree, and must be used and governed with such caution as we eat and drink and refresh ourselves, or they will bring forth in us the fruits of intemperance. But the spirit of prayer is for all times and occasions; it is a lamp that is to be always burning, a light to be ever shining: everything calls for it; everything is to be done in it and governed by it, because it is and means and wills nothing else but the totality of the soul -- not doing this or that, but wholly... given up to God to be where and what and how He pleases." - William Law

"Whilst you are divided betwixt God and the world, you have neither the pleasures of Religion, nor the pleasures of the world, but are always in the uneasiness of a divided state of heart. You have only so much Religion as serves to disquiet you, to show you a handwriting on the wall, to interrupt your pleasures, and to appear as a death's-head at all your feasts, but not Religion enough to give you a taste and feeling of its pleasures. You dare not wholly neglect Religion, but then you take no more than is just sufficient to keep you from being a terror to yourself, and you are as loth to be very good as you are fearful to be very bad." - William Law

"There's a wonderful old Italian joke about a poor man who goes to church every day and prays before the statue of a great saint, begging, Dear saint-please, please, please...give me the grace to win the lottery. This lament goes on for months. Finally the exasperated staue comes to life, looks down at the begging man and says in weary disgust, My son-please, please, please...buy a ticket. Prayer is a realtionship; half the job is mine. If I want transformation, but can't even be bothered to articulate what, exactly, I'm ainming for, how will it ever occur? Half the benefit of prayer is in the asking itself, in the offering of a clearly posed and well-considered intention. If you don't have this, all your pleas and desires are boneless, floppy, inert; they swirl at your feet in a cold fog and never lift." - Elizabeth Gilbert

"Traveling is the great true love of my life... I am loyal and constant in my love of travel. I feel about travel the way a happy new mother feels about her impossible, colicky, restless newborn baby - I just don't care what it puts me through. Because I adore it. Because it's mine. Because it looks exactly like me." - Elizabeth Gilbert

"Where the unveiled glories of the Deity shall beat full upon us, and we for ever sun ourselves in the smiles of God." - Ezekial Hopkins