Literary and Spiritual Excerpts

Albert Schweitzer — the mystical Lutheran

"Affirmation of the world... is only possible if I devote myself to other life"

Affirmation of the world, which means affirmation of the will-to-live that manifests itself around me, is only possible if I devote myself to other life. From an inner necessity, I exert myself in producing values ...

al-Ghazzali — the most influential Muslim after Muhammad

His faith in God, the prophet, and the Last Day

Now from the sciences I had labored at, and the paths I had traveled in my investigation of the revelational and rational sciences (that is, theology and philosophy), there had come to me a sure ...

Escaped moves by King Charles by fleeing to Paris

Mary (Howard) of the Holy Cross

This is the principal service of God, there being nothing on earth which represents more perfectly the state of the blessed in Heaven, than to praise him with fervor and cheerfulness. For it is written: ...

Shakespeare of the Arabic language

al-Hariri of Basrah

Praise be to Allah, the exalted of names, the praised for His bounties, the abundant in gifts, the called upon for the rescinding of calamity; —king of the nations, restorer of rotten bones, honorer of ...

Benjamin Franklin's notion of good works

Letter to Joseph Huey

I can only show my Gratitude for those Mercies from God, by a Readiness to help his other Children and my Brethren. For I do not think that Thanks, and Compliments, tho’ repeated Weekly, can ...

Mansur al-Hallaj — Sufi mystic

Executed by Islamic authorities

I entered unannounced into Hallaj’s room one day (says Ibn Fatik); someone had been in before me. Hallaj was in prayer, and his brow pressed to the ground, he was saying: O Thou Whose closeness ...

Sitting by a Rivulet: An Image of Eternity

Ah lovely stream, how fitly may’st thou be, By thy immutability, Thy gentle motion and perennity, To us the emblem of eternity: And to us thou do’st no less A kind of omnipresence too express. ...

The Koran

Excerpts from the central religious text of Islam

“The Opening” In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate Praise be to God, the Lord of the Universe, the Merciful, the Compassionate, the Authority on Judgment Day. It is You whom we worship ...

"He doth not only prescribe the medicine...."

Edward Scarisbrick, once hunted down, then made royal chaplain

Almighty God, the great and omnipotent physician of our souls, is so passionately charitable, that he undertakes the cure himself; he visiteth in person the patient, affording him his corporeal presence in our assumed nature; ...

Immortality in the Rg Veda

Ancient Sanskrit hymn on praise and knowledge

The Man has a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, a thousand feet. He pervades the earth everywhere and extends beyond for ten fingers’ breadth. The Man himself is all this, whatever has been and whatever ...

Creation of man in the Rg Veda

Eastern tradition

And his phallus was stretched out in eagerness for the act of a man, the manly one pulled back. He drew back again from the maiden, his daughter, that tireless phallus which had been thrust ...

God exists: George Fox

Often persecuted, frequently imprisoned

One morning, as I was sitting by the fire, a great cloud came over me, and a temptation beset me; and I sat still. It was said, “All things come by nature”; and the elements ...

Mary Ward on Retreat at Liege in October 1619

The nun who laid the groundwork for active modern women’s religious orders

He was very near me and within me, which I never perceived Him to be before. I was moved to ask Him with great confidence and humility, what I came to know to whit, what ...

Two Temple Poems of Annamayya

Foundation for Indian classical music

Born a man.Serves another man.Suffers every day Goes into every wretched placeAnd begs for a morsel to eat.Craves the place he was born.That’s why he’s never free. Born a man. God is born in all ...

Reply to Missionary Cram of the Boston Missionary School

From Red Jacket of the Seneca tribe

Brother, you say there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit. If there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it? Why not all agreed, ...

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