The penalty for reckless crime is ruin when men breathe a spirit of pride above just measure, because their mansions teem with more abundance than is good for them. But let there be such wealth as brings no distress, enough to satisfy a sensible man. For riches do not protect the man who in wantonness has kicked the mighty altar of Justice into obscurity.
Perverse Temptation, the overmastering child of designing Destruction, drives men on; and every remedy is futile. His evil is not hidden; it shines forth, a baleful gleam. Like base metal beneath the touchstone’s rub, when tested he shows the blackness of his grain (for he is like a child who chases a winged bird) and upon his people he brings a taint against which there is no defence. No god listens to his prayers. The man associated with such deeds, him they destroy in his unrighteousness.
Fear nothing and never be afraid; and don’t fret. If only your penitence fail not, God will forgive all. There is no sin, and there can be no sin on all the earth, which the Lord will not forgive to the truly repentant. Man cannot commit a sin so great as to exhaust the infinite love of God. Can there be a sin which can exceed the love of God? Think only of repentance, continual repentance, but dismiss fear altogether. Believe that God loves you as you cannot conceive: that he loves you with your sin, in your sin. It has been said of old that over one repentant sinner there is more joy in heaven than over ten righteous men. Go and fear not. Be not bitter against men. Be not angry if you are wronged. Forgive the dead man in your heart what wrong he did you. Be reconciled with him in truth. And if you love you are of God. If I a sinner, even as you are, am tender with you and have pity on you, how much more will God.
Elder Zosima, The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Remember how the Lord rebukes Martha when He says: ‘You are anxious and troubled about many things: one thing alone is needful’ (Lk. 10:41-42) ? to hear the divine word; after that, one should be content with anything that comes to hand.
Let Rome in Tiber melt, and the wide arch
Of the ranged empire fall! Here is my space.
Kingdoms are clay: our dungy earth alike
Feeds beast as man: the nobleness of life
Is to do thus; when such a mutual pair
And such a twain can do’t, in which I bind,
On pain of punishment, the world to weet
We stand up peerless.
Antony and Cleopatra: Act I, Scene i by William Shakespeare
Like a dull actor now,
I have forgot my part and I am out,
Even to a full disgrace. Best of my flesh,
Forgive my tyranny; but do not say,
For that, ‘Forgive our Romans.’—O, a kiss
Long as my exile, sweet as my revenge;
Now, by the jealous queen of heaven, that kiss
I carried from thee, dear; and my true lip
Hath virgin’d it e’er since.—You gods! I prate,
And the most noble mother of the world
Leave unsaluted: sink, my knee, i’ the earth;
Of thy deep duty more impression show
Than that of common sons.
O, stand up bless’d!
Whilst, with no softer cushion than the flint,
I kneel before thee; and unproperly
Show duty, as mistaken all this while
Between the child and parent.
What is this?
Your knees to me? to your corrected son?
Then let the pebbles on the hungry beach
Fillip the stars; then let the mutinous winds
Strike the proud cedars ‘gainst the fiery sun,;
Murdering impossibility, to make
What cannot be, slight work.
Coriolanus: Act V, Scene iii by William Shakespeare
His nature is too noble for the world:
He would not flatter Neptune for his trident,
Or Jove for’s power to thunder. His heart’s his mouth:
What his breast forges, that his tongue must vent;
And, being angry, does forget that ever
He heard the name of death.
Coriolanus: Act III, scene i, 320–325 by William Shakespeare
Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting,
That would not let me sleep: methought I lay
Worse than the mutines in the bilboes. Rashly,
And praised be rashness for it, let us know,
Our indiscretion sometimes serves us well,
When our deep plots do pall: and that should teach us
There’s a divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them how we will.
Hamlet: Act V, Scene ii, 4–11 by William Shakespeare
Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams which they dream, for it is a lie which they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, says the LORD.
A brother asked a hermit, ‘I hear the hermits weeping, and my soul longs for tears, but they do not come, and I am worried about it.’ He replied, ‘The children of Israel entered the promised land after forty years in the wilderness. Tears are the Promised Land. When you reach them you will no longer be afraid of the conflict. For it is the will of God that we should be afflicted, so we may always be longing to enter that country.’
From the Sayings of the Desert Fathers
He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.