From The Devil’s Dictionary


Nine quotes by Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (1842 – 1914).

Ambrose Bierce

Scriptures, n. The sacred books of our holy religion, as distinguished from the false and profane writings on which all other faiths are based.

Pray, v. To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner, confessedly unworthy.

Faith, n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.

Redemption, n. Deliverance of sinners from the penalty of their sin through their murder of the deity against whom they sinned. The doctrine of Redemption is the fundamental mystery of our holy religions, and whoso believeth in it shall not perish, but have everlasting life in which to try to understand it.

Heathen, n. A benighted creature who has the folly to worship something he can see and feel.

Inhumanity, n. One of the signal and characteristic qualities of humanity.

Religion, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable.

Mind, n. A mysterious form of matter secreted by the brain. Its chief activity consists in the endeavour to ascertain its own nature, the futility of the attempt being due to the fact that it has nothing but itself to know itself with.

Bierce was an American newspaperman, humourist and satirist and was regarded as one of the most influential journalists in the United States. His life ended in an unsolved mystery presumably in 1914, when he travelled to Chihuahua, Mexico, to gain first-hand experience of the Mexican Revolution and disappeared.

His book, The Devil’s Dictionary (1906) was named as one of “The 100 Greatest Masterpieces of American Literature” by the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration. Although widely published during his lifetime, including many short stories, much more of his work was published posthumously, including the well- known fiction, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge and Other Stories (1995).

All quotes from The Devil’s Dictionary.

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