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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In spiritual terminology, piety is a virtue. While different people may understand its meaning differently, it is generally used to refer either to religious devotion or to spirituality, or often, a combination of both. A common element in most conceptions of piety is humility.



The word piety comes from the Latin word pietas, the noun form of the adjective pius (which means "devout" or "good"). Pietas in traditional Latin usage expressed a complex, highly valued Roman virtue; a man with pietas respected his responsibilities to other people, gods and entities (such as the state), and understood his place in society with respect to others.

The Latin term in turn may derive from "Piodasses", an ancient Greek transliteration of the Indic Prakrit term "Piyadasi", meaning "beloved of the Gods", a term by which the Indian Maurya Emperor Ashoka the Great referred to himself in the Edicts of Ashoka (3rd century BC).[1]


Piety in modern English usage can refer to a way to win the favor or forgiveness of God, According to some, this type of piety does not necessarily require the spiritual piety, while others refrain from distinguishing the two.

It is also used by others to refer only to external signs that result from the spiritual aspect of piety. That is, according to some, if one is "truly" pious (in the spiritual sense), the natural and inevitable result of it will be religious piety. By this definition, then, piety can be either genuine, in that it springs from spiritual piety, or false, in that it is an attempt to exhibit the signs of piety for their own sake, or for some other reason, (such as propitiation or public esteem).

In Catholicism and Anglicanism, piety is one of the Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Piety can be demonstrated by position or state of mind, such as prayer the most famous Piety hand position is Christian Joining of Hands and Muslims bowing down to prayer.piety


See also



Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Quotes about piety:



Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)

Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).

  • Piety does not mean that a man should make a sour face about things, and refuse to enjoy in moderation what his Maker has given.
  • In theory, piety is reverence and love for God; and in practice, it is the exercise of all our powers in obedience to the Divine will. Combining the theory and practice, we have the richest treasure known on earth — love for God shown in obedience to God.
    • D. W. Gates, p. 452.
  • In periods that are wanting in inspiration piety always assumes the character of caution. It degenerates from a free and joyful devotion to a melancholy and anxious slavery.
    • J. H. Seel Ye, p. 452.
  • What you cannot lift before His pure eyes and think of Him while you enjoy, is not for you. Friendship, schemes, plans, ambitions, amusements, speculations, studies, loves, businesses — can you call on the name of the Lord while you put these cups to your lips? If not, fling them behind you.
  • Christian piety annihilates the egotism of the heart; worldly politeness vails and represses it.
  • There is no piety in the world which is not the result of cultivation, and which cannot be increased by the degree of care and attention bestowed upon it.
  • Young men, you who have any piety at all, what sort is it? Is it a hot-house plant, which must be framed and glassed, lest March, that bold young fellow, should shake the life out.of it in his rough play among the flowers? or is it a hardy shrub, which rejoices when the wild winds course along the heather or howl above the crest of Lebanon ' We need, believe me, the bravery of godliness to bear true witness for our Master now.
  • Young men, terminate, I beseech you, in your own experience, the sad divorce which has too often existed between intellect and piety. Take your stand, unswerving, heroic, by the altar of truth; and from that altar let neither sophistry nor ridicule expel you. Let your faith rest with a child's trust, with a martyr's grip, upon the truth as it is in Jesus.
  • The great moral lesson which Saul's history leaves for the instruction of mankind is this: That without true piety the finest qualities of character and the highest position in society will utterly fail to make a true and noble man. If Saul's heart had been true to God, he would have been one of the grandest specimens of humanity; but, lacking this true obedience to God, he made his life an utter failure, and his character amoral wreck.
  • The piety that keeps the Sabbath with a great zeal of devotion, yet fails to keep its possessor honest on Monday, is not the kind that is stamped in the mint of heaven.
  • What smoky prayers!—one earnest petition, and then a thousand wandering thoughts! What smoky faith!—a joyful sight of the Saviour's sufficiency, and then a long season of inward complacency occasioned by that sight! Self-righteous efforts to extirpate self-righteousness, and most legal endeavors to elaborate failh! What smoky affections!—gleams of love to God, followed by long intervals of estrangement!— spurts of self-sacrifice, followed by systematic worldliness! Fits of fury against some besetting sin, followed by abject surrender to its power! Ah, brethren, if the Saviour were human, He would set His foot on this fuming profession; He would extinguish this smoking flax.
    • James Hamilton, p. 453.
  • We must watch over pious impressions, and cultivate them, or they will never become vigorous and enduring.
  • Think of a woman by the side of a dying sister, or a sick child, or a sorrowing friend, or a broken-hearted and broken- spirited man, without a word of heaven in her mouth — without so much as the ability to whisper "Our Father," or even to point her finger hopefully towards the stars.


  • "True piety hath in it nothing weak, nothing sad, nothing constrained. It enlarges the heart; it is simple, free, and attractive."
    • Francois Fénelon
  • "We may learn by practice such things upon earth as shall be of use to us in heaven. Piety, unostentatious piety, is never out of place."
    • Chapin
  • "Piety raises and fortifies the mind for trying occasions and painful events. When our country is threatened by dangers and pressed by difficulties who are the best bulwarks of its defence? Not the sons of dissipation and folly, not the smooth-tongued sycophants of a court, nor sceptics and blasphemers, from the school of infidelity; but the man whose moral conduct is animated and sustained by the doctrines and consolations of religion. Happy is that country where patriotism is sustained and sanctified by piety; where authority respects and guards freedom, and freedom reveres and loves legitimate authority; where truth and mercy meet together, righteousness and peace embrace each other."
    • Ton
  • "It is impossible for the mind which is not totally destitute of piety, to behold the sublime, the awful, the amazing works of creation and providence; the heavens with their luminaries, the mountains, the ocean, the storm, the earthquake, and the volcano; the circuit of the seasons and the revolutions of empires; without marking in them all the mighty hand of God, and feeling strong emotions of reverence toward the Author of these stupendous works."
    • Dwight
  • "John Wesley quaintly observed that the road to heaven is a narrow path, not intended for wheels, and that to ride in a coach here and to go to heaven hereafter, was a happiness too much for man."
    • Beecher
  • "We are surrounded by motives to piety and devotion, if we would but mind them. The poor are designed to excite our liberality; the miserable, our pity; the sick, our assistance; the ignorant, our instruction; those that are fallen, our helping hand. In those who are vain, we see the vanity of the world; in those who are wicked, our own frailty. When we see good men rewarded, it confirms our hope; and when evil men are punished, it excites our fear."
    • Bishop Wilson


Look up piety in Wiktionary, the free dictionary
  • Klopsch, Louis, 1852-1910 (1896). Many Thoughts of Many Minds.  

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

by John Cowper Powys
Published in Mandragora (1917)

[ 107 ]

OH liquid moon that silvers the rims
  Of the mountain heights,
Oh lotus-flower that floats and swims
   In the island nights.
Oh pale white arms that are stretched to me
   With a siren's song,
I answer the spell of your witchery;
   I come! I come!

Wait but awhile, oh white, white arms,
   Wait but awhile.
I feel your power and I want your charms;
   I need your guile.
Let me but plant one red, red rose
   On my true Love's tomb,
Then your tide shall bear me wherever it flows.
   I come! I come!

PD-icon.svg This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1963, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 30 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.

Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

Lat. pietas, properly honour and respect toward parents (1 Tim. 5:4). In Acts 17:23 the Greek verb is rendered "ye worship," as applicable to God.

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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Simple English

Piety (from the Latin word pietas, meaning "devout" or "good") is generally used to refer either to Religious devotion or to spirituality. A common element in most ideas of piety is humility. It can also refer to a way to win the favor or forgiveness of one's God, or gods.


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