Archbishop, theologian, reformer: 9 quotes from William Temple

William Temple is widely regarded as one of the greatest Archbishops of Canterbury. A theologian and church statesman, he argued passionately that protecting the Jews who were being slaughtered during the Second World War should be an Allied priority, and helped found the Council of Christians and Jews. His 1942 book Christianity and Social Order was a landmark in Christian thinking about a just society and influenced the Beveridge Report that laid the foundations for the post-war Welfare State. He died in office in 1944 and was the first Archbishop of Canterbury to be cremated.

Here are nine quotes from William Temple.

1. When I pray, coincidences happen, and when I don't they don't.

2. To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God.

3. To choose a career on selfish grounds is probably the greatest single sin that any young person can commit, for it is the deliberate withdrawal from allegiance to God of the greatest part of time and strength.

4. The Church is the only society that exists for the benefit of those who are not its members.

5. The most influential of all educational factors is the conversation in a child's home.

6. Humility does not mean thinking less of yourself than of other people, nor does it mean having a low opinion of your own gifts. It means freedom from thinking about yourself one way or the other at all.

7. Religion is what you do with your solitude.

8. There is no structural organisation of society which can bring about the coming of the Kingdom of God on earth since all systems can be perverted by the selfishness of man.

9. Christianity founds hospitals and atheists are cured in them, never knowing they owe their cure to Christ.

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