Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav'n.
The Psalmist in Psalm 84.10:
For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
Daniel Defoe, The True-Born Englishman:
WHEREVER God erects a house of prayer,
The Devil always builds a chapel there:1
And 'twill be found upon examination,
The latter has the largest congregation:
For ever since he first debauched the mind,
He made a perfect conquest of mankind.
With uniformity of service, he
Reigns with a general aristocracy.
No non-conforming sects disturb his reign,
For of his yoke there's very few complain.
He knows the genius and the inclination,
And matches proper sins for every nation.
He needs no standing-army government;
He always rules us by our own consent:
His laws are easy, and his gentle sway
Makes it exceeding pleasant to obey:
The list of his vicegerents and commanders,
Outdoes your Cæsars or your Alexanders.
They never fail of his infernal aid,
And he's as certain ne'er to be betrayed.
Through all the world they spread his vast command,
And Death's eternal empire is maintained.
They rule so politicly and so well,
As if they were Lords Justices of Hell,
Duly divided to debauch mankind,
And plant infernal dictates in his mind.
James in James 4.7:
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Percy Bysshe Shelly, Ozymandias
I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said -- "two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert ... near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lips, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings,
Look on my Works ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away." --
Jesus in Matthew 5.5:
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Man in Black in The Princess Bride:
Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.
John in Revelation 21.4:
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
Faust and Helena in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust:
Nor past nor future now the soul employ,
The present only constitutes our joy.
Paul in Hebrews 11.24-26:
By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
William Blake, The Proverbs of Hell in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell:
The pride of the peacock is the glory of God.
Jesus in Matthew 23.11-12:
But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
Screwtape in C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, XII, p. 56:
You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how small the sins are, provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is not better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed, the safest road to Hell is the gradual one -- the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.
John Ray, A Complete Collection of English Proverbs, 1670 [expanded upon an earlier saying by St. Bernard of Clairvaux]:
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy, III.9:
All hope abandon ye who enter here.
The Psalmist in Psalm 16.10-11:
For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.