the devil can quote Scripture for his own ends

The proverb alludes to the temptation of Christ by the Devil (MATTHEW iv) when the latter quotes a passage from Psalm xci.

1596 SHAKESPEARE Merchant of Venice I. iii. 93 The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose. An evil soul producing holy witness Is like a villain with a smiling cheek.

1761 C. CHURCHILL Apology 15 Thus Candour’s maxims flow from Rancour’s throat, As devils, to serve their purpose, Scripture quote.

1843 DICKENS Martin Chuzzlewit xi. Is any one surprised at Mr. Jonas making such a reference to such a book for such a purpose? Does any one doubt the old saw that the Devil (being a layman) quotes Scripture for his own ends.

1937 ‘C. DICKSON’ Ten Teacups xiii. The versatile personage in our popular proverbs, who..quotes Scripture for his own ends.

1997 Washington Times 25 July A4 The devil can quote Scripture, as we all know, so why not a politician?


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