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Question #1301 posted on 11/06/2003 4:02 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

What is the origin of the phrase "Cleanliness is next to Godliness?" and what are your opinions on the relative eternal importance of emptying the sink of dirty dishes multiple times each day?

- I'll start cleaning after I've taken care of the godliness part

A: Dear Unkempt:

Two origins:

"Cleanness of body was ever deemed to proceed from a due reverence to God."
-- Francis Bacon, "Advancement of Learning," 1605

"Let it be observed that slovenliness is no part of religion; that neither this nor any text of Scripture condemns neatness of apparel. Certainly, this is a duty, not a sin. Cleanliness is indeed next to Godliness."
-- John Wesley, "Sermon 93: On Dress," 1791

-- The Keeper of Extrabiblical Phrases