Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?), Antepenultimata
(New York: The Neale Publishing Company, 1912), p. 225:
This is my ultimate and determining test of right—"What, in the circumstances, would Jesus have done?"—the Jesus of the New Testament, not the Jesus of the commentators, theologians, priests and parsons. The test is perhaps not infallible, but it is exceedingly simple and gives as good practical results as any.
Id., p. 245:
The poor were Christ's peculiar care. Ever for them and their privations, and not greatly for their spiritual darkness, fell from his lips the compassionate word, the mandate for their relief and cherishing. Of foreign missions, of home missions, of mission schools, of church building, of work among pagans in partibus infidelium, of work among sailors, of communion table, of delegates to councils—of any of these things he knew no more than the moon man. They are later inventions, as is the entire florid and flamboyant fabric of ecclesiasticism that has been reared, stone by stone and century after century, upon his simple life and works and words. "Founder," indeed! He founded nothing, instituted nothing; Paul did all that. Christ simply went about doing, and being, good—admonishing the rich, whom he honestly but foolishly regarded as criminals, comforting the luckless and uttering wisdom with that Oriental indirection wherein our stupid ingenuity finds imaginary warrant for all our pranks and fads.