Reference > Quotations > S. Austin Allibone, comp. > Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay
S. Austin Allibone, comp.  Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay.  1880.
  In afflictions men generally draw their consolations out of books of morality, which indeed are of great use to fortify and strengthen the mind against the impressions of sorrow. Monsieur St. Evremont, who does not approve of this method, recommends authors who are apt to stir up mirth in the minds of the readers, and fancies Don Quixote can give more relief to a heavy heart than Plutarch or Seneca, as it is much easier to divert grief than to conquer it. This doubtless may have its effects on some tempers. I should rather have recourse to authors of a quite contrary kind, that give us instances of calamities and misfortunes and show human nature in its greatest distresses.
Joseph Addison: Spectator, No. 163.    
  Make the true use of those afflictions which his hand, mercifully severe, hath been pleased to lay upon thee.
Francis Atterbury.    
  Though it be not in our power to make affliction no affliction, yet it is in our power to take off the edge of it, by a steady view of those divine joys prepared for us in another state.
Francis Atterbury.    
  Our Saviour is represented everywhere in Scripture as the special patron of the poor and afflicted.
Francis Atterbury.    
  Can any man trust a better support under affliction than the friendship of Omnipotence, who is both able and willing, and knows how, to relieve him?
Richard Bentley.    
  The furnace of affliction refines us from earthly drossiness, and softens us for the impression of God’s own stamp.
Robert Boyle.    
  But calamity is, unhappily, the usual season of reflection; and the pride of men will not often suffer reason to have any scope until it can be no longer of service.
Edmund Burke: Letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol, April 3, 1777.    
  Great distress has never hitherto taught, and whilst the world lasts it never will teach, wise lessons to any part of mankind. Men are as ??much blinded by the extremes of misery as by the extremes of prosperity.
Edmund Burke: Letter to a Member of the National Assembly, 1791.    
  Afflictions sent by Providence melt the constancy of the noble-minded, but confirm the obduracy of the vile. The same furnace that hardens clay liquefies gold; and in the strong manifestations of divine power Pharaoh found his punishment, but David his pardon.
Charles Caleb Colton: Lacon.    
  How naturally does affliction make us Christians! and how impossible is it when all human help is vain, and the whole earth too poor and trifling to furnish us with one moment’s peace, how impossible is it then to avoid looking at the gospel!
William Cowper: Letter to Lady Hesketh, July 4, 1765.    
  How every hostile feeling becomes mitigated into something like kindness, when its object, perhaps lately proud, assuming, unjust, is now seen oppressed into dejection by calamity! The most cruel wild beast, or more cruel man, if seen languishing in death and raising towards us a feeble and supplicating look, would certainly move our pity.
John Foster: Journal.    
  There is a certain equanimity in those who are good and just which runs into their very sorrow and disappoints the force of it. Though they must pass through afflictions in common with all who are in human nature, yet their conscious integrity shall undermine their affliction; nay, that very affliction shall add force to their integrity, from a reflection of the use of virtue in the hour of affliction.
Francham: Spectator, No. 520.    
  A consideration of the benefit of afflictions should teach us to bear them patiently when they fall to our lot, and to be thankful to Heaven for having planted such barriers around us, to restrain the exuberance of our follies and our crimes.  13
  Let these sacred fences be removed; exempt the ambitious from disappointment and the guilty from remorse; let luxury go unattended with disease, and indiscretion lead into no embarrassments or distresses; our vices would range without control, and the impetuosity of our passions have no bounds; every family would be filled with strife, every nation with carnage, and a deluge of calamities would break in upon us which would produce more misery in a year than is inflicted by the hand of Providence in a lapse of ages.
Robert Hall: Character of Cleander.    
  The time of sickness or affliction is like the cool of the day to Adam, a season of peculiar propriety for the voice of God to be heard; and may be improved into a very advantageous opportunity of begetting or increasing spiritual life.
Henry Hammond.    
  The minds of the afflicted do never think they have fully conceived the weight or measure of their own woe: they use their affection as a whetstone both to wit and memory.
Richard Hooker.    
  Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above it.  17
  As daily experience makes it evident that misfortunes are unavoidably incident to human life, that calamity will neither be repelled by fortitude, nor escaped by flight; neither awed by greatness, nor eluded by obscurity; philosophers have endeavoured to reconcile us to that condition which they cannot teach us to merit, by persuading us that most of our evils are made afflictive only by ignorance or perverseness, and that nature has annexed to every vicissitude of external circumstances some advantage sufficient to over-balance all its inconveniences.
Dr. Samuel Johnson.    
  It is by affliction chiefly that the heart of man is purified, and that the thoughts are fixed on a better state. Prosperity, alloyed and imperfect as it is, has power to intoxicate the imagination, to fix the mind upon the present scene, to produce confidence and elation, and to make him who enjoys affluence and honours forget the hand by which they were bestowed. It is seldom that we are otherwise than by affliction awakened to a sense of our imbecility, or taught to know how little all our acquisitions can conduce to safety or to quiet, and how justly we may ascribe to the superintendence of a higher power those blessings which in the wantonness of success we considered as the attainments of our policy or courage.
Dr. Samuel Johnson.    
  When any calamity has been suffered, the first thing to be remembered is, how much has been escaped.
Dr. Samuel Johnson.    
  Upon the upshot, afflictions are the methods of a merciful Providence to force us upon the only means of settling matters right.
Roger L’Estrange.    
  The willow which bends to the tempest often escapes better than the oak which resists it; and so in great calamities it sometimes happens that light and frivolous spirits recover their elasticity and presence of mind sooner than those of a loftier character.  22
  The sinner’s conscience is the best expositor of the mind of God, under any judgment or affliction.
Robert South.    
  It is a very melancholy reflection, that men are usually so weak that it is absolutely necessary for them to know sorrow and pain, to be in their right senses. Prosperous people (for happy there are none) are hurried away with a fond sense of their present condition, and thoughtless of the mutability of fortune. Fortune is a term which we must use, in such discourses as these, for what is wrought by the unseen hand of the Disposer of all things. But methinks the disposition of a mind which is truly great is that which makes misfortunes and sorrows little when they befall ourselves, great and lamentable when they befall other men. The most unpardonable malefactor in the world going to his death and bearing it with composure would win the pity of those who should behold him; and this not because his calamity is deplorable, but because he seems himself not to deplore it. We suffer for him who is less sensible of his own misery, and are inclined to despise him who sinks under the weight of his distresses.
Sir Richard Steele: Spectator, No. 312.    
  Before an affliction is digested, consolation ever comes too soon; and after it is digested, it comes too late; but there is a mark between these two, as fine almost as a hair, for a comforter to take aim at.  25
  When a storm of sad mischance beats upon our spirits, turn it into advantage, to serve religion or prudence.
Jeremy Taylor.    
  Sad accidents, and a state of affliction, is a school of virtue: it corrects levity, and interrupts the confidence of sinning.
Jeremy Taylor.    
  That which thou dost not understand when thou readest, thou shalt understand in the day of thy visitation. For many secrets of religion are not perceived till they be felt, and are not felt but in the day of a great calamity.
Jeremy Taylor.    
  Religion directs us rather to secure inward peace than outward ease, to be more careful to avoid everlasting torment than light afflictions.
John Tillotson.    
  Others have sought to ease themselves of all the evil of affliction by disputing subtilely against it, and pertinaciously maintaining that afflictions are no real evils, but only in imagination.
John Tillotson.    
  Though all afflictions are evils in themselves, yet they are good for us, because they discover to us our disease and tend to our cure.
John Tillotson.    
  God will make these evils the occasion of greater good, by turning them to advantage in this world, or increase of our happiness in the next.
John Tillotson.    
  None of us fall into those circumstances of danger, want, or pain, that can have hopes of relief but from God alone; none in all the world to flee to but him.
John Tillotson.    
  All men naturally fly to God in extremity, and the most atheistical person in the world, when forsaken of all hopes of any other relief, is forced to acknowledge him.
John Tillotson.    
  It is our great unhappiness, when any calamities fall upon us, that we are uneasy and dissatisfied.
William Wake.    
  Let us not mistake God’s goodness, nor imagine because he smites us, that we are forsaken of him.
William Wake.    
  If we repent seriously, submit contentedly, and serve him faithfully, afflictions shall turn to our advantage.
William Wake.    
  It is quite possible either to improve or fail to improve either kind of affliction.
Richard Whately.    

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