None can aspire to act greatly but those who are of force greatly to suffer. They who make their arrangements in the first run of misadventure, and in a temper of mind the common fruit of disappointment and dismay, put a seal on their calamities. To their power they take a security against any favours which they might hope from the usual inconstancy of fortune.
Suffering comes to us through and from our whole nature. It cannot be winked out of sight. It cannot be thrust into a subordinate place in the picture of human life. It is the chief burden of history. It is the solemn theme of one of the highest departments of literature,the tragic drama. It gives to fictions their deep interest: it wails through much of our poetry. A large part of human vocations are intended to shut up some of its avenues. It has left traces on every human countenance over which years have passed. It is to not a few the most vivid recollection of life.
The noble power of suffering bravely is as far above that of enterprising greatly, as an unblemished conscience and inflexible resolution are above an accidental flow of spirits, or a sudden tide of blood.
To love all mankind, from the greatest to the lowest (or meanest), a cheerful state of being is required; but in order to see into mankind, into life, and, still more, into ourselves, suffering is requisite.
A gentleman, where I happened to be last night, fell into a discourse which I thought showed a good discerning in him. He took notice, that whenever men have looked into their heart for the idea of true excellence in human nature, they have found it to consist in suffering after a right manner and with a good grace. Heroes are always drawn bearing sorrows, struggling with adversities, undergoing all kinds of hardships, and having, in the service of mankind, a kind of appetite to difficulties and dangers.