Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.


"Affliction is a school of virtue: it corrects levity, and interrupts the confidence of sinning." - Francis Atterbury

"Affliction inspires wakefulness, which in turn removes ignorance, which is the ultimate cause of suffering." - Stephen Butterfield

"The lessons of adversity are often the most benignant when they seem the most severe. The depression of vanity sometimes ennobles the feeling. The mind which does not wholly sink under misfortune rises above it more lofty than before, and is strengthened by affliction." - Richard Chenevix, fully Richard Chenevix Trench, Archbishop of Dublin

"Quiet and sincere sympathy is often the most welcome and efficient consolation to the afflicted. Said a wise man to one in deep sorrow, "I did not come to comfort you; God only can do that; but I did come to say how deeply and tenderly I feel for you in your affliction."" - Tyron Edwards

"Affliction is the wholesome soil of virtue, where patience, honor, sweet humility and calm fortitude, take root and strongly flourish." - David Mallet, also David Malloch

"A well-balanced mind is the best remedy against affliction." - Plautus, full name Titus Maccius Plautus NULL

"An undisturbed mind is the best sauce for affliction." - Plautus, full name Titus Maccius Plautus NULL

"No man shall be held responsible for words uttered in affliction." - Babylonian Talmud

"Every man will have his own criterion in forming his judgment of others. I depend very much on the effect of affliction. I consider how a man comes out of the furnace; gold will lie for a month in the furnace without losing a grain." - Richard Cecil

"As full ears load and lay down corn, so does too much fortune bend and break the mind. It deserves to be considered, too, as another disadvantage, that affliction moves pity, and reconciles our very enemies, but prosperity provokes envy, and loses us our very friends." - Pierre Charron

"Pleasures, riches, honor, and joy are sure to have care, disgrace, adversity, and affliction in their train. There is no pleasure without pain, no joy without sorrow. Oh, the folly of expecting lasting felicity in a vale of tears, or a paradise in a ruined world!" -

"The sorrow for the dead is the only sorrow from which we refuse to be divorced. Every other wound we seek to heal, every other affliction to forget; but this wound we consider it a duty to keep open, this affliction we cherish and brood over in solitude… The love which survives the tomb is one of the noblest attributes of the soul." - Washington Irving

"Nothing is more desirable than to be released from an affliction, but nothing is more frightening than to be divested of a crutch." - James Baldwin, fully James Arthur Baldwin

"A firm persuasion of the superintendence of Providence over all our concerns is absolutely necessary to our happiness. Without it, we cannot be said to believe in the Scripture, or practice anything like resignation to his will. If I am convinced that no affliction can befall me without the permission of God, I am convinced likewise that he sees and knows that I am afflicted: believing this, I must in the same degree believe that if I pray to him for deliverance, he hears me: I must needs know, likewise, with equal assurance, that if he hears, he will also deliver me, if that will upon the whole be most conducive to my happiness: and if he does not deliver me, I may be well assured that he has none but the most benevolent intention in declining it." - William Cowper

"How can true happiness proceed from wealth, which in its acquisition causes pain; ;in loss, affliction; in abundance, folly." - Hitopadesa, translated means Book of Good Counsels NULL

"Affliction is able to drown out every earthly voice... but the voice of eternity within a man it cannot drown." -

"Affliction appears to be the guide to reflection; the teacher of humility; the parent of repentance; the nurse of faith; the strengthener of patience, and the promoter of charity." - Author Unknown NULL

"In the day of prosperity there is a forgetfulness of affliction; and in the day of affliction there is no more remembrance of prosperity." - Ben Sira

"Mercy is seasonable in the time of affliction as clouds of rain in the time of drought." - Ben Sira

"Generally we are occupied either with the miseries which now we feel, or with those which threaten; and even when we see ourselves sufficiently secure from the approach of either, still fretfulness, though unwarranted by either present or expected affliction, fails not to spring up from the deep recesses of the heart, where its roots naturally grow, and to fill the soul with its poison." - Blaise Pascal

"To find recreation in amusements is not happiness; for this joy springs from alien and extrinsic sources, and is therefore dependent upon and subject to interruption by a thousand accidents, which may minister inevitable affliction." - Blaise Pascal

"Most of the grand truths of God have to be learned by trouble; they must be burned into us by the hot iron of affliction, otherwise we shall not truly receive them." - Charles Haddon Spurgeon

"As threshing separates the corn from the chaff, so does affliction purify virtue." - Francis Bacon

"Affliction is the school in which great virtues are acquired, in which great characters are formed." - Hannah More

"Affliction comes to us all not to make us sad, but sober, not to make us sorry, but wise; not to make us despondent, but by its darkness to refresh us, as the night refreshes the day; not to impoverish, but to enrich us, as the plough enriches the field; to multiply our joy, as the seed by planting, is multiplied a thousand-fold." - Henry Ward Beecher

"God washes the eyes by tears until they can behold the invisible land where tears shall come no more. O love! O affliction! ye are the guides that show us the way through the great airy space where our loved ones walked; and, as hounds easily follow the scent before the dew be risen, so God teaches us, while yet our sorrow is wet, to follow on and find our dear ones in heaven." - Henry Ward Beecher

"Few things in this world trouble people more than poverty, or the fear of poverty; and indeed it is a sore affliction; but, like all other ills that flesh is heir to, it has its antidote, its reliable remedy. The judicious application of industry, prudence, and temperance is a certain cure." - Hosea Ballou

"There is an elasticity in the human mind, capable of bearing much, but which will not show itself until a certain weight of affliction be put upon it; its powers may be compared to those vehicles whose springs are so contrived that they get on smoothly enough when loaded, but jolt confoundedly when they have nothing to bear." - James Bryant Conant

"Affliction is a treasure, and scarce any man hath enough ot it. No man hath affliction enough that is not matured and ripened by it, and made fit for God by that affliction." - John Donne

"A cheerful temper, joined with innocence, will make beauty attractive, knowledge delightful, and wit good natured. It will lighten sickness, poverty and affliction; convert ignorance into an amiable simplicity, and render deformity itself agreeable." - Joseph Addison

"One month in the school of affliction will teach thee more than the great precepts of Aristotle in seven years; for thou canst never judge rightly of human affairs, unless thou has first felt the blows, and found out the deceits of fortune." - Thomas Fuller

"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

"When something an affliction happens to you, you either let it defeat you, or you defeat it." -

"When something an affliction happens to you, you either let it defeat you, or you defeat it. " - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"If the memory is annihilated, the devil is powerless, and it liberates us from a lot of sorrow, affliction and sadness." - John Yepes “Saint John of the Cross”

"Cure yourself of the affliction of caring how you appear to others. Concern yourself only with how you appear before God, concern yourself only with the idea that God may have of you." - Miguel de Unamuno, fully Miguel de Unamuno y Jogo

"Writing is indeed, some kind of affliction in its demands as the most solitary and introspective of occupations... We must live fully in order to secrete the substance of our work, but we have to work alone." - Nadine Gordimer

"The sign of My forgiveness in the affliction is, that I make it a means to a knowledge." - Niffrari NULL

"Poverty and affliction take away the fuel that feeds pride." - Richard Sibbes (or Sibbs)

"As threshing separates the wheat from the chaff, so does affliction purify virtue." -

"As threshing separates the wheat from the chaff, so does affliction purify virtue." -

"’Tis joy to me to dwell in Thee, At thought of Thee all grief retreats, Thy mercies call for thanks, but all I have to pay are tongue’s conceits. Not heaven’s height can bound Thy might, How then shall thought due praise assign? Teach me, and bless with righteousness, And let my will but further Thine. The praise I bring as offering Accept in lieu of sacrifice, My service call memorial, Pleased with Thy worshipper’s device. Let Thy clear eye, O Lord, descry How wretched are my fears and hopes, And send Thy light to chase the night In which my blinded spirit gropes. In kindness great, compassionate, O guard for me Thy tenderness, Within its wideness let me hide The vastness of my trespasses. And as Thy name to me became A treasure in my heart to stand, So let to Thee my spirit be A treasure held within Thy hand." - Salomon ibn Gabirol, aka Solomon ben Judah or Avicebron

"May it please Thee, O Lord my God, To return to me in mercy, And to bring me back to Thee in perfect repentance. O dispose my heart and turn Thine ear to supplication, And open my heart to Thy law, And plant in my thoughts the fear of Thee, And decree for me good decrees, And annul the evil decrees against me, And lead me not into the power of temptation, Nor into the power of contempt, And from all evil chances deliver me, And hide me in Thy shadow until the havoc pass by, And be with my mouth in my meditation, And keep my ways from sin through my tongue, And remember me when Thou rememberest and favourest Thy people, And when Thou rebuildest Thy Temple, That I may behold the bliss of Thy chosen ones, And purify me to seek diligently Thy Sanctuary devastated and ruined, And to cherish its stones and its dust, And the clods of its desolation, And rebuild Thou its wastes!" - Salomon ibn Gabirol, aka Solomon ben Judah or Avicebron

"Wherever there are three persons, even though they are laymen, there is the church. Every man lives by his own faith, and God does not distinguish between classes. Since, in cases of necessity, you have the right to act as a priest, then you must also accept priestly discipline. It is God's will that all of us should be in the right spiritual state, at any time or place, to administer His sacraments." - Saint Augustine, aka Augustine of Hippo, St. Austin, Bishop of Hippo NULL

"If the soul is hardly conscious of this contemplation, such a person is only able to say that he is satisfied, tranquil and contented and that he is conscious of the presence of God… Pure contemplation is indescribable and therefore secret. This mystical knowledge has the property of hiding the soul within itself." - Saint John of the Cross, born Juan de Yepes Álvarez NULL

"This dark, loving knowledge, which is faith, serves as a means for the divine union in this life as does the light of glory for the clear vision of God in the next. A person should not store up as treasures these visions, nor have the desire to cling to them. Our journey toward God must proceed through the negation of all. One should remain in emptiness and darkness regarding all creatures. He should base his love and joy on what he neither sees nor feels – that is, upon God who is incomprehensible and transcendent." - Saint John of the Cross, born Juan de Yepes Álvarez NULL

"He who is able to suffer wrong with joy, though having means at hand to rebuff it, has consciously received from God the consolation of his faith." - Saint Isaac of Nineveh, also Isaac the Syrian, Isaac of Qatar and Isaac Syrus NULL

"You know, Monsieur, that, although the contemplative life is more perfect than the active life, it is not, however, more so than one which embraces at the same time contemplation and action, as does yours, by God's grace." - Saint Vincent de Paul

"In this country my Lords... the individual subject... 'has nothing to do with the laws but to obey them'" - Samuel Horsley

"The embodied soul, by means of good and evil deeds committed by itself, assumes many forms, coarse and fine. By virtue of its actions and also of such characteristics of the mind as knowledge and desire, it assumes another body for the enjoyment of suitable objects." - Shvetashvatara Upanishad