C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


Affliction is but the shadow of God’s wing.

George Macdonald.

Man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.

Job v. 7.

Afflictions clarify the soul.


Calamity is man’s true touchstone.


’T is a physic that is bitter to sweet end.


Sanctified afflictions are spiritual promotions.

Matthew Henry.

There is healing in the bitter cup.


I am a feather for each wind that blows.


Afflictions are but as a dark entry into our Father’s house.

Thomas Brooks.

Night brings out stars as sorrow shows us truths.

P. J. Bailey.

What region of the earth is not full of our calamities?


It is the best thing for a stricken heart to be helping others.

A. H. K.

We only see clearly when we have reached the depths of woe.


He who tenders doubtful safety to those in trouble refuses it.


The afflictions to which we are accustomed, do not disturb us.


Distress is virtue’s opportunity: we only live to teach us how to die.


Affliction, like the iron-smith, shapes as it smites.


In time of affliction, a vow; in the time of prosperity, an increase of wickedness.

Hebrew Proverb.

  • Heaven gives us friends to bless the present scene;
  • Resumes them, to prepare us for the next.
  • Young.

    The Lord gets his best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction.


    Corn is cleaned with wind, and the soul with chastening.

    George Herbert.

  • Affliction’s sons are brothers in distress;
  • A brother to relieve, how exquisite the bliss!
  • Burns.

  • Affliction is not sent in vain—
  • From that good God who chastens whom He loves!
  • Southey.

  • Heaven is not always angry when he strikes,
  • But most chastises those whom most he likes.
  • Pomfret.

    If you would not have affliction visit you twice, listen at once to what it teaches.


    Patience cannot remove, but it can always dignify and alleviate, misfortune.

    Laurence Sterne.

    As threshing separates the corn from the chaff, so does affliction purify virtue.


    With the wind of tribulation God separates in the floor of the soul, the chaff from the corn.


    Oft the cloud that wraps the present hour serves but to brighten all our future days.

    Wm. Browne.

  • Affliction is enamor’d of thy parts,
  • And thou art wedded to calamity.
  • Shakespeare.

    It is from the remembrance of joys we have lost that the arrows of affliction are pointed.


  • We bleed, we tremble, we forget, we smile—
  • The mind turns fool, before the cheek is dry.
  • Young.

    When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions.


    How blunt are all the arrows of thy quiver in comparison with those of guilt!


    What seem to us but dim funereal tapers may be heaven’s distant lamps.


    The good are better made by ill, as odors crushed are sweeter still!


    Amid my list of blessings infinite stands this the foremost, “That my heart has bled.”


  • Thy pleasure points the shaft, and bends the bow;
  • The cluster blasts, or bids it brightly glow.
  • Dr. Young.

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


    The loss of a beloved connection awakens an interest in heaven before unfelt.


    The eternal stars shine out as soon as it is dark enough.


    Affliction is the school in which great virtues are acquired, in which great characters are formed.

    Hannah More.

    As sure as God ever puts His children into the furnace, He will be in the furnace with them.

    C. H. Spurgeon.

    We should be more anxious that our afflictions should benefit us than that they should be speedily removed from us.

    Robert Hall.

  • Christ leads me through no darker rooms
  • Than He went through before.
  • Richard Baxter.

    Grace will ever speak for itself and be fruitful in well-doing; the sanctified cross is a fruitful tree.


    Affliction of itself does not sanctify any body, but the reverse. I believe in sanctified afflictions, but not in sanctifying afflictions.

    C. H. Spurgeon.

    Extraordinary afflictions are not always the punishment of extraordinary sins, but sometimes the trial of extraordinary graces.

    Matthew Henry.

  • Affliction is the wholesome soul of virtue;
  • Where patience, honor, sweet humanity,
  • Calm fortitude, take root, and strongly flourish.
  • Mallet and Thomson.

    Believe me, the gods spare the afflicted, and do not always oppress those who are unfortunate.


    God afflicts with the mind of a father, and kills for no other purpose but that he may raise again.


    God sometimes washes the eyes of His children with tears in order that they may read aright His providence and His commandments.

    T. L. Cuyler.

  • Alas by some degree of woe,
  • We every bliss must gain;
  • The heart can ne’er a transport know,
  • That never feels a pain.
  • Lord Lyttleton.

    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.

    C. H. Spurgeon.

    Thou art never at any time nearer to God than when under tribulation; which He permits for the purification and beautifying of thy soul.

    Miguel Molinos.

  • Afflictions clarify the soul,
  • And like hard masters, give more hard directions,
  • Tutoring the non-age of uncurbed affections.
  • Quarles.

    With every anguish of our earthly part the spirit’s sight grows clearer; this was meant when Jesus touched the blind man’s lids with clay.


    The cup which my Saviour giveth me, can it be anything but a cup of salvation?

    Alexander Maclaren.

  • Affliction is the good man’s shining scene;
  • Prosperity conceals his brightest ray,
  • As night to stars, woe lustre gives to man.
  • Young.

    The very afflictions of our earthly pilgrimage are presages of our future glory, as shadows indicate the sun.


    Perfumes, the more they are chafed, the more they render their pleasant scents; and so affliction expresseth virtue fully.

    John Webster.

    The furnace of affliction refines us from earthly dressiness, and softens us for the impression of God’s own stamp.


    Incessant falls teach men to reform, and distress rouses their strength. Life springs from calamity, and death from ease.


    Nothing can occur beyond the strength of faith to sustain, or, transcending the resources of religion, to relieve.


    It is the crushed grape that gives out the blood-red wine: it is the suffering soul that breathes the sweetest melodies.

    Gail Hamilton.

    The mind which does not wholly sink under misfortune rises above it more lofty than before, and is strengthened by affliction.

    Richard Chenevix.

    Affliction is a sort of moral gymnasium in which the disciples of Christ are trained to robust exercise, hardy exertion, and severe conflict.

    Hannah More.

  • Henceforth I’ll bear
  • Affliction till it do cry out itself,
  • Enough, enough, and die.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Thou art a soul in bliss; but I am bound
  • Upon a wheel of fire; that mine own tears
  • Do scald like molten lead.
  • Shakespeare.

  • With silence only as their benediction,
  • God’s angels come
  • Where in the shadow of a great affliction,
  • The soul sits dumb!
  • Whittier.

    Every man deems that he has precisely the trials and temptations which are the hardest of all for him to bear; but they are so, because they are the very ones he needs.


    And this is the course of Nature: there is nothing like suffering to enlighten the giddy brain, widen the narrow mind, improve the trivial heart.

    Charles Reade.

  • If aught can teach us aught, Affliction’s looks,
  • Making us pry into ourselves so near,
  • Teach us to know ourselves, beyond all books,
  • Or all the learnèd schools that ever were.
  • John Davies.

  • Aromatic plants bestow
  • No spicy fragrance where they grow;
  • But crushed and trodden to the ground,
  • Diffuse their balmy sweets around.
  • Goldsmith.

    God is now spoiling us of what would otherwise have spoiled us. When God makes the world too hot for His people to hold, they will let it go.

    T. Powell.

  • When Providence for secret ends,
  • Corroding cares, or sharp affliction, sends;
  • We must conclude it best it should be so,
  • And not despondent or impatient grow.
  • Pomfret.

  • Are afflictions aught
  • But mercies in disguise? th’ alternate cup,
  • Medicinal though bitter, and prepar’d
  • By love’s own hand for salutary ends.
  • Mallet.

    The great, in affliction, bear a countenance more princely than they are wont; for it is the temper of the highest heart, like the palm-tree, to strive most upward when it is most burdened.

    Sir P. Sidney.

    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.

    Richard Mant.

    The truest help we can render an afflicted man is not to take his burden from him, but to call out his best energy, that he may be able to bear the burden.

    Phillips Brooks.

    No man ever stated his griefs as lightly as he might. For it is only the finite that has wrought and suffered; the infinite lies stretched in smiling repose.


    Afflictions are the medicine of the mind. If they are not toothsome, let it suffice that they are wholesome. It is not required in physic that it should please, but heal.

    Bishop Henshaw.

    No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

    Hebrews xii. 11.

    There will be no Christian but what will have a Gethsemane, but every praying Christian will find that there is no Gethsemane without its angel!

    Every man will have his own criterion in forming his judgment of offers. 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.

    Human character is never found “to enter into its glory,” except through the ordeal of affliction. Its force cannot come forth without the offer of resistance, nor can the grandeur of its free will declare itself, except in the battle of fierce temptation.

    The damps of autumn sink into the leaves and prepare them for the necessity of their fall; and thus insensibly are we, as years close around us, detached from our tenacity of life by the gentle pressure of recorded sorrow.

    However bitter the cup we have to drink, we are sure it contains nothing unnecessary or unkind; and we should take it from His hand with as much meekness as we accept of eternal life with thankfulness.

    Tears and sorrows and losses are a part of what must be experienced in this present state of life: some for our manifest good, and all, therefore, it is trusted, for our good concealed; for our final and greatest good.

    It is a great thing, when our Gethsemane hours come, when the cup of bitterness is pressed to our lips, and when we pray that it may pass away, to feel that it is not fate, that it is not necessity, but divine love for good ends working upon us.

    Fairer and more fruitful in spring the vine becomes from the skilful pruning of the husbandman; less pure had been the gums which the odorous balsam gives if it had not been cut by the knife of the Arabian shepherd.

    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.

    As they lay copper in aquafortis before they begin to engrave it, so the Lord usually prepares us by the searching, softening discipline of affliction for making a deep, lasting impression of himself upon our hearts.

    The bread of bitterness is the food on which men grow to their fullest stature; the waters of bitterness are the debatable ford through which they reach the shores of wisdom; the ashes boldly grasped and eaten without faltering are the price that must be paid for the golden fruit of knowledge.

    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.

    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.

    As the most generous vine, if it is not pruned, runs out into many superfluous stems, and grows at last weak and fruitless; so doth the best man, if he be not cut short of his desires and pruned with afflictions. If it be painful to bleed, it is worse to wither. Let me be pruned, that I may grow, rather than be cut up to burn.

    In a great affliction there is no light either in the stars or in the sun; for when the inward light is fed with fragrant oil; there can be no darkness though the sun should go out. But when, like a sacred lamp in the temple, the inward light is quenched, there is no light outwardly, though a thousand suns should preside in the heavens.

    The cloud which appeared to the prophet Ezekiel carried with it winds and storms, but it was environed with a golden circle, to teach us that the storms of afflictions, which happen to God’s children, are encompassed with brightness and smiling felicity.

    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.

    In thy silent wishing, thy voiceless, unuttered prayer, let the desire be not cherished that afflictions may not visit thee; for well has it been said, “Such prayers never seem to have wings. I am willing to be purified through sorrow, and to accept it meekly as a blessing. I see that all the clouds are angels’ faces, and their voices speak harmoniously of the everlasting chime.”

    The truth is, when we are under any affliction we are generally troubled with a malicious kind of melancholy; we only dwell and pore upon the sad and dark occurrences of Providence, but never take notice of the more benign and bright ones. Our way in this world is like a walk under a row of trees, checkered with light and shade; and because we cannot all along walk in the sunshine, we therefore perversely fix only upon the darker passages, and so lose all the comfort of our comforts. We are like froward children who, if you take one of their playthings from them, throw away all the rest in spite.

    Oh, when we are journeying through the murky night and the dark woods of affliction and sorrow, it is something to find here and there a spray broken, or a leafy stem bent down with the tread of His foot and the brush of His hand as He passed; and to remember that the path He trod He has hallowed, and thus to find lingering fragrance and hidden strength in the remembrance of Him as “in all points tempted like as we are,” bearing grief for us, bearing grief with us, bearing grief like us.