Reference > Quotations > S. Austin Allibone, comp. > Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay
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CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
S. Austin Allibone, comp.  Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay.  1880.
 
Richard Bentley
 
  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.    
  1
 
  We are so far from repining at God that he hath not extended the period of our lives to the longevity of the antediluvians, that we give him thanks for contracting the days of our trial, and receiving us more maturely into those everlasting habitations above.
Richard Bentley.    
  2
 
  ’Tis a mathematical demonstration, that these twenty-four letters admit of so many changes in their order, and make such a long roll of differently-ranged alphabets, not two of which are alike, that they could not all be exhausted though a million millions of writers should each write above a thousand alphabets a day for the space of a million millions of years.
Richard Bentley.    
  3
 
  The poetical fables are more ancient than the astrological influences, that were not known to the Greeks till after Alexander the Great.
Richard Bentley.    
  4
 
  Not that we are so low and base as their atheism would depress us; not walking statues of clay, not the sons of brute earth, whose final inheritance is death and corruption.
Richard Bentley.    
  5
 
  There are several topics used against atheism and idolatry; such as the visible marks of divine wisdom and goodness in the works of the creation, the vital union of souls with matter, and the admirable structure of animate bodies.
Richard Bentley.    
  6
 
  The mechanical atheist, though you grant him his laws of mechanism, is inextricably puzzled and baffled with the first formation of animals.
Richard Bentley.    
  7
 
  We may proceed yet further, with the atheist; and convince him that not only his principle is absurd, but his consequences also as absurdly deduced from it.
Richard Bentley.    
  8
 
  Whatsoever atheists think on, or whatsoever they look on, all do administer some reasons for suspicion and diffidence, lest possibly they may be in the wrong; and then it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God!
Richard Bentley.    
  9
 
  No atheist, as such, can be a true friend, an affectionate relation, or a loyal subject.
Richard Bentley.    
  10
 
  If the atheists would live up to the ethics of Epicurus himself, they would make few or no proselytes from the Christian religion.
Richard Bentley.    
  11
 
  It is well known, both from ancient and modern experience, that the very boldest atheists, out of their debauches and company, when they chance to be surprised with solitude or sickness, are the most suspicious, timorous, and despondent wretches in the world.
Richard Bentley.    
  12
 
  On this point I have a piece of advice to offer to all young intellectual aspirants: they should keep their commodities to themselves; they should not produce their notions until they have wrought them into form. I did the contrary of this myself, and I smarted severely for it. In the first place, I used to confuse myself with the perplexity of my thoughts,—half conceptions, abortions of truth that came to the birth when my mind had not strength to bring them forth,—monsters begotten out of the cloud, like those in the old fable. With Cassio, I saw a mass of things, but nothing distinctly. I had chosen my own points of observation; I viewed many things differently from the vulgar, but my visions for some time, until my eye was accustomed to the change, were wont to float before me vaguely and inapprehensibly. I had rejected the hack notions, the uses of other men, and had as yet made none for myself that I could call properly my own. What, then, would have been my wisdom? Clearly, to reserve these rough sketches of my intellect for secret service, and not to set them forth for show; to veil from the vulgar eye the unseemliness of my mind, while in its rudiments; to employ its “airy portraiture” for exercise, in order that it might so learn to labour finally for use; just as the young painter will work off a hundred sketches for the fire before he can finish one for public exhibition. In the mean time I should have holden to the old adage, “Loquendum ut vulgus sentiendum ut docti.” I should have talked and demeaned myself like mere matter-of-fact men, until I felt that I had risen to the level of the men of mind and had attained the mastery of their method. I should have let my raw fruit hang and sun itself upon the tree till it was penetrated with ripeness and would come away easily upon the touch of a little finger. I ought not to have torn it off violently and with difficulty while its humours were yet crude, to the laceration of the parent tree,—the torture of my own inward man.
Richard Bentley.    
  13
 
  There are books extant which they must needs allow of as proper evidence; even the mighty volumes of visible nature, and the everlasting tables of right reason.
Richard Bentley.    
  14
 
  The adequate meaning of chance, as distinguished from fortune, is that the latter is understood to befall only rational agents, but chance to be among inanimate bodies.
Richard Bentley.    
  15
 
 
 
  Chance is but a mere name, and really nothing in itself; a conception of our minds, and only a compendious way of speaking, whereby we would express that such effects as are commonly attributed to chance were verily produced by their true and proper causes, but without their design to produce them.
Richard Bentley.    
  16
 
  He has a secret spring of spiritual joy and the continual feast of a good conscience within that forbids him to be miserable.
Richard Bentley.    
  17
 
  A spontaneous production is against matter of fact; a thing without example not only in man, but the vilest of weeds.
Richard Bentley.    
  18
 
  An eternal sterility must have possessed the world where all things had been fixed and fastened everlastingly with the adamantine chains of specific gravity, if the Almighty had not spoken and said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit-tree yielding fruit, after its kind:” and it was so.
Richard Bentley.    
  19
 
  The order and beauty of the inanimate parts of the world, the discernible ends of them, the meliority above what was necessary to be, do evince by a reflex argument, that it is the workmanship, not of blind mechanism, or blinder chance, but of an intelligent and benign agent.
Richard Bentley.    
  20
 
  That all these distances, motions, and quantities of matter should be so accurately and harmoniously adjusted in this great variety of our system, is above the fortuitous hits of blind material causes, and must certainly flow from that eternal fountain of wisdom.
Richard Bentley.    
  21
 
  Let not atheists lay the fault of their sins upon human nature, which have their prevalence from long custom and inveterated habit.
Richard Bentley.    
  22
 
  What we have always seen done in one way, we are apt to imagine there was but that one way.
Richard Bentley.    
  23
 
  If the eye were so acute as to rival the finest microscopes, and to discern the smallest hair upon the leg of a gnat, it would be a curse, and not a blessing, to us: it would make all things appear rugged and deformed; the most finely polished crystal would be uneven and rough; the sight of our own selves would affright us; the smoothest skin would be beset all over with rugged scales and bristly hairs.
Richard Bentley.    
  24
 
  Fortune is but a synonymous word for nature and necessity.
Richard Bentley.    
  25
 
  We carry the image of God in us,—a rational and immortal soul, and though we be now miserable and feeble, yet we aspire after eternal happiness, and finally expect a great exaltation of all our natural powers.
Richard Bentley.    
  26
 
  God’s eternal duration is permanent and invisible, not measurable by time and motion, nor to be computed by number of successive moments.
Richard Bentley.    
  27
 
  If this pre-existent eternity is not compatible with a successive duration, as we clearly and distinctly perceive that it is not, then it remains that some being, though infinitely above our finite comprehensions, must have had an identical, invariable continuance from all eternity; which being is no other than God.
Richard Bentley.    
  28
 
  That all these distances, motions, and quantities of matter should be so accurately and harmoniously adjusted in this great variety of our system, is above the fortuitous hits of blind material causes; and must certainly flow from that eternal fountain of wisdom.
Richard Bentley.    
  29
 
  The consideration of our understanding, which is an incorporeal substance independent from matter; and the contemplation of our own bodies, which have all the stamps and characters of excellent contrivance: these alone do very easily guide us to the wise Author of all things.
Richard Bentley.    
  30
 
  Some thought and meditation are necessary; and a man may possibly be so stupid as not to have God in all his thoughts, or to say in his heart there is none.
Richard Bentley.    
  31
 
  If we consider how vicious and corrupt the Athenians were, how conceited of their own wit, science, and politeness.
Richard Bentley.    
  32
 
  Is heaven, with its pleasures for evermore, to be parted with so unconcernedly? Is an exceeding and eternal weight of glory too light in the balance against the hopeless death of the atheist, and utter extinction?
Richard Bentley.    
  33
 
  While he continues in life this dusky scene of horror, this melancholy prospect of final perdition, will frequently occur to his fancy.
Richard Bentley.    
  34
 
  Do we not see that slothful, intemperate, and incontinent persons destroy their bodies with disease, their reputations with disgrace, and their faculties with want?
Richard Bentley.    
  35
 
  He acknowledges nothing besides matter and motion; so that all must be performed either by mechanism or accident; either of which is wholly unaccountable.
Richard Bentley.    
  36
 
  Did religion bestow heaven, without any terms or conditions, indifferently upon all, there would be no infidel.
Richard Bentley.    
  37
 
  The infinite distance between the Creator and the noblest of all creatures can never he measured, nor exhausted by endless addition of finite degrees.
Richard Bentley.    
  38
 
  He has a secret spring of spiritual joy and the continual feast of a good conscience within, that forbids him to be miserable.
Richard Bentley.    
  39
 
  A knave or fool can do no harm, even by the most sinistrous and absurd choice.
Richard Bentley.    
  40
 
  As Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, so it is manifest from this chapter that St. Paul was a great master in all the learning of the Greeks.
Richard Bentley.    
  41
 
  A great number of living and thinking particles could not possibly, by their mutual contact, and pressing, and striking, compose one great individual animal with one mind and understanding, and a vital consension of the whole body; any more than a swarm of bees, or a crowd of men and women, can be conceived to make up one particular living creature, compounded and constituted of the aggregate of them all.
Richard Bentley.    
  42
 
  We have certain demonstration from Egyptian mummies, and Roman urns and rings, and measures and edifices, and many other antiquities, that human stature has not diminished for above two thousand years.
Richard Bentley.    
  43
 
  We adore his undeserved mercy towards us that he made us chief of the visible creation.
Richard Bentley.    
  44
 
  Atheists must confess that, before that assigned period matter had existed eternally, inseparably endued with this principle of attraction; and yet had never attracted or convened before, during that infinite attraction.
Richard Bentley.    
  45
 
  It is utterly unconceivable that inanimate brute matter, without the mediation of some immaterial being, should operate upon other matter without mutual contact.
Richard Bentley.    
  46
 
  The miracles of our Lord are peculiarly eminent above the lying wonders of demons, in that they were not made out of vain ostentation of power, and to raise unprofitable amazement; but for the real benefit and advantage of men, by feeding the hungry, healing all sorts of diseases, ejecting of devils, and reviving the dead.
Richard Bentley.    
  47
 
  A few sensual and voluptuous persons may, for a season, eclipse this native light of the soul, but can never so wholly smother and extinguish it but that, at some lucid intervals, it will recover itself again, and shine forth to the conviction of the conscience.
Richard Bentley.    
  48
 
  I hope to make it appear that in the great dramatic poem of nature is a necessity of introducing a God.
Richard Bentley.    
  49
 
  By how much they would diminish the present extent of the sea, so much they would impair the fertility, and fountains, and rivers, of the earth.
Richard Bentley.    
  50
 
  Epicurus seems to have had his brains so muddled and confounded that he scarce ever kept in the right way, though the main maxim of his philosophy was to trust to his senses and follow his nose.
Richard Bentley.    
  51
 
  Some great men of the last age, before the mechanical philosophy was revived, were too much addicted to this nugatory art: when occult quality, and sympathy and antipathy, were admitted for satisfactory explications of things.
Richard Bentley.    
  52
 
  Most of the distempers are the effects of abused plenty and luxury, and must not be charged upon our Maker; who (notwithstanding) hath provided excellent medicines to alleviate those evils which we bring upon ourselves.
Richard Bentley.    
  53
 
  It is the way of attaining to heaven that makes profane scorners so willingly let go the expectation of it. It is not the articles of the creed, but the duty to God and their neighbour, that is such an inconsistent, incredible legend.
Richard Bentley.    
  54
 
  The divine inspection into the affairs of the world doth necessarily follow from the nature and being of God; and he that denies this, doth implicitly deny his existence: he may acknowledge what he will with his mouth, but in his heart he hath said, There is no God.
Richard Bentley.    
  55
 
  Our Saviour hath enjoined us a reasonable service: all his laws are in themselves conducive to the temporal interest of them that observe them.
Richard Bentley.    
  56
 
  Leave them as long as they keep their hardness and impenitent hearts to those gnawing and excruciating fears, those whips of the divine Nemesis, that frequently scourge even atheists themselves.
Richard Bentley.    
  57
 
  A few sensual and voluptuous persons may, for a season, eclipse this native light of the soul; but can never so wholly smother and extinguish it but that, at some lucid intervals, it will recover itself again, and shine forth to the conviction of their conscience.
Richard Bentley.    
  58
 
  If our sense of hearing were exalted, we should have no quiet or sleep in the silentest nights, and we must inevitably be stricken deaf or dead with a clap of thunder.
Richard Bentley.    
  59
 
  If the powers of cogitation and volition and sensation are neither inherent in matter as such, nor acquirable to matter by any motion or modification of it; it necessarily follows that they proceed from some cogitative substance, some incorporeal inhabitant within us, which we call spirit and soul.
Richard Bentley.    
  60
 
  If we consider the dignity of an intelligent being, and put that in the scales against brute inanimate matter, we may affirm, without overvaluing human nature, that the soul of one virtuous and religious man is of greater worth and excellence than the sun and his planets.
Richard Bentley.    
  61
 
  If these powers of cogitation, volition, and sensation are neither inherent in matter as such, nor acquirable to matter by any motion and modification of it, it necessarily follows that they proceed from some cogitative substance, some incorporeal inhabitant within us, which we call spirit.
Richard Bentley.    
  62
 
  The outward stars, with their systems of planets, must necessarily have descended towards the middlemost system of the universe, whither all would be most strongly attracted from all parts of a finite space.
Richard Bentley.    
  63
 
  Religion is not only useful to civil society, but fundamental to its very birth and constitution.
Richard Bentley.    
  64
 
  Those terrors are not to be charged upon religion which proceed either from the want of religion, or superstitious mistakes about it.
Richard Bentley.    
  65
 
  Is it not a firmer foundation for tranquillity to believe that all things were created, and are ordered for the best, than that the whole universe is mere bungling and blundering; nothing effected for any purpose or design, but all ill-favoredly cobbled and jumbled together by the unguided agitation and rude shuffles of matter?
Richard Bentley.    
  66
 
  I could as easily take up with that senseless assertion of the Stoics that virtues and vices are real bodies and distinct animals, as with this of the atheist, that they can all be derived from the power of mere bodies.
Richard Bentley.    
  67
 
  Arguments of divine wisdom, in the frame of animate bodies, are the artificial position of many valves all so situate as to give a free passage to the blood in their due channels, but not permit them to regurgitate and disturb the great circulation.
Richard Bentley.    
  68
 
  Matter, abstractly and absolutely considered, cannot have borne an infinite duration now past and expired.
Richard Bentley: Sermons.    
  69
 
  Why read a book which you cannot quote?
Dr. Richard Bentley: To his Son, whom he found reading a Novel.    
  70
 
 
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