Reference > Quotations > S. Austin Allibone, comp. > Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay
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S. Austin Allibone, comp.  Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay.  1880.
 
Dr. Thomas Dick
 
  The earth on which we tread was evidently intended by the Creator to support man and other animals, along with their habitations, and to furnish those vegetable productions which are necessary for their subsistence; and, accordingly, He has given it that exact degree of consistency which is requisite for these purposes. Were it much harder than it now is; were it, for example, as dense as a rock, it would be incapable of cultivation, and vegetables could not be produced from its surface. Were it softer, it would be insufficient to support us, and we should sink at every step, like a person walking in a quagmire. The exact adjustment of the solid parts of our globe to the nature and necessities of the beings which inhabit it, is an instance of divine wisdom.
Dr. Thomas Dick.    
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  Wisdom is that perfection of an intelligent agent by which he is enabled to select and employ the most proper means in order to accomplish a good and important end. It includes the idea of knowledge or intelligence, but may be distinguished from it. Knowledge is opposed to ignorance, wisdom is opposed to folly or error in conduct. As applied to God, it may be considered as comprehending the operations of his omniscience and benevolence; or, in other words, his knowledge to discern, and his disposition to choose, those means and ends which are calculated to promote the order and the happiness of the universe.
Dr. Thomas Dick: Christian Philosopher, sect. iii.    
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  We have every reason to conclude that moral action extends over the whole empire of God, that Benevolence exerts its noblest energies among the inhabitants of distant worlds, and that it is chiefly through the medium of reciprocal kindness and affection that ecstatic joy pervades the hearts of celestial intelligences, for we cannot conceive happiness to exist in any region of space, or among any class of intellectual beings, where love to the Creator and to one another is not a prominent and permanent affection.
Dr. Thomas Dick: Philos. of a Future State, Part I., Sec. VI.    
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  The page of the historian, whether ancient or modern, presents to our view little more than revolting details of ambitious conquerors carrying ruin and devastation in their train, of proud despots trampling on the rights of mankind, of cities turned into ruinous heaps, of countries desolated, of massacres perpetrated with infernal cruelty, of nations dashing one against another, of empires wasted and destroyed, of political and religious dissensions, and of the general progress of injustice, immorality, and crime. Compared with the details on these subjects, all the other facts which have occurred in the history of mankind are considered by the historian as mere interludes in the great drama of the world, and almost unworthy of being recorded.
Dr. Thomas Dick: Philos. of a Future State, Part I., Sect. viii.    
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  Although the arguments now adduced in support of the immortality of man were less powerful than they really are, they ought to make a deep impression on the mind of every reflecting person, and determine the line of conduct which he ought to pursue. If they were only probable,—if they possessed no greater degree of weight than simply to overbalance the opposite arguments, still, it would be every man’s interest to act on the supposition that a future world has a real existence…. For if an eternal world has a real existence, we not only embrace an error in rejecting this idea, but, by acting in conformity with our erroneous conceptions, run the risk of exposing ourselves to the most dreadful and appalling consequences. Whereas, if there be no future state, the belief of it, accompanied with a corresponding conduct, can produce no bad effect either upon our own minds or those of others. On the contrary, it would prove a pleasing illusion during our passage through a world of physical and moral evil, and would revive the downcast spirit when overwhelmed with the disappointments and sorrows which are unavoidable in our present condition.
Dr. Thomas Dick: Philos. of a Future State, Part I., Sect. xi.    
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  We are, therefore, irresistibly led to the conclusion that the voice of conscience, in such cases, is the voice of God, declaring his abhorrence of wicked deeds and the punishment which they deserve, and that his providence presides over the actions of moral agents, and gives intimations of the future destiny of those haughty spirits who obstinately persist in their trespasses. And, consequently, as the peace and serenity of virtuous minds are preludes of nobler enjoyments in a future life, so those terrors which now assail the wicked may be considered as the beginnings of that misery and anguish which will be consummated in the world to come, in the case of those who add final impenitence to all their other crimes.
Dr. Thomas Dick: Philos. of a Future State, pt. i. sec. vii.    
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  If we ascend the thrones of princes, if we enter the palaces of the great, if we walk through the mansions of courtiers and statesmen, if we pry into the abodes of poverty and indigence, if we mingle with poets or philosophers, with manufacturers, merchants, mechanics, peasants, or beggars; if we survey the busy, bustling scene of a large city, the sequestered village, or the cot which stands in the lonely desert—we shall find in every situation, and among every class, beings animated with desires of happiness, which no present enjoyment can gratify, and which no object within the limits of time can fully satiate.
Dr. Thomas Dick: Philos. of a Future State, Sect. II.    
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  To treat a subject so interesting and momentous with levity or indifference—to exert all the energies of the soul in the pursuit of objects which a few years at most will snatch forever from their embrace,—and never to spend one serious hour in reflecting on what may possibly succeed the present scene of existence, or in endeavouring to find some light to clear up the doubts that may hang over this important inquiry, and to treat with derision and scorn those who would direct them in this serious investigation—is not only foolish and preposterous, but the height of infatuation and of madness. It is contrary to every principle on which reasonable men act in relation to the affairs of the present world.
Dr. Thomas Dick: Philosophy of a Future State, Introd.    
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  Upon this short question, “Is man immortal, or is he not?” depends all that is valuable in science, in morals, and in theology,—and all that is most interesting to man as a social being and as a rational and accountable intelligence. If he is destined to an eternal existence, an immense importance must attach to all his present affections, actions, and pursuits; and it must be a matter of infinite moment that they be directed in such a channel as will tend to carry him forward in safety to the felicities of a future world. But if his whole existence be circumscribed within the circle of a few fleeting years, man appears an enigma, an inexplicable phenomenon in the universe, human life a mystery, the world a scene of confusion, virtue a mere phantom, the Creator a capricious being, and his plans and arrangements an inextricable maze.
Dr. Thomas Dick: Philosophy of a Future State, Introd.    
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  If it be one end of future punishment to make wicked men sensible of their folly and ingratitude and of the mercy and favours they have abused, it is probable that, in that future world or region to which they shall be confined, everything will be so arranged as to bring to their recollection the comforts they had abused and the Divine goodness they had despised, and to make them feel sensations opposite to those which were produced by the benevolent arrangements which exist in the present state.
Dr. Thomas Dick: Philosophy of a Future State, Part III.    
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  We may conclude that the chief subjects of study in the heavenly world will be History and Philosophy. Under the department of History may be comprehended all the details which will be exhibited to them respecting the origin, progress, and consummation of the redemption of man, and the information they may receive respecting the natural and moral scenery and the prominent providential occurrences and arrangements of other worlds…. Under the department of Philosophy may be included all those magnificent displays which will be exhibited of the extent, the magnitude, the motions, the mechanism, the scenery, the inhabitants, and the general constitution of other systems, and the general arrangement and order of the universal system comprehended under the government of the Almighty. On these topics, with all their subordinate and infinitely diversified ramifications, the minds of redeemed intelligences from this world will find ample scope for the exercise of all their powers, and will derive from their investigations of them perpetual and uninterrupted enjoyment throughout an endless existence.
Dr. Thomas Dick: Philosophy of a Future State, Part III.    
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  Moral Order is the harmony of intelligent beings in respect to one another, and to their Creator, and is founded upon those relations in which they respectively stand to each other. Thus, Reverence, Adoration, and Gratitude from creatures correspond or harmonize with the idea of a self-existent, omnipotent, and benevolent Being, on whom they depend, and from whom they derive every enjoyment, and love, and good will, and a desire to promote each other’s happiness, harmonize with the idea of intelligences of the same species mingling together in social intercourses. For it will at once be admitted that affections directly opposite to these, and universally prevalent, would tend to destroy the moral harmony of the intelligent universe, and to introduce anarchy and confusion, and consequently misery, among all the rational inhabitants of the material world.
Dr. Thomas Dick: Philosophy of Religion, Sect. I.    
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  Let the law which inculcates truth be supposed to be universally violated among every class of rational beings, and instantly all improvement in wisdom and knowledge would cease; nothing could be depended upon as fact but what was obvious to the senses of every individual; social compacts would be dissolved; a mutual repulsion would ensue, and every social affection and enjoyment would be unhinged and destroyed.
Dr. Thomas Dick: Philosophy of Religion, Sect. VI.    
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