Religion and the clergy
Much of Trollope's writing was about the clergy, and some of his keenest observations were about clergymen.
God does temper the wind to the shorn lamb. To how many has it not seemed, at some one period of their lives, that all was over for them ... And yet they have lived to laugh again, to feel that the air was warm and the earth fair, and that God in giving them ever-springing hope has given everything.
I believe that the reputed sinners are much more numerous than the sinners.
When one reflects what a deal of harm a bishop may do, one wishes that there was some surer way of getting bishops.
I trust ... I shall not be thought to scoff at the pulpit, though some may imagine that I do not feel all the reverence that is due to the cloth. I may question the infallibility of the teachers, but I hope that I shall not therefore be accused of doubt as to the thing to be taught.
Clergymen are like women. As long as they're pure, they're a long sight purer than other men; but when they fall, they sink deeper.
An affectionate letter from a bishop must surely be the most disagreeable missive which a parish clergyman can receive. Affection from one man to another is not natural in letters. A bishop never writes affectionately unless he means to reprove severely.
It is when things go badly with us here, and for most of us only then, that we think that we can see through the dark clouds into the joys of heaven.
There are women ... who think that the acerbities of religion are intended altogether for their own sex.
As he walks through the streets, his very face denotes his horror of the world's wickedness; and there is always an anathema lurking in the corner of his eye.
Alas! how many of us from week to week call ourselves worms and dust and miserable sinners ... and yet in all our doings before the world cannot bring home to ourselves the conviction that we require other guidance than our own.
Who amongst us have not made ... some resolve ... at the sound of the preacher's voice - and forgotten it before our foot was well over the threshold?
Though he can stoop to fawn, and stoop low indeed, if need be, he has still within him the power to assume the tyrant; and with the power he has certainly the wish.
'Tis in this way that the truth of that awful mystery, the fall of man, comes home to us; that we cannot hear the devil plead, and resist the charm of his eloquence. To listen is to be lost.
God is good to us, and heals those wounds with a rapidity which seems to us impossible when we look forward, but is regarded with very insufficient wonder when we look backward.
Infidelity that can make itself successful will, at any rate, bring an income.
No one becomes an infidel at once. A man who has really believed does not lose by a sudden blow the firm convictions of his soul. But when the work has been once commenced, when the first step has been taken, the pace becomes frightfully fast.
There come upon us all as we grow up in years, hours in which it is impossible to keep down the conviction that everything is vanity.
Religious consolation is the best cure for all griefs; but it must not be looked for specially with regard to any individual sorrow... A bankrupt, who has not thought much of such things, will hardly find solace by taking up religion for that special occasion.
The apostle of Christianity and the infidel can meet without a chance of a quarrel; but it is never safe to bring together two men who differ about a saint or a surplice.
How much kinder is God to us than we are willing to be to ourselves! At the loss of every dear face, at the last going of every well beloved one, we all doom ourselves to an eternity of sorrow, and look to waste ourselves away in an ever-running fountain of tears. How seldom does such grief endure! how blessed is the goodness which forbids it to be so!
'How did the synod go on?' 'The synod made an ass of itself as synods always do. It is necessary to get a lot of men together, for the show of the thing, otherwise the world will not believe.'
He was a devout, good man ... sincere, hard-working, sufficiently intelligent ... but deficient in one vital qualification for a clergyman of the Church of England; he was not a gentleman ... I am by no means prepared to define what I do mean, thinking, however, that most men and most women will understand me.
Praying is by no means the easiest work... Kneeling is easy; the repetition of the well-known word is easy; the putting on of some solemnity of mind is perhaps not difficult. But to remember what you are asking why you are asking, of whom you are asking; to feel sure that you want what you do ask and that this asking is the best way to get it; that on the whole is not easy.
The church was large and straggling and ill-arranged, and on this particular Sunday had been almost empty ... 'Does that gentleman generally draw large congregations?' asked the persistent Senator. 'We don't go in for drawing congregations here ... We have a church in every parish for those who choose to attend it.'
No man reverences a clergyman, as a clergyman, so slightly as a brother clergyman.
'It is not the dissenters or the papists that we should fear, but the set of canting, low-bred hypocrites who are wriggling their way in among us: men who have no fixed principle, no standard ideas of religion or doctrine, but who take up some popular cry.'