"One of the surprising and unique faculties of the Christian religion is its ability to guide and console anyone who has recourse to it in any juncture on no matter what terms. If there is any remedy for the past, it prescribes and supplies it, gives the light and strength to apply it, at whatever cost; if there is none, it provides the means of carrying it out in reality the proverb about making a virtue of necessity. It teaches people to pursue steadily what they have begun lightly; it inclines the mind to accept willingly what has been imposed by force, and gives to a rash but irrevocable choice all the sanctity, all the wisdom and, let us even say boldly, all the joys of a vocation. It is a path so made that by whatever labyrinth or precipice man may reach it, once he takes the first step, he can thenceforward walk safely and cheerfully along it and arrive happily at a happy end."
-Allesandro Manzoni, The Betrothed
This translation from Archibald Colquhoun was the edition I read. I find it superior to the Bartleby version:
It is one of the peculiar and incommunicable properties of the Christian religion, that she can afford guidance and repose to all who, under whatever circumstances, or in whatever exigence, have recourse to her. If there is a remedy for the past, she prescribes it, administers it, and lends light and energy to put it in force, at whatever cost; if there is none, she teaches how to do that effectually and in reality, which the world prescribes proverbially, — make a virtue of necessity. She teaches how to continue with discretion what is thoughtlessly undertaken; she inclines the mind to cleave steadfastly to what was imposed upon it by authority; and imparts to a choice which, though rash at the time, is now irrevocable, all the sanctity, all the advisedness, and, let us say it boldly, all the cheerfulness of a lawful calling. Here is a path so constructed that, let a man approach it by what labyrinth or precipice he may, he sets himself, from that moment, to walk in it with security and readiness, and at once begins to draw towards a joyful end.