Essays and treatises on several subjects (Google eBook)

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Page 121 - When anyone tells me, that he saw a dead man restored to life, I immediately consider with myself, whether it be more probable, that this person should either deceive or be deceived, or that the fact, which he relates, should really have happened. I weigh the one miracle against the other ; and according to the superiority, which I discover, I pronounce my decision, and always reject the greater miracle.
Page 346 - Thus the distinct boundaries and offices of reasen and of taste are easily ascertained. The former conveys the knowledge of truth and falsehood : The latter gives the sentiment of beauty and deformity, vice and virtue. The one discovers objects, as they really stand in nature, without addition or diminution : The other has a productive faculty ; and gilding or staining all natural objects with the colours, borrowed from internal sentiment, raises, in a manner, a new creation.
Page 121 - That no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavours to establish. And even in that case there is a mutual destruction of arguments, and the superior only gives us an assurance suitable to that degree of force which remains after deducting the inferior.
Page 131 - But what is more extraordinary, many of the miracles were immediately proved upon the spot, before judges of unquestioned integrity, attested by witnesses of credit and distinction, in a learned age, and on the most eminent theatre that is now in the world.
Page 101 - Actions are, by their very nature, temporary and perishing ; and where they proceed not from some cause in the character and disposition of the person who performed them, they can neither redound to his honour, if good ; nor infamy, if evil.
Page 99 - Whatever definition we may give of liberty, we should be careful to observe two requisite circumstances; first, that it be consistent with plain matter of fact; secondly, that it be consistent with itself. If we observe these circumstances, and render our definition intelligible, I am persuaded that all mankind will be found of one opinion with regard to it. It is universally allowed that nothing exists without a cause of its existence, and that chance, when strictly examined, is a mere negative...
Page 401 - The whole frame of nature bespeaks an Intelligent Author ; and no rational inquirer can, after serious reflection, suspend his belief a moment with regard to the primary principles of genuine Theism and Religion.
Page 35 - But if you insist that the inference is made by a chain of reasoning, I desire you to produce that reasoning. The connexion between these propositions is not intuitive. There is required a medium, which may enable the mind to draw such an inference, if indeed it be drawn by reasoning and argument. What that medium is, I must confess, passes my comprehension; and it is incumbent on those to produce it, who assert that it really exists, and is the origin of all our conclusions concerning matter of...
Page 87 - These records of wars, intrigues, factions, and revolutions are so many collections of experiments, by which the politician or moral philosopher fixes the principles of his science, in the same manner as the physician or natural philosopher becomes acquainted with the nature of plants, minerals, and other external objects, by the experiments which he forms concerning them.
Page 300 - He reads much; He is a great observer, and he looks Quite through the deeds of men ; he loves no plays As thou dost, Antony ; he hears no music ; Seldom he smiles, and smiles in such a sort, As if he mock'd himself and scorn'd his spirit That could be moved to smile at any thing.

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