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absurd actions agreeable allowed appear approbation argument arise ascribe Athenians authority beauty believe cause cerning character Cicero circumstances common concerning conclusion conduct conjoined connection consequences consider contrary course of nature degree deity derived discover distinction divine effect endeavour entirely Epicurus esteem event evident evil excite existence experience farther feel force former foundation friendship give happiness Herodotus Hesiod human nature ideas imagination immediately infer influence inquiry instance intelligent Jansenist justice kind laws mankind manner ment merit mind miracle moral neral never object observe operation opinion opposite origin ourselves Paphlagonia particular passions person philosophers pleasure Plutarch Polybius polytheism possessed praise present pretended pride principles produce qualities racters reason reflection regard relation relations of ideas religion render rience rules scepticism seems sense sensible sentiment sion society species superstition supposed sure Tacitus testimony theism thing tion tural universal vanity vice virtue
Page 163 - When we run over libraries, persuaded of these principles, what havoc must we make ? If we take in our hand any volume ; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance ; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number ? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence ? No. Commit it then to the flames ; for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion, DISSERTATION ON THE PASSIONS.
Page 158 - On the contrary, he must acknowledge, if he will acknowledge anything, that all human life must perish, were his principles universally and steadily to prevail. All discourse, all action would immediately cease; and men remain in a total lethargy, till the necessities of nature, unsatisfied, put an end to their miserable existence.
Page 22 - Matters of fact, which are the second objects of human reason, are not ascertained in the same manner; nor is our evidence of their truth, however great, of a like nature with the foregoing. The contrary of every matter of fact is still possible; because it can never imply a contradiction, and is conceived by the mind with the same facility and distinctness, as if ever so conformable to reality.
Page 42 - Custom, then, is the great guide of human life. It is that principle alone which renders our experience useful to us, and makes us expect, for the future, a similar train of events with those which have appeared in the past.
Page 32 - We have said that all arguments concerning existence are founded on the relation of cause and effect ; that our knowledge of that relation is derived entirely from experience ; and that all our experimental conclusions proceed upon the supposition, that the future will be conformable to the past.
Page 111 - Why is it more than probable that all men must die; that lead cannot, of itself, remain suspended in the air; that fire consumes wood, and is extinguished by water; unless it be that these events are found agreeable to the laws of nature, and there is required a violation of these laws, or in other words a miracle, to prevent them?
Page 377 - 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 112 - ... 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. If the falsehood of his testimony would be more miraculous than the event which he relates, then, and not till then, can he pretend to command my belief or opinion.
Page 35 - For all inferences from experience suppose, as their foundation, that the future will resemble the past, and that similar powers will be conjoined with similar sensible qualities. If there be any suspicion that the course of nature may change, and that the past may be no rule for the future, all experience becomes useless, and can give rise to no inference or conclusion.
Page 126 - Though the being to whom the miracle is ascribed be in this case Almighty, it does not, upon that account, become a whit more probable; since it is impossible for us to know the attributes or actions of such a Being, otherwise than from the experience which we have of his productions in the Usual course of nature.