Essays and treatises on several subjects, Volum 2


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Pàgina 165 - 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.
Pàgina 113 - There must, therefore, be a uniform experience against every miraculous event, otherwise the event would not merit that appellation. And as a uniform experience amounts to a proof, there is here a direct and full proof, from the nature of the fact, against the existence of any miracle...
Pàgina 114 - ... of such -credit and reputation in the eyes of mankind, as to have a great deal to lose in case of their being detected in any falsehood ; and at the same time attesting facts, performed in such a public manner, and in so celebrated a part of the world, as to render the detection unavoidable : All which circumstances are requisite to give us a full assurance in the testimony of men.
Pàgina 93 - By liberty, then, we can only mean a power of acting or not acting, according to the determinations of the will; that is, if we choose to remain at rest, we may; if we choose to move, we also may.
Pàgina 94 - 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...
Pàgina 458 - Berkeley ; and indeed most of the writings of that very ingenious author, form the best lessons of scepticism which are to be found either among the ancient or modern philosophers, Bayle not excepted.
Pàgina 113 - 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?
Pàgina 126 - ... no human testimony can have such force as to prove a miracle, and make it a just foundation for any such system of religion.
Pàgina 150 - But neither is there any such original principle, which has a prerogative above others, that are selfevident and convincing: Or if there were, could we advance a step beyond it, but by the use of those very faculties, of which we are supposed to be already diffident. The Cartesian doubt, therefore, were it ever possible to be attained by any human creature (as it plainly is not) would be entirely incurable; and no reasoning could ever bring us to a state of assurance and conviction upon any subject.
Pàgina 121 - The historian, a contemporary writer, noted for candour and veracity, and withal, the greatest and most penetrating genius perhaps of all antiquity; and so free from any tendency to credulity, that he even lies under the contrary imputation of atheism and profaneness : The persons, from whose authority he related the miracle, of established character for judgment and veracity, as we may well presume ; eyewitnesses of the fact, and confirming their testimony, after the Flavian family was despoiled...

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