He is happy whose circumstances suit his temper; but he is more excellent who can suit his temper to any circumstances.
The most unhappy of all men is he who believes himself to be so.
He is happy whose circumstances suit his temper; but he is more excellent who suits his temper to any circumstances.
Be a philosopher but, amid all your philosophy be still a man.
No man ever threw away life while it was worth keeping.
Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous.
Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions.
Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.
The perfect philosophy of the natural kind [= the perfect physics] only staves off our ignorance a little longer; just as, perhaps, the most perfect philosophy of the moral or metaphysical kind [= the most perfect philosophy, in the 21st century sense of the word] serves only to show us more of how ignorant we are. So both kinds of philosophy eventually lead us to a view of human blindness and weakness—a view that confronts us at every turn despite our attempts to get away from it.
Beauty is no quality in things themselves: It exists merely in the mind which contemplates them; and each mind perceives a different beauty.
It is an absurdity to believe that the Deity has human passions, and one of the lowest of human passions, a restless appetite for applause
In our reasonings concerning matter of fact, there are all imaginable degrees of assurance, from the highest certainty to the lowest species of moral evidence. A wise man, therefore, proportions his belief to the evidence.
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. Always I 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.
As every inquiry which regards religion is of the utmost importance, there are two questions in particular which challenge our attention, to wit, that concerning its foundation in reason, and that concerning it origin in human nature.
To be a philosophical Sceptic is the first and most essential step towards being a sound, believing Christian.
Here then we are first to consider a book, presented to us by a barbarous and ignorant people, written in an age when they were still more barbarous, and in all probability long after the facts which it relates, corroborated by no concurring testimony, and resembling those fabulous accounts, which every nation gives of its origin.
How can we satisfy ourselves without going on in infinitum? And, after all, what satisfaction is there in that infinite progression? Let us remember the story of the Indian philosopher and his elephant. It was never more applicable than to the present subject. If the material world rests upon a similar ideal world, this ideal world must rest upon some other; and so on, without end. It were better, therefore, never to look beyond the present material world.
Every wise, just, and mild government, by rendering the condition of its subjects easy and secure, will always abound most in people, as well as in commodities and riches.
Accuracy is, in every case, advantageous to beauty, and just reasoning to delicate sentiment. In vain would we exalt the one by depreciating the other.