BLTC Press Titles


available for Kindle at Amazon.com


Tao Te Ching

Lao Tzu, James Legge (trans.)


Novalis Including Hymns to the Night

Novalis, George MacDonald, Thomas Carlyle


The Secret Doctrine, Volume II Anthropogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky


The Count of Monte Cristo

Alexandre Dumas


Dialogues concerning natural religion

by David Hume

Excerpt:

Are you so late, says Phi Lo, in teaching your children the principles of religion? Is there no danger of their neglecting, or rejecting altogether, those opinions, of which they have heard so little during the whole course of their education? It is only as a science, replied

* Chrysippus apud Plat, de repug. Stoiccrum.

plied Demea, subjected to human rea- PjRT soning and disputation, that I postpone ^r*J the study of Natural Theology. To season their minds with early piety, is my chief care; and by continual precept and instruction, and I hope too by example, I imprint deeply on their tender minds an habitual reverence for all the principles of religion. While they pass through every other science, I still remark the uncertainty of each part; the eternal disputations of men; the obscurity of all philosophy; and the strange, ridiculous conclusions, which some of the greatest geniuses have derived from the principles of mere human reason. Having thus tamed their mind to a proper submission and self-diffidence, I have no longer any scruple of opening to them the greatest mysteries of religion; nor apprehend any danger from that assuming arrogance of philosophy, which may lead them to reject the most established doctrines and opinions.

Your

Pir* Your precaution, says Philo, of seau--v^ soiling your childrens minds early with piety, is certainly very reasonable; and no more than is requisite in this profane and irreligious age. But what I chiefly admire in your plan of education, is your method of drawing advantage from the very principles of philosophy and learning, which, by inspiring pride and self-sufficiency, have commonly, in all ages, been found so destructive to the principles of religion. The vulgar, indeed, we may remark, who are unacquainted with science and profound inquiry, observing .the endless disputes of the learned, have commonly a thorough contempt for Philolosophy; and rivet themselves the faster, by that means, in the great points of theology which have been taught them. Those who enter a little into study and inquiry, finding many appearances of evidence in doctrines the newest and most extraordinary, think nothing too

difficult difficult for human reason; and, pre- P*rT sumptuoully breaking thro' all fences, profane the inmost sanctuaries of the temple. But Cleanthes will, I hope, agree with me, that, after we have abandoned ignorance, the surest remedy, there is still one expedient left to prevent this profane liberty. Let Demea's principles be improved and cultivated: Let us become thoroughly sensible of the weakness, blindness, and narrow limits, of human reason: Let us duly consider its uncertainty and endless contrarieties, even in subjects of common life-and practice: Let the errors and deceits of our very senses be set before us; the insuperable difficulties which attend first principles in all fy-* stems; the contradictions which adhere to the very ideas of matter, cause arid effect, extension, space, time, motion; and, in a word, quantity of all kinds, the object of the only science thai can fairly pretend to any certainty

or

Part or evidence. When these topics are dis-1 V^vnj played in their full light, as they are by some philosophers and almost all divines; who can retain such confidence in this frail faculty of reason as to pay any regard to its determinations in points so sublime, so abstruse, so remote from common life and experience? When the coherence of the parts of a stone, or even that composition of parts which renders it extended; when these familiar objects, I say, are so inexplicable, and contain circumstances so repugnant and contradictory; with what assurance can we decide concerncerning the origin of worlds, or trace their history from eternity to eternity?


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