William Paley, Archdeacon of Saragossa

Paley, Archdeacon of Saragossa

English Theologian, Philosopher

Author Quotes

Whatever improvement we make in ourselves, we are thereby sure to meliorate our future condition.

Whilst politicians are disputing about monarchies, aristocracies, and republics, Christianity is alike applicable, useful, and friendly to them all.

An eloquent historian, beside his more direct, and therefore fairer, attacks upon the credibility of evangelic story, has contrived to weave into his narration one continued sneer upon the cause of Christianity, and upon the character and writings of its ancient patrons. Who can refute a sneer?

It is not the rigor, but the inexpediency, of laws and acts of authority, which makes them tyrannical.

The common course of things is in favor of happiness. - Happiness is the rule, misery the exception. - Were the order reversed, our attention would be called to examples of health and competency, instead of disease and want.

There's a certain amount of disorder that has to be reorganized.

An instinct is a propensity prior to experience and independent of instruction.

It is willful deceit that makes a lie. A man may act a lie, as by pointing his finger in a wrong direction when a traveler inquires of him his road.

The fair way of conducting a dispute is to exhibit, one by one, the arguments of your opponent, and, with each argument, the precise and specific answer you are able to make to it.

Throughout the whole of life, as it is diffused in nature, and as far as we are acquainted with it, looking to the average of sensations, the plurality and the preponderancy is in favour of happiness by a vast excess. In our own species, in which perhaps the assertion may be more questionable than in any other, the prepollency of good over evil, of health, for example, and ease, over pain and distress, is evinced by the very notice which calamities excite. What inquiries does the sickness of our friends produce! What conversation their misfortunes! This shows that the common course of things is in favour of happiness; that happiness is the rule, misery the exception. Were the order reversed, our attention would be called to examples of health and competency, instead of disease and want.

Be ye angry, and sin not; therefore all anger is not sinful; I suppose because some degree of it, and upon some occasions, is inevitable. It become sinful, or contradicts, however, the rule of Scripture, when it is conceived upon slight and inadequate provocation, and when it continues long.

Lactantius also argues in defense of the religion from the consistency, simplicity, disinterestedness and sufferings of the Christian historians.

The first maxim of a free state is, that the laws be made by one set of men and administered by another: in other words, that the legislative and judicial characters be kept separate.

To do what we will is natural liberty; to do what we will consistently with the interests of the community to which we belong, is civil liberty; that is to say, the only liberty to be desired in a state of civil society.

But whatever may be the fortune of our lives, one great extremity at least, the hour of approaching death, is certainly to be passed through. What ought then to occupy us? What can then support us? Prayer. Prayer with our blessed Lord was a refuge from the storm: almost every word he uttered during that tremendous scene was prayer—prayer the most earnest, the most urgent; related, continued, proceeding from the recesses of the soul; private, solitary; prayer for deliverance; prayer for strength; above everything, prayer for resignation.

Let not a father hope to excuse an inofficious disposition of his fortune by alleging that every man may do what he will with his own.

The great principle of human satisfaction is engagement.

To me it appears, and I think it material to be remarked, that a disbelief of the established religion of their country has no tendency to dispose men for the reception of another; but that, on the contrary, it generates a settled contempt of all religious pretensions whatever. General infidelity is the hardest soil which the propagators of a new religion can have to work upon.

Education, in the more extensive sense of the word, may comprehend every preparation that is made in our youth for the sequel of our lives.

Manners are minor morals.

The law of honour is a system of rules constructed by people of fashion, and calculated to facilitate their intercourse with one another.

To novelty, to acuteness of sensation, to hope, to ardor of pursuit, succeeds what is, in no inconsiderable degree, an equivalent for them all, “perception of ease.” Herein is the exact difference between the young and the old. The young are not happy but when enjoying pleasure; the old are happy when free from pain. And this constitution suits with the degrees of animal power which they respectively possess. The vigor of youth has to be stimulated to action by impatience of rest; whilst to the imbecility of age, quietness and repose become positive gratifications. In one important step the advantage is with the old. A state of ease is, generally speaking, more attainable than a state of pleasure. A constitution, therefore, which can enjoy ease is preferable to that which can taste only pleasure. This same perception of ease oftentimes renders old age a condition of great comfort, especially when riding at its anchor after a busy or tempestuous life.

Eternity is a negative idea clothed with a positive name. - It supposes, in that to which it is applied, a present existence, and is the negation of a beginning or an end of that existence.

Natural liberty is the right of common upon a waste; civil liberty is the safe, exclusive, unmolested enjoyment of a cultivated enclosure.

The maxims of natural justice are few and evident.

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Paley, Archdeacon of Saragossa
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English Theologian, Philosopher