First Principles

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Williams and Norgate, 1862 - 503 pages

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Page 92 - We are thus taught the salutary lesson, that the capacity of thought is not to be constituted into the measure of existence; and are warned from recognizing the domain of our knowledge as necessarily coextensive with the horizon of our faith. And by a wonderful revelation, we are thus, in the very consciousness of our inability to conceive aught above the relative and finite, inspired with a belief in the existence of something unconditioned beyond the sphere of all comprehensible reality.* 2.
Page 39 - We attempt to escape from this apparent contradiction, by introducing the idea of succession in time. The Absolute exists first by itself, and afterwards becomes a Cause. But here we are checked by the third conception, that of the Infinite. How can the Infinite . become that which it was not from the first ? If Causation is a possible mode of existence, that which exists without causing is not infinite ; that which becomes a cause has passed beyond its former limits.
Page 255 - Thus, by the persistence of Force, we really mean the persistence of some Power which transcends our knowledge and conception. The manifestations, as occurring either in ourselves or outside of us, do not persist; but that which persists is the Unknown Cause of these manifestations. • In other words, asserting the persistence of Force, is but another mode of asserting an Unconditioned Reality, without beginning or end.
Page 148 - Whether it be in the development of the Earth, in the development of Life upon its surface, in the development of Society, of Government, of Manufactures, of Commerce, of Language, Literature, Science, Art, this same evolution of the simple into the complex, through successive differentiations, holds throughout.
Page 77 - ... from the Finite, by the absence of any quality which the Finite possesses; for such absence would be a limitation. Nor yet can it be distinguished by the presence of an attribute which the Finite has not ; for, as no finite part can be a constituent of an infinite whole, this differential characteristic must itself be infinite ; and must at the same time have nothing in common with the finite. We are thus thrown back upon our former impossibility ; for this second infinite will be distinguished...
Page 486 - After finding that from it are deducible the various characteristics of Evolution, we finally draw from it a warrant for the belief, that Evolution can end only in the establishment of the greatest perfection and the most complete happiness* CHAPTER SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION.
Page 108 - Science inevitably arrives as it reaches ite confines ; while to . this conclusion Religion is irresistibly driven by criticism. And satisfying as it does the demands of the most rigorous logic at the same time that it gives the religious sentiment the widest possible sphere of action, it is the conclusion we are bound to accept without reserve or qualification.
Page 241 - Our inability to conceive Matter becoming non-existent, is immediately consequent on the very nature of thought. Thought consists in the establishment of relations. There can be no relation established, and therefore no thought framed, when one of the related terms is absent from consciousness. Hence it is impossible to think of something becoming nothing, for the same reason that it is impossible to think of nothing becoming something — the reason, namely, that nothing cannot become an object...
Page 88 - Observe in the first place, that every one of the arguments by which the relativity of our knowledge is demonstrated, distinctly postulates the positive existence of something be/yond the relative. To say that wo cannot know the Absolute, is, by implication, to affirm that there is an Absolute. In the very denial of our power to learn what the Absolute is, there lies hidden the assumption that it is ; and the making of this assumption proves that the Absolute has been present to the mind, not as...
Page 113 - By continually seeking to know and being continually thrown back with a deepened conviction of the impossibility of knowing, we may keep alive the consciousness that it is alike our highest wisdom and our highest duty to regard that through which all things exist as The Unknowable.

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