Henry Thomas Buckle Quotes
Even in an advanced stage of civilization, there is always a tendency to prefer those parts of literature which favor ancient prejudices, rather than those which oppose them; and in cases where this tendency is very strong, the only effect of great learning will be to supply the materials which may corroborate old errors and confirm old superstitions. In our time such instances are not uncommon; and we frequently meet with men whose erudition ministers to their ignorance, and who, the more they read the less they know.
Men are made uneasy; they flinch; they cannot bear the sudden light; a general restlessness supervenes; the face of society is disturbed, or perhaps convulsed; old interests and old beliefs have been destroyed before new ones have been created. These symptoms are the precursors of revolution; they have preceded all the great changes through which the world has passed.
That the system of morals propounded in the New Testament contained no maxim which had not been previously enunciated, and that some of the most beautiful passages in the apostolic writings are quotations from Pagan authors, is well known to every scholar… To assert that Christianity communicated to man moral truths previously unknown, argues on the part of the asserted either gross ignorance or wilful fraud.
The actions of bad men produce only temporary evil, the actions of good men only temporary good ; and eventually the good and the evil altogether subside, are neutralized by subsequent generations, absorbed by the incessant movements of future ages. But the discoveries of great men never leave us; they are immortal; they contain those eternal truths which survive the shock of empires, outlive the struggles of rival creeds, and witness the decay of successive religions.