There was no other God, religion, or lawful magistracy, than conscience, which teaches all men the precepts of Justice, to do no injury, to live honestly, and give everyone his due.— Pierre Bayle
The most beautiful Pierre Bayle quotes that are free to learn and impress others
If an historian were to relate truthfully all the crimes, weaknesses, and disorders of mankind, his readers would take his work for satire rather than for history.
It is pure illusion to think that an opinion which passes down from century to century, from generation to generation, may not be entirely false.
It has been asserted, that a moral Atheist would be a monster beyond the power of nature to create: I reply, that it is not more strange for an Atheist to live virtuously, than for a Christian to abandon himself to crime! If we believe the last kind of monster, why dispute the existence of the first?
Properly speaking, history is nothing but the crimes and misfortunes of the human race.
It is only common prejudice that induces us to believe that atheism is a fearful state.
The movement of comets is part of the ordinary works of nature which, without regard to the happiness or misery of mankind, are transported from one part of the heavens to another by virtue of the general laws of motion.
Do you doubt that the least effects of nature were not used as marks of the wrath of heaven? It was to the interest of pontiffs, priests, and augurs, as much as it is to the interest of lawyers and doctors that there should be lawsuits and sickness. No wonder they took care that the people should not grow slack in their religion.
I am a good Protestant, and in the full sense of the term, for from the bottom of my soul, I protest against everything that is said, and everything that is done.
The furnace of affliction refines us from earthly drossiness, and softens us for the impression of God's own stamp.
One must be stark mad, to believe that mankind can subsist without magistrates.
I lay down the Position, That whatever a Conscience well directed allows us to do for the Advancement of Truth, an erroneous Conscience will warrant for advancing a suppos'd Truth.
I know too much to be a sceptic and too little to be a dogmatist.
In matters of religion, it is very easy to deceive a man and very hard to undeceive him.
Philosophy can be compared to some powders that are so corrosive that, after they have eaten away the infected flesh of a wound, they then devour the living flesh, rot the bones, and penetrate to the very marrow. Philosophy at first refutes errors. But if it is not stopped at this point, it goes on to attack truths. And when it is left on its own, it goes so far that it no longer knows where it is and can find no stopping place.
Consider, I pray, whether you are not renouncing all shame and sincerity to advance such principles. Because a comet appears in a group of stars which the ancients thought fit to call the Virgin, therefore, shall our women be barren, or have frequent miscarriages, or die old maids. I know of nothing which hangs so ill together! To offer such things in seriousness, shows the greatest contempt of mankind, and the most scandalous lying impunity.
I mention this only to shew that the citations of the most judicious authors frequently deceive us, and consequently that prudence obliges us to examine quotations, by whomsoever alleged.
Compulsion in the literal Sense is maliciously misrepresented, by supposing it authorizes Violences committed against the Truth. The Answer to this; by which it is prov'd, that the literal Sense does in reality authorize the stirring up Persecutions against the Cause of Truth, and that an erroneous Conscience has the same Rights as an enlighten'd Conscience.
There is not less wit nor invention in applying rightly a thought one finds in a book, than in being the first author of that thought. Cardinal du Perron has been heard to say that the happy application of a verse of Virgil has deserved a talent.
No nations are more warlike than those which profess Christianity.
I get up and retire when I wish. I go out if I wish and I do not go out if I do not desire to do so, except for the two days on which I give lectures.