David Hume And His Mother


IT is agreed that Hume received a religious

education from his mother, and early in life was

the subject of strong and hopeful religious

 impressions; but as he approached to manhood 

they were effaced, and confirmed infidelity 


Maternal partiality, however, alarmed at first,

came to look with less pain on this declaration,

and filial love and reverence seemed to have 

been absorbed in the pride of philosophical 

skepticism; for Hume now applied himself with

 unwearied, and unhappily with successful 

efforts, to sap the foundation of his mother's 

faith. Having succeeded in this dreadful work, he

 went abroad into foreign countries; and, as he

 was returning, an express met him in London, 

with a letter from his mother, informing him that

 she was in a deep decline, and could not long

 survive. She said she found herself without any

 support in her distress; that he had taken away

 that source of comfort upon which, in all cases

 of affliction, she used to rely; and that now she

 found her mind sinking in despair, she did not

 doubt that her son would afford her some 

substitute for her religion; and she conjured him

 to hasten home, or at least to send her a letter 

containing such consolation as philosophy can 

afford a dying mortal. Hume was overwhelmed 

with anguish on receiving this letter, and 

hastened to Scotland; but before he

arrived his mother had expired. 

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