For it will be very difficult to persuade men of sense that he who with dry eyes and satisfaction of mind can deliver his brother to the executioner to be burnt alive, does sincerely and heartily concern himself to save that brother from the flames of hell in the world to come.
One or two particulars may suggest hints of enquiry, and they do well who take those hints; but if they turn them into conclusions, and make them presently general rules, they are forward indeed, but it is only to impose on themselves by propositions assumed for truths without sufficient warrant.
All mankind... being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions.
Our deeds disguise us. People need endless time to try on their deeds, until each knows the proper deeds for him to do. But every day, every hour, rushes by. There is no time.
Virtue is harder to be got than knowledge of the world; and, if lost in a young man, is seldom recovered.
Whosoever will list himself under the banner of Christ, must, in the first place and above all things, make war upon his own lusts and vices. It is in vain for any man to usurp the name of Christian, without holiness of life, purity of manners, benignity and meekness of spirit.
It is one thing to show a man that he is in an error, and another to put him in possession of the truth.
The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom.
Nay, if we may openly speak the truth, and as becomes one man to another, neither Pagan nor Mahometan, nor Jew, ought to be excluded from the civil rights of the commonwealth because of his religion.
The great question which in all ages has disturbed mankind, and brought on them the greatest part of those mischiefs which have ruined cities, depopulated countries, and disordered the peace of the world, has been, not whether there be power in the world, nor whence it came, but who should have it.
I have spent more than half a lifetime trying to express the tragic moment.
All men are liable to error; and most men are, in many points, by passion or interest, under temptation to it.
I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts.
The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings capable of law, where there is no law, there is no freedom.
Laws provide, as much as is possible, that the goods and health of subjects be not injured by the fraud and violence of others; they do not guard them from the negligence or ill-husbandry of the possessors themselves. No man can be forced to be rich or healthful, whether he will or no. Nay, God Himself will not save men against their wills.
Our Business here is not to know all things, but those which concern our conduct.
The most precious of all possessions is power over ourselves.
Every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has a right to, but himself.
To love truth for truth's sake is the principal part of human perfection in this world, and the seed-plot of all other virtues.
Moral laws are set as a curb and restraint to these exorbitant desires, which they cannot be but by rewards and punishments, that will over-balance the satisfaction any one shall propose to himself in the breach of the law.
We should have a great fewer disputes in the world if words were taken for what they are, the signs of our ideas only, and not for things themselves.
Man is not permitted without censure to follow his own thoughts in the search of truth, when they lead him ever so little out of the common road.
But since He gave it them for their benefit and the greatest conveniences of life they were capable to draw form it, it cannot be supposed He meant it should always remain common and uncultivated. He gave it to the use of the industrious and rational (and labour was to be his title to it)...
There are some Men of one, some but of two Syllogisms, and no more; and others that can but advance one step farther.
The dread of evil is a much more forcible principle of human actions than the prospect of good.
If by gaining knowledge we destroy our health, we labour for a thing that will be useless in our hands.
Education begins the gentleman, but reading, good company and reflection must finish him.
A sound mind in a sound body, is a short, but full description of a happy state in this world: he that has these two, has little more to wish for; and he that wants either of them, will be little the better for anything else.
But there is only one thing which gathers people into seditious commotion, and that is oppression.
Parents wonder why the streams are bitter, when they themselves poison the fountain.
The most perfect character is supposed to lie between those extremes; retaining an equal ability and taste for books, company, and business; preserving in conversation that discernment and delicacy which arise from polite letters; and in business, that probity and accuracy which are the natural result of a just philosophy.
Let not men think there is no truth but in the sciences that they study, or the books that they read. To prejudge other men's notions before we have looked into them is not to shew their darkness, but to put out our own eyes.
We are like chameleons, we take our hue and the color of our moral character, from those who are around us.
The only defense against the world is a thorough knowledge of it.
Though if infidels were to be converted by force, if those that are either blind or obstinate were to be drawn off from their errors by armed soldiers, we know very well that it was much more easy for Him to do it with armies of heavenly legions than for any son of the Church, how potent soever, with all his dragoons.
No peace and security among mankind—let alone common friendship—can ever exist as long as people think that governments get their authority from God and that religion is to be propagated by force of arms.
There are a thousand ways to Wealth, but only one way to Heaven.
Nothing is in the intellect that was not first in the senses.
Fashion for the most part is nothing but the ostentation of riches.
Man's power, and its way of operation, [is] muchwhat the same in the material and intellectual world. For the materials in both being such as he has no power over, either to make or destroy, all that man can do, is either to unite them together, or to set them by one another, or wholly separate them.
As people are walking all the time, in the same spot, a path appears.
Liberty is not an Idea belonging to Volition, or preferring; but to the Person having the Power of doing, or forbearing to do, according as the Mind shall chuse or direct.