The thoughts that come often unsought, and, as it were, drop into the mind, are commonly the most valuable of any we have, and therefore should be secured, because they seldom return again.
The improvement of understanding is for two ends: first, our own increase of knowledge; secondly, to enable us to deliver that knowledge to others.
When I had gone through the whole, and saw what a plain, simple, reasonable thing Christianity was, suited to all conditions and capacities; and in the morality of it now, with divine authority, established into a legible law, so far surpassing all that philosophy and human reason had attained to, or could possibly make effectual to all degrees of man kind; I was flattered to think it might be of some use in the world.
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.
The law of faith, being a covenant of free grace, God alone can appoint what shall be necessarily believed by everyone whom He will justify. What is the faith which He will accept and account for righteousness, depends wholly on his good pleasure. For it is of grace, and not of right, that this faith is accepted. And therefore He alone can set the measures of it: and what he has so appointed and declared is alone necessary. Nobody can add to these fundamental articles of faith; nor make any other necessary, but what God himself hath made, and declared to be so. And what these are which God requires of those who will enter into, and receive the benefits of the new covenant, has already been shown. An explicit belief of these is absolutely required of all those to whom the gospel of Jesus Christ is preached, and salvation through his name proposed.
He that denies any of the doctrines that Christ has delivered, to be true, denies him to be sent from God, and consequently to be the Messiah; and so ceases to be a Christian.
Books seem to me to be pestilent things, and infect all that trade in them; that is, all but one sort of men, with something very perverse and brutal. Printers, binders, sellers, and others that make a trade and gain out of them have universally so odd a turn and corruption of mind, that they have a way of dealing peculiar to themselves, and not conformed to the good of society, and that general fairness that cements mankind. Whether it be, that these instruments of truth and knowledge will not bear being subjected to anything but those noble ends, without revenging themselves on those who meddle with to any other purpose, and prostitute them to mean and misbecoming designs; I will not inquire. The matter of fact, I think you will find true; and there will leave it to those who sully themselves with printer’s ink, till they wholly expunge all the candour that nature gives, and become the worst sort of black cattle.