When we know our own strength, we shall the better know what to undertake with hopes of success; and when we have well surveyed the powers of our own minds, and made some estimate what we may expect from them, we shall not be inclined either to sit still, and not set our thoughts on work at all, in despair of knowing any thing; nor, on the other side, question every thing, and declaim all knowledge, because some things are not to be understood.
When Fashion hath once established, what folly or craft began, custom makes it sacred, and it will be thought impudence, or madness, to contradict or question it.
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.
We are born with faculties and powers capable almost of any thing, such at least as would carry us farther than can easily be imagined: but it is only the exercise of those powers, which gives us ability and skill in any thing, and leads us towards perfection.
Virtue is harder to be got, than knowledge of the world; and, if lost in a young man, is seldom recovered.
To what purpose all this, but to shew that the difference so observable in men’s understandings and parts, does not arise so much from natural faculties as acquired habits?
To understand political power right, and derive from it its original, we must consider what estate all men are naturally in, and that is, a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature, without asking leave or depending upon the will of any other man.
To prejudge other men’s notions before we have looked into them, is not to show their darkness, but to put out our own eyes.
Thus parents, by humouring and cockering them when little, corrupt the principles of nature in their children, and wonder afterwards to taste the bitter waters, when they themselves have poisoned the fountain.