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Good and evil, reward and punishment, are the only motives to a rational creature: these are the spur and reins whereby all mankind are set on work, and guided.
Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours.
New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common.
Curiosity in children, is but an appetite for knowledge. One great reason why children abandon themselves wholly to silly pursuits and trifle away their time insipidly is, because they find their curiosity balked, and their inquiries neglected.
We are a kind of Chameleons, taking our hue - the hue of our moral character, from those who are about us.
Our incomes are like our shoes; if too small, they gall and pinch us; but if too large, they cause us to stumble and to trip.
I attribute the little I know to my not having been ashamed to ask for information, and to my rule of conversing with all descriptions of men on those topics that form their own peculiar professions and pursuits.
Earthly minds, like mud walls, resist the strongest batteries; and though, perhaps, somethimes the force of a clear argument may make some impression, yet they nevertheless stand firm, keep out the enemy, truth, that would captivate or disturbe them.
Freedom of men under government is to have a standing rule to live by, common to every one of that society and made by the legislative power vested in it and not to be subject to the inconstant, uncertain, arbitrary will of another man.
I have no reason to suppose, that he, who would take away my liberty, would not, when he had me in his power, take away every thing else
I think it every man's indispensable duty to do all the service he can to his country and I see not what difference he puts between himself and his cattle who lives without that thought.
New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without anyother reason but because they are not already common.
Reading furnishes the mind only with material for knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours.
The improvement of understanding is for two ends: first, our own increase of knowledge; secondly, to enable us to deliver that knowledge to others.
The Natural Liberty of Man is to be free from any Superior Power on Earth, and not to be under the Will or Legislative Authority of Man, but to have only the Law of Nature for his Rule.
The people cannot delegate to government the power to do anything which would be unlawful for them to do themselves.
Till a man can judge whether they be truths or not, his understanding is but little improved, and thus men of much reading, though greatly learned, but may be little knowing.
Tis a Mistake to think this Fault [tyranny] is proper only to Monarchies; other Forms of Government are liable to it, as well as that. For where-ever the Power that is put in any hands for the Government of the People, and the Preservation of their Properties, is applied to other ends, and made use of to impoverish, harass, or subdue them to the Arbitrary and Irregular Commands of those that have it: There it presently becomes Tyranny, whether those that thus use it are one or many.
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.
[W]henever the Legislators endeavor to take away, and destroy the Property of the People, or to reduce them to Slavery under Arbitrary Power, they put themselves into a state of War with the People, who are thereupon absolved from any farther Obedience, and are left to the common Refuge, which God hath provided for all Men, against Force and Violence. Whensoever therefore the Legislative shall transgress this fundamental Rule of Society; and either by Ambition, Fear, Folly or Corruption, endeavor to grasp themselves, or put into the hands of any other an Absolute Power over the Lives, Liberties, and Estates of the People; By this breach of Trust they forfeit the Power, the People had put into their hands, for quite contrary ends, and it devolves to the people, who have a Right to resume their original Liberty.