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John Locke - Quotes

I have so little Concern in Paying or Receiving of Interest, that were I in no more Danger to be misled by Inability and Ignorance, than I am to be biassed by Interest and Inclination, I might hope to give you a very perfect and clear Account of the Consequences of a Law, to reduce Interest to Four per Cent.
Locke, John. Consequences of Lowering of Interest. 1691.

For it is to be Remembred, That no Man borrows Money, or pays Use, out of mere Pleasure...
Locke, John. Consequences of Lowering of Interest. 1691.

Now I think the Natural Interest of Money is raised two ways: First, When the Money of a Country is but little in proportion to the Debts of the Inhabitants one amongst another.
Locke, John. Consequences of Lowering of Interest. 1691.

'Tis in vain therefore to go about effectually to reduce the price of Interest by a Law; and you may as rationally hope to set a fixt Rate upon the Hire of Houses, or Ships, as of Money.
Locke, John. Consequences of Lowering of Interest. 1691.

By the first the Romans made themselves Masters of the Riches of the World; but I think that in our present circumstances, no Body is vain enough to entertain a Thought of our reaping the Profits of the World with our Swords, and making the Spoil and Tribute of Vanquished Nations, the Fund for the supply of the Charges of the Government, with an overplus for the wants, and equally craving Luxury, and fashionable Vanity of the People.
Locke, John. Consequences of Lowering of Interest. 1691.

To understand political power right, and derive it from its original, we must consider, what state 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.
Locke, John. The Second Treatise of Civil Government. 1690.

The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions...
Locke, John. The Second Treatise of Civil Government. 1690.

And that all men may be restrained from invading others rights, and from doing hurt to one another, and the law of nature be observed, which willeth the peace and preservation of all mankind, the execution of the law of nature is, in that state, put into every man's hands, whereby every one has a right to punish the transgressors of that law to such a degree, as may hinder its violation...
Locke, John. The Second Treatise of Civil Government. 1690.

...if by the law of nature every man hath not a power to punish offences against it, as he soberly judges the case to require, I see not how the magistrates of any community can punish an alien of another country...
Locke, John. The Second Treatise of Civil Government. 1690.

...and upon this is grounded that great law of nature, Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed.
Locke, John. The Second Treatise of Civil Government. 1690.

The state of war is a state of enmity and destruction: and therefore declaring by word or action, not a passionate and hasty, but a sedate settled design upon another man's life, puts him in a state of war with him against whom he has declared such an intention, and so has exposed his life to the other's power to be taken away by him, or any one that joins with him in his defence, and espouses his quarrel.
Locke, John. The Second Treatise of Civil Government. 1690.

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.
Locke, John. The Second Treatise of Civil Government. 1690.

God having made man such a creature, that in his own judgment, it was not good for him to be alone, put him under strong obligations of necessity, convenience, and inclination to drive him into society, as well as fitted him with understanding and language to continue and enjoy it.
Locke, John. The Second Treatise of Civil Government. 1690.

Men being, as has been said, by nature, all free, equal, and independent, no one can be put out of this estate, and subjected to the political power of another, without his own consent.
Locke, John. The Second Treatise of Civil Government. 1690.

The majority having, as has been shewed, upon men's first uniting into society, the whole power of the community naturally in them, may employ all that power in making laws for the community from time to time, and executing those laws by officers of their own appointing; and then the form of the government is a perfect democracy...
Locke, John. The Second Treatise of Civil Government. 1690.

The great end of men's entering into society, being the enjoyment of their properties in peace and safety, and the great instrument and means of that being the laws established in that society; the first and fundamental positive law of all commonwealths is the establishing of the legislative power...
Locke, John. The Second Treatise of Civil Government. 1690.

It is an established opinion among some men, that there are in the understanding certain innate principles; some primarily notions, characters, as it were, stamped upon the mind of man, which the soul receives in its very first being and brings into the world with it. It would be sufficient to convince unprejudiced readers of the falseness of this supposition...
Locke, John. An Essay concerning Human Understanding. 1689.

There is nothing more commonly taken for granted, than that there are certain principles, both speculative and practical (for they speak of both), universally agreed upon by all mankind; which therefore; they argue, must needs be constant impressions which the souls of men receive in their first beings, and which they bring into the world with them, as necessarily and really as they do any of their inherent faculties.
Locke, John. An Essay concerning Human Understanding. 1689.

...this argument of universal consent, which is made use of to prove innate principles, seems to me a demonstration that there are none such; because there are none to which all mankind give an universal assent.
Locke, John. An Essay concerning Human Understanding. 1689.

...it is evident, that all children and idiots have not the least apprehension or thought of them; and the want of that is enough to destroy that universal assent, which must needs be the necessary concomitant of all innate truths: it seeming to me near a contradiction to say, that there are truths imprinted on the soul which it perceives or understands not; imprinting, if it signify anything, being nothing else but the making certain truths to be perceived.
Locke, John. An Essay concerning Human Understanding. 1689.

No proposition can he said to be in the mind which it never yet knew, which it was never yet conscious of. For if any one say, then, by the same reason, all propositions that are true, and the mind is capable ever of assenting to, may be said to be in the mind, and to the imprinted; since if any one can be said to be in the mind, which it never yet knew, it must be only because it is capable of knowing it; and so the mind is of all truths it ever shall know.
Locke, John. An Essay concerning Human Understanding. 1689.

So that if the capacity of knowing be the natural impression contended for, all the truths a man ever comes to know will, by this account, be every one of them innate: and this great point will amount to no more, but only to a very improper way of speaking; which, whilst it pretends to assert the contrary, says nothing different from those who deny innate principles.
Locke, John. An Essay concerning Human Understanding. 1689.

If truths can be imprinted on the understanding without being perceived I can see no difference there can be between any truths the mind is capable of knowing in respect of their original: they must all be innate, or all adventitious; in vain shall a man go about to distinguish them.
Locke, John. An Essay concerning Human Understanding. 1689.

Idea is the object of thinking.
Locke, John. An Essay concerning Human Understanding. 1689.

I have been asked what I think about the mutual A Letter about Toleration of Christians in their different professions of religion; I have to answer freely that I regard such A Letter about Toleration as the chief identifying mark of the true Church.
Locke, John. A Letter about Toleration. 1689.

Anyone who wants to enlist in Christ’s Church must above all declare war on his own lusts and vices. No-one will do himself any good by calling himself a Christian unless his life is holy, his conduct pure, and his spirit kind and gentle...
Locke, John. A Letter about Toleration. 1689.

The zealots claim that they are acting out of love and care for men’s souls when they take their estates, maim them with whips, starve and torture them in stinking prisons, and finally kill them. If that is right—if all this is done merely to make men Christians and save their souls—then why don’t these zealots also go after the prostitution, fraud, malice, and so on...
Locke, John. A Letter about Toleration. 1689.

No-one is by nature bound to any particular church or sect; everyone voluntarily joins the society in which he thinks he has found the creed and mode of worship that is truly acceptable to God.
Locke, John. A Letter about Toleration. 1689.

The purpose of a religious society (I repeat) is the public worship of God and through that the acquisition of eternal life.
Locke, John. A Letter about Toleration. 1689.

No church is obliged as a matter of toleration to retain as a member anyone who, after warnings, continues obstinately to offend against the society’s laws.
Locke, John. A Letter about Toleration. 1689.

No private person has any right to encroach in any way on another person’s civil goods because he declares his allegiance to another church or religion. Anything that a man has as a matter of human rights or civil rights is to remain inviolably his.
Locke, John. A Letter about Toleration. 1689.

So the responsibility for each man’s soul is his; it is to be left to him. You say: ‘What if he neglects the care of his soul?’ Well, what if he neglects the care of his health? or of his estate? They are nearer to the magistrate’s jurisdiction than the man’s soul is...
Locke, John. A Letter about Toleration. 1689.

...even if the magistrate’s opinion in religion is sound, and the road he tells me to follow really is the one endorsed by the Gospel, if I am not thoroughly convinced of that in my own mind I won’t reach salvation by following it.
Locke, John. A Letter about Toleration. 1689.

The rule and standard for all law-making is the public good. If something isn’t useful to the commonwealth then it may not be required by law, however indifferent it is.
Locke, John. A Letter about Toleration. 1689.

If you think that idolatry should be rooted out by laws, punishments, fire, and sword, the above story applies to you, with only the names changed. Neither pagans in America or dissenting Christians here in Europe can rightly be deprived of their worldly goods on religious grounds.
Locke, John. A Letter about Toleration. 1689.

Some religious doctrines are practical and some speculative. Both consist in the knowledge of truth, but ·they differ in how they relate to the human condition·: speculative propositions terminate simply in the understanding, while practical ones relate to the will and to conduct.
Locke, John. A Letter about Toleration. 1689.

Every man has an immortal soul that is capable of eternal happiness or misery. Its happiness depends on his believing and doing the things that he needs to believe and do if he is to obtain God’s favour—the things that are prescribed by God for that purpose.
Locke, John. A Letter about Toleration. 1689.