from AN ESSAY CONCERNING HUMAN UNDERSTANDING
"In all things, therefore, where we have clear evidence from our ideas, and those principles of
knowledge I have above mentioned, reason is the proper judge; and revelation, though it
may, in consenting with it, confirm its dictates, yet cannot in such cases invalidate its decrees:
nor can we be obliged, where we have the clear and evident sentience of reason, to quit it for
the contrary opinion, under a pretence that it is matter of faith: which can have no authority
against the plain and clear dictates of reason."
"Revelation in matters where reason cannot judge, or but probably, ought to be hearkened
to. First, Whatever proposition is revealed, of whose truth our mind, by its natural faculties
and notions, cannot judge, that is purely matter of faith, and above reason."
"Truth, then, seems to me, in
the proper import of the word, to signify nothing but the joining or separating of Signs, as the
Things signified by them do agree or disagree one with another. The joining or separating of
signs here meant, is what by another name we call proposition. So that truth properly belongs
only to propositions: whereof there are two sorts, viz. mental and verbal; as there are two
sorts of signs commonly made use of, viz. ideas and words."
"Our knowledge of our own existence is intuitive. As for our own existence, we perceive it
so plainly and so certainly, that it neither needs nor is capable of any proof...
I think, I reason, I feel pleasure and pain: can
any of these be more evident to me than my own existence?... For
if I know I feel pain, it is evident I have as certain perception of my own existence, as of the
existence of the pain I feel: or if I know I doubt, I have as certain perception of the existence of
the thing doubting, as of that thought which I call doubt. Experience then convinces us, that
we have an intuitive knowledge of our own existence, and an internal infallible perception
that we are. In every act of sensation, reasoning, or thinking, we are conscious to ourselves of
our own being; and, in this matter, come not short of the highest degree of certainty."
To show, therefore, that we are capable of knowing, i.e. being certain that
there is a God, and how we may come by this certainty, I think we need go no further than
ourselves, and that undoubted knowledge we have of our own existence...
For man knows that he himself exists... If any one pretends to be so
sceptical as to deny his own existence, (for really to doubt of it is manifestly impossible,) let
him for me enjoy his beloved happiness of being nothing, until hunger or some other pain
convince him of the contrary... He knows also that nothing cannot produce a being;
therefore something must have existed
from eternity... Next, it is evident, that what had its being
and beginning from another, must also have all that which is in and belongs to its being from
another too. All the powers it has must be owing to and received from the same source. This
eternal source, then, of all being must also be the source and original of all power; and so this
eternal Being must be also the most powerful...
And most knowing. Again, a man finds in himself perception and knowledge. We have
then got one step further; and we are certain now that there is not only some being, but some
knowing, intelligent being in the world. There was a time, then, when there was no knowing
being, and when knowledge began to be; or else there has been also a knowing being from
eternity...And therefore God."
"All men are liable to error; and most men are, in many points, by passion or
interest, under temptation to it."
from SECOND TREATISE ON GOVERNMENT
"Though I have said above... That all men by Nature are equal, I cannot be
supposed to understand all sorts of Equality: Age or Virtue may give Men a just
Precedency: Excellency of Parts and Merit may place others above the common
level: Birth may subject some, and Alliance or Benefits others, to pay an
Observance to those to whom Nature, Gratitude or other Respects may have made
it due; and yet all this consists with the Equality which all men are in, in respect of
Jurisdiction or Dominion one over another, which was the Equality I there spoke
of... being that equal Right that every Man hath, to his natural Freedom, without
being subjected to the Will or Authority of any other Man."
"The Legislative cannot transfer the Power of Making Laws to any other hands.
For it being but a delegated Power from the People, they who have it, cannot pass it
over to others. The People alone can appoint the Form of the Commonwealth, which is
by Constituting the Legislative, and appointing in whose hands that shall be."
"...whenever the Legislators endeavour 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 ... [Power then] devolves to the People, who have a Right to
resume their original Liberty, and, by the Establishment of a new Legislative (such
as they shall think fit) provide for their own Safety and Security, which is the end
for which they are in Society."
from A LETTER CONCERNING TOLERATION
"Now, I appeal to the consciences of those that persecute, torment, destroy, and kill
other men upon pretence of religion, whether they do it out of friendship and
kindness towards them or no?... I say, if all this be done merely to make men
Christians and procure their salvation, why then do they suffer whoredom, fraud,
malice and such-like enormities, which (according to the Apostle) manifestly relish
of heathenish corruption, to predominate so much and abound amongst their
flocks and people?"