I have addressed this volume to those who think, and some may accuse me of an ostentatious independence, in presuming to inscribe a book to so small a minority. But a volume addressed to those who think is in fact addressed to all the world; for although the proportion of those who do think be extremely small, yet every individual flatters himself that he is one of the number.
Casual thoughts are sometimes of great value. One of these may prove the key to open for us a yet unknown apartment in the palace of truth, or a yet unexplored tract in the paradise of sentiment that environs it.
He therefore that would govern his actions by the laws of virtue, must regulate his thoughts by those of reason; he must keep guilt from the recesses of his heart, and remember that the pleasures of fancy and the emotions of desire are more dangerous as they are more hidden, since they escape the awe of observation, and operate equally in every situation, without the concurrence of external opportunities.
It is strange that the soul should never once recall over any of its pure native thoughts, before it borrowed anything from the body; never bring into the waking mans view any other ideas but what have a tang of the cask, and derive their original from that union.