Considering the casualties of wars, transmigrations, especially that of the general flood, there might probably be an obliteration of all those monuments of antiquity that ages precedent at some time have yielded.
There is a certain magic or charm in company, for it will assimilate, and make you like to them, by much conversation with them: if they be good company, it is a great means to make you good, or confirm you in goodness; but if they be bad, it is twenty to one but they will infect and corrupt you. Therefore be wary and shy in choosing and entertaining, or frequenting any company or companions; be not too hasty in committing yourself to them; stand off awhile till you have inquired of some (that you know by experience to be faithful) what they are; observe what company they keep; be not too easy to gain acquaintance, but stand off, and keep a distance yet awhile, till you have observed and learnt touching them. Men or women that are greedy of acquaintance, or hasty in it, are oftentimes snared in ill company before they are aware, and entangled so that they cannot easily loose from it after, when they would.
Hither conscience is to be referred: If by a comparison of things done with the rule there be a consonancy, then follows the sentence of approbation; if discordant from it, the sentence of disapprobation.
Let your words be few, especially when your superiors, or strangers, are present, lest you betray your own weakness, and rob yourselves of the opportunity which you might otherwise have had, to gain knowledge, wisdom, and experience, by hearing those whom you silence by your impertinent talking . Be careful not to interrupt another when he is speaking: hear him out, and you will understand him the better, and be able to give him the better answer.
Neither the divine determinations, persuasions or inflections of the understanding or will of rational creatures doth deceive the understanding, pervert the will, or necessitate either to any moral evil.
There is the same necessity for the divine influence and regimen to order and govern, conserve and keep together, the universe in that consistence it hath received, as it was at first to give it before it could receive it.
To the present impulses of sense, memory, and instinct, all the sagacities of brutes may be reduced; though witty men, by analytical resolution, have chymically extracted an artificial logic out of all their actions.
The sagacities and instincts of brutes, the spontaneousness of many of their animal motions, are not explicable without supposing some active determinate power connected to and inherent in their spirits, of a higher extraction than the bare natural modification of matter.
All the laws of this kingdom have some monuments or memorials thereof in writing, yet all of them have not their original in writing; for some of those laws have obtained their force by immemorial usage or custom.
When the wisest counsel of men have with the greatest prudence made laws, yet frequent emergencies happen which they did not foresee, and therefore they are put upon repeals and supplements of such their laws; but Almighty God, by one ample foresight, foresaw all events, and could therefore fit laws proportionate to the things he made.
Opinion is, when the assent of the understanding is so far gained by evidence of probability that it rather inclines to one persuasion than to another, yet not altogether without a mixture of uncertainty or doubting.
The moral of that poetical fiction, that the uppermost link of all the series of subordinate causes is fastened to Jupiters chair, signifies that Almighty God governs and directs subordinate causes and effects.
Though this vicinity of ourselves to ourselves cannot give us the full prospect of all the intrigues of our nature, yet we have much more advantage to know ourselves than to know other things without us.
We must remember that laws were not made for their own sakes, but for the sake of those who were to be guided by them; and though it is true that they are and ought to be sacred, yet if they be or are become unuseful for their end, they must either be amended, if it may be, or new laws be substituted, and the old repealed, so it be done regularly, deliberately, and so far forth only as the exigence or convenience justly demands it; and in this respect the saying is true, Salus populi suprema lex esto. He that thinks a state can be exactly steered by the same laws in every kind as it was two or three hundred years ago, may as well imagine that the clothes that fitted him when a child should serve him when he was grown a man. The matter changeth, the custom, the contracts, the commerce, the dispositions, educations, and tempers of man and societies, change in a long tract of time, and so must their laws in some measure be changed, or they will not be useful for their state and condition; and, besides all this, time is the wisest thing under heaven. These very laws which at first seemed the wisest constitution under heaven, have some flaws and defects discovered in them by time. As manufactures, mercantile arts, architecture, and building, and philosophy itself, secure new advantages and discoveries by time and experience, so much more do laws which concern the manners and customs of men.
Those rational instincts, the connate principles engraven in the human soul, though they are truths acquirable and deducible by rational consequence and argumentation, yet seem to be inscribed in the very crasis and texture of the soul, antecedent to any acquisition by industry or the exercise of the discursive faculty in man.
The due contemplation of the human nature doth, by a necessary connection and chain of causes, carry us up to the unavoidable acknowledgment of the Deity; because it carries every thinking man to an original of every successive individual.