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النشر الإلكتروني

1. Whether he loves all men, of what profession or religion soever?

2. Whether he thinks no person ought to be harmed in his body, name, or goods, for mere speculative opinions, or his external way of worship?

3. Whether he loves and seeks truth for truth's sake; and will endeavour impartially to find and receive it himself, and to communicate it to others?

III. That no person be admitted occasionally, without a good testimony from some of the society that knows him, and he answering in the affirmative to the abovementioned questions.

IV. That every member in his course, if he please, be moderator (and the course here meant, is that of their sirnames, according to the alphabet); whose care must be to keep good order, to propose the question to be debated, recite what may have been said to it already, briefly deliver the sense of the question, and keep the parties close to it; or, if he please, he may name one to be moderator for him. The question for the ensuing conference to be always agreed, before the company departs.

V. That no person or opinion be unhandsomely reflected on; but every member behave himself with all the temper, judgment, modesty, and discretion he is master of.

VI. That every member place himself to the left hand of the moderator, in order, as he happens to come in; and in his turn speak as plainly, distinctly, and concisely as he can to the question proposed, directing his discourse to the moderator.

VII. That no more than one person speak at once; and none object till it come to his turn to speak.

VIII. That, the question having gone round, if the time will permit, and the company pleases, it may be discoursed again in the same order; and no weighty question to be quitted, till a majority of two thirds be satisfied, and are willing to proceed to a new one. That when a controversy is not thought, by two thirds of the company, likely to be ended in a convenient time; then those two thirds may dismiss it, and, if they please, an

other question may be proposed. That two thirds of the company may adjourn the ordinary subject in question, for good and sufficient reasons.

IX. That no question be proposed, that is contrary to religion, civil government, or good manners; unless it be agreed to debate such question, merely and only the better to confute it.

We whose names are here underwritten, proposing to ourselves an improvement in useful knowledge, and the promoting of truth and Christian charity, by our becoming of this society, do hereby declare our approbation of, and consent to, the rules before written.

A Letter to Mrs. Cockburn.


THERE was nothing more public than the obliga tion I received from you, nor any thing more concealed than the person I was obliged to. This is a generosity above the strain of this groveling age, and like that of superior spirits, who assist without showing themselves. I used my best endeavours to draw from you by your bookseller the confession of your name, for want whereof I could, whilst you kept yourself under that reserve, no more address myself directly to you with good manners, than I could have pulled off your mask by force, in a place where you were resolved to conceal yourself. Had not this been so, the bearer hereof would not the first time have come to you without a letter from me to acknowledge the favour you had done me. You not affording me an opportunity for that, I designed to make you some small acknowledgment, in a way that chance had opened to me, without your consent. But this gentleman transgressed my order in two main points of it. The one was in delaying it so long. The other was in naming me to you, and talking of matters which he had no commission from me

to mention. What he deserves from you for it, must be left to your mercy. For I cannot in earnest be angry with him for procuring me, without any guilt of mine, an opportunity to own you for my protectress, which is the greatest honour my Essay could have procured me. Give me leave, therefore, to assure you, that as the rest of the world take notice of the strength and clearness of your reasoning, so I cannot but be extremely sensible that it was employed in my defence. You have herein not only vanquished my adversary, but reduced me also absolutely under your power, and left no desires more strong in me than those of meeting with some opportunity to assure you with what respect and submission I am, Madam,

Your most humble,

Oates, 30 Dec. 1702.

and most obedient servant,


A Letter from Mr. Locke to Mr. Samuel Bold.

SIR, Oates, 16 May, 1699. YOURS of the 11th of April I received not till the last week. I suppose Mr. Churchill staid it till that discourse wherein you have been pleased to defend my Essay was printed, that they might come together, though neither of them need a companion to recommend it to me. Your reasonings are so strong and just, and your friendship to me so visible, that every thing must be welcome to me that comes from your pen, let it be of what kind soever. I promise myself that to all those who are willing to open their eyes and to enlarge their minds to a true knowledge of things, this little treatise of yours will be greatly acceptable and useful; and for those who will shut their eyes for fear they should see more than others have seen before them, or rather for fear they should make use of them, and not blindly and lazily follow the sayings of others; what can be done to them? They are to be let alone to join in the

cry of the herd they have placed themselves in, and take that for applause which is nothing but the noise that of course they make to one another, which way ever they are going: so that the greatness of it is no manner of proof that they are in the right. I say not this because it is a discourse wherein you favour any opinions of mine (for I take care not to be deceived by the reasonings of my friends), but I say it from those who are strangers to you, and who own themselves to have received light and conviction from the clearness and closeness of your reasonings, and that in a matter at first sight very abstruse and remote from ordinary conceptions. There is nothing that would more rejoice me than to have you for my neighbour. The advantages that you promise yourself from mine, I should receive from your conversation. The impartial lovers and searchers of truth are a great deal fewer than one could wish or imagine. It is a rare thing to find any one to whom one can communicate one's thoughts freely, and from whom one may expect a careful examination and impartial judgment of them. To be learned in the lump by other men's thoughts, and to be in the right by saying after others, is the much easier and quicker way; but how a rational man that should inquire and know for himself, can content himself with a faith or religion taken upon trust, or with such a servile submission of his understanding, as to admit all and nothing else but what fashion makes at present passable amongst some men, is to me astonishing. I do not wonder that concerning many points you should have different apprehensions from what you meet with in authors; with a free mind, that unbiassedly pursues truth, it cannot be otherwise; 1st, because all authors did not write unbiassedly for truth's sake; and, 2dly, because there are scarce any two men that have perfectly the same views of the same thing till they come with attention, and perhaps mutual assistance, to examine it. A consideration that makes conversation with the living much more desirable and useful than consulting the dead, would the living but be inquisitive after truth, apply their

thoughts with attention to the gaining of it, and be indifferent with whom it was found, so they could but find it. The first requisite to the profiting by books is not to judge of opinions by the authority of the writers. None have the right of dictating but God himself, and that because he is truth itself. All others have a right to be followed as far as I have, and no farther, i. e. as far as the evidence of what they say convinces, and of that my own understanding alone must be judge for me, and nothing else. If we made our own eyes our own guides, admitted or rejected opinions only by the evidence of reason, we should neither embrace nor refuse any tenet, because we find it published by another, of what name or character soever he was.

You say you lose many things because they slip from you. I have had experience of that myself, but for that my lord Bacon has provided a sure remedy. For, as I remember, he advises somewhere never to go without pen and ink, or something to write with, and to be sure not to neglect to write down all thoughts of moment that come into the mind. I must own I have omitted it often, and often repented it. The thoughts that come often unsought, and, as it were, drop into the mind, are commonly the most valuable of any we have, and therefore should be secured, because they seldom return again.

You say also that you lose many things, because your own thoughts are not steady and strong enough to follow and pursue them to a just issue. Give me leave to think that herein you mistake yourself, and your own abilities. Write down your thoughts upon any point as far as you have at any time pursued them, and go on with them again some other time when you find your mind disposed to it, and so till you have carried them as far as you can, and you will be convinced that, if you have lost any, it has not been for want of strength of mind to bring them to an issue, but for want of memory to retain a long train of reasonings which the mind, having once beat out, is loth to be at the pains to go over again, and so the connexion and train having slipped the memory, the pursuit stops, and the reasoning

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