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Acutenesse, but of a well-ballanc'd Reason, which by the Compendium of a word, we call philosophy.
For by this it is, that a way is open'd to us, in which we travell from the contemplation of particular
things to the Inference or result of universall Actions. Now look how many sorts of things there are
which properly fall within the cognizance of humane reason, into so many branches does the tree of
philosophy divide it selfe. And from the diversity of the matter about which they are conversant, there
hath been given to those branches a diversity of Names too: For treating of Figures, tis call'd
Geometry; of motion, physick; of naturall right, Moralls; put all together, and they make up philosophy.
Just as the British, the Atlantick, and the Indian Seas, being diversly christen'd from the diversity of
their shoares, doe notwithstanding all together make up The Ocean. And truly the Geometricians have
very admirably perform'd their part. For whatsoever assistance doth accrew to the life of man, whether
from the observation of the Heavens, or from the description of the Earth, from the notation of Times, or
from the remotest Experiments of Navigation; Finally, whatsoever things they are in which this present
Age doth differ from the rude simplenesse of Antiquity, we must acknowledge to be a debt which we
owe meerly to Geometry. If the Morall philosophers had as happily discharg'd their duty, I know not
what could have been added by humane Industry to the completion of that happinesse, which is
consistent with humane life. For were the nature of humane Actions as distinctly knowne, as the nature
of Quantity in Geometricall Figures, the strength of Avarice and Ambition, which is sustained by the
erroneous opinions of the Vulgar, as touching the nature of Right and Wrong, would presently faint and
languish; And Mankinde should enjoy such an Immortall peace, that (unlesse it were for habitation, on
supposition that the Earth should grow too narrow for her Inhabitants) there would hardly be left any
pretence for war. But now on the contrary, that neither the Sword nor the pen should be allowed any
Cessation; That the knowledge of the Law of Nature should lose its growth, not advancing a whit
beyond its antient stature; that there should still be such siding with the severall factions of
philosophers, that the very same Action should bee decryed by some, and as much elevated by others;
that the very same man should at severall times embrace his severall opinions, and esteem his own
Actions farre otherwise in himselfe than he does in others; These I say are so many signes, so many
manifest Arguments, that what hath hitherto been written by Morall philosophers, hath not made any
progress in the knowledge of the Truth; but yet have took with the world, not so much by giving any
light to the understanding, as entertainment to the Affections, whilest by the successefull
Rhetorications of their speech they have confirmed them in their rashly received opinions. So that this
part of philosophy hath suffered the same destiny with the publick Wayes, which lye open to all
passengers to traverse up and down or the same lot with high wayes and open streets; Some for
divertisement, and some for businesse; so that what with the Impertinencies of some, and the
Altercations of others, those wayes have never a seeds time, and therefore yield never a harvest. The
onely reason of which unluckines should seem to be this; That amongst all the writers of that part of
philosophy, there is not one that hath used an idoneous principle of Tractation: For we may not, as in a
Circle, begin the handling of a Science from what point we please. There is a certain Clue of Reason,
whose beginning is in the dark, but by the benefit of whose Conduct, wee are led as 'twere by the hand
into the clearest light, so that the principle of Tractation is to be taken from that Darknesse, and then
the light to be carried thither for the irradiating its doubts. As often therefore as any writer, doth either
weakly forsake that Clue, or wilfully cut it asunder, he describes the Footsteps, not of his progresse in
Science, but of his wandrings from it. And upon this it was, that when I applyed my Thoughts to the
Investigation of Naturall Justice, I was presently advertised from the very word Justice, (wich signifies a
steady Will of giving every one his Owne) that my first enquiry was to be, from whence it proceeded,
that any man should call any thing rather his Owne, than another man's. And when I found that this
proceeded not from Nature, but Consent, (for what Nature at first laid forth in common, men did
afterwards distribute into severall Impropriations, I was conducted from thence to another Inquiry,
namely to what end, and upon what Impulsives, when all was equally every mans in common, men did
rather think it fitting, that every man should have his Inclosure; And I found the reason was, that from a
Community of Goods, there must needs arise Contention whose enjoyment should be greatest, and
from that Contention all kind of Calamities must unavoydably ensue, which by the instinct of Nature,
every man is taught to shun. Having therefore thus arrived at two maximes of humane Nature, the one
arising from the concupiscible part, which desires to appropriate to it selfe the use of those things in
which all others have a joynt interest, the other proceeding from the rationall, which teaches every man
to fly a contre-naturall Dissolution, as the greatest mischiefe that can arrive to Nature; Which principles
being laid down, I seem from them to have demonstrated by a most evident connexion, in this little
work of mine, first the absolute necessity of Leagues and Contracts, and thence the rudiments both of
morall and of civill prudence. That Appendage which is added concerning the Regiment of God, hath
been done with this intent, that the Dictates of God Almighty in the Law of nature, might not seem
repugnant to the written Law, revealed to us in his word. I have also been very wary in the whole tenour
of my discourse, not to meddle with the civill Lawes of any particular nation whatsoever, That is to say,