— 481 —
Hence unavoidable Obscurity in ancient Authors.
      §10. What obscurity this has unavoidably brought upon the
Writings of Men, who have lived in remote Ages, and different
Countries, it will be needless to take notice. Since the numerous
Volumes of learned Men, employing their Thoughts that way, are
proofs more than enough, to shew what Attention, Study, Sagacity,
and Reasoning is required, to find out the true meaning of ancient
Authors. But there being no Writings we have any great concern-
ment to be very sollicitous about the meaning of, but those that
contain either Truths we are required to believe, or Laws we are to
obey, and draw inconveniences on us, when we mistake or trans-
gress, we may be less anxious about the sense of other Authors;
who Writing but their own Opinions, we are under no greater
necessity to know them, than they to know ours. Our good or evil
depending not on their Decrees, we may safely be ignorant of their
Notions: And therefore in the reading of them, if they do not use
their Words with a due clearness and perspicuity, we may lay them
aside, and without any injury done them, resolve thus with our
Si non vis intelligi, debes negligi. (Source untraced)
Locke Hum III, 9, §10, p. 481