— 100 —
Men must think and know for themselves.       §23. What censure, doubting thus of innate Principles, may
deserve from Men, who will be apt to call it, pulling up the old
foundations of Knowledge and Certainty, I cannot tell: I perswade
my self, at least, that the way I have pursued, being conformable to
Truth, lays those foundations surer. This I am certain, I have not
made it my business, either to quit, or follow any Authority in the
ensuing Discourse: Truth has been my only aim; and where-ever
that has appeared to lead, my Thoughts have impartially followed,
— 101 —
without minding, whether the footsteps of any other lay that way,
or no. Not that I want a due respect to other Mens Opinions; but
after all, the greatest reverence is due to Truth; and, I hope, it will not be
thought arrogance, to say, That, perhaps, we should make greater
progress in the discovery of rational and contemplative Knowledge, if
we sought it in the Fountain, in the consideration of Things themselves;
and made use rather of our own Thoughts, than other Mens to
find it. For, I think, we may as rationally hope to see with other
Mens Eyes, as to know by other Mens Understandings. So much as
we our selves consider and comprehend of Truth and Reason, so
much we possess of real and true Knowledge. The floating of other
Mens Opinions in our brains makes us not one jot the more know-
ing, though they happen to be true. What in them was Science, is
in us but Opiniatrety, whilst we give up our Assent only to rever-
end Names, and do not, as they did, employ our own Reason to
understand those Truths, which gave them reputation. Aristotle was
certainly a knowing Man, but no body ever thought him so,
because he blindly embraced, and confidently vented the Opinions
of another. And if the taking up of another’s Principles, without
examining them, made not him a Philosopher, I suppose it will
hardly make any body else so. In the Sciences, every one has so
much, as he really knows and comprehends: What he believes only,
and takes upon trust, are but shreads; which however well in the
whole piece, make no considerable addition to his stock, who
gathers them. Such borrowed Wealth, like Fairy-money, though it
were Gold in the hand from which he received it, will be but Leaves
and Dust when it comes to use.
Locke Hum I, 4, §23, pp. 100-101