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1. The celebrated - “ Essay on Human Understanding,” is the work by which Locke is most distinguished in the republic of letters. The plan of it was laid in 1670; though as the author met with many interruptions, it was not finished till 1636. About the same time he also published an abridgment of it. It were needless to add more of this work, as it is already in the hands of most who have any interest iu such subjects.
2. In 1689, he published his first Letter on Toleration. Locke is said to have borrowed the plan of his Letters on Toleration, partly from the 44th section or discourse of Jeremy Taylor, and partly from Stillingfieet's Irenicum.
3. In 1690, came out his '“ Two Treatises of Civil Government,” in defence of the revolu. tion.
4. The same year he wrote his “ Letter on Education," addressed to Edward Chissley, esq. which was not published, however, till 1693.
5. Some Considerations of the Consequences of the Lowering of Interest, and raising the Value of Money, in a letter sent to a Member of Parliament, 1691.
6. The Reasonableness of Christianity, as delivered in the Scriptures, 1695. This trea
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though at pas, it was same tized 'it. If we
tise incurred the charge of Socinianism in a tract by Mr. Edwards, entitled “ The Socinian Unmasked,” published in 1696, which drew from Mr. Locke,
7. Two “ Vindications" of his doctrine, published the sarne year.
8. In 1697 and 1698, Locke entered into another theological controversy with Dr. Stillingfleet, chiefly on the subject of the Trinity; which occasioned two letters from the bishop, and three from himself; which were the last compositions published during his life-time.
His posthumous works were published in 1607, octavo ; and contain the five following tracts :
1. The Conduct of the Understanding One of the topics of this admirable little work will furnish a complete and appropriate
Of Practice and Habits.
onsequent raising te a Vembe
We are born with faculties and powers capable of almost any thing, such at least as would carry us farther than can be easily imagined: but it is only the exercise of those powers which gives us ability and skill in any thing, and leads us towards perfection.
A middle-aged ploughman will scarce
ever be brought to the carriage and language of a gentleman, though his body be as well proportioned, and his joints as supple, and his natural parts not any way inferior. The legs of a dancing-master, and the fingers of a musician, fall as it were naturally, without thought or pains, into regular and admirable motions. Bid them change their parts, and they will in vain endeavour to produce like motions in the members not used to them, and it will require length of time and long practice to attain but some degrees of a like ability. What incredible and astonishing actions do we find rope-dancers and tumblers bring their bodies to; not but that sundry in almost all manual arts are as wonderful; but I name those which the world takes notice of for such, because on that very account they give money to see them. All these admired notions, beyond the reach and almost the conception of unpractised spectators, are nothing but the mere effects of use and industry in men, whose bodies have nothing peculiar in them from those of the amazed lookers on.
As it is in the body, so it is in the mind; practice makes it what it is, and most even of those excellencies which are looked on as natural endowments, will be found, when examined into more narrowly, to be the product of exercise, and to be raised to that pitch only by repeated actions. Some men are re
Inarked for pleasantriess in raillery; others for apo-
ference so observable in men's understandings and parts, does not arise so much from the natural faculties, as acquired habits. He would be laughed at that should go about to make a fine dancer out of a couutry hedger, at past fifty. And he will not have much better success who shall endeavour at that age to make a man reason well or speak handsomely who has never been used to it, though you should lay before him a collection of all the best precepts of logic or oratory. No body is made any thing by hearing of rules, or laying them up in his memory; practice must settle the habit of doing, without reflecting on the rule; and you may as well hope to make a good painter or musician extempore by a lecture and instruction in the arts of music and painting, as a coherent thinker or strict reasoner, by a set of rules, shewing him wherein right reasoning consists.
This being so that defects and weakness in men's understandings, as well as other faculties, come from want of a right use of their own minds, I am apt to think the fault is generally mislaid upon nature, and there is often a complaint of want of parts when the fault lies in want of a due improvement of them. We see men frequently dexterous and sharp enough in making a bargain, who, if you reason with them about matters of religion, appear perfectly stupid.