The Commonwealth of Learning is not at this time without Master-Builders, whose mighty Designs, in advancing the Sciences, will leave lasting Monuments to the Admiration of Posterity; But every one must not hope to be a Boyle, or a Sydenham; and in an Age that produces such Masters, as the Great-Huygenius, and the incomparable Mr. Newton, with some other of that Strain; 'tis Ambition enough to be employed as an Under-Labourer in clearing Ground a little, and removing some of the Rubbish, that lies in the way to Knowledge.
It is reported of that prodigy of parts, Monsieur Pascal, that till the decay of his health had impaired his memory, he forgot nothing of what he had done, read, or thought, in any part of his rational age. This is a privilege so little known to most men, that it seems almost incredible to those who, after the ordinary way, measure all others by themselves; but yet, when considered, may help us to enlarge our thoughts towards greater perfections of it, in superior ranks of spirits.
Since nothing appears to me to give Children so much becoming Confidence and Behavior, and so raise them to the conversation of those above their Age, as Dancing. I think they should be taught to dance as soon as they are capable of learning it.
Brutes abstract not. -- If it may be doubted, whether beasts compound and enlarge their ideas, that way, to any degree; this, I think, I may be positive in, that the power of abstracting is not at all in them; and that the having of general ideas is that which puts a perfect distinction betwixt man and brutes, and is an excellency which the faculties of brutes do by no means attain to.
It is hard to know what other way men can come to truth, to lay hold of it, if they do not dig and search for it as for gold and hid treasure; but he that does so, must have much earth and rubbish, before he gets the pure metal; sand, and pebbles, and dross usually lie blended with it, but the gold is nevertheless gold, and will enrich the man that employs his pains to seek and separate it.