Among innumerable footsteps of divine providence to be found in the works of nature, there is a very remarkable one to be observed in the exact balance that is maintained, between the numbers of men and women; for by this means is provided, that the species never may fail, nor perish, since every male may have its female, and of proportionable age. This equality of males and females is not the effect of chance but divine providence, working for a good end.
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The Reader may here observe the Force of Numbers, which can be successfully applied, even to those things, which one would imagine are subject to no Rules. There are very few things which we know, which are not capable of being reduc'd to a Mathematical Reasoning, and when they cannot, it's a sign our Knowledge of them is very small and confus'd; and where a mathematical reasoning can be had, it's as great folly to make use of any other, as to grope for a thing in the dark when you have a Candle standing by you.
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The Mathematics are Friends to Religion, inasmuch as they charm the Passions, restrain the Impetuosity of the Imagination, and purge the Mind from Error and Prejudice. Vice is Error, Confusion, and false Reasoning; and all Truth is more or less opposite to it. Besides, Mathematical Studies may serve for a pleasant Entertainment for those Hours which young Men are apt to throw away upon their Vices; the Delightfulness of them being such as to make Solitude not only easy, but desirable.
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It is surprising to see what superficial, inconsequential reasonings satisfy the most part of mankind. A piece of wit, a jest, a simile, or a quotation of an Author, passes for a mighty argument.... This weakness and effeminacy of mankind in being persuaded where they are delighted, have made them the sport of orators, poets, and men of wit.
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King is a title which translated into several languages, signifies a magistrate with as many different degrees of power as there are kingdoms in the world, and he can have no power but what is given him by law; yea, even the supreme or legislative power is bound by the rules of equity, to govern by laws enacted, and published in due form; for what is not legal is arbitrary.
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I believe the calculation of the quantity of probability might be improved to a very useful and pleasant speculation, and applied to a great many events which are accidental, besides those of games; only these cases would be infinitely more confused, as depending on chances which the most part of men are ignorant of.
When I became thoroughly acquainted with the Greek and Roman authors, I thought it incumbent upon me to do something towards the honor of the place of my nativity, and to vindicate the rhetoric of this ancient forum of our Metropolis from the aspersions of the illiterate by composing A Treatise of the Alercation of the Ancients; wherein I have demonstrated that the purity, sincerity, and simplicity of their diction is nowhere so well preserved as amongst my neighbourhood.
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