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civil rights, foundations may be laid for that security and tranquillity, which the children unborn may have cause to rise up and bless your names and memories for. Take it in good part; I mean nothing but juftice and peace to all; and fo conclude myself,
Your honest monitor, and Old England's true friend,
GOOD OF ENGLAND :
Our Civil Union is our Civil Safety.
Humbly dedicated to the
D ELIGION, as it is the noblest end of man's K life, so it were the best bond of human society, provided men did not err in the meaning of that excellent word. Scripture interprets it to be « loving “ God above all, and our neighbours as ourselves;" but practice teacheth us, that too many merely resolve it into opinion and form; in which, not the text, but the comment, too often prevails: whence it comes to pass, that those bodies of men, who have but one common civil interest, are miserably distracted in favour of their adopted notions, upon which they are impatient to bestow an earthly crown. And this is the reason of that mischief and uncertainty that attend government. No sooner one opinion prevails upon
another, another, (though all hold the text to be sacred) but human society is shaken, and the civil government must receive and suffer a revolution; insomuch, that when we consider the fury and unnaturalness of some people for religion, (which shews they have none that is true, religion making men most natural as well as divine) we have reason to bewail the mis-understanding, as well as mis-living, of that venerable word.
But since it is so hard to disabuse men of their wrong apprehensions of religion, and the true nature and life of it, and consequently as yet too early in the day to fix such a religion upon which mankind will readily agree as a common basis for civil society, we must recur to some lower, but true, principle for the present, and I think there will be no difficulty of succeeding.
It is this, "That civil interest is the foundation and < end of civil government; and where it is not main( tained intire, the government must needs decline.' The word INTEREST has a good and bad acceptation: when it is taken in an ill sense, it signifies a pursuit of advantage without regard to truth or justice, which I mean not: the good signification of the word, and which I mean, is ' a legal endeavour to keep rights, or ( augment honest profits, whether it be in a private person or a society. By GOVERNMENT, I understand a i just and equal constitution,' where might is not right, but laws rule, and not the wills or power of men; for that were plain tyranny.
This government must have a supreme authority in itself to determine, and not be superseded or controuled by any other power; for then it would not be a government, but a subjection; which is a plain contradiction.
Having thus explained the terms of the principle I have laid down, I repeat it, viz. "That civil interest " is the foundation and end of civil government,' and prove it thus: the good of the whole is the rise and end of government: but the good of the whole must needs be the interest of the whole; and consequently the interest of the whole, is the reason and end of government. None can stumble at the word good; for every man may easily and safely interpret that to himself, since he must needs believe, it is good for him to be preserved in an undisturbed poffefsion of his civil rights, according to the free and just laws of the land ; and the construction he makes for himself will serve his neighbour, and fo the whole society.
But as the good of the people is properly the civil interest of the people, and that the reason and end of government; so is the maintenance of that civil interest intire, the preservation of government. For where people are sure of their own, and are protected from violence or injury, they cheerfully yield their obedience, and pay their contribution to the support of that government. But, on the contrary, where men are insecure of their civil rights, nay, where they are daily violated, and themselves in danger of ruin, and that for no sin committed against the nature of civil interest, (to preserve which, government was instituted) we ought to suppose their affections will fag, that they will grow dead-hearted, and that what they pay or do, may go against the grain : and, to say true, such unkindness is ready to tempt them to believe they should not of right contribute to the maintenance of such governments, as yield them no security or civil protection. Which unhappy flaw in the civil interest, proves an untoward crack in the government; men not being cordially devoted to the prosperity of that government that is exercised in their destruction; and how far that fraction upon the common interest of the people may affect the government I cannot tell, but to be sure it is insecure to any government, to have the people (its strength) di. vided, as they will be, where their interest is so disjointed by the government; one protected, the other exposed. Wherefore, wise governments have ever taken care to preserve their people, as knowing they do thereby preserve their own interest, and that how numerous their people, so large their interest. For not only Solomon has told us, « Thac che honour Vol. IV,
destructity of that'not being untowardhappy nem no