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THE RIGHT TO CHANGE RULERS
HE doubts who shall judge of the lawful cause of changing the government; and says, it is a pestilent conclusion to place that power in the multitude. But why should this be esteemed pestilent? or to whom ? If the allowance of such a power to the senate was pestilent to Nero, it was beneficial to mankind ; and the denial of it, which would have given to Nero an opportunity of continuing in his villainies, would have been pestilent to the best of men, whom he endeavoured to destroy, and to all others that received benefit from them. But this question depends upon another : for if governments are constituted for the pleasure, greatness, or profit of one man, he must not be interrupted : the opposing of his will is to overthrow the institution. On the other side, if the good of the government be sought, care must be taken that the end be accomplished, though it be with the prejudice of the governor. If the power be originally in the multitude, and one or more men, to whom the exercise of it, or a part of it, was committed, had no more than their brethren, till it was conferred on him or them, it cannot be believed that rational creatures would advance one, or a few of their equals above themselves, unless in consideration of their own good; and then I find no inconvenience in leaving to them a right of judging, whether this be duly performed or not. We say in general :—“he that institutes, may also abrogate”; more especially when the institution is not only by, but for himself. If the multitude therefore do institute, the multitude may abrogate ; and they themselves, or those who succeed in the same right, can only be fit judges of the performance of the ends of the institution. Our author may perhaps say, the public peace may be hereby disturbed : but he ought to know, there can be no peace, where there is no justice ; nor any justice, if the government instituted for the good of a nation be turned to its ruin.
(From the Same.)
THE BASIS OF SOCIAL ORDER
THE weakness in which we are born renders us unable to attain the good of ourselves : we want help in all things, especially in
the greatest. The fierce barbarity of a loose multitude, bound by no law, and regulated by no discipline, is wholly repugnant to it. Whilst every man fears his neighbour, and has no other defence than his own strength, he must live in that perpetual anxiety, which is equally contrary to that happiness, and that sedate temper of mind, which is required for the search of it. The first step towards the cure of this pestilent evil is for many to join in one body, that every one may be protected by the united force of all; and the various talents that men possess, may by good discipline be rendered useful to the whole : as the meanest piece of wood or stone, being placed by a wise architect, conduces to the beauty of the most glorious building. But every man bearing in his own breast affections, passions, and vices, repugnant to this end, and no man owing any submission to his neighbour, none will subject the correction or restriction of themselves to another, unless he also submit to the same rule. They are rough pieces of timber or stone, which it is necessary to cleave, saw, or cut : this is the work of a skilful builder, and he only is capable of erecting a great fabric, who is so. Magistrates are political architects; and they only can perform the work incumbent on them, who excel in political virtues. Nature, in variously framing the minds of men, according to the variety of uses, in which they may be employed, in order to the institution and preservation of civil societies, must be our guide, in allotting to every one his proper work. And Plato, observing this variety, affirms that the laws of nature cannot be more absurdly violated than by giving the government of a people to such as do not excel others in those arts and virtues that tend to the ultimate ends for which governments are instituted. And this means those who are slaves by nature, or rendered so by their vices, as often set above those that God and nature had fitted for the highest commands; and societies, which subsist only by order, fall into corruption, when all order is so preposterously inverted.
(From the Same.)
THE INVISIBLE KING
A NOBLE lord, who was irregularly detained in prison in 1681, being by habeas corpus brought to the bar of the King's Bench, where he sued to be released upon bail ; and an ignorant judge telling him he must apply himself to the king, he replied, that he came thither for that end ; that the king might eat, drink, or sleep where he pleased ; but when he rendered justice, he was always in that place. The king that renders justice is indeed always there; he never sleeps; he is subject to no infirmity ; he never dies, unless the nation be extinguished, or so dissipated as to have no government.
No nation that has a sovereign power within itself does ever want this king. He was in Athens and Rome, as well as in Babylon and Susa ; and is as properly said to be now in Venice, Switzerland, or Holland, as in France, Morocco, or Turkey. This is he to whom we all owe a simple and unconditional obedience. This is he who never does any wrong; it is before him we appear, when we demand justice, or render an account of our actions. All juries give their verdict in his sight : they are his commands that the judges are bound and sworn to obey, when they are not at all to consider such as they receive from the person that wears the crown. It was for treason against him, that Tresilian and others like to him in several ages were hanged. They gratified the lusts of the visible powers ; but the invisible king would not be mocked. He caused justice to be executed upon Empson and Dudley. He was injured, when the perjured wretches, who gave that accursed judgment in the case of ship-money, were suffered to escape the like punishment by means of the ensuing troubles which they had chiefly raised. And I leave it to those who are concerned, to consider how many in our days may expect vengeance for the like crimes.
(From the Same.)
[George Fox, the founder of the Quakers, was born at Drayton, in Leicestershire, in 1624. He was the son of a weaver, an honest man," George tells us, with “a seed of God in him." He inherited from his mother, whose maiden name was Lago, the martyr spirit of her family. From his earliest years he appears to have been earnest and religious, to have shrunk more and more from the fellowship of men, finally breaking off from both old and young, at, as he thought, the command of God. He appears to have had some private means, and soon took to wandering about England preaching and exhorting. He gradually severed himself from the visible church, and from all formal assemblies of religious people, coming to believe in his own special inspiration. He suffered much and frequent ill-usage at the hands of the mob, and was repeatedly imprisoned for conscience' sake. From the year 1647 to his death in 1690, except when interrupted by imprisonment, he went preaching and praying through the length and breadth of England again and again, visiting also Ireland, Scotland, the Barbadoes, Jamaica, America, and the Netherlands. Even from gaol he wrote exhortations to his friends and admonitions to the government. He married in 1669 Margaret, the widow of one Judge Fell, who had repeatedly used her influence both with her first husband and with the king on Fox's behalf. He believed himself possessed of the power of discerning witches, of healing the sick and of casting out devils. ]
THE most important of the writings of George Fox is his Journal, or Historical Account of the Life, Trials, Sufferings, Christian Experiences, and Labour of Love in the Work of the Ministry of that Ancient, Eminent, and Faithful Servant of Jesus Christ, George Fox, which was published after his death. In addition to this record of his experiences he wrote sundry tracts and addresses to the king, and a volume has been collected of his epistles.
The style of his journal is simple, unaffected, and earnest. He makes a fairly liberal use of Scripture phraseology, but not so as to break the continuity of his own writing. He is dignified and temperate, never indulging in grotesque metaphors nor in recondite biblical allusions. He is often quite eloquent from the force of his convictions, speaking straight out of the heart, as God gave