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WE, in England, know no other king than he who is so by law, nor any power in that king, except that which he has by law: and though the Roman empire was held by the power of the sword; and Ulpian, a corrupt lawyer, undertakes to say, that the prince is not obliged by the laws; yet Theodosius confessed, that it was the glory of a good emperor to acknowledge himself bound by them.
WE have had no king since William I. more hardy than Henry VIII. and yet he so entirely acknowledged the power of making, changing, and repealing laws, to be in the parliament, as never to attempt any extraordinary thing otherwise than by their authority. It was not he, but the parliament, that dissolved the abbeys: he did not take their lands to himself, but received what the parliament thought fit to give him. He did not reject the supremacy of the pope, nor assume any other power in spiritual matters, than the parliament conferred upon him: the intricacies of his marriages, and the legitimation of his children, was settled by the same power: at least, one of his daughters could not inherit the crown upon any other title; they who gave him a power to dispose of the crown by will, might have given it to his groom; and he was too haughty to ask it from them, if he had it in himself,
which he must have had, if the laws and judicatures had been in his hand.
SUCH is the imperfection of all human constitutions, that they are subject to perpetual fluctuation, which never permits them to continue long in the same condition. Corruptions slide in insensibly; and the best orders are sometimes subverted by malice and violence; so that he who only regards what was done in such an age, often takes the corruption of the state for the institution, follows the worst example, thinks that to be the first, that is the most ancient he knows; and if a brave people, seeing the original defects of their government, or the corruption into which it may be fallen, do either correct and reform what may be amended, or abolish that which was evil in the institution, or so perverted, that it cannot be restored to integrity, these men impute it to sedition, and blame those actions, which, of all that can be performed by men, are the most glorious. We are not therefore so much to inquire after that which is most ancient, as that which is best, and most conducing to the good ends to which it was directed. As governments were instituted for the obtaining of justice, and the preservation of liberty, we are not to seek what government was the first, but what best provides for the obtaining of justice and preservation of liberty. For whatsoever the in
stitution be, and how long soever it may have lasted, 'tis void if it thwarts, or do not provide for the ends of its establishment. If such a law or custom, therefore, as is not good in itself, had in the beginning prevailed in all parts of the world, it ought to be abolished; and if any man should shew himself wiser than others, by proposing a law or government, more beneficial to mankind than any that had been formerly known, providing better for justice and liberty than all others had done, he would merit the highest veneration.
THERE is a way of killing worse than the sword: for, as Tertullian says upon a different occasion, prohibere nasci est occidere; those governments are in the highest degree guilty of blood, which, by taking from men the means of living, bring some to perish through want, drive others out of the country, and generally dissuade men from marriage, by taking from them all ways of subsisting their families.
POPULAR and regular governments have always applied themselves to increase the number, strength, power, riches, and courage of their people, by providing comfortable ways of subsistence for their own citizens, inviting strangers, and filling them all with such a love to their country,
that every man might look upon the public cause as his own, and be always ready to defend it.
NO state can be said to stand upon a steady foundation, except those whose strength is in their soldiery, and the body of their own people. Such as serve for wages, often betray their masters in distress, and always want the courage and industry which is found in those who fight for their own interests, and are to have a part in the victory.
THE state that is defended by one potentate against another, becomes a slave to their protector : mercenary soldiers always want fidelity or courage, and most commonly both. If they are not corrupted or beaten by the invader, they make a prey of their masters. These are the followers of camps, who have neither faith nor piety, but prefer gain before right. They who expose their blood to sale, look where they can make the best bargain, and never fail of pretences for following their interests.
Ubi maxima merces.
The salt of life, which does to all a relish give;
A MAN's own observation what he finds good of, and what he finds hurt of, is the best physic to preserve health: but it is a safer conclusion to say, "This agreeth not well with me, therefore I "will not continue it; than this, "I find no of
fence of this, therefore I may use it." For strength of nature in youth, passeth over many excesses which are owing a man till his age. Discern of the coming on of years, and think not. * to do the same things still, for age will not be defied.
Beware of sudden change in any great point of diet, and if necessity enforce it, fit the rest to it; for it is a secret, both in nature and state, that it is safer to change many things than one. Examine thy customs of diet, sleep, exercise, apparel, and the like, and try, in any thing thou shalt judge hurtful, to discontinue it by little and little; but so, as if thou dost find any inconvenience by the change, thou come back to it again; for it is hard to distinguish that which is generally held good and wholesome, from that which is good particularly, and fit for thine own body.