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SECTION XXXIX.

THOSE KINGS ONLY ARE HEADS OF THE PEOPLE, WHO ARE GOOD, WISE, AND SEEK TO ADVANCE NO INTEREST BUT THAT OF THE PUBLIC.

THE worst of men seldom arrive to such a degree of impudence, as plainly to propose the most mischievous follies and enormities. They who are enemies to virtue, and fear not God, are afraid of men, and dare not offer such things as the world will not bear, lest by that means they should overthrow their ⚫ own designs. All poison must be disguised, and no man can be persuaded to eat arsenic, unless it be covered with something that appears to be harmless. Creusa would have abhorred Medea's present, if the pestilent venom had not been hidden by the exterior lustre of gold and gems. The garment that destroyed Hercules appeared beautiful; and Eve had neither eaten of the forbidden tree, or given the fruit to her husband, if it had not seemed to be good and pleasant, and had she not been induced to believe that by eating it they should both be as gods. The servants of the devil have always followed the same method: their malice is carried on by fraud, and they have seldom destroyed any, but such as they had first deceived. Truth can never conduce to mischief, and is best discovered by plain words; but nothing is more usual with ill men, than to cover their mis

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chievous designs with figurative phrases. It would be too ridiculous to say in plain terms, that all kings, without distinction, are better able to judge of all matters than any or all their people; they must therefore be called the head, that thereby they may be invested with all the pre-eminences which in a natural body belong to that part; and men must be made to believe the analogy between the natural and political body to be perfect. But the matter must be better examined before this mortal poison seems fit to be swallowed.

The word "head,” is figuratively used both in scripture and profane authors in several senses, in relation to places or persons, and always implies something of real or seeming pre-eminence in point of honour or jurisdiction. Thus Damascus is said to be the head of Syria; Samaria of Ephraim, and Ephraim of the ten tribes; that is, Ephraim was the chief tribe; Samaria was the chief city of Ephraim, and Damascus of Syria; though it be certain, that Ephraim had no jurisdiction over the other tribes, nor Samaria over the other cities of Ephraim, but every one according to the law had an equal power within itself, or the territories belonging to it; and no privileges were granted to one above another, except to Jerusalem, in the matter of religion, because the temple was placed there.

The words also head, prince, principal man, or captain, seem to be equivocal; and in this sense, the same men are called heads of the tribes, princes in the

houses of their fathers:* and it is said, that two hundred heads of the tribe of Reuben were carried away captive by Tiglath Pilezer, and proportionably in the other tribes; which were a strange thing, if the word did imply that supreme, absolute, and infinite power, that our author attributes to it; and no man of less understanding than he, can comprehend how there should be two hundred or more sovereign, unlimitted powers in one tribe, most especially when it is certain, that one series of kings had for many ages reigned over that tribe and nine more; and that every one of those tribes, as well as the particular cities, even from their first entrance into the promised land, had a full jurisdiction within itself. When the Gileadites came to Jephtha, he suspected them, and asked whether indeed they intended to make him their head? They answered, if he would lead them against the Ammonites, he should be their head.† In the like sense, when Julius Cæsar in despair would have killed himself, one of his soldiers dissuaded him from that design, by telling him,

"That the safety of so many nations, that had made him their head, depending upon his life, it would be cruelty in him to take such a resolution." But for all that, when this head was taken off, the body did still subsist: upon which I observe many fundamental differences, between the relation of this

† Judg. xii.

⚫ 1 Chron. v.

Cum tot ab hac anima populorum vita salusque
Pendeat, & tantus caput hoc sibi feceret orbis,
Sævitia est volume moti.

LUCAN.

figurative head (even when the word is rightly ap plied) and that of the natural head to their respective bodies.

The figurative heads may be many, the natural but one.

The people make or create the figurative head; the natural is from 'itself, or connate with the body.

The natural body cannot change or subsist without the natural head; but a people may change and subsist very well without the artificial. Nay, if it had been true, that the world had chosen Cæsar, as it was not (for he was chosen only by a factious, mercenary army, and the soundest part so far opposed that election, that they brought him to think of killing himself) there could have been no truth in this flattering assertion, "That the safety of the whole depended upon his life:" for the world could not only usbsist without him, but without any such head, as it had done, before he by the help of his corrupted soldiery had usurped the power; which also shews that a civil head may be a matter of convenience, but not of necessity. Many nations have had none; and if the expression be so far stretched, as to make it extend to the annual or temporary magistrates set up by the Athenians, Carthaginians, Romans, and other ancient commonwealths, or to those at this day in Venice, Holland, Switzerland, and other places, it must be confessed, that the people who made, deposed, abrogated, or abolished, both the magistrates

and magistracies, had the power of framing, directing, and removing their heads, which, our author will say, is most absurd. Yet they did it without any prejudice to themselves, and very often much to their advantage.

In mentioning these vast and essential differences between the natural and political head, I no way intend to exclude others, that may be of equal weight; but as all figurative expressions have their strength only from similitude, there can be little none in this, which differs in so many important points, and can therefore be of no effect.

However, right proceeds from identity, and not from similitude. The right of a man over me is by being my father, and not by being like my father. If I had a brother so perfectly resembling me, as to deceive our parents, which has sometimes happened to twins, it could give him no right to any thing that is mine. If the power, therefore, of correcting the parties peccant, which our author attributes to kings, be grounded upon the name of head, and a resemblance between the heads of the body politic and body natural; if this resemblence be found to be exceedingly imperfect, uncertain, or perhaps no way relating to the matter in question; or though it did, and were absolutely perfect, could confer no right; the allegation of it is impertinent and absurd.

This being cleared, it is time to examine, what the office of the head is in a natural body, that we

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