Implicit Faith belongs to Fools, and Truth is comprehended by examining Principles.

WHILST Filmer's business is to overthrow liberty and truth, he, in his passage, modestly professeth not to meddle with mysteries of state,[1] or arcana imperii.[2] He renounces those inquiries through an implicit faith, which never enter'd into the head of any but fools, and such, as through a carelessness of the point in question, acted as if they were so. This is the foundation of the papal power, and it can stand no longer

than those that compose the Roman church can be persuaded to submit their consciences to the word of the priests, and esteem themselves discharged from the necessity of searching the Scriptures in order to know whether the things that are told them are true or false. This may shew whether our author or those of Geneva do best agree with the Roman doctrine: But his instance is yet more sottish than his profession. An implicit faith, says he, is given to the meanest artificer. I wonder by whom! Who will wear a shoe that hurts him, because the shoe-maker tells him 'tis well made? or who will live in a house that yields no defence against the extremities of weather, because the mason or carpenter assures him 'tis a very good house? Such as have reason, understanding, or common sense, will, and ought to make use of it in those things that concern themselves and their posterity, and suspect the words of such as are interested in deceiving or persuading them not to see with their own eyes, that they may be more easily deceived. This rule obliges us so far to search into matters of state, as to examine the original principles of government in general, and of our own in particular. We cannot distinguish truth from falsehood, right from wrong, or know what obedience we owe to the magistrate, or what we may justly expect from him, unless we know what he is, why he is, and by whom he is made to be what he is. These perhaps may be called mysteries of state, and some would persuade us they are to be esteemed arcana; but whosoever confesses himself to be ignorant of them, must acknowledge that he is incapable of giving any judgment upon things relating to the superstructure, and in so doing evidently shews to others, that they ought not at all to hearken to what he says.

His argument to prove this is more admirable. If an implicit faith , says he, is given to the meanest artificer in his craft, much more to a prince in the profound secrets of government . But where is the consequence? If I trust to the judgment of an artificer, or one of a more ingenuous profession, 'tis not because he is of it, but because I am persuaded he does well understand it, and that he will be faithful to me in things relating to his art. I do not send for Lower or Micklethwait when I am sick, nor ask the advice of Mainard or Jones in a suit of law, because the first are physicians, and the other lawyers; but because I think them wise, learned, diligent, and faithful, there being a multitude of others who go under the same name, whose opinion I would never ask. Therefore if any conclusion can be drawn from thence in favour of princes, it must be of such as have all the qualities of ability and integrity, that should create this confidence in me; or it must be proved that all princes, in as much as they are princes, have such qualities. No general conclusion can be drawn from the first case, because it must depend upon the circumstances, which ought to be particularly proved: And if the other be asserted, I desire to know whether Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Vitellius, Domitian, Commodus, Heliogabalus, and others not unlike to them, had those admirable endowments, upon which an implicit faith ought to have been grounded; how they came by them; and whether we have any promise from God, that all princes should forever excel in those virtues, or whether we by experience find that they do so. If they are or have been wanting in any, the whole falls to the ground; for no man enjoys as a prince that which is not common to all princes: And if every prince have not wisdom to understand these profound secrets, integrity to direct him, according to what he knows to be good, and a sufficient measure of industry and valour to protect me, he is not the artificer, to whom the implicit faith is due. His eyes are as subject to dazzle as my own. But 'tis a shame to insist on such a point as this. We see princes of all sorts; they are born as other men: The vilest flatterer dares not deny that they are wise or foolish, good or bad, valiant or cowardly like other men: and the crown doth neither bestow extraordinary qualities, ripen such as are found in princes sooner than in the meanest, nor preserve them from the decays of age, sickness, or other accidents, to which all men are subject: And if the greatest king in the world fall into them, he is as incapable of that mysterious knowledge, and his judgment is as little to be relied on, as that of the poorest peasant. This matter is not mended by sending us to seek those virtues in the ministers, which are wanting in the prince. The ill effects of Rehoboam's folly could not be corrected by the wisdom of Solomon's counsellors: He rejected them; and such as are like to him will always do the same thing. [3] Nero advised with none but musicians, players, chariot-drivers, or the abominable ministers of his pleasures and cruelties. Arcadius his senate was chiefly composed of buffoons and cooks, influenced by an old rascally eunuch. And 'tis an eternal truth, that a weak or wicked prince can never have a wise council, nor receive any benefit by one that is imposed upon him, unless they have a power of acting without him, which would render the government in effect aristocratical, and would probably displease our author as much as if it were so in name also. Good and wise counsellors do not grow up like mushrooms; great judgment is required in chusing and preparing them. If a weak or vicious prince should be so happy to find them chosen to his hand, they would avail him nothing. There will ever be variety of opinions amongst them; and he that is of a perverted judgment will always chuse the worst of those that are proposed, and favour the worst men, as most like to himself. Therefore if this implicit faith be grounded upon a supposition of profound wisdom in the prince, the foundation is overthrown, and it cannot stand; for to repose confidence in the judgment and integrity of one that has none, is the most brutish of all follies. So that if a prince may have or want the qualities, upon which my faith in him can be rationally grounded, I cannot yield the obedience he requires, unless I search into the secrets relating to his person and commands, which he forbids. I cannot know how to obey, unless I know in what, and to whom: Nor in what, unless I know what ought to be commanded: Nor what ought to be commanded, unless I understand the original right of the commander, which is the great arcanum . Our author finding himself involved in many difficulties, proposes an expedient as ridiculous as anything that had gone before, being nothing more than an absurd begging the main question, and determining it without any shadow of proof. He enjoins an active or passive obedience before he shews what should oblige or persuade us to it. This indeed were a compendious way of obviating that which he calls popular sedition, and of exposing all nations, that fall under the power of tyrants, to be destroyed utterly by them. Nero or Domitian would have desired no more than that those who would not execute their wicked commands, should patiently have suffered their throats to be cut by such as were less scrupulous: and the world that had suffered those monsters for some years, must have continued under their fury, till all that was good and virtuous had been abolished. But in those ages and parts of the world, where there hath been anything of virtue and goodness, we may observe a third sort of men, who would neither do villainies, nor suffer more than the laws did permit, or the consideration of the publick peace did require. Whilst tyrants with their slaves, and the instruments of their cruelties, were accounted the dregs of mankind, and made the objects of detestation and scorn, these men who delivered their countries from such plagues were thought to have something of divine in them, and have been famous above all the rest of mankind to this day. Of this sort were Pelopidas, Epaminondas, Thrasybulus, Harmodius, Aristogiton, Philopoemen, Lucius Brutus, Publius Valerius, Marcus Brutus, C. Cassius, M. Cato, with a multitude of others amongst the ancient heathens. Such as were instruments of the like deliverances amongst the Hebrews, as Moses, Othniel, Ehud, Barak, Gideon, Samson, Jephthah, Samuel, David, Jehu, the Maccabees and others, have from the Scriptures a certain testimony of the righteousness of their proceedings, when they neither would act what was evil, nor suffer more than was reasonable. But lest we should learn by their examples, and the praises given to them, our author confines the subject's choice to acting or suffering, that is, doing what is commanded, or lying down to have his throat cut, or to see his family and country made desolate. This he calls giving to Caesar that which is Caesar's; whereas he ought to have considered that the question is not whether that which is Caesar's should be rendered to him, for that is to be done to all men; but who is Caesar, and what doth of right belong to him, which he no way indicates to us: so that the question remains entire, as if he had never mentioned it, unless we do in a compendious way take his word for the whole.

[1] [Patriarcha, ch. 1.]

[2] []

[3] [1 Kings 12.]

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