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Every Man that hath Children, hath the right of a Father, and is capable of preferment in a Society composed of many.

I am not concerned in making good what Suarez says: A Jesuit may speak that which is true; but it ought to be received, as from the Devil, cautiously, lest mischief be hid under it: and Sir Robert's frequent prevarications upon the Scripture, and many good authors, give reason to suspect he may have falsified one, that few Protestants read, if it served to his purpose; and not mentioning the place, his fraud cannot easily be discovered, unless it be by one who has leisure to examine all his vastly voluminous writings. But as to the point in question, that pains may be saved; there is nothing that can be imputed to the invention of Suarez; for, that Adam had only an oeconomical, not a political power,[1] is not the voice of a Jesuit, but of nature and common sense: for politick signifying no more in Greek, than civil in Latin, 'tis evident there could be no civil power, where there was no civil society; and there could be none between him and his children, because a civil society is composed of equals, and fortified by mutual compacts, which could not be between him and his children, at least, if there be anything of truth in our author's doctrine, That all children do perpetually and absolutely depend upon the will of their father.[2] Suarez seems to have been of another opinion; and observing the benefits we receive from parents, and the veneration we owe to them to be reciprocal, he could not think any duty could extend farther than the knowledge of the relation upon which it was grounded; and makes a difference between the power of a father, before and after his children are made free; that is in truth, before and after they are able to provide for themselves, and to deliver their parents from the burden of taking care of them: which will appear rational to any who are able to distinguish between what a man of fifty years old, subsisting by himself, and having a family of his own, or a child of eight doth owe to his father: The same reason that obliges a child to submit entirely to the will of his parents, when he is utterly ignorant of all things, does permit, and often enjoin men of ripe age to examine the commands they receive before they obey them; and 'tis not more plain that I owe all manner of duty, affection, and respect to him that did beget and educate me, than that I can owe nothing on any such account to one that did neither.

This may have been the opinion of Suarez: but I can hardly believe such a notion, as, that Adam in process of time might have servants,[3] could proceed from any other brain than our author's; for if he had lived to this day, he could have had none under him but his own children; and if a family be not compleat without servants, his must always have been defective; and his kingdom must have been so too, if that has such a resemblance to a family as our author fancies. This is evident, that a hard father may use his children as servants, or a rebellious, stubborn son may deserve to be so used; and a gentle and good master may shew that kindness to faithful and well-deserving servants, which resembles the sweetness of a fatherly rule: but neither of them can change their nature; a son can never grow to be a servant, nor a servant to be a son. If a family therefore be not compleat, unless it consist of children and servants, it cannot be like to a kingdom or city, which is composed of freemen and equals: Servants may be in it, but are not members of it. As truth can never be repugnant to justice, 'tis impossible this should be a prejudice to the paternal rule, which is most just; especially when a grateful remembrance of the benefits received, doth still remain, with a necessary and perpetual obligation of repaying them in all affection and duty: whereas the care of ever providing for their families, as they did probably increase in the time of our first long living fathers, would have been an insupportable burden to parents, if it had been incumbent on them. We do not find that Adam exercised any such power over Cain, when he had slain Abel, as our author fancies to be regal: The murderer went out, and built a city for himself, and called it by the name of his first-born. And we have not the least reason to believe, that after Adam's death Cain had any dominion over his brethren, or their posterity; or any one of them over him and his. He feared that whosoever saw him would kill him, which language does not agree with the rights belonging to the haughty title of heir apparent to the dominion of the whole earth. The like was practiced by Noah and his sons, who set up colonies for themselves: but lived as private men in obscure places, whilst their children of the fourth or fifth generation, especially of the youngest and accursed son, were great and powerful kings, as is fully proved in the first chapter.

Tho this had been otherwise, it would have no effect upon us; for no argument drawn from the examples of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, if they and their children had continued under the dominion of Noah as long as he lived, can oblige me to resign myself and all my concernments absolutely into the hands of one who is not my father. But when the contrary is evidently true in them, and their next ensuing generations, 'tis an admirable boldness in our author to think of imposing upon us for an eternal and universal law (when the knowledge of our first progenitors is utterly extinguished) that which was not at all regarded by those, who could not be ignorant of their own original, or the duty thereby incumbent upon them, or their immediate fathers then living, to whom the rights must have belonged, if there had been any such thing in nature, or that they had been of any advantage to them: whereas in truth, if there had been such a law in the beginning, it must have vanished of itself, for want of being exercised in the beginning, and could not possibly be revived after four thousand years, when no man in the world can possibly know to whom the universal right of dominion over the whole world or particular nations does belong; for 'tis in vain to speak of a right, when no one man can have a better title to it than any other. But there being no precept in the Scripture for it, and the examples directed or approved by God himself and his most faithful servants, being inconsistent with, and contrary to it, we may be sure there never was any such thing; and that men being left to the free use of their own understanding, may order and dispose of their own affairs as they think fit. No man can have a better title than another, unless for his personal virtues; every man that in the judgment of those concerned excels in them, may be advanced: and those nations that through mistake set up such as are unworthy, or do not take right measures in providing for a succession of men worthy, and other things necessary to their welfare, may be guilty of great folly, to their own shame and misery; but can do no injustice to any people, in relation to an hereditary right, which can be naturally in none.

[1] [Patriarcha, ch. 11.]

[2] [Patriarcha, ch. 11.]

[3] [Patriarcha, ch. 11.]

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