There is no natural propensity in Man or Beast to Monarchy.

I see no reason to believe that God did approve the government of one over many, because he created but one; but to the contrary, in as much as he did endow him, and those that came from him, as well the youngest as the eldest line, with understanding to provide for themselves, and by the invention of arts and sciences, to be beneficial to each other; he shewed, that they ought to make use of that understanding in forming governments according to their own convenience, and such occasions as should arise, as well as in other matters: and it might as well be inferr'd, that it is unlawful for us to build, clothe, arm, defend, or nourish ourselves, otherwise than as our first parents did, before, or soon after the Flood, as to take from us the liberty of instituting governments that were not known to them. If they did not find out all that conduces to the use of man, but a faculty as well as a liberty was left to everyone, and will be to the end of the world, to make use of his wit, industry, and experience, according to present exigencies, to invent and practise such things as seem convenient to himself and others in matters of the least importance; it were absurd to imagine, that the political science, which of all others is the most abstruse and variable according to accidents and circumstances, should have been perfectly known to them who had no use of it; and that their descendants are obliged to add nothing to what they practiced. But the reason given by our author to prove this extravagant fancy, is yet more ridiculous than the thing itself; God, saith he, shewed his opinion, viz. that all should be governed by one, when he endowed not only men, but beasts with a natural propensity to monarchy: Neither can it be doubted, but a natural propensity is referred to God who is the author of nature:[1] Which I suppose may appear if it be considered.

Nevertheless I cannot but commend him in the first place for introducing God speaking so modestly, not declaring his will, but his opinion. He puts haughty and majestick language into the mouth of kings. They command and decide, as if they were subject to no error, and their wills ought to be taken for perpetual laws; but to God he ascribes an humble delivery of his opinion only, as if he feared to be mistaken. In the second place, I deny that there is any such general propensity in man or beast, or that monarchy would thereby be justified tho it were found in them. It cannot be in beasts, for they know not what government is; and being incapable of it, cannot distinguish the several sorts, nor consequently incline to one more than another. Salmasius his story of bees [2] is only fit for old women to prate of in chimney corners; and they who represent lions and eagles as kings of birds and beasts, do it only to show, that their power is nothing but brutish violence, exercised in the destruction of all that are not able to oppose it, and that hath nothing of goodness or justice in it: which similitude (tho it should prove to be in all respects adequate to the matter in question) could only shew, that those who have no sense of right, reason or religion, have a natural propensity to make use of their strength, to the destruction of such as are weaker than they; and not that any are willing to submit, or not to resist it if they can, which I think will be of no great advantage to monarchy. But whatever propensity may be in beasts, it cannot be attributed generally to men; for if it were, they never could have deviated from it, unless they were violently put out of their natural course; which in this case cannot be, for there is no power to force them. But that they have most frequently deviated, appears by the various forms of government established by them. There is therefore no natural propensity to anyone, but they chuse that which in their judgment seems best for them. Or, if he would have that inconsiderate impulse, by which brutish and ignorant men may be swayed when they know no better, to pass for a propensity; others are no more obliged to follow it, than to live upon acorns, or inhabit hollow trees, because their fathers did it when they had no better dwellings, and found no better nourishment in the uncultivated world. And he that exhibits such examples, as far as in him lies, endeavours to take from us the use of reason, and extinguishing the light of it, to make us live like the worst of beasts, that we may be fit subjects to absolute monarchy. This may perhaps be our author's intention, having learnt from Aristotle, that such a government is only suitable to the nature of the most bestial men, who being incapable of governing themselves, fall under the power of such as will take the conduct of them: but he ought withal to have remembered, that according to Aristotle's opinion, this conductor must be in nature different from those he takes the charge of; and if he be not, there can be no government, nor order, by which it subsists: Beasts follow beasts, and the blind lead the blind to destruction.

But tho I should grant this propensity to be general, it could not be imputed to God, since man by sin is fallen from the law of his creation. The wickedness of man (even in the first ages) was great in the world: All the imaginations of his heart are evil, and that continually. All men are liars: There is none that doth good, no not one. Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false testimonies, &c.[3] These are the fruits of our corrupted nature, which the Apostle observing, does not only make a difference between the natural and the spiritual man, whose proceeding only can be referred to God, and that only so far as he is guided by his spirit; but shews, that the natural man is in a perpetual enmity against God, without any possibility of being reconciled to him, unless by the destruction of the old man, and the regenerating or renewing him through the spirit of grace. There being no footsteps of this in our author's book, he and his master Heylyn may have differed from the Apostle, referring that propensity of nature to God, which he declares to be utter enmity against him; and we may conclude, that this propensity, however general it may be, cannot be attributed to God as the author of nature, since it cannot be more general than the corruptions into which we are fallen.

[1] [Patriarcha, ch. 15.]

[2] [Claudius Salmasius, Royal Defense of Charles I (1649). See response by John Milton, Defense of the People of England Against Salmasius (1651).]

[3] [First quotation from Genesis 6:5; second from Psalms 116:11 and 14:3; third from Matthew 15:19.]

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