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best endeavours in this weighty affair are a most important part of her duty, as well as of her interest, and her honour.
But it must be confessed, that as things are now, every man thinks he has laid in a sufficient stock of merit, and may pretend to any employment, provided he has been loud and frequent in declaring himself hearty for the government. It is true, he is a man of pleasure, and a freethinker; that is, in other words, he is profligate in his morals, and a despiser of religion; but in point of party, he is one to be confided in; he is an assertor of liberty and property; he rattles it out against popery and arbitrary power, and priestcraft and high church. It is enough: he is a person fully qualified for any employment, in the court or the navy, the law or the revenue; where he will be sure to leave no arts untried, of bribery, fraud, injustice, oppression, that he can practise with any hope of impunity. No wonder such men are true to a government, where liberty runs high, where property, however attained, is so well secured, and where the administration is at least so gentle: it is impossible they could choose
other constitution, without changing to their loss.
Fidelity to a present establishment is indeed the principal means to defend it from a foreign enemy, but without other qualifications will not prevent corruptions from within; and states are more often ruined by these, than the other.
To conclude: whether the proposals I have of fered toward a reformation, be such as are most prudent and convenient, may probably be a question; but it is none at all, whether some reformation be absolutely necessary; because the nature of things is such, that if abuses be not reme
died, they will certainly increase, nor ever stop, till they end in the subversion of a commonwealth. As there must always of necessity be some corruptions, so, in a well-instituted state, the executive power will be always contending against them by reducing things (as Machiavel speaks) to their first principles; never letting abuses grow inveterate, or multiply so far, that it will be hard to find remedies, and perhaps impossible to apply them. As he, that would keep his house in repair, must attend every little breach or flaw, and supply it immediately, else time alone will bring all to ruin; how much more the common accidents of storms and rain ? he must live in perpetual danger of his house falling about his ears : and will find it cheaper to throw it quite down, and build it again from the ground, perhaps upon a new foundation, or at least in a new form, which may neither be so safe, nor so convenient as the old.
R E M ARK S
65 The Rights of the CHRISTIAN CHURC1,".
WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1708, BUT LEFT UNFINISHED