GENERAL POLITICAL APHORISMS OR MAXIMS. FROM HARRINGTON'S WORKS.
TO leave ourselves and posterity to a farther purchase in blood and sweat of that which we may presently possess, enjoy, and hereafter bequeath to posterity in peace and glory, is inhu∣man and impious.
As certainly and suddenly as a good state of health dispels the peevishness and peril of sickness, does a good state of government the animosity and danger of parties.
The frame of a commonwealth, having been first proposed and considered, expedients (in case such should be found necessary for the safe effectual, and perfect introduction of the same) may with some aim be applied and fitted; as to a house, when the model is resolved upon, we fit scaffolds in build∣ing. But first to resolve upon expedients, and then to fit to them the frame of a commonwealth, is as if one should set up props, and then build a house to lean upon them.
While the civil and religious parts of a common∣wealth are in forming, there is a necessity that she should be supported by an army; but when the military and provincial parts are rightly formed, she can have no farther use of any other army. Wherefore at this point, and not till then, her armies are by the practice of commonwealths, upon slighter occasions, to have half pay for life, and to be disbanded.
Where there is a standing army, and not a formed government, there the army of necessity will have dictatorian power.
Page 97Where an army subsists upon the pay or riches of a single person, or of a nobility, that army is always monarchical. Where an army subsists not by the riches of a single person, nor of a nobility, that army is always popular.
The reason why the nations that have common∣wealths use them so well, and cherish them so much, and yet that so few nations have common∣wealths, is, that in using a commonwealth it is not necessary it should be understood; but in mak∣ing a commonwealth, that it be understood is of absolute necessity.
It shall be as soon found when and where the soul of a man was in the body of a beast, as when or where the soul or freedom natural to democracy, was in any other form than that only of a senate, and an assembly of the people.
As the soul of man can never be in the body of a beast, unless God make a new creation; so nei∣ther the soul or freedom, natural to democracy, in any other form whatsoever than that only of a se∣nate and a popular assembly.
To the making of a well ordered commonwealth, there goes little more of pains or charge, or work without doors, than the establishment of an equal or apt division of the territory, and the proposing of such election to the divisions so made, as from an equal foundation may raise equal superstruc∣tures; the rest being but paper work, is as soon done as said or voted.
The highest earthly felicity that a people can ask or God can give, is an equal and well ordered com∣monwealth. Such a one among the Israelites was the reign of GOD; and such a one (for the same reason) may be among Christians the reign of CHRIST, though not every one in the Christian commonwealth should be any more a Christian indeed, than every one in the Israelitish commonwealth was an Israelite indeed.