As he put it in his 1689 Letter Concerning Toleration, the commonwealth was "constituted only for the procuring, preserving and advancing of their own civil interests." By "civil interests," he intended "Life, Liberty, Health and Indolency
of Body; and the possession of outward things, such as Money, Lands, Houses, Furniture, and the like," or what we today call property It is the ruler's duty, "by the impartial Execution of equal Laws," to secure "the just Possession of these things belonging to this life." Governments are to preserve and protect rights to life, liberty and worldly possessions, but their responsibility "neither can nor ought in any manner to be extended to the Salvation of Souls." (14)
The magistrate, Locke argued, should manifest no concern for speculative doctrines, since they do not pertain to the civil interests of "life, liberty, health and indolency
of body; and the possession of outward things, such as money, lands, houses, furniture and the like."(30) In addition, "the care of the souls cannot belong to the civil magistrate, because his power consists only in outward force; but true and saving religion consists in the inward persuasion of the mind, without which nothing can be acceptable to God."(31) Furthermore, even if laws with penalties could change men's minds, they could not help "in the salvation of their souls."
Civil interests I call life, liberty, health, and indolency
of body; and the possession of outward things, such as money, lands, houses, furniture, and the like" (1983, 15; emphasis original).