Front Page Titles (by Subject) §24. - The Divine Feudal Law: Or, Covenants with Mankind, Represented
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
§24. - Samuel von Pufendorf, The Divine Feudal Law: Or, Covenants with Mankind, Represented 
The Divine Feudal Law: Or, Covenants with Mankind, Represented, trans. Theophilus Dorrington, ed. with an Introduction by Simone Zurbruchen (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2002).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
The Heads of the first Covenant of God with Man.With Man therefore thus prepar’d and dispos’d, it pleas’d God from the beginning to enter into a Covenant concerning Religion, or the Worship of himself. But we cannot particularly and certainly determine what were the Heads of that Covenant, because the History of the Paradice State is finish’d in a few Words in Holy Scripture. The Reason of which may be, that the time was very short during which the first Pair of Mankind continued in that State; and because there being as yet no use of Letters, and Writing, all Remembrance of Things must have been preserv’d by Tradition, which in time wears out, and is lost. Tho’ it be also very probable that our first Parents, through shame for their Fall, and to avoid as much as might be the upbraidings of their Posterity, whom together with themselves they had brought into a miserable Condition by their Sin, would very sparingly deliver any thing to them concerning their first State, and the Felicity which attended it; as every one will study to bury in Silence his own Disparagement. But perhaps we might rather say, that by the Fall it self they lost much of the Knowledge of their former Condition, and being now prone to Evil, they did no longer remember the former State and Disposition of their Minds. But that there was in Being even then, a Covenant of God with Adam, may be easily concluded from hence, that in general there can be no Religion which can be acceptable to God, but that which he proposes to Man, and which Man takes upon him to perform. For tho’ that place of Scripture, Hos. 6:7. which otherwise would express this Matter very clearly, is not taken by all as speaking of Adam as the Transgressor of a Covenant, but the Word Adam there is by some taken for an Appellative; yet is this Matter clearly evinced from Rom. 5:14, &c. where the single Sin of Adam is spoken of as distinct from the Sins of all other Men, because there was in it the Violation of a Covenant, which he was engag’d in with God for himself and his Posterity, and so for all Mankind; which thing also is shown by the Opposition made there between Adam and Christ. For as the Righteousness of Christ does by Covenant serve to the Salvation of Mankind, so the Sin of Adam, because it was the Breach of a Covenant, involves all Mankind in Sin and Misery. For without such a Federal Nature in the thing, neither the Righteousness of one could any way redound to the Advantage of others, nor the Sin of one be any Prejudice to another. But the Heads of that Covenant in the greatest part of them may be reduced to these Two Things; That there was requir’d on Man’s Part an Engagement to pay to God a Supream Reverence and Love, and that he would in general love his Neighbour: Tho’ the former of these might result from the Contemplation of the Divine Benefits bestow’d on Man, the other from his Social Nature. Certainly it cannot be understood that there can be any Religion without the Veneration and Love of God, and a Fear of him temper’d by them. But the Love of his Neighbour may be gather’d from that Joy which is said to have possess’d him when he first saw his Partner and Companion, whom God brought to him. And where any of Mankind are suppos’d to be happy together, there must of Necessity be supposed a mutual Love to be between them, since the Affections contrary to this are apt to produce nothing but Troubles, Contention and Unhappiness. Again, there was promised on the Part of God to Man, upon his observing the Laws of this Covenant, the Continuance of his present most happy State, and a Freedom from Death, or the Destruction of the Body, join’d with Pain, and also Eternal Life. The first of these Things may be collected from this; that Man, after the Violation of this Covenant, was cast out of the Garden of Felicity, and condemn’d to a laborious kind of Life: The other from the Divine threatning, Gen. 2:17. and from his being excluded from the Tree of Life, Gen. 3:22, 24. Add what is said by the Son of Sirach, Eccls. 15:14, 15, 16, 17, 21. and 17:10. For since the Frame of the Humane Body was compos’d of Matter that was by Nature frail, it was impossible that it should not by little and little be worn by the Motion and Succession of Particles, so that the Destruction of it must needs, at length, follow of it self. For since we see that the Nature and State of Things at present is such, as that Corporeal Parts, frequently striking against each other, must in time be worn, and lose their former Form, and so the Frame compounded of them must be disposed towards a Dissolution, there does not any good Reason appear to perswade us that this Law of Nature and Motion was not in Being from the beginning of the Creation, or that it took Place only upon the Fall of Man; and the Bodies that shall not be liable to such Alteration, are to have Being only in the other Life, which are therefore call’d Spiritual Bodies, 1 Cor. 15:44, 45. But if any one will chuse to say, that the Habitation of a Soul possess’d of the Image of God, as yet uncorrupted, must needs have been such as to excel in many Respects the Bodies which we now dwell in, we shall not oppose this; especially since it may also be said, that against that Attrition and Decay, which other Bodies by the Motion of Life must be liable to, Man had a Remedy given him by God in the Tree of Life, the Use of which might be able to supply that Attrition, and to prevent that Destruction. And no Man can deny but it was in the Power of God to provide such a Remedy. See Rev. 22:2. but that Condition may be reckon’d free from Death, in which, by a Remedy at Hand, it may be kept off, and prevented from ever actually invading a Man; even as that is call’d a perpetual Fire, which has perpetual Nourishment afforded it. But the Translation of Men from this Life to another, an Eternal one, after a long Space spent here, would have been made not in the Likeness of a Death, but of a pleasing Passage from hence. And that it is said in the Book of Wisdom, Ch. 2. V. 23. that God created Man for an eternal Life, does not deny but that a Covenant was order’d to intervene as the Means or Method by which he was to obtain it. For when God might have requir’d his Worship of Man by bare Command, without the Proposal of a Reward, it is a necessary Consequent from his instituting a Covenant that Eternal Life must follow Man’s Obedience.