Front Page Titles (by Subject) §93 - The Divine Feudal Law: Or, Covenants with Mankind, Represented
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
§93 - 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.
Of Silence.The Fourth and last way of Composing Controversies, Jurieu accounts to be, If all Occasions of Dissention be taken away, and commanded to be banish’d: If the Controversies be suppress’d and buried in Silence: If those things in which the Parties agree be publickly taught, and the rest be held in silence, and so if there be a silence impos’d upon Disputations. But these things, as it seems to us, do need some Qualification. For before all things it should be enquir’d whether or no from those Principles in which both Parties agree a full System of Christian Doctrine can be form’d, and such as is in all Parts consistent with it self? And whether the Points that remain in Controversie do neither directly nor obliquely destroy that System? Those things being laid down, it may be certainly judg’d that the Questions which remain are Problematical, and do not enter into the Faith, about which tho’ every Man may abound in his own Sense, yet it were better that they were utterly suppress’d in Silence, 1 Tim. 6:4, 5. 2 Tim. 2:16, 23. Tit. 3:9. But if any Controversies enter into the System of Theology, and so are accounted to belong to the Integrity of Christian Doctrine, it cannot be that the Doctors should be commanded to hold an entire Silence about them. But this however may be enjoyn’d, and also ought to be so, that in them they do only follow the Holy Scripture as the Guide; that they put away all fierce and evil Dispositions in the management of them; that they treat about them modestly and honestly without Sharpness, or the love of Cavelling; that every where Prudence, Courteousness, and Moderation bear sway. But if any Principle does truly belong to the Integrity of Christian Doctrine, there does not appear any Reason why it should be conceal’d from the Vulgar; for as much as in that very thing it would be rendred suspected. For why should not all the Counsel of God be declar’d to Men, Acts 20:27. 2 Pet. 1:19. I think indeed he were but a foolish Preacher who should take upon him to fill his Peoples ears with the Terms and Distinctions of the Schools which are made use of on both sides. But that the Doctrine of our Men concerning Predestination may be propos’d in clear Expressions to the People with much more Fruit then the Principles of the Reform’d, I think is what no Man can have the Confidence to deny, who will but consider both without Prejudice. And to what Purpose are those words of Jurieu: There is none of us who does not often Inculcate to his Auditours the Love of God to Men, and his Goodness and Clemency, his Propensity to show Mercy, and his desire to do good to all. But concerning that hidden profound Providence according to which he denies his Grace to very many, we speak soberly, least unwary or wicked Men should thence take occasion to attribute to God things unworthy of him. That is, Concerning the Will of the Sign, which is empty and Illusory, we make a great noise; of the Will of the Good-pleasure which is serious and efficacious, we say little, because the Repugnancy of those Wills thwarts the common Sense of Mankind, and from thence doubtfulness and Aversation towards God, are more apt to arise then any trust in him, or due Veneration for him. As also Jurieu will not easily perswade any Man that is truly Pious to receive those things which he feigns concerning the Universality of the Redemption accomplish’d by Christ, (p. 225.) yet in general we easily grant that the Methods propos’d by Jurieu for the Reconciling of Controversies, (p. 260.) which are a kind Interpretation of Principles, Mutual Forbearance and Silence, are things that may have some Effect towards allaying the Fierceness of Men’s Minds, and preparing the way to an Agreement. But the Roots of the Dissention can never be taken up by them. Thence Jurieu spends a particular Chapter, which is the 12th. in prescribing Means of Promoting and Consummating the Work of Reconciliation, and the Conditions of a Godly Union. But these, tho’ not in themselves very difficult, and tho’ they may seem in part neither unjust nor absur’d, yet he who considers narrowly the Genius of the present Age, and the Disposition of the Men whom that Matter concerns, will easily acknowledge that those things can hardly be attempted with any Fruit, or reach the desir’d End: And I believe but very few of either Party would consent to the Conditions by him propos’d. Nor would the Schism be taken away if both parts should subscribe the Augustane Confession: Since this difference is, indeed, from the Papists, but does either not at all, or but lightly touch the most of the Controversies between the Protestants. Lastly, The Confession which Jurieu adds at the end as common to all the Protestants, our Men truly would not hastily admit; for as much as he insinuates there under Obscure, ambiguous, and loose Expressions, those very Principles which the Controversie is about.