Front Page Titles (by Subject) XXX - Politica
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XXX - Johannes Althusius, Politica 
Politica. An Abridged Translation of Politics Methodically Set Forth and Illustrated with Sacred and Profane Examples, ed. and Trans. Frederick S. Carney. Foreword by Daniel J. Elazar (Indianapolis: 1995 Liberty Fund).
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§ 1Censorship is the inquisition into and chastisement of those morals and luxuries that are not prevented or punished by laws, but which corrupt the souls of subjects or squander their goods unproductively.8§ 2Therefore, censorship corrects the things that are not yet worthy of legal punishment, but when neglected or treated with disdain furnish the cause of many and great evils. …
§ 4Among us today the censorship and inquisition of morals is customarily entrusted to the sacred collegium, or the presbytery. Whoever does not obey it is forbidden by it to attend sacred services, so that he becomes ashamed by this disgrace and exclusion.9 If he is contemptuous of this exclusion and excommunication, he is accused of the contemptuous offense by an officer of the court before the magistrate, by whom he is deservedly punished.10 Among the Jews it would seem that the right of censorship, even over kings, was entrusted to the prophets, as becomes apparent from the example of Samuel,11 as well as of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others. … 12 The Romans are also observed to have had censors of their morals. The Spartans had their ephors as censors of kings. And to these ephors, optimates, and leaders of the orders of the realm was given the right and power of censorship over the supreme magistrate himself.
The form and practice of censorship consist of inquisition and stigmatization. § 5Inquisition occurs with respect to vices that do not come into the courts because of the lack of an accuser or denouncer, and yet offend the eyes of good and pious citizens. For the sake of example, these vices receive a most serious rebuke and notation, even though recourse is not had to legal punishment. Such vices are bad morals and luxuries. § 6I understand bad morals to include depraved actions, lewdness, wantonness, drunkenness, brawls, errors, schisms, heresies, perjury, and anything else that probity and modesty condemn in every age and sex by which subjects are pauperized by the misuse of their goods or depraved and corrupted by vices. … § 15Luxury, on the authority of Lipsius, appears in respect to four things, namely, money, housing, food, and clothes. …
§ 24The stigmatization of censorship is the public declaration of shame and disgrace, possibly with some kind of fine, administered by the censor because of a less than decent life. …
§ 28Chastisement and reproach by our censors, that is, by the presbyters, consist in suspension from the use of the sacraments, and prohibition and excommunication from the fellowship of the pious. … These are the steps to be observed by censors; first admonition, then corrective action or fines, and lastly, if these are disregarded, excommunication. Such ecclesiastical discipline is rightly called the teacher of virtue, the custodian of faith, the walls and bulwark of piety, and the bond and sinew of the church. …
§ 29Where there is no such censorship, the life of the prince, if it is moral and pious, can be put forth and established in its place. For Pliny rightly said that the life of the prince is the censure of citizens, which when constant directs and transforms us.13
It is also important that not everything be corrected at once, but gradually. For as Cicero says, none of us can be changed quickly. Nor can one’s life be altered or his character transformed suddenly. Some evils the prince can remove more easily if he is patient with them. Shame changes some men for the better, necessity others, and satiation still others. For the souls of some men journey into evil, but do not remain there. … 14
[8 ] [Althusius draws heavily from the Bible in this discussion of censorship, and then most often these contemporary writings: Jean Bodin, The Commonweale; Petrus Gregorius, De Republica; Justus Lipsius, Politcorum sive civilis doctrinae; Philip Camerarius, Meditationes historicae; Wilhelm Zepper, De politica ecclesiastica; and Benedict Aretius, Problemata theologica. ]
[9 ] I Corinthians 5.
[10 ] Matthew 18.
[11 ] I Samuel 12–14.
[12 ] Jeremiah 1:10; 20; I Kings 17:1; II Kings 3:13. With a sharp censure Jeroboam was rebuked by a prophet (I Kings 13), Asa by Hanani (II Chronicles 16), and David by Nathan (II Samuel 12). So Jeremiah reprimanded the people and the king (Jeremiah 17:20), Elijah rebuked Ahab (I Kings 18), and John the Baptist rebuked Herod (Matthew 14), and Elisha rebuked the king of Israel (II Kings 3).
[13 ] Pliny the Younger], Panegyric on Trajan.
[14 ] As Lipsius teaches from Seneca and others. See also Petrus Gregorius, De republica, IV, 12; Lambert Daneau, Politices christianae, VI, 4.