Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. VII.: Whether the Ten Commandments were propos'd by God or Moses, and voted by the People of Israel. - The Oceana and Other Works
CHAP. VII.: Whether the Ten Commandments were propos’d by God or Moses, and voted by the People of Israel. - James Harrington, The Oceana and Other Works 
The Oceana and Other Works of James Harrington, with an Account of His Life by John Toland (London: Becket and Cadell, 1771).
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 text is in the public domain.
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.
- Advertisement to the Reader.
- To the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, Sherifs, and Common Council of London.
- The Preface.
- The Life of James Harrington.
- The Mechanics of Nature:
- The Grounds and Reasons of Monarchy Considered: and Exemplify’d In the Scotish Line, Out of Their Own Best Authors and Records.
- The Commonwealth of Oceana. to His Highness the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland.
- The Introduction, Or Order of the Work.
- The Preliminarys, Shewing the Principles of Government.
- The Second Part of the Preliminarys.
- The Council of Legislators.
- Oceana: the Model of the Commonwealth of Oceana.
- Anno Dom.
- Anno Domini.
- Anno Domini.
- Epitome of the Whole Commonwealth.
- Libertas. the Proclamation of His Highness the Lord Archon of Oceana Upon Promulgation of the Model.
- The Prerogative of Popular Government.
- Epistle to the Reader.
- The First Book, Containing: a Full Answer to All Such Objections As Have Hitherto Bin Made Against Oceana.
- The Preface.
- Chap. I. Antient and Modern Prudence.
- Chap. I.: Whether Prudence Be Well Distinguish’d Into Antient and Modern.
- Chap. II.: Whether a Commonwealth Be Rightly Defin’d to Be a Government of Laws and Not of Men, and a Monarchy to Be the Government of Som Man, Or a Few Men, and Not of Laws?
- Chap. III.: Whether the Balance of Dominion In Land Be the Natural Cause of Empire?
- Chap. IV. Chap. IV.: Whether the Balance of Empire Be Well Divided Into National and Provincial; and Whether These Two, Or Any Nations That Are of Distinct Balance, Coming to Depend Upon One and the Same Head, Such a Mixture Creates a New Balance.
- Chap. V.: Whether There Be Any Common Right Or Interest of Mankind Distinct From the Parts Taken Severally; and How By the Orders of a Commonwealth It May Be Best Distinguish’d From Privat Interest.
- Chap. VI.: Whether the Senatusconsulta, Or Decrees of the Roman Senat, Had the Power of Laws?
- Chap. VII.: Whether the Ten Commandments Were Propos’d By God Or Moses, and Voted By the People of Israel.
- Chap. VIII.: Whether a Commonwealth Coming Up to the Perfection of the Kind, Coms Not Up to the Perfection of Government, and Has No Flaw In It.
- Chap. IX.: Whether Monarchy Coming Up to the Perfection of the Kind, Coms Not Short of the Perfection of Government, and Has Not Som Flaw In It. In Which Is Also Treated of the Balance of France; of the Original of a Landed Clergy; of Arms, and Their Ki
- Chap. X.: Whether a Commonwealth That Was Not First Broken By Her Self, Was Ever Conquer’d By the Arms of Any Monarch?
- Chap. XI.: Whether There Be Not an Agrarian, Or Som Law of Laws of That Nature, to Supply the Defect of It In Every Commonwealth: and Whether the Agrarian, As It Is Stated In Oceana, Be Not Equal and Satisfactory to All Interests.
- Chap. XII.: Whether Courses Or a Rotation Be Necessary to a Well-order’d Commonwealth. In Which Is Contain’d the Courses Or Parembole of Israel Before the Captivity, Together With the Epitome of Athens and Venice.
- The Second Book; Or, a Political Discourse Concerning Ordination: Against Dr. H. Hammond, Dr. L. Seaman, and the Authors They Follow.
- Advertisment to the Reader.
- Order of the Discourse.
- A Political Discourse Concerning Ordination.
- The Introduction, Or First Chapter.
- Chap. II.: That the Citys, Or Most of Them Nam’d In the Perambulation of the Apostles Paul and Barnabas, Were At That Time Under Popular Government. In Which Is Contain’d the Administration of a Roman Province.
- Chap. III.: The Deduction of the Chirotonia From Popular Government, and of the Original Right of Ordination From the Chirotonia. In Which Is Contain’d the Institution of the Sanhedrim Or Senat of Israel By Moses, and That of Rome By Romulus
- Chap. IV.: The Deduction of the Chirothesia From Monarchical Or Aristocratical Government, and of the Second Way of Ordination From the Chirothesia. In Which Is Contain’d the Commonwealth of the Jews As It Stood After the Captivity.
- Chap. V.: Whether the Chirotonia Mention’d In the Fourteenth of the Acts Be Indeed, As Is Pretended By Dr. Mammond, Dr. Seaman, and the Authors They Follow, the Same With the Chirothesia, Or a Far Different Thing. In Which Are Contain’d the
- Advertisement to the Reader, Or Direction to the Answerer.
- An Answer to Three Objections Against Popular Government, That Were Given Me After These Two Books Were Printed.
- The Art of Lawgiving: In Three Books.
- The Order of the Work.
- The First Book.
- The Second Book.
- The Third Book.
- The First Book, Shewing the Foundations and Superstructures of All Kinds of Government.
- The Preface. Considering the Principles Or Nature of Family Government.
- Chap. I.: Considering the Principles Or Balance of National Governments; With the Different Kinds of the Same.
- Chap. II.: Shewing the Variation of the English Balance.
- Chap. III.: Of Fixation of the Balance, Or of Agrarian Laws.
- Chap. IV.: Shewing the Superstructures of Governments.
- The Conclusion: Observing That the Principles of Human Prudence Being Good Without Proof of Scripture, Are Nevertheless Such As Are Provable Out of Scripture.
- The Second Book, Containing the Commonwealths of the Hebrews; Namely, Elohim, Or the Commonwealth of Israel; and Cabala, Or the Commonwealth of the Jews.
- The Preface, Shewing That There Were Commonwealths Before That of Israel.
- Chap. I.: Shewing That Israel Was a Commonwealth.
- Chap. II.: Shewing What Commonwealth Israel Was.
- Chap. III.: Shewing the Anarchy, Or State of the Israelits Under Their Judges.
- Chap. IV.: Shewing the State of the Israelits Under Their Kings, to the Captivity.
- Chap. V.: Shewing the State of the Jews In the Captivity; and After Their Return Out of It; With the Frame of the Jewish Commonwealth.
- Chap. VI.: Shewing How Ordination Was Brought Into the Christian Church, and the Divers Ways of the Same That Were At Divers Times In Use With the Apostles.
- The Conclusion: Shewing That Neither God, Nor Christ, Or the Apostles, Ever Instituted Any Government Ecclesiastical Or Civil Upon Any Other Principles Than Those Only of Human Prudence.
- The Third Book, Containing a Model of Popular Government, Practically Propos’d According to Reason, Confirm’d By the Scripture, and Agreable to the the Present Balance Or State of Property In England.
- The Preface. Containing a Model of Popular Government, Propos’d Notionally.
- Chap. I.: Containing the Civil Part of the Model, Propos’d Practicably.
- Chap. II.: Containing the Religious Part of This Model, Propos’d Practicably.
- Chap. III.: Containing the Military Part of This Model, Propos’d Practicably.
- Chap. IV.: Containing the Provincial Part of This Model, Propos’d Practicably.
- The Conclusion: Shewing How the Model Propos’d May Be Prov’d Or Examin’d; and Giving a Brief Answer to Mr. Wren’s Last Book, Intitl’d, Monarchy Asserted Against Mr. Harrington’s Oceana.
- A Word Concerning a House of Peers.
- Six Political Tracts Written On Several Occasions.
- Valerius and Publicola: Or, the True Form of a Popular Commonwealth Extracted Ex Puris Naturalibus.
- To the Reader.
- To the Parlament of the Commonwealth of England, &c. the Humble Petition, &c.
- The Petitioner to the Reader.
- A System of Politics Delineated In Short and Easy Aphorisms. Publish’d From the Author’s Own Manuscript.
- Chap. I.: Of Government.
- Chap. II.: Of the Matter of Government.
- Chap. III.: Of the Privation of Government.
- Chap. IV.: Of the Form of Government.
- Chap. V.: Of Form In the Civil Parts.
- Chap. VI.: Of Form In the Religious Part.
- Chap. VII.: Of Form In the Military Part.
- Chap. VIII.: Of Form In the Legal Part.
- Chap. IX.: Of Form In the Judicial Part.
- Chap. X.: Of the Administration of Government, Or Reason of State.
- Political Aphorisms.
- Seven Models of a Commonwealth: Or, Brief Directions Shewing How a Fit and Perfect Model of Popular Government May Be Made, Found, Or Understood.
- The First Part.
- Divers Models the First Model of Popular Government Propos’d. the Commonwealth of Israel.
- A Second Model of a Commonwealth Propos’d.
- A Third Model of a Commonwealth Propos’d. the Commonwealth of Sparta.
- A Fourth Model of a Commonwealth Propos’d. the Commonwealth of Athens.
- A Fifth Model of a Commonwealth Propos’d. the Commonwealth of Rome.
- A Sixth Model of a Commonwealth Propos’d. the Commonwealth of Venice.
- A Seventh Model of a Commonwealth Propos’d. the Commonwealth of Holland.
- The Second Part, Proposing a Model of a Commonwealth Fitted to the Present State of This Nation.
- Conclusion; Or, the Use of These Propositions.
- The Ways and Means Wherby an Equal and Lasting Commonwealth May Be Suddenly Introduc’d, and Perfectly Founded, With the Free Consent and Actual Confirmation of the Whole People of England.
- The Humble Petition of Divers Well Affected Persons, Deliver’d the 6th Day of July, 1659, With the Parlament’s Answer Therto.
- Appendix, Containing All the Political Tracts of James Harrington, Esq; Omitted In Mr. Toland ’s Edition of His Works.
- Pian Piano: Or, Intercourse Between H. Ferne, D. D. And J. Harrington, Esq; Upon Occasion of the Doctor’s Censure of the Commonwealth of Oceana.
- Epistle to the Reader.
- Intercourse Between H. Ferne, D. D. And James Harrington, Esq; Upon Occasion of the Doctor’s Censure of the Commonwealth of Oceana.
- The Queries I Shall Interweave With the Doctor’s Answer Unto Each of Them, Returned Unto Me With This Preamble.
- The First Query. How Much, Or In What the Author of Oceana Is Mistaken, to Think the Commonwealth of the Hebrews Appliable to His Purpose.
- The Second Query.
- The Third Query.
- The Fourth Query.
- The Fifth Query.
- The Sixth Query.
- The Seventh Query.
- The Stumbling-block of Disobedience and Rebellion, Cunningly Imputed By P. H. Unto Calvin, Remov’d, In a Letter to the Said P. H. From J. H.
- A Letter Unto Mr. Stubs, In Answer to His Oceana Weighed, &c.
- Politicaster: Or, a Comical Discourse In Answer to Mr. Wren ’s Book, Intituled, Monarchy Asserted, Against Mr. Harrington’ S Oceana.
- Pour Enclouer Le Canon.
- A Discourse Upon This Saying: the Spirit of the Nation Is Not Yet to Be Trusted With Liberty; Lest It Introduce Monarchy, Or Invade the Liberty of Conscience.
- A Discourse Shewing, That the Spirit of Parliaments, With a Council In the Intervals, Is Not to Be Trusted For a Settlement; Lest It Introduce Monarchy, and Persecution For Conscience.
- A Parallel of the Spirit of the People With the Spirit of Mr. Rogers; and an Appeal Thereupon Unto the Reader, Whether the Spirit of the People, Or the Spirit of Men Like Mr. Rogers, Be the Fitter to Be Trusted With the Government.
- A Sufficient Answer to Mr. Stubb.
- A Proposition In Order to the Proposing of a Commonwealth Or Democracy.
- The Rota: Or, a Model of a Free State, Or Equal Commonwealth.
Whether the Ten Commandments were propos’d by God or Moses, and voted by the People of Israel.
ONE would think the Gascon had don well; is he satisfy’d? no, he will now throw the house out of the windows.Consid. p. 33. 35.The principal stones being already taken from the foundation, he has a bag of certain winds wherwithal to reverse the superstructures. The first wind he lets go is but a puff, where he tells me, that I bring Switzerland and Holland into the enumeration of the Heathen commonwealths: which if I had don, their libertys in many parts and places being more antient than the Christian religion in those countrys (as is plain by Tacitus, where he speaks of Civilis, and of the customs of the Germans) I had neither wrong’d them nor my self; but I do no such matter, for having enumerated the Heathen commonwealths, I add that the procedings of Holland and Switzerland, tho after a more obscure manner, are of the like nature.Oceana. p. 51. The next is a storm, while reproaching me with rudeness, he brings in Dr. Fern and the clergy by head and shoulders, who till they undertake the quarrel of monarchy, to the confusion of the commonwealth of Israel, at least so far that there be no weight or obligation in such an example, are posted. As if for a Christian commonwealth to make so much use of Israel, as the Roman did of Athens, whose laws she transcrib’d, were against the interest of the clergy, which, it seems, is so hostil to popular power, that to say the laws of nature, tho they be the fountains of all civil law, are not the civil law, till they be the civil law; or thus, that thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, tho they be in natural equity, yet were not the laws of Israel or of England, till voted by the people of Israel, or the parlament of England, is to assert the people into the mighty liberty of being free from the whole moral law; and, inasmuch as to be the adviser or persuader of a thing, is less than to be the author or commander of it, to put an indignity upon God himself.Consid. p. 35. 40. In which fopperys the prevaricator, boasting of principles, but minding none, first confounds authority and command or power; and next forgets that the dignity of the legislator, or, which is all one, of the senat succeding to his office, as the sanhedrim to Moses, is the greatest dignity in a commonwealth: and yet that the laws or orders of a commonwealth derive no otherwise, whether from the legislator, as Moses, Lycurgus, Solon,&c. or the senat, as those of Israel, Lacedemon, or Athens, than from their authority receiv’d and confirm’d by the vote or command of the people. It is true, that with Almighty God it is otherwise than with a mortal legislator, but thro another nature which to him is peculiar, from whom as he is the cause of being, or the Creator of mankind, omnipotent power is inseparable; yet so equal is the goodness of this nature to the greatness therof, that as he is the cause of welbeing by way of election, for example in his chosen people Israel, or of redemption, as in the Christian church, himself has prefer’d his authority or proposition before his empire. What else is the meaning of these words, or of this proceeding of his?Exod. 19. 5.now therfore if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, ye shall be to me a kingdom, or I will be your king; which proposition being voted by the people in the affirmative, God procedes to propose to them the ten commandments in so dreadful a manner, that the people being exceedingly affrighted, say to Moses,speak thou with us, and we will hear thee: that is, be thou henceforth our legislator or proposer, and we will resolve accordingly; but let not God speak with us, lest we dy.Exod. 20. 19. From whenceforth God proposes to the people no otherwise than by Moses, whom he instructs in this manner: these are the judgments which thou shalt propose or set before them.Deut. 29. 1. Wherfore it is said of the book of Deuteronomy, containing the covenant which the Lord commandedMosesto make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant which he made with them in Horeb; this is the law whichMosesset before the children of Israel.Deut. 4. 44. Neither did God in this case make use of his omnipotent power, nor Christ in the like, who also is king after the same manner in his church, and would have bin in Israel, where when to this end he might have muster’d up legions of angels, and bin victorious with such armys, or argyraspides, as never prince could shew the like, he says no more than, O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gather’d thee and thy children, as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and ye would not?Matt. 23. 37. where it is plain that the Jews rejectingChrist,that he should not reign over them, the law of the gospel came not to be the law of the Jews; and so if the ten commandments came to be the law of Israel, it was not only because God propos’d them, seeing Christ also propos’d his law, which nevertheless came not to be the law of the Jews; but because the people receiv’d the one, and rejected the other. It is not in the nature of religion that it should be thought a profane saying, that if the bible be in England, or in any other government, the law or religion of the land, it is not only because God has propos’d it, but also because the people or magistrat has receiv’d it, or resolv’d upon it; otherwise we must set lighter by a nation or government than by a privat person, who can bave no part nor portion in this law, unless he vote it to himself in his own conscience, without which, he remains in the condition he was before, and as the heathen, who are a law to themselves. Thus wheras in a covenant there must be two partys, the Old and New Testament being in sum the Old and New Covenant; these are that authority and proposition of God and Christ, to which they that refuse their vote or result may be under the empire of a clergy, but are none of his commonwealth. Nor, seeing I am gone so far, dos this at all imply freewill, but, as is admirably observ’d by Mr. Hobbs, the freedom of that which naturally precedes will, namely, deliberation or debate, in which, as the scale by the weight of reason or passion coms to be turn’d one way or other, the will is caus’d, and being caus’d is necessitated. When God coms in thus upon the soul of man, he gives both the will and the deed; from which like office of the senat in a commonwealth, that is, from the excellency of their deliberation and debate, which prudently and faithfully unfolded to the people, dos also frequently cause and necessitat both the will and the deed. God himself has said of the senat, that they are gods: an expression, tho divine, yet not unknown to the heathens; Homo homini Deus, one man, for the excellency of his aid, may be a God to another. But let the prevaricator look to it; for he that leads the blind out of his way, is his devil.
For the things I have of this kind, as also for what I have said upon the words Chirotonia and Ecclesia, the prevaricator is delighted to make me beholden underhand to Mr.Hobbs,nothwithstanding the open enmity which he says I profess to his politics.1 Sim. 8. 7. As if Josephus upon that of Samuel,They have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me that I should not reign over them, had not said of the people (Θεον ἀπεχειροτόν[Editor: illegible character]ν τὴς ϐασιλείας) that they unchirotoniz’d or unvoted God of the kingdom. Now if they unchirotoniz’d or unvoted God of the kingdom, then they had chirotoniz’d or voted him to the kingdom; and so not only the doctrin that God was king in Israel by compact or covenant, but the use of the word Chirotonia also in the sense I understand it, is more antient than Mr. Hobbs. I might add that of Capellus,God was a political king and civil legislator of the Jews. And for the use I have made of the word Ecclesia, as no man can read such as have written of the Grecian commonwealths, and miss it, so I do not remember that Mr. Hobbs has spoken of it. To these things fuller satisfaction will be given in the second book; which nevertheless I do not speak, to the end I might wave obligation to so excellent an author in his way. It is true, I have oppos’d the politics of Mr. Hobbs, to shew him what he taught me, with as much disdain as he oppos’d those of the greatest authors, in whose wholsom fame and doctrin the good of mankind being concern’d, my conscience bears me witness that I have don my duty. Nevertheless in most other things I firmly believe that Mr. Hobbs is and will in future ages be accounted the best writer, at this day, in the world. And for his treatises of human nature, and of liberty and necessity, they are the greatest of new lights, and those which I have follow’d, and shall follow.