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Sir Robert Filmer, Patriarcha; of the Natural Power of Kings. By the Learned Sir Robert Filmer Baronet (London: Richard Chiswell, 1680). Chapter: CHAP I.: That the first Kings were Fathers of Families.
Accessed from oll.libertyfund.org/title/221/45521 on 2009-10-29
The text is in the public domain.
(1) THE Tenent of the Natural Liberty of Mankind, New, Plausible, and Dangerous.(2)The Question stated out of Bellarmine: Some Contradictions of his noted.(3) Bellarmine’s Argument answered out of Bellarmine himself.(4)The Royal Anthority of the Patriarchs before the Flood.(5)The dispersion of Nations over the World after the Confusion of Babel, was by entire Families, over which the Fathers were Kings.(6)and from them all Kings descended.(7)All Kings are either Fathers of their People,(8)Or Heirs of such Fathers, or Vsurpers of the Right of such Fathers.(9)Of the Escheating of Kingdoms.(10)Of Regal and Paternal Power, and their agreement.
SInce the time that School-Divinity began to flourish, there hath been a common Opinion maintained, as well by Divines, as by divers other learned Men, which affirms,
Mankind is naturally endowed and born with Freedom from all Subjection, and at liberty to chose what Form of Government it please: And that the Power which any one Man hath over others, was at first bestowed according to the discretion of the Multitude.
(1)This Tenent was first hatched in the Schools, and hath been fostered by all succeeding Papists for good Divinity. The Divines also of the Reformed Churches have entertained it, and the Common People every where tenderly embrace it, as being most plausible to Flesh and blood, for that it prodigally destributes a Portion of Liberty to the meanest of the Multitude, who magnifie Liberty, as if the height of Humane Felicity were only to be found in it, never remembring That the desire of Liberty was the first Cause of the Fall of Adam.
But howsoever this Vulgar Opinion hath of late obtained a great Reputation, yet it is not to be found in the Ancient Fathers and Doctors of the Primitive Church: It contradicts the Doctrine and History of the Holy Scriptures, the constant Practice of all Ancient Monarchies, and the very Principles of the Law of Nature. It is hard to say whether it be more erroneous in Divinity, or dangerous in Policy.
Yet upon the ground of this Doctrine both Jesuites, and some other zealous favourers of the Geneva Discipline, have built a perillous Conclusion, which is, That the People or Multitude have Power to punish, or deprive the Prince, if he transgress the Laws of the Kingdom; witness Parsons and Buchanan: the first under the name of Dolman, in the Third Chapter of his First Book labours to prove, that Kings have been lawfully chastised by their Commonwealths: The latter in his Book De jure Regni apud Scotos, maintains A Liberty of the People to depose their Prince. Cardinal Bellarmine and Calvin, both look asquint this way.
This desperate Assertion whereby Kings are made subject to the Censures and Deprivations of their Subjects, follows (as the Authors of it conceive) as a necessary Consequence of that former Position of the supposed Natural Equality and Freedom of Mankind, and Liberty to choose what form of Government it please.
And though Sir John Heywood, Adam Blackwood, John Barclay, and some others have Learnedly Confuted both Buchanan and Parsons, and bravely vindicated the Right of Kings in most Points, yet all of them, when they come to the Argument drawn from the Natural Liberty and Equality of Mankind, do with one consent admit it for a Truth unquestionable, not so much as once denying or opposing it; whereas if they did but Confute this first erroneous Principle, the whole Fabrick of this vast Engine of Popular Sedition would drop down of it self.
The Rebellious Consequence which follows this prime Article of the Natural Freedom of Mankind may be my Sufficient Warrant for a modest Examination of the original Truth of it; much hath been said, and by many, for the Affirmative; Equity requires that an Ear be reserved a little for the Negative.
In this DISCOURSE I shall give my self these Cautions:
First, I have nothing to do to meddle with Mysteries of State, such Arcana Imperii, or Cabinet Counsels, the Vulgar may not pry into. An implicite Faith is given to the meanest Artificer in his own Craft, how much more is it then due to a Prince in the profound Secrets of Government, the Causes and Ends of the greatest politique Actions and Motions of State dazle the Eyes, and exceed the Capacities of all men, save only those that are hourly versed in the managing Publique Affairs: yet since the Rule for each man to know in what to obey his Prince, cannot be learnt without a relative Knowledge of those Points wherein a Sovereign may Command, it is necessary when the Commands and Pleasures of Superiors come abroad and call for an Obedience, that every man himself know how to regulate his Actions or his sufferings; for according to the Quality of the Thing commanded, an Active or Passive Obedience is to be yielded; and this is not to limit the Princes Power; but the extent of the Subjects Obedience, by giving to Cæsar the things that are Cæsar’s, &c.
Secondly, I am not to question, or quarrel at the Rights or Liberties of this or any other Nation, my task is chiefly to enquire from whom these first came, not to dispute what, or how many these are; but whether they were derived from the Laws of Natural Liberty, or from the Grace and bounty of Princes. My desire and Hope is, that the people of England may and do enjoy as ample Priviledges as any Nation under Heaven; the greatest Liberty in the World (if it be duly considered) is for a people to live under a Monarch. It is the Magna Charta of this Kingdom, all other shews or pretexts of Liberty, are but several degrees of Slavery, and a Liberty only to destroy Liberty.
If such as Maintain the Natural Liberty of Mankind, take Offence at the Liberty I take to Examine it, they must take heed that they do not deny by Retail, that Liberty which they affirm by Wholesale: For, if the Thesis be true, the Hypothesis will follow, that all men may Examine their own Charters, Deeds, or Evidences by which they claim and hold the Inheritance or Free-hold of their Liberties.
Thirdly, I must not detract from the Worth of all those Learned Men, who are of a contrary Opinion in the Point of Natural Liberty: The profoundest Scholar that ever was known hath not been able to search out every Truth that is discoverable; neither Aristotle in Philosophy, nor Hooker in Divinity. They are but men, yet I reverence their Judgments in most Points, and confess my self beholding to their Errors too in this; something that I found amiss in their Opinions, guided me in the discovery of that Truth which (I perswade my self) they missed. A Dwarf sometimes may see that which a Giant looks over; for whilest one Truth is curiously searched after, another must necessarily be neglected. Late Writers have taken up too much upon Trust from the subtile School-Men, who to be sure to thrust down the King below the Pope, thought it the safest course to advance the People above the King., that so the Papal Power might take place of the Regal. Thus many an Ignorant Subject hath been fooled into this Faith, that a man may become a Martyr for his Countrey, by being a Traytor to his Prince; whereas the Newcoyned distinction of Subjects into Royallists and Patriots, is most unnatural, since the relation between King and People is so great, that their well-being is so Reciprocal.
(2) To make evident the Grounds of this Question, about the Natural Liberty of Mankind, I will lay down some passages of Cardinal Bellarmine, that may best unfold the State of this Controversie. Secular or Civil Power (saith he) is instituted by Men; It is in the People, unless they bestow it on a Prince. This Power is immediately in the whole Multitude, as in the Subject of it; for this Power is in the Divine Law, but the Divine Law hath given this Power to no particular Man— If the Positive Law be taken away, there is left no Reason, why amongst a Multitude (who are Equal) one rather than another should bear Rule over the rest?— Power is given by the Multitude to one man, or to more by the same Law of Nature; for the Commonwealth cannot exercise this Power, therefore it is bound to bestow it upon some One Man, or some Few— It depends upon the Consent of the Multitude to ordain over themselves a King, or Consul, or other Magistrates; and if there be a lawful Cause, the Multitude may change the Kingdom into an Aristocracy or Democracy. Thus far Bellarmine; in which passages are comprised the strength of all that ever I have read, or heard produced for the Natural Liberty of the Subject.
Before I examine or refute these Doctrines, I must a little make some Observations upon his Words.
First, He saith, that by the law of God, Power is immediately in the People; hereby he makes God to be the immediate Author of a Democratical Estate; for a Democrasy is nothing else but the Power of the Multitude. If this be true, not only Aristocracies, but all Monarchies are altogether unlawful, as being ordained (as he thinks) by Men, whenas God himself hath chosen a Democracy.
Secondly, He holds, that although a Democracy be the Ordinance of God, yet the people have no power to use the Power which God hath given them, but only power to give away their Power; whereby it followeth, that there can be no Democratical Government, because he saith, the people must give their Power to One Man, or to some Few; which maketh either a Regal or Aristocratical Estate; which the Multitude is tyed to do, even by the same Law of Nature which Originally gave them the Power: And why then doth he say, the Multitude may change the Kingdom into a Democracy?
Thirdly, He concludes, that if there be a lawful Cause, the Multitude may change the Kingdom. Here I would fain know who shall judg of this lawful Cause? If the Multitude (for I see no Body else can) then this is a pestilent and dangerous Conclusion.
(3) I come now to examine that Argument which is used by Bellarmine, and is the One and only Argument I can find produced by my Author for the proof of the Natural Liberty of the People. It is thus framed: That God hath given or ordained Power, is evident by Scripture; But God hath given it to no particular Person, because by nature all Men are Equal; therefore he hath given Power to the People or Multitude.
To Answer this Reason, drawn from the Equality of Mankind by Nature, I will first use the help of Bellarmine himself, whose very words are these: If many men had been together created out of the Earth, they all ought to have been Princes over their Posterity. In these words we have an Evident Confession, that Creation made man Prince of his Posterity. And indeed not only Adam, but the succeding Patriarchs had, by Right of Father-hood, Royal Authority over their Children. Nor dares Bellarmine deny this also. That the Patriarchs (saith he) were endowed with Kingly Power, their Deeds do testify; for as Adam was Lord of his Children, so his Children under him, had a Command and Power over their own Children; but still with subordination to the First Parent, who is Lord-Paramout over his Childrens Children to all Generations, as being the Grand-Father of his People.
(4) I see not then how the Children of Adam, or of any man else can be free from subjection to their Parents: And this subjection of Children being the Fountain of all Regal Authority, by the Ordination of God himself; It follows, that Civil Power, not only in general is by Divine Institution, but even the Assignment of it Specifically to the eldest Parents, which quite takes away that New and Common distinction which refers only Power Universal and Absolute to God; but Power Respective in regard of the Special Form of Government to the Choice of the people.
This Lordship which Adam by Command had over the whole World, and by Right descending from him the Patriarchs did enjoy, was as large and ample as the Absolutest Dominion of any Monarch which hath been since the Creation: For Dominion of Life and Death, we find that Judah the Father pronounced Sentence of Death against Thamar his Daughter-in-law, for playing the Harlot; Bring her forth (saith he) that she may be burnt. Touching War, we see that Abraham commanded an Army of 318 Souldiers of his own Family. And Esau met his Brother Jacob with 400 Men at Arms. For matter of Peace, Abraham made a League with Abimilech, and ratify’d the Articles with an Oath. These Acts of Judging in Capital Crimes, of making War, and concluding Peace, are the chiefest Marks of Sovereignty that are found in any Monarch.
(5) Not only until the Flood, but after it, this Patriarchal Power did continue, as the very Name Patriarch doth in part prove. The three Sons of Noah had the whole World divided amongst them by their Father; for of them was the whole World over-spread, according to the Benediction given to him and his Sons, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the Earth. Most of the Civilest Nations of the Earth labour to fetch their Original from some One of the Sons or Nephews of Noah, which were scatterd abroad after the Confusion of Babel: In this Dispersion we must certainly find the Establishment of Regal Power throughout the Kingdoms of the World.
It is a common Opinion, that at the Confusion of Tongues there were 72 distinct Nations erected, all which were not Confused Multitudes, without Heads or Governors, and at Liberty to chose what Governors or Government they pleased; but they were distinct Families, which had Fathers for Rulers over them; whereby it appears that even in the Confusion God was careful to preserve the Fatherly Authority, by distributing the diversity of Languages according to the diversity of Families; for so plainly it appears by the Text: First, after the Enumeration of the Sons of Japhet, the Conclusion is, By these were the Isles of the Gentiles divided in their Lands, every one after his Tongue, after their Families, in their Nations; so it is said: These are the Sons of Ham after their Families, after their Tongues, in their Countreys, and in their Nations. The like we read, These are the Sons of Shem after their Families, after their Tongues, in their Lands, after their Nations. These are the Families of the Sons of Noah after their Generations in their Nations; and by these were these Nations divided in the Earth, after the Flood.
In this Division of the World, some are of Opinion that Noah used Lots for the distribution of it; others affirm he sayled about the Mediterranean Sea in Ten years, and as he went about, appointed to each Son his part, and so made the Division of the then known World into Asia, Africa, and Europe, (according to the number of his Sons) the Limits of which Three Parts are all found in that Midland Sea.
(6) But howsoever the manner of this Division be uncertain, yet it is most certain the Division it self was by Families from Noah and his Children, over which the Parents were Heads and Princes.
Amongst these was Nimrod, who no doubt (as Sir Walter Raleigh affirms) was by good Right, Lord or King over his Family; yet against Right did he enlarge his Empire, by seizing violently on the Rights of other Lords of Families: And in this sense he may be said to be the Author and first Founder of Monarchy. And all those that do attribute unto him the Original Regal Power, do hold he got it by Tyrany or Usurpation, and not by any due Election of the People or Multitude, or by any Faction with them.
As this Patriarchal Power continued in Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, even until the Egyptian Bondage; so we find it amongst the Sons of Ismael and Esau. It is said, These are the Sons of Ismael, and these are their Names by their Castles and Towns, Twelve Princes of their Tribes and Families. And these are the Names of the Dukes that came of Esau, according to their Families and their Places by their Nations.
(7) Some perhaps may think that these Princes and Dukes of Families were but some petty Lords under some greater Kings, because the number of them are so many, that their particular Territories could be but small, and not worthy the Title of Kingdoms; but they must consider, that at first, Kings had no such large Dominions as they have now adays; we find in the time of Abraham, which was about 300 years after the Flood, that in a little corner of Asia, 9 Kings at once met in Battail, most of which were but Kings of Cities apiece, with the adjacent Territories, as of Sodom, Gomorrha, Shinar, &c. In the same Chapter is mention of Melchisedeck King of Salem, which was but the City of Jerusalem. And in the Catalogue of the Kings of Edom, the Names of each King’s City is recorded, as the only Mark to distinguish their Dominions. In the Land of Canaan, which was but a small circuit, Joshua destroyed thirty one Kings; and about the same time, Adonibeseck had 70 Kings whose hands and toes he had cut off, and made them feed under his Table. A few years after this, 32 Kings came to Benhadad King of Syria, and about 70 Kings of Greece went to the Wars of Troy. Cæsar found more Kings in France, than there be now Princes there, and at his sailing over into this Island, he found four Kings in our County of Kent. These heaps of Kings in each Nation are an Argument their Territories were but small, and strongly confirms our Assertion, that Erection of Kingdoms came at first only by Distinction of Families. [1 King. 20. 16.]
By manifest Footsteps we may trace this Paternal Government unto the Israelites coming into Egypt, where the Exercise of Supream Partriarchal Jurisdiction was intermitted, because they were in subjection to a stronger Prince. After the Return of these Israelites out of Bondage, God out of a special Care of them, chose Moses and Joshua successively to govern as Princes in the place and stead of the Supream Fathers: and after them likewise for a time, he raised up Judges, to defend his People in time of Peril. But when God gave the Israelites Kings, he reestablished the Antient and Prime Right of Lineal Succession to Paternal Government. And whensoever he made choice of any special Person to be King, he intended that the Issue also should have benefit thereof, as being comprehended sufficiently in the Person of the Father, although the Father only was named in the Graunt.
(8.) It may seem absurd to maintain, that Kings now are the Fathers of their People, since Experience shews the contrary. It is true, all Kings be not the Natural Parents of their Subjects, yet they all either are, or are to be reputed the next Heirs to those first Progenitors, who were at first the Natural Parents of the whole People, and in their Right succeed to the Exercise of Supreme Jurisdiction; and such Heirs are not only Lords of their own Children, but also of their Brethren, and all others that were subject to their Fathers: And therefore we find, that God told Cain of his Brother Abel, His Desires shall be subject unto thee, and thou shalt rule over him. Accordingly, when Jacob bought his Brother’s Birth-right, Isaac blessed him thus, Be Lord over thy Brethren, and let the Sons of thy Mother bow before thee. [Gen. 27. 29.]
As long as the first Fathers of Families lived, the name of Patriarchs did aptly belong unto them; but after a few Descents, when the true Fatherhood it self was extinct, and only the Right of the Father descends to the true Heir, then the Title of Prince or King was more significant, to express the Power of him who succeeds only to the Right of that Fatherhood which his Ancestors did Naturally enjoy; by this means it comes to pass, that many a Child, by succeeding a King, hath the Right of a Father over many a Gray-headed Multitude, and hath the Title of Pater Patriæ.
(9.) It may be demanded what becomes of the Right of Fatherhood, in Case the Crown does escheat for want of an Heir? Whether doth it not then Divolve to the People? The Answer is, It is but the Negligence or Ignorance of the People to lose the Knowledge of the true Heir: For an Heir there always is. If Adam himself were still living, and now ready to die, it is certain that there is One Man, and but One in the World who is next Heir, although the Knowledge who should be that One Man be quite lost.
2. This Ignorance of the People being admitted, it doth not by any means follow; that for want of Heirs the Supreme Power is devolved to the Multitude, and that they have Power to Rule, and Chose what Rulers they please. No, the Kingly Power escheats in such cases to the Princes and independent Heads of Families: for every Kingdom is resolved into those parts whereof at first it was made. By the Uniting of great Families or petty Kingdoms, we find the greater Monarchies were at the first erected; and into such again, as into their first Matter many times they return again. And because the dependencie of ancient Families is oft obscure or worn out of Knowledge; therefore the wisdom of All or Most Princes have thought fit to adopt many times those for Heads of Families, and Princes of Provinces, whose Merits, Abilities, or Fortunes, have enobled them, or made them fit and capable of such Regal Favours. All such prime Heads and Fathers have power to consent in the uniting or conferring of their Fatherly Right of Sovereign Authority on whom they please: And he that is so Elected, claims not his Power as a Donative from the People; but as being substituted properly by God, from whom he receives his Royal Charter of an Universal Father, though testified by the Ministry of the Heads of the People.
If it please God, for the Correction of the Prince, or punishment of the People, to suffer Princes to be removed, and others to be placed in their rooms, either by the Factions of the Nobility, or Rebellion of the People; in all such cases, the Judgment of God, who hath Power to give and to take away Kingdoms, is most just: Yet the Ministry of Men who Execute Gods Judgments without Commission, is sinful and damnable. God doth but use and turn mens Unrighteous Acts to the performance of his Righteous Decrees.
(10) In all Kingdoms or Commonwealths in the World, whether the Prince be the Supream Father of the People, or but the true Heir of such a Father, or whether he come to the Crown by Usurpation, or by Election of the Nobles, or of the People, or by any other way whatsoever; or whether some Few or a Multitude Govern the Commonwealth: Yet still the Authority that is in any one, or in many, or in all these, is the only Right and natural Authority of a Supream Father. There is, and always shall be continued to the end of the World, a Natural Right of a Supreme Father over every Multitude, although by the secret Will of God, many at first do most unjustly obtain the Exercise of it.
To confirm this Natural Right of Regal Power, we find in the Decalogue, That the Law which enjoyns Obedience to Kings, is delivered in the terms of Honour thy Father, as if all power were originally in the Father. If Obedience to Parents be immediately due by a Natural Law, and Subjection to Princes, but by the Mediation of an Humane Ordinance; what reason is there that the Laws of Nature should give place to the Laws of Men? as we see the power of the Father over his Child, gives place, and is subordinate to the power of the Magistrate.
If we compare the Natural Rights of a Father with those of a King, we find them all one, without any difference at all but only in the Latitude or Extent of them: as the Father over one Family, so the King as Father over many Families extends his care to preserve, feed, cloth, instruct and defend the whole Commonwealth. His War, his Peace, his Courts of Justice, and all his Acts of Sovereignty tend only to preserve and distribute to every subordinate and inferiour Father, and to their Children, their Rights and Privileges; so that all the Duties of a King are summed up in an Universal Fatherly Care of his People.
Sir Robert Filmer, Patriarcha; of the Natural Power of Kings. By the Learned Sir Robert Filmer Baronet (London: Richard Chiswell, 1680). Chapter: CHAP. II.: It is unnatural for the People to Govern, or Chose Governours.
Accessed from oll.libertyfund.org/title/221/45523 on 2009-10-29
The text is in the public domain.
(1.) A Ristotle examined about the Freedom of the People and justified.(2.) Suarez disputing against the Regality of Adam. (3.)Families diversly defined by Aristotle, Bodin and others.(4.) Suarez contradicting Bellarmine. (5.)Of Election of Kings.(6.)By the Major part of the People.(7.)By Proxy, and by silent Acceptation.(8.)No Example in Scripture of the Peoples chosing their King. Mr. Hooker’s Judgment therein.(9.)God governed always by Monarchy.(10.) Bellarmine and Aristotle’s Judgment of Monarchy.(11.)Imperfections of the Roman Democratie. (12.) Rome began her Empire under Kings, and perfected under Emperours. In danger, the People of Rome always fled to Monarchy.(13.)Whether Democraties were invented to bridle Tyrants, or rather that they came in by Stealth,(14.) Democraties vilified by their own Historians.(15.)Popular Government more bloody than Tyranny.(16.)Of a mixed Government of the King and People.(17.)The People may not judge or correct their King(18.)No Tyrants in England since the Conquest.
(1.) BY conferring these Proofs and Reasons drawn from the Authority of the Scripture, it appears little less than a Paradox which Bellarmine and others affirm of the Freedom of the Multitude, to chose what Rulers they please.
Had the Patriarchs their Power given them by their own Children? Bellarmine does not say it, but the Contrary: If then the Fatherhood enjoyed this Authority for so many Ages by the Law of Nature, when was it lost, or when forfeited, or how is it devolved to the Liberty of the Multitude?
Because the Scripture is not favourable to the Liberty of the People; therefore many fly to Natural Reason, and to the Authority of Aristotle. I must crave Liberty to examine or explain the Opinion of this great Philosopher; but briefly, I find this Sentence in the Third of his Politiques. Cap. 16. δοϰεῖ δέ τιοιν [Editor: illegible character] [Editor: illegible character] φύσιν ἐι[Editor: illegible character] τὸ ϰύ[Editor: illegible character]ον ἕνα πάν[Editor: illegible character]ων ἐι[Editor: illegible character] [Editor: illegible character] πολιτῶν, ὅπȣ συνέςηϰεν [Editor: illegible character]ξ ὁμ[Editor: illegible character]ίων ἡ πόλις. It seems to some not to be natural for one man to be Lord of all the Citizens, since a City consists of Equals. D. Lambine in his Latine Interpretation of this Text, hath omitted the Translation of this word [τὶσιν] by this means he maketh that to be the Opinion of Aristotle, which Aristotle alleadgeth to be the Opinion but of some. This Negligence, or Wilful Escape of Lambine, in not translating a word so Material, hath been an occasion to deceive many, who looking no farther than this Latins Translation, have concluded, and made the World now of late believe, that Aristotle here maintains a Natural Equality of Men; and not only our English Translator of Aristotle’s Politiques is in this place misled by following Lambine; but even the Learned Monsieur Duvall in his Synopsis bears them company: and yet this Version of Lambine’s is esteemed the best, and Printed at Paris with Causabon’s corrected Greek Copy, though in the rendring of this place, the Elder Translations have been more faithful; and he that shall compare the Greek Text with the Latine, shall find that Causabon had just cause in his Preface to Aristotle’s Works, to complain that the best Translations of Aristotle did need Correction: To prove that in these words which seem to favour the Equality of Mankind, Aristotle doth not speak according to his own Judgment, but recites only the Opinion of others; we find him clearly deliver his own Opinion, that the Power of Government did originally arise from the Right of Fatherhood, which cannot possibly consist with that Natural Equality which Men dream of: for in the First of his Politiques he agrees exactly with the Scripture, and lays this Foundation of Government, The first Society (saith he) made of Many Houses is a Village, which seems most naturally to be a Colony of Families or foster-Brethren of Children and Childrens Children. And therefore at the beginning, Cities were under the Government of Kings, for the eldest in every house is King: And so for Kindred-sake it is in Colonies. And in the fourth of his Politiques, cap. 2. He gives the Title of the first and Divinest sort of Government to the Institution of Kings, by Defining Tyranny to be a Digression from the First and Divinest.
Whosoever weighs advisedly these passages, will find little hope of Natural Reason in Aristotle to prove the Natural Liberty of the Multitude. Also before him the Divine Plato concludes a Commonweal to be nothing else but a large Family. I know for this Position Aristotle quarrels with his Master, but most unjustly; for therein he contradicts his own Principles for they both agree to fetch the Orignial of Civil Government from the prime Government. No doubt but Moses’s History of the Creation guided these two Philosophers in finding out of this Lineal Subjections deduced from the Laws of the First Parents, according to that Rule of St. Chrysostom, God made all Mankind of One Man, that he might teach the World to be Governed by a King, and not by a Multitude.
The Ignorance of the Creation, occasioned several Errors amongst the Heathen Philosophers. Polybius, though otherwise a most profound Philosopher, and Judicious Historian, yet here he stumbles; for in searching out the Original of Civil Societies, he conceited, That Multitudes of Men after a Deluge, a Famine, or a Pestilence, met together like Herds of Cattel without any Dependency, until the strongest Bodies and boldest Minds got the Mastery of their Fellows; even as it is (saith he) among Bulls, Bears and Cocks.
And Aristotle himself, forgetting his first Doctrine, tells us, the first Heroical Kings were chosen by the People for their deserving well of the Multitude; either by teaching them some New Arts, or by Warring for them, or by Gathering them together, or by Dividing Land amongst them; also Aristotle had another Fancy, that those Men who prove wise of Mind, were by Nature intended to be Lords, and Govern; and those which were Strong of Body were ordained to obey, and to be Servants. But this is a dangerous and uncertain Rule, and not without some Folly; for if a Man prove both Wise and Strong, what will Aristotle have done with him? as he was Wise, he could be no Servant, and as he had Strength, he could not be a Master; besides, to speak like a Philosopher, Nature intends all things to be perfect both in Wit and Strength. The Folly or Imbecillity proceeds from some Errour in Generation or Education; for Nature aims at Perfection in all her Works.
(2.)Suarez the Jusuite riseth up against the Royal Authority of Adam, in defence of the Freedom and Liberty of the people; and thus argues. By Right of Creation (saith he) Adam had only Oeconomical power, but not Political; he had a power over his Wife, and a Fatherly power over his Sons, whilst they were not made Free: he might also in process of Time have Servants and a Compleat Family; and in that Family he might have compleat Oeconomical Power. But after that Families began to be multiplied, and Men to be separated, and become the Heads of several Families; they had the same power over their Families. But Political Power did not begin, until Families began to be gathered together into one perfect Community; wherefore as the Community did not begin by the Creation of Adam, nor by his will alone, but of all them which did agree in this Community: So we cannot say that Adam Naturally had Political Primacy in that Community; for that cannot be gathered by any Natural Principles, because by the Force of the Law of Nature alone, it is not due unto any Progenitor, to be also King of his Posterity. And if this be not gathered out of the Principles of Nature, we cannot say, God by a special Gift or Providence gave him this Power; For there is no Revelation of this, nor Testimony of Scripture. Hitherto Suarez.
Whereas he makes Adam to have a Fatherly power over his Sons, and yet shuts up this power within one Family, he seems either to imagine, that all Adam’s Children lived within one House, and under one Roos with their Father; or else, as soon as any of his Children lived out of his House, they ceased to be Subject, and did thereby become Free. For my part, I cannot believe that Adam (although he were sole Monarch of the World) had any such spacious Palace, as might contain any such Considerable part of his Children. It is likelier, that some mean Cottage or Tent did serve him to keep his Court in. It were hard he should lose part of his Authority, because his Children lay not within the Walls of his House. But if Suarez will allow all Adam’s Children to be of his Family, howsoever they were separate in Dwellings; if their Habitations were either Contiguous, or at such Distance, as might easily receive his Fatherly Commands. And that all that were under his Commands, were of his Family, although they had many Children or Servants married, having themselves also Children. Then I see no reason, but that we may call Adam’s Family a Commonwealth, except we will wrangle about Words: For Adam living 930 years, and seeing 7 or 8 Descents from himself, he might live to command of his Children and their Posterity a Multitude far bigger, than many Commonwealths and Kingdoms.
(3.) I know the Politicians and Civil Lawyers do not agree well about the Definition of a Family, and Bodin doth seem in one place to confine it to a House; yet in his Definition, he doth enlarge his meaning to all Persons under the Obedience of One and the same Head of the Family; and he approves better of the propriety of the Hebrew Word for a Family, which is derived from a Word that signifies a Head, a Prince, or Lord, than the Greek Word for a Family, which is derived from οɩ̂̓[Editor: illegible character], which signifies a House. Nor doth Aristotle confine a Family to One House; but esteems it to be made of those that daily converse together : whereas before him, Charondas called a Family Homosypioi, those that feed together out of one common Pannier. And Epimenides the Cretian, terms a Family Homocapnoi, those that sit by a Common Fire, or Smoak. But let Suarez understand what he please by Adam’s Family; if he will but confess, as he needs must, that Adam and the Patriarchs had Absolute power of Life and Death, of Peace and War, and the like, within their Houses or Families; he must give us leave at least, to call them Kings of their Houses or Families; and if they be so by the Law of Nature, what Liberty will be left to their Children to dispose of?
Aristotle gives the Lie to Plato, and those that say Political and Oeconomical Societies are all one, and do not differ Specie, but only Multitudine & Paucitate; as if there were no difference betwixt a Great House and a Little City. All the Argument I find he brings against them is this.
The Community of Man and Wife, differs from the Community of Master and Servant, because they have several Ends. The Intention of Nature by Conjunction of Male and Female, is Generation; but the Scope of Master and Servant, is Preservation: so that a Wife and a Servant are by Nature distinguished, because Nature does not work like the Cutlers of Delphos, for she makes but one thing for one Use. If we allow this Argument to be sound, nothing doth follow but only this, That Conjugal and Despotical Communities do differ. But it is no consequence, That therefore, Oeconomical and Political Societies do the like: for though it prove a Family to consist of two distinct Communities, yet it follows not, that a Family and a Commonwealth are distinct; because, as well in the Commonweal, as in the Families, both these Communities are found. [Arist. Pol. Lib. 1. c. 2.]
And as this Argument comes not home to our Point, so it is not able to prove that Title which it shews for; for if it should be granted (which yet is false) that Generation and Preservation differ about the Individuum, yet they agree in the General, and serve both for the Conservation of Mankind; Even as several Servants differ in the particular Ends or Offices; as one to Brew, and another to Bake; yet they agree in the general Preservation of the Family. Besides, Aristotle confesses, that amongst the Barbarians (as he calls all them that are not Grecians) a Wife and a Servant are the same, because by Nature, no Barbarian is fit to Govern; It is fit the Grecians should rule over the Barbarians; for by Nature a Servant and a Barbarian is all one: their Family consists only of an Ox for a Man-Servant, and a Wife for a Maid; so they are fit only to rule their Wives and their Beasts. Lastly, Aristotle (if it had pleased him) might have remembred, That Nature doth not always make one Thing but for one Use: he knows, the Tongue serves both to Speak, and to Taste.
(4.) But to leave Aristotle, and return to Suarez; he saith that Adam had Fatherly Power over his Sons, whilst they were not made Free. Here I could wish that the Jesuite had taught us, how and when Sons become Free: I know no means by the Law of Nature. It is the Favour I think of the Parents only, who when their Children are of Age and Discretion to ease their Parents of part of their Fatherly Care, are then content to remit some part of their Fatherly authority; therefore the Custom of some Countreys doth in some Cases Enfranchise the Children of snferiour Parents, but many Nations have no such Custome, but on the contrary have strict Laws for the Obedience of Children: the Judicial Law of Moses giveth full power to the Father to stone his disobedient Son, so it be done in presence of a Magistrate: And yet it did not belong to the Magistrate to enquire and examine the justness of the Cause; But it was so decreed, lest the Father should in his Anger, suddenly, or secretly kill his Son.
Also by the Laws of the Persians, and of the People of the Upper Asia, and of the Gaules, and by the Laws of the West-Indies, the Parents have power of Life and Death over their Children.
The Romans, even in their most Popular Estate, had this Law in force, and this Power of Parents was ratified and amplified by the Laws of the Twelve Tables, to the enabling of Parents to sell their Children two or three times over. By the help of the Fatherly Power, Rome long flourished, and oftentimes was freed from great Dangers. The Fathers have drawn out of the very Assemblies their own Sons; when being Tribunes, they have published Laws tending to Sedition.
Memorable is the Example of Cassius, who threw his Son headlong out of the Consistory, publishing the Law Agraria, for the Division of Lands, in the behoof of the People; and afterwards, by his own private Judgment put him to Death, by throwing him down from the Tarpeian Rock; the Magistrates and People standing thereat amazed, and not daring to resist his Fatherly Authority, although they would with all their Hearts, have had that Law for the Division of Land: by which it appears, it was lawful for the Father to dispose of the Life of his Child, contrary to the Will of the Magistrates or People. The Romans also had a Law, that what the Children got, was not their own, but their Fathers; although Solon made a Law, which acquitted the Son from Nourishing of his Father, if his Father had taught him no Trade, whereby to get his Living.
Suarez proceeds, and tells us, That in Process of Time, Adam had compleat Oeconomical Power. I know not what this compleat Oeconomical Power is, nor how, or what it doth really and essentially differ from Political: If Adam did, or might exercise the same Jurisdiction, which a King doth now in a Commonwealth, then the Kinds of Power are not distinct; and though they may receive an Accidental Difference by the Amplitude, or Extent of the Bounds of the One beyond the Other; yet since the like Difference is also found in Political Estates, It follows that Oeconomical and Political Power, differ no otherwise, than a Little Commonweal differs from a Great One. Next, saith Suarez, Community did not begin at the Creation of Adam. It is true, because he had no body to Communicate with; yet Community did presently follow his Creation, and that by his Will alone: for it was in his power only (who was Lord of All) to appoint what his Sons should have in Proper, and what in Common; so that Propriety and Community of Goods did follow Originally from him; and it is the Duty of a Father, to provide as well for the Common Good of his Children, as the Particular.
Lastly, Suarez Concludes, That by the Law of Nature alone, it is not due unto any Progenitor, to be also King of his Posterity. This Assertion is confuted point-blank by Bellarmine, who expresly affirmeth, That the first Parents ought to have been Princes of their Posterity. And until Suarez bring some Reason for what he saith, I shall trust more to Bellarmine’s Proofs, than to his Denials.
(5.) But let us Condescend a while to the Opinion of Bellarmine and Suarez, and all those, who place Supreme power in the Whole People; and ask them if their meaning be, That there is but one and the same power in all the people of the World; so that no power can be granted, except all the Men upon the Earth meet and agree, to choose a Governour.
An Answer is here given by Suarez, That it is scarce possible, nor yet expedient, that All Men in the World should be gathered together into One Community: It is likelier, that either never, or for a very short time, that this power was in this manner, in the whole Multitude of Men collected; but a little after the Creation, men began to be divided into several Commonwealths; and this distinct power was in each of them.
This Answer of Scarce possible, nor yet Expedient: — It is likelier begets a new doubt, how this distinct power comes to each particular Community, when God gave it to the whole Multitude only, and not to any particular Assembly of Men. Can they shew, or prove, that ever the whole Multitude met, and divided this power which God gave them in Gross, by breaking into parcels, and by appointing a distinct power to each several Commonwealth? Without such a Compact I cannot see (according to their own Principles) how there can be any Election of a Magistrate by any Commonwealth, but by a meer Usurpation upon the priviledge of the whole World. If any think that particular Multitudes at their own Discretion, had power to divide themselves into several Commonwealths; those that think so, have neither Reason nor Proof for so thinking: and thereby a Gap is opened for every petty Factious Multitude, to raise a New Commonwealth, and to make more Commonweals than there be Families in the World. But let this also be yielded them, That in each particular Commonwealth, there is a Distinct Power in the Multitude. Was a General Meeting of a Whole Kingdom ever known for the Election of a Prince? Is there any Example of it ever found in the Whole World? To conceit such a thing, is to imagine little less than an Impossibility. And so by Consequence, no one Form of Government, or King, was ever established according to this supposed Law of Nature.
(6.) It may be answered by some, That if either the Greatest part of a Kingdom, or if a smaller part only by Themselves, and all the Rest by Proxy; or if the part not concurring in Election, do after, by a Tacit Assent ratifie the Act of Others, That in all these Cases, it may be said to be the Work of the whole Multitude.
As to the Acts of the Major part of a Multitude, it is true, that by Politick Humane Constitutions, it is oft ordained, that the Voices of the most shall over-rule the Rest; and such Ordinances bind, because, where Men are Assembled by an humane Power; that power that doth Assemble them, can also Limit and Direct the manner of the Execution of that Power, and by such Derivative Power, made known by Law or Custom, either the greater part, or two Thirds, or Three parts of Five, or the like, have power to oversway the Liberty of their Opposites. But in Assemblies that take their Authority from the Law of Nature, it cannot be so: for what Freedom or Liberty is due to any Man by the Law of Nature, no Inferiour Power can alter, limit or diminish; no One Man, nor a Multitude, can give away the Natural Right of another. The Law of Nature is unchangeable, and howsoever One Man may hinder Another in the Use or Exercise of his Natural Right, yet thereby No Man loseth the Right of it self; for the Right and the Use of the Right may be distinguished, as Right and Possession are oft distinct. Therefore, unless it can be proved by the Law of Nature, that the Major, or some other part, have Power to over-rule the Rest of the Multitude; It must follow, that the Acts of Multitudes not Entire, are not Binding to All, but only to such as Consent unto them.
(7.) As to the point of Proxy; it cannot be shewed or proved, That all those that have been Absent from Popular Elections, did ever give their Voices to some of their Fellows. I ask but one Example out of the History of the whole World, Let the Commonweal be but named, wherever the Multitude, or so much as the Greatest part of it consented, either by Voice or by Procuration, to the Election of a Prince. The Ambition sometimes of One Man, sometimes of Many, or the Faction of a City or Citizens, or the Mutiny of an Army, hath set up or put down Princes; but they have never tarried for this pretended Order by proceeding of the whole Multitude.
Lastly, if the silent Acceptation of a Governour by part of the People, be an Argument of their Concurring in the Election of him; by the same Reason, the Tacit Assent of the whole Commonwealth may be maintained: From whence it follows, that every Prince that comes to a Crown, either by Succession, Conquest, or Usurpation, may be said to be Elected by the People; which Inference is too ridiculous; for in such Cases, the People are so far from the Liberty of Specification, that they want even that of Contradiction.
(8.) But it is in vain to argue against the Liberty of the People in the Election of Kings, as long as men are perswaded, that Examples of it are to be found in Scripture. It is fit therefore, to discover the Grounds of this Errour: It is plain by an Evident Text, that it is one thing to choose a King, and another thing to set up a King over the People; this latter power the Children of Israel had, but not the former. This distinction is found most evident in Deut. 17. 15. where the Law of God saith, Him shalt thou set King over thee, whom the Lord shall choose; so God must Eligere, and the People only do Constituere. Mr. Hooker in his Eight Book of Ecclesiastical Policy, clearly expounds this Distinction; the words are worthy the citing: Heaps of Scripture (saith he) are alledged, concerning the Solemn Coronation or Inauguration of Saul, David, Solomon and others, by Nobles, Ancients, and the people of the Commonwealth of Israel; as if these Solemnities were a kind of Deed, whereby the Right of Dominion is given; which strange, untrue, and unnatural conceits, are set abroad by Seed-men of Rebellion, only to animate unquiet Spirits, and to feed them with possibilities of Aspiring unto the Thrones, if they can win the Hearts of the People; whatsoever Hereditary Title any other before them may have. I say these unjust and insolent Positions, I would not mention, were it not thereby to make the Countenance of Truth more Orient. For unless we will openly proclaim Defiance unto all Law, Equity and Reason, we must (for there is no other Remedy) acknowledg, that in Kingdoms Hereditary, Birth-right giveth Right unto Sovereign Dominion, and the Death of the Predecessor, putteth the Successor by Blood in Seisin. Those publick Solemnities before-mentioned, do either serve for an open Testification of the Inheritor’s Right, or belong to the Form of inducing of him into possession of that thing he hath Right unto. This is Mr. Hooker’s Judgment of the Israelites Power to set a King over themselves. No doubt but if the people of Israel had had power to choose their King, they would never have made choice of Joas, a Child but of seven years old, nor of Manasses a Boy of Twelve; since (as Solomon saith) Wo to the Land whose King is a Child: Nor is it probable they would have elected Josias, but a very Child, and a Son to so wicked and Idolatrous a Father, as that his own Servants murthered him; and yet all the people set up this young Josias, and slew the Conspirators of the Death of Ammon his Father; which Justice of the People, God rewarded, by making this Josias the most Religious King, that ever that Nation enjoyed.
(9.) Because it is affirmed, that the People have Power to choose, as well what Form of Government, as what Governours they please; of which mind is Bellarmine, in those Places we cited at first. Therefore it is necessary to Examine the Strength of what is said in Defence of popular Common-weals, against this Natural Form of Kingdoms, which I maintain’d. Here I must first put the Cardinal in mind of what he affirms in cold Blood, in other Places; where he saith, God when he made all Mankind of one Man, did seem openly to signifie, that he rather approved the Government of one Man, than of many. Again, God shewed his Opinion, when he endued not only Men, but all Creatures with a Natural Propensity to Monarchy; neither can it be doubted, but a Natural Propensity is to be referred to God, who is Author of Nature. And again; in a Third Place, What Form of Government God confirmed by his Authority, may be gathered by that Common-weal, which he instituted amongst the Hebrews, which was not Aristocratical, (as Calvin saith) but plainly Monarchical.
(10.) Now if God, (as Bellarmine saith) hath taught us by Natural Instinct, signified to us by the Creation, and confirmed by his own Example, the Excellency of Monarchy, why should Bellarmine or We doubt, but that it is Natural? Do we not find, that in every Family, the Government of One Alone is most Natural? God did always Govern his own People by Monarchy only. The Patriarchs, Dukes, Judges, and Kings were all Monarchs. There is not in all the Scripture, Mention or Approbation of any other Form of Government. At the time when Scripture saith, There was no King in Israel, but that every Man did that which was Right in his Own Eyes; Even then, the Israelites were under the Kingly Government of the Fathers of particular Families: For in the Consultation, after the Benjamitical War, for providing Wives for the Benjamites, we find, the Elders of the Congregation bare only Sway. Judges 21. 16. To them also were Complaints to be made, as appears by Verse 22. And though mention be made of all the Children of Israel, all the Congregation, and all the People; yet by the Term of All, the Scripture means only all the Fathers, and not all the whole Multitude, as the Text plainly expounds it self in 2 Chron. 1. 2. where Solomon speaks unto all Israel, to the Captains, the Judges, and to every Governour, the Chief of the Fathers; so the Elders of Israel are expounded to be the Chief of the Fathers of the Children of Israel, 1 Kings 8. 12. 2 Chron. 5. 2.
At that time also, when the People of Israel begg’d a King of Samuel, they were Governed by Kingly Power. God out of a special Love and Care to the House of Israel, did choose to be their King himself, and did govern them at that time by his Viceroy Samuel, and his Sons; and therefore God tells Samuel, They have not rejected Thee, but Me, that I should not Reign over them. It seems they did not like a King by Deputation, but desired one by Succession, like all the Nations. All Nations belike had Kings then, and those by Inheritance, not by Election: for we do not find the Israelites prayed, that they themselves might choose their Own King; they dream of no such Liberty, and yet they were the Elders of Israel gathered together. If other Nations had Elected their own Kings, no doubt but they would have been as desirous to have imitated Other Nations as well in the Electing, as in the Having of a King.
Aristotle, in his Book of Politicks, when he comes to compare the several Kinds of Government, he is very reserved in discoursing what Form he thinks Best: he disputes subtilely to and fro of many Points, and Judiciously of many Errours, but concludes nothing himself. In all those Books, I find little Commendation of Monarchy. It was his Hap to live in those Times when the Græcians abounded with several Common-wealths, who had then Learning enough to make them seditious. Yet in his Ethicks, he hath so much good Manners, as to confess in right down words, That Monarchy is the best Form of Government, and a Popular Estate the worst. And though he be not so free in his Politicks, yet the Necessity of Truth hath here and there extorted from him, that which amounts no less to the Dignity of Monarchy; he confesseth it to be First, the Natural, and the Divinest Form of Government; and that the Gods themselves did live under a Monarchy. What can a Heathen say more?
Indeed, the World for a long time knew no other sort of Government, but only Monarchy. The Best Order, the Greatest Strength, the Most Stability, and easiest Government, are to be found all in Monarchy, and in no other Form of Government. The New Platforms of Commonweals were first hatched in a Corner of the World, amongst a few Cities of Greece, which have been imitated by very few other places. Those very Cities were first, for many Years, governed by Kings, untill Wantonness, Ambition, or Faction of the People, made them attempt new kinds of Regiment; all which Mutations proved most Bloody and Miserable to the Authors of them; happy in nothing, but that they continued but a small time.
(11.) A little to manifest the Imperfection of Popular Government, let us but examine the most Flourishing Democracy that the World hath ever known; I mean that of Rome. First, for the Durability; at the most, it lasted but 480 Years (for so long it was from the Expulsion of Tarquin, to Julius Cæsar.) Whereas both the Assyrian Monarchy lasted, without Interruption, at the least twelve hundred Years, and the Empire of the East continued 1495 Years.
2. For the Order of it, during these 480 Years, there was not any One setled Form of Government in Rome: for after they had once lost the Natural Power of Kings, they could not find upon what Form of Government to rest: their Fickleness is an Evidence that they found things amiss in every Change. At the First they chose two Annual Consuls instead of Kings. Secondly, those did not please them long, but they must have Tribunes of the People to defend their Liberty. Thirdly, they leave Tribunes and Consuls, and choose them Ten Men to make them Laws. Fourthly, they call for Consuls and Tribunes again, sometimes they choose Dictators, which were Temporary Kings, and sometimes Military Tribunes, who had Consular Power. All these shiftings caused such notable Alteration in the Government, as it passeth Historians to find out any Perfect Form of Regiment in so much Confusion: One while the Senate made Laws, another while the People. The Dissentions which were daily between the Nobles and the Commons, bred those memorable Seditions about Usury, about Marriages, and about Magistracy. Also the Græcian, the Apulian, and the Drusian Seditions, filled the Market-Places, the Temples, and the Capitol it self, with Blood of the Citizens; the Social War was plainly Civil; the Wars of the Slaves, and the other of the Fencers; the Civil Wars of Marius and Sylla, of Cataline, of Cæsar and Pompey the Triumvirate, of Augustus, Lepidus and Antonius: All these shed an Ocean of Blood within Italy and the Streets of Rome.
Thirdly, for their Government, let it be allowed, that for some part of this time it was Popular, yet it was Popular as to the City of Rome only, and not as to the Dominions, or whole Empire of Rome; for no Democratie can extend further than to One City. It is impossible to Govern a Kingdom, much less many Kingdoms by the whole People, or by the Greatest Part of them.
(12.) But you will say, yet the Roman Empire grew all up under this kind of Popular Government, and the City became Mistress of the World. It is not so; for Rome began her Empire under Kings, and did perfect it under Emperours; it did only encrease under that Popularity: Her greatest Exaltation was under Trajan, as her longest Peace had been under Augustus. Even at those times, when the Roman Victories abroad did amaze the World, then the Tragical Slaughter of Citizens at home, deserved Commiseration from their vanquished Enemies. What though in that Age of her Popularity, she bred many admired Captains and Commanders (each of which was able to lead an Army, though many of them were but ill requited by the People?) yet all of them were not able to support her in times of Danger; but she was forced in her greatest Troubles to create a Dictator (who was a King for a time) thereby giving this Honourable Testimony of Monarchy, that the last Refuge in Perils of States, is to fly to Regal Authority. And though Romes Popular Estate for a while was miraculously upheld in Glory by a greater Prudence than her own; yet in a short time, after manifold Alterations, she was ruined by her Own Hands. Suis & ipsa Roma viribus ruit: For the Arms she had prepared to conquer other Nations, were turned upon her Self, and Civil Contentions at last setled the Government again into a Monarchy.
(13.) The Vulgar Opinion is, that the first Cause why the Democratical Government was brought in, was to curb the Tyranny of Monarchies. But the Falshood of this doth best appear by the first Flourishing Popular Estate of Athens, which was founded, not because of the Vices of their last King, but that his Vertuous Deserts were such as the People thought no Man Worthy enough to succeed him; a pretty wanton Quarrel to Monarchy! For when their King Codrus understood by the Oracle, that his Country could not be saved, unless the King were slain in the Battel: He in Disguise entered his Enemies Camp, and provoked a Common Souldier to make him a Sacrifice for his own Kingdom, and with his Death ended the Royal Government; for after him was never any more Kings of Athens. As Athens thus for Love of her Codrus, changed the Government, so Rome on the contrary, out of Hatred to her Tarquin, did the like. And though these two famous Commonweals did for contrary Causes abolish Monarchy, yet they both agreed in this, that neither of them thought it fit to change their State into a Democracy: but the one chose Archontes, and the other Consuls to be their Governours; both which did most resemble Kings, and continued, untill the People, by lessening the Authority of these their Magistrates, did by degrees and stealth bring in their Popular Government. And I verily believe, never any Democratical State shewed it self at first fairly to the World by any Elective Entrance, but they all secretly crept in by the Backdoor of Sedition and Faction.
(14.) If we will listen to the Judgment of those who should best know the Nature of Popular Government, we shall find no reason for good men to desire or choose it. Xenophon, that brave Scholar and Souldier disallowed the Athenian Common-weal, for that they followed that Form of Government wherein the Wicked are always in greatest Credit, and Vertuous men kept under. They expelled Aristides the Just; Themistocles died in Banishment; Meltiades in Prison; Phocion, the most virtuous and just man of his Age, though he had been chosen forty five times to be their General, yet he was put to Death with all his Friends, Kindred and Servants, by the Fury of the People, without Sentence, Accusation, or any Cause at All. Nor were the People of Rome much more favourable to their Worthies; they banished Rutilius, Metellus, Coriolanus, the Two Scipio’s and Tully: the worst men sped best; for as Xenophon saith of Athens, so Rome was a Sanctuary for all Turbulent, Discontented and Seditious Spirits. The Impunity of Wicked men was such, that upon pain of Death, it was forbidden all Magistrates to Condemn to Death, or Banish any Citizen, or to deprive him of his Liberty, or so much as to whip him for what Offence soever he had committed, either against the Gods or Men.
The Athenians sold Justice as they did other Merchandise; which made Plato call a Popular Estate a Fair, where every thing is to be sold. The Officers when they entered upon their Charge, would brag, they went to a Golden Harvest. The Corruption of Rome was such, that Marius and Pompey durst carry Bushels of Silver into the Assemblies, to purchase the Voices of the People. Many Citizens under their Grave Gowns, came Armed into their Publick Meetings, as if they went to War. Often contrary Factions fell to Blows, sometimes with Stones, and sometimes with Swords; the Blood hath been suckt up in the Market Places with Spunges; the River Tiber hath been filled with the Dead Bodies of the Citizens, and the common Privies stuffed full with them.
If any man think these Disorders in Popular States were but Casual, or such as might happen under any kind of Government, he must know, that such Mischiefs are unavoidable, and of necessity do follow all Democratical Regiments; and the Reason is given, because the Nature of all People is, to desire Liberty without Restraint, which cannot be but where the Wicked bear Rule; and if the People should be so indiscreet, as to advance Vertuous Men, they lose their Power: for that, Good Men would favour none but the Good, which are always the fewer in Number; and the Wicked and Vicious (which is still the Greatest Part of the People) should be excluded from all Preferment, and in the end, by little and little, Wise Men should seize upon the State, and take it from the People.
I know not how to give a better Character of the People, than can be gathered from such Authors as lived amongst or near the Popular States; Thucydides, Xenophon, Livy, Tacitus, Cicero, and Salust, have set them out in their Colours. I will borrow some of their Sentences.
There is nothing more uncertain than the People; their Opinions are as variable and sudden as Tempests; there is neither Truth nor Judgment in them; they are not led by Wisdom to judg of any thing, but by Violence and Rashness; nor put they any Difference between things True and False. After the manner of Cattel, they follow the Herd that goes before; they have a Custom always to favour the Worst and Weakest; they are most prone to Suspitions, and use to Condemn men for Guilty upon any false Suggestion; they are apt to believe all News, especially if it be sorrowful; and like Fame, they make it more in the Believing; when there is no Author, they fear those Evils which themselves have seigned; they are most desirous of New Stirrs and Changes, and are Enemies to Quiet and Rest; Whatsoever is Giddy or Head-strong, they account Man-like and Couragious; but whatsoever is Modest or Provident, seems sluggish; each Man hath a Care of his Particular, and thinks basely of the Common Good; they look upon Approaching Mischiefs as they do upon Thunder, only every Man wisheth it may not touch his own Person; it is the Nature of them, they must Serve basely, or Domineer proudly; for they know no Mean. Thus do they paint to the Life this Beast with many Heads. Let me give you the Cypher of their Form of Government; As it is begot by Sedition, so it is nourished by Arms: It can never stand without Wars, either with an Enemy abroad, or with Friends at Home. The only Means to preserve it, is, to have some powerful Enemies near, who may serve instead of a King to Govern it, that so, though they have not a King amongst them, yet they may have as good as a King Over them: For the Common Danger of an Enemy keeps them in better Unity, than the Laws they make themselves.
(15.) Many have exercised their Wits in parallelling the Inconveniencies of Regal and Popular Government; but if we will trust Experience before Speculations Philosophical, it cannot be denied, but this one Mischief of Sedition which necessarily waits upon all Popularity, weighs down all the Inconveniences that can be found in Monarchy, tho they were never so many. It is said, Skin for Skin, yea, all that a Man hath will he give for his Life; and a Man will give his Riches for the ransome of his Life. The way then to examine what proportion the mischiefs of Sedition and Tyranny have one to another, is to enquire in what kind of Government most Subjects have lost their Lives: Let Rome, which is magnified for her Popularity, and villisied for the Tyrannical Monsters the Emperours, furnish us with Examples. Consider whether the Cruelty of all the Tyrannical Emperours that ever ruled in this City, did ever spill a quarter of the Blood that was poured out in the last hundred Years of her glorious Commonwealth. The Murthers by Tyberius, Domitian, and Commodus, put all together, cannot match that Civil Tragedy which was acted in that one Sedition between Marius and Sylla, nay, even by Sylla’s part alone (not to mention the Acts of Marius) were fourscore and ten Senators put to Death, fifteen Consuls, two thousand and six hundred Gentlemen, and a hundred thousand others.
This was the Heighth of the Roman Liberty; Any Man might be killed that would. A Favour not fit to be granted under a Royal Government. The Miseries of those Licentious Times are briefly touched by Plutarch in these Words. Sylla (saith he) fell to shedding of Blood, and filled all Rome with infinite and unspeakable Murthers-----This was not only done in Rome, but in all the Cities of Italy throughout, there was no Temple of any God whatsoever, no Altar in any Bodies House, no Liberty of Hospital, no Fathers House, which was not embrued with Blood, and horrible Murthers, the Husbands were slain in the Wives Arms, and the Children in the Mothers Laps; and yet they that were slain for private Malice, were nothing in respect of those that were Murthered only for their Goods--------He openly sold their Goods by the Cryer, sitting so proudly in his Chair of State, that it grieved the People more to see their Goods packt up by them to whom he gave, or disposed them, than to see them taken away. Sometimes he would give a whole Country, or the whole Revenues of certain Cities, unto Women for their Beauties, or to pleasant Jesters, Minstrels, or wicked Slaves made free. And to some he would give other Mens Wives by force, and make them be Married against their Wills. Now let Tacitus and Suetonius be searched, and see if all their cruel Emperours can match this Popular Villany, in such an Universal Slaughter of Citizens, or Civil Butchery. God only was able to match him, and over-matched him, by fitting him with a most remarkable Death, just answerable to his Life; for as he had been the Death of many thousands of his Country-men, so as many thousands of his own Kindred in the Flesh were the Death of him, for he died of an Impostume, which corrupted his Flesh in such sort, that it turned all to Lice; he had many about him to shift him continually Night and Day; yet the Lice they wiped from him were nothing to them that multiplied upon him, there was neither Apparel, Linnen, Baths, Washings, nor Meat it self, but was presently filled with Swarms of this vile Vermine. I cite not this to extenuate the Bloody Acts of any Tyrannical Princes, nor will I plead in Defence of their Cruelties; only in the Comparative, I maintain the Mischiefs to a State to be less Universal under a Tyrant King; for the Cruelty of such Tyrants extends ordinarily no further than to some particular Men that offend him, and not to the whole Kingdom: It is truly said by his late Majesty King James, A King can never be so notoriously Vicious, but he will generally favour Justice, and maintain some Order; except in the Particulars wherein his inordinate Lust carries him away. Even cruel Domitian, Dionysius the Tyrant, and many others, are commended by Historians for great Observers of Justice: A natural Reason is to be rendered for it; It is the Multitude of People, and the abundance of their Riches, which are the only Strength and Glory of every Prince: The Bodies of his Subjects do him Service in War, and their Goods supply his present Wants, therefore, if not out of Affection to his People, yet out of Natural Love to Himself, every Tyrant desires to preserve the Lives, and protect the Goods of his Subjects, which cannot be done but by Justice, and if it be not done, the Prince’s Loss is the greatest; on the contrary, in a Popular State, evey man knows the Publick good doth not depend wholly on his Care, but the Common-wealth may well enough be governed by others though he tend only his Private Benefit, he never takes the Publick to be his Own Business; thus, as in a Family, where one Office is to be done by many Servants, one looks upon another, and every own leaves the Business for his Fellow, until it is quite neglected by all; nor are they much to be blamed for their Negligence, since it is an even Wager, their Ignorance is as great: For Magistrates among the People, being for the most part Annual, do always lay down their Office before they understand it; so that a Prince of a Duller Understanding, by Use and Experience must needs excell them; again, there is no Tyrant so barbarously Wicked, but his own reason and sense will tell him, that though he be a God, yet he must dye like a Man; and that there is not the Meanest of his Subjects but may find a means to revenge himself of the Injustice that is offered him: hence it is that great Tyrants live continually in base fears, as did Dionysius the Elder; Tiberius, Caligula, and Nero are noted by Suetonius to have been frighted with Panickfears. But it is not so where wrong is done to any Particular Person by a Multitude, he knows not who hurt him, or who to complain of, or to whom to address himself for reparation. Any man may boldly exercise his Malice and Cruelty in all Popular Assemblies. There is no Tyranny to be compared to the Tyranny of a Multitude.
(16.) What though the Government of the People be a thing not to be endured, much less defended, yet many men please themselves with an Opinion, that though the People may not Govern; yet they may partake and joyn with a King in the Government, and so make a State mixed of Popular and Regal Power, which they take to be the best tempered and equallest Form of Government. But the Vanity of this Fancy is too evident, it is a meer Impossibility or Contradiction, for if a King but once admit the People to be his Companions, he leaves to be a King, and the State becomes a Democracy; at least, he is but a Titular and no Real King, that hath not the Sovereignty to Himself; for the having of this alone, and nothing but this makes a King to be a King. As for that Shew of Popularity which is found in such Kingdoms as have General Assemblies for Consultation about making Publick Laws: It must be remembred that such Meetings do not share or divide the Sovereignty with the Prince: but do only deliberate and advise their Supreme Head, who still reserves the Absolute Power in himself; for if in such Assemblies, the King, the Nobility, and People have equal Shares in the Sovereignty, then the King hath but one Voice, the Nobility likewise one, and the People one, and then any two of these Voices should have Power to over-rule the third; thus the Nobility and Commons together should have Power to make a Law to bind the King, which was never yet seen in any Kingdom, but if it could, the State must needs be Popular and not Regal.
(17.) If it be Unnatural for the Multitude to chuse their Governours, or to Govern, or to partake in the Government, what can be thought of that damnable Conclusion which is made by too many, that the Multitude may Correct, or Depose their Prince, if need be? Surely the Unnaturalness, and Injustice of this Position cannot sufficiently be expressed: For admit that a King make a Contract or Paction with his People, either Originally in his Ancestors, or personally at his Coronation (for both these Pactions some dream of, but cannot offer any proof for either) yet by no Law of any Nation can a Contract be thought broken, except that first a Lawful Tryal be had by the Ordinary Judge of the Breakers thereof, or else every Man may be both Party and Judge in his own case, which is absur’d once to be thought, for then it will lye in the hands of the headless Multitude when they please to cast off the Yoke of Government (that God hath laid upon them) to judge and punish him, by whom they should be judged and punished themselves. Aristotle can tell us, what Judges the Multitude are in their own case, οἱ πλ[Editor: illegible character]ςοῖ φαῦλοι χρι[Editor: illegible character]αὶ περὶ τῶν ὀιϰείων, The Judgment of the Multitude in Disposing of the Sovereignty may be seen in the Roman History, where we may find many good Emperours Murthered by the People, and many bad Elected by them: Nero, Heliogabalus, Otho, Vitellius, and such other Monsters of Nature, were the Minions of the Multitude, and set up by them, Pertinax, Alexander, Severus, Gordianus, Gallus, Emilianus, Quintilius, Aurelianus, Tacitus, Probus, and Numerianus; all of them good Emperours in the Judgment of all Historians, yet Murthered by the Multitude.
(18.) Whereas many out of an imaginary Fear pretend the Power of the People to be necessary for the repressing of the Insolencies of Tyrants; wherein they propound a Remedy far worse than the Disease, neither is the Disease indeed so frequent as they would have us think. Let us be judged by the History even of our own Nation: We have enjoyed a Succession of Kings from the Conquest now for above 600 years (a time far longer than ever yet any Popular State could continue) we reckon to the Number of twenty six of these Princes since the Norman Race, and yet not one of these is taxed by our Historians for Tyrannical Government. It is true, two of these Kings have been Deposed by the People, and barbarously Murthered, but neither of them for Tyranny: For as a learned Historian of our Age saith, Edward the Second and Richard the Second were not insupportable either in their Nature or Rule, and yet the People, more upon Wantonness than for any want, did take an unbridled Course against them. Edward the Second, by many of our Historians is reported to be of a Good and Vertuous Nature, and not Unlearned: they impute his defects rather to Fortune than either to Council or Carriage of his Affairs, the Deposition of him was a violent Fury, led by a Wife both Cruel and unchast, and can with no better Countenance of Right be justified, than may his lamentable both Indignities and Death it self. Likewise the Deposition of King Richard II, was a tempestuous Rage, neither Led or Restrained by any Rules of Reason or of State —— Examine his Actions without a distempered Judgment, and you will not Condemn him to be exceeding either Insufficient or Evil; weigh the Imputations that were objected against him, and you shall find nothing either of any Truth or of great moment; Hollingshed writeth, That he was most Unthankfully used by his Subjects; for although, through the frailty of his Youth, he demeaned himself more dissolutely than was agreeable to the Royalty of his Estate, yet in no Kings Days were the Commons in greater Wealth, the Nobility more honoured, and the Clergy less wronged; who notwithstanding, in the Evil-guided Strength of their will, took head against him, to their own headlong destruction afterwards; partly during the Reign of Henry, his next Successor, whose greatest Atchievements were against his own People, in Executing those who Conspired with him against King Richard: But more especially in succeeding times, when, upon occasion of this Disorder, more English Blood was spent, than was in all the Foreign Wars together which have been since the Conquest.
Twice hath this Kingdom been miserably wasted with Civil War, but neither of them occasioned by the Tyranny of any Prince. The Cause of the Barons Wars is by good Historians attributed to the stubbornness of the Nobility, as the Bloody variance of the Houses of York and Lancaster, and the late Rebellion, sprung from the Wantonness of the People. These three Unnatural Wars have dishonoured our Nation amongst Strangers, so that in the Censures of Kingdoms, the King of Spain is said to be the King of Men, because of his Subjects willing Obedience; the King of France King of Asses, because of their infinite Taxes and Impositions; but the King of England is said to be the King of Devils, because of his Subjects often Insurrections against, and Depositions of their Princes.
Thomas Hobbes, Hobbes’s Leviathan reprinted from the edition of 1651 with an Essay by the Late W.G. Pogson Smith (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1909). Chapter: THE INTRODUCTION .
Accessed from oll.libertyfund.org/title/869/208738 on 2009-10-29
The text is in the public domain.
Nature (the Art whereby God hath made and governes the World) is by the Art of man, as in many other things, so in this also imitated, that it can make an Artificial Animal. For seeing life is but a motion of Limbs, the begining whereof is in some principall part within; why may we not say, that all Automata (Engines that move themselves by springs and wheeles as doth a watch) have an artificiall life? For what is the Heart, but a Spring; and the Nerves, but so many Strings; and the Joynts, but so many Wheeles, giving motion to the whole Body, such as was intended by the Artificer? Art goes yet further, imitating that Rationall and most excellent worke of Nature, Man. For by Art is created that great Leviathan called a Common-wealth, or State, (in latine Civitas) which is but an Artificiall Man; though of greater stature and strength than the Naturall, for whose protection and defence it was intended; and in which, the Soveraignty is an Artificiall Soul, as giving life and motion to the whole body; The Magistrates, and other Officers of Judicature and Execution, artificiall Joynts; Reward and Punishment (by which fastned to the seate of the Soveraignty, every joynt and member is moved to performe his duty) are the Nerves, that do the same in the Body Naturall; The Wealth and Riches of all the particular members, are the Strength; Salus Populi (the peoples safety) its Businesse; Counsellors, by whom all things needfull for it to know, are suggested unto it, are the Memory; Equity and Lawes, an artificiall Reason and Will; Concord, Health; Sedition, Sicknesse; and Civill war, Death. Lastly, the Pacts and Covenants, by which the parts of this Body Politique were at first made, set together, and united, resemble that Fiat, or the Let us make man, pronounced by God in the Creation.
To describe the Nature of this Artificiall man, I will consider
First, the Matter thereof, and the Artificer; both which is Man.
Secondly, How, and by what Covenants it is made; what are the Rights and just Power or Authority of a Soveraigne; and what it is that preserveth and dissolveth it.
Thirdly, what is a Christian Common-wealth.
Lastly, what is the Kingdome of Darkness.
Concerning the first, there is a saying much usurped of late, That Wisedome is acquired, not by reading of Books, but of Men. Consequently whereunto, those persons, that for the most part can give no other proof of being wise, take great delight to shew what they think they have read in men, by uncharitable censures of one another behind their backs. But there is another saying not of late understood, by which they might learn truly to read one another, if they would take the pains; and that is, Nosce teipsum, Read thy self: which was not meant, as it is now used, to countenance, either the barbarous state of men in power, towards their inferiors; or to encourage men of low degree, to a sawcie behaviour towards their betters; But to teach us, that for the similitude of the thoughts, and Passions of one man, to the thoughts, and Passions of another, whosoever looketh into himself, and considereth what he doth, when he does think, opine, reason, hope, feare, &c, and upon what grounds; he shall thereby read and know, what are the thoughts, and Passions of all other men, upon the like occasions. I say the similitude of Passions, which are the same in all men, desire, feare, hope, &c; not the similitude of the objects of the Passions, which are the things desired, feared, hoped, &c: for these the constitution individuall, and particular education do so vary, and they are so easie to be kept from our knowledge, that the characters of mans heart, blotted and confounded as they are, with dissembling, lying, counter-feiting, and erroneous doctrines, are legible onely to him that searcheth hearts. And though by mens actions wee do discover their designe sometimes; yet to do it without comparing them with our own, and distinguishing all circumstances, by which the case may come to be altered, is to decypher without a key, and be for the most part deceived, by too much trust, or by too much diffidence; as he that reads, is himself a good or evil man.
But let one man read another by his actions never so perfectly, it serves him onely with his acquaintance, which are but few. He that is to govern a whole Nation, must read in himself, not this, or that particular man; but Man-kind: which though it be hard to do, harder than to learn any Language, or Science; yet, when I shall have set down my own reading orderly, and perspicuously, the pains left another, will be onely to consider, if he also find not the same in himself. For this kind of Doctrine, admitteth no other Demonstration.
Thomas Hobbes, Hobbes’s Leviathan reprinted from the edition of 1651 with an Essay by the Late W.G. Pogson Smith (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1909). Chapter: CHAP. V.: Of Reason , and Science .
Accessed from oll.libertyfund.org/title/869/208749 on 2009-10-29
The text is in the public domain.
Reason what it is.When a man Reasoneth, hee does nothing else but conceive a summe totall, from Addition of parcels; or conceive a Remainder, from Substraction of one summe from another: which (if it be done by Words,) is conceiving of the consequence of the names of all the parts, to the name of the whole; or from the names of the whole and one part, to the name of the other part. And though in some things, (as in numbers,) besides Adding and Substracting, men name other operations, as Multiplying and Dividing; yet they are the same; for Multiplication, is but Adding together of things equall; and Division, but Substracting of one thing, as often as we can. These operations are not incident to Numbers onely, but to all manner of things that can be added together, and taken one out of another. For as Arithmeticians teach to adde and substract in numbers; so the Geometricians teach the same in lines, figures (solid and superficiall,) angles, proportions, times, degrees of swiftnesse, force, power, and the like; The Logicians teach the same in Consequences of words; adding together two Names, to make an Affirmation; and two Affirmations, to make a Syllogisme; and many Syllogismes to make a Demonstration; and from the summe, or Conclusion of a Syllogisme, they substract one Proposition, to finde the other. Writers of Politiques, adde together Pactions, to find mens duties; and Lawyers, Lawes, and facts, to find what is right and wrong in the actions of private men. In summe, in what matter soever there is place for addition and substraction, there also is place for Reason; and where these have no place, there Reason has nothing at all to do.
Out of all which we may define, (that is to say determine,Resaon defined.) what that is, which is meant by this word Reason, when wee reckon it amongst the Faculties of the mind. For Reason, in this sense, is nothing but Reckoning (that is, Adding and Substracting) of the Consequences of generall names agreed upon, for the marking and signifying of our thoughts; I say marking them, when we reckon by our selves; and signifying, when we demonstrate, or approve our reckonings to other men.
And as in Arithmetique, unpractised men must, andRight reason where Professors themselves may often erre, and cast up false; so also in any other subject of Reasoning, the ablest, most attentive, and most practised men, may deceive themselves, and inferre false Conclusions; Not but that Reason it selfe is alwayes Right Reason, as well as Arithmetique is a certain and infallible Art: But no one mans Reason, nor the Reason of any one number of men, makes the certaintie; no more than an account is therefore well cast up, because a great many men have unanimously approved it. And therefore, as when there is a controversy in an account, the parties must by their own accord, set up for right Reason, the Reason of some Arbitrator, or Judge, to whose sentence they will both stand, or their controversie must either come to blowes, or be undecided, for want of a right Reason constituted by Nature; so is it also in all debates of what kind soever: And when men that think themselves wiser than all others, clamor and demand right Reason for judge; yet seek no more, but that things should be determined, by no other mens reason but their own, it is as intolerable in the society of men, as it is in play after trump is turned, to use for trump on every occasion, that suite whereof they have most in their hand. For they do nothing els, that will have every of their passions, as it comes to bear sway in them, to be taken for right Reason, and that in their own controversies: bewraying their want of right Reason, by the claym they lay to it.
The use of Reason. The Use and End of Reason, is not the finding of the summe, and truth of one, or a few consequences, remote from the first definitions, and settled significations of names; but to begin at these; and proceed from one consequence to another. For there can be no certainty of the last Conclusion, without a certainty of all those Affirmations and Negations, on which it was grounded, and inferred. As when a master of a family, in taking an account, casteth up the summs of all the bills of expence, into one sum; and not regarding how each bill is summed up, by those that give them in account; nor what it is he payes for; he advantages himself no more, than if he allowed the account in grosse, trusting to every of the accountants skill and honesty: so also in Reasoning of all other things, he that takes up conclusions on the trust of Authors, and doth not fetch them from the first Items in every Reckoning, (which are the significations of names settled by definitions), loses his labour; and does not know any thing; but onely beleeveth.
Of Error and Absurdity. When a man reckons without the use of words, which may be done in particular things, (as when upon the sight of any one thing, wee conjecture what was likely to have preceded, or is likely to follow upon it;) if that which he thought likely to follow, followes not; or that which he thought likely to have preceded it, hath not preceded it, this is called Error; to which even the most prudent men are subject. But when we Reason in Words of generall signification, and fall upon a generall inference which is false; though it be commonly called Error, it is indeed an Absurdity, or senslesse Speech. For Error is but a deception, in presuming that somewhat is past, or to come; of which, though it were not past, or not to come; yet there was no impossibility discoverable. But when we make a generall assertion, unlesse it be a true one, the possibility of it is unconceivable. And words whereby we conceive nothing but the sound, are those we call Absurd, Insignificant, and Non-sense. And therefore if a man should talk to me of a round Quadrangle; or accidents of Bread in Cheese; or Immateriall Substances; or of A free Subject; A free-Will; or any Free, but free from being hindred by opposition, I should not say he were in an Errour; but that his words were without meaning; that is to say, Absurd.
I have said before, (in the second chapter,) that a Man did excell all other Animals in this faculty, that when he conceived any thing whatsoever, he was apt to enquire the consequences of it, and what effects he could do with it. And now I adde this other degree of the same excellence, that he can by words reduce the consequences he findes to generall Rules, called Theoremes, or Aphorismes; that is, he can Reason, or reckon, not onely in number; but in all other things, whereof one may be added unto, or substracted from another.
But this priviledge, is allayed by another; and that is, by the priviledge of Absurdity; to which no living creature is subject, but man onely. And of men, those are of all most subject to it, that professe Philosophy. For it is most true that Cicero sayth of them somewhere; that there can be nothing so absurd, but may be found in the books of Philosophers. And the reason is manifest. For there is not one of them that begins his ratiocination from the Definitions, or Explications of the names they are to use; which is a method that hath been used onely in Geometry; whose Conclusions have thereby been made indisputable.
The first cause of Absurd conclusions I ascribe to theCauses of absurditie I. want of Method; in that they begin not their Ratiocination from Definitions; that is, from settled significations of their words: as if they could cast account, without knowing the value of the numerall words, one, two, and three.
And whereas all bodies enter into account upon divers considerations, (which I have mentioned in the precedent chapter;) these considerations being diversly named, divers absurdities proceed from the confusion, and unfit connexion of their names into assertions. And therefore
The second cause of Absurd assertions, I ascribe to the giving of names of bodies, to accidents; or of accidents, to bodies; As they do, that say, Faith is infused, or inspired; when nothing can be powred, or breathed into any thing, but body; and that, extension is body; that phantasmes are spirits, &c.
3. The third I ascribe to the giving of the names of the accidents of bodies without us, to the accidents of our own bodies; as they do that say, the colour is in the body; the sound is in the ayre, &c.
4. The fourth, to the giving of the names of bodies, to names, or speeches; as they do that say, that there be things universall; that a living creature is Genus, or a generall thing, &c.
5. The fifth, to the giving of the names of accidents, to names and speeches; as they do that say, the nature of a thing is its definition; a mans command is his will; and the like.
6. The sixth, to the use of Metaphors, Tropes, and other Rhetoricall figures, in stead of words proper. For though it be lawfull to say, (for example) in common speech, the way goeth, or leadeth hither, or thither, The Proverb sayes this or that (whereas wayes cannot go, nor Proverbs speak;) yet in reckoning, and seeking of truth, such speeches are not to be admitted.
7. The seventh, to names that signifie nothing; but are taken up, and learned by rote from the Schooles, as hypostatical, transubstantiate, consubstantiate, eternal-Now, and the like canting of Schoolemen.
To him that can avoyd these things, it is not easie to fall into any absurdity, unlesse it be by the length of an account; wherein he may perhaps forget what went before. For all men by nature reason alike, and well, when they have good principles. For who is so stupid, as both to mistake in Geometry, and also to persist in it, when another detects his error to him?
Science. By this it appears that Reason is not as Sense, and Memory, borne with us; nor gotten by Experience onely, as Prudence is; but attayned by Industry; first in apt imposing of Names; and secondly by getting a good and orderly Method in proceeding from the Elements, which are Names, to Assertions made by Connexion of one of them to another; and so to Syllogismes, which are the Connexions of one Assertion to another, till we come to a knowledge of all the Consequences of names appertaining to the subject in hand; and that is it, men call Science. And whereas Sense and Memory are but knowledge of Fact, which is a thing past, and irrevocable; Science is the knowledge of Consequences, and dependance of one fact upon another: by which, out of that we can presently do, we know how to do something else when we will, or the like, another time: Because when we see how any thing comes about, upon what causes, and by what manner; when the like causes come into our power, wee see how to make it produce the like effects.
Children therefore are not endued with Reason at all, till they have attained the use of Speech: but are called Reasonable Creatures, for the possibility apparent of having the use of Reason in time to come. And the most part of men, though they have the use of Reasoning a little way, as in numbring to some degree; yet it serves them to little use in common life; in which they govern themselves, some better, some worse, according to their differences of experience, quicknesse of memory, and inclinations to severall ends; but specially according to good or evill fortune, and the errors of one another. For as for Science, or certain rules of their actions, they are so farre from it, that they know not what it is. Geometry they have thought Conjuring: But for other Sciences, they who have not been taught the beginnings, and some progresse in them, that they may see how they be acquired and generated, are in this point like children, that having no thought of generation, are made believe by the women, that their brothers and sisters are not born, but found in the garden.
But yet they that have no Science, are in better, and nobler condition with their naturall Prudence; than men, that by mis-reasoning, or by trusting them that reason wrong, fall upon false and absurd generall rules. For ignorance of causes, and of rules, does not set men so farre out of their way, as relying on false rules, and taking for causes of what they aspire to, those that are not so, but rather causes of the contrary.
To conclude, The Light of humane minds is Perspicuous Words, but by exact definitions first snuffed, and purged from ambiguity; Reason is the pace; Encrease of Science, the way; and the Benefit of man-kind, the end. And on the contrary, Metaphors, and senslesse and ambiguous words, are like ignes fatui; and reasoning upon them, is wandering amongst innumerable absurdities; and their end, contention, and sedition, or contempt.
Prudence & Sapience, with their difference. As, much Experience, is Prudence; so, is much Science, Sapience. For though wee usually have one name of Wisedome for them both; yet the Latines did alwayes distinguish between Prudentia and Sapientia; ascribing the former to Experience, the later to Science. But to make their difference appeare more cleerly, let us suppose one man endued with an excellent naturall use, and dexterity in handling his armes; and another to have added to that dexterity, an acquired Science, of where he can offend, or be offended by his adversarie, in every possible posture, or guard: The ability of the former, would be to the ability of the later, as Prudence to Sapience; both usefull; but the later infallible. But they that trusting onely to the authority of books, follow the blind blindly, are like him that trusting to the false rules of a master of Fence, ventures præsumptuously upon an adversary, that either kills, or disgraces him.
Signes of Science. The signes of Science, are some, certain and infallible; some, uncertain. Certain, when he that pretendeth the Science of any thing, can teach the same; that is to say, demonstrate the truth thereof perspicuously to another: Uncertain, when onely some particular events answer to his pretence, and upon many occasions prove so as he sayes they must. Signes of prudence are all uncertain; because to observe by experience, and remember all circumstances that may alter the successe, is impossible. But in any businesse, whereof a man has not infallible Science to proceed by; to forsake his own naturall judgement, and be guided by generall sentences read in Authors, and subject to many exceptions, is a signe of folly, and generally scorned by the name of Pedantry. And even of those men themselves, that in Councells of the Common-wealth, love to shew their reading of Politiques and History, very few do it in their domestique affaires, where their particular interest is concerned; having Prudence enough for their private affaires: but in publique they study more the reputation of their owne wit, than the successe of anothers businesse.
Thomas Hobbes, Hobbes’s Leviathan reprinted from the edition of 1651 with an Essay by the Late W.G. Pogson Smith (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1909). Chapter: CHAP. VI.: Of the Interiour Beginnings of Voluntary Motions; commonly called the Passions . And the Speeches by which they are expressed .
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The text is in the public domain.
There be in Animals, two sorts of Motions peculiarMotion Vitall and Animal. to them: One called Vitall; begun in generation, and continued without interruption through their whole life; such as are the course of the Bloud, the Pulse, the Breathing, the Concoction, Nutrition, Excretion, &c; to which Motions there needs no help of Imagination: The other is Animall motion, otherwise called Voluntary motion; as to go, to speak, to move any of our limbes, in such manner as is first fancied in our minds. That Sense, is Motion in the organs and interiour parts of mans body, caused by the action of the things we See, Heare, &c; And that Fancy is but the Reliques of the same Motion, remaining after Sense, has been already sayd in the first and second Chapters. And because going, speaking, and the like Voluntary motions, depend alwayes upon a precedent thought of whither, which way, and what; it is evident, that the Imagination is the first internall beginning of all Voluntary Motion. And although unstudied men, doe not conceive any motion at all to be there, where the thing moved is invisible; or the space it is moved in, is (for the shortnesse of it) insensible; yet that doth not hinder, but that such Motions are. For let a spaceEndeavour be never so little, that which is moved over a greater space, whereof that little one is part, must first be moved over that. These small beginnings of Motion, within the body of Man, before they appear in walking, speaking, striking, and other visible actions, are commonly called Endeavour.
Appetite. Desire. This Endeavour, when it is toward something which causes it, is called Appetite, or Desire; the later, being he generall name; and the other, often-times restrayned to signifie the Desire of Food, namely Hunger and Thirst. nd when the Endeavour is fromward something, it is generally called Aversion.Hunger, Thirst. These words Appetite, and we have from the Latines; and theyAversion. both of them signifie the motions, one of approaching, the other of retiring. So also do the Greek words for the same, which are ὁρμὴ and ὀϕορμὴ For Nature it selfe does often presse upon men those truths, which afterwards, when they look for somewhat beyond Nature, they stumble at. For the Schooles find in meere Appetite to go, or move, no actuall Motion at all: but because some Motion they must acknowledge, they call it Metaphoricall Motion; which is but an absurd speech: for though Words may be called metaphoricall; Bodies, and Motions cannot
Love. Hate. That which men Desire, they are also sayd to Love: and to Hate those things, for which they have Aversion. So that Desire, and Love, are the same thing; save that by Desire, we alwayes signifie the Absence of the Object; by Love, most commonly the Presence of the same. So also by Aversion, we signifie the Absence; and by Hate, the Presence of the Object.
Of Appetites, and Aversions, some are born with men; as Appetite of food, Appetite of excretion, and exoneration, (which may also and more properly be called Aversions, from somewhat they feele in their Bodies;) and some other Appetites, not many. The rest, which are Appetites of particular things, proceed from Experience, and triall of their effects upon themselves, or other men. For of things wee know not at all, or believe not to be, we can have no further Desire, than to tast and try. But Aversion wee have for things, not onely which we know have hurt us; but also that we do not know whether they will hurt us, or not.
Contempt. Those things which we neither Desire, nor Hate, we are said to Contemne: Contempt being nothing else but an immobility, or contumacy of the Heart, in resisting the action of certain things; and proceeding from that the Heart is already moved otherwise, by other more potent objects; or from want of experience of them.
And because the constitution of a mans Body, is in continuall mutation; it is impossible that all the same things should alwayes cause in him the same Appetites, and Aversions: much lesse can all men consent, in the Desire of almost any one and the same Object.
But whatsoever is the object of any mans Appetite or Desire; that is it, which he for his part calleth Good:Good. Evill. and the object of his Hate, and Aversion, Evill; And of his Contempt,Vile and Inconsiderable. For these words of Good, Evill, and Contemptible, are ever used with relation to the person that useth them: There being nothing simply and absolutely so; nor any common Rule of Good and Evill, to be taken from the nature of the objects themselves; but from the Person of the man (where there is no Common-wealth;) or, (in a Common-wealth,) from the Person that representeth it; or from an Arbitrator or judge, whom men disagreeing shall by consent set up, and make his sentence the Rule thereof.
The Latine Tongue has two words, whoseDelightfull. significations approach to those of Good and Evill; but are not precisely the same; And hose are Pulchrum and Turpe.Pulchrum. Turpe. Whereof the former signifies that, which by some apparent signes promiseth Good; and he later, that, which promiseth Evil. But in our Tongue we have not so generall names to expresse them by. But forProfitable.Pulchrum, we say in some things, Fayre; in others, Beautifull, or Handsome; or Gallant, or Honourable, or Comely, or Amiable; and for Turpe, Foule, Deformed, Ugly, Base, Nauseous, and the like, as the subject shall require; All which words, in their proper places signifie nothing els, but the Mine, or Countenance, that promiseth Good and Evil. So that of Good there be three kinds; Good in the Promise, that is Pulchrum; Good in Effect, as the end desired, which is called Jucundum, Delightfull; and Good as the Means, which is called Utile, Profitable; and as many of Evill: For Evill, in Promise, is that they call Turpe; Evil in Effect, and End, is Molestum, Unpleasant,Troublesome; and Evill in the Means, Inutile, Unprofitable,Unpleasant.Hurtfull.Unprofitable.
As, in Sense, that which is really within us, is (as I have sayd before) onelyDelight. Displeasure. Motion, caused by the action of externall objects, but in apparence; to the Sight, Light and Colour; to the Eare, Sound; to the Nostrill, Odour, &c: so, when the action of the same object is continued from the Eyes, Eares, and other organs to the Heart; the reall effect there is nothing but Motion, or Endeavour; which consisteth in Appetite, or Aversion, to, or from the object moving. But the apparence, or sense of that motion, is that wee either call Delight, or TroubleOfMind.
This Motion, which is called Appetite, and for thePleasure. apparence of it Delight, and Pleasure, seemeth to be, a corroboration of Vitall motion, and a help thereunto; and therefore such things as caused Delight, were not improperly called Jucunda, (à Juvando,) from helping orOffence. fortifying; and the contrary, Molesta, Offensive, from hindering, and troubling the motion vitall.
Pleasure therefore, (or Delight,) is the apparence, or sense of Good; and Molestation or Displeasure, the apparence, or sense of Evill. And consequently all Appetite, Desire, and Love, is accompanied with some Delight more or lesse; and all Hatred, and Aversion, with more or lesse Displeasure and Offence.
Of Pleasures, or Delights, some arise from the sense of an object Present; And those may be called PleasuresPleasures of sense.of Sense, (The word sensuall, as it is used by those onely that condemn them, having no place till there be Lawes.) Of this kind are all Onerations and Exonerations of the body; as also all that is pleasant, in the Sight, Hearing, Smell, Tast, or Touch; Others arise from the Expectation, that proceeds from foresight of the End, or Consequence of things; whether those things in the Sense Please orPleasures of the Mind. Joy, Paine, Griefe. Displease: And these are Pleasures of the Mind of him that draweth those consequences; and are generally called Joy. In the like manner, Displeasures, are some in the Sense, and called Payne; others, in the Expectation of consequences, and are called Griefe.
These simple Passions called Appetite, Desire, Love, Aversion, Hate, Joy, and Griefe, have their names for divers considerations diversified. As first, when they one succeed another, they are diversly called from the opinion men have of the likelihood of attaining what they desire. Secondly, from the object loved or hated. Thirdly, from the consideration of many of them together. Fourthly, from the Alteration or succession it selfe.
For Appetite with an opinion of attaining, is called HopeHope..
The same, without such opinion, DespaireDespaire..
Aversion, with opinion of Hurt from the object, FeareFeare..
The same, with hope of avoyding that Hurt by resistence, CourageCourage..
Sudden Courage, AngerAnger..
Constant Hope, Confidence of our selves.Confidence.
Constant Despayre, Diffidence of our selves.Diffidence.
Anger for great hurt done to another, when we conceive the same to be done by Injury, Indignation.Indignation.
Desire of good to another, Benevolence, GoodWill,Benevolence.Charity. If to man generally, GoodNatureGood Nature..
Desire of Riches, Covetousnesse: a name usedCovetousnesse. alwayes in signification of blame; because men contending for them, are displeased with one anothers attaining them; though the desire in it selfe, be to be blamed, or allowed, according to the means by which those Riches are sought.
Desire of Office, or precedence, Ambition: a nameAmbition. used also in the worse sense, for the reason before mentioned.
Desire of things that conduce but a little to our ends;Pusillanimity. and fear of things that are but of little hindrance, Pusillanimity.
Contempt of little helps, and hindrances, Magnanimity.Magnanimity.
Magnanimity, in danger of Death, or Wounds, Valour,Valour.Fortitude.
Magnanimity, in the use of Riches, Liberality.Liberality.
Pusillanimity, in the same Wretchednesse, Miserablenesse;Miserablenesse. or Parsimony; as it is liked, or disliked.
Love of Persons for society, Kindnesse.Kindnesse.
Love of Persons for Pleasing the sense onely, NaturallLust.Naturall Lust.
Luxury.Love of the same, acquired from Rumination, that is, magination of Pleasure past, Luxury.The Passion of Love.
Jealousie.Love of one singularly, with desire to be singularly eloved, ThePassionOfLove. The same, with fear that the love is not mutuall, Jealousie.
Desire, by doing hurt to another, to make him condemn some fact of his own, Revengefulnesse.Revengefulnesse.
Curiosity.Desire, to know why, and how, Curiosity; such as is in no living creature but Man: so that Man is distinguished, not onely by his Reason; but also by this singular Passion from other Animals; in whom the appetite of food, and other pleasures of Sense, by prædominance, take away the care of knowing causes; which is a Lust of the mind, that by a perseverance of delight in the continuall and indefatigable generation of Knowledge, exceedeth the short vehemence of any carnall PleasureReligion..
Feare of power invisible, feigned by the mind, or magined from tales publiquelySuperstition. allowed, Religion; not allowed, Superstition. And when the power imagined,True Religion. is truly such as we imagine, TrueReligion.
Feare, without the apprehension of why, or what,Panique Terrour.PaniqueTerror; called so from the Fables, that make Pan the author of them; whereas in truth, there is alwayes in him that so feareth, first, some apprehension of the cause, though the rest run away by Example; every one supposing his fellow to know why. And therefore this Passion happens to none but in a throng, or multitude of people.
Admiration.Joy, from apprehension of novelty, Admiration; proper to Man, because it excites the appetite of knowing the cause.
Joy, arising from imagination of a mans own power and ability, is that exultation of the mind which is calledGlory.Glorying: which if grounded upon the experience of his own former actions, is the same with Confidence: but if grounded on the flattery of others; or onely supposed by himself, for delight in the consequences of it, is calledVainglory.Vaine-Glory: which name is properly given; because a well grounded Confidence begetteth Attempt; whereas the supposing of power does not, and is therefore rightly called Vaine.
Dejection.Griefe, from opinion of want of power, is called Dejection of mind.
The vain-glory which consisteth in the feigning or supposing of abilities in our selves, which we know are not, is most incident to young men, and nourished by the Histories, or Fictions of Gallant Persons; and is corrected oftentimes by Age, and Employment.
Sudden Glory, is the passion which maketh thoseSudden Glory.Grimaces called Laughter; and is caused either byLaughter. some sudden act of their own, that pleaseth them; or by the apprehension of some deformed thing in another, by comparison whereof they suddenly applaud themselves. And it is incident most to them, that are conscious of the fewest abilities in themselves; who are forced to keep themselves in their own favour, by observing the imperfections of other men. And therefore much Laughter at the defects of others, is a signe of Pusillanimity. For of great minds, one of the proper workes is, to help and free others from scorn; and compare themselves onely with the most able.
Sudden Dejection. On the contrary, Sudden Dejection, is the passion that auseth Weeping; and is caused by such accidents, as suddenly take away some vehement hope, or some prop of their power: And they are most subject to it, that rely principally on helps externall, such as are Women, and Children. Therefore some Weep for the losse of Friends; Others for theirWeeping. unkindnesse; others for the sudden stop made to their thoughts of revenge, by Reconciliation. But in all cases, both Laughter, and Weeping, are sudden motions; Custome taking them both away. For no man Laughs at old jests; or Weeps for an old calamity.
Griefe, for the discovery of some defect of ability, isShame.Shame, or the passion that discovereth it selfe inBlushing.Blushing; and consisteth in the apprehension of some thing dishonourable; and in young men, is a signe of the love of good reputation; and commendable: In old men it is a signe of the same; but because it comes too late, not commendable.
The Contempt of good Reputation is called Impudence.Impudence.
Griefe, for the Calamity of another, is Pitty; andPitty. ariseth from the imagination that the like calamity may befall himselfe; and therefore is called also Compassion, and in the phrase of this present time a Fellow-feeling: And therefore for Calamity arriving from great wickedness, the best men have the least Pitty; and for the same Calamity. those have least Pitty, that think themselves least obnoxious to the same.
Cruelty.Contempt, or little sense of the calamity of others, is that which men call Cruelty; proceeding from Security of their own fortune. For, that any man should take pleasure in other mens great harmes, without other end of his own, I do not conceive it possible.
Griefe, for the successe of a Competitor in wealth, honour, or other good, if it be joyned with Endeavour to enforce our own abilities to equall or exceed him, isEmulation. called Emulation: But joyned with Endeavour toEnvy. supplant, or hinder a Competitor, Envie.
When in the mind of man, Appetites, and Aversions, Hopes, and Feares, concerning one and the same thing, arise alternately; and divers good and evill consequences of the doing, or omitting the thing propounded, come successively into our thoughts; so that sometimes we have an Appetite to it; sometimes an Aversion from it; sometimes Hope to be able to do it; sometimes Despaire, or Feare to attempt it; the whole summe of Desires, Aversions, Hopes and Fears, continued till the thing be either done, or thought impossible, isDeliberation. that we call Deliberation.
Therefore of things past, there is no Deliberation; because manifestly impossible to be changed: nor of things known to be impossible, or thought so; because men know, or think such Deliberation vain. But of things impossible, which we think possible, we may Deliberate; not knowing it is in vain. And it is called Deliberation; because it is a putting an end to the Liberty we had of doing, or omitting, according to our own Appetite, or Aversion.
This alternate Succession of Appetites, Aversions, Hopes and Fears, is no lesse in other living Creatures then in Man; and therefore Beasts also Deliberate.
Every Deliberation is then sayd to End, when that whereof they Deliberate, is either done, or thought impossible; because till then wee retain the liberty of doing, or omitting, according to our Appetite, or Aversion.
In Deliberation, the last Appetite, or Aversion, immediately adhæring to the action, or to the omission thereof,The Will. is that wee call the Will; the Act, (not the faculty,) of Willing. And Beasts that have Deliberation, must necessarily also have Will. The Definition of the Will, given commonly by the Schooles, that it is a Rationall Appetite, is not good. For if it were, then could there be no Voluntary Act against Reason. For a Voluntary Act is that, which proceedeth from the Will, and no other. But if in stead of a Rationall Appetite, we shall say an Appetite resulting from a precedent Deliberation, then the Definition is the same that I have given here. Will therefore is the last Appetite in Deliberating. And though we say in common Discourse, a man had a Will once to do a thing, that neverthelesse he forbore to do; yet that is properly but an Inclination, which makes no Action Voluntary; because the action depends not of it, but of the last Inclination, or Appetite. For if the intervenient Appetites, make any action Voluntary; then by the same Reason all intervenient Aversions, should make the same action Involuntary; and so one and the same action, should be both Voluntary & Involuntary.
By this it is manifest, that not onely actions that have their beginning from Covetousnesse, Ambition, Lust, or other Appetites to the thing propounded; but also those that have their beginning from Aversion, or Feare of those consequences that follow the omission, are voluntary actions.
The formes of Speech by which the Passions areFormes of Speech, in Passion. expressed, are partly the same, and partly different from those, by which wee expresse our Thoughts. And first, generally all Passions may be expressed Indicatively; as I love, I feare, I joy, I deliberate, I will, I command: but some of them have particular expressions by themselves, which neverthelesse are not affirmations, unlesse it be when they serve to make other inferences, besides that of the Passion they proceed from. Deliberation is expressed Subjunctively; which is a speech proper to signifie suppositions, with their consequences; as, If this be done, then this will follow; and differs not from the language of Reasoning, save that Reasoning is in generall words; but Deliberation for the most part is of Particulars. The language of Desire, and Aversion, is Imperative; as Do this, forbeare that; which when the party is obliged to do, or forbeare, is Command; otherwise Prayer; or els Counsell. The language of VainGlory, of Indignation, Pitty and Revengefulness, Optative: But of the Desire to know, there is a peculiar expression, called Interrogative; as, What is it, when shall it, how is it done, and why so? other language of the Passions I find none: For Cursing, Swearing, Reviling, and the like, do not signifie as Speech; but as the actions of a tongue accustomed.
These formes of Speech, I say, are expressions, or voluntary significations of our Passions: but certain signes they be not; because they may be used arbitrarily, whether they that use them, have such Passions or not. The best signes of Passions present, are either in the countenance, motions of the body, actions, and ends, or aimes, which we otherwise know the man to have.
And because in Deliberation, the Appetites, and Aversions are raised by foresight of the good and evill consequences, and sequels of the action whereof we Deliberate; the good or evill effect thereof dependeth on the foresight of a long chain of consequences, of which very seldome any man is able to see to the end. But forGood and Evill apparent. so farre as a man seeth, if the Good in those consequences, be greater than the Evill, the whole chaine is that which Writers call Apparent, or Seeming Good. And contrarily, when the Evill exceedeth the Good, the whole is Apparent or Seeming Evill: so that he who hath by Experience, or Reason, the greatest and surest prospect of Consequences, Deliberates best himselfe; and is able when he will, to give the best counsell unto others.
Continuall successe in obtaining those things which a man from time to time desireth, that is to say,Felicity. continuall prospering, is that men call Felicity; I mean the Felicity of this life. For there is no such thing as perpetuall Tranquillity of mind, while we live here; because Life it selfe is but Motion, and can never be without Desire, nor without Feare, no more than without Sense. What kind of Felicity God hath ordained to them that devoutly honour him, a man shall no sooner know, than enjoy; being joyes, that now are as incomprehensible, as the word of Schoole-men Beatificall Vision is unintelligible.
The forme of Speech whereby men signifie their opinion of the Goodnesse of any thing, is Praise. ThatPraise. whereby they signifieMagnification. the power and greatnesse of any thing, is Magnifying. And that whereby they signifie the opinion they have of a mans Felicity, is by the Greeks called μακαρισμός, for which wee have no nameμακαρισμός in our tongue. And thus much is sufficient for the present purpose, to have been said of the Passions.
Thomas Hobbes, Hobbes’s Leviathan reprinted from the edition of 1651 with an Essay by the Late W.G. Pogson Smith (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1909). Chapter: CHAP. XIII.: Of the Naturall Condition of Mankind, as concerning their Felicity, and Misery .
Accessed from oll.libertyfund.org/title/869/208765 on 2009-10-29
The text is in the public domain.
Men by nature Equall.Nature hath made men so equall, in the faculties of body, and mind; as that though there bee found one man sometimes manifestly stronger in body, or of quicker mind then another; yet when all is reckoned together, the difference between man, and man, is not so considerable, as that one man can thereupon claim to himselfe any benefit, to which another may not pretend, as well as he. For as to the strength of body, the weakest has strength enough to kill the strongest, either by secret machination, or by confederacy with others, that are in the same danger with himselfe.
And as to the faculties of the mind, (setting aside the arts grounded upon words, and especially that skill of proceeding upon generall, and infallible rules, called Science; which very few have, and but in few things; as being not a native faculty, born with us; nor attained, (as Prudence,) while we look after somewhat els,) I find yet a greater equality amongst men, than that of strength. For Prudence, is but Experience; which equall time, equally bestowes on all men, in those things they equally apply themselves unto. That which may perhaps make such equality incredible, is but a vain conceipt of ones owne wisdome, which almost all men think they have in a greater degree, than the Vulgar; that is, than all men but themselves, and a few others, whom by Fame, or for concurring with themselves, they approve. For such is the nature of men, that howsoever they may acknowledge many others to be more witty, or more eloquent, or more learned; Yet they will hardly believe there be many so wise as themselves: For they see their own wit at hand, and other mens at a distance. But this proveth rather that men are in that point equall, than unequall. For there is not ordinarily a greater signe of the equall distribution of any thing, than that every man is contented with his share.
From this equality of ability, ariseth equality of hopeFrom Equality proceeds Diffidence. in the attaining of our Ends. And therefore if any two men desire the same thing, which neverthelesse they cannot both enjoy, they become enemies; and in the way to their End, (which is principally their owne conservation, and sometimes their delectation only,) endeavour to destroy, or subdue one an other. And from hence it comes to passe, that where an Invader hath no more to feare, than an other mans single power; if one plant, sow, build, or possesse a convenient Seat, others may probably be expected to come prepared with forces united, to dispossesse, and deprive him, not only of the fruit of his labour, but also of his life, or liberty. And the Invader again is in the like danger of another.
And from this diffidence of one another, there is noFrom Diffidence Warre. way for any man to secure himselfe, so reasonable, as Anticipation; that is, by force, or wiles, to master the persons of all men he can, so long, till he see no other power great enough to endanger him: And this is no more than his own conservation requireth, and is generally allowed. Also because there be some, that taking pleasure in contemplating their own power in the acts of conquest, which they pursue farther than their security requires; if others, that otherwise would be glad to be at ease within modest bounds, should not by invasion increase their power, they would not be able, long time, by standing only on their defence, to subsist. And by consequence, such augmentation of dominion over men, being necessary to a mans conservation, it ought to be allowed him.
Againe, men have no pleasure, (but on the contrary a great deale of griefe) in keeping company, where there is no power able to over-awe them all. For every man looketh that his companion should value him, at the same rate he sets upon himselfe: And upon all signes of contempt, or undervaluing, naturally endeavours, as far as he dares (which amongst them that have no common power to keep them in quiet, is far enough to make them destroy each other,) to extort a greater value from his contemners, by dommage; and from others, by the example.
So that in the nature of man, we find three principall causes of quarrell. First, Competition; Secondly, Diffidence; Thirdly, Glory.
The first, maketh men invade for Gain; the second, for Safety; and the third, for Reputation. The first use Violence, to make themselves Masters of other mens persons, wives, children, and cattell; the second, to defend them; the third, for trifles, as a word, a smile, a different opinion, and any other signe of undervalue, either direct in their Persons, or by reflexion in their Kindred, their Friends, their Nation, their Profession, or their Name.
Out of Civil States, there is alwayes Warre of every one against every one. Hereby it is manifest, that during the time men live without a common Power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called Warre; and such a warre, as is of every man, against every man. For Warre, consisteth not in Battell onely, or the act of fighting; but in a tract of time, wherein the Will to contend by Battell is sufficiently known: and therefore the notion of Time, is to be considered in the nature of Warre; as it is in the nature of Weather. For as the nature of Foule weather, lyeth not in a showre or two of rain; but in an inclination thereto of many dayes together; So the nature of War, consisteth not in actuall fighting; but in the known disposition thereto, during all the time there is no assurance to the contrary. All other time is Peace.
The Incommodities of such a War. Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of Warre, where every man is Enemy to every man; the same is consequent to the time, wherein men live without other security, than what their own strength, and their own invention shall furnish them withall. In such condition, there is no place for Industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no Culture of the Earth; no Navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by Sea; no commodious Building; no Instruments of moving, and removing such things as require much force; no Knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of Time; no Arts; no Letters; no Society; and which is worst of all, continuall feare, and danger of violent death; And the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short.
It may seem strange to some man, that has not well weighed these things; that Nature should thus dissociate, and render men apt to invade, and destroy one another: and he may therefore, not trusting to this Inference, made from the Passions, desire perhaps to have the same confirmed by Experience. Let him therefore consider with himselfe, when taking a journey, he armes himselfe, and seeks to go well accompanied; when going to sleep, he locks his dores; when even in his house he locks his chests; and this when he knowes there bee Lawes, and publike Officers, armed, to revenge all injuries shall bee done him; what opinion he has of his fellow subjects, when he rides armed; of his fellow Citizens, when he locks his dores; and of his children, and servants, when he locks his chests. Does he not there as much accuse mankind by his actions, as I do by my words? But neither of us accuse mans nature in it. The Desires, and other Passions of man, are in themselves no Sin. No more are the Actions, that proceed from those Passions, till they know a Law that forbids them: which till Lawes be made they cannot know: nor can any Law be made, till they have agreed upon the Person that shall make it.
It may peradventure be thought, there was never such a time, nor condition of warre as this; and I believe it was never generally so, over all the world: but there are many places, where they live so now. For the savage people in many places of America, except the government of small Families, the concord whereof dependeth on naturall lust, have no government at all; and live at this day in that brutish manner, as I said before. Howsoever, it may be perceived what manner of life there would be, where there were no common Power to feare; by the manner of life, which men that have formerly lived under a peacefull government, use to degenerate into, in a civill Warre.
But though there had never been any time, wherein particular men were in a condition of warre one against another; yet in all times, Kings, and Persons of Soveraigne authority, because of their Independency, are in continuall jealousies, and in the state and posture of Gladiators; having their weapons pointing, and their eyes fixed on one another; that is, their Forts, Garrisons, and Guns upon the Frontiers of their Kingdomes; and continuall Spyes upon their neighbours; which is a posture of War. But because they uphold thereby, the Industry of their Subjects; there does not follow from it, that misery, which accompanies the Liberty of particular men.
In such a Warre, nothing is Unjust. To this warre of every man against every man, this also is consequent; that nothing can be Unjust. The notions of Right and Wrong, Justice and Injustice have there no place. Where there is no common Power, there is no Law: where no Law, no Injustice. Force, and Fraud, are in warre the two Cardinall vertues. Justice, and Injustice are none of the Faculties neither of the Body, nor Mind. If they were, they might be in a man that were alone in the world, as well as his Senses, and Passions. They are Qualities, that relate to men in Society, not in Solitude. It is consequent also to the same condition, that there be no Propriety, no Dominion, no Mine and Thine distinct; but onely that to be every mans, that he can get; and for so long, as he can keep it. And thus much for the ill condition, which man by meer Nature is actually placed in; though with a possibility to come out of it, consisting partly in the Passions, partly in his Reason.
The Passions that incline men to Peace. The Passions that encline men to Peace, are Feare of Death; Desire of such things as are necessary to commodious living; and a Hope by their Industry to obtain them. And Reason suggesteth convenient Articles of Peace, upon which men may be drawn to agreement. These Articles, are they, which otherwise are called the Lawes of Nature: whereof I shall speak more particularly, in the two following Chapters.
Thomas Hobbes, Hobbes’s Leviathan reprinted from the edition of 1651 with an Essay by the Late W.G. Pogson Smith (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1909). Chapter: CHAP. XIV.: Of the first and second Naturall Lawes , and of Contracts .
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TheRightOfNature, which Writers commonly callRight of Nature what.Jus Naturale, is the Liberty each man hath, to use his own power, as he will himselfe, for the preservation of his own Nature; that is to say, of his own Life; and consequently, of doing any thing, which in his own Judgement, and Reason, hee shall conceive to be the aptest means thereunto.
By Liberty, is understood, according to the properLiberty what. signification of the word, the absence of externall Impediments: which Impediments, may oft take away part of a mans power to do what hee would; but cannot hinder him from using the power left him, according as his judgement, and reason shall dictate to him.
A LawOfNature, (Lex Naturalis,) is a Precept, orA Law of Nature. what. generall Rule, found out by Reason, by which a man is forbidden to do, that, which is destructive of his life, or taketh away the means of preserving the same; and to omit, that, by which he thinketh it may be best preserved. For though they that speak of this subject, use to confound Jus, and Lex, Right and Law; yet they ought to be distinguished; because Right, consistethDifference of Right and Law. in liberty to do, or to forbeare; Whereas Law, determineth, and bindeth to one of them: so that Law, and Right, differ as much, as Obligation, and Liberty; which in one and the same matter are inconsistent.
And because the condition of Man, (as hath beenNaturally every man has Right to everything. declared in the precedent Chapter) is a condition of Warre of every one against every one; in which case every one is governed by his own Reason; and there is nothing he can make use of, that may not be a help unto him, in preserving his life against his enemyes; It followeth, that in such a condition, every man has a Right to every thing; even to one anothers body. And therefore, as long as this naturall Right of every man to every thing endureth, there can be no security to any man, (how strong or wise soever he be,) of living out the time, which Nature ordinarily alloweth men to live. And consequently it is a precept, or generall rule of Reason,The Fundamentall Law of Nature.That every man, ought to endeavour Peace, as farre as he has hope of obtaining it; and when he cannot obtain it, that he may seek, and use, all helps, and advantages of Warre. The first branch of which Rule, containeth the first, and Fundamentall Law of Nature; which is, to seek Peace, and follow it. The Second, the summe of the Right of Nature; which is, By all means we can, to defend our selves.
The second Law of Nature. From this Fundamentall Law of Nature, by which men are commanded to endeavour Peace, is derived this second Law; That a man be willing, when others are sotoo, as farre-forth, as for Peace, and defence of himselfe he shall think it necessary, to lay down this right to all things; and be contented with so much liberty against other men, as he would allow other men against himselfe. For as long as every man holdeth this Right, of doing any thing he liketh; so long are all men in the condition of Warre. But if other men will not lay down their Right, as well as he; then there is no Reason for any one, to devest himselfe of his: For that were to expose himselfe to Prey, (which no man is bound to) rather than to dispose himselfe to Peace. This is that Law of the Gospell; Whatsoever you require that others should do to you, that do ye to them. And that Law of all men, Quod tibi fieri non vis, alteri ne feceris.
What it is to lay down a Right. To lay downe a mans Right to any thing, is to devest himselfe of the Liberty, of hindring another of the benefit of his own Right to the same. For he that renounceth, or passeth away his Right, giveth not to any other man a Right which he had not before; because there is nothing to which every man had not Right by Nature: but onely standeth out of his way, that he may enjoy his own originall Right, without hindrance from him; not without hindrance from another. So that the effect which redoundeth to one man, by another mans defect of Right, is but so much diminution of impediments to the use of his own Right originall.
Renouncing a Right what it is. Right is layd aside, either by simply Renouncing it; or by Transferring it to another. By SimplyRenouncing; when he cares not to whom the benefit thereof redoundeth. By Transferring; when he intendeth the benefit thereof to some certain person, or persons. And when a man hath in eitherTransferring Right what. manner abandoned, or granted away his Right; then is he said to be Obliged, or Bound, not to hinder those, to whom such Right is granted, or abandoned, from the benefit of it: and that he ought, and it is his Duty, not to make voyd that voluntary act of his own: and that such hindrance is Injustice, and Injury, as beingObligation.Sine Jure; the Right being before renounced, or transferred. So that Injury, or Injustice, in the controversies of the world, is somewhat like to that, which in the disputations of Scholers is called Absurdity. ForDuty. as it is there called an Absurdity, to contradict what one maintained in the Beginning: so in the world, it is called Injustice, and injury,Injustice. voluntarily to undo that, which from the beginning he had voluntarily done. The way by which a man either simply Renounceth, or Transferreth his Right, is a Declaration, or Signification, by some voluntary and sufficient signe, or signes, that he doth so Renounced, or Transferre; or hath so Renounced, or Transferred the same, to him that accepteth it. And these Signes are either Words onely, or Actions onely; or (as it happeneth most often) both Words, and Actions. And the same are the Bonds, by which men are bound, and obliged: Bonds, that have their strength, not from their own Nature, (for nothing is more easily broken then a mans word,) but from Feare of some evill consequence upon the rupture.
Whensoever a man Transferreth his Right, or RenouncethNot all Rights are alienable. it; it is either in consideration of some Right reciprocally transferred to himselfe; or for some other good he hopeth for thereby. For it is a voluntary act: and of the voluntary acts of every man, the object is some Good to himselfe. And therefore there be some Rights, which no man can be understood by any words, or other signes, to have abandoned, or transferred. As first a man cannot lay down the right of resisting them, that assault him by force, to take away his life; because he cannot be understood to ayme thereby, at any Good to himselfe. The same may be sayd of Wounds, and Chayns, and Imprisonment; both because there is no benefit consequent to such patience; as there is to the patience of suffering another to be wounded, or imprisoned: as also because a man cannot tell, when he seeth men proceed against him by violence, whether they intend his death or not. And lastly the motive, and end for which this renouncing, and transferring of Right is introduced, is nothing else but the security of a mans person, in his life, and in the means of so preserving life, as not to be weary of it. And therefore if a man by words, or other signes, seem to despoyle himselfe of the End, for which those signes were intended; he is not to be understood as if he meant it, or that it was his will; but that he was ignorant of how such words and actions were to be interpreted.
Contract what. The mutuall transferring of Right, is that which men call Contract.
There is difference, between transferring of Right to the Thing; and transferring, or tradition, that is, delivery of the Thing it selfe. For the Thing may be delivered together with the Translation of the Right; as in buying and selling with ready mony; or exchange of goods, or lands: and it may be delivered some time after.
Again, one of the Contractors, may deliver the Thing contracted for on his part, and leave the other to perform his part at some determinate time after, and in the mean time be trusted; and then the Contract on his part, isCovenant what. called Pact, or Covenant: Or both parts may contract now, to performe hereafter: in which cases, he that is to performe in time to come, being trusted, his performance is called Keeping of Promise, or Faith; and the fayling of performance (if it be voluntary) Violation of Faith.
When the transferring of Right, is not mutuall; but one of the parties transferreth, in hope to gain thereby friendship, or service from another, or from his friends; or in hope to gain the reputation of Charity, or Magnanimity; or to deliver his mind from the pain of compassion; or in hope of reward in heaven; This is not Contract, but Gift, Free-gift, Grace: which wordsFree-gift. signifie one and the same thing.
Signes of Contract, are either Expresse, or by Inference.Signes of Contract Expresse. Expresse, are words spoken with understanding of what they signifie: And such words are either of the time Present, or Past; as, I Give, I Grant, I have Given, I have Granted, I will that this be yours: Or of the future; as, I will Give, I will Grant: which words of the future, are called Promise.
Signes by Inference, are sometimes the consequence of Words; sometimes the consequence of Silence; sometimes the consequence of Actions; somtimes the consequenceSignes of Contract by Inference. of Forbearing an Action: and generally a signe by Inference, of any Contract, is whatsoever sufficiently argues the will of the Contractor.
Words alone, if they be of the time to come, andFree gift passeth by words of the Present or Past. contain a bare promise, are an insufficient signe of a Free-gift and therefore not obligatory. For if they be of the time to Come, as, To morrow I will Give, they are a signe I have not given yet, and consequently that my right is not transferred, but remaineth till I transferre it by some other Act. But if the words be of the time Present, or Past, as, I have given, or do give to be delivered to morrow, then is my to morrows Right given away to day; and that by the vertue of the words, though there were no other argument of my will. And there is a great difference in the signification of these words, Volo hoc tuum esse cras, and Cras dabo; that is, between I will that this be thine to morrow, and, I will give it thee to morrow: For the word I will, in the former manner of speech, signifies an act of the will Present; but in the later, it signifies a promise of an act of the will to Come: and therefore the former words, being of the Present, transferre a future right; the later, that be of the Future, transferre nothing. But if there be other signes of the Will to transferre a Right, besides Words; then, though the gift be Free, yet may the Right be understood to passe by words of the future: as if a man propound a Prize to him that comes first to the end of a race, The gift is Free; and though the words be of the Future, yet the Right passeth: for if he would not have his words so be understood, he should not have let them runne.
Signes of Contract are words both of the Past, Present, and Future. In Contracts, the right passeth, not onely where the words are of the time Present, or Past; but also where they are of the Future: because all Contract is mutuall translation, or change of Right; and therefore he that promiseth onely, because he hath already received the benefit for which he promiseth, is to be understood as if he intended the Right should passe: for unlesse he had been content to have his words so understood, the other would not have performed his part first. And for that cause, in buying, and selling, and other acts of Contract, a Promise is equivalent to a Covenant; and therefore obligatory.
Merit what. He that performeth first in the case of a Contract, is said to Merit that which he is to receive by the performance of the other; and he hath it as Due. Also when a Prize is propounded to many, which is to be given to him onely that winneth; or mony is thrown amongst many, to be enjoyed by them that catch it; though this be a Free gift; yet so to Win, or so to Catch, is to Merit, and to have it as Due. For the Right is transferred in the Propounding of the Prize, and in throwing down the mony; though it be not determined to whom, but by the Event of the contention. But there is between these two sorts of Merit, this difference, that In Contract, I Merit by vertue of my own power, and the Contractors need; but in this case of Free gift, I am enabled to Merit onely by the benignity of the Giver: In Contract, I merit at the Contractors hand that hee should depart with his right; In this case of Gift, I Merit not that the giver should part with his right; but that when he has parted with it, it should be mine, rather than anothers. And this I think to be the meaning of that distinction of the Schooles, between Meritum congrui, and Meritum condigni. For God Almighty, having promised Paradise to those men (hoodwinkt with carnall desires,) that can walk through this world according to the Precepts, and Limits prescribed by him; they say, he that shall so walk, shall Merit Paradise Ex congruo. But because no man can demand a right to it, by his own Righteousnesse, or any other power in himselfe, but by the Free Grace of God onely; they say, no man can Merit Paradise ex condigno. This I say, I think is the meaning of that distinction; but because Disputers do not agree upon the signification of their own termes of Art, longer than it serves their turn; I will not affirme any thing of their meaning: onely this I say; when a gift is given indefinitely, as a prize to be contended for, he that winneth Meriteth, and may claime the Prize as Due.
If a Covenant be made, wherein neither of the partiesCovenants of Mutuall trust, when Invalid. performe presently, but trust one another; in the condition of meer Nature, (which is a condition of Warre of every man against every man,) upon any reasonable suspition, it is Voyd: But if there be a common Power set over them both, with right and force sufficient to compell performance; it is not Voyd. For he that performeth first, has no assurance the other will performe after; because the bonds of words are too weak to bridle mens ambition, avarice, anger, and other Passions, without the feare of some coerceive Power; which in the condition of meer Nature, where all men are equall, and judges of the justnesse of their own fears, cannot possibly be supposed. And therfore he which performeth first, does but betray himselfe to his enemy; contrary to the Right (he can never abandon) of defending his life, and means of living.
But in a civill estate, where there is a Power set up to constrain those that would otherwise violate their faith, that feare is no more reasonable; and for that cause, he which by the Covenant is to perform first, is obliged so to do.
The cause of feare, which maketh such a Covenant invalid, must be alwayes something arising after the Covenant made; as some new fact, or other signe of the Will not to performe: else it cannot make the Covenant voyd. For that which could not hinder a man from promising, ought not to be admitted as a hindrance of performing.
Right to the End, Containeth Right to the Means. He that transferreth any Right, transferreth the Means of enjoying it, as farre as lyeth in his power. As he that selleth Land, is understood to transferre the Herbage, and whatsoever growes upon it; Nor can he that sells a Mill turn away the Stream that drives it. And they that give to a man the Right of government in Soveraignty, are understood to give him the right of levying mony to maintain Souldiers; and of appointing Magistrates for the administration of Justice.
No Covenant with Beasts. To make Covenants with bruit Beasts, is impossible; because not understanding our speech, they understand not, nor accept of any translation of Right; nor can translate any Right to another: and without mutuall acceptation, there is no Covenant.
Nor with God without special Revelation. To make Covenant with God, is impossible, but by Mediation of such as God speaketh to, either by Revelation supernaturall, or by his Lieutenants that govern under him, and in his Name: For otherwise we know not whether our Covenants be accepted, or not. And therefore they that Vow any thing contrary to any law of Nature, Vow in vain; as being a thing unjust to pay such Vow. And if it be a thing commanded by the Law of Nature, it is not the Vow, but the Law that binds them.
No Covenant, but of Possible and Future. The matter, or subject of a Covenant, is alwayes something that falleth under deliberation; (For to Covenant, is an act of the Will; that is to say an act, and the last act, of deliberation;) and is therefore alwayes understood to be something to come; and which is judged Possible for him that Covenanteth, to performe.
And therefore, to promise that which is known to be Impossible, is no Covenant. But if that prove impossible afterwards, which before was thought possible, the Covenant is valid, and bindeth, (though not to the thing it selfe,) yet to the value; or, if that also be impossible, to the unfeigned endeavour of performing as much as is possible: for to more no man can be obliged.
Covenants how made voyd. Men are freed of their Covenants two wayes; by Performing; or by being Forgiven. For Performance, is the naturall end of obligation; and Forgivenesse, the restitution of liberty; as being a re-transferring of that Right, in which the obligation consisted.
Covenants extorted by feare are valide. Covenants entred into by fear, in the condition of meer Nature, are obligatory. For example, if I Covenant to pay a ransome, or service for my life, to an enemy; I am bound by it. For it is a Contract, wherein one receiveth the benefit of life; the other is to receive mony, or service for it; and consequently, where no other Law (as in the condition, of meer Nature) forbiddeth the performance, the Covenant is valid. Therefore Prisoners of warre, if trusted with the payment of their Ransome, are obliged to pay it: And if a weaker Prince, make a disadvantageous peace with a stronger, for feare; he is bound to keep it; unlesse (as hath been sayd before) there ariseth some new, and just cause of feare, to renew the war. And even in Common-wealths, if I be forced to redeem my selfe from a Theefe by promising him mony, I am bound to pay it, till the Civill Law discharge me. For whatsoever I may lawfully do without Obligation, the same I may lawfully Covenant to do through feare: and what I lawfully Covenant, I cannot lawfully break.
A former Covenant, makes voyd a later. For a manThe former Covenant to one, makes voyd the later to another. that hath passed away his Right to one man to day, hath it not to passe to morrow to another: and therefore the later promise passeth no Right, but is null.
A mans Covenant not to defend himselfe, is voyd.A Covenant not to defend my selfe from force, by force, is alwayes voyd. For (as I have shewed before) no man can transferre, or lay down his Right to save himselfe from Death, Wounds, and Imprisonment, (the avoyding whereof is the onely End of laying down any Right, and therefore the promise of not resisting force, in no Covenant transferreth any right; nor is obliging. For though a man may Covenant thus, Unlesse I do so, or so, kill me; he cannot Covenant thus, Unlesse I do so, or so, I will not resist you, when you come to kill me. For man by nature chooseth the lesser evill, which is danger of death in resisting; rather than the greater, which is certain and present death in not resisting. And this is granted to be true by all men, in that they lead Criminals to Execution, and Prison. with armed men, notwithstanding that such Criminals have consented to the Law by which they are condemned.
No man obliged to accuse himself. A Covenant to accuse ones selfe, without assurance of pardon, is likewise invalide. For in the condition of Nature, where every man is Judge, there is no place for Accusation: and in the Civill State, the Accusation is followed with Punishment; which being Force, a man is not obliged not to resist. The same is also true, of the Accusation of those, by whose Condemnation a man falls into misery; as of a Father, Wife, or Benefactor.
For the Testimony of such an Accuser, if it be not willingly given, is præsumed to be corrupted by Nature; and therefore not to be received: and where a mans Testimony is not to be credited, he is not bound to give it. Also Accusations upon Torture, are not to be reputed as Testimonies. For Torture is to be used but as means of conjecture, and light, in the further examination, and search of truth: and what is in that case confessed, tendeth to the ease of him that is Tortured; not to the informing of the Torturers: and therefore ought not to have the credit of a sufficient Testimony: for whether he deliver himselfe by true, or false Accusation, he does it by the Right of preserving his own life.
The End of an Oath. The force of Words, being (as I have formerly noted) too weak to hold men to the performance of their Covenants; there are in mans nature, but two imaginable helps to strengthen it. And those are either a Feare of the consequence of breaking their word; or a Glory, or Pride in appearing not to need to breake it. This later is a Generosity too rarely found to be presumed on, especially in the pursuers of Wealth, Command, or sensuall Pleasure; which are the greatest part of Mankind. The Passion to be reckoned upon, is Fear; whereof there be two very generall Objects: one, The Power of Spirits Invisible; the other, The Power of those men they shall therein Offend. Of these two, though the former be the greater Power, yet the feare of the later is commonly the greater Feare. The Feare of the former is in every man, his own Religion: which hath place in the nature of man before Civill Society. The later hath not so; at least not place enough, to keep men to their promises; because in the condition of ineer Nature, the inequality of Power is not discerned, but by the event of Battell. So that before the time of Civill Society, or in the interruption thereof by Warre, there is nothing can strengthen a Covenant of Peace agreed on, against the temptations of Avarice, Ambition, Lust, or other strong desire, but the feare of that Invisible Power, which they every one Worship as God; and Feare as a Revenger of their perfidy. All therefore that can be done between two men not subject to Civill Power, is to put one another to swear by the God he feareth: Which Swearing, orThe forme of an Oath.Oath, is a Forme of Speech, added to a Promise; by which he that promiseth, signifieth, that unlesse he performe, he renounceth the mercy of his God, or calleth to him for vengeance on himselfe. Such was the Heathen Forme, Let Jupiter kill me else, as I kill this Beast. So is our Forme, I shall do thus, and thus, so help me God. And this, with the Rites and Ceremonies, which every one useth in his own Religion, that the feare of breaking faith might be the greater.
By this it appears, that an Oath taken according toNo Oath, but by God. any other Forme, or Rite, then his, that sweareth, is in vain; and no Oath: And that there is no Swearing by any thing which the Swearer thinks not God. For though men have sometimes used to swear by their Kings, for feare, or flattery; yet they would have it thereby understood, they attributed to them Divine honour. And that Swearing unnecessarily by God, is but prophaning of his name: and Swearing by other things, as men do in common discourse, is not Swearing, but an impious Custome, gotten by too much vehemence of talking.
It appears also, that the Oath addes nothing to theAn Oath addes nothing to the Obligation. Obligation. For a Covenant, if lawfull, binds in the sight of God, without the Oath, as much as with it: if unlawfull, bindeth not at all; though it be confirmed with an Oath.
Thomas Hobbes, Hobbes’s Leviathan reprinted from the edition of 1651 with an Essay by the Late W.G. Pogson Smith (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1909). Chapter: CHAP. XV.: Of other Lawes of Nature .
Accessed from oll.libertyfund.org/title/869/208769 on 2009-10-29
The text is in the public domain.
The third Law of Nature, Justice.From that law of Nature, by which we are obliged to transferre to another, such Rights, as being retained, hinder the peace of Mankind, there followeth a Third; which is this, That men performe their Covenants made: without which, Covenants are in vain, and but Empty words; and the Right of all men to all things remaining, wee are still in the condition of Warre.
Justice and Injustice what. And in this law of Nature, consisteth the Fountain and Originall of Justice. For where no Covenant hath preceded, there hath no Right been transferred, and every man has right to every thing; and consequently, no action can be Unjust. But when a Covenant is made, then to break it is Unjust: And the definition of Iniustice, is no other than the not Performance of Covenant. And whatsoever is not Unjust, is Just.
Justice and Propriety begin with the Constitution of Common-wealth. But because Covenants of mutuall trust, where there is a feare of not performance on either part, (as hath been said in the former Chapter,) are invalid; though the Originall of Justice be the making of Covenants; yet Injustice actually there can be none, till the cause of such feare be taken away; which while men are in the naturall condition of Warre, cannot be done. Therefore before the names of Just, and Unjust can have place, there must be some coërcive Power, to compell men equally to the performance of their Covenants, by the terrour of some punishment, greater than the benefit they expect by the breach of their Covenant; and to make good that Propriety, which by mutuall Contract men acquire, in recompence of the universall Right they abandon: and such power there is none before the erection of a Common-wealth. And this is also to be gathered out of the ordinary definition of Justice in the Schooles: For they say, that Justice is the constant Will of giving to every man his own. And therefore where there is no Own, that is, no Propriety, there is no Injustice; and where there is no coërceive Power erected, that is, where there is no Common-wealth, there is no Propriety; all men having Right to all things: Therefore where there is no Common-wealth, there nothing is Unjust. So that the nature of Justice, consisteth in keeping of valid Covenants: but the Validity of Covenants begins not but with the Constitution of a Civill Power, sufficient to compell men to keep them: And then it is also that Propriety begins.
The Foole hath sayd in his heart, there is no suchJustice not Contrary to Reason. thing as Justice; and sometimes also with his tongue; seriously alleaging, that every mans conservation, and contentment, being committed to his own care, there could be no reason, why every man might not do what he thought conduced thereunto: and therefore also to make, or not make; keep, or not keep Covenants, was not against Reason, when it conduced to ones benefit. He does not therein deny, that there be Covenants; and that they are sometimes broken, sometimes kept; and that such breach of them may be called Injustice, and the observance of them Justice: but he questioneth, whether Injustice, taking away the feare of God, (for the same Foole hath said in his heart there is no God,) may not sometimes stand with that Reason, which dictateth to every man his own good; and particularly then, when it conduceth to such a benefit, as shall put a man in a condition, to neglect not onely the dispraise, and revilings, but also the power of other men. The King-dome of God is gotten by violence: but what if it could be gotten by unjust violence? were it against Reason so to get it, when it is impossible to receive hurt by it? and if it be not against Reason, it is not against Justice: or else Justice is not to be approved for good. From such reasoning as this, Succesfull wickednesse hath obtained the name of Vertue: and some that in all other things have disallowed the violation of Faith; yet have allowed it, when it is for the getting of a Kingdome. And the Heathen that believed, that Saturn was deposed by his son Jupiter, believed neverthelesse the same Jupiter to be the avenger of Injustice: Somewhat like to a piece of Law in Cokes Commentaries on Litleton; where he sayes, If the right Heire of the Crown be attainted of Treason; yet the Crown shall descend to him, and eo instante the Atteynder be voyd: From which instances a man will be very prone to inferre; that when the Heire apparent of a Kingdome, shall kill him that is in possession, though his father; you may call it Injustice, or by what other name you will; yet it can never be against Reason, seeing all the voluntary actions of men tend to the benefit of themselves; and those actions are most Reasonable, that conduce most to their ends. This specious reasoning is neverthelesse false.
For the question is not of promises mutuall, where there is no security of performance on either side; as when there is no Civill Power erected over the parties promising; for such promises are no Covenants: But either where one of the parties has performed already; or where there is a Power to make him performe; there is the question whether it be against reason, that is, against the benefit of the other to performe, or not. And I say it is not against reason. For the manifestation whereof, we are to consider; First, that when a man doth a thing, which notwithstanding any thing can be foreseen, and reckoned on, tendeth to his own destruction, howsoever some accident which he could not expect, arriving may turne it to his benefit; yet such events do not make it reasonably or wisely done. Secondly, that in a condition of Warre, wherein every man to every man, for want of a common Power to keep them all in awe, is an Enemy, there is no man can hope by his own strength, or wit, to defend himselfe from destruction, without the help of Confederates; where every one expects the same defence by the Confederation, that any one else does: and therefore he which declares he thinks it reason to deceive those that help him, can in reason expect no other means of safety, than what can be had from his own single Power. He therefore that breaketh his Covenant, and consequently declareth that he thinks he may with reason do so, cannot be received into any Society, that unite themselves for Peace and Defence, but by the errour of them that receive him; nor when he is received, be retayned in it, without seeing the danger of their errour; which errours a man cannot reasonably reckon upon as the means of his security: and therefore if he be left, or cast out of Society, he perisheth; and if he live in Society, it is by the errours of other men, which he could not foresee, nor reckon upon; and consequently against the reason of his preservation; and so, as all men that contribute not to his destruction, forbear him onely out of ignorance of what is good for themselves.
As for the Instance of gaining the secure and perpetual felicity of Heaven, by any way; it is frivolous: there being but one way imaginable; and that is not breaking, but keeping of Covenant.
And for the other Instance of attaining Soveraignty by Rebellion; it is manifest, that though the event follow, yet because it cannot reasonably be expected, but rather the contrary; and because by gaining it so, others are taught to gain the same in like manner, the attempt thereof is against reason. Justice therefore, that is to say, Keeping of Covenant, is a Rule of Reason, by which we are forbidden to do any thing destructive to our life; and consequently a Law of Nature.
There be some that proceed further; and will not have the Law of Nature, to be those Rules which conduce to the preservation of mans life on earth; but to the attaining of an eternall felicity after death; to which they think the breach of Covenant may conduce; and consequently be just and reasonable; (such are they that think it a work of merit to kill, or depose, or rebell against, the Soveraigne Power constituted over them by their own consent.) But because there is no naturall knowledge of mans estate after death; much lesse of the reward that is then to be given to breach of Faith; but onely a beliefe grounded upon other mens saying, that they know it supernaturally, or that they know those, that knew them, that knew others, that knew it supernaturally; Breach of Faith cannot be called a Precept of Reason, or Nature.
Others, that allow for a Law of Nature, the keeping ofCovenants not discharged by the Vice of the Person to whom they are made. Faith, do neverthelesse make exception of certain persons; as Heretiques, and such as use not to performe their Covenant to others: And this also is against reason. For if any fault of a man, be sufficient to discharge our Covenant made; the same ought in reason to have been sufficient to have hindred the making of it.
Justice of Men, & Justice of Actions what. The names of Just, and Injust, when they are attributed to Men, signifie one thing; and when they are attributed to Actions, another. When they are attributed to Men, they signifie Conformity, or Inconformity of Manners, to Reason. But when they are attributed to Actions, they signifie the Conformity or Inconformity to Reason, not of Manners, or manner of life, but of particular Actions. A Just man therefore, is he that taketh all the care he can, that his Actions may be all Just: and an Unjust man, is he that neglecteth it. And such men are more often in our Language stiled by the names of Righteous, and Unrighteous; then Just, and Unjust; though the meaning be the same. Therefore a Righteous man, does not lose that Title, by one, or a few unjust Actions, that proceed from sudden Passion, or mistake of Things, or Persons: nor does an Unrighteous man, lose his character, for such Actions, as he does, or forbeares to do, for feare: because his Will is not framed by the Justice, but by the apparent benefit of what he is to do. That which gives to humane Actions the relish of Justice, is a certain Noblenesse or Gallantnesse of courage, (rarely found,) by which a man scorns to be beholding for the contentment of his life, to fraud, or breach of promise. This Justice of the Manners, is that which is meant, where Justice is called a Vertue; and Injustice a Vice.
But the Justice of Actions denominates men, not Just, Guiltlesse: and the Injustice of the same, (which is also called Injury,) gives them but the name of Guilty.
Justice of Manners, and Justice of Actions. Again, the Injustice of Manners, is the disposition, or aptitude to do Injurie; and is Injustice before it proceed to Act; and without supposing any individuall person injured. But the Injustice of an Action, (that is to say Injury,) supposeth an individuall person Injured; namely him, to whom the Covenant was made: And therefore many times the injury is received by one man, when the dammage redoundeth to another. As when the Master commandeth his servant to give mony to a stranger; if it be not done, the Injury is done to the Master, whom he had before Covenanted to obey; but the dammage redoundeth to the stranger, to whom he had no Obligation; and therefore could not Injure him. And so also in Common-wealths, private men may remit to one another their debts; but not robberies or other violences, whereby they are endammaged; because the detaining of Debt, is an Injury to themselves; but Robbery and Violence, are Injuries to the Person of the Common-wealth.
Whatsoever is done to a man, conformable to his ownNothing done to a man, by his own consent can be Injury. Will signified to the doer, is no Injury to him. For if he that doeth it, hath not passed away his originall right to do what he please, by some Antecedent Covenant, there is no breach of Covenant; and therefore no Injury done him. And if he have; then his Will to have it done being signified, is a release of that Covenant: and so again there is no Injury done him.
Justice of Actions, is by Writers divided into Commutative,Justice Commutative, and Distributive. and Distributive: and the former they say consisteth in proportion Arithmeticall; the later in proportion Geometric all. Commutative therefore, they place in the equality of value of the things contracted for; And Distributive, in the distribution of equall benefit, to men of equall merit. As if it were Injustice to sell dearer than we buy; or to give more to a man than he merits. The value of all things contracted for, is measured by the Appetite of the Contractors: and therefore the just value, is that which they be contented to give. And Merit (besides that which is by Covenant, where the performance on one part, meriteth the performance of the other part, and falls under Justice Commutative, not Distributive,) is not due by Justice; but is rewarded of Grace onely. And therefore this distinction, in the sense wherein it useth to be expounded, is not right. To speak properly, Commutative Justice, is the Justice of a Contractor; that is, a Performance of Covenant, in Buying, and Selling; Hiring, and Letting to Hire; Lending, and Borrowing; Exchanging, Bartering, and other acts of Contract.
And Distributive Justice, the Justice of an Arbitrator; that is to say, the act of defining what is Just. Wherein, (being trusted by them that make him Arbitrator,) if he performe his Trust, he is said to distribute to every man his own: and this is indeed Just Distribution, and may be called (though improperly) Distributive Justice; but more properly Equity; which also is a Law of Nature, as shall be shewn in due place.
The fourth Law of Nature, Gratitude. As Justice dependeth on Antecedent Covenant; so does Gratitude depend on Antecedent Grace; that is to say, Antecedent Free-gift: and is the fourth Law of Nature; which may be conceived in this Forme, That a man which receiveth Benefit from another of meer Grace, Endeavour that he which giveth it, have no reasonable cause to repent him of his good will. For no man giveth, but with intention of Good to himselfe; because Gift is Voluntary; and of all Voluntary Acts, the Object is to every man his own Good; of which if men see they shall be frustrated, there will be no beginning of benevolence, or trust; nor consequently of mutuall help; nor of reconciliation of one man to another; and therefore they are to remain still in the condition of War; which is contrary to the first and Fundamentall Law of Nature, which commandeth men to Seek Peace. The breach of this Law, is called Ingratitude; and hath the same relation to Grace, that Injustice hath to Obligation by Covenant.
The fifth, Mutuall accommodation, or Compleasance. A fifth Law of Nature, is Compleasance; that is to say, That every man strive to accommodate himselfe to the rest. For the understanding whereof, we may consider, that there is in mens aptnesse to Society, a diversity of Nature, rising from their diversity of Affections; not unlike to that we see in stones brought together for building of an Ædifice. For as that stone which by the asperity, and irregularity of Figure, takes more room from others, than it selfe fills; and for the hardnesse, cannot be easily made plain, and thereby hindereth the building, is by the builders cast away as unprofitable, and troublesome: so also, a man that by asperity of Nature, will strive to retain those things which to himselfe are superfluous, and to others necessary; and for the stubbornness of his Passions, cannot be corrected, is to be left, or cast out of Society, as combersome thereunto. For seeing every man, not onely by Right, but also by necessity of Nature, is supposed to endeavour all he can, to obtain that which is necessary for his conservation; He that shall oppose himselfe against it, for things superfluous, is guilty of the warre that there upon is to follow; and therefore doth that, which is contrary to the fundamentall Law of Nature, which commandeth to seek Peace. The observers of this Law, may be called Sociable, (the Latines call them Commodi;) The contrary, Stubborn, Insociable. Froward, Intractable.
A sixth Law of Nature, is this, That upon caution of theThe sixth, Facility to Pardon.Future time, a man ought to pardon the offences past of them that repenting, desire it. For Pardon, is nothing but granting of Peace; which though granted to them that persevere in their hostility, be not Peace, but Feare; yet not granted to them that give caution of the Future time, is signe of an aversion to Peace; and therefore contrary to the Law of Nature.
A seventh is, That in Revenges, (that is, retribution ofThe seventh, that in Revenges, men respect onely the future good. Evil for Evil,) Men look not at the greatnesse of the evill past, but the greatnesse of the good to follow. Whereby we are forbidden to inflict punishment with any other designe, than for correction of the offender, or direction of others. For this Law is consequent to the next before it, that commandeth Pardon, upon security of the Future time. Besides, Revenge without respect to the Example, and profit to come, is a triumph, or glorying in the hurt of another, tending to no end; (for the End is alwayes somewhat to Come;) and glorying to no end, is vain-glory, and contrary to reason; and to hurt without reason, tendeth to the introduction of Warre; which is against the Law of Nature; and is commonly stiled by the name of Cruelty.
And because all signes of hatred, or contempt, provokeThe eighth, against Contumely to fight; insomuch as most men choose rather to hazard their life, than not to be revenged; we may in the eighth place, for a Law of Nature, set down this Precept. That no man by deed, word, countenance, or gesture, declare Hatred, or Contempt of another. The breach of which Law, is commonly called Contumely.
The question who is the better man, has no place inThe ninth, against Pride. the condition of meer Nature; where, (as has been shewn before,) all men are equall. The inequallity that now is, has bin introduced by the Lawes civill. I know that Aristotle in the first booke of his Politiques, for a foundation of his doctrine, maketh men by Nature, some more worthy to Command, meaning the wiser sort (such as he thought himselfe to be for his Philosophy;) others to Serve, (meaning those that had strong bodies, but were not Philosophers as he;) as if Master and Servant were not introduced by consent of men, but by difference of Wit: which is not only against reason; but also against experience. For there are very few so foolish, that had not rather governe themselves, than be governed by others: Nor when the wise in their own conceit, contend by force, with them who distrust their owne wisdome, do they alwaies, or often, or almost at any time, get the Victory. If Nature therefore have made men equall, that equalitie is to be acknowledged: or if Nature have made men unequall; yet because men that think themselves equall, will not enter into conditions of Peace, but upon Equall termes, such equalitie must be admitted. And therefore for the ninth law of Nature, I put this, That every man acknowledge other for his Equall by Nature. The breach of this Precept is Pride.
The tenth, against Arrogance. On this law, dependeth another, That at the entrance into conditions of Peace, no man require to reserve to himselfe any Right, which he is not content should be reserved to every one of the rest. As it is necessary for all men that seek peace, to lay down certaine Rights of Nature; that is to say, not to have libertie to do all they list: so is it necessarie for mans life, to retaine some; as right to governe their owne bodies; enjoy aire, water, motion, waies to go from place to place; and all things else without which a man cannot live, or not live well. If in this case, at the making of Peace, men require for themselves, that which they would not have to be granted to others, they do contrary to the precedent law, that commandeth the acknowledgment of naturall equalitie, and therefore also against the law of Nature. The observers of this law, are those we call Modest, and the breakers Arrogant men. The Greeks call the violation of this law πλεονεξία; that is, a desire of more than their share.
Also if a man be trusted to judge between man and man,The eleventh Equity. it is a precept of the Law of Nature, that he deale Equally between them. For without that, the Controversies of men cannot be determined but by Warre. He therefore that is partiall in judgment, doth what in him lies, to deterre men from the use of Judges, and Arbitrators; and consequently, (against the fundamentall Lawe of Nature) is the cause of Warre.
The observance of this law, from the equall distribution to each man, of that which in reason belongeth to him, is called Equity, and (as I have sayd before) distributive Justice: the violation, Acception of persons, προσωποληψία
And from this followeth another law, That such thingsThe twelfth, Equall use of things Common.as cannot be divided, be enjoyed in Common, if it can be; and if the quantity of the thing permit, without Stint; otherwise Proportionably to the number of them that have Right. For otherwise the distribution is Unequall, and contrary to Equitie.
But some things there be, that can neither be divided, nor enjoyed in common. Then, The Law of Nature,The thirteenth, of Lot. which prescribeth Equity, requireth, That the Entire Right; or else, (making the use alternate,) the First Possession, be determined by Lot. For equall distribution, is of the Law of Nature; and other means of equall distribution cannot be imagined.
Of Lots there be two sorts, Arbitrary, and Naturall.The fourteenth, of Primogeniture, and First seising. Arbitrary, is that which is agreed on by the Competitors: Naturall, is either Primogeniture, (which the Greek calls ληρονομία which signifies, Given by Lot;) or First Seisure.
And therefore those things which cannot be enjoyed in common, nor divided, ought to be adjudged to the First Possessor; and in some cases to the First-Borne, as acquired by Lot.
It is also a Law of Nature, That all men that mediateThe fifteenth, of Mediators.Peace, be allowed safe Conduct. For the Law that commandeth Peace, as the End, commandeth Intercession, as the Means; and to Intercession the Means is safe Conduct.
And because, though men be never so willing toThe sixteenth, of Submission to Arbitrement. observe these Lawes, there may neverthelesse arise questions concerning a mans action; First, whether it were done, or not done; Secondly (if done) whether against the Law, or not against the Law; the former whereof, is called a question Of Fact; the later a question Of Right; therefore unlesse the parties to the question, Covenant mutually to stand to the sentence of another, they are as farre from Peace as ever. This other, to whose Sentence they submit, is called an Arbitrator. And therefore it is of the Law of Nature. That they that are at controversie, submit their Right to the judgement of an Arbitrator.
The seventeenth, No man is his own Judge. And seeing every man is presumed to do all things in order to his own benefit, no man is a fit Arbitrator in his own cause: and if he were never so fit; yet Equity allowing to each party equall benefit, if one be admitted to be Judge, the other is to be admitted also; & so the controversie, that is, the cause of War, remains, against the Law of Nature.
The eighteenth, no man to be Judge, that has in him a natural cause of Partiality. For the same reason no man in any Cause ought to be received for Arbitrator, to whom greater profit, or honour, or pleasure apparently ariseth out of the victory of one party, than of the other: for hee hath taken (though an unavoydable bribe, yet) a bribe; and no man can be obliged to trust him. And thus also the controversie, and the condition of War remaineth, contrary to the Law of Nature.
The nineteenth, of Witnesses. And in a controversie of Fact, the Judge being to give no more credit to one, than to the other, (if there be no other Arguments) must give credit to a third; or to a third and fourth; or more: For else the question is undecided, and left to force, contrary to the Law of Nature.
These are the Lawes of Nature, dictating Peace, for a means of the conservation of men in multitudes; and which onely concern the doctrine of Civill Society. There be other things tending to the destruction of particular men; as Drunkenness, and all other parts of Intemperance; which may therefore also be reckoned amongst those things which the Law of Nature hath forbidden; but are not necessary to be mentioned, nor are pertinent enough to this place.
And though this may seem too subtile a deduction ofA Rule, by which the Laws of Nature may easily be examined. the Lawes of Nature, to be taken notice of by all men; whereof the most part are too busie in getting food, and the rest too negligent to understand; yet to leave all men unexcusable, they have been contracted into one easie sum, intelligible, even to the meanest capacity; and that is, Do not that to another, which thou wouldest not have done to thy selfe; which sheweth him, that he has no more to do in learning the Lawes of Nature, but, when weighing the actions of other men with his own, they seem too heavy, to put them into the other part of the ballance, and his own into their place, that his own passions, and selfe-love, may adde nothing to the weight; and then there is none of these Lawes of Nature that will not appear unto him very reasonable.
The Lawes of Nature oblige in foro interno; that isThe Lawes of Nature oblige in Conscience alwayes, but in Effect then onely when there is Security. to say, they bind to a desire they should take place: but in foro externo; that is, to the putting them in act, not alwayes. For he that should be modest, and tractable, and performe all he promises, in such time, and place, where no man els should do so, should but make himselfe a prey to others, and procure his own certain ruine, contrary to the ground of all Lawes of Nature, which tend to Natures preservation. And again, he that having sufficient Security, that others shall observe the same Lawes towards him, observes them not himselfe, seeketh not Peace, but War; & consequently the destruction of his Nature by Violence.
And whatsoever Lawes bind in foro interno, may be broken, not onely by a fact contrary to the Law, but also by a fact according to it, in case a man think it contrary. For though his Action in this case, be according to the Law; yet his Purpose was against the Law; which where the Obligation is in foro interno, is a breach.
The Lawes of Nature are Immutable and Eternall;The Laws of Nature are Eternal; For Injustice, Ingratitude, Arrogance, Pride, Iniquity, Acception of persons, and the rest, can never be made lawfull. For it can never be that Warre shall preserve life, and Peace destroy it.
The [same] Lawes, because they oblige onely to a desire,And yet Easie. and endeavour, I mean an unfeigned and constant endeavour, are easie to be observed. For in that they require nothing but endeavour; he that endeavoureth their performance, fulfilleth them; and he that fulfilleth the Law, is Just.
The Science of these Lawes, is the true Morall Philosophy. And the Science of them, is the true and onely Moral Philosophy. For Morall Philosophy is nothing else but the Science of what is Good, and Evill, in the conversation, and Society of man-kind. Good, and Evill, are names that signifie our Appetites, and Aversions; which in different tempers, customes, and doctrines of men, are different: And divers men, differ not onely in their Judgement, on the senses of what is pleasant, and unpleasant to the tast, smell, hearing, touch, and sight; but also of what is conformable, or disagreeable to Reason, in the actions of common life. Nay, the same man, in divers times, differs from himselfe; and one time praiseth, that is, calleth Good, what another time he dispraiseth, and calleth Evil: From whence arise Disputes, Controversies, and at last War. And therefore so long a man is in the condition of meer Nature, (which is a condition of War,) as private Appetite is the measure of Good, and Evill: And consequently all men agree on this, that Peace is Good, and therefore also the way, or means of Peace, which (as I have shewed before) are Justice, Gratitude, Modesty, Equity, Mercy, & the rest of the Laws of Nature, are good; that is to say, Morall Vertues; and their contrarie Vices, Evill. Now the science of Vertue and Vice, is Morall Philosophie; and therfore the true Doctrine of the Lawes of Nature, is the true Morall Philosophie. But the Writers of Morall Philosophie, though they acknowledge the same Vertues and Vices; Yet not seeing wherein consisted their Goodnesse; nor that they come to be praised, as the meanes of peaceable, sociable, and comfortable living; place them in a mediocrity of passions: as if not the Cause, but the Degree of daring, made Fortitude; or not the Cause, but the Quantity of a gift, made Liberality.
These dictates of Reason, men use to call by the name of Lawes; but improperly: for they are but Conclusions, or Theoremes concerning what conduceth to the conservation and defence of themselves; wheras Law, properly is the word of him, that by right hath command over others. But yet if we consider the same Theoremes, as delivered in the word of God, that by right commandeth all things; then are they properly called Lawes.
Thomas Hobbes, Hobbes’s Leviathan reprinted from the edition of 1651 with an Essay by the Late W.G. Pogson Smith (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1909). Chapter: CHAP. XVII.: Of the Causes, Generation, and Definition of a Common - Wealth .
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The End of Common-wealth, particular Security:The finall Cause, End, or Designe of men, (who naturally love Liberty, and Dominion over others,) in the introduction of that restraint upon themselves, (in which wee see them live in Common-wealths,) is the foresight of their own preservation, and of a more contented life thereby; that is to say, of getting themselves out from that miserable condition of Warre, which isChap. 13. necessarily consequent (as hath been shewn) to the naturall Passions of men, when there is no visible Power to keep them in awe, and tye them by feare of punishment to the performance of their Covenants, and observation of those Lawes of Nature set down in the fourteenth and fifteenth Chapters.
Which is not to be had from the Law of Nature: For the Lawes of Nature (as Justice, Equity, Modesty, Mercy, and (in summe) doing to others, as wee would be done to,) of themselves, without the terrour of some Power, to cause them to be observed, are contrary to our naturall Passions, that carry us to Partiality, Pride, Revenge, and the like. And Covenants, without the Sword, are but Words, and of no strength to secure a man at all. Therefore notwithstanding the Lawes of Nature, (which every one hath then kept, when he has the will to keep them, when he can do it safely,) if there be no Power erected, or not great enough for our security; every man will, and may lawfully rely on his own strength and art, for caution against all other men. And in all places, where men have lived by small Families, to robbe and spoyle one another, has been a Trade, and so farre from being reputed against the Law of Nature, that the greater spoyles they gained, the greater was their honour; and men observed no other Lawes therein, but the Lawes of Honour; that is, to abstain from cruelty, leaving to men their lives, and instruments of husbandry. And as small Familyes did then; so now do Cities and Kingdomes which are but greater Families (for their own security) enlarge their Dominions, upon all pretences of danger, and fear of Invasion, or assistance that may be given to Invaders, endeavour as much as they can, to subdue, or weaken their neighbours, by open force, and secret arts, for want of other Caution, justly; and are remembred for it in after ages with honour.
Nor is it the joyning together of a small number ofNor from the conjunction of a few men or familyes: men, that gives them this security; because in small numbers, small additions on the one side or the other, make the advantage of strength so great, as is sufficient to carry the Victory; and therefore gives encouragement to an Invasion. The Multitude sufficient to confide in for our Security, is not determined by any certain number, but by comparison with the Enemy we feare; and is then sufficient, when the odds of the Enemy is not of so visible and conspicuous moment, to determine the event of warre, as to move him to attempt.
And be there never so great a Multitude; yet ifNor from a great Multitude, unlesse directed by one judgement: their actions be directed according to their particular judgements, and particular appetites, they can expect thereby no defence, nor protection, neither against a Common enemy, nor against the injuries of one another. For being distracted in opinions concerning the best use and application of their strength, they do not help, but hinder one another; and reduce their strength by mutuall opposition to nothing: whereby they are easily, not onely subdued by a very few that agree together; but also when there is no common enemy, they make warre upon each other, for their particular interests. For if we could suppose a great Multitude of men to consent in the observation of Justice, and other Lawes of Nature, without a common Power to keep them all in awe; we might as well suppose all Man-kind to do the same; and then there neither would be, nor need to be any Civill Government, or Common-wealth at all; because there would be Peace without subjection.
And that continually. Nor is it enough for the security, which men desire should last all the time of their life, that they be governed, and directed by one judgement, for a limited time; as in one Battell, or one Warre. For though they obtain a Victory by their unanimous endeavour against a forraign enemy; yet afterwards, when either they have no common enemy, or he that by one part is held for an enemy, is by another part held for a friend, they must needs by the difference of their interests dissolve, and fall again into a Warre amongst themselves.
Why certain creatures without reason, or speech, do neverthelesse live in Society, without any coërcive Power. It is true, that certain living creatures, as Bees, and Ants, live sociably one with another, (which are therefore by Aristotle numbred amongst Politicall creatures;) and yet have no other direction, than their particular judgements and appetites; nor speech, whereby one of them can signifie to another, what he thinks expedient for the common benefit: and therefore some man may perhaps desire to know, why Man-kind cannot do the same. To which I answer,
First, that men are continually in competition for Honour and Dignity, which these creatures are not; and consequently amongst men there ariseth on that ground, Envy and Hatred, and finally Warre; but amongst these not so.
Secondly, that amongst these creatures, the Common good differeth not from the Private; and being by nature enclined to their private, they procure thereby the common benefit. But man, whose Joy consisteth in comparing himselfe with other men, can relish nothing but what is eminent.
Thirdly, that these creatures, having not (as man) the use of reason, do not see, nor think they see any fault, in the administration of their common businesse: whereas amongst men, there are very many, that thinke themselves wiser, and abler to govern the Publique, better than the rest; and these strive to reforme and innovate, one this way, another that way; and thereby bring it into Distraction and Civill warre.
Fourthly, that these creatures, though they have some use of voice, in making knowne to one another their desires, and other affections; yet they want that art of words, by which some men can represent to others, that which is Good, in the likenesse of Evill; and Evill, in the likenesse of Good; and augment, or diminish the apparent greatnesse of Good and Evill; discontenting men, and troubling their Peace at their pleasure.
Fiftly, irrationall creatures cannot distinguish betweene Injury, and Dammage; and therefore as long as they be at ease, they are not offended with their fellowes: whereas Man is then most troublesome, when he is most at ease: for then it is that he loves to shew his Wisdome, and controule the Actions of them that governe the Common-wealth.
Lastly, the agreement of these creatures is Naturall; that of men, is by Covenant only, which is Artificiall: and therefore it is no wonder if there be somwhat else required (besides Covenant) to make their Agreement constant and lasting; which is a Common Power, to keep them in awe, and to direct their actions to the Common Benefit.
The only way to erect such a Common Power, as mayThe Generation of a Commonwealth. be able to defend them from the invasion of Forraigners, and the injuries of one another, and thereby to secure them in such sort, as that by their owne industrie, and by the fruites of the Earth, they may nourish themselves and live contentedly; is, to conferre all their power and strength upon one Man, or upon one Assembly of men, that may reduce all their Wills, by plurality of voices, unto one Will: which is as much as to say, to appoint one Man, or Assembly of men, to beare their Person; and every one to owne, and acknowledge himselfe to be Author of whatsoever he that so beareth their Person, shall Act, or cause to be Acted, in those things which concerne the Common Peace and Safetie; and therein to submit their Wills, every one to his Will, and their Judgements, to his Judgment. This is more than Consent, or Concord; it is a reall Unitie of them all, in one and the same Person, made by Covenant of every man with every man, in such manner, as if every man should say to every man, I Authorise and give up my Right of Governing my selfe, to this Man, or to this Assembly of men, on this condition, that thou give up thy Right to him, and Authorise all his Actions in like manner. This done, the Multitude so united in one Person, is called a Common-wealth, in latine Civitas. This is the Generation of that great Leviathan, or rather (to speake more reverently) of that Mortall God, to which wee owe under the Immortall God, our peace and defence. For by this Authoritie, given him by every particular man in the Common-Wealth, he hath the use of so much Power and Strength conferred on him, that by terror thereof, he is inabled to forme the wills of them all, to Peace at home, and mutuall ayd against their enemies abroad. And in him consisteth the Essence of theThe Definition of a Commonwealth. Common-wealth; which (to define it,) is One Person, of whose Acts a great Multitude, by mutuall Covenants one with another, have made themselves every one the Author, to the end he may use the strength and means of them all, as he shall think expedient, for their Peace and Common Defence.
Soveraigne, and Subject, what. And he that carryeth this Person, is called Soveraigne, and said to have Soveraigne Power; and every one besides, his Subject.
The attaining to this Soveraigne Power, is by two wayes. One, by Naturall force; as when a man maketh his children, to submit themselves, and their children to his government, as being able to destroy them if they refuse; or by Warre subdueth his enemies to his will, giving them their lives on that condition. The other, is when men agree amongst themselves, to submit to some Man, or Assembly of men, voluntarily, on confidence to be protected by him against all others. This later, may be called a Politicall Common-wealth, or Common-wealth by Institution; and the former, a Common-wealth by Acquisition. And first, I shall speak of a Common-wealth by Institution.
Thomas Hobbes, Hobbes’s Leviathan reprinted from the edition of 1651 with an Essay by the Late W.G. Pogson Smith (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1909). Chapter: CHAP. XVIII.: Of the Rights of Soveraignes by Institution .
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A Common-wealth is said to be Instituted, whenThe act of Instituting a Common-wealth, what. a Multitude of men do Agree, and Covenant, every one, with every one, that to whatsoever Man, or Assembly of Men, shall be given by the major part, the Right to Present the Person of them all, (that is to say, to be their Representative;) every one, as well he that Voted for it, as he that Voted against it, shall Authorise all the Actions and Judgements, of that Man, or Assembly of men, in the same manner, as if they were his own, to the end, to live peaceably amongst themselves, and be protected against other men.
From this Institution of a Common-wealth are derivedThe Consequences to such Institution, are all the Rights, and Facultyes of him, or them, on whom the Soveraigne Power is conferred by the consent of the People assembled.
And Judge of what Doctrines are fit to be taught them. Sixtly, it is annexed to the Soveraignty, to be Judge of what Opinions and Doctrines are averse, and what conducing to Peace; and consequently, on what occasions, how farre, and what, men are to be trusted withall, in speaking to Multitudes of people; and who shall examine the Doctrines of all bookes before they be published. For the Actions of men proceed from their Opinions; and in the wel governing of Opinions, consisteth the well governing of mens Actions, in order to their Peace, and Concord. And though in matter of Doctrine, nothing ought to be regarded but the Truth; yet this is not repugnant to regulating of the same by Peace. For Doctrine repugnant to Peace, can no more be True, than Peace and Concord can be against the Law of Nature. It is true, that in a Common-wealth, where by the negligence, or unskilfullnesse of Governours, and Teachers, false Doctrines are by time generally received; the contrary Truths may be generally offensive: Yet the most sudden, and rough busling in of a new Truth, that can be, does never breake the Peace, but only somtimes awake the Warre. For those men that are so remissely governed, that they dare take up Armes, to defend, or introduce an Opinion, are still in Warre; and their condition not Peace, but only a Cessation of Armes for feare of one another; and they live as it were, in the procincts of battaile continually. It belongeth therefore to him that hath the Soveraign Power, to be Judge, or constitute all Judges of Opinions and Doctrines, as a thing necessary to Peace; therby to prevent Discord and Civill Warre.
These are the Rights, which make the Essence ofThese Rights indivisible. Soveraignty; and which are the markes, whereby a man may discern in what Man, or Assembly of men, the Soveraign Power is placed, and resideth. For these are incommunicable, and inseparable. The Power to coyn Mony; to dispose of the estate and persons of Infant heires; to have præemption in Markets; and all other Statute Prærogatives, may be transferred by the Soveraign; and yet the Power to protect his Subjects be retained. But if he transferre the Militia, he retains the Judicature in vain, for want of execution of the Lawes: Or if he grant away the Power of raising Mony; the Militia is in vain: or if he give away the government of Doctrines, men will be frighted into rebellion with the feare of Spirits. And so if we consider any one of the said Rights, we shall presently see, that the holding of all the rest, will produce no effect, in the conservation of Peace and Justice, the end for which all Common-wealths are Instituted. And this division is it, whereof it is said, a Kingdome divided in it selfe cannot stand: For unlesse this division precede, division into opposite Armies can never happen. If there had not first been an opinion received of the greatest part of England, that these Powers were divided between the King, and the Lords, and the House of Commons, the people had never been divided, and fallen into this Civill Warre; first between those that disagreed in Politiques; and after between the Dissenters about the liberty of Religion; which have so instructed men in this point of Soveraign Right, that there be few now (in England,) that do not see, that these Rights are inseparable, and will be so generally acknowledged, at the next return of Peace; and so continue, till their miseries are forgotten; and no longer, except the vulgar be better taught than they have hetherto been.
And can by no Grant passe away without direct renouncing of the Soveraign Power. And because they are essentiall and inseparable Rights, it follows necessarily, that in whatsoever words any of them seem to be granted away, yet if the Soveraign Power it selfe be not in direct termes renounced, and the name of Soveraign no more given by the Grantees to him that Grants them, the Grant is voyd: for when he has granted all he can, if we grant back the Soveraignty, all is restored, as inseparably annexed thereunto.
The Power and Honour of Subjects vanisheth in the presence of the Power Soveraign. This great Authority being Indivisible, and inseparably annexed to the Soveraignty, there is little ground for the opinion of them, that say of Soveraign Kings, though they be singulis majores, of greater Power than every one of their Subjects, yet they be Universis minores, of lesse power than them all together. For if by all together, they mean not the collective body as one person, then all together, and every one, signifie the same; and the speech is absurd. But if by all together, they understand them as one Person (which person the Soveraign bears,) then the power of all together, is the same with the Soveraigns power; and so again the speech is absurd: which absurdity they see well enough, when the Soveraignty is in an Assembly of the people; but in a Monarch they see it not; and yet the power of Soveraignty is the same in whomsoever it be placed.
And as the Power, so also the Honour of the Soveraign, ought to be greater, than that of any, or all the Subjects. For in the Soveraignty is the fountain of Honour. The dignities of Lord, Earle, Duke, and Prince are his Creatures. As in the presence of the Master, the Servants are equall, and without any honour at all; So are the Subjects, in the presence of the Soveraign. And though they shine some more, some lesse, when they are out of his sight; yet in his presence, they shine no more than the Starres in presence of the Sun.
But a man may here object, that the Condition of Subjects is very miserable; as being obnoxious to theSoveraigne Power not so hurtfull as the want of it, and the hurt proceeds for the greatest part from not submitting readily, to a lesse. lusts, and other irregular passions of him, or them that have so unlimited a Power in their hands. And commonly they that live under a Monarch, think it the fault of Monarchy; and they that live under the government of Democracy, or other Soveraign Assembly, attribute all the inconvenience to that forme of Commonwealth; whereas the Power in all formes, if they be perfect enough to protect them, is the same; not considering that the estate of Man can never be without some incommodity or other; and that the greatest, that in any forme of Government can possibly happen to the people in generall, is scarce sensible, in respect of the miseries, and horrible calamities, that accompany a Civill Warre; or that dissolute condition of masterlesse men, without subjection to Lawes, and a coercive Power to tye their hands from rapine, and revenge: nor considering that the greatest pressure of Soveraign Governours, proceedeth not from any delight, or profit they can expect in the dammage, or weakening of their Subjects, in whose vigor, consisteth their own strength and glory; but in the restiveness of themselves, that unwillingly contributing to their own defence, make it necessary for their Governours to draw from them what they can in time of Peace, that they may have means on any emergent occasion, or sudden need, to resist, or take advantage on their Enemies. For all men are by nature provided of notable multiplying glasses, (that is their Passions and Selfe-love,) through which, every little payment appeareth a great grievance; but are destitute of those prospective glasses, (namely Morall and Civill Science,) to see a farre off the miseries that hang over them, and cannot without such payments be avoyded.
Thomas Hobbes, Hobbes’s Leviathan reprinted from the edition of 1651 with an Essay by the Late W.G. Pogson Smith (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1909). Chapter: CHAP. XIX.: Of the severall Kinds of Common-wealth by Institution, and of Succession to the Soveraigne Power .
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The text is in the public domain.
The different Formes of Common-wealths but three.The difference of Common-wealths, consisteth in the difference of the Soveraign, or the Person representative of all and every one of the Multitude. And because the Soveraignty is either in one Man, or in an Assembly of more than one; and into that Assembly either Every man hath right to enter, or not every one, but Certain men distinguished from the rest; it is manifest, there can be but Three kinds of Common-wealth. For the Representative must needs be One man, or More: and if more, then it is the Assembly of All, or but of a Part. When the Representative is One man, then is the Common-wealth a Monarchy: when an Assembly of All that will come together, then it is a Democracy, or Popular Common-wealth: when an Assembly of a Part onely, then it is called an Aristocracy. Other kind of Common-wealth there can be none: for either One, or More, or All, must have the Soveraign Power (which I have shewn to be indivisible) entire.
Tyranny and Oligarchy, but different names of Monarchy, and Aristocracy. There be other names of Government, in the Histories, and books of Policy; as Tyranny, and Oligarchy: But they are not the names of other Formes of Government, but of the same Formes misliked. For they that are discontented under Monarchy, call it Tyranny; and they that are displeased with Aristocracy, called it Oligarchy: So also, they which find themselves grieved under a Democracy, call it Anarchy, (which signifies want of Government;) and yet I think no man believes, that want of Government, is any new kind of Government: nor by the same reason ought they to believe, that the Government is of one kind, when they like it, and another, when they mislike it, or are oppressed by the Governours.
Subordinute Representatives dangerous. It is manifest, that men who are in absolute liberty, may, if they please, give Authority to One man, to represent them every one; as well as give such Authority to any Assembly of men whatsoever; and consequently may subject themselves, if they think good, to a Monarch, as absolutely, as to any other Representative. Therefore, where there is already erected a Soveraign Power, there can be no other Representative of the same people, but onely to certain particular ends, by the Soveraign limited. For that were to erect two Soveraigns; and every man to have his person represented by two Actors, that by opposing one another, must needs divide that Power, which (if men will live in Peace) is indivisible; and thereby reduce the Multitude into the condition of Warre, contrary to the end for which all Soveraignty is instituted. And therefore as it is absurd, to think that a Soveraign Assembly, inviting the People of their Dominion, to send up their Deputies, with power to make known their Advise, or Desires, should therefore hold such Deputies, rather than themselves, for the absolute Representative of the people: so it is absurd also, to think the same in a Monarchy. And I know not how this so manifest a truth, should of late be so little observed; that in a Monarchy, he that had the Soveraignty from a descent of 600 years, was alone called Soveraign, had the title of Majesty from every one of his Subjects, and was unquestionably taken by them for their King, was notwithstanding never considered as their Representative; that name without contradiction passing for the title of those men, which at his command were sent up by the people to carry their Petitions, and give him (if he permitted it) their advise. Which may serve as an admonition, for those that are the true, and absolute Representative of a People, to instruct men in the nature of that Office, and to take heed how they admit of any other generall Representation upon any occasion whatsoever, if they mean to discharge the trust committed to them.
The difference between these three kindes of Commonwealth,Comparison of Monarchy, with Soveraign Assemblyes. consisteth not in the difference of Power; but in the difference of Convenience, or Aptitude to produce the Peace, and Security of the people; for which end they were instituted. And to compare Monarchy with the other two, we may observe; First, that whosoever beareth the Person of the people, or is one of that Assembly that bears it, beareth also his own naturall Person. And though he be carefull in his politique Person to procure the common interest; yet he is more, or no lesse carefull to procure the private good of himselfe, his family, kindred and friends; and for the most part, if the publique interest chance to crosse the private, he preferrs the private: for the Passions of men, are commonly more potent than their Reason. From whence it follows, that where the publique and private interest are most closely united, there is the publique most advanced. Now in Monarchy, the private interest is the same with the publique. The riches, power, and honour of a Monarch arise onely from the riches, strength and reputation of his Subjects. For no King can be rich, nor glorious, not secure; whose Subjects are either poore, or contemptible, or too weak through want, or dissention, to maintain a war against their enemies: Whereas in a Democracy, or Aristocracy, the publique prosperity conferres not so much to the private fortune of one that is corrupt, or ambitious, as doth many times a perfidious advice, a treacherous action, or a Civill warre.
Secondly, that a Monarch receiveth counsell of whom, when, and where he pleaseth; and consequently may heare the opinion of men versed in the matter about which he deliberates, of what rank or quality soever, and as long before the time of action, and with as much secrecy, as he will. But when a Soveraigne Assembly has need of Counsell, none are admitted but such as have a Right thereto from the beginning; which for the most part are of those who have beene versed more in the acquisition of Wealth than of Knowledge; and are to give their advice in long discourses, which may, and do commonly excite men to action, but not governe them in it. For the Understanding is by the flame of the Passions, never enlightned, but dazled: Nor is there any place, or time, wherein an Assemblie can receive Counsell with secrecie, because of their owne Multitude.
Thirdly, that the Resolutions of a Monarch, are subject to no other Inconstancy, than that of Humane Nature; but in Assemblies, besides that of Nature, there ariseth an Inconstancy from the Number. For the absence of a few, that would have the Resolution once taken, continue firme, (which may happen by security, negligence, or private impediments,) or the diligent appearance of a few of the contrary opinion, undoes to day, all that was concluded yesterday.
Fourthly, that a Monarch cannot disagree with himselfe, out of envy, or interest; but an Assembly may; and that to such a height, as may produce a Civill Warre.
Fifthly, that in Monarchy there is this inconvenience; that any Subject, by the power of one man, for the enriching of a favourite or flatterer, may be deprived of all he possesseth; which I confesse is a great and inevitable inconvenience. But the same may as well happen, where the Soveraigne Power is in an Assembly: For their power is the same; and they are as subject to evill Counsell, and to be seduced by Orators, as a Monarch by Flatterers; and becoming one an others Flatterers, serve one anothers Covetousnesse and Ambition by turnes. And whereas the Favorites of Monarchs, are few, and they have none els to advance but their owne Kindred; the Favorites of an Assembly, are many; and the Kindred much more numerous, than of any Monarch, Besides, there is no Favourite of a Monarch, which cannot as well succour his friends, as hurt his enemies: But Orators, that is to say, Favourites of Soveraigne Assemblies, though they have great power to hurt, have little to save. For to accuse, requires lesse Eloquence (such is mans Nature) than to excuse; and condemnation, than absolution more resembles Justice.
Sixtly, that it is an inconvenience in Monarchie, that the Soveraigntie may descend upon an Infant, or one that cannot discerne between Good and Evill: and consisteth in this, that the use of his Power, must be in the hand of another Man, or of some Assembly of men, which are to governe by his right, and in his name; as Curators, and Protectors of his Person, and Authority. But to say there is inconvenience, in putting the use of the Soveraign Power, into the hand of a Man, or an Assembly of men; is to say that all Government is more Inconvenient, than Confusion, and Civill Warre. And therefore all the danger that can be pretended, must arise from the Contention of those, that for an office of so great honour, and profit, may become Competitors. To make it appear, that this inconvenience, proceedeth not from that forme of Government we call Monarchy, we are to consider, that the precedent Monarch, hath appointed who shall have the Tuition of his Infant Successor, either expressely by Testament, or tacitly, by not controlling the Custome in that case received: And then such inconvenience (if it happen) is to be attributed, not to the Monarchy, but to the Ambition, and Injustice of the Subjects; which in all kinds of Government, where the people are not well instructed in their Duty, and the Rights of Soveraignty, is the same. Or else the precedent Monarch, hath not at all taken order for such Tuition; And then the Law of Nature hath provided this sufficient rule, That the Tuition shall be in him, that hath by Nature most interest in the preservation of the Authority of the Infant, and to whom least benefit can accrue by his death, or diminution. For seeing every man by nature seeketh his own benefit, and promotion; to put an Infant into the power of those, that can promote themselves by his destruction, or dammage, is not Tuition, but Trechery. So that sufficient provision being taken, against all just quarrell, about the Government under a Child, if any contention arise to the disturbance of the publique Peace, it is not to be attributed to the forme of Monarchy, but to the ambition of Subjects, and ignorance of their Duty. On the other side, there is no great Common-wealth, the Soveraignty whereof is in a great Assembly, which is not, as to consultations of peace, and Warre, and making of Lawes, in the same condition, as if the Government were in a Child. For as a Child wants the judgement to dissent from counsell given him, and is thereby necessitated to take the advise of them, or him, to whom he is committed: So an Assembly wanteth the liberty, to dissent from the counsell of the major part, be it good, or bad. And as a Child has need of a Tutor, or Protector, to preserve his Person, and Authority: So also (in great Common-wealths,) the Soveraign Assembly, in all great dangers and troubles, have need of Custodes libertatis; that is of Dictators, or Protectors of their Authoritie; which are as much as Temporary Monarchs; to whom for a time, they may commit the entire exercise of their Power; and have (at the end of that time) been oftner deprived thereof, than Infant Kings, by their Protectors, Regents, or any other Tutors.
Though the Kinds of Soveraigntie be, as I have now shewn, but three; that is to say, Monarchie, where One Man has it; or Democracie, where the generall Assembly of Subjects hath it; or Aristocracie, where it is in an Assembly of certain persons nominated, or otherwise distinguished from the rest: Yet he that shall consider the particular Common-wealthes that have been, and are in the world, will not perhaps easily reduce them to three, and may thereby be inclined to think there be other Formes, arising from these mingled together. As for example, Elective Kingdomes; where Kings have the Soveraigne Power put into their hands for a time; or Kingdomes, wherein the King hath a power limited: which Governments, are nevertheles by most Writers called Monarchie. Likewise if a Popular, or Aristocraticall Common-wealth, subdue an Enemies Countrie, and govern the same, by a President, Procurator, or other Magistrate; this may seeme perhaps at first sight, to be a Democraticall, or Aristocraticall Government. But it is not so. For Elective Kings, are not Soveraignes, but Ministers of the Soveraigne; nor limited Kings Soveraignes, but Ministers of them that have the Soveraigne Power: Nor are those Provinces which are in subjection to a Democracie, or Aristocracie of another Common-wealth, Democratically, or Aristocratically governed, but Monarchically.
And first, concerning an Elective King, whose power is limited to his life, as it is in many places of Christen-dome at this day; or to certaine Yeares or Moneths, as the Dictators power amongst the Romans; If he have Right to appoint his Successor, he is no more Elective but Hereditary. But if he have no Power to elect his Successor, then there is some other Man, or Assembly known, which after his decease may elect a new, or else the Common-wealth dieth, and dissolveth with him, and returneth to the condition of Warre. If it be known who have the power to give the Soveraigntie after his death, it is known also that the Soveraigntie was in them before: For none have right to give that which they have not right to possesse, and keep to themselves, if they think good. But if there be none that can give the Soveraigntie, after the decease of him that was first elected: then has he power, nay he is obliged by the Law of Nature, to provide, by establishing his Successor, to keep those that had trusted him with the Government, from relapsing into the miserable condition of Civill warre. And consequently he was, when elected, a Soveraign absolute.
Secondly, that King whose power is limited, is not superiour to him, or them that have the power to limit it; and he that is not superiour, is not supreme; that is to say not Soveraign. The Soveraignty therefore was alwaies in that Assembly which had the Right to Limit him; and by consequence the government not Monarchy, but either Democracy, or Aristocracy; as of old time in Sparta; where the Kings had a priviledge to lead their Armies; but the Soveraignty was in the Ephori.
Thirdly, whereas heretofore the Roman People, governed the land of Judea (for example) by a President; yet was not Judea therefore a Democracy; because they were not governed by any Assembly, into the which, any of them, had right to enter; nor by an Aristocracy; because they were not governed by any Assembly, into which, any man could enter by their Election: but they were governed by one Person, which though as to the people of Rome was an Assembly of the people, or Democracy; yet as to people of Judea, which had no right at all of participating in the government, was a Monarch. For though where the people are governed by an Assembly, chosen by themselves out of their own number, the government is called a Democracy, or Aristocracy; yet when they are governed by an Assembly, not of their own choosing, tis a Monarchy; not of One man, over another man; but of one people, over another people.
Of all these Formes of Government, the matter beingOf the Right of Succession. mortall, so that not onely Monarchs, but also whole Assemblies dy, it is necessary for the conservation of the peace of men, that as there was order taken for an Artificiall Man, so there be order also taken, for an Artificiall Eternity of life; without which, men that are governed by an Assembly, should return into the condition of Warre in every age; and they that are governed by One man, assoon as their Governour dyeth. This Artificiall Eternity, is that which men call the Right of Succession.
There is no perfect forme of Government, where the disposing of the Succession is not in the present Soveraign. For if it be in any other particular Man, or private Assembly, it is in a person subject, and may be assumed by the Soveraign at his pleasure; and consequently the Right is in himselfe. And if it be in no particular man, but left to a new choyce; then is the Common-wealth dissolved; and the Right is in him that can get it; contrary to the intention of them that did Institute the Common-wealth, for their perpetuall, and not temporary security.
In a Democracy, the whole Assembly cannot faile, unlesse the Multitude that are to be governed faile. And therefore questions of the right of Succession, have in that forme of Government no place at all.
In an Aristocracy, when any of the Assembly dyeth, the election of another into his room belongeth to the Assembly, as the Soveraign, to whom belongeth the choosing of all Counsellours, and Officers. For that which the Representative doth, as Actor, every one of the Subjects doth, as Author. And though the Soveraign Assembly, may give Power to others, to elect new men, for supply of their court; yet it is still by their Authority, that the Election is made; and by the same it may (when the publique shall require it) be recalled.
The greatest difficultie about the right of Succession, is in Monarchy: And the difficulty ariseth from this,The present Monarch hath Right to dispose of the Succession. that at first sight, it is not manifest who is to appoint the Successor; nor many times, who it is whom he hath appointed. For in both these cases, there is required a more exact ratiocination, than every man is accustomed to use. As to the question, who shall appoint the Successor, of a Monarch that hath the Soveraign Authority; that is to say, who shall determine of the right of Inheritance, (for Elective Kings and Princes have not the Soveraign Power in propriety, but in use only,) we are to consider, that either he that is in possession, has right to dispose of the Succession, or else that right is again in the dissolved Multitude. For the death of him that hath the Soveraign power in propriety, leaves the Multitude without any Soveraign at all; that is, without any Representative in whom they should be united, and be capable of doing any one action at all: And therefore they are incapable of Election of any new Monarch; every man having equall right to submit himselfe to such as he thinks best able to protect him; or if he can, protect himselfe by his owne sword, which is a returne to Confusion, and to the condition of a War of every man against every man, contrary to the end for which Monarchy had its first Institution. Therfore it is manifest, that by the Institution of Monarchy, the disposing of the Successor, is alwaies left to the Judgment and Will of the present Possessor.
And for the question (which may arise sometimes) who it is that the Monarch in possession, hath designed to the succession and inheritance of his power; it is determined by his expresse Words, and Testament; or by other tacite signes sufficient.
Succession passeth by expresse Words; By expresse Words, or Testament, when it is declared by him in his life time, viva voce, or by Writing; as the first Emperours of Rome declared who should be their Heires. For the word Heire does not of it selfe imply the Children, or nearest Kindred of a man; but whomsoever a man shall any way declare, he would have to succeed him in his Estate. If therefore a Monarch declare expresly, that such a man shall be his Heire, either by Word or Writing, then is that man immediatly after the decease of his Predecessor, Invested in the right of being Monarch.
Or, by not controlling a Custome: But where Testament, and expresse Words are wanting, other naturall signes of the Will are to be followed: whereof the one is Custome. And therefore where the Custome is, that the next of Kindred absolutely succeedeth, there also the next of Kindred hath right to the Succession; for that, if the will of him that was in posession had been otherwise, he might easily have declared the same in his life time. And likewise where the Custome is, that the next of the Male Kindred succeedeth, there also the right of Succession is in the next of the Kindred Male, for the same reason. And so it is if the Custome were to advance the Female. For what-soever Custome a man may by a word controule, and does not, it is a naturall signe he would have that Custome stand.
Or, by presumption of naturall affection. But where neither Custome, nor Testament hath preceded, there it is to be understood, First, that a Monarchs will is, that the government remain Monarchicall; because. he hath approved that government in himselfe. Secondly, that a Child of his own, Male, or Female, be preferred before any other; because men are presumed to be more enclined by nature, to advance their own children, than the children of other men; and of their own, rather a Male than a Female; because men, are naturally fitter than women, for actions of labour and danger. Thirdly, where his own Issue faileth, rather a Brother than a stranger; and so still the neerer in bloud, rather than the more remote; because it is alwayes presumed that the neerer of kin, is the neerer in affection; and ‘tis evident that a man receives alwayes, by reflexion, the most honour from the greatnesse of his neerest kindred.
But if it be lawfull for a Monarch to dispose of theTo dispose of the Succession, though to a King of another Nation, not un-lawfull. Succession by words of Contract, or Testament, men may perhaps object a great inconvenience: for he may sell, or give his Right of governing to a stranger; which, because strangers (that is, men not used to live under the same government, nor speaking the same language) do commonly undervalue one another, may turn to the oppression of his Subjects; which is indeed a great inconvenience: but it proceedeth not necessarily from the subjection to a strangers government, but from the unskilfulnesse of the Governours, ignorant of the true rules of Politiques. And therefore the Romans when they had subdued many Nations, to make their Government digestible, were wont to take away that grievance, as much as they thought necessary, by giving sometimes to whole Nations, and sometimes to Principall men of every Nation they conquered, not onely the Privileges, but also the Name of Romans; and took many of them into the Senate, and Offices of charge, even in the Roman City. And this was it our most wise King, King James, aymed at, in endeavouring the Union of his two Realms of England and Scotland. Which if he could have obtained, had in all likelihood prevented the Civill warres, which make both those Kingdomes, at this present, miserable. It is not therefore any injury to the people, for a Monarch to dispose of the Succession by Will; though by the fault of many Princes, it hath been sometimes found inconvenient. Of the lawfulnesse of it, this also is an argument, that whatsoever inconvenience can arrive by giving a Kingdome to a stranger, may arrive also by so marrying with strangers, as the Right of Succession may descend upon them: yet this by all men is accounted lawfull.
Thomas Hobbes, Hobbes’s Leviathan reprinted from the edition of 1651 with an Essay by the Late W.G. Pogson Smith (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1909). Chapter: CHAP. XX.: Of Dominion Paternall , and Despoticall .
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A Common-wealth by Acquisition.Common-wealth by Acquisition, is that, where the Soveraign Power is acquired by Force; And it is acquired by force, when men singly, or many together by plurality of voyces, for fear of death, or bonds, do authorise all the actions of that Man, or Assembly, that hath their lives and liberty in his Power.
Wherein different from a Common-wealth by Institution. nd this kind of Dominion, or Soveraignty, differeth from Soveraignty by Institution, onely in this, That men who choose their Soveraign, do it for fear of one another, and not of him whom they Institute: But in this case, they subject themselves, to him they are afraid of. In both cases they do it for fear: which is to be noted by them, that hold all such Covenants, as proceed from fear of death, or violence, voyd: which if it were true, no man, in any kind of Common-wealth, could be obliged to Obedience. It is true, that in a Common-wealth once Instituted, or acquired, Promises proceeding from fear of death, or violence, are no Covenants, nor obliging, when the thing promised is contrary to the Lawes; But the reason is not, because it was made upon fear, but because he that promiseth, hath no right in the thing promised. Also, when he may lawfully performe, and doth not, it is not the Invalidity of the Covenant, that absolveth him, but the Sentence of the Soveraign. Otherwise, whensoever a man lawfully promiseth, he unlawfully breaketh: But when the Soveraign, who is the Actor, acquitteth him, then he is acquitted by him that extorted the promise, as by the Author of such absolution.
But the Rights, and Consequences of Soveraignty, areThe Rights of Soveraignty the same in both. the same in both. His Power cannot, without his consent, be Transferred to another: He cannot Forfeit it: He cannot be Accused by any of his Subjects, of Injury: He cannot be Punished by them: He is Judge of what is necessary for Peace; and Judge of Doctrines: He is Sole Legislator; and Supreme Judge of Controversies; and of the Times, and Occasions of Warre, and Peace: to him it belongeth to choose Magistrates, Counsellours, Commanders, and all other Officers, and Ministers; and to determine of Rewards, and Punishments, Honour, and Order. The reasons whereof, are the same which are alledged in the precedent Chapter, for the same Rights, and Consequences of Soveraignty by Institution.
Dominion is acquired two wayes; By Generation, and byDominion Paternall how attained./Not by Generation, but by Contract; Conquest. The right of Dominion by Generation, is that, which the Parent hath over his Children; and is called Paternall. And is not so derived from the Generation, as if therefore the Parent had Dominion over his Child because he begat him; but from the Childs Consent, either expresse, or by other sufficient arguments declared. For as to the Generation, God hath ordained to man a helper; and there be alwayes two that are equally Parents: the Dominion therefore over the Child, should belong equally to both; and he be equally subject to both, which is impossible; for no man can obey two Masters. And whereas some have attributed the Dominion to the Man onely, as being of the more excellent Sex; they misreckon in it. For there is not alwayes that difference of strength, or prudence between the man and the woman, as that the right can be determined without War. In Common-wealths, this controversie is decided by the Civill Law: and for the most part, (but not alwayes) the sentence is in favour of the Father; because or the most part Common-wealths have been erected by the Fathers, not by the Mothers of families. But the question lyeth now in the state of meer Nature; where there are supposed no lawes of Matrimony; no lawes for the Education of Children; but the Law of Nature, and the naturall inclination of the Sexes, one to another, and to their children. In this condition of meer Nature, either the Parents between themselves dispose of the dominion over the Child by Contract; or do not dispose thereof at all. If they dispose thereof, the right passeth according to the Contract. We find in History that the Amazons Contracted with the Men of the neighbouring Countries, to whom they had recourse for issue, that the issue Male should be sent back, but the Female remain with themselves: so that the dominion of the Females was in the Mother.
Or Education; If there be no Contract, the Dominion is in the Mother. For in the condition of meer Nature, where there are no Matrimoniall lawes, it cannot be known who is the Father, unlesse it be declared by the Mother: and therefore the right of Dominion over the Child dependeth on her will, and is consequently hers. Again, seeing the Infant is first in the power of the Mother, so as she may either nourish, or expose it; if she nourish it, it oweth its life to the Mother; and is therefore obliged to obey her, rather than any other; and by consequence the Dominion over it is hers. But if she expose it, and another find, and nourish it, the Dominion is in him that nourisheth it. For it ought to obey him by whom it is preserved; because preservation of life being the end, for which one man becomes subject to another, every man is supposed to promise obedience, to him, in whose power it is to save, or destroy him.
If the Mother be the Fathers subject, the Child, is inOr Precedent subjection of one of the Parents to the other. the Fathers power: and if the Father be the Mothers subject, (as when a Soveraign Queen marrieth one of her subjects,) the Child is subject to the Mother; because the Father also is her subject.
If a man and a woman, Monarches of two severall Kingdomes, have a Child, and contract concerning who shall have the Dominion of him, the Right of the Dominion passeth by the Contract. If they contract not, the Dominion followeth the Dominion of the place of his residence. For the Soveraign of each Country hath Dominion over all that reside therein.
He that hath the Dominion over the Child, hath Dominion also over the Children of the Child; and over their Childrens Children. For he that hath Dominion over the person of a man, hath Dominion over all that is his; without which, Dominion were but a Title, without the effect.
The Right of Succession to Paternall Dominion, proceedethThe Right of Succession followeth the Rules of the Right of Possession. in the same manner, as doth the Right of Succession to Monarchy; of which I have already sufficiently spoken in the precedent chapter.
Dominion acquired by Conquest, or Victory in war, is that which some Writers call Despoticall, from Δεσπότης which signifieth a Lord, or Master; and is the Dominion of the Master over his Servant. And this Dominion is then acquired to the Victor, when the Vanquished, to avoyd the present stroke of death, covenanteth either inDespoticall Dominion how attained. expresse words, or by other sufficient signes of the Will, that so long as his life, and the liberty of his body is allowed him, the Victor shall have the use thereof, at his pleasure. And after such Covenant made, the Vanquished is a Servant, and not before: for by the word Servant (whether it be derived from Servire, to Serve, or from Servare, to Save, which I leave to Grammarians to dispute) is not meant a Captive, which is kept in prison, or bonds, till the owner of him that took him, or bought him of one that did, shall consider what to do with him: (for such men, (commonly called Slaves,) have no obligation at all; but may break their bonds, or the prison; and kill, or carry away captive their Master, justly:) but one, that being taken, hath corporall liberty allowed him; and upon promise not to run away, nor to do violence to his Master, is trusted by him.
Not by the Victory, but by the Consent of the Vanquished. It is not therefore the Victory, that giveth the right of Dominion over the Vanquished, but his own Covenant. Nor is he obliged because he is Conquered; that is to say, beaten, and taken, or put to flight; but because he commeth in, and Submitteth to the Victor; Nor is the Victor obliged by an enemies rendring himselfe, (without promise of life,) to spare him for this his yeelding to discretion; which obliges not the Victor longer, than in his own discretion hee shall think fit.
And that which men do, when they demand (as it is now called) Quarter, (which the Greeks called Ζωγρία, taking alive,) is to evade the present fury of the Victor, by Submission, and to compound for their life, with Ransome, or Service: and therefore he that hath Quarter hath not his life given, but deferred till farther deliberation; For it is not an yeelding on condition of life, but to discretion. And then onely is his life in security, and his service due, when the Victor hath trusted him with his corporall liberty. For Slaves that work in Prisons, or Fetters, do it not of duty, but to avoyd the cruelty of their task-masters.
The Master of the Servant, is Master also of all he hath; and may exact the use thereof; that is to say, of his goods, of his labour, of his servants, and of his children, as often as he shall think fit. For he holdeth his life of his Master, by the covenant of obedience; that is, of owning, and authorising whatsoever the Master shall do. And in case the Master, if he refuse, kill him, or cast him into bonds, or otherwise punish him for his disobedience, he is himselfe the author of the same; and cannot accuse him of injury.
In summe, the Rights and Consequences of both Paternall and Despoticall Dominion, are the very same with those of a Soveraign by Institution; and for the same reasons: which reasons are set down in the precedent chapter. So that for a man that is Monarch of divers Nations, whereof he hath, in one the Soveraignty by Institution of the people assembled, and in another by Conquest, that is by the submission of each particular, to avoyd death or bonds; to demand of one Nation more than of the other, from the title of Conquest, as being a Conquered Nation, is an act of ignorance of the Rights of Soveraignty. For the Soveraign is absolute over both alike; or else there is no Soveraignty at all; and so every man may Lawfully protect himselfe, if he can, with his own sword, which is the condition of war.
By this it appears, that a great Family if it be notDifference between a Family and a Kingdom. part of some Common-wealth, is of it self, as to the Rights of Soveraignty, a little Monarchy; whether that Family consist of a man and his children; or of a man and his servants; or of a man, and his children, and servants together: wherein the Father or Master is the Soveraign. But yet a Family is not properly a Common-wealth; unlesse it be of that power by its own number, or by other opportunities, as not to be subdued without the hazard of war. For where a number of men are manifestly too weak to defend themselves united, every one may use his own reason in time of danger, to save his own life, either by flight, or by submission to the enemy, as hee shall think best; in the same manner as a very small company of souldiers, surprised by an army, may cast down their armes, and demand quarter, or run away, rather than be put to the sword. And thus much shall suffice; concerning what I find by speculation, and deduction, of Soveraign Rights, fromThe Rights of Monarchy from Scripture. the nature, need, and designes of men, in erecting of Common-wealths, and putting themselves under Monarchs, or Assemblies, entrusted with power enough for their protection.
Let us now consider what the Scripture teacheth in the same point. To Moses, the children of Israel say thus. **Exod.20. 19.Speak thou to us, and we will heare thee; but let not God speak to us, lest we dye. This is absolute obedience to Moses. Concerning the Right of Kings, God himself by the mouth of Samuel, saith, **1 Sam, 8. 11, 12, &c.This shall be the Right of the King you will have to reigne over you. He shall take your sons, and set them to drive his Chariots, and to be his horsemen, and to run before his chariots; and gather in his harvest; and to make his engines of War, and Instruments of his chariots; and shall take your daughters to make perfumes, to be his Cookes, and Bakers. He shall take your fields, your vine-yards, and your olive yards, and give them to his servants. He shall take the tyth of your corne and wine, and give it to the men of his chamber, and to his other servants. He shall take your manservants, and your maid-servants, and the choice of your youth, and employ them in his businesse. He shall take the tyth of your flocks; and you shall be his servants. This is absolute power, and summed up in the last words, you shall be his servants. Againe, when the people heard what power their King was to have, yet they consented thereto, and say thus, **Verse. 19, &c.We will be as all other nations, and our King shall judge our causes, and goe before us, to conduct our wars. Here is confirmed the Right that Soveraigns have, both to the Militia, and to all Judicature; in which is conteined as absolute power, as one man can possibly transferre to another. Again, the prayer of King Salomon to God, was this. **1 Kings 3. 9.Give to thy servant understanding, to judge thy people, and to discerne between Good and Evill. It belongeth therefore to the overaigne to bee Judge, and to præscribe the Rules of discerning Good and Evill: which Rules are Lawes; ** 1 Sam. 24. 9. and therefore in him is the Legislative Power. Saul sought the life of David; yet when it was in his power to slay Saul, and his Servants would have done it, David forbad them, saying, God forbid I should do such an act against my Lord, the anoynted of God. For obedience of servants St. Paul saith, **Coll. 3. 20.Servants obey your masters in All things; and, **Verse 22.Children obey your Parents in All things. There is simple obedience in those that are subject to Paternall or Despoticall Dominion. Again, **Math. 23. 2, 3.The Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses chayre, and therefore All that they shall bid you observe, that observe and do. There again is simple obedience. And St Paul, Warn them that they subject themselves to Princes, and to those that are in Authority, & obey them. This obedience**Tit.3.2. is also simple. Lastly, our Saviour himselfe acknowledges, that men ought to pay such taxes as are by Kings imposed, where he sayes, Give to Cæsar that which is Cæsars; and payed such taxes himselfe. And that the Kings word, is sufficient to take any thing from any Subject, when there is need; and that the King is Judge of that need: For he himselfe, as King of the Jewes, commanded his Disciples to take the Asse, and Asses Colt to carry him into Jerusalem, saying, **Mat. 21. 2, 3.Go into the Village over against you, and you shall find a shee Asse tyed, and her Colt with her, unty them, and bring them to me. And if any man ask you, what you mean by it, Say the Lord hath need of them: And they will let them go. They will not ask whether his necessity be a sufficient title; nor whether he be judge of that necessity; but acquiesce in the will of the Lord.
To these places may be added also that of Genesis, **Gen. 3. 5.You shall be as Gods, knowing Good and Evill. And verse 11. Who told thee that thou wast naked? hast thou eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee thou shouldest not eat? For the Cognisance or Judicature of Good and Evill, being forbidden by the name of the fruit of the tree of Knowledge, as a triall of Adams obedience; The Divel to enflame the Ambition of the woman, to whom that fruit already seemed beautifull, told her that by tasting it, they should be as Gods, knowing Good and Evill. Whereupon having both eaten, they did indeed take upon them Gods office, which is Judicature of Good and Evill; but acquired no new ability to distinguish between them aright. And whereas it is sayd, that having eaten, they saw they were naked; no man hath so interpreted that place, as if they had been formerly blind, and saw not their own skins: the meaning is plain, that it was then they first judged their nakednesse (wherein it was Gods will to create them) to be uncomely; and by being ashamed, did tacitely censure God him selfe. And there upon God saith, Hast thou eaten, &c. as if he should say, doest thou that owest me obedience, take upon thee to judge of my Commandements? Whereby it is cleerly, (though Allegorically,) signified, that the Commands of them that have the right to command, are not by their Subjects to be censured, nor disputed.
So that it appeareth plainly, to my understanding, both from Reason, and Scripture, that the Soveraign Power, whether placed in One Man, as in Monarchy, orSoveraign Power ought in all Common-wealths to be absolute. in one Assembly of men, as in Popular, and Aristocraticall Common-wealths, is as great, as possibly men can be imagined to make it. And though of so unlimited a Power, men may fancy many evill consequences, yet the consequences of the want of it, which is perpetuall warre of every man against his neighbour, are much worse. The condition of man in this life shall never be without Inconveniences; but there happeneth in no Common-wealth any great Inconvenience, but what proceeds from the Subjects disobedience, and breach of those Covenants, from which the Common-wealth hath its being. And whosoever thinking Soveraign Power too great, will seek to make it lesse; must subject himselfe, to the Power, that can limit it; that is to say, to a greater.
The greatest objection is, that of the Practise; when men ask, where, and when, such Power has by Subjects been acknowledged. But one may ask them again, when, or where has there been a Kingdome long free from Sedition and Civill Warre. In those Nations, whose Common-wealths have been long-lived, and not been destroyed, but by forraign warre, the Subjects never did dispute of the Soveraign Power. But howsoever, an argument from the Practise of men, that have not sifted to the bottom, and with exact reason weighed the causes, and nature of Common-wealths, and suffer daily those miseries, that proceed from the ignorance thereof, is invalid. For though in all places of the world, men should lay the foundation of their houses on the sand, it could not thence be inferred, that so it ought to be. The skill of making, and maintaining Common-wealths, consisteth in certain Rules, as doth Arithmetique and Geometry; not (as Tennis-play) on Practise onely: which Rules, neither poor men have the leisure, nor men that have had the leisure, have hitherto had the curiosity, or the method to find out.
Thomas Hobbes, Hobbes’s Leviathan reprinted from the edition of 1651 with an Essay by the Late W.G. Pogson Smith (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1909). Chapter: CHAP. XXI.: Of the Liberty of Subjects .
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The text is in the public domain.
Liberty, or Freedome, signifieth (properly)Liberty what. the absence of Opposition; (by Opposition, I mean externall Impediments of motion;) and may be applyed no lesse to Irrationall, and Inanimate creatures, than to Rationall. For whatsoever is so tyed, or environed, as it cannot move, but within a certain space, which space is determined by the opposition of some externall body, we say it hath not Liberty to go further. And so of all living creatures, whilest they are imprisoned, or restrained, with walls, or chayns; and of the water whilest it is kept in by banks, or vessels, that otherwise would spread it selfe into a larger space, we use to say, they are not at Liberty, to move in such manner, as without those externall impediments they would. But when the impediment of motion, is in the constitution of the thing it selfe, we use not to say, it wants the Liberty; but the Power to move; as when a stone lyeth still, or a man is fastned to his bed by sicknesse.
And according to this proper, and generally received meaning of the word, AFree-Man, is he, that in thoseWhat it is to be Free.things, which by his strength and wit he is able to do, is not hindred to doe what he has a will to. But when the words Free, and Liberty, are applyed to any thing but Bodies, they are abused; for that which is not subject to Motion, is not subject to Impediment: And therefore, when ‘tis said (for example) The way is Free, no Liberty of the way is signified, but of those that walk in it without stop. And when we say a Guift is Free, there is not meant any Liberty of the Guift, but of the Giver, that was not bound by any law, or Covenant to give it. So when we speak Freely, it is not the Liberty of voice, or pronunciation, but of the man, whom no law hath obliged to speak otherwise then he did. Lastly, from the use of the word Free-will, no Liberty can be inferred of the will, desire, or inclination, but the Liberty of the man; which consisteth in this, that he finds no stop, in doing what he has the will, desire, or inclination to doe.
Feare and Liberty consistent. Feare, and Liberty are consistent; as when a man throweth his goods into the Sea for feare the ship should sink, he doth it neverthelesse very willingly, and may refuse to doe it if he will: It is therefore the action, of one that was free: so a man sometimes pays his debt, only for feare of Imprisonment, which because no body hindred him from detaining, was the action of a man at liberty. And generally all actions which men doe in Common-wealths, for feare of the law, are actions, which the doers had liberty to omit.
Liberty and Necessity consistent.Liberty, and Necessity are consistent: As in the water, that hath not only liberty, but a necessity of descending by the Channel; so likewise in the Actions which men voluntarily doe: which, because they proceed from their will, proceed from liberty; and yet, because every act of mans will, and every desire, and inclination proceedeth from some cause, and that from another cause, in a continuall chaine, (whose first link is in the hand of God the first of all causes,) they proceed from necessity. So that to him that could see the connexion of those causes, the necessity of all mens voluntary actions, would appeare manifest. And therefore God, that seeth, and disposeth all things, seeth also that the liberty of man in doing what he will, is accompanied with the necessity of doing that which God will, & no more, nor lesse. For though men may do many things, which God does not command, nor is therefore Author of them; yet they can have no passion, nor appetite to any thing, of which appetite Gods will is not the cause. And did not his will assure the necessity of mans will, and consequently of all that on mans will dependeth, the liberty of men would be a contradiction, and impediment to the omnipotence and liberty of God. And this shall suffice, (as to the matter in hand) of that naturall liberty, which only is properly called liberty.
Artificiall Bonds, or Covenants. But as men, for the atteyning of peace, and conservation of themselves thereby, have made an Artificiall Man, which we call a Common-wealth; so also have they made Artificiall Chains, called Civill Lawes, which they themselves, by mutuall covenants, have fastned at one end, to the lips of that Man, or Assembly, to whom they have given the Soveraigne Power; and at the other end to their own Ears. These Bonds in their own nature but weak, may neverthelesse be made to hold, by the danger, though not by the difficulty of breaking them.
In relation to these Bonds only it is, that I amLiberty of Subjects consisteth in Liberty from covenants. to speak now, of the Liberty of Subjects. For seeing there is no Common-wealth in the world, wherein there be Rules enough set down, for the regulating of all the actions, and words of men, (as being a thing impossible:) it followeth necessarily, that in all kinds of actions, by the laws prætermitted, men have the Liberty, of doing what their own reasons shall suggest, for the most profitable to themselves. For if wee take Liberty in the proper sense, for corporall Liberty; that is to say, freedome from chains, and prison, it were very absurd for men to clamor as they doe, for the Liberty they so manifestly enjoy. Againe, if we take Liberty, for an exemption from Lawes, it is no lesse absurd, for men to demand as they doe, that Liberty, by which all other men may be masters of their lives. And yet as absurd as it is, this is it they demand; not knowing that the Lawes are of no power to protect them, without a Sword in the hands of a man, or men, to cause those laws to be put in execution. The Liberty of a Subject, lyeth therefore only in those things, which in regulating their actions, the Soveraign hath prætermitted: such as is the Liberty to buy, and sell, and otherwise contract with one another; to choose their own aboad, their own diet, their own trade of life, and institute their children as they themselves think fit; & the like.
Neverthelesse we are not to understand, that by suchLiberty of the Subject consistent with the unlimited power of the Soveraign. Liberty, the Soveraign Power of life, and death, is either abolished, or limited. For it has been already shewn, that nothing the Soveraign Representative can doe to a Subject, on what pretence soever, can properly be called Injustice, or Injury; because every Subject is Author of every act the Soveraign doth; so that he never wanteth Right to any thing, otherwise, than as he himself is the Subject of God, and bound thereby to observe the laws of Nature. And therefore it may, and doth often happen in Common-wealths, that a Subject may be put to death, by the command of the Soveraign Power; and yet neither doe the other wrong: As when Jeptha caused his daughter to be sacrificed: In which, and the like cases, he that so dieth, had Liberty to doe the action, for which he is neverthelesse, without Injury put to death. And the same holdeth also in a Soveraign Prince, that putteth to death an Innocent Subject. For though the action be against the law of Nature, as being contrary to Equitie, (as was the killing of Uriah, by David;) yet it was not an Injurie to Uriah; but to God. Not to Uriah, because the right to doe what he pleased, was given him by Uriah himself: And yet to God, because David was Gods Subject; and prohibited all Iniquitie by the law of Nature. Which distinction, David himself, when he repented the fact, evidently confirmed, saying, To thee only have I sinned. In the same manner, the people of Athens, when they banished the most potent of their Common-wealth for ten years, thought they committed no Injustice; and yet they never questioned what crime he had done; but what hurt he would doe: Nay they commanded the banishment of they knew not whom; and every Citizen bringing his Oystershell into the market place, written with the name of him he desired should be banished, without actuall accusing him, sometimes banished an Aristides, for his reputation of Justice; And sometimes a scurrilous Jester, as Hyperbolus, to make a Jest of it. And yet a man cannot say, the Soveraign People of Athens wanted right to banish them; or an Athenian the Libertie to Jest, or to be Just.
The Liberty which writers praise, is the Liberty of Soveraigns; not of Private men. The Libertie, whereof there is so frequent, and honourable mention, in the Histories, and Philosophy of the Antient Greeks, and Romans, and in the writings, and discourse of those that from them have received all their learning in the Politiques, is not the Libertie of Particular men; but the Libertie of the Common-wealth: which is the same with that, which every man then should have, if there were no Civil Laws, nor Common-wealth at all. And the effects of it also be the same. For as amongst masterlesse men, there is perpetuall war, of every man against his neighbour; no inheritance, to transmit to the Son, nor to expect from the Father; no propriety of Goods, or Lands; no security; but a full and absolute Libertie in every Particular man: So in States, and Common-wealths not dependent on one another, every Common-wealth, (not every man) has an absolute Libertie, to doe what it shall judge (that is to say, what that Man, or Assemblie that representeth it, shall judge) most conducing to their benefit. But withall, they live in the condition of a perpetuall war, and upon the confines of battel, with their frontiers armed, and canons planted against their neighbours round about. The Athenians, and Romanes were free; that is, free Common-wealths: not that any particular men had the Libertie to resist their own Representative; but that their Representative had the Libertie to resist, or invade other people. There is written on the Turrets of the city of Luca in great characters at this day, the word LIBERTAS; yet no man can thence inferre, that a particular man has more Libertie, or Immunitie from the service of the Commonwealth there, than in Constantinople. Whether a Common-wealth be Monarchicall, or Popular, the Freedome is still the same.
But it is an easy thing, for men to be deceived, by the specious name of Libertie; and for want of Judgement to distinguish, mistake that for their Private Inheritance, and Birth right, which is the right of the Publique only. And when the same errour is confirmed by the authority of men in reputation for their writings in this subject, it is no wonder if it produce sedition, and change of Government. In these westerne parts of the world, we are made to receive our opinions concerning the Institution, and Rights of Common-wealths, from Aristotle, Cicero, and other men, Greeks and Romanes, that living under Popular States, derived those Rights, not from the Principles of Nature, but transcribed them into their books, out of the Practise of their own Common-wealths, which were Popular; as the Grammarians describe the Rules of Language, out of the Practise of the time; or the Rules of Poetry, out of the Poems of Homer and Virgil. And because the Athenians were taught, (to keep them from desire of changing their Government,) that they were Freemen, and all that lived under Monarchy were slaves; therefore Aristotle puts it down in his Politiques, (lib. 6. cap. 2.) In democracy, Liberty is to be supposed: for ‘tis commonly held, that no man is Free in any other Government. And as Aristotle; so Cicero, and other Writers have grounded their Civill doctrine, on the opinions of the Romans, who were taught to hate Monarchy, at first, by them that having deposed their Soveraign, shared amongst them the Soveraignty of Rome; and afterwards by their Successors. And by reading of these Greek, and Latine Authors, men from their childhood have gotten a habit (under a false shew of Liberty,) of favouring tumults, and of licentious controlling the actions of their Soveraigns; and again of controlling those controllers, with the effusion of so much blood; as I think I may truly say, there was never any thing so deerly bought, as these Western parts have bought the learning of the Greek and Latine tongues.
Liberty of Subjects how to be measured. To come now to the particulars of the true Liberty of a Subject; that is to say, what are the things, which though commanded by the Soveraign, he may neverthelesse, without Injustice, refuse to do; we are to consider, what Rights we passe away, when we make a Common-wealth; or (which is all one,) what Liberty we deny our selves, by owning all the Actions (without exception) of the Man, or Assembly we make our Soveraign. For in the act of our Submission, consisteth both our Obligation, and our Liberty; which must therefore be inferred by arguments taken from thence; there being no Obligation on any man, which ariseth not from some Act of his own; for all men equally, are by Nature Free. And because such arguments, must either be drawn from the expresse words, I Authorise all his Actions, or from the Intention of him that submitteth himselfe to his Power, (which Intention is to be understood by the End for which he so submitteth;) The Obligation, and Liberty of the Subject, is to be derived, either from those Words, (or others equivalent;) or else from the End of the Institution of Soveraignty; namely, the Peace of the Subjects within themselves, and their Defence against a common Enemy.
First therefore, seeing Soveraignty by Institution, isSubjects have Liberty to defend their own bodies, even against them that lawfully invade them; by Covenant of every one to every one; and Soveraignty by Acquisition, by Covenants of the Vanquished to the Victor, or Child to the Parent; It is manifest, that every Subject has Liberty in all those things, the right whereof cannot by Covenant be transferred. I have shewn before in the 14. Chapter, that Covenants, not to defend a mans own body, are voyd. Therefore,
If the Soveraign command a man (though justly condemned,) to kill, wound, or mayme himselfe; or not to resist those that assault him; or to abstain from the use of food, ayre, medicine, or any other thing, without which he cannot live; yet hath that man the Liberty to disobey.Are not bound to hurt themselves;
If a man be interrogated by the Soveraign, or his Authority, concerning a crime done by himselfe, he is not bound (without assurance of Pardon) to confesse it; because no man (as I have shewn in the same Chapter) can be obliged by Covenant to accuse himselfe.
Again, the Consent of a Subject to Soveraign Power, is contained in these words, I Authorise, or take upon me, all his actions; in which there is no restriction at all, of his own former naturall Liberty: For by allowing him to kill me, I am not bound to kill my selfe when he commands me. ‘Tis one thing to say, Kill me, or my fellow, if you please; another thing to say, I will kill my selfe, or my fellow. It followeth therefore, that
No man is bound by the words themselves, either to kill himselfe, or any other man; And consequently, that the Obligation a man may sometimes have, upon the Command of the Soveraign to execute any dangerous, or dishonourable Office, dependeth not on the Words of our Submission; but on the Intention; which is to be understood by the End thereof. When therefore our refusall to obey, frustrates the End for which the Soveraignty was ordained; then there is no Liberty to refuse: otherwise there is.
Upon this ground, a man that is commanded asNor to warfare, unlesse they voluntarily undertake it. a Souldier to fight against the enemy, though his Soveraign have Right enough to punish his refusall with death, may neverthelesse in many cases refuse, without Injustice; as when he substituteth a sufficient Souldier in his place: for in this case he deserteth not the service of the Common-wealth. And there is allowance to be made for naturall timorousnesse, not onely to women, (of whom no such dangerous duty is expected,) but also to men of feminine courage. When Armies fight, there is on one side, or both, a running away; yet when they do it not out of trechery, but fear, they are not esteemed to do it unjustly, but dishonourably. For the same reason, to avoyd battell, is not Injustice, but Cowardise. But he that inrowleth himselfe a Souldier, or taketh imprest mony, taketh away the excuse of a timorous nature; and is obliged, not onely to go to the battell, but also not to run from it, without his Captaines leave. And when the Defence of the Common-wealth, requireth at once the help of all that are able to bear Arms, every one is obliged; because otherwise the Institution of the Common-wealth, which they have not the purpose, or courage to preserve, was in vain.
To resist the Sword of the Common-wealth, in defence of another man, guilty, or innocent, no man hath Liberty; because such Liberty, takes away from the Soveraign, the means of Protecting us; and is therefore destructive of the very essence of Government. But in case a great many men together, have already resisted the Soveraign Power unjustly, or committed some Capitall crime, for which every one of them expecteth death, whether have they not the Liberty then to joyn together, and assist, and defend one another? Certainly they have: For they but defend their lives, which the Guilty man may as well do, as the Innocent. There was indeed injustice in the first breach of their duty; Their bearing of Arms subsequent to it, though it be to maintain what they have done, is no new unjust act. And if it be onely to defend their persons, it is not unjust at all. But the offer of pardon taketh from them, to whom it is offered, the plea of self-defence, and maketh their perseverance in assisting, or defending the rest, unlawfull.
The Greatest Liberty of Subjects, dependeth on the Silence of the Law. As for other Lyberties, they depend on the Silence of the Law. In cases where the Soveraign has prescribed no rule, there the Subject hath the Liberty to do, or forbeare, according to his own discretion. And therefore such Liberty is in some places more, and in some lesse; and in some times more, in other times lesse, according as they that have the Soveraignty shall think most convenient. As for Example, there was a time, when in England a man might enter in to his own Land, (and dispossesse such as wrongfully possessed it,) by force. But in after-times, that Liberty of Forcible Entry, was taken away by a Statute made (by the King) in Parliament. And in some places of the world, men have the Liberty of many wives: in other places, such Liberty is not allowed.
If a Subject have a controversie with his Soveraigne, of debt, or of right of possession of lands or goods, or concerning any service required at his hands, or concerning any penalty, corporall, or pecuniary, grounded on a precedent Law; he hath the same Liberty to sue for his right, as if it were against a Subject; and before such Judges, as are appointed by the Soveraign. For seeing the Soveraign demandeth by force of a former Law, and not by vertue of his Power; he declareth thereby, that he requireth no more, than shall appear to be due by that Law. The sute therefore is not contrary to the will of the Soveraign; and consequently the Subject hath the Liberty to demand the hearing of his Cause; and sentence, according to that Law. But if he demand, or take any thing by pretence of his Power; there lyeth, in that case, no action of Law: for all that is done by him in Vertue of his Power, is done by the Authority of every Subject, and consequently, he that brings an action against the Soveraign, brings it against himselfe.
If a Monarch, or Soveraign Assembly, grant a Liberty to all, or any of his Subjects, which Grant standing, he is disabled to provide for their safety, the Grant is voyd; unlesse he directly renounce, or transferre the Soveraignty to another. For in that he might openly, (if it had been his will,) and in plain termes, have renounced, or transferred it, and did not; it is to be understood it was not his will; but that the Grant proceeded from ignorance of the repugnancy between such a Liberty and the Soveraign Power: and therefore the Soveraignty is still retayned; and consequently all those Powers, which are necessary to the exercising thereof; such as are the Power of Warre, and Peace, of Judicature, of appointing Officers, and Councellours, of levying Mony, and the rest named in the 18th Chapter.
In what Cases Subjects are absolved of their obedience to their Soveraign. The Obligation of Subjects to the Soveraign, is understood to last as long, and no longer, than the power lasteth, by which he is able to protect them. For the right men have by Nature to protect themselves, when none else can protect them, can by no Covenant be relinquished. The Soveraignty is the Soule of the Common-wealth; which once departed from the Body, the members doe no more receive their motion from it. The end of Obedience is Protection; which, wheresoever a man seeth it, either in his own, or in anothers sword, Nature applyeth his obedience to it, and his endeavour to maintaine it. And though Soveraignty, in the intention of them that make it, be immortall; yet is it in its own nature, not only subject to violent death, by forreign war; but also through the ignorance, and passions of men, it hath in it, from the very institution, many seeds of a naturall mortality, by Intestine Discord.
In case of Captivity. If a Subject be taken prisoner in war; or his person, or his means of life be within the Guards of the enemy, and hath his life and corporall Libertie given him, on condition to be Subject to the Victor, he hath Libertie to accept the condition; and having accepted it, is the subject of him that took him; because he had no other way to preserve himself. The case is the same, if he be deteined on the same termes, in a forreign country. But if a man be held in prison, or bonds, or is not trusted with the libertie of his bodie; he cannot be understood to be bound by Covenant to subjection; and therefore may, if he can, make his escape by any means whatsoever.
In case the Soveraign cast off the government from himself and his Heyrs. If a Monarch shall relinquish the Soveraignty, both for himself, and his heires; His Subjects returne to the absolute Libertie of Nature; because, though Nature may declare who are his Sons, and who are the nerest of his Kin; yet it dependeth on his own will, (as hath been said in the precedent chapter,) who shall be his Heyr. If therefore he will have no Heyre, there is no Soveraignty, nor Subjection. The case is the same, if he dye without known Kindred, and without declaration of his Heyre. For then there can no Heire be known, and consequently no Subjection be due.
If the Soveraign Banish his Subject; duringIn case of Banishment the Banishment, he is not Subject. But he that is sent on a message, or hath leave to travell, is still Subject; but it is, by Contract between Soveraigns, not by vertue of the covenant of Subjection. For whosoever entreth into anothers dominion, is Subject to all the Laws thereof; unlesse he have a privilege by the amity of the Soveraigns, or by speciall licence.
If a Monarch subdued by war, render himself SubjectIn case the Soveraign render himself Subject to another. to the Victor; his Subjects are delivered from their former obligation, and become obliged to the Victor. But if he be held prisoner, or have not the liberty of his own Body; he is not understood to have given away the Right of Soveraigntie; and therefore his Subjects are obliged to yield obedience to the Magistrates formerly placed, governing not in their own name, but in his. For, his Right remaining, the question is only of the Administration; that is to say, of the Magistrates and Officers; which, if he have not means to name, he is supposed to approve those, which he himself had formerly appointed.
Thomas Hobbes, Hobbes’s Leviathan reprinted from the edition of 1651 with an Essay by the Late W.G. Pogson Smith (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1909). Chapter: CHAP. XXVIII.: Of Punishments , and Rewards .
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The definition of Punishment. A Punishment, is an Evill inflicted by publique Authority, on him that hath done, or omitted that which is Judged by the same Authority to be a Transgression of the Law; to the end that the will of men may thereby the better be disposed to obedience.
Right to Punish whence derived. Before I inferre any thing from this definition, there is a question to be answered, of much importance; which is, by what door the Right, or Authority of Punishing in any case, came in. For by that which has been said before, no man is supposed bound by Covenant, not to resist violence; and consequently it cannot be intended, that he gave any right to another to lay violent hands upon his person. In the making of a Common-wealth, every man giveth away the right of defending another; but not of defending himselfe. Also he obligeth himselfe, to assist him that hath the Soveraignty, in the Punishing of another; but of himselfe not. But to covenant to assist the Soveraign, in doing hurt to another, unlesse he that so covenanteth have a right to doe it himselfe, is not to give him a Right to Punish. It is manifest therefore that the Right which the Common-wealth (that is, he, or they that represent it) hath to Punish, is not grounded on any concession, or gift of the Subjects. But I have also shewed formerly, that before the Institution of Common-wealth, every man had a right to every thing, and to do whatsoever he thought necessary to his own preservation; subduing, hurting, or killing any man in order thereunto. And this is the foundation of that right of Punishing, which is exercised in every common-wealth. For the Subjects did not give the Soveraign that right; but onely in laying down theirs, strengthned him to use his own, as he should think fit, for the preservation of them all: so that it was not given, but left to him, and to him onely; and (excepting the limits set him by naturall Law) as entire, as in the condition of meer Nature, and of warre of every one against his neighbour.
From the definition of Punishment, I inferre, First,Private injuries, and revenges no Punishments: that neither private revenges, nor injuries of private men, can properly be stiled Punishment; because they proceed not from publique Authority.
Secondly, that to be neglected, and unpreferred byNor denyall of preferment: the publique favour, is not a Punishment; because no new evill is thereby on any man Inflicted; he is onely left in the estate he was in before.
Thirdly, that the evill inflicted by publique Authority,Nor pain inflicted without publique hearing: without precedent publique condemnation, is not to be stiled by the name of Punishment; but of an hostile act; because the fact for which a man is Punished, ought first to be Judged by publique Authority, to be a transgression of the Law.
Fourthly, that the evill inflicted by usurped power,Nor pain inflicted by Usurped power. and Judges without Authority from the Soveraign, is not Punishment; but an act of hostility; because the acts of power usurped, have not for Author, the person condemned; and therefore are not acts of publique Authority.
Nor pain inflicted without respect to the future good. Fifthly, that all evill which is inflicted without intention, or possibility of disposing the Delinquent, or (by his example) other men, to obey the Lawes, is not Punishment; but an act of hostility; because without such an end, no hurt done is contained under that name.
Naturall evill consequences, no Punishments. Sixthly, whereas to certain actions, there be annexed by Nature, divers hurtfull consequences; as when a man in assaulting another, is himselfe slain, or wounded; or when he falleth into sicknesse by the doing of some unlawfull act; such hurt, though in respect of God, who is the author of Nature, it may be said to be inflicted, and therefore a Punishment divine; yet it is not contaned in the name of Punishment in respect of men, because it is not inflicted by the Authority of man.
Hurt inflicted, if lesse than the benefit of transgressing, is not Punishment. Seventhly, If the harm inflicted be lesse than the benefit, or contentment that naturally followeth the crime committed, that harm is not within the definition; and is rather the Price, or Redemption, than the Punishment of a Crime: Because it is of the nature of Punishment, to have for end, the disposing of men to obey the Law; which end (if it be lesse than the benefit of the transgression) it attaineth not, but worketh a contrary effect.
Where the Punishment is annexed to the Law, a greater hurt is not Punishment, but Hostility. Eighthly, If a Punishment be determined and prescribed in the Law it selfe, and after the crime committed, there be a greater Punishment inflicted, the excesse is not Punishment, but an act of hostility. For seeing the aym of Punishment is not a revenge, but terrour; and the terrour of a great Punishment unknown, is taken away by the declaration of a lesse, the unexpected addition is no part of | the Punishment. but where there is no Punishment at all determined by the Law, there whatsoever is inflicted, hath the nature of Punishment. For he that goes about the violation of a Law, wherein no penalty is determined, expecteth an indeterminate, that is to say, an arbitrary Punishment.
Hurt inflicted for a fact done before the Law, no Punishment. Ninthly, Harme inflicted for a Fact done before there was a Law that forbad it, is not Punishment, but an act of Hostility: For before the Law, there is no transgression of the Law: But Punishment supposeth a fact judged, to have been a transgression of the Law; Therefore Harme inflicted before the Law made, is not Punishment, but an act of Hostility.
Tenthly, Hurt inflicted on the Representative of theThe Representative of the Common-wealth Unpunishable. Common-wealth, is not Punishment, but an act of Hostility: Because it is of the nature of Punishment, to be inflicted by publique Authority, which is the Authority only of the Representative it self.
Lastly, Harme inflicted upon one that is a declared enemy, fals not under the name of Punishment: BecauseHurt to Revolled Subjects is done by right of War, not by way of Punishment. seeing they were either never subject to the Law, and therefore cannot transgresse it; or having been subject to it, and professing to be no longer so, by consequence deny they can transgresse it, all the Harmes that can be done them, must be taken as acts of Hostility. But in declared Hostility, all infliction of evill is lawfull. From whence it followeth, that if a subject shall by fact, or word, wittingly, and deliberatly deny the authority of the Representative of the Common-wealth, (whatsoever penalty hath been formerly ordained for Treason,) he may lawfully be made to suffer whatsoever the Representative will: For in denying subjection, he denyes such Punishment as by the Law hath been ordained; and therefore suffers as an enemy of the Common-wealth; that is, according to the will of the Representative. For the Punishments set down in the Law, are to Subjects, not to Enemies; such as are they, that having been by their own act Subjects, deliberately revolting, deny the Soveraign Power.
The first, and most generall distribution of Punishments, is into Divine, and Humane. Of the former I shall have occasion, to speak, in a more convenient place hereafter.
Humane, are those Punishments that be inflicted by the Commandement of Man; and are either Corporall, or Pecuniary, or Ignominy, or Imprisonment, or Exile, or mixt of these.
Corporall Punishment is that, which is inflicted on thePunishments Corporall. body directly, and according to the intention of him that inflicteth it: such as are stripes, or wounds, or deprivation of such pleasures of the body, as were before lawfully enjoyed.
Capitall. And of these, some be Capitall, some Lesse than Capitall. Capitall, is the Infliction of Death; and that either simply, or with torment. Lesse than Capitall, are Stripes, Wounds, Chains, and any other corporall Paine, not in its own nature mortall. For if upon the Infliction of a Punishment death follow not in the intention of the Inflicter, the Punishment is not to bee esteemed Capitall, though the harme prove mortall by an accident not to be foreseen; in which case death is not inflicted, but hastened.
Pecuniary Punishment, is that which consisteth not only in the deprivation of a Summe of Mony, but also of Lands, or any other goods which are usually bought and sold for mony. And in case the Law, that ordaineth such a punishment, be made with design to gather mony, from such as shall transgresse the same, it is not properly a Punishment, but the Price of priviledge, and exemption from the Law, which doth not absolutely forbid the fact, but only to those that are not able to pay the mony; except where the Law is Naturall, or part of Religion; for in that case it is not an exemption from the Law, but a transgression of it. As where a Law exacteth a Pecuniary mulct, of them that take the name of God in vaine, the payment of the mulct, is not the price of a dispensation to sweare, but the Punishment of the transgression of a Law undispensable. In like manner if the Law impose a Summe of Mony to be payd, to him that has been Injured; this is but a satisfaction for the hurt done him; and extinguisheth the accusation of the party injured, not the crime of the offender.
Ignominy.Ignominy, is the infliction of such Evill, as is made Dishonorable; or the deprivation of such Good, as is made Honourable by the Common-wealth. For there be some things Honorable by Nature; as the effects of Courage, Magna[ni]mity, Strength, Wisdome, and other abilities of body and mind: Others made Honorable by the Common-wealth; as Badges, Titles, Offices, or any other singular marke of the Soveraigns favour. The former, (though they may faile by nature, or accident,) cannot be taken away by a Law; and therefore the losse of them is not Punishment. But the later, may be taken away by the publique authority that made them Honorable, and are properly Punishments: Such are degrading men condemned, of their Badges, Titles, and Offices; or declaring them uncapable of the like in time to come.
Imprisonment, is when a man is by publique AuthorityImprisonment. deprived of liberty; and may happen from two divers ends; whereof one is the safe custody of a man accused; the other is the inflicting of paine on a man condemned. The former is not Punishment; because no man is supposed to be Punisht, before he be Judicially heard, and declared guilty. And therefore whatsoever hurt a man is made to suffer by bonds, or restraint, before his cause be heard, over and above that which is necessary to assure his custody, is against the Law of Nature. But the later is Punishment, because Evill, and inflicted by publique Authority, for somewhat that has by the same Authority been Judged a Transgression of the Law. Under this word Impriso[n]ment, I comprehend all restraint of motion, caused by an externall obstacle, be it a House, which is called by the general name of a Prison; or an Iland, as when men are said to be confined to it; or a place where men are set to worke, as in old time men have been condemned to Quarries, and in these times to Gallies; or be it a Chaine, or any other such impediment.
Exile, (Banishment) is when a man is for a crime,Exile condemned to depart out of the dominion of the Common-wealth, or out of a certaine part thereof; and during a prefixed time, or for ever, not to return into it: and seemeth not in its own nature, without other circumstances, to be a Punishment; but rather an escape, or a publique commandement to avoid Punishment by flight. And Cicero sayes, there was never any such Punishment ordained in the City of Rome; but cals it a refuge of men in danger. For if a man banished, be neverthelesse permitted to enjoy his Goods, and the Revenue of his Lands, the meer change of ayr is no Punishment; nor does it tend to that benefit of the Common-wealth, for which all Punishments are ordained, (that is to say, to the forming of mens wils to the observation of the Law;) but many times to the dammage of the Common-wealth. For a Banished man, is a lawfull enemy of the Common-wealth that banished him; as being no more a Member of the same. But if he be withall deprived of his Lands, or Goods, then the Punishment lyeth not in the Exile, but is to be reckoned amongst Punishments Pecuniary.
The Punishment of Innocent Subjects is contrary to the Law of Nature. All Punishments of Innocent subjects, be they great or little, are against the Law of Nature: For Punishment is only for Transgression of the Law, and therefore there can be no Punishment of the Innocent. It is therefore a violation, First, of that Law of Nature, which forbiddeth all men, in their Revenges, to look at any thing but some future good: For there can arrive no good to the Common-wealth, by Punishing the Innocent. Secondly, of that, which forbiddeth Ingratitude: For seeing all Soveraign Power, is originally given by the consent of every one of the Subjects, to the end they should as long as they are obedient, be protected thereby; the Punishment of the Innocent, is a rendring of Evill for Good. And thirdly, of the Law that commandeth Equity; that is to say, an equall distribution of Justice; which in Punishing the Innocent is not observed.
But the Harme done to Innocents in War, not so: But the Infliction of what evill soever, on an Innocent man, that is not a Subject, if it be for the benefit of the Common-wealth, and without violation of any former Covenant, is no breach of the Law of Nature. For all men that are not Subjects, are either Enemies, or else they have ceased from being so, by some precedent covenants. But against Enemies, whom the Common-wealth judgeth capable to do them hurt, it is lawfull by the originall Right of Nature to make warre; wherein the Sword Judgeth not, nor doth the Victor make distinctionNor that which is done to declared Rebels. f Nocent, and Innocent, as to the time past; nor has other respect of mercy, than as it conduceth to the good of his own People. And upon this ground it is, that also in Subjects, who deliberatly deny the Authority of the Common-wealth established, the vengeance is lawfully extended, not onely to the Fathers, but also to the third and fourth generation not yet in being, and consequently innocent of the fact, for which they are afflicted: because the nature of this offence, consisteth in the renouncing of subjection; which is a relapse into the condition of warre, commonly called Rebellion; and they that so offend, suffer not as Subjects, but as Enemies. For Rebellion, is but warre renewed.
Reward is either Salary, or Grace.Reward, is either of Gift, or by Contract. When by Contract, it is called Salary, and Wages; which is benefit due for service performed, or promised. When of Gift, it is benefit proceeding from the grace of them that bestow it, to encourage, or enable men to do them service. And therefore when the Soveraign of a Common wealth appointeth a Salary to any publique Office, he that receiveth it, is bound in Justice to performe his office; otherwise, he is bound onely in honour, to acknowledgement, and an endeavour of requitall. For though men have no lawfull remedy, when they be commanded to quit their private businesse, to serve the publique, without Reward, or Salary; yet they are not bound thereto, by the Law of Nature, nor by the Institution of the Common-wealth, unlesse the service cannot otherwise be done; because it is supposed the Soveraign may make use of all their means, insomuch as the most common Souldier, may demand the wages of his warrefare, as a debt.
The benefits which a Soveraign bestoweth on a Subject,Benefits bestowed for fear, are not Rewards. for fear of some power, and ability he hath to do hurt to the Common-wealth, are not properly Rewards; for they are not Salaryes; because there is in this case no contract supposed, every man being obliged already not to do the Common-wealth disservice: nor are they Graces; because they be extorted by fear, which ought not to be incident to the Soveraign Power: but are rather Sacrifices, which the Soveraign (considered in his naturall person, and not in the person of the Common-wealth) makes, for the appeasing the discontent of him he thinks more potent than himselfe; and encourage not to obedience, but on the contrary, to the continuance, and increasing of further extortion.
Salaries Certain and Casuall. And whereas some Salaries are certain, and proceed from the publique Treasure; and others uncertain, and casuall, proceeding from the execution of the Office for which the Salary is ordained; the later is in some cases hurtfull to the Common-wealth; as in the case of Judicature. For where the benefit of the Judges, and Ministers of a Court of Justice, ariseth for the multitude of Causes that are brought to their cognisance, there must needs follow two Inconveniences: One, is the nourishing of sutes; for the more sutes, the greater benefit: and another that depends on that, which is contention about Jurisdiction; each Court drawing to it selfe, as many Causes as it can. But in offices of Execution there are not those Inconveniences; because their employment cannot be encreased by any endeavour of their own. And thus much shall suffice for the nature of Punishment, and Reward; which are, as it were, the Nerves and Tendons, that move the limbes and joynts of a Common-wealth.
Hitherto I have set forth the nature of Man, (whose Pride and other Passions have compelled him to submit himselfe to Government;) together with the great power of his Governour, whom I compared to Leviathan, taking that comparison out of the two last verses of the one and fortieth of Job; where God having set forth the great power of Leviathan, calleth him King of the Proud.There is nothing, saith he, on earth, to be compared with him. He is made so as not to be afraid. Hee seeth every high thing below him; and is King of all the children of pride. But because he is mortall, and subject to decay, as all other Earthly creatures are; and because there is that in heaven, (though not on earth) that he should stand in fear of, and whose Lawes he ought to obey; I shall in the next following Chapters speak of his Diseases, and the causes of his Mortality; and of what Lawes of Nature he is bound to obey.
Thomas Hobbes, Hobbes’s Leviathan reprinted from the edition of 1651 with an Essay by the Late W.G. Pogson Smith (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1909). Chapter: CHAP. XXVI.: Of Civill Lawes .
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The text is in the public domain.
ByCivillLawes, I understand the Lawes, thatCivill Law what. men are therefore bound to observe, because they are Members, not of this, or that Common-wealth in particular, but of a Common-wealth. For the knowledge of particular Lawes belongeth to them, that professe the study of the Lawes of their severall Countries; but the knowledge of Civill Law in generall, to any man. The antient Law of Rome was called their Civil Law, from the word Civitas, which signifies a Common-wealth: And those Countries, which having been under the Roman Empire, and governed by that Law, retaine still such part thereof as they think fit, call that part the Civill Law, to distinguish it from the rest of their own Civill Lawes. But that is not it I intend to speak of here; my designe being not to shew what is Law here, and there; but what is Law; as Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, and divers others have done, without taking upon them the profession of the study of the Law.
And first it is manifest, that Law in generall, is not Counsell, but Command; nor a Command of any man to any man; but only of him, whose Command is addressed to one formerly obliged to obey him. And as for Civill Law, it addeth only the name of the person Commanding, which is Persona Civitatis, the Person of the Common-wealth.
Which considered, I define Civill Law in this manner. CivillLaw, Is to every Subject, those Rules, which the Common-wealth hath Commanded him, by Word, Writing, or other sufficient Sign of the Will, to make use of, for the Distinction of Right, and Wrong; that is to say, of what is contrary, and what is not contrary to the Rule.
In which definition, there is nothing that is not at first sight evident. For every man seeth, that some Lawes are addressed to all the Subjects in generall; some to particular Provinces; some to particular Vocations; and some to particular Men; and are therefore Lawes, to every of those to whom the Command is directed; and to none else. As also, that Lawes are the Rules of Just, and Unjust; nothing being reputed Unjust, that is not contrary to some Law. Likewise, that none can make Lawes but the Common-wealth; because our Subjection is to the Common-wealth only: and that Commands, are to be signified by sufficient Signs; because a man knows not otherwise how to obey them. And therefore, whatsoever can from this definition by necessary consequence be deduced, ought to be acknowledged for truth. Now I deduce from it this that followeth.
1.The Soveraign is Legislator. The Legislator in all Common-wealths, is only the Soveraign, be he one Man, as in a Monarchy, or one Assembly of men, as in a Democracy, or Aristocracy. For the Legislator, is he that maketh the Law. And the Common-wealth only, præcribes, and commandeth the observation of those rules, which we call Law: Therefore the Common-wealth is the Legislator. But the Common-wealth is no Person, nor has capacity to doe any thing, but by the Representative, (that is, the Soveraign;) and therefore the Soveraign is the sole Legislator. For the same reason, none can abrogate a Law made, but the Soveraign; because a Law is not abrogated, but by another Law, that forbiddeth it to be put in execution.
2.And not Subject to Civill Law. The Soveraign of a Common-wealth, be it an Assembly, or one Man, is not Subject to the Civill Lawes. For having power to make, and repeale Lawes, he may when he pleaseth, free himselfe from that subjection, by repealing those Lawes that trouble him, and making of new; and consequently he was free before. For he is free, that can be free when he will: Nor is it possible for any person to be bound to himselfe; because he that can bind, can release; and therefore he that is bound to himselfe onely, is not bound.
3.Use, a Law not by vertue of Time, but of the Soveraigns consent. Then long Use obtaineth the authority of a Law, it is not the Length of Time that maketh the Authority, but the Will of the Soveraign signified by his silence, (for Silence is sometimes an argument of Consent;) and it is no longer Law, then the Soveraign shall be silent therein. And therefore if the Soveraign shall have a question of Right grounded, not upon his present Will, but upon the Lawes formerly made; the Length of Time shal bring no prejudice to his Right; but the question shal be judged by Equity. For many unjust Actions, and unjust Sentences, go uncontrolled a longer time, than any man can remember. And our Lawyers account no Customes Law, but such as are reasonable, and that evill Customes are to be abolished: But the Judgement of what is reasonable, and of what is to be abolished, belongeth to him that maketh the Law, which is the Soveraign Assembly, or Monarch.
4. The Law of Nature, and the Civill Law, containThe Law of Nature, and the Civill Law contain each other. each other, and are of equall extent. For the Lawes of Nature, which consist in Equity, Justice, Gratitude, and other morall Vertues on these depending, in the condition of meer Nature (as I have said before in the end of the 15th Chapter,) are not properly Lawes, but qualities that dispose men to peace, and to obedience. When a Common-wealth is once settled, then are they actually Lawes, and not before; as being then the commands of the Common-wealth; and therefore also Civill Lawes: For it is the Soveraign Power that obliges men to obey them. For in the differences of private men, to declare, what is Equity, what is Justice, and what is morall Vertue, and to make them binding, there is need of the Ordinances of Soveraign Power, and Punishments to be ordained for such as shall break them; which Ordinances are therefore part of the Civill Law. The Law of Nature therefore is a part of the Civill Law in all Common-wealths of the world. Reciprocally also, the Civill Law is a part of the Dictates of Nature. For Justice, that is to say, Performance of Covenant, and giving to every man his own, is a Dictate of the Law of Nature. But every subject in a Common-wealth, hath covenanted to obey the Civill Law, (either one with another, as when they assemble to make a common Representative, or with the Representative it selfe one by one, when subdued by the Sword they promise obedience, that they may receive life;) And therefore Obedience to the Civill, Law is part also of the Law of Nature. Civill, and Naturall Law are not different kinds, but different parts of Law; whereof one part being written, is called Civill, the other unwritten, Naturall. But the Right of Nature, that is, the naturall Liberty of man, may by the Civill Law be abridged, and restrained: nay, the end of making Lawes, is no other, but such Restraint; without the which there cannot possibly be any Peace. And Law was brought into the world for nothing else, but to limit the naturall liberty of particular men, in such manner, as they might not hurt, but assist one another, and joyn together against a common Enemy.
5.Provinciall Lawes are not made by Custome, but by the Soveraign Power. If the Soveraign of one Common-wealth, subdue a People that have lived under other written Lawes, and afterwards govern them by the same Lawes, by which they were governed before; yet those Lawes are the Civill Lawes of the Victor, and not of the Vanquished Common-wealth. For the Legislator is he, not by whose authority the Lawes were first made, but by whose authority they now continue to be Lawes. And therefore where there be divers Provinces, within the Dominion of a Common-wealth, and in those Provinces diversity of Lawes, which commonly are called the Customes of each severall Province, we are not to understand that such Customes have their force, onely from Length of Time; but that they were antiently Lawes written, or otherwise made known, for the Constitutions, and Statutes of their Soveraigns; and are now Lawes, not by vertue of the Præscription of time, but by the Constitutions of their present Soveraigns. But if an unwritten Law, in all the Provinces of a Dominion, shall be generally observed, and no iniquity appear in the use thereof; that Law can be no other but a Law of Nature, equally obliging all man-kind.
6.Some foolish opinions of Lawyers concerning the making of Lawes. Seeing then all Lawes, written, and unwritten, have their Authority, and force, from the Will of the Common-wealth; that is to say, from the Will of the Representative; which in a Monarchy is the Monarch, and in other Common-wealths the Soveraign Assembly; a man may wonder from whence proceed such opinions, as are found in the Books of Lawyers of eminence in severall Common-wealths, directly, or by consequence making the Legislative Power depend on private men, or subordinate Judges. As for example, That the Common Law. hath no Controuler but the Parlament; which is true onely where a Parlament has the Soveraign Power, and cannot be assembled, nor dissolved, but by their own discretion. For if there be a right in any else to dissolve them, there is a right also to controule them, and consequently to controule their controulings. And if there be no such right, then the Controuler of Lawes is not Parlamentum, but Rex in Parlamento. And where a Parlament is Soveraign, if it should assemble never so many, or so wise men, from the Countries subject to them, for whatsoever cause; yet there is no man will believe, that such an Assembly hath thereby acquired to themselves a Legislative Power. Item, that the two arms of a Common-wealth, are Force, and Justice; the first whereof is in the King; the other deposited in the hands of the Parlament. As if a Common-wealth could consist, where the Force were in any hand, which Justice had not the Authority to command and govern.
7. That Law can never be against Reason, our Lawyers are agreed; and that not the Letter, (that is, every construction of it,) but that which is according to the Intention of the Legislator, is the Law. And it is true: but the doubt is, of whose Reason it is, that shall be received for Law. It is not meant of any private Reason; for then there would be as much contradiction in the Lawes, as there is in the Schooles; nor yet, (as Sr. Ed. CokeSir Edw. Coke, upon Littleton, Lib. 2. Ch. 6. fol. 97.b. makes it,) an Artificiall perfection of Reason, gotten by long study, observation, and experience, (as his was.) For it is possible long study may encrease, and confirm erroneous Sentences: and where men build on false grounds, the more they build, the greater is the ruine: and of those that study, and observe with equall time, and diligence, the reasons and resolutions are, and must remain discordant: and therefore it is not that Juris prudentia, or wisedome of subordinate Judges; but the Reason of this our Artificiall Man the Common-wealth, and his Command, that maketh Law: And the Common-wealth being in their Representative but one Person, there cannot easily arise any contradiction in the Lawes; and when there doth, the same Reason is able, by interpretation, or alteration, to take it away. In all Courts of Justice, the Soveraign (which is the Person of the Common-wealth,) is he that Judgeth: The subordinate Judge, ought to have regard to the reason, which moved his Soveraign to make such Law, that his Sentence may be according thereunto; which then is his Soveraigns Sentence; otherwise it is his own, and an unjust one.
8.Law made, if not also made known, is no Law. From this, that the Law is a Command, and a Command consisteth in declaration, or manifestation of the will of him that commandeth, by voyce, writing, or some other sufficient argument of the same, we may understand, that the Command of the Common-wealth, is Law onely to those, that have means to take notice of it. Over naturall fooles, children, or mad-men there is no Law, no more than over brute beasts; nor are they capable of the title of just, or unjust; because they had never power to make any covenant, or to understand the consequences thereof; and consequently never took upon them to authorise the actions of any Soveraign, as they must do that make to themselves a Common-wealth. And as those from whom Nature, or Accident hath taken away the notice of all Lawes in generall; so also every man, from whom any accident, not proceeding from his own default, hath taken away the means to take notice of any particular Law, is excused, if he observe it not; And to speak properly, that Law is no Law to him. It is therefore necessary, to consider in this place, what arguments, and signes be sufficient for the knowledge of what is the Law; that is to say, what is the will of the Soveraign, as well in Monarchies, as in other formes of government.
Unwritten Lawes are all of them Lawes of Nature. And first, if it be a Law that obliges all the Subjects without exception, and is not written, nor otherwise published in such places as they may take notice thereof, it is a Law of Nature. For whatsoever men are to take knowledge of for Law, not upon other mens words, but every one from his own reason, must be such as is agreeable to the reason of all men; which no Law can be, but the Law of Nature. The Lawes of Nature therefore need not any publishing, nor Proclamation; as being contained in this one Sentence, approved by all the world, Do not that to another, which thou thinkest unreasonable to be done by another to thy selfe.
Secondly, if it be a Law that obliges only some condition of men, or one particular man, and be not written, nor published by word, then also it is a Law of Nature; and known by the same arguments, and signs, that distinguish those in such a condition, from other Subjects. For whatsoever Law is not written, or some way published by him that makes it Law, can be known no way, but by the reason of him that is to obey it; and is therefore also a Law not only Civill, but Naturall. For Example, if the Soveraign employ a Publique Minister, without written Instructions what to doe; he is obliged to take for Instructions the Dictates of Reason; As if he make a Judge, The Judge is to take notice, that his Sentence ought to be according to the reason of his Soveraign, which being alwaies understood to be Equity, he is bound to it by the Law of Nature: Or if an Ambassador, he is (in all things not conteined in his written Instructions) to take for Instruction that which Reason dictates to be most conducing to his Soveraigns interest; and so of all other Ministers of the Soveraignty, publique and private. All which Instructions of naturall Reason may be comprehended under one name of Fidelity; which is a branch of naturall Justice.
The Law of Nature excepted, it belongeth to the essence of all other Lawes, to be made known, to every man that shall be obliged to obey them, either by word, or writing, or some other act, known to proceed from the Soveraign Authority. For the will of another, cannot be understood, but by his own word, or act, or by conjecture taken from his scope and purpose; which in the person of the Common-wealth, is to be supposed alwaies consonant to Equity and Reason. And in antient time, before letters were in common use, the Lawes were many times put into verse; that the rude people taking pleasure in singing, or reciting them, might the more easily reteine them in memory. And for the same reason Solomon adviseth a man, to bind the ten Commandements** Prov. 7. 3. upon his ten fingers. And for the Law which Moses gave to the people of Israel at the renewing of the Covenant, ** Deut. 11. 19. he biddeth them to teach it their Children, by discoursing of it both at home, and upon the way; at going to bed, and at rising from bed; and to write it upon the posts, and dores of their houses; and ** Deut. 31. 12. to assemble the people, man, woman, and child, to heare it read.
Nothing is Law where the Legislator cannot be known. Nor is it enough the Law be written, and published; but also that there be manifest signs, that it proceedeth from the will of the Soveraign. For private men, when they have, or think they have force enough to secure their unjust designes, and convoy them safely to their ambitious ends, may publish for Lawes what they please, without, or against the Legislative Authority. There is therefore requisite, not only a Declaration of the Law, but also sufficient signes of the Author, and Authority. The Author, or Legislator is supposed in every Common-wealth to be evident, because he is the Soveraign, who having been Constituted by the consent of every one, is supposed by every one to be sufficiently known. And though the ignorance, and security of men be such, for the most part, as that when the memory of the first Constitution of their Common-wealth is worn out, they doe not consider, by whose power they use to be defended against their enemies, and to have their industry protected, and to be righted when injury is done them; yet because no man that considers, can make question of it, no excuse can be derived from the ignorance of where the Soveraignty is placed. And it is a Dictate of Naturall Reason, and consequently an evident Law of Nature, that no man ought to weaken that power, the protection whereof he hath himself demanded, or wittingly received against others. Therefore of who is Soveraign, no man, but by his own fault, (whatsoever evill men suggest,) can make any doubt. The difficulty consisteth in the evidence of the Authority derived from him; The removing whereof, dependeth on the knowledge of the publique Registers, publique Counsels, publique Ministers, and publiqueDifference between Verifying and Authorising. eales; by which all Lawes are sufficiently verified; Verifyed, I say, not Authorised: for the Verification, is but the Testimony and Record; not the Authority of the Law; which consisteth in the Command of the Soveraign only.
If therefore a man have a question of Injury, dependingThe Law Verifyed by the subordinate Judge. on the Law of Nature; that is to say, on common Equity; the Sentence of the Judge, that by Commission hath Authority to take cognisance of such causes, is a sufficient Verification of the Law of Nature in that individuall case. For though the advice of one that professeth the study of the Law, be usefull for the avoyding of contention; yet it is but advice: tis the Judge must tell men what is Law, upon the hearing of the Controversy.
But when the question is of injury, or crime, uponBy the Publique Registers. a written Law; every man by recourse to the Registers, by himself, or others, may (if he will) be sufficiently enformed, before he doe such injury, or commit the crime, whither it be an injury, or not: Nay he ought to doe so: For when a man doubts whether the act he goeth about, be just, or injust; and may informe himself, if he will; the doing is unlawfull. In like manner, he that supposeth himself injured, in a case determined by the written Law, which he may by himself, or others see and consider; if he complaine before he consults with the Law, he does unjustly, and bewrayeth a disposition rather to vex other men, than to demand his own right.
If the question be of Obedience to a publique Officer;By Letters Patent, and Publique Seale. To have seen his Commission, with the Publique Seale, and heard it read; or to have had the means to be informed of it, if a man would, is a sufficient Verification of his Authority. For every man is obliged to doe his best endeavour, to informe himself of all written Lawes, that may concerne his own future actions.
The Legislator known; and the Lawes, either by writing,The Interpretation of the Law dependeth on the Soveraign Power. or by the light of Nature, sufficiently published; there wanteth yet another very materiall circumstance to make them obligatory. For it is not the Letter, but the Intendment, or Meaning; that is to say, the authentique Interpretation of the Law (which is the sense of the Legislator,) in which the nature of the Law consisteth; And therefore the Interpretation of all Lawes dependeth on the Authority Soveraign; and the Interpreters can be none but those, which the Soveraign, (to whom only the Subject oweth obedience) shall appoint. For else, by the craft of an Interpreter, the Law may be made to beare a sense, contrary to that of the Soveraign; by which means the Interpreter becomes the Legislator.
All Lawes need Interpretation. All Laws, written, and unwritten, have need of Interpretation. The unwritten Law of Nature, though it be easy to such, as without partiality, and passion, make use of their naturall reason, and therefore leaves the violaters thereof without excuse; yet considering there be very few, perhaps none, that in some cases are not blinded by self love, or some other passion, it is now become of all Laws the most obscure; and has consequently the greatest need of able Interpreters. The written Laws, if they be short, are easily mis-interpreted, from the divers significations of a word, or two: if long they be more obscure by the diverse significations of many words: in so much as no written Law, delivered in few, or many words, can be well understood, without a perfect understanding of the finall causes, for which the Law was made; the knowledge of which finall causes is in the Legislator. To him therefore there can not be any knot in the Law, insoluble; either by finding out the ends, to undoe it by; or else by making what ends he will, (as Alexander did with his sword in the Gordian knot,) by the Legislative power; which no other Interpreter can doe.
The Authenticall Interpretation of Law is not that of writers. The Interpretation of the Lawes of Nature, in a Common-wealth, dependeth not on the books of Morall Philosophy. The Authority of writers, without the Authority of the Common-wealth, maketh not their opinions Law, be they never so true. That which I have written in this Treatise, concerning the Morall Vertues, and of their necessity, for the procuring, and maintaining peace, though it bee evident Truth, is not therefore presently Law; but because in all Common-wealths in the world, it is part of the Civill Law: For though it be naturally reasonable; yet it is by the Soveraigne Power that it is Law: Otherwise, it were a great errour, to call the Lawes of Nature unwritten Law; whereof wee see so many volumes published, and in them so many contradictions of one another, and of themselves.
The Interpretation of the Law of Nature, is theThe Interpreter of the Law is the Judge giving sentence vivà voce in every particular case. entence of the Judge constituted by the Soveraign Authority, to heare and determine such controversies, as depend thereon; and consisteth in the application of the Law to the present case. For in the act of Judicature, the Judge doth no more but consider, whither the demand of the party, be consonant to naturall reason, and Equity; and the Sentence he giveth, is therefore the Interpretation of the Law of Nature; which Interpretation is Authentique; not because it is his private Sentence; but because he giveth it by Authority of the Soveraign, whereby it becomes the Soveraigns Sentence; which is Law for that time, to the parties pleading.
But because there is no Judge Subordinate, nor Soveraign, but may erre in a Judgement of Equity; if afterwardThe Sentence of a Judge, does not bind him, or another Judge to give like Sentence in like Cases ever after. in another like case he find it more consonant to Equity to give a contrary Sentence, he is obliged to doe it. No mans error becomes his own Law; nor obliges him to persist in it. Neither (for the same reason) becomes it a Law to other Judges, though sworn to follow it. For though a wrong Sentence given by authority of the Soveraign, if he know and allow it, in such Lawes as are mutable, be a constitution of a new Law, in cases, in which every little circumstance is the same; yet in Lawes immutable, such as are the Lawes of Nature, they are no Lawes to the same, or other Judges, in the like cases for ever after. Princes succeed one another; and one Judge passeth, another commeth; nay, Heaven and Earth shall passe; but not one title of the Law of Nature shall passe; for it is the Eternall Law of God. Therefore all the Sentences of precedent Judges that have ever been, cannot all together make a Law contrary to naturall Equity: Nor any Examples of former Judges, can warrant an unreasonable Sentence, or discharge the present Judge of the trouble of studying what is Equity (in the case he is to Judge,) from the principles of his own naturall reason. For example sake, ‘Tis against the Law of Nature, To punish the Innocent; and Innocent is he that acquitteth himselfe Judicially, and is acknowledged for Innocent by the Judge. Put the case now, that a man is accused of a capitall crime, and seeing the power and malice of some enemy, and the frequent corruption and partiality of Judges, runneth away for feare of the event, and afterwards is taken, and brought to a legall triall, and maketh it sufficiently appear, he was not guilty of the crime, and being thereof acquitted, is neverthelesse condemned to lose his goods; this is a manifest condemnation of the Innocent. I say therefore, that there is no place in the world, where this can be an interpretation of a Law of Nature, or be made a Law by the Sentences of precedent Judges, that had done the same. For he that judged it first, judged unjustly; and no Injustice can be a pattern of Judgement to succeeding Judges. A written Law may forbid innocent men to fly, and they may be punished for flying: But that flying for feare of injury, should be taken for presumption of guilt, after a man is already absolved of the crime Judicially, is contrary to the nature of a Presumption, which hath no place after Judgement given. Yet this is set down by a great Lawyer for the common Law of England. If a man (saith he) that is Innocent, be accused of Felony, and for feare flyeth for the same; albeit he judicially acquitteth himselfe of the Felony; yet if it be found that he field for the Felony, he shall notwithstanding his Innocency, Forfeit all his goods, chattells, debts, and duties. For as to the Forfeiture of them, the Law will admit no proofe against the Presumption in Law, grounded upon his flight. Here you see, An Innocent man, Judicially acquitted, notwithstanding his Innocency, (when no written Law forbad him to fly) after his acquitall, upon a Presumption in Law, condemned to lose all the goods he hath. If the Law ground upon his flight a Presumption of the fact, (which was Capitall,) the Sentence ought to have been Capitall: if the Presumption were not of the Fact, for what then ought he to lose his goods? This therefore is no Law of England; nor is the condemnation grounded upon a Presumption of Law, but upon the Presumption of the Judges. It is also against Law, to say that no Proofe shall be admitted against a Presumption of Law. For all Judges, Soveraign and subordinate, if they refuse to heare Proofe, refuse to do Justice: for though the Sentence be Just, yet the Judges that condemn without hearing the Proofes offered, are Unjust Judges, and their Presumption is but Prejudice; which no man ought to bring with him to the Seat of Justice, whatsoever precedent judgements, or examples he shall pretend to follow. There be other things of this nature, wherein mens Judgements have been perverted, by trusting to Precedents: but this is enough to shew, that though the Sentence of the Judge, be a Law to the party pleading, yet it is no Law to any Judge, that shall succeed him in that Office.
In like manner, when question is of the Meaning of written Lawes, he is not the Interpreter of them, that writeth a Commentary upon them. For Commentaries are commonly more subject to cavill, than the Text; and therefore need other Commentaries; and so there will be no end of such Interpretation. And therefore unlesse there be an Interpreter authorised by the Soveraign, from which the subordinate Judges are not to recede, the Interpreter can be no other than the ordinary Judges, in the same manner, as they are in cases of the unwritten Law; and their Sentences are to be taken by them that plead, for Lawes in that particular case; but not to bind other Judges, in like cases to give like judgements. For a Judge may erre in the Interpretation even of written Lawes; but no errour of a subordinate Judge, can change the Law, which is the generall Sentence of the Soveraigne.
In written Lawes, men use to make a differenceThe difference between the Letter and Sentence of the Law. between the Letter, and the Sentence of the Law: And when by the Letter, is meant whatsoever can be gathered from the bare words, ‘tis well distinguished. For the significations of almost all words, are either in themselves, or in the metaphoricall use of them, ambiguous; and may be drawn in argument, to make many senses; but there is onely one sense of the Law. But if by the Letter, be meant the literall sense, then the Letter, and the Sentence or intention of the Law, is all one. For the literall sense is that, which the Legislator intended, should by the letter of the Law be signified. Now the Intention of the Legislator is alwayes supposed to be Equity: For it were a great contumely for a Judge to think otherwise of the Soveraigne. He ought therefore, if the Word of the Law doe not fully authorise a reasonable Sentence, to supply it with the Law of Nature; or if the case be difficult, to respit Judgement till he have received more ample authority. For Example, a written Law ordaineth, that he which is thrust out of his house by force, shall be restored by force: It happens that a man by negligence leaves his house empty, and returning is kept out by force, in which case there is no speciall Law ordained. It is evident, that this case is contained in the same Law: for else there is no remedy for him at all; which is to be supposed against the Intention of the Legislator. Again, the word of the Law, commandeth to Judge according to the Evidence: A man is accused falsly of a fact, which the Judge saw himself done by another; and not by him that is accused. In this case neither shall the Letter of the Law be followed to the condemnation of the Innocent, nor shall the Judge give Sentence against the evidence of the Witnesses; because the Letter of the Law is to the contrary: but procure of the Soveraign that another be made Judge, and himself Witnesse. So that the incommodity that follows the bare words of a written Law, may lead him to the Intention of the Law, whereby to interpret the same the better; though no Incommodity can warrant a Sentence against the Law. For every Judge of Right, and Wrong, is not Judge of what is Commodious, or Incommodious to the Common-wealth.
The abilities required in a Judge. The abilities required in a good Interpreter of the Law, that is to say, in a good Judge, are not the same with those of an Advocate; namely the study of the Lawes. For a Judge, as he ought to take notice of the Fact, from none but the Witnesses; so also he ought to take notice of the Law, from nothing but the Statutes, and Constitutions of the Soveraign, alledged in the pleading, or declared to him by some that have authority from the Soveraign Power to declare them; and need not take care before-hand, what hee shall Judge; for it shall bee given him what hee shall say concerning the Fact, by Witnesses; and what hee shall say in point of Law, from those that shall in their pleadings shew it, and by authority interpret it upon the place. The Lords of Parlament in England were Judges, and most difficult causes have been heard and determined by them; yet few of them were much versed in the study of the Lawes, and fewer had made profession of them: and though they consulted with Lawyers, that were appointed to be present there for that purpose; yet they alone had the authority of giving Sentence. In like manner, in the ordinary trialls of Right, Twelve men of the common People, are the Judges, and give Sentence, not onely of the Fact, but of the Right; and pronounce simply for the Complaynant, or for the Defendant; that is to say, are Judges not onely of the Fact, but also of the Right: and in a question of crime, not onely determine whether done, or not done; but also whether it be Murder, Homicide, Felony, Assault, and the like, which are determinations of Law: but because they are not supposed to know the Law of themselves, there is one that hath Authority to enforme them of it, in the particular case they are to Judge of. But yet if they judge not according to that he tells them, they are not subject thereby to any penalty; unlesse it be made appear, they did it against their consciences, or had been corrupted by reward.
The things that make a good Judge, or good Interpreter of the Lawes, are, first, A right understanding of that principall Law of Nature called Equity; which depending not on the reading of other mens Writings, but on the goodnesse of a mans own naturall Reason, and Meditation, is presumed to be in those most, that have had most leisure, and had the most inclination to meditate thereon. Secondly, Contempt of unnecessary Riches, and Preferments. Thirdly, To be able in judgement to devest himselfe of all feare, anger, hatred, love, and compassion. Fourthly, and lastly, Patience to heare; diligent attention in hearing; and memory to retain, digest and apply what he hath heard.
The difference and division of the Lawes, has beenDivisions of Law. made in divers manners, according to the different methods, of those men that have written of them. For it is a thing that dependeth not on Nature, but on the scope of the Writer; and is subservient to every mans proper method. In the Institutions of Justinian, we find seven sorts of Civill Lawes. 1 The Edicts, Constitutions, and Epistles of the Prince, that is, of the Emperour; because the whole power of the people was in him. Like these, are the Proclamations of the Kings of England.
2.The Decrees of the whole people of Rome (comprehending the Senate,) when they were put to the Question by the Senate. These were Lawes, at first, by the vertue of the Soveraign Power residing in the people; and such of them as by the Emperours were not abrogated, remained Lawes by the Authority Imperiall. For all Lawes that bind, are understood to be Lawes by his authority that has power to repeale them. Somewhat like to these Lawes, are the Acts of Parliament in England.
3.The Decrees of the Common people (excluding the Senate,) when they were put to the question by the Tribune of the people. For such of them as were not abrogated by the Emperours, remained Lawes by the Authority Imperiall. Like to these, were the Orders of the House of Commons in England.
4.Senatús consulta, the Orders of the Senate; because when the people of Rome grew so numerous, as it was inconvenient to assemble them; it was thought fit by the Emperour, that men should Consult the Senate, in stead of the people: And these have some resemblance with the Acts of Counsell.
5.The Edicts of Prœtors, and (in some Cases) of the Ædiles: such as are the Chiefe Justices in the Courts of England.
6.Responsa Prudentum; which were the Sentences, and Opinions of those Lawyers, to whom the Emperour gave Authority to interpret the Law, and to give answer to such as in matter of Law demanded their advice; which Answers, the Judges in giving Judgement were obliged by the Constitutions of the Emperour to observe: And should be like the Reports of Cases Judged, if other Judges be by the Law of England bound to observe them. For the Judges of the Common Law of England, are not properly Judges, but Juris Consulti; of whom the Judges, who are either the Lords, or Twelve men of the Country, are in point of Law to ask advice.
7. Also, Unwritten Customes, (which in their own nature are an imitation of Law,) by the tacite consent of the Emperour, in case they be not contrary to the Law of Nature, are very Lawes.
Another division of Lawes, is into Naturall and Positive. Naturall are those which have been Lawes from all Eternity; and are called not onely Naturall, but also Morall Lawes; consisting in the Morall Vertues, as Justice, Equity, and all habits of the mind that conduce to Peace, and Charity; of which I have already spoken in the fourteenth and fifteenth Chapters.
Positive, are those which have not been from Eternity; but have been made Lawes by the Will of those that have had the Soveraign Power over others; and are either written, or made known to men, by some other argument of the Will of their Legislator.
Again, of Positive Lawes, some are Humane, some Divine:Another Division of Law. and of Humane positive lawes, some are Distributive, some Penal. Distributive are those that determine the Rights of the Subjects, declaring to every man what it is, by which he acquireth and holdeth a propriety in lands, or goods, and a right or liberty of action: and these speak to all the Subjects. Penal are those, which declare, what Penalty shall be inflicted on those that violate the Law; and speak to the Ministers and Officers ordained for execution. For though every one ought to be informed of the Punishments ordained beforehand for their transgression; neverthelesse the Command is not addressed to the Delinquent, (who cannot be supposed will faithfully punish himselfe,) but to publique Ministers appointed to see the Penalty executed. And these Penal Lawes are for the most part written together with the Lawes Distributive; and are sometimes called Judgements. For all Lawes are generall Judgements, or Sentences of the Legislator; as also every particular Judgement, is a Law to him, whose case is Judged.
Divine Positive Lawes (for Naturall Lawes beingDivine Positive Law how made known to be Law. Eternall, and Universall, are all Divine,) are those, which being the Commandements of God, (not from all Eternity, nor universally addressed to all men, but onely to a certain people, or to certain persons,) are declared for such, by those whom God hath authorised to declare them. But this Authority of man to declare what be these Positive Lawes of God, how can it be known? God may command a man by a supernaturall way, to deliver Lawes to other men. But because it is of the essence of Law, that he who is to be obliged, be assured of the Authority of him that declareth it, which we cannot naturally take notice to be from God, How can a man without supernaturall Revelation be assured of the Revelation received by the declarer? and how can he be bound to obey them? For the first question, how a man can be assured of the Revelation of another, without a Revelation particularly to himselfe, it is evidently impossible: For though a man may be induced to believe such Revelation, from the Miracles they see him doe, or from seeing the Extraordinary sanctity of his life, or from seeing the Extraordinary wisedome, or Extraordinary felicity of his Actions, all which are marks of God[s] extraordinary favour; yet they are not assured evidences of speciall Revelation. Miracles are Marvellous workes: but that which is marvellous to one, may not be so to another. Sanctity may be feigned; and the visible felicities of this world, are most often the work of God by Naturall, and ordinary causes. And therefore no man can infallibly know by naturall reason, that another has had a supernaturall revelation of Gods will; but only a beliefe; every one (as the signs thereof shall appear greater, or lesser) a firmer, or a weaker belief.
But for the second, how he can be bound to obey them; it is not so hard. For if the Law declared, be not against the Law of Nature (which is undoubtedly Gods Law) and he undertake to obey it, he is bound by his own act; bound I say to obey it, but not bound to believe it: for mens beliefe, and interiour cogitations, are not subject to the commands, but only to the operation of God, ordinary, or extraordinary. Faith of Supernaturall Law, is not a fulfilling, but only an assenting to the same; and not a duty that we exhibite to God, but a gift which God freely giveth to whom he pleaseth; as also Unbelief is not a breach of any of his Lawes; but a rejection of them all, except the Laws Naturall. But this that I say, will be made yet cleerer, by the Examples, and Testimonies concerning this point in holy Scripture. The Covenant God made with Abraham (in a Supernaturall manner) was thus, This is the Covenant which thou shaltGen.17.10.observe between Me and Thee and thy Seed after thee. Abrahams Seed had not this revelation, nor were yet in being; yet they are a party to the Covenant, and bound to obey what Abraham should declare to them for Gods Law; which they could not be, but in vertue of the obedience they owed to their Parents; who (if they be Subject to no other earthly power, as here in the case of Abraham) have Soveraign power over their children, and servants. Againe, where God saith to Abraham, In thee shall all Nations of the earth be blessed: For I know thou wilt command thy children, and thy house after thee to keep the way of the Lord, and to observe Righteousnesse and Judgement, it is manifest, the obedience of his Family, who had no Revelation, depended on their former obligation to obey their Soveraign. At Mount Sinai Moses only went up to God; the people were forbidden to approach on paine of death; yet were they bound to obey all that Moses declared to them for Gods Law. Upon what ground, but on this submission of their own, Speak thou to us, and we will heare thee; but let not God speak to us, lest we dye? By which two places it sufficiently appeareth, that in a Common-wealth, a subject that has no certain and assured Revelation particularly to himself concerning the Will of God, is to obey for such, the Command of the Common-wealth: for if men were at liberty, to take for Gods Commandements, their own dreams, and fancies, or the dreams and fancies of private men; scarce two men would agree upon what is Gods Commandement; and yet in respect of them, every man would despise the Commandements of the Common-wealth. I conclude therefore, that in all things not contrary to the Morall Law, (that is to say, to the Law of Nature,) all Subjects are bound to obey that for divine Law, which is declared to be so, by the Lawes of the Common-wealth. Which also is evident to any mans reason; for whatsoever is not against the Law of Nature, may be made Law in the name of them that have the Soveraign power; and there is no reason men should be the lesse obliged by it, when tis propounded in the name of God. Besides, there is no place in the world where men are permitted to pretend other Commandements of God, than are declared for such by the Common-wealth. Christian States punish those that revolt from Christian Religion, and all other States, those that set up any Religion by them forbidden. For in whatsoever is not regulated by the Common-wealth, tis Equity (which is the Law of Nature, and therefore an eternall Law of God) that every man equally enjoy his liberty.
Another division of Lawes. There is also another distinction of Laws, into Fundamentall, and not Fundamentall: but I could never see in any Author, what a Fundamentall Law signifieth. Neverthelesse one may very reasonably distinguish Laws in that manner.
A Fundamentall Law what. For a Fundamentall Law in every Common-wealth is that, which being taken away, the Common-wealth faileth, and is utterly dissolved; as a building whose Foundation is destroyed. And therefore a Fundamentall Law is that, by which Subjects are bound to uphold whatsoever power is given to the Soveraign, whether a Monarch, or a Soveraign Assembly, without which the Common-wealth cannot stand; such as is the power of War and Peace, of Judicature, of Election of Officers, and of doing whatsoever he shall think necessary for the Publique good. Not Fundamentall is that, the abrogating whereof, draweth not with it the dissolution of the Common-Wealth; such as are the Lawes concerning Controversies between subject and subject. Thus much of the Division of Lawes.
Difference between Law and Right: I find the words Lex Civilis, and Jus Civile, that is to say, Law and Right Civil, promiscuously used for the same thing, even in the most learned Authors; which neverthelesse ought not to be so. For Right is Liberty, namely that Liberty which the Civil Law leaves us: But Civill Law is an Obligation; and takes from us the Liberty which the Law of Nature gave us. Nature gave a Right to every man to secure himselfe by his own strength, and to invade a suspected neighbour, by way of prevention: but the Civill Law takes away that Liberty, in all cases where the protection of the Law may be safely stayd for. Insomuch as Lex and Jus, are as different as Obligation and Liberty.
Likewise Lawes and Charters are taken promiscuouslyAnd between a Law and a Charter. for the same thing. Yet Charters are Donations of the Soveraign; and not Lawes, but exemptions from Law. The phrase of a Law is Jubeo, Injungo, I command, and Enjoyn: the phrase of a Charter is Dedi, Concessi, I have Given, I have Granted: but what is given or granted, to a man, is not forced upon him, by a Law. A Law may be made to bind All the Subjects of a Common-wealth: a Liberty, or Charter is only to One man, or some One part of the people. For to say all the people of a Common-wealth, have Liberty in any case whatsoever; is to say, that in such case, there hath been no Law made; or else having been made, is now abrogated.
Thomas Hobbes, Hobbes’s Leviathan reprinted from the edition of 1651 with an Essay by the Late W.G. Pogson Smith (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1909). Chapter: CHAP. XXIX.: Of those things that Weaken, or tend to the Dissolution of a Common-wealth .
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The text is in the public domain.
Though nothing can be immortall, which mortalsDissolution of Common-wealths proceedeth from their Imperject Institution. make; yet, if men had the use of reason they pretend to, their Common-wealths might be secured, at least, from perishing by internall diseases. For by the nature of their Institution, they are designed to live, as long as Man-kind, or as the Lawes of Nature, or as Justice it selfe, which gives them life. Therefore when they come to be dissolved, not by externall violence, but intestine disorder, the fault is not in men, as they are the Matter; but as they are the Makers, and orderers of them. For men, as they become at last weary of irregular justling, and hewing one another, and desire with all their hearts, to conforme themselves into one firme and lasting edifice; so for want, both of the art of making fit Lawes, to square their actions by, and also of humility, and patience, to suffer the rude and combersome points of their present greatnesse to be taken off, they cannot without the help of a very able Architect, be compiled, into any other than a crasie building, such as hardly lasting out their own time, must assuredly fall upon the heads of their posterity.
Amongst the Infirmities therefore of a Common-wealth, I will reckon in the first place, those that arise from an Imperfect Institution, and resemble the diseases of a naturall body, which proceed from a Defectuous Procreation.
Of which, this is one, That a man to obtain a Kingdome,Want of Absolute power.is sometimes content with lesse Power, than to the Peace, and defence of the Common-wealth is necessarily required. From whence it commeth to passe, that when the exercise of the Power layd by, is for the publique safety to be resumed, it hath the resemblance of an unjust act; which disposeth great numbers of men (when occasion is presented) to rebell; In the same manner as the bodies of children, gotten by diseased parents, are subject either to untimely death, or to purge the ill quality, derived from their vicious conception, by breaking out into biles and scabbs. And when Kings deny themselves some such necessary Power, it is not alwayes (though sometimes) out of ignorance of what is necessary to the office they undertake; but many times out of a hope to recover the same again at their pleasure: Wherein they reason not well; because such as will hold them to their promises, shall be maintained against them by forraign Common-wealths; who in order to the good of their own Subjects let slip few occasions to weaken the estate of their Neighbours. So was Thomas Becket Archbishop of Canterbury, supported against Henry the Second, by the Pope; the subjection of Ecclesiastiques to the Common-wealth, having been dispensed with by William the Conquerour at his reception, when he took an Oath, not to infringe the liberty of the Church. And so were the Barons, whose power was by William Rufus (to have their help in transferring the Succession from his Elder brother, to himselfe,) encreased to a degree, inconsistent with the Soveraign Power, maintained in their Rebellion against King John, by the French.
Nor does this happen in Monarchy onely. For whereas the stile of the antient Roman Common-wealth, was, The Senate, and People of Rome; neither Senate, nor People pretended to the whole Power; which first caused the seditions, of Tiberius Gracchus, Caius Gracchus, Lucius Saturninus, and others; and afterwards the warres between the Senate and the People, under Marius and Sylla; and again under Pompey and Cœsar, to the Extinction of their Democraty, and the setting up of Monarchy.
The people of Athens bound themselves but from one onely Action; which was, that no man on pain of death should propound the renewing of the warre for the Island of Salamis; And yet thereby, if Solon had not caused to be given out he was mad, and afterwards in gesture and habit of a mad-man, and in verse, propounded it to the People that flocked about him, they had had an enemy perpetually in readinesse, even at the gates of their Citie; such dammage, or shifts, are all Common-wealths forced to, that have their Power never so little limited.
In the second place, I observe the Diseases of a Common-wealth,Private Judgement of Good and Evill. that proceed from the poyson of seditious doctrines; whereof one is, That every private man is Judge of Good and Evill actions. This is true in the condition of meer Nature, where there are no Civill Lawes; and also under Civill Government, in such cases as are not determined by the Law. But otherwise, it is manifest, that the measure of Good and Evill actions, is the Civill Law; and the Judge the Legislator, who is alwayes Representative of the Common-wealth. From this false doctrine, men are disposed to debate with themselves, and dispute the commands of the Common-wealth; and afterwards to obey, or disobey them, as in their private judgements they shall think fit. Whereby the Common-wealth is distracted and Weakened.
Another doctrine repugnant to Civill Society, is, thatErroneous conscience.whatsoever a man does against his Conscience, is Sinne; and it dependeth on the presumption of making himself judge of Good and Evill. For a mans Conscience, and his Judgement is the same thing; and as the Judgement, so also the Conscience may be erroneous. Therefore, though he that is subject to no Civill Law, sinneth in all he does against his Conscience, because he has no other rule to follow but his own reason; yet it is not so with him that lives in a Common-wealth; because the Law is the publique Conscience, by which he hath already undertaken to be guided. Otherwise in such diversity, as there is of private Consciences, which are but private opinions, the Common-wealth must needs be distracted, and no man dare to obey the Soveraign Power, farther than it shall seem good in his own eyes.
It hath been also commonly taught, That Faith andPretence of Inspiration.Sanctity, are not to be attained by Study and Reason, but by supernaturall Inspiration, or Infusion, which granted, I see not why any man should render a reason of his Faith; or why every Christian should not be also a Prophet; or why any man should take the Law of his Country, rather than his own Inspiration, for the rule of his action. And thus wee fall again into the fault of taking upon us to Judge of Good and Evill; or to make Judges of it, such private men as pretend to be supernaturally Inspired, to the Dissolution of all Civill Government. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by those accidents, which guide us into the presence of them that speak to us; which accidents are all contrived by God Almighty; and yet are not supernaturall, but onely, for the great number of them that concurre to every effect, uno bservable. Faith, and Sanctity, are indeed not very frequent; but yet they are not Miracles, but brought to passe by education, discipline, correction, and other naturall wayes, by which God worketh them in his elect, at such time as he thinketh fit. And these three opinions, pernicious to Peace and Government, have in this part of the world, proceeded chiefly from the tongues, and pens of unlearned Divines; who joyning the words of Holy Scripture together, otherwise than is agreeable to reason, do what they can, to make men think, that Sanctity and Naturall Reason, cannot stand together.
Subjecting the Soveraign Power to Civill Lawes. A fourth opinion, repugnant to the nature of a Common-wealth, is this, That he that hath the Soveraign Power, is subject to the Civill Lawes. It is true, that Soveraigns are all subject to the Lawes of Nature; because such lawes be Divine, and cannot by any man, or Common-wealth be abrogated. But to those Lawes which the Soveraign himselfe, that is, which the Common-wealth maketh, he is not subject. For to be subject to Lawes, is to be subject to the Common-wealth, that is to the Soveraign Representative, that is to himselfe; which is not subjection, but freedome from the Lawes. Which errour, because it setteth the Lawes above the Soveraign, setteth also a Judge above him, and a Power to punish him; which is to make a new Soveraign; and again for the same reason a third, to punish the second; and so continually without end, to the Confusion, and Dissolution of the Common-wealth.
Attributing of absolute Propriety to Subjects. A Fifth doctrine, that tendeth to the Dissolution of a Common-wealth, is, That every private man has an absolute Propriety in his Goods; such, as excludeth the Right of the Soveraign. Every man has indeed a Propriety that excludes the Right of every other Subject: And he has it onely from the Soveraign Power; without the protection whereof, every other man should have equall Right to the same. But if the Right of the Soveraign also be excluded, he cannot performe the office they have put him into; which is, to defend them both from forraign enemies, and from the injuries of one another; and consequently there is no longer a Common-wealth.
And if the Propriety of Subjects, exclude not the Right of the Soveraign Representative to their Goods; much lesse to their offices of Judicature, or Execution, in which they Represent the Soveraign himselfe.
There is a Sixth doctrine, plainly, and directly againstDividing of the Soveraign Power. the essence of a Common-wealth; and ‘tis this, That the Soveraign Power may be divided. For what is it to divide the Power of a Common-wealth, but to Dissolve it; for Powers divided mutually destroy each other. And for these doctrines, men are chiefly beholding to some of those, that making profession of the Lawes, endeavour to make them depend upon their own learning, and not upon the Legislative Power.
And as False Doctrine, so also often-times the ExampleImitation of Neighbour Nations. of different Government in a neighbouring Nation, disposeth men to alteration of the forme already setled. So the people of the Jewes were stirred up to reject God, and to call upon the Prophet Samuel, for a King after the manner of the Nations: So also the lesser Cities of Greece, were continually disturbed, with seditions of the Aristocraticall, and Democraticall factions; one part of almost every Common-wealth, desiring to imitate the Lacedæmonians; the other, the Athenians. And I doubt not, but many men, have been contented to see the late troubles in England, out of an imitation of the Low Countries; supposing there needed no more to grow rich, than to change, as they had done, the forme of their Government. For the constitution of mans nature, is of it selfe subject to desire novelty: When therefore they are provoked to the same, by the neighbourhood also of those that have been enriched by it, it is almost impossible for them, not to be content with those that solicite them to change; and love the first beginnings, though they be grieved with the continuance of disorder; like hot blouds, that having gotten the itch, tear themselves with their own nayles, till they can endure the smart no longer.
Imitation of the Greeks, and Romans. And as to Rebellion in particular against Monarchy; one of the most frequent causes of it, is the Reading of the books of Policy, and Histories of the antient Greeks, and Romans; from which, young men, and all others that are unprovided of the Antidote of solid Reason, receiving a strong, and delightfull impression, of the great exploits of warre, atchieved by the Conductors of their Armies, receive withall a pleasing Idea, of all they have done besides; and imagine their great prosperity, not to have proceeded from the æmulation of particular men, but from the vertue of their popular forme of government: Not considering the frequent Seditions, and Civill warres, produced by the imperfection of their Policy. From the reading, I say, of such books, men have undertaken to kill their Kings, because the Greek and Latine writers, in their books, and discourses of Policy, make it lawfull, and laudable, for any man so to do; provided before he do it, he call him Tyrant. For they say not Regicide, that is, killing of a King, but Tyrannicide, that is, killing of a Tyrant is lawfull. From the same books, they that live under a Monarch conceive an opinion, that the Subjects in a Popular Common-wealth enjoy Liberty; but that in a Monarchy they are all Slaves. I say, they that live under a Monarchy conceive such an opinion; not they that live under a Popular Government: for they find no such matter. In summe, I cannot imagine, how any thing can be more prejudiciall to a Monarchy, than the allowing of such books to be publikely read, without present applying such correctives of discreet Masters, as are fit to take away their Venime: Which Venime I will not doubt to compare to the biting of a mad Dogge, which is a disease the Physicians call Hydrophobia, or fear of Water. For as he that is so bitten, has a continuall torment of thirst, and yet abhorreth water; and is in such an estate, as if the poyson endeavoured to convert him into a Dogge: So when a Monarchy is once bitten to the quick, by those Democraticall writers, that continually snarle at that estate; it wanteth nothing more than a strong Monarch, which neverthelesse out of a certain Tyrannophobia, or feare of being strongly governed, when they have him, they abhorre.
As there have been Doctors, that hold there be three Soules in a man; so there be also that think there may be more Soules, (that is, more Soveraigns,) than one, in a Common-wealth; and set up a Supremacy against the Soveraignty; Canons against Lawes; and a Ghostly Authority against the Civill; working on mens minds, with words and distinctions, that of themselves signifie nothing, but bewray (by their obscurity) that there walketh (as some think invisibly) another Kingdome, as it were a Kingdome of Fayries, in the dark. Now seeing it is manifest, that the Civill Power, and the Power of the Common-wealth is the same thing; and that Supremacy, and the Power of making Canons, and granting Faculties, implyeth a Common-wealth; it followeth, that where one is Soveraign, another Supreme; where one can make Lawes, and another make Canons; there must needs be two Common-wealths, of one & the same Subjects; which is a Kingdome divided in it selfe, and cannot stand. For notwithstanding the insignificant distinction of Temporall, and Ghostly, they are still two Kingdomes, and every Subject is subject to two Masters. For seeing the Ghostly Power challengeth the Right to declare what is Sinne it challengeth by consequence to declare what is Law, (Sinne being nothing but the transgression of the Law;) and again, the Civill Power challenging to declare what is Law, every Subject must obey two Masters, who both will have their Commands be observed as Law; which is impossible. Or, if it be but one Kingdome, either the Civill, which is the Power of the Common-wealth, must be subordinate to the Ghostly, and then there is no Soveraignty but the Ghostly; or the Ghostly must be subordinate to the Temporall, and then there is no Supremacy but the Temporall. When therefore these two Powers oppose one another, the Commonwealth cannot but be in great danger of Civill warre, and Dissolution. For the Civill Authority being more visible, and standing in the cleerer light of naturall reason, cannot choose but draw to it in all times a very considerable part of the people: And the Spirituall, though it stand in the darknesse of Schoole distinctions, and hard words; yet because the fear of Darknesse, and Ghosts, is greater than other fears, cannot want a party sufficient to Trouble, and sometimes to Destroy a Common-wealth, And this is a Disease which not unfitly may be compared to the Epilepsie, or Falling-sicknesse (which the Jewes took to be one kind of possession by Spirits) in the Body Naturall. For as in this Disease, there is an unnaturall spirit, or wind in the head that obstructeth the roots of the Nerves, and moving them violently, taketh away the motion which naturally they should have from the power of the Soule in the Brain, and thereby causeth violent, and irregular motions (which men call Convulsions) in the parts; insomuch as he that is seized therewith, falleth down sometimes into the water, and sometimes into the fire, as a man deprived of his senses; so also in the Body Politique, when the spirituall power, moveth the Members of a Common-wealth, by the terrour of punishments, and hope of rewards (which are the Nerves of it,) otherwise than by the Civill Power (which is the Soule of the Common-wealth) they ought to be moved; and by strange, and hard words suffocates their understanding, it must needs thereby Distract the people, and either Overwhelm the Common-wealth with Oppression, or cast it into the Fire of a Civill warre.
Mixt Government. Sometimes also in the meerly Civill government, there be more than one Soule: As when the Power of levying mony, (which is the Nutritive faculty,) has depended on a generall Assembly; the Power of conduct and command, (which is the Motive faculty,) on one man; and the Power of making Lawes, (which is the Rationall faculty,) on the accidentall consent, not onely of those two, but also of a third; This endangereth the Common-wealth, sometimes for want of consent to good Lawes; but most often for want of such Nourishment, as is necessary to Life, and Motion. For although few perceive, that such government, is not government, but division of the Common-wealth into three Factions, and call it mixt Monarchy; yet the truth is, that it is not one independent Common-wealth, but three independent Factions; nor one Representative Person, but three. In the Kingdome of God, there may be three Persons independent, without breach of unity in God that Reigneth; but where men Reigne, that be subject to diversity of opinions, it cannot be so. And therefore if the King bear the person of the People, and the generall Assembly bear also the person of the People, and another Assembly bear the person of a Part of the people, they are not one Person, nor one Soveraign, but three Persons, and three Soveraigns.
To what Disease in the Naturall Body of man I may exactly compare this irregularity of a Common-wealth, I know not. But I have seen a man, that had another man growing out of his side, with an head, armes, breast, and stomach, of his own: If he had had another man growing out of his other side, the comparison might then have been exact.
Hitherto I have named such Diseases of a Common-wealth,Want of Mony. as are of the greatest, and most present danger. There be other, not so great; which neverthelesse are not unfit to be observed. At first, the difficulty of raising Mony, for the necessary uses of the Common-wealth; especially in the approach of warre. This difficulty ariseth from the opinion, that every Subject hath of a Propriety in his lands and goods, exclusive of the Soveraigns Right to the use of the same. From whence it commeth to passe, that the Soveraign Power, which foreseeth the necessities and dangers of the Common-wealth, (finding the passage of mony to the publique Treasure obstructed, by the tenacity of the people,) whereas it ought to extend it selfe, to encounter, and prevent such dangers in their beginnings, contracteth it selfe as long as it can, and when it cannot longer, struggles with the people by stratagems of Law, to obtain little summes, which not sufficing, he is fain at last violently to open the way for present supply, or Perish; and being put often to these extremities, at last reduceth the people to their due temper; or else the Common-wealth must perish. Insomuch as we may compare this Distemper very aptly to an Ague; wherein, the fleshy parts being congealed, or by venomous matter obstructed; the Veins which by their naturall course empty themselves into the Heart, are not (as they ought to be) supplyed from the Arteries, whereby there succeedeth at first a cold contraction, and trembling of the limbes; and afterwards a hot, and strong endeavour of the Heart, to force a passage for the Bloud; and before it can do that, contenteth it selfe with the small refreshments of such things as coole for a time, till (if Nature be strong enough) it break at last the contumacy of the parts obstructed, and dissipateth the venome into sweat; or (if Nature be too weak) the Patient dyeth.
Monopolies and abuses of Publicans. Again, there is sometimes in a Common-wealth, a Disease, which resembleth the Pleurisie; and that is, when the Treasure of the Common-wealth, flowing out of its due course, is gathered together in too much abundance in one, or a few private men, by Monopolies, or by Farmes of the Publique Revenues; in the same manner as the Blood in a Pleurisie, getting into the Membrane of the breast, breedeth there an Inflammation, accompanied with a Fever, and painfull stitches.
Popular men. Also, the Popularity of a potent Subject, (unlesse the Commonwealth have very good caution of his fidelity,) is a dangerous Disease; because the people (which should receive their motion from the Authority of the Soveraign,) by the flattery, and by the reputation of an ambitious man, are drawn away from their obedience to the Lawes, to follow a man, of whose vertues, and designes they have no knowledge. And this is commonly of more danger in a Popular Government, than in a Monarchy; because an Army is of so great force, and multitude, as it may easily be made believe, they are the People. By this means it was, that Julius Cæsar, who was set up by the People against the Senate, having won to himselfe the affections of his Army, made himselfe Master, both of Senate and People. And this proceeding of popular, and ambitious men, is plain Rebellion; and may beExcessive greatnesse of a Town, multitude of Corporations. esembled to the effects of Witchcraft.
Another infirmity of a Common-wealth, is the immoderate greatnesse of a Town, when it is able to furnish out of its own Circuit, the number, and expence of a great Army: As also the great number of Corporations; which are as it were many lesser Common-wealths in the bowels of a greater, like wormes in the entrayles of a naturall man. To which may be added, the Liberty of DisputingLiberty of disputing against Soveraign Power. against absolute Power, by pretenders to Politicall Prudence; which though bred for the most part in the Lees of the people; yet animated by False Doctrines, are perpetually medling with the Fundamentall Lawes, to the molestation of the Common-wealth; like the little Wormes, which Physicians call Ascarides.
We may further adde, the insatiable appetite, or Bulimia, of enlarging Dominion; with the incurable Wounds thereby many times received from the enemy; And the Wens, of ununited conquests, which are many times a burthen, and with lesse danger lost, than kept; As also the Lethargy of Ease, and Consumption of Riot and Vain Expence.
Lastly, when in a warre (forraign, or intestine,) theDissolution of the Common-wealth. enemies get a finall Victory; so as (the forces of the Common-wealth keeping the field no longer) there is no farther protection of Subjects in their loyalty; then is the Common-wealth Dissolved, and every man at liberty to protect himselfe by such courses as his own discretion shall suggest unto him. For the Soveraign, is the publique Soule, giving Life and Motion to the Common-wealth; which expiring, the Members are governed by it no more, than the Carcasse of a man, by his departed (though Immortall) Soule. For though the Right of a Soveraign Monarch cannot be extinguished by the act of another; yet the Obligation of the members may. For he that wants protection, may seek it any where; and when he hath it, is obliged (without fraudulent pretence of having submitted himselfe out of feare,) to protect his Protection as long as he is able. But when the Power of an Assembly is once suppressed, the Right of the same perisheth utterly; because the Assembly it selfe is extinct; and consequently, there is no possibility for the Soveraignty to re-enter.
Thomas Hobbes, Hobbes’s Leviathan reprinted from the edition of 1651 with an Essay by the Late W.G. Pogson Smith (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1909). Chapter: CHAP. XXX.: Of the Office of the Soveraign Representative .
Accessed from oll.libertyfund.org/title/869/208801 on 2009-10-29
The text is in the public domain.
The Procuration of the Good of the People.TheOffice of the Soveraign, (be it a Monarch, or an Assembly,) consisteth in the end, for which he was trusted with the Soveraign Power, namely the procuration of the safety of the people; to which he is obliged by the Law of Nature, and to render an account thereof to God, the Author of that Law, and to none but him. But by Safety here, is not meant a bare Preservation, but also all other Contentments of life, which every man by lawfull Industry, without danger, or hurt to the Common-wealth, shall acquire to himselfe.
By Instruction & Lawes. And this is intended should be done, not by care applyed to Individualls, further than their protection from injuries, when they shall complain; but by a generall Providence, contained in publique Instruction, both of Doctrine, and Example; and in the making, and executing of good Lawes, to which individuall persons may apply their own cases.
Against the duty of a Soveraign to relinquish any Essentiall Right of Soveraignty: And because, if the essentiall Rights of Soveraignty (specified before in the eighteenth Chapter) be taken away, the Common-wealth is thereby dissolved, and every man returneth into the condition, and calamity of a warre with every other man, (which is the greatest evill that can happen in this life;) it is the Office of the Soveraign, to maintain those Rights entire; and consequently against his duty, First, to transferre to another, or to lay from himselfe any of them. For he that deserteth the Means, deserteth the Ends; and he deserteth the Means, that being the Soveraign, acknowledgeth himselfe subject to the Civill Lawes; and renounceth the Power of Supreme Judicature; or of making Warre, or Peace by his own Authority; or of Judging of the Necessities of the Common-wealth; or of levying Mony, and Souldiers, when, and as much as in his own conscience he shall judge necessary; or of making Officers, and Ministers both of Warre, and Peace; or of appointing Teachers, and examining what Doctrines are conformable, or contrary to the Defence, Peace, and Good of the people. Secondly, it is against his Duty, to let the people beOr not to see the people taught the grounds of them. ignorant, or mis-informed of the grounds, and reasons of those his essentiall Rights; because thereby men are easie to be seduced, and drawn to resist him, when the Common-wealth shall require their use and exercise.
And the grounds of these Rights, have the rather need to be diligently, and truly taught; because they cannot be maintained by any Civill Law, or terrour of legall punishment. For a Civill Law, that shall forbid Rebellion (and such is all resistance to the essentiall Rights of Soveraignty,) is not (as a Civill Law) any obligation, but by vertue onely of the Law of Nature, that forbiddeth the violation of Faith; which naturall obligation if men know not, they cannot know the Right of any Law the Soveraign maketh. And for the Punishment, they take it but for an act of Hostility; which when they think they have strength enough, they will endeavour by acts of Hostility, to avoyd.
As I have heard some say, that Justice is but a word,Objection of those that say there are no Principles of Reason for absolute Soveraignty. without substance; and that whatsoever a man can by force, or art, acquire to himselfe, (not onely in the condition of warre, but also in a Common-wealth,) is his own, which I have already shewed to be false: So there be also that maintain, that there are no grounds, nor Principles of Reason, to sustain those essentiall Rights, which make Soveraignty absolute. For if there were, they would have been found out in some place, or other; whereas we see, there has not hitherto been any Common-wealth, where those Rights have been acknowledged, or challenged. Wherein they argue as ill, as if the Savage people of America, should deny there were any grounds, or Principles of Reason, so to build a house, as to last as long as the materials, because they never yet saw any so well built. Time, and Industry, produce every day new knowledge. And as the art of well building, is derived from Principles of Reason, observed by industrious men, that had long studied the nature of materials, and the divers effects of figure, and proportion, long after mankind began (though poorly) to build: So, long time after men have begun to constitute Common-wealths, imperfect, and apt to relapse into disorder, there may, Principles of Reason be found out, by industrious meditation, to make their constitution (excepting by externall violence) everlasting. And such are those which I have in this discourse set forth: Which whether they come not into the sight of those that have Power to make use of them, or be neglected by them, or not, concerneth my particular interest, at this day, very little. But supposing that these of mine are not such Principles of Reason; yet I am sure they are Principles from Authority of Scripture; as I shall make it appear, when I shall come to speak of the Kingdome of God, (administred by Moses,) over the Jewes, his peculiar people by Covenant.
Objection from the Incapacity of the vulgar. But they say again, that though the Principles be right, yet Common people are not of capacity enough to be made to understand them. I should be glad, that the Rich, and Potent Subjects of a Kingdome, or those that are accounted the most Learned, were no lesse incapable than they. But all men know, that the obstructions to this kind of doctrine, proceed not so much from the difficulty of the matter, as from the interest of them that are to learn. Potent men, digest hardly any thing that setteth up a Power to bridle their affections; and Learned men, any thing that discovereth their errours, and thereby lesseneth their Authority: whereas the Common-peoples minds, unlesse they be tainted with dependance on the Potent, or scribbled over with the opinions of their Doctors, are like clean paper, fit to receive whatsoever by Publique Authority shall be imprinted in them. Shall whole Nations be brought toacquiesce in the great Mysteries of Christian Religion, which are above Reason; and millions of men be made believe, that the same Body may be in innumerable places, at one and the same time, which is against Reason; and shall not men be able, by their teaching, and preaching, protected by the Law, to make that received, which is so consonant to Reason, that any unprejudicated man, needs no more to learn it, than to hear it? I conclude therefore, that in the instruction of the people in the Essentiall Rights (which are the Naturall, and Fundamentall Lawes) of Soveraignty, there is no difficulty, (whilest a Soveraign has his Power entire,) but what proceeds from his own fault, or the fault of those whom he trusteth in the administration of the Common-wealth; and consequently, it is his Duty, to cause them so to be instructed; and not onely his Duty, but his Benefit also, and Security, against the danger that may arrive to himselfe in his naturall Person, from Rebellion.
And (to descend to particulars) the People are to beSubjects are to be taught, not to affect change of Government: taught, First, that they ought not to be in love with any forme of Government they see in their neighbour Nations, more than with their own, nor (whatsoever present prosperity they behold in Nations that are otherwise governed than they,) to desire change. For the prosperity of a People ruled by an Aristocraticall, or Democraticall assembly, commeth not from Aristocracy, nor from Democracy, but from the Obedience, and Concord of the Subjects: nor do the people flourish in a Monarchy, because one man has the right to rule them, but because they obey him. Take away in any kind of State, the Obedience, (and consequently the Concord of the People,) and they shall not onely not flourish, but in short time be dissolved. And they that go about by disobedience, to doe no more than reforme the Common-wealth, shall find they do thereby destroy it; like the foolish daughters of Peleus (in the fable;) which desiring to renew the youth of their decrepit Father, did by the Counsell of Medea, cut him in pieces, and boyle him, together with strange herbs, but made not of him a new man. This desire of change, is like the breach of the first of Gods Commandements: For there God sayes, Non habebis Deos alienos; Thou shalt not have the Gods of other Nations; and in another place concerning Kings, that they are Gods.
Secondly, they are to be taught, that they ought notNor adhere (against the Soveraign) to Popular men, to be led with admiration of the vertue of any of their fellow Subjects, how high soever he stand, nor how conspicuously soever he shine in the Common-wealth; nor of any Assembly, (except the Soveraign Assembly,) so as to deferre to them any obedience, or honour, appropriate to the Soveraign onely, whom (in their particular stations) they represent; nor to receive any influence from them, but such as is conveighed by them from the Soveraign Authority. For that Soveraign, cannot be imagined to love his People as he ought, that is not Jealous of them, but suffers them by the flattery of Popular men, to be seduced from their loyalty, as they have often been, not onely secretly, but openly, so as to proclaime Marriage with them in facie Ecclesiæ by Preachers; and by publishing the same in the open streets: which may fitly be compared to the violation of the second of the ten Commandements.
Nor to Dispute the Soveraign Power: Thirdly, in consequence to this, they ought to be informed, how great a fault it is, to speak evill of the Soveraign Representative, (whether One man, or an Assembly of men;) or to argue and dispute his Power, or any way to use his Name irreverently, whereby he may be brought into Contempt with his People, and their Obedience (in which the safety of the Common-wealth consisteth) slackened. Which doctrine the third Commandement by resemblance pointeth to.
And to have dayes set apart to learn their Duty: Fourthly, seeing people cannot be taught this, nor when ‘tis taught, remember it, nor after one generation past, so much as know in whom the Soveraign Power is placed, without setting a part from their ordinary labour, some certain times, in which they may attend those that are appointed to instruct them; It is necessary that some such times be determined, wherein they may assemble together, and (after prayers and praises given to God, the Soveraign of Soveraigns) hear those their Duties told them, and the Positive Lawes, such as generally concern them all, read and expounded, and be put in mind of the Authority that maketh them Lawes. To this end had the Jewes every seventh day, a Sabbath, in which the Law was read and expounded; and in the solemnity whereof they were put in mind, that their King was God; that having created the world in six dayes, he rested the seventh day; and by their resting on it from their labour, that that God was their King, which redeemed them from their servile, and painfull labour in Egypt, and gave them a time, after they had rejoyced in God, to take joy also in themselves, by lawfull recreation, So that the first Table of the Commandements, is spent all, in setting down the summe of Gods absolute Power; not onely as God, but as King by pact, (in peculiar) of the Jewes; and may therefore give light, to those that have Soveraign Power conferred on them by the consent of men, to see what doctrine they Ought to teach their Subjects.
And because the first instruction of Children, dependethAnd to Honour their Parents. on the care of their Parents; it is necessary that they should be obedient to them, whilest they are under their tuition; and not onely so, but that also afterwards (as gratitude requireth,) they acknowledge the benefit of their education, by externall signes of honour. To which end they are to be taught, that originally the Father of every man was also his Soveraign Lord, with power over him of life and death; and that the Fathers of families, when by instituting a Common-wealth, they resigned that absolute Power, yet it was never intended, they should lose the honour due unto them for their education. For to relinquish such right, was not necessary to the Institution of Soveraign Power; nor would there be any reason, why any man should desire to have children, or take the care to nourish, and instruct them, if they were afterwards to have no other benefit from them, than from other men. And this accordeth with the fifth Commandement.
Again, every Soveraign Ought to cause Justice to be taught, which (consisting in taking from no man what isAnd to avoyd doing of Injury: his,) is as much as to say, to cause men to be taught not to deprive their Neighbours, by violence, or fraud, of any thing which by the Soveraign Authority is theirs. Of things held in propriety, those that are dearest to a man are his own life, & limbs; and in the next degree (in most men,) those that concern conjugall affection; and after them riches and means of living. Therefore the People are to be taught, to abstain from violence to one anothers person, by private revenges; from violation of conjugall honour; and from forcible rapine, and fraudulent surreption of one anothers goods. For which purpose also it is necessary they be shewed the evill consequences of false Judgement, by corruption either of Judges or Witnesses, whereby the distinction of propriety is taken away, and Justice becomes of no effect: all which things are intimated in the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth Commandements.
And to do all this sincerely from the heart. Lastly, they are to be taught, that not onely the unjust facts, but the designes and intentions to do them, (though by accident hindred,) are Injustice; which consisteth in the pravity of the will, as well as in the irregularity of the act. And this is the intention of the tenth Commandement, and the summe of the second Table; which is reduced all to this one Commandement of mutuall Charity, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thy selfe: as the summe of the first Table is reduced to the love of God; whom they had then newly received as their King.
The use of Universities. As for the Means, and Conduits, by which the people may receive this Instruction, wee are to search, by what means so many Opinions, contrary to the peace of Mankind, upon weak and false Principles, have neverthelesse been so deeply rooted in them. I mean those, which I have in the precedent Chapter specified: as That men shall Judge of what is lawfull and unlawfull, not by the Law it selfe, but by their own Consciences; that is to say, by their own private Judgements: That Subjects sinne in obeying the Commands of the Common-wealth, unlesse they themselves have first judged them to be lawfull: That their Propriety in their riches is such, as to exclude the Dominion, which the Common-wealth hath over the same: That it is lawfull for Subjects to kill such, as they call Tyrants: That the Soveraign Power may be divided, and the like; which come to be instilled into the People by this means. They whom necessity, or covetousnesse keepeth attent on their trades, and labour; and they, on the other side, whom superfluity, or sloth carrieth after their sensuall pleasures, (which two sorts of men take up the greatest part of Man-kind,) being diverted from the deep meditation, which the learning of truth, not onely in the matter of Naturall Justice, but also of all other Sciences necessarily requireth, receive the Notions of their duty, chiefly from Divines in the Pulpit, and partly from such of their Neighbours, or familiar acquaintance, as having the Faculty of discoursing readily, and plausibly, seem wiser and better learned in cases of Law, and Conscience, than themselves. And the Divines, and such others as make shew of Learning, derive their knowledge from the universities, and from the Schooles of Law, or from the Books, which by men eminent in those Schooles, and Universities have been published. It is therefore manifest, that the Instruction of the people, dependeth wholly, on the right teaching of Youth in the Universities. But are not (may some man say) the Universities of England learned enough already to do that? or is it you will undertake to teach the Universities? Hard questions. Yet to the first, I doubt not to answer; that till towards the later end of Henry the eighth, the Power of the Pope, was alwayes upheld against the Power of the Common-wealth, principally by the Universities; and that the doctrines maintained by so many Preachers, against the Soveraign Power of the King, and by so many Lawyers, and others, that had their education there, is a sufficient argument, that though the Universities were not authors of those false doctrines, yet they knew not how to plant the true. For in such a contradiction of Opinions, it is most certain, that they have not been sufficiently instructed; and ‘tis no wonder, if they yet retain a relish of that subtile liquor, wherewith they were first seasoned, against the Civill Authority. But to the later question, it is not fit, nor needfull for me to say either I, or No: for any man that sees what I am doing, may easily perceive what I think.
The safety of the People, requireth further, from him, or them that have the Soveraign Power, that Justice be equally administred to all degrees of People; that is, that as well the rich, and mighty, as poor and obscure persons, may be righted of the injuries done them; so as the great, may have no greater hope of impunity, when they doe violence, dishonour, or any Injury to the meaner sort, than when one of these, does the like to one of them: For in this consisteth Equity; to which, as being a Precept of the Law of Nature, a Soveraign is as much subject, as any of the meanest of his People. All breaches of the Law, are offences against the Common-wealth: but there be some, that are also against private Persons. Those that concern the Common-wealth onely, may without breach of Equity be pardoned; for every man may pardon what is done against himselfe, according to his own discretion. But an offence against a private man, cannot in Equity be pardoned, without the consent of him that is injured; or reasonable satisfaction.
The Inequality of Subjects, proceedeth from the Acts of Soveraign Power; and therefore has no more place in the presence of the Soveraign; that is to say, in a Court of Justice, then the Inequality between Kings, and their Subjects, in the presence of the King of Kings. The honour of great Persons, is to be valued for their beneficence, and the aydes they give to men of inferiour rank, or not at all. And the violences, oppressions, and injuries they do, are not extenuated, but aggravated by the greatnesse of their persons; because they have least need to commit them. The consequences of this partiality towards the great, proceed in this manner. Impunity maketh Insolence; Insolence Hatred; and Hatred, an Endeavour to pull down all oppressing and contumelious greatnesse, though with the ruine of the Common-wealth.
To Equall Justice, appertaineth also the EquallEquall Taxes. mposition of Taxes; the Equality whereof dependeth not on the Equality of riches, but on the Equality of the debt, that every man oweth to the Common-wealth for his defence. It is not enough, for a man to labour for the maintenance of his life; but also to fight, (if need be,) for the securing of his labour. They must either do as the Jewes did after their return from captivity, in re-edifying the Temple, build with one hand, and hold the Sword in the other; or else they must hire others to fight for them. For the Impositions, that are layd on the People by the Soveraign Power, are nothing else but the Wages, due to them that hold the publique Sword, to defend private men in the exercise of severall Trades, and Callings. Seeing then the benefit that every one receiveth thereby, is the enjoyment of life, which is equally dear to poor, and rich; the debt which a poor man oweth them that defend his life, is the same which a rich man oweth for the defence of his; saving that the rich, who have the service of the poor, may be debtors not onely for their own persons, but for many more. Which considered, the Equality of Imposition, consisteth rather in the Equality of that which is consumed, than of the riches of the persons that consume the same. For what reason is there, that he which laboureth much, and sparing the fruits of his labour, consumeth little, should be more charged, then he that living idlely, getteth little, and spendeth all he gets; seeing the one hath no more protection from the Common-wealth, then the other? But when the Impositions, are layd upon those things which men consume, every man payeth Equally for what he useth: Nor is the Common-wealth defrauded, by the luxurious waste of private men.
And whereas many men, by accident unevitable, becomePublique Charity. unable to maintain themselves by their labour; they ought not to be left to the Charity of private persons; but to be provided for, (as far-forth as the necessities of Nature require, by the Lawes of the Common-wealth. For as it is Uncharitablenesse in any man, to neglect the impotent; so it is in the Soveraign of a Common-wealth, to expose them to the hazard of such uncertain Charity.
But for such as have strong bodies, the case is otherwise:Prevention of Idlenesse. they are to be forced to work; and to avoyd the excuse of not finding employment, there ought to be such Lawes, as may encourage all manner of Arts; as Navigation, Agriculture, Fishing, and all manner of Manifacture that requires labour. The multitude of poor, and yet strong people still encreasing, they are to be transplanted into Countries not sufficiently inhabited: where neverthelesse, they are not to exterminate those they find there; but constrain them to inhabit closer together, and not range a great deal of ground, to snatch what they find; but to court each little Plot with art and labour, to give them their sustenance in due season. And when all the world is overcharged with Inhabitants, then the last remedy of all is Warre; which provideth for every man, by Victory, or Death.
To the care of the Soveraign, belongeth the making of Good Lawes. But what is a good Law? By a Good Law, I mean not a Just Law: for no Law can be Unjust. TheGood Lawes what. Law is made by the Soveraign Power, and all that is done by such Power, is warranted, and owned by every one of the people; and that which every man will have so, no man can say is unjust. It is in the Lawes of a Common-wealth, as in the Lawes of Gaming: whatsoever the Gamesters all agree on, is Injustice to none of them. A good Law is that, which is Needfull, for the Good of the People, and withall Perspicuous.
Such as are Necessary. For the use of Lawes, (which are but Rules Authorised) is not to bind the People from all Voluntary actions; but to direct and keep them in such a motion, as not to hurt themselves by their own impetuous desires, rashnesse, or indiscretion; as Hedges are set, not to stop Travellers, but to keep them in the way. And therefore a Law that is not Needfull, having not the true End of a Law, is not Good. A Law may be conceived to be Good, when it is for the benefit of the Soveraign; though it be not Necessary for the People; but it is not so. For the good of the Soveraign and People, cannot be separated. It is a weak Soveraign, that has weak Subjects; and a weak People, whose Soveraign wanteth Power to rule them at his will. Unnecessary Lawes are not good Lawes; but trapps for Mony: which where the right of Soveraign Power is acknowledged, are superfluous; and where it is not acknowledged, unsufficient to defend the People.
Such as are Perspicuous. The Perspicuity, consisteth not so much in the words of the Law it selfe, as in a Declaration of the Causes, and Motives, for which it was made. That is it, that shewes us the meaning of the Legislator; and the meaning of the Legislator known, the Law is more easily understood by few, than many words. For all words, are subject to ambiguity; and therefore multiplication of words in the body of the Law, is multiplication of ambiguity: Besides it seems to imply, (by too much diligence,) that whosoever can evade the words, is without the compasse of the Law. And this is a cause of many unnecessary Processes. For when I consider how short were the Lawes of antient times; and how they grew by degrees still longer; me thinks I see a contention between the Penners, and Pleaders of the Law; the former seeking to circumscribe the later; and the later to evade their circumscriptions; and that the Pleaders have got the Victory. It belongeth therefore to the Office of a Legislator, (such as is in all Common-wealths the Supreme Representative, be it one Man, or an Assembly,) to make the reason Perspicuous, why the Law was made; and the Body of the Law it selfe, as short, but in as proper, and significant termes, as may be.
It belongeth also to the Office of the Soveraign, to makePunishments. a right application of Punishments, and Rewards. And seeing the end of punishing is not revenge, and discharge of choler; but correction, either of the offender, or of others by his example; the severest Punishments are to be inflicted for those Crimes, that are of most Danger to the Publique; such as are those which proceed from malice to the Government established; those that spring from contempt of Justice; those that provoke Indignation in the Multitude; and those, which unpunished, seem Authorised, as when they are committed by Sonnes, Servants, or Favorites of men in Authority: For Indignation carrieth men, not onely against the Actors, and Authors of Injustice; but against all Power that is likely to protect them; as in the case of Tarquin; when for the Insolent act of one of his Sonnes, he was driven out of Rome, and the Monarchy it selfe dissolved. But Crimes of Infirmity; such as are those which proceed from great provocation, from great fear, great need, or from ignorance whether the Fact be a great Crime, or not, there is place many times for Lenity, without prejudice to the Common-wealth; and Lenity when there is such place for it, is required by the Law of Nature. The Punishment of the Leaders, and teachers in a Commotion; not the poore seduced People, when they are punished, can profit the Common-wealth by their example. To be severe to the People, is to punish that ignorance, which may in great part be imputed to the Soveraign, whose fault it was, they were no better instructed.
Rewards. In like manner it belongeth to the Office, and Duty of the Soveraign, to apply his Rewards alwayes so, as there may arise from them benefit to the Common-wealth: wherein consisteth their Use, and End; and is then done, when they that have well served the Common-wealth, are with as little expence of the Common Treasure, as is possible, so well recompenced, as others thereby may be encouraged, both to serve the same as faithfully as they can, and to study the arts by which they may be enabled to do it better. To buy with Mony, or Preferment, from a Popular ambitious Subject, to be quiet, and desist from making ill impressions in the mindes of the People, has nothing of the nature of Reward; (which is ordained not for disservice, but for service past;) nor a signe of Gratitude, but of Fear: nor does it tend to the Benefit, but to the Dammage of the Publique. It is a contention with Ambition, like that of Hercules with the Monster Hydra, which having many heads, for every one that was vanquished, there grew up three. For in like manner, when the stubbornnesse of one Popular man, is overcome with Reward, there arise many more (by the Example) that do the same Mischiefe, in hope of like Benefit: and as all sorts of Manifacture, so also Malice encreaseth by being vendible. And though sometimes a Civill warre, may be differred, by such wayes as that, yet the danger growes still the greater, and the Publique ruine more assured. It is therefore against the Duty of the Soveraign, to whom the Publique Safety is committed, to Reward those that aspire to greatnesse by disturbing the Peace of their Country, and not rather to oppose the beginnings of such men, with a little danger, than after a longer time with greater.
Counsellours. Another Businesse of the Soveraign, is to choose good Counsellours; I mean such, whose advice he is to take in the Government of the Common-wealth. For this word Counsell, Consilium, corrupted from Considium, is of a large signification, and comprehendeth all Assemblies of men that sit together, not onely to deliberate what is to be done hereafter, but also to judge of Facts past, and of Law for the present. I take it here in the first sense onely: And in this sense, there is no choyce of Counsell, neither in a Democracy, nor Aristocracy; because the persons Counselling are members of the person Counselled. The choyce of Counsellours therefore is proper to Monarchy; In which, the Soveraign that endeavoureth not to make choyce of those, that in every kind are the most able, dischargeth not his Office as he ought to do. The most able Counsellours, are they that have least hope of benefit by giving evill Counsell, and most knowledge of those things that conduce to the Peace, and Defence of the Common-wealth. It is a hard matter to know who expecteth benefit from publique troubles; but the signes that guide to a just suspicion, is the soothing of the people in their unreasonable, or irremediable grievances, by men whose estates are not sufficient to discharge their accustomed expences, and may easily be observed by any one whom it concerns to know it. But to know, who has most knowledge of the Publique affaires, is yet harder; and they that know them, need them a great deale the lesse. For to know, who knowes the Rules almost of any Art, is a great degree of the knowledge of the same Art; because no man can be assured of the truth of anothers Rules, but he that is first taught to understand them. But the best signes of Knowledge of any Art, are, much conversing in it, and constant good effects of it. Good Counsell comes not by Lot, nor by Inheritance; and therefore there is no more reason to expect good Advice from the rich, or noble, in matter of State, than in delineating the dimensions of a fortresse; unlesse we shall think there needs no method in the study of the Politiques, (as there does in the study of Geometry,) but onely to be lookers on; which is not so. For the Politiques is the harder study of the two. Whereas in these parts of Europe, it hath been taken for a Right of certain persons, to have place in the highest Councell of State by Inheritance; it is derived from the Conquests of the antient Germans; wherein many absolute Lords joyning together to conquer other Nations, would not enter in to the Confederacy, without such Priviledges, as might be marks of difference in time following, between their Posterity, and the Posterity of their Subjects; which Priviledges being inconsistent with the Soveraign Power, by the favour of the Soveraign, they may seem to keep; but contending for them as their Right, they must needs by degrees let them go, and have at last no further honour, then adhæreth naturally to their abilities.
And how able soever be the Counsellours in any affaire, the benefit of their Counsell is greater, when they give every one his Advice, and the reasons of it apart, than when they do it in an Assembly, by way of Orations; and when they have præmeditated, than when they speak on the sudden; both because they have more time, to survey the consequences of action; and are lesse subject to be carried away to contradiction, through Envy, Emulation, or other Passions arising from the difference of opinion.
The best Counsell, in those things that concern not other Nations, but onely the ease, and benefit the Subjects may enjoy, by Lawes that look onely inward, is to be taken from the generall informations, and complaints of the people of each Province, who are best acquainted with their own wants, and ought therefore, when they demand nothing in derogation of the essentiall Rights of Soveraignty, to be diligently taken notice of. For without those Essentiall Rights, (as I have often before said,) the Common-wealth cannot at all subsist.
Commanders. A Commander of an Army in chiefe, if he be not Popular, shall not be beloved, nor feared as he ought to be by his Army; and consequently cannot performe that office with good successe. He must therefore be Industrious, Valiant, Affable, Liberall and Fortunate, that he may gain an opinion both of sufficiency, and of loving his Souldiers. This is Popularity, and breeds in the Souldiers both desire, and courage, to recommend themselves to his favour; and protects the severity of the Generall, in punishing (when need is) the Mutinous, or negligent Souldiers. But this love of Souldiers, (if caution be not given of the Commanders fidelity,) is a dangerous thing to Soveraign Power; especially when it is in the hands of an Assembly not popular. It belongeth therefore to the safety of the People, both that they be good Conductors, and faithfull Subjects, to whom the Soveraign Commits his Armies.
But when the Soveraign himselfe is Popular; that is, reverenced and beloved of his People, there is no danger at all from the Popularity of a Subject. For Souldiers are never so generally unjust, as to side with their Captain; though they love him, against their Soveraign, when they love not onely his Person, but also his Cause. And therefore those, who by violence have at any time suppressed the Power of their lawfull Soveraign, before they could settle themselves in his place, have been alwayes put to the trouble of contriving their Titles, to save the People from the shame of receiving them. To have a known Right to Soveraign Power, is so popular a quality, as he that has it needs no more, for his own part, to turn the hearts of his Subjects to him, but that they see him able absolutely to govern his own Family: Nor, on the part of his enemies, but a disbanding of their Armies. For the greatest and most active part of Mankind, has never hetherto been well contented with the present.
Concerning the Offices of one Soveraign to another, which are comprehended in that Law, which is commonly called the Law of Nations, I need not say any thing in this place; because the Law of Nations, and the Law of Nature, is the same thing. And every Soveraign hath the same Right, in procuring the safety of his People, that any particular man can have, in procuring the safety of his own Body. And the same Law, that dictateth to men that have no Civil Government, what they ought to do, and what to avoyd in regard of one another, dictateth the same to Common-wealths, that is, to the Consciences of Soveraign Princes, and Soveraign Assemblies; there being no Court of Naturall Justice, but in the Conscience onely; where not Man, but God raigneth; whose Lawes, (such of them as oblige all Mankind,) in respect of God, as he is the Author of Nature, are Naturall; and in respect of the same God, as he is King of Kings, are Lawes. But of the Kingdome of God, as King of Kings, and as King also of a peculiar People, I shall speak in the rest of this discourse.
Thomas Hobbes, Hobbes’s Leviathan reprinted from the edition of 1651 with an Essay by the Late W.G. Pogson Smith (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1909). Chapter: CHAP. XXXI.: Of the Kingdome of God by Nature .
Accessed from oll.libertyfund.org/title/869/208803 on 2009-10-29
The text is in the public domain.
The scope of the following Chapters.That the condition of meer Nature, that is to say, of absolute Liberty, such as is theirs, that neither are Soveraigns, nor Subjects, is Anarchy, and the condition of Warre: That the Præcepts, by which men are guided to avoyd that condition, are the Lawes of Nature: That a Common-wealth, without Soveraign Power, is but a word, without substance, and cannot stand: That Subjects owe to Soveraigns, simple Obedience, in all things, wherein their obedience is not repugnant to the Lawes of God, I have sufficiently proved, in that which I have already written. There wants onely, for the entire knowledge of Civill duty, to know what are those Lawes of God. For without that, a man knows not, when he is commanded any thing by the Civill Power, whether it be contrary to the Law of God, or not: and so, either by too much civill obedience, offends the Divine Majesty, or through feare of offending God, transgresses the commandements of the Common-wealth. To avoyd both these Rocks, it is necessary to know what are the Lawes Divine. And seeing the knowledge of all Law, dependeth on the knowledge of the Soveraign Power; I shall say something in that which followeth, of the Kingdome ofGod.
Psal. 96.1.God is King, let the Earth rejoyce, saith the Psalmist.Psal. 98.1. nd again, God is King though the Nations be angry; and he that sitteth on the Cherubins, though the earth be moved.Who are subjects in the kingdome of God. hether men will or not, they must be subject alwayes to the Divine Power. By denying the Existence, or Providence of God, men may shake off their Ease, but not their Yoke. But to call this Power of God, which extendeth it selfe not onely to Man, but also to Beasts, and Plants, and Bodies inanimate, by the name of Kingdome, is but a metaphoricall use of the word. For he onely is properly said to Raigne, that governs his Subjects, by his Word, and by promise of Rewards to those that obey it, and by threatning them with Punishment that obey it not. Subjects therefore in the Kingdome of God, are not Bodies Inanimate, nor creatures Irrationall; because they understand no Precepts as his: Nor Atheists; nor they that believe not that God has any care of the actions of mankind; because they acknowledge no Word for his, nor have hope of his rewards, or fear of his threatnings. They therefore that believe there is a God that governeth the world, and hath given Præcepts, and propounded Rewards, and Punishments to Mankind, are Gods Subjects; all the rest, are to be understood as Enemies.
To rule by Words, requires that such Words be manifestlyA Three-fold Word of God, Reason, Revelation, Prophecy. made known; for else they are no Lawes: For to the nature of Lawes belongeth a sufficient, and clear Promulgation, such as may take away the excuse of Ignorance; which in the Lawes of men is but of one onely kind, and that is, Proclamation, or Promulgation by the voyce of man. But God declareth his Lawes three wayes; by the Dictates of Naturall Reason, by Revelation, and by the Voyce of some man, to whom by the operation of Miracles, he procureth credit with the rest. From hence there ariseth a triple Word of God, Rational, Sensible, and Prophetique: to which Correspondeth a triple Hearing; Right Reason, Sense Supernaturall, and Faith. As for Sense Supernaturall, which consisteth in Revelation, or Inspiration, there have not been any Universall Lawes so given, because God speaketh not in that manner, but to particular persons, and to divers men divers things.
From the difference between the other two kinds ofA twofold Kingdome of God, Naturall and Prophetique. Gods Word, Rationall, and Prophetique, there may be attributed to God, a two-fold Kingdome, Naturall, and Prophetique: Naturall, wherein he governeth as many of Mankind as acknowledge his Providence, by the naturall Dictates of Right Reason; And Prophetique, wherein having chosen out one peculiar Nation (the Jewes) for his Subjects, he governed them, and none but them, not onely by naturall Reason, but by Positive Lawes, which he gave them by the mouths of his holy Prophets. Of the Naturall Kingdome of God I intend to speak in this Chapter.
The Right of Gods Soveraignty is derived from his Omnipotence. The Right of Nature, whereby God reigneth over men, and punisheth those that break his Lawes, is to be derived, not from his Creating them, as if he required obedience, as of Gratitude for his benefits; but from his Irresistible Power. I have formerly shewn, how the Soveraign Right ariseth from Pact: To shew how the same Right may arise from Nature, requires no more, but to shew in what case it is never taken away. Seeing all men by Nature had Right to All things, they had Right every one to reigne over all the rest. But because this Right could not be obtained by force, it concerned the safety of every one, laying by that Right, to set up men (with Soveraign Authority) by common consent, to rule and defend them: whereas if there had been any man of Power Irresistible; there had been no reason, why he should not by that Power have ruled, and defended both himselfe, and them, according to his own discretion. To those therefore whose Power is irresistible, the dominion of all men adhæreth naturally by their excellence of Power; and consequently it is from that Power, that the Kingdome over men, and the Right of afflicting men at his pleasure, belongeth Naturally to God Almighty; not as Creator, and Gracious; but as Omnipotent. And though Punishment be due for Sinne onely, because by that word is understood Affliction for Sinne; yet the Right of Afflicting, is not alwayes derived from mens Sinne, but from Gods Power.
Sinne not the cause of all Affliction. This question, Why Evill men often Prosper, and Good men suffer Adversity, has been much disputed by the Antient, and is the same with this of ours, by what Right God dispenseth the Prosperities and Adversities of this life; and is of that difficulty, as it hath shaken the faith, not onely of the Vulgar, but of Philosophers, and which is more, of the Saints, concerning the Divine Providence.Psal. 72. ver. 1,2,3.How Good (saith David) is the God of Israel to those that are Upright in Heart; and yet my feet were almost gone, my treadings had well-nigh slipt; for I was grieved at the Wicked, when I saw the Ungodly in such Prosperity. And Job, how earnestly does he expostulate with God, for the many Afflictions he suffered, notwithstanding his Righteousnesse? This question in the case of Job, is decided by God himselfe, not by arguments derived from Job’s Sinne, but his own Power. For whereas the friends of Job drew their arguments from his Affliction to his Sinne, and he defended himselfe by the conscience of his Innocence, God himselfe taketh up the matter, and having justified the Affliction by arguments drawn from his Power, such as this, Where wast thou when I layd theJob 38. v. 4.foundations of the earth, and the like, both approved Job’s Innocence, and reproved the Erroneous doctrine of his friends. Conformable to this doctrine is the sentence of our Saviour, concerning the man that was born Blind, in these words, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his fathers; but that the works of God might be made manifest in him. And though it be said, That Death entred into the world by sinne, (by which is meant that if Adam had never sinned, he had never dyed, that is, never suffered any separation of his soule from his body,) it follows not thence, that God could not justly have Afflicted him, though he had not Sinned, as well as he afflicteth other living creatures, that cannot sinne.
Having spoken of the Right of Gods Soveraignty, asDivine Lawes. grounded onely on Nature; we are to consider next, what are the Divine Lawes, or Dictates of Naturall Reason; which Lawes concern either the naturall Duties of one man to another, or the Honour naturally due to our Divine Soveraign. The first are the same Lawes of Nature, of which I have spoken already in the 14. and 15. Chapters of this Treatise; namely, Equity, Justice, Mercy, Humility, and the rest of the Morall Vertues. It remaineth therefore that we consider, what Præcepts are dictated to men, by their Naturall Reason onely, without other word of God, touching the Honour and Worship of the Divine Majesty.
Honour consisteth in the inward thought, and opinionHonour and Worship what. of the Power, and Goodnesse of another: and therefore to Honour God, is to think as Highly of his Power and Goodnesse, as is possible. And of that opinion, the externall signes appearing in the Words, and Actions of men, are called Worship; which is one part of that which the Latines understand by the word Cultus: For Cultus signifieth properly, and constantly, that labour which a man bestowes on any thing, with a purpose to make benefit by it. Now those things whereof we make benefit, are either subject to us, and the profit they yeeld, followeth the labour we bestow upon them, as a naturall effect; or they are not subject to us, but answer our labour, according to their own Wills. In the first sense the labour bestowed on the Earth, is called Culture; and the education of Children a Culture of their mindes. In the second sense, where mens wills are to be wrought to our purpose, not by Force, but by Compleasance, it signifieth as much as Courting, that is, a winning of favour by good offices; as by praises, by acknowledging their Power, and by whatsoever is pleasing to them from whom we look for any benefit. And this is properly Worship: in which sense Publicola, is understood for a Worshipper of the People; and Cultus Dei, for the Worship of God.
Severall signes of Honour. From internall Honour, consisting in the opinion of Power and Goodnesse, arise three Passions; Love, which hath reference to Goodnesse; and Hope, and Fear, that relate to Power: And three parts of externall worship; Praise, Magnifying, and Blessing: The subject of Praise, being Goodnesse; the subject of Magnifying, and Blessing, being Power, and the effect thereof Felicity. Praise, and Magnifying are signified both by Words, and Actions: By Words, when we say a man is Good, or Great: By Actions, when we thank him for his Bounty, and obey his Power. The opinion of the Happinesse of another, can onely be expressed by words.
Worship Naturall and Arbitrary. There be some signes of Honour, (both in Attributes and Actions,) that be Naturally so; as amongst Attributes, Good, Just, Liberall, and the like; and amongst Actions, Prayers, Thanks, and Obedience. Others are so by Institution, or Custome of men; and in some times and places are Honourable; in others Dishonourable; in others Indifferent: such as are the Gestures in Salutation, Prayer, and Thanksgiving, in different times and places, differently used. The former is Naturall; the later Arbitrary Worship.
And of Arbitrary Worship, there bee two differences:Worship Commanded and Free. For sometimes it is a Commanded, sometimes Voluntary Worship: Commanded, when it is such as hee requireth, who is Worshipped: Free, when it is such as the Worshipper thinks fit. When it is Commanded, not the words, or gesture, but the obedience is the Worship. But when Free, the Worship consists in the opinion of the beholders: for if to them the words, or actions by which we intend honour, seem ridiculous, and tending to contumely; they are no Worship; because no signes of Honour; and no signes of Honour; because a signe is not a signe to him that giveth it, but to him to whom it is made; that is, to the spectator.
Again, there is a Publique, and a Private Worship.Worship Publique and Private. Publique, is the Worship that a Common-wealth performeth, as one Person. Private, is that which a Private person exhibiteth. Publique, in respect of the whole Common-wealth, is Free; but in respect of Particular men it is not so. Private, is in secret Free; but in the sight of the multitude, it is never without some Restraint, either from the Lawes, or from the Opinion of men; which is contrary to the nature of Liberty.
The End of Worship amongst men, is Power. ForThe end of Worship. where a man seeth another worshipped, he supposeth him powerfull, and is the readier to obey him; which makes his Power greater. But God has no Ends: the worship we do him, proceeds from our duty, and is directed according to our capacity, by those rules of Honour, that Reason dictateth to be done by the weak to the more potent men, in hope of benefit, for fear of dammage, or in thankfulnesse for good already received from them.
That we may know what worship of God is taught usAttributes of Divine Honour. by the light of Nature, I will begin with his Attributes. Where, First, it is manifest, we ought to attribute to him Existence: For no man can have the will to honour that, which he thinks not to have any Beeing.
Secondly, that those Philosophers, who sayd the World, or the Soule of the World was God, spake unworthily of him; and denyed his Existence: For by God, is understood the cause of the World; and to say the World is God, is to say there is no cause of it, that is, no God.
Thirdly, to say the World was not Created, but Eternall, (seeing that which is Eternall has no cause,) is to deny there is a God.
Fourthly, that they who attributing (as they think) Ease to God, take from him the care of Man-kind; take from him his Honour: for it takes away mens love, and fear of him; which is the root of Honour.
Fifthly, in those things that signifie Greatnesse, and Power; to say he is Finite, is not to Honour him: For it is not a signe of the Will to Honour God, to attribute to him lesse than we can; and Finite, is lesse than we can; because to Finite, it is easie to adde more.
Therefore to attribute Figure to him, is not Honour; for all Figure is Finite:
Nor to say we conceive, and imagine, or have an Idea of him, in our mind: for whatsoever we conceive is Finite:
Nor to attribute to him Parts, or Totality; which are the Attributes onely of things Finite:
Nor to say he is in this, or that Place: for whatsoever is in Place, is bounded, and Finite:
Nor that he is Moved, or Resteth: for both these Attributes ascribe to him Place:
Nor that there be more Gods than one; because it implies them all Finite: for there cannot be more than one Infinite:
Nor to ascribe to him (unlesse Metaphorically, meaning not the Passion, but the Effect) Passions that partake of Griefe; as Repentance, Anger, Mercy: or of Want; as Appetite, Hope, Desire; or of any Passive faculty: For Passion, is Power limited by somewhat else.
And therefore when we ascribe to God a Will, it is not to be understood, as that of Man, for a Rationall Appetite; but as the Power, by which he effecteth every thing.
Likewise when we attribute to him Sight, and other acts of Sense; as also Knowledge, and Understanding; which in us is nothing else, but a tumult of the mind, raised by externall things that presse the organicall parts of mans body: For there is no such thing in God; and being things that depend on naturall causes, cannot be attributed to him.
Hee that will attribute to God, nothing but what is warranted by naturall Reason, must either use such Negative Attributes, as Infinite, Eternall, Incompre-hensible; or Superlatives, as Most High, most Great, and the like; or Indefinite, as Good, Just, Holy, Creator; and in such sense, as if he meant not to declare what he is, (for that were to circumscribe him within the limits of our Fancy,) but how much wee admire him, and how ready we would be to obey him; which is a signe of Humility, and of a Will to honour him as much as we can: For there is but one Name to signifie our Conception of his Nature, and that is, I AM: and but one Name of his Relation to us, and that is God; in which is contained Father, King, and Lord.
Concerning the actions of Divine Worship, it is a mostActions that are signes of Divine Honour. generall Precept of Reason, that they be signes of the Intention to Honour God; such as are, First, Prayers: For not the Carvers, when they made Images, were thought to make them Gods; but the People that Prayed to them.
Secondly, Thanksgiving; which differeth from Prayer in Divine Worship, no otherwise, than that Prayers precede, and Thanks succeed the benefit; the end both of the one, and the other, being to acknowledge God, for Author of all benefits, as well past, as future.
Thirdly, Gifts; that is to say, Sacrifices, and Oblations, (if they be of the best,) are signes of Honour: for they are Thanksgivings.
Fourthly, Not to swear by any but God, is naturally a signe of Honour: for it is a confession that God onely knoweth the heart; and that no mans wit, or strength can protect a man against Gods vengeance on the perjured.
Fifthly, it is a part of Rationall Worship, to speak Considerately of God; for it argues a Fear of him, and Fear, is a confession of his Power. Hence followeth, That the name of God is not to be used rashly, and to no purpose; for that is as much, as in Vain: And it is to no purpose unlesse it be by way of Oath, and by order of the Common-wealth, to make Judgements certain; or between Common-wealths, to avoyd Warre. And that disputing of Gods nature is contrary to his Honour: For it is supposed, that in this naturall Kingdome of God, there is no other way to know any thing, but by naturall Reason; that is, from the Principles of naturall Science; which are so farre from teaching us any thing of Gods nature, as they cannot teach us our own nature, nor the nature of the smallest creature living. And therefore, when men out of the Principles of naturall Reason, dispute of the Attributes of God, they but dishonour him: For in the Attributes which we give to God, we are not to consider the signification of Philosophicall Truth; but the signification of Pious Intention, to do him the greatest Honour we are able. From the want of which consideration, have proceeded the volumes of disputation about the nature of God, that tend not to his Honour, but to the honour of our own wits, and learning; and are nothing else but inconsiderate, and vain abuses of his Sacred Name.
Sixthly, in Prayers, Thanksgiving, Offerings and Sacrifices, it is a Dictate of naturall Reason, that they be every one in his kind the best, and most significant of Honour. As for example, that Prayers, and Thanks-giving, be made in Words and Phrases, not sudden, nor light, nor Plebeian; but beautifull, and well composed; For else we do not God as much honour as we can. And therefore the Heathens did absurdly, to worship Images for Gods: But their doing it in Verse, and with Musick, both of Voyce, and Instruments, was reasonable. Also that the Beasts they offered in sacrifice, and the Gifts they offered, and their actions in Worshipping, were full of submission, and commemorative of benefits received, was according to reason, as proceeding from an intention to honour him.
Seventhly, Reason directeth not onely to worship God in Secret; but also, and especially, in Publique, and in the sight of men: For without that, (that which in honour is most acceptable) the procuring others to honour him, is lost.
Lastly, Obedience to his Lawes (that is, in this case to the Lawes of Nature,) is the greatest worship of all. For as Obedience is more acceptable to God than Sacrifice; so also to set light by his Commandements, is the greatest of all contumelies. And these are the Lawes of that Divine Worship, which naturall Reason dictateth to private men.
But seeing a Common-wealth is but one Person, itPublique Worship consisteth in Uniformity. tought also to exhibite to God but one Worship; which then it doth, when it commandeth it to be exhibited by Private men, Publiquely. And this is Publique Worship; the property whereof, is to be Uniforme: For those actions that are done differently, by different men, cannot be said to be a Publique Worship. And therefore, where many sorts of Worship be allowed, proceeding from the different Religions of Private men, it cannot be said there is any Publique Worship, nor that the Common-wealth is of any Religion at all.
And because words (and consequently the AttributesAll Attributes depend on the Lawes Civill. of God) have their signification by agreement, and constitution of men; those Attributes are to be held significative of Honour, that men intend shall so be; and whatsoever may be done by the wills of particular men, where there is no Law but Reason, may be done by the will of the Common-wealth, by Lawes Civill. And because a Common-wealth hath no Will, nor makes no Lawes, but those that are made by the Will of him, or them that have the Soveraign Power; it followeth, that those Attributes which the Soveraign ordaineth, in the Worship of God, for signes of Honour, ought to be taken and used for such, by private men in their publique Worship.
But because not all Actions are signes by Constitution;Not all Actions. but some are Naturally signes of Honour, others of Contumely, these later (which are those that men are ashamed to do in the sight of them they reverence) cannot be made by humane power a part of Divine worship; nor the former (such as are decent, modest, humble Behaviour) ever be separated from it. But whereas there be an infinite number of Actions, and Gestures, of an indifferent nature; such of them as the Common-wealth shall ordain to be Publiquely and Universally in use, as signes of Honour, and part of Gods Worship, are to be taken and used for such by the Subjects. And that which is said in the Scripture, It is better to obey God than men, hath place in the kingdome of God by Pact, and not by Nature.
Naturall Punishments. Having thus briefly spoken of the Naturall Kingdome of God, and his Naturall Lawes, I will adde onely to this Chapter a short declaration of his Naturall Punishments. There is no action of man in this life, that is not the beginning of so long a Chayn of Consequences, as no humane Providence, is high enough, to give a man a prospect to the end. And in this Chayn, there are linked together both pleasing and unpleasing events; in such manner, as he that will do any thing for his pleasure, must engage himselfe to suffer all the pains annexed to it; and these pains, are the Naturall Punishments of those actions, which are the beginning of more Harme than Good. And hereby it comes to passe, that Intemperance, is naturally punished with Diseases; Rashnesse, with Mischances; Injustice, with the Violence of Enemies; Pride, with Ruine; Cowardise, with Oppression; Negligent government of Princes, with Rebellion; and Rebellion, with Slaughter. For seeing Punishments are consequent to the breach of Lawes; Naturall Punishments must be naturally consequent to the breach of the Lawes of Nature; and therfore follow them as their naturall, not arbitrary effects.
The Conclusion of the Second Part. And thus farre concerning the Constitution, Nature, and Right of Soveraigns; and concerning the Duty of Subjects, derived from the Principles of Naturall Reason. And now, considering how different this Doctrine is, from the Practise of the greatest part of the world, especially of these Western parts, that have received their Morall learning from Rome, and Athens; and how much depth of Morall Philosophy is required, in them that have the Administration of the Soveraign Power; I am at the point of believing this my labour, as uselesse, as the Common-wealth of Plato; For he also is of opinion that it is impossible for the disorders of State, and change of Governments by Civill Warre, ever to be taken away, till Soveraigns be Philosophers. But when I consider again, that the Science of Naturall Justice, is the onely Science necessary for Soveraigns, and their principall Ministers; and that they need not be charged with the Sciences Mathematicall, (as by Plato they are,) further, than by good Lawes to encourage men to the study of them; and that neither Plato, nor any other Philosopher hitherto, hath put into order, and sufficiently or probably proved all the Theoremes of Morall doctrine, that men may learn thereby, both how to govern, and how to obey; I recover some hope, that one time or other, this writing of mine, may fall into the hands of a Soveraign, who will consider it himselfe, (for it is short, and I think clear,) without the help of any interessed, or envious Interpreter; and by the exercise of entire Soveraignty, in protecting the Publique teaching of it, convert this Truth of Speculation, into the Utility of Practice.
Thomas Hobbes, Hobbes’s Leviathan reprinted from the edition of 1651 with an Essay by the Late W.G. Pogson Smith (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1909). Chapter: CHAP. XXXII.: Of the Principles of Christian Politiques .
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The Word of God delivered by Prophets is the main principle of Christian Politiques. I have derived the Rights of Soveraigne Power, and the duty of Subjects hitherto, from the Principles of Nature onely; such as Experience has found true, or Consent (concerning the use of words) has made so; that is to say, from the nature of Men, known to us by Experience, and from Definitions (of such words as are Essentiall to all Politicall reasoning) universally agreed on. But in that I am next to handle, which is the Nature and Rights of a ChristianCommon-wealth, whereof there dependeth much upon Supernaturall Revelations of the Will of God; the ground of my Discourse must be, not only the Naturall Word of God, but also the Propheticall.
Yet is not naturall Reason to be renounced. Neverthelesse, we are not to renounce our Senses, and Experience; nor (that which is the undoubted Word of God) our naturall Reason. For they are the talents which he hath put into our hands to negotiate, till the coming again of our blessed Saviour; and therefore not to be folded up in the Napkin of an Implicite Faith, but employed in the purchase of Justice, Peace, and true Religion. For though there be many things in Gods Word above Reason; that is to say, which cannot by naturall reason be either demonstrated, or confuted; yet there is nothing contrary to it; but when it seemeth so, the fault is either in our unskilfull Interpretation, or erroneous Ratiocination.
Therefore, when any thing therein written is too hard for our examination, wee are bidden to captivate our understanding to the Words; and not to labour in sifting out a Philosophicall truth by Logick, of such mysteries as are not comprehensible, nor fall under any rule of naturall science. For it is with the mysteries of our Religion, as with wholsome pills for the sick, which swallowed whole, have the vertue to cure; but chewed, are for the most part cast up again without effect.
But by the Captivity of our Understanding, is not meant a Submission of theWhat it is to captivate the Understanding. Intellectuall faculty, to the Opinion of any other man; but of the Will to Obedience, where obedience is due. For Sense, Memory, Understanding, Reason, and Opinion are not in our power to change; but alwaies, and necessarily such, as the things we see, hear, and consider suggest unto us; and therefore are not effects of our Will, but our Will of them. We then Captivate our Understanding and Reason, when we forbear contradiction; when we so speak, as (by lawfull Authority) we are commanded; and when we live accordingly; which in sum, is Trust, and Faith reposed in him that speaketh, though the mind be incapable of any Notion at all from the words spoken.
When God speaketh to man, it must be either immediately;How God speaketh to men. or by mediation of another man, to whom he had formerly spoken by himself immediately. How God speaketh to a man immediately, may be understood by those well enough, to whom he hath so spoken; but how the same should be understood by another, is hard, if not impossible to know. For if a man pretend to me, that God hath spoken to him supernaturally, and immediately, and I make doubt of it, I cannot easily perceive what argument he can produce, to oblige me to beleeve it. It is true, that if he be my Soveraign, he may oblige me to obedience, so, as not by act or word to declare I beleeve him not; but not to think any otherwise then my reason perswades me. But if one that hath not such authority over me, shall pretend the same, there is nothing that exacteth either beleefe, or obedience.
For to say that God hath spoken to him in the Holy Scripture, is not to say God hath spoken to him immediately, but by mediation of the Prophets, or of the Apostles, or of the Church, in such manner as he speaks to all other Christian men. To say he hath spoken to him in a Dream, is no more then to say he dreamed that God spake to him; which is not of force to win beleef from any man, that knows dreams are for the most part naturall, and may proceed from former thoughts; and such dreams as that, from selfe conceit, and foolish arrogance, and false opinion of a mans own godlinesse, or other vertue, by which he thinks he hath merited the favour of extraordinary Revelation. To say he hath seen a Vision, or heard a Voice, is to say, that he hath dreamed between sleeping and waking: for in such manner a man doth many times naturally take his dream for a vision, as not having well observed his own slumbering. To say he speaks by supernaturall Inspiration, is to say he finds an ardent desire to speak, or some strong opinion of himself, for which hee can alledge no naturall and sufficient reason. So that though God Almighty can speak to a man, by Dreams, Visions, Voice, and Inspiration; yet he obliges no man to beleeve he hath so done to him that pretends it; who (being a man) may erre, and (which is more) may lie.
By what marks Prophets are known. 1 Kings 22. How then can he, to whom God hath never revealed his Wil immediately (saving by the way of natural reason) know when he is to obey, or not to obey his Word, delivered by him, that sayes he is a Prophet? Of 400 Prophets, of whom the K. of Israel asked counsel, concerning the warre he made against Ramoth Gilead, only1 Kings 13.Micaiah was a true one. The Prophet that was sent to prophecy against the Altar set up by Jeroboam, though a true Prophet, and that by two miracles done in his presence appears to be a Prophet sent from God, was yet deceived by another old Prophet, that perswaded him as from the mouth of God, to eat and drink with him. If one Prophet deceive another, what certainty is there of knowing the will of God, by other way than that of Reason? To which I answer out of the Holy Scripture, that there be two marks, by which together, not asunder, a true Prophet is to be known. One is the doing of miracles; the other is the not teaching any other Religion than that which is already established. Asunder (I say) neither of these is sufficient. If a Prophet rise amongst you, or a Dreamer of dreams, and shall pretend the doingDeut. 13. v. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.of a miracle, and the miracle come to passe; if he say, Let us follow strange Gods, which thou hast not known, thou shalt not hearken to him, &c. But that Prophet and Dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he hath spoken to you to Revolt from the Lord your God. In which words two things are to be observed; First, that God wil not have miracles alone serve for arguments, to approve the Prophets calling; but (as it is in the third verse) for an experiment of the constancy of our adherence to himself. For the works of the Egyptian Sorcerers, though not so great as those of Moses, yet were great miracles. Secondly, that how great soever the miracle be, yet if it tend to stir up revolt against the King, or him that governeth by the Kings authority, he that doth such miracle, is not to be considered otherwise than as sent to make triall of their allegiance. For these words, revolt from the Lord your God, are in this place equivalent to revolt from your King. For they had made God their King by pact at the foot of Mount Sinai; who ruled them by Moses only; for he only spake with God, and from time to time declared Gods Commandements to the people. In like manner, after our Saviour Christ had made his Disciples acknowledge him for the Messiah, (that is to say, for Gods anointed, whom the nation of the Jews daily expected for their King, but refused when he came,) he omitted not to advertise them of the danger of miracles. There shall arise (saith he) false Christs,Mat. 24. 24.nd false Prophets, and shall doe great wonders and miracles, even to the seducing (if it were possible) of the very Elect. By which it appears, that false Prophets may have the power of miracles; yet are wee not to take their doctrin for Gods Word. St. Paul says further to the Galatians,Gal. 1. 8. that if himself, or an Angell from heaven preach another Gospel to them, than he had preached, let him be accursed. That Gospel was, that Christ was King; so that all preaching against the power of the King received, in consequence to these words, is by St. Paul accursed. For his speech is addressed to those, who by his preaching had already received Jesus for the Christ, that is to say, for King of the Jews.
The marks of a Prophet in the old law, Miracles, and Doctrine conformable to the law. And as Miracles, without preaching that Doctrine which God hath established; so preaching the true Doctrine, without the doing of Miracles, is an unsufficient argument of immediate Revelation. For if a man that teacheth not false Doctrine, should pretend to bee a Prophet without shewing any Miracle, he is never the more to bee regarded for his pretence, as is evident by Deut. 18. v. 21, 22. If thou say in thy heart, How shall we know that the Word (of the Prophet) is not that which the Lord hath spoken. When the Prophet shall have spoken in the name of the Lord, that which shall not come to passe, that’s the word which the Lord hath not spoken, but the Prophet has spoken it out of the pride of his own heart, fear him not. But a man may here again ask, When the Prophet hath foretold a thing, how shal we know whether it will come to passe or not? For he may foretel it as a thing to arrive after a certain long time, longer then the time of mans life; or indefinitely, that it will come to passe one time or other: in which case this mark of a Prophet is unusefull; and therefore the miracles that oblige us to beleeve a Prophet, ought to be confirmed by an immediate, or a not long deferr’ event. So that it is manifest, that the teaching of the Religion which God hath established, and the shewing of a present Miracle, joined together, were the only marks whereby the Scripture would have a true Prophet, that is to say, immediate Revelation to be acknowledged; neither of them being singly sufficient to oblige any other man to regard what he saith.
Miracles ceasing, Prophets cease, and the Scripture supplies their place. Seeing therefore Miracles now cease, we have no sign left, whereby to acknowledge the pretended Revelations, or Inspirations of any private man; nor obligation to give ear to any Doctrine, farther than it is conformable to the Holy Scriptures, which since the time of our Saviour, supply the place, and sufficiently recompense the want of all other Prophecy; and from which, by wise and learned interpretation, and carefull ratiocination, all rules and precepts necessary to the knowledge of our duty both to God and man, without Enthusiasme, or supernaturall Inspiration, may easily be deduced. And this Scripture is it, out of which I am to take the Principles of my Discourse, concerning the Rights of those that are the Supream Governors on earth, of Christian Common-wealths; and of the duty of Christian Subjects towards their Soveraigns. And to that end, I shall speak in the next Chapter, of the Books, Writers, Scope and Authority of the Bible.
Thomas Hobbes, Hobbes’s Leviathan reprinted from the edition of 1651 with an Essay by the Late W.G. Pogson Smith (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1909). Chapter: CHAP. XXXIII.: Of the Number, Antiquity, Scope, Authority, and Interpreters of the Books of Holy Scripture .
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By the Books of Holy Scripture, are understoodOf the Books of Holy Scripture. those, which ought to be the Canon, that is to say, the Rules of Christian life. And because all Rules of life, which men are in conscience bound to observe, are Laws; the question of the Scripture, is the question of what is Law throughout all Christendome, both Naturall, and Civill. For though it be not determined in Scripture, what Laws every Christian King shall constitute in his own Dominions; yet it is determined what laws he shall not constitute. Seeing therefore I have already proved, that Soveraigns in their own Dominions are the sole Legislators; those Books only are Canonicall, that is, Law, in every nation, which are established for such by the Soveraign Authority. It is true, that God is the Soveraign of all Soveraigns; and therefore, when he speaks to any Subject, he ought to be obeyed, whatsoever any earthly Potentate command to the contrary. But the question is not of obedience to God, but of when, and what God hath said; which to Subjects that have no supernaturall revelation, cannot be known, but by that naturall reason, which guided them, for the obtaining of Peace and Justice, to obey the authority of their severall Common-wealths; that is to say, of their lawfull Soveraigns. According to this obligation, I can acknowledge no other Books of the Old Testament, to be Holy Scripture, but those which have been commanded to be acknowledged for such, by the Authority of the Church of England. What Books these are, is sufficiently known, without a Catalogue of them here; and they are the same that are acknowledged by St. Jerome, who holdeth the rest, namely, the Wisdome of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, Judith, Tobias, the first and the second of Maccabees, (though he had seen the first in Hebrew) and the third and fourth of Esdras, for Apocrypha. Of the Canonicall, Josephus a learned Jew, that wrote in the time of the Emperour Domitian, reckoneth twenty two, making the number agree with the Hebrew Alphabet. St. Jerome does the same, though they reckon them in different manner. For Josephus numbers five Books of Moses, thirteen of Prophets, that writ the History of their own times (which how it agrees with the Prophets writings contained in the Bible wee shall see hereafter), and four of Hymnes and Morall Precepts. But St. Jerome reckons five Books of Moses, eight of Prophets, and nine of other Holy writ, which he calls of Hagiographa. The Septuagint, who were 70. learned men of the Jews, sent for by Ptolemy King of Egypt, to translate the Jewish law, out of the Hebrew into the Greek, have left us no other for holy Scripture in the Greek tongue, but the same that are received in the Church of England.
As for the Books of the New Testament, they are equally acknowledged for Canon by all Christian Churches, and by all Sects of Christians, that admit any Books at all for Canonicall.
Their Antiquity. Who were the originall writers of the severall Books of Holy Scripture, has not been made evident by any sufficient testimony of other History, (which is the only proof of matter of fact); nor can be by any arguments of naturall Reason: for Reason serves only to convince the truth (not of fact, but) of consequence. The light therefore that must guide us in this question, must be that which is held out unto us from the Bookes themselves: And this light, though it shew us not the writer of every book, yet it is not unusefull to give us knowledge of the time, wherein they were written.
And first, for the Pentateuch, it is not argument enough that they were written by Moses, because they are called the five Books of Moses; no more than these titles, The Book of Joshua, the Book of Judges, the Book of Ruth, and the Books of the Kings, are arguments sufficient to prove, that they were written by Joshua, by the Judges, by Ruth, and by the Kings. For in titles of Books, the subject is marked, as often as the writer. The History of Livy, denotes the Writer; but the History of Scanderbeg, is denominated from the subject. We read in the last Chapter of Deuteronomie, ver. 6.The Pentateuch not written by Moses. concerning the sepulcher of Moses, that no man knoweth of his sepulcher to this day, that is, to the day wherein those words were written. It is therefore manifest, that those words were written after his interrement. For it were a strange interpretation, to say Moses spake of his own sepulcher (though by Prophecy), that it was not found to that day, wherein he was yet living. But it may perhaps be alledged, that the last Chapter only, not the whole Pentateuch, was written by some other man, but the rest not: Let us therefore consider that which we find in the Book of Genesis, chap. 12. ver. 6. And Abraham passed through the land to the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh, and the Canaanite was then in the land; which must needs bee the words of one that wrote when the Canaanite was not in the land; and consequently, not of Moses, who dyed before he came into it. Likewise Numbers 21. ver. 14. the Writer citeth another more ancient Book, Entituled, The Book of the Warres of the Lord, wherein were registred the Acts of Moses, at the Red-sea, and at the brook of Arnon. It is therefore sufficiently evident, that the five Books of Moses were written after his time, though how long after it be not so manifest.
But though Moses did not compile those Books entirely, and in the form we have them; yet he wrote all that which hee is there said to have written: as for example, the Volume of the Law, which is contained, as it seemeth, in the 11 of Deuteronomie, and the following Chapters to the 27. which was also commanded to be written on stones, in their entry into the land of Canaan. And this did Moses himself write, andDeut. 31. 9. eliver to the Priests and Elders of Israel, to be read every seventh year to all Israel, at their assembling in the feast of Tabernacles. And this is that Law which God commanded, that their Kings (when they should have established that form of Government) should take a copyDeut. 31. 26. of from the Priests and Levites; and which Moses commanded the Priests and Levites to lay in the side of the Arke; and the same which having been lost,2 King. 22. 8. & 23, 1, 2, 3. as long time after found again by Hilkiah, and sent to King Josias, who causing it to be read to the People, renewed the Covenant between God and them.
The Book of Joshua written after his time. That the Book of Joshua was also written long after the time of Joshua, may be gathered out of many places of the Book it self. Joshua had set up twelve stones in the middest of Jordan, for a monument of their assage; of which the Writer saith thus, They are there unto this day; for unto this day, is a phraseJosh. 4. 9 that signifieth time past, beyond the memory of man. In like manner, upon the saying of the Lord, that he had rolled off from the people the Reproach of Egypt, the Writer saith.Josh. 5. 9.The place is called Gilgal unto this day; which to have said in the time of Joshua had been improper. So also the name of the Valley of Achor, from the trouble thatJosh. 7. 26.Achan raised in the Camp, the Writer saith, remaineth unto this day; which must needs bee therefore long after the time of Joshua. Arguments of this kind there be many other; as Josh. 8. 29. 13.13. 14. 14. 15. 63.
The Booke of Judges and Ruth written long after the Captivity. The same is manifest by like arguments of the Book of Judges, chap. 1. 21, 26. 6.24. 10.4. 15. 19. 17. 6. and Ruth 1. 1. but especially Judg. 18. 30. where it is said, that Jonathan and his sonnes were Priests to the Tribe of Dan, untill the day of the captivity of the land.
The like of the Bookes of Samuel. That the Books of Samuel were also written after his own time, there are the like arguments, 1 Sam. 5. 5. 7. 13, 15. 27. 6. & 30. 25. where, after David had adjudged equall part of the spoiles, to them that guarded the Ammunition, with them that fought, the Writer saith, He made it a Statute and an Ordinance to Israel2 Sam. 6. 4.to this day. Again, when David (displeased, that the Lord had slain Uzzah, for putting out his hand to sustain the Ark,) called the place Perez-Uzzah, the Writer saith, it is called so to this day: the time therefore of the writing of that Book, must be long after the time of the fact; that is, long after the time of David.
As for the two Books of the Kings, and the two BooksThe Books of the Kings, and the Chronicles. of the Chronicles, besides the places which mention such monuments, as the Writer saith, remained till his own days; such as are I Kings 9.13. 9.21. 10. 12. 12. 19. 2 Kings 2. 22. 8. 22. 10.27. 14. 7. 16. 6. 17. 23. 17.34. 17. 41. 1 Chron. 4. 41. 5.26. It is argument sufficient they were written after the captivity in Babylon, that the History of them is continued till that time. For the Facts Registred are alwaies more ancient than the Register; and much more ancient than such Books as make mention of, and quote the Register; as these Books doe in divers places, referring the Reader to the Chronicles of the Kings of Juda, to the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel, to the Books of the Prophet Samuel, of the Prophet Nathan, of the Prophet Ahijah; to the Vision of Jehdo, to the Books of the Prophet Serveiah, and of the Prophet Addo.
The Books of Esdras and Nehemiah were written certainly after their return from captivity; because theirErra and Nehemiah. return, the re-edification of the walls and houses of Jerusalem, the renovation of the Covenant, and ordination of their policy are therein contained.
The History of Queen Esther is of the time of theEsther. Captivity; and therefore the Writer must have been of the same time, or after it.
The Book of Job hath no mark in it of the time whereinJob. it was written: and though it appear sufficiently (Ezekiel 14. 14. and James 5. 11.) that he was no fained person; yet the Book it self seemeth not to be a History, but a Treatise concerning a question in ancient time much disputed, why wicked men have often prospered in this world, and good men have been afflicted; and it is the more probable, because from the beginning, to the third verse of the third chapter, where the complaint of Job beginneth, the Hebrew is (as St. Jerome testifies) in prose; and from thence to the sixt verse of the last chapter in Hexameter Verses; and the rest of that chapter again in prose. So that the dispute is all in verse; and the prose is added, but as a Preface in the beginning, and an Epilogue in the end. But Verse is no usuall stile of such, as either are themselves in great pain, as Job; or of such as come to comfort them, as his friends; but in Philosophy, especially morall Philosophy, in ancient time frequent.
The Psalter. The Psalmes were written the most part by David, for the use of the Quire. To these are added some Songs of Moses, and other holy men; and some of them after the return from the Captivity, as the 137. and the 126. whereby it is manifest that the Psalter was compiled, and put into the form it now hath, after the return of the Jews from Babylon.
The Proverbs. The Proverbs, being a Collection of wise and godly Sayings, partly of Solomon, partly of Agur the son of Jakeh, and partly of the Mother of King Lemuel, cannot probably be thought to have been collected by Solomon, rather then by Agur, or the Mother of Lemuel; and that, though the sentences be theirs, yet the collection or compiling them into this one Book, was the work of some other godly man, that lived after them all.
Ecclesiastes and the Canticles. The Books of Ecclesiastes and the Canticles have nothing that was not Solomons, except it be the Titles, or Inscriptions. For The Words of the Preacher, the Son of David, King in Jerusalem; and, The Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s, seem to have been made for distinctions sake, then, when the Books of Scripture were gathered into one body of the Law; to the end, that not the Doctrine only, but the Authors also might be extant.
The Prophets. If the Prophets, the most ancient, are Sophoniah, Jonas, Amos, Hosea, Isaiah and Michaiah, who lived in the time of Amaziah, and Azariah, otherwise Ozias, Kings of Judah. But the Book of Jonas is not properly a Register of his Prophecy, (for that is contained in these few words, Fourty dayes and Ninivy shall be destroyed,) but a History or Narration of his frowardnesse and disputing Gods commandements; so that there is small probability he should be the Author, seeing he is the subject of it. But the Book of Amos is his Prophecy.
Jeremiah, Abdias, Nahum, and Habakkuk prophecyed in the time of Josiah.
Ezekiel, Daniel, Aggeus, and Zacharias, in the Captivity.
When Joel and Malachi prophecyed, is not evident by their Writings. But considering the Inscriptions, or Titles of their Books, it is manifest enough, that the whole Scripture of the Old Testament, was set forth in the form we have it, after the return of the Jews from their Captivity in Babylon, and before the time of Ptolemœus Philadelphus, that caused it to bee translated into Greek by seventy men, which were sent him out of Judea for that purpose. And if the Books of Apocrypha (which are recommended to us by the Church, though not for Canonicall, yet for profitable Books for our instruction) may in this point be credited, the Scripture was set forth in the form wee have it in, by Esdras; as may appear by that which he himself saith, in the second book, chapt. 14. verse 21, 22, &c. where speaking to God, he saith thus, Thy law is burnt; therefore no man knoweth the things which thou hast done, or the works that are to begin. But if I have found Grace before thee, send down the holy Spirit into me, and I shall write all that hath been done in the world, since the beginning, which were written in they Law, that men may find thy path, and that they which will live in the later days, may live. And verse 45. And it came to passe when the forty dayes were fulfilled, that the Highest spake, saying, The first that thou hast written, publish openly, that the worthy and unworthy may read it; but keep the seventy last, that thou mayst deliver them onely to such as be wise among the people. And thus much concerning the time of the writing of the Bookes of the Old Testament.
The Writers of the New Testament lived all in lesseThe New Testament. then an age after Christs Ascension, and had all of them seen our Saviour, or been his Disciples, except St. Paul, and St. Luke; and consequently whatsoever was written by them, is as ancient as the time of the Apostles. But the time wherein the Books of the New Testament were received, and acknowledged by the Church to be of their writing, is not altogether so ancient. For, as the Bookes of the Old Testament are derived to us, from no higher time then that of Esdras, who by the direction of Gods Spirit retrived them, when they were lost: Those of the New Testament, of which the copies were not many, nor could easily be all in any one private mans hand, cannot bee derived from a higher time, than that wherein the Governours of the Church collected, approved, and recommended them to us, as the writings of those Apostles and Disciples; under whose names they go. The first enumeration of all the Bookes, both of the Old, and New Testament, is in the Canons of the Apostles, supposed to be collected by Clement the first (after St. Peter) Bishop of Rome. But because that is but supposed, and by many questioned, the Councell of Laodicea is the first we know, that recommended the Bible to the then Christian Churches, for the Writings of the Prophets and Apostles: and this Councell was held in the 364. yeer after Christ. At which time, though ambition had so far prevailed on the great Doctors of the Church, as no more to esteem Emperours, though Christian, for the Shepherds of the people, but for Sheep; and Emperours not Christian, for Wolves; and endeavoured to passe their Doctrine, not for Counsell, and Information, as Preachers; but for Laws, as absolute Governours; and thought such frauds as tended to make the people the more obedient to Christian Doctrine, to be pious; yet I am perswaded they did not therefore falsifie the Scriptures, though the copies of the Books of the New Testament, were in the hands only of the Ecclesiasticks; because if they had had an intention so to doe, they would surely have made them more favorable to their power over Christian Princes, and Civill Soveraignty, than they are. I see not therefore any reason to doubt, but that the Old, and New Testament, as we have them now, are the true Registers of those things, which were done and said by the Prophets, and Apostles. And so perhaps are some of those Books which are called Apocrypha, if left out of the Canon, not for inconformity of Doctrine with the rest, but only because they are not found in the Hebrew. For after the conquest of Asia by Alexander the Great, there were few learned Jews, that were not perfect in the Greek tongue. For the seventy Interpreters that converted the Bible into Greek, were all of them Hebrews; and we have extant the works of Philo and Josephus both Jews, written by them eloquently in Greek. But it is not the Writer, but the authority of the Church, that maketh a Book Canonicall. And although these Books wereTheir Scope. written by divers men, yet it is manifest the Writers were all indued with one and the same Spirit, in that they conspire to one and the same end, which is the setting forth of the Rights of the Kingdome of God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. For the Book of Genesis, deriveth the Genealogy of Gods people, from the creation of the World, to the going into Egypt: the other four Books of Moses, contain the Election of God for their King, and the Laws which hee prescribed for their Government: The Books of Joshua, Judges, Ruth, and Samuel, to the time of Saul, describe the acts of Gods people, till the time they cast off Gods yoke, and called for a King, after the manner of their neighbour nations: The rest of the History of the Old Testament, derives the succession of the line of David, to the Captivity, out of which line was to spring the restorer of the Kingdome of God, even our blessed Saviour God the Son, whose coming was foretold in the Bookes of the Prophets, after whom the Evangelists writt his life, and actions, and his claim to the Kingdome, whilst he lived on earth: and lastly, the Acts, and Epistles of the Apostles, declare the coming of God, the Holy Ghost, and the Authority he left with them, and their successors, for the direction of the Jews, and for the invitation of the Gentiles. In summe, the Histories and the Prophecies of the old Testament, and the Gospels and Epistles of the New Testament, have had one and the same scope, to convert men to the obedience of God; 1. in Moses, and the Priests; 2. in the man Christ; and 3. in the Apostles and the successors to Apostolicall power. For these three at several times did represent the person of God: Moses, and his successors the High Priests, and Kings of Judah, in the Old Testament:Christ himself, in the time he lived on earth: and the Apostles, and their successors, from the day of Pentecost (when the Holy Ghost descended on them) to this day.
The question of the Authority of the Scriptures stated. It is a question much disputed between the divers sects of Christian Religion, From whence the Scriptures derive their Authority; which question is also propounded sometimes in other terms, as, How wee know them to be the Word of God, or, Why we beleeve them to be so: And the difficulty of resolving it, ariseth chiefly from the impropernesse of the words wherein the question it self is couched. For it is beleeved on all hands, that the first and originall Author of them is God; and consequently the question disputed, is not that. Again, it is manifest, that none can know they are Gods Word, (though all true Christians beleeve it,) but those to whom God himself hath revealed it supernaturally; and therefore the question is not rightly moved, of our Knowledge of it. Lastly, when the question is propounded of our Beleefe; because some are moved to beleeve for one, and others for other reasons, there can be rendred no one generall answer for them all. The question truly stated is, By what Authority they are made Law.
Their Authority and Interpretation. As far as they differ not from the Laws of Nature, there is no doubt, but they are the Law of God, and carry their Authority with them, legible to all men that have the use of naturall reason: but this is no other Authority, then that of all other Morall Doctrine consonant to Reason; the Dictates whereof are Laws, not made, but Eternall.
If they be made Law by God himselfe, they are of the nature of written Law, which are Laws to them only to whom God hath so sufficiently published them, as no man can excuse himself, by saying, he knew not they were his.
He therefore, to whom God hath not supernaturally revealed, that they are his, nor that those that published them, were sent by him, is not obliged to obey them, by any Authority, but his, whose Commands have already the force of Laws; that is to say, by any other Authority, then that of the Common-wealth, residing in the Soveraign, who only has the Legislative power. Again, if it be not the Legislative Authority of the Common-wealth, that giveth them the force of Laws, it must bee some other Authority derived from God, either private, or publique: if private, it obliges onely him, to whom in particular God hath been pleased to reveale it. For if every man should be obliged, to take for Gods Law, what particular men, on pretence of private Inspiration, or Revelation, should obtrude upon him, (in such a number of men, that out of pride, and ignorance, take their own Dreams, and extravagant Fancies, and Madnesse, for testimonies of Gods Spirit; or out of ambition, pretend to such Divine testimonies, falsely, and contrary to their own consciences,) it were impossible that any Divine Law should be acknowledged. If publique, it is the Authority of the Common-wealth, or of the Church. But the Church, if it be one person, is the same thing with a Common-wealth of Christians; called a Common-wealth, because it consisteth of men united in one person, their Soveraign; and a Church, because it consisteth in Christian men, united in one Christian Soveraign. But if the Church be not one person, then it hath no authority at all; it can neither command, nor doe any action at all; nor is capable of having any power, or right to any thing; nor has any Will, Reason, nor Voice; for all these qualities are personall. Now if the whole number of Christians be not contained in one Common-wealth, they are not one person; nor is there an Universall Church that hath any authority over them; and there fore the Scriptures are not made Laws, by the Universall Church: or if it bee one Common-wealth, then all Christian Monarchs, and States are private persons, and subject to bee judged, deposed, and punished by an Universall Soveraigne of all Christendome. So that the question of the Authority of the Scriptures, is reduced to this, Whether Christian Kings, and the Soveraigne Assemblies in Christian Common-wealths, be absolute in their own Territories, immediately under God; or subject to one Vicar of Christ, constituted over the Universall Church; to bee judged, condemned, deposed, and put to death, as hee shall think expedient, or necessary for the common good.
Which question cannot bee resolved, without a more particular consideration of the Kingdome of God; from whence also, wee are to judge of the Authority of Interpreting the Scripture. For, whosoever hath a lawfull power over any Writing, to make it Law, hath the power also to approve, or disapprove the interpretation of the same.
Thomas Hobbes, Hobbes’s Leviathan reprinted from the edition of 1651 with an Essay by the Late W.G. Pogson Smith (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1909). Chapter: CHAP. XXXIX.: Of the signification in Scripture of the word Church .
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The word Church, (Ecclesia) signifieth in the BooksChurch the Lords house. of Holy Scripture divers things. Sometimes (though not often) it is taken for Gods House, that is to say, for a Temple, wherein Christians assemble to perform holy duties publiquely; as, I Cor. 14. ver. 34. Let your women keep silence in the Churches: but this is Metaphorically put, for the Congregation there assembled; and hath been since used for the Edifice it self, to distinguish between the Temples of Christians, and Idolaters. The Temple of Jerusalem was Gods house, and the House of Prayer; and so is any Edifice dedicated by Christians to the worship of Christ, Christs house: and therefore the Greek Fathers call it Κνριακὴ The Lords house; and thence, in our language it came to be called Kyrke, and Church.
Church (when not taken for a House) signifieth the same that Ecclesia signified in the Grecian Common-wealths;Ecclesia properly what. that is to say, a Congregation, or an Assembly of Citizens, called forth, to hear the Magistrate speak unto them; and which in the Common-wealth of Rome was called Concio, as he that spake was called Ecclesiastes, and Concionator. And when they were called forth by lawfull Authority, it was Ecclesia legitima, aLawfullActs 19. 39.Church, έννομος But when they were excited by tumultuous, and seditious clamor, then it was a confused Church, Εκκλησία σνγκεχνμίνη.
It is taken also sometimes for the men that have right to be of the Congregation, though not actually assembled; that is to say, for the whole multitude of Christian men, how far soever they be dispersed: as (Act. 8. 3.) where it is said, that Saul made havock of the Church: And in this sense is Christ said to be Head of the Church. And sometimes for a certain part of Christians, as (Col. 4. 15.) Salute the Church that is in his house. Sometimes also for the Elect onely; as (Ephes. 5. 27.) A Glorious Church, without spot, or wrinkle, holy, and without blemish; which is meant of the Church triumphant, or, Church to come. Sometimes, for a Congregation assembled, of professors of Christianity, whether their profession be true, or counterfeit, as it is understood, Mat. 18. 17. where it is said, Tell it to the Church, and if hee neglect to hear the Church, let him be to thee as a Gentile, or Publican.
In what sense the Church is one Person. And in this last sense only it is that the Church can be taken for one Person; that is to say, that it can be said to have power to will, to pronounce, to command, to be obeyed, to make laws, or to doe any other action whatsoever; For without authority from a lawfull Congregation, whatsoever act be done in a concourse of people, it is the particular act of every one of those that were present, and gave their aid to the performance of it; and not the act of them all in grosse, as of one body; much lesse the act of them that were absent, or that being present, were not willing it should be done. AccordingChurch defined. o this sense, I define a Church to be, A company of men professing Christian Religion, united in the person of one Soveraign; at whose command they ought to assemble, and without whose authority they ought not to assemble. And because in all Common-wealths, that Assembly, which is without warrant from the Civil Soveraign, is unlawful; that Church also, which is assembled in any Common-wealth, that hath forbidden them to assemble, is an unlawfull Assembly.
A Christian Common-wealth, and a Church all one. It followeth also, that there is on Earth, no such universall Church, as all Christians are bound to obey; because there is no power on Earth, to which all other Common-wealths are subject: There are Christians, in the Dominions of severall Princes and States; but every one of them is subject to that Common-wealth, whereof he is himself a member; and consequently, cannot be subject to the commands of any other Person. And therefore a Church, such a one as is capable to Command, to Judge, Absolve, Condemn, or do any other act, is the same thing with a Civil Common-wealth, consisting of Christian men; and is called a Civill State, for that the subjects of it are Men; and a Church, for that the subjects thereof are Christians. Temporall and Spirituall Government, are but two words brought into the world, to make men see double, and mistake their Lawfull Soveraign. It is true, that the bodies of the faithfull, after the Resurrection, shall be not onely Spirituall, but Eternall: but in this life they are grosse, and corruptible. There is therefore no other Government in this life, neither of State, nor Religion, but Temporall; nor teaching of any doctrine, lawfull to any Subject, which the Governour both of the State, and of the Religion, forbiddeth to be taught: And that Governor must be one; or else there must needs follow Faction, and Civil war in the Common-wealth, between the Church and State; between Spiritualists, and Temporalists; between the Sword of Justice, and the Shield of Faith; and (which is more) in every Christian mans own brest, between the Christian, and the Man. The Doctors of the Church, are called Pastors; so also are Civill Soveraignes: But if Pastors be not subordinate one to another, so as that there may bee one chief Pastor, men will be taught contrary Doctrines, whereof both may be, and one must be false. Who that one chief Pastor is, according to the law of Nature, hath been already shewn; namely, that it is the Civill Soveraign: And to whom the Scripture hath assigned that Office, we shall see in the Chapters following.
Thomas Hobbes, Hobbes’s Leviathan reprinted from the edition of 1651 with an Essay by the Late W.G. Pogson Smith (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1909). Chapter: CHAP. XL.: Of the Rights of the Kingdome of God, in Abraham, Moses, the High Priests, and the Kings of Judah.
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The Father of the Faithfull, and first in the KingdomeThe Soveraign Rights of Abraham. of God by Covenant, was Abraham. For with him was the Covenant first made; wherein he obliged himself, and his seed after him, to acknowledge and obey the commands of God; not onely such, as he could take notice of, (as Morall Laws,) by the light of Nature; but also such, as God should in speciall manner deliver to him by Dreams, and Visions. For as to the Morall law, they were already obliged, and needed not have been contracted withall, by promise of the Land of Canaan. Nor was there any Contract, that could adde to, or strengthen the Obligation, by which both they, and all men else were bound naturally to obey God Almighty: And therefore the Covenant which Abraham made with God, was to take for the Commandement of God, that which in the name of God was commanded him, in a Dream, or Vision; and to deliver it to his family, and cause them to observe the same.
In this Contract of God with Abraham, wee may observe three points of important consequence in the government of Gods people. First, that at the making of this Covenant, God spake onely to Abraham, and therefore contracted not with any of his family, or seed, otherwise then as their wills (which make the essence of all Covenants) were before the Contract involved in the will of Abraham; who was therefore supposed to have had a lawfull power, to make them perform all that he covenanted for them. According whereunto (Gen. 18. 18, 19.) God saith, All the Nations of the Earth shall be blessed in him, For I know him that he will command his children and his houshold after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord. From whence may be concluded this first point, that they to whom God hath not spoken immediately, are to receive the positive commandements of God, from their Soveraign; as the family and seed ofAbraham had the sole power of ordering the Religion of his own people. braham did from Abraham their Father, and Lord, and Civill Soveraign. And consequently in every Common-wealth, they who have no supernaturall Revelation to the contrary, ought to obey the laws of their own Soveraign, in the externall acts and profession of Religion. As for the inward thought, and beleef of men, which humane Governours can take no notice of, (for God onely knoweth the heart) they are not voluntary, nor the effect of the laws, but of the unrevealed will, and of the power of God; and consequently fall not under obligation.
No pretence of Private Spirit against the Religion of Abraham. From whence proceedeth another point, that it was not unlawfull for Abraham, when any of his Subjects should pretend Private Vision, or Spirit, or other Revelation from God, for the countenancing of any doctrine which Abraham should forbid, or when they followed, or adhered to any such pretender, to punish them; and consequently that it is lawfull now for the Soveraign to punish any man that shall oppose his Private Spirit against the Laws: For hee hath the same place in the Common-wealth, that Abraham had in his own Family.
There ariseth also from the same, a third point; thatAbraham sole Judge, and Interpreter of what God spake. as none but Abraham in his family, so none but the Soveraign in a Christian Common-wealth, can take notice what is, or what is not the Word of God. For God spake onely to Abraham; and it was he onely, that was able to know what God said, and to interpret the same to his family: And therefore also, they that have the place of Abraham in a Common-wealth, are the onely Interpreters of what God hath spoken.
The same Covenant was renewed with Isaac; andThe authority of Moses whereon grounded. afterwards with Jacob; but afterwards no more, till the Israelites were freed from the Egyptians, and arrived at the Foot of Mount Sinai: and then it was renewed by Moses (as I have said before, chap. 35.) in such manner, as they became from that time forward the Peculiar Kingdome of God; whose Lieutenant was Moses, for his owne time: and the succession to that office was setled upon Aaron, and his heirs after him, to bee to God a Sacerdotall Kingdome for ever.
By this constitution, a Kingdome is acquired to God. But seeing Moses had no authority to govern the Israelites, as a successor to the right of Abraham, because he could not claim it by inheritance; it appeareth not as yet, that the people were obliged to take him for Gods Lieutenant, longer than they beleeved that God spake unto him. And therefore his authority (notwithstanding the Covenant they made with God) depended yet merely upon the opinion they had of his Sanctity, and of the reality of his Conferences with God, and the verity of his Miracles; which opinion coming to change, they were no more obliged to take any thing for the law of God, which he propounded to them in Gods name. We are therefore to consider, what other ground there was, of their obligation to obey him. For it could not be the commandement of God that could oblige them; because God spake not to them immediately, but by the mediation of Moses himself: And our Saviour saith of himself, If I bearJohn 5. 31.witnesse of my self, my witnesse is not true; much lesse if Moses bear witnesse of himselfe, (especially in a claim of Kingly power over Gods people) ought his testimony to be received. His authority therefore, as the authority of all other Princes, must be grounded on the Consent of the People, and their Promise to obey him. And so it was: For the people (Exod. 20. 18.) when they saw theThunderings, and the Lightnings, and the noyse of the Trumpet, and the mountaine smoaking, removed, and stood a far off. And they said unto Moses, speak thou with us, and we will hear, but let not God speak with us lest we die. Here was their promise of obedience; and by this it was they obliged themselves to obey whatsoever he should deliver unto them for the Commandement of God.
Moses was (under God) Soveraign of the Jews, all his own time, though Aaron had the Priesthood. And notwithstanding the Covenant constituteth a Sacerdotall Kingdome, that is to say, a Kingdome hereditary to Aaron; yet that is to be understood of the succession, after Moses should bee dead. For whosoever ordereth, and establisheth the Policy, as first founder of a Common-wealth (be it Monarchy, Aristocracy, or Democracy) must needs have Soveraign Power over the people all the while he is doing of it. And that Moses had that power all his own time, is evidently affirmed in the Scripture. First, in the text last before cited, because the people promised obedience, not to Aaron but to him. Secondly, (Exod. 24. 1, 2.) And God said unto Moses, Come up unto the Lord, thou, and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the Elders of Israel. And Moses alone shall come neer the Lord, but they shall not come nigh, neither shall the people goe up with him. By which it is plain, that Moses who was alone called up to God, (and not Aaron, nor the other Priests, nor the Seventy Elders, nor the People who were forbidden to come up) was alone he, that represented to the Israelites the Person of God; that is to say, was their sole Soveraign under God. And though afterwards it be said (verse 9.) Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the Elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel, and there was under his feet, as it were a paved work of a saphire stone, &c. yet this was not till after Moses had been with God before, and had brought to the people the words which God had said to him. He onely went for the businesse of the people; the others, as the Nobles of his retinue, were admitted for honour to that speciall grace, which was not allowed to the people; which was, (as in the verse after appeareth) to see God and live. God laid not his hand upon them, they saw God, and did eat and drink (that is, did live), but did not carry any commandement from him to the people. Again, it is every where said, The Lord spake unto Moses, as in all other occasions of Government; so also in the ordering of the Ceremonies of Religion, contained in the 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, and 31 Chapters of Exodus, and throughout Leviticus: to Aaron seldome. The Calfe that Aaron made, Moses threw into the fire. Lastly, the question of the Authority of Aaron, by occasion of his and Miriams mutiny against Moses, was (Numbers 12.) judged by God himself for Moses. So also in the question between Moses, and the People, who had the Right of Governing the People, when Corah, Dathan, and Abiram, and two hundred and fifty Princes of the Assembly gathered themselves together (Numb. 16. 3.) against Moses, and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are Holy, every one of them, and the Lord is amongst them, why lift up your selves above the congregation of the Lord? God caused the Earth to swallow Corah, Dathan, and Abiram with their wives and children alive, and consumed those two hundred and fifty Princes with fire. Therefore neither Aaron, nor the People, nor any Aristocracy of the chief Princes of the People, but Moses alone had next under God the Soveraignty over the Israelites: And that not onely in causes of Civill Policy, but also of Religion: For Moses onely spake with God, and therefore onely could tell the People, what it was that God required at their hands. No man upon pain of death might be so presumptuous as to approach the Mountain where God talked with Moses. Thou shalt set bounds (saith the Lord, Exod. 19. 12.) to the people round about, and say, Take heed to your selves that you goe not up into the Mount, or touch the border of it; whosoever toucheth the Mount shall surely be put to death. And again (verse 21.) Goe down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the Lord to gaze. Out of which we may conclude, that whosoever in a Christian Common-wealth holdeth the place of Moses, is the sole Messenger of God, and Interpreter of his Commandements. And according hereunto, no man ought in the interpretation of the Scripture to proceed further then the bounds which are set by their severall Soveraigns. For the Scriptures since God now speaketh in them, are the Mount Sinai; the bounds whereof are the Laws of them that represent Gods Person on Earth. To look upon them, and therein to behold the wondrous works of God, and learn to fear him is allowed; but to interpret them; that is, to pry into what God saith to him whom he appointeth to govern under him, and make themselves Judges whether he govern as God commandeth him, or not, is to transgresse the bounds God hath set us, and to gaze upon God irreverently.
All spirits were subordinate to the spirit of Moses. There was no Prophet in the time of Moses, nor pretender to the Spirit of God, but such as Moses had approved, and Authorized. For there were in his time but Seventy men, that are said to Prophecy by the Spirit of God, and these were of all Moses his election; concerning whom God said to Moses (Numb. 11. 16.) Gather to mee Seventy of the Elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the Elders of the People. To these God imparted his Spirit; but it was not a different Spirit from that of Moses; for it is said (verse 25.) God came down in a cloud, and took of the Spirit that was upon Moses, and gave it to the Seventy Elders. But as I have shewn before (chap. 36.) by Spirit, is understood the Mind; so that the sense of the place is no other than this, that God endued them with a mind conformable, and subordinate to that of Moses, that they might Prophecy, that is to say, speak to the people in Gods name, in such manner, as to set forward (as Ministers of Moses, and by his authority) such doctrine as was agreeable to Moses his doctrine. For they were but Ministers; and when two of them Prophecyed in the Camp, it was thought a new and unlawfull thing; and as it is in the 27. and 28. verses of the same Chapter, they were accused of it, and Joshua advised Moses to forbid them, as not knowing that it was by Moses his Spirit that they Prophecyed. By which it is manifest, that no Subject ought to pretend to Prophecy, or to the Spirit, in opposition to the doctrine established by him, whom God hath set in the place of Moses.
Aaron being dead, and after him also Moses, theAfter Moses the Soveraignty was in the High Priest. Kingdome, as being a Sacerdotall Kingdome, descended by vertue of the Covenant, to Aarons Son, Eleazar the High Priest: And God declared him (next under himself) for Soveraign, at the same time that he appointed Joshua for the Generall of their Army. For thus God saith expressely (Numb. 27. 21.) concerning Joshua; He shall stand before Eleazar the Priest, who shall ask counsell for him, before the Lord, at his word shall they goe out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the Children of Israel with him: Therefore the Supreme Power of making War and Peace, was in the Priest. The Supreme Power of Judicature belonged also to the High Priest: For the Book of the Law was in their keeping; and the Priests and Levites onely, were the subordinate Judges in causes Civill, as appears in Deut. 17. 8, 9, 10. And for the manner of Gods worship, there was never doubt made, but that the High Priest till the time of Saul, had the Supreme Authority. Therefore the Civill and Ecclesiasticall Power were both joined together in one and the same person, the High Priest; and ought to bee so, in whosoever governeth by Divine Right; that is, by Authority immediate from God.
After the death of Joshua, till the time of Saul, theOf the Soveraign power between the time of Joshua and of Saul. time between is noted frequently in the Book of Judges, that there was in those dayes no King in Israel; and sometimes with this addition, that every man did that which was right in his own eyes. By which is to bee understood, that where it is said, there was no King, is meant, there was no Soveraign Power in Israel. And so it was, if we consider the Act, and Exercise of such power. For after the death of Joshua, & Eleazar, there arose another generation (Judges 2. 10.) that knew not the Lord, nor the works which he had done for Israel, but did evill in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim. And the Jews had that quality which St. Paul noteth, to look for a sign, not onely before they would submit themselves to the government of Moses, but also after they had obliged themselves by their submission. Whereas Signs, and Miracles had for End to procure Faith, not to keep men from violating it, when they have once given it; for to that men are obliged by the law of Nature. But if we consider not the Exercise, but the Right of Governing, the Soveraign power was still in the High Priest. Therefore whatsoever obedience was yeelded to any of the Judges (who were men chosen by God extraordinarily, to save his rebellious subjects out of the hands of the enemy,) it cannot bee drawn into argument against the Right the High Priest had to the Soveraign Power, in all matters, both of Policy and Religion. And neither the Judges, nor Samuel himselfe had an ordinary, but extraordinary calling to the Government; and were obeyed by the Israelites, not out of duty, but out of reverence to their favour with God, appearing in their wisdome, courage, or felicity. Hitherto therefore the Right of Regulating both the Policy, and the Religion, were inseparable.
To the Judges, succeeded Kings: And whereas before,Of the Rights of the Kings of Israel. all authority, both in Religion, and Policy, was in the High Priest; so now it was all in the King. For the Soveraignty over the people, which was before, not onely by vertue of the Divine Power, but also by a particular pact of the Israelites in God, and next under him, in the High Priest, as his Vicegerent on earth, was cast off by the People, with the consent of God himselfe. For when they said to Samuel (1 Sam. 8. 5.) make us a King to judge us, like all the Nations, they signified that they would no more bee governed by the commands that should bee laid upon them by the Priest, in the name of God; but by one that should command them in the same manner that all other nations were commanded; and consequently in deposing the High Priest of Royall authority, they deposed that peculiar Government of God. And yet God consented to it, saying to Samuel (verse 7.) Hearken unto the voice of the People, in all that they shall say unto thee; for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected mee, that I should not reign over them. Having therefore rejected God, in whose Right the Priests governed, there was no authority left to the Priests, but such as the King was pleased to allow them; which was more, or lesse, according as the Kings were good, or evill. And for the Government of Civill affaires, it is manifest, it was all in the hands of the King. For in the same Chapter, verse 20. They say they will be like all the Nations; that their King shall be their Judge, and goe before them, and fight their battells; that is, he shall have the whole authority, both in Peace and War. In which is contained also the ordering of Religion: for there was no other Word of God in that time, by which to regulate Religion, but the Law of Moses, which was their Civill Law. Besides, we read (1 Kings 2. 27.) that Solomon thrust out Abiathar from being Priest before the Lord: He had therefore authority over the High Priest, as over any other Subject; which is a great mark of Supremacy in Religion. And we read also (1 Kings 8.) that hee dedicated the Temple; that he blessed the People; and that he himselfe in person made that excellent prayer, used in the Consecrations of all Churches, and houses of Prayer; which is another great mark of Supremacy in Religion. Again, we read (2 Kings 22.) that when there was question concerning the Book of the Law found in the Temple, the same was not decided by the High Priest, but Josiah sent both him, and others to enquire concerning it, of Hulda, the Prophetesse; which is another mark of the Supremacy in Religion. Lastly, wee read (1 Chron. 26. 30.) that David made Hashabiah and his brethren, Hebronites, Officers of Israel among them Westward, in all businesse of the Lord, and in the service of the King. Likewise (verse 32.) that hee made other Hebronites, rulers over the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the halfe tribe of Manasseh (these were the rest of Israel that dwelt beyond Jordan) for every matter pertaining to God, and affairs of the King. Is not this full Power, both temporall and spirituall, as they call it, that would divide it? To conclude; from the first institution of Gods Kingdome, to the Captivity, the Supremacy of Religion, was in the same hand with that of the Civill Soveraignty; and the Priests office after the election of Saul, was not Magisteriall, but Ministeriall.
The practice of Supremacy in Religion, was not in the time of the Kings, according to the Right thereof. Notwithstanding the government both in Policy and Religion, were joined, first in the High Priests, and afterwards in the Kings, so far forth as concerned the Right; yet it appeareth by the same Holy History, that the people understood it not; but there being amongst them a great part, and probably the greatest part, that no longer than they saw great miracles, or (which is equivalent to a miracle) great abilities, or great felicity in the enterprises of their Governours, gave sufficient credit, either to the fame of Moses, or to the Colloquies between God and the Priests; they took occasion as oft as their Governours displeased them, by blaming sometimes the Policy, sometimes the Religion, to change the Government, or revolt from their Obedience at their pleasure: And from thence proceeded from time to time the civill troubles, divisions, and calamities of the Nation. As for example, after the death of Eleazar and Joshua, the next generation which had not seen the wonders of God, but were left to their own weak reason, not knowing themselves obliged by the Covenant of a Sacerdotall Kingdome, regarded no more the Commandement of the Priest, nor any law of Moses, but did every man that which was right in his own eyes; and obeyed in Civill affairs, such men, as from time to time they thought able to deliver them from the neighbour Nations that oppressed them; and consulted not with God (as they ought to doe,) but with such men, or women, as they guessed to bee Prophets by their Prædictions of things to come; and though they had an Idol in their Chappel, yet if they had a Levite for their Chaplain, they made account they worshipped the God of Israel.
And afterwards when they demanded a King, after the manner of the nations; yet it was not with a design to depart from the worship of God their King; but despairing of the justice of the sons of Samuel, they would have a King to judg them in Civill actions; but not that they would allow their King to change the Religion which they thought was recommended to them by Moses. So that they alwaies kept in store a pretext, either of Justice, or Religion, to discharge them selves of their obedience, whensoever they had hope to prevaile. Samuel was displeased with the people, for that they desired a King, (for God was their King already, and Samuel had but an authority under him); yet did Samuel, when Saul observed not his counsell, in destroying Agag as God had commanded, anoint another King, namely, David, to take the succession from his heirs. Rehoboam was no Idolater; but when the people thought him an Oppressor; that Civil pretence carried from him ten Tribes to Jeroboam an Idolater. And generally through the whole History of the Kings, as well of Judah, as of Israel, there were Prophets that alwaies controlled the Kings, for transgressing the Religion; and sometimes also for Errours of State; as2 Chro. 19. 2. Jehosaphat was reproved by the Prophet Jehu, for aiding the King of Israel against the Syrians; and Hezekiah, by Isaiah, for shewing his treasures to the Ambassadors of Babylon. By all which it appeareth, that though the power both of State and Religion were in the Kings; yet none of them were uncontrolled in the use of it, but such as were gracious for their own naturall abilities, or felicities. So that from the practise of those times, there can no argument be drawn, that the Right of Supremacy in Religion was not in the Kings, unlesse we place it in the Prophets; and conclude, that because Hezekiah praying to the Lord before the Cherubins, was not answered from thence, nor then, but afterwards by the Prophet Isaiah, therefore Isaiah was supreme Head of the Church; or because Josiah consulted Hulda the Prophetesse, concerning the Book of the Law, that therefore neither he, nor the High Priest, but Hulda the Prophetesse had the Supreme authority in matter of Religion; which I thinke is not the opinion of any Doctor.
During the Captivity, the Jews had no Common-wealthAfter the Captivit, the Jews had no setled Common wealth. at all: And after their return, though they renewed their Covenant with God, yet there was no promise made of obedience, neither to Esdras, nor to any other: And presently after they became subjects to the Greeks (from whose Customes, and Dæmonology, and from the doctrine of the Cabalists, their Religion became much corrupted): In such sort as nothing can be gathered from their confusion, both in State and Religion, concerning the Supremacy in either. And therefore so far forth as concerneth the Old Testament, we may conclude, that whosoever had the Soveraignty of the Commonwealth amongst the Jews, the same had also the Supreme Authority in matter of Gods externall worship; and represented Gods Person; that is the person of God the Father; though he were not called by the name of Father, till such time as he sent into the world his Son Jesus Christ, to redeem mankind from their sins, and bring them into his Everlasting Kingdome, to be saved for evermore. Of which we are to speak in the Chapter following.
Thomas Hobbes, Hobbes’s Leviathan reprinted from the edition of 1651 with an Essay by the Late W.G. Pogson Smith (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1909). Chapter: CHAP. XLIII.: Of what is Necessary for a Mans Reception into the Kingdome of Heaven .
Accessed from oll.libertyfund.org/title/869/208829 on 2009-10-29
The text is in the public domain.
The most frequent prætext of Sedition, and CivillThe difficulty of obeying God and Man both at once, Warre, in Christian Common-wealths hath a long time proceeded from a difficulty, not yet sufficiently resolved, of obeying at once, both God, and Man, then when their Commandements are one contrary to the other. It is manifest enough, that when a man receiveth two contrary Commands, and knows that one of them is Gods, he ought to obey that, and not the other, though it be the command even of his lawfull Soveraign (whether a Monarch, or a soveraign Assembly,) or the command of his Father. The difficulty therefore consisteth in this; that men when they are commanded in the name of God, know not in divers Cases, whether the command be from God, or whether he that commandeth, doe but abuse Gods name for some private ends of his own. For as there were in the Church of the Jews, many false Prophets, that sought reputation with the people, by feigned Dreams, and Visions; so there have been in all times in the Church of Christ, false Teachers, that seek reputation with the people, by phantasticall and false Doctrines; and by such reputation (as is the nature of Ambition,) to govern them for their private benefit.
But this difficulty of obeying both God, and the CivillIs none to them that distinguish between what is, and what is not Necessary to Salvation. Soveraign on earth, to those that can distinguish between what is Necessary, and what is not Necessary for their Reception into the Kingdome of God, is of no moment. For if the command of the Civill Soveraign bee such, as that it may be obeyed, without the forfeiture of life Eternall; not to obey it is unjust; and the precept of the Apostle takes place; Servants obey your Masters in all things; and, Children obey your Parents in all things; and the precept of our Saviour, The Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses Chaire, All therefore they shall say, that observe, and doe. But if the command be such, as cannot be obeyed, without being damned to Eternall Death, then it were madnesse to obey it, and the Counsell of our Saviour takes place, (Mat. 10. 28.) Fear not those that kill the body, but cannot kill the soule. All men therefore that would avoid, both the punishments that are to be in this world inflicted, for disobedience to their earthly Soveraign, and those that shall be inflicted in the world to come for disobedience to God, have need be taught to distinguish well between what is, and what is not Necessary to Eternall Salvation.
All that is Necessaryto Salvatian, is contained inAll that is Necessary to Salvation is contained in Faith and Obedience. two Vertues, Faith in Christ, and Obedience to Laws. The latter of these, if it were perfect, were enough to us. But because wee are all guilty of disobedience to Gods Law, not onely originally in Adam, but also actually by our own transgressions, there is required at our hands now, not onely Obedience for the rest of our time, but also a Remission of sins for the time past; which Remission is the reward of our Faith in Christ. That nothing else is Necessarily required to Salvation, is manifest from this, that the Kingdome of Heaven is shut to none but to Sinners; that is to say, to the disobedient, or transgressors of the Law; nor to them, in case they Repent, and Beleeve all the Articles of Christian Faith, Necessary to Salvation.
What Obedience is Necessary; The Obedience required at our hands by God, that accepteth in all our actions the Will for the Deed, is a serious Endeavour to Obey him; and is called also by all such names as signifie that Endeavour. And therefore Obedience, is sometimes called by the names of Charity, and Love, because they imply a Will to Obey; and our Saviour himself maketh our Love to God, and to one another, a Fulfilling of the whole Law: and sometimes by the name of Righteousnesse; for Righteousnesse is but the will to give to every one his owne, that is to say, the will to obey the Laws: and sometimes by the name of Repentance; because to Repent, implyeth a turning away from sinne, which is the same, with the return of the will to Obedience. Whosoever therefore unfeignedly desireth to fulfill the Commandements of God, or repenteth him truely of his transgressions, or that loveth God with all his heart, and his neighbor as himself, hath all the Obedience Necessary to his Reception into the Kingdom of God: For if God should require perfect Innocence, there could no flesh be saved.
But what Commandements are those that God hathAnd to what Laws. given us? Are all those Laws which were given to the Jews by the hand of Moses, the Commandements of God? If they bee, why are not Christians taught to Obey them? If they be not, what others are so, besides the Law of Nature? For our Saviour Christ hath not given us new Laws, but Counsell to observe those wee are subject to that is to say, the Laws of Nature, and the Laws of our severall Soveraigns: Nor did he make any new Law to the Jews in his Sermon on the Mount, but onely expounded the Laws of Moses, to which they were subject before. The Laws of God therefore are none but the Laws of Nature, whereof the principall is, that we should not violate our Faith, that is, a commandement to obey our Civill Soveraigns, which wee constituted over us, by mutuall pact one with another. And this Law of God, that commandeth Obedience to the Law Civill, commandeth by consequence Obedience to all the Precepts of the Bible; which (as I have proved in the precedent Chapter) is there onely Law, where the Civill Soveraign hath made it so; and in other places but Counsell; which a man at his own perill, may without injustice refuse to obey.
Knowing now what is the Obedience Necessary to Salvation, and to whom it is due; we are to considerIn the Faith of a Christian, who is the Person beleeved. next concerning Faith, whom, and why we beleeve; and what are the Articles, or Points necessarily to be beleeved by them that shall be saved. And first, for the Person whom we beleeve, because it is impossible to beleeve any Person, before we know what he saith, it is necessary he be one that wee have heard speak. The Person therefore, whom Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and the Prophets beleeved, was God himself, that spake unto them supernaturally: And the Person, whom the Apostles and Disciples that conversed with Christ beleeved, was our Saviour himself. But of them, to whom neither God the Father, nor our Saviour ever spake, it cannot be said, that the Person whom they beleeved, was God. They beleeved the Apostles, and after them the Pastors and Doctors of the Church, that recommended to their faith the History of the Old and New Testament: so that the Faith of Christians ever since our Saviours time, hath had for foundation, first, the reputation of their Pastors, and afterward, the authority of those that made the Old and New Testament to be received for the Rule of Faith; which none could do but Christian Soveraignes; who are therefore the Supreme Pastors, and the onely Persons, whom Christians now hear speak from God; except such as God speaketh to, in these days supernaturally. But because there be many false Prophets gone out into the world, other men are to examine such Spirits (as St. John adviseth us, 1 Epistle, Chap. 4. ver. 1.) whether they be of God, or not. And therefore, seeing the Examination of Doctrines belongeth to the Supreme Pastor, the Person which all they that have no speciall revelation are to beleeve, is (in every Common-wealth) the Supreme Pastor, that is to say, the Civill Soveraigne.
The causes of Christian Faith. The causes why men beleeve any Christian Doctrine, are various: For Faith is the gift of God; and he worketh it in each severall man, by such wayes, as it seemeth good unto himself. The most ordinary immediate cause of our beleef, concerning any point of Christian Faith, is, that wee beleeve the Bible to be the Word of God. But why wee beleeve the Bible to be the Word of God, is much disputed, as all questions must needs bee, that are not well stated. For they make not the question to be, Why we Beleeve it, but, How wee Know it; as if Beleeving and Knowing were all one. And thence while one side ground their Knowledge upon the Infallibility of the Church, and the other side, on the Testimony of the Private Spirit, neither side concludeth what it pretends. For how shall a man know the Infallibility of the Church, but by knowing first the Infallibility of the Scripture? Or how shall a man know his own Private spirit to be other than a beleef, grounded upon the Authority, and Arguments of his Teachers; or upon a Presumption of his own Gifts? Besides, there is nothing in the Scripture, from which can be inferred the Infallibility of the Church: much lesse, of any particular Church; and least of all, the Infallibility of any particular man.
It is manifest therefore, that Christian men doe not know, but onely beleeve the Scripture to be the Word ofFaith comes by Hearing. God; and that the means of making them beleeve which God is pleased to afford men ordinarily, is according to the way of Nature, that is to say, from their Teachers. It is the Doctrine of St. Paul concerning Christian Faith in generall, (Rom. 10. 17.) Faith cometh by Hearing, that is, by Hearing our lawfull Pastors. He saith also (ver. 14, 15. of the same Chapter) How shall they beleeve in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a Preacher? and how shall they Preach, except they be sent? Whereby it is evident, that the ordinary cause of beleeving that the Scriptures are the Word of God, is the same with the cause of the beleeving of all other Articles of our Faith, namely, the Hearing of those that are by the Law allowed and appointed to Teach us, as our Parents in their Houses, and our Pastors in the Churches: Which also is made more manifest by experience. For what other cause can there bee assigned, why in Christian Common-wealths all men either beleeve, or at least professe the Scripture to bee the Word of God, and in other Common-wealths scarce any; but that in Christian Common-wealths they are taught it from their infancy; and in other places they are taught otherwise?
But if Teaching be the cause of Faith, why doe not all beleeve? It is certain therefore that Faith is the gift of God, and hee giveth it to whom he will. Neverthelesse, because to them to whom he giveth it, he giveth it by the means of Teachers, the immediate cause of Faith is Hearing. In a School, where many are taught, and some profit, others profit not, the cause of learning in them that profit, is the Master; yet it cannot be thence inferred, that learning is not the gift of God. All good things proceed from God; yet cannot all that have them, say they are Inspired; for that implies a gift supernaturall, and the immediate hand of God; which he that pretends to, pretends to be a Prophet, and is subject to the examination of the Church.
But whether men Know, or Beleeve, or Grant the Scriptures to be the Word of God; if out of such places of them, as are without obscurity, I shall shew what Articles of Faith are necessary, and onely necessary for Salvation, those men must needs Know, Beleeve, or Grant the same.
The onely Necessary Article of Christian Faith; The (Unum Necessarium) Onely Article of Faith, which the Scripture maketh simply Necessary to Salvation, is this, that Jesus is theChrist. By the name of Christ, is understood the King, which God had before promised by the Prophets of the Old Testament, to send into the world, to reign (over the Jews, and over such of other nations as should beleeve in him) under himself eternally; and to give them that eternall life, which was lost by the sin of Adam. Which when I have proved out of Scripture, I will further shew when, and in what sense some other Articles may bee also called Necessary.
For Proof that the Beleef of this Article, Jesus is theProved from the Scope of the Evangelists:Christ, is all the Faith required to Salvation, my first Argument shall bee from the Scope of the Evangelists; which was by the description of the life of our Saviour, to establish that one Article, Jesus is the Christ. The summe of St. Matthews Gospell is this, That Jesus was of the stock of David; Born of a Virgin; which are the Marks of the true Christ: That the Magi came to worship him as King of the Jews: That Herod for the same cause sought to kill him: That John Baptist proclaimed him: That he preached by himselfe, and his Apostles that he was that King: That he taught the Law, not as a Scribe, but as a man of Authority: That he cured diseases by his Word onely, and did many other Miracles, which were foretold the Christ should doe: That he was saluted King when hee entred into Jerusalem: That he fore-warned them to beware of all others that should pretend to be Christ: That he was taken, accused, and put to death, for saying, hee was King: That the cause of his condemnation written on the Crosse, was Jesus ofNazareth, theKing of theJewes. All which tend to no other end than this, that men should beleeve, that Jesus is the Christ. Such therefore was the Scope of St. Matthews Gospel. But the Scope of all the Evangelists (as may appear by reading them) was the same. Therefore the Scope of the whole Gospell, was the establishing of that onely Article. And St. John expressely makes it his conclusion, John 20. 31. These things are written, that you may know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.
My second Argument is taken from the Subject of theFrom the Sermons of the Apostles: Sermons of the Apostles, both whilest our Saviour lived on earth, and after his Ascension. The Apostles in our Saviours time were sent, Luke 9. 2. to Preach the Kingdome of God: For neither there, nor Mat. 10. 7. giveth he any Commission to them, other than this, As ye go, Preach, saying, the Kingdome of Heaven is at hand; that is, that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, the King which was to come. That their Preaching also after his ascension was the same, is manifest out of Acts 17. 6. They drew (saith St. Luke) Jason and certain Brethren unto the Rulers of the City, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also, whom Jason hath received. And these all do contrary to the Decrees of Cœsar, saying, that there is another King, one Jesus: And out of the 2. & 3. verses of the same Chapter, where it is said, that St. Paul as his manner was, went in unto them; and three Sabbath dayes reasoned with them out of the Scriptures; opening and alledging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen againe from the dead, and that this Jesus (whom hee preached) is Christ.
The third Argument is, from those places of Scripture,From the easinesse of the Doctrine: by which all the Faith required to Salvation is declared to be Easie. For if an inward assent of the mind to all the Doctrines concerning Christian Faith now taught, (whereof the greatest part are disputed,) were necessary to Salvation, there would be nothing in the world so hard, as to be a Christian. The Thief upon the Crosse though repenting, could not have been saved for saying,Lord remember me when thou commest into thy Kingdome; by which he testified no beleefe of any other Article, but this, That Jesus was the King. Nor could it bee said (as it is Mat. 11. 30.) that Christs yoke is Easy, and his burthen Light: Nor that Little Children beleeve in him, as it is Matth. 18. 6. Nor could St. Paul have said (1 Cor. 1. 21.) It pleased God by the Foolishnesse of preaching, to save them that beleeve: Nor could St. Paul himself have been saved, much lesse have been so great a Doctor of the Church so suddenly, that never perhaps thought of Transubstantiation, nor Purgatory, nor many other Articles now obtruded.
From formall and cleer texts. The fourth Argument is taken from places expresse, and such as receive no controversie of Interpretation; as first, John 5. 39. Search the Scriptures, for in them yee thinke yee have eternall life; and they are they that testifie of mee. Our Saviour here speaketh of the Scriptures onely of the Old Testament; for the Jews at that time could not search the Scriptures of the New Testament, which were not written. But the Old Testament hath nothing of Christ, but the Markes by which men might know him when hee came; as that he should descend from David; be born at Bethlem, and of a Virgin; doe great Miracles, and the like. Therefore to beleeve that this Jesus was He, was sufficient to eternall life: but more than sufficient is not Necessary; and consequently no other Article is required. Again, (John 11. 26.) Whosoever liveth and beleeveth in mee, shall not die eternally, Therefore to beleeve in Christ, is faith sufficient to eternall life; and consequently no more faith than that is Necessary, But to beleeve in Jesus, and to beleeve that Jesus is the Christ, is all one, as appeareth in the verses immediately following. For when our Saviour (verse 26.) had said to Martha, Beleevest thou this? she answereth (verse 27.) Yea Lord, I beleeve that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world: Therefore this Article alone is faith sufficient to life eternall; and more than sufficient is not Necessary. Thirdly, John 20. 31. These things are written that yee might beleeve, That Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that beleeving yee might have life through his name. There, to beleeve that Jesus is the Christ, is faith sufficient to the obtaining of life; and therefore no other Article is Necessary. Fourthly, 1 John 4. 2. Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God. And 1 Joh. 5. 1. Whosoever beleeveth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God. And verse 5. Who is hee that overcommeth the world, but he that beleeveth that Jesus is the Son of God? Fiftly, Act. 8. ver. 36, 37. See (saith the Eunuch) here is water, what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou beleevest with all thy heart thou mayst. And hee answered and said, I beleeve that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Therefore this Article beleeved, Jesus is the Christ, is sufficient to Baptisme, that is to say, to our Reception into the Kingdome of God, and by consequence; onely Necessary. And generally in all places where our Saviour saith to any man, Thy faith hath saved thee, the cause he saith it, is some Confession, which directly, or by consequence, implyeth a beleef, that Jesus is the Christ.
The last Argument is from the places, where thisFrom that it is the Foundation of all other Articles. Article is made the Foundation of Faith: For he that holdeth the Foundation shall bee saved. Which places are first, Mat. 24. 23. If any man shall say unto you, Loe, here is Christ, or there, beleeve it not, for there shall arise false Christs, and false Prophets, and shall shew great signes and wonders, &c. Here wee see, this Article Jesus is the Christ, must bee held, though hee that shall teach the contrary should doe great miracles. The second place is, Gal. 1. 8. Though we, or an Angell from Heaven preach any other Gospell unto you, than that wee have preached unto you, let him bee accursed. But the Gospell which Paul, and the other Apostles, preached, was onely this Article, that Jesus is the Christ: Therefore for the Beleef of this Article, we are to reject the Authority of an Angell from heaven; much more of any mortall man, if he teach the contrary. This is therefore the Fundamentall Article of Christian Faith. A third place is, 1 Joh. 4. 1. Beloved, beleeve not every spirit. Hereby yee shall know the Spirit of God; every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God. By which it is evident, that this Article, is the measure, and rule, by which to estimate, and examine all other Articles; and is therefore onely Fundamentall. A fourth is, Matt. 16. 18. where after St. Peter had professed this Article, saying to our Saviour, Thou art Christ the Son of the living God, Our Saviour answered, Thou art Peter, and upon this Rock I will build my Church: from whence I inferre, that this Article is that, on which all other Doctrines of the Church are built, as on their Foundation. A fift is (1 Cor. 3. ver. 11, 12, &c.) Other Foundation can no man lay, than that which is laid, Jesus is the Christ. Now if any man build upon this Foundation, Gold, Silver, pretious Stones, Wood, Hay, Stubble; Every mans work shall be made manifest; For the Day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire, and the fire shall try every mans work, of what sort it is. If any mans work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward: If any mans work shall bee burnt, he shall suffer losse; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire. Which words, being partly plain and easie to understand, and partly allegoricall and difficult; out of that which is plain, may be inferred, that Pastors that teach this Foundation, that Jesus is the Christ, though they draw from it false consequences, (which all men are sometimes subject to,) they may neverthelesse bee saved; much more that they may bee saved, who being no Pastors, but Hearers, beleeve that which is by their lawfull Pastors taught them. Therefore the beleef of this Article is sufficient; and by consequence, there is no other Article of Faith Necessarily required to Salvation.
Now for the part which is Allegoricall, as That the fire shall try every mans work, and that They shall be saved, but so as by fire, or through fire, (for the originall is διὰπνρὸς) it maketh nothing against this conclusion which I have drawn from the other words, that are plain. Neverthelesse, because upon this place there hath been an argument taken, to prove the fire of Purgatory, I will also here offer you my conjecture concerning the meaning of this triall of Doctrines, and saving of men as by Fire. The Apostle here seemeth to allude to the words of the Prophet Zachary, Ch. 13. 8, 9. who speaking of the Restauration of the Kingdome of God, saith thus, Two parts therein shall be cut off, and die, but the third shall be left therein; And I will bring the third part through the Fire, and will refine them as Silver is refined, and will try them as Gold is tryed; they shall call on the name of the Lord, and I will hear them. The day of Judgment, is the day of the Restauration of the Kingdome of God; and at that day it is, that St. Peter tells us ** 2 Pet. 3. v. 7, 10, 12. shall be the Confiagration of the world, wherein the wicked shall perish; but the remnant which God will save, shall passe through that Fire, unhurt, and be therein (as Silver and Gold are refined by the fire from their drosse) tryed, and refined from their Idolatry, and be made to call upon the name of the true God. Alluding whereto St. Paul here saith, That the Day (that is, the Day of Judgment, the Great Day of our Saviours comming to restore the Kingdome of God in Israel) shall try every mans doctrine, by Judging, which are Gold, Silver, Pretious Stones, Wood, Hay, Stubble; And then they that have built false Consequences on the true Foundation, shall see their Doctrines condemned; neverthelesse they themselves shall be saved, and passe unhurt through this universall Fire, and live eternally, to call upon the name of the true and onely God. In which sense there is nothing that accordeth not with the rest of Holy Scripture, or any glimpse of the fire of Purgatory.
But a man may here aske, whether it bee not as necessaryIn what sense other Articles may be called Necessary. to Salvation, to beleeve, that God is Omnipotent; Creator of the world; that Jesus Christ is risen; and that all men else shall rise again from the dead at the last day; as to beleeve, that Jesus is the Christ. To which I answer, they are; and so are many more Articles: but they are such, as are contained in this one, and may be deduced from it, with more, or lesse difficulty. For who is there that does not see, that they who beleeve Jesus to be the Son of the God of Israel, and that the Israelites had for God the Omnipotent Creator of all things, doe therein also beleeve, that God is the Omnipotent Creator of all things? Or how can a man beleeve, that Jesus is the King that shall reign eternally, unlesse hee beleeve him also risen again from the dead? For a dead man cannot exercise the Office of a King. In summe, he that holdeth this Foundation, Jesus is the Christ, holdeth Expressely all that hee seeth rightly deduced from it, and Implicitely all that is consequent thereunto, though he have not skill enough to discern the consequence. And therefore it holdeth still good, that the beleef of this one Article is sufficient faith to obtaine remission of sinnes to the Penitent, and consequently to bring them into the Kingdome of Heaven.
That Faith, and Obedience are both of them Necessary to Salvation. Now that I have shewn, that all the Obedience required to Salvation, consisteth in the will to obey the Law of God, that is to say, in Repentance; and all the Faith required to the same, is comprehended in the beleef of this Article Jesus is the Christ; I will further alledge those places of the Gospell, that prove, that all that is Necessary to Salvation is contained in both these joined together. The men to whom St. Peter preached on the day of Pentecost, next after the Ascension of our Saviour, asked him, and the rest of the Apostles, saying, (Act. 2. 37.) Men and Brethren what shall we doe? To whom St. Peter answered (in the next verse) Repent, and be Baptized every one of you, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Therefore Repentance, and Baptisme, that is, beleeving that Jesus is the Christ, is all that is Necessary to Salvation. Again, our Saviour being asked by a certain Ruler, (Luke 18. 18.) What shall I doe to inherite eternall life? Answered (verse 20.) Thou knowest the Commandements, Doe not commit Adultery, Doe not Kill, Doe not Steal, Doe not bear false witnesse, Honor thy Father, and thy Mother: which when he said he had observed, our Saviour added, Sell all thou hast, give it to the Poor, and come and follow me: which was as much as to say, Relye on me that am the King: Therefore to fulfill the Law, and to beleeve that Jesus is the King, is all that is required to bring a man to eternall life. Thirdly, St. Paul saith (Rom. 1. 17.) The Just shall live by Faith; not every one, but the Just; therefore Faith and Justice (that is, the will to be Just, or Repentance) are all that is Necessary to life eternall. And (Mark 1. 15.) our Saviour preached, saying, The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand, Repent and Beleeve the Evangile, that is, the Good news that the Christ was come. Therefore to Repent, and to Beleeve that Jesus is the Christ, is all that is required to Salvation.
What each of them contributes thereunto. Seeing then it is Necessary that Faith, and Obedience (implyed in the word Repentance) do both concurre to our Salvation; the question by which of the two we are Justified, is impertinently disputed. Neverthelesse, it will not be impertinent, to make manifest in what manner each of them contributes thereunto; and in what sense it is said, that we are to be Justified by the one, and by the other. And first, if by Righteousnesse be understood the Justice of the Works themselves, there is no man that can be saved; for there is none that hath not transgressed the Law of God. And therefore when wee are said to be Justified by Works, it is to be understood of the Will, which God doth alwaies accept for the Work it selfe, as well in good, as in evill men. And in this sense onely it is, that a man is called Just, or Unjust; and that his Justice Justifies him, that is, gives him the title, in Gods acceptation, of Just; and renders him capable of living by his Faith, which before he was not. So that Justice Justifies in that sense, in which toJustifie, is the same that to Denominate a man Just; and not in the signification of discharging the Law; whereby the punishment of his sins should be unjust.
But a man is then also said to be Justified, when his Plea, though in it selfe unsufficient, is accepted; as when we Plead our Will, our Endeavour to fulfill the Law, and Repent us of our failings, and God accepteth it for the Performance it selfe: And because God accepteth not the Will for the Deed, but onely in the Faithfull; it is therefore Faith that makes good our Plea; and in this sense it is, that Faith onely Justifies: So that Faith and Obedience are both Necessary to Salvation; yet in severall senses each of them is said to Justifie.
Having thus shewn what is Necessary to Salvation;Obedience to God and to the Civill Soveraign not inconsistent, whether Christian, it is not hard to reconcile our Obedience to God, with our Obedience to the Civill Soveraign; who is either Christian, or Infidel. If he bee a Christian, he alloweth the beleefe of this Article, that Jesus is the Christ; and of all the Articles that are contained in, or are by evident consequence deduced from it: which is all the Faith Necessary to Salvation. And because he is a Soveraign, he requireth Obedience to all his owne, that is, to all the Civill Laws; in which also are contained all the Laws of Nature, that is, all the Laws of God: for besides the Laws of Nature, and the Laws of the Church, which are part of the Civill Law, (for the Church that can make Laws is the Common-wealth,) there bee no other Laws Divine. Whosoever therefore obeyeth his Christian Soveraign, is not thereby hindred, neither from beleeving, nor from obeying God. But suppose that a Christian King should from this Foundation Jesus is the Christ, draw some false consequences, that is to say, make some superstructions of Hay, or Stubble, and command the teaching of the same; yet seeing St. Paul says, he shal be saved; much more shall he be saved, that teacheth them by his command; and much more yet, he that teaches not, but onely beleeves his lawfull Teacher. And in case a Subject be forbidden by the Civill Soveraign to professe some of those his opinions, upon what just ground can he disobey? Christian Kings may erre in deducing a Consequence, but who shall Judge? Shall a private man Judge, when the question is of his own obedience? or shall any man Judg but he that is appointed thereto by the Church, that is, by the Civill Soveraign that representeth it? or if the Pope, or an Apostle Judge, may he not erre in deducing of a consequence? did not one of the two, St. Peter, or St. Paul erre in a superstructure, when St. Paul withstood St. Peter to his face? There can therefore be no contradiction between the Laws of God, and the Laws of a Christian Common-wealth.
Or Infidel. And when the Civill Soveraign is an Infidel, every one of his own Subjects that resisteth him, sinneth against the Laws of God (for such as are the Laws of Nature,) and rejecteth the counsell of the Apostles, that admonisheth all Christians to obey their Princes, and all Children and Servants to obey their Parents, and Masters, in all things. And for their Faith, it is internall, and invisible; They have the licence that Naaman had, and need not put themselves into danger for it. But if they do, they ought to expect their reward in Heaven, and not complain of their Lawfull Soveraign; much lesse make warre upon him. For he that is not glad of any just occasion of Martyrdome, has not the faith he professeth, but pretends it onely, to set some colour upon his own contumacy. But what Infidel King is so unreasonable, as knowing he has a Subject, that waiteth for the second comming of Christ, after the present world shall bee burnt, and intendeth then to obey him (which is the intent of beleeving that Jesus is the Christ,) and in the mean time thinketh himself bound to obey the Laws of that Infidel King, (which all Christians are obliged in conscience to doe,) to put to death, or to persecute such a Subject?
And thus much shall suffice, concerning the Kingdome of God, and Policy Ecclesiasticall. Wherein I pretend not to advance any Position of my own, but onely to shew what are the Consequences that seem to me deducible from the Principles of Christian Politiques, (which are the holy Scriptures,) in confirmation of the Power of Civill Soveraigns, and the Duty of their Subjects. And in the allegation of Scripture, I have endeavoured to avoid such texts as are of obscure, or controverted Interpretation; and to alledge none, but in such sense as is most plain, and agreeable to the harmony and scope of the whole Bible; which was written for the reestablishment of the Kingdome of God in Christ. For it is not the bare Words, but the Scope of the writer that giveth the true light, by which any writing is to bee interpreted; and they that insist upon single Texts, without considering the main Designe, can derive no thing from them cleerly; but rather by casting atomes of Scripture, as dust before mens eyes, make every thing more obscure than it is; an ordinary artifice of those that seek not the truth, but their own advantage.