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case, I have endeavored throughout the body of this whole discourse, that every former part might give strength unto all that follow, and every later bring some light unto all before. So that if the judgments of men do but hold themselves in suspense as touching these first more general meditations, till in order they have perused the rest that ensue; what may seem dark at the first will afterwards be found more plain, even as the later particular decisions will appear I doubt not more strong, when the other have been read before.
2. Of Law in Nature Wherefore to come to the law of nature: albeit thereby we sometimes mean that manner of working which God hath set for each created thing to keep; yet forasmuch as those things are termed most properly natural agents, which keep the law of their kind unwittingly, as the heavens and elements of the world, which can do no otherwise than they do; and forasmuch as we give unto intellectual natures the name of Voluntary agents, that so we may distinguish them from the other; expedient it will be, that we sever the law of nature observed by the one from that which the other is tied unto. Touching the former, their strict keeping of one tenure, statute, and law, is spoken of by all, but hath in it more than men have as yet attained to know, or perhaps ever shall attain, seeing the travail of wading herein is given of God to the sons of men, that perceiving how much the least thing in the world hath in it more than the wisest are able to reach unto, they may by this means learn humility. Moses, in describing the work of creation, attributeth speech unto God: “God said, Let there be light: let there be a firmament: let the waters under the heaven be gathered together into one place: let the earth bring forth: let there be lights in the firmament of heaven.” Was this only the intent of Moses, to signify the infinite greatness of God's power by the easiness of his accomplishing such effects, without travail, pain, or labor? Surely it seemeth that Moses had herein besides this a further purpose, famely, first to teach that God did not work as a necessary but a voluntary agent, intending beforehand and decreeing with himself that which did outwardly proceed from him: secondly, to show that God did then institute a law natural to be observed by
creatures, and therefore according to the manner of laws, the institution thereof is described, as being established by solemn injunction. His commanding those things to be which are, and to be in such sort as they are, to keep that tenure and course which they do, importeth the establishment of nature's law. This world's first creation, and the preservation since of things created, what is it but only so far forth a manifestation by execution, what the eternal law of God is concerning things natural? And as it cometh to pass in a kingdom rightly ordered, that after a law is once published, it presently takes effect far and wide, all states framing themselves thereunto; even so let us think it fareth in the natural course of the world: since the time that God did first proclaim the edicts of his law upon it, heaven and earth have hearkened unto his voice, and their labor hath been to do his will: He "made a law for the rain": He gave his “decree unto the sea, that the waters should not pass his commandment.” Now if nature should intermit her course, and leave altogether though it were but for a while the observation of her own laws; if those principal and mother elements of the world, whereof all things in this lower world are made, should lose the qualities which now they have; if the frame of that heavenly arch erected over our heads should loosen and dissolve itself; if celestial spheres should forget their wonted motions, and by irregular volubility turn themselves any way as it might happen; if the prince of the lights of heaven, which now as a giant doth run his "unwearied course, should as it were through a languishing faintness begin to stand and to rest himself; if the moon should wander from her beaten way, the times and seasons of the year blend themselves by disordered and confused mixture, the winds breathe out their last gasp, the clouds yield no rain, the earth be defeated of heavenly influence, the fruits of the earth pine away as children at the withered breasts of their mother no longer able to yield them relief: what would become of man himself, whom these things now do all serve? See we not plainly that obedience of creatures unto the law of nature is the stay of the whole world?
3. Of the Sources of Government But forasmuch as we are not by ourselves sufficient to furnish ourselves with
competent store of things needful for such to grow to a number, the first thing we a life as our nature doth desire, a life fit read they gave themselves unto was the for the dignity of man; therefore to sup- tilling of the earth and the feeding of catply those defects and imperfections which tle. Having by this means whereon to live, are in us living single and solely by our- the principal actions of their life afterward selves, we are naturally induced to seek are noted by the exercise of their religion. communion and fellowship with others. This True it is, that the kingdom of God must was the cause of men's uniting themselves be the first thing in our purposes and deat the first in politic Societies, which so- sires. But inasmuch as righteous life precieties could not be without Government, supposeth life; inasmuch as to live virtunor Government without a distinct kind of ously is impossible except we live; thereLaw from that which hath been already fore the first impediment, which naturally declared. Two foundations there are which we endeavor to remove, is penury and want bear up public societies; the one, a natural of things without which we cannot live. inclination, whereby all men desire sociable Unto life many implements are necessary; life and fellowship; the other, an order ex- more, if we seek (as all men naturally do) pressly or secretly agreed upon touching such a life as hath in it joy, comfort, dethe manner of their union in living to- light, and pleasure. To this end we see how gether. The latter is that which we call the quickly sundry arts mechanical were found Law of a Commonweal, the very soul of a out, in the very prime of the world. As politic body, the parts whereof are by law things of greatest necessity are always first, animated, held together, and set on work provided for, so things of greatest dignity in such actions, as the common good re- are most accounted of by all such as judge quireth. Laws politic, ordained for ex- rightly. Although therefore riches be a ternal order and regiment amongst men, are thing which every man wisheth, yet no man never framed as they should be, unless pre- of judgment can esteem it better to be suming the will of man to be inwardly ob- rich than wise, virtuous, and religious. If stinate, rebellious, and averse from all obedi- we be both or either of these, it is not beence unto the sacred laws of his nature; in cause we are so born. For into the world a word, unless presuming man to be in we come as empty of the one as of the other, regard of his depraved mind little better as naked in mind as we are in body. Both than a wild beast, they do accordingly pro- which necessities of man had at the first no vide notwithstanding so to frame his out- other helps and supplies than only domesward actions, that they be no hinderance tical; such as that which the Prophet imunto the common good for which societies plieth, saying, "Can a mother forget her are instituted: unless they do this, they are child?” such as that which the Apostle not perfect. It resteth therefore that we mentioned, saying, "He that careth not for consider how nature findeth out such laws his own is worse than an infidel"; such as of government as serve to direct even na- that concerning Abraham, "Abraham will ture depraved to a right end.
command his sons and his household after All men desire to lead in this world a him, that they keep the way of the Lord." happy life. That life is led most happily, But neither that which we learn of ourwherein all virtue is exercised without im- selves nor that which others teach us can pediment or let. The Apostle, in exhorting prevail, where wickedness and malice have men to contentment although they have in taken deep root. If therefore when there this world no more than very bare food and was but as yet one only family in the world, raiment, giveth us thereby to understand no means of instruction human or divine that those are even the lowest of things could prevent effusion of blood; how could necessary; that if we should be stripped of it be chosen but that when families were all those things without which we might multiplied and increased upon earth, after possibly be, yet these must be left; that separation each providing for itself, envy, destitution in these is such an impediment, strife, contention, and violence must grow as till it be removed suffereth not the mind amongst them? For hath not Nature furof man to admit any other care. For this nished man with wit and valor, as it were cause, first God assigned Adam maintenance with armor, which may be used as well of life, and then appointed him a law to unto extreme evil as good? Yea, were they observe. For this cause, after men began not used by the rest of the world unto evil;
unto the contrary only by Seth, Enoch, pendency upon any one, and consisting of and those few the rest in that line? We so many families as every politic society all make complaint of the iniquity of our in the world doth, impossible it is that any times: not unjustly; for the days are evil. should have complete lawful power, but by But compare them with those times wherein consent of men, or immediate appointment there were no civil societies, with those times of God; because not having the natural wherein there was as yet no manner of pub- superiority of fathers, their power must lic regiment established, with those times needs be either usurped, and then unlawful; wherein there were not above eight persons or, if lawful, then either granted or conrighteous living upon the face of the earth; sented unto by them over whom they exand we have surely good cause to think ercise the same, else given extraordinarily that God hath blessed us exceedingly, and from God, unto whom all the world is subhath made us behold most happy days. ject. It is no improbable opinion therefore
To take away all such mutual grievances, which the arch-philosopher was of, that as injuries, and wrongs, there was no way but the chiefest person in every household was only by growing unto composition and always as it were a king, so when numbers agreement amongst themselves, by ordaining of households joined themselves in civil some kind of government public, and by society together, kings were the first kind yielding themselves subject thereunto; that of governors amongst them. Which is also unto whom they granted authority to rule (as it seemeth) the reason why the name of and govern, by them the peace, tranquillity, Father continued still in them, who of and happy estate of the rest might be pro- fathers were made rulers; as also the ancient cured. Men always knew that when force custom of governors to do as Melchisedec, and injury was offered they might be de- and being kings to exercise the office of fenders of themselves; they knew that how- priests, which fathers did at the first, grew soever men may seek their own commodity, perhaps by the same occasion. yet if this were done with injury unto others Howbeit not this the only kind of regiit was not to be suffered, but by all men ment that hath been received in the world. and by all good means to be withstood; The inconveniences of one kind have caused finally they knew that no man might in rea- sundry other to be devised. So that in a son take upon him to determine his own word all public regiment of what kind soright, and according to his own determin- ever seemeth evidently to have risen from ation proceed in maintenance thereof, in- deliberate advice, consultation, and comasmuch as every man is towards himself and position between men, judging it convenient them whom he greatly affecteth partial; and behoveful; there being no impossibility and therefore that strifes and troubles would in nature considered by itself, but that men be endless, except they gave their common might have lived without any public regiconsent all to be ordered by some whom ment. Howbeit, the corruption of our nathey should agree upon: without which con- ture being presupposed, we may not deny sent there were no reason that one man but that the Law of Nature doth now reshould take upon him to be lord or judge quire of necessity some kind of regiment; over another; because, although there be so that to bring things unto the first course according to the opinion of some very great they were in, and utterly to take away all and judicious men a kind of natural right kind of public government in the world, in the noble, wise, and virtuous, to govern were apparently to overturn the whole them which are of servile disposition; nev- world. ertheless for manifestation of this their The case of man's nature standing thereright, and men's more peaceable content- fore as it doth, some kind of regiment the ment on both sides, the assent of them who Law of Nature doth require; yet the kinds are to be governed seemeth necessary. thereof being many, Nature tieth not to any
To fathers within their private families one, but leaveth the choice as a thing arbiNature hath given a supreme power; for trary. At the first when some certain kind which cause we see throughout the world of regiment was once approved, it may be even from the foundation thereof, all men that nothing was then further thought upon have ever been taken as lords and lawful for the manner of governing, but all perkings in their own houses. Howbeit over a mitted unto their wisdom and discretion whole grand multitude having no such de- which were to rule; till by experience they
found this for all parts very inconvenient, little more fully to consider what things so as the thing which they had devised for are incident unto the making of the posia remedy did indeed but increase the sore ·tive laws for the government of them that which it should have cured. They saw that live united in public society. Laws do not to live by one man's will became the cause only teach what is good, but they enjoin of all men's misery. This constrained them it, they have in them a certain constraining to come unto laws, wherein all men might force. And to constrain men unto any thing, see their duties beforehand, and know the inconvenient doth seem unreasonable. Most penalties of transgressing them. If things requisite therefore it is that to devise laws be simply good or evil, and withal univer- which all men shall be forced to obey none sally so acknowledged, there needs no new but wise men be admitted. Laws are matlaw to be made for such things. The first ters of principal consequence; men of comkind therefore of things appointed by laws mon capacity and but ordinary judgment human containeth whatsoever being in itself are not able (for how should they?) to naturally good or evil, is notwithstanding discern what things are fittest for each more secret than that it can be discerned kind and state of regiment. We cannot be by every man's present conceit, without ignorant how much our obedience unto laws some deeper discourse and judgment. In dependeth upon this point. Let a which discourse because there is difficulty though never so justly oppose himself unto and possibility many ways to err, unless them that are disordered in their ways, and such things were set down by laws, many what one amongst them commonly doth not would be ignorant of their duties which now stomach at such contradiction, storm at reare not, and many that know what they proof, and hate such as would reform them? should do would nevertheless dissemble it, Notwithstanding even they which brook it and to excuse themselves pretend ignorance worst that men should tell them of their and simplicity, which now they cannot. duties, when they are told the same a law,
And because the greatest part of men are think very well and reasonably of it. For such as prefer their own private good be- why? They presume that the law doth fore all things, even that good which is speak with all indifferency; that the law sensual before whatsoever is most divine; hath no side-respect to their persons; that and for that the labor of doing good, together the law is as it were an oracle proceeded with the pleasure arising from the con- from wisdom and understanding. trary, doth make men for the most part Howbeit laws do not take their constrainslower to the one and proner to the other, ing force from the quality of such as dethan that duty prescribed them by law can vise them, but from that power which doth prevail sufficiently with them: therefore give them the strength of laws. That which unto laws that men do make for the bene- we spake before concerning the power of fit of men it hath seemed always needful government must here be applied unto the to add rewards, which may more allure unto power of making laws whereby to govern; good than any hardness deterreth from it, which power God hath over all: and by the and punishments, which may more deter natural law, whereunto he hath made all from evil than any sweetness thereto al subject, the lawful power of making laws lureth. Wherein as the generality is na- to command whole politic societies of men tural, virtue rewardable, and vice punish- belongeth so properly unto the same entire able; so the particular determination of the societies, that for any prince or potentate reward or punishment belongeth unto them of what kind soever upon earth to exercise by whom laws are made. Theft is naturally the same of himself, and not either by expunishable, but the kind of punishment is press commission immediately and personpositive, and such lawful as men shall think ally received from God, or else by authority with discretion convenient by law to ap
derived at the first from their consent upon point.
whose persons they impose laws, it is no In laws, that which is natural bindeth better than mere tyranny. universally, that which is positive not so. Laws they are not therefore which pubTo let go those kinds of positive laws which lic approbation hath not made so. But apmen impose upon themselves, as by vow probation not only they give who personally unto God, contract with men, or such like; declare their assent by voice, sign, or act, somewhat it will make unto our purpose, a
but also when others do it in their names
by right originally at the least derived from from others into himself especially those them. As in parliaments, councils, and the things wherein the excellency of his kind like assemblies, although we be not per- doth most consist. The chiefest instrument sonally ourselves present, notwithsanding of human communion therefore is speech, our assent is by reason of others agents because thereby we impart mutually one to there in our behalf. And what we do by another the conceits of our reasonable unothers, no reason but that it should stand derstanding. And for that cause seeing as our deed, no less effectually to bind us beasts are not hereof capable, forasmuch as than if ourselves had done it in person. with them we can use no such conference, In many things assent is given, they that they being in degree, although above other give it not imagining they do so, because creatures on earth to whom nature hath dethe manner of their assenting is not ap- nied sense, yet lower than to be sociable comparent. As for example, when an abso- panions of man to whom nature hath given lute monarch commandeth his subjects that reason; it is of Adam said that amongst which seemeth good in his own discretion, the beasts "he found not for himself any hath not his edict the force of a law whether meet companion.” Civil society doth more they approve or dislike it? Again, that content the nature of man than any priwhich hath been received long sithence and vate kind of solitary living, because in sois by custom now established, we keep as a ciety this good of mutual participation is law which we may not transgress; yet what so much larger than otherwise. Herewith consent was ever thereunto sought or re- notwithstanding we are not satisfied, but we quired at our hands?
covet (if it might be) to have a kind of Of this point therefore we are to note, society and fellowship even with all manthat sith men naturally have no full and kind. Which thing Socrates intending to perfect power to command whole politic signify professed himself a citizen, not of multitudes of men, therefore utterly with- this or that commonwealth, but of the world. out our consent we could in such sort be at And an effect of that very natural desire no man's commandment living. And to be in us (a manifest token that we wish after commanded we do consent, when that so- a sort an universal fellowship with all men) ciety whereof we are part hath at any time appeareth by the wonderful delight men before consented, without revoking the same have, some to visit foreign countries, some after by the like universal agreement. to discover nations not heard of in former Wherefore as any man's deed past is good ages, we all to know the affairs and dealas long as himself continueth; so the act ings of other people, yea to be in league of a public society of men done five hun- of amity with them: and this not only for dred years sithence standeth as theirs who traffic's sake, or to the end that when many presently are of the same societies, because are confederated each may make other the corporations are immortal; we were then more strong, but for such cause also as alive in our predecessors, and they in their moved the Queen of Saba to visit Solomon; successors do live still. Laws therefore hu- and in a word, because nature doth preman, of what kind soever, are available by sume that how many men there are in the consent.
world, so many gods as it were there are,
or at leastwise such they should be towards 4. Of the Law of Nations Now besides that law which simply con- Touching laws which are to serve men in cerneth men as men, and that which belong- this behalf; even as those Laws of Reason, eth unto them as they are men linked with which (man retaining his original integrity) others in some form of politic society, there had been sufficient to direct each particular is a third kind of law which toucheth all person in all his affairs and duties, are not such several bodies politic, so far forth as sufficient but require the access of other one of them hath public commerce with an- laws, now that man and his offspring are other. And this third is the Law of Na- grown thus corrupt and sinful; again, as tions. Between men and beasts there is no those laws of polity and regiment, which possibility of sociable communion, because would have served men living in public sothe well-spring of that communion is a ciety together with that harmless disposinatural delight which man hath to transfuse tion which then they should have had, are from himself into others, and to receive not able now to serve, when men's iniquity