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and said to have sovereign power ; and every one besides is subject. * From this institution of a commonwealth are derived all the rights and faculties of him, or them, on whom sovereign power is conferred by the consent of the people assembled.
The author then establishes the following positions, comprehending the rights and authority of the sovereign. 1. That the subjects cannot change the form of government. 2. That the sovereign power cannot be forfeited. 3. That no man can, without injustice, protest against the institution of the sovereign, declared by the major part. 4. That the sovereign's actions cannot be justly accused by the subject. 5. That whatsoever the sovereign doth is unpunishable by the subject. 6. That the sovereign is judge of what is necessary for the peace and defence of his subjects; and judge of what doctrines are fit to be taught them. 7. That the right of making rules, whereby the subjects may every man know what is so his own, as no other subject can, without injustice, take it from him. 3. That to him also belongeth the right of all judicature and decision of controversies. 9. And of making war and peace as he shall think best. 10. And of choosing all counsellors and ministers, both of peace and war. 11. And of rewarding and punishing, and that (where no former law hath determined the measure of it) arbitrary, 12. And of honour and order. 19. That these rights are indivisible, and can by no grant pass away, without direct renouncing of the sovereign power. 14. That the power and honour of subjects vanish in the presencé of the power sovereign.--He concludes his arguments on these topics in the following
But a man may here object, that the condition of subjects is very miserable; as being obnoxious to the 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 sovereign as sembly, attribute all the inconvenience to that form of commonwealth; whereas the power in all forms, 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 est that in any form of government can pos
sibly happen to the people in general, is scarce sensible, in respect of the miseries and horrible calamities that accompany a civil war; or that dissolute condition of masterless men, without subjection to laws, and a coercive power to tie their hands from rapine and revenge: nor considering that the greatest pressure of sovereign governors, proceedeth not from any delight or profit they can expect in the damage or weaking of their subjects, in whose vigour consisteth their own strength and glory; but in the restiveness of themselves, that unwillingly contributing to their own defence, make it necessary for their governors 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 self-love) through which every little payment appeareth a great grievance; but are destitute of those prospective-glasses (namely moral and civil science) to see afar off the miseries that hang over them, and cannot, without such payments, be avoided,
The third division of this admirable work treats of the nature and rights of a christian commonwealth. Hobbes was a friend to an established religion; but, as will be seen, was
of opinion that all religion ought to be sub! jected to the controul of the civil magistrate. I shall present the reader with a few short extracts from this part of the work, and though his peculiar sentiments may be presumed unpopular, little danger can be apprehended from their evulgation, as the author will be uniformly found a friend to order and good go
Of the Principles of Christian Politics.
I have derived the rights of sovereign power, and the duty of subjects hitherto, from the principles of nature only, 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 essential to all political reasoning) universally agreed on.
But in that I am next to handle, which is the nature and rights of a Christian Commonwealth, whereof there dependeth much upon supernatural revelations of the will of God; the ground of my discourse must be not only the natural word of God, but also the prophetical.
Nevertheless, we are not to renounce our senses, and experience ; nor (that which is the undoubted word of God) our natural 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 implicit faith, but employed in the purchase of justice, peace, and true religion. For though there be many things in God's word above reason; that is to say, which cannot by natural reason be either demonstrated, or confuted, yet there is nothing contrary to it; but when it seemeth so, the fault is either in our unskilful interpretation, or erroneous ratiocination,
Therefore, when any thing therein written is too hard for our examination, we are bidden to captivate our understanding to the words; and not to labour in sifting out a philosophical truth by logic, of such mysteries as are not comprehensible, nor fall under any rule of natural science. For it is with the mysteries of our religion, as with wholesome pills for the sick, which swallowed whole, have the virtue to cure; but chewed, are for the most part cast up again without effect.
Seeing * 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 recompence the want of all other prophecy :