Page images
PDF
EPUB

PART II.

18.

the form of

First, because they covenant, it is to be under

stood, they are not obliged by former covenant to 1. The subjects anything repugnant hereunto. And consequently cannot change

they that have already instituted a commonwealth, government. being thereby bound by covenant, to own the ac

tions, and judgments of one, cannot lawfully make a new covenant, amongst themselves, to be obedient to any other, in any thing whatsoever, without his permission. And therefore, they that are subjects to a monarch, cannot without his leave cast off monarchy, and return to the confusion of a disunited multitude; nor transfer their person from him that beareth it, to another man, or other assembly of men: for they are bound, every man to every man, to own, and be reputed author of all, that he that already is their sovereign, shall do, and judge fit to be done: so that any one man dissenting, all the rest should break their covenant made to that man, which is injustice : and they have also every man given the sovereignty to him that beareth their person ; and therefore if they depose him, they take from him that which is his own, and so again it is injustice. Besides, if he that attempteth to depose his sovereign, be killed, or punished by him for such attempt, he is author of his own punishment, as being by the institution, author of all his sovereign shall do: and because it is injustice for a man to do anything, for which he may be punished by his own authority, he is also upon that title, unjust. And whereas some men have pretended for their disobedience to their sovereign, a new covenant, made, not with men, but with God; this also is unjust: for there is no covenant with God, but by mediation of somebody

18.

that representeth God's person; which none doth PART II. but God's lieutenant, who hath the sovereignty under God, But this pretence of covenant with God, is so evident a lie, even in the pretenders' own consciences, that it is not only an act of an unjust, but also of a vile, and unmanly disposition.

Secondly, because the right of bearing the per- 2. Sovereign son of them all, is given to him they make sovereign, be forfeited. by covenant only of one to another, and not of him to any of them; there can happen no breach of covenant on the part of the sovereign ; and consequently none of his subjects, by any pretence of forfeiture, can be freed from his subjection. That he which is made sovereign maketh no covenant with his subjects beforehand, is manifest; because either he must make it with the whole multitude, as one party to the covenant; or he must make a several covenant with every man. With the whole, as one party, it is impossible; because as yet they are not one person: and if he make so many several covenants as there be men, those covenants after he hath the sovereignty are void 1; because what act soever can be pretended by any one of them for breach thereof, is the act both of himself, and of all the rest, because done in the person, and by the right of every one of them in particular. Besides, if any one, or more of them, pretend a breach of the covenant made by the sovereign at his institution; and others, or one other of his subjects, or himself alone, pretend there was no such breach, there is in this case, no judge to decide the controversy; it returns therefore to the sword again; and every man recovereth the right of protecting himself by his own strength, contrary to the

VOL. III.

M

18.

PART II. design they had in the institution. It is therefore

in vain to grant sovereignty by way of precedent covenant. The opinion that any monarch receiveth his power by covenant, that is to say, on condition, proceedeth from want of understanding this easy truth, that covenants being but words and breath, have no force to oblige, contain, constrain, or protect any man, but what it has from the public sword ; that is, from the untied hands of that man, or assembly of men that hath the sovereignty, and whose actions are avouched by them all, and performed by the strength of them all, in him united. But when an assembly of men is made sovereign; then no man imagineth any such covenant to have passed in the institution; for no man is so dull as to say, for example, the people of Rome made a covenant with the Romans, to hold the sovereignty on such or such conditions; which not performed, the Romans might lawfully depose the Roman people. That men see not the reason to be alike in a monarchy, and in a popular government, proceedeth from the ambition of some, that are kinder to the government of an assembly, whereof they may hope to participate, than of monarchy, which they despair to enjoy.

Thirdly, because the major part hath by conjustice protest senting voices declared a sovereign; he that disagainst the in

sented must now consent with the rest; that is, be stitution of the sovereign de- contented to avow all the actions he shall do, or else clared by the major part. justly be destroyed by the rest. For if he volunta

rily entered into the congregation of them that were assembled, he sufficiently declared thereby his will, and therefore tacitly covenanted, to stand to what the major part should ordain: and therefore if he

3. No man
can without in-

18.

refuse to stand thereto, or make protestation against Part II. any of their decrees, he does contrary to his covenant, and therefore unjustly. And whether he be of the congregation, or not; and whether his consent be asked, or not, he must either submit to their decrees, or be left in the condition of war he was in before; wherein he might without injustice be destroyed by any man whatsoever.

Fourthly, because every subject is by this insti- 4. The sovetution author of all the actions, and judgments of reigne's bactions the sovereign instituted; it follows, that whatsoever accused by the

subject. he doth, it can be no injury to any of his subjects ; nor ought he to be by any of them accused of injustice. For he that doth anything by authority from another, doth therein no injury to him by whose authority he acteth : but by this institution of a commonwealth, every particular man is author of all the sovereign doth : and consequently he that complaineth of injury from his sovereign, complaineth of that whereof he himself is author; and therefore ought not to accuse any man but himself; no nor himself of injury; because to do injury to one's self, is impossible. It is true that they that have sovereign power may commit iniquity ; but not injustice, or injury in the proper signification.

Fifthly, and consequently to that which was said 5. W'hatsoever last, no man that hath sovereign power can justly doth is unpunbe put to death, or otherwise in any manner by his ishable by the subjects punished. For seeing every subject is author of the actions of his sovereign ; he punisheth another for the actions committed by himself.

And because the end of this institution, is the 6. The sove. peace and defence of them all; and whosoever has of what is ne right to the end, has right to the means; it be

subject

18.

PART 11. longeth of right, to whatsoever man, or assembly

that hath the sovereignty, to be judge both of the cessary for the means of peace and defence, and also of the hinfence of his drances, and disturbances of the same; and to do subjects. whatsoever he shall think necessary to be done,

both beforehand, for the preserving of peace and security, by prevention of discord at home, and hostility from abroad; and, when peace and security are lost, for the recovery of the same. And

therefore, And judge of Sixthly, it is annexed to the sovereignty, to be are a file to be judge of what opinions and doctrines are averse, and taught them. what conducing to peace; and consequently, on what

occasions, how far, and what men are to be trusted withal, in speaking to multitudes of people; and who shall examine the doctrines of all books before they be published. For the actions of men proceed from their opinions ; and in the well-governing of opinions, consisteth the well-governing of men's 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 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 commonwealth, where by the negligence, or unskilfulness of governors, and teachers, false doctrines are by time generally received ; the contrary truths may be generally offensive. Yet the most sudden, and rough bursting in of a new truth, that can be, does never break the peace, but only sometimes awake the war. For those men that are so remissly governed, that they dare take up arms to defend, or introduce an opinion,

« PreviousContinue »