Schlagwort-Archive: treatise




Briefly stated and tendred to die consideration of all sober and impartial men.

The third edition, Chillingworth Praef. §. 34.

Not protestants for rejecting, but the church of Rome for imposing upon the faith of christians, doctrines unwritten and unnecessary, and for disturbing the churches peace, and dividing unity in such matters, is in an high degree presumptuous and schismatical.

London, printed in the year, 1660.

The publisher of this treatise to the christian and candid reader.

Though opinions should be weighed, not by the reputation of the authors which deliver, but by the strength of the arguments which defend them yet it is too usual with unobserving readers, to slight the argument for the author’s sake, and to consider, not so much what is said who it is that says it. Which being the common fate of most discourses, such especially as do at all meddle with that excellent, but too much abused notion of christian liberty, do most expose the writers to censure: The most obvious character that is fastened upon them, being, that they are men either of loose, or else of factious principles: And so being discredited, before the are read, their books, how sober soever, do not remove, but only fettle and fix the preconceived prejudice; as in diseased stomachs, everything they take turns to nourish and to increase the humor.

That this is like to be the fortune of this small treatise, I have reason to expect, and therefore I have suffered it to run abroad in the world without, a name like one of those (unreadable Greek spelling) Pliny mentions, as if it were born of itself and begotten without a parent. That so those few readers it may meet with, may only fasten upon the faults of the discourse itself without diverting themselves unto that question, which all times, as well at Saul’s, have malice enough to make a proverb of, but who is their father? Yet christian reader, that it may appear only with its own faults, and have no aggravating suspicions upon it, from any mistake of the authors design or humor, I have adventured to give thee this account of him.

First, that he is a strict assertor of the doctrine of the church of England, as it is contained in the 39 articles, and for that which is the prime branch of discipline, viz. episcopacy, or the subordination between bishops and presbyters, he doth own it to be of apostolical institution, that is, as he understands jure divino. At least he thinks himself able to speak as much for the order of bishops in the church, as any can for the baptizing of infants, for the change of the Sabbath, or for anything else, which hath no particular divine precept, but only primitive practice and example to warrant it. And therefore in conformity to this principle of his, when the bishops were sunk lowest, not only for pomp but likewise for reputation and when no temptation either of profit or convenience, but rather the contrary, could work upon him, he then chose to be ordained a presbyter by one of them: which is a greater argument of his reality and steadfastness in judgment, then most of those, who now signalize themselves by distinctive habits, can pretend to; since such may reasonably be presumed to wear them, either because they are the fashion, or else the way to preferment.

Secondly, this I must say likewise, that none is more satisfied with the present government, or hath a more loyal and affectionate esteem for his Majesties person and prudence, than this writer: and therefore instead of declaiming against, or too rigid re-enforcing our old rites, fitted only for the infancy of the church these being as it were its swaddling clouts, and at the best do but show its minority he doth heartily wish that all parties would agree to refer the whole cause of ceremonies to  his Majesties single decision: From whose unwearied endeavors in procuring first, and afterwards in passing so full an amnesty of allow civil discord, we need not doubt but we may obtain, that these apples of ecclesiastical contention may be removed out of the way. Which are so very trifles, that they would vanish of themselves, but that some men’s  pride, others want of merit make them so solicitous to continue them lest it those little things were once taken away, they should want something whereby to make themselves remarkable.

Lastly he doth profess yet further that as to himself be needs not that liberty, which here he pleads for, since, though for the present he doth make use of that indulgence, which his Majesty hath been pleased to allow unto tender conferences, i.e. to all rational and sober christians: (the continuance of which, he dares not so much wrong his Majesties goodness, as once to question) yet should his Majesty be prevailed upon for some reason of state, to enjoin outward conformity, this writer is resolved by the help of God, either to submit with cheerfulness or else to suffer with silence.

For as there is an active disobedience, viz. resist which is a practice he abhors, so there is a passive disobedience, and that is, to repine (hadern) which he can by no means approve of. Since whatever he cannot conscientiously do, he thinks himself obliged to suffer for, with as much joy, and with as little reluctance, as if any other act of obedience was called for from him.

Having said this concerning the author, I need not speak much concerning the argument, but only this, that it was not written out of vanity or ostentation of wit; but as a question, in which he is really unsatisfied and therefore thought himself bound to impart his doubts: Which having done to many in discourse, with little success or satisfaction; he hath now communicated them to the world, hoping they may light into such men’s hands, who may he prevailed upon, if not to alter the judgment, yet at least to moderate the passion of some, who would put out our eyes, because we cannot see with their spectacles; and who have placed ceremonies about religion, a little too truly as a fence: For they serve to keep out all others from their communion. All therefore which this treatise aims at, is briefly to prove this, — that none is to hedge up the way to heaven; or by scattering thornes (Dornen) and punctilio’s (Nadelspitzen) in it, to make christianity more cumbersome, tedious, and difficult, then Christ hath left it. That is in short, that none can impose, what our Savior in his infinite wisdom did not think necessary, and therefore left free.




Concerning things indifferent in religious worship

Briefly stated and tendred (vorgestellt) to the consideration of all sober and impartial men.

Question: Whether the civil magistrate may lawfully impose and determine the use of indifferent things, in reference to religious worship.

For the understanding and right stating of this question, I will suppose these two things;

1.That a christian may be a magistrate; this I know many do deny, grounding themselves upon that discourse of our Savior to his disciples, “Ye know”, said he, “that the Princes of the Gentiles do exercise dominion over them, and they that are great, exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so much amongst you:” from whence they infer, that all who will‘ be Christ’s disciples, are thereby forbid any exercise of temporal sovereignty. And I remember amongst many other of the primitive writers, who were of the same opinion, Tertullian in his apology doth expressly say “nos ad omnem, ambitionis auram frigemus”, &c. We Christians says he, have not the least taint of ambition, being so far from affecting honors, that we look not after so much as the aedileship (Ädile), which was the lowest magistracy in Rome; and afterwards of Tiberius, “Tiberius”, says he, “would have become a christian, if either the world did not need or it were lawful for christians to be emperors.”

Many other expressions there are both in Tertullian, Cyprian and Origen, to the same purpose. But because the practice of the christian world, down from Constantine’s time, even in the most reformed churches hath carried it in the affirmative for christian magistracy; and the contrary doctrine, besides the gap it opens to all civil confusion, is built only upon some remote consequences from Scripture, rather than any direct proof; I will therefore admit that a Christian may lawfully exercise the highest place of magistracy, only as the Apostle sais in another case, in the Lord, i.e. no: extending his commission farther than the word of God doth warrant him.

  1. I will suppose that there are some things in their own nature indifferent, I mean, those outward circumstances of our actions: which the law of God hath left free and arbitrary, giving us only general precepts for the use of them either way: Such are, do all things to the glory of God, and do what makes most for edification, and the like, which rules whoever observes, may in things indifferent, either do or forbear them, as he in his christian prudence shall think convenient.

Of these indifferent things some are purely so, as the time and place of meeting for religious worship; which seem to me, to be so very indifferent, that they cannot without great violence, be wrested to any superstitious observance; and therefore concerning these I do not dispute.

Other things there are, commonly supposed indifferent in their own nature, but by abuse have become occasions of superstition: such as are, bowing in the name of Jesus, the cross in Baptism, pictures in churches, surplices in preaching, kneeling at the sacrament, set forms of prayer, and the like; all which seem to some indifferent in their own nature, and by any who is persuaded in his confidence of the lawfulness of them, without doubt may lawfully enough be practiced; yet I hold it utterly unlawful for any christian magistrate to impose the use of them. And that for these reasons:

First, because it is directly contrary to the nature of christian religion in general, which in every part of it is to be free and unforced; for since the christian magistrate cannot, as I think now all protestant writers do agree, force his religion upon any, but is to leave even those poor creatures the Jews and Mahometans to their unbelief (though they certainly perish in it) rather than by fines and imprisonments to torture them out of it; then much less may he abridge his fellow Christian in things of lesser moment, and which concern not the substance of his religion, from using that liberty in serving God, which his conscience prompts him to, and the nature of his religion doth warrant him in. For God as he loves cheerful giver, so likewise a cheerful worshipper, accepting of no more than we willingly perform.

Secondly and more particularly. This imposing of things indifferent, is directly contrary co Gospel precept. Our Savior doth in many places inveigh against the rigid and imposing pharisees, for laying yokes upon others, and therefore invites all to come unto him for freedom. “Take my yoke upon you,” said he, “for it is easy, and my burden is light. And if the son set you free, then are you free indeed. Whereby freedom I do not only understand freedom from sin, but from all human impositions; since the Apostle Paul doth seem to allude unto this place, in that command of his to the Galatians, “stand fast in the liberty, wherewith Christ hath made you free and be not again entangled with the yoke of bondage”; where, that I may prevent an objection, I will grant, that by yoke of bondage, he understands circumcision and other Jewish ceremonies; but from thence I will draw an unanswerable argument against the urging of any other now upon a christian account; for since the mosaical ceremonies which had so much to plead for themselves, upon the account of their divine original; and which even after they were fulfilled by our Savior, still remained indifferent in their use, and were so esteemed and practiced by Paul; yet when once they were imposed, and a necessity pleaded for their continuance, the Apostle writes sharply against them, exhorting the Galatians to stand fast in their liberty, as part of our Saviors purchase. If this, I say, was the cafe with those old rites, then much less can any now impose an invented form of worship, for which there cannot be pretended the least warrant that ever God did authorize it. And it seems altogether needless, that the Jewish ceremonies, should, as to their necessity at least, expire and be abrogated, if others might succeed in their room, and be as strictly commanded, as ever the former were.

For this only returns us to our bondage again, which is so much the more intolerable, in that our religion is styled the perfect law of liberty: Which liberty I understand not wherein it consists, if in things necessary, we are already determined by God, and in things indifferent we may still be tied up to humane ordinances, and outside rites, at the pleasure of our christian magistrates.

To these Scriptures which directly deny all imposition, maybe added all those texts, which consequentially do it, such as are “Do to others, as you would have others do to you”: And who is there that would have his conscience imposed upon? “And you that are strong   bear with the infirmity of the weak; whereas this practice will be so far from easing the burden of the weak; that if men are at all scrupulous, it only lays more load upon them. These scriptures with many hundreds the like, show that this kind of rigor is utterly inconsistent with the rules of christian forbearance and charity, which no christian magistrate ought to think himself absolved from: Since though as a magistrate he hath a power in civil things yet as a christian, he ought to have a care that in things of spiritual concernment he grieve not the minds of any, who are upon that relation, not his subjects, so much as his brethren: and therefore since they have left their natural, and voluntarily parted with their civil, they ought not to be entrenched upon in their spiritual freedom: especially by such a magistrate, who owning the same principles of religion with them, is thereby engaged to use his power, only to support, and not to ensnare them, to bound perhaps, but not to abridge their liberty; to keep it indeed from running into licentiousness (which is a moral evil) but not to shackle, undermine, and fetter it, under pretence of decency and order. Which when once it comes to be an order of constraint and not of consent, it is nothing else but in the imposer, tyranny in the person imposed upon, bondage: And makes him to be, what in things appertaining to religion we are forbidden to be, viz. “the servants of men. Ye are bought”, said the Apostle, with a price and manumitted by Christ, “be you not the servants of men:” which prohibition doth not forbid civil service, for he said a little before. “Art thou called while thou art a servant? Care not for it; but if thou canst be free, use it rather,” implying, that civil liberty is to be preferred before servitude, yet not to be much contended for, but held as a matter indifferent; but when once our masters, shall extend their rule over the conscience, then this precept holds valid, “be ye not the servants of men”

Thirdly, it is contrary co christian practice, of which we have many remarkable instances:

The first shall be that of our Savior Christ, who was of a  most sweet and complying disposition; he says of himself, that he came eating and drinking, i.e. doing the common actions of other men; and therefore he never disclaimed to keep company with any, even the meanest and most despicable sinner; his retinue consisting for the most part of those the Jews called,  (unreadable Greek spelling) i. e. sinners in an eminent find notorious manner; whom as a physician he not only cured; but as a merciful priest sought out to save. Yet when his christian liberty came once to be invaded, he laid aside his gentleness, and proved a stifle and peremptory assertor of it.

To omit many passages, of which his story is full, I shall mention but one and that was his refuting to wash his hands before meat. This was not only a thing in itself indifferent, but likewise had some argument from decency to induce, and a constant tradition from the Elders or Sanhedrim to enforce it, who at this time were not only their ecclesiastical but their civil rulers: Yet all these motives, in a thing so innocent and small as that was, could not prevail with our Savior to quit his liberty of eating with unwashed hands. And in defense of himself, he calls them superstitious fools, and blind guides, who were offended at him; and leaves two unanswerable arguments, which are of equal validity in things of the like nature. As

  1. That this was not a plant, of his father’s planting, and therefore it should be rooted up whereby our Savior intimates, that as the Pharisees had no divine warrant to prescribe such a toy as that was, so God would at last declare his indignation against their supererogatory worship, by pulling it up root and branch. From whence I gather this rule, that when once human inventions become impositions, and lay a necessity upon that, which God hath left free; then may we lawfully reject them, as plants of mans setting, and not of Gods owning.
  2. The second argument our Savior uses is, that, these things did not defile a man, i. e. as to his mind and confidence. To eat with unwashed hands was at the worst, but a point of ill manners, and unhandsome perhaps or indecent, but not an impious or ungodly thing; and therefore more likely to offend nice stomachs, than scrupulous consciences. Whose satisfaction in such things as these our Savior did not at all study. From whence I inferre (schließe), that in the worship of God we are chiefly to look after the substance of things; and as for circumstances, they are either not worth our notice, or else will be answerable to our inward impressions; according to which our Savior in another place, says, “O blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup and of the platter that so the outside may be clean, hereby implying, that a renewed hearty will be sure to make a changed and seemly behavior; whereas the most specious outside is consistent with inward filth and rottenness. So that they who press outward conformity in divine worship, endeavor to serve God the wrong way, and often times do only force carnal and hypocritical men to present God a sacrifice which he abhors; while co others that are more tender and scrupulous, they make the sacrifice itself unpleasant, because they will not let it be, what God would have it, a free-will offering.
  1. My second instance shall be the resolution of the Apostles in that famous and important Quaere, concerning the Jewish ceremonies, whether they were to be imposed or not. After a long dispute to find out the truth (unreadable Greek spelling, says the text) Peter directly opposes those rites, why, says he, do ye temp God by putting a yoke upon the neck of the disciples? Intimating that to put a yoke upon others (and to impose in things indifferent is certainly a great one) from which, God hath either expressly freed us, by commanding the contrary; or else tacitly freed us, by not commanding them: This is nothing else but to tempt God, and to pretend to be more wise and holy than he. Again, James decries those ceremonies upon this score, least they should (unreadable Greek spelling,) be troublesome to the converted Gentiles; implying, that however men may think it a small matter, to impose an indifferent thing, yet indeed it is an infinite trouble and matter of disquiet to the party imposed upon, because he is thereby disabled from using his liberty, in that which he knows to be indifferent.

Upon the hearing of these two, the result of the whole council was the brethren should not be imposed upon, although the arguments for conformity were more strong then, than now they can be; because the Jews in all probability, might thereby have been the sooner won be over to the christian persuasion. The decree which that apostolical, and truly christian synod makes

  1. From the stile they use, it seems good (say they) to the Holy Ghost, and to us, — so that whoever exercises the same imposing Power, had need be sure he hath the fame divine authority, for fear he only rashly assumes what was never granted him.
  1. From the things they impose, it seems good, &c. (say they) to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things, that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from fornication. Whence I observe,
  1. that they call their imposition (unreadable Greek spelling) a weight, or burden, which is not unnecessarily to be laid on the shoulders of any.
  1. they say, they forbid only (unreadable Greek spelling) these very necessary things, to show, that necessary things only, and not indifferent, should be the matter of our imposition.

For whereas some gather from hence, that the church, i.e. where a state is christian, the christian magistrate hath a power to oblige men to the doing of things he commands, though in their own nature they be indifferent; because they suppose that the Apostles did so; as for example, in forbidding to eat blood. Therefore consider,

  1. that this is quite contrary to the Apostles scope, whose business was to ease and free, and not to tie up their brethren; and therefore they say, they merely do lay upon them things very necessary.
  1. That all those things they forbid, were not indifferent, but long before prohibited by God, not only in the ceremonial, but in his positive law, and therefore obligatory, whereupon the Apostles call them necessary, i.e. things necessary to be forborne, even before they had made any decree against them: As
  1. (unreadable Greek spelling) i.e. the meat of things offered to idols: To eat of them was not in all cases indifferent; for to so it with conscience of the idol, i.e. intending thereby to worship the idol, this was a thing against the second commandment. But if a man was convinced that the idol was nothing, and therefore the meat, though consecrated, was free to him: Yet if his weaker brother was offended; he was then to abstain in observance of christian charity and condescencion: But if the eater himself did doubt, then was he to forbear for his own peace and quiet’s sake, for to eat, while he was unsatisfied whether it was lawful or not, was nothing else but to condemn himself, as the Apostle says, “He that doubts is (not damned as we render it, but (unreadable Greek spelling)) — condemned i.e. self condemned if he eat, because he doth that which he inwardly doth either not approve, or else at least suspects, that it is not lawful: So that the case of eating (unreadable Greek spelling), being so nice, and so apt co be mistaken: The Apostles do make their prohibitionuniversal, as that which was most safe, and least subject to scruple.
  1. (unreadable Greek spelling) Blood; i.e. flesh with the blood; or, as some, raw flesh; and things strangled; to eat these was not indifferent, but prohibited long before by God, in his law given to Noah. And therefore the Apostles prohibition here, is not to be interpreted, as their giving a temporary law, with respect had to the then constitution and economy of the Jews (as some I think weakly and without ground from Scripture, imagine) but rather as their reviving and re-enforcing an old law, which being given by God to Noah, both then was, and still is obligatory to all his posterity, God having no where dispensed with it.
  1. Lastly, (unreadable Greek spelling), if you render it fornication, then it is evidently contrary to those precepts of purity, holiness and perfection, which God everywhere requires. But if you expound it, as many learned men do, unlawful copulations; then the prohibition enforces upon us the observance of those laws concerning marriage, which are recorded in Levit.18 and which is evident, are not in their own nature indifferent, since marrying with our mother, sister or daughter, the heathen Plato and the Grecian laws condemned even by the light of nature. And God, there in that chapter, calls the contrary practices, abominable customs; for which he threatens to root even the heathen out, fin.

From what hath been said out of this instance, 1. conclude, that since, i.e. the Apostles, though divinely inspired, yet did not impose any rites upon the church , by their own proper power, but join themselves with the Holy Ghost, as being acted and commissioned by him. Since, 2., they use no arguments from decency to justify their imposition, nor by any unnecessary burden upon any, by forbidding or enjoining things purely indifferent but only prohibit such things, as they call, and it is clear from what has been said, were necessary. And lastly, since the retaining some of the more innocent and less burdensome ceremonies of the Jews, in point of order and convenience only, would in all probability have been the readiest means to bring chat precise and superfluous people unto a compliance with the Gospel; and without doubt for that reason would have been enjoined, had the Apostles conceived they had any power to have meddled with them.

Hence I conclude, for persons,

1. Who have no such authority.

2. in things much more indifferent.

And lastly, where the necessity of conformity is nothing near so pressing and urgent. For such, I say, to take upon themselves an arbitrary and an imposing power, it is altogether unwarrantable, and consequently sinful.

  1. My last instance shall be that of the Apostle Paul, who was of an universally complying carriage; he says of himself, that he became all things to all men even to Jews at a Jew, &co. with many more words to the same purpose. And to show his liberty, he circumcised Timothy, though a Greek, that he might gain the Jews in those parts. But when once a sect of men rose up, who began to preach the necessity of circumcision, he doth in many places sharply inveigh against them, calling them dogs, evil workers, and in derision, (unreadable Greek spelling), or the concision, and concludes his epistle to the Galatians, with bidding them to beware of such, as labored to boast in their flesh i. e. sought to bring them unto a conformity in those outward ordinances. Nay so jealous and precisely careful was that Apostle of this great christian privilege and charter, viz. freedom in indifferent things; that he could not brook so much as Peters suspicious carriage in that particular, but for his dissimulation, and pretending to be less free, then he was;

Paul says, that he openly reproved him to his face. And for other false brethren, who crept into their assemblies, merely to spy out their liberty, and without doubt, used the fame arguments for conformity, which many do now; the Apostle says, he resisted them, and yielded not to them, so much as for a moment.

And that he might forever preserve his Galatians from being ensured, and brought under bondage again, he leaves them the caveat, I mentioned before, stand fast in your liberty, &e. From whence I infer, that so long as a thing is left indifferent, though there be some suspicion of superstition in it, we may lawfully practice it, as Paul did circumcision; but when any shall take upon them to make it necessary, then the thing so imposed presently loses not its liberty only, but likewise its lawfulness; and we may not without breach of the Apostles precept, submit unto it: Because we thereby do own, that those whose injunctions we obey, had a power to impose; and so by assenting, we become abettors and promoters of their usurpation.

  1. My last argument against impositions shall be taken from the inconveniences that attend such a practice. For though I lay little stress upon such kind of arguments (because truth is to be tried by its evidence, and not by its consequences) yet because,
  1. In principles, on which moral actions are grounded, the inconveniences do use to be weighed, and that doctrine for the most part seems most true, at least most plausible, which is attended by fewest inconveniences and because,
  1. the opposers of liberty, haw very little elseto urge for themselves, but by pretending the many inconveniences that flow from it.

Therefore I shall clearly prove that many more absurd and more destructive and fatal consequences attend the doctrine of impositions, then the doctrine of christian liberty, as,

  1. The first inconvenience is the impossibility to fix a point where the imposer will stop. For do but once grant, that the magistrate hath power to impose, and then we lie at his mercy, how far he will go. For the unmarried state of the clergy, holy unction, consecrating the host &co. are as indifferent in their own nature, as using the cross, or surplice. And if the magistrate hath indeed lawful power to impose, he may as well command those, as these, especially if he be convinced that they are either decent or convenient; at which door have entered in all those gross fooleries, which are in the popish worship: Any of which, take them singly and apart from the circumstances which determine them, so they are indifferent, and may, for ought I know, be conscientiously observed.

But put them together and consider the power which imposes, and the end which continues them, so they are the grossest idolatry, and the vilest tyranny that ever yet was practiced. For we are for the most part mistaken in the notion of popery, if we see a surplice, or a cross, or organs, or bowing, we presently cry out popery: Whereas I think it a more manifest sign of popery to forbid these things, as we do, under penalties, then to practice them with freedom. If, I understand anything of Antichrist, his nature seems to consist in this that he acts in a way contrary to Christ i.e. instead of a spiritual, he brings in a devised worship; and instead of freedom, lays a constraint even upon our devotion. So that, as John in his revelation says of him, “Men shall neither buy nor sell, who have not a mark; i.e. who do not serve God in that outward way, which he commands. So that whoever doth own the doctrine of imposition though in the smallest circumstance of worship he brings in the essence, though not the name of popery; and lays down that for his foundation, on which all the will-worship, which this day reigns in the world, is bottomed.

For whatever opinions we have concerning the necessity of bowing, kneeling or the like, while they stand confined to our private practices, they are at worst but hay and stubble, which will perish at the day of account, though he that doth them may very well be saved. But when once a man goes further and not content with his persuasions, envies his brother that liberty, which he himself desires to enjoy; and seeks to obtrude his conceits upon others, who perhaps are not so well satisfied as he is: Whoever doth this, becomes impious to God, by invading his sovereignty, and lording it over another man’s conscience; and likewise injurious to men, by pressing such things, as are only baits to the careless, and traps for the conscientious. I know very well, that the Argument is specious and often urged — why should men be so scrupulous? Most pleading for ceremonies, Lot did for Zoar, are they not little things? But l answer, 1. that a little thing unwarrantably done is a great sin. 2. That a little thing unjustly gained, makes way for a greater: and therefore we should not let the serpent get in his head, how beautiful soever it seems, lest he bring in his tail, and with that his sting – how curious even almost to superstition, our Savior and his Apostles especially Paul, were in this point, I have already mentioned; by whose example we are little profited, if we do not learn, that in impositions we are not so much to consider how small and inconsiderable the thing imposed is, as how lawful it is: Not, what it is in itself, as whither it tends, and what will he the consequence of it admission. For the smaller the thing imposed is, the more is our christian liberty invaded, and consequently the more injurious and sinful is its imposition.

  1. The second inconvenience is, that it quite inverts the nature of christian religion; not only by taking away its freedom, but likewise its spirituality; our Savior says, that God will now be worshipped not in show and ceremony, but in spirit, and in truth; whereas this doctrine of imposition, places it in such things, in the observance of which, superstition will be sure to out-do devotion. But true religion like the spirits of wine or subtle essences, whenever it comes to ne opened and exposed to view, runs the hazard of being presently dispirited, and lost. In the service of God there is a vast difference, between purity and pomp, between spirit and splendor; whereas the imposer only drives at, and improves the latter; but of the former is altogether secure and careless, as is evident in those places, where uniformity is most strictly practiced.
  1. This doctrine making no provision at all for such as are scrupulous and tender, supposes the same measure of faith in all: Whereas nothing is more clear, then as the Apostle says concerning things offered to idols, so concerning ceremonies, I may say, that all have not knowledge. But to this day many there are utterly unsatisfied with the lawfulness of any, and most are convinced of the uselessness of them all. Whose consciences, how erroneous soever, yet are to be tenderly and gently dealt with; lest by our rigid commanding what they can by no means comply with, we bring them unto that dangerous dilemma, either of breaking their inward peace and comfort, by doing outwardly what they do not inwardly approve of: Or else of running themselves upon the rocks of poverty and prejudice, by disobeying what is commanded. For though we are upon all occasions to suffer gladly, yet let not Reuben smite Ephraim; let us not receive our wounds in the house of our friends, for then our sufferings will be sharpened from the consideration of the unkindness, that our brethren should put us upon the needless trial of our faith and patience, especially in such things, which white the imposer calls indifferent, he thereby acknowledges, that they may very well be spare.
  1. The last inconvenience is that by impositions, especially when the penalty is severe, we seem to lay as much weight and stress upon these indifferent things, as upon any the most material parts of our religion. This rigid irrespective obtruding of small things makes no difference at all between ceremony and substance. So that a man who were not a Christian at all, would find as good, nay perhaps better usage from the imposer, then he who laboring and endeavoring to live up to other parts of christian faith, shall yet forbear to practice these ceremonies: Which is not only harsh and cruel, but very incongruous dealing, that a Jew or Mahometan, should be better regarded, than a weak and scrupulous Christian. This is nothing else, but to deal with our fellow Christians, as Jephtha did with the Ephraimites, to kill them for no weightier crime, than because they cannot pronounce Shibboleth.

To these inconveniences I might add the certain decay of the growth of religion as to its inward purity, while there is this disguise and mask of needless ceremonies upon it to keep it under; but those which I have already urged, are so great, that those which are commonly insisted upon by men of another persuasion, are not at all to be put into the balance with them; as will appear by this brief answer to their main objections.

  1. They object that this will be the way to beget all manner of disorder and confusion; that every man will have a several fashion and custom by himself; and for want of uniformity and ceremony, the unity and essence of religion will perish. But I answer,
  1. Doth any pled for Baal? He that will abuse the principle of liberty, to justify his licentiousness of life, let him know that the magistrate bears not the sword in vain, but has it to cut off such offenders. If you suffer as Christians, said the Apostle, rejoice at it; but let none suffer, as a thief, murderer (unreadable Greek spelling), seditious person, a state-incendiary, or as a busy intermeddler in other men’s matters, for he that doth these things suffered justly; nor can he plead anything from the Gospel, which is a rule of strictness, to exempt him from punishment. But

2.This disorder, which is so vehemently and so tragically aggravated, and for the prevention of which, ceremonies must be invented and forced, is indeed nothing else but a malicious and ill-founding name, put upon an excellent and most comely thing, i.e. variety, For as God, though he be a God of order, hath not made all men of one countenance, and in the world hath given several and divers shapes to many things, which yet are the same for substance; so in the assemblies of his people, who all come to honor him, and agree in the essence of his worship, why should we doubt, but God will be well pleased with their variety in circumstances? The exercise of which not only their consciences do prompt, but God himself doth induce them to, because in his word he hath not prescribed anyone outward form, that all should necessarily agree in; but in such things hath left them to the dictates of their own spirits, and the guidance of christian prudence; which variety is so far from being a confusion, that nothing can be more comely and harmonious, as serving to set out the indulgence of God, the arbitrary actings of the Holy Spirit, and the liberty of the Saints, who can preserve unity in mind, without uniformity in behavior.

  1. The second Objection is, the practice of the Jewish Princes, who as soon as ever they were installed in their Kingdoms, set upon reforming the house of God, and imposing upon all a form of worship: Which since all Scripture is written by divine inspiration, and for our instruction, seems to be a leading case that christian Princes should imitate them, and do so likewise. But l answer, i.e. though arguments taken from analogy are of very little weight, when positive precepts are required, yet I will grant, that the piety of the Jewish, is, and ought to be exemplary to the christian magistrates — but withal I deny the inference, since the Jewish Princes, when they reformed religion, they therein followed a divine law, which did command it from them, and which, in the minutest circumstances, had provided for uniformity worship from which rigor and restraint all Christians are absolved, and therefore it is very unconcluding to argue from the Jews, who had; to the christian magistrate, who wants divine authority. To this is also objected,
  1. That since things necessary to the worship of God, be already determined by God, and over them the magistrate hath no power; if likewise he should have no power in indifferent things, then it would follow that in things appertaining to religion, the christian magistrate had no power at all — which they think to be very absurd – so the reverend and learned Mr. Hooker, and Dr. Sanderson. But I answer,
  1. It is no absurdity at all, that Princes should have no more power in ordering the things of God, then God himself hath allowed them. And if God hath no where given them such an imposing power, they must be content to go without it. But in this case, where will the christian magistrate find his warrant, the Scriptures being utterly silent, that he is now to take such authority upon him, which, because the thing concerns not man, but the worship of God, had it been thought necessary and fit, would certainly not have been omitted.
  1. It is so far from being an argument for impositions, to urge that the thing imposed is indifferent, that there cannot be a stronger argument against them: Since it is as requisite to christian practice, that things indifferent should still be kept indifferent, as things necessary, be held necessary, – As I have already proved.

Lastly, it is much more suited to the nature of the Gospel that christian Princes should reform religion, rather by the example of their lives, then by the severity of their laws; and if they may show their power at all in this case, it should rather be b y subtracting then by adding. By taking away all impertinences, which may hinder the progress of it, rather than by obtruding unwarrantable methods, to tie all men up to such outward forms; as may make piety suspected only for policy disguised.

Much more might be said for this from authority, but I willingly wave it. For if Scripture and reason will not prevail to hinder impositions, I have no cause to expect that any sentences from antiquity should. Only this is certain, that all the writings of the Christians for the first three hundred years, are full of nothing else, but such arguments as evince a liberty, more absolute and universal then I contend for. And likewise it may be of some weight, that the churches doctrine was then more pure, their discipline more strict and severe then now; and yet they had nothing but mutual consent, either to establish or protect it, the magistrates being all against them. But when once Constantine took upon him to manage the affairs of the church, and by penal laws, ratified and confirmed church-orders, he laid that foundation of antichristian tyranny, which presently after him, his son Constantius exercised, against the assertors of the trinity: And, the churches worldly power increasing as fast, as the purity of religion did decrease; the bishops of Rome within a few years, gained to themselves, and have ever since practiced severely against such, whom they call heretics, i.e. deniers of their factious doctrine; and opposers of their most ungospel-like, but indeed most politic and prudential impositions, whose furious and bloody tenets, like subtle poison, have run through the veins of almost all professors, scarce any sort even of protestants, allowing to others that liberty of religion,  which at the beginning of their sects, they justly challenged to themselves.

Nor is there any hope, that the world should be freed from cruelty, disguised under the name of zeal, till it please God to inform all magistrates, how far their commission reaches , that their proper province is only over the body, to repress and correct those moral vices, to which our outward man is subject: But as for christian religion, since it is so pure and simple, so free from state and worldly magnificence, so gentle and complying with the meanest christian, and withal so remote from harshness, rigor and severity, there the magistrate most consults Gods honor and his own duty, if being strict to himself, he leaves all others in these outward ceremonies to their inward convictions. Which liberty, is so tar from weakening, that it is indeed the security of a throne; since besides gaining, the peoples love (especially the most conscientious and sober of them) it doth in a special manner entitle him to Gods protection:  Since in not pretending to be wiser then God, he gives religion that free and undisturbed passage, which our Savior seems by his life and death to have opened for it.


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John Locke, Two Tracts on Government, Intermediate Letter to unknown Recipient

John Locke, Two Tracts on Government,

Intermediate Letter to unknown Recipient


In obedience to your commands I here send you my thoughts of that treatise which we not long since discoursed of, which if they convince you of nothing else, yet I am confident will of this that I can refuse you nothing that is within the reach of my power. I know not what entertainment they will deserve from you, yet I am sure that you have this reason to use them favorably, that they owe their original to you. Let not the errors may appear to you in their perusal, meet with too severe a censure, since I was neither led to them by the beaten track of writers, nor the temptation of interest, but they are, if any, the wanderings of one in pursuit of truth, whose footsteps are not always so clear as to leave us a certain direction or render our mistakes unpardonable, but very often so obscure and intricate that the quickest sighted cannot secure themselves from deviations. This candor I may with justice expect from you since I should never have gone out of my way had not you engaged me in the journey. Whatsoever you shall find in these papers was entertained by me only under the appearance of truth, and I was careful to sequester my thoughts both from books and the times, that they might only attend those arguments that were warranted by reason, without taking any upon trust from the vogue or fashion. My greatest fear is for those places of Scripture that fall in my way, whereof I am very cautious to be an overconfident interpreter, as on the other side I think it too servile wholly to pin my faith upon the not seldom wrested expositions of commentators, whom therefore, in the haste I make to satisfy you I have not been much encouraged to consult on this occasion being only content with that light win pursuit of truth, whose footsteps are not always so clear as to leave us a certain direction or render our mistakes unpardonable, but very often so obscure and intricate that the quickest sighted cannot secure themselves from deviations. This candor I may with justice expect from you since I should never have gone out of my way had not you engaged me in the journey. Whatsoever you shall find in these papers was entertained by me only under the appearance of truth, and I was careful to sequester my thoughts both from books and the times, that they might only attend those arguments that were warranted by reason, without taking any upon trust from the vogue or fashion. My greatest fear is for those places of Scripture that fall in my way, whereof I am very cautious to be an overconfident interpreter, as on the other side I think it too servile wholly to pin my faith upon the not seldom wrested expositions of commentators, whom therefore, in the haste I make to satisfy you I have not been much encouraged to consult on this occasion being only content with that light which the Scripture affords itself, which is commonly the clearest discoverer of its own meaning. I have chose to draw a great part of my hich the Scripture affords itself, which is commonly the clearest discoverer of its own meaning. I have chose to draw a great part of my discourse from the supposition of the magistrate’s power, derived from, or conveyed to him by, the consent of the people, as a way best suited to those patrons of liberty, and most likely to obviate their objections, the foundation of their plea being usually an opinion of their natural freedom, which they are apt to think too much entrenched upon by impositions in indifferent things. Not that I intend to meddle with that question whether the magistrate’s crown drops down on his head immediately from heaven or be placed there by the hands of his subjects, it being sufficient to my purpose that the supreme magistrate of every nation what way soever created, must necessarily have an absolute and arbitrary power over all the indifferent actions of his people. And if his authority must needs be of so large an extent in the lowest and narrowest way of its original (that can be supposed) when derived from the scanty allowance of the people, who are never forward to part with more of their liberty than needs must, I think it will clearly follow, that if he receive his commission immediately from God the people will have little reason thereupon to think it more confined than if he received it from them until they can produce the charter of their own liberty, or the limitation of the legislator’s authority, from the same God that gave it.

Otherwise no doubt, those indifferent things that God doth not forbid or command his vicegerent may, having no other rule to direct his commands than every single person hath for his actions, viz: the law of God. And it will be granted that the people have but a poor pretence to liberty in indifferent things in a condition wherein they have no liberty at all, but by the appointment of the great sovereign of heaven and earth are born subjects to the will and pleasure of another. But I shall stop here having taken already too tedious a way to tell you that I am


Your most obedient servant

Pensford, 11. Dec. 1660

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Ein zwischenzeitlicher Brief von John Locke an einen unbekannten Adressaten oder Empfänger zum Thema der Two Tracts


Eurer Anordnung folgend übersende ich Euch hiermit meine Gedanken betreffend diese Abhandlung, über die wir vor kurzem gesprochen haben. Selbst wenn diese Euch von rein gar nichts anderem zu überzeugen vermögen, bin ich dennoch zuversichtlich wenigstens im Hinblick darauf, dass ich Euch nichts verweigern könnte, was in meiner Macht für Euch zu tun steht. Auch wenn ich nicht weiß, welche Aufmerksamkeit sie Eurerseits erfahren werden, bin ich dennoch sicher, dass Ihr bestimmt Grund habt, sie bevorzugt zu studieren, wo sie doch ihre Entstehung Euch verdanken. Ich hoffe, dass augenfällige Irrtümer während Eurer Lektüre nicht zu einer allzu strengen Kritik führen, wo ich doch zu solchen weder durch mehrfach Wiedergekäutes anderer Autoren noch die Versuchung eigener Interessen verführt wurde. Sie sind im Gegenteil, wenn überhaupt etwas, Streifzüge eines Suchenden nach Wahrheit, dessen Fußspuren nicht immer so klar sind, als dass sie uns eine bestimmte Richtung vorgeben oder etwa unsere Irrtümer als unumkehrbar nachweisen, doch oft so schleierhaft und verworren, dass auch der schnellste Verstand sie nicht vor Irrwegen schützt. Diese Großzügigkeit darf ich gerechter Weise von Euch erwarten, wo ich doch niemals meinen Weg verlassen hätte, hättet Ihr mich nicht zu diesem Ausflug veranlasst. Was auch immer Ihr auf diesen Seiten zu entdecken vermögt, wurde von mir ausschließlich zum Zweck der Wahrheitsfindung verfasst. Ich habe sorgfältig darauf geachtet, meine Gedanken von Büchern und den gängigen Phrasen der Zeit abzuschirmen, um sie ausschließlich auf jene Argumente zu konzentrieren, deren Gültigkeit uns die Vernunft gewährleistet, ohne irgendetwas vertrauensselig aus aktueller Mode und Stil heranzuziehen. Meine größte Sorge gilt den Fundstellen in der Heiligen Schrift, die möglicherweise meinen Weg der Erkenntnis kreuzen, welchen gegenüber ich äußerst vorsichtig darauf achte, kein allzu selbstsicherer Deuter zu sein. Andererseits halte ich es für übertrieben untertänig, meinen gesamten Glauben an den nicht selten windigen Ausdeutungen von Kommentatoren festzumachen, die zu hinterfragen ich, anlässlich der Eile mit der ich Euch zufriedenzustellen wünsche, mich nicht wirklich sehr bemüßigt fühle. Ich bin durchaus mit der Erhellung zufrieden, die die Bibel von ganz allein ausstrahlt. Schließlich ist sie für gewöhnlich ja der deutlichste Erklärer ihrer eigenen Bedeutung. Ich habe beschlossen, meine Argumentation auf der Annahme der rechtmäßigen Macht der Obrigkeit auszubauen, sei diese nun vom Einvernehmen der Bevölkerung abgeleitet oder durch diese übertragen. Ich halte das für den am besten geeigneten Weg gegenüber jenen Schutzheiligen der Freiheit, am wahrscheinlichsten deren Einwänden vorzubauen, wo doch die Grundlage derer Forderungen für gewöhnlich nur in einer Meinung über ihren natürlichen Freiraum besteht, über den zu denken sie in der Lage sind, er würde durch Verfügungen betreffend unbestimmter Dinge zu sehr festgelegt. Nicht, dass ich die Absicht hätte, mich in die Frage einzumischen, ob nun die Krone der Obrigkeit unmittelbar vom Himmel kommend auf deren Haupt landet oder dort durch die vereinte Hand aller Untergeordneten aufgesetzt wird. Es genügt für meinen Zweck vollkommen, dass der oberste Magistrat einer jeden Nation, wie auch immer er erschaffen wird, notwendigerweise eine absolute und willkürliche Macht betreffend alle unbestimmten Handlungen seiner Bevölkerung hat. Und weil der Obrigkeit Autorität notwendiger Weise selbst bei geringfügigster und kleinteiligster Herkunft (die man sich vorstellen kann), indem sie von der spärlichen Gestattung durch die Bevölkerung abgeleitet wird, die schließlich niemals so weit geht, mehr von ihrer Freiheit abzutreten als unbedingt erforderlich, eine derart große Reichweite haben muss, selbst dann, so denke ich folgt daraus sonnenklar, dass auch im Fall einer unmittelbaren Beauftragung durch Gott die Bevölkerung dessentwegen wenig Grund haben wird, sich der Obrigkeit Macht als deutlicher beschränkt vorzustellen, als wenn die Autorität ihr von ihnen selbst gewährt worden wäre. Als bis jene Schutzheiligen es schaffen, die Charta ihrer eigenen Freiheit oder die Beschränkung der Autorität des Gesetzgebers vom selben Gott herzuleiten, der dies gewährt hat. Andernfalls gibt es keinen Zweifel, dass für jene unbestimmten Dinge die Gott weder verboten noch angeordnet hat, sein Stellvertreter dies darf, wobei er keine andere Grundregel für seine Handlungen hat als jede andere Person: Das Gesetz Gottes. Und es wird versichert werden, dass die Bevölkerung nichts als eine armselige Vortäuschung von Freiheit bezüglich der unbestimmten Dinge haben kann, wo sie sich doch betreffend eben diese in einer Situation befindet, in der sie überhaupt keine Freiheit hat, sondern auf Grund ihrer Dorthinsetzung durch den großen Souverän des Himmels und der Erde als Untergebene des Willens und Gefallens eines anderen geboren werden. Doch ich muss hier einhalten, wo ich doch bereits einen zu ermüdenden Weg eingeschlagen habe, Euch Sir, meiner überaus gehorsamen Dienstbarkeit zu versichern.

Pensford, 11. Dez. 1660

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TToG II § 239

John Locke: Two Treatises of Government

§ 239. In these cases Barclay, the great champion of absolute monarchy, is forced to allow, that a King may be resisted and ceases to be a King. That is in short not to multiply cases in whatsoever he has no authority, there he is no King, and may be resisted: For wheresoever the authority ceases, the King ceases too and becomes like other men who have no authority.

And these two cases he instances in differ little from those above mentioned, to be destructive to governments, only that he has omitted the principle from which his doctrine flows; and that is, the breach of trust, in not preserving the form of government agreed on and in not intending the end of government itself, which is the public good and preservation of property39.

When a King has dethroned himself and put himself in a state of war with his people, what shall hinder them from prosecuting him who is no King, as they would any other man, who has put himself into a state of war with them; Barclay, and those of his opinion, would do well to tell us. This farther I desire may be taken notice of out of Barclay, that he says: The mischief that is designed them, the people may prevent before it be done:

Whereby he allows resistance when tyranny is but in design. Such designs as these (says he) when any King harbors in his thoughts and seriously promotes, he immediately gives up all care and thought of the commonwealth; so that, according to him, the neglect of the public good is to be taken as an evidence of such design, or at least for a sufficient cause of resistance.

And the reason of all he gives in these words, because he betrayed or forced his people whose liberty he ought carefully to have preserved. What he adds into the power and dominion of a foreign nation signifies nothing, the fault and forfeiture lying in the loss of their liberty, which he ought to have preserved and not in any distinction of the persons to whose dominion they were subjected. The people’s right is equally invaded and their liberty lost, whether they are made slaves to any of their own, or a foreign nation; and in this lies the injury and against this only they have the right of defense. And there are instances to be found in all countries, which show, that it is not the change of nations in the persons of their governors, but the change of government, that gives the offence.

Bilson76, a bishop of our church and a great stickler for the power and prerogative of Princes, does, if I mistake not in his treatise of Christian subjection acknowledge, that Princes may forfeit their power and their title to the obedience of their subjects; and if there needed authority in a case where reason is so plain, I could send my reader to Bracton77, Fortescue78 and the author of the Mirror and others, writers that cannot be suspected to be ignorant of our government or enemies to it.

But I thought Hooker alone might be enough to satisfy those men, who relying on him for their ecclesiastical polity, are by a strange fate carried to deny those principles upon which he builds it.

Whether they are herein made the tools of cunninger workmen, to pull down their own fabric, they were best look. This I am sure, their civil policy is so new, so dangerous and so destructive to both rulers and people, that as former ages never could bear the broaching of it; so it may be hoped, those to come, redeemed from the impositions of these Egyptian under-task-masters, will abhor the memory of such servile flatterers, who, whilst it seemed to serve their turn, resolved all government into absolute tyranny, and would have all men born to, what their mean souls fitted them for: Slavery.

§ 239. In diesen Fällen ist Barclay, der Großmeister absoluter Monarchie, genötigt zuzugeben: Einem König darf Widerstand geleistet werden und er hört auf König zu sein. Das heißt in Kürze, um die Fälle nicht zu vermehren: Wo und wann auch immer er keinerlei Autorität hat, ist er kein König und man darf sich ihm widersetzen.

Wo die Autorität aufhört, hört auch der König auf und wird anderen Menschen gleich, die keine Autorität haben. Die beiden Fälle, die er als Beispiel anführt, unterscheiden sich in ihrer Verderblichkeit für die Regierung nur wenig von den oben erwähnten. Nur hat er das Prinzip übersehen, aus dem seine Lehre entspringt. Darin besteht der Vertrauensbruch. Die vereinbarte Form der Regierung nicht zu bewahren, und nicht nach dem Ziel der Regierung selbst zu streben, der im Erhalt des öffentlichen Wohls und des Eigentums39 besteht.

Wenn ein König sich selbst entthront und sich in einen Kriegszustand mit seiner Bevölkerung gesetzt hat, was soll diese daran hindern, denjenigen zu verfolgen, der kein König ist, wie es jeden anderen verfolgen würde, der sich in einen Kriegszustand mit ihm gesetzt hat?

Barclay und diejenigen, welche seiner Meinung sind, täten gut daran uns das zu verraten. Weiter wünschte ich, von dem, was Barclay sagt, werde das folgende klar beachtet: Dem Unheil, das man gegen die Bevölkerung im Schilde führt, darf vorgebeugt werden, bevor es geschieht. Dadurch billigt er den Widerstand bereits wenn Tyrannei erst noch ein Vorsatz ist. Mit Absichten wie dieser, sagt er, gibt ein König, wenn er sie in seine Gedanken aufnimmt und ernsthaft betreibt, sofort alle Sorge und alles Denken an den Staat auf.

Damit ist nach Barclay die Vernachlässigung des öffentlichen Wohls als Beweis eines solchen Vorhabens oder mindestens als ein hinreichender Anlass des Widerstands anzusehen. Den Grund für alles liefert er mit folgenden Worten:

Weil er sein Volk, dessen Freiheit er sorgfältig hätte bewahren müssen, verraten oder ausgeliefert hat…

Was er hinzufügt: Unter Macht und Herrschaft einer fremden Nation, ist ohne Bedeutung. Das Verbrechen und die Verwirkung liegen in dem Verlust der Freiheit, die er hätte bewahren sollen und nicht im Unterschied der Personen deren Herrschaft sie unterworfen wurden.

Das Recht des Volkes wird auf gleiche Weise angegriffen und seine Freiheit geht ebenso verloren, ob es zu Sklaven eines aus seiner Mitte oder einer fremden Nation gemacht wird. Darin liegt das Unrecht und gegen dieses allein hat es das Recht der Verteidigung. In allen Ländern sind Beispiele zu finden, die zeigen: Bei den Nationen ist es nicht der Wechsel bei der Person ihrer Regenten, was den Anstoß erregt, sondern der Wechsel der Regierung.

Bilson76, ein Bischof unserer Kirche und großer Eiferer für Macht und Prärogative – Vorbehaltsrecht – der Fürsten, bekennt, wenn ich mich nicht irre, in seiner Abhandlung über Christliche Untertänigkeit: Fürsten können Macht und Anspruch auf den Gehorsam ihrer Untertanen verwirken.

Wenn es weiterer Autorität bedarf in einem Fall, in dem die Vernunft so klar ist, könnte ich meine Leser auf Bracton77, Fortescue78, den Autor des „Mirror“ u. a. verweisen. Schriftsteller, die nicht in Verdacht geraten können unsere Regierung nicht anzuerkennen oder ihr feindlich zu sein. Ich glaubte Hooker würde ausreichen, diejenigen zu überzeugen, die sich mit Kirchenpolitik auf ihn stützen und durch ein merkwürdiges Schicksal dahin gebracht werden, die Prinzipien zu verneinen, auf die sie aufbauen. Ob sie dabei Werkzeugen gerissener Handwerker gemacht worden sind, ihren eigenen Bau niederzureißen, dass sollen sie selber herausfinden.

Dessen bin ich sicher: Ihre staatliche Politik ist so neu, so gefährlich und so verderblich für beide, Herrscher und Volk. So wie frühere Zeitalter niemals deren Aufkommen ertragen konnten, darf gehofft werden, die kommenden, erlöst von den Betrügereien dieser ägyptischen Unter-Arbeitsvögte, werden das Andenken an diese kriecherischen Schleimer verabscheuen.

Jene die, solange es ihren Zwecken zu dienen schien, alle Regierung auf absolute Tyrannei zurückführten und alle Menschen dazu geboren sehen wollten, worauf ihre wertlosen Seelen sie selbst vorbereiteten:

Auf Sklaverei!

39Property in Lockes wider definition: liberty, life, estate,… what we need to discuss of…

39Eigentum nach Lockes Definition, im Sinne des Staatszwecks: Freiheit, Leben und Vermögen (liberty, life and estate): Property by John Lockes own definition…for the mutual preservation of their lives, liberties and estates, which I call by the general name, property. II §123; §87; §127; §131; §134; §138; §139; §170; §171; §174; §199; §200; §201; §221; §222; §226; §227; §228; § 229; §231; §239;


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TToG I § 11

John Locke: Two Treatises of Government

§ 11. The sovereignty of Adam, being that on which, as a sure basis, our author builds his mighty absolute monarchy, I expected, that in his Patriarcha, this his main supposition would have been proved, and established with all that evidence of arguments, that such a fundamental tenet required; and that this, on which the great stress of the business depends, would have been made out with reasons sufficient to justify the confidence with which it was assumed.

But in all that treatise, I could find very little tending that way; the thing is there so taken for granted, without proof, that I could scarce believe myself, when, upon attentive reading that treatise, I found there so mighty a structure raised upon the bare supposition of this foundation: For it is scarce credible, that in a discourse, where he pretends to confute the erroneous principle of man’s natural freedom, he should do it by a bare supposition of Adam’s authority, without offering any proof for that authority. Indeed he confidently says, that Adam had royal authority, p. 12, and 13. absolute lordship and dominion of life and death, p. 13. an universal monarchy, p. 33. absolute power of life and death, p. 35.

He is very frequent in such assertions; but, what is strange, in all his whole Patriarcha I find not one pretence of a reason to establish this his great foundation of government; no anything that looks like an argument, but these words: To confirm this natural right of regal power, we find in the Decalogue, that the law which enjoins obedience to kings, is delivered in the terms, “Honor thy father”, as if all power were originally in the father. And why may I not add as well, that in the Decalogue, the law that enjoins obedience to queens, is delivered in the terms of “Honor thy mother”, as if all power were originally in the mother?

The argument, as Sir Robert puts it, will hold as well for one as the other: But of this, more in its due place.

§ 11. Auf dieser Souveränität Adams als sicherer Grundlage errichtet unser Autor seine mächtige absolute Monarchie. Ich hatte eigentlich erwartet, in der „Patriarcha“ diese wichtigste aller Hypothesen mit schlagkräftigen Argumenten bewiesen und derart gefestigt zu sehen, wie es einer so grundlegenden Lehre zukommt.

Wobei der Schwerpunkt der ganzen Angelegenheit darin bestünde, mit Gründen erläutert worden zu sein, welche die Zuversicht rechtfertigen, die vorausgesetzt wurde. Leider konnte ich In der ganzen Abhandlung nur sehr wenig finden, was darauf gerichtet ist: Die Sache wird dort ohne jeden Beweis als so selbstverständlich unterstellt, das ich meinen Augen kaum traute, beim aufmerksamem Lesen der Schrift ein so mächtiges Konstrukt auf der bloßen Annahme dieser Grundlage errichtet zu finden.

Es ist kaum zu glauben: In einer Abhandlung, in der das „irrige Prinzip“ der „natürlichen Freiheit der Menschen“ zu widerlegen versucht wird, unternimmt es der Autor mit nichts als der unbegründeten Annahme einer „Autorität Adams“, ohne den lauesten Beweis für diese „Autorität“ vorzulegen. Allerdings teilt er uns im Vertrauen mit, Adam hätte „königliche Macht“ (1.3) — „absolute Herrschaft über Leben und Tod“ (1.4) — „eine universale Monarchie“ (1.9, 2.10) — „absolute Macht über Leben und Tod“ (2.8) gehabt. Derlei Versicherungen sind bei ihm geläufig.

Stutzig aber macht mich, dass in seiner ganzen „Patriarcha“ nicht ein Versuch eines Beweises zu finden ist, diese enorm wichtige Grundlage seiner Regierungsform sicherzustellen. Rein gar nichts, was einem Argument ähnlich sehen könnte, abgesehen hiervon: „zur Bestätigung dieses natürlichen Rechts der königlichen Macht finden wir im Dekalog das Gesetz, welches Gehorsam gegen den König festschreibt, in die Worte gefasst: „Ehre deinen Vater“, als ob alle Macht ursprünglich beim Vater gelegen habe (1.10). Wer oder was könnte mich hindern hinzufügen, das im Dekalog das Gesetz, welches Gehorsam gegen Königinnen Fest schreibt, in die Worte gefasst ist: „Ehre deine Mutter“, gerade als ob alle Macht ursprünglich bei der Mutter gelegen habe?

Das Argument, wie es Sir Robert vorlegt, passt ebenso gut auf das eine wie auf das andere. Aber davon mehr an seinem Ort.

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Meinen und Glauben sind meine Sache nicht. Ich will alles selbst nachprüfen können.

Ich erstelle Expertisen, berate, erstelle Konzepte für Kommunen, Unternehmen, Privatleute und beantworte Fragen.

Auch spezifische, technische, politische.

Frei von jeder Verkaufsabsicht. Wer meine Arbeit gut findet, kann gern spenden und meine Arbeit unterstützen.

Ich arbeite soweit als möglich auf Basis von Fakten, logischen Deduktionen, evidenzbasierten Zusammenhängen.

TToG I § 1

John Locke: Two Treatises of Government

Book I


§ 1. Slavery is so vile and miserable an estate of man, and so directly opposite to the generous temper and courage of our nation; that it is hardly to be conceived, that an Englishman, much less a gentleman, should plead for it.

And truly I should have taken Sir Robert Filmer’s “Patriarcha”, as any other treatise, which would persuade all men, that they are slaves, and ought to be so, for such another exercise of wit, as was his who writ the encomium of Nero; rather than for a serious discourse meant in earnest, had not the gravity of the title and epistle, the picture in the front of the book, and the applause that followed it, required me to believe, that the author and publisher were both in earnest.

I therefore took it into my hands with all the expectation, and read it through with all the attention due to a treatise that made such a noise at its coming abroad, and cannot but confess myself mightily surprised that in a book, which is to provide chains for all mankind, I should find nothing but a rope of sand, useful perhaps to such, whose skill and business it is to raise a dust, and would blind the people, the better to mislead them; but in truth not of any force
to draw those into bondage who have their eyes
open, and so much sense about them as to consider, that chains are but an ill wearing, how much care so ever hath been taken to file and polish them.

Erste Abhandlung

Kapitel 1

Sklaverei ist ein überaus verächtlicher, erbärmlicher Zustand des Menschen. Sie ist dem hochherzigen Charakter und Mut unserer Nation so gerade entgegengesetzt, das es schwer ist zu begreifen, wie ein Engländer, geschweige denn ein Gentleman, als Anwalt für sie auftreten kann.

Allen Ernstes, ich würde Sir Robert Filmers “Patriarcha“ wie jede andere Abhandlung, die den Menschen einreden will, sie seien samt und sonders Sklaven, schon von Rechts wegen, weder für eine ernsthafte und ernst gemeinte Arbeit halten, sondern bestenfalls für eine Übung des Witzes, für eine Parodie.

Genau so wie es jene Schrift war, die Nero‘s Verherrlichung zum Gegenstand hatte, hätte nicht die Wichtigkeit des Titels und des Begleitschreibens, das Bild auf der Vorderseite des Buchs und der Beifall, der ihm gefolgt, mich zu dem Glauben genötigt, das beide, Autor und Verleger, es Ernst meinten.

Ich nahm es deshalb mit der Erwartung in die Hand und las es mit der Aufmerksamkeit, die eine Abhandlung verdient, die solch einen Lärm bei ihrem Erscheinen gemacht hat.

Jetzt muss ich gestehen, dass ich außerordentlich überrascht war, in einem Buch, welches Ketten für die Menschheit zu schmieden bestimmt war, nichts zu finden als einen Strick aus Sand, nützlich vielleicht für diejenigen, deren Kunst und Geschäft es ist, Staub aufzuwirbeln. Rein um die Menschen zu blenden und sie desto effektiver in die Irre zu führen, in Wahrheit aber von ganz und gar keiner Macht, die Menschen in Fesseln zu legen, die ihre Augen offen und gesunden Verstand genug haben, um erkennen: Ketten sind wenig kleidsam, mag auch die Mühe noch so groß gewesen sein, sie zu feilen und zu polieren.

Fragen, Wünsche, Informationen?

Nehmen Sie einfach Kontakt zu mir auf!

Meinen und Glauben sind meine Sache nicht. Ich will alles selbst nachprüfen können.

Ich erstelle Expertisen, berate, erstelle Konzepte für Kommunen, Unternehmen, Privatleute und beantworte Fragen.

Auch spezifische, technische, politische.

Frei von jeder Verkaufsabsicht. Wer meine Arbeit gut findet, kann gern spenden und meine Arbeit unterstützen.

Ich arbeite soweit als möglich auf Basis von Fakten, logischen Deduktionen, evidenzbasierten Zusammenhängen.