Leviathan eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 732 pages of information about Leviathan.

No Oath, But By God By this it appears, that an Oath taken according to any other Forme, or Rite, then his, that sweareth, is in vain; and no Oath:  And there is no Swearing by any thing which the Swearer thinks not God.  For though men have sometimes used to swear by their Kings, for feare, or flattery; yet they would have it thereby understood, they attributed to them Divine honour.  And that Swearing unnecessarily by God, is but prophaning of his name:  and Swearing by other things, as men do in common discourse, is not Swearing, but an impious Custome, gotten by too much vehemence of talking.

An Oath Addes Nothing To The Obligation It appears also, that the Oath addes nothing to the Obligation.  For a Covenant, if lawfull, binds in the sight of God, without the Oath, as much as with it; if unlawfull, bindeth not at all; though it be confirmed with an Oath.



The Third Law Of Nature, Justice From that law of Nature, by which we are obliged to transferre to another, such Rights, as being retained, hinder the peace of Mankind, there followeth a Third; which is this, That Men Performe Their Covenants Made:  without which, Covenants are in vain, and but Empty words; and the Right of all men to all things remaining, wee are still in the condition of Warre.

Justice And Injustice What And in this law of Nature, consisteth the Fountain and Originall of justice.  For where no Covenant hath preceded, there hath no Right been transferred, and every man has right to every thing; and consequently, no action can be Unjust.  But when a Covenant is made, then to break it is Unjust:  And the definition of injustice, is no other than The Not Performance Of Covenant.  And whatsoever is not Unjust, is Just.

Justice And Propriety Begin With The Constitution of Common-wealth But because Covenants of mutuall trust, where there is a feare of not performance on either part, (as hath been said in the former Chapter,) are invalid; though the Originall of Justice be the making of Covenants; yet Injustice actually there can be none, till the cause of such feare be taken away; which while men are in the naturall condition of Warre, cannot be done.  Therefore before the names of Just, and Unjust can have place, there must be some coercive Power, to compell men equally to the performance of their Covenants, by the terrour of some punishment, greater than the benefit they expect by the breach of their Covenant; and to make good that Propriety, which by mutuall Contract men acquire, in recompence of the universall Right they abandon:  and such power there is none before the erection of a Common-wealth.  And this is also to be gathered out of the ordinary definition of Justice in the Schooles:  For they say, that “Justice is the constant Will of giving to every man his own.”  And therefore where there is no Own, that is, no Propriety, there

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Leviathan from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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