De Cive; Or, the Citizen

De Cive; Or, the Citizen

De Cive; Or, the Citizen

De Cive; Or, the Citizen

Excerpt

Reader, I promise thee here such things, which ordinarily promised, do seem to challenge the greatest attention, and I lay them here before thine eyes, whether thou regard the dignity or profit of the matter treated of, or the right method of handling it, or the honest motive, and good advice to undertake it, or lastly the moderation of the author. In this book thou shalt find briefly described the duties of men, first as men; then as subjects, lastly, as Christians; under which duties are contained not only the elements of the laws of nature, and of nations, together with the true original and power of justice, but also the very essence of Christian religion itself, so far forth as the measure of this my purpose could well bear it.

Which kind of doctrine (excepting what relates to Christian religion) the most ancient sages did judge fittest to be delivered to posterity, either curiously adorned with verse, or clouded with allegories as a most beautiful and hallowed mystery of royal authority; lest by the disputations of private men it might be defiled. Other philosophers in the mean time, to the advantage of mankind, did contemplate the faces, and motions of things, others, without disadvantage, their natures and causes. But in after times, Socrates is said to have been the first, who truly loved this civil science, although hitherto not thoroughly understood, yet glimmering forth as through a cloud in the government of the commonweal, and that he set . . .

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