Hobbes Leviathan

Leviathan: Or the Matter, Forme, and Power of a Commonwealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil Author by Thomas Hobbes THOMAS HOBBES. Born, April 5th, 1588 Died, Dec. 4th, 1679 He is buried in the chancel of Hault Hucknall church, Chesterfield.

The Contents of the Chapters.

The first part



1. Of Sense.

2. Of Imagination.

3. Of the Consequence or Train of Imaginations.

4. Of Speech.

5. Of Reason and Science.

6. Of the interior Beginnings of Voluntary Motions, commonly called the Passions And the Speeches by which they are expressed.

7. Of the Ends or Resolutions of Discourse.

8. Of the Venues, commonly called Intellectual, and their contrary Defects.

9. Of the several! Subjects of Knowledge.

10.Of Power, Worth, Dignity, Honor, and Worthiness.

11.Of the Difference of Manners.

12.Of Religion.

13.Of the Natural Condition of Mankind as concerning their Felicity and Misery.

14. Of the first and second Natural Lawn, and of Contract.

15. Of other Lawn of Nature.

16. Of Persons, Authors, and things Personated.

The Second Part


17. Of the Causes, Generation, and Definition of a Common-wealth.

18. Of the Rights of Sovereigns by Institution.

19. Of several’ Kinds of Common-wealth by Institution; and of Succession to the Sovereign Power.

20. Of Dominion Paternal and Despoticall.

21. Of the Liberty of subject

22. Off the system subject political and Private.

23. Of the Public ministers of Sovereign Power.

24. Of the Nutrition, and Procreation of a Common-wealth.

25. Of Counsel.

26. Of Civil’ Lawn.

27. Of Crimes, Excuses, and Extenuation.

28. Of Punishments and Rewards.

29. Of those things that Weaken, or tend to the Dissolution of a Common-wealth.

30. Of the Office of the Sovereign Representative.

31. Of the Kingdom of God by Nature.

The third Part.


32. Of the Principles of Christian Politicizes.

33. Of the Number, Antiquity, Scope, Authority, and Interpreters of the Holy Scripture Books.

34. Of the signification, of Spirit, Angel, and Inspiration in the Books of Holy Scripture.

35. Of the signification in Scripture of the Kingdoms of God, of Holy, Sacred, and Sacrament.

36. Of the Word of God and Prophets.

37. Of Miracles, and their use.

38. Of the signification in Scripture of Eternal life, Hel, Salvation, the World to come, and Redemption.

39. Of the Signification in Scripture of the word Church.

4o. Of the Rights of the Kingdom of God, in Abraham, Moses, the High Priests, and the Kings of Judah.

41. Of the Office of our Blessed Savior.

42. Of Power Ecclesiastical.

43. Of what is Necessary for a man’s Reception into the Kingdom of Heaven.

The fourth Part


44. Of Spiritual Darkness from Misinterpretation of Scripture.

45. Of Demonology, and other Deliquesce of the Religion of the Gentiles.

46. Of Darkness from rain Philosophy, and Fabulous Traditions.

47. Of the Benefit proceeding from such Darkness; and to whom it accretes. If Review and Conclusion.

Hobbes Leviathan


NATURE (the Art whereby God bath made and governed the World is by the Art of man, as in many other things, so in this also imitated, it can make an Artificial Animal. For seeing life is but a motion of Limbs, the beginning whereof is in some principal part within, why may we not say, that all Automate Engines that move by springs and wheeler as doth a watch) have an artificial life? For what is the Heart, but a Spring; and the Nerves, but so many Strings; and the Joints, but so many Wheel’s, giving motion to the whole -body, such as was intended by the Artificer? Art goes yet further, imitating that rational and most excellent work of Nature, Man.

For by Art is created that great LEVIATHAN called a COMMON-WEALTH) or STATE, (in latine CIVITAS) which is but an Artificial man though of greater stature and strength than the Natural, for whose protection and defense it was intended; and in which, the Sovereignty is an Artificial Soul, as giving life and motion to the whole body; The Magistrates, and other Officers of Judicature and Execution, artificial Yogurts; Reward and Punishment (by which fasted to the seat of the Sovereignty, everyone and member are moved to perform his duty) are the Nerves, that do the same in the Body Natural.

The Wealth and Riches of all the particular members are the Strength, Salus Populi (the people’s safety) its Business; Councillors, by whom all things needful for it to know, are suggested unto it, are the Memory; Equity and Lawn, an artificial Reason and Will; Concord, Health; Sedition, Sickness; and Civil war, Death. Lastly, the Pacts and Covenants, by which the parts of this Body Politicize were first made, set together, and united, resemble that Fiat, or the Let us make man, pronounced by God in the Creation.

To describe the Nature of this Artificial man, I will consider
First, the Matter thereof, and the Artificer; both which is Man.

Secondly, How, and by what Covenants it is made; what are the Rights and just Power or Authority of a Sovereign and what it is that preserver and dissolve it.

Thirdly, what is a Christian commonwealth? Lastly, what is the Kingdom of Darkness?

Concerning the first, there is a saying much usurped of late, That Wise dome is acquired, not by reading of Books, but of Men. Consequently, whereunto, those persons, that for the most part can give no other proof of being wise, take great delight to shew what they think they have read in men, by uncharitable censures of one another behind their backs. But there is another saying not of late understood, by which they might learn truly to read one another if they would take the pains; and that is, Nosce teipsum.

Read thy self which was not meant, as it is now used, to countenance, either the barbarous state of men in power, towards their inferiors; or to encourage men of low degree, to a sauce behavior towards their betters; But to teach us, that for the similitude of the thoughts, and Passions of one man, to the thoughts, and Passions of another, whosoever looketh into himself, and considered what he doth, when he does think, opine, reason, hope, fears, &c, and upon what grounds; he shall thereby read and know, what are the thoughts, and Passions of all other men, upon the like occasions.

I say the similitude of Passions, which are the same in all men, desire, flare, hope, Sic; not the similitude of the objects of the Passions, which are the things desired, feared, hoped, &c: for these the constitution individually, and particular education do so vary, and they so easy to be kept from our knowledge, that the characters of man’s heart, blotted and confounded as they are, with dissembling, lying, counterfeiting, and erroneous doctrines, are legible only to him that searcher’s hearts.

And though by men actions wee does discover their design sometimes; yet to do it without comparing them with our own, and distinguishing all circumstances, by which the case may come to be altered, is to decipher without a key, and be for the most part deceived, by too much trust, or by too much diffidence; as he that reads, is himself a good or evil man. But let one man read another by his actions never so perfectly. It serves him only with his acquaintance, which are but few. He that is to govern a whole Nation must read in himself, not this, or that particular man; but Man-kind: which though it be hard to do, harder than to learn any Language, or Science yet when I shall have set down my own reading orderly, and perspicaciously, the pains left another, will be only to consider, if he also finds not the same in himself. For this kind of Doctrine, admitted no other Demonstration.



Concerning the Thoughts of man, I will consider them first Singly, and afterward in Trayne, or dependence upon one another. Singly, they are a Representation or Appearance of some quality, or other Accident of a body without us, which is commonly called an Object.  Object worksheet on the Eyes, Ears, and other parts of man’s body and the diversity of working, producer diversity of A appearances. The Original! of them all, is that which we call SENSE (For there is no conception in a man’s mind, which hath not at first, totally, or by parts, been begotten upon the organs of Sense.) The rest is derived from that original. To know the natural cause of Sense is not very necessary to the business now in hand, and I have elsewhere written of the same at large. Nevertheless, to fill each part of my present method, I will briefly deliver the same in this place. The cause of Sense is the External! Body, or Object, which presser the organ proper to each Sense, either immediately, as in the Trust and Touch or mediated, as in Seeing, Hearing, and Smelling which pressure, by the mediation of Nerves, and other strings, and membranes of the body, continued inwards to the Brain, and Heart, cause there a resistance, or counter-pressure, or endeavor of the heart, to deliver itself which endeavor because of Outward, scheme to be some matter without. And this seeming, or fancy, is that which men call Sense and consistent, as to the Eye, in a Light, or Color figured  To the Here, in a Sound.

To the Nostril, in an Odour; To the Tongue and Palat, in a Savoir; And to the rest of the body, in Heat, Cold, Hardness, Softness, and such other qualities, as we discern by Feeling. All which qualities called Sensibly are in the object that causes them, but so many several motions of the matter, by which it presser our organs diversely. Neither in us that are pressed are they anything else, but divers motions  (for motion, produce nothing but motion.) But their appearance to us is Fancy, the same waking, that dreaming. And as pressing, rubbing, or striking the Eye, makes us fancy a light; pressing the Earth, producing a dine so do the bodies also we see, or hear, produce the same by their strong, though unobserved action. For if those Colors, and Sounds, were in the Bodies, or Objects that cause them, they could not bee severed from them, like my glasses, and in Echoes by reflection, wee see they are where we know the thing we see is in one place the appearance, in another And though at some certain distance, the real, and very object seem invested with the fancy it begets in us.

Yet still, the object is one thing; the image or fancy is another. So that Sense in all cases is nothing else but original fancy, caused (as I have said) by the pressure, that is, by the motion, of external things upon our Eyes, Ears, and other organs thereunto ordained.

But the Philosophy-schooled, through all the Universities of Christendom; grounded upon certain Texts of Aristotle, teach another doctrine; and say, For the cause of Vision, that the thing is seen, sender forth on every side a visible species (in English) a visible shew, apparition, or aspect, or a being seen; the receiving whereof into the Eye, is Seeing. And for the cause of Hearing, that the thing heard, sender forth an Audible species, that is, an Audible aspect, or Audible being seen; which entering at the Eare, market Hearing. Nay for the cause of Understanding also, they say the thing Understood sender forth intelligible species, that is, an intelligible being seen which coming into the Understanding, makes us Understand. I say not this, as disapproving the use of Universities: but because I am to speak hereafter of their office in a Common-wealth, I must let you see on all occasions by the way, what things would be amended in them amongst which the frequency of insignificant Speech is one.


That when a thing lies still, unless somewhat ells stirrer it, it will lye still forever, is a truth that no man doubts of. But that when a thing is in motion, it will eternally be in motion, unless somewhat else stay it, though the reason is the same, (namely, that nothing can change it selfie,) is not so easily assented to. For men measure, not only other men, but all other things, by themselves: and because they find themselves subject after motion to pain, and lassitude, think everything else grows weary of motion, and seeks repose of its own accord little considering, whether it be not some other motion, wherein that desire of rest they find in themselves, consistent. From hence it is, that the Schools say, Heavy bodies fall downwards, out of an appetite to rest, and to conserve their nature in that place which is most proper for them; ascribing appetite, and Knowledge of what is good for their conservation, (which is more than man has) to things inanimate, absurdly.

When a body is once in motion, its movement (unless some-thing else hinder it) eternally; and whatsoever hundredth it, cannot in an instant, but in time, and by degrees quite extinguish it: And as wee sees in the water, though the wind ceases, the waves give not over Rowling for a  long time after so also it happens in that motion, which is made in the internal parts of a man, then, when he Sees, Dreams. After the object is removed, or the eye shut, we still retain an image of the thing seen, though more obscure than when we see it. And this is it, the Latins call Imagination, from the image made in seeing; and apply the same, though improperly, to all the other senses. But the Greeks call it Fancy, which signifies appearance and is as proper to one sense as to another. Therefore, IMAGINATION is nothing but decaying sense and is found in men, and many other living Creatures, as well as sleeping, are waking.

The decay of Sense in men waking is not the decay of the motion made in a sense; but an obscuring of it in such manner as the light of the Sun obscure the light of the Starr’s which stares do no less exercise their venue by which they are visible, in the day than in the night. But because amongst many streaks, which our eyes, erase, and other organs receive from external bodies, the predominant only is sensible; therefore, the light of the Sun being predominant, we are not affected by the stars’ action. And any object being removed from our eyes, though the impression it made in us remain

yet other objects more present succeeding, and working on us, the Imagination of the past is obscured, and made weak as the voice of a man is in the noise of the day. From whence it follower, the longer the time is, after the sigh; or Sense of any object, the weaker is the Imagination. For the continual] change of man’s body, the parts were destroyed in time, which were moved. So that distance of time, and place, hath the same effect in us. For as at a great distance of place, that which wee look at, appears dime, and without distinction of the smaller Darts and as Voices grow weak and inarticulate: so also after a great distance of time,- our imagination of the Past is weak; and wee lose (for example) of Cities wee have seen, many particular Streets; and of Actions, many particular Circumstances.

This decaying sense, when wee would express the thing itself, (I mean fancy it a selfie,) wee call Imagination, as I said before:!But when we would express the decay, and signifies that the Sense is fading, Offertory. Old and past, it is called Memory. So that Imagination and Memory, are but one thing, which for diverse considerations bath divers names. Much memory, or memory of many things, is called Experience. Again, Imagination being only of those things which have been formerly perceived by Sense, either all at once or by parts at several times. The former (which is the imagining the whole object, as it was presented to the sense) is simple Imagination as when one imagines a man, or hone, which he hath seen before.

The other is Compounded as a when from a man’s sight at one time, and of a horse at another, we conceive a Centaur in our mind. So when a man compounded the image of his own person, with the image of the actions of another man as when a man imagines himself a Hercules or an Alexander, (which often happen to them that are much taken with a reading of Romans), it is a compound imagination, and properly but a Fiction of the mind. Other Imaginations rise in men (though waking) from the great impression made in a sense.

As from gazing upon the Sun, the impression leaves an image of the Sun before our eyes a long time after; and from being long and vehemently attest upon Geometrical Figures, a man shall in the dark, (though awake) have the Images of Lines, and Angles before his eyes: which kind of Fancy bath no particular name; as being a thing that doth not commonly fall into men discourse.

The imaginations of them that sleep are those we call Dreams. And these also (as all other Imaginal-Dreams. dons) have been before, either totally, or by parcels in the Sense. And because in a sense, the Brain, and Nerves, which are the necessary Organs of sense, are so benumbed in sleep, as not easily to be moved by the action of External Objects, there can happen in sleep, no Imagination and therefore no Dream, but what proceeds from the agitation of the inward parts of man’s body which inward parts, for the connection they have with the Bryan, and other Organs, when they are distemper-ed, do keep the same in motion whereby the Imaginations there formerly made, appear as if a man were waking to save that the Organs of Sense being now benumbed. Hence, as there is no new object that can master and obscure them with a more vigorous impression, a Dream must be clearer, in this silence of sense than our waking thoughts.

Hence, it comet to passe that it is a hard matter and by many thought impossible to distinguish between Sense and Dreaming. For my part, when I consider that in Dreams, I do not often, nor constantly think of the same Persons, Places, Objects, and Actions that I do waking nor remember so long a Tremayne of coherent thoughts, Dreaming, as at other times; And because waking I often observe the absurdity of Dreams, but never dream of the absurdities of my waking Thoughts; I am well satisfied, that being awake, I know I dream not though when I dream, I think my self awake.

And seeing dreams are caused by the distemper of some of the inward parts of the Body divers distemper must need to cause different Dreams.

And hence it is, that lying cold breeder Dreams of Fare, and raise the thought and Image of some fearful object (the motion from the brain to the inner parts, and from the inner parts to the Brain being reciprocal) And that as Anger cause heat in some parts of the body, when we are awake so when we sleep, the overheating of the same parts cause Anger, and raise in the brain the Imagination of an Enemy. Similarly, when we are awake, natural kindness causes desire, and desire makes heat in certain parts of the body, so also, too much heat in those parts, while we sleep, raises the brain an imagination of some kindness shown. In summer, our Dreams are the reverse of our waking Imaginations; The motion when we are awake, beginning at one end; and when we Dream, at another.

The most difficult discerning of a man’s Dream, from his waking thoughts, is when we observe that we have slept or Visions when by some Apparitions accident. Which is easy to happen to a man full of fearful thoughts and whose conscience is much troubled; and that sleeper, without the circumstances, of going to bed, or putting off his clothes, as one that nodded in a chance. For he that taketh pains, and industriously lay himself to sleep, if any uncouth and exorbitant fancy come unto him, he cannot easily think it other than a Dream. We read of Marcus Brutus (one that had his life given him by Julius Cesar, and was also his favorite, and notwithstanding murdered him,) how at Philippe, the night before he gave battle to Augustus Cesar, he saw a fearful apparition, which is commonly related by Historians as a Vision but considering the circumstances, one may easily judge to have been but a short Dream. For sitting in his tent, pensive and troubled with the horror of his rash act, it was n6t hard for him, slumbering in the cold, to dream of that which most frighted him which fear, as by degrees it made him wake; so also it must needs make the Apparition by degrees to vanish, And having no assurance that he slept, he could have no cause to think It a Dream or anything but a Vision. And this is no very rare Accident: for even they, that be perfectly awake if they are timorous and superstitious, possessed with fearful tales, and alone in the dark, are subject.

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