Monday, October 4, 2010

Mayhew and Natural Law

As time progressed, thoughts of the Enlightenment became more widespread. As a result, human beings were seen in a more positive light, and the idea of natural law became more and more popular. Algernon Sidney, a philosopher of the late 1600's wrote in his Discourses Concerning Government that "man is naturally free; that he connot justly be deprived of that liberty without cause, and that he doth not resign it, or any part of it, unless it be in consideration of a greater good, which he proposes to himself." This is basically saying that all humans are born with certain rights. Nobody and nothing has the right to violate them, unless for the greater good of the society, as agreed upon by the individual himself. Jonathan Mayhew was a miniter in Massachusetts. His sermon entitled "Discourse Concerning Unlimited Submission and Non-Resistance to High Power", delivered in 1750, futher elaborated upon these points, in addition, he linked them to the church. He basically stated that everything done by the government should be for the good of the people that they govern. If this is not the case, the people then have the right to rebel or object their authority. He also makes mention of the fact that God doesn't prohibit opposition to those with authority who don't govern with the general welfare of their people in mind.

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