And here we may take it first of all to be true beyond dispute, that since men both can and ought to apply their pains to the help and service of another; and since some certain kinds of labour, and an overstraining earnestness in any, may so affect the strength and vigour of a man, as to make old age and death come on much sooner, than if he had passed his days in softness, and in easy pursuits; any one may, without fault, voluntarily contract his life in some degree, upon account of obliging mankind more signally, by some extraordinary services and benefits. 177-182. David was guilty of the death of Uriah, though he got it effected by the hands of the Ammonites. Though Aelian gives this better reason for the practice; “that having arrived at such an age they were conscious to themselves, that they were no longer able to promote their country’s interest by their service; growing now towards stupidity and dotage.” Procopius relates a custom of the Heruli, by which those who were weakened and disabled, either by disease or age, voluntarily sent themselves out of the world: the wives hanging themselves at the tombs of their husbands, if they lost them in this manner…, Filed under Europe, Pufendorf, Samuel von, Selections, Sin, The Early Modern Period, For Help Concerning Suicide: Resources for Suicide Prevention, Central and South American Indigenous Cultures, Intellectual, Religious, or Cultural Tradition, Central and South American Native Cultures, Mental Illness: depression, despair, insanity, delusion. Spelling modernized; internal citations, footnotes and Greek passages deleted. On this point we have a famous saying of Plato, in Phaedo, frequently mentioned with honour and commendation by Christian writers: … We are placed, as it were, upon the guard, in life; and a man must not rid himself of this charge or basely desert his post. Besides, it looks like a needless thing to establish a law about this point, since the anxious tenderness of self-love would beforehand drive us so forcibly on the care of our own safety, as to render it almost impossible for us to act otherwise. In 1667 he wrote, with the assent of the elector palatine, a tract, De statu imperii germanici liber unus (On the Condition of the German Empire). ‘Tis a noble saying of Socrates in Plato’s Apology, In whatever station a man is fixed, either by his own choice, as judging it the best, or by the command of his superior; in that he ought resolutely to continue, and to undergo any danger that may assault him there; reckoning neither death nor any other evil so grievous, as cowardice and infamy. It ought to be observed farther on this head, that it makes no difference whether a man kill himself, or force others to dispatch him. “Any man must, inasmuch as he can,” he wrote, “cultivate and maintain toward others a peaceable sociality that is consistent with the native character and end of humankind in general.” Peace, however, was insecure, and “just war” was sometimes necessary to secure and maintain it. Leaving Leipzig altogether, Pufendorf relocated to the University of Jena, where he formed an intimate friendship with Erhard Weigel, the mathematician, whose influence helped to develop his remarkable independence of character. In his historical works, Pufendorf wrote in a dry style, but he professed a great respect for truth and generally drew from archival sources. For there can be no virtue in an action where there’s no reason. But it will admit of a debate whether the bare natural instinct which he enjoys in common with beasts, inclines him to these desires; or whether he is not engaged in them by some superior command of the law of nature. The King of Sweden created Pufendorf a baron in 1694. Pufendorf strongly defended the idea that international law is not restricted to Christendom, but constitutes a common bond between all nations because all nations form part of humanity. Book II, Ch. Many of the Ancients allowed a man an absolute right in these points, and thought he might either voluntarily offer his life as a pledge for another’s, or devote it freely, without any such design of preserving the life of his friend; or whenever he grew weary of living, might prevent the tardiness of nature and fate. But if it were lawful, how can any wickedness or guilt be imputed to the servants who afflicted them? His work De habitu religionis christianae ad vitam civilem (Of the power of the Christian religion in relation to the life of a citizen) traced the limits between ecclesiastical and civil power and propounded a "collegial" theory of church government (Kollegialsystem), which, developed later by the learned Lutheran theologian Christoph Mathkus Pfaff, formed the basis of the relations of church and state in Germany and more especially in Prussia, and opened the way for official tolerance of religious differences by European governments. In believing that self-interest is the source of action in society, he viewed slavery as unnatural and unreasonable. Chances for advancement were few in a Germany that still suffered from the ravages of the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648), so Pufendorf went to Sweden. Pufendorf, on the contrary, rejected all idea of foreign intervention, and advocated that of national initiative. As instances of this excepted case, they allege the examples of Sampson, who chose to die by his own strength, when he found the True Religion exposed to scorn in his person and misfortunes: and of Saul, who fell on his own sword, lest he should have been derided and insulted over by God’s and his enemies; and lest, if he should have yielded himself prisoner, the slavery of his country and kingdom should inevitably follow. And the regard that others have to their own safety, is the best defence of mine. Though the other party to whom he stands bound on either of these accounts, cannot fairly put him to death upon such failure; as we shall elsewhere make out. eval(ez_write_tag([[336,280],'newworldencyclopedia_org-medrectangle-4','ezslot_2',162,'0','0'])); Pufendorf left Jena in 1658 as Magister and, with the help of his brother Esaias, a diplomat in the Swedish service, became a tutor in the family of Petrus Julius Coyet, one of the resident ministers of King Charles X of Sweden, at Copenhagen. During his eight months of captivity, Pufendorf occupied himself in meditating upon what he had read in the works of Hugo Grotius and Thomas Hobbes and mentally constructed a system of universal law. The other sort of persons whose death we observed to be so favourably interpreted by some Casuists are those women and beautiful boys, who have killed themselves to avoid the violation of their chastity. Hence he presently becomes master of other men’s lives, who hath once arrived at the contempt of his own. He was born at Dorfchemnitz in the Electorate of Saxony. Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. For if it were unlawful for them at that time to end their lives, it was indifferent whether they fell by their own, or by others’ violence. For the Jews are of opinion, that Saul recovered his wisdom and honour, as to the last act of his life; in as much as after the ghost of Samuel had foretold his death in the battle, yet he refused not to engage for his country and for the law of his God; whence he merited eternal praise, even by the testimony ofDavid; who likewise commended so highly the piety of those men, who honoured their prince’s relics with a decent burial.
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