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The Truth of the Christian Religion, with Jean Le Clerc's Additions

Hugo Grotius

Publication Year: 2013

Grotius’s The Truth of the Christian Religion was first published in Leiden in 1627 in Latin. Written in a plain and direct language for his countrymen, this short work aimed to show those who would encounter pagans, Muslims, and Jews that the Christian religion was the true revealed religion. In addition to “fortifying” the beliefs of his fellow Christians, the treatise intended to convince non-Christians of “the reasonableness of believing and embracing the Christian Religion above any other.”Editor Maria Rosa Antognazza suggests that “Grotius claimed the superiority of Christian doctrine and morality and their perfect conformity with the teaching of the most enlightened reason, and at the same time he advocated tolerance for all positive religions. . . . Grotius rejected the use of any kind of violence, proclaiming that ‘the weapons appointed for the soldiers of Christ are . . . proper to the Spirit.’. . . Moreover, in an era of bloody and violent confrontations amongst the different Christian confessions, Grotius raised a forceful appeal ‘to mutual agreement.’ All Christians should remember that they ‘were baptized into the same Name,’ that of Jesus Christ, and that ‘therefore there ought to be no Sects or Divisions amongst them.’ ”Hugo Grotius is one of the most important thinkers in the early-modern period. A great humanistic polymath—lawyer and legal theorist, diplomat and political philosopher, ecumenical activist and theologian—his work was seminal for modern natural law and influenced the moral, political, legal, and theological thought of the Enlightenment, from Hobbes, Pufendorf, and Locke to Rousseau and Kant, as well as America’s Founding leaders.

Jean Le Clerc (1657–1736), a Genevan by birth, was a philosophical and theological scholar and, through his editorship of leading journals, a key figure in the republic of letters.

Maria Rosa Antognazza is a Lecturer in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, King’s College London.

John Clarke (bap. 1687, d. 1734) was a schoolmaster at Hull, an educational reformer, and a translator.

Knud Haakonssen is Professor of Intellectual History and Director of the Centre for Intellectual History at the University of Sussex, England.

Published by: Liberty Fund

Series: Natural Law Paper


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi


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p. vii-vii

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pp. ix-xx

In June 1619 Hugo Grotius was imprisoned at Loevestein Castle, in the south of the United Provinces, sentenced to life imprisonment for treason. For any thirty-six-year-old, this would have been a grim prospect; even more so for one who had been born a member of the governing elite of the United Provinces and had already enjoyed prestige and ...

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A Note on he Text

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p. xxi-xxi

The impetuous flood of editions of Grotius’s De Veritate shrinks to a trickle from 1950 onward. A facsimile reprint of the first English translation (London, 1632; probably based on the Leiden Latin edition of 1629) was published in Amsterdam and New York in 1971. An Italian translation by Fiorella Pintacuda De Michelis—based on the text of De Veritate ...

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p. xxiii-xxiii

The bulk of the work on this edition was done during a period of research leave for which I am grateful to King’s College London. It is a pleasure to record my thanks also to Hamilton Bryson, Noel Malcolm, Maria Grazia and Mario Sina, M. A. Stewart, Stefania Tutino, and Joanna Weinberg for helping me with the identification of some of the ...

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The Truth of the Christian Religion in Six Books

Printed for John and Paul Knapton, at the Crown in Ludgate-Street....

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To the Most Reverend Prelate Thomas

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pp. 5-6

Upon the Reprinting this excellent Piece of that great Man Hugo Grotius, concerning the Truth of the Christian Religion; whereunto I thought fit to add something of my own, and also some Testimonies, from which the good Opinion he had of the Church of England, is evident; there was no other Person, most Reverend Prelate, to whom I thought it so proper. ...

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To the Reader

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pp. 7-8

The Bookseller having a Design to reprint this Piece of Grotius’s, I gave him to understand that there were many great Faults in the former Editions, especially in the Testimonies of the Ancients, which it was his Business should be mended, and that something useful might be added to the Notes: Neither would it be unacceptable or unprofitable to the ...

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To the Reader

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p. 9-9

I have nothing to add to what I said Eight Years since, but only, that in this my second Edition of Grotius, I have put some short Notes, and corrected a great many Faults in the Ancient Testimonies. ...

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To the Most Noble and Most Excellent Hieronymus Bignonius

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p. 11-11

I should offend against Justice, if I should divert another way that time which you employ in the Exercise of Justice in your high Station: But I am encouraged in this Work, because it is for the Advancement of the Christian Religion, which is a great Part of Justice, and of your Office; neither would ...

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The Translator’s Preface to the Christian Reader

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pp. 13-17

The general Acceptation this Piece of Grotius has met with in the World, encouraged this Translation of it, together with the Notes; which, being a Collection of Antient Testimonies, upon whose Authority and Truth the Genuineness of the Books of Holy Scripture depends, are very useful in order to the convincing any one of the Truth of the ...

The Contents

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pp. 19-27

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Book I

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pp. 29-95

You have frequently enquired of me, worthy Sir, (whom I know to be a Gentleman that highly deserves the Esteem of your Country, of the learned World, and, if you will allow me to say it, of myself also; ) what the Substance of those Books is, which I wrote in defence of the Christian Religion, in my own ...

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pp. 97-137

The Design then of this second Book (after having put up our Petitions to Christ the King of Heaven, that he would afford us such Assistances of his holy Spirit, as may render us sufficient for so great a Business ) is not to treat particularly of all the Opinions in Christianity; but only to show that the ....

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pp. 139-166

He who is perswaded of the Truth and Excellency of that Religion which Christians profess, having been convinced either by the Arguments before offered, or by any other besides them; in order to understand all the several Parts of it, he must go to the most antient Books, which contain ...

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pp. 167-188

The fourth Book, (beginning with that Pleasure Men for the most Part take at the Sight of other Mens Danger, when they themselves are placed out of the Reach of it; ) shows that the principal Aim of a Christian ought to be, not only a Satisfaction upon his having found out the Truth himself, but also an ...

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pp. 189-229

Now we are coming out of the thick Darkness of Heathenism; the Jewish Religion, which is a Part and the Beginning of Truth, appears to us much like Twilight to a Person gradually advancing out of a very dark Cave: Wherefore I desire the Jews, that they would not look upon us as...

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pp. 231-248

Instead of a Preface to this Sixth Book, which is designed against the Mahometans, it relates the Judgments of God against the Christians, down to the Original of Mahometanism; namely, (a ) how that sincere and unfeigned Piety, which flourished amongst the Christians, who were ...

Two Books

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BOOK I. Concerning the Choice of Our Opinion Amongst the Different Sects of Christians.

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pp. 251-276

Whoever reads over the Books of the New Testament with a Desire to come at the Knowledge of the Truth, and does not want Judgment, will not be able to deny, but that every one of the Marks of Truth, alleged by Hugo Grotius in his IId and IIId Books, are to be found there. Wherefore ...

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BOOK II. Against Indifference in the Choice of our Religion.

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pp. 277-288

I think that Person judged very rightly, (a ) whoever he was, that said, there is an eternal Alliance betwixt Truth and the Mind of Man; the Effects of which, though they may sometimes be, as it were suspended or discontinued for a while, by reason of the Inconstancy and Affections ...

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Testimonies Concerning Hugo Grotius's Affection for the Church of England

Having the following Letters from that most excellent and learned Person Henry Newton,1 Ambassador Extraordinary from the most Serene Queen of Great Britain,2 to his Royal Highness the most Serene Grand Duke of Tuscany,3 to whose singular Goodness I am very much indebted; I thought I should do a very acceptable Thing to all who love the Name ...

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I. Henry Newton to Peter Hieronymus Barcellinus,Abbot of St. Eusebius de Urbe

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pp. 291-294

Being at length returned safe and well to Florence, from Leghorn and Pisa, where through the Intemperateness of the Air I was very near contracting a Fever; the first thing I had to do, most excellent Barcellinus, being furnished with the most noble Library of the illustrious Magliabechius,5 was to discharge my Promise concerning that great Man Hugo Grotius, ...

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II. Henry Newton to John Clerc

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pp. 295-296

Most Learned Sir, I send you a new and ample Testimony concerning Hugo Grotius, more weighty than the former, if we consider the Author’s Dignity in the Commonwealth, or his Knowledge of Things, or that it was writ while Grotius was alive. It is taken from Letters to ...

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III. Francis Cholmondly to Alexander Forrester

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pp. 297-298

That which you desire to know of me concerning Hugo Grotius, who was one of the greatest Men that ever any Age produced, is this. It happened that I came to Paris a little after the Transaction of that Matter. Being very well acquainted with Dr.Crowder,3 he often told me with Assurance, that it was the last Advice this great Man gave to his Wife,4 ...

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Authors and Works Cited by Grotius and Le Clerc

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pp. 299-332

Grotius and Le Clerc do not specify which edition of a work they are referring to. However, in the cases in which they cite authors with a refer-ence to a specific work, I have, where possible, listed editions that might have been available to them. In a few cases I have listed a later edition for the reader’s benefit. Finally, when Grotius and Le Clerc cite authors ...

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pp. 333-361

Robert Slimbach of the typeface originally cut around 1540 by the face, with its small lowercase height and restrained contrast between thin and thick strokes, is a classic “old-style” face and has long been This book is printed on paper that is acid-free and meets the requirements ...

E-ISBN-13: 9781614879022
E-ISBN-10: 1614879028
Print-ISBN-13: 9780865975156

Page Count: 392
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Natural Law Paper

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Subject Headings

  • Apologetics -- Early works to 1800.
  • Indifferentism (Religion).
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