Lex Rex [Law Is King, or The Law & The Prince] (1644)
Whether the King Be So from God Only, Both in Regard of His Sovereignty and of the Designation of His Person to the Crown, as That He Is No Way from the People, but by Mere Approbation
Dr Ferne, a man much for monarchy, says, Though monarchy has its excellency, being first set up of God, in Moses, yet neither monarchy, aristocracy, nor any other form, is jure divino, but “we say (saith he)1 the power itself, or that sufficiency of authority to govern that is in a monarchy or aristocracy, abstractly considered from the qualification of other forms, is a flux and constitution subordinate to that providence; an ordinance of that dixi or silent word by which the world was made, and shall be governed under God.” This is a great debasing of the Lord’s anointed, for so sovereignty has no warrant in God’s word, formally as it is such a government, but is in the world by providence, as sin is, and at the falling of a sparrow to the ground: whereas God’s word has not only commanded that government should be, but that fathers and mothers should be; and not only that politic rulers should be, but also kings by name, and other judges aristocratical should be, Rom. 13:3; Deut. 17:14; 1 Pet. 2:17; Prov. 24:21; Prov. 15:16. If the power of monarchy and aristocracy, abstracted from the forms, be from God, then it is no more lawful to resist aristocratical government and our lords of parliament or judges, than it is lawful to resist kings.
But hear the Prelate’s reasons to prove that the king is from the people by approbation only, “The people (Deut. 17) are said to set a king over them only as (1 Cor. vi.) the saints are said to judge the world, that is, by consenting to Christ’s judgment: so the people do not make a king by transferring on him sovereignty, but by accepting, acknowledging, and reverencing him as king, whom God has both constituted and designed king.”
Ans. — 1. This is said, but not a word proved, for the Queen of Sheba and Hiram acknowledged, reverenced and obeyed Solomon as king, and yet they made him not king, as the princes of Israel did.
2. Reverence and obedience of the people is relative to the king’s laws, but the people’s making of a king is not relative to the laws of a king; for then he should be a king giving laws and commanding the people as king, before the people make him king.
3. If the people’s approving and consenting that an elected king be their king, presupposes that he is a king, designed and constituted by God, before the people approve him as king, let the P. Prelate give us an act of God now designing a man king, for there is no immediate voice from heaven saying to a people, This is your king, before the people elect one of six to be their king, And this infallibly proves that God designs one of six to be a king, to a people who had no king before, by no other act but by determining the hearts of the states to elect and design this man king, and pass any of the other five.
4. When God (Deut. 17) forbids them to choose a stranger, he presupposes they may choose a stranger; for God’s law now given to man in the state of sin. presupposes ho has corruption of nature to do contrary to God’s law. Now if God did hold forth that their setting a king over them was but the people’s approving the man whom God shall both constitute and design to be king, then he should presuppose that God was to design a stranger to be the lawful king of Israel, and the people should be interdicted to approve and consent that the man should be king whom God should choose; for it was impossible that the people should make a stranger king (God is the only immediate king-creator), the people should only approve and consent that a stranger should be king; yet, upon supposition that God first constituted and designed the stranger king, it was not in the people’s power that the king should be a brother rather than a stranger, for if the people have no power to make a king, but do only approve him or consent to him, when he is both made and designed of God to be king, it is not in their power that he be either brother or stranger, and so God commands what is simply impossible. Consider the sense of the command by the Prelate’s vain logic: I Jehovah, as I only create the world of nothing, so I only constitute and design a man, whether a Jew or Nebuchadnezzar, a stranger, to be your king; yet I inhibit you, under the pain of my curse, that you set any king over yourselves, but only a brother. What is this, but I inhibit you to be creators by omnipotent power?
5. To these add the reasons I produced before, that the people, by no shadow of reason, can be commanded to make this man king, not that man, if they only consent to the man made king, but have no action in the making of the king.
P. Prelate. — All the acts, real and imaginable, which are necessary for the making of kings, are ascribed to God. Take the first king as a ruling case, 1 Sam. 12:13, “Behold the king whom ye have chosen, and whom ye have desired; and, behold, the Lord has set a king over you!” This election of the people can be no other but their admittance or acceptance of the king whom God has chosen and constituted, as the words, “whom ye have chosen,” imply. 1 Sam. 9:17; 1 Sam. 10:1, You have Saul’s election and constitution, where Samuel, as priest and prophet, anoints him, doing reverence and obeisance to him, and ascribing to God, that he did appoint him supreme and sovereign over his inheritance.
And the same expression is, (1 Sam. 12:13?) “The Lord has set a king over you;” which is, Psal. 2:6, “I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.” Neither man nor angel has any share in any act of constituting Christ king. Deut. 17. the Lord vindicates, as proper and peculiar to himself, the designation of the person. It was not arbitrary to the people to admit or reject Saul so designed. It pleased God to consummate the work by the acceptation, consent and approbation of the people, ut suaviore modo, that by a smoother way he might encourage Saul to undergo the hard charge, and make his people the more heartily, without grumbling and scruple, reverence and obey him. The people’s admittance possibly added something to the solemnity and to the pomp, but nothing to the essential and real constitution or necessity; it only puts the subjects in mala fide, if they should contravene, as the intimation of a law, the coronation of an hereditary king, the enthronement of a bishop. And 1 Kings, 3:7, “Thou hast made thy servant king;” 1 Sam. 16:1, “I have provided me a king;” Psal. 18:50, He is God’s king; Ps. 89:19, “I have exalted one chosen out of the people;” (ver. 20,) He anoints them; (ver. 27,) adopts them: “I will make him my first-born.” The first-born is above every brother severally, and above all, though a thousand jointly.
Ans. — 1. By this reason, inferior judges are no less immediate deputies of God, and so irresistible, than the king, because God took off the spirit that was on Moses, and immediately poured it on the seventy elders, who were judges inferior to Moses, Num. 2:14-16.
2. This P. Prelate cannot make a syllogism. If all the acts necessary to make a king be ascribed to God, none to the people, then God both constitutes and designs the king — but the former the Scripture says; therefore, if all the acts be ascribed to God, as to the prime king-maker and disposer of kings and kingdoms, and none to the people, in that notion, then God both constitutes and designs a king. Both major and minor are false. The major is as false as the very P. Prelate himself. All the acts necessary for war-making are, in an eminent manner, ascribed to God, as
- (1.) The Lord fights for his own people.
(2.) The Lord scattered the enemies.
(3.) The Lord slew Og, king of Bashan.
(4.) The battle is the Lord’s.
(5.) The victory the Lord’s; therefore Israel never fought a battle. So Deut. 32, The Lord alone led his people — the Lord led them in the wilderness — their bow and their sword gave them not the land. God wrought all their works for them, (Isa. 26:12;) therefore Moses led them not; therefore the people went not on their own. legs through the wilderness; therefore the people never shot an arrow, never drew a sword.
It follows not. God did all these as the first, eminent, principal, and efficacious pre-determinator of the creature (though this Arminian and popish prelate mind not so to honor God). The assumption is also false, for the people made Saul and David kings; and it were ridiculous that God should command them to make a brother, not a stranger, king, if it was not in their power whether he should be a Jew, a Scythian, an Ethiopian, who was their king, if God did only, without them, both choose, constitute, design the person, and perform all acts essential to make a king; and the people had no more in them but only to admit and consent, and that for the solemnity and pomp, not for the essential constitution of the king. 1 Sam. 9:17; 1 Sam. 10:1, we have not Saul elected and constituted king. Samuel did obeisance to him and kissed him, for the honor royal which God was to put upon him; for, before this prophetical unction, (1 Sam. 9:22,) he made him sit in the chief place, and honored him as king, when as yet Samuel was materially king, and the Lord’s vicegerent in Israel. If, then, the Prelate conclude any thing from Samuel’s doing reverence and obeisance to him as king, it shall follow that Saul was formally king, before Samuel (1 Sam. 10:1) anointed him and kissed him, and that must be before he was formally king, otherwise he was in God’s appointment king, before ever he saw Samuel’s face; and it is true he ascribes honor to him, as to one appointed by God to be supreme sovereign, for that which he should be, not for that which he was, as (1 Sam. 9:22) he set him in the chief place; and, therefore, it is false that we have Saul’s election and constitution to be king, (1 Sam. 10,) for after that time the people are rebuked for seeking a king, and that with a purpose to dissuade them from it as a sinful desire: and he is chosen by lots after that and made king, and after Samuel’s anointing of him he was a private man, and did hide himself amongst the stuff, ver. 22.
3. The Prelate, from ignorance or wilfully, I know not, says, The expression and phrase is the same, 1 Sam. 12:13, and Psal. 2:6, which is false; for 1 Sam. 12:13, it is K7leme Mkeyl'(j hwhy NtanF hn%””hiw:: Behold the Lord has given you a king, such is the expression: Hos. 13:11, I gave them a king in my wrath, but that is not the expression in Psalm 2:6, but this, ykil;maaa yt@@@ik;saanFF yni)jwAAA “But I have established him my king;” and though it were the same expression, it follows not that the people have no hand any other way in appointing Christ their head, (though that phrase also be in the Word, Hos. 1:11,) than by consenting and believing in him as king; but this proves not that the people, in appointing a king, has no hand but naked approbation, for the same phrase does not express the same action: nay, the judges are to kiss Christ, (Psal. 2:12,) the same way, and by the same action, that Samuel kissed Saul, (1 Sam. 10:1.) and the idolaters kissed the calves, (Hos. 13:2;) for the same Hebrew word is used in all the three places, and yet it it certain the first kissing is spiritual, the second a kiss of honor, and the third an idolatrous kissing.
4. The anointing of Saul cannot be a leading rule to the making of all kings to the world’s end; for the P. Prelate, forgetting himself, said, that only some few, as Moses, Saul, and David, etc., by extraordinary manifestation from heaven, were made kings, (p. 19.)
5. He says it was not arbitrary for the people to admit or reject Saul so designed. What means he. It was not morally arbitrary, because they were under a law (Deut. 17:14, 15) to make him king whom the Lord should choose. That is true. But was it not arbitrary to them to break a law physically? I think he, who is a professed Arminian, will not so side with Manicheans and fatalists. But the P. Prelate must prove it was not arbitrary, either morally or physically, to them not to accept Saul as their king, because they had no action at all in the making of a king. God did it all, both by constituting and designing the king. Why then did God (Deut. 17) give a law to them to make this man king, not that man, if it was not in their free will to have any action or hand in the making of a king at all? But that some sons of Belial would not accept him as their king, is expressly said, (1 Sam. 10:27;) and how did Israel conspire with Absalom to unking and dethrone David, whom the Lord had made king? If the Prelate mean it was not arbitrary to them physically to reject Saul, he speaks wonders; the sons of Belial did reject him, therefore they had physical power to do it. If he mean it was not arbitrary, that is, it was not lawful to them to reject him, that is true; but does it follow they had no hand nor action in making Saul king, because it was not lawful for them to make a king in a sinful way, and to refuse him whom God choose to be king? Then see what I infer.
- (1.) That they had no hand in obeying him as king, because they sinned in obeying unlawful commandments against God’s law, and so they had no hand in approving, and consenting he should be king; the contrary whereof the P. Prelate says.
(2.) So might the P. Prelate prove men are passive, and have no action in violating all the commandments of God, because it is not lawful to them to violate any one commandment.
6. The Lord (Deut. 17) vindicates this, as proper and peculiar to himself, to choose the person, and to choose Saul. What then? Therefore now the people, choosing a king, have no power to choose or name a man. because God anointed Saul and David by immediate manifestation of his will to Samuel; this consequence is nothing, and also it follows in nowise, that therefore the people made not Saul king.
7. That the peopled approbation of a king is not necessary, is the saving of Bellarmine and the papists, and that the people choose their ministers in the apostolic church, not by a necessity of a divine commandment, but to conciliate love between pastor and people. Papists hold that if the Pope make a popish king the head and king of Britain, against the people’s will, yet is he their king.
8. David was then king all the time Saul persecuted him. He sinned, truly, in not discharging the duty of a king, only because he wanted a ceremony, the people’s approbation, which the Prelate says is required to the solemnity and pomp, not to the necessity, and truth, and essence, of a formal king. So the king’s coronation oath, and the people’s oath, must be ceremonies; and because the Prelate is perjured himself, therefore perjury is but a ceremony also.
9. The enthronement of bishops is like the kinging of the Pope. The apostles must spare thrones when they come to heaven, (Luke 22:29, 30:) the popish prelates, with their head the Pope, must be enthroned.
10. The hereditary king he makes a king before his coronation, and his acts are as valid before as after his coronation. It might cost him his head to say that the Prince of Wales is now king of Britain, and his acts acts of kingly royalty, no less than our sovereign is king of Britain, if laws and parliaments had their own vigor from royal authority.
11. I allow that kings be as high as God has placed them, but that God said of all kings, “I will make him my first-born,” etc., Psal. 89:26, 27, — which is true of Solomon as the type, 2 Sam. 7; 1 Chron. 17:22; 2 Sam. 7:12; and fulfilled of Christ, and by the Holy Ghost spoken of him, (Heb. 1:5, 6,) — is blasphemous; for God said not to Nero, Julian, Dioclesian, Belshazzar, Evil-merodach, who were lawful kings, “I will make him my firstborn;” and that any of these blasphemous idolatrous princes should cry to God, “He is my father, my God,” etc., is divinity well-beseeming on excommunicated prelate. Of the king’s dignity above the kingdom I speak not now; the Prelate pulled it in by the hair, but hereafter we shall hear of it.
P. Prelate (p. 43, 44). — God only anointed David, (1 Sam. 16:4,) the men of Bethlehem, yea, Samuel knew it not before. God says, “With mine holy oil have I anointed him,” Psal. 89:91. 1. He is the Lord’s anointed. 2. The oil is God’s, not from the apothecary’s shop, nor the priest’s vial — this oil descended from the Holy Ghost, who is no less the true olive than Christ is the true vine; yet not the oil of saving grace, as some fantastics say, but holy.
- (1.) From the author, God.
(2.) From influence in the person, it makes the person of the king sacred.
(3.) From influence on his charge, his function and power is sacred.
Ans. — 1. The Prelate said before, David’s anointing was extraordinary; here he draws this anointing to all kings.
2. Let David be formally both constituted and designed king diverse years before the states made him king at Hebron, and then
- (1.) Saul was not king, — the Prelate will term that treason.
(2.) This was a dry oil. David’s person was not made sacred, nor his authority sacred by it, for he remained a private man, and called Saul his king, his master, and himself a subject.
(3.) This oil was, no doubt, God’s oil, and the Prelate will have it the Holy Ghost’s, yet he denies that saving grace, yea, (p. 2. c. i.) he denies that any supernatural gift should be the foundation of royal dignity, and that it is a pernicious tenet. So to me he would have the oil from heaven, and yet not from heaven.
(4.) This holy oil, wherewith David was anointed, (Psal. 89:20,) is the oil of saving grace;2 his own dear brethren, the papists, say so, and especially Lyranus,3 Glossa ordinaria, Hugo Cardinalis,4 his beloved Bellarmine, and Lorinus, Calvin. Musculus, Marloratos.
If these be fanatics, (as I think they are to the Prelate,) yet the text is evident that this oil of God was the oil of saving grace, bestowed on David as on a special type of Christ, who received the Spirit above measure, and was the anointed of God, (Psal. 45:7,) whereby all his “garments smell of myrrh, aloes and cassia,” (ver. 8,) and “his name Messiah is as ointment poured out, (Song. 1) This anointed shall be head of his enemies. “His dominion shall be from the sea to the rivers,” ver. 25. He is in the covenant of grace, ver, 26. He is “higher than the kings of the earth.” The grace of perseverance is promised to his seed, ver. 28-30. His kingdom is eternal “as the days of heaven,” ver. 35, 36. If the Prelate will look under himself to Diodatus and Ainsworth,5 this holy oil was poured on David by Samuel, and on Christ was poured the Holy Ghost, and that by warrant of Scripture, (1 Sam. 16:1; 13:14; Luke 4:18, 21; John 3:34,) and Junius6 and Mollerus7 says with them. Now the Prelate takes the court way, to pour this oil of grace on many dry princes, who, without all doubt, are kings essentially no less than David. He must see better than the man who, finding Pontius Pilate in the Creed, said, he behooved to be a good man; so, because he has found Nero the tyrant, Julian the apostate, Nebuchadnezzar, Evil-merodach, Hazael, Hagag, all the kings of Spain, and, I doubt not, the Great Turk, in Psal. 89:19-20, so all these kings are anointed with the oil of grace, and all these must make their enemies’ necks their footstool. All these be higher than the kings of the earth, and are hard and fast in the covenant of grace, etc.
P. Prelate. — All the royal ensigns and acts of kings are ascribed to God. The crown is of God, Isa. 62:3; Psal. 21:3. In the emperors’ coin was a hand putting a crown on their head. The heathen said they were qeostefei88j, as holding their crowns from God. Psal. 18:39, Thou hast girt me with strength (the sword is the emblem of strength) unto battle. See Judg. 7:17, Their scepter God’s scepter. Exod. 4:20; 17:9, We read of two rods, Moses’ and Aaron’s; Aaron’s rod budded: God made both the rods. Their judgment is the Lord’s, 2 Chron. 19:6; their throne is God’s, 1 Chron. 19:21. The fathers called them, sacra vestigia, sacra majestas, — their commandment, divalis jussio. The law says, all their goods are res sacrae. Therefore our new statists disgrace kings, if they blaspheme not God, in making them the derivatives of the people, — the basest extract of the basest of irrational creatures, the multitude, the commonalty.
Ans. — This is all one argument from the Prelate’s beginning of his book to the end: In a most special and eminent act of God’s providence kings are from God; but, therefore, they are not from men and men’s consent. It follows not. From a most special and eminent act of God’s providence Christ came into the world, and took on him our nature, therefore he came not of David’s loins. It is a vain consequence. There could not be a more eminent act than this, (Psal. 40.) “A body thou hast given me;” therefore he came not of David’s house, and from Adam by natural generation, and was not a man like us in all things except sin. It is tyrannical and domineering logic. Many things are ascribed to God only, by reason of a special and admirable act of providence, — as the saving of the world by Christ, the giving of Canaan to Israel, the bringing his people out from Egypt and from Chaldee, the sending of the gospel to both Jew and Gentile, etc.; but, shall we say that God did none of these things by the ministry of men, and weak and frail men?
1. How proves the Prelate that all royal ensigns are ascribed to God, because (Isa. 62) the church universal shall be as a crown of glory and a royal diadem in the hand of the Lord; therefore, baeculus in angulo, the church shall be as a seal on the heart of Christ. What then? Jerome, Procopius, Cyrillus, with good reason, render the meaning thus: Thou, O Zion and church, shalt be to me a royal priesthood, and a holy people. For that he speaks of his own kingdom and church is most evident, (ver. 1, 2,) “For Zion’s sake I will not hold my peace,” etc.
2. God put a crown of pure gold on David’s head, (Psal. 22:3,) therefore Julian, Nero, and no elective kings, are made and designed to be kings by the people. He shall never prove this consequence. The Chaldee paraphrase applies it to the reign of King Messiah; Diodatus speaks of the kingdom of Christ; Ainsworth makes this crown a sign of Christ’s victory; Athanasius, Eusebius, Origen, Augustine, Dydimus, expound it of Christ and his kingdom. The Prelate extends it to all kings, as the blasphemous rabbins, especially Rabbin Salomon, deny that he speaks of Christ here. But what more reason is there to expound this of the crowns of all kings given by God, (which I deny not,) to Nero, Julian, etc., than to expound the foregoing and following verses as applied to all kings? Did Julian rejoice in God’s salvation? did God grant Nero his heart’s desire? did God grant (as it is, ver. 4,) life eternal to heathen kings as kings? which words all interpreters expound of the eternity of David’s throne, till Christ come, and of victory and life eternal purchased by Christ, as Ainsworth, with good reason, expounds it. And what though God gave David a crown, was it not by second causes, and by bowing all Israeli heart to come in sincerity to Hebron to make David king? 1 Kings 12:38. God gave com and wine to Israel, (Hos. 2) and shall the prelate and the anabaptist infer, therefore, he gives it not by plowing, sowing, and the art of the husbandman?
3. The heathen acknowledged a divinity in kings, but he is blind who reads them and sees not in their writings that they teach that the people makes kings.
4. God girt David with strength, while he was a private man, and persecuted by Saul, and fought with Goliah, as the title of the same bears; and he made him a valiant man of war, to break bows of steel; therefore he gives the sword to kings as kings, and they receive no sword from the people. This is poor logic.
5. The P. Prelate sends us (Judg. 7:17 25,) to the singular and extraordinary power of God with Gideon; and, I say, that same power behooved to be in Oreb and Zeeb, (ver. 27,) for they were yr”#off princes, and such at the Prelate, from Prov. 7:15, says have no power from the people.
6. Moses’ and Aaron’s rods were miraculous. This will prove that priests are also God’s, and their persons sacred. I see not (except the Prelate would be at worshipping of relics) what more royal divinity is in Moses’ rod, because he wrought miracles by his rod, than there is in Elijah’s staff, in Peter’s napkin, in Paul’s shadow. This is like the strong symbolical theology of his fathers the Jesuits, which is not argumentative, except he say that Moses, as king of Jeshurun, wrought miracles; and why should not Nero’s, Caligula’s, Pharaoh’s, and all kings’ rods then dry up the Red Sea, and work miracles?
7. We give all the styles to kings that the fathers gave, and yet we think not when David commands to kill Uriah, and a king commands to murder his innocent subjects in England and Scotland, that that is divalis jussio, the command of a god; and that this is a good consequence — Whatever the king commands, though it were to kill his most loyal subjects, is the commandment of God; therefore the king is not made king by the people.
8. Therefore, says he, these new statists disgrace the king. If a new statist, sprung out of a poor pursuivant of Crail — from the dunghill to the court — could have made himself an old statist, and more expert in state affairs than all the nobles and soundest lawyers in Scotland and England, this might have more weight.
9. Therefore the king (saith P. P.) is not “the extract of the basest of rational creatures.” He means, fex populi, his own house and lineage; but God calls them his own people, “a royal priesthood, a chosen generation;” and Psal. 78:71, will warrant us to say, the people is much worthier before God than one man, seeing God chose David for “Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance,” that he might feed them. John P. P.’s father’s suffrage in making a king will never be sought. We make not the multitude, but the three estates, including the nobles and gentry, to be as rational creatures as any apostate prelate in the three kingdoms.
1. Dr Ferne, 3, s. 13.
2. Aug. in locum, unxi manum fortem, servum obedientem ideo in eo posui adjutonum.
3. Lyranus Gratia est habitualis, quia stat pugil contra diabolum.
4. Hugo Cardinalis, Oleo latitiae quo prae consortibus unctus fuit Christus, Ps. 45.
5. Ainsworth. Annot.
6. Junius Annot. in loc.
7. Mollerus Com. ib.