Lex Rex [Law Is King, or The Law & The Prince] (1644)
Whether Royalists by Cogent Reasons Do Prove the Unlawfulness of Defensive Wars
What reasons have already been discussed, I touch not.
Obj. 1. Arnisaeus (de authorit. princip. c. 2, n. 2). “If we are to obey our parents, not if they be good, but simply whether they be good or ill, (so Justin. says of the king, Quamvis legum contemptor, quamvis impius, tamen pater, sect. si vero in ff. vos. 12,) then must we submit to wicked kings.”
Ans. Valeat totum, we are to submit to wicked kings and wicked parents, because kings and parents; but when it comes to actual submission, we are to submit to neither but in the Lord. The question is not touching subjection to a prince, let him be Nero, but if in acts of tyranny we may not deny subjection. There be great odds between wicked rulers and rulers commanding or punishing unjustly.
Obj. 2 Arnisaeus (c. 3, n. 9). “We may resist an inferior magistrate, therefore we may resist the supreme. It follows not; for an inferior judge has a majesty in fiction only, not properly: treason is, or can only be committed against the king; the obligation to inferior judges is only for the prince, the person of none is sacred and inviolable but the king’s.
Ans. We obey parents, masters, kings, upon this formal ground, because they are God’s deputies, and set over us not by man, but by God; so that not only are we to obey them because what they command is good and just, (such a sort of obedience an equal owes to the counsel of either equal or inferior,) but also by virtue of the fifth commandment, because of their place of dignity. Now this majesty, which is the formal reason of subjection, is one and the same in specie and nature in king and constable, and only different gradually in the king and in other judges; and it is denied that there is any incommunicable sanctity in the king’s person which is not in some degree in the inferior judge. All proceeds from this false ground, that the king and inferior judges differ in nature, which is denied; and treason inferior may be committed against an inferior judge, and it is a fiction that the inferior judge does not resemble God as the king does; yea, there is a sacred majesty in all inferior judges, in the aged, in every superior, wherefore they deserve honor, tear, and reverence. Suppose there were no king on earth, as is clear in Scripture, (Exod. 20:12; Levit. 19:32; Esther, 1:20; Psal. 112:9; Prov. 3:16; Matt 13:57; Heb. 5:4; Isa. 3:3; Lam. 5:12; Mal. 1:6; Psal. 8:5,) and this honor is but united in a special manner in the king, because of his High place.
Obj. 3. A king elected upon conditions may be resisted.
Ans. He is as essentially a king as a hereditary, yea, as an absolute prince, and no less the Lord’s anointed than another prince; if then one, also another may be resisted.
Obj. 4. The oath of God binds the subjects; therefore, they must obey, not resist.
Ans. Obedience and resistance are very consistent. No doubt the people gave their oath to Athaliah, but to her as the only heir of the crown, they not knowing that Joash, the lawful heir, was living; so may conditional oaths (all of this kind are conditional} in which there is interpretative and virtual ignorance, be broken; as the people swear loyalty to such a man conceived to be a father, he, after that, turns tyrant, may they not resist his tyranny? They may. Also, no doubt, Israel gave their oath of lovalty to Jabin, (for when Nebuchadnezzar subdued Judah, he took an oath of loyalty of their king,) yet many of Zebulun, Naphtali, and Issachar, Barak leading them, conspired against Jabin.
Obj. 5. There is no law to take a king’s life if he turn a Nero, we never read that subjects did it.
Ans. The treatise of unlimited prerogative says, (p. 7,) “We read not that a father, killing his children, was killed by them, the fact being abominable.” The law (Gen. 6:9; Levit. 24:16) excepts none. See Deut. 13:6, the dearest that nature knows are not excepted.
Obj. 6. Vengeance pursued Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, who resisted Moses.
Ans. From resisting of a lawful magistrate in a thing lawful, it follows not it must be unlawful to resist kings in tyrannous acts.
Obj. 7. Exod. 22:28, “Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the Ruler of the people.” Exod. 10:20, “Curse not the king, no not in thy thought, nor the rich in thy bed-chamber.”
Ans. The word elohim signifies all judges, and )y#oinF nasi signifies one lifted up above the people, says Rivetus, (in loc.) whether a monarch, or many rulers. All cursing of any is unlawful, even of a private man, (Rom. 12:14,) therefore we may not resist a private man by this; the other text reads, contemn not the king, K1(jd@Fmab@; in scientia tua. Aria. Mon., or in thy conscience or thought; and it may prove resisting any rich man to be unlawful. Nothing in word or deed tending to the dishonor of the king may be done; now to resist him in self-defense, being a commandment of God in the law of nature, cannot fight with another commandment to honor the king, no more than the fifth commandment can fight with the sixth; for all resistance is against the judge, as a man exceeding the limits of his office, in that wherein he is resisted, not as a judge.
Obj. 8. Eccles. 8:3-4, “Where the word of a king is, there is power; and who may say to him, What dost thou?” therefore, the king cannot be resisted.
Ans. Tremelius says well, That “the scope is that a man go not from the king’s lawful command in passion and rebellion;” Vatab. “If thou go from the king in disgrace, strive to be reconciled to him quickly;” Cajetanus “Use not kings too familiarly, by coming too quickly to them, or going too hastily from them;” Plutarch, “Cum rege agendum ut cum rogo, neither too near this fire nor too far off.” Those have smarted who have been too great in their favor, Ahasuerus slew Hainan, Alexander so served Clitus and Tiberius Sejaunus, and Nero Seneca. But the sense is clear, rebellion is forbidden, not resistance, so the Hebrew (rF rbfdF@b;@ dmo(jt@a-l)a stand not in an evil matter, or in a rebellion, and he dehorts from rebellion against the king by an argument taken from his power, for he does whatsoever pleases him. Where the word of a king is, there is power, and who may say unto him, what doest thou? The meaning is, in way of justice, he is armed with power that cannot be resisted; otherwise Samuel said to king Saul, (1 Sam. 13:13,) “Thou hast done foolishly.” Elijah said more to Ahab then What hast thou done? And the prophets were to rebuke sin in kings (2 Kings 3:14; Jer. 1:28; 22:3; Hosea 5:1-2); and though Solomon here give them a power, he speaks of kings as they are de facto; but, de jure, they are under a law (Deut. 17:18). If the meaning be, as royalists dream, he does whatsoever he will or desires, as a prince, by his royal, that is, his legal will, by which he is lex animata, a breathing law, we shall own that as truth, and it is nothing against us; but if the meaning be, that de jure, as king, he does whatsoever he will, by the absolute supremacy of royal will, above all law and reason, then Joram should, by law, as king, take Elisha’s head away; and Elisha resisted God in saying, What does the king? and he sinned in commanding to deal roughly with the king’s messenger, and hold him at the door; then the fourscore valiant priests, who said to king Uzziah, What dost thou? and resisted him, in burning incense, which he desired to do; sinned, then Pharaoh, who said, (Ezek. 29:3,) “The river Nilus is mine, I have made it for myself; and the king of Tyrus, (Ezek. 27:2,) “I am God, I sit in the seat of God,” should not be controlled by the prophets; and no man should say to them, What sayest thou? Did Cyrus, as a king, with a royal power from God, and jure regio, be angry at the river Granges, because it drowned one of his horses, and punish it by dividing it in one hundred and thirty channels? (Sen. l. 3, de ira, c. 21.) And did Xerxes, jure regio, by a royal power given of God, when Hellespontus had cast down his bridges, command that three hundred whips should be inflicted on that little sea, and that it should be cast in fetters? And our royalists will have these mad fools, doing these acts of blasphemous insolence against heaven, to be honored as kings, and to act those acts by a regal power. But hear flatterers, a royal power is the good gift of God, a lawful and just power. A king acting and speaking as a king, speaks and acts law and justice. A power to blaspheme is not a lawful power; they did and spake these things with a human and a sinful will; if, therefore, this be the royalists’ meaning, as kings, (1.) They are absolute, and so the limited and elected king is no king. (2.) The king, as king, is above God’s law put on him by God, Deut. 17. (3.) His will is the measure of good and ill. (4.) It were unlawful to say to the king of Cyrus, What sayest thou? thou art not God, according to this vain sense of royalists.
Obj. 9. Elihu says, (Job. 34:18,) “Is it fit to say to a king, Thou art wicked, and to princes, Ye are ungodly?” Therefore, you may not resist kings.
- Ans. 1st. This text no more proves that kings should not be resisted than it proves that rich men, or liberal men, or other judges inferior, should not be resisted, for Mybiydin: signifies all that, and it signifies liberal, Isa. 32:5; and the same word, is in ver. 8.
- 2nd. Deodatus and Calvin say, the meaning is, “Learn from the respect that is due to earthly princes the reverence due to the sovereign Lord,” Mal. 1:8; for it is not convenient to reproach earthly kings, and to say to a prince, l(ay%alib@; Beliel, a word of reproach, signifying extreme wickedness. And you may not say to a man of place, (#OfrF an extremely wicked man; so are the words taken, as signifying most vile and wicked men, 1 Sam. 2:12; 10:27; 2 Sam. 25:6; Psal. 1:1, 6; 11:5; 12:8; Prov. 14:4; Psal. 146:9, and in infinite places. For l(ay%alib@; is a word of extreme reproach, coming from ylib sine, non, and l(y profuit, (Jud. 19:22,) a most naughty and a lewd man, or from lwO( jugum, a lawless man, who has cast off all yokes of God’s or man’s laws. So then the meaning is, It is unlawful to reproach earthly princes and men of place, far more is it unlawful to reproach the Judge of the whole earth with injustice. And what then? We may not reproach the king, as Shimei cursed king David; therefore it is unlawful to resist the king in any tyrannous acts. I shall deny the consequence; nay, as Pineda observes, if the royalist press the words literally, it shall not be lawful For prophets to reprove kings of their sins. Christ called Herod a fox, Elias Ahab, one that troubled Israel.
Obj. 10. Acts 23. Paul excuses himself that he called Ananias, the high-priest a whited wall.
Ans. Rivetus (Exod. 22) learnedly discussing the place, thinks Paul, professing he knew him not to be the high-priest, speaks ironically, that he could not acknowledge such a man for a judge.
Piscator answers, He could not then cite Scripture, “It is written,” etc.
Ans. But they may well insist, in that act of smiting Paul unjustly, he might be reproached, otherwise it is not lawful to reproach him; and surely it is not like that Paul was ignorant that he was a judge; yea, it is certain he knew him to be a judge.
- 1st. He appeared before him as a judge, to answer for himself.
- 2st. Paul says expressly he was a judge, (ver. 3,) “Sittest thou to judge me after the law,” etc. And therefore the place is for us, for even according to the mind of all, the fault was (if there were any) in calling him a whited wall; and he resisted him in judgment, when he said, “Commandest thou me to be smitten against the law?”
- 3st. Though royalists rather put a fault on the apostle Paul, (now in the act of prophesying judgment against Ananias, which after fell out,) than upon their god, the king, yet the consequence amounts but to this, We may not revile the high-priest, therefore we may not resist the king in his illegal commandments. It follows not; yea, it should prove, if a prelate come in open war to kill the innocent apostle Paul, the apostle might fly or hold his hands, but might not re-offend. Now the prelate is the high-priest’s successor, and so his base person is as sacred as the person of the Lord’s anointed, the king. Hence the cavaliers had in one of their colors, which was taken by the Scots at the battle of Marston, July 2, 1644. the crown and the Prelate’s miter, painted with these words, “Nolite tangere Christos meos,” as if the antiChristian miter were as sacred as the lawful crown of the king of Britain.
Obj. 11. Ferne, (sect. 9, 56,) “If the senate and people of Rome, who a little before had the supreme government over the then emperors, that of subjects had made them lords, might not resist their emperors, much less can the people of England have power of resistance against the succession to this crown, descending from the conqueror, who by force of arms, but in justice, conquered the kingdom.
Ans. 1. Though the Roman emperors were absolute, (of which I much doubt,) and though the senate had made them absolute, I deny that, therefore, they cannot be resisted. The unlawful resistance condemned by Paul (Rom. 13) is not upon the ground of absoluteness, which is in the court of God nothing, being never ordained of God, but upon reasons of conscience, because the powers are of God, and ordained of God. But some may say, Volenti non fit injuria, If a people totally resign their power, and swear non-resistance to a conqueror, by compact, they cannot resist. I answer, neither does this follow, because it is an unlawful compact, and none is obliged to what is unlawful. For,
- (1.) It is no more lawful for me to resign to another my power of natural self-defense than I can resign my power to defend the innocent drawn to death, and the wives, children, and posterity that God had tied me unto.
(2.) The people can no more resign power of self-defense, which nature has given them, than they can be guilty of self-murder, and be wanting in the lawful defense of kingdom and religion,
(3.) Though you make one their king with absoluteness of power, yet when he use that transcendent power, not for the safety but for the destruction of the state, it is known they could not resign to another that power which neither God nor nature gave them, to wit, a power to destroy themselves.
2. I much doubt if the Roman emperor was absolute when Paul wrote this. Justinian says so, (Digest. l. 2, tit. 2,) but he is partial in this cause. Bodine (de repub. l. 2, c. 5, p. 221,) proves that the Roman emperors were but princes of the commonwealth, and that the sovereignty remained still in the senate and people. “Marius Salamon. writes six books (De Principatu) on the contrary. How could they make their emperors absolute? Livy says, “The name of a king was contrary to a senate liberty.” Florus, Nomen Regis invidiosum, They instituted a yearly feast, Feb. 23, called Regifugium. Cicero, as Augustine observes, Regem Romae posthaec nec Dii, nec homines esse patiantur. The emperors might do something de facto, but Lex Regia was not before Vespasian’s time. Augustus took on him to be tribune of the people from ten years to ten. Suetonius and Tacitus say, “The succeeding kings encroached by degrees upon the people’s liberty.” For speedier execution of law, the kings in time of war were forced to do many things without the senate, and after the reign of emperors, though there were no Plebiscita, yet there were Senatus-consulta, and one great one is, that the senate declared Nero to be an enemy to the state. It is thought Julius Caesar, in the war against Pompey, subdued the Romans and the senate, and they were subdued again in the battle of Octavius against Cassius and Brutus. But Tacitus says that was de facto, not de jure, (Anal. l. 1, s. 2,) Romae ruere in servitium, Consules, Patres, Eques. Caligula intended to assume diadema, the ensign of a king, but his friends dissuaded him.
3. England is obliged to Dr Ferne, who makes them a subdued nation; the contrary of which is known to the world.
Symmons (sect. 6, p. 19). God is not honored by being resisted, no more is the king.
Ans. 1. I deny the consequence. Those who resist the king’s personal will, and will not suffer him to ruin his crown and posterity in following papists, against his oath at the coronation, do honor him, and his throne and race, as a king, though for the time they displease him. 2. Uzziah was not dishonored in that he was resisted. 3. Nor do we honor the king when we flee from him and his law; yet that resistance is lawful, according to the way of royalists, and in truth also.
Obj. 12, Supreme power is not to be resisted by subordinate powers, because they are inferior to the supreme.
Ans. 1. The bloody Irish rebels, then, being inferior to the parliament, cannot resist the parliament. 2. Inferior judges, as judges, are immediately subordinate to God as the king, and must be guilty of blood before God if they use not the sword against bloody cavaliers and Irish cut-throats, except you say inferior judges are not obliged to execute judgment but at the king’s commandment.
Obj. As the Irish rebels are armed with the king’s power, they are superior to the parliament.
Ans. So an army of Turks and Spaniards, armed with the king’s power, and coming against the two kingdoms at the king’s commandment, though they be but lictors in a lawless cause, are superior to the highest courts of parliament; in the two kingdoms. But the king and the law gave power to the parliament first to resist rebels, now he gives power to rebels to resist the parliament. Here must be contradictory wills and contradictory powers in the king. Which of them is the king’s will and his power? the former is legal and parliamentary; then, because law is not contrary to law, the latter cannot be legal also, nor can it be from God, and to resist it, then, is not to resist God.
Obj. 13. If resistance be restrained to legal commandments, what shall we say to these arguments. that Paul forbids resistance under these tyrannous governors, and that from the end of their government, which is for good, and which their subjects did in some sort enjoy under them?
Ans. This proves nothing, but that we are to co-operate with these governors, though tyrannous, by subjecting to their laws, so far as they come up to this end, the moral good and peace of their government; but Paul nowhere commands absolute subjection to tyrannous governors in tyrannous acts, which is still the question.
Obj. 14. He that has the supreme trust next to God, should have the greatest security to his person and power; but if resistance be lawful, he has a poor security.
Ans. 1. He that has the greatest trust should have the greatest security to his person and power in the keeping his power, and using it according to his trust for its own native end for justice, peace, and godliness. God allows security to no man, nor that his angels shall guard them, but only when they are in their ways and the service of God; else, “there is no peace to the wicked.” 2. It is denied that one man, having the greatest trust, should have the greatest security; the church and people of God, for whose safety he has the trust, as a means for the end, should have a greater security; the city ought to have greater security than the watchers, the army than the leaders, “The good shepherd gives his life for his sheep.” 3. A power to do ill, without resistance, is not security.
Obj. 15. If God appoint ministers to preach, then the sheep cannot seek safety elsewhere.
Ans. The wife is obliged to bed and board with her husband, but not if she fear he will kill her in the bed. The obedience of positive duties that subjects owe to princes cannot loose them from nature’s law of self-preservation, nor from God’s law of defending religion against papists in arms, nor are the sheep obliged to entrust themselves but to a saving shepherd.
Obj. 16. If self-defense, and that by taking up arms against the king, be an unlawful duty, how is it that you have no practice, no precept, no promise for it, in all the word of God? 1. You have no practice: Ahab sold himself to do evil, he was an idolater, and killed the prophets; and his queen, a bloody idolatress, stirred him up to great wickedness. Elias had as great power with the people as you have, yet he never stirred up the people to take arms against the king. Why did God at this time rather use extraordinary means of saving his church? Arnisaeus, (de autho. princ. c. 8,) “Elias only fled. Nebuchadnezzar, Ahab, Manasseh, and Julian, were tyrants and idolaters, yet the people never raised an army against them.” Bishop Williams of Ossory, (Deut. 14) “If brother, son, daughter, wife, or friend, entice thee to follow strange gods, kill them; not a word of the father. Children are to love their fathers, not to kill them.” “Christ (says John P. P.), in the cradle, taught by practice to flee from Herod; and all Christ’s acts and sufferings are full of mysteries and our instructions. He might have had legions of angels to defend him, but would rather work a miracle, in curing Malchus’ ear, as use the sword against Caesar. If sectaries give us a new creed, it will concern them never with expunging Christ’s descent into hell, and the communion of saints, to raze out this, He suffered under Pontius Pilate. My resolution is (for this sin of yours) to dissolve in tears and prayers, and, with my master, say, daily and hourly, Father, forgive them, etc. Christ thought it an uncouth spirit to call for fire from heaven to burn the Samaritans, because they refused him lodging. The prophets cried out against idolatry, blasphemy, murder, adultery, etc., and all sins; never against the sin of neglect, and murderous omission to defend church and religion against a tyrannous king. No promise is made to such a rebellious insurrection in God’s word.”
- Ans. It is a great non-consequence: this duty is not practiced by any examples in God’s word, therefore it is no duty. Practice in Scripture is a narrow rule of faith. Show a practice when a husband stoned his wife, because she enticed him to follow strange gods; yet it is commanded, (Deut. 13:6.) when a man lying with a beast is put to death; yet it is a law (Exod. 22:19). Infinite more laws are, the practice of which we find not in Scripture.
- 2nd. Jehu and the elders of Israel rooted out Ahab’s posterity for their idolatry; and if Jehu, out of sincerity, and for the zeal of God, had done what God commanded, he should have been rewarded; for, say that it was extraordinary to Jehu that he should kill Ahab, yet there was an express law for it, that he that stirs up others to idolatry should die the death (Deut. 13:6); and there is no exception of king or father in the law; and to except father or mother in God’s matter, is expressly against the zeal of God (Deut. 32:9). And many grave divines think the people to be commended in making Jehu king, and in killing king Nabab, and smiting all the house of Jeroboam for his idolatry; they did that which was a part of their ordinary duty, according to God’s express law (Deut. 13:6-9), though the facts of these men be extraordinary.
- 3rd. Ahab and Jezebel raised not an army of idolaters and malignants, such as are papists, prelates, and cavaliers, against the three estates, to destroy parliaments, laws, and religion and the people conspired with Ahab in the persecution and idolatry, to forsake the covenant, throw down the altars of God, and slay his prophets so as in the estimation of Elias, (1 King 19:9-11,) there was not one man, but they were malignant cavaliers; and has any Elias now power with the cavaliers, to exhort them to rise in arms against themselves, and to show them it is their duty to make war against the king and themselves, in the defense of religion? When the prophets had much ado to convince the people that they sinned in joining with the king, what place was there to show them their sin, in not using their own lawful defense? And in reason, any may judge it unreasonable for Elias to exhort, of thousands of thousands in Israel, poor seven thousand (of which many no doubt were women, aged, weak, and young,) to rise in arms against Ahab and all Israel, except God had given a positive and extraordinary commandment, and with all miraculous courage and strength in war against the whole land. And God works not always by miracles to save his church, and therefore the natural mandate of self-preservation in that case does no more oblige a few weak ones to lawful resistance than it obliged one martyr to rise against a persecuting Nero and all his forces. Arnisaeus should remember we are not to tie our Lord to miracles.
1. Elias did not only flee, but denounced wrath against the king and cavaliers who joined with them in idolatry; and when God gave opportunity, he showed himself, and stirred the people up to kill Baal’s Jesuits and seducing idolaters, when the idolatrous king refused to do it; and Elias with his own hand took them not, but all Israel being gathered together, (1 Kings 18:19,) the princes and judges did apprehend them, (ver. 40,) which is a warrant, when the king refuses to draw the sword of justice against armed papists, that other judges are to do it.
2. For Jeremiah, from the Lord, expressly forbade to fight against Nebuchadnezzar, show us the like for not defending ourselves against bloody papists and Irish cut-throats; for that example may as well prove, (if it be a binding law to us,) that our king should not raise his subjects to fight against a Spanish armada and a foreign prince; for before ever Nebuchadnezzar subdued the kingdom of Judah, (Jer. 27:1,) in the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim, (Jer. 36 and 37,) the king of Judah is from the Lord commanded not to draw a sword against the king of Babylon. I hope this will not tie us and our king not to fight against foreign princes, or against the great Turk, if they shall unjustly invade us and our king; and this example is against the king’s resisting of a foreign prince unjustly invading him, as much as against us, for Nebuchadnezzar was a tyrannous invader, and the king of Judah the Lord’s anointed.
3. The people also conspired with Manasseh, as with Ahab. (Jer. 15:4).
4. Of emperors persecuting Christians we shall hear anon.
5. Deut. 13, None are excepted, by a synecdoche, the dearest are expressed, “son, daughter, brother, the friend that is as thine own soul;” therefore fathers also; “and husbands are to love their wives” (Ephes. 5:25); yet to execute judgment on them without pity (Deut. 13:8-9); the father is to love the son, yet if the son prophecy falsely in the name of the Lord, to kill him. (Zech. 13:3.) Hence love, fear, reverence toward the king, may be commanded, and defensive wars also.
6. Christ fled from Herod, and all his actions and sufferings are mysteries and instructions, says the poor Prelate. Christ kissed the man that, to his knowledge, came to betray him; Christ fled not, but knowing where and when his enemy should apprehend him, came willingly to the place; therefore we should not flee. His actions are so mysterious that John P. P., in imitation of Christ’s forty days’ fast, will last from flesh in Lent, and the Prelate must walk on the sea and work miracles, if all Christ’s actions be our instructions.
7. He might, with more than twelve legions of angels, defend himself, but he would not, not because resistance was unlawful no shadow for that in the text but because it was God’s will that he should drink the cup his Father gave him, and because to take the sword without God’s warrant, subjects the usurper of God’s place to perish with the sword.
8. Peter had God’s revealed will that Christ behooved to suffer, (Matt. 26:52-53; 16:21-23,) and God’s positive command, that Christ should die for sinners, (John 10:24,) may well restrain an act of lawful self-preservation, hic et nunc, and such an act as Christ lawfully used at another time. (Luke 4:29-30; John 11:7-8.)
9. We give no new creed; but this apostate has forsaken his old creed, and the religion of the Church of Scotland, in which he was baptized. Nor do we expunge out of the creed Christ’s descension into hell and the communion of saints, as the apostate says; but the popish local descension of Christ, and the popish advancing of the church’s power above the Scriptures, and the intercession and prayers to the saints, or of the saints for us, we deny; and this Prelate, though he did swear the doctrine of the Church of Scotland, preached expressly all these, and many other points of popery, in the pulpits of Edinburgh
10. We believe that Christ suffered under Pontius Pilate, but that Pilate had any legal power to condemn Christ but only a power by a permissive decree, (Acts 4:27, 28,) such as devils had by God’s permission, (Luke 22:53,) we utterly deny.
11. The Prelate says it is his resolution, for our sin of natural self-defense, to dissolve in tears; because his bishopric, I conceive, by which he was wont to dissolve in cups, (being drunk on the Lord’s day, after he, with other prelates, had been at the Lord’s supper, while the chamber, wherein they were, was dissolved in vomiting,) was taken from him.
12. The prophets cry against all sins, but never against the sin of non-resistance; and yet they had very tyrannous and idolatrous kings. This is but a weak argument.
- 1st. The prophets cry not out against all sins they cry not out against men-stealers, and killers of father and mother, in express terms yet do they, by consequence, condemn all these sins; and so do they condemn non-resistance in wars, by consequence, when they cry out, (Jer. 5:31,) “The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means, and my people love to have it so.” And when they complain (Ezek. 22:26-28), “That the prophets and priests violate the law, her princes are like wolves ravening the prey, to shod blood, and the people use oppression, and exercise robbery, and vex the poor;” and when they say, (Jer. 22:2,) not to the king only, but also to his servants, and the people that enter in by the gates, “Execute judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor,” I pray you, who are the oppressors? I answer, The murdering judges. (Isa. 1:21.) “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them,” (Isa. 3:12,) and, (ver. 14, 15,) “the ancients of the people grind tho faces of the poor;” and when they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; and (Prov. 24:11) the Lord shall render to these men according to their works, which forbear to help men that are drawn to death, and those that be ready to be slain; if they shift the business, and say, Behold, we know not, does not he that ponders the heart consider it? When, therefore, the Lord’s prophets complain that the people execute not judgment, relieve not the oppressed, help not and rescue not those that are drawn to death unjustly by the king, or his murdering judges, they expressly cry out against the sin of non-resistance.
- 2nd. The prophets cannot expressly and formally cry out against the judges for non-resisting the king, when they join, as ravening wolves, with the king in these same acts of oppression, even as the judge cannot formally impannel twenty-four men, sent out to guard the travelers from an arch-robber, if these men join with the robber, and rob the travelers, and become cut-throats, as tho arch-robber is, he cannot accuse them for their omission in not guarding the innocent travelers, but for a more heinous crime, that not only they omitted what was their duty, in that they did not rescue the oppressed out of the hands of the wicked, but because they did rob and murder; and so the lesser sin is swallowed up in the greater. The under-judges are watchmen, and a guard to the church. of God; if the king turn a bosom robber, their part is, (Jer. 22:3,) “To deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor,” to watch against domestic and foreign enemies, and to defend the flock from wolves; “To let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke,” (Isa. 58:6,) “To break the jaws of the wicked, and pluck the spoil out of his teeth.” (Job. 29:17.) Now if these judges turn lions and ravening wolves, to prey upon the flock, and join with the king, as always they did when the king was an oppressor, “his princes made him glad with their lies,” and joined with him, and the people with both, (Jer. 1:18; 7. 1; 9:1; Mic. 7:1; Ezek. 22:24-31; Jer. 15:1-3,) it is no wonder if the prophets condemn and cry out against the hugest and most bloody crime of positive oppression, formally and expressly, and in that their negative murders, in not relieving the oppressed, must also be cried out against.
13. The whole land cannot formally be accused for non-resistance when the whole land are oppressors, for then they should be accused for not resisting themselves.
14. The king ought to resist the inferior judges in their oppression of the people, by the confession of royalists, then this argument comes with the like force of strength on themselves. Let them show us practice, precept, or promise in the Word, where the king raised an army for defense of religion, against princes and people who were subverting religion, and we shall make use of that same place of Scripture to prove that the estates and people, who are above the king, (as I have proved,) and made the king, may, and ought to resist the king, with the like force of scriptural truth in the like case.
15. Royalists desire the like precedent of practice and precept for defensive wars; but, I answer, let them show us a practice where any king of Israel or Judah raised an army of malignants, of Philistines, Sidonians, or Ammonites, against the princes of Israel and Judah, convened in an assembly to take course for bringing home the captived ark of God, and vindicating the laws of the land, and raised an army contrary to the knowledge of the elders, princes, and judges, to set up Dagon, or tolerate the worship of the Sidonian gods; and yet princes, elders, judges, and the whole people, were obliged all to flee out of God’s land, or then only to weep and request that the king would not destroy souls and bodies of them and their innocent posterities, because they could not, in conscience, embrace the worship of Dagon and the Sidonian gods. When the royalists can parallel this with a precedent, we can answer, There was as small apparency of precedency in Scripture, (except you flee to the law of nature,) that eighty priests, the subjects of king Uzziah, should put in execution a penal law against the Lord’s anointed, and that the inferiors and subjects should resist the superior, and that these priests, with the princes of the land, should, remove the king from actual government, all his days, and crown his son, at least make the father, their prince and superior, (as royalist say,) as good as a cypher? Is not this a punishment indicted by inferiors upon a superior, according to the way of royalists? Now it is clear, a worshipping of bread and the mass commanded, and against law obtruded upon Scotland, by influence of the counsel of known papists, is to us, and in itself, as abominable as the worshipping of Dagon or the Sidonian gods; and when the kingdom of Scotland did but convene, supplicate, and protest against that obtruded idolatry, they were first declared rebels by the king, and then an army raised against them by prelates and malignants, inspired with the spirit of antiChrist, to destroy the whole land, if they should not submit, soul and conscience, to that wicked service.