Lex Rex [Law Is King, or The Law & The Prince] (1644)
Whether All Christian Kings Are Dependent from Christ, and May Be Called His Vicegerents
The P. Prelate takes on him to prove the truth of this; but the question is not pertinent, it belongs to another head, to the king’s power in church matters. I therefore only examine what he says, and follow him.
P. Prelate. Sectaries have found a query of late, that kings are God’s, not Christ’s lieutenants on earth. Romanists and puritans erect two sovereigns in every state, the Jesuit in the Pope, the puritan in the presbytery.
Ans. 1. We give a reason why God has a lieutenant, as God; because kings are gods, bearing the sword of vengeance against seditious and bloody prelates, and other ill doers. But Christ, God-man, the Mediator and head of the body the church, has neither pope nor king to be head under him. The sword is communicable to men; but the headship of Christ is communicable to no king, nor to any created shoulders.
2. The Jesuit makes the Pope a king; and so this P. Prelate makes him, in extent, the bishop of bishops, and so king, as I have proved. But we place no sovereignty in presbyteries, but a mere ministerial power of servants, who do not take on them to make laws and religious ceremonies, as prelates do, who indeed make themselves kings and lawgivers in God’s house.
P. Prelate. We speak of Christ as head of the church. Some think that Christ was king by his resurrection, jure acquisito, by a new title, right of merit. I think he was a king from his conception.
Ans. 1. You declare hereby, that the king is a ministerial head of the church, under the head Christ. All our divines, disputing against the Pope’s headship, say, No mortal man has shoulders for so glorious a head. You give the king such shoulders. But why are not the kings, even Nero, Julian, Nebuchadnezzar, and Belshazzar, vicegerents of Christ, as mediator, as priest, as redeemer, as prophet, as advocate, presenting our prayers to God his father? What action, I pray you, have Christian kings, by office, under Christ, in dying and rising from the dead for us, in sending down the Holy Ghost, preparing mansions for us? Now, it is as proper and incommunicably reciprocal with the mediator to be the only head of the body, the church, (Col. 1:18,) as to be the only redeemer and advocate of his church.
2. That Christ was king from his conception, as man born of the Virgin Mary, suits well with papists, who will have Christ, as man, the visible head of the church; that so as Christ-man is now in heaven, he may have a visible pope to be head in all ecclesiastical matters. And that is the reason why this P. Prelate makes him head of the church by an ecclesiastical right, as we heard; and so he follows Becanus the Jesuit in this, and others of his fellows.
P. Prelate. 1. Proof. If kings reign by yb@i per, in and through Christ, as the wisdom of God and the mediator, then are kings the vicegerents of Christ as mediator; but the former is said, Prov. 8:15, 16; so Dr Andrews, of blessed memory.
Ans. 1. I deny the major. All believers living the life of God, engrafted in Christ as branches in the tree, (John 15:1-2,) should, by the same reason, be vicegerents of the Mediator; so should the angels to whom Christ is a head, (Col. 2:10,) be his vicegerents; and all the judges and constables on earth should be under-mediators, for they live and act in Christ; yea, all the creatures, in the Mediator, are made new, (Rev. 21:5; Rom. 8:20-22.) 2. Dr Andrew’s name is a curse on the earth, his writings prove him to be a popish apostate.
P. Prelate. 2. Christ is not only king of his church, but in order to his church, King over the kings and kingdoms of the earth. (Psal. 2:5, 8.) 3. Matt 21:18, “To him is given all power in heaven and earth;” therefore, all sovereignty over kings.
Ans. 1. If all these be Christ’s vicegerents, over whom he has obtained power, then, because the Father has given him power over all flesh, to give them life eternal, (John 17:1-2,) then are all believers his vicegerents, yea, and all the damned men and devils, and death and hell, are his vicegerents; for Christ, as mediator, has all power given to him as king of the church, and so power kingly over all his enemies, “to reign until he make them his footstool,” (Psal 110:1-2,) “to break them with a rod of iron.” (Psal. 2:9; 1 Cor. 15:24-27; Rev. 1:18, 20; 5:10-15.) And, by that same reason, the P. Prelate’s fourth and fifth arguments fall to the ground, He is heir of all things; therefore, all things are his vicegerents. What more vain? He is Prince of the kings of the earth, and King of Ogs, of kings, of his enemies; therefore, sea and land are his vicegerents.
P. Prelate (p. 58). Kings are nurse-fathers of the church, therefore they hold their crowns of Christ. Divines say, that by men in sacred orders Christ does rule his church mediately in those things which primely concern salvation, and that by kings’ scepters and power he does protect his church, and what concerns external pomp, order, and decency. Then, in this latter sense, kings are no less the immediate vicegerents of Christ than bishops, priests, and deacons, in the former.
Ans. 1. Because kings hold their crowns of Christ as mediator and redeemer, it follows, by as good consequence, kings are sub-mediators, and under-priests, and redeemers, as vicegerents. Christ, as king, has no visible royal vicegerents under him.
2. Men in holy orders, sprinkled with one of the papists’ five blessed sacraments, such as antiChristian prelates, unwashed priests to offer sacrifices, and popish deacons, are no more admitted by Christ to enter into his sanctuary as governors, than the leper into the camp of old, and the Moabite and Ammonite were to enter into the congregation of the Lord (Deut. 23:3); therefore, we have excommunicated this P. Prelate and such Moabites out of the Lord’s house. What be the things that do not primely concern salvation, the P. Prelate knows, to wit, images in the church, altar-worship, antiChristian ceremonies, which primely concern damnation.
3. I understand not what the P. Prelate means, That the king preserves external government in order and decency. In Scotland, in our parliament, 1633, he prescribed the surplice, and he commanded the service-book, and the mass-worship. The Prelate degrades the king here, to make him only keep or preserve the prelates’ mass-clothes; they intended, indeed, to make the king but the Pope’s servant, for all they say and do for him now.
4. If the king be vicegerent of Christ in prescribing laws for the external ordering of the worship, and all their decent symbolical ceremonies, what more does the Pope and the prelate in that kind? He may, with as good warrant, preach and administer the sacraments.
P. Prelate. Kings have the sign of the cross on their crowns.
Ans. Therefore, baculus est in angulo, prelates have put across in the king’s heart, and crossed crown and throne too. Some knights, some ships, some cities and boroughs do carry a cross; are they made Christ’s vicegerents of late? By what antiquity does the cross signify Christ? Of old it was a badge of Christians, no religious ceremony. And is this all; the king is the vicegerent of Christians. The prelates, we know, adore the cross with religious worship; so must they adore the crown.
P. Prelate. Grant that the Pope were the vicar of Christ in spiritual things, it follows not therefore, kings’ crowns are subject to the Pope; for papists teach that all power that was in Christ, as man, as power to work miracles, to institute sacraments, was not transmitted to Peter and his successors.
Ans. This is a base consequence; make the Pope head of the church, the king, if he be a mixed person, that is, half a churchman and Christ’s vicegerent, both he and prelates must be members of the head. Papists teach that all in Christ, as man, cannot be transmitted to Peter; but a ministerial catholic headship (say Bucanus and his fellows) was transmitted from Christ, as | man and visible head, to Peter and the Pope.
P. Prelate. I wish the Pope, who claims so near alliance with Christ, would learn of him to be meek and humble in heart, so should he find rest to his own soul, to church and state.
Ans. 1. The same was the wish of Gerson, Occam, the doctors of Paris, the fathers of the councils of Constance and Basil, yet all make him head of the church.
2. The excommunicate Prelate is turned chaplain to preach to the Pope; the soul-rest that protestants wish to the Pope is, “That the Lord would destroy him by the Spirit of his mouth.” (2 Thes. 2:8.) But to popish prelates this wish is a reformation of accidents, with the safety of the subject, the Pope, and is as good as a wish, that the devil, remaining a devil, may find rest for his soul: all we are to pray for as having place in the church, are supposed members of the church. The Prelate would not pray so for the presbytery by which he was ordained a pastor, (1 Tim. 4:14,) though he be now an apostate; it is gratitude to pray for his lucky father, the Pope. Whatever the Prelate wish, we pray for and believe that desolation shall be his soul-rest, and that the vengeance of the Lord and of his temple shall fall upon him and the prelates, his sons.
P. Prelate. That which they purpose, by denying kings to be Christ’s vicegerents, is to set up a sovereignty ecclesiastical in presbyteries, to constrain kings, repeal his laws, correct his statutes, reverse his judgments, to cite, convent, and censure kings; and, if there be not power to execute what presbyteries decree, they may call and command the help of the people, in whom is the underived majesty, and promise, and swear, and covenant to defend their fancies against all mortal men, with their goods, lands, fortunes, to admit no devisive motion; and this sovereign association makes every private man an armed magistrate.
Ans. You see the excommunicate apostate strives against the presbytery of a reformed church, from which he had his baptism, faith, and ministry.
1. We deny the king to be the head of the church.
2. We assert, that in the pastors, doctors, and elders of the church, there is a ministerial power, as servants under Christ, in his authority and name to rebuke and censure kings; that there is revenge in the gospel against all disobedience (2 Cor. 2:6; 10:6); the rod of God (1 Cor. 4:21); the rod of Christ’s lips (Isa. 11:4); the scepter and sword of Christ (Rev. 1:16; 19:15); the keys of his kingdom, to bind and loose, open and shut (Matt. 18:17-18; 16:19; 1 Cor. 5:1-3; 2 Thess. 3:14, 15; 1 Tim. 1:19; 5:22; 5:17); and that this power is committed to the officers of Christ’s house, call them as you will.
3. For reversing of laws made for the establishing of popery, we think the church of Christ did well to declare all these unjust, grievous decrees, and that woe is due to the judges, even the queen, if they should not repent. (Isa. 10:1.) And this Prelate must show his teeth in this against our reformation in Scotland, which he once commended in pulpit as a glorious work of God’s right arm; and the Assembly of Glasgow, 1638, declared, That bishops, though established by acts of parliament, procured by prelates only, commissioners and agents for the church, who betrayed their trust, were unlawful; and did supplicate that the ensuing parliament would annul these wicked acts. They think God privileges neither king nor others from church-censures. The popish prelates imprisoned and silenced the ministers of Christ, who preached against the public sins, the blood, oppressions, injustice, open swearing, and blasphemy of the holy name of God, the countenancing of idolaters, etc., in king and court.
4. They never sought the help of the people against the most unjust standing law of authority.
5. They did never swear and covenant to defend their own fancies; for the confession and covenant of the protestant religion, translated in Latin to all the protestants in Europe and America, being termed a fancy, is a clear evidence that this P. Prelate was justly excommunicated for popery.
6. This covenant was sworn by king James and his house, by the whole land, by the prelates themselves; and to this fancy this P. Prelate, by the law of our land, was obliged to swear when he received degrees in the university.
7. There is reason our covenant should provide against divisive motions. The prelates moved the king to command all the land to swear our covenant, in the prelatical sense, against the intent thereof, and only to divide and so command. Judge what religion prelates are of, who will have the name of God profaned by a whole nation, by swearing fancies.
8. Of making private men magistrates in defending themselves against cut-throats, enough already. Let the P. Prelate answer if he can.
P. Prelate. Let no man imagine me to privilege a king from the direction and just power of the church, or that, like Uzziah, he should intrude upon sacred actions, ex vi ordinis, in foro interno conscientiae, to preach or administrate sacraments, etc.
Ans. Uzziah did not burn incense, ex vi ordinis, as if he had been a priest, but because he was a king and God’s anointed. Prelates sit not in council and parliament, ex vi ordinis, as temporal lords. The pope is no temporal monarch, ex vi ordinis, yet all are intruders. So the P. Prelate will license kings to administer sacraments, so they do it not ex vi ordinis.
P. Prelate. Men in sacred orders, in tilings intrinsically spiritual, have immediately a directive and authoritative power, in order, to all whatsoever, although ministerial only as related to Christ; but that gives them no coercive civil power over the prince, per se, or per accidens, directly or indirectly, that either the one way or the other, any or many in sacred order, pope or presbytery, can cite and censure kings, associate, covenant or swear to resist him, and force him to submit to the scepter of Christ. This power over man God Almighty uses not, much less has he given it to man. (Psal. 110.) His people are a willing people. Suadenda non cogenda religio.
Ans. 1. Pastors have a ministerial power (says he) in spiritual things, but in order to Christ; therefore, in order to others it is not ministerial, but lordly. So here a lordly power pastors have over kings, by the P. Prelate’s way. We teach it is ministerial in relation to all, because ministers can make no laws as kings can do, but only, as heralds, declare Christ’s laws.
2. None of us give any coercive civil power to the church over either kings or any other it is ecclesiastical; a power to rebuke and censure was never civil.
3. A religious covenant to swear to resist, that is, to defend ourselves, is one thing, and a lawful oath, as is clear in those of Israel that did swear Asa’s covenant, without the authority of their own king, (2 Chron. 15:9-12,) and to swear to force the king to submit to Christ’s scepter, is another thing. The presbytery never did swear or covenant any such thing; nor do we take sacrament upon it, to force the king. Prelates have made the king swear, and take his sacrament upon it, that he shall root out puritans, that is, protestants, whereas, he did swear at his coronation to root out heretics, that is, (if prelates were not traitorous in administering the oath,) Arminians and papists, such as this P. Prelate is known to be; but I hold that the estates of Scotland have power to punish the king, if he labor to subvert religion and laws.
4. If this argument, that religion is to be persuaded, not forced, which the P. Prelate uses, be good, it will make much against the king; for the king, then, can force no man to the external profession and use of the ordinances of God, and not only kings, but all the people should be willing.
P. Prelate. Though the king may not preach, etc., yet the exercise of these things freely within his kingdom, what concerns the decent and orderly doing of all, and the external man, in the external government of the church, in appointing things arbitrary and indifferent, and what else is of this strain, are so due to the prerogative of the crown, as that the priests, without highest rebellion, may not usurp upon him; a king in the state and church is a mixed person, not simply civil, but sacred too. They are not only professors of truth, that they have in the capacity of Christians, but they are defenders of the faith as kings; they are not sons only, but nurse-fathers; they serve God, as Augustine says, as men, and as kings also.
Ans. 1. If ye give the king power of the exercises of word and sacraments in his kingdom, this is deprivation of ministers in his kingdom, (for he sure cannot hinder them in another kingdom,) you may make him to give a ministerial calling, if he may take it away. By what word of God can the king close the mouth of the man of God, whom Christ has commanded to speak in his name?
2. If the king may externally govern the church, why may he not excommunicate; for this is one of the special acts of church government, especially seeing he is a mixed person, that is, half a churchman, and if he may prescribe arbitrary-teaching ceremonies, and instruct men in the duties of holiness required of pastors, I see not but; he may teach the Word.
3. Dr Ferne, and other royalists, deny arbitrary government to the king in the state, and with reason, because it is tyranny over the people; but prelates are not ashamed of commanding a thing arbitrary and indifferent in God’s worship; shall not arbitrary government in the church be tyranny over the conscience?
But, say they, “Churchmen teaches the king what is decent and orderly in God’s worship, and he commands it.”
Ans. 1. Solomon by no teaching of churchmen deposed Abiathar; David by no teaching of churchmen appointed the form of the temple.
2. has God given a prerogative royal to kings, whereby they may govern the church, and as kings, they shall not know how to use it, but in so far as they are taught by churchmen?
3. Certainly, we shall once be informed by God’s word, what is this prerogative, if according to it, all the external worship of God may be ordered. Lawyers and royalists teach, that it is an absoluteness of power to do above or against a law, as they say from 1 Sam. 8:9-11, and whereby the king may oppress, and no man may say, What dost thou? Now, good P. Prelate, if, by a plenitude of tyranny, the king prescribe what he will in the external worship and government of God’s house, who can rebuke the king though he command all the antiChristian ceremonies of Rome, and of Turkey, yea, and the sacrificing of children to Molech? (for absoluteness royal will amount to shedding of innocent blood,) for, if any oppose the king, or say, Sir, what do you? he opposes the prerogative royal, and that is highest rebellion, says our P. Prelate.
4. I see not how the king is a mixed person, because he is defender of the faith, as the Pope named the king of England, Henry VIII; he defends it by his sword, as he is a nurse-father, not by the sword that comes out of his mouth.
5. I would know how Julian, Nebuchadnezzar, Og, and Sihon, were mixed persons, and did all in the external government of the church, and that by their office, as they were kings.
6. All the instances that Augustine brings to prove that the king is a mixed person, proves nothing but civil acts in kings; as Hezekiah cast down the high places, the king of Nineveh compelled to obey the prophet Jonah, Darius cast Daniel’s enemies to the lions.
P. Prelate. If you make two sovereigns and two independents, there is no more peace in the state, than in Rebecca’s womb, while Jacob and Esau strove for the prerogative.
Ans. 1. What need Israel strive, when Moses and Aaron are two independents? If Aaron make a golden calf, may not Moses punish him? If Moses turn an Ahab, and sell himself to do wickedly, ought not eighty valiant priests and Aarons both rebuke, censure, and resist?
2. The P. Prelate said, (p. 65,) “Let no man imagine we privilege the king from the direction and power of the church, so he be no intruding Uzziah.” I ask, P. Prelate, what is this church power? Is it not supreme in its kind of church power? or is it subordinate to the king? If it be supreme, see how P. Prelate makes two supremes, and two sovereigns. If it be subordinate to the king, as he is a mixed person, the king is privileged from this power, and he may intrude as Uzziah; and by his prerogative, as a mixed person, he may say mass, and offer a sacrifice, if there be no power above his prerogative to curb him. If there be none, the P. Prelate’s imagination is real; the king is privileged from all church power. Let the P. Prelate see to it. I see no inconvenience for reciprocations of subjections in two supremes; and that they may mutually censure and judge one another.
Obj. Not in the same cause, that is impossible. If the king say mass, shall the church judge and censure the king for intrusion? and because the king is also sovereign and supreme in his kind, he may judge and punish the church for their act of judging and censuring the king; it being an intrusion on his prerogative, that any should judge the highest judge.
Ans. The one is not subject to the other, but in the case of mal-administration; the innocent, as innocent, is subject to no higher punishing; he may be subject to a higher, as accusing, citing, etc. Now, the royalist must give instance in the same cause, where the church fails against the king and his civil law; and the king, in the same cause, fails against the church canon; and then it shall be easy to answer.
P. Prelate. Religion is the bottom of all happiness, if you make the king only to execute what a presbytery commands, he is in a hard case, and you take from him the chiefest in government. Ecclesiastical power has the soul in subjection; the civil sovereignty holds a dead dominion over the body. Then the Pope and presbytery shall be in a better condition than the king. Cic. in ver. omnes religione moventur: superstition is furious, and maddens people, that they spare neither crown nor miter.
Ans. Cold and dry is the P. Prelate when he spends four pages in declamation for the excellency of religion: the madness of superstition is nothing to the purpose.
1. The king has a chief hand in church affairs, when he is a nurse-father, and bears the royal sword to defend both the tables of the law, though he do not spin and weave surplices, and other base mass-clothes to prelates, and such priests of Baal: they dishonor his majesty, who bring his prerogative so low.
2. The king does not execute with blind obedience, with us, what the Pope commands, and the prelates, but with light of knowledge what synods discern; and he is no more made the servant of the church by this, than the king of Judah and Nebuchadnezzar are servants to Jeremiah and Daniel, because they are to obey the word of the Lord in their mouth. Let them show a reason of this, why they are servants in executing God’s will in discipline, and in punishing what the Holy Ghost, by his apostles and elders, decree, when any contemn the decree concerning the abstinence from blood, things strangled, etc., (Acts 15,) rather than when they punish murder, idolatry, blasphemy, which are condemned in the Word, presetted by pastors of Christ; and farther, this objection would have some more color, (in reality it has not,) if kings were only to execute what the church ministerially, in Christ’s name, commands to be done in synods; but kings may, and do command synods to convene, and do their duty, and command many duties, never synodically decreed; as they are to cast out of their court apostate prelates, sleeping many years in the devil’s arms, and are to command trencher-divines, neglecting their flock, and lying at court attending the falling of a dead bishop, as ravens do an old dying horse, to go and attend the flock, and not the court, as this P. Prelate did.
3. A king has greater outward glory, and may do much more service to Christ, in respect of extension, and is more excellent than the pastor, who yet, in regard of intention, is busied about nobler things, to wit, the soul, the gospel, and eternity, than the king.
4. Superstition maddens men; but it follows, not that true religion may not set them on work to defend soul and body against tyranny of the crown, and antiChristian miters.
P. Prelate. The kingdom had peace and plenty in the prelates’ time.
Ans. 1. A belly-argument. We had, plenty, when we sacrificed to the queen of heaven. If the traveler contend to have his purse again, shall the robber say, Robbery was blessed with peace? The rest, to the end, are lies, and answered already. Only his invectives against ruling elders, falsely called lay-elders, are not to purpose. Parliament-priests, and lay and court-pastors, are lay-prophets.
2. That presbyteries meddle with civil business, is a slander. They meddle with public scandals that offends in Christ’s kingdom. But the prelates, by office, were more in two elements, in church and state, than any frogs, even in the king’s leaven-tubs, ordinarily.
3. Something he says of popes usurping over kings, but only of one of his fathers, a great unclean spirit, Gregory the Great. But if he had refuted him by God’s word, he should have thrown stones at his own tribe; for prelates, like him, do ex officio trample upon the neck of kings.
4. His testimonies of one council and one father for all antiquity proves nothing. Athanasius said, “God has given David’s throne to kings.” What, to be head of the church? No; to be minister of God, without e0cw to tutor the church. And, because “Kings reign by Christ,” as the council of Armin says; therefore, it may follow, a bailie is also head of the church. It is taken from Prov. 8, and answered.
5. That presbyteries have usurped over kings more than popes, since Hildebrand, is a lie. All stories are full of the usurpation of prelates, his own tribe. The Pope is but a swelled tat prelate; and what he says of popes, he says of his own house.
6. The ministers of Christ in Scotland had never a contest with king James but for his sins, and his conniving with papists, and his introducing bishops, the ushers of the Pope.