James Fraser,
April 22, 1689.


By W. K. A. M.

Rom. 14. 22. Happy is he that condemneth not him­self in what he alloweth.

LONDON: Printed for Ric. Chiswell at the Rose and Crown in in St. Paul's Church-yard. MDCLXXXIX.



MEthinks we live in an Age of Wonders, Af­frica like, every day producing aliquid novi. But few Months since Suspension, Degra­dation, Imprisonment, was too little pu­nishment for refusal to read the King's (as 'twas stil'd) Gra­cious Declaration for Liberty of Conscience. And now I am as much Disaffected to the Protestant Cause, for making some Objections against the Oath of Allegiance.


'Tis true, the wonderful Revolution of a few days is so unfathomably Stupendious, that an ordinary Capacity may easily be induc'd to believe, that Miracles are not yet ceased. Such signal Methods compassing such an unthought of Rescue, loudly declare they are more than common. And your obstinate refusal of a Deliverance written in such legible Characters, your voluntary depriving your self of a share in so great and unparallel'd a Blessing, is a second won­der to me incomprehensible.


'Tis not (I protest) from an affected singularity, or a too high conceitedness of my own Opinion, that, like Athanasius, I oppose the whole World by my self. The on­ly reason is, that I may keep a Conscience void of offence both toward God and Man. I acknowledge the Prince of Orange [Page 2] has been the great Instrument of our Deliverance from Po­pery and Arbitrary Power, and more highly deserves of the Nation than can be expressed; yet I cannot forget those Tyes and Obligations that fix and river our Allegiance to our Dread Sovereign James the Second.


What are these strong and binding Obligations?


In number ten thousand, in nature superlatively Obli­gatory.


Descend to Particulars and nominate one.


The Dictates of Nature bind me to Natural Allegi­ance, being by Birth a Natural Subject to the King of Great Britain, my Duty is to pay Homage and Obedience either Active or Passive to all his Commands.


I readily grant, that as you are a Subject to the King of Great Britain, his Majesty hath an undoubted Right to challenge your Obedience, but the Ground and Reason of this Right does not proceed as an Emanation from Na­ture, as I shall immediately evince, when I have gotten a right sence of your Notion of Passive Obedience.


By Passive Obedience I understand a submissive and patient suffering the Punishment due to the obstinate refusal of Actively obeying those Commands and Injunctions of my Superiors, that are either inconsistent with, or opposite to the Laws and Precepts of the Divine Creator.


Patience under Punishment, when Legally inflicted upon us, and there is no lawful way to escape it, is a Chri­stian Duty, as is clear and obvious, both from the Doctrine and Example of our Saviour, who despised the shame and endured the Cross.

But if Passive Obedience (as you interpret it) be Sence, Logicians are much mistaken in affirming ten Predicaments; since (in your account) Actio and Passio are one. Obedi­ence (in all Histories, whether Sacred or Prophane) has no relation to suffering, but always signifies the doing things commanded. Thus Exod. 15. 26. If thou wilt heark [...]n to the voice of the Lord, and do that is right in his sight. Exod. 24. 7. After Moses had read the Book of the Law, the People pro­mised their Obedience to do all that was there injoyned them. And 1 Sam. 28. 19. King Saul for not doing the Command of the Lord, was stigmatized with the infamus Character of [Page 3] Disobedience, notwithstanding his suffering the punishment of his Transgression. Acts 5. 29. the Apostles affirm they ought to obey (that is Do) the Will of God rather than Man. And all those Express and Positive Commands for Wives, Children and Servants, to obey their Husbands, Parents and Masters, only import, 'tis their Duty to please them well, by doing those things enjoin'd by them.

In opposition to this; Passive naturally implies, suffering the Penalty for not doing; so that should we allow such a contradiction in Speech, as Passive Obedience, 'twould na­turally follow, that those who have suffered the punishment of the Law, are justified by the Law; for if Suffering ren­der Men obedient, the Penalty being endured, they are clean­sed from their Guilt and become Immaculate: And by virtue of this Argument, Rebels, Thieves, Murtherers, or the worst of Villians are (after they have receiv'd the Reward of their Transgressions) as honest Men, as good Neighbours, and as Loyal Subjects as your self.

I know 'tis objected that Rebels, Thieves, &c. are actual Transgressors of the Laws both Humane and Divine, and so fall as Criminals; but the others suffer because they refuse to violate or transgress those Laws. But to this 'tis replyed, that according to your own Position they are Criminals alike; for the Doctrine of Passive Obedience (especially as by you defin­ed) doth sufficiently evidence (notwithstanding what you talk of Laws) that the Will of the Supreme Magistrate is the chiefest Rule we are to walk by; for whatever Com­mand brings with it Authority to require Obedience, that very Authority doth plainly impress upon it the Character of a Law. Now Criminals, upon the account of Omission, are equally guilty with those that have render'd themselves so by Sins of Commission; it being equally the same as to matter of Crime, not to do those things Commanded, and to act or do those things Prohibited. So that by parity of Reason, if the one be justified so will the other; for facinus quos inquinat, aequat.


I had no design to enter into a Controversie about Passive Obedience; I asserted that Nature enjoined me to pay Allegiance to the Supreme Magistrate, and my Reason was, because I was by Birth a Natural Subject.

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That Nature obliges you to Obedience, is a great Mistake; for the constitutes no Subordination among Men; as we are produced by her, we are all Equals; she ordains neither King or Peasant, Lord or Slave: Her Actions are only internal, such as respect not those outward Adjuncts, or external Qualifications. The Laws she designs for our Guide, are her own Precepts; (viz.) those Innate Notions of Good and Evil, those Common Sentiments of Vertue and Vice that are proper to all men, as they are Rational Creatures. The Governour she appoints over us, is every man's own Rea­son; the Judge, our particular Consciences. 'Tis indeed by the Force or Energy of Nature we are made Men, but we are born free. This is evident from that absolute Authority every particular Man hath over himself, (viz.) an indepen­dent Power in disposing of his own person: Thus by Com­pact or Bargain, any Man (I speak of Subjects) may become a Covenant-Servant, an Apprentice, or a Slave, without Na­ture's being concern'd in the Contract. For though a King's Eldest Son be a Prince by Birth, and the first legitimate Male Offspring of an Earl, a Lord the Day of his Nativity; yet those are Birthright Priviledges accruing to them, not from Nature, but the Laws of the Nation.

Thus Royal Blood and Descent from Ancient Progenitors, are only imputative Qualities, and have so little Relation to Nature, that they are only Praemia Virtutis, Rewards for He­roick and Generous Actions, that the persons concern'd, or their Forefathers were eminent for.


These Commands that are Moral, and perpetually to oblige, are esteemed as Natural; but the Duty of Obedience is Moral, and perpetually to oblige (if the Fifth Command­ment be so,) which makes me account it Natural.


As we are Subjects, the Duty of Obedience is a per­petual Obligation, and, after a manner, essential to us; But our Allegiance has not its Foundation in Nature, or her O­perations, but in the Relation we bear to a Soveraign: And more than this the Fifth Commandment doth not e­vince.

This Precept is Moral, and perpetually to oblige; but the Rational part of it is grounded not in Nature, but in Grati­tude: For as Aristotle observes, Man is a Sociable Animal, [Page 9] and there is nothing more destructive to Society, than Ingra­titude and Unthankfulness. And since Children have not only their very Being, but their Well-being also, from their Parents, no Obligation can be greater or more obligatory to the foresaid Duties.

So that were our Filial Obedience founded in Nature (as you fondly imagine), the Obligation to that Duty would not be half so strong and valid. Besides, Natural Duties have respect to the whole Species; and by this Argument, the Bonds and Obligations to Obedience are General, and every man that is a Parent, may challenge as strict a Duty of Obedience from us, as our immediate Parents that begat us; and the Rea­son of this, is, because Nature is equally concern'd for the whole Species, as for an Individium.

But the Doctrine contrary to this, is so plain and evident from the general practice of the World, that it needs no proof. For though we are by Nature equally allied to all, be­ing first in the Loins of Adam, afterwards in Noah; yet this Relation is never term'd more than Common Humanity. And how firm or lasting soever we esteem those Ties and Obligati­ons you mention (which is really nothing but Friendship), the Second or Third Age commonly expunges them, if dis­obliging Carriage, distance of Place, or want of Converse, ef­fect it not in much less time.

That Paternal Love, and Filial Affection, is not founded in Nature, seems plain and evident from those different Degrees of Love Men generally bear to the Legitimate, and Spurious Issue; and that 'tis cherished by Converse, and made firm and solid by process of Time, is more than probable, from the affectionate Nurse, whose Excess of Love to the tender Babe, does often transcend the affectionate Mothers. Yet 'tis clearly manifest, Man has a Natural Appetite or Desire to survive in his Posterity, as irrational Creatures have of pre­serving their Species: But this proves nothing against the Ar­gument, because the Issue of the latter (in riper years) are not by Nature obliged to the Duties of Gratitude and Obedi­ence.

That the Fifth Commandment enjoyns us Obedience to our Superiors, is beyond all controversie true; and the Reason is, because in the beginning of Government, Soveraighty was [Page 10] part of the Paternal Power; but (to speak in our common Language) if the Duty of Obedience in a Natural Son to a Natural Father, be not a Natural Duty, much less can this Argument prove Natural Allegiance due to our Civil Pa­rents.


The Parliament Conven'd in the Twenty Fourth Year of King Henry the Eighth's Reign, stiles England an Em­pire, govern'd by a Soveraign Head, to which there is a Bo­dy Politick joyn'd, composed of all sorts and degrees of Peo­ple, who are bound, next under God, to render unto their King Natural Allegiance.


Natural Allegiance in that Act of Parliament, is only▪ a Rhetorical Flourish, spoken after the largest acceptation of that Word; not that Allegiance flows from Nature, but be­cause 'tis a Duty so proper, intrinsical and Essential to a Sub­ject, quâ talis. For mens very incorporating themselves into a Civil Society (without the Obligation of Formal Oaths,) doth sufficiently evidence a tacit acknowledgment of Allegi­ance to the Caput Communitatis, because without it 'tis impos­sible to defend and preserve the Body Politick.


This Discourse (I confess) is somewhat Rational; but I can't suddenly digest a thing so Novel.


What you term Novelty proceeds from the vulgar Ex­pressions of Men, and want of a more serious and weighty▪ Inspection into the Doctrine. And this will appear more Ra­tional, if we consult the Specimen of Government in ge­neral.

The great and fundamental Law of Nature is Self-Preser­vation; 'tis the Magna Charta of all Constitutions, and the very End and Design of Government it self; 'tis a Principle so deeply radicated in Nature, that 'tis engraven upon every man's heart.

Had indeed our First Parents maintain'd the Original Beau­ty and Brightness of their Creation, and preserved Nature in her state of Rectitude, Justice had been our Director, Inno­cence our Guide: But by that Fall of theirs, the Nature of Man was so depraved and vitiated, his Passions so transport­ing, his Desire so covetous, his Revenge so implacable, that Meum and Tuum were measured only by Strength and Pow­er; the Longest Sword was the best Law, a securer Title than Prescription it self.

[Page 11] Thus the more powerful preyed upon, and devoured the weaker; so that Nature destroyed her own works: And the best course to countermand those Hostile Proceedings, and preserve this grand Principle of Nature, was mens moulding themselves into Tribes, associating into Colonies.

Thus, when a Company of Men, (whether many or few it matters not; for, Majus & Minus non variant Speciem) are unanimously incorporated into one Society, for the securer Maintainance of Peace, Correction of Vice, Reformation of Manners, and the more equal Administration of Justice; Laws were enacted, Constitutions made, and Statutes provi­ded to redress all private Grievances among themselves; and to protect the Society from the open Hostility of Publick In­vaders.

And since neither Plaintiff or Defendant was fit to be Judge of his own Plea, nor the Mobile Vulgus easily induced to a joynt Method, a Unanimous Consent in opposing the Common Enemy; a single person (if Monarchical Govern­ment) or several (in other Constitutions) of such Vertue. Prudence and Fortitude, as the whole Society thought fit to confide in, was elected, as an Impartial Arbitrator in all Ca­ses, whether private or publick.

And to him, or them, was committed the sole Executive Power of these Laws; in all Differences the Definitive Sen­tence was (according to Law) to be expected from his, or their mouth. And this Supream Authority being both Judge and Protector of the whole Corporation, to advance the Grandeur of such Authority, and compleatly to capacitate him, or them, for the Execution of those Established Laws: This Power was held in high Estimation by the whole Socie­ty, and by the setled Constitutions of the Government; a proportionable Tribute from the Subject was by Law allowed as a Revenue to support that Royal Office.

And for the firmer uniting this Supream Head and his Sub­jects, the former obliges himself by the Sacred Ties and Ob­ligations of an Oath, at his Inauguration, to govern his Peo­ple according to the Rule of the Established Laws; and the latter as solemnly pays Homage, and swears Obedience. So that Allegiance in all Subjects, whatsoever Government they live under, (and especially in our own Constitution) is a [Page 12] Duty so perpetual and indispensible, that a violation of it is an high Offence against God, as well as against his Vicege­rent.


This is my very Sense of the Duty of Allegiance; this the Reason I refused to take that New Oath of Allegi­ance, because 'tis a plain Violation of the Old, which you your self acknowledge perpetually to oblige.


The Duty of Obedience is an inseparable Accident to every Subject; and you may as well divest him of his Being, as his Subjection; for this Duty, like the Royal Au­thority, never dies, but immediately descends from one to another. But what you talk of is a perfect Frensie of Loyal­ty, makes Allegiance an infinite Duty, and exalts a King to the Honour of a God; if all his Commands must be obeyed, we tacitely acknowledge he can command nothing that is e­vil; for an illegal Mandate must not be obeyed, nor an evil Action committed, though imperiously enjoyn'd by the great­est of Men.

In all Governments, whether Monarchy, Aristocracy, or Democracy, the Subjects Duty of Obedience is to be measu­red by the express and positive Laws of that Government they are Members of, and not to be regulated by a fancied Chimae­ra, of obeying no man knows what, it being now visibly apparent, that Men may be as superstitiously Loyal as Religi­ous; and the first prove as fatal and destructive to the Peace and Happiness of the Nation, as the last to the Zeal and Fer­vour of True Religion; when in good earnest, the utmost li­mits of Allegiance, is but entirely to observe all the lawful Commands and Injunctions of our Superiors.


Has the Supream Magistrate no Authority to com­mand our Obedience? And is the Extent and Latitude of the Duty of Allegiance limited by declaritory and express Laws?


'Tis a most certain Truth, especially in our own Con­stitution, where the Government is a Monarchy Royal, in which the Subjects have as undoubted a Right to their Religi­on, Liberty and Property, as the Supream Magistrate has to the Royal Prerogative.

[Page 13] For as the Inferior Laws limit the Peoples Rights, restrain them from invading the Royal Priviledges, and from offering violence one to another; so the chief design of Magna Char­ta, is to reduce the Regal to a Legal power. The Prescripti­ons and Statutes of this Nation are the impartial Arbitrators of Government and Obedience.


At present a plausible Plea may arise from hence; but in the beginning 'twas not so; For Magna Charta was ne­ver heard of till King Henry the Third, the Eighth King from the Conquest. And where were those Liberties then you so much boast of now?


Right! Magna Charta (in that particular form of words 'tis now express'd) was not in being till the time you mention; but our Liberties and Properties were as much then the undoubted Birthright and Inheritances of the Subjects, as they are now; for Magna Charta (as the Learn'd and Re­nown'd Lord Cook observes) is for the most part Declaritory, informs us what our Rights and Priviledges are, instates us into what was lawfully and antecedently our own Right, but confers no new Immunities upon us.


This is strange indeed, when the very first Chapter begins, We have granted to God, and we have given and grant­ed to the Freemen of this Realm. How could King Henry give and grant those things were none of his?


The Subjects Liberties asserted in this Great Charter, are not to be look'd upon as pure Emanations from the Royal Favour, or new Bounties, to which the People had nei­ther Right or Claim, but rather a restoring those Priviledges which by the Usurpation and Encroachments of former Kings, were forcibly with-held from the Subjects. And the truth of this is evident from the Charter it self; which in the words of Conveyance frequently mentions sua jura, and suas Libortates, Their Rights and their Liberties; which shews the People had a former Title to those Immunities, that by this Charter they were again put in possession of.


This is a pleasant Story indeed: Are the Subjects Li­berties more Ancient than the Conquest? Has not a Conque­ror power to impose what Laws he pleases upon those Vassels and Slaves he has conquered?

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However pleasant it be, 'tis clear and obvious, the Li­berties and Properties of Englishmen are of greater Antiquity than King William, call'd the Conqueror, as appears from the Laws that assert them, some as Ancient as the Heptarchian Go­vernment, granted by Ethelberd, Ina, and Offa; others Co­temporary with the Monarchical Regency, given and con­ferr'd upon the Subjects by pious King Alfred. Neither were these Laws abolished by the Norman Duke, but were of such Force and Vigour, as to survive (what you call the Con­quest,) and set Bounds and Limits to that pretended Con­queror.

'Tis not denied, but an absolute Conqueror may propose and enact what Laws he pleases, to regulate and govern the Conquered by: but this was far from King William's Case, For though that great Victory over Harold, with such a mighty slaughter of the English, gave him great encourage­ment, yet the Crown was obtain'd by Bargain and Compact, as is plainly evident from those Grants made to Stigand, Arch­bishop of Canterbury, and Eglesine, Abbot of St. Augustine's, in behalf of the Kentish men, and also from the Coronation Oath it self; where the King swears to maintain and observe the Laws and Customs of the Nation.

'Tis true he made little esteem of violating this Sacred Ob­ligation; and his Successors vehemently encroach'd upon the Liberty and Property of the People; but what power force­ably snatch'd from them did not invalidate the Subjects Right. Neither had King William (notwithstanding all his Pretensions to a Conquest) power to dispose of the Lands or Inheritances of those Natives he received to Protection: This is manifest from that known Case of Sherborn the Saxon, who had a Castle and Lands in Norfolk, which the pretend­ed Conqueror gave to one Warren a Norman, and Sherborn dying, the Heir claiming the same by Descent, according to the Law, it was before the Conqueror adjudged for the H [...]ir, and the Gift made void.


The Coronation Oath is nothing to purpose, to e­vince a Paction or an Agreement upon this Account; for that was made to God, not to Man; and if that Oath prove a Compact, 'tis between God and the King, not between the King and the People.

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'Tis neither my design, nor pertinent to the business in hand, to begin a Discourse of the difference between Vows and Oaths. Suppose the Oath were made to God, (which in propriety of Speech is a Vow) how does that weaken or invalidate the force of the Argument? It matters not, whe­ther it be a Vow to God, or an Oath to Man, so long as the matter of it is so express and declarative of the King's Duty, and the Peoples Rights and Priviledges.


The taking the Coronation Oath was the Conque­rors Condescention; a compliance with the Customs usual at the Inauguration of former Kings, and has no tendency to a Compact or Bargain with the People.


You may stile it what you please: but 'twas such a Condescention or Compliance, without which (unless he had first won it by an absolute Conquest) he had never pos­sessed the Crown of England. And the Ancient Rites of the Coronation it self had some footsteps of this Contract, viz. The Presenting the King, on the day of his Coronation, to the People upon every corner of the Scaffold, and asking them if they would have him for their King? I do not sup­pose the People had power, to refuse or reject the Person thus exhibited, that would have render'd the Kingdom E­lective; but the Custom being an ancient Ceremony, and commonly used till Edward the Sixth's Coronation, is in my Judgment a more than plausible Argument of a Contract be­tween the Supreme Power and the Subjects.


How can that be? the King of England is Invested with all the Rights and Prerogatives of Royalty before he is Crown'd.


Right, The King is before his Coronation as abso­lute a Monarch as after: This the Case of Watson and Clark (who Conspir'd against King James before his Coro­nation, and were condemn'd of High Treason) puts beyond all Controversie, and the Reason of this is clear; the Pacti­on and Agreement between King and People, is an insepe­rable Concomitant to the Crown, devolves with it to the next Successor, and is the tacite Condition and Terms upon which he accepts the Government.

So that 'tis no more necessary or expedient for every Heir, as to the Esse of his being King, to Declare the Conditions [Page 16] immediately upon his coming to the Crown, than 'twas re­quisite for every successive Generation, when the Court of Wards was in force, to declare he held his Lands by Knights Service; the ancient Tenure of the Estate sufficiently evinc'd the former, and the very Descent of the Crown to the next of Blood, brings with it a tacite implication of all the Im­munities and Liberties of the Subjects, in as full and ample a manner, as if they had been repeated a thousand times over.


The Court of Wards is as signal a Badge of a Con­quest, as undoubted a Character of Vassalage and Slavery, as any we can possibly instance in.


The Court of Wards has so little relation to Slavery, that theRegale Ser­vitium quia specialiter per­tinet ad Domi­num Regem. Britton. sol. 187. Law terms it only a Service, and all Servants are not Slaves, though all Slaves may be called Servants in the most strict sense; 'tis only a Token of Subjection, and compara­tively an Ensign of Freedom; a lasting Monument of Stipu­lation and Agreement between the Royal Authority and the People. When at such an easie rate, as attending the Wars in extraordinary and emergent Occasions, a Man has an in­tire Propriety in so large an Estate, so ample an Inheritance. And the very Antiquity of these Courts doth sufficiently e­vidence the nulity of a Conquest: These being in force in the Reign of King Alfred, and surviv'd your Conquest many Generations.


A Paction between the King and the People is a strange Assertion; and to say that the People can make a King is ve­ry little less than a contradiction.


Pray explain your self, and shew for what Reasons.


Because the Royal Authority has a power lodged in it, which the Subjects have neither Right or Pretence to con­fer. For Example, The power of Life and Death are in the hand of the Supreme Magistrate; which 'tis impossible he could receive from the People, because no Man has power of his own Life; much less has he Right or Authority to put it into another Mans disposal.


Here we must distinguish between Absolute and Con­ditional: No Man has an absolute Power over his own Life, so as to lay violent hands upon himself, or oblige another to shed his Blood, yet every Man hath hath a conditional [Page 17] Power upon this account; that is, he is capable (as he is a Member of the Body Politick) to Covenant and agree with the Head, and the other Members; that conditionally he violate those Laws, the Transgression of which, the whole Society have by Statute Law Ordain'd to be punished with Death, he will submit to the Punishment. So that the King has not an Absolute Power of Life and Death; the latter is only a Penalty conditionally we break such Established Laws: And this Power is rather in the Laws than the Su­preme Magistrate; for the King himself (without manifest Violence and Injustice) has no power to put any Man to death contrary to Law, or upon a particular Humor.


Suppose we grant somewhat of Agreement or Paction, between the Conqueror and the English Nobility; what Ad­vantage is that to us? Did the People indeed, and in reality, Elect the King as their Governour; when once the Act was done, and Allegiance sworn, the People have no more Rea­son or Pretence to revoke or annul that Election, than a Wife (who has chosen a Husband, promised him her Obedience, join'd her self to him in Marriage) has to put away her Hus­band, and to say that the People may Depose their King if there be a Bargain or Contract between them, is to affirm the Wife may Divorce the Husband because she chose him.


If all this be granted, you here contend for; I can­not imagine, how it would weaken or prejudice our present Cause.

The Wife after Marriage may not put away her Husband, that lives with her as an Husband: Nay, though a very ill Husband, turn Nonthirft, spend his Estate, abuse her Person, prove unnatural to her Children; notwithstanding all this, she is obliged to an entire Obedience.

But if her Husband prove Tyrannically cruel; so far pro­secute the wicked Counsels and Designs of her Enemies, as to give signal and evident Demonstrations that he intends her Ruine, Destruction and Death: If he be in himself insuffi­cient, (as in the Case of the Countess of Essex by her Hus­band Devereux) the Laws allow relief to such a Distressed Wife. And can we suppose there is greater care taken for a particular Member, than for the whole Body? In short, though the Wife cannot put away the Husband because she [Page 18] chose him; yet the Cruelties, Injustice, Violence and Irre­gularities of the Husband may be such, as may give just cause of Divorcement.


But were it not Grand Impiety, by violence to seize upon the Estate or Goods of a private Man, and dispose of it to others? What Sacriledge then must it be to Invade the Dignities Royal, and dispose of the Crown and Scepter?


Causelesly to make forcible entry upon any Mans Goods or Estate, and by violence to keep Possession, is plain and open Robbery; yet a Man may be Guilty of such Ille­gal Actions, such indiscret and undue Behaviour, as may cause a seizure of both his Moveables and Possessions without any manifest Wrong or Injury to the once Right owner. And the Laws allow a particular Man for Just and Reasonable Causes to Disinherit his eldest Son, and Entail the Estate upon others of his Posterity, only for the preserva­tion of a private Family; and I would fain hear a solid Ar­gument, why such an Advantageous Priviledge (in extream Necessity) should be denyed the Publick?


The Reason is clear and obvious, the Rights and Pro­perties of Subjects, or private Men are confirm'd by the Laws of the Land, made theirs by Agreement: But the Pre­rogatives of the Crown, are a Divine Right, the Imperial Diadem setled upon the Royal Head by the Almighties own appointment.


If this were but proved the business were done: But alas! this Doctrine is both groundless and absurd; for what­ever Monarch holds his Scepter jure Divino, must either be invested by an immediate Divine Designation (viz.) a special and extraordinary Commission from Divine Providence; as that of Saul, David, Solomon, Jehu; or else Successively by a Legitimate Descent from Persons thus Designed; as that of Rehoboam, Asa, Jehosophat; to the former of these, the Mo­narchs of England have no Pretence; and if the latter invest them with it, 'tis derived either from the Ancient Saxons, or from the Norman Line: That the first had no such Divine designation is clear from the Story of Hengist and Horsa.

And that no such pretence can be made from King William, stiled the Conqueror, will be more than evident from his Ambitious Designs; his illegal Attempts; his hostile and [Page 19] unnatural Proceedings; and his Barbarous in Actions wading through Torrents of Blood; riding in Triumph over heaps of slaughtered Innocents to ascend a Throne and grasp at a Scepter, to which he had no more right than the Great Mo­gul. And ifQuod initio vitiosum est; non potest tractu temporis convalescere. the Norman Duke first entred by force of Arms, and after a Battel compounded for the Crown, 'tis vain and ridiculous to urge Prescription to make a Divine Right; be cause what in the beginning was not Divine Process of time can never impress with a Divine Character.


But Solomon affirms, Eccles. 8. 14. Where the word of a King is, there is power, and who may say unto him, what dost thou?


Right, the words of Kings are Powerful, and no Man ought to dispute their Commands: But the Reason of it is grounded upon that Confidence we put in the Supreme Au­thority; that his Mandates will be always Lawful.

But this Place of Scripture has a peculiar relation to the Kings of Israel; a People whom God chose to enter into Covenant with, and over whom he Exercised such a special. Providence, that 'twas usual with him to set up one, and pull down another, and cause to Govern whom he pleased.

Thus when he had granted an extraordinary Commission to his Prophets, and they had Anointed the designed Person King over that People, his Word was powerful, and to be o­beyed, because so immediately constituted God's Vicegerent. But this Command is not adapted to our Circumstances: nei­ther does it add to our Duty of Allegiance; and we may as rationally evince the Levitical Laws obligatory in England, as evidence the British Monarchy, Iure Divino, from this place of Scripture.

Besides, if this Doctrine were applicable to the Monarchs we live under, 'twould be destructive to our Established Go­vernment, and repugnant to the Apostolick Doctrine. If a King decease whilst his Heir is an Infant, by this Argument the whole Realm must be subject to his fond and childish Commands; and when he is arrived to those years in which Passions are more vigorous, and youthful Lusts strongly im­portune to ascend the Stage, and act their Scene even in the violent prosecutions of those leud Debauches; a Grave and Reverend Bishop dares not advise him to a Reformation of [Page 20] Manners, to live soberly and become religious, for fear he transgress his Precept of saying unto him, what doest thou? But what's infinitely worse may happen: the Heir to the Crown may be born a Fool, or Ideot, or by accident be a Lunatick, or labour under a grievous Disease of Madness; and yet no man must gain say or contradict him, if this Ar­gument be valid?


A Child incapacitated to govern by tender years, ought to be put under Protectors and Tutors during his Childhood; but in his Adult State, his mature Age may challenge this Authority. A Fool or Ideot can never be brought sensible what Government is; and a Lunatick or Mad-man is more incapable of Government than either. So that not only Reason, but Nature's Instinct of Self preserva­tion, commands us to fence these from the Crown and Sce­pter.


An Infant is as much a Monarch in his Minority, as in his mature and riper Years; and if he ought to be under Tutors and Governours, they must have power to say unto him, what doest thou? Or we may reasonably infer he will be very ill Tutor'd. A Fool or an Ideot (though in all his Actions innocent) must be obliterated from the Line of Succession; and a Lunatick or Mad-man (who never acted against, or en­deavour'd the destruction of Church or State) must lose his Right, because incapacitated by his Disease.

Why then by parity of Reason may not a Papist be exclu­ded, who hath already so vehemently shook the Foundations of Government, both Ecclesiastical and Civil, and for the future stands bound by all the Sacred Obligations of Oaths and Vows, obliged under the penalty of forfeiting his Diadem and Scepter in this World, and his precious and immortal Soul in that to come; to extirpate our Religion, subvert our Laws, and reduce us to the Subjection and Vassallage of the Roman Yoak.


This Argument (I confess) does a little stagger my Judgment; but when I remember those other express and positive places of Scripture, so pertinent to this present Con­troversie, I am radicated as firm as before, Prov. 8. 15. By me Kings reign, and Princes decree judgment. 1 Sam. 26. 9. Who can stretch forth his hand against the Lord's anointed, and be [Page 21] guiltless? What can be more clear or obvious? what more positively evinced, than Monarchy, Iure Divino, from these Texts?


'Tis true, the places of Scripture do sufficiently e­vidence the Divine Right of the Kings of Israel, but they prove nothing for the Kings of England. And indeed, not only these, but all other places of Sacred Writ, in the Old Te­stament, that evidence Regal Authority to be founded by Divine Providence▪ have such a proper Aspect, such a pe­culiar Relation to the Jewish Government, that they can be expounded of no other Constitution, unless there be the pub­lick Footsteps of an extraordinary Divine Designation, as in all Changes was apparently visible in that Government, where commonly the Almighty chose, the Prophets conse­crated, and the People obeyed.

But in opposition to this, the Government of England is a Paction and Contract between the Supream Authority and the People; the former to govern according to those Rules the Laws prescribe, and the latter quietly (without Resi­stance) to submit to be governed by the Laws Established, and to support with their Lives and Fortunes the Regal Power.

And this Agreement with the Subjects, does not lessen or depress the Authority of the Supream Magistrate, but ra­ther advanceth it; for 'tis the Honour of a King, not to be capable of doing wrong; and 'tis the Safety and Happi­ness of the People, to be under such a Magistrate [...]s only commands lawful things, which capacitates the Subject to obey with safety, sub clipeo legis nemo decipitun.

Whilst the Execution of illegal Commands, is dangerous to the People; that being an high Offence to the Publick, and by Consequence no small Transgression against the Supream Magistrate. For the King being a principal part of the Body Politick, must necessarily have a principal share in that grand Affront. And this is the Reason of that Maxim, The King can do no wrong; all his lawful Injunctions being Just and Righteous, and his illegal Mandates must not be obey­ed. So that would Court Earwigs leave off to flatter, and be exact and impartially honest in their Duty both to King and People, the first would be renown'd, great and glorious, and [Page 22] the second, being free from oppression and violence, would be loving, loyal, and dutiful Subjects.


But the Doctrine of the Gospel is so positive and ex­press' in commanding Obedience to Superiors, that if all o­ther Arguments were away, this is sufficient to turn the scale against all that can be said to the contrary.


You mistake the very End and Design of my Intenti­ons: I purpose not to annihilate, or destroy our Obedience, but to reduce it to its due proportion assign'd it, both by God and Man; cause it calmly to run down within the Banks of its own Channel. By which we shall be fitly capa­citated to follow our Saviour's Advice; (viz.) to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's.

The Evangelical Precepts confine us to no particular Plat­form of Civil Government; in general, it provides for the preservation of Honesty, Justice, and Peace; frequently in­culcates our Duty of Obedience, pressing it by many cogent and rational Arguments; and exhorts us patiently to bear all Calamities or Oppressures, we have no lawful way to avoid: but it does not oblige us to be Vassals and Slaves to an Arbitra­ry Power.

This is evident from pregnant Examples in the New Testa­ment, especially from the Epistles of the Two Famous and Renowned Apostles, Peter and Paul; and particularly the last part of the 12th Chapter to the Romans, and the begin­ning of the 13th, were penn'd wholly upon this ac­count.


The Scriptures you mention, are so Diametrically opposite to the Doctrine you teach, that 'tis impossible to find a more cogent Argument, or positive Command for Absolute Obedience than those are. The Texts are largely insisted upon by our Divines; and from thence they rationally evince an unlimited Duty of Obedience.


For the more clear Explication, and better under­standing of the particular Scripture above mention'd, we must enquire, what was the End and Design of that Epi­stle, and especially this place formerly quoted. And the Reasons of that, together with the knowledge of the Per­sons for whom 'twas written, their Estate, Condition and [Page 23] Circumstance, will give us a very great light towards a Right Apprehension of it.

The grand End and Design of this Epistle, was not to plant the Gospel at Rome, or prescribe all the Doctrines requi­site to the Foundation of Christianity; but rather to refute those false Doctrines that Hereticks had super-induced, and to condemn and reform those wicked and revengeful Practi­ces, that tho Christians (upon some mistakes) were highly guilty of.

The Persons for whose sake and instruction this Epistle was written, were chiefly Jews proselyted to the Christian Reli­gion; but yet still strongly tinctur'd with their former Lea­ven, John 8. 33. that they were Abraham's Seed; and by that Foederal Pact between God and him, were so immedi­ately under the Government of Divine Providence, that no Heathen Potentate could have Authority or Lordship over them, further than urgent Necessity or meer Compulsion for­ced them.

And being at that time subjugated by force of Arms to the Yoak of the Roman Empire, and by reason of Traf­fick, Commerce, and other occasions, necessitated to inhabit at Rome, where the very Exercise of their Religion was an high Transgression of the Imperial Laws, which, together with their refusal to pay the accustomed Tribute, and to render some respect of Honour the Laws conferr'd upon the Hea­thens; the Imperial Officers frequently dealt very severely with those Christian proselytes; and the Christians (upon the aforesaid Principle) used all opportunities as severely to revenge themselves; which rendered the Christian Religion very odious at Rome, and was a great block to the propagation of the Gospel.

So that the Christians resisting those imperial positive Laws, and their opposition to the Execution of them, was the only Reason, the alone Cause that moved the Apostle to write this Portion of Scripture to them; as appears from Chap. 12. v. 17. Recompence no man evil for evil: v. 19. Dearly beloved, avenge not your selves, but rather give place to wrath; That is, rather suffer the punishment of the Law, and the Injuries that those who inflict it, offer to you, than resist. Because (as he assures them, Chap. 13.) Obedience to the Established [Page 24] Laws is a Christian Duty, though it be to the Laws of a Hea­then Prince.

And when these Laws are opposite or repugnant to the Di­vine Precepts, quietly to submit, and patiently to suffer the punishment of Transgressors, verily believing, that God will cause all such afflictions and calamities to work for the benefit and advantage of his People.


What's this but Passive Obedience you so much con­demn'd in the beginning of this Discourse?


'Tis so far from Obedience, that 'tis suffering for righ­teousness sake. And indeed 'tis the only suffering that has a Promise annexed to it in Sacred Scripture; for those lively Oracles authorize us not to cut our own Throats in Obedience to the Supream Magistrate, if he enjoyn it, nor to sit still, whilst others illegally act such violence.

The Gospel does not destroy the grand Principle of Na­ture, (viz.) Self-preservation, but cherishes and encoura­ges it.

But in respect of the Publick, if Wrongs be personal, or Injuries peculiar to particular Men, such as portend not de­struction, or grand detriment to the whole Body Politick; such must be patiently submitted to, rather than by resisting, disturb the publick Peace or Tranquility of the Nation. As 'tis more safe and prudent to bear with a little uneasiness in a particular Member, conditionally it endanger not the other parts, than hazard the Health of the whole Body by churlish Physick, to redress that Tollerable Inconveni­ence.

The Duties of Obedience the Gospel enjoyns, is to lawful Authority, not to illegal or imposed Jurisdiction; not an Ar­bitrary Power. It condemns not our desending our selves from apparent Ruine and Destruction; and permits us to dis­pute our Rights with our Princes, without that infamous Character of Rebels.

Besides, Rom. 13. was written on purpose to confute that fond Opinion of the Jews before mentioned, that they were so immediately in Covenant with God, that no Foreiner had Authority to oblige them to obedience.

[Page 25] This the Apostle condemns by a positive Command to the contrary, saying, Let every scul be subject to the higher powers; and withal, shews them the Reasonableness of this Precept; because the powers that be (whether Pagan or Jewish) are or­dained of God; inferring, that they living under the Ordi­nance of God, are obliged to be subject unto it: Verse the Second, he illustrates the heinousness of the sin of opposing Lawful Authority, in the Execution of Legal Commands; both from the Ordinance it self and the punishment due to the Transgression of it. And perswades persons in these Christian Circumstances, who were daily violating the E­stablished Laws of the Empire, patiently to suffer and quietly submit to the Legal Execution of the Laws.

Because opposition made by such persons, was resisting the Ordinance of God; the punishment of which is Damnation. He farther Illustrates, that this was the end why Rulers were Ordained; their Business and chief Occupation being to punish such Violaters of the Laws as lived in an open Con­tempt and Transgression of them.

And therefore plainly tells them, they must be subject (there's a necessity laid upon them) not only for fear, wrath, compulsion, or punishment; the alone Obligations that had power to keep the Jews in Subjection, but also for Conscience sake.

And for the same Reason enjoyns them to pay Tribute: Render therefore to all their due, tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom, fear to whom fear, honour to whom ho­nour.

From hence 'tis clear and manifest, the Apostle did not command those Christians to subject themselves to an unlimi­ted or Arbitrary Power; but to render Obedience to the ex­press and publick Laws of the Empire, because these Laws only could determine how much Tribute, Fear or Honour Superiors challenged, and Inferiors ought to pay.

The same Doctrine also St. Peter teaches, 1 Epist. 2. where observing the Heathens distinguished not between the Jews converted to the Christian Religion, and those which retain­ed the Mosaic Principles, who, for the above-mentioned Cause, became the most obstinate, turbulent, factious and seditious People imaginable, upon all occasions exerting their [Page 26] utmost endeavours to raise Tumults, and embroil the State in Civil wars.

The Apostle, to dehort the Christians from the Belief and Practice of that wicked Principle, earnestly perswades them not to follow the Example of that obstinate and head­strong People, but by their regular and meek Behaviour, quiet and candid Carriage, to approve themselves to the Heathen Governours, by submitting to the Ordinance of Man, for the Lord's sake; That is, Render all due Alle­giance, not only to Jewish, but Heathen Governours, even to Claudius Drusus (in whose Reign the Ancients affirm this Epistle to be written,) though the Emperour Claudi­us were elected to the Imperial Throne, by the Pretorian Band, in opposition to the Design both of City and Se­nate.

This very Doctrine also St. Paul commands Titus to teach his Flock, Chap. 3. ver. 1. And those parallel pla­ces, those most express and positive Commands, Colos. 3. 18, 22. Wives submit your selves to your own Husbands: Ser­vants in all things obey your masters; are only Transcripts of this Doctrine: For neither Wives nor Servants are obli­ged to obey, or stigmatiz'd as disobedient, for refusing to execute the illegal or wicked Commands of their Husbands and Masters: Neither have the latter Pow­er or Legal Authority to correct or punish such Disobe­dience.


If this be the Genuine Sense, the Natural Signi­fication of these places of Scripture, how came the Pri­mitive Fathers to interpret them in another Sense? And why doth St. Paul affirm, 2 Cor. 10. 4. that the weapons of Chri­stians are not carnal?


This is the very Doctrine those Fathers delivered, as is evident from the Epistles of St. Polycarp, and the Apologies of Justin Martyr, Athenagoras and Tertullian, to free the Christian Religion from those Aspersions of Se­dition and Rebellion the Heathens accused it of, and to justifie the Loyalty and Obedience of Christians to the Powers and Magistrates under which they lived. Thus,

[Page 27] Till the Conversion of Constantine the Great to the Chri­stian Faith, the Evangelical Doctrine was always in op­position to the Established Laws of the Empire. And in all Cases, when the Divine Precepts were inconsistent with the Laws Established in the Empire, the Christian Religion taught its Votaries quietly to submit, and pati­ently to suffer the punishment due to the Transgression of these Laws, without resistance, or calumniating Lan­guage; to take up their Cross and follow their Saviour. This the Primitive Fathers did not only frequently incul­cate to their Auditors, but manifested their Doctrine (as is evident from their Works) very often by their own Suf­ferings.

But when the aforesaid Emperour had setled the Chri­stian Religion, and added the Civil Sanction, (viz.) Esta­blished its Precepts as the Laws Imperial, the Doctrine of the Gospel (as to the suffering part) was much altered. In all former Mutations or Changes in the Government of the Empire, the Christian Pastors constantly exhorted their Flocks to obey the Supream Powers; not to calumniate, or speak evil of Dignities, but patiently to submit to the most barbarous Cruelties.

But when the Evangelical Doctrine and Discipline was Established by Law, and Constantius the Emperour perse­cuted the Orthodox Clergy,Contra Con­stantum Augu­stum. St. Hillary, that Pious and Learned Father, roundly tells the Emperour of his impi­ous and unchristian Actions. And when Julian Apostati­zed from the Faith, banished the Gospel, demolished the Churches, and scoffingly told the Christians, their Doctrine was to suffer; an Eminent Man of that Age writ a Tract De Regibus Apostaticis. approved as Orthodox Doctrine by that Catholick and Renown'd Bishop Athanasius, which tartly inform'd the Emperour, That the Christian Religion (when Establish­ed by Law) allowed its Votaries to justifie their Rights, and was not to be trampled upon, ruined, and destroy­ed, to gratifie the Humour of an Ambitious and Idolatrous Prince.

That of St. Paul has no Relation to our present Dis­course; the Weapons there mentioned, are no Shields or Bucklers against the Hostile Attempts of our Adversaries, [Page 28] but such as the Church is invested with for the punish­ment of Criminal Members; such as Excommunication, Cen­sures, &c.

So that 'tis clear and evident those places of Holy Writ that enjoyns Obedience to Superiors, however express or emphatical in themselves, have neither Relation or Aspect to our present Circumstances; they only enjoyn Obedi­ence to all lawful Commands, and prohibit Resistance un­der the greatest punishment, when legally imposed; which is so far from our late Transactions, at which you scru­ple, that they were only acted to preserve our pure and Apo­stolick Religion, and secure our Fundamental Laws and Ancient Government.

And 'tis most palpably ridiculous and very injurious to the Gospel, to wrest places of Scripture, peculiarly adapted to the Suffering State of Christianity; I mean whil'st 'twas under Pagan Princes, and without National Laws to support it, to blacken and condemn the Actions of Christians; whose Religion and Liberties are Entail'd to posterity by Established Lawes; and whose only Action (for which they are blamed) is for Rescuing their Religion from Superstition and Idolatry, and their Ancient Liberties from the Vassallage and Slavery of Arbitrary Power.


But 'tis observable, when God chastiz'd the wicked­ness of the Kings of Israel, he never did it by their own People, but by a strange Nation; shewing by the Conduct of his Justice and Providence, that Subjects must not cor­rect the Faults of their Kings, but leave that to God, to whom they are only Answerable for what they do.


'Tis true, that was the general Method God com­monly used in that Nation, especially with those he had advanced to the Throne, by Vertue of an Extraordinary Commission from himself. Yet the Histories of that King­dom yield us particular Examples of the contrary practice. Thus the Cruelty, Irreligion, and wicked Reign of Jeboram, caused Libnah to revolt from under his Government, 2 Chron. 21. 10. And the Reason of this Revolt was because Jeho­ram had forsaken the Lord God of his Fathers.

[Page 29] And the Maccabees, (when Antiochus Epiphanes, their Lawful King, had silenced the Jewish Burnt-Offerings and Sacrifices, profaned their Sabbaths, and polluted their San­ctuary) by opposition and violence, in a most hostile man­ner, rescued their Worship from Heathen Idolatry, and cleansed their Sanctuary from such Pagan Pollutions. And the renowned and thinkingLib. 1. de jure Belli. cap. 4. Grotius allows the Necessity of things to consecrate the Action. And the Learned and Ingenious Thorndike [in his Right of the Church in a Pag. 306. Chri­stian State] affirms, God approved of this War; And Heb. 11. commends their Faith for that Heroick and Vertu­ous Action.


Were I convinced of all we have hitherto discour­sed of, there is another Knot so intricate and perplexing, that I despair ever of satisfaction. The Oath of Allegiance is so express and positive, so firm and binding an Obligati­on, that nothing can possibly be a firmer Tie to secure my Obedience to James the Second; (viz.) Not to take up Arms against the King upon any pretence whatsoever: And to give this Oath of Fidelity to another, is not only a Contra­diction in it self, but a down-right Violation of that former sacred Obligation.


The Objection, I confess, (before seriously consider­ed) is a very plausible plea, and of great importance; but when compared with the Rules of Right Reason, and the Commands of Scripture, the Difficulty doth immediately vanish. Yet I deny not but such Oaths are of great ad­vantage in a Publick Society: by these Princes are secured of their Subjects Allegiance, Generals of their Soldiers Fi­delity; Subjects assertained their Princes will not degene­rate into Tyrants; Leagues confirm'd between Nations, Peace conserv'd among Men, Mutual Commerce and Tra­ding secured, Liberties and Properties maintained, Contro­versies and Suits decided.

And among those the Oath of Allegiance challenges a prime place, being really and indeed a very sacred Obligation; (viz.) a calling ofIurare nihil est aliud quam Deum testem invocare. God to witness the Reality of our Inten [...]ion, to keep inviolable that Faith and Obedience we have promised and sworn to our Superiors,Assumere De­um in testem di­citur jurare. the breach of which is a most horrid Crime, a superlative Perjury, [Page 30] very often severely punished in this World, and (without a sincere and unfeigned Repentance) will inevitably ruin us in the next.

So that whatever we thus promise, we are as firmly obliged to perform, as the Wit of Man can contrive to bind us.

But notwithstanding all this, the Oath of Allegiance, however solemnly administred, or however significant or express in it self, adds nothing to the Duty of Obedience incumbent upon us as Subjects, without, and antecedent to the formal Administration of it; it may indeed corro­borate and confirm the Obligation, by adding Perjury to our Disobedience, but it cannot encrease or augment the Duty.

And the very End and Design of the Oath, attests the same; for though the Oath do particularly name the Su­pream Magistrate (because he is Head of the whole Socie­ty), as if 'twere design'd only for his Protection and Safe­ty; yet we may rationally infer, That the Parliament (being conven'd for the good of the Publick) who in­vented this Oath, took it themselves, and imposed it upon others, had in this Oath a more General and Notable In­tention, of a more Excellent and Transcendent Nature; (viz.) to promote the Safety, Honour and Happiness of the whole Society. This is evident from the Ridiculous­ness and Injustice of that acceptation; for if the Oath of Allegiance be obligatory only in the former sense; (viz.) have respect only to the Protection and Safety of the King's Person, without having any Relation to the Peace and Welfare of the Publick? By this Obligation our Re­presentatives in Parliament, put both themselves and us into the hands of the Supream Power, to destroy us at his pleasure; binding us by the most solemn Obligations ima­ginable, even the Sacred Ties of the Oath of Allegiance, quietly to submit to the Invasions of our Liberties and Properties, Confiscation of our Goods, Sequestration of our Estates, Prophanation of our Holy and Apostolick Re­ligion, by Superstitious and Idolatrous Practices; and to all other barbarous Outrages that the Pride and Ambition of Man, or the Malice and Cruelty of Implacable Enemies, [Page 31] could invent; which is a Soloecism of so grand a Conse­quence, as we may well think impossible for so Learn­ed, Judicious, and August a Senate to impose upon them­selves.

Especially if we consider, that the Oath of Allegiance, taken only in the former Intention, confounds and de­stroys all other Constitutions of Parliament; is opposite and destructive to the Fundamental Laws of Nature; (viz.) Self-Preservation, and plainly repugnant to the Di­vine Rules and Precepts, which (to any Rational Man) methinks should be a sufficient Argument to engage him to understand it, in the Second, and more Excellent Sense, since 'tis granted by all Men of Reason and Learning, That Oaths are only obligatory in the Sense of those Per­sons who invent and impose them, if their Intention may clearly and rationally appear from the words, as expressed in the Oath.

Now the Oath of Allegiance, in different Circumstances, being capable of a double Construction, and both appa­rently agreeable to the Intention and Design of the Compo­sers, I will a little illustrate the Reasonableness of this two­fold signification.

The Royal Authority being the Head of the Body Po­litick, the Life of the Law, and the Soul of Govern­ment, 'tis not only highly reasonable, but absolutely necessary for the Publick Advantage and Behoof, to fence and defend this Supream Magistrate against For­rein Enemies, and secure him from private Insurrections at home.

And to the end that Rebellion might prove abortive in the very Conception, and that Cockatrice Egg be crush­ed ere it became a Serpent; the sacred Tie of the Oath of Allegiance was judged the most effectual means to pre­vent all Civil Wars, repel all open Hostility, and secure the whole Society of the intire Affections of every particular Member.

And the King being the Person to whom was com­mitted the weighty and important Affairs of the Nation, and in whose Management and Conduct, the Happiness or Misery of the Publick does very much consist. This [Page 32] Oath of Fidelity was personally made to the Supream Magistrate, as Head, though really designed for the Ad­vancement and Promotion of the Peace, Happiness and Safety of the whole Society.

And for the Truth of this Assertion, I appeal to the Capacity of the meanest Reader, whether he can sup­pose, the Great Council of the Nation, Assembled in Par­liament, who composed this Oath of Fidelity, and en­joyn'd it to be given to the Prince; whether, I say, they design'd it only for the Preservation and Safety of the King? Especially when (by his own Option and Choice) he should place his personal Interest and Safety in opposition to that of the Publick Weal?

From hence 'tis evident, That in all ordinary and com­mon Circumstances; that is, when the Interest of the Roy­al Authority, and the People, (which always ought to be) are in Conjunction, the Oath of Allegiance binds all Subjects, both with Life and Fortune, to assist and defend the Supream Magistrate against all Stratagems and Hostilities, whether publick or private. And the Reason of this is, because the Prince is so nearly allied to the Publick, and so much a part of it, that the Safe­ty and Happiness of the latter is, in a very high mea­sure, involved in the Prosperity and Welfare of the for­mer.

But in great Exigencies, and Extraordinary Junctures of Affairs, in which the Ruine and Destruction of the Pub­lick is inevitably involved (especially if that National Ca­lamities be favoured, advanced and promoted by that Person whose particular Safety is design'd in the Oath,) the promise of Fidelity in such Circumstances, bind on­ly in the latter, and more general Intention; for Kings were made for the People, not the People for Kings. And it is plain Madness to imagine any Obligation can bind us to hasten the Accomplishment, not on­ly of our own, but the Publick Destruction; because such Actions are Diametrically opposite of all Laws, both Natural, and Civil, and Divine.

[Page 33] And that Extraordinary Contingencies are not to be regulated but by Extraordinary Methods, is plain and obvious from several Topicks. In Common and Ordina­ry Circumstances, the Laws secure every man in his Li­berty and Property: Thus the breaking a private man's House, forcibly seizing a man's Goods, or violently re­straining his Person, are Actions very unjust, and highly pu­nishable.

But in Extraordinary Cases, these are no Rules; but Necessity has her Laws: As in time of a Raging Fa­mine, Propriety of Goods may be forced; Corn may by Violence be taken from private men, and sold for the publick Relief; In a Noysome Plague, and Infectious Pe­stilence, for the Common Preservation, Men may be re­strained from Commerce, and confined to their Houses: and in an apparent apprehension of an Invasion from a­broad, encouraged by a Party at home, Men may be seized, or imprisoned, or restrained to their Habita­tions.

Thus Divine Providence Constituted the General Law of Nature to regulate the Ordinary Course of things: but beside these, Miracles have been often effected, which the aforesaid Law could never regulate: and yet these super­natural and stupendious Works were always design'd for wholesome and excellent Ends. Thus Nature her self, for her own preservation in vacuums, &c. causes Natural things to act contrary to their Natural Motions, forcibly attracting heavy Bodies upward, and as impetuously compel­ling the light to descend.

And the express and positive Laws of the Decalogue, not­withstanding the Solemnity of their Promulgation, toge­ther with the Evangelical Commands of the New Testa­ment (though back'd with stupendious Miracles to attest their Divinity,) are null and void, when by extraordina­ry Circumstances they are placed in opposition to the Works of Mercy, Charity or Necessity. Our Saviour, confirming this Doctrine, Matth. 12. 11. saith, Which of you shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the Sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and pluck it out? Notwithstanding the strict Precept for the Sanctifi­cation [Page 34] of that Day. And our strictest Casuists (in case of Necessity) allow Apothecaries to Compound Medicines, Mariners to follow their daily Labours, and Midwives to do their Office upon the Lord's Day; and all this for the preservation of particular Persons.

So that the Natural Consequence from hence, is, That if the preservation of a few Individuals be more accepta­ble to God, than the strictest Litteral Observance of his Laws; and the Deliverance of the Publick from Ruine and Destruction, a Matter of such grand Importance, such absolute Necessity, as can consecrate the Violation of positive Laws, both Humane and Divine. Then our present Obligation, (viz.) the Oath of Allegiance, Not to take up Arms against the King, upon any pretence whatsoever, can be obligatory only in the Literal Sense, when the Interest of the Supream Magistrate is in Conjuncti­on with Publick Safety and Happiness, and has no Relation to his particular Intreagues, or Personal Hu­mours.

And if the Royal Authority (as in our late Circum­stances) be so deeply infatuated by the wicked Coun­sels of Impious and Self-ended Men, as to sever his Peace, Prosperity and Quiet from that of the whole Nation, and illegally to prosecute that Advice so far, as to place his own Safety, Happiness and Tranquility, in Opposition to the Safety, Welfare and Security of all his People; the Oath of Allegiance is then loose, as to him, and obligatory only in the latter and more Excellent Sense.


But all Oaths, when once taken, (if imposed by a Lawful Authority, and Legal Oaths) do so far invest the Persons sworn to, with a Right to the thing sworn, that the Person swearing has no Power of him­self (without the other's Consent) to retrieve that pro­mise, unless by Violence and manifest Injustice. Now the Oath of Allegiance being a Lawful Oath, impo­sed by a Competent Authority, my taking this Oath invested the King with a Right to my Fidelity and Obedience; That without the Approbation of his Royal Person, 'tis not only unjust, but even im­possible [Page 35] to divest him of it, and confer it upon ano­ther.


Right! The former part of your Assertion is true, the Oath of Allegiance is a Lawful Oath, and impo­sed by a sufficient Authority; yet His Majesty, before you took this Oath, was invested with as undoubted Right to your Obedience, and in as full and ample a manner, as if you had taken the Oath a Thousand times. Neither indeed has the Supream Magistrate Pow­er to absolve you from this Obligation; And the Rea­son of this is manifest; for the Daty of Allegiance does so mightily conduce to promote the Advantage and Hap­piness of the whole Society, that the Publick in Gene­ral, (of which the Supream Magistrate is but a part) challenges so large a Concernment in it, that 'tis a manifest Wrong, an apparent Injustice, for a particular per­son (though never so great) to dispence with the undoubted Birthright of every Subject.

So that should the Oath be taken only in the first ac­ceptation, as you seem plainly to understand it, (viz.) to have Relation only to the Safety and Preservation of the King's Person, without an Eye to the Publick Welfare and Security, the Oath, in that Sense, is not Obligatory, but, ipso facto, void from the very impo­sing.

And the Reason of this is plain and obvious, because all Oaths, or Promissory Obligations, that are contrary to our Duty to our God, our Neighbour, or our selves; repugnant to Piety, Justice or Charity, are invalid, and bind not. Rei illicitae nulla obligatio, is a Maxim so con­sonant to the Doctrine of the Gospel, that no Christian (I suppose) has a face to deny it. And that the Oath of Al­legiance, in your sense, is Res illicita, is easily manifested from several Topicks.

First, From its Opposition to Piety, and Destructiveness to Religion. His Majesty to whom you have given this Oath of Fidelity, is by Profession a Roman Catholick; and, qua talis, he is obliged, not only by the Principles of his Religion, but sub poenâ, of Excommunication, Depo­sition, yea, Damnation, to extirpate the Protestant Religion, [Page 36] to the utmost of his Power, and to propagate Superstition and Idolatry in its room.

Now your Notion of the Oath of Allegiance, is both a License and Encouragement to such a Supream Magi­strate, actually to free himself from the Tyes of such Powerful and Terrifying Obligations, by prosecuting the Business: For when his Person and Government is secured (under the penalty of Perjury, and punishment of Rebellion) against all Resistance and Opposition from the Publick, what Block can hinder him from working out his Liberty, setting up his Superstition, Idolatry, and approving himself to his Holy Father, by subverting our Laws, destroying our Religi­on, and by severely punishing those who obstinately oppose his Arbitrary Proceedings?

Beside, if the Oath of Allegiance, (viz.) Not to take up Arms against the King, upon any pretence whatsoever; but to assist his Majesty with Life, Limb, and Terrence Honour, be to be un­derstood particularly of the King's Person; by this Argument, if a King degenerate to a Julian, his Subjects are (by all sa­cred Obligations) bound to assist him with their utmost Abili­ties, in demolishing the Temples and Houses of God, exter­minating their Religion, burning their Bibles, and banishing the Gospel from his Territories, and by their endeavours to introduce Paganism, and establish the Worship of Infidels.

Secondly, The Oath of Allegiance in this Sense is not Obliga­tory, because of its contrariety to Justice and Righteousness: Politick Justice commands us to support as well as obey all the wholesom Laws of that Society we are Members of; and the Divine Precepts enjoyn us to protect the Innocent, relieve the Needy, and defend the Oppressed; which are Mandates very inconsistent with your Notion of the Oath of Allegiance: for according to your Interpretation of that Obligation, all Sub­jects are obliged to support and defend the Supream Magistrate in all his Proceedings, as well when he oppresses the Loyal and Innocent, as when he punishes the Guilty and Criminal; as vigorously in his Encroachments upon the Liberties and Pro­perties of the Subject (if he please to invade them) as in maintaining his own Just Rights and Prerogatives.

But Thirdly, Whatsoever Plea or Objection may be made against the two former, there is in the Oath of Allegiance, ta­ken [Page 37] in the aforesaid sense, such an evident Repugnancy to that Eminent and Evangelical Duty, Charity, so frequently inculcated in sacred Scripture, that that alone doth sufficiently evidence the Invalidity of the Obligation.

The Duties of Mercy and Charity, are not only the Advice and Counsel of our Saviour, but his express and positive Com­mands, (viz) That we shew Mercy as our Heavenly Father is merciful; that we deal by others as we would be dealt with in the like Circumstances: Merciful not only to Mens Bodies, the perishing part, but chiefly to their Souls, that are Immor­tal, and must live for ever; that we may (as much as in us lies) promote and set forward the salvation of all men; not to detract from, or add to the Word of God, nor to comply with those that do it, but uncorruptedly to teach it to our sons, and our sons sons.

Now the Oath of Allegiance, in the aforesaid acceptation, can never be reconciled to this Doctrine; for that Obligation, (whenever the Supream Magistrate pleases) destroys Christia­nity, confirms the Hobbian Principle, opens a door to Popery, Turcism, Apostacy, Atheism, or what else that Magistrate shall please to introduce.

And whatever Objection may be produced against it from our sins; (viz.) that they are as numerous and great as the Transgressions of Sodom, unparallel and provoking as the Wickedness of Samaria, that our obstinate contempt, and vo­luntary abuse of his Evangelical Mercies, cry aloud to Divine Justice, at least, to obscure and darken his Gospel, if not to­tally to deprive us of it, yet these can never justifie our Pro­ceedings to future Ages, or yield any pretence to a Plea, to free us from our Duty of Christian Charity, to the Infants of our Time, and the Children yet unborn, which doubtless are not criminals upon this account, which notwithstanding will (by this unparallel stupidity of ours, under the Mask or Vi­zard of Loyalty) be (as by a fatal and peremptory Decree) for ever deprived of the knowledge of the right worship of God, and inevitably involve them into such a lamentable con­dition, as will certainly render them either in defiance of God their Creator, or in ignorance of a saving knowledge of their blessed Redeemer.

[Page 38] The Natural Consequence from the whole is, That the Oath of Allegiance can only bind in the first sense, when 'tis in order to effect the second; that is, it only obliges us to protect and defend the Interest of the Supream Magistrate, when his Inte­rest is subservient to the welfare of the whole Society. But if bigotted Zeal, haughty Ambition, or wicked Counsellors, be so prevalent with the Prince, as to obliterate his Duty to the Publick, and upon private Picks and Humors, destroy the Laws, subvert Religion, neglect all the Methods of Govern­ment, and separate his own Happiness from the Safety and Welfare of the Publick; the Oath in the former sense is void and inobligatory.

And the Reason of this Consequence is very plain, because men are under former Obligations to the contrary: For in the Baptismal Vow, (which is commonly the first men make,) they oblige themselves by that Covenant made with God, to perform all Christian Duties, which respect either God, their Neighbours or themselves, and especially to the Works of Pie­ty, Justice and Charity. Now After-Obligations can never bind such to opposite Duties; Obligatio prior praejudicat posteriori; as in case of Marriage, ‘A Pre-contract with one Party, void­eth After contracts with any other: And if a man convey Lands to several Persons, by Deeds of several Dates, the first Conveyance stands in force, and all the rest are void.’ Thus the Oath of Allegiance (though design'd and taken in your sense) becomes void and inobligatory, because it finds men formerly engaged to contrary Duties.

Books lately Printed for Richard Chiswell.
  • [Page]Dr. PATRICK's Sermon before the Prince of Orange, 20, Jan 1688.
  • —Sermon before the Queen at Whitehall, March. 1. 1688.
  • —Sermon at St. Paul's Covent Garden, on the first Sunday in Lent, being a Second part of a Sermon preached before the Prince of Orange.
  • A Letter written by the Emperor to the late King James, setting forth the True Occasion of his Fall, and the Treachery and Cruelty of the French.
  • King William or King Lewis, wherein is set forth the inevitable necessity these Nations lie under, of submitting wholly to One or Other of these Kings, and the matter in Controversie is not now between K. William and K. James, but between K. William and K. Lewis of France for the Government of these Nations.
Books lately Published.
  • A Letter written by a Clergy man to his Neighbour, concerning the pre­sent Circumstances of the Kingdom, and the Allegiance that is due to the King and Queen. 4o.
  • The Case of Allegiance in our present Circumstances considered, in a Letter from a Minister in the City, to a Minister in the Country. 4o.
  • A Sermon preached at Fulham, in the Chappel of the Palace, upon Easter­day, 1689. at the Consecration of the Right Reverend Father in God Gilbert Lord Bishop of Sarum: By Anthony Horneck D. D. 4o.
  • The Judgments of God upon the Roman Catholick Church, from its first Rigid Laws for Universal Conformity to it, unto its last End. With a Pro­spect of these near approaching Revolutions, viz. The Revival of the Prote­stant Profession in an Eminent Kingdom, where it was totally suppressed. The last End of all Turkish Hostilities. The general Mortification of the Power of the Roman Church in all Parts of its Dominions. By Drue Cress [...]ner D. D.
  • A Breviate of the State of Scotland, in its Government, Supreme Courts, Officers of State, Inferiour Officers, Offices and Inferiour Courts, Districts, Jurisdictions, Burroughs Royal, and Free Corporations. Fol.
  • An Account of the Proceedings of the Convention of the Estates of Scot­land, from their first sitting down to this time; which will be continued Weekly.
  • An Account of the Reasons which induced Charles II. King of England, to declare War against the States General of the United Provinces in 1672. and of the Private League which he entred into at the same time with the French King, to carry it on, and to establish Popery in England, Scotland, and Ireland; as they are set down in the History of the Dutch War, printed in French at Paris, with the privilege of the French King in 1682. Which Book He caused to be immediately suppressed at the Instance of the English Em­bassador. Fol.
  • A Discourse concerning the Worship of Images, Preached before the Uni­versity of Oxford the 24th of May, 1686. By George Tallie Sub-Dean of York. [For which he was suspended.] 4o.
  • Some Considerations touching Succession and Allegiance. 4o.
  • Reflections upon the late Great Revolution: Written by a Lay hand in the Country, for the satisfaction of some Neighbours. 4o.
  • The History of the Desertion; or an Account of all the Publick Affairs in England, from the beginning of September 1688. to the Twelfth of Febru­ary following. With an Answer to a Piece called The Desertion discussed, in a Letter to a Country Gentleman By a Person of Quality. 4o.
  • [Page] Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Historia Literaria a Christo nato usque ad Sacu­lum XIV. Facili Methodo digesta. Qua de Vita illorum ac Rebus gestis, de Secta, Dogmatibus, Elegio, Stylo: de Scriptis genuinis, dubiis, supposititiis, ineditis, deperditis, Fragmentis; deque variis Operum Editionibus perspicue agitur. Accedunt Scriptores Gentiles, Christianae Religionis Oppugnatores; & cujusvis Saeculi Breviarium. Inseruntur suis locis Veterum aliquot Opus­cula & Fragmenta, tum Gracd, tum Latina hactenus inedita. Pramissa de­nique Prolegomena, quibus plurima ad Antiquitatis Ecclesiasticae studium spectantia traduntur. Opus Indicibus necessariis instructum. Autore GVI­LIELMO CAVE, SS. Theol. Profes. Canonico Windesoriensi. Accedit ab Alia Manu Appendix ab ineunte Saculo XIV. ad Annum usque MDXVII. Fol. 1689.
  • Dr BVRNET [now Bishop of Salisbury] his Life of Dr. William Bedell, Bishop of Kilmore in Ireland; to which are annexed the Letters betwixt him and Wadsworth, abou [...] Religion.
  • —Two Letters written upon the Discovery of the Popish Plot; together with a Collection of several other Tracts and Discourses: Written by him betwixt the years 1678. and 1685. To which is added a Letter written to Dr. B [...]rnet, giving an account of Cardinal Pool's Secret Pow­ers. The History of the Powder-Treason, with a Vindication of the Proceedings thereupon. An Impartial Consideration of the five Jesuits dying Speeches, who were Executed for the Popish Plot, 1679.
  • —A Vindication of the Ordinations of the Church of England: In which is demonstrated, That all the Essentials of Ordination, according to the Practice of the Primitive and Greek Churches are still retained in the Church.
  • —Reflections on the Relation of the English Reformation lately printed at Oxford In two Parts 4to.
  • —Animadversions on the Reflections upon Dr BVRNET's Travels. 8vo.
  • —Reflections on a Paper, intituled, His Majesty's Reasons for withdrawing himself from Rochester.
  • —Enquiry into the present State of Affairs, and in particular, Whether we owe Allegiance to the King in these Circumstances? And, whether we are bound to Treat with him, and call him back, or no?
  • —Sermon preached before the Prince of Orange, 23d Decemb. 1688.
  • —Thanksgiving Sermon before the House of Commons, 31. Jan. 1688.
  • —Eighteen Papers relating to the Affairs of Church and State, during the Reign of King James II. Seventeen whereof were written in Holland, and first printed there; the other at Exeter, soon after the Prince of Orange's Landing in England.
  • —Letter to Mr. Thevenot; containing a Censure of Mr. Le Grand's History of King Henry the Eighths Divorce, To which is added, A Censure of Mr. De Meaux's History of the Variations of the Protestant Churches. Together with some Reflections on Mr. Le Grand. 1689.

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