PLENARY POSSESSION MAKES A LAWFVLL POWER: OR SUBJECTION To Powers that are in being Proved to be lawfull and necessary, In a Sermon Preached before the Judges in Exeter March 23. 1650.

By RICHARD SAVNDERS, Preacher of the Gospel at Kentisbeer in Devon.

Concordiae patrono convenit defendere statum Reipublicae qui quoque tempore sit.


This ISOCRATES termes, [...].’

Optimum, quemque praesenti statu gaudere.

Tit. 3.1.

Put them in minde to be subject to principalities and powers. &c.

LONDON: Printed for William Adderton, and are to be sold at his shop at the three Golden Falcons in Duck-lane. 1651.

To the READER.

Christian READER,

I Have here presented thee with a short discourse on a Question, not very fit I confesse by modest Chri­stians in a private capacity to bee moved, but being moved very ne­cessary to be answered, viz. Whe­ther we may acknowledge, and submit unto the Parliament as the Supreme Power of this Common-wealth in beeing. I de­livered the greatest part of what thou findest here, in a Sermon, and upon the desire of those Honorable Perso­nages (the Judges) before whom among others I spake, I have adventured to expose the same to publique view.

In preaching of it, my drift was to satisfy conscience, in a thing of generall concernment to all persons be­longing to this Common-wealth; and this is mine end in printing of it. I confesse I was silent for a while (not wholly suspending my duty of endeavoring occa­sionally to acquaint men with their duty in this change [Page]of things) but waving so publique and professed an en­gagement in this great controversie, waiting for some more choyce parts to undertake the same: But find­ing too great a silence in this thing, and many consci­ences by this meanes ensnared, I could not hold my peace.

If thou aske me why I handled this in the City, ra­ther than in the Country where I live; I answer,

1. I have not been wanting unto mine owne people, in satisfying them, so far as was needfull, according to my talent; so that I dare say, there are hardly a­ny among them (especially of those that carry any face of religion) that did as much as question the thing that is here disputed, at the time when I did preach this.

2. I conceived that there was greatest need of such a discourse, where I found most dissenters: and besides I could not have had a better advantage of satisfying all sorts, than at such a publique meeting.

I have taken liberty, in printing, to ad some things to what I delivered by mouth, because the small time I had to deliver my thoughts, upon so large a subject, made me out many things too short. Something that I spake I have forborne to print, viz. A short exhorta­tion to the Judges in the cloze of my Sermon; The sub­stance of which, with some enlargement, I had inserted in an Epistle Dedicatory to them, but that I thought good to decline the writing of any Dedicatory Epistle, among other reasons, for that I would avoyd the su­spicion of intending, or aiming at the favour of great men.

I have laboured a little the more in collecting the testimonies of the learned, that witnesse to what I speak [Page]all along, not that the truth asserted needs humane te­stimony to support it; but that those that are dissen­ting, may see how passion, or affection, or prejudice, (or what I know not) hath carried them in this cause quite out of the way of those, whose authority in other matters they make much of. I wonder what should make those that condemne singularity, and new noti­ons and conceits in others, (as I my selfe also doe, so far as they agree not with sound doctrine) to goe such a new and singular way themselves, contrary to the sense of the learned in the things discoursed of in this tract. The Kings of the earth, in particular the Kings of this Nation, would have given a man but little thanke for teaching or suggesting (as now some doe) that usurped powers may not lawfully bee submitted to, or acknowledged; such a doctrine without doubt would have shaken their Crownes. That such are to be submitted to, in this Sermon, I have (I hope) made plaine: the which I have done, not that we need fly to such an argument to justifie subjection to the present Power, The Parliament; as thou wilt or mayest see by that time thou hast read through this booke; but that I, supposing the worst, may let men see how slender the grounds of non-subjection are.

Seek God, lay aside prejudice and jelousies, examine impartially what thou findest. Opinions that relate either to the setling or unsetling of Nations are weighty. Be serious, and the God of truth direct thee. If thou findest any satisfaction by the Authours weak attempts and endeavours, this is all hee beggs of thee, to remember him at the throne of grace, that [Page]he may become more strong to doe thee, or any of the elect of God service; which is all that is the desire of him, who is

Thine, in the advancement of truth and peace. RICHARD SAUNDERS.

SƲBJECTION TO POWERS IN BEEING ASSERTED AND PROVED, IN A Sermon Preached before the Judges at the last Assize held in Exeter beeing on March 23o. Anno Dom. 1650.

On ROM. 13.1.


Let every Soul be subject to the higher powers, for there is no power but of God: The powers that be are ordained of God.

THE main body of this Epistle consists of certain Theologicall Conclusions, tending to the clearing up of the Do­ctrines of Justification by Faith, Sancti­fication, and particular Election. This we finde to be the principall matter of the eleven first chapters.

The latter part containes many par­ticular, morall Exhortations, reaching home to the last Chapter, which is spent in brotherly salutations.

Among those particular Exhortations which the Apostle gives unto the Saints at Rome (the persons he directs his E­pistle to) we finde this 13 chapter laying down one, holding forth a rule for them to walke by, in their carriage towards [Page 2]the Powers and Rulers of the Earth, under which the Lord had fixed them: That so they might be directed to walk in­offensively both before God and men.

The Gospel meddles little with State-matters; we finde the Apostles very sparing in them: And what Paul speaks here, he speaks as a Divine, not disputing of the Powers that were in Being, whether they were lawfull, or usurped (though there was room enough for such a dispute, if it had been proper for him) but onely exhorting the Saints, according to the law and rule of Civill and Politicall Order, (which God himself hath for common good ratified and fixed in the world) to submit unto them. Let every soul be subject to the higher Powers, &c.

They that are well acquainted with my Ministry, and way of Preaching, know, I seldome ingage in State-Divinity, the work of a Gospel-Minister being to win souls to Christ, and to reveale a spirituall Kingdome which is not of this world: but where Scripture speaks, though but sparingly, there may we speak too, so that we remember still what our main work is; especially when some emergent reasons provoke unto the same.

Upon this account have I endeavoured to speake some­thing unto this Scripture, in opening of which, wee shall, I hope, finde somewhat fatisfying some scruples to this day on foot amongst us.

The former part of my Text is an Exhortation, grounded on a Doctrinall Conclusion layd down and illustrated in the latter part.

The Exhortation in these words, Let every soul be subject to the higher Powers.

The Doctrine, There is no power but of God. The which is amplyfied, or illustrated in the next, or last words, The Powers that be, are ordained of God.

The Text being such an expresse Doctrine and Use, I shall not affect to draw forth any other Conclusions out of it, but labour to give you the true sense of the termes and expres­sions as they lie, and apply the whole to our present oc­casion.

As for the first words, [...], Every soul, which com­prehends the persons whom this exhortation concerns; there is no difficulty in them, nor controversie about them, that I know, save between us and the Papists, who following the interpretation of Origen, understand by [ [...]] Every soul [ [...]] every naturall man, so excluding their Clergy from any subjection to Civill Powers, because they are not [ [...]] naturall, but [ [...]] spirituall men. But this is so frivolous, that I need not to take any pains to furnish any with an argument to refute it. Clergy-men, as well as others, Every soul, that is, every man and woman, is most certainly, and indisputably here intended.

And Christ himselfe gave an example of this, in that he himself payd Tribute by way of acknowledgement of the Civil Order established. Mat. 17.27. Not that he himselfe was to be accounted subject to any earthly power; for, being made heir of all things, he had a preheminence above all Kings and Princes of the earth: But this he did to give us an example of subjection unto those that are over us.

But that which is most considerable in this Scripture, and to be lookt into, is, that there is mention made in it of Powers, and higher Powers. And concerning these Powers, we find expressions, 1. Of Subjection to them. 2. Of, and concer­ning their Being. 3. Of their Ordination and Institution by God. All which particulars, or most of them, have difficulty and dubiousnesse in them. Therefore my work shall be to open them to you, and that by giving an answer to these four Questions.

  • 1. What is meant by Powers, and higher Powers?
  • 2. What it is to be Subject to them? Or, What is the Subjection that is required?
  • 3. When Powers may be sayd to be? Or, What Powers may be sayd to be?
  • 4. How they are sayd to be ordained of God?

A word or two to the first of these, which will be ne­cessary by way of introduction to give light to what fol­loweth.

By Powers we are to understand Civil Magistrates. All,1 I [Page 4]think agree in this, and if any should doubt of it, we have one Scripture where we finde this word Powers joyned with Magistrates as Synonimous. It is Luke 12.11. where Christ sayes, When they shall bring you unto the Synagogues, and unto Magistrates, and Powers, take no thought, &c. Here Magistrates and Powers are set down as expressing one and the same thing.

Paul in the fourth verse of this 13 Chap. to the Romans, calls a Magistrate, One that beareth the sword, i. e. the sword of power and justice. viz. Such a one as is in rule and pow­er,Par. in loc. over others. So Pareus. Qui potentia & potestate sunt armati in alios; Such as are invested with power and authority over others. And the reason why he sayes Powers, rather than Kings, Princes, Nam omnes complectitur Paulus, cùm ait, non esse potestatem nisi a Deo. Cal. Inst. l. 4. cap. 20. Emperours, Senates, Parlaments, or the like, is two­fold, either, First, Because this is a more comprehensive word taking in Rulers and Governours of what kinde soever, and doth denote any in power under what form of Govern­ment soever, whether Monarchicall, Aristocraticall, or Democraticall. Secondly (which is the reason Pareus gives) That he may be understood to speak, not of the persons so much, as de ordine ipso, of the Order it selfe fixed and set up by God.Pareus in Loc. For if we should look upon the persons of men in authority and eminency, we may espie many times failings, and corruptions, and causes of non-Submission: whereas if we have respect unto that Civill Order that is set up and fixed by God, for Common good and safety, we may see greater reason for submitting.

Whereas the Apostle here sayes higher Powers, Tis not as I conceive comparing Powers one with the other, as if the meaning of Higher Powers were, such Powers as are upper­most of all: I say that is not the meaning of the word. But Higher in relation to the people they are over.Rather to be rendred high Powers then higher Powers. The words are [ [...]] Powers that are set above others. Such as have the people under them. Quae praesunt nobis, Such as be over us.

There hath been some controversie touching this word [...] made use of in the text: Some being of the minde that it signifies in Scripture onely a lawfull Power and Au­thority, [Page 5]in opposition to a power usurped: which: though it be a new notion and conceit formed on purpose to take off the edge of this Scripture, yet findes it entertainment with some. I suppose I do not misname it in calling of it a new conceit; for sure, the limiting and confining the word unto that strict sense is both new, and having little ground, either in Scripture, or the proper genuineWe read in Dio. Hist. Rom. [...], which could not be if [...] by it selfe, with that Greek Author, did signifie a lawfull Power. Plutarchus & Herodianus [...] & [...] copularunt. Scap. Lex. Gr. [...]. AEmil. Port. Annot. in Thucyd. de Bello Pelop. signification of the word it selfe.

Tis true that learned men the better to expresse their con­ceptions, do take liberty sometimes to put some senses upon certain words more than they had originally in them; not with an intent to cōfine the words to the new created or im­posed significations, but onely the better to make out to the apprehensions of others a distinction between things that dif­fer. So some have made use of [...] and [...] to distin­guish between lawfull and unlawfull or usurped Powers, as they doe the latine of Potestas and Potentia, which yet I thinke every man will confesse, import one and the samePotestas posse Potentia Cum significa­tio vocabulorum quaeritur, fit plerumque vt a­liud in sermone vulgate, aliud apud eos qui disciplinas tradunt signifi­care inveni­untur. Estius in sent. thing.

Is it not most absurd to argue thus? Because some have used the word in this strict sense, that therefore we must ex­pound it so in Scripture. Some of the Fathers and Ancients have made use of this word [...]. i. e. a Mystery, to signify a Sacrament; now because St. Paul Ephes. 5.32. sayes mar­riage is [...] a great mystery, do the Papists soundly conclude, or may they infer that marriage is a Sacrament? I hope not.

But I having heard some (of such as else would hug such a nicity and Criticisme as this in this cause) ingenuously to confesse, that the contrary hath been sufficiently cleared by some others that have written of it, I shall passe it by. Though I could tell you that the Devills are called [...] Powers too, as Ephes. 6.12. And yet I hope their rule, and dominion, and power,Non est ille (viz. Satan) princeps mundi legitimus, sed per rapinam, &c. Wolf. Musc. in Ioh. 12.31. See Annot. on the bible on Ephes. 6.12. is usurped and intruded into, and not of right be­longing [Page 6]to them And you shall finde that in Heb. 2.14. that power which the Devils have is exprest by another word which signifyes meer [...]. Sign. Robur. vis, potentia might, force, or strength: So that lay those two Scriptures together, and you may infer from them, that these words [...] and [...] or [...] are used indiffe­rently to expresse one and the same thing.

But that I may decline Logomachie or strife of words, I grant the meaning of the Apostle here to be a lawfull Pow­er, that is such a Power or Magistrate as may lawfully be o­beyed, yea such a Power as hath right to be obeyed and sub­mitted to: Though I do withall deny, that he intends such Powers onely as came lawfully and inoffensively unto that height, eminency, and authority in which they stand: And that upon these grounds.

1. Because (to omit this that the signification of the word imports no such thing) if this should be the Apostles mea­ning, Let every soul be subject to the Powers that are over him, that is, if they came lawfully and regularly by the power they have, and were not usurpers and intruders: He had said as much as nothing at all to the Saints he writes to,Caesares qui tunc rerum po­tiebantur Mo­narchiam vi Tyrannica ad se rapuerant. Cal. in 1. Pet. 2.13. See more in my answer to the third objecti­on. for they lived under the Roman Emperours, whose power was a power forcibly wrested out of the hands of the Senate and people, as will appear more clearly anon. They must needs have con­ceived, sure Paul doth not meane the Emperour, for if he be a lawfull power, then none is unlawfull.

2. Or else, secondly if it were otherwise, that is, if Nero's power were not an unlawfull power, yet how imperfect and unsatisfactory is the Apostles advice notwithstanding if we be to interpret him in that limited sense before mentioned? Tis true understand him so, and he gives satisfaction in one thing which has but little difficulty in it, viz. That lawfull Pow­ers, such as are rightly and regularly introduced, are to be submitted to; but he leaves us to seek about that which is far more difficult, yea even impossible in some cases for us to finde out, and that is, what Powers are lawfull, what not? How can Christians give judgement of those supreme Pow­ers that they live under? What a worke should a Christian have to do, if he were to seeke out the originall Right of Su­preme [Page 7]Governours by which they hold their power? Where should they have recourse for satisfaction? what rule should they proceed by? Truly a man may see with halfe an eye that this cannot be Pauls meaning: Twas never his in­tent to put Christians upon such a taske. His meaning is then nakedly what the words expresse, Let every soul be subject to the Powers that are, of what kind soever, and by what meanes soever fixed over us: we ought not to perplex our selves with needlesse, endlesse questions concerning their Right, but fit down satisfied in this that they are such as are in power, and have the rule and Government of us.

This may suffice to be spoken to the first Question. What is meant by Powers and higher Powers here. The second Question follows.

Quest. 2 What tis to be Subject? or what is the Subjection that is here required?

Sol. It is the manner of men where they would not be bound themselves, there to bound and limit Gods command, shut­ting it up into a narrow compasse that themselves may have the more scope and elbow-room: So do some here, who when they can not avoyd the force of this command, doe la­bour to shut it up within their own bounds

They will be subject to the Powers that are over them, that is, they will not oppose, they will not draw the sword against them, and this is all (say they) the Apostle here calls for.

I confesse this is more than all will acknowledge them­selves bound to, in relation to the Powers we have now over us. But surely the bounds of this command reach further than this; pray weigh it well. The Lord pronounces a curse Deut. 27.17. against such as remove their neighbours land­marke, or [...] termi­nus a limit or boundary from [...] Terminavit which the Sept. render [...]. boundary as the word signifies: and is it not worse to remove the bounds that God hath set to his com­mands? Well let us consider what is the true latitude of Pauls expression here.

The Greek word is [ [...]] which some render, and that very aptly as I conceive [Su [...] ordinetur] let every soul be set in order under the higher Powers. For the word hath re­spect [Page 8]unto Civill order, opposed to Ataxie, or Confusion, and is very significant. Tis as much as Let every soul be posi­ted or placedThe word is compounded of [...] which sign. Sub, and [...] ordine distribui, word for word in English, To be placed in or­der under. orderly, or according to the rules of Civill and Politicall Order, under the Powers that are over. So that it is more than Honour, Obey, or Oppose not; for it comprises all these in it, and what ever else is requisite unto an Eutaxie, or good Order in a body Politick.

And if so, tis not then barely to be patient under them, as one would be under a judgement, plague or affliction, (Though I confesse they that are in authority, by the abuse and male-administration of their Power, are no lesse than plagues unto those that are godly sometimes) as was the Power under which the Apostle lived, and I may say that Power under which we formerly lived. I say tis not barely to be patient under, or not to speake against, or act against them forcibly; though this be included: but this same Em­phaticall expression implies, what ever is requisite unto Ci­vill Order, or human society, what ever is requisite and su­table unto, and becoming that proportion that is, or ought to be between head and members, the Rulers and Ru­led; in short, what ever is necessary to prevent the dissolving of the frame of Government or Civill Order established, and what may preserve and perfect and secure the same, all this is intended by subjection here: And to give any streighter bounds to its meaning & signification is to do injury to the word made use of in the text, than which, the Apostle could not have pitcht upon one more significant.

In particular I conceive these three things are implyed in the subjection here enjoyned.

1. Honor.1.To have a reverent esteem of those that are in power, if not for any personall perfections which we can see in them, yet at least in respect of their eminency in power, in respect of which they represent Gods Soveraingty to us, and are his vicegerents. This Paul makes mention of a little after my text in ver. 7. Bidding us to give honour to whom honour is due, meaning Honour to all those that are in power; the which implies a sincere and Candid estimation of them, as men bearing the image of Gods Soveraignty. Surely Con­tempt [Page 9]of men in power, and true Christian-like subjection, can never consist and stand together.

2. Obedientia2. To obey them, that is, in all things that are not unlaw­full and against the divine will; for otherwise, in case men in power command things unlawfull, we must take up Peters speech, Acts 4.19. Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto men rather than unto God, judge ye. But in things that are lawfull before God, yea in all such things as are [...], of an indifferent or middle nature, we are bound to Obey: As in paying Tribute or Custome, &c. Which Paul makes mention of in particular, ver. 7. And if it be so, then much more ought we to obey them in things unquestio­nably good and laudable. Surely such as refuse (as some do) to perform lawfull Duties upon this account, that they are enjoyned by a Power that they presume to conceive unlaw­full, discover much Zeal and Affection, but little judgment, or Christian discretion, as far as I can judge. I know not what is the mystery of it, but surely if this should go for a Rule, that a Christian might not do lawfull things comman­ded by an unlawfull Power, we might soon be commanded out of all our Religion.

3. Fidelitas.But Thirdly, this implies to be true and faithfull unto them, viz. In labouring to defend them that defend and protect us from confusion, and that in discovering any designes on foot against them, and the like. This must needs be implied in the subordination spoken of in the Text; for 'tis that which knits the very joynts of a Common-wealth. There can never be any Civil order preserved in a Nation, without mutuall resolutions and endeavours in Rulers and ruled of protecting one the other. And if Christians ought to bee true and faithfull, without doubt they may promise to bee so.

You see what Subjection means: no lesse than all this is due from you unto what ever Power you are to be subject to. The distinction of Active and Passive subjection hath no place here, for [ [...]] Pauls expression in the Text, signifies both, in the latitude before exprest.

The Third Question inquirable into is,

Quest. 3 When Powers are sayd to Be? Or, What Powers may be sayd to Be?

Sol. 'Tis requisite this should be enquired after, in that the Doctrinall conclusion in the Text runs thus: There [is] no Power but is of GOD, and the Powers that be are ordai­ned of GOD. The Apostle disputes up Subjection to the Civil Powers from the bare existence and being of them. And therefore 'tis of the greater concernment to know when they may be sayd to Be?

To satisfie you as to this Question, I answer, that there is not much difficulty or dubiousnesse in this matter; for the Being of Powers, ruling Powers, is no such insensible thing; our very senses will teach us who are in power over us, wee see and feele the influences of their power good or evil, sweet or bitter. But in a word to this also.

When the Apostle sayes, The Powers that be.

  • 1 1. He meanes the Powers that are over [us] not the Powers of another Nation or people: All Powers have right unto the subjection of the people, that is, of the people over which they are. We have nothing to doe with the Princes and Rulers of another Nation, nor they with us.
  • 2 2. In that he sayes the Powers that be, he excludes such as pretend Right to Government and Power, Quando non praesunt, when they are not actually in power over us. Christians are not required to inquire after the pretended Rights of any, they are to look to those that [are] in Power.
  • 3 3. In this expression the Apostle excludes Powers that are, or may be expected, or lookt for, or hoped for: Hope is of things that are not, but these must be of Powers that [are.]
  • 4 4. By these words he gives us to understand, that he means, not Powers that have been, though for never so long conti­nuance, but onely such as are now in being: And therefore he saies expresly the Powers that be.

But if any will be further curious to ask of me, when Powers are sayd to be, I answer,

1 1. When they take upon them to protect and govern the people, and have an uncontroleable power to back their un­dertaking. When the people are involved in their power, and [Page 11]they in eminency over them. This the Learned consent to. Calvin sayes, Satis nobi [...] sse debet quod praesunt; 'Tis sufficient that they be above us. And Bucer on Rom. thus, Potestates hae sunt, quibus est merum imperium, & potestas vitae & necis; They are Powers, in whose hands is meer Mastery or Dominion, and the power of life and death. And again, he describes them to be such as beare the sword, and so are Supreme: and such as are invested with meer Mastery or Dominion; see his own words in the MargentCumque unius corporis non possit nisi unum caput esse: Ʋni­us Reipub. nisi una potestas. In quaque Republica, potestati quae gladium gestat atque ideo suprema est, me­roque imperio pollet, subjici debet Omnis anima. Bucer. in Rom. 13.1. Many more such like expres­sions of the Learned might I insert, but that I would not be tedious. You will finde more anon in the clearing of what is yet behind.

2 2. Powers then [are], when they give Laws to the people, and the people receive Law from them. This is a most visible, and undoubted symtome of the Life and Being of a Gover­ning Power: When we see this, we may say a Government is, or a Power is, as safe as we may say, there is life where we see breathing. The administration of Law is the very soul and breath of a body Politick, and it can no more be with­out it, than a naturall body can live without breath, and without a soul. And are not such then to be accounted Powers in Being unto a people, as do give (under God) life and breathing to them in a politicall sense?

3 3. And lastly, Then Powers may be sayd to be most un­doubtedly and unquestionably, when the people, or the grea­test part of them have by any means consented to them as Rulers, and Governours over them.

1 1. I say, When the people, or the greatest part of the people, have consented: For what is an act of the major part of the people, is taken for the whole.

2 2. I say, When they have by any means consented upon this account: Because though their consent or choice be not vo­luntary elicitivè but subjectivè only (as the Schoolmen di­stinguish) it is enough. That is, though it be not drawn forth by the will as the first and sole productive principle of [Page 12]it: Yet il it be with the will, moved; and acted by some ne­cessity apprehended, or the like; this is sufficient to make it voluntary, and so valid; yea and fully as voluntary as any people have been in choosing, or consenting to their Kings or Princes.

I cannot conceive any thing more that can be added, as necessary to the being of an authority.

To say (as I have heard some do) that time, or duration gives, or may give a being to the lawfulnesse of a supreme Power, seems to me very irrationall; for as sayes Grotius, Tempus suapte natura vim nullam effectricem habet: Nilenim fit à tempore, quanquam nihil non fit in tempore; Time makes no­thing to be, though every thing be made in time. The dura­tion or continuance of things cannot make them to be what they are not in themselves. Quod ab initio vitiosum est, &c. saiesQuod ab initio vitiosum est, non potest tractu temporis conva­lescere. Ulp. L. 29. Ʋlpian; That which is vitious in its rise, cannot become valid by its continuance.

'Tis true, Prescription and Custome make things to be deemed right, which might not be so in themselves original­ly: And yet, I hope, 'tis not Time or Duration that is the ground of this right, but a presumption of right still to have been, because the same never known to be questioned. For lapse of time undoubtedly cannot change the morality of a thing, so as that that which is unjust, should become just by continuance. Time may alter the quality of actions, or things, à minore ad majus, that is, so as to make that which is evill, to become more evill; or that which is good, to become better: This tract of time may do; but that a thing that is unlawfull (as a Civill Power) should become lawfull by continuance, seems to me a Paradox.

Surely this seems to me to be the judgment of such, as are not willing to joyn hands with any Supreme Power that comes in upon the change of Government, till time hath worn out all danger of adhering to the same, and till the Power hath out-lived (in likelihood) the hazard of shaking. Surely 'tis not becomming Christians to suspend their obe­dience unto a Divine Rule, upon such a carnall ground. But I passe to the last Question, and that is this.

Quest. 4 How the Powers that be, are said to be Ordained of God?

Sol. I answer. Things are said to be of God, or to be ordained of God, in a twofold sense, viz. Either by manifest will and command, or by secret providence.

The one I call a Preceptive ordination, the other Provi­dentiall.

1. Such are ordained by God to rule by manifest will, or preceptive ordination, as are by God himself nominated, and commanded to be set up over the people, by expresse word; as were the Kings of Israel: When Israel would have a King, according to the mode of the Nations round about them, the Lord points out by expresse word who it should be, and then who should be his successour, &c. But any such way of ordaining Rulers in a State, I hope, we may not ex­pect or look for now; because such appearances of God, as then were, are ceased: We have no Prophets, to whom God now speaks (as of old) Go Annoint such a person King; Go tell the people, such a Person, or such a Family, will I have to reign over them: he doth not ordain any then, now, after this first way, by manifest will, or expresse word.

2. Now in the second place, as for Gods Providentiall ordai­ning of Rulers or Powers, such are Powers ordained of God, into whose hands Providence hath cast Authority and Domi­nion: Such as Providence hath placed in eminency. This is the way after which all Rulers and Powers in the earth are now established, and fixed by God: And 'tis that which Paul means in the Text, and makes the reason of Christian subject­ion. Doth not Scripture speak of that Soveraignty that the Lord makes use of in disposing of the Empires of this world? See Dan. 2.21. And he changes the times and the seasons, he removeth Kings, and setteth up Kings. And, Chap. 4.17. The most high ruleth in the Kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomso­ever he will, and setteth up over it the lowest or humblest of men, as the word [...] Humilis, sub­missus. signifies. And again, Jer. 27.5. I have made the earth, the man, and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power, and by mine out-stretched arme; and have given it to whom it seemed meet unto me. And the Psalmist speaks to the same purpose. Psal. 75.6, 7. Promotion cometh neither from the East, [Page 14]nor from the West, nor from the South. But God is the judge; he putteth downe one, and setteth up another. The Lord ownes these changes to be from himselfe, not by permission onely, as you see, but by divine disposition, and ordination, viz. Provi­dentiall. So that tis enough to satisfie us touching a Power that tis ordained of God, when Providence hath set it up.

Neither am I alone in this: Tis that which the learned and judicious agree to. As Calvine speaking on these words, There is no power but is of God, sayesRatio cur de­beamus esse sub­jecti Magistra­tibus est, quod Dei ordinatione sunt constituti. Quod si ita pla­cet Domino mundum guber­nare, Dei ordi­nem invertere nititur adeoque Deo ipsi resistit quisquis potestatem aspernatur, quando ejus, qui juris politici author est, providentiam contem­nere, bellum cum eo suscipere est. Calv. in Rom 13. that to slight pro­vidence, is to wage war with God himselfe; intimating (as you may finde by reading him at large) that the ordaining of Powers in the Text is by providence, which ought to be binding to Christians. And Bucer affirmes thatSummum jus omnium potestatum, Regum &c. in eo situm est, quod a Deo Ordinatae sunt & hisjus ordinationis unum & indubi­tatum [...] est esse Potestates: Nam nulla potestas nisi certa dei dispensatione esse potest. Buc. in Rom. 13. the chiefe right of all Powers consists in this, that they are ordained of God: And of this ordination there is this one most sure [...] or evidence, viz. That they are Powers, i. e. that providence hath set them up: for no power can Be but by Gods ordering of it to be.

Omne sub regno graviore regnum est.


And indeed there is nothing by which wee may judge of a Power whether it be of God or no, but onely this, that it actually [is.] If you say, yes, the consent and choice of the people; I say, that demonstrates what is the peoples will, not what is Gods will: We are commanded [...] be subject to Powers, in the text, not because the people choose them, but because God ordaines them. Now by what [...] we know that a Power is ordained of God, unlesse we [...]ake provi­dences putting men in possession of power, to [...] Gods way of ordaining Powers? I say by what shall we judge whether a Power be ordained of God or no? God doth [...] now re­veale himselfe by expresse word concerning the thing, how shall we know his will then? why, Promotion cometh nei­ther from the East, nor West, &c. God giveth the Empires [Page 15]of the world to whom he wil. Thou canst not know who is ordained of God, but only by considering whom providence hath exalted as supreme; For as sayes Calvin, Atque simu­lac in regium fastigium quem­piam evehit dominus testa­tum nobis facit suamvolunta­tem quod regna­re illum velit Cal. Inst. l. 4. Chap. 28. As soon as ever the Lord hath lifted up any unto the Height of a supreme power, he doth witnesse to us, that it is his will that he should reign.

So then, the particulars being thus cleared, consider what the whole text speakes out. Let every soul be subject, i. e. [or­derly or according to the Law and Rules of Civill Order placed under] the Powers that are [above or in Eminency] for there is no power on earth [be it what it will be] that hath an actuall being, but is [Providentially] ordained by God, and hath validity and Authority from him. So that (as tis in the verse following) he that resisteth the Power [Gr. [...]] he that doth any thing against the Order, resi sts the Ordinance of God.

I have met with one objection that seemes to carry some weight in it, which I shal here insert; and give an answer to it.

The objection is made against what hath been given out as the sense and scope of my text, viz. That those that are actually Supreme, and in Plenary possession of Power, are to be submitted to as Powers, or as a Power Ordained of God.

Object. 1 Against this is argued from 2 Kings 11. thus: If possession makes a lawfull Power, then Athalia was a lawfull Power, and they did ill who did rise against her, and crowne Joash King. It had questionlesse been rebellion in them to thrust out her, that had been in full possession for six yeares together; but we finde not that they did amisse in putting her off, though she had been actually supreme for so long time, that the right heir might be annointed King, therefore her being in actuall possession did not make her a lawfull power, or a power to which the people were bound to be subject: and so by consequence, the like doth not now constitute a power to which the people owe subjection.

Ans. To which I answer, 1 Jehojada who contrived the depo­sing of Athaliah after six yeares reign, was no private man, but the chiefe Priest, to whom it did belong (as sayes Peter Mar­tyr speaking very well to this very Question) non modo judi­care [Page 16]res Ecclesiasticas, verum etiam Civiles, to judge not onely Church matters, but State affaires too; he was custos Legum, and had power to look to the lawes, to keep them from vi­olation and infringment; if he, and they that acted in this businesse, had been private men, it had been rebellion in them, according to Peter Martyr, who sayes, (upon this very case) that 'tis not lawfull for private men to cast downe him, qui rerum potitur, that is in plenary possession.

2. God then ordained rulers by manifest word, and com­mand, and therefore such were onely to be acknowledged for lawfull Powers then, as were thus appointed by God; in respect of which, Athaliah was not, but Ioash was, the right­full Prince. But now to us there is no such expresse way afforded to determine who should govern, but there is an ex­presse way teaching us whom we should acknowledge, and Submit to, even the powers that are: therefore we are not bound to, neither may we, look any further back than the Powers in being, though the Israelites might, and perhaps ought, according to a rule which they had more than we have.

Object. 2 But it's said Hosea 8.4 by the Lord: They have set up Kings, but not by me, they have made Princes, and I knew it not, speak­ing of the peoples following and setting up of Jeroboam as their King. Therefore all Powers that get up into actuall Domination, are not ordained of God.

Ans. I answer, the Lord speaks thus, in respect of the indirect course the Ten tribes took in setting up Ieroboam to be King over them: not as if he were not a lawfull Power after he was in the throne, or as if God had no hand in setting of him up: God himselfe sayes he made him King, as you shall see in the answer to the next objection. But however the people were disorderly, and rebellious in what they did, which is that which this Scripture hath respect to: and to this agree Peter Martyr, Pareus, and divers others. See the margent.Quod autem non promoti fu­erint (speaking of the Kings mentioned Hos. 8.4.) ad regnum deo volente, cum tota fer­mè Scriptura pugnat. Pet. Marrv. Loc. Com. A Deo fuit illa regni, a Roboamo ad Ieroboamum, translatio, &c. Quod vero hic dicit Deus, Jeroboamum Regem non fuisse ex se, de modo, & circū ­stantiis facti quas Deus minime probavit, est intelligendum. Par. in Rom. & plura in Ose. 8.4.

1 1. They did not ask counsell of God; therefore he sayes 'twas not by him, that is, his advice.

2 2. They were not backt with any authority, but were pri­vate men: And though the Lord had appointed Jeroboam to be King, yet this was more than they knew: In this respect the Lord saies, he knew it not, that is, approved it not.

Object. 3 But you'l say, What, are all tyrannicall and usurped Pow­ers of God? This is the way to make God the Author of all the violence, in jury, and oppression, which Tyrants and U­surpers of Government fall under.

Answ. To this I answer, that 1. It is most clear, that Scripture speaks of all in Power, whether Usurpers, or not, to be from God himself.

Do not all call Jeroboam an Usurper, in taking off the Ten Tribes from Rehoboam? And yet the Lord saies, this was of him, and that he would cut off the Kingdom from the hand of Solomon, and give the ten Tribes to Jeroboam. See 1 Kings 12.15. 1 Kings 11.31, 35, 37. We know what Nebuchadnez­zar was, strenuus aliorum invasor & populator, a mighty inva­dour and waster of others, (as Calvin stiles him) and yet God saies, he set him over Egypt, though for his part he tyranni­cally usurped power over them to their undoing. See Ezek. 29.19. And as for that Power under which the Apostle was when he writ this Text, the Emperour Nero, we may easily understand by History what he was, and how he, and his pre­decessours got their power.

1 1. He was a professed enemy to the Truth, a Persecutor of the Saints; all know this. The first of the Ten Persecutions began in his time. Christians were not then clamorous, or re­fusing to submit unto him, because he would not establish their Ecclesiasticall Government, and Church order by a Law; they would have been glad if they could but have had their lives preserved, so as that they might have professed Christ without danger of dying for it, and could not enjoy this.

2 2. And besides, for his power, we know it was taken for­cibly and unjustly out of the hands of the Senate and peo­ple. I know some deny this to be an usurped power, but [Page 18]therein they are by themselves, I think, however they con­demn singularity in others. Peter Martyr sayes, Romanam Tyrannidem vel Imperium ei (viz. Caesari) non contulerunt, sed vi atque potentia usurparat; The people gave not the Roman Power to Caesar, but he usurped it by force and might. And Calvin saies,Calv. in 1 Pet. 2.13. Caesares qui tunc rerum potiebantur, Monarchiam vi tyrannica ad se rapuerant; The Caesars that then were in possession of power, did by a tyrannicall force take the Mo­narchy to themselves. Many more testimonies I could adde; I have fixed some in the margent.Legiones ve­teranae fortes sed feroces, & ad suam vim omnia nostra consilia revocantes. Sleid. de. 4 Sum. Imper. Sermo. Cic. Caesare, rerum potiente contra leges & consuetudinem patriae. Dio. Hist. Rom. Quam­vis multi existimant Julium Caesarem occupato imperio, hoc sibi jus (i. e. regnandi) potius rapuisse quam ex S. C. accepisse. Balth. Meisn. S. S. Th. D. de Leg. Nam ipsorum (Caesa­rum) dignitas omnisatque salus erat non in Senatus aut populi, sed in. Legionum atque mili­tum potestate. Sleid. de. 4 Sum. Imp. lib. 2 pag. 304. & pag. 305. Sic. Caesarem metuebat Se­natus, ipse vero Caesar ab impuri militis voluntate propemodum, atque nutu, pendebat. A brave Government. Afterwards he cites Erasmus speaking of the unhappinesse of the Roman Empire thus. O miserum illorum temporum statum. Oppressa Senatus authoritate, oppressis legibus, oppressa populi Romani libertate: Sic ereato principi serviebat orbis, princeps ipse ser­viebat eis, qualem, nemo vir bonus domi vellet habere servum, &c. Ibid.

In short it is thus:Heylyn's Georg. p. 147. Julius Caesar (the first of the Caesars) after many successes abroad, which he got being a servant of Rome, of her servant made himself her master. His Successour Augustus set up the Praetorian Guard of 10000. men, pretend­ing for the safety of his person, but, as History sayes, to awe the Senate and people. Then after the death of Caligula, the Senate had hopes of recovering their Liberty, and when they were contriving the restoring of the same, these same Praeto­rian Souldiers [...] &c. [...] (viz. Claud.) [...] Dio. Hist. Rom. saluted Claudius Emperour, and forced the Senate to consent to them. The next to him was this Nero, who came by the Scepter after the same fashionInter horam sextam septam jue processit (viz. Nero) ad excubitores, cum ob totius diei diritatem non a­liud auspicandi tempus accommodatius videretur: proque Palatii gradibus Imperator saluta­tus, lecticâ in castra, & inde raptim appellatis militibus in curiam delatus. Suet. de 12. Cae­saribus.. And yet this Power also among others, is sayd to be of God.

And yet in the second place, this is not to make God the [Page 19]Author of Tyrants usurpations and violence; for, theirAliud est po­testas quae à Deo est, aliud acqui­sitto & usus potestatis. Par. Rom. Power is one thing, the acquisition or administration of that power is another thing: Their Power is of God, and by his disposal; but the male administration or acquisition of the Power, is not of God, save onely by permission; as in Jeroboams case, his ad­vancement unto the Throne was of God, he made him King (as before) but the indirect course of the people was not of him.

Neither is this my judgment alone, but the generall vote of the Learned, as you may perceive by their testimonies before produced, and by those that I shall now annex. Calvin upon my Text affi ms, that 'tisEtsane hoc verbo mihi vi­detur Apostolus voluisse tollere frivolam homi­num curiosita­tem, qui saepe so­lent inquirere quo jure adepti fuerint potesta­tem qui rerum potiuntur: satis autem nobis esse debet quod praesunt: non enim conscenderunt sua ipsi virtute in hoc fastigium, sed manu Domini sunt impositi. Calv in Rom. 13. frivolous curiosity to examin by what right, those that are in possession, did get their power; for it ought to be enough to us that they are over us: for they could not come to eminency by their own strength, but by God, pla­cing them in it with his own hand. And again, speaking of Gods enjoyning subjection to the King of Babel, he saies,Videmus quanta obedientia Dominus tetrum illum fero­cemque Tyrannum coli voluerit, non alia ratione nisi quia regnum obtinebat. Cal. Instit. lib. 4. cap. 20. the Lord commands men to be subject to that cruel Tyrant, for no other reason but because he had got the Kingdom; though we know without any right: The same say Peter Martyr, Bucer, and others. See the Margent.Cum enim quaeritur cui parendum, non est spectandum qualis sit qui potestatem ex­ercet, nec quo jure vel injuria quis potestatem invaserit, quave ratione eam administret, sed tantum si potestatem habeat. Bucer in Rom. 13. Cùm tamen principatum obtinuerint, (viz. Tyranni & qui usurpant) atque imperant, privatorum esse non videtur illos moliri. Pet. Mart. Loc. Com.

Object. 4 But may not Christians resist an Ʋsurper?

Ans. They may resist an Invadour or Usurper while he is invading and usurping his power; Yea I may say they ought: for so much do Christians ow unto the Powers in being over them, that they ought to oppose any that shall endeavour to dispossesse them of that power which God hath put into their hands, so violating & disturbing the Civil Order that is established & fixed: But for Tyrants & Usurpers when they are in plenary possession, Chri­stians may not oppose themselves against them. SoDeus, ut Da­niel testatur, im­peria & regna transfert, & quamvis fas est tyrannis invadentibus principatum resistere; cum tamen obtinuerint, atque imperant, privatorum esse non videtur illos moliri. Pet. Mart. Loc. Com. Peter Mar­tyr, and others.

Object. 5 But if this be so, how is it possible that there can be any change of Government without sin?

Ans. I answer, this rule reaches to Christians in a private capacity onely: But as for such Magistrates as are appointed ad mode ran­dum Regum libidinem, as Calvine speakes,Cal. In­stit. lib. 4. chap. 28. to curb and check the exorbitancy of supreme Powers, here the case is altered. They may do that which private men may not. They mayEis pro­fecto licet, si princeps pactis & promissis non steterit, cum in ordi­nem cogere, ac vi redigere, &c. idque vel armis, &c. Among others he instances in the English as having such a power in their Parlaments. Pet. Mart. Loc. Com. regulate, restrain, reform, and, if need be, remove too, Powers that are abusive in the administration of their Authority: Paul in my Text, and so I in this discourse speake of private Christians. I hope I have sufficiently removed these blocks.

I shall say but little as to the application of this truth:Ʋse. onely I shall addresse my selfe in a word or two unto those gratious souls, who, having tasted of Divine love, have given themselves up unto the will of Jesus Christ, to be wholly acted by it: for others whose wills must be their Lawes, I have nothing to say to them here. Let as many as follow the Lamb, and know his voice, consider what Christ willeth, what the spirit of truth di­rects to, concerning their duty to those Powers that Provi­dence hath set over them. The rule is plain: Be subject, or sub­ordinate to the Powers that are: Be not a cause (negatively by not doing what thou should'st, or positively, by doing what thou shouldest not) of interrupting the Civill Order establish­ed: unite with them that are in Power, as members with the head. Surely if Chrstians in a private capacity may suspend, or deny subjection to Powers actually supreme, and dispute their right and fittednesse to rule, then race out this scripture, this Text, out of the Bible: yea and all that you finde in 1. Pet. 2.13. Tit. 3.1. parallel places: Surely these must stand for nought, or else such a course is unlawfull.

Doth not my Text say, Let every soul be subject to the Powers that are, for they are of God? To come home then to our case. Is not the Parlament the supreme power of this Nation? Are not they that now sit in Parliament, the Powers that are? Pray examine this well.

1. Are not they over us? have not they undertaken to Go­verne [Page 21]and protect us? Are we not involved in their power?

2. Do they not give lawes to the people, and the people re­ceive, and seek law from them? Else what meane our Judges ri­ding in circuit? and such a great confluence and concourse of people in all counties seeking for justice from them? Let your own eyes be witnesses thisThere being then present the Judges with great numbers of the Country whose coming from their home was for Law. day.

Object. Yea, thirdly may not I say also now, that the people, or the greatest part of them have consented to them by engagement? How is it then that Christians, with whom a Gospel-command should be more prevalent than all the private interests in the world, are averse from an engaged subordination?

Ans. Say not, the Engagement hath been forced on the people, or else they would not have taken it. For that's not true: for it is evident that the people First, have freely thosen to engage rather than to be out of the Parlaments protection. The engagement was and is proposed to them upon no other termes but onely thus, will you engage, and live under the protection of the Par­lament? or will you refuse, and wait for your protection from some other person or persons? choose whether of these two you like. The people finding no safety, or possibility of good to them, but under the wing of the Parlaments power, did engage. Is this forced? Can a man be said to be forced to an action which he doeth upon this reason, that tis the onely safe way for him to do it? Surely if they be forced to this, tis by their reason, and nothing else. Secondly the people have taken this engage­ment upon the same termes that former Oathes to Princes have been taken.

This were (me thinks) convincing and satisfying enough, if the Parlaments power were meerly usurped in respect of its originall, and corrupt and wicked in its administration, and yet its plain enough that neither of these is so. for

1. Is it not more than evident the Power of this Common­wealth was fairly cast into their hands, after a full debate of the matter before the tribunall of heaven (The onely tribunall at which controversies between supreme Powers are to be deci­ded) in a lawfull war? And do not the learned agree, and is it not suitable to reason, that when there is a breach betweene su­preme powers, or such as share in Government, one labouring [Page 22]to invade the rights of the other, & it come to war, wherein God is immediately appealed to, there being no Iudicature on earth to judge between them; if one overcometh the other, he that overcometh hath right to dispose of the whole power? Was not the case even thus between the late King and the Parliament? And did not the House of Lords, who are also laid by as uselesse, resuse the protection of the people (in the time of the Hamil­tonian invasion) and so nulled their owne power, before any body else made it void? Me thinks this should sway with unbi­assed judgements.

2. As for the administration of their Power, since God hath (after a fair triall) cast it upon them (to speake the least, and to avoid all suspicion of flattery which I abhorre) hath it not been hitherto with much lenity towards those that have suspen­ded obedience to them; and with no slender testimony of their hatred of injustice, and Prophanesse? What power in England (if I go no further) ever witnessed so fully against vice and un­godlinesse as they have? I blesse God I am not so void of mo­desty, civility, and ingenuity, as to be so uncharitable (as some are) as to censure their end in it, whose lesson is it (I pray) to judge amisse of mens intentions, when their actions speak well? I am sure tis none of Christs.

There are none have much reason to object the great burdens yet lying on the nation, let them bare the blame of it, that oc­casion the keeping up of Armies, by their not acknowledging of, and submitting to the Authority that God hath set up: I see no reason any have to put this upon the Parliaments score.

Besides, I might shew you the singular benefits of this form of Government above either of the other two: but that would make this discourse to swell up to a great bignesse. Tis easie, I con­fesse, to shew some inconveniences that may spring up in it, but what form of Government is without some danger of corrup­tion? And yet (if it were needfull in this controversie) I should easily make it appear, that there is no form of Government more likely to continue free from corruption than this which is established, by a succession of Parliaments to be chosen by the people themselves.

Wherefore let this make honest hearts the more ready to sub­mission, I am sure it should.

Object. 7 But I here some say, we are bound by former Oaths and Co­venants to the contrary; and we may not break the Oath of God that is upon us.

Ans. 1. Beloved I know no Oath or Covenant that ever was given to the people of England, that bindes them from ever submit­ting to any other form of Government than was formerly in being, but onely such as bound them unto fidelity unto such Powers as were in being. I wish you would impartially look them all over againe, and see whether it be otherwise than I say. You might be obliged to preferving, but there is not a word that mentions the restoring of the Powers that were, if they should be taken away. And if any of the Covenants should con­tain that which should binde Christians, in a private capacity, to endeavour such a thing, they were clearly unlawfull: for pri­vate Christians may not attempt the setting up of what is put down by publique power.

Secondly I confesse an Oath ought to be very sacred unto Christians, who are acquainted with the glorious name of God: But observe, tis onely Durante ejus Obligatione, as long as its Obligation remains, and no longer. We know that though God, before whom we convenant and swear, be eternall, and un­changable, yet the matter of our Covenants is not so, and ther­fore the obligation of them may cease and expire. Now the ob­ligation of an oath or Covenant expires severall wayes, as

1. If we swear to one, as under such a capacity, when that capacity ceases, the Oath it selfe, and the Obligation of it cea­ses. So sayes Grotius expressly. Non tenebitur si cesset qualitas sub qua alicui juravit; A man is not bound when that quality,Grotius de jure Belli & Pacis lib. 2. Cap. 13. under which he swore to, or with, once ceases As if a Magistraet ceases to be a Magistrate, as sayes he. As, if we bind our selves to a King, and he ceases to be a King: or if to his successours, and they do not succeed in the throne, but are ejected from so much as the priviledge of Subjects; here the obligation must needs be at at an end If I promise to restore a sword lent me, at such a time, to a person that in the interim grows mad, the obligaion of this promise must needs be void. He is not the man he was when I made the engagement to him. If a Tenant, farming a Tenement, promises to pay such a rent, to such a Lord, during [Page 24]such a terme, and before halfe the terme be up, the power and right of this Tenement be transferred to another, suppose by means of the Lords forfeiting his right and interest from him and his heirs for ever by treason; doth not this promise and the obligation of it immediately expire? is he bound thinke you to what he did promise to the Lord? or hath the heir of the said Lord any right to call for his rent? or if he should, is the tenant bound by his promise to give it him? I hope not.

And is not this our case? are the persons sworne to and co­venanted with in that capacity or quality under which we en­gaged to them? Is not the power of government put by God in­to other hands? by God, I say, according to the rule in the Text, There is no power but is of God. Is not the late King, with his heirs, and successours dispossessed by God, who gives, and takes away rights of government according as seems good to him, by putting downe one and setting up another?

The Parlament have declared the supreme power to be in themselves, exclusively without a King or house of Lords, and they are the Powers that now are, as hath been cleared: therefore Kingly Government, both in the late King, and in his heir must needs be extinct, as to England, for.

Non capit regnum Duos. Sen.

One people cannot have two supreme Powers at once.

2 2. When by the intervening of some unexpected case, the matter of the Oath or promise becomes unlawfull, then doth its obligation expire.Satis est quando juramus nos habere hanc voluntatem illa ex equendi quae pollicemur: quod si Deus se­cus ostenderit faciendum, no­bisque declara­ratum fuerit, id quod promi­simus Divinae voluntati adversari: Jam neque ille cui juramus ea à nobis debet exigere, quod si for­te faciat, jus ejus nullum esse censetur. Pet. Mart. Loc. Com. As, if a man should promise to marry a certain woman, before such a time, and she in the interim be married to another, he is not any longer bound by his pro­mise. And is not this our case? hath not this State another head? is there not another Power over us? and is there not a Gospel­command enjoyning subjection to the Powers that are? either the obligation of former engagements must be at an end, or we must be bound to the violation of a Divine law; which can not be.

3 3. The Obligation of an Oath or engagement expires, when [Page 25]there is a ceasing of some expresse, or tacit condition of the same. In all promisory Oaths and Covenants there must be someA subdi­ditis obedien­tiae & obsequio­rum promissio fit sub conditione vel tacitavel expressa. Iun. Brut. de vi [...]d. Tyr. Dicimus si promissio fundata sit in praesumptione quadam rei quae non ita se habeat, naturaliter nullam ejus esse vim, quia omni­no promissor non consentit in promissium, nisi sub quadam conditione quae reipsa non exstitit. Grot. de Iure Belli & pacis. conditions exprest, or implyed, or both; for else they could not be lawfull, being de futuro, of the future, which is not in our Power.

Now 1. Judicious men say, that engagements made to Poli­ticall and publique persons, are to be understood in this Poli­tical sense, even with the tacit condition of holdiug their pos­sessions, and no further; if that fail, or when it doth, then the obligation ceases: and therefore upon this account the dipos­sessing of the Powers formerly ingaged to, doth free us from the tie that was upon us.

And secondly I am sure this must needs be a condition imply­ed in all covenants.2 So far as my holding to the matter of the same do not prove sinfull and evil. But it doth now in our case,Non valent promissa facti illiciti quia ad illa nemo jus habet nec potest habere. Grot. de Iure Belli & pacis. as before; you can not stick to your former Covenants (at least in the sense that some conceive) without sin, for to hold to what is conceived to be contain'd in former Engagements, car­ries in it non-subjection to this Power that is now in being; which (if we will believe Paul) is unlawfull and sinfull.

4. The obligation of an Oath or Engagement ceases, when there is such a change in the state of things, between the making, and fulfilling of the Oath, that if at the time of making, the state and change of things, that afterward followed, had been known, the oath had not, or could not have been taken.Si candide a­git, tum non astringitur ad servandum nisi ea quae cogita­vit, in foro Conscientiae. Pet Martyr. Loc. Com. So Sanderson as I take it, in a tract of his. In such a case, if a man be candid, and sincere in taking the Oath, he is bound to no more than what he apprehended in taking the same. And if cer­tain notable and unexpected changes, quite alter the case, a man is free from his promise. As, in case I promise to do this or that in order to common peace and welfare, and then finde, that (by reason of some change in affairs) I shall ruine the publique by doing that which I promi [...]ed to do in order to publique good: surely this promise must needs be void, or if it binde to a­ny [Page 26]thing, tis to a desisting from what was promised to be done, because destructive to the chief end and intent of my promise. This is our very case; were not all former Oaths and Govenants taken in order to publique Peace, welfare, and good, as the chief end? And will not the keeping of them (as the Adversaries of the present Power would have it, in maintaining the preten­ded Right of the late Kings Son) be the only way to war, disor­der, confusion, blood?

Wherefore Christians, I beseech you in the bowels of Christ, learn your duty in reference to the Powers that are over you. Se­dition was an old blemish cast upon the professours of truth, but without cause: Oh let it not now be justly cast upon you. Let it not be said, truely professours of religion are now the greatest State-incendiaries. Ah! do not your hearts tremble to think of blood again? can you hope for it, or look for it? sure I can hardly think it. But Ah! Whether will not passion, and blinde affection transport and carry men? We finde such folly prevailing as [...] Dio. Hist. Rom. Dion the Historian sayes, that men are greedy after small matters that they count good, though they usher in necessarily much more evill with them; like Nero's mother, who, when the Astrolo­gers told her that her son should reign, & with al that he should put her to death, said, [...], Let him kill me; onely let him reign. O furor! O madnesse! Let him reign (say some) though the Nation dy for it Let christians be more meek, more sober. Do not prosecute a particular pri­vate right (as you may suppose) against publique welfare; I am sure that is not the course of a [...] Dio. Hist. Rom. modest, discret, & wise Christian. I intend this discourse onely, or chiefly, for honest hearts that yet are dissenting and unsatisfied. God I hope hath more mercy in store for you, than to give you your desires and expectations, in this thing. Learn your duty; shake off the yoke of earthly Powers, and you shake off Gods yoke too, and so run your selves into the flames of divine displeasure, as well as humane, and invite the justice both of God and men to take hold of you: for they that resist receive to themselves Damnation.


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