The unlimited PREROGATIVE OF KINGS subverted. Or a Short Treatise grounded upon Scripture and Reason, to prove that Kings ought as well as others to bee accountable for their Actions.

MATTHEW 22.21.

Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesars, and unto God the things that are Gods.

By a well wisher to the Church of God, His King and Countrey.

And dedicated to all such as love the Truth.

THere will be times (saith the Apostle) wherein men will not indure sound doctrine, 2 Tim. 1.3. but will give heed to seduceing spirits, and doctrines of devils. 1 Tim. 4.1. And cer­tainly if ever these times shall come to be fullfilled, now they are, when as Court Parasites and ambitious flatterers, Divines as well as others whose chiefest Policy now it is to have mens persons in admiration for advantage sake, Iude 16. and to please those by whom they may be dignified or rewarded; care not what falsities they speak, nor what untruths they doe maintain; and which is worst of all, are not asham'd to father their lies even upon the very Scriptures of truth themselves, wresting the same (as S. Peter saith, 2 Pet. 3.16. through their willingly wilfull Ignorance) to their own destruction. Among which this is none of the least, which they say, That Kings are not responsall to any, save God for their actions: And for this they bring the saying of the Preacher, Eccles. 8.4 where he saith thus, Where the word of a King is there is power, and who may say unto him what doest thou? Which words if they be throughly scan'd and examined, you shall find they yeeld no such construction; but rather the contrary: For in the 2d verse before going, the Wise man gives us this charge to keep the Kings Commandement. I suppose, if they understand themselvs they will not say that by vertue therof we are bound to do what­soever the King injoynes us, whether it be right or wrong: but that it hath respect to those things that are either agreeable, or at least not contrary to the Commandement of God; and the reason therof is given in the words following in regard of the Oath of God. Now there are none (I think) will say (if Kings come lawfully in with the choice and consent of their People, as all lawfull Kings doe) that his Oath hath only respect unto the People, as if it did bind only on their part; but also on the part of the King, who Sweares to rule and govern them according to the Laws of God, and of [Page]the Land; and upon this condition they Sweare Obedience unto him. This we may see sufficiently proved by the Covenant of David made with his people, 1 Chron. 11.1. where it is said. All the Elders of Israel came to the King to Hebron, and David made a Cove­nant with them in Hebron before the Lord: and then it followes, they anointed him King over Israel. And then again wee see this proved by the mutuall Oath between Ioash and his people, 2 Chron. 23.11. where it is said, they brought out the Kings Son and put upon him the Crown, and gave him the Testimonie (that is to say) they made him enter into this Covenant to keep the Law of God, and to Govern them according thereunto: and then it fol­lowes, they made him King, and Iehojada and his Sons anointed him, and said, God save the King. And so again in the 16. v. of the same chapter. By this you see here was an Oath aswell on the Kings part as on the peoples; and thus the people are bound to keep the Kings commandement, when he walks according to this rule. And such is the Oath of the Kings of England when they come to their Crowns and Kingdomes.

Then he saith further in the 3d verse, Be not hastie to g [...]e out of his sight, stand not in an evill thing, for he doth whatsoever he pleaseth. I hope there are none that dare be so Sacri­legiously bold as from these words to attribute unto Kings an Almighty power as the words seem to import, which is an Attribute only proper unto God to be Almighty, as the Psalmist shews. Psal. 115.3. Our God is in the heavens, he hath done whatsoever he pleased: And Psal 135.6 Whatsoever the Lord pleased that did he in heaven and in earth &c. This were in an high measure to rob God of his glory and to give that to the creature that is only due to the Creatour. Yet I know no reason why they may not say from these words (The King doth whatsoever he pleaseth) that Kings have an Almighty power; as well as to say from the other words (who may say unto him what dost thou?) that therfore Kings are accountable to none save God for their actions. For you see how the words follow one another, and what may be said of Kings in one respect, may be said of them in the other. But we may (if we will at least) take notice that these words are brought in as having relation to good or evill; and that this is a phrase applyed unto Kings, only to shew that their Power is great, and of a large extent. For the good of those that doe well, and for the punishment of those that doe evill; and that in respect thereof, we should have an awfull and reverentiall regard of them; for so the words run, Stand not in an evill thing, for he doth whatsoever he pleaseth.

Then for the words following, which are quoted by those that stand for the unlimi­ted Prerogative▪ they have respect also to the same. And so it is most true, That where the word of a King is there is power: If speaking as a King should, performing the Office of a King; having respect to his Oath and Covenant between God and his people, in commanding those things that are good, and punishing those things that are evill, then indeed who may say unto him what dost thou? no man may call him to Question: for as­much as God the King of Kings hath put this power into his hands. And what is that indeed that makes Kings many times so slighted, and so little feared of their peo­ple but this that they take no care at all to govern them according to their Laws? and what is it on the other side that addes majestie and magnificence unto them, but this, that they make the Laws of God and of the Land the rules of Magistracie and govern­ment? Herein consists the power of Kings, which the Wise m [...]n here so much speaks of. But now that this place is not so to be understood, as the Royalists of our times for their own ends would have it that Kings are n [...]t accountable unto men for their actions, may easilie appeare, by comparing this place with that in Dan. 4 35. where Nebucadnezzar after that he was restored again to his sences, and to his Kingdom, makes this acknow­ledgement [Page]concerning the power of God (Who may say unto him what dost thou?) Imply­ing thus much, that howsoever Kings may be great, and their power may reach very farre, as he for his own part was none of the meanest, being the greatest Monarch that was then in the world yet this did not belong unto him nor unto any King else what­soever but was Gods sole Prerogative only to be responsall unto none for his actions.

By this you see how weak this place is for their purpose, who from hence would prove Kings unlimited power, as unaccountable to any save God: whereas all that the W [...]se man aimes at, is nothing but this, to shew the extent of the power of Kings for their peoples good, as by their Oaths they are tyed by all lawfull wayes to advance it; and withall to signifie unto us, what an awfull regard we ought to have of Kings, whom God hath invested with such a power.

I: But say they Kings are Gods, and therfore are not accountable for any actions they doe, and the Scripture calls them so.

Answ. I [...] is true the Scripture doth so: yet none I beleeve will be so blasphemous as to say they are [...], such as have an infinite being of and from themselves from all eternity: They will at most confesse them to be but Elohim, and this name of God is communicable, and is oftentimes in Scripture applyed unto other creatures, both An­gels and Men; yet not to such Men only as have Kingly dignity, but unto all Rulers and Governours whatsoever: as we may see Psal. 82.1. where it is said, God stands in the Congregation of the mighty, he judgeth among the Gods. And in the words following, the Psalmist incites, and stirres them up to the performance of their duties, in their place saying How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked; defend the poore and fatherl [...]sse, doe justice to the affli [...]ted and needy, deliver the poore and needie, rid them out of the hand of the wicked. Then in the 6. verse againe he saith, I have said ye are gods &c. In all this here we see there is not a word spoken of Kings in particular, but generally this phrase is applyed unto all Rulers and Magistrates whatsoever: and besides we know that the duties before spoken of, are proper to them as well as unto Kings. Moreover, I doe not know in all the Scriptures, where this word Elohim is so particularly applyed unto Kings as it so be in regard thereof, they should be lesse accountable for their acti­ons then any other Rulers. So then if this be true, as we plainly out of Scripture see it is that other Rulers as well as Kings are called Gods, then Kings as well as other Ru­lers are accountable for their actions unlesse that we will say that all Rulers and Go­vernours whatsoever are not accountable unto men for what they doe.

But say they Kings are the highest powers on earth how then can they be accountable unto those that are inferiour and under them, which is not accidentall unto other Ru­lers and Governours because there are higher above them that they may give accompt unto: but none are above Kings: therfore they are to give accompt to none, save only God.

Ans I deny that Kings on earth are the highest powers, and this I say, that the King­dome is above the King, and so consequently the representative body therof▪ the whole power of all the body of the people of the Land, being by generall consent transmitted over unto it; and I prove it thus: The end is alwayes greater then the meanes, or the meanes are subordinate to the end, and therfore must needs be inferiour, for the meanes could never have bin but for such or such an end for which they were appointed: no wise man that understands what he saith will deny, but that the cause is greater then the effect: but Kings were ordained for this end; they were chosen and appointed both by God and Man, to be a meanes for procuring of the good and welfare of their King­domes, [Page]and had there bin no people, there had bin no Kings: by which it appeares, that Kings have their dependance upon their People, and that they were the primary cause, and Kings but the [...]effects proceeding from them: therfore their Kingdomes are greater then they; and so consequently the representative bodies therof. And surely there is somwhat in it too, that Kings are call'd the Ministers and Servants of the State, and so all good Kings and Governours have acknowledged themselves to be.

Then againe Kings are but the ordinance of Man, as the Apostle shews, 1 Pet. 2.13. Submit you [...] s [...]lv [...]s to every ordinance of man for the Lords sake, whether it be to the King as su­preme. Where the Apostle gives us this exhortation, to submit to Kings though they be the ordinance of man. How will any say that they which doe infuse a power into others are inferiour unto them into whom they doe infuse it; that the power electing is inferiour to the power elected; that the originall is inferiour to the consequence; that the fountain head is inferiour to the streams that flow from it? I beleeve there are none that are in their right sences will say it. So then, if the people are the originall of that power that is in Kings, and that the power they have is borrowed from them, as the streams slow from the Fountain, let any judge whether is greater the King or his people. Not any particular person among the people nor any particular Corporations or Assemblies therof but the whole body of the people I say considered together; of those that by especiall consent of all the people do represent the whole.

But here it may be said, How say you that Kings are the ordinance of man, doth not the Apostle once and againe Rom. 13.1, &c. call all Rulers, and so consequently Kings the ordinance of God? Let every soule be subject to the higher powers, for there is no power but of God, the powers that be are ordained of God: Whosoever therfore resisteth the power resisteth the ordinance of God, &c. If they be the ordinance of God, how be they the ordinance of Men then?

Answ Here give me leave to aske one Question: Say any Politie or State chuse any kind of Government, whether Kings, or Dukes or Judges, or the like, and by ge­nerall consent for the good of the people they establish it by Law, is not this then a humane ordinance, this or that kind of Government that they have chosen; yet I suppose you will not deny but that this is the ordinance of God, that now they should submit themselvs thereto? Therfore the Apostle speaking concerning Magistrates in Rom. 13. saith not a word concerning Kings, as if they were more a divine Ordinance then other Rulers, but in generall terms he saith, that all rulers whatsoever are of God: But when he comes to speak of Kings in particular, as he doth 1 Pet. 2.13. he calls them the ordinance of man, wherby he doth as it were comment upon, and explain the meaning of those words of S. Paul, Rom. 13 as if he should have said thus: It is true, Power, Ma­gistracie and Government is the ordinance of God, and by divine institution: but so are not Kings, nor this nor that nor any other kind of government they are of man, and through his appointment. So that I say Kings, for their kind of government, are the ordinance of man: For God hath not tied any people in his Word, that they shall be governed by Kings, or by Dukes, or by Judges, or Estates or the like, but referres that unto themselvs for their choice, according as they shall see most convenient for their good and prosperity; but when this or that kind of government is ordained and esta­blished by generall consent of the people, this is the ordinance of God, which the Apostle gives a charge, that every one be subject unto (according to the old saying, Vox Populi vox Dei. The voice of the people is Gods voice) which they that resist shall receive to themselvs damnation. So that still you see there is a power on earth above Kings (as I said before) [Page]which lies in the generallity of the people, from whence they doe receive as from their Fountain head their Soveraignty and Kingly dignitie.

Now then from what hath bin said, followes this consequence of necessitie, that if there be a greater power on earth then Kings are, Then Kings are accountable for their actions therunto, and ought to be subject as well as others, as appeares by that in 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 &c. Whosoever therfore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God, and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. In which words we see the Apostle gives a generall charge to all inferiours to submit themselves to their superiours: therfore if Kings be inferiour to their Kingdomes, and so conse­quently to the representative bodies therof; then Kings ought by vertue of this charge, to be subject thereunto as well as others.

But how ought they to submit what? in doing only and in matter of obedience, are they discharged there, so as though they abuse their power never so exorbitantly, to spoile oppresse and destroy their people, censure may not passe upon them nor punish­ment be inflicted? surely I find no such distinction in all the word of God: Nay, we are commanded the contrary, and the law of nature teacheth us as much, that if there be a festred and a gangreen'd member in the body, that would destroy the whole, to cut it off for the preservation of the whose.

I, it is true will they say, if there be any festred or corrupted member in the body that would destroy the whole we ought to cut it off, rather then to suffer all the body to perish, the Law of God and nature teacheth us thus much: but in case the head should have any Gangreene in it, and you cut that off, you doe immediatly destroy the body; the life can not be preserved when the Head is gone. So in like manner the King he is the Head of the State, and in that respect he hath such an influence upon the State, that if you cut Him off, you destroy the whole State together with Him, as you destroy the body when you take away the head therof: therfore be he never so wicked, He is to be suffered and borne withall.

Answ. This similitude or resemblance here doth not hold good, therfore we must distinguish between a naturall head, and a civill head: for if the naturall head of the body of man be taken away, the body dies: but it is not so with the civill Head of the State, as experience doth sufficiently shew by the death of Kings. But if it were possible in the body of man, when one head is taken away to find another to put in his place, and so to preserve the life as it may be done in the State, surely Heads would oftentimes be changed, and cut off as well as other members. So that if we will thus reason, that the Head of the State should be in respect of His body, as the head of man in respect of the body of man, then it doth necessarily follow, that the Head being dead, the body should die also, as is manifest in the body of man. But it doth not hold so in the head of the State as it doth in the head of the body of man, that if the head of the State be cut off the State dies, as doth the body of man: therfore the King who is the Head of the State, if a corrupted and a festred Member, that may indanger the destruction of the body of the State, ought to be cut off, for the preservation of the whole, for, Salus populi suprena lex: nothing ought to be so much regarded as the Peoples safety, which is the end of all Law and government whatsoever.

This similitude, though it hold not good as it is above proposed, yet it doth in the contrary, that if a King by his wicked and Tyrannicall courses, doth destroy his Kingdome, he doth destroy himselfe, as when the naturall body is destroyed, the head of necessity must perish with it.

I but will some say this is strange, Where in all the Scripture doe you find that the people have with Gods likeing and approbation so much as resisted their Kings, how much lesse censured them, or brought them to tryall or punishment, for any actions that ever they have done?

For the first of these I Answer, that Kings in their wicked and ungodly courses have bin resisted by their people, the Spirit of God speaking by way of commendation of them for it, or at least wise not disapproving the same. This is evident by divers places of Scripture; As first of all we have an example hereof in Ionathans case. 1 Sam. 14 44. where because that lonathan had eaten a little Honey, contrary to the Commandement of his Father Saul, who was then King of Israel he would have put him to death; there­upon the people stand up in his just defence, against Saul his Father, saying. Shall Iona­than die who hath wrought this great salvation in Israel, God forbid, as the Lord lives there shall not one haire of his head fall to the ground, for he hath wrought with God this day. Then it followes, the people rescued Ionathan that he died not. Did they not think you resist Saul, when the people rescued him out of his hand whether he would or no, and contrary to the Oath that he had sworne?

Secondly, we have the example of David in Keilah, 1 Sam. 23.7 &c. where David being at Keilah, and Saul hearing of it, thought he had got now his oportunity to take him, that he might kill him, as oftentimes he had before indeavoured: but it so pleased God that this came to Davids eares, that Saul secretly practised mischief against him, to come and take away his life. Hereupon David inquires of God, First to know whe­ther it were so or no, as that Saul would come down to Keilah? God answers him, that he would. Therupon the second time he asks him Whether the men of Keilah would de­liver him and his men into the hand of Saul, or no? God answers him that he would deliver him up. By this last it doth clearly appeare, that if so be the Keilites would have bin true to David, and have stood to him, he would have maintained the Town against Saul, and have defended himselfe in it: otherwise, why should David aske God the se­cond time, Whether the men of Keilah would deliver him up and his men into the hands of Saul, or no? he might have gone his way, when that he heard Saul would come down, without asking any more questions, unlesse we will say that the second question, which David propounded to aske of God, was frivolous and vaine, and so consequently the answer that God gave it; which I suppose there are none will be so bold as to affirme. (This was the very case of Sir Iohn Hotham in Hull, who for this very action His Majestie was pleased to Proclaime him Traytor.)

Then againe, it may be further said of David, if he had not had a purpose to have resisted Saul in case of exigency, and extremity, what did he with 600. men about him? he might have fled from Saul when he was coming towards him, without such a train and guard of men attending him, and so have saved himselfe without them. Nay, he might in all probability have escaped his hands better, for had he not had so many with him, he might have kept himselfe the more close, and secret, so that he could not have bin so easily discovered. And besides this we read 1 Chron. 12.22. that There came to David to help him before Sauls death an hoast, like the hoast of God: and what? was all this preparation and assistance for nothing?

One more example I will bring out of the Scriptures, and that is of King Vzziah, 2 Chron. 26 16. who incroached upon the Office of the Priests, and would take upon him to offer Incense in the Temple of the Lord, contrary to the expresse commande­ment of God: whereupon it is said in the 17. verse, that Azariah the Priest went in after [Page]him, and with him fourescore Priests of the Lord, that were valiant men, and they withstood Vzzi­ah the King, and said unto him, it pertaineth not to thee Vzziah to burn Incense unto the Lord, but to the Priests the sons of Aaron, that are consecrated to burn incense; goe out of the Sanctuary, for thou hast trespassed, neither shall it be for thine honour from the Lord God. Then Vzziah was wroth, and had a Censour in his hand to burn Incense: and while he was wroth with the Priests, the Leprosie even rose upon his forehead, before the Priests in the house of the Lord, besides the In­cense altar. Then Azariah the chief Priest, and all the Priests looking upon him, and beholding that he was leprous in his forehead, thrust him out from thence. If this be not resistance, I know not what is.

Besides all this, the more to stoppe the mouthes of such ill affected persons in our times, that will take upon them to make much more of Kings, then ever God made or did intend there are examples even in the Primitive times among the Christians, who have resisted their Kings in their sinfull and unlawfull actions. As to instance in Lyci­nius the Emperour who had granted to the Christians to injoy their Religion, yet after­wards turning persecutor, they sent for Constantine the great to assist them against him, and overthrew him. And againe being persecuted by the King of Persia, the Christi­ans sent for Theodosius the Emperour to help them against him. And I doubt not but if the Ecclesiasticall Histories of those times were searched there might more examples of this nature be found out.

But besides all this, we have seen and known the like in our own times, as lately in the Scots, whom the King himselfe, that now is, acquitted, when he came to a right understanding. So the Protestants in France, England all Queen Elizabeths dayes did help them. In our dayes again in King Charles his own reigne, we sent over a great Force, in shew at least, to help Rochel against the King of France. So in High Iermanie. the Princes there maintain their right against Charles the 5, and were helped by France and England. In the Neather-Lands it is evident from the beginning. Now shall we take upon us to condemn all these Churches for so doing?

Then for the second, which is the principall point here in dispute, Whether Kings in case they doe Tyrannize over their People Oppresse, Spoile and Destroy their Sub­jects, and doe other such like wicked and unnaturall actions may have Censure and Punishment inflicted upon them, according to the nature of their severall Offences? They say where is there any example or expresse command in Scripture for this?

Answ. It is true, there are no examples, or Commands in Scripture for this particu­lar case, or at least not as I know of; yet that matters not, so long as we have a rule to walk by, and Commands in generall that reach to all particulars. And for this the like may very well be said, as may for Parents murthering of their Children, there is no direct Law set down, either divine or humane, for the punishment of such▪ the thing is so detestable and contrary to very nature, that it may be conceived, that there would be none such found: but if there be, there are generall Laws in force for their censure and punishment, as in case of Murther; and by how much the nearer the relation is, the greater being the bond and tye for procuring the peace and welfare of such and such parties, so much the greater is the offence, and so much the more liable are they to punishment. So I say though there are no particular Laws set down, for the correct­ing and punishing of such Kings and Princes as doe Oppresse Spoil and Destroy their People, yet so much is included in those generall Laws both of God and Man; and so much the more liable are they to Censure and punishment, by how much they are Ordained, to be greater instruments of the good and well being of their People then [Page]others are. (For this is the very nature and being of a King. He is such a one as cares and provides for the Common vealth, takes pleasure in the commodity and profit of His Subjects; and in all his doings hath respect to the prosperity of those over whom He ruleth.) Now what those generall Laws are, it is well known; As for example This God hath said. He that sheds mans blood, by man shall his blood be shed, Gen 9 6. And He that blasphemes the Name of the Lord, shall surely be put to death. Levit. 24 16. And again If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosome, or thy friend, which is as thine own soule, (the King himself may be within the compasse of these or most of these relations, as the case is put) intice thee secretly, saying, let us goe and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou nor thy fathers, thou shalt not consent not him, nor hearken unto him, neither shall thine eye pitty him neither shalt thou spare neither shalt thou conceal him but thou shalt surely kill him thine hand shal be first upon him to put him to death; and afterwards the hand of all the people and thou shalt stone him with stones that he dye Deut. 13.6 &c. In which words the Spirit of God plainly shews, that in this case, the greatest and nearest relation of friendship love and duty, that we can owe to any whatsoever they be, of what dignity or degree soever should not make us desist from the execution of Justice. These things are spoken you see without the least exception that may be, that in case the Rulers or the King should do thus, that the like should not be done unto them: but God requires that Equity and Justice be done alike upon all without respect of persons; as we well know that this is the charge that God hath given Deut. 16.19. Thou shalt not wrest judge­ment, thou shalt not respect persons. Where God shews thus much unto us, that to respect the persons of any in matter of Judgement, or Justice, is to wrest Justice, and to goe aside from that which is right. God will have equall and impartiall judgement ad­ministred alike unto all: And the reason hereof is given by the Holyghost in the place before ci [...]ed. Deut. 13.11. That all Israel may heare and feare and doe no more any such wicked­ne [...]se. Now there is none that will deny, but that Kings by nature are as bad as any, and are subject to be worse then any others, by reason of those Flatterers and evill Counsellours, that usually are about them, as we may see in the examples of Ioash, 2 Chron. 24 17. and of Rehoboam, 2 Chron 10.8 &c. should it be so then that there were no Laws in force binding unto them as well as unto Us, and examples of true and equall Justice made upon them as well as upon others, it were the very next way to open a gappe to all Kings and Princes to all manner of wickednesse and licentiousnes, and to make them Tyrants that otherwise would be good and gracious towards their People. Wheras this would be a very good meanes to keep Kings in as well as others, from running into such extravagant courses to the dishonour of God, and the destru­ction of their people as usually they are wont to doe; unlesse we will say that God hath given unto Kings and Princes a dispensation above all others, to run headlong unto Hell without controule. They that teach such Doctrine by this now it appeares what friends they are unto them whatsoever they may pretend, who would make Kings of all others the most miserable, by ascribing unto them an unrestrained liberty to all wickednesse whatsoever, to their destruction.

But here comes in another Objection, for will some say againe, Kings are Gods anoyn­ted: therfore men may not question them much lesse may they touch their lives what­soever their actions be: And thus much saith David concerning Saul, who was King of Israel though he were a wicked King and his enemy that sought his life; and that for no just cause neither; yet when David had an opportun [...]ty to slay him, 1 Sam. 24 6. he speaks thus, The Lord forbid that I should doe this thing unto my Master the Lords anointed, [Page]to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord. So againe, 1 Sam. 26.9. Who can stretch forth his hand against the Lords anointed and be guiltlesse?

To this I answer, David was a private man (notwithstanding he was Sauls successor by Gods appointment to the Crowne) and so had no warrant to doe such a thing as this, as to take away the life of Saul the King, though hee had done him, or should seeke to doe him never so much harm. For in a case farre Inferiour to this, wee know that if a private man be a Thiefe, and by Law is condemned to die, yet no man may lay vi­olent hands upon him to take away his life, but onely in a Legall way, and by the exe­cutioner that is by authority appointed for this purpose, if any man should, hee would be accounted a murtherer for so doing, and bee liable to suffer the Law in that case provided. So then if this cannot bee justifiable upon a private person condemned by Law, much lesse then upon a publike person, especially such a one as a King is, and uncondemned too. Therfore in this case had David taken away Sauls life, who was then King of Israel, he had bin much to blame, and had sinned exceedingly in the sight of God, wherfore David would not doe it.

But we doe not know what David would have done, or what he might have done, in case Saul should forceibly have come upon him to have taken away his life, in his own just defence for his own safety and preservation: for else for what end had David those 600. men with him? Surely it will be answered, and I beleeve the most malig­nant among them all will not deny it, that he had them for his Defence; was it so? Then truly I think that they that will defend themselvs, by Arms and armed men, must needs offend, when they are offended. For this is a meere conceipt that even very chil­dren will be ready to laugh at, to say that when a mans enemy comes against him to doe him a mischief he must only defend himselfe, but must not strike againe. For how is this possible, for a man to defend himselfe from his enemy, and yet not offend his enemy?

Then for asmuch as Kings are call'd the anointed of the Lord; they are so call'd in two respects. First either in regard of the Anointing Oyle that was powred upon them, by the performance of which Ceremonie they were inaugurized into their Functions and Offices. Or else, in regard of that authority, which by their people they are elected unto, whereby they become Gods Deputies and Vicegerents here on earth, in ruling and governing of his people.

For the first of these, in asmuch as Kings are call'd the anointed of the Lord, because of the Anointing Oyle that was powred upon them, by the performance of which Cere­mony they were inaugurized into their Functions, whereof some there were that God did in a more especiall manner thus institute and ordaine, even by His own immedi­ate appointment, as to wit Saul, David, Solomon, Iehu, and Hazael, whom he commanded Elijah to Anoynt King over Syria. Yet I see no ground, nor reason, why even these should not be responsall to the Lawes and to their Kingdomes, for their Actions. For I do not perceive that God did any whit hereby exempt them from the observance of his Laws, either Actively or passively. If not, then surely they that would attribute thus much unto them, doe exalt and set them above the Laws and Commandements of God (for you must understand that the judiciall Laws in those times, whereby God would have his people to bee governed, were immediately ordained of God; as well as any other Laws whatsoever) which therfore for my own part I conceive to be no lesse then blas­phemy; at least I am sure it is a high contempt of Gods ordinance. Wherfore now (with submission to better judgements) wheras it is said, Who can stretch forth his hand [Page]against the Lords anointed and be guitlesse, I suppose this to be the meaning of it; That this is a thing not to be rashly or unadvisedly done by any, and that it belongs to none but to the Magistrates only, and that in a legall way, having herein an awfull and reveren­tiall regard of the Commandement of God.

Yet further I will not deny but that it may probably be, that there may be somwhat extraordinary in the case of these 5 Kings before mentioned, their persons being of Gods immediate choice, and by his especiall appointment inducted into that Function, as the rather it seems so to be, because this term of the Lords anointed, I find it applyed in Scripture to no King else, that was anointed with Oyle, but only these, though we read of divers Kings else besides these, that were anointed with Oyle.

Then for the other, in that Kings are called Gods anointed with respect to the authority, which by their people they are elected unto, whereby they become Gods Deputies and Vicegerents here on earth, in ruling and governing of his people, Thus, and no other­wise then thus are our Kings call'd the Anointed of the Lord; Now as much as this is proper and belonging to other Rulers as well as to Kings, to be called Gods Deputies and Vicegerents, and therefore it is that they, as I shewed before, are cal'd Gods as well as Kings, which little is applyed unto them, in this regard, because they represent the place of God, and have his Image stamped upon them in a more especiall manner, by meanes of that authority that God, by the consent of his people hath conferred upon them for their good: From hence therefore neither doe I see any ground, why Kings should not be accountable for their actions. For if so be that they are not accountable in this regard because they are Gods Deputies and Vicegerents, why then I say, nor a­ny other Rulers, nor Magistrates besides, because they are Gods Vicegerents as well as Kings? The which, I thinke there are none will be so simple as to affirme.

So now by what hath been said, we see that even Kings in a legall way may bee re­sisted, neither do we want examples among our selves of this kind and yet it is thought no grievance or unlawfull thing, or unbeseeming the profession of good Christians, as some doe say. For it is not manifest that the King himselfe is impleaded by his owne Subjects, and hath many times tryalls at Law with them at the Kings bench, and is di­vers times too overthrowne: And if this be done in slighter matters, then certainely much more it ought to be done in matters, of farre greater weight and consequence, as in cases of oppression, Tyranny, or Destruction of his People.

But here againe say they, should wee grant you this, that other Kings may be re­sisted, as you have declared, and may Legally bee accountable for their actions, yet the case is not alike betweene other Kings and ours of England, for as much as they have their right to the Crown by Conquest, as is evident by William the Conquerour, whose Successors they are, and therefore there is no other way for us now, but either to obey what they command us, or else to submit our selves to suffer.

Answ. It goes beyond my apprehension to coneive, how this kind of arguing can hold good, and I do admire upon what ground it should be built. But besides it is not here amisse, to take notice of the basenesse and servility of the spirits of these men, who can be so well content to argue themselves into a very vassalage and slavery: Therfore for satisfaction in this point as well as in the rest, wee must take notice that there is a two fold conquest; one is Absolute, and the other is Conditionall. For the first of these, will they affirme it, that we are absolutely conquered, and so overcom by an altogether over-ruling and Tyrannicall power, that our Lives, Persons and Estates lie at the mer­cy of the Conqueror, all that ever we have being at his will and pleasure, that hee may [Page]make a prey of them how he list, and when he list; without any bonds or ties at all on his part, towards his people, but that by vertue of the Conquest, we are wholly become his Vassalls and slaves: I say in this case a people may by force of Armes, nay they are bound to doe it (for as much as all people ought both by the Law of God and nature to provide for their owne welfare and salvation) when they have a fit and convenient op­portunity, and strength sufficient, to rescue themselves from under the power of such a Tyranny, and free themselves from such a Yoake, though it should bee even with the personall destruction of those Kings, that should usurpe such a power over them. And I prove it clearely by the examples of the people of God in the times of the Iudges, ap­proved by the Spirit of God; as, Iudg. 3 8. Israel there rebelled against the Lord, by turning unto Idolls, whereupon it is said, the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hands of Cushan Rishathaim King of Mesopotamia, and the Children of Israel served Cushon Rishathaim eight yeeres (that is to say, they served him in a servile slavish way) then it followes, that the Children of Israell cryed unto the Lord, and the Lord raysed up a deliverer unto the Children of Israel, who delivered them, even Othniel the brother of Kenaz, Kalebs younger brother, and the spirit of the Lord came up [...]n him, and he judged Israel, and went out to warre, and the Lord delivered Cushan Rishathaim, into his hand, and his hand prevailed against Cushan Rishathaim, and so the Land had rest 40 Yeeres.

By which words you see, that the people of God by force of Armes were violently overcome, and kept powerfully under a Tyranny, for the space of eight yeeres but see when God had raised up unto them a deliverer, that is to say, one that would stand up in defence of them against the King of Mesopotamia, who had them under, and they now had a convenient opportunity to redeeme themselves from under this Tyranny, they take it; and by force of Armes recover their liberty againe. It is needlesse to in­stance in any more particulars at large, I will therefore onely point out the severall pla­ces that for your better satisfaction you may read them at your leasure. The ensuing Story doth manifestly prove it beginning at the 12. verse, &c. so againe, Iudges 4. the whole Chapter is a Story to this purpose: This is cleare also in the example of Gideon, who delivered Israel from the hand of the Midianites, the Story is in the 6. and 7. Chap. of Iudges. It is cleare also by the example of Ieptha, who delivered Israel from the hand of the Ammonites Iudges the 19. and 11. Chapters. So much in briefe may be said concerning absolute Conquest. And now I hope they will take heed, how they say, we were ab­solutely conquered. Then for the other, and that is Conditionall Conquest. So say they we were Conquered, and it is not denyed: That is to say; when William the Conque­rour invaded the Land, we were content to submit our selves unto him, (for the pre­vention of blood shed and destruction, that otherwise might have ensued) to serve him as our Liege Lord, and Soveraigne, so that he would promise to govern us, according to these and these Laws and Customes, to which covenant hee consented, as all the Kings of England have done since. And so we are become not his slaves to be destroyed at his pleasure, but his Subjects, having sworne him and his Successours Allegiance upon these conditions. If this be so; then here we plainely see, we are not bound to sub­mit to the Kings will and pleasure, in all his commands, but onely so farre forth as hee commands according to his Laws, which is the condition upon which we sweare him Allegiance, and become his Subjects. Therefore if the conditions of the Cove­nant be broke, and instead of governing his people by his Lawes, he rules them as hee list, according to his will and pleasure; is it not manifest, that the King doth absolve his Subjects from their Allegiance, nor are they any longer, legally bound to obey [Page]him. For this every one knowes, that when the condition, whereby the Covenant is tied to each partie, is broken, the Covenant it selfe by vertue thereof is quite dissolved, or at least dissolvable at the parties pleasure with whom the Covenant was made. By this it appeares that the King is as much bound to the Subjects as the Subjects to the King, and that in this case the Subjects may make lawfull resistance to recover their undoubted Liberties and Priviledges, and yet not bee termed Rebells against their Prince. For none but they only can be called or esteemed such, as violate their oathes of Allegiance, which we do not, if the King break with us his Covenant, wherby he hath bound himselfe to us and upon performance whereof we sweare him Allegiance.

But now besides all that hath bin said, let us a little look into the foul absurdities that follow upon this tenent, that people must so submit themselves unto their Kings, as ei­ther to obey their commands, though never so unlawfull, or else to suffer whatsoe­ver they shall inflict upon them, and not to take up defensive Armes against them: but in case their Kings come against them in a hostile manner seeking their destruction; all that they must doe say they, is to runne away from them. But, say they doe so, they may so follow and persue their people, or incompasse them in that they can be able to runne no further, so that then they must either perforce stand upon their defence, or submit themselves unto their mercy. Why? I say they, so they must, all the weapons they must use in this case are prayers and teares. So that then, if Nero like they should wish that the whole body of their people were but one necke, that hee might cut them off at one blow, they must as we say, lay their necks upon the block, and submit them­selves to their owne destruction. And so now consequently it follows, be their Kings never so great Tyrants, not onely over their bodies, but over their soules too (as the case may be, they may set up Popery and Idolatry in their Kingdomes, as the Kings of Israel and Iudah did: nay if they will, bring in very Heathenisme, and what not, utter­ly depriving their people of all the outward happinesse, and comfort of their lives, and also as much as in them lies, prostituting their soules to utter ruine, by denying them the meanes of their salvation) yet they may not doe any thing in this case to help them­selvs by way of just defence or Legall Justice. If this be so, then indeed we are behol­ding only to the Kings good nature, for every thing that we have and do enjoy, and not at all unto the Laws, and that will proove good doctrine that hath not long since bin so freely taught among us, That our lives, our Liberties, our Estates, our Wives and our Children, and all we have, are at the Kings mercy, and that wee doe injoy any of these, it is of his meer favor and bounty towards us: And then what need at all is there of any Laws, or why should the Parliament trouble themselvs to make any more Sta­tutes or Ordinances, wherby to govern us? the which how ridiculous it is, and how abominably false, and contrary to Gods word, you have already heard.

It will not be improper for this discourse to look a little into the case and conditi­on, which wicked King Ahaz brought his people into by his abominable Idolatry which he established in the land, 2 Chron. 20.3. It is said, He burnt incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and burnt his children in the fire, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out before the children of Israel. He sacrificed also and burnt incense in the high places, and on hills, and under every green tree: wherfore the Lord his God, it is said, delivered him into the hand of the King of Syria, and they smote him (that is to say, his people) and carryed away a great multitude of them captive, and brought them to Damascus; and he was also delivered into the hand of the King of Israel, who smote him with a great slaughter. For Peca the sonne of Remaliah slew in Iudah 12000. in one day, which were all valiant men: and the reason follows, [Page] because they had forsaken the Lord God of their fathers. By whose meanes was this that they had done it, was it not by reason of their Idolatrous King Ahaz? Then in the 8. verse, the children of Israel carryed away captive of them 200000. women, sons and daughters, and took also away much spoile from them, and brought the spoile to Samaria. Againe in the 16. verse, Ahaz sends to the King of Syria to help him against the Edomites that came and smote Iudah, who carryed them away captive; the Philistims also had invaded the Cities of the low Countries, and of the south of Iudah, and had taken divers Townes from them, as there they are reckoned up, and dwelt there: for it is said, The Lord brought Iudah low because of Ahaz King of Israel, for he had made Iudah naked, and transgressed sore against the Lord. So in the 20. verse againe it is said, That Tilgath Pilnezer, King of Assyria came unto him, and distressed him, but strengthned him not, for Ahaz took a portion out of the house of the Lord, and out of the house of the King, and of the Princes, and gave it unto the King of Assyria, but he helped him not. There you see was also so much of the treasure of the land lost. Again it is said, that in the time of his distresse he did trespasse yet more against the Lord. (This is that King Ahaz,) for he sacrificed unto the Gods of Damascus which smote him: and he said, because the Gods of the Kings of Syria helpe them, therfore will I sacrifice to them, that they may help me: but they were the ruine of him, and of all Israel. To this lamentable condition was Israel now brought, through the wickednesse of this man. How much better had it bin for them to have executed the judgement of the Lord upon him, who in his most just and righteous Law required, that all Idolaters, without respect of persons, should be destroyed; and had given more then an ordinary charge concerning this particular, then, by the neglect of the execution of justice, to have brought themselvs to that miserable condition wherin they were, both in respect of their soules and bodies. And who knows whether God might not lay the heavier load upon them, for this their contempt, in not obeying his Commandement; whereas if so be they had done this, they might still have continued in the favour of God, and bin a blessed and renowned people as their predecessours were.

But if it shall be said, Why did they not execute justice in this kind upon him, and other their Idolatrous Kings, it seems there was somwhat more then ordinary in it, in that it was omitted?

I answer. It was no marvaile they did neglect the execution of justice in this regard upon their Kings, when as they were so carelesse to doe it upon common and private persons: for we never read that ever there was so much as any one person, after they were come into the promised possession of the Land of Canaan, that they did put to death for their Idolatry, of what kind or condition soever they were: and if this were thus o­mitted upon persons of ordinary and mean ranke and qualitie, how should it be expe­cted that it should be executed upon their Kings.

Yet besides all this that hath bin said, to shew the unreasonablenesse and falsenesse of this Deposition (that Kings are unaccountable for their actions, and may not be resisted, though they doe those things that are never so dishonourable to God, and prejudiciall and hurtfull to their Subjects) there may somwhat more be said with reference to the Wisdome of God. For how is it possible to be imagined, that He who is so infinitely wise (having in His un­searchable understanding appointed Government as the only meanes for his peoples hap­py and well being here on earth, should leave His people in such a condition, that if so be the meanes and instruments, which he hath ordained for their good, should rise up against them to their destruction, they should have no power lest them to help themselvs, nor meanes to provide for their own safety, but must be faine to submit themselvs to their wills and pleasures. How doth this exceedingly reflect upon the Wisdome and [Page]Providence of God; and is it not manifest and apparent that Gods ends and intenti­ons in Government are hereby quite frustrated and void, so as that, that which he hath appointed for his peoples greatest benefit and security, should turn to their greatest hurt and mischief. And this were the next way, instead of making God the authour of peace, 1 Cor. 14 33. to make him the chiefest authour of all disorder and confusion. For let any man judge that hath but the ordinary understanding of a man, if this be not occasion sufficient to make even the best of Kings (if God doe not give them more then an ordinary measure of his Grace) to become Tyrants, and to live as they list, when they are perswaded that they may doe what they list, and none may controule them.

Therfore for the more full clearing of that which hath bin already said, it will not be amisse to search a little narrowly into the meaning of that place, Rom, 13.1 &c. and so to acquaint our selves what that power is, which the Apostle there calls the ordinance of God, Let every soule be subject unto the higher powers, for there is no power but of God, the powers that be are ordain'd of God. They are Magistrates that are here meant by these powers, and these powers the Apostle saith are of God. Now I aske, did ever God give a power unto any for the destruction of his people, and of those that are committed to their charge? is this the Ordinance of God for Kings and Rulers to seek the undoing and ruine of their people? Surely no. God did appoint them for his peoples good, as before was shewed; and thus much also the Apostle declares to us here in the words following, verse 3. Rulers are not a terrour to good works, but to the evill. Wilt thou not be afraid of the power? doe that which is good and thou shalt have praise of the same for he is the minister of God to thee for good, &c. (Here by the way this shews unto us, that the acts of Kings for the good of their people, are not acts of Grace, as some flatterers would make them, but they are acts of Dutie, which God requires from them towards their people.)

And besides, let us have a respect unto Kings and Governours too, as they are a hu­mane ordinance, as the Apostle calls them, as you heard before, 1 Pet. 2.13. &c. Did ever the people who elected them, give them any such power as to rule them according to their wills and pleasures? If they have, what made they those good Laws for, according to which they Covenanted for to govern them? And therfore as the Apostle before saith, they are the ordinance of God with respect to their peoples good; so here the Apostle saith, they are the ordinance of man with respect to the same: For so he saith, Submit your selves to every ordinance of man for the Lords sake, whether unto the King as supreme, or unto Governours, as they that are sent by him; What for? Or to what end? (surely not for their destruction, but to be instruments of their well being, for so it followes) for the punish­ment of evill doers, and for the praise of them that doe well. Therfore hence I say, If Kings who are Ordained by God, and Chosen by Men, for this end, to be instruments of good to their People, doe contrarily abuse their Authority, wherewithall they are intrusted both by God and Man, to the hurt and destruction of their People: if in this case the People to preserve themselvs doe stand upon their own Defence, and take up Armes for their own protection, they do not resist the ordinance of God, nor come within the reach of the Apostles censure, as those that for so doing shall receive damnation.

Here is one thing yet more that I have to say concerning the Unlimited Preroga­tive; and so I shall finish this Discourse; and that is, What good can there come by ascribing such a Power? For every circumstance in point of Government must have respect unto some good or other, either for the glory of God, or for the benefit of the People: if so be that they conduce not to these ends, they are utterly to be rejected, as sinfull and obnoxious. For God never gave Magistrates any such power, as to be unlimitable in [Page]breaking his Commandements; or to become terrible and dreadfull to their People: but this He requires, that they especially, whom He and His People have trusted with power and Magistracie, should by their example honour God in a holy and godly con­versation, and be comfortable and profitable to their People, through their pious, peaceable, and Religious government.

But how or which way doth it appear that the unlimited Prerogative hath, or can have respect to any such ends: nay reason tells us the contrary; and We have learned asmuch by the best of Schoolmasters, to wit, experience; And if the Spirit of God say true, a great deale of evill and mischief may come by it, but no good at all as ever I could read. Thus much we may perceive, if we will look into that place in the 17. Deut. 18. where the Spirit of God speaking concerning the King, when he shall come to sit upon the Throne of his Kingdome, He shall write (saith he) a coppie of this Law in a Booke, out of that which is before the Priests the Levites, and it shall be with him; and he shall read therein all the dayes of his life, that he may learne to feare the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law, and these Statutes to do them. Here we see the rule, which God would have Kings apply them­selves unto in governing of their People, but here is no grant or Charter that God at all hath given them, to rule them according to their wills and pleasures; and he binds them within the compasse of His Law. And it cannot be denied but that these Statutes and Commandements of God before spoken of, require passive as well as active Obe­dience. For what is here said unto Kings, is oftentimes in this Book, and else where, said unto the People; and I beleeve there is none will say, but that they are required therby to obey in both kinds: why not Kings then as well as others, for here is no exception. Nay the Spirit of God here gives us a sufficient reason, that they ought so to doe, in the words following, for so it is said, least his heart be lifted up above his brethren. He foresaw what mischief would come of it, if Kings should have any such Unlimi­ted Power allowed them. And indeed how can it otherwise be, but they must needs exceedingly swell with Pride, when they shall be made like God, subject to no Laws. And what doe they else, that ascribe such a power unto them, as that they are no waies accountable, or punishable for any actions that they doe? Is not this the very next way to cause them to despise and trample their People under their feet, as if they were so ex­ceedingly beneath them (though in truth they be the same, and equall with them, in respect of their nature and being, (therfore the Spirit of God here calls them their Bre­theren) the difference only lying in their power and Magistracie) and to make them for­get themselves and their humane condition, as if they were a degree above Men, by exalting them above all Laws, as if by vertue of their place and Dignitie, their very nature were changed into the Divine.

Besides this, it is further worth the marking, what other evill consequence will be readie to follow, if such a power, as is said before, should be ascribed Therfore it is said in the next words (that he turne not aside from the Commandement, to the right hand or to the left) as who should say to give Kings such a power as is Unlimited and disresponsable, it is the very next way to cause them to presume and take liberty to themselves, how they list and when they list to break the Commandements of God and to cast his Precepts behind their backs.

Here we see now the evill that comes by this Prerogative, I would any one could shew me what that good is that doth from it arise; or where in all the Scripture it is said, that Kings shall not be accountable for what they doe. I perswade my selfe that it will be a taske too hard for any man to undertake.

By this it appeares, what Enemies they are to the Common-wealth, and what a deale of mischief they doe, that teach such Doctrine as Kings Unlimited Power, and how abominable they must needs be both in the sight of God and Men, that teach men to erre from Gods Commandements; and to conclude all in a word, I may here say to such as our Saviour doth, Math. 5.19. Whosoever shall break one of the least of these Com­mandements, and shall teach men so to doe, shall be call'd the least in the Kingdome of heaven. And here also I may well remember them of the words of that prediction of the Apo­stle, 2 Thess. 2.11. which are truly verified in these men. God shall send them strong Delusi­ons that they may beleeve a lye, that all they might be damned that beleeve not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousnesse.

I doe not much question but that this paper may light of those that will not spare to lay Censure hard enough upon it; and it is not unlikely but it may suffer under that terrible name of Treason; yet I say it would be well for them before they shoot their bolt, to consider wisely with themselves what they doe least otherwise they prove to be such as fall foule upon the Truth of God, and so be found to be such as fight a­gainst Him, which if they doe, let themselves judge how it is like to be with them. But let it be as it will, yet the comfort is, it is not the first time that Truth hath suffer'd under as bad a Censure as this can be: and let them that are enemies to this Truth doe what they can, yet let me tell them that Truth is strong, and shall prevaile; and that howsoever it may be blamed by those that hate it, yet it shall never be ashamed. And as all Truth ought to be known, so especiallie every Truth in its chiefest time and season: for as the Wise man saith, Pro. 25.11. A word spoken in due season, is like apples of gold in pictures of silver, then it is most like to do good, and then most acceptable and delightfull. I have spoken a few words upon this theame the rather, that hereby at least I might provoke those of better judgements, and are able to say farre more of this point then my selfe, according to the necessitie of the times to speak in this behalfe, if they be lovers of their King, of the Truth, and of their Countrie: And so I commend it to the blessing of GOD.


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