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and laws; for a man can either bind himself to be a servant, or sell himself to be a slave, by which he becomes in the power of another, only so far as it was provided by the contract: since all that liberty, which was not expresly given away, remains still intire; so that the plea for liberty always proves itself, unless it appears that it is given up, or limited by any special agreement.
2. It is no less certain, that as the light of nature has planted in all men anatural principle of the 'love of life', and of a 'desire to preserve it', so the common principles of all religion agree in this, that, God having set us in this world, we are bound to preserve that being, which he has given us, by all just and lawful ways. Now this duty of self-preservation is exerted in instances of two sorts; the one is in the resisting of violent aggressors, the other is the taking of just revenges of those who have invaded us so secretly, that we could not prevent them, and so violently, that we could not resist them. In which cases, the principle of self-preservation warrants us, both to recover what is our own, with just damages, and also to put such unjust persons out of a capacity of doing the like injuries any more, either to ourselves, or any others. Now, in these instances of selfpreservation, this difference is to be observed, that the first cannot be limited, by any slow forms, since a pressing danger requires a vigorous repulse, and cannot admit of delays; whereas the second, of taking revenges or reparations, is not of such haste, but that it may be brought under rules and forms.
3. The true and original notion of civil society and government is, that it is a compromise made by such a body of men, by which they resign up the right of demanding reparations, either in the way of justice against one another, or in the way of war against their neighbours, to such a single person, or to such a body of men, as they think fit to trust with this. And in the management of this civil society, great distinction is to be made between the power of making laws for the regulating the conduct of it, and the power of executing these laws; the supreme authority must still be supposed to be lodged with those who have the legislative power reserved to them; but not with those who have only the executive, which is plainly a trust, when it is separated from the legislative power; and all trusts, by their nature, import, that those, to whom they are given, are accountable, even though that it should not be expresly specified in the words of the trust itself.
4. It cannot be supposed by the principles of natural religion, that God has authorised any one form of government, any other way, than as the general rules of order and of justice oblige all men not to subvert constitutions, nor disturb the peace of mankind, nor in. ?ade those rights, with which the law may have vested some persons; for it is certain, that as private contracts lodge or transact private rights, so the publick laws can likewise lodge such rights, prero. gatives, and revenues, in those under whose protection they put themselves; and, in such a manner, that they may come to have as good a title to these, as any private person can have to his property 3 so that it becomes an act of high injustice and violence to invade these, which is so far a greater sin, than any such actions would be against a private person, as the publick peace and order is preferable to all private considerations whatsoever. So that, in truth, the principles of natural religion give those that are in authority no power at all; but they do only secure them in the possession of that which is theirs by law. And as no considerations of religion can bind me to pay another more than I indeed owe him, but do only bind me more strictly to pay what I owe; so the considerations of religion do, indeed, bring subjects under stricter obligations to pay all due allegiance and submission to their princes; but they do not at all extend that allegiance further than the law carries it.
And though a man has no divine right to his property, but hag Required it by human means, such as succession, or industry, yet he has a security for the enjoyment of it, from a divine right: so, though princes have no immediate warrants from heaven, either for their original titles, or for the extent of them, yet they are secured in the possession of them, by the principles and rules of natural religion.
5. It is to be considered that, as a private person can bind him. •elf to another man's service by different degrees, either as an ordinary servant for wages, or as an appropriate for a longer time, as an apprentice; or, by a total giving himself up to another, as in the case of slavery. In all which cases, the general name of master may be equally used; yet the degrees of his power are to be judged by the nature of the contract; so, likewise, bodies of men can give themselves up, in different degrees, to the conduct of others. And, therefore, though all those may carry the same name of king, yet every one's power is to be taken from the measures of the authority which is lodged in him, and not from any general speculations founded on some equivocal terms, such as king, sovereign, or supreme.
6. It is certain, that God, as the creator and governor of the world, may set up whom he will, to rule over other men; but this declaration of his will must be made evident by prophets, or other extraordinary men sent by him, who have some manifest proofs of the divine authority, that is committed to them, on such occasions; and upon such persons declaring the will of God, in favour of any others, that declaration is to be submitted to and obeyed. But this pretence of a divine delegation can be carried no farther than to those who are thus expresly marked out, and is unjustly claimed by those who can prove no such declaration to have been ever made in favour of them, or their families. Nor does it appear reasonable to conclude, from their being in possession, that it is the will of God that it should be so; this justifies all usurpers, when they are sue. cessful.
7. The measures of power, and, by consequence, of obedience, must betaken from the express laws of any state, or body of men, from the oaths that they swear; or from immemorial prescription, and a long possession, which both give a title, and, in a long tract of time, make a bad one become good; since prescription, when ft passes the memory of man, and is not disputed by any ofher pretender, gives, by the common sense of all men, a just and good title. So, upon the whole matter, the degrees of all civil authority, are to be taken either from express laws, immemorial customs, or from particular oaths, which the subjects swear to their princes; this being still to be laid down for a principle, that, in all the disputes between power and liberty, power must always be proved, but liberty proves itself; the one being founded only upon positive law, and the other upon the law of nature.
8. If, from the general principles of human society, and natural religion, we carry this matter to be examined by the Scriptures, it is clear, that all the passages, that are in the Old Testament, are not to be made use of in this matter, on neither side. For as the land of Canaan was given to the Jews, by an immediate grant from heaven, so God reserved still this to himself, and to the declarations that he should make from time to time, either by his prophets, or by the answers that came from the cloud of glory that was between the cherubims; to set up judges or kings over them, and to pull them down again as he thought fit, here was an express delegation made by God; and therefore all that was done in that dispensation, either for or against princes, is not to be made use of in any other state, that is founded on another bottom and constitution; and all the expressions in the Old Testament relating to kings, since they belong to persons that were immediately designed by God, are without any sort of reason applied to those who can pretend to no such designation, neither for themselves nor for their ancestors.
9. As for the New Testament, it is plain, that there are no rules given in it, neither for the forms of government in general, nor for the degrees of any one form in particular, but the general rules of justice, order, and peace, being established in it upon higher motives, and more binding considerations, than ever they were in any other religion whatsoever, we are most strictly bound by it, to observe the constitution in which we are; and it is plain, that the rules, set us in the gospel, can be carried no further. It is, indeed, clear from the New Testament, that the christian religion, as such, gives us no grounds to defend or propagate it by force. It is a doctrine of the cross, and of faith and patience under it; and if, by the order of divine providence, and of any constitution of government, under which we are born, we are brought under sufferings, for our professing of it, we may indeed retire and fly out of any such country, if we can; but, if that is denied us, we must then, according to this religion, submit to those sufferings under which we may be brought, considering that God will be glorified by us in so doing, and that he will both support us under our sufferings, and gloriously reward us for them.
This was the state of the christian religion, during the three first centuries, under heathen emperors, and a constitution in which paganism was established by law; but if, by the laws of any govern. ment, the christian religion, or any form of it, is become a part of the subject's property, it then falls under another consideration, not as it is a religion, but as it is become one of the principal rights of the subjects, to believe and profess it; and then we must judge of the invasions made on that, as we do of any other invasion that is made on our rights.
10. All the passages in the New Testament, that relate to civil government, are to be expounded as they were truly meant, in opposition to that false notion of the Jews, who believed themselves to be so immediately under the divine authority, that they would not become the subjects of any other power; particularly of one that was not of their nation, or of their religion; therefore they thought, they could not be under the Roman yoke, nor bound to pay tribute to Caesar, but judged that they were only subject out of fear, by reason of the force that lay on them, but not for conscience-sake; and so in all their dispersion, both at Rome and elsewhere, they thought they were God's freemen, and made use of this pretended 'liberty as a cloke of maliciousness'. In opposition to all which, since in a course of many years they had asked the protection of the Roman yoke, and were come under their authority, our Saviour ordered them to continue in that by his saying, 'Render to Caesar that which is Caesar's'; and both St. Paul in his epistle to the Romans, and St. Peter in his general epistle, have very positively condemned that pernicious maxim, but without any formal declarations made of the rules or measures of government. And, since both the people and senate of Rome had acknowledged the power that Augustus had, indeed, violently usurped, it became legal when it was thus submitted to, and confirmed both by the senate and people; and it was established in his family by a long prescription, when these epistles were writ; so that, upon the whole matter, all that is in the New Testament, upon this subject, imports no more but that all christians are bound to acquiesce in the government, and submit to it, according to the constitution that is settled by law.
11. Wearethen at last brought to the constitution of our English government; so that no general considerations from the speculations about sovereign power, nor from any passages either of the Old or New Testament, ought to determine us in this matter; which must be fixed from the laws and regulations that have been made among us. It is then certain, that with relation to the executive part of the government, the law has lodged that singly in the king, so that the whole administration of it is in him; but the legislative power is lodged between the king and the two houses of parliament, so that the power of making and repealing laws is not singly in the king, but only so far as the two houses concur with him. It is also clear, that the king has such a determined extent of prerogative, beyond which he has no authority: as for instance, if he levies money of his people, without a law impowering him to it, he goes beyond the limits of his power, and asks that, to which he has no right, so that there lies no obligation on the subject to grant it; and if any in his name use violence for the obtaining it, they are to be looked on, as so many robbers, that invade our property, and they being violent aggressors, the principle of self-preservation seems here to take place, and to warrant as violent a resistance.
12. There is nothing more evident, than that England is a free nation, that has its liberties and properties preserved to it by many positive and express laws. If then we have a right to our property, we must likewise be supposed to have a right to preserve it; for these rights are by the law secured against the invasions of the prerogative, and by consequence we must have a right to preserve them against those invasions. It is also evidently declared by our law, that all orders and warrants, that are issued, not in opposition to them, are null of themselves; and by consequence, any that pretend to have commissions from the king, for those ends, are to be considered, as if they had none at all: since these commissions, being void of themselves, are indeed no commissions in the construetion of the law; and therefore those, who act in virtue of them, are still to be considered, as private persons, who come to invade and disturb us. It is also to be observed, that there are some points that are justly disputable and doubtful, and others that are so manifest, that it is plain that any objections, that can be made to them, are rather forced pretences, than so much as plausible colours. It is true, if the case is doubtful, the interest of the publick peace and order ought to carry it; but the case is quite different, when the invasions, that are made upon liberty and property, are plain and visible to all that consider them.
. 13. The main and great difficulty here, is, that though our government does indeed assert the liberty of the subject, yet there are many express laws made, that lodge the militia singly in the king, that make it plainly unlawful, upon any pretence whatsoever, to take arms against the king, or any commissioned by him; and these laws have been put in the form of oath, which all that have borne any employment either in church or state have sworn; and therefore these laws, for the assuring our liberties, do indeed bind the king's conscience, and may affect his ministers; yet, since it is a maxim of our law, that the king can do no wrong, these cannot be carried so far as to justify our taking arms against him, be the transgressions of law ever so many and so manifest: and, since this has been the constant doctrine of the church of England, it will be a very heavy imputation on us, if it appears, that though we held these opinions, as long as the court and the crown have favoured us, yet, as soon as the court turns against us, we change our principles. 14. Here is the true difficulty of this whole matter, and therefore it ought to be exactly considered. First, all general words, how large soever, are still supposed to have a tacit exception, and reserves in them, if the matter seems to require it. Children are-commanded to obey their parents in all things; wives are declared, by the scripture, to be subject to their husbands in all things; as the church is unto Christ: and yet how comprehensive soever these Words may Seem to be, there is still a reserve to be understood in them; and though,- by our form of marriage, the parties swear to one another, till death them do part, yet few doubt but this bond is dissolved -by