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There is no absolute authority, where there is no absolute subjection due; and there can be no absolute subjection due where there is no absolute authority. No man wants authority to defend his life against him, who has no authority to take it away; but no man whatsoever has any just authority, that is, any authority at all, to take it away contrary to law.
He, that resists the usurpations of men, does not resist the ordinance of God, which alone is forbidden to be resisted; but acts of arbitrary and illegal violence are the usurpations of men, therefore may be resisted.
We are bound not to part with our lives, but to defend them; unless, when the laws of God, or our country, require us to lay them down.
Voluntary slavery is a sin against the law of nature, which no man, in his right mind, can be guilty of.
Self-defence never did any mischief in this world, and it is impossible, that one man's righting himself can do another man wrong; the mischief, that happens in that case, is wholly to be charged upon those, that invade men's lives and liberties, and thereby put them upon a necessity of defending them.
Every man has the right of self-preservation as intire under civil government, as he had in a state of nature. Under what government soever I live, I may still kill another man, when I have no other way to preserve my life from unjust violence, by private hands. Now the hands of subordinate magistrates, employed in acts of illegal violence, are private hands, and armed with no manner of authority at all; of which this is a most convincing proof, that they may be hanged by law, for such acts, which no man can or ought to suffer, for what he does by authority; for illegal violence is no part of their office.
What can be more contrary to reason, and the government of the world, yea, to the goodness and wisdom of Almighty God, than that some thousands, or millions of people, should be so subjected to the power of one man, of the same infirmities with themselves; and, in case he should command all their throats to be cut, they are obliged under the pain of no less than damnation, by a thing called passive obedience, to submit their necks tamely to the blow!
Kings were made to govern and protect the people, not to destroy them; but I never heard that the people were made for kings.
Ah, but some do object, the corporation oath binds us to be passive, the design whereof I shall here inquire into, viz. This oath was made quickly after the restoration of King Charles the Second, from an unnatural rebellion; and a Popish king was not then thought of, King Charles the Second being as likely or likelier to live, than the late King James. And can it be thought this oath was made with any other design, than to prevent the like rebellion, for the future; that, as soon as we were delivered from one unreasonable tyranny and oppression, we should run ourselves wilfully into another? Which is in effect, if this oath is to be taken in the strictest sense, or, at least, standing to the mercy of the prince, whether he will be go or no; can any man be so ridiculous as to think, the legislators designed, by this oath, to bind themselves and the community to be so passive, that, if the king endeavoured to cut our throats, or overthrow the laws, rights, and privileges of the subject, and endeavoured to bring in popery and slavery, we should stand still, and let him? Let all the world judge, whether it can with any reason ba' thought.
If an absolute monarch should degenerate into so monstrous unnatural a tyranny, as apparently to seek the destruction of the whole community, then such community may negatively resist such subver-' sion, and, if constrained to it, positively resist such endeavours, and defend themselves by force against any instruments whatsoever, for the effecting thereof.
First, David did so, when pursued by Saul, he made negative resistance by flight; and doubtless, if negative would not have served the turn, he intended,
Secondly, To make positive resistance, else why did he strengthen himself by forces, but by that force of arms to defend himself? If then he might do it for his particular safety, much rather may it be done for the publick, especially in a limited monarchy.
Resistance ought not to be made against all illegal proceedings, but such which are subversive and unsuffcrable, as when there is an invasion actually made, or eminently feared, by a foreign power, or when, by an intestine faction, the laws and frame of government are secretly undermined or openly assaulted; in both these cases, the beingof the government being indangered, the people's safety and trust bind them, as well to assist the king in securing, as to secure it by themselves, the king refusing.
A monarch acting according to his power, not exceeding the authority which God and the laws have conferred on him, is no way to be opposed either by all or any of his subjects, but in conscience to God's ordinance obeyed. This is granted on all sides.
The prince is bound to the laws, on the authority whereof his authority depends, and to the laws he ought to submit.
The end of a king is the general good of his people, which he not performing, he is but the counterfeit of a king.
The obligation of an oath is dissolved by the cessation of the matter of it, or by any remarkable change about the principal cause of the oath; the obligation of a nation's allegiance to their prince can be nothing else, but his being in actual capacity to command and protect them. Whensoever, therefore, this actual capacity is changed then the obligation to obedience must be changed also.
The reciprocal obligation, there is between the king and the peopie, binds the one to protection and just government, and the other to tribute and obedience; and those duties of protection and obedience appear to be correlative: so the law has appointed reciprocal oaths to be taken for the better inforcing the performance of these respective duties, that is, the coronation oath on the king's part, and the oath of allegiance on the subjects, which is an agreement or covenant between king and people. All agreements are co., venants, but much more that, which hath the obligation of an oath to bind it.
I ask, whether it is not as reasonable, a king conspiring the ruin and destruction of his people, by breaking his oath or contract, and destroying the very foundation of government, and in lieu thereof bringing in popery and slavery, as the late King James did, he should forfeit and lose the right of governing, as that the people conspiring against him should suffer death?
I ask, whether the authority which is inherent in our kings be boundless and absolute, or limited and determined? So that the acts which they do, or command to be done, without that compass and bounds, be not only sinful in themselves, but invalid, and not authoritative to others.
The word loyal comes from the French word la lot, which is to be legal, or true to the laws of the land; and, on the contrary, he that obeys the commands of his prince, contrary to the laws of the land, is so far from being loyal, that he is an illegal person, and a betrayer of the known laws of his country.
Passive obedience is popery established by law, whenever the prince shall please, and by consequence slavery; whereas the subjects of England never were slaves in any particular, nor ever would be in the darkest times of popery.
I ask, where was the doctrine of passive obedience, when Queen Elisabeth assisted the Hollanders against their lawful sovereign the King of Spain, and when she assisted the Protestants of France at a vast charge, in the reigns of Charles the Ninth, and Henry the Third, and in King Charles the First's reign, the expedition of Rochel was carried on by king and parliament, and cordially agreed to by the fathers of our church, and yet the Protestants of France could never pretend to any such privileges as England can justly claim?
The late King James's life has been but one continued and formed conspiracy against our religion, laws, rights, and privileges; and what can be expected from such a prince, who is a Romanist, and has violated his oath before God and man, and endeavours to re-establish himself with the sword, by the assistance of one of the greatest tyrants that ever the world produced?
It cannot be proved that monarchy was originally instituted by God Almighty, or that we are commanded to obey kings, exclusively to all other government.
I ask, where was there such a thing as a king for the first sixteen hundred years and upwards, which is to the deluge, or for several hundred years after it? The first king, at least the first mentioned in holy writ, is Nimrod, of the posterity of Cham, who began his kingdom in the second century after the flood; whose kingdom was founded by force and violence; so that the very foundation of monarchy seems to be laid from this person, which makes but little for jure du yino. If kings are by divine appointment, is it not rational to believe that God would have commanded all the world to have been governed by kings, or at least the christian world, and have given them a particular law to govern by?
If monarchy be jure divino, then all other government is sinful. Allegiance is due to him from whom we receive protection. This is allowed on by all the world; else why do men, afterhaving sworn allegiance to their native prince, and going into another country, swear allegiance to the prince thereof?
Allegiance is due to a king in possession, who is called a king de facto, and treason may be committed against him, as well as against a king by regular descent; and yet, by the law, treason cannot be committed against the rightful heir, who is called a king de jure, who is out of possession of the crown, and all judicial and poli. tical acts, done by a king de facto, are as valid and obligatory, as if they had been done by a rightful king, in actual possession of the throne. Whereas, on the contrary, all such acts done by a king dejure, who is not in possession of the crown, are totally void. In like manner, the law prefers the peace and order of the polity, before the particular rights of the king himself; and the great end of the regal authority, and of the law itself, is the quiet and pros. perity of the commonwealth.
It is an acknowledged aphorism, that the safety of the people is the supreme law, and therefore to be preferred before titles to succession.
The succession of the crown of England is not by divine right, but by political institution; and all the prerogatives and authorities of the crown belong to the successor de facto, and not to the heir de jure, or ex ordine, being out of possession; and that allegiance is due in such case to the former, and not to the latter.
All the proofs that are brought out of the gospel, for obedience to princes, do confirm this maxim of our law; for neither ourSa. viour or his apostles bid christians enquire into the right and title of the Roman emperors, but obey them, under what government, it was their lot to fall, for few of them could pretend a legal title to the crown.
I challenge all the passive obedience and jure divino men in England, nay in the whole world, to answer these assertions and propositions, and prove the doctrine of passive obedience and jure divino, by scripture, law, or reason. When these are proved, I dare be bold to affirm the nation will send for the late King James, and submit to his yoke, and lay down their necks upon the block, and stand to the mercy of the French and Irish dragoons, to cut their throats.
I conjure all the dissatisfied persons, in their majesty's dominions, to be satisfied with these assertions and propositions, or to answer them, and shew sound reason for their dissent from the present go. vernment; for a wilful schism in the state is a sin, and he that en. deavours to sow dissensions amongst the people, and to draw their majesties subjects, from their true allegiance, is guilty of a double sin.
. And, because it may be objected, in answering these propositions, they must be forced to write against the government, I do promise, if they send a short, but direct answer, to Mr. Randal Taylor's, to print it, with a reply annexed to it.
Licensed May 7, 1689. J. Fraser.
QUAKERS REMONSTRANCE TO THE PARLIAMENT, &c. TOUCHING THE POPISH PLOT,
SIR EDMUNDBURY GODFREY'S MURDER.
Much of which being not unseasonable at this juncture, it is now
As also to shew, that the Quakers were formerly as zealous against Popery, as any others; notwithstanding they have so much appeared to the contrary of late. Licensed, the fifteenth of June, 1689. London, printed 1689, and sold at several Booksellers. Quarto, containing eight pages.
J.T is not a time now to dispute, but to act, and that vigorously too, or England's lost Popery, that enemy to God, by setting up idols; to Christ, by its new-found mediators: to the Holy Ghost, by putting a Pope in his place; to the Scriptures, by its legends and corrupt traditions; to reason, by its imposed absurdities; to common sense, by its most foolish, but most idolised transubstantiation; to all tender dissenting consciences, by fire and faggot; and to all civil governments, that refuse to be subject to it, by plots, assassinations, and horrid massacres, its usual and notorious steps to worldly advancement. This monstrous Popery, this common enemy to mankind, that hath so often contrived our ruin, and several times been at the very point of effecting it, has once more attempted us, and with that violence and design, that it looks like the last time: Nay, the great sticklers of it are got within our works, and promise themselves the garison; because, they say, they have friends in disguise among us. It is true, they have lost some men in the attempt, but they are not much daunted at that; for the whole papal world, they brag, have conspired their success, and the air rings with the thousands of masses, that are daily said for the prosperity of the design, as if their intention were to convert the world, and not to kill the king, garble the parliament, shamble all good and sober Protestants of every party, fire and plunder cities, and, finally,