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III.: RELIGIOUS PRINCIPLES OF RESISTANCE - Arthur Sutherland Pigott Woodhouse, Puritanism and Liberty, being the Army Debates (1647-9) from the Clarke Manuscripts with Supplementary Documents 
Puritanism and Liberty, being the Army Debates (1647-9) from the Clarke Manuscripts with Supplementary Documents, selected and edited with an Introduction A.S.P. Woodhouse, foreword by A.D. Lindsay (University of Chicago Press, 1951).
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RELIGIOUS PRINCIPLES OF RESISTANCE
Christian Obedience and its Limits
For when they hear that liberty is promised by the Gospel, which acknowledgeth among men no king and no magistrate but hath regard to Christ alone, they think that they can take no fruit of their liberty so long as they see any power to have pre-eminence over them. Therefore they think that nothing shall be safe, unless the whole world be reformed into a new fashion, where may neither be judgments nor laws nor magistrates, nor any such thing which they think to withstand their liberty. But whosoever can put difference between the body and the soul, between this present and transitory life and that life to come and eternal, he shall not hardly understand that the spiritual kingdom of Christ and the civil government are things far asunder. Since therefore that is a Jewish vanity, to seek and enclose the kingdom of Christ under the elements of the world, let us rather (thinking, as the scripture plainly teacheth, that it is a spiritual fruit which is gathered of the benefit of Christ) remember to keep within the bonds thereof this whole liberty which is promised and offered us in him (Gal. 5. 1; 1 Cor. 7. 21). For what is the cause why the same Apostle which biddeth us to stand, and not to be made subject to the yoke of bondage, in another place forbiddeth bondservants to be careful of their state, but because spiritual liberty may very well agree with civil bondage? * * *
But as we have even now given warning that this kind of government is several from that spiritual and inward kingdom of Christ, so it is also to be known that they nothing disagree together. For the civil government doth now begin in us upon earth certain beginnings of the heavenly kingdom, and in this mortal and vanishing life doth, as it were, enter upon an immortal and incorruptible blessedness. But the intent of his spiritual government is, so long as we shall live among men, to cherish and maintain the outward worshipping of God, to defend the sound doctrine of godliness and the state of the Church, to frame our life to the fellowship of men, to fashion our manners to civil righteousness, to procure us into friendship one with another, to nourish common peace and quietness. All which I grant to be superfluous if the kingdom of God, such as it is now among us, do destroy this present life. But if the will of God be so that we, while we long toward the heavenly country, should be wayfaring from home upon the earth, and sith the use of such wayfaring needeth such helps, they which take them from man do take from him his very nature of man. For whereas they allege that there is so great perfection in the Church of God that her own moderate government sufficeth it for a law, they themselves do foolishly imagine that perfection which can never be found in the common fellowship of men. * * *
[The civil state] tendeth not only hereunto, . . . that men may breathe, eat, drink, and be cherished . . ., but also that idolatry, sacrilege against the name of God, blasphemies against his truth, and other offences of religion, may not rise up and be scattered among the people, that common quiet be not troubled, that every man may keep his own safe and unappaired, that men may use their affairs together without hurt, that honesty and modesty be kept among them; finally that among Christians may be a common show of religion, and among men may be manlike civility. Neither let any man be moved, for that I do now refer the care of stablishing of religion to the policy of men, which I seemed before to have set without the judgment of men. For I do no more here than I did before give men leave after their own will to make laws concerning religion and the worshipping of God, when I allow the ordinance of policy which endeavoureth hereunto, that the true religion which is contained in the Law of God, be not openly and with public sacrileges freely broken and defiled. * * *
The Lord hath not only testified that the office of magistrates is allowed and acceptable to him, but also setting out the dignity thereof with most honourable titles, he hath marvellously commended it unto us. * * * Wherefore none ought now to doubt that the civil power is a vocation not only holy and lawful before God, but also the most holy, and the most honest, of all other in the whole life of men. * * *
And . . . it were very vain that it should be disputed of private men which should be the best state of policy in the place where they live; for whom it is not lawful to consult of the framing of any commonweal. And also the same could not be simply determined without rashness, forasmuch as a great part of the order of this question consisteth in circumstances. * * * Truly, if those three forms of governments which the philosophers set out, be considered in themselves, I will not deny that either the government of the chiefest men or a state tempered of it and common government far excelleth all other. Not of itself, but because it most seldom chanceth that kings so temper themselves that their will never swerveth from that which is just and right; again, that they be furnished with so great sharpness of judgment and wisdom that every one of them seeth so much as is sufficient. Therefore the fault or default of men maketh that it is safer and more tolerable that many should have the government, that they may mutually one help another, one teach and admonish another, and if any advance himself higher than is meet, there may be overseers and masters to restrain his wilfulness. This both hath alway been approved by experience, and the Lord also hath confirmed it with his authority, when he ordained among the Israelites a government of the best men, very near unto common government, at such time as he minded to have them in best estate, till he brought forth an image of Christ in David. And as I willingly grant that no kind of government is more blessed than this, where liberty is framed to such moderation as it ought to be, and is orderly stablished to continuance, so I count them also most blessed, that may enjoy this estate. And if they stoutly and constantly travail in preserving and retaining it, I grant that they do nothing against their duty. Yea, and the magistrates ought with most great diligence to bend themselves hereunto, that they suffer not the liberty of the people of which they are appointed governors, to be in any part minished, much less to be dissolved. If they be negligent and little careful therein, they are false faith-breakers in their office, and betrayers of their country. But if they would bring this kind to themselves, to whom the Lord hath appointed another form of government, so that thereby they be moved to desire a change, the very thinking thereof shall not only be foolish and superfluous, but also hurtful. * * *
Now the office of magistrates is in this place to be declared by the way, of what sort it is described by the word of God, and in what things it consisteth. If the scripture did not teach that it extendeth to both the Tables of the Law, we might learn it out of the profane writers. For none hath entreated of the duty of magistrates, of making of laws and of public weal, that hath not begun at religion and the worshipping of God. And so have they all confessed that no policy can be happily framed unless the first care be of godliness, and that those laws be preposterous which, neglecting the right of God, do provide only for men. * * * And we have already showed that this duty is specially enjoined them of God; as it is meet that they should employ their travail to defend and maintain his honour, whose vicegerents they be, and by whose benefit they govern. For this cause also chiefly are the holy kings praised in scripture, for that they restored the worship of God, being corrupted or overthrown, or took care of religion, that it might flourish pure and safe under them. * * *
Next to the magistrate in civil states are laws the most strong sinews of commonwealths. * * * There be some that deny that a commonweal is well ordered, which, neglecting the civil laws of Moses, is governed by the common laws of nations. How dangerous and troublesome this sentence is, let other men consider; it shall be enough for me to have showed that it is false and foolish. That common division is to be kept, which divideth the whole Law of God published, into Moral, Ceremonial, and Judicial Laws; and all the parts are to be severally considered, that we may know what of them pertaineth to us, and what not. Neither in the meantime let any man be cumbered with this doubt, that judicials and ceremonials also pertain to the moral laws. For although the old writers which have taught this division were not ignorant that these two latter parts had their use about manners, yet because they might be changed and abrogate, the morals remaining safe, they did not call them morals. They called that first part peculiarly by that name, without which cannot stand the true holiness of manners and the unchangeable rule of living rightly.
Therefore the Moral Law . . ., sith it is contained in two chief points, of which the one commandeth simply to worship God with pure faith and godliness, and the other to embrace men with unfeigned love, is the true and eternal rule of righteousness prescribed to the men of all ages and times that will . . . frame their life to the will of God. For this is his eternal and unchangeable will, that he himself should be worshipped of us all, and that we should mutually love one another. The Ceremonial Law was the schooling of the Jews, wherewith it pleased the Lord to exercise the certain childhood of that people, till that time of fulness came, wherein he would to the full manifestly show his wisdom to the earth, and deliver the truth of those things which then were shadowed with figures. The Judicial Law, given to them for an order of civil state, gave certain rules of equity and righteousness, by which they might behave themselves harmlessly and quietly together. And as that exercise of ceremonies properly pertained indeed to the doctrine of godliness (namely which kept the church of the Jews in the worship and religion of God), yet it might be distinguished from godliness itself, so this form of judicial orders (although it tended to no other end but how the self-same charity might be best kept which is commanded by the eternal Law of God), yet had a certain thing differing from the very commandment of loving. As therefore the ceremonies might be abrogate, godliness remaining safe and undestroyed, so these judicial ordinances also being taken away, the perpetual duties and commandments of charity may continue. If this be true, verily there is liberty left to every nation to make such laws as they shall foresee to be profitable for them; which yet must be framed after the perpetual rule of charity, that they may indeed vary in form, but have the same reason. * * *
This which I have said shall be plain, if in all laws we behold these two things as we ought, the making and the equity of the law, upon the reason whereof the making itself is founded and stayeth. Equity, because it is natural, can be but one, of all laws. And therefore one law, according to the kind of matter, ought to be the propounded end to all laws. * * * Now sith it is certain that the Law of God which we call moral is nothing else but a testimony of the natural law, and of that conscience which is engraven of God in the minds of men, the whole rule of this equity whereof we now speak is set forth therein. Therefore it alone also must be both the mark and rule and end of all laws. Whatsoever laws shall be framed after that rule, directed to that mark, and limited in that end, there is no cause why we should disallow them, however they otherwise differ from the Jewish law or one from another. * * *
The first duty of subjects toward their magistrates is to think most honourably of their office, namely, which they acknowledge to be a jurisdiction committed of God, and therefore to esteem them and reverence them as the ministers and deputies of God. * * * Of this then also followeth another thing: that with minds bent to the honouring of them, they declare their obedience in proof to them; whether it be to obey their proclamations, or to pay tribute, or to take in hand public offices and charges that serve for common defence, or to do any other of their commandments. Let every soul (saith Paul) be subject to the higher powers (Rom. 13. 1). For he that resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God. * * *
But if we look to the word of God, it will lead us further, that we be subject not only to the government of those princes which execute their office toward us well, and with such faithfulness as they ought, but also of all them which (by what means soever it be) have the dominion in possession, although they perform nothing less than that which pertaineth to the duty of princes. For though the Lord testifieth that the magistrate’s is a special great gift of his liberality for preserving of the safety of men, and appointeth to magistrates themselves their bounds, yet he doth therewithal declare that, of what sort soever they be, they have not their authority but from him; that those indeed which rule for benefit of the commonweal are true exemplars and patterns of his bountifulness; that they that rule unjustly and wilfully are raised up by him to punish the wickedness of the people; that all equally have that majesty wherewith he hath furnished a lawful power. * * *
But (thou wilt say) rulers owe mutual duties to their subjects. That I have already confessed. But if thou thereupon conclude that obediences ought to be rendered to none but just governors, thou art a foolish reasoner. For husbands are also bound to their wives, and parents to their children, with mutual duties. Let parents and husbands depart from their duty . . .; shall yet therefore either children be less obedient to their parents, or wives to their husbands? But they are subjects both to evil parents and husbands and such as do not their duty. * * * Wherefore, if we be unmercifully tormented of a cruel prince, if we be ravenously spoiled of a covetous or riotous prince, if we be neglected of a slothful prince, finally if we be vexed for godliness’ sake of a wicked and ungodly prince, let us first call to mind the remembrance of our sins, which undoubtedly are chastised with such scourges of the Lord. Thereby our humility shall bridle our impatience. Let us then also call to mind this thought: that it pertaineth not to us to remedy such evils; but this only is left for us, that we crave the help of the Lord, in whose hands are the hearts of kings and the bowings of kingdoms. * * *
And here both his marvellous goodness and power and providence showeth itself; for sometime of his servants he raiseth up open avengers and furnisheth them with his commandment to take vengeance of their unjust government, and to deliver his people, many ways oppressed, out of miserable distress; sometime he directeth to the same end the rage of men that intend and go about another thing. * * * For the first sort of men, when they were by the lawful calling of God sent to do such acts in taking armour against kings, they did not violate that majesty which is planted in kings by the ordinance of God; but, being armed from heaven, they subdued the lesser power with the greater, like as it is lawful for kings to punish their lords under them. But these latter sort, although they were directed by the hand of God whither it pleased him, and they unwittingly did work, yet proposed in their mind nothing but mischief. * * *
Though the correcting of unbridled government be the revengement of the Lord, let us not by and by think that it is committed to us to whom there is given no other commandment but to obey and suffer. I speak alway of private men. For if there be at this time any magistrates for the behalf of the people (such as in old time were the Ephori that were set against the kings of Lacedemonia, or the Tribunes of the people against the Roman consuls, or the Demarchi against the senate of Athens, and the same power also which peradventure, as things are now, the three estates have in every realm when they hold their principal assemblies), I do so not forbid them, according to their office, to withstand the outraging licentiousness of kings, that I affirm that if they wink at kings’ wilfully ranging over and treading down the poor commonalty, their dissembling is not without wicked breach of faith because they deceitfully betray the liberty of the people where they know themselves to be appointed protectors by the ordinance of God.
But in that obedience which we have determined to be due to the authorities of governors, that is always to be excepted, yea chiefly to be observed, that it do not lead us away from obeying of him to whose will the desires of all kings ought to be subject, to whose decrees all their commandments ought to yield, to whose majesty their maces ought to be submitted. And truly how unorderly were it, for the satisfying of men, to run into his displeasure for whom men themselves are obeyed? The Lord therefore is the King of Kings, who, when he hath opened his holy mouth, is to be heard alone for all together and above all. Next to him we be subject to those men that are set over us; but no otherwise than in him. If they command anything against him, let it have no place and let no account be made of it. Neither let us herein anything stay upon all that dignity wherewith the magistrates excel, to which there is no wrong done when it is brought into order of subjection in comparison of that singular and truly sovereign power of God. After this reason Daniel denieth (Dan. 6. 22) that he had anything offended against the king, when he obeyed not his wicked proclamation; because the king had passed his bounds, and had not only been a wrong-doer to men, but in lifting up his horns against God he had taken away power from himself. On the other side the Israelites are condemned because they were too much obedient to the wicked commandment of the king (Hos. 5. 13). For when Jeroboam had made golden calves, they, forsaking the Temple of God, did for his pleasure turn to new superstitions (1 Kings 12. 30). * * * I know how great and how present peril hangeth over this constancy, because kings do most displeasantly suffer themselves to be despised, whose displeasure (saith Solomon) is the messenger of death. But sith this decree is proclaimed by the heavenly herald Peter, that we ought to obey God rather than men (Acts 5. 29), let us comfort ourselves with this thought, that we then perform that obedience which the Lord requireth, when we suffer anything rather, whatsoever it be, than swerve from godliness. And that our courage should not faint, Paul putteth also another spur to us: that we were therefore redeemed of Christ with so great a price as our redemption cost him (1 Cor. 7. 13), that we should not yield ourselves in thraldom to obey the perverse desires of men, but much less should be bound to ungodliness.
Presbyterian Principles of Resistance
Whob doubteth (Christian reader) but innocency must be under the courtesy and mercy of malice, and that it is a real martyrdom to be brought under the lawless inquisition of the bloody tongue? Christ, the Prophets and Apostles of our Lord went to heaven with the note of traitors, seditious men, and such as turned the world upside down. Calumnies of treason to Caesar were an ingredient in Christ’s cup, and therefore the author is the more willing to drink of that cup that touched his lip, who is our glorious forerunner. What if conscience toward God and credit with men cannot both go to heaven with the Saints? The author is satisfied with the former companion and is willing to dismiss the other. Truth to Christ cannot be treason to Caesar, and for his choice he judgeth truth to have a nearer relation to Christ Jesus than the transcendent and boundless power of a mortal prince.
He considered that popery and defection had made a large step in Britain, and that arbitrary government had over-swelled all banks of law. . . . And the naked truth is: prelates, a wild and pushing cattle to the lambs and flock of Christ, had made a hideous noise; the wheels of their chariot did run an equal pace with the bloodthirsty mind of the daughter of Babel. * * * And now judgment presseth the kingdoms, and of all the heaviest judgments, the sword. . . . I hope this war shall be Christ’s triumph; Babylon’s ruin. * * *
I have not time to examine the p[roud] prelate’s preface.1 Only I give a taste of his gall.* * * ‘Do they not (Puritans) magisterially determine that kings are not of God’s creation by authoritative commission but only by permission extorted by importunity, and way given that they may be a scourge to a sinful people?’ Ans[wer]: Any unclean spirit from hell could not speak a blacker lie. We hold that the king, by office, is the Church’s nurse father, a sacred ordinance, the deputed power of God. * * *
[The Presbyterians] hold (I believe with warrant of God’s word): if the king refuse to reform religion, the inferior judges and assembly of godly pastors and other church officers may reform; if the king will not . . . do his duty in purging the House of the Lord, may not Eli[j]ah and the people do their duty and cast out Baal’s priests? Reformation of religion is a personal act that belongeth to all, even to any one private person according to his place. * * *
All the forged inconsistency betwixt presbyteries and monarchies is an opposition with absolute monarchy, and concludeth with a like strength against parliaments and all synods of either side, against the Law and Gospel preached, to which kings and kingdoms are subordinate. Lord, establish peace and truth. * * *
[Passages selected from Questions I-XLI]
[I] What is warranted by the direction of nature’s light is warranted by the law of nature, and consequently by a divine law; for who can deny the law of nature to be a divine law?
That power of government in general must be from God, I make good: Because (Rom. 13) there is no power but of God; the powers that be, are ordained of God. God commandeth obedience, and so subjection of conscience to powers: (Rom. 13. 5) Wherefore we must be subject not only for wrath (or civil punishment) but for conscience’ sake; (1 Pet. 2. 13) Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether it be to the king as supreme, &c. Now God only by a divine law can lay a band of subjection on the conscience, tying men to guilt and punishment if they transgress.
Conclus[ion]: All civil power is immediately from God in its root. In that God hath made man a social creature, and one who inclineth to be governed by man; then certainly he must have put this power in man’s nature. So are we by good reason taught by Aristotle, God and nature intendeth the policy and peace of mankind. Then must God and nature have given to mankind a power to compass this end; and this must be a power of government.
[II] As domestic society is by nature’s instinct, so is civil society natural in radice, in the root, and voluntary in modo, in the manner of coalescing. * * *
We are to distinguish betwixt a power of government, and a power of government by magistracy. That we defend ourselves from violence by violence, is a consequent of unbroken and sinless nature; but that we defend ourselves by devolving our power over in the hands of one or more rulers, seemeth rather positively moral than natural, except that it is natural for the child to expect help against violence, from his father. For which cause I judge . . . that princedom, empire, kingdom, or jurisdiction hath its rise from a positive and secondary law of nations, and not from the law of pure nature. The law saith, there is no law of nature agreeing to all living creatures for superiority; for by no reason in nature hath a boar dominion over a boar, a lion over a lion, a dragon over a dragon, a bull over a bull. And if all men be born equally free (as I hope to prove), there is no reason in nature why one man should be king and lord over another; therefore . . . I conceive all jurisdiction of man over man to be, as it were, artificial and positive, and that it inferreth some servitude whereof nature from the womb hath freed us, if you except that subjection of children to parents, and the wife to the husband. And the law saith, De jure gentium secundarius est omnis principatus. This also the scripture proveth, whileas the exalting of Saul or David above their brethren to be kings, and captains of the Lord’s people, is ascribed, not to nature (for king and beggar spring of one clay-metal), but to an act of divine bounty and grace above nature. So Psalm 78. 70-1: He took David from following the ewes, and made him king and feeder of his people. * * *
If we once lay the supposition that God hath immediately by the law of nature appointed there should be a government, and mediately defined, by the dictate of natural light in a community, that there shall be one or many rulers to govern the community; then the scripture’s arguments may well be drawn out of the school of nature.
[III] But some object: If the kingly power be of divine institution, then shall any other government be unlawful and contrary to a divine institution, and so we condemn aristocracy and democracy as unlawful. Ans[wer]: This consequence were good if aristocracy and democracy were not also of divine institution, as all my arguments prove; for I judge they are not governments different in nature if we speak morally and theologically, only they differ politically and positively. Nor is aristocracy anything but diffused and enlarged monarchy, and monarchy is nothing but contracted aristocracy. . . . And wherever God appointed a king, he never appointed him absolute and a sole independent agent,a but joined always with him judges, who were no less to judge according to the Law of God (2 Chron. 19. 6) than the king (Deut. 17. 15). And in an obligation moral of judging righteously, the conscience of the monarch and the conscience of the inferior judges are equal, with an immediate subjection under the King of Kings, for there is here a co-ordination of consciences, and no subordination, for it is not in the power of the inferior judge to judge, quoad specificationem as the king commandeth him, because the judgment is neither the king’s nor any mortal man’s, but the Lord’s (2 Chron. 19. 6-7).
Hence all the three forms are from God. But let no man say, if they be all indifferent and equally of God societies and kingdoms are left in the dark, and know not which of the three they shall pitch upon because God hath given to them no special direction for one rather than for another. But this is easily answered, that a republic appoint rulers to govern them is not an action indifferent, but a moral action, because to set no rulers over themselves, I conceive, were a breach of the Fifth Commandment, which commandeth government to be one or other. It is not in men’s free will that they have government or no government, because it is not in their free will to obey or not to obey the acts of the court of nature, which is God’s court, and this court enacteth that societies suffer not mankind to perish, which must necessarily follow if they appoint no government. Also it is proved elsewhere that no moral acts in their exercises and use are left indifferent to us. So then the aptitude and temper of every commonwealth to monarchy, rather than to democracy or aristocracy, is God’s warrant and nearest call to determine the wills and liberty of people to pitch upon a monarchy hic et nunc, rather than any other form of government, though all the three be from God, even as single life and marriage are both the lawful ordinances of God, and the constitution and temper of the body is a calling to either of the two. Nor are we to think that aristocracy and democracy are either unlawful ordinances or men’s inventions, or that those societies which want monarchy do therefore live in sins.
[IV] Whether the king be only and immediately from God, and not from the people? * * *
But the question is concerning the designation of the person: whence is that this man rather than this man is crowned king . . .; is it from God immediately and only . . . or is it from the people also, and their free choice? For the pastor and the doctor’s office is from Christ only; but that John rather than Thomas be the doctor or the pastor is from the will and choice of men, the presbyters and people.
The royal power is three ways in the people: (1) Radically and virtually, as in the first subject; (2) Collative vel communicative, by way of free donation, they giving it to this man, not to this man, that he may rule over them; (3) Limitate, they giving it so as these three acts remain with the people: that they may measure out by ounce weights so much royal power and no more and no less, so as they may limit, moderate, and set banks and marches to the exercise; that they give it out conditionate, upon this and this condition, that they may take again to themselves what they gave out upon condition if the condition be violated. The first I conceive is clear: (1) Because if every living creature have radically in them a power of self-preservation to defend themselves from violence (as we see lions have paws, some beasts have horns, some claws), men, being reasonable creatures, united in society, must have power in a more reasonable and honourable way, to put this power of warding off violence in the hands of one or more rulers, to defend themselves by magistrates. (2) If all men be born, as concerning civil power, alike (for no man cometh out of the womb with a diadem on his head, or a sceptre in his hand), and yet men united in a society may give crown and sceptre to this man, and not to this man, then this power was in this united society. But it was not in them formally, for they should then all have been one king. . . . Therefore this power must have been virtually in them, because neither man nor community of men can give that which they neither have formally nor virtually in them. (3) Royalists cannot deny but cities have power to choose and create inferior magistrates. Ergo many cities united have power to create a higher ruler; for royal power is but the united and superlative power of inferior judges in one greater judge, whom they call a king.
[IX] Whether or no sovereignty is so from the people that it remaineth in them in some part, so as they may in case of necessity resume it? * * *
For the subject of royal power, we affirm the first, the ultimate, and native subject of all power is the community, as reasonable men naturally inclining to a society; but the ethical and political subject, or the legal and positive receptacle, of this power is various, according to the various constitutions of the policy. In Scotland and England it is the three estates of Parliament, in other nations some other judges or peers of the land. * * *
No society hath liberty to be without all government, for God hath given to every society . . . a faculty of preserving themselves, and warding off violence and injuries; and this they could not do except they gave their power to one or many rulers. * * * We teach that government is natural, not voluntary; but the way and manner of government is voluntary. * * *
[XII] Whether or not a kingdom may lawfully be purchased by the sole title of conquest? * * *
More conquest by the sword, without the consent of the people, is no just title to the crown, because the lawful title that God’s word holdeth forth to us, beside the Lord’s choosing and calling of a man to the crown, is the people’s election (Deut. 17. 15). All that had any lawful calling to the crown in God’s word, as Saul, David, Solomon, &c., were called by the people, and the first lawful calling is to us a rule and pattern to all lawful callings. * * *
And that any other extraordinary impulsiona be as lawful a call to the throne as the people’s free election, we know not from God’s word; and we have but the naked word of our adversaries that William the Conqueror, without the people’s consent, made himself by blood the lawful king of England, and also of all their posterity, and that King Fergus conquered Scotland. * * * And truly they deserve no wages who thus defend the king’s prerogative royal. For if the sword be a lawful title to the crown, suppose the two generals of both kingdoms should conquer the most and the chiefest of the kingdom now when they have so many forces in the field, by this wicked reason the one should have a lawful call of God to be king of England, and the other to be king of Scotland; which is absurd.
Either conquest, as conquest, is a just title to the crown, or as a just conquest. If as conquest, then all conquests are just titles to a crown. * * * But strength as strength victorious, is not law nor reason. It were then reason that Herod behead John Baptist, and the Roman emperors kill the witnesses of Christ Jesus. If conquest, as just, be the title and lawful claim before God’s court to a crown, then certainly a stronger king for pregnant national injuries may lawfully subdue and reign over an innocent posterity not yet born. But what word of God can warrant a posterity not born, and so accessory to no offence against the conqueror (but only sin original), to be under a conqueror against their will, and who hath no right to reign over them but the bloody sword? * * * [Objection]: But the fathers may engage the posterity by an oath to surrender themselves as loyal subjects to the man who justly and deservedly made the fathers vassals by the title of the sword of justice. I answer: The fathers may indeed dispose of the inheritance of their children, because that inheritance belongeth to the father as well as to the son; but because the liberty of the son being born with the son, all men being born free from all civil subjection, the father hath no more power to resign the liberty of his children than their lives. * * *
It is objected that the people of God by their sword conquered seven nations of the Canaanites; David conquered the Ammonites for the disgrace done to his ambassadors. * * * A facto ad jus non valet consequentia. God, to whom belongeth the world and the fulness thereof, disponed to Abraham and his seed the land of Canaan for their inheritance, and ordained that they should use their bow and their sword for the actual possession thereof; and the like divine right had David to the Edomites and Ammonites, though the occasion of David’s taking possession of these kingdoms by his sword did arise from particular and occasional exigences and injuries. But it followeth in no sort that therefore kings, now wanting any word of promise, and so of divine right to any lands, may ascend to the thrones of other kingdoms than their own by no better title than the bloody sword. * * * I doubt not to say if Joshua and David had had no better title than their bloody sword, though provoked by injuries, they could have had no right to any kingly power over these kingdoms. And if only success by the sword be a right of providence, it is no right of precept. God’s providence, as providence, without precept or promise, can conclude a thing is done, or may be done, but cannot conclude a thing is lawfully and warrantably done; else you might say the selling of Joseph, the crucifying of Christ, the spoiling of Job were lawfully done.
[XIII] Whether or no royal dignity have its spring from nature; and how that is true, ‘Every man is born free’; and how servitude is contrary to nature? * * *
There is a subjection in respect of natural being, as the effect to the cause. So though Adam had never sinned, this morality of the Fifth Command should have stood in vigour, that the son by nature without any positive law should have been subject to the father because from him he hath his being, as from a second cause. But I much doubt if the relation of a father as a father, doth necessarily infer a royal or kingly authority of the father over the son, or by nature’s law that the father hath power of life and death over or above his children. And the reasons I give are: (1) Because power of life and death is by a positive law, presupposing sin and the fall of man . . .; (2) I judge that the power royal and the fatherly power of a father over his children shall be found to be different, and the one is founded on the law of nature, the other, to wit, royal power, on a mere positive law. The second degree or order of subjection natural, is a subjection in respect of gifts, or age. So Aristotle saith that some are by nature servants. His meaning is good, that some gifts of nature, as wisdom natural, or aptitude to govern, hath made some men of gold, fitter to command, and some of iron, and clay, fitter to be servants and slaves. But I judge this [no] title to make a king by birth, seeing Saul whom God by supervenient gifts made a king, seemeth to owe small thanks to the womb or nature that he was a king, for his cruelty to the Lord’s priests speaketh nothing but natural baseness. It’s possible Plato had a good meaning . . ., who made six orders here: (i) That fathers command their sons; (ii) the noble the ignoble; (iii) the elder the younger; (iv) the masters the servants; (v) the stronger the weaker; (vi) the wiser the ignorant. (3) Aquinas . . . [and] Driedo . . . following Aristotle, hold, though man had never sinned, there should have been a sort of dominion of the more gifted and wiser above the less wise and weaker, not antecedent from nature properly, but consequent, for the utility and good of the weaker in so far as it is good for the weaker to be guided by the stronger; which cannot be denied to have some ground in nature. But there is no ground for kings by nature here. * * *
As a man cometh into the world a member of a politic society, he is by consequence born subject to the laws of that society; but this maketh him not from the womb and by nature subject to a king, as by nature he is subject to his father who begat him (no more than by nature a lion is born subject to another king-lion); for it is by accident that he is born of parents under subjection to a monarch, or to either democratical or aristocratical governors, for Cain and Abel were born under none of these forms of government properly; and if he had been born in a new-planted colony in a wilderness where no government were yet established, he should be under no such government. * * *
Every man by nature is a free man born, that is, by nature no man cometh out of the womb under any civil subjection to king, prince, or judge, to master, captain, conqueror, teacher, &c., because freedom is natural to all, except freedom from subjection to parents; and subjection politic is merely accidental, coming from some positive laws of men as they are in a politic society, whereas they might have been born with all concomitants of nature, though born in a single family, the only natural and first society in the world. * * * Man by nature is born free and as free as beasts. * * * If any reply that the freedom natural of beasts and birds who never sinned cannot be one with the natural freedom of men who are now under sin, and so under bondage for sin, my answer is: that . . . he who is supposed to be the man born free from subjection politic, even the king born a king, is under the same state of sin, and so by reason of sin, of which he hath a share equally with all other men by nature, he must be by nature born under as great subjection penal for sin . . . as other men; ergo he is not born freer by nature than other men. * * * For things that agree to men by nature agree to all men equally. * * * If men be not by nature free from politic subjection, then must some, by the law of relation, by nature be kings. But none are by nature kings, because none have by nature these things which essentially constitute kings, for they have neither by nature the calling of God, nor gifts for the throne, nor the free election of the people, nor conquest. And if there be none a king by nature, there can be none a subject by nature. And the law saith, Omnes sumus natura liberi, nullius ditioni subjecti. * * * We are all by nature free. * * * As domestic society is natural, being grounded upon nature’s instinct, so politic society is voluntary, being grounded on the consent of men. And so politic society is natural in radice, in the root, and voluntary and free in modo, in the manner of their union; and the scripture cleareth to us that a king is made by the free consent of the people (Deut. 17. 15), and so not by nature. What is from the womb, and so natural, is eternal, and agreeth to all societies of men; but a monarchy agreeth not to all societies of men; for many hundred years de facto there was not a king, till Nimrod’s time the world being governed by families, and till Moses his time we find no institution for kings (Gen. 7). And the numerous multiplication of mankind did occasion monarchies. Otherwise fatherly government being the first, and measure of the rest, must be the best.
[XIV] Whether or no the people make a person their king conditionally or absolutely? And whether there be such a thing as a covenant tying the king no less than his subjects? * * *
There is an oath betwixt the king and his people, laying on, by reciprocation of bands, mutual civil obligation upon the king to the people, and the people to the king. 2 Sam. 5. 3: So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them in Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel. 1 Chron. 11. 3: And David made a covenant with them before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel, according to the word of the Lord by Samuel. 2 Chron. 23. 2-:. . . And all the congregation made a covenant with the king, Joash, in the house of God. * * * The covenant betwixt the king and the people is clearly differenced from the king’s covenant with the Lord (2 Kings 11. 17). * * * It is expressly a covenant that was between Joash the king and his people. And David made a covenant at his coronation with the princes and elders of Israel; therefore the people gave the crown to David covenant-wise, and upon condition that he should perform such and such duties to them. And this is clear by all covenants in the word of God, even the covenant between God and man is so mutual: I will be your God, and ye shall be my people. The covenant is so mutual that if the people break the covenant, God is loosed from his part of the covenant (Zech. 11. 10). The covenant giveth to the believer a sort of action of law, and jus quoddam, to plead with God in respect of his fidelity to stand to that covenant that bindeth Him by reason of his fidelity (Isa. 43. 26; 63. 16; Dan. 9. 4-5). And far more a covenant giveth ground of a civil action and claim to a people, and the free estates, against a king, seduced by wicked counsel to make war against the land, whereas he did swear by the most high God that he should be a father and protector of the Church of God. * * * There be no mutual contract made upon certain conditions, but if the conditions be not fulfilled the party injured is loosed from the contract. * * *
[XIV] As the king is obliged to God for the maintenance of true religion, so are the people and princes no less in their place obliged to maintain true religion. * * * But when the judges decline from God’s way and corrupt the law, we find the people punished and rebuked for it (Jer. 15. 4). * * * 1 Sam. 12. 24-: Only fear the Lord. But if ye do still wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king. And this case, I grant, is extraordinary, yet so as Junius Brutus proveth well and strongly that religion is not given only to the king that he only should keep it, but to all the inferior judges and people also in their kind.
[XVI] I presuppose that the division of goods doth not necessarily flow from the law of nature, for God made man before the fall lord of creatures indefinitely. . . . But supposing man’s sin: though the light of the sun and air be common to all, and religious places be proper to none, yet it is morally impossible that there should not be a distinction between meum and tuum . . .; and the Decalogue forbidding theft and coveting the wife of another man (yet is she the wife of Peter, not of Thomas, by free election, not by an act of nature) doth evidence to us that the division of things is so far forth (men now being in the state of sin) of the law of nature, that it hath evident ground in the law of nations, and thus far natural, that the heat that I have from my own coat and cloak, and the nourishment from my own meat, are physically incommunicable to any. * * * [But] it is clear, men are just owners of their own goods by all good order both of nature and time before there be any such thing as a king or magistrate. * * * The law of nations, founded upon the law of nature, hath brought in meum and tuum, mine and thine, and the introduction of kings cannot overturn nature’s foundation. Neither civility nor grace destroyeth, but perfiteth nature.
[XIX] There is a dignity material in the people scattered, they being many representations of God and his image, which is in the king also, and formally more as king, he being endued with formal magistratical and public royal authority. In the former regard this or that man is inferior to the king, because the king hath that same remaindera of the image of God that any private man hath, and something more, he hath a politic resemblance of the King of Heavens, being a little God, and so is above any one man. * * * But simply and absolutely the people is above, and more excellent than the king, and the king in dignity inferior to the people; and that upon these reasons: (1) Because he is the mean ordained for the people as for the end that he may save them . . .; (2) The pilot is less than the whole passengers, the general less than the whole army; * * * (3) A Christian people especially is the portion of the Lord’s inheritance (Deut. 32. 9), the sheep of his pasture, his redeemed ones, for whom God gave his blood (Acts 20. 28); and the killing of a man is to violate the image of God (Gen. 9. 6), and therefore the death and destruction of a church, and of thousand thousands of men, is a sadder and a more heavy matter than the death of a king, who is but one man. * * * If God give kings to be a ransom for his Church, and if he slay great kings for their sake, as Pharaoh, king of Egypt (Isa. 43. 3), and Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og, king of Bashan (Psalm 136. 18-20); . . . if he make Babylon and her king a threshing-floor, for the violence done to the inhabitants of Zion (Jer. 51. 33-5); then his people as his people must be so much dearer and more precious in the Lord’s eyes than kings because they are kings, by how much more his justice is active to destroy the one, and his mercy to save the other. * * *
For nature doth not ascertain us there must be kings to the world’s end, because the essence of governors is kept safe in aristocracy and democracy though there were no kings. And that kings should necessarily have been in the world if man had never fallen in sin, I am not by any cogent argument induced to believe. I conceive there should have been no government but these of fathers and children, husband and wife, and (which is improperly government) some more gifted with supervenient additions to nature, as gifts and excellencies of engines.
[XXIV] If then any cast off the nature of a king, and become habitually a tyrant, in so far he is not from God nor any ordinance which God doth own. If the office of a tyrant (to speak so) be contrary to a king’s offices, it is not from God, and so neither is the power from God. Yea, laws (which are no less from God than the kings are), when they begin to be hurtful, cessant materialiter, they leave off to be laws, because they oblige non secundum vim verborum, sed in vim sensus, not according to the force of words, but according to sense. . . . But who (saith the Royalist) shall be judge betwixt the king and the people, when the people allege that the king is a tyrant?
Answ[er]: There is a court of necessity, no less than a court of justice; and the fundamental laws must then speak, and it is with the people in this extremity as if they had no ruler.
Obj[ection]: But if the law be doubtsome, as all human, all civil, all municipal laws may endure great dispute, the peremptory person exponing the law must be the supreme judge. This cannot be the people; ergo it must be the king.
Answ[er]: As the scriptures in all fundamentals are clear and expone themselves, and actu primo condemn heresies, so all laws of men in their fundamentals, which are the law of nature and of nations, are clear. And tyranny is more visible and intelligible than heresy, and it’s soon discerned. * * * The people have a natural throne of policy in their conscience to give warning, and materially sentence, against the king as a tyrant, and so by nature are to defend themselves. Where tyranny is more obscure, and the thread [so] small that it escape the eye of men, the king keepeth possession; but I deny that tyranny can be obscure long.
[XXVII] This is the difference between God’s will and the will of the king or any mortal creature. Things are just and good because God willeth them, especially things positively good (though I conceive it hold[s] in all things), and God doth not will things because they are good and just. But the creature, be he king or any never so eminent, do[th] will things because they are good and just. And the king’s willing of a thing maketh it not good and just; for only God’s will, not the creature’s will, can be the cause why things are good and just. * * * Nay, give me leave to doubt if Omnipotency can make a just law to have an unjust and bloody sense, aut contra, because it involveth a contradiction, the true meaning of a law being the essential form of the law.
[XXVIII] For the lawfulness of resistance in the matter of the king’s unjust invasion of life and religion, we offer these arguments. That power which is obliged to command and rule justly and religiously for the good of the subjects, and is only set over the people on these conditions, and not absolutely, cannot tie the people to subjection without resistance, when the power is abused to the destruction of laws, religion, and the subjects. But all power of the law is thus obliged (Rom. 13. 4; Deut. 17. 18-20; 2 Chron. 19. 6; Psalm 132. 11-12; 89. 30-1; 2 Sam. 7. 12; Jer. 17. 24-5), and hath, and may be abused by kings to the destruction of laws, religion, and subjects. * * * There is not a stricter obligation moral betwixt king and people than betwixt parents and children, master and servant, patron and clients, husband and wife, the lord and the vassal; between the pilot of a ship and the passengers, the physician and the sick, the doctor and the scholars; but the law granteth, if these betray their trust committed to them, they may be resisted. * * * Every tyrant is a furious man, and is morally distracted, as Althusius saith. * * *
That which is inconsistent with the care and providence of God in giving a king to his Church, is not to be taught.
[XXX] Much is built to commend patient suffering of ill, and condemn all resistance of superiors, by Royalists, on the place (1 Pet. 2. 18) where we are commanded, being servants, to suffer buffets, not only for ill-doing, of good masters, but also undeservedly. . . . But it is clear, the place is nothing against resistance. * * * One act of grace and virtue is not contrary to another. Resistance is in the children of God an innocent act of self-preservation, as is patient suffering, and therefore they may well subsist in one. * * * If it be natural to one man to defend himself against the personal invasion of a prince, then it is natural and warrantable to ten thousand, and to a whole kingdom; and what reason to defraud a kingdom of the benefit of self-defence more than one man? Neither grace nor policy destroyeth nature. And how shall ten or twenty thousand be defended against cannons and muskets that killa afar off, except they keep towns against the king, . . . except they be armed to offend with weapons of the like nature, to kill rather than be killed, as the law of nature teacheth?
[XXXI] Self-preservation in all creatures in which is nature, is in the creatures suitable to their nature. * * * So men, and Christian men, do naturally defend themselves; but the manner of self-defence in a rational creature is rational, and not always merely natural. Therefore a politic community, being a combination of many natures (as neither grace, far less can policy, destroy nature), then must these many natures be allowed of God to use a natural self-defence.
[XL] A contract, the conditions whereof are violated by neither side, cannot be dissolved but by the joint consent of both; and in buying and selling, and in all contracts unviolated, the sole will of neither side can violate the contract; of this speaketh the law. * * * We hold that the law saith with us that vassals lose their farm if they pay not what is due. Now what are kings but vassals to the state, who, if they turn tyrants, fall from their right? * * *
Let Royalists show us any act of God making David king, save this act of the people making him formally king at Hebron, and therefore the people as God’s instrument transferred the power, and God by them in the same act transferred the power, and in the same they chose the person. * * * This power is the people’s, radically, naturally. * * * And God hath revealed (in Deut. 17. 14-15) the way of regulating the act of choosing governors and kings, which is a special mean of defending and protecting themselves; and the people is as principally the subject and fountain of royal power, as a fountain is of water. I shall not contend if you call a fountain God’s instrument to give water, as all creatures are his instruments.
[XLI] It is no error of Gerson, that believers have a spiritual right to their civil possessions, but by scripture (1 Cor. 4. 21; Rev. 21. 4).
Independent Principles of Resistance
Though some other things have been of late acted by the Army,1 wherein many pretendingly complain of want of conscience and justice; yet I suppose they have done nothing either more obnoxious to the clamorous tongues and pens of their adversaries, or more questionable in the judgments and consciences of their friends, than that late garbling of the Parliament, wherein they sifted out much of the dross and soil of that heap, intending to reduce this body, upon the regular motion whereof the well-being, indeed the civil life, of the whole kingdom depends, to such members who had not manifestly turned head upon their trust, nor given the right hand of fellowship to that most barbarous, inhumane, and bloody faction amongst us, who for many years last past have with restless endeavours procured the deep trouble, and attempted the absolute enslaving (which is, being interpreted, the utter undoing), of the nation. So that if this action of theirs shall approve itself, and appear to be regular and conformable to such laws and rules of justice which all considering and disengaged men conclude ought to be followed and observed in such cases as that which lay before them; especially if it shall appear to have been the legitimate issue of true worth and Christianity; I presume, all their other actions of like tenor and import will partake of the same justification and honour with it. * * *
The first-born of the strength of those who condemn the said act of the Army as unlawful, lieth in this: that the actors had no sufficient authority to do what they did therein, but acted out of their sphere, and so became transgressors of that law which commandeth every man to keep order, and within the compass of his calling.
To this I answer: . . . as our Saviour saith (Matt. 2. 27) that the sabbath was made for man (i.e., for the benefit of man), and not man for the sabbath, so certain it is, that callings were made for men, and not men for callings. Therefore the law of the sabbath, though enacted by God, was of right, and according to the intention of the great Lawgiver himself, to give place to the necessary accommodations of men, and ought not to be pleaded in bar hereunto; in like manner, if the law of callings at any time opposeth, or lieth cross to, the necessary conveniences of men, during the time of this opposition it suffereth a total eclipse of the binding power of it. * * *
Nor did they stretch themselves beyond the line of their callings, to act therein as they did. Their calling and commission was to act in the capacity of soldiers, for the peace, liberties, and safety of the kingdom. What doth this import but a calling to prevent or suppress by force all such persons and designs whose faces were set to disturb or destroy them? * * *
If the calling which the Parliament itself had to levy forces against the King and his party, to suppress them and their proceedings as destructive to the peace, liberties, and safety of the kingdom, was warrantable and good, then was the calling of the Army to act as they did in the business under debate, warrantable and good also. * * *
Now then, supposing the same proportion to the peace, benefit, and safety of the kingdom, in what the Army did in purging the Parliament and in what the Parliament itself did in opposing the King by force (which is a point of easy demonstration, and is ex superabundanti proved in the large Remonstrance of the Army1 lately published), let us consider whether the call of the Army to act for the kingdom as they did, be not as authentic, clear, and full, as that of the Parliament to act as they did in reference to the same end.
First, the authority and power of the people (or rather the present exercise and execution of this power) to act for their own preservation and well-being in every kind, was as well formally,a and according to the ceremony of the law, as really, and according to the true intentions and desires of the people, vested in the Parliament. So that the Parliament by virtue of this investiture, and during the same, had the same right of power to raise an army, and to give unto it what commission they judged meet in order to the benefit of the people, or to act any other thing of like tendency, which the people themselves had to choose for themselves a parliament. Therefore whatsoever lieth within the verge of the Army’s commission derived from the Parliament, relating to the kingdom’s good, they have as full and formal a call or warrant to act and put in execution as the Parliament itself had either to raise an army or to do any other act whatsoever. If then first, the tenor of their commission stood towards any such point as this (which I presume is no way questionable), viz., to suppress by strong hand all such persons whom upon rational grounds they should judge enemies to the peace and welfare of the kingdom; and secondly, that those Parliament-members whom now they have cut off from that body were upon such grounds judged such by them (of the truth whereof they have given a sufficient account in their said late Remonstrance), it is as clear as the sun, that their calling to act as they did in cutting off these members is every whit as legitimate and formal as that of the Parliament itself is to act anything whatsoever as a parliament. * * *
Secondly, suppose the Army had not a call to act as they did in the case under debate, every ways as full of formality as the call of the Parliament to act as they did in opposition to the King, yet might their call be (and indeed was) as material, as weighty, as considerable, and as justifiable in the sight of God, and of all unprejudiced intelligent men, as the other. * * *
When the pilot or master of a ship at sea be either so far overcome and distempered with drink or otherwise disabled, as through a phrenetical passion or sickness of any kind, so that he is incapable of acting the exigencies of his place for the preservation of the ship, being now in present danger either of running upon a quick sand or splitting against a rock, &c., any one or more of the inferior mariners, having skill, may, in order to the saving of the ship and of the lives of all that are in it, very lawfully assume, and act according to, the interest of a pilot or master, and give orders and directions to those with them in the ship accordingly, who stand bound, at the peril of their lives, in this case to obey them. By such a comparison as this, Master Prynne himself demonstrates how regular and lawful it is for parliaments, yea and for particular men, to turn kings—I mean, to assume that interest and power which the law appropriates to the office, and vesteth only in the person of a king—when the king steereth a course in manifest opposition to the peace and safety of the kingdom. * * *
But two things (it is like) will be here objected. First, that the Parliament were judges lawfully constituted, of the King’s delinquency against the kingdom, but the Army were no judges of such a constitution, of the miscarriages of the Parliament. Therefore there is not the same consideration in point of lawfulness in the proceedings of the Army against the Parliament, which is of the Parliament’s proceeding against the King. There is the same difference likewise between the act of a client and pupil, wherein the one dischargeth his advocate and the other his guardian, and the act of the Army in dethroning the Parliament-men. To this I answer:
First, that whether we place the lawfulness of a parliamentary judicature in respect of the King’s delinquency either in their election by the people or in the conformity of this their election unto the laws of the land, certain it is that the Army were judges of every whit as competent and lawful a constitution, of their delinquencies in the same kind. For . . . if we measure the lawfulness of parliamentary judicature by the call of the people thereunto, the Army (as was formerly proved) hath every whit as lawful a constitution to judge who are enemies to the peace and safety of the kingdom as the Parliament itself hath. Nor doth it at all argue any illegality in their judgments about the Parliamentmen, that they had not the explicit and express consent of the people therein, or that they had no call by them so to judge; no more than it proveth an illegality in many votes and ordinances of Parliament, that they were both made and published, not only without the particular and express consent, but even contrary to the mind and desires of the people, or at least of the major part of them. Besides it is a ridiculous thing to pretend a want of a call from the people against the lawfulness of such an act which is of that sovereign necessity for their benefit and good, which the actings of the Army were; especially at such a time when there is no possibility of obtaining or receiving a formal call from the people, without running an imminenta hazard of losing the opportunity for doing that excellent service unto them which the providence of God in a peculiar juncture of circumstances exhibits for the present unto us. Men’s consents unto all acts manifestly tending to their relief are sufficiently expressed in their wants and necessities.
If it be yet said, ‘But the people do not judge the proceedings of the Army against the Parliament-men as tending to their relief or welfare in any kind, but as contrary unto both, nor do they give so much as their subsequent consents thereunto’; I answer (besides what was lately said to the nullifying of this pretence) that physicians, called to the care and cure of persons under distempers, need not much stand upon the consents of such patients, either subsequent or antecedent, about what they administer unto them. If the people be incapable in themselves of the things of their peace, it is an act of so much the more goodness and mercy in those who, being fully capable of them, will engage themselves accordingly to make provision for them. It is a deed of charity and Christianity, to save the life of a lunatic or distracted person even against his will. Besides, it is a ruled case amongst wise men, ‘that if a people be depraved and corrupt, so as to confer places of power and trust upon wicked and undeserving men, they forfeit their power in this behalf unto those that are good, though but a few.’ So that nothing pretended from a non-concurrence of the people with the Army will hold water.
Or, secondly, if we estimate the lawfulness of that judicature by the conformity of their elections thereunto, to the laws of the land, the investiture of the Army into that judicature which they have exercised in the case in question, is conform unto a law of far greater authority than any one, yea than all the laws of the land put together; I mean, the law of nature, necessity, and of love to their country and nation, which, being the law of God himself, written in the fleshly tables of men’s hearts, hath an authoritative jurisdiction over all human laws and constitutions whatsoever, a prerogative right of power to overrule them and to suspend their obliging influences in all cases appropriate to itself. Yea, many of the laws of God themselves think it no disparagement unto them, to give place to their elder sister, the law of necessity, and to surrender their authority into her hand when she speaketh. So that whatsoever is necessary is somewhat more than lawful—more (I mean) in point of warrantableness. If then the Army stood bound by the law of nature and necessity to judge the Parliament-men as they did, viz., as men worthy to be secluded from their fellows in parliamentary interest, this judiciary power was vested in them by a law of greater authority than the laws of the land; and consequently the legality or lawfulness of it was greater than of that in the Parliament, which derives its legality only from a conformity to the established laws of the land. Yea, the truth is that the law of necessity, by which the Army were constituted judges of those parliamentary delinquents we speak of, cannot (in propriety of speech) be denied to be one of the laws of the land, being the law of nature, and consequently the law of all lands and nations whatsoever, established in this and in all the rest by a better and more indubitable legislative authority than reside[s] in any parliament or community of men whatsoever. * * *
Another thing that, it’s like, will be objected upon and against what hath been answered to the second main objection, is this: That the Parliament-men, disturbed in their way by the Army, at least many of them, were religious and conscientious men, voted and acted as they did conscientiously, really judging the course they steered to be the safest and most direct for bringing the great ship of the commonwealth into the harbour of rest and peace. And is it not contrary as well to principles of reason as religion, that such men, upon so fair an account as this, should be so foully handled? To this I answer: * * * When men are religious only to a mediocrity, and withal servile in their judgments to some principles which are commonly and with great confidence and importunity obtruded upon the consciences of professors for sacred truths, and yet are extremely discouraging and full of enmity to a thorough, stable, and quiet dependence upon God; by being religious upon such terms as these they become twofold more the children of fear than otherwise they were like to be, and consequently so much the more capable and receptive of sad and dismal impressions from the world upon all occasions. And it is not more commonly than truly said, that fear is a bad counsellor. . . . When religious men sin against the common interest and liberties of a free-born nation and make one purse with the known and thrice-declared enemies of their land and people, whether they do it with or against their judgments and consciences, the law of nature and necessity cannot (for the present) stand to make either a scrupulous inquiry after such a difference or a regular assignment of favour to the qualifying circumstances of demerit, but calls, yea and cries out immediately, and commands all men without exception that have a prize in their hand, to give it for the redemption of their nation out of the hand of oppression and tyranny. And when this law hath been obeyed to the securing of the nation, she presently resigneth, and this freely and willingly, all her authority and command into the hand of positive and standing laws, calculated for the ordinary posture and state of things, until there be another cry of like danger in her ears. When these standing laws come to resume their authority and power, there will be an opportunity to inquire, if it shall be thought convenient, who sinned with, and who against, their consciences; and their assessments which were uniformly rated by the law of necessity, may be reduced to terms of more equity by those other laws. . . . According to the notion of that maxim in natural philosophy, that the corruption of the best is worst, so are the miscarriages and errors of the best men of worst consequence in many cases. The digressions of men religious are many times worse than the thorough discourses of other men. When conscience and concupiscence meet (as oft they do in religious men), the conjunction is very fiery. It was the saying of Gregory long since, ‘When men conceive of sin under the notion of a duty, there it is committed with an high hand and without fear’ (Greg., de Pastor. cur. 1. 3. 1). Nor ever was (nor is ever like to be) the persecution of the Saints more grievous than when those that shall persecute them and put them to death, shall think that therein they do God service (John 16. 2). So that whereas the objection in hand pleads on behalf of those Parliament-men who were religious, that they followed the light and dictate of their judgments and consciences in complying with the King and his complices, the truth is that though it may reasonably be thought so much the less sinful in them if they did it upon such terms, yet was it a ground so much the more justifiable for the Army to proceed upon to the disinteresting of them, as they did. For when religious men break out of the way of righteousness and truth, with the renitency and obmurmuration of their judgments and consciences, it is a sign that their judgments and consciences are yet at liberty and in condition to reduce them; but when these are confederate with their lust, there is little hope of their repentance. * * *
A fourth objection in the mouths of some, against which they conceive the Army cannot be justified in the business in question, is that all such actions are contrary unto, and condemned by, the laws of the land. But to this objection, at least to the weight and substance of it, we have already answered over and over, and particularly have asserted and proved, first, that all human laws and constitutions are but of a like structure and frame with the Ceremonial Laws of old made by God himself, which were all made with knees to bend to the law of nature and necessity. Secondly, that it is to be presumed that the intent of all law-givers amongst men is, notwithstanding any or all their laws seemingly commanded the contrary, to leave an effectual door always open for the common good, and in cases of necessity to be provided for by any person or persons whatsoever. Thirdly, that all laws bind only according to the regular and due intentions of the law-makers. Fourthly, that the laws of nature and necessity are as well the laws of the land as those commonly so called. Fifthly, that when any two laws encounter one the other in any such exigent or strait of time that both of them cannot be obeyed, the law of inferior consequence ought to give place to that of superior, and the duty enjoined in this to be done though that required in the other be left undone. We now add:
First, that we charitably suppose that there is no such law of the land, which prohibiteth or restraineth any man or sort of men from being benefactors to the public; especially from preserving the public liberties in cases of necessity when they stand in extrema regula and are in imminent danger of being oppressed forever, there being no likelihood of relief from any other hand. And if there be no such law as this, there is none that reacheth the case of the Army—no, not in the critical or characteristical circumstance of it.
Secondly, that in case there be any such law as this, that it is a mere nullity, and the matter of it no more capable of the form of a law (i.e., of an obliging power) than timber or stone is capable of information by a reasonable soul, which, according to vulgar philosophy rather than the truth, is the proper form of a man. The laws of nature and of common equity are the foundation of all laws (truly and properly so called) and whatsoever venditateth itself under the name or notion of a law, being built besides this foundation, wanteth the essence and true nature of a law, and so can be but equivocally such. * * *
I know nothing of moment that can be opposed against the lawfulness of the action hitherto apologized and justified in these papers, beyond what hath been already bought and sold (I mean urged and answered) at sufficient rates. The lawfulness of the action we speak of, being supposed, the honour and worth of it are of much more easy demonstration. For what better favour can a Christianly-heroic spirit spread abroad of itself than when men shall put their lives in their hand, and in this posture stand up to take lions by the beards when they are ready to tear in pieces and devour the sheep of the fold, to attempt the wresting of an iron sceptre out of those hands which were now lifting it up to break a poor nation in pieces like a potter’s vessel? What the Army hath done in this behalf calleth to mind the unparallelable example of the Lord Jesus Christ, blessed for ever, who descended into the lower parts of the earth, went down into the chambers of death, from thence to bring up with him a lost world. It was the saying of Plato that ‘to do good to as many as we can, is to be like unto God.’ But to do good to as many as we can, as well enemies as friends, by an exposal of our own lives unto death for the accomplishment of it, is a lineament of that face of divine goodness, which Plato (it is like) never saw. It was the manner of almost all nations (as the Roman orator observeth) to place the assertors of their countries’ liberties next to the immortal gods themselves at the table of honour. And I make no question but when the inhabitants of this nation shall have drank awhile of the sweet waters of that well of liberty which the Army have digged and opened with their swords, after it had been for a long time stopped and filled up with earth by the Philistines, they will generally recover of that malignant fever which now distempereth many of them, and be in a good posture of sobriety and strength to rise up early and call their benefactors blessed. However, the good will of him that dwelt in the bush be upon the head of such warriors, who pursue that blessed victory of overcoming evil by doing good, and, according to the method of the warfare of heaven, seek to reconcile a nation unto themselves by not imputing their unthankfulness or other their evil entreaties unto them, but in the midst of their own sufferings from them set themselves with heart and soul to set them at liberty from their oppressors.
Lex, Rex, is an answer to the Sacrosancta regum majestas (1644) of John Maxwell, Bishop of Killala and Achonry, afterwards Archbishop of Tuam.
 The pamphlet is a defence of Pride’s purge.
 See Appendix, pp. 456-65.
[191. (a)]The Institution of Christian Religion. Written in Latine by M. Iohn Calvin. Translated into English * * * By Thomas Norton. Imprinted at London by Anne Griffin for Ioyce Norton and R. Whitaker, 1634. Book 4, chap. 20. Section numbers omitted; marginal scripture references incorporated, in brackets.
[199. (a)]Lex Rex: The Law and the Prince. A dispute for the just prerogative of king and people. * * * London: Printed for Iohn Field . . . Octob. 7. 1644. Numbering of arguments, and some headings, omitted; marginal scripture references incorporated, in brackets; other marginal matter omitted;
[204. (a)] + to.
[212. (a)]Right and Might Well Met. Or a briefe and unpartial enquiry into the late and present proceedings of the Army. . . . By John Goodwin. [Quotes John 7. 24; Prov. 17. 15; also from Tertullian and Seneca.] London, Printed by Matthew Simmons for Henery Cripps . . . 1648 [Jan. 2, 1649]. Compared with copy in McAlpin Collection. Marginal quotations omitted; marginal references incorporated, in brackets.