Front Page Titles (by Subject) Presbyterian Principles of Resistance From [Samuel Rutherford], Lex, Rex (1644) a - Puritanism and Liberty, being the Army Debates (1647-9) from the Clarke Manuscripts with Supplementary Documents
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Presbyterian Principles of Resistance From [Samuel Rutherford], Lex, Rex (1644) a - 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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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).
Lex, Rex, is an answer to the Sacrosancta regum majestas (1644) of John Maxwell, Bishop of Killala and Achonry, afterwards Archbishop of Tuam.
[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.