Sivut kuvina

clares, that the land cannot be purged of the guilt by any other means. He had judgments in store for Jeroboam, Ahab, and those that were like them ; but yet he commanded that, according to that law, their houses should be destroyed from the earth. The dogs licked up the blood of Ahab, where they had licked that of Naboth, and ate Jezebel, who had contrived his murder. But,” says our author, " we must not look into his deeds, much less oppose thein.” Must not David look into Saul's deeds, nor oppose them? Why did he then bring together as many men as he could to oppose, and make foreign alliances against him, even with the Moabites, and the accursed Philistines ? Why did Jehu not only destroy Ahab's house, but kill the king of Judah, and his forty brothers, only for going to visit his children? Our author may perhaps say, because God commanded them. But if God commanded them to do so, he did not command them and all mankind, not to do so; and if he did not forbid, they have nothing to restrain them from doing the like, unless they have made municipal laws of their own to the contrary, which our author and his followers may produce when they can find them.

His next work is, to go back again to the tribute paid by Christ to Cæsar, and judiciously to infer, that all nations must pay the same duty to their magistrates, as the Jews did to the Romans, who had subdued them. “ Christ did not,” says he, “ ask what the law of the land was, nor inquire whether there was a statute against it, nor whether the tribute were given by the consent of the people, but upon sight of the superscription concluded, &c.” It had been strange, if Christ had inquired after their laws, statutes, or consent, when he knew, that their commonwealth, with all the laws by which it had subsisted, was abolished; and that Israel was become a servant to those who exercised a most violent domination over them; which, being a peculiar punishment for their peculiar sins, can have no influence upon nations, that are not under the same circumstances.

But of all that he says, nothing is more incomprehensible, than what he can mean by lawful kings to whom all is due that was due to the Roman usurpers. For lawful kings are kings by the law: in being kings by the law, they are such kings as the law makes them; and that law only must tell us what is due to them; or by a universal patriarchical right, to which no man can have a title, as is said before, till he prove himself to be the right heir of Noah. If neither of these are to be regarded, but that right follows possession, there is no such thing as a usurper; he who has the power has the right, as indeed Filmer says; and his wisdom, as well as his integrity, is sufficiently declared by the assertion.

This wicked extravagancy is followed by an attempt of as singular ignorance and stupidity, to shuffle together usurpers and conquerors, as if they were the same; whereas, there have been many usurpers who were not conquerors, and conquerors that deserved not the name of usurpers. No wise man ever said, that Agathocles or Dionysius conquered Syracuse; Tarquin, Galba, or Otho, Rome; Cromwell, England; or that the magi, who seized the government of Persia, after the death of Cambyses, conquered that country. When Moses and Joshua had overthrown the kingdoms of the Amorites, Móabites, and Canaanites; or when David subdued the Ammonites, Edomites, and others ; none, as I suppose, but such divines as Filmer, will say they usurped a dominion over them. There is such a thing amongst men as just war, or else true valour would not be a virtue, but a crime: and instead of glory, the utmost infamy would always be the companion of victory. There are, says* Grotius, laws of war as well as of peace. He who, for a just cause, and by just means, carries on a just war, has as clear a right to what is acquired as can be enjoyed by man; but all usurpation is de testable and abominable.




Our author's next quarrel is with St. Paul, “who did not,” as he says, “ in injoining subjection to the higher powers, signify the laws of the land, or mean the highest powers, as well aristocratical and democratical as regal, but a monarch that carries the sword, &c.” But what if there be no monarch in the place ? or what if he do not carry the sword ? Had the apostle spoken in vain, if the liberty of the Romans had not been overthrown by the fraud and violence of Cæsar? Was no obedience to be exacted whilst that people enjoyed the benefit of their own laws, and virtue flourished under the moderate government of a legal and just magistracy, established for the common good, by the common consent of all ? Had God no minister among them, till law and justice were overthrown; the best part of the people desrtoyed by the fury of a corrupt, mercenary soldiery; and the world subdued under the tyranny of the worst monsters, that it had ever produced ? Are these the ways of establishing God's vicegerents? And will he patronize no governors or governments, but such as these? Does God uphold evil, and that only? If the world has been hitherto mistaken, in giving the name of evil to that which is good, and calling that good which is evil; I desire to know, what can be called good amongst men, if the government of the Romans, till they entered Greece and Asia, and were corrupted by the luxury of both, does not deserve that name? Or what is to be esteemed evil, if the establishment and exercise of the Cæsars' power were not so ? But says he, “ Wilt thou not be afraid of the power ?" and was there no power in the governments, that had no monarchs? Were the

* Belli æque ac pacis jura. De jur. bel. & pac.

[blocks in formation]

Carthaginians, Romans, Grecians, Gauls, Germans, and Spaniards, without power? Was there no sword in that nation, and their magistrates, who overthrew the kingdoms of Armenia, Egypt, Numidia, Macedon, and many others, whom none of the monarchs were able to resist? Are the Venetians, Switzers, Grisons, and Hollanders, now left in the same weakness, and no obedience at all due to their magistrates ? If this be so, how comes it to pass, that justice is so well administered amongst them? Who is it that defends the Hollanders in such a manner, that the greatest monarchs, with all their swords, have had no great reason to boast of any advantages gained against them? At least till we (whom they could not resist, when we had no monarch, though we have been disgracefully beaten by them since we had one) by making leagues against them, and sowing divisions amongst them, instigated and assisted the greatest power now in the world, to their destruction and our own.

But our author is so accustomed to fraud, that he never cites a passage from scripture, which he does not abuse or vitiate ; and that he may do the same in this place, he leaves out the following words, “ For there is no power but of God, that he might intitle one sort only to his protection.” If, therefore, the people and popular magistrates of Athens; the two kings, ephori, and senate of Sparta; the sanhedrims amongst the Hebrews; the consuls, tribunes, prætors, and senate of Rome; the magistrates of Holland, Switzerland, and Venice ; have, or had power, we may conclude, that they also were ordained by God; and that, according to the precept

« EdellinenJatka »