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Of the election of magistrates, see Exod. xviii. 21. • thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, .... and place such over them.' Numb. xi. 16, 17, 25. 'gather unto me seventy men—, Deut. i. 13, &c.
take you wise men and understanding— 1 Sam. xi. 15. compared with xii. 1. all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king .... behold, I have hearkened unto your voice in all that ye said unto me, and have made a king over you.' 2 Sam. ii. 4. the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah.'
The following tests show what is contrary to the duties of the magistrate. Psal. xxvi. 10. "their right hand is full of bribes.' sciv. 20. • shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee ?” Prov. xvii. 23. "a wicked man taketh a gift out of the bosom to pervert the ways of judgment.' xxi. 7. “they refuse to do judgment.' xxviii. 15, 16. 'as a roaring lion and a ranging bear, so is a wicked ruler over the poor people.' xxix. 4. he that receiveth gifts overthroweth the land.' v. 12. if a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.' Eccles. iv. 13. "better is a poor and wise child, than an old and foolish king who will no more be admonished.' x. 5, 6. there is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error which proceedeth from the ruler; folly is set in great dignity— v. 16, 17, woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning. Isai. i. 23. “thy princes are rebellious and
ob causam subjectos esse nos hortetur ; 'Magistratus non sunt timori bonis operibus, sed malis ; boni a potestate hac laudem adipiscentur; magistratus minister est Dei nostro bono datus ; non frustra gladium gerit, vindex ad iram ei qui malam facit.'' Pro Populo Anglicano Denfensia. Prose Work's, V. 87
companions of thieves, every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards, they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.' jii. 4. I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.' v. 12. 6as for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them.' v. 14. “Jehovah will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people-,' v. 23. which justify the wicked for reward.' X. 12. “I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria.' Ezek. xxix. 3. "behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt,' &c. Amos v. 7. ye who turn judgment to wormwood-- See also vi. 12. Micah iïi. 11. the heads thereof judge for reward— vii. 3.
the prince asketh, and the judge asketh for a reward.'
The licentiousness of courts is exposed, Gen. xii. 15. the princes also of Pharaoh saw her and commended her before Pharaoh.' Prov. xxv. 5. “take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness. 2 Chron. xxiv. 17.
after the death of Jehoiada came the princes of Judah,' &c. Isai. xxii. 15, 16..get thee unto this treasurer, even unto Shebna, which is over the house,' &c. 1 Kings xxi. 7. Jezebel bis wife said unto him, Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel ? Esther ii. 6. "he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone-,' v. 9. “if it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed.' Dan. vi. 7. • all the presidents of the kingdom ...... have consulted together to make a royal decree-'.
It is especially the duty of the magistrate to encourage religion and the service of God (public worship
in particular), and to reverence the church. Isai. xlix. 23. “ kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers ; they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet.' That the church, however, does not stand in need of the superintendence of the magistrate, but that, if left in peace, she is fully qualified, in the exercise of her own proper laws and discipline, to govern herself aright, and enlarge her boundaries, is evident from Acts ix. 31. then had the churches rest throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria, and were editied, and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.'
Religion therefore is to be protected by the magistrate, not forced upon the people.* Josh. xxiv. 15. if it seem evil unto you to serve Jehovah, choose you this day whom ye will serve ...... but as for me and my house, we will serve Jehovah.' Psal. cv. 14. he suffered no man to do them wrong, yea, he reproved kings for their sakes, saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm. If then kings are forbidden to exercise violence against religious persons in any matter whatever, much more are they forbidden to force the consciences of such persons in the matter of religion itself, especially on points where the magistrate is fully as liable to be mistaken as the pope, and is actually mistaken in many instances ; unless indeed they are content, like him, to be accounted antichrist, a name given to the pope bimself chiefly from his encroachments on the consciences of mankind. True it is, that the Jewish kings and magistrates interposed their judgment in matters of religion, and even employed force in the execution of their decrees ; but this was only in cases where the law of God was clear and express, and where the magistrate might safely decide without danger of mistake or controversy. In our own times, on the contrary, Christians are on many occasions persecuted or subjected to punishment for matters either purely controversial, or left by Christian liberty to the judgment of each believer, or concerning which there is no express declaration in the gospel. Against such magistrates, Christians only in name, many heathen and Jewish rulers will rise in judgment, and among the rest Pontius Pilate himself, whose deference to Jewish opinions was such, that he did not think it derogatory to his proconsular dignity to go out to speak to the Jews, when they, from a religious scruple, declined entering the judgment-hall. John xviii. 28, 29. So also Gamaliel, Acts v. 39. “if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it ;' and Gallio, xviii. 15. • I will be no judge of such matters.'
* See on this and the following paragraph the treatise on Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes, throughout. Again, in the History of Brilain : • While they taught compulsion without convincement, which not long before they complained of as executed unchristianly against themselves, these intents are clear to have been no better than antichristian ; setting up a spiritual tyranny by a secular power, to the advancing of their own authority above the magistrate, whom they would have made their execu. tioner to punish church-delinquencies, whereof civil laws have no cognizance.' Prose Works, IV. 84. This was one of the paragraphs omitted for political reasons in all the early editions of the History of Britain. It appeared first in the collection of Milton's Works published in 2 vols. folio, 1738.
For if even the ecclesiastical minister is not entitled to exercise absolute authority over the church, much less can the civil magistrate claim such authority.* 2
* «Why did he lay restraints, and force enlargements upon our consciences in things for which we werc to answer God only and the church?
Cor. i. 24. not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy ; for by faith ye stand. Coloss. ii. 18. let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility,' &c. 1 Pet. v. 3. “neither as being lords over God's heritage. Rom. xiv. 4. who art thou that judgest another man's servant ?' See also James iv. 12. For other arguments to the same effect, I refer to Book I. of this treatise, under the heads of Christ's kingdom, faith, the gospel, Christian liberty, church discipline and its objects. Undoubtedly, as the kingdom of Christ is not of this world, so neither is it sustained by force and compulsion, the supports of earthly rule. Hence the outward profession of the gospel ought not to be made a matter of constraint ; and as to the inner parts of religion, faith and liberty and conscience, these are beyond its power, being from their very nature matter of ecclesiastical discipline alove, and incapable of being affected by the determinations of human tribunals : not to mention the absurdity and impiety of compelling the conscientious to adopt a religion which they do not approve, or of constraining the profane to bear a part in that public worship from which God has interdicted them. Psal. l. 16, 17. unto the wicked God said, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth ?" Prov. xv. 8. and xxi. 27. • the sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination ; how much more when he bringeth it with a wicked mind ?
God bids us be subject for conscience sake,' that is, as to a magistrale, and in the laws, not usurping over spiritual things, as Lucifer beyond bis sphere. Answer to Eikon Basilike. Prose Works, III. 34.