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who had so many ways of punishing the house of Ahal), would have sent a subject against his prince, if the fact in itself, as done to a tyrant, had been of bad example. And if David refused to lift his hand against the Lord's anointed, the matter, between them was not tyranny, but private enmity, and David as a private person had been his own revenger, not so much the people's : but when any tyrant at this day can show himself to be the Lord's anointed, the only mentioned reason why David withheld. his hand, he may then, but not till then, presume.on the same privilege.
We may pass therefore hence to christian times. And first our Saviour himself, how much he favoured tya. rants, and how much intended they should be found or honoured among Christians, declares his mind not obscurely; accounting their absolute authority no better than Gentilism, yea though they flourished it over with the splendid name of benefactors; charging those that
; would be his disciples to usurp no such dominion ; but.
; that they, who were to be of most authority among them, should esteem themselves ministers and servants to the public. Mat. xx. 25, “ The princes of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and Mark X. 42,
They that seem to rule," saith he, either slighting or accounting them no lawful rulers; “but ye shall not be so, but the greatest among you
shall be your servant." And although he himself were the meekest, and came on earth to be so, yet to a tyrant we hear him not vouchesafe an humble word: but “Tell that fox,” Luke xiii. So far we ought to be from thinking that Christ and his gospel should be made a sanctuary for týrants from. justice, to whom his law before never gave such pro-tection. And wherefore did his mother the virgin Mary give such praise to God in her prophetic song, that he :
had now by the coming of Christ, cut down dynastas, or proud monarchs, from the throne, if the church, when God manifests his power in them to do so, should rather choose all misery and vassalage to serve them, and let them still sit on their potent seats to be adored for doing mischief? Surely it is not for nothing, that tyrants by a kind of natural instinct both hate and fear none more than the true church and saints of God, as the most dangerous enemies and subverters of monarchy, though indeed of tyranny ; hath not this. been the perpetual cry of courtiers, and court-prelates ? whereof no likelier cause can be alleged, but that they well discerned the mind and principles of most devout and zealous men, and indeed the very discipline of church, tending to the dissolution of all tyranny. . No marvel then if since the faith of Christ received, in purer or impurer times, to depose a king and put him to death for tyranny, hath been accounted so just and requisite, that neighbour kings have both upheld and taken part with subjects in the action. And Ludovicus Pius, himself an emperor, and son of Charles the Great, being made judge (du Haillan is my author) between Milegast king of the Vultzes and his subjects who had deposed him, gave his verdict for the subjects, and for him whom they had chosen in his room. Note here, that the right of electing whom they please is by the impartial testimony of an emperor in the people; for, said he, “ A just prince ought to be preferred before an unjust, and the end of government before the prerogative." And Constantinus Leo, another emperor
in the Byzantine laws saith, “That the end of a king is for the general good, which he not performing, is but the counterfeit of a king.” And to prove, that some of our own monarchs have acknowledged, that their high office
exempted them rot from punishment, they had the sword of St. Edward borne before them by an officer, who was called earl of the palace, even at the times of their highest pomp and solennities; to mind them, saith Matthew Paris, the best of our historians, “ that if they erred, the sword had power to restrain them.” And what restraint the sword comes to at length, having both edge and point, if any sceptic will doubt, let him feel. It is also affirmed from diligent search made in our ancient books of law, that the peers and barons of England had a legal right to judge the king; which was the cause most likely, (for it could be no slight cause,) that they were called his peers, or equals. This however may stand immovable so long as man hath to deal with no better than man; that if our law judge all men to the lowest by their peers, it should in all equity ascend also, and judge the highest. And so much I find both in our own and foreign story, that dukes, earls, and marquisses were at first not hereditary, not empty and vain titles, but names of trust and office, and with the office ceasing ;-as induces me to be of opinion, that every worthy man in parliament, (for the word baron imports no more,) might for the public good be thought a fit peer and judge of the king without regard had to petty caveats and circumstances, the chief impediment in high affairs, and ever stood upon most by circumstantial men. Whence doubtless our ancestors who were not ignorant with what rights either nature or ancient constitution had endowed them; when oaths both at coronation, and renewed in parliament would not serve, thought it no way illegal, to depose and put to death their tyrannous kings. Insomuch that the pare liament drew up a charge against Richard the Second, and the commons requested to have judgment decreed against him, that the realm might not be endangered. And
Peter Martyr, a divine of foremost rank, on the third of Judges approves their doings. Sir Thomas Smith also, a protestant and a statesman, in his Commonwealth of England, putting the question, “ whether it be lawful to rise against a tyrant;" answers, " that the vulgar judge of it according to the event, and the learned according to the purpose of them that do it.” But far before those days Gildas, the most ancient of all our historians, speaking of those times wherein the Roman empire decaying quitted and relinquished what right they had by conquest to this island, and resigned it all into the people's hands, testifies that the people thus reinvested with their own original right, about the year 446, both elected them kings, whom they thought best (the first christian British kings that ever reigned here since the Romans), and by the same right, when they apprehended cause, usually deposed and put them to death. This is the most fundamental and ancient tenure, that any king of England can produce or pretend to; in comparison of which, all other titles and pleas are but of yesterday. If. any object, that Gildas condemns the Britons for so doing, the answer is as ready ; that he condemns them no more for so doing, than he did before for chusing such ; for faith he, “ They anointed them kings, not of God, but such as were more bloody than the rest.” Next, he condemns them not at all for deposing or putting them to death, but for doing it overhastily, without trial or well examining the cause, and for electing others worse in their room. Thus we have here both domestic and most ancient examples, that the people of Britain have deposed and put to death their kings in those primitive christian times. And to couple reason with example, if the church in all ages, primitive, Romish, or Protestant, held it ever no less their duty than the power of their
keys, though without express warrant of Scripture, to bring indifferently both king and peasant under the utmost rigour of their canons and censures ecclesiastical, even to the smiting him with a final excommunion, if he persist impenitent: what hmders, but that the temporal law both may and ought, though without a special text or precedent, extend with like indifference the civil sword, to the cutting off, without exemption, him that capitally offends, seeing that justice and religion are from the same God, and works of justice ofttimes more acceptable? Yet because that some lately with the tongues and arguments of malignant backsliders have written, that the proceedings now in parliament against the king are without precedent from any protestant state or kingdom, the examples which follow shall be all protestant, and chiefly presbyterian.
In the year 1546, the duke of Saxony, landgrave of Hesse, and the whole protestaut league, raised open war against Charles the Fifth their emperor, sent him a defiance, renounced all faith and allegiance toward him, and debated long in council whether they should give him so much as the title of Cæsar. Sleidan. 1. 17. Let all men judge what this wanted of deposing or of killing, but the power to do it.
In the year 1559, the Scots protestants claiming promise of their queen-regent for liberty of conscience, she answering, that promises were not to be claimed of princes beyond what was commodious for them to grant, told her to her face in the parliament then at Stirling, that if it were so, they renounced their obedience; and soon after betook them to arms. Buchanan Hist. 1. 16. Certainly, when allegiance is renounced, that very hour the king or queen is in effect deposed.
In the year 1564, John Knox, a most famous divine,