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These questions were important, for Durkheim recognized that scholars frequently focused on primitive religions in order to discredit their modern counterparts, and he rejected this "Voltairean" hostility to religion for two reasons. First, alluding to the second chapter of The Rules , Durkheim insisted that such hostility was unscientific; it prejudges the results of the investigation, and renders its outcome suspect. Second, and more important, he considered it unsociological; for it is an essential postulate of sociology that no human institution can rest on an error or a lie.

If an institution is not based on "the nature of things," Durkheim insisted, it encounters a resistance in nature which destroys it; the very existence of primitive religions, therefore, assures us that they "hold to reality and express it. The reasons with which the faithful justify them may be, and generally are, erroneous; but the true reasons," Durkheim concluded, "do not cease to exist" and it is the duty of science to discover them. In this sense, all religions are "true"; but if all religions are thus equal with respect to the reality they express, why did Durkheim focus on primitive religions in particular?

Briefly, he did so for three "methodological" reasons. First, Durkheim argued that we cannot understand more advanced religions except by analyzing the way they have been progressively constituted throughout history; for only by placing each of the constituent elements of modern religions in the context within which it emerged can we hope to discover the cause which gave rise to it.

Just as biological evolution has been differently conceived since the empirical discovery of monocellular beings, therefore, religious evolution is differently conceived depending upon what concrete system of belief and action is placed at its origin. Second, Durkheim suggested that the scientific study of religion itself presupposed that the various religions we compare are all species of the same class, and thus possess certain elements in common: "At the foundation of all systems of belief and all cults," Durkheim thus argued,.

These are the permanent elements which constitute that which is permanent and human in religion; they form all the objective contents of the idea which is expressed when one speaks of religion in general. Again, therefore, Durkheim was trying to answer a time-honored philosophical question the "essential nature" of religion by new, sociological means the ethnography of primitive societies ; and the special value of such ethnographies was that they captured religious ideas and practices before priests, prophets, theologians, or the popular imagination had had the opportunity to refine and transform them:.

That which is accessory or secondary All is reduced to that which is indispensable to that without which there could be no religion. But that which is indispensable is also that which is essential, that is to say, that which we must know before all else. Primitive religions are privileged cases, Durkheim thus argued, because they are simple cases. But if this simplicity of primitive religions helps us to understand its nature, it also helps us to understand its causes. In fact, as religious thought evolved through history, its initial causes became overlaid with a vast scheme of methodological and theological interpretation which made those origins virtually imperceptible.

The study of primitive religion, Durkheim thus suggested, is a new way of taking up the old problem of the "origin of religion" itself -- not in the sense of some specific point in time and space when religion began to exist no such point exists , but in the sense of discovering "the ever-present causes upon which the most essential forms of religious thought and practice depend.

This description and explanation of the most primitive religion, however, was only the primary purpose of The Elementary Forms ; and its secondary purpose was by far the most ambitious of Durkheim's attempts to provide sociological answers to philosophical questions. At the base of all our judgments, Durkheim began, there are a certain number of ideas which philosophers since Aristotle have called "the categories of the understanding" -- time, space, class, number, cause, substance, personality, and so on.

They are like the solid frame which encloses all thought; this does not seem to be able to liberate itself from them without destroying itself, for it seems that we cannot think of objects that are not in time and space, which have no number, etc. How are these ideas related to religion? When primitive religious beliefs are analyzed, Durkheim observed, these "categories" are found, suggesting that they are the product of religious thought; but religious thought itself is composed of collective representations, the products of real social groups.

These observations suggested to Durkheim that the "problem of knowledge" might be posed in new, sociological terms. Previous efforts to solve this problem, he began, represent one of two philosophical doctrines: the empiricist doctrine that the categories are constructed out of human experience, and that the individual is the artisan of this construction, and the a priorist doctrine that the categories are logically prior to experience, and are inherent in the nature of the human intellect itself.

The difficulty for the empirical thesis, Durkheim then observed, is that it deprives the categories of their most distinctive properties -- universality they are the most general concepts we have, are applicable to all that is real, and are independent of every particular object and necessity we literally cannot think without them ; for it is in the very nature of empirical data that they be both particular and contingent. The a priorist thesis, by contrast, has more respect for these properties of universality and necessity; but by asserting that the categories simply "inhere" in the nature of the intellect, it begs what is surely the most interesting and important question of all: "It is necessary," Durkheim insisted, "to show whence we hold this surprising prerogative and how it comes that we can see certain relations in things which the examination of these things cannot reveal to us.

Having planted these allegedly formidable obstacles in the paths of his philosophical adversaries, Durkheim then offered his frustrated reader an attractive via media : " How, then, does the hypothesis of the social origin of the categories overcome these obstacles? First, the basic proposition of the a priorist thesis is that knowledge is composed of two elements -- perceptions mediated by our senses, and the categories of the understanding -- neither of which can be reduced to the other.

By viewing the first as individual representations and the second as their collective counterparts, Durkheim insisted, this proposition is left intact: for "between these two sorts of representations there is all the difference which exists between the individual and the social, and one can no more derive the second from the first than he can deduce society from the individual, the whole from the part, the complex from the simple.

In so far as we belong to society, therefore, we transcend our individual nature both when we act and when we think. Finally, this distinction explains both the universality and the necessity of the categories -- they are universal because man has always and everywhere lived in society, which is their origin; and they are necessary because, without them, all contact between individual minds would be impossible, and social life would be destroyed altogether: " If it is to live," Durkheim concluded, "there is not merely need of a satisfactory moral conformity, but also there is a minimum of logical conformity beyond which it cannot safely go.

But one might still object that, since the categories are mere representations of social realities, there is no guarantee of their correspondence to any of the realities of nature; thus we would return, by a different route, to a more skeptical nominalism and empiricism. The fundamental relations between things -- just that which it is the function of the categories to express cannot be essentially dissimilar in the different realms.

In order to describe and explain the most primitive religion known to man, Durkheim observed, we must first define the term "religion" itself: otherwise we risk drawing inferences from beliefs and practices which have nothing "religious" about them, or and this was the greater danger to Durkheim of leaving many religious facts to one side without understanding their true nature. Following The Rules 21 and Suicide, 22 Durkheim's definition is reached by a two-step process.

First, he insisted, we must free the mind of all preconceived ideas of religion, a liberation achieved in The Elementary Forms through a characteristic "argument by elimination": "it is fitting," Durkheim suggested, "to examine some of the most current of the definitions in which these prejudices are commonly expressed, before taking up the question on our own account.

The first of the prejudicial definitions of religion to be eliminated by this procedure was that governed by our ideas of those things which surpass the limits of our knowledge -- the "mysterious," the "unknowable," the "supernatural" -- whereby religion would be "a sort of speculation upon all that which evades science or distinct thought in general.

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First, while he admitted that the sense of mystery has played a considerable role in the history of some religions, and especially Christianity, he added that, even in Christianity, there have been periods -- e. Second, while Durkheim agreed that the forces put in operation by some primitive rite designed to assure the fertility of the soil or the fecundity of an animal species appear "different" from those of modern science, he denied that this distinction between religious and physical forces is perceived by those performing the rite; the abyss which separates the rational from the irrational, Durkheim emphasized, belongs to a much later period in history.

Third, and more specifically, the very idea of the "supernatural" logically presupposes its contrary -- the idea of a "natural order of things" or "natural law" -- to which the supernatural event or entity is presumably a dramatic exception; but the idea of natural law, Durkheim again suggested, is a still more recent conception than that of the distinction between religious and physical forces.

It is far from being true," Durkheim concluded, "that the notion of the religious coincides with that of the extraordinary or the unforeseen. The second prejudicial definition rejected by Durkheim was that based upon the idea of "gods" 28 or, more broadly, "spiritual beings.

The difficulty for this definition, Durkheim insisted, is that it fails to acknowledge two categories of undeniably religious facts. First, there are great religions e. Second, even within those religions which do acknowledge such beings, there are many rites which are completely independent of that idea, and in some cases the idea is itself derived from the rite rather than the reverse.

Religion is more than the idea of gods or spirits, and consequently cannot be defined exclusively in relation to these latter. Definition by the ideas of "spiritual beings" and "the supernatural" thus eliminated, Durkheim turned to the construction of his own definition. Emphasizing that religion is less an indivisible whole than a complex system of parts, he began by dividing these parts into rites determined modes of action and beliefs collective representations ; and since rites can be distinguished from other actions only by their object, and the nature of that object is determined by the beliefs, Durkheim insisted on defining the latter first.

The seemingly insuperable obstacle to the immediate acceptance of this definition was its subsumption of a body of facts ordinarily distinguished from religion -- i. Indeed, magic is also composed of beliefs and rites, myths, dogmas, sacrifices, lustrations, prayers, chants, and dances as well; and the beings and forces invoked by the magician are not only similar to those addressed by religion, but are frequently the same.

Yet historically, magic and religion have frequently exhibited a marked repugnance for one another, 36 suggesting that any definition of the latter should find some means of excluding the former. For Durkheim, this means was Robertson Smith's insistence, in his Lectures on the Religion of the Semites , 37 that religion was a public, social, beneficent institution, while magic was private, selfish, and at least potentially maleficent.

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The individuals which compose it feel themselves united to each other by the simple fact that they have a common faith. Between the magician and the individuals who consult him, as between these individuals themselves, there are no lasting bonds which make them members of the same moral community, comparable to that formed by the believers in the same god or the observers of the same cult. Hence Durkheim's definition: " A religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, that is to say, things set apart and forbidden -- beliefs and practices which unite into one single moral community called a Church, all those who adhere to them.

Armed with his "preliminary definition" of religion, Durkheim set out in search of its most primitive, elementary form. Almost immediately, however, another difficulty arose -- even the crudest religions of which we have any historical or ethnographic knowledge appear to be the products of a long, rather complicated evolution, and thus exhibit a profusion of beliefs and rites based upon a variety of "essential" principles. To discover the "truly original" form of the religious life, Durkheim observed, it is thus necessary "to descend by analysis beyond these observable religions, to resolve them into their common and fundamental elements, and then to seek among these latter some one from which the others were derived.

This was a problem for which two contrary solutions had been proposed, based upon the two common elements found universally among the observable religions. One set of beliefs and practices, for example, is addressed to the phenomena of nature, and is thus characterized as naturism ; while a second body of religious thought and action appeals to conscious spiritual beings, and is called animism. The problem of accounting for the confusing properties of the observable religions thus resolved itself into two mutually contradictory evolutionary hypotheses: either animism was the most primitive religion, and naturism its secondary, derivative form; or the cult of nature stood at the origin of religion, and the cult of spirits was but a peculiar, subsequent development.

According to the animistic theory, the idea of the human soul was first suggested by the contrast between the mental representations experienced while asleep dreams and those of normal experience. The primitive man grants equal status to both, and is thus led to postulate a "second self" within himself, one resembling the first, but made of an ethereal matter and capable of traveling great distances in short periods of time.

The transformation of this soul into a spirit is achieved with death, which, to the primitive mind, is not unlike a prolonged sleep; and with the destruction of the body comes the idea of spirits detached from any organism and wandering about freely in space. Henceforth, spirits are assumed to involve themselves, for good or ill, in the affairs of men, and all human events varying slightly from the ordinary are attributed to their influence.

As their power grows, men increasingly consider it wise to conciliate their favor or appease them when they are irritated, whence come prayers, offerings, sacrifices -- in short, the entire apparatus of religious worship. Reasoning wholly by analogy, the primitive mind also attributes "second selves" to all non-human objects -- plants, animals, rivers, trees, stars, etc. In the end, Durkheim concluded, "men find themselves the prisoners of this imaginary world of which they are, however, the authors and models.

If this animistic hypothesis is to be accepted as an account of the most primitive religion, Durkheim observed, three parts of the argument are of critical significance: its demonstration that the idea of the soul was formed without borrowing elements from any prior religion; its account of how souls become spirits, and thus the objects of a cult; and its derivation of the cult of nature from ancestor worship. Doubts concerning the first were already raised by the observation, to be discussed later, 44 that the soul, though independent of the body under certain conditions, is in fact considerably more intimately bound to the organism than the animistic hypothesis would suggest.

Even if these doubts were overcome, moreover, the animistic theory presumes that dreams are liable to but one primitive interpretation -- that of a "second-self" -- when the interpretive possibilities are in fact innumerable; and even were this objection removed, defenders of the hypothesis must still explain why primitive men, otherwise so unreflective, were presumably driven to "explain" their dreams in the first place.


The "very heart of the animist doctrine," however, was its second part -- the explanation of how souls become spirits and objects of a cult; but here again Durkheim had serious doubts. Even if the analogy between sleep and death were sufficient to suggest that the soul survives the body, for example, this still fails to explain why the soul would thus become a "sacred" spirit, particularly in light of the tremendous gap which separates the sacred from the profane, and the fact that the approach of death is ordinarily assumed to weaken rather than strengthen the vital energies of the soul.

Most important, however, if the first sacred spirits were souls of the dead, then the lower the society under investigation, the greater should be the place given to the ancestor cult; but, on the contrary, the ancestor cult is clearly developed only in relatively advanced societies e. But even if ancestor worship were primitive, Durkheim continued, the third part of the animist theory -- the transformation of the ancestor cult into the cult of nature -- is indefensible in itself.

Not only is there little evidence among primitives of the complicated analogical reasoning upon which the animist hypothesis depends; neither is there evidence among those practicing any form of nature worship of those characteristics -- anthropomorphic spirits, or spirits exhibiting at least some of the attributes of a human soul -- which their derivation from the ancestor cult would logically suggest.

For Durkheim, however, the clearest refutation of the animistic hypothesis lay in one of its unstated, but implied, consequences; for, if it were true, not only would it mean as Durkheim himself believed that religious symbols provide only an inexact expression of the realities on which they are based; far more than this, it would imply that religious symbols are products of the vague, ill-conceived hallucinations of our dream-experience, and thus as Durkheim most certainly did not believe have no foundation in reality at all.

Law, morals, even scientific thought itself, Durkheim observed, were born of religion, long remained confounded with it, and are still somewhat imbued with its spirit; it is simply inconceivable, therefore, that "religions, which have held so considerable a place in history, and to which, in all times, men have to receive the energy which they must have to live, should be made up of a tissue of illusions.

What sort of science is it, Durkheim asked, whose principle discovery is that the subject of which it treats does not exist? In sharp contrast to animism, the naturistic theory 46 insisted that religion ultimately rests upon a real experience -- that of the principal phenomena of nature the infinity of time, space, force, etc. But religion itself begins only when these natural forces cease being represented in the mind in an abstract form, and are transformed into personal, conscious spirits or gods, to whom the cult of nature may be addressed; and this transformation is allegedly achieved by language.

Before the ancient Indo-European peoples began to reflect upon and classify the phenomena of nature, Durkheim explained, the roots of their language consisted of very general types of human action pushing, walking, climbing, running, etc. When men turned from the naming and classifying of actions to that of natural objects, the very generality and elasticity of these concepts permitted their application to forces for which they were not originally designed.

The earliest classes of natural phenomena were thus metaphors for human action -- a river was "something that moves steadily," the wind was "something that sighs or whistles," etc. Once these agents had received names, the names themselves raised questions of interpretation for succeeding generations, producing the efflorescence of fables, genealogies, and myths characteristic of ancient religions. Finally, the ancestor cult, according to this theory, is purely a secondary development -- unable to face the fact of death, men postulated their possession of an immortal soul which, upon separation from the body, was gradually drawn into the circle of divine beings, and eventually deified.

Despite the contrast mentioned above, Durkheim's objections to this naturistic hypothesis followed much the same line as those objections to its animistic counterpart. Leaving aside the numerous criticisms of the philological premises of the naturistic theory, Durkheim insisted that nature is characterized not by phenomena so extraordinary as to produce a religious awe, but by a regularity which borders on monotony. Moreover, even if natural phenomena were sufficient to produce a certain degree of admiration, this still would not be equivalent to those features which characterize the "sacred", and least of all to that "absolute duality" which typifies its relations with the "profane.

And in fact, the earliest objects of such rites were not the principal forms of nature at all, but rather humble animals and vegetables with whom even the primitive man could feel himself at least an equal. Durkheim's major objection, however, was that the naturistic theory, like animism, would reduce religion to little more than a system of hallucinations. It is true, he admitted, that primitive peoples reflect upon the forces of nature from an early period, for they depend on these forces for their very survival.

For precisely this reason, however, these forces and the reflections upon them could hardly be the source of religious ideas; for such ideas provide a palpably misleading conception of the nature of such forces, so that any course of practical activity based upon them would surely be unsuccessful, and this in turn would undermine one's faith in the ideas themselves. Again, the important place granted to religious ideas throughout history and in all societies is evidence that they respond to some reality, and one other than that of physical nature.

Whether from dreams or from physical nature, therefore, animism and naturism both attempt to construct the idea of the sacred out of the facts of our common, individual experience; and for Durkheim, whose argument again parallels Kant's attack on empiricist ethics, such an enterprise is simply impossible: "A fact of common experience," he insisted, "cannot give us the idea of something whose characteristic is to be outside the world of common experience. Aside from the human individual and the physical world, there should be some other reality, in relation to which this variety of delirium which all religion is in a sense, has a significance and an objective value.

In other words, beyond those which we have called animistic and naturistic, there should be another sort of cult, more fundamental and more primitive, of which the first are only derived forms or particular aspect. The peculiar set of beliefs and practices known as totemism had been discovered among American Indians as early as ; and though repeated observations for the next eighty years increasingly suggested that the institution enjoyed a certain generality, it continued to be seen as a largely American, and rather archaic, phenomenon.

McLennan's articles on "The Worship of Animals and Plants" showed that totemism was not only a religion, but one from which considerably more advanced religions had derived; and L. Morgan's Ancient Society revealed that this religion was intimately connected to that specific form of social organization that Durkheim had discussed in The Division of Labor -- the division of the social group into clans. As the same religion and social organization were increasingly observed and reported among the Australian aborigines, the documents accumulated until James Frazer brought them together in Totemism But Frazer's work was purely descriptive, making no effort to understand or explain the most fundamental aspects of totemism.

All these works, however, were constructed out of fragmentary observations, for a true totemic religion had not yet been observed in its complete state. This hiatus was filled, however, in Baldwin Spencer and F. Gillen's Native Tribes of Central Australia , a study of totemic clans almost definitively primitive; and, together with the studies they stimulated, these observations were incorporated within Frazer's four-volume compendium, Totemism and Exogamy The initial contribution of The Elementary Forms to this rapidly growing literature was simply its methodological approach.

As a member of the "anthropological" school, for example, Frazer had made no effort to place the various religious systems he studied within their social and historical context; rather, as the name of the school implies, he assumed that man has some sort of innate, religious "nature" regardless of social conditions, and thus "compared" the most disparate beliefs and rites with an eye to their most superficial similarities. For this reason, two facts from different societies cannot be usefully compared simply because they seem to resemble one another; in addition, the societies themselves should resemble each other -- be varieties of the same species.

But where, in such totemic societies, was one to look first? At their rites, as had Robertson Smith and the early Frazer? Or at their beliefs, following Tylor and Frazer's later work? The fact that myths are frequently constructed after the rite in order to account for it suggested the first; while recognition that rites are often the sole expression of antecedent beliefs argued for the second. On this contemporary controversy in the scientific study of religion, Durkheim ultimately leaned heavily toward the second alternative; and on the ground that it is impossible to understand a religion without a firm grasp of its ideas, his discussion of Australian totemism in The Elementary Forms thus began with its beliefs.

The most fundamental of these beliefs is that the members of each clan 56 consider themselves bound together by a special kind of kinship, based not on blood, but on the mere fact that they share the same name. This name, moreover, is taken from a determined species of material objects an animal, less frequently a plant, and in rare cases an inanimate object with which the clan members are assumed to enjoy the same relations of kinship.

But this "totem" is not simply a name; it is also an emblem, which, like the heraldic coats-of-arms, is carved, engraved, or designed upon the other objects belonging to the clan, and even upon the bodies of the clan members themselves. Indeed, it is these designs which seem to render otherwise common objects "sacred," and their inscription upon the bodies of clan members indicates the approach of the most important religious ceremonies. The same religious sentiments aroused by these designs, of course, are aroused by the members of the totemic species themselves.

Clan members are thus forbidden to kill or eat the totemic animal or plant except at certain mystical feasts see below , and the violation of this interdiction is assumed to produce death instantaneously. Moreover the clan members themselves are "sacred" in so far as they belong to the totemic species, a belief which gives rise to genealogical myths explaining how men could have had animal and even vegetable ancestors.

Durkheim thus rejected McLennan's interpretation of totemism as a form of animal worship; for man belongs to the sacred world himself, and thus his relations with his totem are much more like those uniting members of the same family. Totemism is thus a religion in which three classes of things -- the totemic emblem, the animal or plant, and the members of the clan -- are recognized as sacred; but in addition, totemism constitutes a cosmology, in which all known things are distributed among the various clans and phratries, so that everything is classified according to the social organization of the tribe.

How, then, were these beliefs to be explained? Totemism, in short, is not a religion of emblems or animals or men at all, but rather of an anonymous, impersonal "force," 62 immanent in the world and diffused among its various material objects. But, surely, such a conception surpasses the limits of the primitive mind?

On the contrary, Durkheim argued, whether it is described as mana , wakan , or orenda , this belief in a diffused, impersonal force is found among the Samoans, the Melanesians, various North American Indian tribes, and albeit less abstracted and generalized among the totemic clans of central Australia. And quite aside from its purely religious significance, Durkheim argued that this was the original form under which the modern, scientific idea of force was conceived.

To explain totemism is thus to explain this belief in a diffused, impersonal force. How might such a belief arise? Obviously, not from sensations aroused by the totemic objects themselves, Durkheim argued, for these objects -- the caterpillar, the ant, the frog, etc. Of what, then, are they the symbols? Durkheim's initial answer was that they symbolize both the "totemic principle" and the totem clan; but if this is the case, then surely that principle and the clan are one and the same thing: "The god of the clan, the totemic principle," he insisted, "can therefore be nothing else than the clan itself, personified and represented to the imagination under the visible form of the animal or vegetable which serves as totem.

This hypothesis -- that god is nothing more than society apotheosized--was supported by a number of characteristically Durkheimian arguments. It was insisted, for example, that a society has all that is necessary to arouse the idea of the divine, for it is to its members what a god is to his worshippers.

It is both physically and morally superior to individuals, and thus they both fear its power and respect its authority; but society cannot exist except in and through the individual conscience , and thus it both demands our sacrifices and periodically strengthens and elevates the divine "principle" within each of us -- especially during periods of collective enthusiasm, when its power is particularly perceptible. It is this succession of intense periods of "collective effervescence" with much longer periods of dispersed, individualistic economic activity, Durkheim suggested, which gives rise to the belief that there are two worlds -- the sacred and the profane -- both within us and within nature itself.

But how does this belief give rise to totemism? Briefly, the individual who is transported from his profane to a sacred existence in a gathering of the clan seeks some explanation for his altered, elevated state. This God affirms in express terms concerning the Hebrew nation; and it does not appear but that other nations are, as to this respect, in the same condition. Another remark that this place yields us, is, that a commonwealth is a more perfect form of government than a monarchy, and more suitable to the condition of mankind, and in the opinion of God himself better for his own people; for himself appointed it, and could hardly be prevailed withal a great while after, and at their own importunate desire, to let them change it into a monarchy.

But to make it appear, that he gave them their choice to be governed by a single person, or by more, so they were justly governed, in case they should in time to come resolve upon a king, he prescribes laws for this king of theirs to observe, whereby he was forbidden to multiply to himself horses and wives, or to heap up riches: whence he might easily infer, that no power was put into his hands over others, but according to law, since even those actions of his life, which related only to himself, were under a law. He was commanded therefore to transcribe with his own hand all the precepts of the law, and having writ them out, to observe and keep them, that his mind might not be lifted up above his brethren.

It is evident from hence, that as well the prince as the people was bound by the law of Moses. Nay, they, that under a pretence of government are injurious, are worse than open enemies. We may fence ourselves against the latter; but the malice of the former is so much the more pestilent, because it is not always easy to be discovered. The same author in his second book, Allegoriar. But what if he will not, what law is there to punish him? I answer, the same law that there is to punish other men; for I find no exceptions.

There is no express law to punish the priests, or any other inferior magistrates, who all of them, if this opinion of the exemption of kings from the penalties of the law would hold, might, by the same reason claim impunity, what guilt soever they contract, because there is no positive law for their punishment; and yet I suppose none of them ever challenged such a prerogative, nor would it ever be allowed them, if they should. Let us now consider whether Solomon preached up any other doctrine, chap. Be not hasty to go out of his sight; stand not in an evil thing; for he doth whatsoever pleaseth him.

Where the word of a king is, there is power; and who may say unto him, what dost thou? So the Reubenites and Gadites promise obedience to Joshua, Josh. Hear the preacher else, ch. Here is nothing like tyranny; nothing that a good man needs be afraid of. He was a prophet, you will say; so are they that now follow his example; for they act according to the will of God, either his revealed or his sacred will, which yourself grant in your 50th page.

The preacher therefore in this place prudently advises private persons not to contend with princes; for it is even dangerous to contend with any man, that is either rich or powerful. But what then? Must they not oppose a foolish, wicked, and outrageous tyrant, that perhaps seeks the destruction of all good men? Must they not endeavour to prevent his turning all divine and human things upside down? Must they suffer him to massacre his people, burn their cities, and commit such outrages upon them daily; and finally, to have perfect liberty to do what he lists without control?

Whom all free people, if you can have the confidence hereafter to set Edition: current; Page: [ 24 ] your foot within a free country, ought to cast out from amongst them, and send to some remote parts of the world, as a prodigy of dire portent; or to condemn to some perpetual drudgery, as one devoted to slavery, solemnly obliging themselves, if they ever let you go, to undergo a worse slavery under some cruel, silly tyrant: no man living can either devise himself, or borrow from any other, expressions so full of cruelty and contempt, as may not justly be applied to you.

But go on. First, what is that to us, what sort of kings the Israelites desired? Especially since God was angry with them, not only for desiring such a king as other nations had, and not such a king as his own law describes, but barely for desiring a king at all? And lastly, the verse that you quote out of Virgil does not prove, that the kings of the East had an absolute unlimited power; for those bees, that he there speaks of, and who reverence their kings, he says, more than the Egyptians or Medes do theirs, by the authority of the same poet:.

They do not live under a king then, that is tied to no law. But now I will let you see how little reason you have to think I bear you an ill-will. This fancy you borrow from them, and urge it here with the same malice that they did there. Aristotle, a most exact writer of politics, affirms that the Asiatic monarchy, which yet himself calls barbarous, was according to law, Politic.

But the kingdom of the Lacedemonians, he says, is most properly a kingdom, because there all power is not in the king. Nor seems he to have mentioned it for any other purpose, than to show how unjust, absurd, and tyrannical a government it is. You say, that when Samuel would deter the people from choosing a king, he propounded to them this right of kings. But whence had Samuel it? Had he it from the written law of God? That cannot be. We have observed already, that the Scriptures afford us a quite other scheme of sovereignty. Had Samuel it then immediately from God himself by revelation? That is not likely neither; for God dislikes it, discommends it, finds fault with it: so that Samuel does not expound to the people any right of kings appointed by God; but a corrupt and depraved manner of governing, taken up by the pride and ambition of princes.

He tells not the people what their kings ought to do, but what they would do. That manner of theirs was wicked, and odious, and tyrannical: it was no right, but great wrong. The fathers have commented upon this place too: I will instance in one, that may stand for a great many; and that is Sulpitius Severus, a contemporary and intimate friend of St.

Jerome, and, in St. He tells us in his sacred history, that Samuel in that place acquaints the people with the imperious rule of kings, and how they used to lord it over their subjects. Certainly it cannot be the right of kings to domineer and be imperious. But according to Sallust, that lawful power and authority that kings were entrusted with, for the preservation of the public liberty, and the good of the commonwealth, quickly degenerated into pride and tyranny: and this is the sense of all orthodox divines, and of all lawyers, upon that place of Samuel. And you might have learned from Sichardus, that most of the rabbins too were of the same mind; at least, not any one of them ever asserted, that the absolute inherent right of kings is there discoursed of.

Now, what a peice of folly and impudence is this in you to maintain, in opposition to all orthodox expositors, that those very actions, which God so much condemns, are the right of kings, and to pretend law for them! Though yourself confess, that that right is very often exercised in committing outrages, being injurious, contumelious, and the like. Was any man ever to that degree sui juris, so much his own master, as that he might lawfully prey upon mankind, bear down all that stood in his way, and turn all things upside down?

Did the Romans ever maintain, as you say they did, that any man might do these things suo jure, by virtue of some inherent right in himself? Sallust indeed makes C. Memmius, a tribune of the people, in an invective speech of his against the pride of the nobility, and their escaping unpunished, howsoever they misbehaved themselves, to use these words, viz.

Does he in that place assert the right of kings? If you had consulted Tully, you would have understood both Sallust and Samuel better. In his oration pro C. These are their lordly dictates: mind what I say, and do accordingly. You perceive how miserably you are come off with Sallust, who though he be as much an enemy to tyranny as any other author whatsoever, you thought would have patronized this tyrannical right that you are establishing.

Take my word for it, the right of kings seems to be tottering, and even to further its own ruin, by relying upon such weak props for its support; and by endeavouring to maintain itself by such examples and authorities, as would hasten its downfall, if it were further off than it is. The extremity of right or law is said to be, when a man ties himself up to niceties, dwells upon letters and syllables, and in the mean time neglects the intent and equity of the law; or when a written law is cunningly and maliciously interpreted; this Cicero makes to have been the rise of that common saying.

For whether written or unwritten, whether extreme or remiss, what right can any man have to be injurious? Neither bring up a false accusation against a prophet of God; for by making him to teach us in this place what the right of kings is, you do not produce the right Samuel, but such another empty shadow as was raised by the witch of Endor. Though for my own part, I verily believe that that infernal Samuel would not have been so great a liar, but that he would have confessed, that what you call the right of kings, is tyranny.

We read indeed of impieties countenanced by law, Jus datum sceleri: you yourself confess, that they are bad kings that have made use of this boundless license of theirs to do every thing. Now, this right that you have introduced for the destruction of mankind, not proceeding from God, as I have proved it does not, must needs come from the devil; and Edition: current; Page: [ 27 ] that it does really so, will appear more clearly hereafter. I am always willing to mention your authorities, for it generally happens, that the very authors you quote them out of, give you an answer themselves.

For though a people may have the good fortune to live under a gentle master, yet those are in a miserable condition, whose prince may tyrannize over them if he will. If he meant it of his right, he would contradict himself, and make that an unjust cause of war, which himself had affirmed with the same breath to be a most just one. It is not therefore the right of all kings that you describe, but the injuriousness, and force, and violence of some.

Then you tell us what private men may do. May they therefore plunder, murder, ravish, without control? It is equally prejudicial and destructive to the commonwealth, whether it be their own prince, or a robber, or a foreign enemy, that spoils, massacres, and enslaves them. And questionless, being both alike enemies of human society, the one, as well as the other, may lawfully be opposed and punished; and their own prince the rather, because he, though raised to that dignity by the honours that his people have conferred upon him, and being bound by his oath to defend the public safety, betrays it notwithstanding all.

For whereas you had affirmed, that a king was bound by no law, here you confess he is. And you set up two contrary rights, one described by Moses, and another by Samuel, which is absurd. If kings are out of the reach of the law, so as that they may do what they list, they are more absolute than any masters, and their subjects in a more despical condition than the worst of slaves The law of God provided some redress from them, though of another nation, if their masters were cruel and unreasonable towards them.

And can we imagine, that the whole body of the people of a free nation, though oppressed and tyrannized over, and preyed upon, should be left remediless? That they had no law to protect them, no sanctuary to betake themselves to? Can we think, that they were delivered from the bondage they were under to the Egyptian kings, to be reduced into a worse to one of their own brethren?

All which being neither agreeable to the law of God, nor to common sense, nothing can be more evident, than that the prophet declares to the people the manner, and not the right of kings; nor the manner of all kings, but of most. Then you come to the rabbins, and quote two of them, but you have as bad luck with them here, as you had before.

For it is plain, that that other chapter that rabbi Joses speaks of, and which contains, he says, the right of kings, is that in Deuteronomy, and not in Samuel. For if they might lawfully pray to God against him, without doubt they might use all lawful means for their own deliverance.

For what man living, when he finds himself in any calamity, betakes himself to God, so as to neglect his own duty, in order to a redress, and rely upon his lazy prayers only? But be it how it will, what is all this to the right of kings, or of the English people? And this being the case, for aught I see, we have done well in deposing our king, and are to be commended for it, since the Israelites sinned in asking one. And this the event has made appear; for we, when we had a king, prayed to God against him, and he heard us, and delivered us: but the Jews who not being under a kingly government, desired a king he suffered to live in slavery under one, till, at last, after their return from the Babylonish captivity, they betook themselves to their former government again.

Then you come to give us a display of your talmudical learning; but you have as ill success with that as you have had with all the rest. You labour in vain to salve this, by telling us, that it is to be understood of those kings that reigned after the Babylonish captivity. For then, what say ye to Maimonides? He makes this difference betwixt the kings of Israel and those of Juda; that the kings of the posterity of David judge, and are judged; but the kings of Israel do neither. You contradict and quarrel with yourself or your rabbins, and still do my work for me.

But you need no antagonists, you are such a perpetual adversary to yourself. For whose sake, you say, that childish fable of the principal men of that assembly being struck dead by the angel Gabriel was first invented. And thus you confess, that this magnificent prerogative, upon which you seem mainly to rely, viz. Nay, we read in Scripture, that Saul thought himself bound by a decree of his own making; and in obedience thereunto, that he cast lots with his son Jonathan which of them two should die.

Uzzias likewise, when he was thrust out of the temple by the priests as a leper, submitted as every private person in such a case ought to do, and ceased to be a king. Suppose he should have refused to go out of the temple, and lay down the government, and live alone, and had resolved to assert that kingly right of not being subject to any law, do you think the priests, and the people of the Jews, would have suffered the temple to be defiled, the laws violated, and live themselves in danger of the infection?

It seems there are laws against a leprous king, but none against a tyrant. It is all one, says he, as if one should argue on this manner: The emperor of Germany never was summoned to appear before one of the prince electors: therefore, if the prince elector Palatine should impeach the emperor, he were not bound to plead to it; though it appears by the golden bull, that Charles the Fourth subjected himself and his successors to that cognizance and jurisdiction.

But no wonder if kings were indulged in their ambition, and their exorbitances passed by, when the times were so corrupt and depraved, that even private men, if they had either money or interest, might escape the law, though guilty of crimes of never so high a nature. And that kings are not liable to be questioned for their actions, you prove by the testimony of a very worthy author, that barbarous tyrant Mark Antony; one of those that subverted the commonwealth of Rome: and yet he himself, when he undertook an expedition against the Parthians, summoned Herod before him, to answer to a charge of murder, and would have punished him, but that Herod bribed him.

For I deny, that there ever were any such kings in the world, that derived their authority from God alone. And what think ye of David? Though he had been anointed once by God, he was not anointed a second time in Hebron by the tribe of Judah, and after that by all the people of Israel, and that after Edition: current; Page: [ 30 ] a mutual covenant betwixt him and them?

Now, a covenant lays an obligation upon kings, and restrains them within bounds. So that it is something to be well-pleasing in the eyes of the people. Jehoiadah the priest made Joash king, but first he made him and the people enter into a covenant to one another, 2 Kings xi. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all. And thus we easily understand what the poets, and the Essenes among the Jews, mean, when they tell us, that it is by God that kings reign, and that they are of Jupiter; for so all of us are of God, we are all his offspring.

The truth of which doctrine, though the common people are apt to flatter their kings, yet they themselves acknowledge, whether good ones, as Sarpedon in Homer is described to have been; or bad ones as those tyrants in the lyrick poet:. So that if it is by God that kings now-a-days reign, it is by God too that the people assert their own liberty; since all things are of him, and by him.

I am sure the Scripture bears witness to both; that by him kings reign, and that by him they are cast down from their throne. And yet experience teaches us, that both these things are brought about by the people, oftener than by God. Be this right of kings, therefore, what it will, the right of the people is as much from God as it. And whenever any people, without some visible designation of God himself, appoint a king over them, they have the same right to put him down, that they had to set him up at first.

And certainly it is a more godlike action to depose a tyrant than to set up one: and there appears much more of God in the people, when they depose an unjust prince, than in a king that oppresses an innocent people. After all this, rather than say nothing, you produce M. Aurelius as a countenancer of tyranny; but you had better have let him alone. But Xiphiline indeed, out of whom you quote those words of M.

But that this word Autarchy and Monarchy are synonymous, I cannot easily persuade myself to believe. And the more I read what goes before, the less I find myself inclinable to think so. And certainly whoever considers the context, will not easily apprehend what coherence this sentence has with it, and must needs wonder how it comes so abruptly into the text; especially, since Marcus Aurelius, that mirror of princes, carried himself towards the people, as Capitolinus tells us, just as if Rome had been a commonwealth still.

And we all know, that when it was so, the supreme power was in the people. The same emperor honoured the memory of Thraseas, and Helvidius, and Cato, and Dio, and Brutus; who all were tyrant-slayers, or affected the reputation of being thought so. In the first book that he writes of his own life, he says, that he proposed to himself a form of government, under which all men might equally enjoy the benefit of the law, and right and justice be equally administered to all. And in his fourth book he says, the law is master, and not he. He acknowledged the right of the senate and the people, and their interest in all things: we are so far, says he, from having any thing of our own, that Edition: current; Page: [ 32 ] we live in your houses.

These things Xiphiline relates of him. So little did he arrogate aught to himself by virtue of his sovereign right. When he died, he recommended his son to the Romans, for his successor, if they should think he deserved it. So far was he from pretending to a commission from Heaven to exercise that absolute and imaginary right of sovereignty, that Autarchy, that you tell us of. Now look about ye again, and catch hold of somewhat or other. What relation has this to a temporal judicature?

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Certainly they do no good office to the right of kings, that thus discover the weakness of its foundation. And can we think, that he despised all the people of God, his own brethren to that degree, as to believe that he might murder them, plunder them, and commit adultery with their wives, and yet not sin against them all this while? So holy a man could never be guilty of such insufferable pride, nor have so little knowledge either of himself, or of his duty to his neighbour. But whatever he means, the words of a psalm are too full of poetry, and this psalm too full of passion, to afford us any exact definitions of right and justice; nor is it proper to argue any thing of that nature from them.

How should they know, that any such thing had been, which was done so privately, that perhaps for some years after not above one or two were privy to it, as such secrets there are in most courts? Would any infer, that therefore they ought not to be punished at all? The next thing you do, is to rail at some bloody advocate or other, and you take a deal of pains to refute the conclusion of his discourse. Let him look to that; I will endeavour to be as short as I can in what I have undertaken to perform. You say, that God gave the children of Israel a king as a thing good and profitable for them, and deny that he gave them one in his anger, as a punishment for their sin.

But that will receive an easy answer; for to what purpose should they cry to God because of the king that they had chosen, if it were not because a kingly government is an evil thing; not in itself, but because it most commonly does, as Samuel forewarns the people that theirs would, degenerate into pride and tyranny? Was there ever any thing more light and mad than this man is? Who would trust him in the smallest matters, that in things of so great concern says and unsays without any consideration in the world? That epigram, I say, may be turned, and very properly applied to you: for there never was so good a poet as you are a bad patron.

It is not fitting or decent, that any man should be a king, that does not far excel all his subjects. But where men are equals, as in all governments very many are, they ought to have an equal interest in the government, and hold it by turns. But that all men should be slaves to one that is their equal, or as it happens most commonly far inferior to them, and very often a fool, who can so much as entertain such a thought without indignation?

And yet a kingly government being put into the hands of unworthy and undeserving persons, as most commonly it is, may well be thought to have done more harm than good to mankind. Nor does it follow for all this, that all kings, as such, are tyrants. But suppose it did, as for argument-sake I will allow it does, lest you should think I am too hard with ye; make you the best use of it you can. That you perpetually contradict, not only the Scriptures, but your own self.

The second of these conclusions we detest, and wish that blasphemous mouth of yours were stopped up, with which you affirm God to be the worst of tyrants, if he be, as you often say he is, the king and lord of such. But neither did Moses, not withstanding his great familiarity with God, ever assume a liberty of doing what he would himself. Then says Jethro, ver. Nor can you, without impiety and sacrilege, transfer this absolute supreme power and authority, from God to a man, not having any warrant from the word of God so to do, which Moses used only as a deputy or substitute to God; under whose eye, and in whose presence, himself and the people always were.

And now call to mind what you said before, page 42, and what I said I should have occasion to make use of, viz. How do these things agree? Would Samuel prefer the interest of his sons, and their ambition, and their covetousness, before the general good of all the people, when they asked a thing that would be good and profitable for them? Can we think, that he would impose upon them by cunning and subtilty, and make them believe things that were not?

Or if we should suppose all this true of Samuel, would God himself countenance and gratify him in it? So that either that was not the right of kings, which Samuel taught the people: or else that right, by the testimony both of God and the prophet, was an evil thing, was burdensome, injurious, unprofitable, and chargeable to the commonwealth: or lastly, which must not be admitted, God and the prophet deceived the people. God frequently protests, that he was extremely displeased with them for asking a king. And certainly, they that subject themselves to a worldly master, and set him above all laws, come but a little short of choosing a strange god: and a strange one it commonly is; brutish, and void of all sense and reason.

So 1st of Sam. I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath. Intimating thereby, that it is not fit for a man, but for God only, to exercise dominion over men. And hence Josephus in his book against Appion, an Egyptian grammarian, and a foulmouthed fellow, like you, calls the commonwealth of the Hebrews a Theocracy, because the principality was in God only. In Isaiah, chap. Whoever can get into the saddle, whether by right or by wrong, has thereby obtained a sovereign kingly right over the people, is out of all danger of punishment, all inferior magistrates must lay down their arms at his feet, the people must not dare to mutter.

But what if some great notorious robber had perished in war, as Abimelech did, would any man infer from thence, that God only is the judge and punisher of highwaymen? And why may not a tyrant as well be proceeded against in a kingly government? So did the woman, and so did his own armour-bearer; over both which he pretended to a right of sovereignty Edition: current; Page: [ 37 ] And what if the magistrates had rendered his wickedness? Do not they bear the sword for that very purpose, for the punishment of malefactors? He alleges no reason why kings should be above all laws, and they only of all mortal men exempt from punishment, if they deserve it.

He falls foul upon those very authors and authorities that he makes use of, and by his own discourse demonstrates the truth of the opinion that he argues against. And perceiving, that he is like to do but little good with his arguments, he endeavours to bring an odium upon us, by loading us with slanderous accusations, as having put to death the most virtuous innocent prince that ever reigned. So that King James being the son of an earl, was the better gentleman, and was frequently called a second Solomon, though it is not very certain, that himself was not the son of David the musician too.

But how could it ever come into your head, to make a comparison between King Charles and Solomon? Solomon was enticed to idolatry by many wives: this man by one. Solomon, though he were seduced himself, we read not that he seduced others; but King Charles seduced and enticed others, not only by large and ample rewards to corrupt the church, but by his edicts and ecclesiastical constitutions he compelled them to set up altars, which all protestants abhor, and to bow down to crucifixes painted over them on the wall.

Perhaps there were many circumstances, that made it then not expedient. But not long after, the people both by words and actions made appear what they took to be their right, when ten tribes of Edition: current; Page: [ 38 ] twelve revolted from his son; and if he had not saved himself by flight, it is very likely they would have stoned him, notwithstanding his threats and big swelling words. Having proved sufficiently that the kings of the Jews were subject to the same laws that the people were; that there are no exceptions made in their favour in Scripture; that it is a most false assertion grounded upon no reason, nor warranted by any authority, to say, that kings may do what they list with impunity; that God has exempted them from all human jurisdiction, and reserved them to his own tribunal only; let us now consider, whether the gospel preach up any such doctrine, and enjoin that blind obedience, which the law was so far from doing, that it commanded the contrary; let us consider, whether or no the gospel, that heavenly promulgation, as it were, of Christian liberty, reduce us to a condition of slavery to kings and tyrants, from whose imperious rule even the old law, that mistress of slavery, discharged the people of God, when it obtained.

Your first argument you take from the person of Christ himself. But, alas! He himself having been born, and lived, and died under a tyrannical government, has thereby purchased liberty for us. As he gives us his grace to submit patiently to a condition of slavery, if there be a necessity of it; so if by any honest ways and means we can rid ourselves, and obtain our liberty, he is so far from restraining us, that he encourages us so to do.

Hence it is that St. Paul not only of an evangelical, but also of a civil liberty, says thus, 1 Cor. He took upon him indeed in our stead the form of a servant, but he always retained his purpose of being a deliverer; and thence it was, that he taught us a quite other notion of the right of kings, than this that you endeavour to make good. You, I say, that preach up not kingship, but tyranny, and that in a commonwealth; by enjoining not only a necessary, but a religious, subjection to whatever tyrant gets into the chair, whether he come to it by succession or by conquest, or chance, or any how.

And now I will turn your own weapons against you; and oppose you, as I use to do, with your own authorities. When the collectors of the tribute money came to Christ for tribute in Galilee, he asked Peter, Matt. I am of opinion, that it was the revenue of the sanctuary, but paid to Herod, who perverted the institution of it, and took it to himself. Josephus mentions divers sorts of tribute, which he and his sons exacted, all which Agrippa afterwards remitted. And this very tribute, though small in itself, yet being accompanied with many more, was a heavy burden. But let what will be here meant by children, either natural-born subjects, or the children of God, and those of the elect only, or Christians in general, as St.

Christ himself professes, that he paid not this tribute as a thing that was due, but that he might not bring trouble upon himself by offending those that demanded it. The work that he came into this world to do, was quite of another nature. But if our Saviour deny, that it is the right of kings to burden their freeborn subjects with grievous exactions; he would certainly much less allow it to be their right to spoil, massacre, and torture their own countrymen, and those Christians too. He discoursed after such a manner of the right of kings, that those to whom he spoke suspected his principles as laying too great a restraint upon sovereignty, and not allowing the license that tyrants assume to themselves to be the rights of kings.

It was not for nothing, that the Pharisees put such questions to him, tempting him; and that at the same time they told him, that he regarded not the person of any man: nor was it for nothing that he was angry when such questions were proposed to him, Matt. If one should endeavour to ensnare you with little questions, and catch at your answers, to ground an accusation against you upon your own principles concerning the right of kings, and all this under a monarchy, would you be angry with him?

You would have but very little reason. His answer too implies as much; by which he rather turned them away, than instructed them. He asked for the tribute money. Paul, Rom. If one should consider attentively the countenance of a Edition: current; Page: [ 40 ] man, and not inquire after whose image so noble a creature were framed; would not any one that heard him presently make answer, That he was made after the image of God himself? How does this advantage your cause? You get not the emperor, or yourself a penny by this conclusion. So that nothing can be more manifest, than that our Saviour in this place never intended to teach us our duty to magistrates, he would have spoken more plainly if he had, but to reprehend the malice and wickedness of the hypocritical Pharisees.

When they told him that Herod laid wait to kill him; did he return an humble, submissive answer? But from hence you conclude, that he asserted it to be the right of kings to commit murder and act injustice. You would make an excellent moralist. But our Saviour, though he became a servant, not to make us so but that we might be free; yet carried he himself so with relation to the magistracy, as not to ascribe any more to them than their due. Now, let us come at last to inquire what his doctrine was upon this subject.

The sons of Zebedee were ambitious of honour and power in the kingdom of Christ, which they persuaded themselves he would shortly set up in the world; he reproves them so, as withal to let all Christians know what form of civil government he desires they should settle amongst themselves. May it be our fortune to have to do with such enemies in war, as will fall blindfold and naked into our camp instead of their own: as you constantly do, who allege that for yourself, that of all things in the world makes most against you.

The Israelites asked God for a king, such a king as other nations round about them had. That stately, imperious sway and dominion, that kings use to exercise, shall not be amongst you; what specious titles soever they may assume to themselves, as that of benefactors or the like. Absolute lordship and Christianity are inconsistent. Moses himself, by whose ministry that servile economy of the old law was instituted, did not exercise an arbitrary, haughty power and authority, but bore the burden of the people, and carried them in his bosom, as a nursing father does a sucking child, Numb.

Plato would not have the magistrates called lords, but servants and helpers of the people; nor the people servants, but maintainers of their magistrates, because they give meat, drink, and wages to their kings themselves. Aristotle calls the magistrates, keepers and ministers of the laws. Plato, ministers and servants. The master, if it shall please ye, of St.

Germanus heretofore, whose colleague that Lupus of Triers was, deposed our incestuous king Vortigern by his own authority. And therefore St. Lupus despises thee, the master not of a Holy Wolf, but of some hunger-starved thieving little wolf or other, as being more contemptible than that master of vipers, of whom Martial makes mention, who hast by relation a barking she-wolf at home too, that domineers over thee most wretchedly; at whose instigations, as I am informed, thou hast wrote this stuff.

And therefore it is the less wonder, that thou shouldst endeavour to obtrude an absolute regal government upon others, who hast been accustomed to bear a female rule so servilely at home thyself. Be therefore, in the name of God, the master of a wolf, lest a she-wolf be thy mistress; be a wolf thyself, be a monster made up of a man and a wolf; whatever thou art, the English mastiffs Edition: current; Page: [ 42 ] will but make a laughing-stock of thee.

But I am not now at leisure to hunt for wolves, and will put an end therefore to this digression. You that but a while ago wrote a book against all manner of superiority in the church, now call St. Peter the prince of the apostles. How inconstant you are in your principles! But what says Peter? This epistle Peter wrote, not only to private persons, but those strangers scattered and dispersed through Asia; who, in those places where they sojourned, had no other right, than what the laws of hospitality entitled them to.

But let us suppose, that St. Peter had directed his epistle to the natural-born subjects, and those not private persons neither; suppose he had writ to the senate of Rome; what then? No law that is grounded upon a reason, expressly set down in the law itself, obligeth further than the reason of it extends. There is not a word spoken of any other. You see the ground of this precept, and how well it is laid. The apostle adds in the 16th verse, as free; therefore not as slaves. What now?

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Is not temporal government called a human ordinance? How comes it to pass then, that mankind should have power to appoint and constitute what may be good and profitable for one another; and want power to restrain or suppress things that are universally mischievous and destructive? That prince, you say, to whom St. Peter enjoins subjection, was Nero the tyrant: and from thence you infer, that it is our duty to submit and yield obedience to such.

And they that are commanded to submit, were private persons and strangers; they were no consuls, no magistrates: it was not the Roman senate, that St. Peter directed his epistle to. Now let us hear what use you make of St. Paul, for you take a freedom with the apostles, I find, that you will not allow us to take with princes; you make St. Peter the chief of them to-day, and to-morrow put another in his place. Paul in his 13th chap. Every good emperor acknowledged, that the laws of the empire, and the authority of the senate, was above himself; and the same principle and notion of government has obtained all along in civilized nations.

Orpheus in his hymns calls it the king both of gods and men: and he gives the reason why it is so; because, says he, it is that that sits at the helm of all human affairs. In his epistles he commends that form of government, in which the law is made lord and master, and no scope given to any man to tyrannize over the laws. Aristotle is of the same opinion in his Politicks; and so is Cicero in his book de Legibus, that the laws ought to govern the magistrates, as they do the people. The law therefore having always been accounted the highest power on earth, by the judgment of the most learned and wise men that ever were, and by the constitutions of the best-ordered states; and it being very certain that the doctrine of the gospel is neither contrary to reason, nor the law of nations, that man is truly and properly subject to the higher powers, who obeys the law and the magistrates, so far as they govern according to law.

So that St. The most ancient laws that are known to us were formerly ascribed to God as their author. For the law, says Cicero in his Philippics, is no other than a rule of well-grounded reason, derived from God himself, enjoining whatever is just and right, and forbidding the contrary. So that the institution of magistracy is Jure Divino, and the end of it is, that mankind might live under certain laws, and be governed by them. But what particular form of government each nation would live under, and what persons should be intrusted with the magistracy, without doubt, was left to the choice of each nation.

Hence St. Peter calls kings and deputies, Edition: current; Page: [ 44 ] human ordinances. Other nations have received no such command. Sometimes the very form of government, if it be amiss, or at least those persons that have the power in their hands, are not of God, but of men, or of the devil, Luke iv. So that we must not understand St. Paul, as if he spoke of all sorts of magistrates in general, but of lawful magistrates; and so they are described in what follows.

We must also understand him of the powers themselves; not of those men, always, in whose hands they are lodged. Chrysostom speaks very well and clearly upon this occasion.

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Paul speaks not of the person of the magistrate, but of the magistracy itself. He does not say, there is no prince but who is of God. He says there is no power but of God. Chrysostom; for what powers are, are ordained of God: so that Paul speaks only of a lawful magistracy. For what is evil and amiss cannot be said to be ordained, because it is disorderly; order and disorder cannot consist together in the same subject. I am very well content you should read the words so, and draw that conclusion from them.

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  5. And lest you should object, that Nero came to the empire by a lawful succession, it is apparent from the Roman history, that both he and Tiberius got into the chair by the tricks and artifices of their mothers, and had no right at all to the succession. So that you are inconsistent with yourself, and retract from your own principles, in affirming that the Romans owed subjection to the government that then was; and yet denying that Englishmen owe subjection to the government that now is. But it is no wonder, to hear you contradict yourself. There are no two things in the world more directly opposite and contrary to one another, than you are to yourself.

    But what will become of you, poor wretch? You have quite undone the young king with your witticisms, and ruined his fortunes utterly; for according to your own doctrine you must needs confess, that this present government in England is ordained of God, and that all Englishmen are bound in conscience to submit to it. Take notice, all ye critics and textuaries; do not you presume to meddle with this text. Paul enjoins a subjection to Nero, is evident to have been but a cunning invention of some ignorant parson.

    He that resists the powers, to wit, a lawful power, resists the ordinance of God. Kings themselves come under the penalty of this law, when they resist the senate, and act contrary to the laws. But do they resist the ordinance of God, that resist an unlawful power, or a person that goes about to overthrow and destroy a lawful one? No man living in his right wits can maintain such an assertion.

    The words immediately after make it as clear as the sun, that the apostle speaks only of a lawful power; for he gives us in them a definition of magistrates, and thereby explains to us who are the persons thus authorized, and upon what account we are to yield obedience, lest we should be apt to mistake and ground extravagant notions upon his discourse.

    Do that which is good and thou shalt have praise of the same: for he is the minister of God to thee for good. He beareth not the sword in vain; for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil. And that not only to avoid wrath, and for fear of punishment, but for conscience sake. Without magistrates, and some form or other of civil government, no commonwealth, no human society, can subsist, there were no living in the world. But whatever power enables a man, or whatsoever magistrate takes upon him, to act contrary to what St.

    Paul makes the duty of those that are in authority; neither is that power nor that magistrate ordained of God. And consequently to such a magistracy no subjection is commanded, nor is any due, nor are the people forbidden to resist such authority; for in so doing they do not resist the power, nor the magistracy, as they are here excellently well described; but they resist a robber, a tyrant, an enemy; who if he may notwithstanding in some sense be called a magistrate, upon this account only, because he has power in his hands, which perhaps God may have invested him with for our punishment; by the same reason the devil may be called a magistrate.

    This is most certain, that there can be but one true definition of one and the same thing. So that if St. Paul in this place define what a magistrate is, which he certainly does, and that accurately well; he cannot possibly define a tyrant, the most contrary thing imaginable, in the same words. Hence I infer, that he commands us to submit to such magistrates only as he himself defines and describes, and not to tyrants, which are quite other things.

    We should not have paid them any tribute, if we had not been convinced, that it was good for us to live under a government. And as they, when they were brought into the wilderness, and lived under the immediate government of God himself, could hardly reform, just so it is with us. But there are good hopes of many amongst us; that I may not here celebrate those men who are eminent for their piety and virtue and love of the truth; of which sort I persuade myself we have as great a number, as where you think there are most such.

    As for the rest, I question not but they are very well content to be at the expense of maintaining their own liberty, the public treasury being exhausted by the civil wars. This man contradicts himself so perpetually, that contradiction and he seem to be of kin to one another. You say that God himself put many kingdoms under the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.

    I confess he did so for a time, Jer.