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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

And owning Caesar as their king


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officers of the temple for

its service: however, the payment was made, with such caution (tacitely declining the strict right to exact it from him, but to avoid offence, in an act in itself unobliging) that their claim is left as much in the dark, as if the question had never been moved. The other, Matth. xxii. was exacted for Caesar: but to that captious question our Lord returns such an answer, as might both solve it, and evade the snare of the propounder, giving a general rule of giving to God and to Caesar each their own, without defining which of them had the right to the payment in question; whether Caesar should have it, or whether it should be paid only for the temple's use: upon which they marvelled, which they needed not do, if they had understood in his words an express and positive declaration of an obligation to make that payment to Caesar; for then they would have obtained one of their ends, in making him odious to the people, who were not satisfied with the payment of it. But however, the knot is loosed, by considering that they were now lawfully subject to the Roman Emperors, as their governors, to whom they were obliged (I do not say Christ was) to pay tribute. For they had yielded themselves unto, and owned the Roman dominion in Pompey, Caesar Augustus and Tiberius, ere this question about tribute paying was proposed to our Saviour; and therefore they who stuck at the payment of it, were a seditious party, dissenting from the body of the nation; else it is not supposeable readily, that
their dominion in Judea could have been exercised long without some consent, sufficient to legitimate it to the present rulers; and this is the more likely, if we consider the confession of the Jews themselves, disavowing the power of capital punishment. It is not lawful for us to put any man to death, and owning Caesar as their king, with an exclusive abrenunciation of all other, we have no king but Caesar; as Paul also acknowledges, he ought to be judged at Caesar's bar, in his appeal to Caesar. It is also acknowledged by very good authors, that this was the tribute which Judas the Galilean stood up to free the people from; and that the sedition of those Jews that followed him, mentioned Acts v. 37. who mutinied upon this occasion, was, according to Gamaliel's speech, disallowed by that Sanhedrim, or council of the Jews. And it may be gathered out of Josephus, that the Jews of Hircanus' party came under the Roman power by consent and dedition, while they of Aristobulus' party looked upon the Romans as usurpers. Which difference continued till our Saviour's time, when some part of them acknowledged the Caesarean authority, some part looked upon it as an usurpation; and of this generally were the Pharisees. To confirm this, Calvin's testimony may be adduced, upon Matth. xxii. who saith, 'The authority of the Roman emperors was by common use approved and received among the Jews, whence it was manifest, that the Jews had now of their own accord imposed on themselves a law of paying the tribute, because they had passed over to the Romans the power of the sword.' And Chamiers panstrat. tom. 2 lib. 15. cap. 16. p. 635. 'What then? if Caesar's authority was from bad beginnings, did therefore Christ untruly say it was from above? Can no power, at first unjust, afterward become just? if that were so, then either none, or very few kingdoms would be just.'


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