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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

Successively usurped the empire


9.

The Portuguese, not many years ago, laid aside and confined Alphonsus their king, for his rapines and murders.

10. Some dukes of Venice have been so disowned by these commonwealths men, that laying aside their royal honours as private men, they have spent their days in monasteries. Buchan. de jure regni apud Scotos.

11. If we will resolve the old Roman histories, we shall find no small store of such examples, both in the time of their kings, consuls, and emperors. Their seventh king Tarquinius Superbus was removed by the people, for his evident usurpation: saith Livius, 'That is, for he had nothing for a right to the government, but mere force, and got the rule neither by the people's consent and choice, nor by the authority of the senators.' So afterwards the empire was taken from Vitellius, Heliogabulus, Maximinus, Didius, Julianus, Lex Rex, ubi supra.

12. But it will be said, Can there be any instances of the primitive christians adduced? Did ever they, while groaning under the most insupportable tyranny of their persecuting emperors, disown their authority, or suffer for not owning it? To this I answer, 1. What they did, or did not of this kind, is not of moment to enquire.: seeing their practice and example, under such disadvantages, can neither be known exactly, nor what is known of it be accommodated to our case: for (1.) They were never forced to give their judgment,

neither was the question ever put to them, whether they owned their authority or not? If they transgressed the laws, they were liable to the punishment, they craved no more of them. (2.) They confess themselves to be strangers, that had no establishments by law; and therefore they behoved to be passively subject, when in no capacity to resist; there was no more required of them. Yet Lex Rex Quest. 35. page 371. cites Theodoret affirming, 'Then evil men reigned through the unmanliness of the subjects.' (3.) Their examples are not imitable in all things; they were against resistance, which we doubt not to prove is lawful against tyrannical violence: many of them refused to flee from the fury of persecutors: they ran to martyrdom, when neither cited nor accused; and to obtain the crown thereof they willingly yielded up their lives and liberties also to the rage of tyrants. We cannot be obliged to all these. 2. Yet we find some examples not altogether unapplicable to this purpose. When Barochbach, the pretended king of the Jews, after the destruction of Jerusalem, set himself as king in Bitter, a city in Arabia; the Christians that were in his precincts, refused to own him as king; which was one great cause of his persecuting them. It is true he persecuted them also for other things, as for their not denying Christ; so are we persecuted for many other things, than for our simple disowning of the king: yet this is reckoned as a distinct cause of their suffering, by Mr. Mede, on the Revel. Part. 1. Page 43. Gees Magist. Origin. Chap. 10. Sect. 7. Page 361. The same last cited author shews, that when Albinus, Niger, and Cassius, successively usurped the empire, having none of them any legal investiture, the Christians declined the recognition of their claim, and would not own them; and that upon this Tertullian says, That is, the Christians could never be found to be Albinians, or Nigrians, or Cassians, meaning they were never owners of these men for magistrates. And so may we say, We may be ashamed to be found amongst the Charlites and Jacobites


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