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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

They are called gods among whom the Lord judgeth


1.

All authority to be owned of men must be of God, and ordained of God: for so the apostle teacheth expresly, Rom. xiii. 1. &c. which is the alone formal reason of our subjection to them, and that which makes it a damnable sin to resist them; because it is a resisting the ordinance of God. The Lord owns himself to be the author of magistrates, Prov. viii. 15. By me kings reign and princes decree justice.

As he is the author of man, and hath made him a sociable creature, so he is the author of the order of human society, which is necessary for the preservation of mankind, he being the God of order and not of confusion.

And this must hold not only of the supreme authority, but of subordinate magistrates also; for they must be included in the higher powers, to whom we must be subject, Rom. xiii. and they that resist them, resist God's ordinance too. Their judgment is God's, as well as the judgment of the supreme magistrate, Deut. i. 17. 2 Chron. xix. 6, 8. They are called gods among whom the Lord judgeth, Psal. lxxxii. 1. He speaketh not there of a congregation of kings.

We are to be subject to them for the Lord's sake, as well as to the supreme magistrate, 1 Pet. ii. 13. therefore all magistrates, superior and inferior, are ordained of God in the respective places. It is true, Peter calls every degree of magistracy an ordinance of man, not that he denies it to be an ordinance

of God for so he would contradict Paul, Rom. xiii. but terms it so emphatically, to commend the worth of obedience to magistrates, though but men, when we do it for the Lord's sake: not effectively, as an invention of men, but subjectively, because exercised by men, and created and invested by human suffrages, considered as men in society, and objectively, for the good of man, and for the external peace and safety of man, thereby differenced from the ministry, an ordinance of Christ, for the Spiritual good of mens souls. Hence, those rulers that are not of God, nor ordained of God, cannot be owned without sin; but tyrants and usurpers are the rulers, that are not of God, nor ordained of God, but are set up, and not by him, &c. Hos. viii. 1.-4. therefore they cannot be owned without sin.

I refer it to any man of conscience and reason to judge, if these scriptures, proving magistracy to be the ordinance of God, for which alone is to be owned, can be applied to tyrants and usurpers. How will that, Rom. xiii. read of tyrants? Let every soul be subject to tyrants, for they are ordained of God as his ministers of justice, &c. and are a terror to good works, and a praise to the evil. Would not every man nauseate that as not the doctrine of God? Again, how would that sound, Prov. viii. By me tyrants reign, and usurpers decree injustice? Harsh to Christian ears. Can they be said to be gods among whom the Lord judgeth? If they be, they must be such as the witch of Endor saw, gods coming out of the earth, when she raised the devil; in a very catechrestical meaning, as the devil is called the god of this world. And indeed they have no more power, nor otherwise to be owned, than he hath: for this is a truth, tyranny is a work of satan, and not from God; because sin, either habitual or actual, is not from God; tyranny is sin in habit and act: therefore----The magistrate, as magistrate, is good in nature and end, being the minister of God for good, a tyrant as a tyrant, is quite contrary. Lex Rex saith well, 'A power ethical, politic or moral, to oppress, is not from God, and is not a power, but a licentious deviation of a power, and no more from God, but from sinful nature, and the old serpent, than a licence to sin,' quest. 9. p. 59. Hence sin, a licence to sin, a licentious sinning, cannot be from God; but tyranny, usurpation, absolute power enaroaching upon all liberties, laws, divine and human, is sin, a licence to sin, a licentious sinning: therefore----But, to make this clear, and to obviate what may be said against this, let it be considered, how the powers that be are of God, and ordained of God. Things are said to be of God and ordained of God, two ways; by his purpose and providence, and by his word and warrant.


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