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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

With application to tyrants or usurpers

justify;">It is certain, higher

powers are not to be resisted; but some persons in power may be resisted. The powers are ordained of God; but kings commanding unjust things are not ordained of God to do such things; but to apply this to tyrants, I do not understand. Magistrates in some acts may be guilty of tyranny, and yet retain the power of magistracy; but tyrants cannot be capable of magistracy, nor any one of the scripture-characters of righteous rulers. They cannot retain that which they have forfeited, and which they have overturned; and usurpers cannot retain that which they never had. They may act and enact some things materially just, but they are not formally such as can make them magistrates, no more than some unjust actions can make a magistrate a tyrant. A murderer, saving the life of one and killing another, does not make him no murderer: once a murderer ay a murderer, once a robber ay a robber, till he restore what he hath robbed: so once a tyrant ay a tyrant, till he makes amends for his tyranny, and that will be hard to do. 2. The concrete does specificate the abstract in actuating it, as a magistrate in his exercising government, makes his power to be magistry; a robber, in his robbing, makes his power to be robbery; an usurper in his usurping makes his power to be usurpation; so a tyrant in his tyrannizing, can have no power but tyranny. As the abstract of a magistrate is nothing but magistracy, so the abstract of a tyrant is nothing but tyranny. It is frivolous then to distinguish between
a tyrannical power in the concrete, and tyranny in the abstract; the power and the abuse of the power: for he hath no power as a tyrant, but what is abused. 3. They that object thus, must either mean, that power in it general notion is ordained of God, but this particular power abused by tyrants, and assumed by usurpers, is not ordained: or they must mean, that the very power of tyrants and usurpers is ordained of God, but the way of holding it and using it, is not of God. If the first be said, they grant all I plead for; for though the power in general be ordained, yet what is this to tyrants and usurpers? would not this claim be ridiculous for any man to soy, God hath ordained governments to be, therefore I will challenge it? God hath ordained marriage, therefore any may cohabit together as man and wife, without formal matrimony. If the second be alledged, that the power of these prevailing dominators is ordained, but not their holding and using of it: this is nonsense, for how can a power be ordained, and the use of it be unlawful? For the abuse and use of tyrannical power is all one and reciprocal: an usurper cannot use his power but by usurpation.

Again, is it not plain, that the abstract and the concrete, the act or habit, and the subject wherein it is, cannot have a contrary denomination? if drunkenness and theft, lying or murder, be of the devil; then the drunkard, the thief, the liar, and the murderer, are of the devil too: so if tyranny and usurpation, or the use or abuse of tyrants and usurpers be of the devil, then most the tyrants and usurpers also be of him: none can say, the one is of the devil, and the other of God. Wherefore it is altogether impertinent to use such a distinction, with application to tyrants or usurpers, as many do in their pleading for the owning of our oppressors; for they have no power, but what is the abuse of power.

3. As that authority which is God's ordinance must have his institution; so it must have his divine constitution from

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