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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

As shall be proven at more length


5. The second thing necessary for the legal constitution of a king by the people, is their compact with him: which must either be express or tacit, explicit or implicit. Two things are here to be proven, that will furnish an argument for disowning both the brothers. First, that there must be a conditional reciprocally obliging covenant between the sovereign and the subjects, without which there is no relation to be owned. Secondly, that when this compact is broken in all or its chiefest conditions by the sovereign, the peoples obligation ceases. The first I shall set down, in the words of a famous author, our renowned countryman Buchanan, in his dialogue 'de jure regni apud scotos. There is then (or there ought to be) a mutual compact between the king and his subjects', &c. That this is indispensibly necessary and essential to make up the relation of sovereign and subjects, may be proved both from the light of nature and revelation.

First, It may appear from the light of natural reason. 1. From the rise of government, and the interest people have in erecting it by consent and choice (as is shewed above) if a king cannot be without the peoples making, then, all the power he hath must either be by compact or gift: if by compact, then we have what we proposed: and if by gift: then if abused, they may recal it; or if they cannot recover it, yet they may and ought to hold their hand, and give him no more that they may retain, that is, no more honour or respect, which is in the honourer before the honoured get it. Can it be imagined, that a people acting rationally, would give a power absolutely, without restrictions, to destroy all their own rights? Could they suppose this boundless and lawless creature, left at liberty to tyrannize, would be a fit mean to procure the ends of government? for this were to set up a rampant tyrant to rule as he listeth, which would make their condition a great deal worse than if they had no ruler at all, for then they might have more liberty to see to their safety. See jus populi, chap. 9. pag. 96, 97. 2. This will be clear from the nature of that authority, which only a sovereign can have over his subjects; which, whatever be the nature of it, it cannot be absolute, that is against scripture, nature, and common sense, as shall be proven at more length.

That is to set up a tyrant, one who is free from all conditions, a roaring lion and a ranging bear to destroy all if he pleases. It must be granted by all, that the sovereign authority is only fiduciary, entrusted by God and the people with a great charge: a great pledge is impawned and committed to the care and custody of the magistrate, which he must take special care of, and not abuse, or waste, or alienate, or sell: (for in that case, royalists themselves grant he may be deposed.) He is by office a patron of the subjects liberties, and keeper of the law both of God and man, the keeper of both tables. Sure, he hath no power over the laws of God, but a ministerial power, he may not stop and disable them as he pleases; of the same nature is it, over all other parts of his charge. He is rather a tutor, than an inheritor and proprietor of the commonwealth, and may not do what his pupil's interest, what he pleases. In a word, the nature and whole significancy of his power lies in this, that he is the nation's public servant, both objectively in that he is only for the good of the people, and representatively in that the people hath impawned in his hand all their power to do royal service. The scripture teaches this, in giving him the titles of service, as watchmen, &c. allowing him royal wages for his royal work, Rom. xiii. he is God's minister attending continually on this thing.


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