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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

He only made the covenant with God


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such conditions between a

prince and subjects, doth equally and mutually oblige both to each other: for if it equally oblige both, then both are equally disengaged from other by the breach on either side, and either of them may have a just claim in law against the other for breach of the conditions. But royalists and court slaves alledge, that such a covenant obliges the king to God, but not to the people at all: so that he is no more accountable to them, than if he had none at all. But the contrary is evident: for, (1.) If the compact be mutual, and if it be infringed on one side, it must be so in the other also; for in contracts, the parties are considered as equals, whatever inequality there may be betwixt them otherwise: I speak of contracts among men. (2.) If it be not so, there is no covenant made with the people at all: and so David did no more covenant with Israel, than with the Chaldeans: for to all with whom the covenant is made it obliges them to it. Otherwise it must be said, he only made the covenant with God, contrary to the text: for he made it only before the Lord as a witness, not with him as a party. Joash's covenant with the Lord is expresly distinguished from that with the people. (3.) If it be not so, it were altogether nonsense to say, there were any covenant made with the king on the other hand: for he is supposed to be made king on such and such terms: and yet, by this, after he is made king he is no more obliged unto them, than if there had been no compact with him at all. (4.)
If he be bound as king, and not only as a man or Christian, then he is bound with respect to the people; for with respect to them he is only king: but he is bound as king, and not only as a man or Christian, because it is only with him as king that the people covenant, and he must transact with them under the same consideration. Next, that which he is obliged to, is the specifical act of a king, to defend religion and liberty, and rule in righteousness; and therefore his covenant binds him as a king. Again, if he be not bound as king, then as a king he is under no obligation of law or oath, which is to make him a lawless tyrant; yea, none of God's subjects. It would also suppose that the king as king could not sin against the people at all, but only against God: for as king he could be under no obligation of duty to the people, and where there is no obligation, there is no sin; by this he would be set above all obligations to love his neighbour as himself, for he is above all his neighbours, and all mankind, and only less than God; and so by this doctrine, he is loosed from all duties of the second table, or at least he is not so much obliged to them as others. But against this it is objected: both prince and people are obliged to perform their part to each other, and both are obliged to God, but both are not accountable to each other; there is not mutual power in the parties to compel one another to perform the promised duty; the king hath it indeed over the people, but not the people over the king, and there is no indifferent judge superior to both, to compel both, but God. Ans. 1. What if all this should be granted? Yet it doth not infringe the proposition: what if the people have


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