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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

Is an engagement into contradictories


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remains of our fundamental

constitutions, either in religious or civil settlements, unsubverted as yet, may be subverted when this absolute monarch pleases. Which absolute authority we cannot in conscience own, for these reasons, taken both from reason and scripture. First, It is against reason, 1. A power contrary in nature cannot be owned; absolute power is such: for that which takes away, and makes the people to give away their natural power of preserving their lives and liberties, and sets a man above all rule and law, is contrary to nature: such is absolute power, making people resign that which is not in their power to resign, an absolute power to destroy and tyrannize. 2. A power contrary to the first rise of its constitution cannot be owned; absolute power is such: for the first rise of the constitution is a people's setting a sovereign over them, giving him authority to administer justice over them: but it were against this, to set one over them with a power to rage at random, and rule as he lists. It is proven before, a king hath no power but what the people gave him; but they never gave, never could give an absolute power to destroy themselves. 3. That power which is against the ends of government cannot be owned; absolute power is such: for that which will make a people's condition worse than before the constitution, and that mean which they intended for a blessing to turn a plague and scourge to them, and all the subjects to be formal slaves at the prince's devotion, must needs be contrary
to the ends of government; but absolute power is such: for against the exorbitance thereof, no means would be left to prevent it obstructing all the fountains of justice, and commanding laws and lawyers to speak; not justice, righteousness, and reason; but the lust and pleasure of one man, turning all into anarchy and confusion: certainly it could never be the intention either of the work or workers, at the constitution of government, to set up a power to enslave the people, to be a curse to them, but their ends were to get comfort, safety and liberty, under the shadow of government. 4. That power which invalidates, and is inconsistent with the king's compact with the people, cannot be owned; absolute power is such: for the tenor of that is always to secure laws and liberties, to rule according to law; but to be absolute invalidates, and is inconsistent with that: that which were an engagement into contradictories cannot consist with that compact; but to engage to be absolute, and yet to rule by law, is an engagement into contradictories, which no people could admit for a security. It is inconsistent with this compact, to give the king absolute power to overturn religion and liberty; and to assume that which was never given, were to invalidate this compact, and to make himself no king; but to restore unto the people the power they conferred upon him for the defence of religion and liberty. 5. That power which is not from God, nor of God, cannot be owned; but absolute power is not of God; because it is a power to tyrannize and sin, which, if it were of God, he should be the author of sin; for if the moral power be of God, so must the acts be; but the acts of absolute power being lawless, cannot be from God: Ergo, neither the moral power to commit these acts. 6. That ruler who cannot be God's minister for the people's good, cannot be owned; (for that is the formal reason of our conscientious subjection to rulers, Rom. xiii. 4, 5.) But absolute sovereigns are such as cannot be God's ministers for the people's good; for if they be God's ministers for good, they must administer justice, preserve peace, rule by law, take directions from their master; and if so, they cannot be absolute. 7. A tyrant in the signal act and exercise cannot be owned; but an absolute prince is such; being a power that may play the tyrant if he pleases, and by law


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