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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

That which would justify a damnable sin


we find claiming to himself

the possession of the world's kingdoms, Luke iv. 6. which as to many of them is in some respect true, for he is called the god of this world, and the prince of this world, John xiv. 30. 2 Cor. iv. 4. Are men therefore obliged to own his authority? or shall they deny his, and acknowledge his lieutenant, who bears his name, and by whom all his orders are execute, I mean the man that tyrannizes over the people of God? For he is the devil that casts some into prison, Rev. ii. 10. Again, the pope, his captain-general, lays claim to a temporal power and ecclesiastic both, over all the nations, and possesses it over many; and again, under the conduct of his vassal the duke of York, is attempting to recover the possession of Britain: shall he therefore be owned. This cursed principle disposes men for popery, and contributes to strengthen popery and tyranny both on the stage, to the vacating of all the promises of their dispossession. 9. That which would justify a damnable sin, and make it a ground of a duty, cannot be owned; but this fancy of owning a very power in possession would justify a damnable sin and make it the ground of a duty; for, resistance to the powers ordained of God is a damnable sin, Rom. xiii. 2. But the resisters having success in providence, may come to the possession of the power, by expelling the just occupant; and, by this opinion, that possession would be ground for the duty of subjection for conscience sake. 10. If a self-created dignity be null and not to be
owned, than a mere possessory is not to be owned; but the former is true: as Christ saith, John viii. 54. If I honour myself my honour is nothing. 11. That which God hath disallowed possession without right, Ezek. xxi. 27. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it, until he come whose right it is, Hos. viii. 4. They have set up kings and not by me, Matth. xxvi. 52. All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword; by this the usurper of the sword is differenced from the true owner. 12. Many scripture examples confute this; shewing that the possession may be in one, and the power with right in another.

David was the magistrate, and yet Absalom possessed the place, 2 Sam. xv. xvi. xvii. xviii. xix. chap. Sheba also made a revolt and usurped the possession in a great part, and yet David was king, 2 Sam. xx. 2. Adonijah got the start in respect of possession, exalting himself saying, I will be king: yet the kingdom was Solomon's from the Lord, 1 Kings 1. The house of Ahaziah had not power to keep still the kingdom, 2 Chron. xxii. 9. and Athaliah took the possession of it, yet the people set up Joash, xxiii. 3. Next we have many examples of such who have invaded the possessor, witness Jehoram and Jehoshaphat's expedition against Mesha, king of Moab, Elisha being in the expedition, 2 Kings, iii. 4, 5. Hence we see the first pretence removed.

The second is no better; which Augustine calls Magnum Latrocinium, a great robbery; I mean conquest, or a power of the sword gotten by the sword; which, that it can give no right to be owned, I prove That which can give no signification of God's approving will, cannot give a title to be owned: but mere conquest can give no signification of God's approving will, as is just now proven about possession: for then the Lord should have approven all the unjust conquests that have been in the world. 2. Either conquest as conquest must be owned, as a just title to the crown, and so the Ammonites, Moabites, Philistines, &c. prevailing over God's people for a time, must have reigned by right, or as a just conquest. In this case, conquest is only a mean to the conquerors seizing and holding that power, which the state of the war entitled him unto; and this ingress into authority over the conquered, is not grounded on conquest but on justice, and not at all privative, but inclusive of the consent of the people; and then it may be owned; but without a compact, upon conditions of securing religion and liberty, and posterity, cannot be subjected without their content; for whatever just quarrel the conqueror had with the present generation, he could have none with the posterity, the father can have no power to resign the liberty of the children. 3. A king as king, and by virtue of his royal office, must be owned to be a father, tutor, protector, shepherd, and patron of the people; but a mere conqueror, without consent cannot be owned as such.


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