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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

In whose eyes a vile person is contemned


8.

From the right of magistracy, flows the magistratical relation, which is necessary to have a bottom, before we can build the relative duties thereon. This brings it under the fifth commandment, which is the rule of all relative duties between inferiors and superiors, requiring honour to be given to fathers, masters, husbands, &c. and to rightful magistrates, who are under such political relations, as do infer the same duties; and prohibiting not only the omission of these duties, but also the committing of contrary sins; which may be done, not only by contrary acts, as dishonouring and rebelling against fathers, magistrates, &c. but also by performing them to contrary objects, as by giving the father's due to the father's opposite, and the magistrates due to tyrants who are their opposites. Certainly this command, prescribing honour, does regulate to whom it should be given; and must be understood in a consistency with that duty and character of one that hath a mind to be an inhabitant of the Lord's "holy hill," Psal. xv. 4. "In whose eyes a vile person is contemned, but he honoureth them that fear the Lord." So that we sin against the fifth command, when we honour them that we are obliged to contemn by another command. Hence I argue, if owning or honouring of tyrants be a breach of the fifth command, then we cannot own their authority: but the former is true: therefore the latter. I prove the assumption: a honouring the vile, to whom no honour is due, and who stand under
no relation of fathers as fathers, is a breach of the fifth command; but the owning of tyrants authority is a honouring the vile, to whom no honour is due, and who stand under no relation of fathers, and is yet a honouring them as fathers: therefore the owning of tyrants authority is a breach of the fifth command. The major is clear: for if the honouring of these to whom no honour is due, were not a breach of the fifth command, that precept could neither be kept at all or broken at all. It could not be kept at all; for, either it must oblige us to honour all indefinitely, as fathers, and other relations, which cannot be; or else it must leave us still in suspense and ignorance, who shall be the object of our honour; and then it can never be kept: or finally, it must astrict our honouring to such definite relations, to whom it is due; and then our transgression of that restriction shall be a breach of it. Next, if it were not so, it could not be broken at all: for if prostituting and abusing honour be not a sin, we cannot sin in the matter of honour at all; for if the abuse of honour be not a sin, then dishonour also is not a sin: for that is but an abuse of the duty, which is a sin as well as the omission of it. And what should make the taking away of honour from the proper object to be sin, and the giving it to a wrong object to be no sin? Moreover, if this command do not restrict honour to the proper object, we shall never know who is the object. How shall we know who is our father, or what we owe to him, if we may give another his due? The minor also is manifest: for if tyrants be vile, then no honour is due to them, according to that, Psal. xv. 4. and yet it is a honouring them as fathers; if they be owned as magistrates; for magistrates are in a politic sense fathers; but certain it is, that tyrants are vile, as the epithets and characters they get in scripture prove. But because, in contradiction to this, it may be said, though fathers be never so wicked, yet they are to be honoured, because they are still fathers; and though matters be never so vile and froward, yet they are to be subjected unto, 1 Pet. ii. 18-20. and so of other relations, to whom honour is due by this command; therefore though tyrants be never so vile, they are to be owned


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