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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

But as to the demerit of blood

Can these scriptures consist with the judges dependence on the king's pleasure, in the exercise and execution of their power? therefore, if they would avoid the Lord's displeasure, they are to give judgment, though the king should countermand it. Secondly, That the king is not excepted from their judgment, is also evident from the general commands, Gen. ix. 6. "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed:" there is no exception of kings or dukes here: and we must not distinguish where the law distinguisheth not, Numb. xxxv. 30, 31. Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses,--ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer which is guilty of death, but he shall be surely put to death. What should hinder then justice to be awarded upon a murdering king? Shall it be for want of witnesses? It will be easy to adduce thousands. Or, shall this be satisfaction for his life, that he is a crowned king? The law saith, there shall be no satisfaction taken. The Lord speaketh to under judges, Levit. xix. 5. Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty. If kings be not among the mighty, how shall they be classed? Deut. i. 17. Ye shall not respect persons in judgment, but you shall hear the small as well as the great; you shall not be afraid of the face of man, for the judgment is God's. If then no man's face can outdare the law and judgment of God, then the king's majestic face must not do it; but as to the demerit of blood, he must be subject as well as another. It is no argument to say, the Sanhedrim did not punish David for his murder and adultery; therefore it is not lawful to punish a king for the same; a reason from not doing is not relevant. David did not punish Joab for his murder, but authorized it, as also he did Bathsheba's adultery; will that prove, that murders connived at, or commanded by the king, shall not be punished? Or that whores of state are not to be called to an account? Neither will it prove, that a murdering king should not be punished; that David was not punished, because he got both the sin pardoned, and his life granted from the Lord, saying to him by the mouth of the prophet Nathan, Thou shalt not die. But as for the demerit of that fact, he himself pronounced the sentence out of his own mouth, 2 Sam. xii. 15. "As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die." 'So every king condemned by the law, is condemned by his own mouth: for the law is the voice of the king. Why then do we so much weary ourselves concerning a judge, seeing we have the king's own confession, that is, the law?' Buchanan de jure regni.

And there needs be no other difficulty to find a tribunal for a murdering king, than to find one for a murderer; for a judgment must acknowledge but one name, viz. of the crime. If a king then be guilty of murder, he hath no more the name of a king, but of a murderer, when brought to judgment; for he is not judged for kingship, but for his murder; as when a gentleman is judged for robbery, he is not hanged, neither is he spared, because he is a gentleman, but because he is a robber. See Buchanan above. 6. If the people's representatives be superior to

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