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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

Moral to illicitness or unlawfulness


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to wit, that which is power,

not authorised power, not might or force; moral power, not merely natural. There is a great difference betwixt these two: natural power is common to brutes, moral power is peculiar to men; natural power is more in the subjects, because they have more strength and force; moral power is in the magistrate, they can never meet adequately in the same subject; natural power can, moral only may warrantably exercise rule; natural power is opposed to impotency and weakness, moral to illicitness or unlawfulness; natural power consists in strength, moral in righteousness; natural power may be in a rout of rogues making an uproar, moral only in the rulers; they cannot be distinguished by their acts, but by the principle from which the acts proceed; in the one from mere force, in the other from authority. The principle of natural power is its own might and will, and the end only self; moral hath its rise from positive constitution, and its end is public safety. The strength of natural power lies in the sword, whereby its might gives law; the strength of moral power is in its word, whereby reason gives law, unto which the sword is added for punishment of contraveeners: natural power takes the sword, Matth. xxvi. 52. Moral bears the sword, Rom. xiii. 4. In natural power the sword is the cause; in moral it is only the consequent of authority; in natural power the sword legitimates the sceptre; in moral the sceptre legitimates the sword: the sword of the natural is only backed with metal, the
sword of the moral power is backed with God's warrant: natural power involves men in passive subjection, as a traveller is made to yield to a robber; moral power reduces to conscientious subordination. Hence the power that is only natural, not moral authority, not power, cannot be owned; but the power of a tyrant's and usurper's is only natural, not moral, authority, not power: Ergo it cannot be owned. The major cannot be denied; for it is only the moral power that is ordained of God, unto which we must be subject for conscience sake. The minor also; for the power of tyrants is not moral, because not authorized, nor warranted, or ordained of God by his preceptive ordinance, and therefore no lawful magistratical power. For the clearer understanding of this, let it be observed, there are four things required to the making of a moral or lawful power; the matter of it must be lawful, the person lawful, the title lawful, and the use lawful. 1. The matter of it, about which it is exerted, or the work to be done by it, must be lawful and warranted by God: and if it be unlawful it destroys its moral being. As the pope's power, in dispensing with divine laws, is null and no moral power; and so also the king's power, in dispensing with both divine and human laws is null. Hence that power, which is, in regard of matter unlawful, and never warranted by God, cannot be owned; but absolute power, which is the power of tyrants and usurpers, (and particularly of this of ours) is in regard of matter unlawful, and never warranted by God: Ergo--2. The person holding the power must be such as not only


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