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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

Because they thought it most conducible for their good


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to be owned by them that fear him: whatever power then is destructive to religion, and is applied and employed against the glory of the universal King, and for withdrawing us from our fealty and obedience to him, is nothing but rebellion against the supreme Lord and Lawgiver, and a traiterous conspiracy against the Almighty, and therefore not to be owned: and they are enemies to religion, or strangers to it, who are not sensible this hath been the design of the present government, at least these twenty-seven years, to overturn the reformed covenanted religion, and to introduce popery. Hence, seeing a king at his best and highest elevation, is only a mean for preserving religion, and for this end only chosen of the people to be keeper of both tables of the law, he is not to be regarded, but wholly laid aside, when he not only moves without his sphere, but his motion infers the ruin of the ends of his erection, and when he employs all his power for the destruction of the cause of Christ, and advancement of antichrist, giving his power to the beast; he is so far from deserving the deference of the power ordained of God, that he is to be looked upon, and treated as a traitor to God, and stated enemy to religion and all righteousness. The second end of government is the good of the people, which is the supreme and cardinal law; the safety of the people is the supreme law. Which cannot be denied, if it be considered, 1. For this only the magistrate is appointed of God to be his minister for the people's good, Rom. xiii. 4. and they have no goodness but as they conduce to this end: for all the power they have of God is with this proviso, to promote his people's prosperity. (It were blasphemy to say, they are his authorised ministers for their destruction) to which if their conduct degenerate, they degrade themselves, and so must be disowned. He is therefore, in his institution, no more than a mean for this end; and himself cannot be either the whole or half of the end; for then he should be both the end and the mean of government; and it is contrary to God's mould to have this for his end, to multiply to himself silver and gold, or lift up himself above his brethren, Deut. xvii. 17, 20. If therefore he hath any other end than the good of the people, he cannot be owned as one of God's moulding, 2. This only is the highest pitch of good princes ambition, to postpone their own safety to the peoples safety. Moses desired, rather than the people should be destroyed, that his name should be razed out of the book of life. And David would rather the Lord's hand be on him and his father's house, than on the people, that they should be plagued, 1 Chron. xxi. 17. But he that would seek his own ambitious ends, with the destruction of the people, hath the spirit of the devil, and is to be carried towards as one possessed with that malignant spirit. 3. Originally their power is from the people, from whom all their dignity is derived, with reserve of their safety, which is not the donative of kings, nor held by concession from them, nor can it be resigned or surrendered to the disposal of kings; since God hath provided, in his universal laws, that no authority make any disposal, but for the good of the people. This cannot be forfeited by the usurpation of monarchs, but being always fixed in the essential laws of government, they may reclaim and recover it when they please. Since then we cannot alienate our safety, we cannot own that authority which is inconsistent with it. 4. The attaining this end was the main ground and motive of peoples deliberating to constitute a government, and to choose such a form, because they thought it most conducible for their good; and to admit such persons as fittest instuments for compassing this end; and to establish such a conveyance, as they thought most contributive for this end. When therefore princes cease to be what they could be constitute for, they cease to have an authority to be owned; but ceasing to answer these ends of government, they cease to be what they could be constitute for. 5. For no other end were magistrates limited with conditions, but to bound them, that they might do nothing against the peoples good and safety.


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