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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

He beareth not the sword in vain


Now,

then tyranny and usurpation, are together inconsistible; for if tyrants and usurpers were ministers for good, then they would restore the public and personal rights, and rectify all wrongs done by them; but then they must surrender their authority, and resign it, or else all rights cannot be restored, nor wrongs rectified. Hence, these that cannot be owned as magistrates of God for good, cannot be owned as magistrates; but tyrants and usurpers, (and in particular this man) are such as cannot be owned as ministers of God for good: Ergo----Again, if magistracy be always a blessing, and tyranny and usurpation always a curse, then they cannot be owned to be the same thing, and the one cannot be owned to be the other; but magistracy, or the rightful magistrate, is always a blessing; tyranny and usurpation, or the tyrant and usurper, always a curse: Ergo----That the former is true, these scriptures prove it. God provides him for the benefit of his people, 1 Sam. xvi. 1. A just ruler is compared to the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds, 2 Sam. xxiii. 4. So the Lord exalted David's kingdom, for his people Israel's sake, 2 Sam. v. 12. Because the Lord loved Israel for ever, therefore made he Solomon king, to do judgment and justice, 1 Kings x. 9. When the righteous are in authority the people rejoice----The king by judgment stablished the land,----Prov. xxix. 2, 4. The Lord promises magistrates as a special blessing, Isa. i. 26. Jer. xvii. 25. And
therefore their continuance is to be prayed for, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty, 1 Tim. ii. 2. And they must needs be a blessing, because to have no ruler is a misery: for when Israel had no king, every man did that which was right in his own eyes, Judges xvii. 6. And the Lord threatens it as a curse to take away the stay and the staff----the mighty man, and the man of war, the judge and the prophet, &c. Isa. iii. 1, 2. &c. And that the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, Hos. ii. 4. But on the other hand, tyrants and usurpers are always a curse, and given as such: it is threatened among the curses of the covenant, that the stranger shall get up above Israel very high----and that they shall serve their enemies, which the Lord shall send against them----and he shall put a yoke of iron upon their neck, until he hath destroyed them, Deut. xxviii. 43, 48. As a roaring lion and a ranging bear, so is a wicked ruler over the poor people, Prov. xxviii. 15. and therefore, when the wicked beareth rule the people mourn, Prov. xxix. 2. The Lord threatens it as a curse, that he will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them, Isa. iii. 4. And if unqualified rulers be a curse, much more tyrants. They are the rod of his anger, and the staff in their hand is his indignation, his axe, and sawe, and rod, Isa. x. 5, 15. It is one thing to call a man God's instrument, his rod, axe, sword, or hammer; another thing to call him God's minister; there is a wide difference betwixt the instruments of God's providence, and the ministers of his ordinance; those fulfil his promises only, these do his precepts. Such kings are given in the Lord's anger, Hos. xiii. 11. therefore they cannot be owned to be ministers of God for good. 6. He beareth not the sword in vain, for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil, verse 4. The apostle doth not say, He that beareth the sword is the ruler, but he is the ruler that beareth the sword. This is not every sword, for there is the sword of an enemy, the sword of a robber, the sword of a common traveller; but this as a faculty of political rule, and authoritative judgment. It is not said, He takes the sword (as the Lord expresses the usurpation of that power, Matth. xxvi. 52.) but he beareth the sword, hath it delivered him into his hand by God, by God's warrant and allowance, not in vain; to no end or without reason, or without a commission, as Paraeus upon the place expounds it. He is a revenger to execute wrath, not by private revenge, for that is condemned by Paul before, Rom. xi. 19. not by providential recompense, for when a private person so revengeth, it is the providential repayment of God; but as God's minister, by him authorized, commissionated, and warranted to this work. Now this cannot agree with a tyrant or usurper, whose sword only legitimates his sceptre, and not his sceptre his sword, who takes the sword rather than bears, and uses it without reason or warrant from God, in the execution of his lustful rage upon him that doth well, and hath no right to it from God. Hence, he that beareth the sword no other way but as it may be said of a murderer, cannot be a magistrate bearing the sword; but a tyrant and usurper beareth the sword no other way but as it may be said of a murderer: Ergo.----So much for the characters of a magistrate, which are every way inapplicable to tyrants and usurpers, and as inapplicable to this of ours as to any in the world.


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