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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

And that such a tyrannical government


If

we further take notice, how the Spirit of God describes tyranny, as altogether contradistinct and opposite unto the magistracy he will have owned; we may infer hence, tyrants and usurpers are not to be owned. What the government instituted by God among his people was, the scripture doth both relate in matter of fact, and describes what it ought to be by right, viz. That according to the institution of God, magistrates should be established by the constitution of the people, who were to make them judges and officers in all their gates, that they might judge the people with just judgment, Deut. xvi. 18. But foreseeing that people would affect a change of that first form of government, and, in imitation of their neighbouring nations, would desire a king, and say, I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are about me, Deut. xvii. 14. The Lord, intending high and holy ends by it, chiefly the procreation of the Messias from a kingly race, did permit the change, and gave directions how he should be moulded and bounded, that was to be owned as the magistrate under a monarchical form; to wit, that he should be chosen of God, and set up by their suffrages, that he should be a brother, and not a stranger; that he should not multiply horses, nor wives, nor money, (which are cautions all calculated for the people's good, and the security of their religion and liberty, and for precluding and preventing his degeneration into tyranny) and that he should write a copy of the law in
a book, according to that which he should govern, verse 15. to the end of the chapter, yet the Lord did not approve the change of the form, which that luxuriant people was long affecting, and at length obtained: for, long before Saul was made king, they proffered an hereditary monarchy to Gideon, without the boundaries God's law required: which that brave captain knowing how derogatory it was to the authority of God's institution, not to be altered in form or frame without his order, generally refused, saying, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you; the Lord shall rule over you, Judges viii. 23. But his bastard, the first monarch and tyrant in Israel, Abimelech, by sinistrous means being advanced to be king by the traiterous Sechemites, Jotham, and other of the godly, disowned him; which, by the Spirit of God, Jotham describes parabolically significantly holding out the nature of that tyrannical usurpation, under the apologue of the trees itching after a king, and the offer being repudiate by the more generous sort, embraced by the bramble: signifying, that men of worth and virtue would never have taken upon them such an arrogant domination, and that such a tyrannical government, in its nature and tendency, was nothing but an useless, worthless, sapless, aspiring, scratching, and vexing shadow of a government, under subjection to which there could be no peace nor safety. But this was rather a tumultuary interruption than a change of the government; not being universally either desired or owned; therefore, after that the Lord restored the pristine form, which continued until, being much perverted by Samuel's sons, the people unanimously and peremptorily desired the change thereof, and, whether it were reason or not, would have a king; as we were fondly set upon one, after we had been delivered from his father's yoke: and the Lord gave them a king with a curse, and took him away with a vengeance, Hos. xiii. 11. as he did our Charles II. Yet he permitted it, but with a protestation against and conviction of the sin, that thereby they had "rejected the Lord," 1 Sam. viii. 7. and with a demonstration from


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