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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

To take their fields and vineyards is mere robbery


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heaven, which extorted their

own confession, that they "had added unto all their sins this evil to ask a king," 1 Sam. xii. 17, 18, 19. And to deter and dissuade from such a conclusion, he appoints the prophet to shew them the "manner of the king" that should reign over them, 1 Sam. viii. 9. to declare before hand, what sort of a ruler he would prove, when they got him; to wit, a mere tyrant, who would take their sons and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and for horsemen, and to run before his chariots, and make them his soldiers, and labourers of the ground, and instrument makers, and household servants, and he would take their fields and vineyards--the best of them, and give unto his servants. In a word, to make all slaves; and that in the end, when this should come to pass, they should cry out because of their king, but the Lord would not hear them, ver. 11-18. All which, as it is palpable in itself, so we have sensibly felt in our experience to be the natural description of tyranny, but more tolerable than any account of ours would amount to. It is both foolishly and falsely alledged by royalists or tyrannists, that here is a grant of uncontroulable absoluteness to kings to tyrannize over the people without resistance, and that this manner of the king is in the original Mishphat, which signifies right or law; so that here was a permissive law given to kings to tyrannize, and to oblige people to passive obedience, without any remedy but tears; and therefore it was registered, and laid up before
the Lord in a book, 1 Sam. x. 25. But I answer, 1. If any thing be here granted to kings, it is either by God's approbation, directing and instructing how they should govern; or it is only by permission and providential commission to them, to be a plague to the people for their sin of choosing them, to make them drink as they have brewed, as sometimes he gave a charge to the Assyrian rod to trample them down as the mire of the streets: if the first be said, then a king that does not govern after that manner, and so does not make people cry out for their oppression, would come short of his duty, and also behoved to tyrannize and make the people cry out; then a king may take what he will from his subjects, and be approved of God: this were blasphemy absurd, for God cannot approve of the sin of oppression. If the second be said, then it cannot be an universal grant, or otherwise all kings must be ordained for plagues; and if so, it were better we wanted such nursing fathers. 2. Though Mishphat signifies right or law, yet it signifies also, and perhaps no less frequently, manner, course, or custom: and here it cannot signify the law of God, for all these acts of tyranny are contrary to the law of God; for to make servants of subjects is contrary to the law of God, Deut. xvii. 20. Forbidding to lift up himself so far above his brethren; but this was to deal with them as a proud Pharaoh; to take so many for chariots and horsemen, is also contrary to the law, Deut. xvii. 15. "He shall not multiply horses;" to take their fields and vineyards is mere robbery, contrary to the moral and judicial law, whereof he was to have always a copy, ver. 18. And contrary to Ezek. xlvi. 18. "The prince shall not take of the peoples inheritance," &c. This would justify Ahab's taking Naboth's vineyard, which yet the Lord accounted robbery, and for which tyrants are called "companions of thieves," Isa. i. 23. and "robbers," Isa. xlii. 24. into whose hands the Lord sometimes may give his people for a spoil in judicial providence; but never with his approbation and grant of right: to make them cry out, is oppression, which the Lord abhors, Isa. v. 7, 8. And if this be all the remedy, it is none; for it is such a cry, as the Lord threatens he will not hear. 3. It is false, that this manner of the Lord was registred in that book mentioned, 1 Sam. x. 25. for that was the law of the kingdom, accordingly the copy of which the king was to have for his instruction containing the fundamental laws, point blank contrary to this which was the manner of the king; there is a great difference between the manner of the kingdom, which ought to be observed as law, and the manner of the king, what he would have as lust. Would Samuel write in a book the rules of tyranny, to teach to oppress, contrary to the law of God? He says himself, he would only teach both king and people "the good and the right way," 1 Sam. xii. 23, 25. 4. Nothing can be more plain, than that this was a mere dissuasive against seeking; for he protests against this course, and then lays before them what sort of a king he should be, in a description of many acts of tyranny; and yet in the end it is said, 1 Sam. vii. 19. "Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel, and said, Nay, but we will have a king."


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