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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

When Rehoboam was preparing to pursue his pretended right


most tyrannically, and avowed he would tyrannize over them, and oppress them more than any of his predecessors, they fell away from, and erected themselves into a new commonwealth, 1. Kings xii. 16. So when Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, they answered, what portion have we in David? Neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse; to your tents, O Israel; now see to thine own house David, 2 Chron. x. 16. Now, however the event of this declared revolt proved sorrowful, when they and their new king made defection unto idolatry, yet if they had stated and managed it right, the cause was good, justifiable, and commendable. For, (1.) We find nothing in all the text condemning this. (2.) On the contrary, it is expressly said, the cause was from the Lord, that he might perform his saying, which he spake by Ahijah, 1 Kings xii. 15. 2 Chron. x. 15. And (3.) When Rehoboam was preparing to pursue his pretended right, he was reproved and discharged by Shemaiah, ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren, for this thing is from me, 1 Kings xii. 24. 2 Chron. xi. 4. (4.) Whereas it is alledged by some, that this was of God only by his providence, and not by his ordinance; the contrary will appear, if we consider how formally and covenant-wise the Lord gave ten tribes to Jeroboam, 1. Kings xi. 35, 37, 38. "I will take the kingdom out of his son's hand, and I will give it unto thee, even ten tribes; and I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel; and it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that which is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and commandments, as David my servant did, that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee."

Where we see the kingdom was given unto him on the same terms and conditions, that it was given to David. He may indeed give kingdoms to whom he will, by providential grant, as unto Nebuchadnezzar, and others; but he never gave them a kingdom upon these conditions, and, by way of covenant, that does always imply and import his word, warrant, and ordinance. (5.) If we consider the cause of the revolt, we will find it very just: for after the decease of the former king, they enter upon terms of a compact with the successor, upon a suspensive condition, to engage into fealty and allegiance to him as subjects, if he would give them security for their liberties and privileges. A very lawful, laudable and necessary transaction, founded upon moral equity, and upon the fundamental constitutions of that government, and suitable to the constant practice of their predecessors, in their covenanting with Saul and David. As for that word, 1 Kings xii. 19. So Israel rebelled against the house of David: it is no more than in the margin, they fell away or revolted; and no more to be condemned than Hezekiah's rebellion, 2 Kings xviii. 7. The Lord was with him, and he rebelled against the king of Assyria. That was a good rebellion. Hence if it be lawful for a part of the people to shake off the king, refuse subjection to him, and set up a new king of their own, when he resolveth to play the tyrant, and rule them after his own absolute power; then it is a duty, when he actually plays the tyrant, and by his absolute power overturns laws and religion, and claims by law such a prerogative; but the former is true: Ergo----See Jus populi vindic. chap. 3. page 52.

4. This same Jeroboam, when he turned tyrant and idolater, was revolted from and deserted by the priests and the levites, and after them out of all the tribes of Israel, by all such as set their heart to seek the Lord God of Israel; because that king, degenerating into tyranny and idolatry, had put them from the exercise of their office and religion (as our Charles did,) and ordained him priests for the devils, and for the calves: so they returned to Rehoboam, being induced by his administration of the government, which for a time was better than he promised, for three years he walked in the ways of David and Solomon, 2 Chron. xi. 13,--17. Hence I argue, if idolatrous tyrants may be deserted, then they may be disowned abroad, it is the same duty at home, though may be not the same policy or prudence.


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