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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

Lethington doubted whether they did well or not he answered


called; for can a dead man,

by law, be owned to be a magistrate, and keeper of the law. 'Idolatry' (saith he in his conference with Lethington) 'ought not only to be suppressed, but the idolater ought to die the death; but by whom? By the people of God, for the commandment was given to Israel; yea, a command, that if it be heard that idolatry is committed in any one city, that then the whole body of the people arise and destroy that city, sparing neither man, woman, nor child. But shall the king also be punished? If he be an idolater, I find no privilege granted unto kings more than unto people, to offend God's majesty. But the people may not be judges to their king.----God is the universal judge; so that what his word commands to be punished in the one, is not to be absolved in the other; and that the people, yea, or a part of the people, may not execute God's judgments against their king, being an offender; I am sure you have no other warrant, except your own imaginations, and the opinion of such as more fear to offend their princes than God.' In the same conference we have the instance of Jehu adduced to prove that subjects may execute God's judgments upon their princes. It was objected, Jehu was a king before he executed judgment upon Ahab's house, and the fact was extraordinary, and not to be imitated. He answered, He was a mere subject; 'No doubt Jezabel both thought and said he was a traitor, and so did many others in Israel and Samaria. And whereas it was said, that the fact was extraordinary; I
say, it had the ground of God's ordinary judgment, which commandeth the idolater to die the death; and therefore I yet again affirm, it is to be imitated of all those that prefer the true honour of the true worship and glory of God, to the affection of flesh and wicked princes. We are not bound, said Lethington, to follow extraordinary examples, unless we have the like commandment and assurance. I grant, said the other, if the example repugn to the law, but where the example agrees with the law, and is, as it were, the execution of God's judgment expressed within the same; I say, that the example approved of God, stands to us in place of a commandment; for as God, in his nature, is constant and immutable, so cannot he condemn, in the ages subsequent, that which he hath approved in his servants before us.' Then he brings another argument from Amaziah who fled to Lachish, but the people sent thither and slew him there. Lethington doubted whether they did well or not: he answered, 'Where I find execution according to God's law, and God himself not accuse the doers, I dare not doubt of the equity of their cause: And it appears, God gave them sufficient evidence of his approving the fact, for he blessed them with peace and prosperity. But prosperity does not always prove that God approves the fact: yes, when the acts of men agree with the law, and are rewarded according to the promise in that law, then the prosperity succeeding the fact is a most infallible assurance that God hath approved it; but so it is, that there is a promise of lengthening out prosperity to them that destroy idolatry. And again, concluding Uzziah's example, he says there, the people ought to execute God's law, even against their princes, when that their open crimes, by God's law, deserve punishment; especially when they are such as may infect the rest of the multitude.'

V. There is another thing for which people


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