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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

Adduced to prove subjection to tyrants universally


3. We may allow passive subjection in some cases, even to tyrants, when the Lord lays on that yoke, and in effect says, he will have us to lie under it a while, as he commanded the Jews to be subject to Nebuchadnezzar: of which passage, adduced to prove subjection to tyrants universally, Buchanan, as above, infers, that if all tyrants be to be subjected to, because God by his prophet commanded his people to be subject to one tyrant; then it must be likewise concluded, that all tyrants ought, to be killed, because Ahab's house was commanded to be destroyed by Jehu. But passive subjection, when people are not in capacity to resist, is necessary. I do not say passive obedience, which is a mere chimera, invented in the brains of such sycophants, as would make the world slaves to tyrants. Whosoever suffereth, if he can shun it, is an enemy to his own being: for every natural thing must strive to preserve itself against what annoyeth it; and also he sins against the order of God, who in vain hath ordained so many lawful means for preservation of our being, if we must suffer it to be destroyed, having power to help it.

4. We abhor all war of subjects, professedly declared against a lawful king, as such; all war against lawful authority, founded upon, or designed for maintaining principles inconsistent with government, or against policy and piety; yea, all war without authority. Yet, when all authority of magistrates, supreme and subordinate, is perverted and abused, contrary to the ends thereof, to the oppressing of the people, and overturning of their laws and liberties, people must not suspend their resistance upon the concurrence of men of authority, and forbear the duty in case of necessity, because they have not the peers or nobles to lead them: for if the ground be lawful, the call clear, the necessity cogent, the capacity probable, they that have the law of nature, the law of God, and the fundamental laws of the land on their side, cannot want authority though they may want parliaments to espouse their quarrel. This is cleared above, Head 2. yet here I shall add, 1. The people have this privilege of nature, to defend themselves and their rights and liberties, as well as peers; and had it, before they erected and constituted peers or nobles. There is no distinction of quality in interests of nature, though there be in civil order: but self defence is not an act of civil order. In such interests, people must not depend upon the priority of their superiors, nor suspend the duties they owe to themselves and their neighbours, upon the manuduction of other mens greatness. The law of nature allowing self-defence, or the defence of our brethren, against unjust violence, addeth no such restriction, that it must only be done by the conduit or concurrence of the nobles or parliaments. 2. The people have as great interest to defend their religion as the peers, and more, because they have more souls to care for than they, who are fewer. And to be violented in their consciences, which are as free to them as to the peers, is as insupportable to them: yea, both are equally concerned to maintain truth, and rescue their brethren suffering for it, which are the chief grounds of war; and if the ground of the defensive war be the same with them and without them, what reason can be given, making their resistance in one case lawful, and not in the other? Both are alike obliged to concur, and both are equally, obnoxious to God's threatened judgments, for suffering religion to be ruined, and not relieving and rescuing innocents. It will be but a poor excuse for people to plead, they had no peers to head them. What if both king and nobles turn enemies to religion, (as they are at this day) shall people do nothing for the defence of it then? Many times the Lord hath begun a work of reformation by foolish


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