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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

That law which alloweth comparative re offending


itself against destroying violence out of society, then must many of these natures combined in society have the same right, and so much the more that their relative duties super-add an obligation of mutual assistance. Grace does not restrain the right of sinless nature, though it restrains corruption: but self-defence is no corruption: Grace makes a man more a man than he was. And nothing can be more dishonourable to the gospel, than that by the law of nature it is lawful to resist tyrants, but we are bound by religion from withstanding their cruelty: the laws of God do not interfere one with another. 3. That law which alloweth comparative re-offending, so as to kill rather than be killed, teacheth resistance: but so the law of nature alloweth, except we be guilty of murder in the culpable omission of self defence. The reason is, because the love of self is nearer and greater, as to temporal life, than the love of our neighbour: that being the measure of this: therefore it obliges rather to kill than be killed, the exigence of necessity so requiring. 4. If nature put no difference between the violence of a tyrant than of another man: then it teaches to resist both alike: but it putteth no difference, but rather aggravates that of a tyrant; being the violence of a man, the injustice of a member of the commonwealth, and the cruelty of a tyrant. And it were absurd to say, we might defend ourselves from the lesser violence, and not from the greater. 5. If particular nature must yield to the good of universal nature; then must one man, though in greatest power, be resisted, rather than the universal commonwealth suffer hurt: but the former is true; for that dictates the necessity of the distracted father to be bound by his own sons, lest all the family be hurt: Ergo the greatest of men or kings, when destructive to the commonwealth, must be resisted; for he is but one man, and so but particular nature. 6. That which is irrational, and reflects upon Providence, as putting men in a worse condition than brutes, is absurd and contrary to the law of nature: but to say, that the brutes have power to defend themselves by resisting what annoys them, and deny this power to men, is irrational and reflects upon Providence, as putting men in a worse condition than brutes: therefore it is absurd, and contrary to the law of nature.

3. From the institution of government I may argue thus: that power and government which is not of God may be resisted: the tyrants power and government, in overturning laws, subverting religion, bringing in idolatry, oppressing subjects, is not of God: Ergo it may be resisted: the major is clear, because that is only the reason why he is not to be resisted, because the ordinance of God is not to be resisted, Rom. xiii. 2. But they that resist a man destroying all the interests of mankind, overturning laws, subverting religion, &c. do not resist the ordinance of God. And if it were not so, this would tend irremedilessly to overthrow all policies, and open a gap to all disorder, injustice, and cruelty, and would give as great encouragement to tyrants to do what they list, as thieves would be encouraged, if they knew nobody would resist them or bring them to punishment.

4. From the original constitution of government by men, it may be argued thus: if people at the first erection of government acted rationally, and did not put themselves in a worse case than before, wherein it was lawful to defend themselves against all injuries, but devolved their rights upon the fiduciary tutory of such, as should remain still in the rank of men, that can do wrong, who had no power but by their gift, consent, and choice, with whom they associated not to their detriment but for their advantage, and determined the form of their government, and time of its continuance, and in what cases they might recur to their primeve liberty, and settled a succession to have course not _jure hereditario_ but _jure et vi legis_, for good ends; then they did not give away their birth-right of self-defence, and power of resistance, which they had before to withstand the violence, injuries, and oppressions of the men they set over them, when they pervert the form and convert it to tyranny, but did retain a power and privilege to resist and revolt from them, and repel their violence when they should do violence to the constitution, and pervert the ends thereof: but the former is true. Ergo--the minor is cleared, Head. 2. And the connexion is confirmed from this; if the estates of a kingdom give the power to a king, it is their own power in the fountain, and if they give it for their own good, they have power to judge when it is used against themselves, and for their evil; and so power to limit and resist the power that they gave.


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