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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

Were more unlawful than to resist


From the obedience required to government, it may be argued thus. 1. If we may flee from tyrants, then we may resist them; but we may flee from tyrants: therefore we may resist them. The connexion I prove, (1.) If all grounds of justice will warrant the one as well as the other, then if the one be duty, so is the other; but the former is true; for the same justice and equity that warrants declining a tyrant's unjust violence by flight, will warrant resistance when flight will not do it; the same principle of self-defence, that makes flight duty, when resistance is not possible, will also make resistance duty, when flight is not possible; the same principle of charity to wives and children, that makes flight lawful, when by resistance they cannot avoid tyranny, will make resistance duty, when by flight they cannot evite it; the same principle of conscience to keep religion free, that prompts to flight, when resistance will not save it, will also prompt to resist it, when flight is not practicable. (2.) If to flee from a just power, when in justice we are obnoxious to its sword, be to resist the ordinance of God, and so sin: then to flee from an unjust power, must be also a resisting of the abusing of it, and so duty, for the one is resistance as well as the other; but the difference of the power resisted makes the one lawful; the other not. Again, if royal power may be resisted by interposing seas and miles, why not also by interposing walls and arms? Both is resistance, for against
a lawful magistrate that would be resistance. (3.) If a tyrant hath irresistible power to kill and destroy the people, he hath also irresistible power to cite and summon them before him; and if it be unlawful to resist his murders, it must be as unlawful to resist his summons. (4.) For a church or community of Christians, persecuted for religion, to flee with wives and children, strong and weak, old and young, to escape tyrannical violence, and leave the land, were more unlawful than to resist; for what is not possible as a natural means of preservation is not a lawful mean; but this were not a possible mean: neither is it warranted in nature's law, or God's word, for a community or society of Christians, that have God's right and man's law to the land, and the covenanted privileges thereof, to leave the country and cause of Christ, and all in the hands of a tyrant and papist, to set up idolatry upon the ruins of reformation there. A private man may flee, but flight is not warranted of them as of a private single man. 2. If it be duty to disobey, it is duty to resist tyrants, in defence of religion and liberty; but it is duty to disobey them: Therefore--The connection only will be struck at, which is thus strengthened: If subjection be no more pressed in scripture than obedience, then if non-obedience be duty, non-subjection must be so also, and consequently resistance; but subjection is no more pressed in scripture than obedience; for all commands of subjection to the higher powers, as God's ministers, under pain of damnation, do only respect lawful magistrates, and in lawful things, and do include obedience: and non-obedience to the power so qualified is a resisting of the ordinance of God, as well as non-subjection. If then obedience to magistrates be duty, and non-obedience sin, and obedience to tyrants sin, and non-obedience duty; then by parity of reason, subjection to magistrates is duty, and non-subjection is sin, and also subjection to tyrants is sin, and non-subjection duty.

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