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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

For want of this David would not kill Saul


11.

Though it were no usurpation beyond our calling; yet it may be murder, to kill any without the call of God in a case of necessity, either in the immediate defence of life, or though it be in the remote when the hazard is unavoidable. Every thing must have God's call in its season to make it duty, so also the time of killing, Eccles. iii. 3. For want of this David would not kill Saul. Lex Rex saith excellently to this, quest. 31. pag. 329, 330. 'David might have killed Saul when he was sleeping, and when he cut off the lap of his garment, but it was unlawful for him to kill the Lord's anointed, as it is unlawful for him to kill a man because he is the image of God, Gen. ix. 6. except in case of necessity,----David having Saul in his hand, was in a remote posture of defence, the unjust invasion then was not actual, nor unavoidable, nor a necessary mean in human prudence for self preservation; for king Saul was not in an actual pursuit of the whole princes, elders, community of Israel: Saul did but seek the life of one man David, and that not for religion, or a national pretended offence, and therefore he could not, in conscience, put hands on the Lord's anointed: but if Saul had actually invaded David for his life, David might, in that case, make use of Goliah's sword, (for he took not that weapon as a cypher to boast Saul) and rather kill than be killed.' Thus he. By a call here, we do not mean an express or immediate call from God, such as the prophets might have to their extraordinary
executions of judgments, as Samuel and Elijah had to kill Agag and Baal's prophets; but either the allowance of man, then there is no question about it; or if that cannot be had, as in the case circumstantiate it cannot, then the providential and moral call of extreme necessity, for preservation of our lives, and preventing the murder of our brethren, may warrant an extraordinary executing of righteous judgment upon the murderers. Men may have a call to a necessary duty, neither every way mediate nor immediate, as the call of running together to quench a fire in a city, when magistrates through wickedness or negligence, will not, or do not, call people forth unto that work; they have not man's call, nor an immediate call from heaven, yet they have a lawful call from God; so they do not intrude upon the magistrates office, nor want they a call to this execution of judgment, who did materially that work for that exigent which magistrates, by office, were bound to do, being called thereto by God, by nature, and the call of inevitable necessity, which knoweth no human law, and to which some divine positive laws will cede. Jus populi. chap. 20. pag. 423.

12. Though this be a principle of reason and natural justice, when all the fore mentioned circumstances are clear, that it is lawful for private persons to execute righteous judgment, upon notorious incendiaries, and murdering public enemies, in cases of necessity; yet it might be a sinful breach of the sixth command, to draw extraordinary examples of it to an ordinary practice in killing all who might be found criminal, and would deserve death by the law, as all that have served under a banner of tyranny and


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