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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

And punishing their destroyers


6. At the erection of government, though the people resign the formal power of life and death, and punishing criminals, over to the governor constitute by them; yet, as they retain the radical power and right virtually, so when either the magistrates neglect their duty of vindicating the innocent, and punishing their destroyers, or impower murderers to prey upon them; in that case, they may resume the exercise of it, to destroy their destroyers, when there is no other way of preventing or escaping their destructions; because extreme remedies ought to be applied to extreme diseases. In an extraordinary exigent, when Ahab and Jezebel did undo the church of God, Elias, with the people's help, killed all Baal's priests, against and without the king's will; in this case, it is evident the people resumed their power, as Lex Rex saith, quest. 9. p. 63. There must be a court of necessity, no less than a court of justice, when it is in this extremity, as if they had no ruler, as that same learned author saith, quest. 24. pag. 213. If then the people may resume that power in cases of necessity, which they resigned to the magistrate; then a part may resume it, when a part only is in that necessity, and all may claim an interest in the resumption, that had an interest in the resignation.

7. Especially upon the dissolution of a government when people are under a necessity to revolt from it, and so are reduced to their primitive liberty, they may then resume all that power they had before the resignation, and exert it in extraordinary exigents of necessity. If then a people that have no magistrates at all may take order with their destroyers then must they have the same power under a lawful revolt. As the ten tribes, if they had not exceeded in severity against Adoram, Rehoboam's collector, had just cause to take order with that usurper's emissary, if he came to oppress them; but if he had come to murder them, then certainly it was duty to put him to death, and could not be censured at all, as it is not in the history, 1 Kings xii. 18. But so it is that the people pursued by these murderers, some of which in their extreme exigencies they put to death; have for these several years maintained a declared revolt from the present government, and have denied all subjection to it upon the grounds vindicated, Head 2. And there they must be considered as reduced to their primeve liberty, and their pursuers as their public enemies, to whom they are no otherwise related than if they were Turks, whom none will deny it lawful to kill, if they invade the land to destroy the inhabitants.

8. Hence, seeing they are no other than public enemies, unjustly invading, pursuing, and seeking them to destroy them: what arguments will prove the lawfulness of resistance, and the necessity of self-defence, in the immediate defence of life, as well as remote, will also prove the lawfulness of taking all advantages upon them: for if it be lawful to kill an enemy in his immediate assault, to prevent his killing of them, when there is no other way of preserving themselves from his fury; then it must be lawful also in his remote but still incessant pursuit, to prevent his murdering them by killing him, when there is no other way to escape in a case of extreme necessity. But that this was the case of that poor people, witnesses can best prove it; and I dare appeal to two sorts of them that know it best, that is, all the pursuers, and all the pursued.


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