« VorigeDoorgaan »
prince and prelate, provided that his duty to God be secured by a precedent search, he hath also with the best and with all the instruinents in the world, secured his obedience to man.
Of provision, or that part of justice, which is due from superiors
to inferiors. As God hath imprinted his authority in several parts upon several estates of men, as princes, parents, spiritual guides : so he hath also delegated and committed parts of his care and providence unto them, that they may be instrumental in the conveying such blessings, which God knows we need, and which he intends should be the effects of government. For since God governs all the world as a king, provides for us as a father, and is the great guide and conductor of our spirits as the head of the church, and the great shepherd and bishop of our souls, they, who have portions of these dignities, have also their share of the administration : the sum of all which is usually signified in these two words, governing and feeding, and is particularly recited in these following rules.
Duties of Kings, and all the supreme power as Lawgivers.
1. Princes of the people, and all that have legislative power, must provide useful and good laws for the defence of property, for the encouragement of labour, for the safeguard of their persons, for determining controversies, for reward of noble actions and excellent arts and rare inventions, for promoting trade, and enriching their people.
2. In the making laws, princes must have regard to the public dispositions, to the affections and disaffections of the people, and must not introduce a law with public scandal and displeasure; but consider the public benefit, and the present capacity of affairs, and general inclinations of men's minds! For he, that enforces a law upon a people against
i Omittenda potiùs prævalida et adulta vitia, quàm hoc adsequi, ut palàm fiat, quibus flagitiis impares simus. Tacit.
their first and public apprehensions, tempts them to disobedience, and makes laws to become snares and hooks to catch the people, and to enrich the treasury with the spoil and tears and curses of the commonalty, and to multiply their mutiny and their sin.
3. Princes must provide, that the laws be duly executed: for a good law, without execution, is like an unperformed promise: and therefore they must be severe exactors of accounts from their delegates and ministers of justice.
4. The severity of laws must be tempered with dispensations, pardons, and remissions, according as the case shall alter, and new necessities be introduced, or some singular accident shall happen, in which the law would be unreasonable or intolerable, as to that particularm. And thus the people, with their importunity, prevailed against Saul in the case of Jonathan, and obtained his pardon for breaking the law, which his father made, because his necessity forced him to taste honey; and his breaking the law, in that case, did promote that service, whose promotion was intended by the law.
5. Princes must be fathers of the people, and provide such instances of gentleness, ease, wealth, and advantages, as may make mutual confidence between them; and must fix their security under God in the love of the people; which therefore they must, with all arts of sweetness, remission, popularity, nobleness, and sincerity, endeavour to secure to themselves.
6. Princes must not multiply public oaths without great, eminent, and violent necessity ; lest the security of the king become a snare to the people, and they become false, when they see themselves suspected; or impatient, when they are violently held fast : but the greater and more useful caution is upon things than upon persons; and if security of kings can be obtained otherwise, it is better that oaths should be the last refuge, and when nothing else can be sufficient.
7. Let not the people be tempted with arguments to disobey, by the imposition of great and unnecessary taxes : for that lost to the son of Solomon the dominion of the ten tribes of Israel,
8. Princes must, in a special manner, be guardians of • Επιείκειά έστιν επανόρθωμα νόμου, και ελλείπει δια το καθόλων. Eth. 5. ο. 10. r L'avaritia de Re, peste de regni.
pupils and widows, not suffering their persons to be oppressed, or their estates imbeciled, or in any sense be exposed to the rapine of covetous persons; but be provided for by just laws, and provident judges, and good guardians, ever having an ear ready open to their just complaints, and a heart full of pity, and one hand to support them, and the other to avenge them.
9. Princes must provide, that the laws may be so administered, that they be truly and really an ease to the people, not an instrument of vexation : and therefore must be careful, that the shortest and most equal ways of trials be appointed, fees moderated, and intricacies and windings as much cut off as may be, lest injured persons be forced to perish under the oppression, or under the law, in the injury, or in the suit. Laws are like princes, those best and most beloved, who are most easy
of access. 10. Places of judicature ought, at no hand, to be sold by pious princes, who remember themselves to be fathers of the people. For they that buy the office, will sell the acto; and they, that, at any rate, will be judges, will not, at any easy rate, do justice; and their bribery is less punishable, when bribery opened the door, by which they entered.
11. Ancient privileges, favours, customs, and acts of grace indulged by former kings to their people, must not, without high reason and great necessities, be revoked by their successors, nor forfeitures be exacted violently, nor penal laws urged rigorously, nor in light cases; nor laws be multiplied without great need; nor vicious persons, which are publickly and deservedly hated, be kept in defiance of popular desires ; nor any thing, that may unnecessarily make the yoke heavy and the affection light, that may increase murmurs and lessen charity ; always remembering, that the interest of the prince and the people is so enfolded in a mutual embrace, that they cannot be untwisted without pulling a limb off, or dissolving the bands and conjunction of the whole body
12. All princes must esteem themselves as much bound by their word, by their grants, and by their promises, as the meanest of their subjects are by the restraint and penalty of
• Chi compra il magistrato, forza è, che vendra la giustitia.
lawsP: and although they are superior to the people, yet they are not superior to their own voluntary concessions and engagements, their promises and oaths, when once they are passed from them,
The duty of Superiors as they are Judges. 1. Princes in judgment and their delegate judges must judge the causes of all persons uprightly and impartially, without any personal consideration of the power of the mighty, or the bribe of the rich, or the needs of the poor. For although the poor must fare no worse for his poverty, yet, in justice, he must fare no better for it: and although the rich must be no more regarded, yet he must not be less. And to this purpose the tutor of Cyrus instructed him, when in a controversy, where a great boy would have taken a large coat from a little boy, because his own was too little for him, and the other's was too big, he adjudged the great coat to the great boy: his tutor answered, “Sir, if you were made a judge of decency or fitness, you had judged well in giving the biggest to the biggest; but when you are appointed judge, not whom the coat did fit, but whose it was, you should have considered the title and the possession, who did the violence, and who made it, or who bought it.” And so it must be in judgments between the rich and the poor : it is not to be considered, what the poor man needs, but what is his own.
2. A prince may not, much less may inferior judges, deny justice, when it is legally and competently demanded : and if the prince will use his prerogative in pardoning an offender, against whom justice is required, he must be careful to give satisfaction to the injured person, or his relatives, by some other instrument; and be watchful to take away the scandal, that is, lest such indulgence might make persons more bold to do injury: and if he spares the life, let him change the punishment into that, which may make the offender, if not suffer justice, yet do justice, and more real advantage to the injured person.
These rules concern princes and their delegates in the making or administering laws, in the appointing rules of
p Nulla lex (civilis) sibi soli couscientiam justitiæ suæ debet, sed eis à quibus obsequium expoctat. Tertul. Apologet.
justice, and doing acts of judgment. The duty of parents to their children and nephews is briefly described by St. Paul.
The duty of Parents to their Children. 1. “Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath :" that is, be tender-bowelled, pitiful, and gentle, complying with all the infirmities of the children, and, in their several ages, preportioning to them several usages, according to their needs and their capacities.
2. “ Bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord :” that is, secure their religion; season their younger years with prudent and pious principles; make them in love with virtue ; and make them habitually so, before they come to choose or to discern good from evil, that their choice may be with less difficulty and danger. For while they are under discipline, they suck in all that they are first taught, and believe it infinitely. Provide for them wise, learned, and virtuous tutors, and good company and discipline, seasonable baptism, catechism, and confirmation". For it is great folly to heap up much wealth for our children, and not to take care concerning the children, for whom we get it. It is, if a man should take more care about his shoe than about his foot.
3. Parents must shew piety at home”; that is, they must give good example and reverend deportment in the face of their children ; and all those instances of charity, which usually endear each other, sweetness of conversation, affability, frequent admonitions, all significations of love and tenderness, care and watchfulness, must be expressed towards children, that they may look upon their parents as their friends and patrons, their defence and sanctuary, their treasure and their guide. Hither is to be reduced the nursing of children, which is the first, and most natural, and necessary instance of piety, which mothers can shew to their babes; a duty, from which nothing will excuse, but a disability, sickness, danger, or public necessity.
9 Ephes, vi. 4.
r Polior mihi ratio vivendi honestè, quàm et optimè dicendi videtur. Quintil. lib. 1. cap. 2.
s Heb. xii. 9. Crates apud Plutarch. de liber. educand. 1 Tim. v. 4.