Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

of Bartolus are to be understood ; “De offensionibus erga dominum non est compensatio ad servitia eidem impensa ;? “ The services done to a lord cannot make satisfaction for a conspiracy against him." - And therefore the Romans caused Manlius Capitolinus to be thrown headlong from that rock, from whence he had thrown the Gauls when he saved the city. He produced the spoils of thirty enemies, forty dona, tives from generals, two civic crowns, eight murals ; yet all would not save his life and get his pardon. But yet in these things the supreme power is so free from laws that it does these things irregularly; “ Clementiam liberum habere arbia trium,” said Seneca; “ Clemency hath a great liberty, and a free choice:” but they are obliged only to see that the public be not prejudiced, and that every private interest be secured by causing amends to be made to the injured person where it can; and then it is true of every supreme prince which Seneca advised Nero often to remember, “ Occidere contra legem nemo potest; servare nemo, præter me;" “ No man at all can put a man to death against the law; and none can save except the prince.”

25. (4.) The supreme power is above the laws, because he can dispense,-he can interpret them,—and he can abrogate them,-he can in time of necessity govern by the laws of reason without any written law,-and he is the judge of the necessity. Thus the kings of Israel had power over the judicial laws, though of the divine sanction. For God forbade that the corpse of a malefactor should hang after sunset upon the accursed tree; but yet Maimonides says that the king “suspendit et relinquit suspensos diebus multis ;"." he hangs them, and leaves them hanging for many days;" when it is necessary by such terror to affright the growing impiety of wicked men; that is, when the case was such, that the laws were capable of equity or interpretation. For this was not merely an effect of his power, but of his reason too. It was a custom among the Jews to condemn but one person in one day, unless they were in the same crime, as the adulterer and the adulteress; but the king might condemn many at once, when it was for the interest of justice and the republic. Thus their king could, by the prerogative of his ma

h Id. pag. 442.

jesty, proceed summarily, sit in judgment alone without assessors, condemn upon the testimony of one, and by the confession of the party; which the sanhedrim might not do, but were tied to acquit him that confessed the fact. Add to these i the supreme can in some cases be judge and witness; that is, can himself condemn a criminal for what himself only saw him do. He can also be judge in his own case; as if he be injured, railed upon, defrauded, or the like; all which are powers above the law, and were here to be named for the understanding of the present rule; but how they are to be conducted is of distinct and special consideration, and to be reserved to their proper places. I end this whole inquiry with that of Statiusk,

quid enim terrisque poloque
Parendi sine lege manet? vice cuncta reguntur,
Alternisque regant. Propriis sub regibus omnis
Terra : premit felix regum diademala Roma :
Hanc ducibus frænare datum: mox crescil in illos

Imperiam superis • There is nothing in the earth but is under a law and tied to obedience : all the earth are under kings, and the kings are under the Romans, and the Romans under their princes, and their princes under God,' who rules them by his own laws, and binds them to rule by their country's laws, and ties them to do justice, and is pleased when they show mercy. But as they are to do justice by the sentence of the laws, so they must not show mercy against law; for even the prerogative of kings is by law, and kings are so far above their laws, as the laws themselves have given leave. For even the άφεσις ακριβείας εν δέοντι, “ the remission of the rigour of the law,” the very chancery and ease of laws, is by law established.

1. Vani capitis est existimare saperiorem non posse evocare sine causæ cogai. tione. Innoc. in cap. ad aures de Temp. Ord.

k Silv. iii. 3. 48. Bipont, pag. 76.

RULE III. It is not lawful for Subjects to rebel, or to take up Arms

against the supreme Power of the Nation, upon any Pretence

whatsoever. 1. When Nehemiah was deputed by Artaxerxes to be governor of Judea, and had commission to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple, the neighbour-kings that opposed him, were enemies to Artaxerxes, because Nehemiah was lieutenant to the king. “He that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me,” saith our blessed Saviour.-" Senatus faciem secum attulerat, auctoritatem populi Romani,” said Cicero' of one that was deputed and sent from the senate; He had the gravity of the senate and the authority of the commonwealth.” Now this being true of the supreme power in every government, that it is ‘potestas Dei vicaria,'. it is the minister of God,' appointed by him, set in his place, invested with a ray of his majesty, intrusted with no power but his, representing none but him, having received the sword from his hand, the power of life and death from his warranty; it must needs follow, that he who lifts up his hand against that supreme person or authority that God hath appointed over bim, is impious against God and fights against him. · This the apostle expressly affirms, and there need no more words to prove the rule, "He that resists, resists the ordinance of God;" he does not say, 'He that does not obey, is disobedient to God,' for that is not true. Sometimes it is necessary not to obey, as it happened to the captive Jews under Nebuchodonosor, and to the apostles under their princes; they could not obey God and them too: and then the case of conscience was soon resolved. But they that could not obey, could die; they could go into the fire, suffer scourgings and imprisonments, that was their ev uéya, their great sanctuary; which in behalf of the Christians Gregory Nazianzen thus expresses it ; “Εν έχω πρός πάντα φάρμακον, μίαν οδόν εις νίκην (εν Χριστώ καυχήσομαι) τον υπέρ Χριστού θάνατον, I have but one remedy against all my evils, one way to victory, thanks be to Christ, I can die for him:” that is υποτάσσεσθαι και μη αντιτάσσεσθαι, to obey where they can,

inf one] C. Popillius. See the eighth Philipp. cap. 8. d. 23. (J. R. P.)

and where they cannot, to be sure to lie down under the burden which they cannot carry. For though in some cases it is lawful not to obey, yet in all cases it is necessary not to resist.

2. I do not know any proposition in the world clearer and more certain in Christianity than this rule, and therefore cannot recount any greater instance of human infirmity than that some wise men should be abused into a contrary persuasion. But I see that interest and passion are always the greatest arguments, where they are admitted. But I have an ill task to write cases of conscience, if such things as these shall be hard to be persuaded : for there are very few things in which any man is to hope for half so much conviction, as in this article lies before him in every topic; and if I should determine no cases but upon such mighty terms as can be afforded in this question, and are given, and yet we prevail not, I must never hope to do any service to any interest of wisdom or peace, of justice or religion. And therefore I am clearly of opinion that no man, who can think it lawful to fight against the supreme power of his nation, can be fit to read cases of conscience ; for nothing can ever satisfy him, whose conscience is armour of proof against the plain and easy demonstrations of this question. But this question is of the same nature as all clear and necessary truths, never obscure, but when it is disputed; certain to all men and evident, if they will use their own eyes; but if they call for glasses of them that make a trade of it, it may chance not to prove so. But I will speak of it with all easiness and simplicity.

3. The Scripture m is plain; “ Curse not the king, no not in thy thought:"-and, “I counsel thee to keep the king's commandment, and that in regard of the oath of God-for he doth whatsoever pleaseth him. Where the word of a king is, there is power, and who may say unto him, What dost thou? against him there is no rising up.”

There are many more excellent words in the Old Testament to this purpose ; but nothing can be plainer than these, dogmatically to establish the doctrine of the rule. No man can question him; no man may rise up against him; he hath power; he hath all power; we are, by the law or the oath of God, bound to keep

F Ecol. x. 20. viii, 2, 3. Prov, xxx. 31.

his commandment; and after all, we must not reproach him in our secret thoughts. No man needs this last precept but he that thinks the king is an evil man, or hath done wrong: but suppose he have, or that he is supposed to have, yet curse him not, . Do not slight him, so it is in the Hebrew": • Regni ne detrahas,' so it is in the vulgar Latin, 'Disparage not the king :' but the Chaldee paraphrase adds, “ Even in thy conscience, in the secrets of thy heart, speak not evil of the king, and in the closets of the chambers of thy house speak not evil of the wise man; for the angel Raziel does every day from heaven cry out upon the mount of Horeb, and his voice passes into all the world : and Elihu, the great priest, flies in the air of heaven like a winged eagle, and tells the words, which are spoken in corners by all the inhabitants of the earth.” By the way I only observe this, that we are forbidden to speak evil of the rich or the mighty man, the wise man, so the Chaldee calls him, that is, the princely men of the world, the magistrates and nobles, whom St. Peter calls toÙS ηγεμόνας δια βασιλέως πεμπομένους, “captains or rulers sent by the king:" of these we must say no evil in our private houses, lest a bird of the air, lest that which hath wings, that is, lest the angel that attends us, orders it so as to pass into publication: for the government of the other world reaches strangely even to us, and we speak not a word in vain, but by the Divine Providence it is disposed to purposes that we understand not. But when he speaks of the king or the supreme, whom St. Peter calls tòv únepéxovra, then it is, Mń καταράση τον βασιλέα εν τη συνειδήσει, μηδε εν κρυπτώ της kapdías, “ Call him not accursed in thy heart, not so much as in thy thought;"-which because it is only perceived by God, who is the searcher of the heart, it shows plainly that as angels take care of the rich and the wise, the mighty and the nobles, so kings are the peculiar care of God, who is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. But then (to leave all curiosities) if we may not speak or think reproachfully of the king, we may not do that which is more, and that which is worse: and I think there needs no more to be said. But it is as clear as the way.

4. In the New Testament, sufficient are the excellent words of our blessed Saviour, μη αντιστήναι το πονηρή, “not

מלך לא תקלל •

« VorigeDoorgaan »