For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it;
because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
—Hab. 2.3.

[Defensive Arms Vindicated, by Alexander Shields.]
 
A
HIND LET LOOSE;
OR,
AN HISTORICAL REPRESENTATION
OF THE
T E S T I M O N I E S
OF THE
CHURCH OF SCOTLAND,
FOR THE
INTEREST OF CHRIST.
BY MR. ALEXANDER SHIELS.
LATE MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL IN ST. ANDREW’s


HEAD V.

The Principle of, and Testimony for, Defensive Arms Vindicated.


This truth is of that sort, that can hardly be illustrated by demonstrations; not for the darkness thereof, but for its self-evidencing clearness, being scarcely capable of any further elucidation, than what is offered to the rational understanding by its simple proposition. As first principles can hardly be proven because they need no probation, and cannot be made clearer than they are, and such as cannot consent to them, are incapable of conceiving any probation of them; so this truth of self preservation being lawful, because it is congenite with and irradicated in every nature, that hath a self which it can preserve, can scarcely be more illustrated that it may do so, than that it can do so. And therefore to all who have a true respect to their own, as well as a due concern in the interest of mankind, and zeal for the interest of Christ, it might seem superfluous to make a doubt or debate of this: were it not that a generation of men is now prevailing, that are as great monsters in nature, as they are malignant in religion, and as great perverters of the law of nature, as they are subverters of municipal laws, and everters of the laws of God: who for owning this principle, as well as using the practice of defensive resistance for self-preservation against tyrannical violence, have set up such monuments of rage and cruelty, in the murder of many innocent people, as was never read nor heard of before. It hath been indeed the practice of all nations in the world, and the greatest of men have maintained this principle in all ages; but the bare asserting the principle, when extorted by severe inquisitions, was never a cause of taking the lives of any, before this was imposed on the poor sufferers in Scotland, to give their judgment, whether or not such appearances for defence (as the tyranny of rulers had forced people to) were rebellion, and a sin against God, which they could not in conscience assert; and therefore, though many that have suffered upon this head, have been as free of the practice of such resistance as any; yet because they would not condemn the principle, they have been criminally processed, arraigned, and condemned to the death. And against this truth they have been observed to have a special kind of indignation, either because the light of it, which cannot be hid, hath some heat with it to scorch them; or because they fear the impression of this in the hearts of people more than others knowing that they deserve the practical expression of it by the hands of all. But the reason they give why they are so offended at it, is, that they look upon it as the spring of all the errors of presbyterians, and a notion that destroys them; which indeed will be found to have a necessary connexion with many of the truths that they contend for this day, as it hath been the necessary method of defending them. What practices of this kind hath been, and what were the occasions inducing, or rather enforcing to these defensive resistances, here to be vindicated as to the principle of them, is manifested in the historical representation, shewing, that after the whole body of the land was engaged under the bond of a solemn covenant, several times renewed, to defend religion and liberty; and in special manner the magistrates of all ranks, the supreme whereof was formally admitted to the government upon these terms; he, with his associates, conspiring with the nobles, to involve the whole land in perjury and apostasy, overturned the whole covenanted work of reformation; and thereby not only encroached upon the interest of Christ and the church’s privileges, but subverted the fundamental constitution of the kingdom’s government, and pressed all to a submission unto, and compliance with that tyranny and apostasy, erected upon the ruins thereof; yet the godly and faithful in the land, sensible of the indispensible obligation of these covenants, resolved to adhere thereunto, and suffered long patiently for adherence unto the same, until being quite wearied by a continued tract of tyrannical oppressions, arbitrarily enacted by wicked laws, and illegally executed against their own laws, and cruelly prosecuted even without all colour of law, in many unheard of barbarities, when there could be no access for, or success in complaining, or getting redress by law, all petitions and remonstrances of grievances being declared seditious and treasonable, and interdicted as such: they were forced to betake themselves to this last remedy of defensive resistance, intending only the preservation of their lives, religion, and liberties; which many times hath been blessed with success, and therefore zealously contended for, as an inadmissible privilege, by all well affected to the cause of Christ, and interest of their country, because they found it always countenanced of the Lord; until the cause was betrayed by the treachery, and abandoned by the cowardice of such, as were more loyal for the king’s interest, than zealous for Christ’s and the country’s; for which the Lord in his holy jealousy discountenanced many repeated endeavours of this nature, cutting us off, and putting us to shame, and would not go forth with our armies. But because the duty is not to be measured by, and hath a more fixed rule to be founded upon than providence; therefore the godly did not only maintain the principle in their confessions and testimonies, but prosecute the practice in carrying arms, and making use of them in the defence of the gospel and of themselves, at field meetings; which were always successfully prosperous, by the power and presence of God. This question is sufficiently discussed, by our famous and learned invincible patrons and champions for this excellent privilege of mankind, the unanswerable authors of Lex Rex, the Apologetical Relation, Naphtali, and Jus populi vindicatum. But because it is easy to add to what is found, I shall subjoin my mite; and their arguments being various and voluminously prosecute, and scattered at large through their books, I shall endeavour to collect a compend of them in some order. The two first speak of a defensive war, managed in a parliamentary way: and the two last of resistance against the abuse of a lawful power, when there is no access to maintain religion and liberty any other way; which does not come up so close to our case, nor is an antithesis to the assertions of our adversaries, who say, that it is no ways lawful, in any case, or upon any pretence whatsoever, to resist the sovereign power of a nation, in whomsoever it be resident, or which way soever it be erected. I shall consider it more complexly and extensively, and plead both for resistance against the abuse of a lawful power, and against the use and usurpation of a tyrannical power, and infer not only the lawfulness of resisting kings, when they abuse their power (as is demonstrate unanswerably by these authors) but the expediency and necessity of the duty of resisting this tyrannical power, whensoever we are in a capacity, if we would not be found treacherous covenant-breakers, and betrayers of the interest of God, and the liberties of the nation, and of our brethren, together with the posterity, into the hands of this popish and implacable enemy, and so bring on us the curse of Meroz, and the curse of our brethren’s blood, crying for vengeance on the heads of the shedders thereof, and upon all, who being in case, came not to their rescue; and the curse or posterity, for not transmitting that reformation and liberty, whereof we were by the valour of our forefathers put and left in possession. I shall not therefore restrict myself to the {656} state of the question, as propounded ordinarily, to wit, Whether or not, when a covenanted king doth really injure, oppress, and invade his subjects civil and religious rights, or unavoidably threatens to deprive their dearest and nearest liberties, and sends out his emissaries with armed violence against them; and when all redress to be had, or hope by any address or petition, is rendered void or inaccessible, yea addressing interdicted under severe penalties, as treasonable; then, and in that case, may a community of these subjects defend themselves, and their religion and liberties, by arms, in resisting his bloody emissaries? But, to bring it home to our present case, and answer the laxness of the adversaries position of the uncontroulableness of every one that wears a crown, I shall state it thus: Whether or not is it a necessary duty for a community (whether they have the concurrence of the primores or nobles, or not) to endeavour, in the defence of their lives, religion, laws, and liberties, to resist and repress the usurpation and tyranny of prevailing dominators, using or abusing their power for subverting religion, invading the liberties, and overturning the fundamental laws of their country? I hold the affirmative, and shall essay to prove it, by the same arguments that conclude this question, as usually stated; which will more than evince the justifiableness of the sufferings upon this head. In prosecuting of this subject, I shall first premit some concessory considerations to clear it. And secondly, bring reasons to prove it.

First, for clearing of this truth, and taking off mistakes, these concessions may be considered.

1. The ordinance of magistracy, which is of God, is not to be resisted, no, not so much as by disobedience or non-obedience, nay, not so much as mentally, by cursing in the heart, Eccles. 10.20, but a person clothed therewith, abusing his power, may be in so far resisted. But tyrants, or magistrates turning tyrants, are not God’s ordinance; and there is no hazard of damnation, for refusing to obey their unjust commands, but rather the hazard of that is in walking willingly after the commandment, when the statutes of Omri are kept. So that what is objected from Eccl. 8.2-4, "I counsel thee to keep the king’s commandment," &c., is answered on Head II. and is to be understood only of the lawful commands of lawful kings.

2. Rebellion is a damnable sin, except where the word is taken in a lax sense, as Israel is said to have rebelled against Rehoboam, and Hezekiah against Sennacherib, which was a good rebellion, and clear duty, being taken there for resistance and revolt. In that sense indeed some of our risings in arms might be called rebellion; for it is lawful to rebel against tyrants. But because the word is usually taken in an evil sense, therefore it would have been offensive to acknowledge that before the inquisitors, except it had been explained. But rebellion against lawful magistrates, is a damnable sin, exemplarily punished in Korah and his company, who rebelled against Moses; and in Sheba and Absalom, who rebelled against David. For to punish the just is not good, nor to strike princes for equity, Prov. 17.26. And they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation, Rom. 13.2. So that this objection brought from this place, as if the apostle were commanding their subjection without resistance to Nero, and such tyrants; as it is very impertinent, it is fully answered above, Head II. Here it will be sufficient to reply, (1.) He is hereby vindicating Christianity from that reproach, of casting off or refusing subjection to magistrates for conscience sake in general. And it is very considerable, what Buchanan says in his book de juri regni, that Paul did not write to the kings themselves, because they were not Christians, and therefore the more might be born with from them, though they should not understand the duty of magistrates; but imagine, that there had been some Christian king who had turned tyrant and {658} apostate, ‘to the scandal of religion: what would he have written then? Sure if he had been like himself, he would have denied that he should be owned for a king, and would have interdicted all Christians communion with him, and that they should account him no king, but such as they were to have no fellowship with, according to the law of the gospel.’ (2.) He speaks of lawful rulers here, not tyrants, but of all such as are defined and qualified here, being powers ordained of God, terrors to evil works, ministers of God for good. Yea, but say prelates, and their malignant adherents, these are only motives of subjection to all powers, not qualifications of the powers. I answer, they are indeed motives, but such as can be extended to none but to these powers that are so qualified. (3.) He speaks of lawful powers indefinitely in the plural number, not specifying any kind or degree of them, as if only kings and emperors were here meant. It cannot be proven, that the power of the sword is only in them. Neither was there a plurality of kings or emperors at Rome to be subject to: if he meant the Roman emperor, he would have designed him in the singular number. All the reasons of the text agree to inferior judges also, for they are ordained of God, they are called rulers in scripture, and God’s ministers, revengers by office, who judge not for man, but for the Lord: and inferior magistrates also are not to be resisted, when doing their duty, 1 Pet. 2.13, yet all will grant, when they go beyond their bounds, and turn little tyrants, they may be withstood. (4.) He does not speak of Nero, concerning whom it cannot be proven, that at this time he had the sovereign power as the learned Mr. Prin shews: or if he had, that he was a tyrant at this time; and if he meant him at all, it was only as he was obliged to be by right, nor as he was in deed. All men know, and none condemns the fact of the senate, that resisted Nero at length, without transgressing this precept. Yea I should rather think, the senate is the power that the apostle applies this text to, if he applied it to any in particular. (5.) The subjection here required, is the same with the honour in the fifth command, whereof this is an exposition, and is opposite to the contraordinateness here condemned. Now, subjection takes in all the duties we owe to magistrates, and resistance all the contraries forbidden; but unlimited obedience is not here required: so neither unlimited subjection.

3. We may allow passive subjection in some cases, even to tyrants, when the Lord lays on that yoke, and in effect says, he will have us to lie under it a while, as he commanded the Jews to be subject to Nebuchadnezzar: of which passage, adduced to prove subjection to tyrants universally, Buchanan, as above, infers, that if all tyrants be to be subjected to, because God by his prophet commanded his people to be subject to one tyrant; then it must be likewise concluded, that all tyrants ought, to be killed, because Ahab’s house was commanded to be destroyed by Jehu. But passive subjection, when people are not in capacity to resist, is necessary. I do not say passive obedience, which is a mere-chimera, invented in the brains of such sycophants, as would make the world slaves to tyrants. Whosoever suffereth, if he can shun it, is an enemy to his own being: for every natural thing must strive to preserve itself against what annoyeth it; and also he sins against the order of God, who in vain hath ordained so many lawful means for preservation of our being, if we must suffer it to be destroyed, having power to help it.

4. We abhor all war of subjects, professedly declared against a lawful king, as such; all war against lawful authority, founded upon, or designed for maintaining principles inconsistent with government, or against policy and piety; yea, all war without authority. Yet, when all authority of magistrates, supreme and subordinate, is perverted and abused, {660} contrary to the ends thereof, to the oppressing of the people, and overturning of their laws and liberties, people must not suspend their resistance upon the concurrence of men of authority, and forbear the duty in case of necessity, because they have not the peers or nobles to lead them: for if the ground be lawful, the call clear, the necessity cogent, the capacity probable, they that have the law of nature, the law of God, and the fundamental laws of the land on their side, cannot want authority though they may want parliaments to espouse their quarrel. This is cleared above, Head 2, yet here I shall add, (1.) The people have this privilege of nature, to defend themselves and their rights and liberties, as well as peers; and had it, before they erected and constituted peers or nobles. There is no distinction of quality in interests of nature, though there be in civil order: but self-defence is not an act of civil order. In such interests, people must not depend upon the priority of their superiors, nor suspend the duties they owe to themselves and their neighbours, upon the manuduction of other men’s greatness. The law of nature allowing self-defence, or the defence of our brethren, against unjust violence, addeth no such restriction, that it must only be done by the conduct or concurrence of the nobles or parliaments. (2.) The people have as great interest to defend their religion as the peers, and more, because they have more souls to care for than they, who are fewer. And to be violented in their consciences, which are as free to them as to the peers, is as insupportable to them: yea, both are equally concerned to maintain truth, and rescue their brethren suffering for it, which are the chief grounds of war; and if the ground of the defensive war be the same with them and without them, what reason can be given, making their resistance in one case lawful, and not in the other? Both are alike obliged to concur, and both are equally obnoxious to God’s threatened judgments, for suffering religion to be ruined and not relieving and rescuing innocents. It will be but a poor excuse for people to plead, they had no peers to head them. What if both king and nobles turn enemies to religion, (as they are at this day) shall people do nothing for the defence of it then? Many times the Lord hath begun a work of reformation by foolish things, and hath made the least of the flock to draw them out, Jer. 49.2, and 50.45, and did not think fit to begin with nobles, but began it, when powers and peers were in opposition to it; and when he blessed it so at length, as to engage the public representatives to own it, what was done by private persons before, they never condemned. (3.) The people are injured without the nobles, therefore they may resist without them, if they be able: for there can be no argument adduced, to make it unlawful to do it with them. (4.) It is true the nobles are obliged beyond others, and have authority more than others to concur; but separately they cannot act as representatives judicially: they have a magistratical power, but limited to their particular precincts where they have interest, and cannot extend it beyond these bounds; and so if they should concur, they are still in the capacity of subjects; for out of a parliamentary capacity they are not representatives. (5.) All the power they can have is cumulative, not privative; for the worse condition of a ruler ought not to be by procuring. Why then shall the representatives, betraying their trust, wrong the cause of the people, whose trustees they are? Nay, if it were not lawful for people to defend their religion, lives, and liberties without the concurrence of parliaments, then their case should be worse with them than without them; for they have done it before they had them, and so they had better be without them still. (6.) People may defend themselves against the tyranny of a parliament, or primores, or nobles: therefore, they may do it without them; for if it be {662} lawful to resist them, it is lawful to wave them, when they are in a conspiracy with the king against them.

5. We disallow all war without real undeclinable necessity, and great and grievous wrongs sustained: and do not maintain it is to be declared or undertaken upon supposed grounds, or pretended causes: and so the question is impertinently stated by our adversaries, ‘Whether or not it be lawful for subjects, or a party of them, when they think themselves injured, or to be in a capacity, to resist or oppose the supreme power of a nation.’ For the question is not, if when they think themselves injured they may resist? But when the injuries are real: neither is it every reality of injuries will justify their resistance, but when their dearest and nearest liberties are invaded, especially when such an invasion is made, as threatens ineluctable subversion of them. Next, we do not say, That a party’s esteeming themselves in a capacity, or their being really in a capacity, doth make resistance a duty; except, all alike, they have a call as well as a capacity, which requires real necessity, and a right to the action, and the things contended for to be real and legal rights, really and illegally encroached upon: their capacity gives them only a conveniency to go about the duty, that is, previously lawful upon a moral ground. No man needs to say, Who shall be judge? the magistrate or people? For, (1.) All who have eyes in their head may judge whether the sun shine or not: and all who have common sense may judge in this case. For when it comes to a necessity of resistance, it is to be supposed, that the grievances complained of, and sought to be redressed by arms, are not hid, but manifest; it cannot be so with any party only pretending their suffering wrong. (2.) There is no need of the formality of a judge, in things evident to nature’s eye, as grassant tyranny undermining and overturning religion and liberty must be. Nature, in the acts of necessitated resistance, in such a case, is judge, party, accuser, witness, and all. Neither is it an act of judgment, for people to defend their own: defence is no act of jurisdiction, but a privilege of nature. Hence, these common sayings, all laws permit force to be repelled by force; and the law of nature allows self defence: the defence of life is necessary, and flows from the law of nature. (3.) Be judge who will, the tyrant cannot be judge in the case: for, in these tyrannical acts, that force the people to that resistance, he cannot be acknowledged as king, and therefore no judge: for it is supposed, the judge is absent, when he is the party that does the wrong. And he that does the wrong, as such, is inferior to the innocent. (4.) Let God be judge, and all the world, taking cognizance of the evidence of their respective manifestos of the state of their cause.

6. We condemn rising to revenge private injuries; whereby the land may be involved in blood, for some petty wrongs done to some persons, great or small; and abhor revengeful usurping of the magistrate’s sword, to avenge ourselves for personal injuries. As David’s killing of Saul would have been, 1 Sam. 24.10,12,13; 1 Sam. 26.9,10. To object which, in this case, were very impertinent: for it would have been an act of offence in a remote defence: if Saul had been immediately assaulting him, it could not be denied to be lawful: and it would have been an act of private revenge for a personal injury, and a sinful preventing [anticipating, self-pre-fulfilling] of God’s promise of David’s succession, by a scandalous assassination. But it is clear, then David was resisting him, and that is enough for us; and he supposes he might descend into battle, and perish, 1 Sam. 26.10, not excluding, but that he might perish in battle against himself resisting him. We are commanded indeed not to resist evil, but whosoever shall smite us on the one cheek, to turn to him the {664} other also, Matth. 5.39, and to recompense to no man evil for evil, Rom. 12.17. But this doth not condemn self defence, or resisting tyrants violently, endangering our lives, laws, religion, and liberties, but only resistance by way of private revenge and retaliation, and enjoin patience, when the clear call and dispensation do inevitably call unto suffering; but not to give way to all violence and sacrilege, to the subverting of religion and righteousness. These texts do no more condemn private persons retaliating the magistrate, than magistrates retaliating private persons, unless magistrates be exempted from this precept, and consequently be not among Christ’s followers: yea, they do no more forbid private persons, to resist the unjust violence of magistrates, than to resist the unjust violence of private persons. That objection from our Lord’s reproving Peter, Matth. 36.52. Put up thy sword, for all they that take the sword, shall perish by the sword, hath no weight here: for this condemns only making use of the sword, either by way of private revenge, or usurping the use of it without authority, (and so condemns all tyrants) which private subjects do not want to defend themselves, their religion and liberty; or using it without necessity, which was not in Peter’s case, both because Christ was able to defend himself, and because he was willing to deliver up himself. Pool’s Synops. Critic. In Locum. Christ could easily have defended himself, but he would not; and therefore there was no necessity for Peter’s rashness; it condemns also a rash precipitating and preventing [preceding, going-ahead-of] the call of God to acts of resistance; but otherwise it is plain, it was not Peter’s fault to defend his master, but a necessary duty. The reason, our Lord gives for that inhibition at that time, was twofold; one expressed Matth. 26.52, For they that take the sword, &c. Which does not belong to Peter, as if Peter were hereby threatened; but to those that were coming to take Christ, they usurped the sword of tyrannical violence, and therefore are threatened with destruction, by the sword of the Romans: so is that commination to be understood of antichrist, and the tyrants that serve him, Rev. 13.13, He that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword, which is a terrible word against persecutors. The reason is, John 18.11.—The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink? Which clearly refels that objection of Christ’s non-resistance. To which it is answered, That suffering was the end of his voluntary suscepted humiliation, and his errand to the world, appointed by the Father, and undertaken by himself; which is not our practice: though it be true, that even in his sufferings he left us an ensample that we should follow his steps, 1 Pet. 2.21. In many things, as he was a martyr, his sufferings were the purest rule and example for us to follow, both for the matter, and frame of spirit, submission, patience, constancy, meekness, &c., but not as he was our sponsor, and after the same manner, for then it were unlawful for us to flee, as well as to resist, because he would not flee at that time.

7. As we are not for rising in arms for trifles of our own things, or small injuries done to ourselves, but in a case of necessity for the preservation of our lives, religion, laws, and liberties, when all that are dear to us, as men and as Christians, are in hazard: so we are not for rising up in arms, to force the magistrates to be of our religion, but to defend our religion against his force. We do not think it the way that Christ hath appointed, to propagate religion by arms: let persecutors and limbs of antichrist take that to them; but we think it a privilege which Christ hath allowed us to defend and preserve our religion by arms: especially, when it hath been established by the laws of the land, and become a land right, and the dearest and most precious right and interest we have to contend for. It is true saith Christ, John 18.36, ‘My kingdom is not of this world; if my kingdom {666} were of this world, then would my servants fight that I should not be delivered to the Jews.’ But this objection will not conclude, that Christ’s kingdom is not to be defended and preserved by resistance, of all that would impiously and sacrilegiously spoil us of it in this world, because it is not of this world: for then all were obliged to suffer it to be run down, by slaves of hell and satan, and antichrist’s vassals, papists and malignants: yea, magistrates were not to fight for it, for they are among his servants, if they be Christians. But the good confession he witnesses here before Pilate, is, that he hath a kingdom, which, as it is not in opposition to any cesarean majesty; so it must not be usurped upon by any king of clay, but is specially distinct from all the kingdoms of the world, and subordinate to no earthly power, being of a spiritual nature; whereof this is a demonstration, and sufficient security for earthly kingdoms, that his servants, as such, that is, as Christians, and as ministers, were not appointed by him to propagate it by arms, nor to deliver him their king at that time, because he would not suffer his glorious design of redemption to be any longer retarded: but this doth not say, but though they are not to propagate it as Christians, and as ministers, by carnal weapons, yet they may preserve it with such weapons as men. Hence that old saying may be vindicated, prayers and tears are the arms of the church. I grant they are so, the only best prevailing arms, and without which all others would be ineffectual, and that they (together with preaching and church discipline, &c.,) are the only ecclesiastical or spiritual arms of a church as a church; but the members thereof are also men, and as men they may use the same weapons that others do, and ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, saith the Lord, Ezek. 33.31. Yea, from this I shall take an argument; if it be lawful for private subjects, without the concurrence of parliaments, to resist a tyrant by prayers and tears; then it is lawful also to resist him by violence; but the former is true, as our adversaries grant by this objection, and I have proved it to be duty to pray against tyrants, Head 2. Ergo—————. The connection is founded upon these reasons, (1.) This personal resistance by violence, is as consistent with that command, Rom. 13.1.2, ‘Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers—whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God;’ as resistance by prayer is with that, 1 Tim. 2.1,2. I exhort—that—supplications—be made—for kings, and for all that are in authority. If the prince be good, the one is as unlawful as the other; and a sinful resistance of the ordinance of God (to pray against him) no less than the other (to fight against him.) Therefore when he becomes a tyrant, and destroyer of the Lord’s inheritance, and an apostate, as I may not pray for him except conditionally, but against him as an enemy of Christ; so I may also fight against him as such. (2.) As adversaries themselves will grant, that resistance by prayers and tears is more powerful and effectual than the other; so the laws of the land make the one treasonable as well as the other; and that deservedly, when the prince is doing his duty; but when he turneth tyrant, neither can justly be condemned.

These things being premitted, I shall come shortly to the purpose, and endeavour to prove this truth, That it is a necessary duty for a community (whether they have the concurrence of the primores, nobles, and representatives or not) to endeavour, in the defence of their religion, lives, laws, and liberties, to resist and repress the usurpation and tyranny of prevailing dominators, using or abusing their power, for subverting religion, invading the liberties, and overturning the fundamental laws of the country. Wherein I shall be but short, because this truth is sufficiently confirmed by all the arguments of the second head; yet I may only hint at many others, and {668} prosecute them in this order. First, I shall produce some arguments from the law of nature and nations. 2dly, From the common practice of all Christian people. 3dly, From express scriptures.

1. The arguments of the first class are very multifarious: I shall reduce them to a few, as compendiously as may be, and only give the strength of them in a syllogistical form, without expatiating, save where the matter requires.

1. The great antagonists of this truth, through the clearness thereof, are forced to assert and grant such particulars, as will by consequence justify this plea. (1.) Barclay contra Monarchum, is cited by the Apologetic Relation and Jus Populi asserting ‘That if a king will alienate and subject his kingdom, without his subjects consent, or be carried with a hostile mind to the destruction of his people, his kingdom is actually lost, and the people may not only lawfully resist, but also depose him.’ Grotius de jure belli, lib. 1, cap. 4, asserts the same, and adds, ‘If he but attempt to do so he may be resisted.’ The surveyor of Naphtali grants the same, pages 23,24. Yea, this hath been granted in open court, by the council of Scotland, That in case of the king’s alienating his kingdoms he may resisted. Hence, [1.] If vendition or alienation of kingdoms, or attempts of it, do annul a king’s authority, then an alienation of them from Christ, to whom they are devoted by covenant, and selling to antichrist, as is attempted by this king, gives the people a right to resist him; but the former is here conceded: Ergo——————[2.] We need say no more to apply the other, that carrying a hostile mind to the destruction of the people does forfeit his kingdom, and gives the people right to resist, than that a papist is always known to carry a hostile mind to the destruction of Protestants, and all the designs declared these 27 years have been demonstrative efforts of it. (2.) Dr. Ferne acknowledgeth, ‘That personal defence is lawful against the sudden, illegal, and inevitable assaults of the king’s messengers, or of himself, in so far as to ward off his blows, or hold his hands. As also, he alloweth private persons liberty to deny subsidies and tribute to the prince, when he employeth it to the destruction of the commonwealth.’ Hence, [1.] If one may defend himself against the sudden, illegal, and inevitable assaults of the king or his messengers; then may many men, in defence of their lives and liberties, defend themselves against the surprising massacres, the sudden assaults, and much more the devised and deliberate assaults of a tyrant’s bloody emissaries, which are illegal and inevitable, as all their furious and bloody onsets have been; but the former is here allowed: therefore,——————(3.) Bodin de Repub. lib. 2, cap. 5, granteth, ‘If a king turn tyrant, he may lawfully, at his subjects request, be invaded, resisted, condemned, or slain by a foreign prince.’ Hence, if foreign princes may lawfully help a people oppressed by their own sovereign; then people may resist themselves, if they be able and hold in their pains; but the former is here granted: therefore—————The consequence cannot be denied, for foreigners have no more power or authority over another sovereign, than the people have themselves. (4.) Arnisæus de Author. Princip. c. 2, n. 10, granteth, ‘That if the prince proceed extrajudicially, without order of law, by violence, every private man hath power to resist.’ So the surveyor of Naphtali, as above, ‘Grants so much of a woman’s violent resisting attempts against the honour of her chastity, and tending to ensnare her in sin, whereof her non-resistance makes her guilty.’ Hence, [1.] If every extrajudicial violence of a prince may be resisted; then also all contrajudicial violence against law or reason must be opposed, for that is more grievous, and all their violences, wherein they do not act as judges, must be resisted, and that is all together, for in none of them they can act as judges; but the {670} former is here granted: therefore—————[2.] If a woman may defend her chastity against the king, lest her non-resistance make her guilty, (oh, if all women had been of this mind, the country would not have been pestered so with the king’s bastards;) then may a nation, or any part of it, resist a tyrant’s attempt upon the honour of their religion, enticing them to fornication with the mother of harlots, lest their non-resistance make them guilty; but the former is here yielded: therefore,—————(5.) That same Arnisaeus, cap. 4, saith, ‘Of the former (to wit, he who is called a tyrant in title) it is determined by all without any difficulty, that he may be lawfully repulsed, or if by force he be gotten into the throne, he may warrantably be thence removed, because he hath not any jot of power which is not illegitimate, and unto which resistance is forbidden for the fear of God and for conscience sake, and therefore he is no further to be looked at than as an enemy.’ This is so pat and pertinent to the present possessor of the government, that no words can more particularly apply it. (6.) Grotius de jure belli, lib. 1, cap. 4, granteth, the law of not resisting does not bind when the danger is most weighty and certain, ‘And we do not plead for it in any other case.’ And further he says, ‘The law of non-resistance seemeth to have flowed from them, who first combined together into society, and from whom such as did command did derive their power: now, if it had been asked of such, whether they would choose to die, rather than in any case to resist the superior by arms? I know not if they would have yielded thereto, unless with this addition, if they could not be resisted but with the greatest perturbation of the commonwealth, and destruction of many innocents.’ And afterwards he hath these words, ‘nevertheless I scarce dare condemn every one or the lesser part, which may only be done at utmost extremity, notwithstanding respect is to be had to the common good.’ From which we need make no inference, the concession is so large, that it answers our case. (7.) The surveyor of Naphtali, in the place above cited, ‘Grants legal self-defence against the sovereign, by way of plea in court, for safety of a man’s person or estate,—as also is the case of most habited, notour and complete tyranny against law, to the destruction of the body of a people, and of all known legal liberties, and the being of religion according to law.—And in case of his not being in his natural and right wits.’—Hence, [1.] If it be lawful to resist the king by a plea in law, for an estate, (yea the law will allow, by actual force, if he come to take possession of it illegally: then it must be lawful for their lives and estates, liberties and religion, to resist him by force, when the legal resistance is not admitted; but the former is yielded here: therefore,——————The reason of the connexion is, the municipal law permits the one, and the law of nature and nations (which no municipal law can infringe) will warrant the other: he hath no more right to be both judge and party in this case, more than in the other: and he can no more act as a sovereign in this case, than in the other. [2.] If it be lawful to resist habited, notour, and complete tyranny against law, to the destruction of the body of a people, and of all known legal liberties, and the being of religion, according to law: then we desire no more to conclude the duty of resisting this tyranny exercised this 27 years habitually, which the desolation of many hundred families, the banishment of many hundreds to slavery, the rivers of blood, &c., have made notour to all Scotland at least, and the perversion of all the fundamental laws, and all civil and religious liberties, yea the subversion of every remaining model of our religion, as reformed and covenanted to be preserved, in doctrine, worship, discipline and government, and designs to introduce popery and establish arbitrary government, have made complete; but the former is here granted: therefore {672}——————[3.] If in the case of his being out of his wits, he should run upon an innocent man to kill him, or attempt to cut his own throat, it were then lawful to resist him, yea, a sin not to do it; then when in a rage, or deliberately, he is seeking to destroy many hundreds of the people of God, he may be resisted; but the former is clear: therefore——————. (8.) King James the VI. in his remonstrance for the right of kings, against the oration of Cardinal Perron, hath these words, The public laws make it lawful, and free for any private persons, to enterprize against an usurper of the kingdom. Then shall it not be duty, to enterprize against a man, who by the laws of the land is not capable of a right to reign, who hath got into the throne by the means of murder, and can pretend no right but that of succession, which is proved to be none, Head 2. However, we see by these concessions of adversaries, that the absolute subjection they talk of will not hold, nor the prerogative be so uncontroulable in every case, as they would pretend, and that in many cases, the safety of the people hath the supremacy above it; and that also in these cases the people must be judges, whether they may resist or not.

2. From the law of nature I may argue, (1.) If God, the fountain of all power, and author of all right, hath given unto man both the power and the right, of, and reason to manage self-defence, and hath no ways interdicted it in his word to be put forth against tyrants; then it is duty to use it against them upon occasion; but the former is true: therefore,——————(2.) If this power and right were restrained in man against the unjust violence of any, it would either be by policy, or grace, or some express prohibition in the word of God; but none of these can be said: therefore,——————Policy cannot destroy nature, but is rather cumulative to it; a man entering into a politic incorporation, does not lose the privilege of nature: if one particular nature may defend itself against destroying violence out of society, then must many of these natures combined in society have the same right, and so much the more that their relative duties superadd an obligation of mutual assistance. Grace does not restrain the right of sinless nature, though it restrains corruption: but self-defence is no corruption: Grace makes a man more a man than he was. And nothing can be more dishonourable to the gospel, than that by the law of nature it is lawful to resist tyrants, but we are bound by religion from withstanding their cruelty: the laws of God do not interfere one with another. (3.) That law which alloweth comparative re-offending, so as to kill rather than be killed, teacheth resistance: but so the law of nature alloweth, except we be guilty of murder in the culpable omission of self-defence. The reason is, because the love of self is nearer and greater, as to temporal life, than the love of our neighbour: that being the measure of this: therefore it obliges rather to kill than be killed, the exigence of necessity so requiring. (4.) If nature put no difference between the violence of a tyrant than of another man: then it teaches to resist both alike; but it putteth no difference, but rather aggravates that of a tyrant; being the violence of a man, the injustice of a member of the commonwealth, and the cruelty of a tyrant. And it were absurd to say, we might defend ourselves from the lesser violence, and not from the greater. (5.) If particular nature must yield to the good of universal nature; then must one man, though in greatest power, be resisted, rather than the universal commonwealth suffer hurt: but the former is true; for that dictates the necessity of the distracted father to be bound by his own sons, lest all the family be hurt: Ergo the greatest of men or kings, when destructive to the commonwealth, must be resisted; for he is but one man, and so but particular nature. (6.) That which is irrational, and reflects upon Providence, as putting men in a worse condition than brutes, is absurd and {674} contrary to the law of nature: but to say, tat the brutes have power to defend themselves by resisting what annoys them, and deny this power to men, is irrational and reflects upon Providence, as putting men in a worse condition than brutes: therefore it is absurd, and contrary to the law of nature.

3. From the institution of government I may argue thus: that power and government which is not of God may be resisted: the tyrants power and government, in overturning laws, subverting religion, bringing in idolatry, oppressing subjects, is not of God: Ergo it may be resisted: the major is clear, because that is only the reason why he is not to be resisted, because the ordinance of God is not to be resisted, Rom. 13.2. But they that resist a man destroying all the interests of mankind, overturning laws, subverting religion, &c., do not resist the ordinance of God. And if it were not so, this would tend irremedilessly to overthrow all policies, and open a gap to all disorder, injustice, and cruelty, and would give as great encouragement to tyrants to do what they list, as thieves would be encouraged, if they knew nobody would resist them or bring them to punishment.

4. From the original constitution of government by men, it may be argued thus: if people at the first erection of government acted rationally, and did not put themselves in a worse case than before, wherein it was lawful to defend themselves against all injuries, but devolved their rights upon the fiduciary tutory of such, as should remain still in the rank of men, that can do wrong, who had no power but by their gift, consent, and choice, with whom they associated not to their detriment but for their advantage, and determined the form of their government, and time of its continuance, and in what cases they might recur to their primeve liberty, and settled a succession to have course not jure hereditario but jure et vi liges, for good ends; then they did not give away their birth-right of self-defence, and power of resistance, which they had before to withstand the violence, injuries, and oppressions of the men they set over them, when they pervert the form and convert it to tyranny, but did retain a power and privilege to resist and revolt from them, and repel their violence when they should do violence to the constitution, and pervert the ends thereof: but the former is true. Ergo——————The minor is cleared, Head. 2. And the connexion is confirmed from this; if the estates of a kingdom give the power to a king, it is their own power in the fountain, and if they give it for their own good, they have power to judge when it is used against themselves, and for their evil; and so power to limit and resist the power that they gave.

5. From the way and manner of erecting governors by compact, the necessity whereof is proven Head 2. Many arguments might be deduced; I shall reduce them to this form: If people must propose conditions unto princes, to be by them acquiesced in and submitted unto at their admission to the government, which thereupon becomes the fundamental laws of the government, and securities for the people’s rights and liberties, giving a law claim to the people to pursue the prince, in case of failing in the main and principal thing covenanted, as their own covenanted mandatarius who hath no jus or authority of his own, but what he hath from them, and no more power but what is contained in the conditions, upon which he undertaketh the government; Then when either an usurper will come under no such conditions, or a tyrant doth break all these conditions, which he once accepted, and so become stricto jure no prince, and the people be stricto jure liberated from subjection to him, they may and must defend themselves and their fundamental rights and privileges, religion and laws, and resist the tyranny overturning them: but the former is true, Ergo————————The connexion is clear: and the minor is proved, Head 2. And at {676} length demonstrated and applied to the government of Charles the Second by Jus Populi, cap. 7. See Arg. 4,5. Head 2.

6. From the nature of magistracy it may be argued thus, That power which is properly neither parental, not marital, nor masterly and despotic, over the subjects, persons, and goods, but only fiduciary, and by way of trust, is more to be resisted than that which is properly so; but that power which is properly so, that is parental power, and marital, and masterly, may be resisted in many cases; Therefore, that power which is not so properly, but only fiduciary is more to be resisted. That a king’s power over his subjects, is neither parental, nor marital, &c., is proven Head 2. And the major [proposition] needs no probation. The minor is clear by instances, (1.) If children may, in case of necessity, resist the fury of their father, seeking to destroy them; then must private subjects resist the rage and tyranny of princes, seeking to destroy them, and what is dearest to them; for there is no stricter obligation moral between king and people, than between parents and children, nor so strict; and between tyrants and people there is none at all; but the former cannot be denied: Therefore,———————(2.) If wives may lawfully defend themselves against the unjust violence of enraged husbands; then must private subjects have power to resist the furious assaults of enraged tyrants, for there is not so great a tie betwixt them and people, as between man and wife; yea there is none at all; but the former is true: Ergo,————————(3.) If servants may defend themselves against their masters; then must private subjects defend themselves against a tyrant or his emissaries; but the former is true: Ergo,————————(4.) If the king’s power be only fiduciary, and by way of pawn, which he hath got to keep; then when that power is manifestly abused, to the hurt of them that entrusted him with it, he ought to be resisted by all whom he undertook to protect; but the former is true: Therefore the latter.

7. From the limited power of princes it may be thus argued: If princes be limited by laws and contracts, and may be resisted by pleas in law, and have no absolute power to do and command what they will, but must be limited both by the laws of God and man, and cannot make what laws they will in prejudice of the people’s rights, nor execute the laws made according to their pleasure, nor confer on others a lawless license to oppress whom they please; then when they turn tyrants, and arrogate a lawless absoluteness, and cross the rules, and transgress the bounds prescribed by God’s laws, and man’s laws, and make their own lusts a law, and execute the same arbitrarily, they must be resisted by force, when a legal resistance cannot be had, in defence of religion and liberty; but all princes are limited, &c. Therefore,————————The minor is proved, Head 2. And the connexion may be thus confirmed in short: That power which is not the ordinance of God may be resisted; but an absolute illimited power, crossing the rules, and transgressing the bounds prescribed by God’s law and man’s, is not the ordinance of God; Therefore it may be resisted.

8. Further from the rule of government, it may be argued several ways, (1.) That power which is contrary to law, evil and tyrannical, can tie none to subjection, but if it oblige to any thing, it ties to resistance; but the power of a king against law, religion, and the interests of the subjects, is a power contrary to law, evil, and tyrannical: Therefore,—————————The major is plain, for wickedness can tie no man, but to resist it; that power which is contrary to law, evil, and tyrannical is wickedness. (2.) That power, and those acts, which neither king can exercise, not command, nor others execute, nor any obey, must certainly be resisted: but such is the power and acts that oppress the subjects, and overturn religion and liberty; {678} Therefore————————The minor is evident form scriptures condemning oppression and violence, both in them that command, and in them that execute the same, and also them that obey such wicked commands. The major is clear from reason; both because such power and such acts as cannot be commanded, cannot be executed, cannot be obeyed lawfully, are sinful and wicked: and because it cannot be a magistratical power, for that may always be exercised and executed lawfully. And what a man cannot command, the resisting of that he cannot punish; but acts of oppression against law, religion, and liberty, a man cannot command; Ergo, the resisting of these he cannot punish. (3.) That government of administration, which is not subordinate to the law and will of God, who hath appointed it, must be resisted; but that government or administration, which undermines or overturns religion and liberty, is not subordinated to the law and will of God; Therefore————————The major is clear; for nothing but what is the ordinance of God, subordinate to his law and will, is irresistible, Rom. 13.2. The assumption is undeniable.

9. From the ends of government, which must be acknowledged by all to be the glory of God, and the good of mankind; yea, all that have been either wise or honest, have always held that the safety of the people is the supreme law. The argument may run thus, in short, (1.) That doctrine which makes the Holy One to cross his own ends in giving governors, must be absurd and unchristian as well as irrational; but such is the doctrine that makes all kings and tyrants irresistible upon any pretence whatsoever: Ergo———————The minor I prove: That doctrine which makes God intending his own glory and the people’s good, to give governors both as fathers to preserve, and as murderers to destroy them, must make the Holy One to cross his own ends; for these are contradictory; but the doctrine that makes all kings and tyrants irresistible, &c., is such: for, by office, they are fathers to preserve, and, by office also, they must be murderers, vested with such a power from God, by the first act, if they be irresistible when they do so; seeing every power that is irresistible is the ordinance of God. Hence also when a blessing turns a curse, it is no more the ordinance of God, but to be resisted; but when a king turns a tyrant, overturning religion and liberty, then a blessing turns a curse: Therefore————————(2.) Means are to be resisted, when they are not useful for, but destructive to the ends they were appointed for; but governors overturning religion and liberty, are means not useful for, but destructive to the ends for which they were appointed; seeing then they are neither for the glory of God, nor the good of mankind: Therefore———————(3.) If all powers and prerogatives of men are only means appointed for, and should vail [yield, give place] unto the supreme law of the people’s safety, and all laws be subordinate to, and corroborative of this law, and when cross to it are in so far null, and no laws, and all law formalities in competition with it are to be laid aside, and all parliamentary privileges must yield to this, and king and parliament both conspiring have no power against it; and no sovereign power, by virtue of any resignation from the people can comprize any authority to act against it; then it is duty to obey this supreme law, in resisting all powers and prerogatives, all laws, and law formalities, and all conspiracies whatsoever against this supreme law, the safety of the people; but the former is true, as was proven Head 2. Therefore———————(4.) That power which is obliged, and appointed to command and rule justly and religiously, for the good of the people, and is only set over them on these conditions, and for that end, cannot tie them to subjection without resistance, when the power is abused to the destruction of laws, religion, and people; but all power is so obliged and appointed: therefore, {680} whensoever it is so abused, it cannot tie people to subjection, but rather oblige them to rejection of it.

10. 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 [shun, avoid] 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 no 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 a preservation is not a lawful mean; but this were not a possible mean: neither is it warranted in nature’s law, of 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.

11. From the resistance allowed in all governments, it may be argued thus; if it be duty to defend our religion, lives, and liberties against an invading army of cut-throat papists, Turks or Tartars, without or against the magistrates warrant; then it must be duty to defend the same against invading home-bred tyrants, except we would subscribe ourselves home born slaves; but the former is true; therefore——————. The {682} minor cannot be doubted, because the magistrate’s power cannot be privative and destructive to defence of our religion, lives, and liberties; nor can it take away nature’s birth-right to defend these, or make it fare the worse, than if we had no magistrates at all. Now, if we had no magistrates at all, we might defend these against invaders; and whether we have magistrates or not, we are under moral obligations of the law of God to endeavour the defence of these: but this needs not be insisted on. The connexion of the proposition is clear; if princes be more tyrannical in invading religion and liberties themselves, than in suffering others to do it, or hindering them to be opposed: and if their invasion be more tyrannical, hurtful, and dangerous, than the invasion of strangers, then if it be duty to resist strangers invading their interests, it is more duty to resist home-bred tyrants invading the same; but the former is true: therefore the latter. Resisting in the one case is no more resisting the ordinance of God than in the other.

12. From the motives of resistance we may draw this argument, which might be branched out into several, but I shall reduce it to this complex one: if when we are in a capacity, we cannot acquit ourselves in the duties that we owe to our covenanted religion, and our covenanted brethren, and posterity, and ourselves, nor absolve and exoner ourselves from the sin and judgment of tyrants, who overturn religion, oppress our brethren, impose slavery on ourselves, and entail it upon posterity, by a passive subjection, submission to and not opposing these mischiefs; then resistance is necessary: but the former is true: therefore———————. The connexion is clear, for there cannot be a medium; if we cannot discharge these duties by subjection, submission, and not opposing, then we must do them by non-subjection, non-submission, and opposing, since they must be done some way. The assumption is thus confirmed: (1.) The duties we owe to religion, when it is corrupted, declined from, and overturned, are not only to reform our own hearts and ways, and keep ourselves pure from the corruptions established, and to rebuke and witness against the compliers with the same, and so by work, doing and suffering, keep and contend for the word of our testimony; but further, when, by the constitution of the kingdom, religion is become a fundamental law, and consequently the magistrate, overturning it, is violating and everting the main grounds and ends of the government, and turning grassant and ingrained tyrant, especially when it is not only so authorized and confirmed by law, but corroborated by solemn vows and covenants made and sworn unto God by all ranks of people, to maintain and defend this religion with their lives and fortunes,—and resist all contrary errors and corruptions according to their vocation: and the utmost of that power that God puts in their hands all the days of their lives; as also mutually to defend and assist one another, (as in the national covenant.) And sincerely, really, and constantly endeavour—the preservation of the reformed religion in doctrine, worship, discipline, and government, the extirpation of popery, prelacy, &c.,—and to assist and defend all those that enter into the same bond in the maintaining thereof,—(as in the solemn league;) then to defend and maintain that religion, and themselves professing it; when it is sought to be razed; this must be an interest as necessary to be defended, as that of our bodies which is far inferior, and as necessary a duty, as to defend our nation and civil liberties from perpetual slavery, and as preferable thereunto, as Christ’s interest is to man’s and as the end of all self-preservation is to the means of it, the preservation of religion being the end of all self-preservation; but this duty cannot be discharged without resistance, in a mere passive subjection and submission: otherwise the same might be discharged in our universal submission to Turks coming to destroy our religion. Certainly this passive {684} way cannot answer the duty of pleading for truth, Isa. 59.4, seeking the truth, Jer. 5.1, being valiant for it, Jer. 9.3, making up the hedge, standing in the gap, &c., Ezek. 22.30, which yet are necessary incumbent duties according to our capacity; therefore we cannot answer the duties we owe to religion in a mere passive way. (2.) The duty we owe to our covenanted brethren, is to assist and defend them, and relieve them when oppressed, as we are bound by our covenants, an antecendently by the royal law of Christ, the foundation of all righteousness among men toward each other, Matth. 7.12, ‘All things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.’—We would have them helping us when we are oppressed, so should we do to them when it is in the power of our hands to do it, and not forbear to deliver them for fear the Lord require their blood at our hand, Prov. 24.11,12. But this cannot be done by mere subjection without resistance. (3.) There is no way to free ourselves of the sin and judgment of tyrants, by mere passive subjection: we find in the scriptures, people have been so involved and punished for the sins of tyrants; as the people of Judah for Manasseh, 2 Kings 21.11. &c., Jer. 15.4, whose sins if they had not been committed, the judgment for them had been prevented, and if the people had hindered them they had not smarted; but being jointly included with their rulers in the same bond of fidelity to God, and made accountable as joint principals with their kings for that debt, by their mutual as well as several engagements to walk in his ways, they were liable to be punished for their rebellion and apostacy, because they did not hinder it. Hence somewhat must be done to free ourselves of their sin, and to escape their judgments: but this can be nothing else but opposition to them by resistance; or else if we make any other opposition, it will make us more a prey to their fury.

II. Secondly, This truth is confirmed from the common practice of the people of God, even under persecution. Whence I shall draw an argument from examples, which, to condemn, were impious, and, to deny, were most impudent. And, for form’s sake, it may run thus: what the people of God, under both testaments, have frequently done, in time of persecution, for defending, vindicating, or recovering their religion and liberties, may and ought to be done again in the like circumstances, when these are in the like hazard; but, under both testaments, the people of God frequently in times of persecution have defended, vindicated, or recovered their religion and liberties by defensive arms, resisting the sovereign powers that sought to destroy them: therefore this may and ought to be done again, when these religious, civil, and natural privileges, are in the like hazard to be destroyed by the violent encroachments of the sovereign powers. The proposition cannot be denied, except by them that do profess themselves enemies to the people of God, and condemn their most frequently reiterated practices most solemnly and signally owned of God, to the confusion of their enemies, to the conviction of the world that the cause for which they contended was of God, and to the encouragement of all the patrons of such a cause, to hope, that when it is at the lowest it shall have a revival and glorious issue. It is true, sometimes they did not resist, when either they were not in a capacity, or did not see a call to such an action, but were not extraordinarily spirited of the Lord for passive testimonies under a suffering dispensation: but it is as true, that many times they did resist, when the Lord capacitated, called, and spirited them for active testimonies. And therefore, if their suffering under these circumstances may be imitated, by a people so stated; then also their actions under these other circumstances may be imitated, by a people in the like case. And by an impartial scrutiny it will be {686} found, that the examples of their endeavoured resistance will be little inferior, if not superior in number or importance, to the examples of their submissive sufferings in all ages; which will appear in the probation of the assumption, by adduction of many instances, which I shall only cursorily glean out of that plentiful harvest that histories afford.

1. I need only to glance at that known and famous history of the Maccabees, of undoubted verity, though not of canonical authority. In which according to scripture predictions, we have a notable account of heroic enterprises, achievements, and exploits performed by them that knew their God, and tendered his glory, and their religion and country’s liberties, above the common catechrestic notions of uncontroulable irresistible royalty, and absolute implicit loyalty, that have abused the world in all ages. We have there an account of the noble and successful resistance of a party of a few godly and zealous patriots, without the concurrence of civil authority, or countenance of the ephori or nobles of the kingdom, against a king universally acknowledged and subjected unto, that came in peaceably, and obtained the kingdom by flatteries, with whom the greatest part and those of the greatest note took part, and did wickedly against the covenant and nation’s interest, and were corrupted by flatteries: yet a few priests, with the concurrence of some common countrymen, did go to arms against him and them; and the Lord did wonderfully assist them for a considerable time; as was foretold by Daniel 11. This fell out under the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes, and was happily begun by Matthias a godly priest, and his five sons, who, being commanded under severe certifications to worship according to the then law, and the king’s wicked lust, did valiantly resist that abomination, and went to defensive arms: which, while living, he patronized, and, when a-dying, did encourage his sons to it by a notable oration, shewing what case his country was in, and what a duty and dignity it was to redeem and deliver it. This was vigorously prosecuted by Judas Maccabeus, expressly for the quarrel of religion and liberty, against that mighty tyrant and all his emissaries.

2. To come to the history of the gospel dispensation: It is true in that time of the primitive persecutions under heathen emperors, this privilege of self-defence was not so much improved or contended for by Christians, who studied more to play the martyrs, than to play the men, because in these circumstances the Lord was pleased to spirit for and call them unto, and accept of their hands passive testimony; while they were incorporate under a civil relation with the heathens, in subjection to governors who did not by open tyranny, overturn their civil liberties, only did endeavour to eradicate religion, which, at that time, had never become their right by law; while they were scattered and out of capacity, and never could come to a separate formed community by joint concurrence and correspondence, to undertake a declared resistance; while religion was only a-propagating through the nations, and the Lord providentially did preclude the least appearance that might be of propagating it by any formed force, being the gospel of peace, designed to save, and not to destroy: yet even then, instances are not wanting of Christians resisting their enemies, and of rescuing their ministers, &c., As they are found on record. (1.) How some inhabiting Mareota, with force rescued Dionysius, of Alexandria, out of the hands of such as were carrying him away, about the year 255. (2.) How about the year 310, the Armenians waged war against Maximus, who was come against them with an army because of their religion. (3.) How about the year 342, the citizens of Athanasius their minister, against Gregorius the intruded curate and Syrianus the emperor’s captain, who came with great force to put him in. (4.) {688} How about the year 356, the people of Constantinople did in like manner stand to the defense of Paulus, against Constantius the emperor, and killed his captain Hermogenes; and afterwards, in great multitudes, they opposed the intrusion of the heretic Macedonius. (5.) How, when a wicked edict was sent forth to pull down the churches of such as were for the clause of one substance, the christians that maintained that testimony resisted the bands of soldiers, that were procured at the emperor’s command by Macedonius, to force the Mantinians to embrace the Arian heresy; but the Christians at Mantinium, kindled with an earnest zeal towards Christian religion, went against the soldiers with chearful minds and valiant courage, and made a great slaughter of them. (6.) How, about the year 387, the people of Cesarea did defend Basil their minister. (7.) How, for fear of the people, the lieutenant of the emperor Valens durst not execute those 80 priests who had come to supplicate the emperor, and were commanded to be killed by him. (8.) How the inhabitants of mount Nitria espoused Cyril’s quarrel, and assaulted the lieutenant, and forced his guards to flee. (9.) How, about the year 404, when the emperor had banished Chrysostom, the people flocked together, so that the emperor was necessitated to call him back again from his exile. (10.) How the people resisted also the transportation of Ambrose, by the command of Valentinian the emperor; and chused rather to lose their lives, than to suffer their pastor to be taken away by the soldiers. (11.) How the Christians oppressed by Baratanes king of Persia, did flee to the Romans to seek their help. And Theodosius, the emperor, is much praised for the war which he commenced against Chosroes king of Persia, upon this inducement, that the king sought to ruin and extirpate those Christians in his dominions, that would not renounce the gospel.

3. But when religion was once embraced in embodied corporations, and established by law, and became a people’s common interest and liberty, in a capacity to defend it with their lives and other liberties, and when it was propagated through the nations; then the Lord did call for other more active testimonies, in the preservation and defence of it: of which we have many instances in histories. About the year 894, the Bohemian Christians resisted Drahomica their queen, who thought to have destroyed them, and reintroduced paganism. About the year 1420, they maintained a long defensive war against the government, and the pope’s legates, under the management of their brave captain Zizca; which was further prosecuted after him by the remaining Thaborites. And again in this century, in the year 1618, they maintained a defensive war against the emperor Ferdinand II, electing and erecting a new king in opposition to him, Frederick Palatine of the Rhine, in which cause many received a crown of martyrdom: and this was also espoused by king James VI, who sent to aid his son in law against the emperor.

4. If we look to the histories of the Waldenses, these constant opposers of antichrist, we will find many instances of their resistance. About the year 1194, very early, while Waldo (from whom they had their name) was alive, they began to defend themselves by arms, after the bloody edict of Alphonsus king of Arragon; an edict so like to many of ours emitted this day, as it would seem our enemies have taken the copy of it: so it were very seemly for the people grieved with such edicts to imitate the copy of the Waldenses their practice, in opposition to them. In the year 1488, they resist by arms Albert de Capitaneis, sent by pope Innocent VIII, in Pragola and Frassaniere, and throughout Piedmont; where, for the most part, the offspring of the old Waldenses had their residence, where, very evidently, through many successions of ages, they shewed {690} themselves to be the true successors of their worthy progenitors, valiant for the truth. That’s a famous instance of their resistance, in opposing vigorously the Lord of trinity, in that same Piedmont, at which time they so solemnly asked their minister, Whether it were not lawful to defend themselves against his violence? Who answered affirmatively. And accordingly they did it with wonderful success at that time, and many times thereafter. Especially it is notour in the memory of this present age, how in the year 1655, a vigorous defensive war was prosecuted against the duke of Savoy, by their captains Ginavel, Jahier, &c., which was espoused by many Protestant princes. And no further gone than the very last year, it is known how they resisted the arms of that tiger, and the French that helped him, and that their simplicity in trusting popish promises was their ruin.

5. If we look over the histories of the Albigenses, we find many instances of their defensive resisting their oppressing superiors. About the year 1200, they defended themselves at Beziers and Carcasson, against the pope’s legate and his crossed soldiers, under the conduct first of the earl of Beziers, and then of the earl of Foix, and earl of Remand of Thoulouse, and were helped by the English, who then possessed Guienne bordering upon Thoulouse; which resistance continued several years. Afterwards in the year 1226, they maintained a resistance against the king of France.

6. In Spain, we find the people of Arragon contesting with Alphonsus III. And associating themselves together against him. And they tell Pedro III., their king, that if he would not contain himself within the limits of the laws, they would pursue him by arms, about the year 1283. As also other Spaniards, who rose in arms several times against Pedro the first king of Castile.

7. It was this which brought the Cantons of Helvetia into this state of freedom, wherein they have continued many years: for, about the year 1260, they levied war against their oppressing nobles. And in the year 1308, they joined in covenant to defend themselves against the house of Austria; and in the year 1315, they renewed it at Brunna, in which, at length, the rest of the Cantons joined, and formed themselves into a commonwealth.

8. If we take a glance of the Germans, we will find at the very commencement of the reformation, as soon as they got the name of Protestants, they resisted the emperor Charles V. The duke of Saxon, the landgrave of Hess, and the city of Magdeburgh, with advice of lawyers, concluded, ‘That the laws of the empire permitted resistance of the emperor in some cases, that the times were then so dangerous, that the very force of conscience did leave them to arms, and to make a league to defend themselves though Cæsar or any in his name should make war against them—for since he attempteth to root out religion, and subvert our liberties, he giveth us cause enough to resist him with a good conscience: the matter standing as it doth, we may (say they) resist’—as may be shewed both by sacred and profane histories.—And so they undertook and stated the war upon the account of religion and liberty.

9. If we but cast an eye over to the Hollanders, we will find how much they stand obliged to this practice of defensive arms; having thereby recovered both religion and liberty, and established themselves into a flourishing state. We find even in the time of D. de Alva’s persecution, they began to defend Haerlem and Valenciennes in Hainault, and went on till under the conduct of William of Nassau prince of Orange, they declared the king of Spain to have fallen from the government of those countries: and so effectually shook off the yoke of Spanish tyranny.

10. If we go to the French Huguenots, we will find many instances among them, and many brave heroes {692} raised up, to maintain the principle, and prosecute the practice thereof, of older and later date. The history of the civil wars of France is stored with their trophies; and the memories of Conde and Coligni will ever be fragrant. There were many resistances there, both before and since the Parisian massacre. It is sad, that the present Protestants there are so far degenerate from the spirit of their ancestors.

11. The many practices of the Hungarians, resisting the encroachments of the house of Austria, prove the same. And when Matthias denied the free exercise of religion unto the Protestants of Austria, they took up arms in their own defence, and sent a protestation unto the states of Hungary, requiring their assistance, conform to their league. And now this present war there founded upon this plea.

12. The Polonians have oftentimes levied war against their kings: and we are furnished by Clark in his Martyrology with a late instance of their resistance against the sovereign powers, at Lesna in Poland, in the year 1655.

13. The Danes and Swedes have not been wanting, for their parts, in taking course with their Christierns, kings of that name, whom they resisted and punished. And generally, wherever the reformation was received, we find this principle espoused, and the practice of it prosecuted. Nay, there hath been no nation in the world, but it will be found, they have either resisted or killed tyrants.

14. The most deserving and celebrated monarchs in the world have espoused the quarrel of oppressed subjects. Not only such as Tamerlane, whose observable saying is noted, when he advanced against Bajazet, I go (says he) to chastise his tyranny and to deliver the afflicted people. And Philip and Lewis of France, who assisted the barons of England against king John. And Charles the great, who upon this ground undertook a war against the Lombards in Italy. But even Constantine the great, hath it recorded for his honour, that he employed his power and force against Licinius, upon no other motive but because he banished, tortured, and destroyed those Christians in his dominions, that would not abandon their religion. And queen Elisabeth is commended for assisting the Dutch to maintain their religion by force, when they could not enjoy it by favour. And king James the VI. gave public aid to the Protestants in Germany and Bohemia against the emperor. Against whom also Gustavus Adolphus marched, that he might deliver the oppressed cities from the bondage that Ferdinand had brought them into. Yea, king Charles I. this man’s father, pretended at least to help the Protestants in France at Ree and Rochel: and though he himself was avowedly resisted by the parliaments of both kingdoms, yet he was forced to declare, in his acts of oblivion and pacification, The Scots late taking up arms against him, in defence of their religion, laws, and privileges, to be no treason nor rebellion.—See Apol. Relat. Sect. 11. Pag. 149. And though the late Charles II. condemned all the risings of the people of Scotland for defence of religion and liberty, and their lives and privileges, which his own tyranny forced them into; yet he justified the present revolt of heathens and Mahometan subjects from the young king of Bantam in Java Major in the East Indies, who, when he got the government in his hands by his father’s resignation, killed his subjects, and caused them to be killed without any cause, which was the reason of their revolt from him, and defending the father against the son: this defensive war of these subjects was justified by the said Charles, in his sending ammunition, &c., for relief. These, and many more instances that might be adduced, are sufficient evidences of the righteousness and reason of such resistances, when the greatest of princes have undertaken the partociny of them.

III. From scripture proofs. I shall but briefly gather some of the many that might be pressed, which, {694} being put together, to me seem impregnable. I shall reduce them to these heads, (1.) I shall adduce some practices of the Lord’s people, frequently reiterated, never condemned, always approven, confirming this point. (2.) Some severe reprehensions for their omission of this duty, in the season thereof. (3.) Some promises both of spiriting for the duty, and of countenancing it, when undertaken. (4.) Some precepts commanding such achievements. (5.) Some prayers supplicating for them. All which put together will make a strong argument.

First, for practices of this kind, there is nothing more common in scripture history.

1. I shall begin at the first war that is recorded in the world: wherein some loss fell to the godly at first, but afterwards by the virtue and valour of their brethren they were vindicated, and the victory recovered with honour. Lot, and his family living in Sodom, was taken prisoner, by Chedarlaomer and his confederates, Gen. 14.12, but Abraham hearing of it, armed his trained servants, and pursued them to Dan, and rescued him, verses 14-19. Thereby justifying that rebellion of the cities of the plain, by taking part and vindicating the rebels. Hence, he that may rescue subjects from the violence of any tyrannizing domination by arms, may also rise with these subjects to oppose that violence; but here is an example of that in Abraham:—therefore,—————.

2. After the Lord’s people were possessed of Canaan, and forgetting the Lord, did enter into affinity with these interdicted nations, some of them were left to prove Israel, that the generations of the children of Israel might know to teach them war, Judges 3.1,2. And when they did evil in the sight of the Lord, he sold them into the hand of Cushan Rishathaim, king of Mesopotamia, whom they served and were subject to eight years, verse 8. But when they cried unto the Lord, their rebellion, shaking off that yoke, was successful under the conduct of Othniel, verse 10. And after a relapse unto the like defection, they became subject to Eglon king of Moab, whom they served eighteen years, verse 14, but, attempting the same remedy by arms, under the conduct of Ehud, they recovered their liberty. And after his death, falling into that sin again, which procured the like misery, they became subject to Jabin king of Canaan, who twenty years mightily oppressed them, Judges 4.1-3, but by the Lord’s commandment, under the conduct of Deborah and Barak, they rebelled and prevailed. Whence, if the Lord’s people serving a sovereign domineering power, may shake off the yoke of their subjection; then it is duty to defend themselves and resist them, for there is no other way of shaking it off; but these examples prove the former: therefore,—————. Objection. If any cavil that these were not their own kings, to whom they owed allegiance, but only invading conquerors, whom they might resist. I answer, (1.) Yet they were the sovereign powers for the time; and therefore, if royalists and loyalists grounds hold good, they ought upon no pretence whatsoever to have been resisted: and though possibly they might not be by compact their own kings, yet by conquest they were, as much as that would make them, and by their own consent, when they paid them king’s due, viz., tribute. (2.) No more are they our kings, who either intrude themselves into an arbitrary domination over us, (without any terms of a compact upon a pretence of hereditary succession) or being our covenanted kings overturn all the conditions of their compact, and degenerate into tyrants: to such we owe no allegiance, more than Israel did to these dominators. (3.) I retort that old Colewort twice boiled, who should be judge, whether they were their own lawful kings or not? For they acted as kings, and thought themselves their absolute lords, and gave themselves out to be such; and yet we find an approved rebellion against them. Mr. Gee, in his Magistrate’s Original, chapter 8, Section 4. {696} Page 268, improves these instances to the same purpose; and adds, ‘Neither (as far as my observation goes) can any immediate or extraordinary command or word for what they so did be pretended to, or pleaded from the text, for many of them, or for any, save Barak or Gideon.’

3. Yet Gideon’s example, though he had an extraordinary call, cannot be pretended as unimitable on the matter; for that was ordinary, though the call and manner was extraordinary. He, with the concurrence of a very few men, did break the yoke of subjection to Midian, Judges chapters 6 & 7, and having called his brethren out of all mount Ephraim, into a conjunction with him in the pursuit of his victory; when he demanded supply of the princes of Succoth, and of the men of Penuel, and they denied it, he served them as enemies. Whence, if a small party may with God’s approbation deliver themselves, and the whole of their community, form the bondage of their oppressing dominators whom they had served several years, and may punish their princes that do not come out to their help, in a concurrence with them, and encouragement of them in that attempt; then must it be duty to defend themselves against their oppressors that rule over them, and all ought to concur in it; or else there would not be justice in punishing them that were defective in this work; but we see the former from this example: therefore,—————. Objection. If it be said, Gideon, and the rest of the extraordinary raised judges, were magistrates, therefore they might defend and deliver their country, which a private people that are only subjects may not do. I answer, (1.) They were subject to these tyrants that oppressed them who were then the sovereign powers of that time, and yet they shook off their yoke by defensive arms. (2.) They were not then magistrates when they first appeared for their country’s defence and deliverance, neither in that did they act as such, but only as captains of rebels, in the esteem of them that had power over them. It is clear, Gideon was not ruler, till that authority was conferred upon him after the deliverance. See Judges 7.22, &c., yet he did all this before.

When his bastard Abimelech usurped the government, and was made king by the men of Shechem, at length God sending an evil spirit between him and his accomplices that set him up, not only was he resisted by the treacherous Schechemites, (which was their brand and bane in the righteous judgment of God, for their aiding him at first and killing his brethren, Judges 9.23,24, &c., but also he was opposed by others of the men of Israel, as at Thebez, where he was slain by a woman, verse 50, at the end. Whence, if an usurping tyrant, acknowledged as king by the generality, may be disowned by the godly, and threatened with God’s vengeance to consume both him and his accomplices that comply with him; and if he may be opposed and resisted, not only by those that set him up, but also by others that were in subjection to him, and at length be killed by them, without resentment of the rest of the nation; then must it be duty for a people, who had no hand in the erection of such a dominator, to defend themselves against his force; but the former is true by this example: therefore————————.

5. When Israel fell under the tyranny of Ammon, oppressing them eighteen years, they did, by resisting these supreme powers, shake off their yoke, under the conduct of Jephthah. And being challenged sharply by the men of Ephraim, who it seems claimed the prerogative of making war, and therefore came to revenge and reduce Jephthah and his company to order, casting herein belike a copy to our regular loyalists, who are very tenacious of this plea of the Ephraimites, that, at least, without the nobles of the kingdom, no war is to be made; yet we find Jephthah did not much regard it, but stoutly defended himself, and slew of them 42,000 men, by their Shibboleth, {698} Judges 12. If people then, when questioned for defending themselves, by them that claim a superiority over them, and should deliver them, may defend themselves both without them and against them; then it is a people’s duty and privilege: but the former is true by this example.

6. They were then made subject to the Philistines 46 years, whom the men of Judah acknowledged for their rulers: yet Samson, that rackle-handed saint, never ceased from pelting them upon all occasions: and when challenged for it by the men of Judah, saying, ‘Knowest thou not that the Philistines are rulers over us? What is that, that thou hast done?’ Samson objects nothing against their being rulers; but notwithstanding prosecutes his purpose of vindicating himself in defence of his country, as they did unto me, says he, so have I done unto them, Judges 15.11. Hence, If saints may avenge themselves upon them whom the country calls rulers, and when enabled by God, may do to them to defend themselves against them; but the antecedent is true by this example.

7. When Saul, in the pursuit of the Philistines, had charged the people with a foolish oath (like unto many of the ensnaring oaths that monarchs use to impose upon people) not to eat any food until the evening, Jonathan his son tasted but a little honey, and lo he must die; which Saul confirmed with another peremptory oath, God do so to him and more also, if he should not die. Whereupon the people, as resolute on the other hand to save him, resisted the rage of that ruler, and swore as peremptorily, that not one hair of his head should fall to the ground. So the people rescued Jonathan that he died not, 1 Sam. 14.44,45. Hence, If people may covenant by oath to resist the commands, and rescue a man from a tyrant’s cruelty, then it is duty to defend themselves against him: the antecedent is true here.

8. Afterwards, when the manner of the king, presaged by Samuel, was verified in Saul’s degeneration into many abuses of government, this privilege of resistance was not wholly mancipated, but maintained by David’s defensive appearance with his little army, he took Goliah’s sword, not for ornament, or only to fright Saul, but to defend himself with it, and was captain first to four hundred men, 1 Sam. 22.2, had a mind to keep out Keilah against him with six hundred men, 1 Sam. 23.13. And afterwards a great host came to him to Ziklag, while he kept himself close because of Saul the son of Kish, 1 Chron. 12.1, throughout, where they left Saul, and came and helped David against him. This is proved at length by Lex Rex. Quest. 32. p. 340.

9. The city Abel, whither Sheba the traitor had fled, did well to resist Joab the king’s general, coming to destroy a whole city for a traitor’s sake, and not offering peace to it (according to the law, Deut. 20.10) and defended themselves by gates and walls, notwithstanding he had a commission from the king, 2 Sam. 20, and after the capitulating, they are never challenged for rebellion.

10. The ten tribes revolted from the house of David, when Rehoboam claimed an absolute power, and would not acquiesce to the people’s just conditions, 1 Kings 12; 2 Chron. 10, which is before justified, Head 2. Hence, if it be lawful for a part of the people to shake off the king, refuse subjection to him, and set up a new one, when he but resolves to play the tyrant; then it must be duty to resist his violence, when he is tyrannizing; but the antecedent is clear from this example. This is vindicated at more length by Jus pop. Chapter 3. p. 52.

11. The example of Elisha the prophet is considerable, 2 Kings 6.32. "Elisha sat in his house, (and the elders sat with him) and the king sent a man before him; but ere the messenger came to him, he said to the elders, See how this son of a murderer {700} hath sent to take away mine head; look when the messenger cometh, shut the door, and hold him fast at the door: is not the sound of his master’s feet behind him?" Here was violent resistance resolved both against the man and the master, though the king of the land for the time. And this calling him the son of a murderer, and resisting him, is no more extraordinary (though it was an extraordinary man’s act) than it is for a plaintiff to libel a true crime against a wicked person, and for an oppressed man to close the door upon a murderer, Lex Rex, question 32, p. 346. Hence, if a king or his messenger coming to use unjust violence against an innocent subject, be no more to be regarded than a murderer’s emissary, but may be resisted by that innocent subject; then must a community of such innocent subjects defend themselves against a tyrant or his emissaries, coming against them on such a wicked errand; the antecedent is here clear.

12. The city Libnah revolted form under Jehoram’s tyranny, 2 Chron. 21.10. Peter Martyr on the place saith, They revolted, because he endeavoured to compel them to idolartry. This is justified above, Head 2. Hence, if it be lawful for a part of the people to revolt from a tyrannical prince, making defection from the true religion; then it is duty to defend themselves against his force: the antecedent is here plain.

13. When Athaliah usurped the monarchy, Jehoiada the priest strengthened himself, and made a covenant with the captains, &c., to put her down, and set up Joash, 2 Kings 11; 2 Chron. 23. And when she came and cried, treason, treason, they regarded it not, but commanded to kill her and all that help her. Whence, if those that are not kings may lawfully kill an usurpress, and all her helpers, then may a people resist them; but Jehoiada, though no magistrate, did it.

14. The repressing and punishing Amaziah the son of Joash is an undeniable instance, vindicated by Mr. Knox. See above, period 3. page. 54. After the time that he turned away from following the Lord, the people made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem, and he fled to Lachish, but they sent and slew him there, 2 Kings 14.19; 2 Chron. 25.27. Hence, a fortiori, if people may conspire and concur in executing judgment upon their king turning idolater and tyrant, then much more must they defend themselves against his violence.

15. The same power, of people’s resisting princes, was exemplified in Uzziah or Azariah, when he would needs be supreme in things sacred as well as civil, 2 Kings 15; 2 Chron. 26. Fourscore priests, that were valiant men, withstood him, and thrust him out of the temple, they troubled him, saith Vatablus, they expelled him, saith Ar. Mont. vid. Pool’s Synopsis, in Loc. See this vindicated by Mr. Knox. Period 3, pages 48,49 above. Hence, if private subjects may, by force, resist and hinder the king from transgressing the law, then must they resist him when forcing them to transgress the law of God.

16. After the return from the Babylonish captivity, when the Jews were setting about the work of building the temple, which they would do by themselves, and not admit of any association with malignants (upon their sinister misinformation, and sycophantic accusation, that they were building the rebellious and bad city, and would refuse to pay the king toll, tribute, and custom) they were straitly discharged [forbidden] by Artaxerxes to proceed in their work, and the inhibition was execute by force and power, Ezra 6. But by the encouragement of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, countermanding the king’s decree, they would not be hindered, the eye of their God being upon them, though Tatnai the governor of those parts, Shetharboznai, and their companions, would have boasted them from it, with the usual arguments of malignants, who hath commanded you to {702} do so and so? Ezra 5.3-5. And yet this was before the decree of Darius was obtained in their favours, Ezra 6. Hence, if people may prosecute a duty without and against a king’s command, and before an allowance by law can be obtained; then may a people resist their commands and force used to execute them: but here the antecedent is manifest.

17. When Nehemiah came to Jerusalem, and invited the Jews to build up the walls of the city, they strengthened their hands for that good work against very much opposition: and when challenged by Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Gesham the Arabian. Great king’s-men all of them, who despised and boasted them, What is this that ye do? Will ye rebel against the king? Say they. He would not plead authority, though in the general, he had the king’s warrant for it; yet he would not give them any other satisfaction, than to intimate, whether they had that or not, having the call of God to the work, they would go on in the duty, and God would prosper them against their opposition, Neh. 2.19,20. And accordingly, notwithstanding of all scoffs, and plots, and conspiracies, to hinder the building, yet they went on, and were encouraged to remember the Lord, and fight for their brethren, &c., and to build with weapons in their hands, Neh. 4, and brought it to an end, notwithstanding of all their practices to fright them from it, chapter 6. Hence, If neither challenges of rebellion, not practices of malignant enemies who pretend authority, nor any discouragements whatsoever, should deter people from a duty which they have a call and capacity from God to prosecute, and if they may promove it against all opposition by defensive arms; then, when a people are oppressed and treated as rebels, for a necessary duty, they may and must defend themselves, and maintain their duty, notwithstanding of all pretences of authority against them.

18. I shall add one instance more, which is vindicated by Jus Populi, from the history of Esther. Because Mordecai refused to do homage to a hangman, (Haman I should say) a cruel edict was procured from Ahasuerus to destroy all the Jews, written and sealed with the king’s ring, according to the laws of the Medes and Persians, becoming a law irrevocable and irreversible, Esther 3.12,13. Yet the Lord’s providence, always propitious to his people, brought it about so, that Haman being hanged, and Mordecai advanced, the Jews were called and capacitated, as well as necessitated, to resist that armed authority that decreed to massacre them, and that by the king’s own allowance, Esther 9. When his former decree drew near to be put in execution, in the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them, it was turned to the contrary, that no man could withstand them. Here they had the allowance of authority to resist authority: and this was not a gift of a new right by that grant, which they had not before; only it was corroborative of the irradical right to defend themselves, which is not the donative of princes, and which they had power to exercise and use without this, though maybe not the same capacity; for the king’s warrant could not make it lawful in point of conscience; if it had not been so before. Hence, if people may have the allowance of well advised authority, to resist the decree and force of unlawful authority; then may a people maintain right authority, in defending themselves against the injuries of pretended authority; but by this instance we see, the Jews had Ahasuerus’s allowance to resist the decree and force of his own ill advised authority, though irreversible. And hence, we see, that distinction, in this point, is not groundless, between resisting the authority of supreme powers, and the abuses of the same.

2dly, We have in the scripture both tacit and express reproofs, for lying by from this duty in the season thereof,

1. In Jacob’s swan song or prophetical testament, {704} wherein he foretells what should be the fate and future condition of each of the tribes, and what should be remarked in their carriage influencing their after lot in their generations, for which they should be commended or discommended, approved or reproved; coming to Issachar, he prophetically exprobates his future ass like stupidity, that indulging himself in his lazy ease, and lukewarm security, he should be mancipate himself and his interests into a servile subjection unto his oppressors impositions, even when he should be in a capacity to shake them off, and free himself by resistance, Gen. 49.14,15. "Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens." This is set down by the Holy Ghost, as the brand and bane, not of the person of Issachar, Jacob’s son, but of the tribe, to be inured upon them, when they should be in such a condition by their own silliness: Hence I argue, If the Holy Ghost exprobrate a people for their stupid subjection to prevailing tyranny, when they do not improve their ability, capacity, and right to maintain and defend their liberties and privileges, from all unjust invasion, then————; but the former is true here: therefore also the later.

2. In Deborah’s song after their victorious resistance, the people are severely upbraided for not concurring in that expedition, Judges 5.16,17,23. And Meroz is particularly cursed for not coming to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty. This is recorded as a resting reproof, against all that will withdraw their helping hand from the Lord’s people, when necessitate to appear in defensive arms for the preservation of their lives and liberties. On the other hand, Zebulon and Naphthali are commended for jeoparding their lives in the high places of the fields, and are approved in that practice of fighting against the king of Canaan, that then ruled over them, verses 18,19. Hence, If people be reproved and cursed for staying at home to look to their own interests, when others jeopard their lives for their country’s defence and freedom from tyranny and oppression; then this implies it is a duty to concur in so venturing; but here, Reuben, Dan, Asher, and Meroz, are reproved and cursed for staying at home, when Zebulon and Naphthali jeoparded their lives, &c. Ergo,——————.

3dly, We have in the scriptures many promises of the Lord’s approving and countenancing the duty of defensive arms, even against their oppressing rulers.

1. In that forecited testament of the patriarch Jacob, in that part of it which concerns Gad, he prophesies that tribe shall have a lot in the world answering his name, and be engaged in many conflicts with oppressing dominators, who at first should prevail over him, but at length God should so bless his endeavours, to free himself from their oppressions, that he should overcome. There is an excellent elegancy in the original, answering to the etymology of the name of Gad, which signifies a troop, reading thus in the Hebrew, Gad, a troop shall overtroop him, but he shall overtroop them at the last, Gen. 49.19. And Moses homologating the same testimony, in his blessing the tribes before his death, shows, that he should make a very forcible and successful resistance, and should execute the justice of the Lord over his oppressors, Deut. 33.20,21, Wherein is implied a promise of resistance to be made against oppressing conquerors, who should acquire the supreme rule over them for a time: and the success of that resistance for overcoming, necessarily supposes resistance. Hence, where there is a promise of success at last to a people’s conflicts against prevailing tyranny, there is implied an approbation of the duty, and also a promise of its performance wrapped up in that promise; but here is a promise, &c. Ergo——————.

2. In that threatening against tyrants, shewing how they shall be thrust away and burnt up with fire, there is couched a promise, and also an implied precept of resisting them, 2 Sam. 23.6, "The sons of Belial {706} shall be all of them as thorns thrust away—with hands fenced with iron," &c., which clearly implies resistance, and more than that, rejection and repression. Hence, If it be threatened as a curse against rulers of Belial, and promised as a blessing, that they shall be so roughly handled; then this implies a duty to resist them, who cannot be otherways taken; but here this is threatened, &c.

3. When the Lord shall have mercy on Jacob, and choose Israel, it is promised, Isa. 14.2,3, "That they shall take them captives, whose captives they were. And they shall rule over their oppressors." This necessarily implies and infers a promise of resistance against these oppressing rulers, in the time of their domineering, as well as revenge after their yoke should be broken; and something of men’s actions, as well as God’s judgment in breaking that yoke; for they could not take them captives, nor rule over them, except first they had resisted them whose captives they were: there is resisting of the supreme power, subjection whereunto was the bondage wherein they were made to serve. Hence, If it be promised, that a captivated and subjugated people shall break the yoke, and free themselves of the bondage of them that had them in subjection; then it is promised in that case, they must resist the supreme power; for such were they whose captives they were: the antecedent is here expressed.

4. There are promises that the Lord’s people, when those that rule over them are incensed against the holy covenant, and when many of their brethren that should concur with them shall be frighted from their duty by fear, or corrupted with flattery, shall be made strong to exploits, though in such enterprises they may want success for some time, "and fall by the sword and flame, and by captivity, and spoil many days," Dan. 11.30-34. Which is very near parallel to the case of the covenanted people of Scotland, their appearing in defensive exploits against their covenant-breaking rulers these many years bygone. This was very eminently fulfilled in the history of the Maccabees, before rehearsed. Hence, If it be promised, that a people shall be strong to do exploits, in resisting the arms of their rulers opposing their covenant, and overturning their religion and liberties; then it must be approven that such resistance is lawful, even though it want success; but this is here promised. To the same purpose it is promised, that after the Lord’s people have been long kept as prisoners under the bondage of oppressing rulers, they shall by a vigorous resistance, be saved from their tyranny, Zech. 9.13-17, "When the Lord shall bend Judah for him, and raise up Zion’s sons against the sons of Greece."—So it was in their resistances and victories against the successors of Alexander, who had the rule over them for a time. And so it may be again, when the Lord shall so bend his people for him. Hence, If the Lord promises to fit and spirit his people for action against their oppressing rulers, and to crown their achievements, when so fitted and spirited, with glorious success; then it is their duty, and also their honour to resist them; but here that is plainly promised.

5. There are promises of the Lord’s making use of his people, and strengthening them to break in pieces the power of his and their enemies, and his defending, and maintaining them against all their power and projects, when they think most to prevail over them. As is promised in the threatened catastrophe of the Babylonian usurpation, Jer. 51.20-24,—"Thou art (says he to Israel, of whom he speaks as the rod of his inheritance in the preceding verse) my battle ax and weapons of war, and with thee will I break in pieces," &c. Whensoever this hath been, or shall be accomplished, (as it may relate to the vengeance to be execute upon the New Testament Babylon) it clearly implies their breaking in pieces powers that were supreme over them. Hence, If the Lord {708} will make use of his people’s vindictive arms against Babylon ruling over them, then he will justify their defensive arms against Babylon oppressing them. Here it is promised, &c. So Micah 4.11, to the end. Many nations shall be gathered to defile and look upon Zion, and then the Lord shall give an allowance and commission to his people to arise and thresh, &c. What time the accomplishment of this is referred to, is not my concern to enquire: it seems to look to the New Testament times, wherein the Lord’s people shall be first in great straits, and then enlarged; but to restrict it to the spiritual conquest over the nations by the ministry of the word, (though I will not deny but that may be included) seems too great a straitening of the scope, and not so apposite to the expressions, which certainly seem to import some forcible action of men, and more than the peaceable propagation of the gospel. It is usually referred to the latter days of that dispensation, when both the Jewish and Gentile Zion shall be totally and finally delivered from Babylon, or antichristian tyranny; before, or about which period, the enemies of Christ and of his people shall attempt their utmost power to destroy the church, groaning under their bondage; but when they are all well mustered in a general rendezvous, the Lord’s people shall have a gallant game at the chase. But whensoever the time be of fulfilling the promise, it ensures to the people of God the success of their defensive arms against them that pretended a domination over them. And it looks to a time, when they should have no rulers of their own, but them under whose subjection they had been long groaning, and now brought to a very low pass; yet here they should not only resist, but thresh them. Hence, If in the latter days the people of God are to be honoured, and acted forth with such a spirit and capacity to thresh and beat down these powers under which they have been long groaning; then, when the Lord puts them in such capacity to attempt it, they should be ambitious of such an honour; but here it is promised, &c.

The same may be inferred from the prophet’s vision, Zech. 1.19,20. He sees four carpenters resisting the four horns; the horns scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head; but the carpenters came to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah. These horns had the supreme power over Judah for a time, while they were in no capacity to resist them; but as soon as the Lord furnishes them with capacity and instruments empowered to resist them, they do it effectually. The carpenters are certainly the Lord’s people themselves; for here they are opposite to the Gentiles, which all were except the Lord’s people. Hence, if the Lord promises, when reconciled to his people, to furnish them with instruments to fray and scatter the power of tyrants, who have long borne down their head; then when they are so furnished, they may resist them: but the Lord here promises that, &c. This is more plainly promised also, Zech. 10.5. &c. "Then they shall be as mighty men which shall tread down their enemies,—And the pride of Assyria shall be brought down"—Hence, if the Lord, when he shall have mercy on his people, will bless their resistance so, as to bring down the pride and sceptre of them that had the power over them; then, in hope of such a blessing, they may attempt such a duty, when the call is clear.

Fourthly, We have also precepts, from whence we may consequentially conclude the approven duty of defensive arms against oppressing rulers.

1. The children of Israel are commanded to vex the Midianites, and smite them, for saith the Lord, they vex you with their wiles, Numb. 25.17,18. And to avenge themselves, Numb. 30.2. Which did not only oblige the people, when they had Moses for their magistrate to lead them forth; but in the {710} days of Gideon, when they were under their rule whom they were to avenge themselves upon. Hence, if people must vex their enemies, and avenge themselves of them, by war offensive, when ensnared by their craftiness; much more may they resist them by a war defensive, when invaded by their cruelty.

2. There is a command to punish every city or party making apostacy unto idolatry, Deut. 13.12,15. Upon this moral ground was Israel’s war against Benjamin, Judges 20. And their bringing Amaziah unto condign punishment; which is vindicated by Mr. Knox, See above Period. 3. pages 52,53. Hence, if People are to bring to condign punishment idolatrous apostates seeking to entice them; then much more ought they to resist such tyrants seeking to enforce them to such apostacy.

3. There is a precept, not only to defend, but also to rescue and deliver our brethren when in hazard, Prov. 24.11,12. We must not forbear to deliver them, when drawn to death: which will at least infer the duty of assisting them when forced to defend themselves; for, if it be a duty to rescue them from any prevailing power that would take their lives unjustly, much more is it duty to defend them and ourselves both against their murdering violence; but it is duty to rescue them, &c.

4. All that would learn to do well, are commanded, Isa. 1.17, to relieve the oppressed; which is not spoken to magistrates only, many of whom were the oppressors, the princes were rebellious, and companions of thieves, verse 23. So also, Isa. 58.6, It is required of a people that would be accepted of God in their humiliations; to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke. Hence, if it be duty to relieve the oppressed by breaking the yoke of them that oppress them; then it is duty to defend them and ourselves both against them that would oppress us more; but the former is here commanded: Therefore, &c.

5. There is a command for a spoiled oppressed people, when the Lord is reconciled to them, and sympathizes with them, to deliver themselves from their rulers servitude, Zech. 2.7, ‘Deliver thyself O Zion, which dwellest with the daughter of Babylon.’ Which comprehends all the ordinary active means of people’s delivering themselves, from oppressing powers that rule over them: and consequently defensive resistance; for it cannot only be restricted to flight included (verse 6.) the promise annexed (verse 9.) imports more, when they that spoiled them shall be a spoil to their servants: whereby it is insinuated, they were so to deliver themselves, as not only to free themselves from their servitude, but to bring their masters under subjection. Hence, if the Lord’s people, being subject to tyrants ruling over them for the time, may deliver themselves from their oppressing masters, then may they resist them, and defend themselves: The antecedent is express here in the command.

6. There is a command given by Christ to his disciples, to provide themselves with defensive weapons, necessary for their defence against them that would pursue after their lives; as well as with other things necessary for their sustenance, Luke 22.36—‘Now he that hath a purse let him take it, and likewise his scrip, and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.’ Before, when he had sent them out upon an extraordinary commission, as it were to serve their apprenticeship in the work of the gospel, he did not allow them such solicitous care to provide themselves, because he would give them a proof of his sufficiency to sustain and protect them, without the ordinary means of their own diligence. But now when he was about to withdraw his bodily presence from them, and would warn them of the discouragements they were to expect in the prosecutions of their more continued work, which they had a commission for not to be retracted, he would not have them to expect {712} provision and protection by a course of miracles, but to provide themselves with means for their sustenance, and also for their defence against the violence of men; which chiefly was to be expected from their rulers, who would persecute them under the notion of transgressors of the laws of their kingdoms and countries. He was not indeed to make much use of them, at that time, for himself; who was then to finish the work of redemption by suffering: only, that what was written might be accomplished in him, he would make so much use of them, as voluntarily to be involved under the censure and reproach of rebellion, being taken among men in arms, that he might be reckoned among transgressors, verse 37. Therefore, when they told him, they had two swords, he said, ‘It is enough,’ verse 38. I need not stand upon that impertinency of a conceit, that these were spiritual swords; which deserve no confutation, being fitter to be put among quakers delirious distractions, than to be numbered among the notions of men of understanding: for then the purse and the scrip must be spiritual too; and these spiritual things must be bought by selling of garments; and yet they would be such spiritual tools, as would a sharp edge for cutting off of carnal ears, and such as would be both visible and sensible; and two of them would be enough. They were then ordinary material swords, which the Lord commands his followers to provide themselves with for their defence as men, in cases of necessity, and, when they should be in a capacity to improve them against their murdering persecutors, against whom he gives this royal grant of resistance; that the world may know his subjects, though they have more privileges spiritual, yet they have no less human privileges than other men: albeit, at that period of his determined suffering, he would not allow the present use of them. Hence, if the Lord’s people should provide themselves with arms of defence, though they should be reputed transgressors for so doing; then may they use these arms of defence against them that persecute them under that notion; but the antecedent is clear: Therefore, &c.

Fifthly, We may infer the same truth from some of the prayers of the saints, wherein they glory in the confident expectation of the Lord’s strengthening them, and favouring and approving their helpers, and in the experience of the Lord’s assisting them, while in the mean time constitute in a formed appearance of resistance. I shall only hint these:

1. In that prayer, Psalm 44.5, They glory, in hope, that through the Lord they will push down their enemies, &c., yet now they were under the power of tyrannizing dominators which they were resisting: for, verse 9, they complain they were put to shame, because the Lord went not forth with their armies, and they which hated them spoiled them,—And for his sake were killed all day long: hence, they plead, That the Lord would awake,—and not forget their affliction and oppression. Whereby it is evident they were under the yoke of tyrannizing powers, and resisting according to their might. Which, by whomsoever, or upon what occasion soever the Psalm was compiled, shews, that no want of success in resisting tyrants, can mar the saints faith in pleading for the Lord’s assistance and approbation of the duty. Hence, they that, in faith, may pray for, and boast of their treading down their tyrannizing powers that rise up against them, may also, in faith, attempt the resisting of them in their own defence; but here the Lord’s people did the former.

2. We find David under Saul’s persecution, while he had a party of 600 men to defend himself against his rage, in the psalms which he composed upon that occasion, not only complaining of oppressors, but encouraging himself in the faith that God would be with them that assisted him, in his essay of defending himself, and imprecating destruction to Saul and his {714} accomplices; that the Lord would cut them off in his truth, and let him see his desire upon them, Psalm 54.4,5, last verse. And Psalm 57.4. And Psalm 57, throughout. And Psalm 140.7,9. He imprecates against the head of them that compassed him about, and consequently against Saul. Whence I argue, (1.) If the Lord’s people, conflicting with, and encompassed with oppressing rulers as so many lions and dogs, may pray and praise for the help of those that assist them, in their endeavours of self-preservation from them; then may they make use of their help for their defence, for which they pray and praise; but here we see the Lord’s people did the former: Therefore they may do the latter. (2.) If we may pray against kings, and for preservation from them; then may we defend ourselves against them, and endeavour the means of that preservation for which we pray. The connexion is before cleared; yet here I add: That which will give a dispensation from our duty of praying for them, will also dispense from the duty of being passively subject to their will; and consequently will allow defending ourselves from their violence; but here we see tyranny and treachery, and designed mischief, will give a dispensation from our duty of praying for them, though that be duty as indispensable as subjection. Again, if any thing demur us from resisting of princes, it must be respect to their majesty, and the character of the Lord’s anointing upon them; but we see, no respect to that will demur a believer from praying in faith against them: therefore no such respect will hinder, but that he may defend himself against his violence. And indeed, if we consider it right, if the impression of any majesty God hath put upon princes, should bind up our hands from any resistance, it will restrain from prayer resistance: for, if that impression have any force at any time, it must be when a man is most solemnly stated before God, and speaking to God as a Christian, rather than when he is acting as a man with a man like himself: and as prayer resistance is the more formidable and forcible resistance than any other (as this Saul and many other kings, have found by their woeful experience) so it is more restricted than other resistance; for we may defend ourselves against many whom we must not pray against, to wit, our private enemies, for whom we are commanded to pray: yet nobody will deny but we may resist their violence: and likewise, we are commanded to pray for kings, when invested with God’s authority; but when their degeneration looses us from that obligation to pray for them, and allows us to pray against them when they turn enemies to God (as wee see in the prayers of the psalmist) then also we may more warrantably resist them by defensive arms.

3. Among the hallelujahs, in the end of psalms, there is one calculated for the prevailing time of the church, when the Lord shall take pleasure in his people. In that time of the saints’ being joyful in glory, when they may glory in the rest and security the Lord will vouchsafe upon them, they are prophetically and very pathetically excited to praise prayer-ways, Psalm 149.6, to the end. "Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand—to bind their kings with chains—to execute upon them the judgment written; this honour have all the saints, hallelujah," This was their praise and honour, when they were brought in to execute vengeance upon the kings and nobles of Canaan. This also, in David’s time, was the ambition, and also the attainment of the saints, in their triumphant victories over many of their oppressors round about them. But it looks to a further and more famous execution of vengeance upon the tyrants of the earth, when they shall have long kept under the church of God, and at length the Lord shall give his people a capacity to break their yoke: which, whenever it shall be, shall be their honour. Hence, if it is the honour of the saints, when the {716} Lord puts them in capacity, to execute vengeance upon their enemies, though they be kings that oppress them; then it may be their ambition to seek it, at least they may resist them. Thus from several scripture practices, reproofs, promises, precepts, and prayers, this truth may be proven. From which scriptures, though other precious truths are more natively deduced, yet this truth by unstrained and unconstrained consequence may be also clearly inferred.