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is the minister of God to thee for good b;" and by St. Peter in these : “ Governors are sent by him for the punishment of evil-doers, and for the praise of them that do well i.” And he that ever felt, or saw, or can understand, the miseries of confusion in public affairs, or amazement in a heap of sad, tumultuous, and indefinite thoughts, may, from thence, judge of the admirable effects of order, and the beauty of government. What health is to the body, and peace is to the spirit, that is government to the societies of men; the greatest blessing which they can receive in that temporal capacity.
5. No man shall ever be fit to govern others, that knows not first how to obey. For if the spirit of a subject be rebellious, in a prince it will be tyrannical and intolerable : and of so ill example, that as it will encourage the disobedience of others, so it will render it unreasonable for him to exact of others what in the like case he refused to pay.
6. There is no sin in the world, which God hath punished with so great severity and high detestation, as this of disobedience. For the crime of idolatry God sent the sword amongst his people ; but it was never heard that the earth opened and swallowed up any but rebels against their prince.
7. Obedience is better than the particular actions of religion; and he serves God better, that follows his prince in lawful services, than he that refuses his command upon pretence he must go say his prayers. But rebellion is compared to that sin, which of all sin seems the most unnatural and damned impiety,—“ Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.”
8. Obedience is a complicated act of virtue, and many graces are exercised in one act of obedience. It is an act of humility, of mortification and self-denial, of charity to God, of care of the public, of order and charity to ourselves' and all our society, and a great instance of a victory over the most refractory and unruly passions.
9. To be a subject is a greater temporal felicity, than to be a king : for all eminent governments according to their height have a great burden, huge care, infinite business", little rest, innumerable fears; and all that he enjoys above another is, that he does enjoy the things of the world with h Rom. xiii. 4.
i 1 Pet. ii. 14.
other circumstances, and a bigger noise ; and if others go at his single command, it is also certain, he must suffer inconvenience at the needs and disturbances of all his people : and the evils of one man and of one family are not enough for him to bear, unless also he be almost crushed with the evils of mankind. He therefore is an ungrateful person, that will press the scales down with a voluntary load, and, by disobedience, put more thorns into the crown or mitre of his superior. Much better is the advice of St. Paul; “ Obey them that have the rule over you, as they that must give an account for your souls; that they may do it with joy and not with grief: for (besides that it is unpleasant to them) it is unprofitable for you.”
10. The angels are ministering spirits, and perpetually execute the will and commandment of God: and all the wise men and all the good men of the world are obedient to their governors; and the eternal Son of God esteemed it his “ meat and drink to do the will of his Father," and for his obedience alone obtained the greatest glory : and no man ever came to perfection, but by obedience : and thousands of saints have chosen such institutions and manners of living, in which they might not choose their own work, nor follow their own will, nor please themselves, but be accountable to others, and subject to discipline, and obedient to command; as knowing this to be the highway of the cross, the way that the King of sufferings and humility did choose, and so became the king of glory.
11. No man ever perished, who followed first the will of God, and then the will of his superiors : but thousands have been damned merely for following their own will, and relying upon their own judgments, and choosing their own work, and doing their own fancies. For if we begin with ourselves, whatsoever seems good in our eyes, is most commonly displeasing in the eyes of God.
12. The sin of rebellion, though it be a spiritual sin, and imitable by devils, yet it is of that disorder, unreasonableness, and impossibility, amongst intelligent spirits, that they never murmured or mutinied in their lower stations against their superiors. Nay, the good angels of an inferior order durst not revile a devil of a higher order. This consideration, which I reckon to be most pressing in the discourses of reason, and obliging next to the necessity of a divine precept, we learn from St. Jude, viii. 9, “ Likewise also these filthy dreamers despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. And yet Michael the archangel, when, contending with the devil, he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation.”
But because our superiors rule by their example, by their word or law, and by the rod, therefore in proportion there are several degrees and parts of obedience, of several excellencies and degrees towards perfection.
Degrees of Obedience. 1. The first is the obedience of our outward work : and this is all that human laws of themselves regard ; for because man cannot judge the heart, therefore it prescribes nothing to it: the public end is served, not by good wishes, but by real and actual performances; and, if a man obeys against his will, he is not punishable by the laws.
2. The obedience of the will: and this is also necessary in our obedience to human laws, not because man requires it for himself, but because God commands it towards man; and of it, although man cannot, yet God will demand an account. For we are to do it as to the Lord, and not to men; and therefore we must do it willingly. But by this means our obedience in private is secured against secret arts and subterfuges : and when we can avoid the punishment, yet we shall not decline our duty, but serve man for God's sake, that is, cheerfully, promptly, vigorously; for these are the proper parts of willingness and choice.
3. The understanding must yield obedience in general, though not in the particular instance; that is, we must be firmly persuaded of the excellency of the obedience, though we be not bound, in all cases, to think the particular law to be most prudent. But, in this, our rule is plain enough. Our understanding ought to be inquisitive, whether the civil constitution agree with our duty to God; but we are bound to inquire no further : and therefore beyond this, although he who, having no obligation to it (as counsellors have), inquires not at all into the wisdom or reasonableness of the law, be not always the wisest man; yet he is ever the best subject. For when he hath given up his understanding to his
prince and prelate, provided that his duty to God be secured by a precedent search, he hath also with the best and with all the instruments in the world, secured his obedience to man.
SECTION II. Of Provision, or that Part of Justice which is due from Supe
riors to Inferiors. As God hath imprinted his authority in several parts upon several estates of men, as princes, parents, spiritual guides; so he hath also delegated and committed parts of his care and providence unto them, that they may be instrumental in the conveying such blessings, which God knows we need, and which he intends should be the effects of government. For since God governs all the world as a king, provides for us as a father, and is the great guide and conductor of our spirits as the head of the church, and the great shepherd and bishop of our souls, they, who have portions of these dignities, have also their share of the administration : the sum of all which is usually signified in these two words, governing and feeding, and is particularly recited in these following rules.
Duties of Kings, and all the Supreme Power, as Lawgivers.
1. Princes of the people, and all that have legislative power, must provide useful and good laws for the defence of
property, for the encouragement of labour, for the safeguard · of their persons, for determining controversies, for reward of noble actions and excellent arts and rare inventions, for promoting trade, and enriching their people.
2. In the making laws, princes must have regard to the public dispositions, to the affections and disaffections of the people, and must not introduce a law with public scandal and displeasure ; but consider the public benefit, and the present capacity of affairs, and general inclinations of men's minds'. For he, that enforces a law upon a people against
Omittenda potiùs prævalida et adulta vitia, quàm hoc adsequi, ut palàm fiat, quibus flagitiis impares simus.- Tacit.
their first and public apprehensions, tempts them to disobedience, and makes laws to become snares and hooks to catch the people, and to enrich the treasury with the spoil and tears and curses of the commonalty, and to multiply their mutiny and their sin.
3. Princes must provide, that the laws be duly executed : for a good law, without execution, is like an unperformed promise : and therefore they must be severe exactors of accounts from their delegates and ministers of justice.
4. The severity of laws must be tempered with dispensations, pardons, and remissions, according as the case shall alter, and new necessities be introduced, or some singular accident shall happen, in which the law would be unreasonable or intolerable, as to that particularm. And thus the people, with their importunity, prevailed against Saul in the case of Jonathan, and obtained his pardon for breaking the law, which his father made, because his necessity forced him to taste honey; and his breaking the law, in that case, did promote that service, whose promotion was intended by the law. . 5. Princes must be fathers of the people, and provide such instances of gentleness, ease, wealth, and advantages, as may make mutual confidence between them; and must fix their security under God in the love of the people ; which therefore they must, with all arts of sweetness, remission, popularity, nobleness, and sincerity, endeavour to secure to themselves.
6. Princes must not multiply public oaths without great, eminent, and violent necessity; lest the security of the king become a snare to the people, and they become false, when they see themselves suspected; or impatient, when they are violently held fast : but the greater and more useful caution is upon things than upon persons; and if security of kings can be obtained otherwise, it is better that oaths should be the last refuge, and when nothing else can be sufficient.
7. Let not the people be tempted with arguments to disobey, by the imposition of great and unnecessary taxes : for that lost to the son of Solomon the dominion of the ten tribes of Israel
8. Princes must, in a special manner, be guardians of m Euiwuá lưuy iữasveggaea vs Leow, 5 kAAxíu àià và %95A60.JEth. 5. c. 10. n L'avaritia de re, peste de regni.