Whether government be warranted by a divine
I reduce all that I am to speak of the power of kings, to the author or
efficient, — the matter or subject, — the form or power, — the
end and fruit of their government, — and to some cases of resistance.
The question is either of government in general, or of particular
species of government, such as government by one only, called monarchy, the
government by some chief leading men, named aristocracy, the government by the
people, going under the name of democracy. We cannot but put difference betwixt
the institution of the office, viz. government, and the designation of person
or persons to the office. What is warranted by the direction of nature's light
is warranted by the law of nature, and consequently by a divine law; for who
can deny the law of nature to be a divine law?
That power of government in general must be from God, I make good, 1st,
Because (Rom. xiii. 1) “there is no power but of God; the powers that be
are ordained of God.”2nd, God commandeth obedience, and so subjection of
conscience to powers; Rom. xiii. 5, “Wherefore ye must needs be subject,
not only for wrath, (or civil punishment) but also for conscience sake;” 1
Pet. ii. 13, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man, for the Lord's
sake, whether it be to the king as supreme,” &c. Now God only by a
divine law can lay a band of subjection on the conscience, tying men to guilt
and punishment if they transgress.
Conclus. All civil power is immediately from God in its root; in
that, 1st, God hath made man a social creature, and one who inclineth to be
governed by man, then certainly he must have put this power in man's nature; so
are we, by good reason, taught by Aristotle.
2nd, God and nature intendeth the policy and peace of mankind, then must God
and nature have given to mankind a power to compass this end; and this must be
a power of government. I see not, then, why John Prelate, Mr. Maxwell, the
excommunicated prelate of Ross, who speaketh in the name of J. Armagh, had reason to say, That he feared that we fancied
that the government of superiors was only for the more perfect, but had no
authority over or above the perfect, nec lex, nec rex, justo posita. He
might have imputed this to the Brazillians, who teach that every single man
hath the power of the sword to revenge his own injuries, as Molina saith.
 Aristot. Polit. lib. 1, c. 2.
 Sacro Sanc. Reg. Majestus, c. 1, p.
 Molina, tom. 1, de justit. disp.
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