Whether or not government be warranted by the law of
As domestic society is by nature's instance, so is civil society natural
in radice, in the root, and voluntary in modo, in the manner of
coalescing. Politic power of government agreeth not to man, singly as one man,
except in that root of reasonable nature; but supposing that men be combined in
societies or that one family cannot contain a society, it is natural that they
join in a civil society, though the manner of union in a politic body, as
Bodine saith, be voluntary, Gen. x. 10; xv. 7;
and Suarez saith, That a power of making laws
is given by God as a property flowing from nature, Qui dat formam, dat
consequentia ad formam; not by any special action or grant, different from
creation, nor will he have it to result from nature, while men be united into
one politic body: which union being made, that power followeth without any new
action of the will.
We are to distinguish betwixt a power of government, and a power of
government by magistracy. That we defend ourselves from violence by violence is
a consequent of unbroken and sinless nature; but that we defend ourselves by
devolving our power over in the hands of one or more rulers seemeth rather
positively moral than natural, except that it is natural for the child to
expect help against violence from his father: for which cause I judge that
learned senator Ferdinandus Vasquius said well,
That princedom, empire, kingdom, or jurisdiction hath its rise from a positive
and secondary law of nations, and not from the law of pure nature. 1st, The law
saith there is no law of nature agreeing to all
living creatures for superiority; for by no reason in nature hath a boar
dominion over a boar, a lion over a lion, a dragon over a dragon, a bull over a
bull: and if all men be born equally free, as I hope to prove, there is no
reason in nature why one man should be king and lord over another; therefore
while I be otherwise taught by the aforeside Prelate Maxwell, I conceive all
jurisdiction of man over man to be as it were artificial and positive, and that
it inferreth some servitude whereof nature from the womb hath freed us, if you
except that subjection of children to parents, and the wife to the husband; and
the law saith, De jure gentium secundarius
est omnis principatus. 2nd, This also the Scripture proveth, while as the
exalting of Saul or David above their brethren to be kings and captains of the
Lord's people, is ascribed not to nature (for king and beggar spring of one
clay), but to an act of divine bounty and grace above nature, 1 Sam. xiii.
13; Ps. lxxviii. 70, 71.
1. There is no cause why royalists should deny government to be natural,
but to be altogether from God, and that the kingly power is immediately and
only from God, because it is not natural to us to be subject to government, but
against nature for us to resign our liberty to a king, or any ruler or rulers;
for this is much for us, and proveth not but government is natural; it
concludeth that a power of government tali modo, by magistracy, is not
natural; but this is but a sophism, a kata/ ti
ad illud quod est dictum a0plw~j, this
special of government, by resignation of our liberty, is not natural,
therefore, power of government is not natural; it followeth not, a negatione
specici non sequitur negatio generis, non est homo, ergo non est animal,
And by the same reason I may, by an antecedent will, agree to a magistrate and
a law, that I may be ruled in a politic society, and by a consequent will only,
yea, and conditionally only, agree to the penalty and punishment of the law;
and it is most true no man, by the instinct of nature, giveth consent to penal
laws as penal, for nature doth not teach a man, nor incline his spirit to yield
that his life shall be taken away by the sword, and his blood shed, except on
this remote ground: a man hath a disposition that a vein be cut by the
physician, or a member of his body cut off, rather than the whole body and life
perish by some contagious disease; but here reason in cold blood, not a natural
disposition, is the nearest prevalent cause and disposer of the business. When,
therefore, a community, by the instinct and guidance of nature, incline to
government, and to defend themselves from violence, they do not, by that
instinct, formally agree to government by magistrates; and when a natural
conscience giveth a deliberate consent to good laws, as to this, “Who so
sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed,” Gen. ix. 6, he doth
tacitly consent that his own blood shall be shed; but this he consenteth unto
consequently, tacitly, and conditionally, — if he shall do violence to the
life of his brother: yet so as this consent proceedeth not from a disposition
every way purely natural. I grant reason may be necessitated to assent to the
conclusion, being, as it were, forced by the prevalent power of the evidence of
an insuperable and invincible light in the premises, yet, from natural
affections, there resulteth an act of self-love for self-preservation. So David
shall condemn another rich man, who hath many lambs, and robbeth his poor
brother of his one lamb, and yet not condemn himself, though he be most deep in
that fault, 1 Sam. xii. 5, 6; yet all this doth not hinder, but
government, even by rulers, hath its ground in a secondary law of nature, which
lawyers call secundario jus naturale, or jus gentium secundarium,
a secondary law of nature, which is granted by Plato, and denied by none of
sound judgment in a sound sense, and that is this, Licet vim
virepellere, It is lawful to repel violence by violence; and this is a
special act of the magistrate.
2. But there is no reason why we may not defend by good reasons that
political societies, rulers, cities, and incorporations, have their rise, and
spring from the secondary law of nature, 1st, Because by nature's law
family-government hath its warrant: and Adam, though there had never been any
positive law, had a power of governing his own family, and punishing
malefactors; but as Tannerus saith well, and as
I shall prove, God willing, this was not properly a royal or monarchical power;
and I judge by the reasoning of Sotus,
Molina, and Victoria. By what reason a family hath a power of
government, and of punishing malefactors, that same power must be in a society
of men, supposing that society were not made up of families, but of single
persons; for the power of punishing ill-doers doth not reside in one single man
of a family, or in them all, as they are single private persons, but as they
are in a family. But this argument holdeth not but by proportion; for paternal
government, or a fatherly power of parents over their families, and a politic
power of a magistrate over many families, are powers different in nature,
— the one being warranted by nature's law even in its species, the other
being, in its specie and kind, warranted by a positive law, and, in the general
only, warranted by a law of nature. 2nd, If we once lay the supposition, that
God hath immediately by the law of nature appointed there should be a
government, and mediately defined by the dictate of natural light in a
community, that there shall be one or many rulers to govern a community, then
the Scripture's arguments may well be drawn out of the school of nature: as
(1.) The powers that be, are of God (Rom. xiii.), therefore nature's light
teacheth that we should be subject to these powers. (2.) It is against nature's
light to resist the ordinance of God. (3.) Not to fear him to whom God hath
committed the sword for the terror of evil-doers. (4.) Not to honour the public
rewarder of well-doing. (5.) Not to pay tribute to him for his work. Therefore
I see not but Govarruvias, Soto, and Suarez,
have rightly said, that power of government is immediately from God, and this
or that definite power is mediately from God, proceeding from God by the
mediation of the consent of a community, which resigneth their power to one or
more rulers; and to me, Barclaius saith the same, Quamvis populus potentice largitor
 Bodin, de rep. lib. 1, c. 6.
 Suarez, tom. 1, de legib. lib. 3, c.
 Vasquez illust. quæst. lib. 1, c.
41, num. 28, 29.
 Ib. lib. 2, in princ. F. de inst. et
jur. et in princ. Inst. Cod. tit. c. jus . nat. 1. disp.
 Dominium est jus quoddam. lib. fin. ad
med. C. de long. temp. prest. 1, qui usum fert.
 Ad Tannerus, m. 12. tom. 2, disp. 5. de
peccatis, q. 5. dub. 1. num. 22.
 Sotis, 4. de justit. q. 4, art. 1.
 Lod. Molina. tom. 1 de just. disp.
 Victoria in relect. de potest civil. q.
4, irt. 1.
 Govarruvias, tr. 2. pract. quest. 1. n.
2, 3, 4.
 Soto, loc. ett.
 Suarez de Reg. lib. 3, c. 4, n. 1,
 Barclaius con. Monarchoma, l. 3, c.
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