Whether or no the sufferings of the martyrs in the
primitive church militate against the lawfulness of defensive wars.
Obj. 1. — Royalists think they burden our cause much with
hatred, when they bring the fathers and ancient martyrs against us; so the P.
Prelate (p. 74-76,) extracted out of other authors testimonies for this, and
from I. Armagh, in a sermon on Rom. xiii. (p. 20, 21); so the doctors of
Aberdeen. The Prelate proveth from Clem. Alexand. (l. 7, c. 17) that the king
is constituted by the Lord; so Ignatius.
Ans. 1. — Except he prove from these fathers that the king
is from God only and immediately, he proveth nothing.
Obj. 2. — Iren. (l. 5, adv. hær. c. 20). —
proveth that God giveth kingdoms, and that the devil lied, Luke iv.; and we
make the people to make kings, and so to be the children of the devil.
Ans. — If we denied God to dispose of kingdoms, this man
might allege the church of God in England and Scotland to be the sons of Satan;
but God's word, in Deut. xvii. 18, and many other places, makes the people to
make kings, and yet not devils. But to say that prelates should crown kings,
and with their foul fingers anoint him, and that as the Pope's substitute, is
to make him that is the son of perdition a donor of kingdoms; also to make a
man, with his bloody sword, to ascend to a throne, is to deny God to be the
disposer of kingdoms; and prelates teach both these.
Obj. 3. — Tertul. (Apol. c. 30). — Inde est
imperator, unde et homo, antequam imperator, inde potestas illi, unde et
spiritus, God is no less the creator of sovereignty than of the soul of
Ans. — God only maketh kings by his absolute sovereignty, as
he only maketh high and low, and so only he maketh mayors, provosts, bailiffs,
for there is no power but of him, (Rom xiii.,) therefore provosts and bailiffs
are not from men. The reader shall not be troubled with the rest of the
testimonies of this poor plagiary, for they prove what never man denied but
prelates and royalists, to wit, that kings are not from God's approving and
regulating will, which they oppose, when they say, Sole conquest is a just
title to the crown.
But they deserve rather an answer which Grotius, Barclay,
Arnisæus, and Spalato, allege, as, —
Obj. 1 — Cyprian (epist. 1). — Non est fas
Christianis, armis, ac vi tueri se adversus impetum persecutorum.
Christians cannot, by violence, defend themselves against persecutors.
Ans. — If these words be pressed literally, it were not
lawful to defend ourselves against murderers; but Cyprian is expressly
condemning in that place the seditious tumults of people against the lawful
Obj. 2. — The ancients say he was justly punished who did
rend and tear the edict of Dioclesian and Maximinus (Euseb. l. 7,
Hist. Eccles. c. 5).
Ans. — To rend an edict is no act of natural self-defence,
but a breach of a positive commandment of the emperor's, and could not be
lawfully done, especially by a private man.
Obj. 3. — Cyprian (epist. 56) Incumbamus gemitibus
assiduis et deprecationibus crebris, hæc enim sunt munimenta spiritualia
et tela divina quæ protegunt; and Ruffinus, (1. 2, c. 6,)
Ambrosius adversus reginæ (Justinæ Arinæ) furorem non
se manu defensabat aut telo, sed jejuniis continuatisque vigiliis sub altari
Ans. — It is true, Cyprian reputed prayers his armour, but
not his only armour. Though Ambrose, de facto, used no other against
Justina, the places say nothing against the lawfulness of self-defence. Ambrose
speaketh of that armour and these means of defence that are proper to pastors,
and these are prayers and tears, not the sword; because pastors carry the ark,
that is their charge, not the sword, that is the magistrate's place.
Obj. 4. — Tertullian (apolog. c. 37) saith expressly, that
the Christians might, for strength and number, have defended themselves against
their persecutors, but thought it unlawful. Quando vel una nox pauculis
faculis largitatem ultionis poss et operari, si malum malo dispungi penes nos
liceret, sed absit ut igni humano vindicetur divina secta, aut doleat pati, in
quo probetur. Si enim hostes extraneos, non tantum vindices occultos agere
vellemus, deesset nobis vis numerorum et copiarum?
Ans. — I will not go about to say that Tertullian thought it
lawful to raise arms against the emperor: I ingenuously confess Tertullian was
in that error. But, 1. something of the man; 2. Of the Christians. 1. Of the
man — Tertullian after this turned a Montanist. 2. Pamelius saith of him,
in vit. Tertul. inter Apocrypha numeratur — excommunicatus.
3. It was Tertullian's error in a fact, not in a question, that he believed
Christians were so numerous as that they might have fought with the emperors.
4. M. Pryn doth judiciously observe, (part 3, Sovereign Power of Parl. p. 139,
140,) he not only thought it unlawful to resist, but also to flee, and
therefore wrote a book de fuga; and therefore as some men are excessive
in doing for Christ, so also in suffering for Christ. Hence I infer, that
Tertullian is neither ours nor theirs in this point; and we can cite Tertullian
against them also, Jam sumus ergo pares; yea, Fox, in his Monum., saith,
"Christians ran to the stakes to be burnt, when they were neither condemned nor
cited." 5. What if we cite Theodoret, (fol. 98. De provid.) "Who, about
that time, say that evil men reign a0rxome/nwn
a0nandri/a, through the cowardliness of the subjects;" as the Prelate
saith of Tertullian, I turn it, If Theodoret were now living he would go for a
rebel. 1. About that time Christians sought help from Constantine the Great
against Lycinius their emperor, and overthrew him in battle; and the
Christians, being oppressed by the king of Persia their own king, sent to
Theodosius to help them against him. 2. For the man, Tertullian, in the place
cited, saith, "The Christians were strangers under the emperor," externi
sumus, and therefore they had no laws of their own, but were under the
civil laws of heathen till Constantine's time; and they had sworn to Julian, as
his soldiers, and therefore might have, and no doubt had, scruples of
conscience to resist the emperor. 3. It is known Julian had huge numbers of
heathen in his army, and to resist had been great danger. 4. Wanting leaders
and commanders, (many prime men doubting of the lawfulness thereof,) though
they had been equal in number, yet number is not all in war, skill in valorous
commanders is required. 5. What if all Christians were not of Tertullian's
mind. 6. If I would go to human testimonies, which I judge not satisfactory to
the conscience, I might cite many: the practice of France, of Holland, the
divines in Luther's time, (Sleidan. 8, c. 8, 22,) resolved resistance to be
lawful; Calvin, Beza, Pareus, the German divines, Buchanan, and an host might
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