by Thomas Hobbes
Places and Examples of Scripture of the Rights of Government agreeable
to what hath been said before
I. We have in the 6. Chapter, and the 2. Article, so derived the
Originall of institutive, or politicall Government from the consent of the
Multitude, that it appears they must either all consent, or be esteem'd as
Enemies. Such was the beginning of Gods Government over the Jewes
instituted by Moses, If ye will obey my voice indeed, &c. Ye shall
be unto me a Kingdome of Priests, &c. And Moses came, and called the
Elders of the People, &c. And all the people answered, and said: All
that the Lord hath spoken we will do, Exod. 19. ver. 5, 6, 7, 8. Such
also was the beginning of Moyses his power under God, or of his
Vicegerency. And all the people saw the thunderings and lightenings,
and the noyse of the Trumpet, &c. And they said unto Moyses, speak
thou unto us, and we will hear. Exod. 20:18,19. The like beginning
also had Sauls Kingdome. When yee saw that Nahash King of the children
of Ammon came out against you, yee said unto me, nay, but a King shall
raign over us, when the Lord your God was your King; Now therefore behold
the King whom yee have chosen, and whom yee have desired. 1 Sam.
12:12. But the major part only consenting, and not all (for there were
certain Sons of Belial, who said, How shall this man save us?
And they dispised him, 1 Sam. 10:27.) Those who did not consent were
put to death as Enemies; And the people said unto Samuel, Who is he
that said, shall Saul reign over us? Bring the men that we may put them to
death. 1 Sam. 11.
II. In the same 6. Chapter, the 6. and 7. Articles, I have shewed, that
all judgment and Wars depend upon the will and pleasure of
him who beares the Supreme Authority; that is to say, in a Monarchy,
on a Monarch, or King; and this is confirmed by the Peoples owne
judgement. Wee also will be like all the Nations, and our King shall
JUDGE us, and goe out before us, and fight our
BATTELS. 1 Sam. 8:20. And what pertaines to
judgements, and all other matters, whereof there is any controversie,
whether they be Good, or Evill, is confirmed by the testimony of King
Solomon. Give therefore thy Servant an understanding heart to
JUDGE thy People, that I may discerne between
GOOD and EVILL. 1.
Kings 3:9. And that of Absolom, There is no man deputed of the King to
heare thee. 2. Sam. 15:3.
III. That Kings may not be punished by their subjects, as hath been
shewed above in the sixth Chapter, and the twelfth Article, King David
also confirmes, who, though Saul sought to slay him, did notwithstanding
refrain his hand from killing him, and forbad Abishai, saying, Destroy
him, not; for who can stretch forth his hand against the Lords Anointed,
and be innocent? 1 Sam: 4:9. And when he had cut off the skirt of his
garment, The Lord forbid (saith he) that I should doe this
thing unto my Master the Lords Anointed, to stretchforth mine hand against
him. 1 Sam. 24:7. And commanded the Amalekite, who for his sake had
slain Saul, to be put to death. 2 Sam. 1:15.
IV. That which is said in the 17. Chapter of Judges, at the 6.
verse. In those dayes there was no King in Israel, but every man did
that which was right in his own eyes (as though where there were not a
Monarchy, there were an Anarchy or confusion of all
things) may be brought as a testimony to prove the excellency of Monarchy
above all other forms of government, unlesse that by the word King
may perhaps be understood, not one man onely, but also a Court,
provided that in it there reside a supreme power; which if it be taken in
this sense, yet hence it may follow, that without a supreme and absolute
power (which we have endeavoured to prove in the sixth Chapter) there will
be a liberty for every man to doe what hee hath a minde, or whatsoever
shall seem right to himselfe; which cannot stand with the preservation of
mankinde, and therefore in all Government whatsoever, there is ever a
supreme power understood to be somewhere existent.
V. We have in the 8. Chapter, the 7. and 8. Article, said, that Servants
must yeeld a simple obedience to their Lords, and in the 9.
Chapter, Article 7. that Sonnes owe the same obedience to their
Parents. Saint Paul sayes the same thing concerning Servants, Servants
obey in all things your Masters according to the flesh, not with eye
service, as men-pleasers, but in singlenesse of heart, fearing God.
Colos. 3:22. Concerning Sonnes, Children obey your Parents in all
things, for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Colos. 3:20. Now as
wee by simple obedience understand ALL THINGS
which are not contrary to the Lawes of God; so in those cited places of
Saint Paul, after the word ALL THINGS, we must
suppose, excepting those which are contrary to the Lawes of God.
VI. But that I may not thus by peecemeale prove the right of Princes, I
will now instance those testimonies which altogether establish the whole
power, (namely that there is an absolute and simple obedience due to them
from their subjects). And first out of the new Testament. The Scribes
and Pharisees sit in Moyses seat; all therefore, whatsoever they bid you
observe, that observe, and doe. Mat. 23:2. Whatsoever they bid you ,
(sayes he) observe , that is to say, obey simply : Why?
Because they sit in Moyses seat ; namely, the civill
Magistrates , not Aaron, the Priests. Let every soule be subject to
the higher powers, for there is no Power but of God, the powers that be
are ordained of God; whosoever therefore resisteth the Power, resisteth
the ordinance of God, and they that resist shall receive to themselves
damnation. Rom. 13:1. Now because the powers that were in Saint Pauls
time were ordained of God, and all Kings did at that time require an
absolute entire obedience from their subjects, it followes that such a
power was ordained of God. Submit your selves unto every ordinance of
man for the Lords sake, whether it bee to the King as supreme, or unto
Governours, as unto them that are sent by him, for the punishment of
wicked doers, and for the praise of them that doe well, for so is the will
of God. 1 Pet. 2:13. Again Saint Paul to Titus, Put them in mind
to bee subject to Principalities and Powers, to obey Magistrates, &c.
Chap. 3. vers. 1. What Principalities? Was it not to the Principalities of
those times, which required an absolute obedience? Furthermore, that we
may come to the example of Christ himselfe, to whom the Kingdome of the
Jewes belonged by hereditary Right, derived from David himselfe; He when
he lived in the manner of a subject, both paid tribute unto Caesar, and
pronounced it to be due to him. Give unto Caesar (saith he) the
things which are Caesars, and unto God, the things which are Gods.
Mat. 22:21. When it pleased him to shew himselfe a King, he required
entire obedience. Goe (said he) into the village over against
you, and straightway yee shall finde an Asse tyed, and a Colt with her,
loose them, and bring them unto me; and if any man say ought unto you, yee
shall say the Lord hath need of them. Mat. 21:2,3. This he did
therefore by the right of being Lord, or a King of the Jewes. But to take
away a subjects goods on this pretence onely, because the Lord hath
need of them , is an absolute power. The most evident places in the old
Testament are these, Goe thou near, and heare ALL
that the Lord our God shall say, and speak thou unto us all that the Lord
our God shall speak unto thee, and we will hear it, and doe it. Deut.
5:27. But under the word all , is contained absolute obedience.
Again to Joshua. And they answered Joshua saying, ALL
that thou commandest us, we will doe, and whithersoever thou sendest us,
we will goe; according as we hearkened unto Moyses in ALL
things, so will we hearken unto thee, onely the Lord thy God be with thee,
as he was with Moyses; whosoever hee be that doth rebell against thy
Commandement, and will not hearken unto thy words in ALL
that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death. Joshua 1:16-18.
And the Parable of the Bramble. Then said all the trees unto the
Bramble, Come thou, and reign over us; And the Bramble said unto the
trees, If in truth yee anoint me King over you, then come and put your
trust in my shadow; and if not, let fire come out of the Bramble, and
devoure the Cedars of Lebanon. Judges 9. vers. 14, 15. The sense of
which words is, that we must acquiese to their sayings, whom we have truly
constituted to be Kings over us, unlesse we would chuse rather to be
consumed by the fire of a civill warre. But the Regall authority is more
particularly described by God himselfe, in the 1. Sam. 8. vers. 9. &c.
Shew them the Right of the King that shall reign over them, &c.
This shall be the Right of the King that shall reign over you; he will
take your Sons, and appoint them for himself, for his Chariots, and to be
his horsemen, and some shall runne before his Chariots, &c. And he
will take your daughters to be confectionaries, &c. And he will take
your vineyards, and give them to his Servants, &c. Is not this
power absolute? And yet it is by God himself styled the KINGS
RIGHT ; neither was any man among the Jewes, no not the High
Priest himselfe, exempted from this obedience. For when the King
(namely Solomon) said to Abiathar the Priest, Get thee to Anathoth
unto thine own fields, for thou art worthy of death, but I will not at
this time put thee to death, because thou barest the Ark of the Lord God
before David my father, and because thou hast been afflicted in all
wherein my Father was afflicted. So Solomon thrust out Abiathar from being
Priest unto the Lord. 1 Kings. 2:26. It cannot by any argument be
proved, that this act of his displeased the Lord; neither read we, that
either Solomon was reproved, or that his Person at that time was any whit
lesse acceptable to God.
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