A Trew Law of Free Monarchs, James I Stuart (1598). The "Divine Right of Kings."
This oppressive political theory contributed to the exodus of the Puritans to America in 1630, and resistance to it was the ultimate goal of three revolutions: 1) the Puritan Revolution of the 1640s, 2) the Glorious Revolution, and 3) the American Revolution.
THE TREW LAW OF FREE MONARCHIES: or The Reciprock and mutuall duetie betwixt a free King and his naturall Subiects.
AS there is not a thing so necessarie to be knowne by the people of any land, next the knowledge of their God, as the right knowledge of their alleageance, according to the forme of gouernement established among them, especially in a Monarchic (which forme of government, as resembling the Diuinitie, approcheth nearest to perfection, as allthe learned and wise men from the beginning haue agreed vpon; Vnitie being the perfection of all things,) So hath the ignorance, and (which is worse) the seduced opinion of the multitude blinded by them, who thinke themselues able to teach and instruct the ignorants, procured the wracke and overthrow of sundry flourishing Common wealths; and heaped heauy calamities, threatning vtter destruction vpon others. And the smiling successe, that vnlawfull rebellions haue oftentimes had against Princes in sages past (such hath bene the misery, and iniquitie of the time) hath by way of practice strengthened many in their errour: albeit there cannot be a more deceiueable argument; then to judge ay the iustnesse of the cause by the euent thereof; as hereafter shalbe proued more at length. And among others, no Commonwealth, that euer hath bene since the beginning, hath had greater need of the trew knowledge of this ground, then this our so long disordered, and distracted Common-wealth hath: the misknowledge hereof being the onely spring, from whence haue flowed so many endlesse calamities, miseries, and confusions, as is better felt by many, then the cause thereof well knowne, and deepely considered. The naturall zeale therefore, that I beare to this my natiue countrie, with the great pittie I haue to see the so-long disturbance thereof for lacke of the trew knowledge of this ground (as I haue said before) hath compelled me at last to breake silence, to discharge my conscience to you my deare country men herein, that knowing the ground from whence these your many endlesse troubles haue proceeded, as well as ye haue already too-long tasted the bitter fruites thereof, ye may by knowledge, and eschewing of the cause escape, and diuert the lamentable effects that euer necessarily follow there upon. I haue chosen then onely to set downe in this short Treatise, the trew grounds of the mutuall duetie, and alleageance betwixt a free and absolute Monarche, and his people; not to trouble your patience with answering the contrary propositions, which some haue not bene ashamed to set downe in writ, to the poysoning of infinite number of simple soules, and their owne perpetuall, and well deserued infamie: For by answering them, I could not haue eschewed whiles to pick, and byte wel saltly their persons; which would rather haue bred contentiousnesse among the readers (as they had liked or misliked) then sound instruction of the trewth: Which I protest to him that is the searcher of all hearts, is the onely marke that I shoot at herein.
First then, I will set downe the trew grounds, whereupon I am to build, out of the Scriptures, since Monarchie is the trew paterne of Diuinitie, as I haue already said: next, from the fundamental Lawes of our owne Kingdome, which nearest must concerne vs: thirdly, from the law of Nature, by diuers similitudes drawne out of the same: and will conclude syne by answering the most weighty and appearing incommodities that can be obiected.
The Princes duetie to his Subiects is so clearely set downe in many places of the Scriptures, and so openly confessed by all the good Princes, according to their oath in their Coronation, as not needing to be long therein, I shall as shortly as I can runne through it.
Kings are called Gods by the prophetical King Dauid, because they sit vpon GOD his Throne in the earth, and haue the count of their administration to giue vnto him. Their office is, To minister Iustice and Iudgement to the people, as the same Dauid saith: To aduance thegood, ar~d punish the euill, as he likewise saith: To establish good Lawes to his people, and procure obedience to the same as diuers good Kings of Iudah did: To procure the peace of the people, as the same Dauid saith: To decide all controuersies that can arise among them, as Salomon did: To be the Minister of God for the weale of them that doe well, and as the minister of God, to take vengeance vpon them that doe evill, as S. Paul saith. And finally, As a good Pastour, to goe out and in before his people as is said in the first of Samuel: That through the Princes prosperitie, the peoples peace may be procured, as Ieremie saith.
And therefore in the Coronation of our owne Kings, as well as of euery Christian Monarche, they giue their Oath, first to maintaine the Religion presently professed within their countrie, according to their lawes, whereby it is established, and to punish all those that should presse to alter, or disturbe the profession thereof; And next to maintaine all the lowable and good Lawes made by their predecessours: to see them put in execution, and the breakers and violaters thereof, to be punished, according to the tenour of the same: And lastly, to maintaine the whole countrey, and euery state therein, in all their ancient Priuiledges and Liberties, as well against all forreine enemies, as among themselues: And shortly to procure the weale and flourishing of his people, not onely in maintaining and putting to execution the olde lowable lawes of the countrey, and by establishing of new (as necessitie and euill maners will require) but by all other meanes possible to fore-see and preuent all dangers, that are likely to fall vpon them, and to maintaine concord, wealth, and ciuilitie among them, as a louing Father, and careful watchman, caring for them more then for himselfe, knowing himselfe to be ordained for them, and they not for him; and therefore countable to that great God, who placed him as his lieutenant ouer them, vpon the perill of his soule to procure the weale of both soules and bodies, as farre as in him lieth, of all them that are committed to his charge. And this oath in the Coronation is the clearest, ciuill, and fundamentall Law, whereby the Kings office is properly defined.
By the Law of Nature the King becomes a naturall Father to all his Lieges at his Coronation: And as the Father of his fatherly duty is bound to care for the nourishing, education, and vertuous gouernment of his children; euen so is the king bound to care for all his subiects. As all the toile and paine that the father can take for his children, will be thought light and well bestowed by him, so that the effect thereof redound to their profite and weale; so ought the Prince to doe towards his people. As the kindly father ought to foresee all inconuenients and dangers that may arise towards his children, and though with the hazard of his owne person presse to preuent the same; so ought the King towards his people. As the fathers wrath and correction vpon any of his children that offendeth, ought to be by a fatherly chastisement seasoned with pitie, as long as there is any hope of amendment in them; so ought the King towards any of his Lieges that offend in that measure. And shortly, as the Fathers chiefe ioy ought to be in procuring his childrens welfare, reioycing at their weale, sorrowing and pitying at their euill, to hazard for their safetie, trauellfor their rest, wake for their sleepe; and in a word, to thinke that his earthly felicitie and life standeth and liueth more in them, nor in himselfe; so ought a good Prince thinke of his people.
As to the other branch of this mutuall and reciprock band, is the duety and alleageance that the Lieges owe to their King: the ground whereof, I take out of the words of Samuel, cited by Gods Spirit, when God had giuen him commandement to heare the peoples voice in choosing and annointing them a King. And because that place of Scripture being well understood, is so pertinent for our purpose, I haue insert herein the very words of the Text.
9 Now therefore hearken to their voice: howbeit yet testifie unto them, and shew them the maner of the King, that shall raigne ouer them.
10 So Samuel tolde all the wordes of the Lord vnto the people that asked a King of him.
11 And he said, This shall be the maner of the King that shall raigne ouer you: he will take your sonnes, and appoint them to his Charets, and to be his horsemen, and some shall runne before his Charet.
12 Also, hee will make them his captaines ouer thousands, and captaines ouer fifties and to eare his ground, and to reape his haruest, and to make instruments of warre and the things that serue for his charets:
13 Hee will also take your daughters, and make them Apothicaries, and Cookes, and Bakers.
14 And hee will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your best Olive hees, and give them to his servants.
15 And he rvill take the tenth of your seed, and of your Vineyards, and give it to his Eunuches, and to his servants.
16 And he will take your men-seruants, and your maid-seruants, and the chief of your yong men, and your asses, and put them to his worke.
17 He wil take the tenth of your sheepe: and ye shall be his servants.
18 And ye shall cry out at that day, because of your King, whom ye haue chosen you: and the Lord God will not heare you at that day.
19 But the people would not heare the voice of Samuel, but did say: Nay, but there shalbe a King ouer vs.
20 And we also will be like all other Nations, and our King shall iudge vs. and goe out before vs. and fight our battels.
That these words, and discourses of Samuel were dited by Gods Spirit, it needs no further probation, but that it is a place of Scripture; since the whole Scripture is dited by that inspiration, as Paul saith: which ground no good Christian will, or dare denie. Whereupon it must necessarily follow, that these speeches proceeded not from any ambition in Samuel, as one loath to quite the reines that he so long had ruled, and therefore desirous, by making odious the government of a King, to disswade the people from their farther importunate crauing of one: For, as the text proueth it plainly, he then conueened them to giue them a resolute grant of their demand, as God by his owne mouth commanded him, saying,
Hearken to the voice of the people.
And to presse to disswade them from that, which he then came to grant vnto them, were a thing very impertinent in a wise man; much more in the Prophet of the most high God. And likewise, it well appeared in all the course of his life after, that his so long refusing of their sute before came not of any ambition in him: which he well proued in praying, & as it were importuning God for the weale of Saul. Yea, after God had declared his reprobation vnto him, yet he desisted not, while God himselfe was wrath at his praying, and discharged his fathers suit in that errand. And that these words of Samuel were not vttered as a prophecie of Saul their first Kings defection, it well appeareth, as well because we heare no mention made in the Scripture of any his tyrannic and oppression, (which, if it had beene, would not haue been left unpainted out therein, as well as his other faults were, as in a trew mirrour of all the Kings behauiours, whom it describeth) as likewise in respect that Saul was chosen by God for his vertue, and meet qualities to gouerne his people: whereas his defection sprung after-hand from the corruption of his owne nature, & not through any default in God, whom they that thinke so, would make as a step-father to his people, in making wilfully a chaise of the vnmeetest for governing them, since the election of that King lay absolutely and immediatly in Gods hand. But by the contrary it is plaine, and euident, that this speech of Samuel to the people, was to prepare their hearts before the hand to the due obedience of that King, which God was to giue vnto them; and therefore opened vp vnto them, what might be the intollerable qualities that might fall in some of their kings, thereby preparing them to patience, not to resist to Gods ordinance: but as he would haue said; Since God hath granted your importunate suit in giuing you a king, as yeehaue else committed an errour in shaking off Gods yoke, and ouer-hastie seeking of a King; so beware yee fall not into the next, in casting off also rashly that yoke, which God at your earnest suite hath laid vpon you, how hard that euer it seeme to be: For as ye could not haue obtained one without the permission and ordinance of God, so may yee no more, for hee be once set ouer you, shake him off without the same warrant. And therefore in time arme your selues with patience and humilitie, since he that hath the only power to make him, hath the onely power to vnmake him; and ye onely to obey, bearing with these straits that I now foreshow you, as with the finger of God, which lieth not in you to take off.
And will ye consider the very wordes of the text in order, as they are set downe, it shall plainely declare the obedience that the people owe to their King in all respects.
First, God commandeth Samuel to doe two things: the one, to grant the people their suit in giuing them a king; the other, to forewarne them, what some kings will doe vnto them, that they may not thereafter in their grudging and murmuring say, when they shal feele the snares here fore-spoken; We would neuer haue had a king of God, in case when we craued him, hee had let vs know how wee would haue beene vsed by him, as now we finde but ouer-late. And this is meant by these words:
Now therefore hearken vnto their voice: howbeit yet testifie vnto them, and shew them the maner of the King that shall rule otter them.
And next, Samuel in execution of this commandement of God, hee likewise doeth two things.
First, hee declares vnto them, what points of justice and equitie their king will breake in his behauiour vnto them: And next he putteth them out of hope, that wearie as they will, they shall not haue leaue to shake off that yoke, which God through their importunitie hath laide vpon them. The points of equitie that the King shall breake vnto them, are expressed in these words:
11 He will take your sonnes, and appoint them to his Charets, and to be his horsemen, and some shall run before his Charet.
12 Also he will make them his captaines ouer thousands, and captaines ouer fillies, and to care his ground, and to reape his haruest, and to make instruments of warre, and the things that serue for his charets.
13 He will also take your daughters, and make them Apothecaries, and Cookes, and Bakers.
The points of Justice, that hee shall breake vnto them, are expressed in these wordes:
14 Hee will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your best Olive hees, and give them to his servants.
15 And he will take the tenth of your seede, and of your vineyards, and give it to his Eunuches and to his servants: and also the tenth of your sheepe.
As if he would say; The best and noblest of your blood shall be compelled in slauish and seruile offices to serue him: And not content of his owne patrimonie, will make vp a rent to his owne vse out of your best lands, vineyards, orchards, and store of cattell: So as inuerting the Law of nature, and office of a King, your persons and the persons of your posteritie, together with your lands, and all that ye possesse shal serue his priuate vse, and inordinate appetite.
And as vnto the next point (which is his fore-warning them, that, weary as they will, they shall not haue leaue to shake off the yoke, which God thorow their importunity hath laid vpon them) it is expressed in these words:
18 And yee shall crie out at that day, because of your King whom yee haue chosen you: and the Lord will not heare you at that day.
As he would say; When ye shall finde these things in proofe that now I fore-warne you of, although you shall grudge and murmure, yet it shal not be lawful to you to cast it off, in respect it is not only the ordinance of God, but also your selues haue chosen him vnto you, thereby renouncing for euer all priuiledges, by your willing consent out of your hands, whereby in any time hereafter ye would claime, and call backe vnto your selues againe that power, which God shall not permit you to doe. And for further taking away of all excuse, and retraction of this their contract, after their consent to vnder-lie this yoke with all the burthens that hee hath declared vnto them, he cranes their answere, and consent to his proposition: which appeareth by their answere, as it is expressed in these words:
19 Nay, but there shall be a King otter vs.
20 And we also will be like all other nations: and our king shall iudge vs. and goe out before vs and fight our battels.
As if they would haue said; All your speeches and hard conditions shall not skarre vs. but we will take the good and euill of it vpon vs. and we will be content to beare whatsoever burthen it shal please our King to lay vpon vs. aswell as other nations doe. And for the good we will get of him in fighting our battels, we will more patiently beare any burthen that shall please him to lay on vs.
Now then, since the erection of this Kingdome and Monarchic among the Iewes, and the law thereof may, and ought to bee a paterne to all Christian and well founded Monarchies, as beeing founded by God himselfe, who by his Oracle, and out of his owne mouth gaue the law thereof: what liberty can broiling spirits, and rebellious minds claime justly to against any Christian Monarchic; since they can claime to no greater libertie on their part, nor the people of God might haue done, and no greater tyranny was euer executed by any Prince or tyrant, whom they can object, nor was here fore-warned to the people of God, (and yet all rebellion countermanded vnto them) if tyrannizing ouer mens persons, sonnes, daughters and servants; redacting noble houses, and men, and women of noble blood, to slauish and seruile offices; and extortion, and spoile of their lands and goods to the princes owne priuate vse and commoditie, and of his courteours, and seruants, may be called a tyrannic? ...
And the agreement of the Law of nature in this our ground with the Lawes and constitutions of God, and man, already alledged, will by two similitudes easily appeare. The King towards his people is rightly compared to a father of children, and to a head of a body composed of diners members: For as fathers, the good Princes, and Magistrates of the people of God acknowledged themselues to their subjects. And for all other well ruled Common-wealths, the stile of Pater patriae was euer, and is commonly vsed to Kings. And the proper office of a King towards his Subiects, agrees very wel with the office of the head towards the body, and all members thereof: For from the head, being the seate of Iudgement, proceedeth the care and foresight of guiding, and preventing all euill that may come to the body or any part thereof. The head cares for the body, so doeth the King for his people. As the discourse and direction flowes from the head, and the execution according "hereunto belongs to the rest of the members, euery one according to their office: so is it betwixt a wise Prince, and his people. As the lodgement comming from the head may not onely imploy the members, euery one in their owne office as long as they are able for it; but likewise in case any of them be affected with any infirmitie must care and prouide for their remedy, in-case it be curable, and if otherwise, gar cut them off for feare of infecting of the rest: euen so is it betwixt the Prince, and his people. And as there is euer hope of curing any diseased member by the direction of the head, as long as it is whole; but by the contrary, if it be troubled, all the members are partakers of that Paine, so is it betwixt the Prince and his people.
And now first for the fathers part (whose naturall loue to his children I described in the first part of this my discourse, speaking of the dutie that Kings owe to their Subiects) consider, I pray you what duetie his children owe to him, & whether vpon any pretext whatsoeuer, it wil not be thought monstrous and vnnaturall to his sons, to rise vp against him, to control him at their appetite, and when they thinke good to sley him, or cut him off, and adopt to themselues any other they please in his roome: Or can any presence of wickednes or rigor on his part be a iust excuse for his children to put hand into him? And although wee see by the course of nature, that loue vseth to descend more then to ascend, in case it were trew, that the father hated and wronged the children neuer so much, will any man, endued with the least sponke of reason, thinke it lawfull for them to meet him with the line? Yea, suppose the father were furiously following his sonnes with a drawen sword, is it lawfull for them to turne and strike againe, or make any resistance but by flight? I thinke surely, if there were no more but the example of bruit beasts & unreasonable creatures, it may serue well enough to qualifie and proue this my argument. We reade often the pietie that the Storkes haue to their olde and decayed parents: And generally wee know, that there are many sorts of beasts and fowles, that with violence and many bloody strokes will beat and banish their yong ones from them, how soone they perceive them to be able to fend themselves; but wee neuer read or heard of any resistance on their part, except among the vipers; which prooues such persons, as ought to be reasonable creatures, and yet unnaturally follow this example, to be endued with their viperous nature.
And for the similitude of the head and the body, it may very well fall out that the head will be forced to garre cut off some rotten member (as I haue already said) to keepe the rest of the body in integritie: but what state the body can be in, if the head, for any infirmitie that can fall to it, be cut off, I leaue it to the readers iudgement.
So as (to conclude this part) if the children may vpon any pretext that can be imagined, lawfully rise vp against their Father, cut him off, & choose any other whom they please in his roome; and if the body for the weale of it, may for any infirmitie that can be in the head, strike it off, then I cannot deny that the people may rebell, controll, and displace, or cut off their king at their owne pleasure, and vpon respects moouing them. And whether these similitudes represent better the office of a King, or the offices of Masters or Deacons of crafts, or Doctors in Physicke (which iolly comparisons are vsed by such writers as maintaine the contrary proposition) I leaue it also to the readers discretion.
And in case any doubts might arise in any part of this treatise, I wil (according to my promise) with the solution of foure principall and most weightie doubts, that the adversaries may object, conclude this discourse. And first it is casten vp by diners, that employ their pennes vpon Apologies for rebellions and treasons, that euery man is borne to carry such a naturall zeale and duety to his commonwealth, as to his mother; that seeing it so rent and deadly wounded, as whiles it will be by wicked and tyrannous Kings, good Citizens will be forced, for the naturall zeale and duety they owe to their owne natiue countrey, to put their hand to worke for freeing their common-wealth from such a pest.
Whereunto I giue two answeres: First, it is a sure Axiome in Theologie, that euill should not be done, that good may come of it: The wickednesse therefore of the King can neuer make them that are ordained to be judged by him, to become his Iudges. And if it be not lawfull to a priuate man to reuenge his priuate injury vpon his priuate aduersary (since God hath onely giuen the sword to the Magistrate) how much lesse is it lawfull to the people, or any part of them (who all are but priuate men, the authoritie being alwayes with the Magistrate, as I haue already proued) to take vpon them the vse of the sword, whom to it belongs not, against the publicke Magistrate, whom to onely it belongeth.
Next, in place of relieving the common-wealth out of distresse (which is their onely excuse and colour) they shall heape double distresse and desolation vpon it; and so their rebellion shall procure the contrary effects that they pretend it for: For a king cannot be imagined to be so vnruly and tyrannous, but the common-wealth will be kept in better order, notwithstanding thereof, by him, then it can be by his way-taking. ...
And next, it is certaine that a king can neuer be so monstrously vicious, but hee will generally fauour justice, and maintaine some order, except in the particulars, wherein his inordinate lustes and passions cary him away; where by the contrary, no King being, nothing is vnlawfull to none: And so the olde opinion ofthe Philosophers prooues trew, That better it is to line in a Common-wealth, where nothing is lawfull, then where all things are lawfull to all men; the Common-wealth at that time resembling an vndanted young horse that hath casten his rider: For as the diuine Poet Dv BARTAS sayth, Better it were to stiffer some disorder in the estate, arid some spots in the Commor' wealth, then in pretending to reforme, vtterly to overthrow the Republicke.
The second objection they ground vpon the curse that hangs ouer the common-wealth, where a wicked king reigneth: and, say they, there cannot be a more acceptable deed in the sight of God, nor more dutiful to their common-weale, then to free the countrey of such a curse, and vindicate to them their libertie, which is naturall to all creatures to crane.
Whereunto for answere, I grant indeed, that a wicked king is sent by God for a curse to his people, and a plague for their sinnes: but that it is lawfull to them to shake off that curse at their owne hand, which God hath laid on them, that I deny, and may so do justly. Will any deny that the king of Babel was a curse to the people of God, as was plainly fore-spoken and threatned vnto them in the prophecie of their captiuitie? And what was Nero to the Christian Church in his time? And yet Ieremy and Paul (as yee haue else heard) commanded them not onely to obey them, but heartily to pray for their welfare.
It is certaine then (as I haue already by the Law of God sufficiently proued) that patience, earnest prayers to God, and amendment of their lines, are the onely lawful meanes to moue God to relieue them of that heauie curse. As for vindicating to themselues their owne libertie, what lawfull power haue they to reuoke to themselues againe those priuiledges, which by their owne consent before were so fully put out of their hands? for if a Prince cannot justly bring backe againe to himself the priuiledges once bestowed by him or his predecessors vpon any state or ranke of his subjects; how much lesse may the subjects reaue out of the princes hand that superioritie, which he and his Predecessors haue so long brooked ouer them?
But the vnhappy iniquitie of the time, which hath oft times giuen ouer good successe to their treasonable attempts, furnisheth them the ground of their third objection: For, say they, the fortunate successe that God hath so oft giuen to such enterprises, prooueth plainely by the practice, that God fauoured the iustnesse of their quarrell.
To the which I answere, that it is trew indeed, that all the successe of battels, as well as other worldly things, lyeeth onely in Gods hand: And therefore it is that in the Scripture he takes to himselfe the style of God of Hosts. But vpon that generall to conclude, that hee euer giues victory to the iust quarrell, would prooue the Philistins, and diuers other neighbour enemies of the people of God to haue oft times had the iust quarrel against the people of God, in respect of the many victories they obtained against them. And by that same argument they had also iust quarrell against the Arke of God: For they wan it in the field, and kept it long prisoner in their countrey. As likewise by all good Writers, as well Theologues, as other, the Duels and singular combats are disallowed; which are onely made vpon presence, that GOD will kith thereby the justice of the quarrell: For wee must consider that the innocent partie is not innocent before God: And therefore God will make oft times them that haue the wrong side reuenge justly his quarrell; and when he hath done, cast his scourge in the fire; as he oft times did to his owne people, stirring vp and strengthening their enemies, while they were humbled in his sight, and then deliuered them in their hands. So God, as the great Iudge may justly punish his Deputie, and for his rebellion against him, stir vp his rebels to meet him with the like: And when it is done, the part of the instrument is no better then the diuels part is in tempting and torturing such as God committeth to him as his hangman to doe: Therefore, as I said in the beginning, it is oft times a very deceiueable argument, to iudge of the cause by the euent.
And the last objection is grounded vpon the mutuall paction and adstipulation (as they call it) betwixt the King and his people, at the time of his coronation: For there, say they, there is a mutuall paction, and contract bound vp, and sworne betwixt the king, and the people: Whereupon it followeth, that if the one part of the contract or the Indent bee broken vpon the Kings side, the people are no longer bound to keepe their part of it, but are thereby freed of their oath: For (say they) a contract betwixt two parties, of all Law frees the one partie, if the other breake vnto him.
As to this contract alledged made at the coronation of a King, although I deny any such contract to bee made then, especially containing such a clause irritant as they alledge; yet I confesse, that a king at his coronation, or at the entry to his kingdome, willingly promiseth to his people, to discharge honorably and trewly the office giuen him by God ouer them: But presuming that thereafter he breake his promise vnto them neuer so inexcusable; the question is, who should bee iudge of the breake, giuing vnto them, this contract were made vnto them neuer so sicker, according to their alleageance. I thinke no man that hath but the smallest entrance into the ciuill Law, will doubt that of all Law, either ciuil or municipal of any nation, a contract cannot be thought broken by the one partie, and so the other likewise to be freed therefro, except that first a lawfull triall and cognition be had by the ordinary Iudge of the breakers thereof: Or else euery man may be both party and Iudge in his owne cause; which is absurd once to be thought. Now in this contract (I say) betwixt the king and his people, God is doubtles the only Iudge, both because to him onely the king must make count of his administration (as is oft said before) as likewise by the oath in the coronation, God is made iudge and reuenger of the breakers: For in his presence, as only iudge of oaths, all oaths ought to be made. Then since God is the onely Iudge betwixt the two parties contractors, the cognition and reuenge must onely appertaine to him: It followes therefore of necessitie, that God must first giue sentence vpon the King that breaketh, before the people can thinke themselues freed of their oath. What justice then is it, that the partie shall be both iudge and partie, vsurping vpon himselfe the office of God, may by this argument easily appeare: And shall it lie in the hands of headlesse multitude, when they please to weary off subjection, to cast off the yoake of gouernement that God ath laid vpon them, to iudge and punish him, whom-by they should be judged and punished; and in that case, wherein by their violence they kythe themselues to be most passionate parties, to vse the office of an ungracious Iudge or Arbiter? Nay, to speake trewly of that case, as it stands betwixt the king and his people, none of them ought to judge of the others breake: For considering rightly the two parties at the time of their mutuall promise, the king is the one party, and the whole people in one body are the other party. And therfore since it is certaine, that a king, in case so it should fal out, that his people in one body had rebelled against him, hee should not in that case, as thinking himselfe free of his promise and oath, become an vtter enemy, and practice the wreake of his whole people and natiue country: although he ought justly to punish the principall authours and bellowes of that vniuersall rebellion: how much lesse then ought the people (that are alwaies subject vnto him, and naked of all authoritie on their part) presse to judge and ouerthrow him? otherwise the people, as the one partie contractors, shall no sooner challenge the king as breaker, but hee as soone shall judge them as breakers: so as the victors making the tyners the traitors (as our prouerbe is) the partie shall aye become both judge and partie in his owne particular, as I haue alreadie said.
And it is here likewise to be noted, that the duty and alleageance, which the people sweareth to their prince, is not only bound to themselues, but likewise to their lawfull heires and posterity, the lineall succession of crowns being begun among the people of God, and happily continued in diners Christian common-wealths: So as no objection either of heresie, or whatsoever priuate statute or law may free the people from their oath-gluing to their king, and his succession, established by the old fundamentall lawes of the kingdome: For, as hee is their heritable ouer-lord, and so by birth; not by any right in the coronation, commeth to his crowne; it is a like unlawful (the crowne euer standing full) to displace him that succeedeth thereto, as to elect the former: For at the very moment of the expiring of the king reigning, the nearest and lawful heire entreth in his place: And so to refuse him, or intrude another, is not to horde out vncomming in, but to expell and put out their righteous King. And I trust at this time whole France acknowledgeth the superstitious rebellion of the liguers, who vpon presence of heresie, by force of armes held so long out, to the great desolation of their whole countrey, their natiue and righteous king from possessing of his owne crowne and naturall kingdome.
Not that by all this former discourse of mine, and Apologie for kings, I meane that whatsoever errors and intollerable abominations a souereigne prince commit, hee ought to escape all punishment, as if thereby the world were only ordained for kings, & they without controlment to turne it vpside down at their pleasure: but by the contrary, by remitting them to God (who is their onely ordinary Iudge) I remit them to the sorest and sharpest schoolemaster that can be deuised for them: for the further a king is preferred by God aboue all other ranks & degrees of men, and the higher that his seat is aboue theirs, the greater is his obligation to his maker. And therfore in case he forget himselfe (his vnthankfulnes being in the same measure of height) the sadder and sharper will his correction be; and according to the greatnes of the height he is in, the weight of his fall wil recompense the same: for the further that any person is obliged to God, his offence becomes and growes so much the greater, then it would be in any other. Ioues thunder-claps light oftner and sorer vpon the high & stately cakes, then on the low and supple willow hees: and the highest bench is sliddriest to sit vpon. Neither is it euer heard that any king forgets himselfe towards God, or in his vocation; but God with the greatnesse of the plague reuengeth the greatnes of his ingratitude: Neither thinke I by the force and argument of this my discourse so to perswade the people, that none will hereafter be raised vp, and rebell against wicked Princes. But remitting to the justice and providence of God to stirre vp such scourges as pleaseth him, for punishment of wicked kings (who made the very vermine and filthy dust of the earth to bridle the insolencie of proud Pharaoh) my onely purpose and intention in this treatise is to perswade, as farre as lieth in me, by these sure and infallible grounds, all such good Christian readers, as beare not onely the naked name of a Christian, but kith the fruites thereof in their daily forme of life, to keepe their hearts and hands free from such monstrous and vnnaturall rebellions, whensoeuer the wickednesse of a Prince shall procure the same at Gods hands: that, when it shall please God to cast such scourges of princes, and instruments of his fury in the fire, ye may stand vp with cleane handes, and unspotted consciences, hauing prooued your selues in all your actions trew Christians toward God, and dutifull subjects towards your King, hauing remitted the iudgement and punishment of all his wrongs to him, whom to onely of right it appertaineth.
But crauing at God, and hoping that God shall continue his blessing with vs. in not sending such fearefull desolation, I heartily wish our kings behauiour so to be, and continue among vs, as our God in earth, and louing Father, endued with such properties as I described a King in the first part of this Treatise. And that ye (my deare countreymen, and charitable readers) may presse by all meanes to procure the prosperitie and welfare of your King; that as hee must on the one part thinke all his earthly felicitie and happinesse grounded vpon your weale, caring more for himselfe for your sake then for his owne, thinking himselfe onely ordained for your weale; such holy and happy emulation may arise betwixt him and you, as his care for your quietnes, and your care for his honour and preseruation, may in all your actions daily striue together, that the Land may thinke themselues blessed with such a King, and the king may thinke himselfe most happy in ruling ouer so louing and obedient subjects. FINIS.