Page:Behemoth 1889.djvu/70

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.


King’s person. Besides, you cannot doubt but that they, who in the pulpit did animate the people to take arms in the defence of the then Parliament, alleged Scripture, that is, the word of God, for it. If it be lawful then for subjects to resist the King, when he commands anything that is against the Scripture, that is, contrary to the command of God, and to be judge of the meaning of the Scripture, it is impossible that the life of any King, or the peace of any Christian kingdom, can be long secure. It is this doctrine that divides a kingdom within itself, whatsoever the men be, loyal or rebels, that write or preach it publicly. And thus you see that if those seditious ministers be tried by this doctrine, they will come off well enough.

B. I see it; and wonder at people that have never spoken with God Almighty, nor knowing one more than another what he hath said, when the laws and the preacher disagree, should so keenly follow the minister (for the most part an ignorant, though a ready-tongued, scholar), rather than the laws, that were made by the King with the consent of the Peers and Commons of the land.

A. Let us examine his words a little nearer. First, concerning passive obedience. When a thief hath broken the laws, and according to the law is therefore executed, can any man understand that this suffering of his is in obedience to the law? Every law is a command to do, or to forbear: neither of these is fulfilled by suffering. If any suffering can be called obedience, it must be such as is voluntary; for no involuntary action can be counted a submission to the law. He that means that his suffering should be taken for obedience, must not only not resist, but also not fly, nor hide himself to avoid his punishment. And who is there amongst them that discourse of passive obedience, when his life is in extreme danger, that will voluntarily present himself to the officers of justice? Do not we see that all men, when they are led to execution, are both bound and guarded, and would break loose if they could, and get away? Such is their passive obedience. Christ saith (Matthew xxiii. 2, 3):