Page:Behemoth 1889.djvu/71

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The Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses’ chair; all, therefore, whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do: which is a doing an active obedience. And yet the Scribes and Pharisees appear not by the Scripture to have been such godly men, as never to command anything against the revealed will of God.

B. Must tyrants also be obeyed in everything actively? Or is there nothing wherein a lawful King’s command may be disobeyed? What if he should command me with my own hands to execute my father, in case he should be condemned to die by the law?

A. This is a case that need not be put. We never have read nor heard of any King or tyrant so inhuman as to command it. If any did, we are to consider whether that command were one of his laws. For by disobeying Kings, we mean the disobeying of his laws, those his laws that were made before they were applied to any particular person; for the King, though as a father of children, and a master of domestic servants *command many things which bind those children and servants* yet he commands the people in general never but by a precedent law, and as a politic, not a natural person. And if such a command as you speak of were contrived into a general law (which never was, nor never will be), you were bound to obey it, unless you depart the kingdom after the publication of the law, and before the condemnation of your father.

B. Your author says further, in refusing active obedience to the King, that commanded anything contrary to God’s law, we must be very well assured that the thing is so contrary. I would fain know how it is possible to be *well* assured.

A. I think you do not believe that any of those refusers do, immediately from God’s own mouth, receive any command contrary to the command of the King, who is God’s lieutenant, nor any other way than you and I do, that is to say, than by the Scriptures. And because men do, for the most part, rather draw the Scripture to their own sense, than follow the true sense of the Scripture, there is no other way