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farther than our loyalty to God will give leave. But if men pretend God's commands for any thing which he commandeth not, magistrates bear not the sword in vain, and subjects are commanded by God not to resist; if they punish them rightfully, God will bear the rulers out in it; if they punish them wrongfully or persecute them for welldoing, God will severely punish them who so wronged his subjects and abused the authority which he committed to their trust.
3. The Christian religion bindeth subjects to obedience upon sorer penalties than magistrates can inflict; even upon pain of God's displeasure, and everlasting damnation. And how great a help this is to government it is so easy to discern, that the simpler sort of atheists do persuade themselves, that kings devised religion to keep people in obedience with the fears of hell. Take away the fears of the life to come and the punishment of God in hell upon the wicked, and the world will be turned into worse than a den of serpents and wild beasts; adulteries, and murders, and poisoning kings, and all abomination will be freely committed, which wit or power can think to cover or bear out! Who will trust that man that believeth not that God doth judge and punish.
4. The Christian religion doth encourage obedience and peace with the promise of the reward of endless happiness ('cæteris paribus'); heaven is more than any prince can give. If that will not move men, there is no greater thing to move them. Atheism and infidelity have no such motives.
5. Christianity teacheth subjects to obey not only good rulers but bad ones, even heathens themselves, and not to resist when we cannot obey. Whereas among heathens, princes ruled no longer than they pleased the soldiers or the people; so that Lampridius marvelled that Heliogabalus was no sooner butchered but suffered to reign three years: "Mirum fortasse cuipiam videatur Constantine venerabilis, quod hæc clades quam retuli loco principum fuerit; et qui
Bishop Bilson ubi supra, p. 259. As bishops ought to discern which is truth before they teach; so must the people discern who teacheth right before they believe. Pp. 261, 262. Princes as well as others must yield obedience to bishops speaking the Word of God; but if bishops pass their commission, and speak besides the Word of God, what they list, both prince and people may despise them. See him further, pp. 259–262. proving that all have a judicium discretionis.'
b Rom. xiii. 2, 3.
dem prope triennio, ita ut nemo inventus fuerit qui istum a gubernaculis Romanæ majestatis abduceret, cum Neroni, Vitellio, Caligulæ cæterisque hujusmodi nunquam tyrannicida defuerit."
6. Christianity and godliness do not only restrain the outward acts, but rule the very hearts, and lay a charge upon the thoughts, which the power of princes cannot reach. It forbiddeth to curse the king in our bedchamber, or to have a thought or desire of evil against him; it quencheth the first sparks of disloyalty and disorder; and the rule of the outward man followeth the ordering of the heart; and therefore atheism which leaveth the heart free and open to all desires and designs of rebellion, doth kindle that fire in the minds of men, which government cannot quench; it corrupteth the fountain; it breaketh the spring that should set all a going; it poisoneth the heart of commonwealths*.
7. Christianity and godliness teach men patience, that it may not seem strange to them to bear the cross, and suffer injuries from high and low; and therefore that impatience which is the beginning of all rebellion being repressed, it stayeth the distemper from going any further.
8. Christianity teacheth men self-denial as a great part of their religion': and when selfishness is mortified, there is nothing left to be a principle of rebellion against God or our superiors. Selfishness is the very predominant principle of the ungodly: it is only for themselves that they obey when they do obey; no wonder therefore if the author of leviathan allow men to do any thing when the saving of themselves requireth it. And so many selfish persons as there be in a kingdom, so many several interests are first sought, which for the most part stand cross to the interest of others: the godly have all one common centre; they unite in God, and therefore may be kept in concord; for God's will is a thing that may be fulfilled by all as well as one; but the selfish and ungodly are every one his own centre, and have no common centre to unite in, their interests being ordinarily cross and inconsistent.
9. Christianity teacheth men by most effectual argu
Cicero saith, that every good man was in his heart, or as much as in him lay, one that killed Cæsar.
* 1 Pet. iv. 12.
Luke iv. 19. 33.
ments, to set light by the riches and honours of the world, and not to strive for superiority; but to mind higher things, and lay up our treasure in a better world, and to condescend to men of low degree. It forbiddeth men to exalt themselves lest they be brought low; and commandeth them to humble themselves that God may exalt them; and he that knoweth not that pride and covetousness are the great disquieters of the world, and the cause of contentions, and the ruin of states, knoweth nothing of these matters. Therefore if it were but by the great urging of humility and heavenlymindedness, and the strict condemning of ambition and earthlymindedness, Christianity and godliness must needs be the greatest preservers of government, and of order, peace and quietness in the worldTM.
10. Christianity teacheth men to live in the love of God and man. It maketh love the very heart, and life, and sum, and end of all other duties of religion. Faith itself is but the bellows to kindle in us the sacred flames of love. Love is the end of the Gospel, and the fulfilling of the law. To love all saints with a special love, even with a pure heart and fervently, and to love all men heartily with a common love; to love our neighbour as ourselves; and to love our very enemies; this is the life which Christ requireth, upon the penalty of damnation; and if love thus prevail, what should disturb the government, peace or order of the world?
11. Christianity teacheth men to be exact in justice, distributive and commutative; and to do to others as we would they should do to us: and where this is followed kings and states will have little to molest them, when 'gens sine justitia est sine remige navis in unda.'
12. Christianity teacheth men to do good to all men as far as we are able, and to abound in good works, as that for which we are redeemed and new made; and if men will set themselves wholly to do good, and be hurtful and injurious to none, how easy will it be to govern such.
13. Christianity teacheth men to forbear and to forgive, as ever they will be forgiven of God, and the strong to bear
m Ungebantur reges non per dominum, sed qui cæteris crudeliores existerent, et paulo post ab unctoribus non pro veri examinatione, trucidabantur, aliis electis trucioribus. Gildas de exc. Brit.
the infirmities of the weak, and not to please themselves, but one another to their edification; not to be censorious, harsh, or cruel, nor to place the kingdom of God in meats, and drinks, and days, but in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; to bear one another's burdens, and to restore them with the spirit of meekness that are overtaken in a fault, and to be peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and hypocrisy, and to speak evil of no man; and where this is obeyed, how quietly and easily may princes govern"?
14. Christianity setteth before us the most perfect pattern of all this humility, meekness, contempt of worldly wealth and greatness, self-denial and obedience, that ever was given in the world. The eternal Son of God incarnate, would condescend to earth and flesh, and would obey his superiors after the flesh, in the repute of the world; and would pay tribute, and never be drawn to any contempt of the governors of the world, though he suffered death under the false accusation of it. He that is a Christian, endeavoureth to imitate his Lord and can the imitation of Christ, or of his peaceable apostles be injurious to governors? Could the world but lay by their serpentine enmity against the holy doctrine and practice of Christianity, and not take themselves engaged to persecute it, nor dash themselves in pieces on the stone which they should build upon, nor by striving against it provoke it to fall on them and grind them to powder, they never need to complain of disturbances by Christianity or godliness".
15. Christianity and true godliness containeth, not only all these precepts that tend to peace and order in the world, but also strength, and willingness, and holy dispositions for the practising of such precepts. Other teachers can speak but to the ears, but Christ doth write his laws upon the heart; so that he maketh them such as he commandeth them to be only this is the remnant of our unhappiness, that while he is performing the cure on us, we retain a remnant of our old diseases, and so his work is yet imperfect: and as sin in strength is it that setteth on fire the course of nature, so the relics of it will make some disturbance in the
n Rom. xiv. xv. 1. Gal. vi. 1-4.
James iii. 15-17. Tit. iii. 2.
Zech. xii. S.
world, according to its degree; but nothing is more sure than that the most godly Christian is the most orderly and loyal subject, and the best member (according to his parts and power) in the commonwealth; and that sin is the cause, and holiness the cure of all the disorders and calamities of the world.
16. Lastly, Consult with experience itself, and you will find, that all this which I have spoken, hath been ordinarily verified P. What heathenism tendeth to, you may see even in the Roman government (for there you will confess it was at the best). To read of the tumults, the cruelties, the popular inconstancy, faction and injustice; how rudely the soldiers made their emperors, and how easily and barbarously they murdered them, and how few of them from the days of Christ till Constantine did die the common death of
all men, and escape the hands of those that were their subjects; I think this will satisfy you, whither men's enmity to Christianity tendeth: and then to observe how suddenly the case was altered, as soon as the emperors and subjects became Christian, (till in the declining of the Greek empire, some officers and courtiers who aspired to the crown did murder the emperors): and further to observe, that the rebellious doctrines and practices against governors, have been all introduced by factions and heresies, which forsook Christianity so far before they incurred such guilt; and that it is either the Papal usurpation (which is in its nature an enemy to princes) that hath deposed and trampled upon emperors and kings, or else some mad enthusiastics that overrun religion and their wits, that at Munster (and in England some lately) by the advantage of their prosperity, have dared to do violence against sovereignty; but the more any men were Christians and truly godly, the more they detested all
P Read the lives of all the philosophers, orators, and famous men of Greece or Rome, and try whether the Christians or they were more for monarchy. Arcesilaus regum neminem magnopere coluit: quamobrem legatione ad Antigonum fungens pro patria, nihil obtinuit. Hesich. in Arces. It is one of Thales's sayings in Diog. Laert. Quid difficile? Regem vidisse tyrannum senem. Chrysippus videtur aspernator regum modice fuisse. Quod cum tam multa scripserit (libros 705.) nulli unquam regi quicquam adscripserit. Seneca saith (Traged. de Herc. fur.) perilously, Victima haud ulla amplior potest, magisque opima mactari Jovi, Quam rex iniquus. Cicero pro Milon. Non se obstrinxit scelere siquis tyrannum occidat, quamvis familiarem. Et 5. Tusc. Nulla nobis cum tyrannis societas est, neque est contra naturam spoliare eum quem honestum est necare. Plura habet similia.