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Direct. 1. Though I shall pass by most of the theory, and especially of the controversial points in politics, and not presume to play the lawyer's part; yet I must advise you to understand so much of the cause, and nature, and end of government, as is necessary to direct you in your obedience, and to preserve you from all temptations to rebellion.' Especially take heed of those mistakes which confound sovereignty and subjection, and which delude the people with a conceit, that they are the original of power, and may intrust it as they please; and call their rulers to account, and take the forfeiture, and recal their trust, &c. It is not to flatter kings, but to give God his due, that I shall caution you against these mistakes of popularity. And first, I shall briefly lay down the truth, and then answer some few of the chief objections.
Prop. 1. That there be government in genere,' and obedience thereto, is determined even in nature, by the God of nature, in making man a sociable creature, and each man insufficient for himself, and in making republics necessary to the welfare and safety of individuals, and government necessary to these republics. This therefore is not left to the people's wills; though some odd cases may be imagined, in which some individual persons may live out of a commonwealth, and not be obliged to live under civil government; yet that exception doth but confirm the general rule: even as all men ordinarily are bound to live in communion with some particular church, and know their own pastor, though yet some few may be excepted, as some ambassadors, travellers, seamen, soldiers, banished men, &c. So re, the obligation to live under government, lieth upon the generality of the world, though some few may be excepted.
Prop. 11. Rulers therefore are God's officers, placed under him in his kingdom, as he is the universal, absolute sovereign of the world; and they receive their power from
a Nibil Deo qui omnem mundum hunc regit, acceptius, quam concilia cœtusque hominum quæ civitates appellantur. Cicero. This quotation affords another instance of Mr. Baxter's inaccurate mode of citing his authors. He frequently gives their sense in his own words. The words of Cicero are, Nihil est enim illi principi Deo, qui omnem hunc mundum regit, quod quidem in terris fiat, acceptius, quam concilia, cœtusque hominem, jure sociati, quæ civitates appellantur. Cic. Som. Op. vol. vii. p. 915. (T. C.)
God, who is the only original of power. Not only their strength from his strength, but their authority or governing power, (which is 'jus regendi') from his supreme authority; as mayors and bailiffs in corporations receive their power from the king. "There is no power, but of God; the powers that be, are ordained of God "."
Prop. 111. This governing power in genere,' is not an empty name, but in the very institution containeth in it those things materially which are absolutely necessary to the end of government.
Prop. IV. Yet God hath left that which is commonly called, the specification of government; and some lower parts of the matter, and manner of exercise, undetermined; as also the individual persons or families that shall rule. In these three therefore it is that communities interpose. 1. Whether the sovereignty shall be in one, or two, or ten, or how many, and how divided for their exercise, God hath not determined. 2. Nor hath he determined of every particular, whether the power shall extend to this, or that, or the other thing, or not? Nor whether it shall be exercised thus or thus, by standing courts, or temporary judges, &c. 3. Nor hath he named the person or family that shall rule. Prop. v. Though these in the constitution are determined of by explicit or implicit contract or consent, between the ruler and the community, yet by none of these three can the people be truly and properly said to give the ruler his power of government. Not by the first or last; for both those do but determine who shall be the recipient of that power; whether one or more, and who individually. Not the second, for that is but a limiting, or bounding, or regulating the governing power, that it be not exercised to their hurt; the bounding and regulating of their power, is not the giving them power. The people having the strength, cannot be ruled against their concordant wills: and therefore, if they contract with their governors, that they will be ruled
Rom. xiii. 1-3.
• Grotius de Imper. Sum. Potest. c. i. pp. 7, 8. Sunt qui objiciant reges quædam imperare non posse, nisi consensus ordinum accesserit: sed his non vident quibus in locis id juris est, ibi summum imperium non esse penes reges, sed aut penes ordines, aut certe penes id corpus, quod rex et juncti constituunt, ut Bodinus, Suarezius, Victoria, aliique, aliunde demonstrarunt: certum summum imperium totum, et aliquid imperare non posse, ideo tantum quod alter vetet aut intercedat, plane sunt acúsaτa.
thus and thus, or not at all; this is not to give them power Yet propriety they have, and there they may be givers. So that this bounding, or regulating, and choosing the form, and persons, and giving of their propriety, is all that they have to do. And the choosing of the family or person, is not at all a giving the power. They are but 'sine quibus non' to that; they do but open the door to let in the governor; they do but name the family or man, to whom God, and not they, shall give the power.
As, when God hath already determined what authority the husband shall have over the wife, the wife by choosing him to be her husband, giveth him not his power, but only chooseth the man, to whom God giveth it by his standing law: though about the disposing of her estate, she may limit him by precontracts; but if she contract against his government, it is a contradiction and null. Nor if he abuse his power, doth it at all fall into her hands.
If the king by charter give power to a corporation to choose their mayor, or other officer, they do but nominate the persons that shall receive it, but it is the king's charter, and not they, that give him the power.
If a soldier voluntarily list himself under the king's general, or other commanders; he doth but choose the man that shall command him, but it is the king's commission that giveth him the power to command those that voluntarily so list themselves. And if the authority be abused or forfeited, it is not into the soldiers' hands, but into the king's.
Prop. vi. The constituting consent or contract of ancestors obligeth all their posterity, if they will have any of the protection or other benefit of government, to stand to the constitution; else governments should be so unsettled and mutable, as to be incapable of their proper end.
Prop. VII. God hath neither in nature or Scripture, estated this power of government, in whole or in part, upon the people of a mere community, (much less on subjects) whether noble or ignoble, learned or unlearned, the part of the community, or the whole body, real or representative d.
So foolish and bad is the multitude too often. that it made Aristippus hold it as probable, that a wise man should not endanger himself for his country, because wis
The people as such, have not this power, either to use or to give but the absolute sovereign of all the world, doth communicate the sovereign power in every kingdom, or other sort of commonwealth from himself immediately, I say, immediately; not without the mediation of an instrument signifying his will; for the law of nature and Scripture are his instrument, and the charter of authority: nor yet so immediately, as without any kind of medium; for the consent and nomination of the community before expressed, may be 'conditio se qua non,' so far as aforesaid. But it is so immediately from God, as that there is no immediate recipient, to receive the power first from God, and convey it to the sovereign.
Prop. VIII. The natural power of individual persons over themselves, is 'tota specie' different from this political or civil power. And it is not the individual's resignation of this natural power of self-disposal, unto one or more, which is the efficient cause of sovereignty or civil power".
Prop. Ix. If you take the word 'law' properly, for the expression of a ruler's will obliging the governed, or making their duty; and not improperly for mere contracts between the sovereign and the people, then it is clear in the definition itself, that neither subjects, nor the community, as such, have any legislative power. Neither nature or Scripture, hath given the people a power of making laws, either by themselves, or with the sovereign; either the sole power, or a part of it. But the very nature of government requireth, that the whole legislative power, that is, the power of making governing laws, belong to the 'summa majestas,' or sovereign alone. (Unless when the 'summa potestas' is in many hands, you compare the partakers among themselves, and call one party the sovereign, as having more of the sovereignty than the rest.) For those that are no governors at all, cannot perform the chief act of government, which is the making of governing laws; but the people are no governors at all, either as a community, or as subjects: so that dom is not to be cast away for the commodity of fools. Laert. in Aristip. But a wise man must be wise for others, and not only for himself.
e It was one of the Roman laws of the twelve tables, Vendendi filium patri potestas esto. But this law rather giveth the father that power, than declareth it to be naturally in him. Nature alloweth him no other selling of him, than what is for his child's own good.
you may easily perceive, that all the arguments for a natural democracy, are built upon false suppositions; and wherever the people have any part in the sovereignty, it is by the after-constitution, and not by nature: and that kings receive not their power from the people's gift, (who never had it themselves to use or give,) but from God alone.
Prop. x. Though God have not made an universal determination for any sort of government, against the rest; (whether monarchy, aristocracy, or democracy,) because that is best for one people, which may be worse for others, yet ordinarily monarchy is accounted better than aristocracy, and aristocracy better than democracy. So much briefly of the original of power.
Object. 1. But, saith worthy Mr. Richard Hooker, Eccl. Polit. lib. i. sect. 10. p. 21 f, "That which we spake of the power of government, must here be applied to the power of making laws, whereby to govern; which power, God hath over all, and by the natural law, whereto he hath made all subject, the lawful power of making laws to command whole politic societies of men, belongeth so properly to the same entire societies, that for any prince or potentate of what kind soever upon earth, to exercise the same of himself, and not either by express commission immediately and personally received from God, or else by authority derived at first from their consent, upon whose persons they impose laws, it is no better than mere tyranny. Laws they are not therefore, which public approbation hath not made so."
Answ. Because the authority of this famous divine is with his party so great, I shall adventure to say something, lest his words do the more harm: but not by confident opposition, but humble proposal and submission of my judgment to superiors and wiser men, as being conscious of my own inferiority and infirmity, I take all this to be an assertion nowhere by him proved; (and by me elsewhere disproved fully). Laws are the effects and signs of the ruler's will; and instruments of government. Legislation is the first part of government; and if the whole body are naturally governors, the 'Pars imperans' and Pars subdita' are confounded. If the most absolute monarch can make no
So p. 23. The same error of the original of power hath Acosta, lib. ii. c. 5. p. 208. with many other Jesuits and Papists.