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VI.

1

mistaking in this, in which he' acted not as an Sei M.
Apostle, was no Argument to him against this
Right: Nor did the Weakness of other Men's
Judgments prevail with him not to set them an
Example of judging in the like Circumstances.
What Confusion, what Disorder, fay fome,
mụst ensue, if Subjects be allowed to judge
concerning the Invasion of their own Rights
and Privileges ? But let them believe St. Paul
for once, that much more Misery must enfue
upon Human Society, if it bé a fettled Point
that the Executive Powers may absolutely, and
without Controll, determine what they please
concerning the inferior Part of the World. If
any one ask where he faith this, I answer,
his Behaviour speaks it aloud : for he never
would have acted the Part which He did,
could he have thought it more for Public Good,
that Subjects should give up all their Judgments
to the Determination of their Magistrates,
than that they should judge concerning the
Violation of their common Rights after the
best manner they could. Let not Men there-
fore forget Modesty so much as to laugh out
of Countenance this Right of judging in
Subjects, which St. Paul himself claimed mere-
ly as he was a Subject.

4. Let those learn it from St. Paul, who will
not bear it from others, that Rights and Pri-

vileges,

VI.

ing for.

SER M. vileges, Liberty and Property, and the like,

are not Words fitted only to raise the Spirits of the People, and to foment Disturbances in Society; but that they are Things worth contend

Some may think (unless Respect to an Apostle a little divert them from it) what great

Matter if St. Paul had born a little Scourging? Or why could not he pass over the Injuries offered him by his Governors ? To which I know no better Answer than this, that his Behaviour was what it was, merely because they were Magistrates ; i. e. because it was a Case not of Concern to Himself only, but to Human Society. For he could bear, and pass by, Injuries as well as any Man: and had they been private Persons who had offered him any as great Indignities, I doubt not, He would have borne them without any Return but that of Forgiveness. But when the Civil Privileges of that Society to which he belonged, were invaded by Those, whose Duty and Profession it was to maintain them, He thought it a just Occasion to shew his Sense of so great an Evil; tho' it immediately touched only himself. The Confideration of the Character and Office of Those who offered the Injuries, was so far from determining him to pass them over with Silence; (according to some Mens way of arguing) that it was the very thing that made him look upon them not as private Injuries ; but with a SER M. Resentment due to Injuries of a publick and uni- VI. versal Concern.

upon

And however some may ridicule the Liberties of Subjects ; St. Paul *, it is plain, was for standing fast, not only in the Liberty with which Christ bad made him free from the Jewish Law of Ceremonies ; but also in that Liberty with which the Laws of Nature, and of the Roman State, had made him free from Oppression and Tyranny. For,

5. It is another Observation which we may make from his Example, that He thought the End of written Laws to be the Security of the Subjeęt against any Arbitrary Proceedings of the Executive Power; and that This could not be, unless the Executive were governed by these Laws, as well as the Subje&t. If this had not been his Opinion; it had been frivolous for him to have urged his Privileges founded upon

the Laws : by urging of which he plainly implies, that they were the Measure of the Magistrate's Behaviour toward the Subject. And I hope, it is the same in all the like Establishments. But how contrary is this to the Maxims of Some, who make the Laws insignificant Trifles; and place the Will of the Executive Power above them : declaring that otherwise there can be no such thing as Government ? By which Word they

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* Gal, v. I.

generally

VI.

SER M. generally seem to understand something beyond

such a Government as is for the good of the governed Society. How contrary is this to Such as make written Laws only an Encroachment upon the Absolute Power instituted by God; and study to make their Power as contemptible as they can, that the Necessity of Absolute Monarchy may the better appear; and boast of their Services this way, as if they were of the greatest Importance ? If these Notions be embraced, what must be thought of St. Paul under the Roman State, who thought it his Happiness to have Rights and Privileges settled by written Laws? What must we think of the wifest Nations in former Times, who could devise no greater Security, against Oppression and Unhappiness in Societies, than Laws? And if we come home to our felves, What must we think of the envied Conftitution under which we live; and, by the Virtue and Power of Laws, all enjoy the chief Happinesses that Human Life can with for? What must we think of that Revolution in which High and Low so unanimously joined, chiefly to rescue our Laws from a Dispensing Power ; and to divest the Executive from all Pretenses to a Superiority over the Legislative ? And what must we think of those Magistrates, whom the present Age beholds with Veneration, and Ages to come

VI.

will remember with Eternal Honour; who, SER M. tho' commiffioned by the Supreme Executive Power, yet acknowledge no Rule of their Con

duct but what is prescribed to them by the į Legislative; and account it their chief Glory,

to be the Guardians of the Laws, as They are of the Liberties of the People ?

The judicious Mr. Hooker * thinks that Huo man Societies first made a Trial of Government by the Will of one Man ; (as their first Elay might well be the worst and most imperfect;) and that They were constrained to come to Laws as a Remedy against the Evils of that kind of Regimen, after they had found (as his Expreshon is) That to live by one Man's Will was the Cause of all Men's Misery. This St. Paul, who plainly thought that Laws were designed as a Curb to the Arbitrary Will of the Executive Power. But invain did He contend in his Days; invain have the wisest of Men discoursed in all Ages; and invain is Absolute Power controlled by Success of Arms in our own Times; if we can live to be persuaded, either that there is no Difference in Governments; or that there is no Guard in Laws against Arbitrary Power; nor any force in them but what muft bend to the Will of those whose Office it;

agrees with

* Eccles, Polity, Book I. $ 10.

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