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though foully changed, he durst not bring a railing accus-

f JudeS.


ation, xolaiv j&ofpfipfof " a judgment or accusation with
blasphemy in it :" for all evil language of our superior is no
better than blasphemy ; "he did blaspheme God and the
king," was the crime pretended against Naboth.

8. If, from the plain words of Scripture, we descend to
the doctrine and practices of the Church of God, we shall
find that all Christians, when they were most of all tempted,
when they were persecuted and oppressed, killed and tor-
mented, spoiled of their goods, and cruelly and despitefully
used, not only did not rebel, when they had power and num-
bers, but professed it to be unlawful. But this I shall draw
into a compendium : because it being but matter of fact, and
the matter in Scripture being so plain that it needs no inter-
pretation, the practice and doctrine of the Church, which are
usually the best commentary, are now but of little use in a
case so plain. But this also is as plain itself, and without
any variety, dissent, or interruption, universally agreed upon,
universally practised and taught, that let the powers set over
us be what they will, we must suffer it, and never right our-
selves. " Tertullian boasts with confidence, that when Pes-
cennius Niger in Syria, and Clodius Albinus in France and
Brittany, rebelled against Septimius Severus, a bloody and
cruel emperor, and pretended piety and public good, yet
none of the Christians joined with either. The Theban le-
gion in the eighteenth year of Diocletian suffered themselves
to be cut in pieces every man, six thousand six hundred sixty
and six in number, by Maximianus the emperor ; no man
in that great advantage of number, and order, and provoca-
tion, lifting up their hands, except it were in prayer : of these
Venantius Fortunatus g hath left this memorial.

Queis, positis gladiis, sunt arma dogmata Pauli,

Nomine proChristi dulcius esse mori.
Pectore belligero poterant qui vincere ferro,

In vitiint jugulis vulnera cara suis :

" They laid down their weapons and lift up their arms ; they
prayed and died in order : and this they did according to
the doctrine of St. Paul." But when Julian was emperor,
and apostate from his religion, a great persecutor of the
Christians, and who by his cruelty (as Nazianzen b observes)
brought the commonwealth in danger, though his army did
most consist of Christians, yet they had arms for him, but
Biblioth. Patrum, torn. Tiii. edit. Binian. h Orat. i. in Julian.


none against him, save only that, by prayers and tears, they
diverted many of his damnable counsels and designs. But
the particulars are too many to recite what might be very
pertinent to this question from antiquity. I shall therefore
serve the interest of it as to this topic by pointing out the
writings of the ancient doctors, 1 where they have given
testimony to this great article of our religion.

9. After him succeeded (Sabinianus being interposed for
one year only) Boniface III., who obtained of Phocas to be
called universal bishop: since when, "periit virtus impera-
torum, periit pietas pontificum," says one, " the kings lost
their strength, and the bishops lost their piety :" yet in the
descending ages, God wanted not many worthy persons to
give testimonies to this great truth and duty. Such were
Stephen VI. ; k Gregorius Turonensis ; ' Fulgentius ; m Damas-
cen ; n Leo IV. ; St. Bernards

10. Now it is very observable, that, in the succession of
about six ages, in which the holy doctors of the Church gave
such clear testimony of the necessity of obeying even the
worst princes, and many thousands of holy Christians sealed
it with their blood, there was no opposition to it ; and none
of any reputation, no man of learning, did any thing against
the interest or the honour of princes, excepting only (so far
as I have observed) Lucifer Calaritanus, who indeed spake
rude and unbeseeming words of Constantius, the Arian em-
peror ; but that he may lessen nothing of the universal con-

1 S. Clement. Constit. lib. vii. c. 17. S. Irenaeus, lib. v. Advers. Haeres. c. 20.
Justin Martyr, Apolog. 2. ad Antonin. Imperatorem, Tertullian ad Scapulam, et
Apolog. adv. Gent. c. 20. S. Cyprian ad Demetrianum, Hosius apud Athanas.
ad solitariam vitatn agentes, Liberius, ibid. S. Hilary adlmperat. Constantium. S.
Athanasius ad Antiocb. qusest. 55. et Apolog. ad Constant, vide etiam factum Ba-
silii in Monodia Nazianz. inter opuscula Basilii, Nazianzea. 2. Orat. cont. Julian.
Optatus Milevitanus, lib. iii. cont. Parmen. S. Chrysostom. Orat. 2. ad Pop. An-
tioch. torn. vi. edit. Savil. Et in 1 Timotb. c. ii. v. 1. S. Ambrose, Epist. 33. ad
Marcellinam, S. Cyril, in Evang. Johan. lib. xii. c. 36. S. Hieron. Comment, in 2
Dan. S. Augustin. lib. iv. de Civit. Dei, c. 33 ; et lib. v. c. 21 ; et in Psal. cxxiv.
Et Epist. 54. ad Macedon ; et tract. 6. in Joban. Anastasius P. Epist. unic. ad
Anastasium Imper Symmacbus P. ad eundem Anast. Imp. Leo. P. ad Leonem
Imperat. ; et epist. 13. ad Pulcberiam, S. Gregor. Mag. Epist. lib. vii.ep. 1.

k Apud Baronium, torn. x. A.D. 885. n. 11.

1 Hist. lib. v. c. 1. Concil. Toletan. 5. can. 2 ; et Concilium Toletan. 6. c. 14.

m Parallel, ad Thrasimundum Regem.

n Parallel. i.e. 21. V.Bede.lib.iv.expos.inSam.' Cap. deCapitulis. dist. 15.

f Epist. 241. to Louis le Gros. Vide etiam Epist. Walthraini Epis. Nanum-
berg. que habetur in appendice Alariaui Scoti.


sent to this doctrine, St. Ambrose* 1 does lessen very much
of his reputation, saying, that though he was with the true
believers banished for religion, yet he separated himself from
their communion. But in the next period, I mean after Gre-
gory the Great, it was not unusual for the bishops of Rome
to stir up subjects to rebel against their princes, and from
them came the first great declension and debauchery of the
glory of Christian loyalty and subjection to their princes ;
witness those sad stories of Pope Gregory VII., Pope Urban,
and Paschal, who stirred up the emperor's sons against the
father. I speak it to this purpose, because it produced an
excellent epistle from the churchmen of Liege in behalf of
the emperor and of their bishop, who with his chapter was
excommunicated for adhering to his loyalty, and Robert, earl
of Flanders, commanded by the pope to destroy him and all
his priests. But, in behalf of princes and the duty of sub-
jection to them, many excellent things were spoken, divers
judgments of God fearfully falling upon rebellious people are
recited, not only in that epistle of the clergy of Liege, but in
the life of Henry IV., emperor/ From all these fathers and
ancient authors now cited, "magnum mundo documentum
datum est" (that I may use the words of the author of the
book last cited) " a great instruction and caution are given
to the whole world, that no man rise up against his prince."
For all these authors give clear and abundant testimony to
these truths, that the power of the supreme magistrate is
immediately from God, that it is subject to God alone,
that by him alone it is to be judged, that he is the governor
of all things and persons within his dominions, that who-
soever speaks reproachfully of him cannot be innocent,
that he that lifts up his hand against him, strikes at the face
of God, that God hath confounded such persons, that,
against the laws of God, and their own oaths, and the natu-
ral bonds of fidelity, have attempted to spoil their supreme
lords, that Herman and Egbert, that did so, were con-
founded for so doing, as though they had never been, that
Rudolphus had his hand cut off, and felt divers other of the
Divine judgments for this impiety. And this being the
constant universal doctrine of the Church of God for twelve

) Orat in Obit. Fratr. Satyri.

r In fascicule rerum sciend., published at Cologn. apud Simoii. Scard.


hundred years, and this derived from the plain, the express,
the frequent sayings and commandments of God in the Old
and New Testament, declared by his prophets and apostles,
and by his most holy Son himself, nothing can with greater
certainty determine and conduct our conscience than this
rule. For the confirmation of which I remember St. Bernard
tells a pretty little story, in a sermon upon these words of
Christ, * I am the vine :' " Bene quidam rex cum percussus
hamata sagitta," &c. " It was well said of a king, who being
wounded with a barbed arrow," they that were about him,
desired he would suffer himself to be bound till the head
were cut out, because the least motion irregular would en-
danger his life: he answered, " Regem ligari nullo modo
decet, A king must at no hand be bound ;" let the king be
ever safe, but let his power be at liberty. I end this topic
with the words of St. Austin* and of the sixth Council of
Toledo, " Non tribuatnus dandi regni atque imperii potesta-
tem nisi vero Deo, Let us attribute the power of giving the
right of empire to none but to the true God alone." " Ille
unus verus Deus qui nee judicio nee adjutorio deserit genus
humarium, quando velit et quantum voluit, Romanis regnum
dedit : qui dedit Assyriis, vel etiam Persis ; qui Mario, ipse
Caio Caesari ; qui Augusto, ipse Neroni ; qui Vespasiano,
vel patri vel filio, suavissimis imperatoribus, ipse et Domi-
tiano crudelissimo ; et ne per singulos ire necesse sit, qui
Constantino Christiano, ipse apostatae Juliano. Hoc plane
Deus unus verus regit, et gubernat, ut placet : The one
true God, who never leaves mankind destitute of right and
help, hath given a kingdom to the Romans, as long as he
please and as much as he please. He that gave the supreme
power to the Assyrians, he also gave it to the Persians.
He that gave it to Marius, a common plebeian, gave it to
Caius Caesar, who was a princely person. The same author-
ity he gave to Nero that he gave to Augustus ; he gave
as much power and authority to the most cruel Domitian,
as he gave to Vespasian and to Titus, the gentlest and the
sweetest princes; and, to be short, he gave the authority to
Constantine the Christian, and the same afterward to Julian
the Apostate ; for this great affair he rules and governs as he

Lib. v. de Civit. Dei, c. *1.


11. But all this is no more than what natural and neces-
sary reason does teach all the world: " Hanc Deus et melior
litem natura diremit." ' For this which I have alleged from
the fathers, is properly a religious reason, ' It is God's power
which is in the supreme magistrate, whether he be good or
bad ; therefore whoever rebels, rebels against the power and
dispensation of God ;' and to this there is nothing reasonable
to be opposed. But then that which I am now to say, is
derived to us by the reason that every man carries about him,
by the very law of nature.

Naturam vere appello legem Omnipotentis
Supremique Patris, quam prima ab origine rerura
Cunctis imposuit rebus, jussitque teneri

By the law of nature I mean the prime law of God, which he
unalterably imposed upon all men in their first creation, that
by reason and wise discourses they should govern themselves
in order to that end, which is perfective of human nature
and society. The law of nature is the law of God, which is
reasonable and necessary to nature : now by this law or
necessary reason we find it very fit, that we should divest our-
selves of the practice and exercise of some rights and liber-
ties which naturally we have. So Aristotle u observes : " Ho-
mines abductosrationemulta prseter mores et naturam agere,
si aliter agi inelius esse sibi persuaserint ; Men do some
things against their natural inclination, if by natural reason
they find it best to do so." Now nature, having permitted
every man to defend himself, as well as he can, against vio-
lence, did, by an early experience, quickly perceive, that few
men had power enough to do it against every violent man ;
and therefore they drew into societies, gathered their strength,
and it was put into the hands of them, who by a joined
strength could, and by promise, and interest, and duty, would,
do it: and by this means the societies had peace, and might
live quietly. Now the natural consequent is this, that if all
our power is united and intrusted to one head, we must not
keep it in our hands. If the supreme power be the avenger,
we must not meddle ; if he be judge, we must submit, for
else we are never the nearer to peace. For when we were so
many single persons, we were always in war, but by unity

Ov. Met. i. 21. " Polit. 7. c. 13.


and government we come to peace : therefore whatever we
could do alone, we having put into the common stock, our na-
tural right of defence is in the puhlic hand, and there it must
remain for ever: and we are to be defended by the laws, and
they only are now the ministries of peace. This is St. Paul's v
argument, " I exhort that prayers and supplications be made
for all men ; for kings and all that are in authority, that we
lead a quiet and a peaceable life in all godliness and honesty:"
plainly implying, that the security and peace of societies
depend upon the power and authority of kings and per-
sons in eminence and trust: for none must make war, but
he that does it for all men's interest ; and therefore it is
peace with all that are under government: but then that
which is designed to keep peace, must feel no war from
them whom it is designed to keep in peace, that they may
not feel the evils of war. If government be necessary, it is
necessary that we should obey it ; if we must obey it, we
must not judge it ; if we must not judge it, we may not en-
deavour to punish it : and there is nothing in the world a
greater destruction to its own ends, than the resisting or
rebelling against government; because if we be above it, how
are we subjects? if subjects, how are we its judges? if no
judges, how can we be avengers? if no avengers, why are we
not quiet and patient? If we be not above, we are below ;
and therefore there let us abide ; but if we be above, then
we are the supreme power ; and then it is all one. That
which is said all this while concerns the subjects, and not
the supreme, to whom, by our natural necessities, by a gene-
ral contract of mankind, by the law of nations, by the com-
mand of God, and by the civil laws of all republics, the sub-
ject is bound, and does owe obedience and maintenance, and
honour and peace. " Generale pactum est societatis hurria-
nae obedire regibus suis," said St. Austin ; w " It is a covenant
that all mankind have agreed in, to be obedient to their

12. But all this is true: but since kings are for defence
and justice, for good and not for evil, for edification and not
for destruction, good kings must be obeyed ; but what if they
be evil and unjust, cruel and unreasonable enemies of their
people, and enemies of mankind?

v 1 Tim. ii. 2. < Lib. iii. Confess, c. 8.


13. This is that I have been saying all this while, that
let him be what he will, if he be the supreme, he is superior
to me, and I have nothing to do, but something to suffer ;
let God take care, if he please, I shall be quickly remedied ;
till then I must do as well as I can. For if there be any case
in which the subjects may resist, who sball be judge of that
case? can this case be evident and notorious? and does it
always consist 'in indivisibili?' If it does not, then many
things are like it; and who can secure that the subjects shall
judge right ? For if they were infallible, yet who will engage
that they will not do amiss ? what warranty have we against
the ambition, and the passion, and the interest of the re-
formers of supreme powers ? And is it not better to suffer
inconvenience from one than from every one that please ?
But if you allow one case, you must allow as many as can
be reduced to it.: and who is not witty enough against
governors, to find excuses enough to bring them down ?

14. (2.) What remedy is there, in case the supreme power
be ill administered? will not any remedy bring greater evils
than the particular injustices which are complained of? It
was well said of Xenophon,* "Ofrig tv voXtpu uv eraffidQi cr^oj
rbv ag%pvra, Kgbg rqv eauroil aurr,oiav ffraffidfyi, " He that
opposes his general and prince, opposes his own safety."
For, consider, what order can be in a family, if the boys rule
their fathers and rebel against their command ? How shall
the sick be cured, if they resist the advice and prescriptions
of the physicians? And they that sail are like to suffer ship-
wreck, if the boatswain, and the swabbers, and the boys, shall
contradict the master. So it is impossible that there can be
safety in a commonwealth, if they who are appointed to obey
shall offer to rule. tovffti ya.o ava-yy.aioi, nva, xal ffurrjgia rf
psv ug^siv iv rot's av&ouxoi;, rip 8s as%t(&ai rsraxrar " For by
nature it is necessary and profitable and ordered accordingly,
that one should rule, and the rest should be obedient."

15. And therefore, these wild cases are not to be pre-
tended against that which natural reason and natural neces-
sity have established. We cannot suppose a king that should
endeavour to destroy his kingdom. We may as well suppose
a father to kill his children, and that therefore, in some cases,
it may be lawful for children to rebel against their fathers,

* Dion. Cassias.


turn them out of door, and, as they see occasion, cut their
throats, that the inheritance may be theirs. Whom can we
suppose worse than Julian, than Domitian, than Nero ? and
yet these princes were obeyed, and did never proceed to the
extremity of such desperate hostilities : nay, Nero, as bad as
he was, yet when he was killed, was quickly missed ; for, in
a few months, three princes succeeded him, and there was
more blood of the citizens spilt in those few months than in
Nero's fourteen years. And who please, both for their plea-
sure and their instruction, to read the encomium of Nero
written by the incomparable Cardan, shall find that the worst
of princes do much more good than they do harm. But,
" semper corpori grave est caput, the head always aches,
and is a burden to the shoulders," and we complain much of
every little disorder. Put case a prince by injustice do vio-
lence to some of his subjects 1 , what then? " Qui unum, qui
plures occidit, non tamen reip. leesse reus, sed csedis," said
Seneca ; " It is not the killing of some citizens that destroys
the commonwealth : " and there are not many princes that
proceed so far as to do open and professed wrong to the lives
of their subjects ; but many subjects have done violence,
open and apparent, to the lives of their princes ; and yet the
subjects are aptest to complain. " Quis princeps apud nos
regnavit e vicecomitum aut Sfortiadum familia, quern non ali-
quis civis noster, etiam sine causa, sed sola ambitione, ferro
aggressus sit? pauci certe ; Which of our princes of such
and such a family hath not been set upon to be murdered by
some of their subjects, without cause, but merely out of
ambition? Very few." And he that reads Hector Boethius's
* History of Scotland,' may say as much as Cardan, and for a
long time. Every man complains of kings and governors ;
we love them not, and every little thing makes him a tyrant :
but it is in this case as in the case of women, says Albericus
Gentilis ; ' we cannot be without them, and yet we are not
pleased when we are tied to them.' If any such thing could
happen, that a king had a mind to destroy his people, by
whom should he do it? He alone can hardly do it ; and he
could hardly arm his people against themselves. But what
should he get by it? he cannot be so unreasonable : but
suppose it, what then? " Oppression will make a wise
man mad," saith Solomon : and there are some temptations


bigger than a man's strength ; and this would be one of
them, and the people would be vexed into the sin of rebel-
lion ; and then, it may be, God would cut him off, and pu-
nish the people ; and here would be calamity enough in this
whole intercourse, but nothing lawful. For we have nothing

* c? o

dearer to us than our lives and our religion : but, in both
these cases, we find whole armies of Christians dying qui-
etly, and suffering persecution without murmur. But it can-
not be done, it cannot easily be supposed, that an evil prince
should be otherwise than one that is cruel and unjust, and
this to fall upon some persons : for let him be lustful, he
shall not ravish the commonwealth ; and if he be bloody, his
sword cannot cut off very great numbers ; and if he be
covetous, he will not take away all men's estates: but if a
war be made against him, these evils will be very much more
universal ; for the worst of princes that ever was, hath obliged
a great many, and some will follow him out of duty, some
for fear, some for honour, and some for hopes ; and then as
there is no subject that complains of wrong, but he hath
under the government received more right than wrong, so
there is none that goes to do himself right (if that be all he
intends, and not covetous and ambitious designs), but in the
forcing it he will find more wrong than right.

16. (3.) But I demand, ' Are there no persons from whom
if we receive wrong we must not be avenged of them?' To
a Christian it had been a more reasonable inquiry, Whether
there be any persons of whom we may be avenged ? Cer-
tainly there are none of whom we may be avenged without
the aid or leave of the public power. But what if our
father do us wrong? may we strike him? 'Ogyfiv fargbg p'sgeiv,
"To bear our father's unjust wrath," was one of the pre-
cepts the young man of Eretria had learnt of Zeno : and what
then if we be injured by the public father? " Magno animo
regis, velut parentis contumeliam tulit;" it was said of Ly-
simachus : "Etut parentum saevitiam, sic patriee, patiendo ac
ferendo leniendam esse," said Livy ; ' If we must bear with
our fathers, so also with our princes.' " Vi quidem regere
patriam aut parentes, quanquam et possis, et delicta corrigas,
importunum est," said Sallust ;* " Though it were in your
power, though you might reform some evils, yet to rule your

i Bell. Jug. c. iv. Havercamp. vol. i. p. 11.


parents or your prince by force is not reasonable." And it
was an excellent saying which Cicero 2 had from Plato ; a "Id
enim Plato jubet, quern ego vehementer auctorem sequor ;
tantum contendere in republica, quantum probare tuis civi-
bus possis ; vim neque parenti, neque patrise afferri oportere.
Atque hanc quidem ille causam sibi, ait, non attingendae rei-
publicse fuisse ; quod cum offendisset populum Atheniensem
prope jam desipientem senectute, cumque eum nee persua-
dendo, nee cogendo regi posse vidisset, cum persuaderi posse
diffideret, cogi fas esse non arbitraretur ; To contend and
fight in a commonwealth can never be approved by the citi-
zens : strive so much as you can justify : but you must offer
force neither to your parents nor to your country, that is, the
supreme government of your country. And when Plato saw
the people of Athens almost doting with age, he despaired
of prevailing upon them by persuasion ; but yet to compel
them by force he concluded to be impious." But can any
man lose by patience ? hath it no reward ? or is there no
degree of counsel in it "? that is, Is not some patience accept-
able, though it be not necessary ? shall it have no reward, if
it be more than we are bound to ? If it shall be rewarded,
though it be greater than is simply necessary, then it is cer-
tain, that whatever we suffer under evil princes, to be quiet
and peaceable is infinitely better than to resist : for that shall
have a good reward : this seldom misses an ill one. But if
there be no counsel, no degree of uncommanded patience,
then all patience is necessary ; for it is certain none is sin :
for Christ was glorified by suffering the greatest injuries,
and his martyrs have trodden the same way of the cross ;
and so must we, if God calls us to it, if we will be his dis-

17. (4.) But again I consider, Does every subject that
is a wicked man, forfeit the right in his estate, otherwise
than law appoints ? Is dominion founded in grace ? or is it
founded in law and labour, in succession and purchase ? And
is it not so in princes ? with this only difference, that their

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