Thursday, July 2, 2009

Tyranny: A Maxim

Samuel Rutherford, Lex Rex, or, The Law and the Prince (1644), Question IX. Whether or No Sovereignty is So From the People, That It Remaineth In Them In Some Part, So As They May, In Case of Necessity, Resume It, p. 34:

I am not now unseasonably, according to the Prelate's order, to dispute of the power of lawful defence against tyranny; but, I lay down this maxim of divinity: Tyranny being a work of Satan, is not from God, because sin, either habitual or actual, is not from God: the power that is, must be from God; the magistrate, as magistrate, is good in nature of office, and the intrinsic end of his office, (Rom. xiii. 4) for he is the minister of God for thy good; and, therefore, a power ethical, politic, or moral, to oppress, is not from God, and is not a power, but a licentious deviation of a power; and is no more from God, but from sinful nature and the old serpent, than a license to sin.

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