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26. BUCH. I shall tell you more plainly, that you may understand it. when you grant the interpretation of lawes to a king, you grant him such a licence, as the law doeth not tell what the lawgiver meaneth, or what is good and equall for all in generall, but what may make for the interpreters benefit, so that he may bend it to all actions for his own benefit or advantage, as the Lesbian rule. Appius Claudius in his decemviratus made a very just law, that in a liberall cause or plea [one dealing with a man’s freedom], sureties should be granted for liberty. What more clearly could have been spoken? But by interpreting, the same author made his own law useless. You see, I suppose, how much liberty you give a prince by one cast, namely that what he pleaseth, the law doth say; what pleaseth him not, it doth not say. If we shall once admit this, it will be to no good purpose to make good lawes for teaching a good prince his duty, and hemme in an ill king. Yea, let me tell you more plainly, it would be better to have no lawes at all than that freedom to steal should be tolerat, and also honoured under pretext of law.
MAIT. Do you think that any king will be so impudent that he will not at all have any regard of the fame and opinion that all men have of him? Or that he will be so forgetfull of subjects that he will degenerat into their privaty, whom he hath restrained by ignominy, imprisonment, confiscation of goods, and, in a word, with very grievous punishments?
BUCH. Let us not believe that these things will be, if they had not been done long ago, and that to the exceeding great hurt of the whole world.
MAIT. Where do you tell these things were done?
BUCH. Do you ask where? As if all the nations in Europe did not only see, but feele also how much mischief hath the immoderat power and unbridled tyranny of the Pope of Rome brought upon humane affairs. Even that power which from small beginning and seemingly honest he had got, every man doth know that no less can be feared by unwary persons. At first, lawes were proposed to us, not only drawn out of the innermost secrets of nature, but given by God Himself, explaind by the Prophets from the Holy Spirit, at last confirmed by the Son of God, and by the same God confirmed, committed to the writings of those praise worthy men, expressed in their life, and sealed with their blood. Neither is there in the whole law any other place more carefully, commendably, or more clearly delivered than that of the office of bishops. Now, seeing it is lawfull to no man to add any thing to these lawes, to abrogat or derogat ought therefrom, or to change any thing therein, there did remain but one interpretation, and whilst the Pope did arrogat it, he not only did oppress the rest of the Churches, but claimed a tyranny the most cruell of all that ever were, daring to command not only men but angels also, plainly reducing Christ into order. If this be not to reduce him into order, that what thou wilt have done in heaven, in earth and amongst the damned in Hell be ratifid, what Christ hath commanded, let it be ratified, if thou wilt, for if the law seeme to make but little for your behoofe, interpreting it thus you may back-bend it, so that not only by your mouth, but also according to the judgment of your mind Christ is constrained to speak. Christ therefore speaking by the mouth of the Pope, Pipin is set in Childerick’s place of government, Ferdinandus of Arragon substitute to John King of Navarre; the son arose in armes against his father, and subjects against their king. Christ is full of poison, then he is forced by witches so that he killeth Henry of Luxemburg by poison.
MAIT. I have heard these things often before, but I desire to hear more plainly somewhat of that interpretation of lawes.
27. BUCH. I shall offer you one example, from which you may easily understand how much this whole kind is able to do. The law is A bishop must be the husband of one wife, than which law what is more clear, and what may be said more plain? “One wife” (saith the law), “one church” (saith the Pope), such is his interpretation. As if that law were made not to repress the lust of bishops, but their avarice. Now this explanation, albeit it saith nothing to the purpose, yet doth contain a judgement honest and pious, if he had not vitiated that law again by another interpretation. What doeth therefore the Pope devise for excuse? “It varieth (saith he) in regard of persons, cases, places and times. Some are of that eminent disposition that no number of churches can satisfy their pride. Some churches again are so poor that they cannot maintain him who was lately a begging monk, if he now have a mitre, if he would maintain the name of a bishop.” There is a reason invented from that crafty interpretation of the law, that they may be called bishops of one church, or other churches given them in commendam, and all may be robbed. Time would faile me if I should reckon up the cheats which are daily excogitat against one law. But albeit these things be most unbeseeming as well the name of a Pope as of a Christian, yet their tyranny rests not here. For such is the nature of all things that, when they once begin to fall, they never stay untill they fall headlongs into destruction. Will you have me to shew you this by a famous example? Do you not remember upon any of the Roman emperours blood who was more cruell and wicked than Caius Caligula?
MAIT. There was none that I know of.
BUCH. Now what was his most nefarious villany, think you? I do not speak of those deeds which Popes do reckon upon some reserved cases, but in the rest of his life?
MAIT. I do not at present remember.
BUCH. What do you think of that, that having called upon his horse, he invited him to sup with him? Set a golden grain of barley before him and made him Consul?
MAIT. Indeed it was most impiously done.
BUCH. 2hat think you of that, how he made the same horse his colleague in the priesthood?
MAIT. Do you tell me that in good earnest?
BUCH. Indeed in good earnest, nor do I admire [wonder] that these things seeme to you feigned. But that Roman Jupiter of ours hath done such things that those done by Caligula may seem true to posterity. I say Pope Julius the Third, who <it> seems contended with Caius Caligula, a most wicked wretch, for preheminence of impiety.
28. MAIT. What did he of that kind?
BUCH. He made his ape-keeper, a man almost more vile than the vilest beast, his colleague in the papacy.
MAIT. Perhaps there was another cause of choosing him.
BUCH. Some are reported indeed, but I have picked out the most honest. Seeing then so great a contempt, not only of the priesthood, but also a forgetfulness of humanity arise from this freedome of interpreting lawes, beware you think that to be a small power.
MAIT. But the ancients seeme not to have thought it so great a business of interpreting, as you would have it seeme to be. Which by this one argument may be understood, because the Roman emperours granted it to lawyers; which one reason doth overturne your whole tedious dispute, nor doth it only refute what you spoke of the greatness of that power, but that also which you most shun, it perspicuously declareth what power they granted to others of answering rightly was not denyed to themselves, if they had been pleased to exerce [exercise] that office, or could have done it by reason of greater affaires.
BUCH. As for those Roman emperours whom the souldiers did choose indeliberately [unadvisedly] and without any regard to the common good of all, these fall not under this notion of kings which we have described, so that by those that were most wicked were they chosen who for the most part were most wicked, or else laid hold upon the government by violence. Now I do not reprehend them for granting power to lawyers to interpret the law. And albeit that power be very great, as I have said before, it is notwithstanding most safely concredited to them to whom it cannot be an instrument of tyranny. Moreover it was concredited to many whom mutuall reverence did hold within the bounds of duty, that if one decline from equity, he might be refuted by another. And if they should have all agreed together into fraud, the help of the judge was above them, who was not obliged to hold for law what ever was given by lawyers for an answer. And over all was the emperour, who might punish the breach of lawes. They, beeing astricted [bound] by so many bonds, were hemmed in, and did fear a more grievous punishment than any reward of fraud they could expect. You see, I suppose then, that the danger to be feared from such kind of men was not so great.
29. MAIT Have you no more to say of a king?
BUCH. First, if you please, let us collect together what is already spoken, so that the more easily we may understand if any thing be omitted.
MAIT. I think we should do so.
BUCH. We seemed to be at accord sufficiently concerning the origine and cause of creating kings and making lawes, but of the lawgiver not so; but at last, though somewhat unwillingly, you seeme to have consented, being enforced by the strength of truth.
MAIT. Certainly you have not only taken from a king the power of commanding lawes, but also of interpreting them, even whilst I as an advocat strongly protested against it. Wherein I am afraid, if the matter come to publick hearing, lest I be accused of prevarication for having so easily suffered a good cause, as it seemed at first, to be wrung out of my hands.
BUCH. Be of good courage. For if any accuse you of prevarication in this case, I promise to be your defence.
MAIT. Perhaps we will find that shortly.
BUCH. There seems to be many kinds of affaires which can be comprehended within no lawes, whereof we laid over a part on ordinary judges, and a part on the kings council by the kings consent.
MAIT. I do remember we did so indeed. And when you was doing that, wot [know] you what came into my mind?
BUCH. How can I, unless you tell me?
MAIT. Me thought you made kings in a manner like stone seals, which for the most part so seem to lean on the tops of pillars as if they did sustain the whole fabrick, whereas in effect they bear no more burden than any other stone.
BUCH. What? Good advocat of kings, do you complain that I lay on them a little burden, seeing both day and night they do nothing else than seek out others to bear burden with them, or upon whom they may altogether lay the burden, and so disburden themselves? And in the mean time you seeme to take it in ill part that I afford them help labouring under their burden.
MAIT. I also very willingly admit these auxiliaries, but such would I have as may serve, but not command, such as may shew the way, but not lead in the way, or more truly draw or rush them forward as some warlike engine, and leave a king no other power but to assent to them. Therefore I presently expect that, having ended our discourse concerning a king, you would step aside to speak of tyrants, or some where else. For you have inclosed a king within so narrow bounds that I am afraid lest, if we tarry longer therein, you drive him out of his greatest wealth and highest dignity, and banish him, as it were, into some desert island, where, being spoiled of all his honour, he wax old in poverty and miserty.
30. BUCH. You feared, as you pretend, the crime of prevarication, but I am afraid lest in calumniating you wrong the king whom you endeavour to defend. First, I would not have him to be idle, unless you would appoint idle master builders; secondly, you deprive him of good ministers and friends, whom I have adjoyned to him, not as keepers, but would like them called by him to bear a part of his labour; and, these being driven away, you surround him with a band of knaves who make him to be feared by his subjects. Neither do you think he will be formidable unless we allow him a great power of doing wrong. I would have him to be by his subjects beloved, not to be guarded by the terrour, but goodwill of his subjects, which armes alone do make kings invincible. Unless you gainsay this, I trust I shall shortly prove it. For I shall lead him out of these you call straigts into light, and by one law shall give him so much authority and enlargement that, if he desire more, he may seeme impudent.
MAIT. Indeed I long to heare that.
BUCH. I shall then fall upon that matter, that I may satisfy your desire as soon as I can. A little before we have confessed that no law can be so accurately cautioned concerning any affair, but that malicious subtilty may invent some fraud. This perhaps wil be the better understood by the example already proposed. By the law it is ordained that no parents transmit their benefices to their bastards. Here, in effect, the law seemes clear, yet a cheat is found out, that the father substitute some other man, and that he may deliver the same benefice to the bastard of the former possessor. Thereafter, when as it was carefully ordained by law that the son should by no means enjoy that benefice which his father had possessed before, yet by this caution it was never a white [whit] the better. For against that law a paction [underhand agreement] was found out amongst priests, that each of them should substitute the son of the other in his office. And when that was also forbidden, the law was also eluded by another kind of cheat: a pretender was set up against the father, who might pretend he had a right to that benefice. Whilst the father seemingly is a contending with this supposed sycophant, the son doth petition the Pope for the benefice, if so be that the right unto that benefice belong not to either of the parties contending for it, and the son by his fathers prevarication doth enjoy his fathers benefice, and over cometh both the parties, who willingly and freely yeeld up their plea. Thus you see how many kinds of cheats are invented against one law.
MAIT. I see it.
BUCH. Do not lawgivers seeme to do altogether the same herein which physicians do, who whilst they endeavour by applying a plaister to compesce [suppress] the eruptions of flegme or of some other hurtfull humour, the humour restrained in one place seeks issue in many places at once, and, as a certain hydra having one head cut off, many heads start up in place of one?
MAIT. Nothing more like.
31. BUCH. What was incumbent for a physician to do at first for freeing the whole body at once of peccant [harmful] humours, ought not the politick physician to do the same in this case, for freeing the whole commonwealth of evill manners?
MAIT. I think that to be the right way of cure, albeit it be difficult.
BUCH. And if this can be obtained, I think there would be need of few lawes.
MAIT. It is indeed so.
BUCH. Doth not he alone seeme to conferre more for the publick good who can apply this remedy, than all the conventions of all estates met for making of lawes?
MAIT. Doubtless far more. But that I may use of the comick poets words, “who is able to undertake so weighty a charge?”
BUCH. What if we shall lay it over on the king?
MAIT. Merrily spoken indeed. What was soon done and easy you have committed to the whole people, but if any thing be difficult and intricat, you will lay it over upon the king alone, as if you thought him not sufficiently bound tying him round about with so many fetters unless you lay upon him a most grievous burden under which he may also succumbe.
BUCH. It is not so, but we contend for a business easy for him to be done, we beseech he would suffer himself to be exorable [open to entreaty].
MAIT. What is that, I pray?
BUCH. That, as fathers ought to carry towards their children, so in all his life he would behave himself towards his subjects whom he ought to account as children.
MAIT. What is that to the purpose in hand?
32. BUCH. Surely this one is certainly the chiefest remedy against corrupt manners, and, lest you suppose it an invention of mine, hear what Claudianus saith: “Thou, king, must as a father rule thy subjects, and no less have a care for all than of thy self. Let not thy own desire only move thee, but also the publick desires of thy people. If thou commandest ought to be done by all, and to be obeyed, obey the same first thy self. Then will the people become the more observant of equity, nor will refuse to bear any burden when they see their king himself obedient to what he commands. The whole world doth act conforme [in conformity] to the example of a king. The lawes of kings prevaile not so much to incline mens minds unto obedience, as the conversation of the rulers. For the fluctuating multitude doth alwayes change as their prince doth.” Do not imagine that the poet pregnant for understanding and learning did in vain believe so great force to be herein, for people are so addicted to the imitation of kings in whom any image of honesty doth shine or appeare, and to endeavour to express their manners, that whose vertue they admire, the endeavour also to imitat some of their vices in speech, apparell and deport [deportment]. But in conforming themselves to the king in gesture, manners of speech, they not only desire to imitat him, but also by flattery they insinuat themselves into the mind of great ones, and by these arts they hunt after riches, honour, and preferment, because they know we have it by nature that we love not only our selves, and our own concernes, but embrace our own likeness, though vicious, in others. Now that which we demand not wickedly and arrogantly, but by intreaty endeavour to obtain, hath a far greater force than the threatnings of lawes, the ostentation of punishments, or armies of souldiers. This reduceth a people without force into modesty, conciliateth to a king his subjects good liking, increaseth and maintaineth the publick tranquillity, and the wealth of every one severally. Let therefore a king carefully consider that he is set on the theater of the wrold, and for a spectacle proposed to all, so as no word or deed of his can be concealed. “The vices of kings can never be kept secret. For the supream light of fate suffers nothing to ly hid in obscurity, and fame inters into all secret places, and finds out obscure corners.”
33. O how much doth it concerne kings to be circumspect on all hands, seeing neither their vices nor their vertues can be concealed, nor yet without a great universall change of affaires? But if any do yet doubt what great importance there is in the conversation of a prince for the emendation of the publick discipline, let him take but a view of the small beginning of the state of Rome. That rude people consisting of shephereds and countrey inhabitants, I shall not say worse, naturally fierce, having got a very couragious king, and having pitched once their tents for soliciting the peace of the neighbouring nations, and provoking them to fight, how much do you think of hatred and fear was bred in their neighboiurs? When again that very same people had set over them a pious and just king, they were so suddenly changed that, being wholly devoted to the worship of their gods and to acts of justice, that to wrong them their neighbours judged it a crime, even those very neighbours, I say, whose lands before they had laid waste, whose cities they had burnt, and their children and kinsmen they had carried away into bondage. Now if in that barbarity of manners and rudeness of times Numa Pompilius (who a little before was brought out of another nation at enmity with them and made king) could do so much, what shall wee expect, or rather, what shall we not expect of those princes, who being supported by affinity, vassals, and much wealth left them by their ancestors, obtain the government, and are born and brought up in expectation thereof? Now how much should they hope to have the praise, not of one day, as stage-players do, the scene being once past, but the goodwill, admiration, and perpetuall remembrance of their life to all posterity, and know that honours in heaven are prepared for them? I wish I could express in words the representation of that honour which in mind I have conceived. Now that I may somewhat propose unto your view the same by some of the first draughts and lineaments thereof, consider with your self how the brasen serpent erected by Moses in the desert of Arabia did heal the wounds made by other serpents by a very look of the people thereon. I magine [imagine] that out of the whole people there were some stung by serpents and running together for present cure, others astonished at the newness of the miracle, and all celebrating with all kind of praise the immense and incredible goodness of God, when the perceive that the pain of that deadly wound was not taken away, either by medicaments, with the torment of the patient, by the physicians labour and assiduous carefulness of friends, nor by any long space of time, but reduced unto health in a moment. Compare now a king with that serpent, and so compare him that you may reckon a good king amongst the greatest benefits of God, who alone, without any expence of thine, and without thy paines and labour, doth relieve a kingdome of all its troubles, setleth perturbations, and in a short space bringeth the inveterat ulcers of minds into a cicatrice or scar; neither is he only a procurer of health to those who behold him near at hand, but also to such as are a far off and have no hope to see him, in whose image so great a force is presented to the minds of his subjects that it doeth easily performe what the prudence of lawyers, the science of philosophers, and the experience of so many ages in collecting their severall arts could never performe. Now what greater honour, dignity, eminency or majesty can be told or excogitat to be in any man, that by speech, converse, sight, fame, and a tacite species [appearance] presented to the mind, he may reduce the most luxurious to modesty, the violent to equity, and those that are furious unto a right mind? Can you ask of God a greater benefit than this so much for the good of mans concernes?
34. If I mistake not, this is the true representation of a king, not that of a king guarded with weapons of war, ever fearing others or making others afraid, by his hatred towards his people measuring his peoples hatred against him. This representation which we have given, Seneca in his Thyestes hath expressed in very pleasant colours, which verse I doubt not but you know, seeing it is most elegant. Do I now seeme to speak basely and contemptuously of a king, and bind him fast loaded with the fetters of lawes within a gaole, as you did lately say? And not rather do bring him forth into light and assemblies of men, and set him upon the publick theater of mankind, accompanied not with the arrogant company of archers and armed men, and rogues cloathed in silk, but guarded in safety by his own innocency, not with the terrour of armes, but by the love of his people, and not only at freedome and set aloft, but honoured, venerable, sacred, and eminent, and coming forth with the good wishes and fortunat acclamations of the people, and whithersoever he goeth, turning the faces, eyes and hearts of all towards him. What acclamation or what triumph can be compared with this daily pomp? Or if God in humane likeness should come down into earth, what greater honour could be given him by men, than that which would be given to a true king, that is to the lively image of God? For neither can love bestow, nor flattery invent, a greater honour than this. What do you think of this representation of a king?
35. MAIT. So splendide and magnificent indeed it is, that it seemes nothing can be said or imagined more magnificent. But in these corrupt times of ours, it is hard to find this magnanimity, unless carefull education make an honest and good nature and disposition. For the mind, being principled with good instructions and acts from infancy, and by age and daily practice confirmed, endeavours by vertue to attain to glory; in vain it is tempted by the allurements of lusts, or weakened by the impressions of adversity. For thus learning doth perfect naturall parts, and good breeding doth strengthen the mind, so that it findeth occasion of exercising vertue amongst the very recreations of pleasures, and these things which usually terrify weak ones, by reason of difficulty, vertue doth account them as a matter of praise. Seeing then there is so great importance in learning for all conditions of life, with what great care and solicitude whould men foresee that the tender minds of kings be rightly principled, even from their very infancy. For seeing many are the benefits of good kings towards their subjects, and contrary wise many calamities proceed from wicked princes, than nothing doth seeme to have a greater influence upon every rank of men than the cariage and conversation of kings and others who joyntly rule publick affairs. For what is done well or ill by private persons is for the most part hid from the multitude, or by reason of such mens obscure condition their example belongeth to few. But all the words and deeds of those who hold the helme of publick affairs cannot be concealed, beeing written, as it were, in a publick monument, as Horace saith, but are set before all men for imitation. For they do not turne mens affections to themyselves by studying to please them, but by very kindly allurements of utility. And whither soever the inclinations of kings do drive, they make the publick discipline wheele about with them. But I am afraid that our kings will not be intreated to performe what you have now mentioned. For they are so married by the allurements of pleasures, and deceived with the false shew of honour, that I thinxk they do almost that which some poets report have to have befallen the Trojans who were in company at sea with Paris. For the true Helena, being left in Egypt with Protheus, a holy and truely reigions man, they did contend to pertinaciously the space of then years for her likeness, that it was the end of a most pernicious war and of the most flourishing kingdome in those times. For impotent tyrants embracing that false representation of a kingdome, when they have once obtained it by right or wrong, cannot lose it without destruction. Now if any do admonish them that the true Helena, for whom they imagine to fight, is elsewhere concealed, they would call him mad.
36. BUCH. I am indeed glad that you somewhat understand the beauty of that daughter of Jupiter from this her likeness, such as it is, albeit you do not see her self. But if these lovers of that Helena, to their great dammage, did see the perfect image of the true Helena, pourtrayed with her lively colours by some Protogenes or Apelles, I do not question but they would admire her and fall in love with her. And if they did not command their affections to enjoy that other, they might fall into those grievous pinishments which Persius in his Satyres doth imprecat on tyrants: ”O supream Father of the gods, be pleased thus to punish cruell tyrans, when any execrable lust dipt in raging poyson doth stirre up their spirits, let them see what vertue is, and let them pine way for sorrow, because they despised her.” And therefore, seeing we are fallen in to make mention of tyrants, may it please you that straight way we proceed to speak of them.
MAIT. Yea, unless you think some other thing should be first spoken.
BUCH. I suppose we shall not deviat, if we proceed in the same footsteps for finding out a tyrant, wherein we did insist in seeking out a king.
MAIT. I think so. For by that means we shall very easily understand what difference there is betwixt them, if set one against another they be duely considered.
BUCH. And first of all that we may begin at a tyrants name, of that languae, it is uncertain. I therefore think it not necessary for us to seek therein the Greek or Latine etymology. Now what the ancients did call tyranny, I think is not unknown to any who are well versed in humane literature. For tyrants were called both by the Greeks and Latines, who had the full power of all things in their hands, which power was not astricted by any bonds of lawes, nor obnoxious [subject] to the cognition of judges. Therefore in both languages, as you know, not only the noble heroes and most famous men, but the chiefest of the gods, and so Jupiter also, is called tyrannus, and that even by those who both think and speak honourably of the gods.
MAIT. I know indeed that well enough, and the rather I much admire [wonder] whence it is come to pass that the name now for so many ages is accounted odious, and also amongst the most grievous reproaches.
BUCH. It seemes certainly to have fallen out in this word, which happeneth to be in many others. For if you consider the nature of words, it hath no evill in it. And albeit some words have a more pleasant sound in the ears of hearers, and others a more unpleasant, yet of themselves they have no such thing so as to stirre up the mind to wrath, hatred, or hilarity, or otherwise to creat pleasure or pain and trouble. If any such thing befall us, that happens to fall out usually, not from the word, but from the consuetude [custom] of men, and image thereof conceived by the hearers. Therefore a word such amongst some men is honest, amongst others cannot be heard without some preface of with reverence.
37. MAIT. I remember that the like is befallen the names of Nero and Judas, whereof the one amongst the Romans, and the other amongst the Jewes was accounted by great men very famous and honourable. But thereafter, by no fault of these names, but of thse two men, it hath come to pass that even the most flagitious men will not have these names to be given their children, they being buried under such infamy.
BUCH. The same also is perspicuous to befallen the word tyrant, for it is credible that the first magistrates who were thus called were good men, for from hence, that this name was sometime so honourable that it was attribut to the gods. But those that came afterward made it so infamous by their wicked deeds that all men abhorred it as contagious and pestilentious, and thought it a more light reproach to be called an hang-man than a tyrant.
MAIT. Perhaps it was the same as befell the kings of Rome after the Tarquinii were deposed, and the name Dictator after Marcus Antonius and Publius Dolabella were consuls.
BUCH. Just so. And, to the contrary, base and vulgar names have been made faous by the vertue of men called thereby. As amongst the Romans, Camillus, Metellus, Scropha, and amongst the Germans Henry, Genserick, Charles. This you shall the better understand, if, taking away the name of tyrant, you consider the thing, notwithstanding that this kind of government hath continued in its former honour and respect amongst many famous nations, as the Aesymnetae amongst the Grecians and the Dictators amongst the Romans, for both were lawfull tyrants. Now tyrants the were, being more powerfull than the lawes; but lawfull they were, as being chosen by consent of the people.
MAIT. What am I hearing? Tyrants and yet lawfull? Indeed I expect a far other thing from you, but now you seeme to confound the difference of all kings and tyrants.
BUCH. Indeed both kings and tyrants amongst the ancients seeme to have been altogether one and the same, but I suppose in diverse ages, for I think the name of tyrants was more ancient; thereafter when they became weary of the name, in their place succeeded kings biy more plausible name and more gentle government, and when they also began to degenerat, the moderation of lawes were adhibited, which might set limites to the boundless lusts of their government. Now men, according to the exigence of times and their usuall way, seeking out new remedies, became weary of the old way of government and sought out new wayes. Now our present prupose is to handle both kinds of government, namely that wherein as well the government of kings, as of lawes, is the most powerfull, and the worst kind of tyranny, wherein all things are contrary to a kingdome, and have undertaken to compare them one with another.
MAIT. It is so. And I earnestly you would fall upon that.
38. BUCH. At first, then, we had agreed that a king was created for maintining humane society, and we determined his office and duty, that by the prescript of lawes he should allow every man his own.
MAIT. I do remember that.
BUCH. First, then, he that doth not receive a government by the will of the people, but by force invadeth it, or intercepteth it by fraude, how shall we call him?
MAIT. I suppose a tyrant.
BUCH. There be also many other differences, which I shall briefly run through, because any man may easily collect them from Aristotle: for the government of kings is according to nature, but that of tyrants is not. A king doth fule his subjects, and reigne over them by their own consent. Tyrants reigne over them nill they, will they. A kingdome is a principality of a free man among free men; tyranny is a principality of a master over his slaves. For defence of a kings safety the subjects watch and ward, for a tyrant forrainers do watch to oppress the subjects. The one beareth rule for the subjects welfare, the other for himself.
MAIT. What do you say of those who have gotten into their hand the supreame authority by force and without the peoples consent, and yet for many years did so rule that the people were not weary of their government. For what could be wanting in Hiero the Syracusan King, or in Cosmo di Medices the Florentine Duke to make them just kings, except the poeoples suffrages?
BUCH. Indeed we cannot exeem [remove] them out of the number of tyrants. For it was nobly spoken by a notable historian, “albeit you may indeed rule your countrey and friends by violence and force, and correct their faults, yet it is unseasonable.” Then again, such do seeme to do just like robbers, who, cunningly dividing their ill gotten goods, do seek the praise of justice by injury, and of liberality by robbery, yet do not obtain what they hunt for. By the odiousness of one ill deed they lose all the thanks of their ostentative bounty, and so much the less assurance of their civill disposition do they give their subjects, and that because they do not that for their subjects good, but for their own government, namely, that they the more securely may enjoy their own lusts and pleasures, and establish a soveraignty over the posterity to come, having somewhat mitigated the peoples hatred. Which when they have once done, they turne back again to their old manners. For the fruit which is to follow may easily be known by the sower thereof. For he hath the same strength and power to revoke all things at his pleasure, and to transferre unto him the strength of all lawes, even as if he would abrogat all lawes. But this kind of tyrants had been perhaps tolerable, if without the common destruction of all it could have been taken way, even as we do endure some bodily diseases rather than throw our life into the hazard of a doubtsome cure. But they who bear rule but for their own self interests have no regard to the publick utility, but their own pleasure and lust they place the stability of their authority in the peoples weakness, and think that a kingdom is not a procuration concredited to them by God, but rather a prey put into their hands. Such are not joyned to us by any civil bond or bond of humanity, but should be accounted the greatest enemies of God and of all men. For all the actions of kings should aime at the publick safety of their subjects, and not at their own wealth. But how much kings are raised above other men, so much should they imitat the celestiall bodies, which having no good offices of ours given to them, yet do infuse on humane affaires a vital and bountifull vertue of heat and light. Yea the very titles wherewith we have honoured kings (if you remember) might put them in mind of their munificence.
39. MAIT. Me thinks I remember, namely, that they should use a paternal indulgence towards their subjects committed to them as toward children, the care of a shepherd in procuring their profit, as generals in maintaining their safety, as governours in excellency of vertues, and as emperours commanding those things which might be usefull.
BUCH. Can he then be called a father, who accounts his subjects slaves? Or a shepherd, who doth not feed his flock, but devoureth them? Or a pilot, who doth alwayes study to make shipwrack of the goods in his ship, and who (as they say) makes a leck [leak] in the very ship wherein he sailes?
MAIT. By no means.
BUCH. What is he, then, who doth not rule for the peoples good, but still doth all for himself, who doth not strive with good men in vertue, but contendeth to exceed the most flagitious wretch in vices? Who leadeth his subjects into manifest snares?
MAIT. Indeed such shall not be by me accounted either a generall, or emperour, or governour.
BUCH. If you then shal see any usurping the name of a king, and in no kind of vertue excelling any of the people, but inferiour to many therein, not fatherly affectionat towards his subject, but rather oppressing them by arrogant domineering, and that thinketh the people is concredited to him for his own gain and not for their safeguard, will you imagine that such a man is truely a king, albeit he goes vapouring with a great many in guard about him, and openly be seen with gorgeous aparell, and make a shew of punishments? Can he conciliat the people, and catch their applause by rewards, games, pompous shewes, and even mad undertakings, and what ever is thought to be magnificent? Will you, I say, account such a man a king?
MAIT. Not indeed, if I would understand my self aright, but void of all humane society.
BUCH. Within what limites do you circumscribe humane society?
MAIT. Within the very same limites wherein by your preceeding discourse you seemed to include it, namely, within the hedge of lawes. Which whosoever transgress, be they robbers, thieves, or adulterers, I see them publickly punished, and that to be accounted a just cause of their punishment, because they transgressed the limites of humane society.
BUCH. What say you of those who would never once enter within these hedges?
40. MAIT. I think they should be accounted enemies to God and men, and reckoned amongst wolves or some other kind of noisome beasts, rather than amongst men; which whosoever doth nourish, he nourisheth them for his own destruction and others; and whosoever killeth them doth not only good to himself, but to all others. But if I had power to make a law, I would command (which the Romans were wont to do with monsters) such kind of men to be carried away into solitary places, or to be drowned in the depths of the sea afar from the sight of any land, lest by the contagion of their carcases they might infect other men. And rewards to the killers of them to be discerned, not only by the whole people, but by every particular person, as useth to be done to those who have killed wolves, beares, or apprehended their whelpes. For if such a monster should be borne, and speak with a mans voice, and have the face of a man, and likeness of other parts, I would have no fellowship with him. Or if any man divested of humanity should degenerat into such cruelty as he would not meet with other men but for their destruction, I think he should be called a man no more than satyres, apes, or bears, albeit they should resemble Man in countenance, gestrue and speech.
BUCH. Now, if I mistake not, you understand what a king, and what a tyrant the wisest ancients meant in their writings. Will it please you, then, that we propose some idea of a tyrant also, such as we gave in speaking of a king?
MAIT. Yes, that I do earnestly desire, if it be not a trouble to you.
BUCH. You have not forgot, I suppose, what by the poets is spoken of the Furies, and by our divines of the nature of evill spirits: <they> are enemies of mankind who, whilst they are in perpetuall torments, yet do rejoice in the torments of men. This is indeed the true idea of tyranny. But because this idea can only be discerned in the imagination, but not by any of the senses, I shall set before you another idea, which not only the mind may discerne, but the senses also perceive, and, as it were, <be> presented to the very eye. Imagine you see a ship tossed by the waves in the sea, and all the shoares round about not only without haven or harbour but also full of most cruell enemies, and the master of the ship in contest with the company, and yet to have no other hope of safety than in their fidelity; and the same not certain, as knowing well that he puts his life into the hands of a most barbarous kind of men, and void of all humanity, whom by money he may hold trusty, and who for greater gain may be conduced [hired] to fight against him. Such indeed is that life which tyrants embrace as happy. They are afraid of enemies abroad and of their subjects at home, and not only of their subjects, but of their domesticks, kinsfolk, brethren, wives, children, and near relations. And therefore they have alwayes war, either a forrain war with their neighbours, civil war with their subjects, or a domestick war wihin doors, or else they are still in fear thereof. Neither do they expect aid any where but by a mercenary way. They dare not hire good men, nor can they trust bad men; what then in all their life can be to them pleasant?
41. Dionysius would not let his daughters once become women to trim him, fearing to let the razor come to his throat. Timoleon was killed by his own brother, Alexander Pheraeus by his own wife, and Spurius Cassius by his own father. He that still hath such examples set before his eyes, what a torture do you imagine he carryeth about in his breast, seeing he thinks that he is the mark set for all mankind to shoot at? Niether is he only while awake tormented with these tortures of conscience, but also is awakned out of his sleep by terrifying sights both of the living and dead, and agitat by the fire brands of hellish Furies. For the season which nature doth grant for rest to all creatures, and also to men for relaxation of their cares, to him is turned into horrours and punishment.
MAIT. Forsooth you have handled these things very acutely, but I know not if truely also. But yet, if I mistake not, they make not so much for our purpose. For they who have the power to choose what kings they please, in them is the power to bind by lawes such as they have chosen. But you know that our kings are not chosen, but born kings. To whom I have alwayes thought it to be no less hereditary, that their will and pleasure should stand for law, than the kingdome it self. Nor am I rashly induced to be of this opinion, but convinced by severall great authors, with whom I m not ashamed to be mistaken (if at ll I be in any mistake or errour). For, not to make mention of others, lawyers do affirme that by the royall law which is made for the government of kings, all the peoples power is so transmitted into them that their will and pleasure should be accounted for lawes. And indeed from this law did those threatnings of a certain emperour arise, that he would quite take way from lawyers all their science, wherein they so much boast, by one edict.
BUCH. You do very well that whilst you cite a most wicked author of one of the greatest deeds, though good to suppress his name. For that was Caius Caligula, who wished but one neck for all the people of Rome. Now in that emperour there was nothing of a man, far less of a king, beside his shape. You are not then ignorant how much authority may be due to him. But as for the royal law, what it is, when, by whom, and in what words it was made, the very laywers make no mention. For that power was never in any of the Roman emperours, seeing from them appeals were made to the people. But that ordinance whereby Lucius Flaccus, having oppressed the liberty of the people of Rome, estabished by the silence of others, the tyranny of Lucius Sylla, no man did ever hold for a law. For of that ordinance such was the strength that whatever Lucius Sylla had done should be ratified. Which law never any free people was so infatuat, as willingly to permit to be imposed on them. Or if any such were, he were indeed worthy to serve tyrants, and be punished for his folly. But if any such law have been, let us think it was an example proposed to us for caution, but not for imitation.
42. MAIT. Indeed you adminish well. But that admonition belongeth to them in whose power it is to creat such kings as most please them. but to us doth not at all belong, who do not by suffrages elect the best kings, but accept of those that by chance are given us. That also of a certain lawyer seemes properly to quadrat [square] with us, who have given to our kings ancestors that right and authority over us and our posterity, that they and their posterity should perpetually hold their empire and authority over us. I wish then you had adminished them (I mean our ancestors) who once had it in their own power entirely to admit such kings as they pleased. But now that counsell of yours too late serves only for this, not to amend the faults that are not in our power, but deplore our ancestors folly, and acknowledge the misery of our condition. For what can be left to those that are made slaves, but to be punished for other mens folly? And that our punishment may be made more light, let us asswage them by patience; let us not provoke their wrath by tumultuating [rioting] importunely, whose dominion over us we cannot cast off, nor diminish their power, nor flee from their force or weakness. Now that royal law, to which you are so much an adversary, was not made in favour of tyrants, as you would have it seeme to be, because it was approved by Justinian, a very just prince, with whom so plain flattery would not have had place. For with a foolish prince that of the poet would prevaile, “whom doth false honour help, or lying infamy terrify, but a lewd man and a liar?”
BUCH. Indeed Justinian, as history reports, was a great mighty man, albeit some do report him to have been cruelly ingrate to Belissarius. But let him be such as you judge he was, yet you may remember that it is recorded by some almost of that same age with him, that Tribonius, a chief man amongst the compilers of these lawes, was a very wicked man, and so might easily be induced to gratify also a very bad prince. But even good princes do not hate this kind of flattery. For “even those who will not kill any man do yet desire to have it in their power,” and “there is nothing which he hare not believe of himself, seeing his power equall to that of the gods is commended.” But let us returne to our own princes, to whom you say the kingdome doth come by inheritance and not by suffrages. Now of our own only I speak, for if I shall digress to speak of forrain princes, I fear lest our discourse become more prolixe than we intended.
MAIT. I think you should do so. For forrain affaires do not much belong to our dispute in hand.
BUCH. That I may therefore begin at the first principles, this is sufficiently agreed upon, that our princes were chosen for their vertue, who should givern others.
MAIT. So do the writers of our affaires record.
43. BUCH. Nor is this less known, that many who have reigned cruelly and wickedly have been called to account by their subjects, some adjudged to perpetuall imprisonment, others punished partly by exile, and partly by death, against whose killers no inquisition was ever made, even when their sons or kinsmen were assumed into their stead. But who ever had killed good kings were most severely punished, so as no where else was murther more severely revenged. And because it would be tedious to rehearse every one, I shall produce some few of these last kings, whose memory is most recent. The nobility did so grievously punish the murther of James the First (having left as heir his son of six years of age) that by a new and exquisit kind of punishment they put to death severall persons of very eminent families, and peers of the land, both for wealth and vassalage eminent. On the contrary, who did condole the death of James the Third, a man flagitious and cruell, far less revenge it? But in the death of James the Fourth his son, the suspition of the crime was punished with death. Neither were our ancestors piously inclined towards good kings and mercifull towards wicked kings. For when one of King Culen’s enemies had killed him in his journey, whilest he is coming to give an account of his administration, he was severely punished by a sentence of the Estates of Parliament. And likewise was punished as an enemy he who had killed Evenus in prison, who had been adjudged to perpetuall bonds. And the violent death or parricide of him they punished, whose wicked and vicious life all men had hated.
MAIT. I do not so much inquire at present what some time hath been done, as by what right kings reigne among us.
BUCH. That we may therefore returne thereunto, as in our first kings until Kenneth the Third, who first setled the kingdome in his own family, it is very clear what was the peoples power in creating their kings and taking order with them. Even so it is necessary we know that he either did that against the peoples will, or by perswasion obtained it.
MAIT. That cannot be denied.
BUCH. Moreover, if by force he compelled the people to obey him, then how soone the people began to have confidence in their own strength, they may have cast off that violent yoke of government imposed upon them, seeing all lawes received by kings and people do pronounce, and nature it self doth call for it, that whatever is done by force and violence may be undone by the like violence.
MAIT. What if the people, being by fraud circumvented, or by fear forced, did surrender themselves into that slavery: what for excuse can be pretended, but that they perpetually continue in that case into which it was once agreed they were to be in?
44. BUCH. If you debate with me from that agreement, what excuse there is for undoing the same, I shall on the other hand lay down some reasons why pactions and agreements may be dissolved. And first of all, such as are made through force or fear, in all common-wealths concerning these there is a sure law, drawn from natures spring. Lawes allow restitution to be fully made to such as are by fraud circumvented, and think it should be kept for pupills and such other persons who by just law would have to be defended. What assembly therefore of men can require more justly to have restitution than a whole people to whom the wrong is done, which indeed is not done against one part of the commonwealth, but floweth far abroad into all the members of that politick body?
MAIT. I know this law to be made use of in the cases of private persons, nor is it unjust. But there is no necessity we should debate herin, seeing it is far more credible (which is recorded by historians) that that right was by the peoples will granted to kings.
BUCH. It is also credible that so great a matter was not obtained without some great cause.
MAIT. I do easily assent thereto.
BUCH. What do you think was the chief cause thereof?
MAIT. What other, except that which is recorded. Wearisomeness of ambition, tumults, murthers, often with the utter destruction of the one party, and alwayes with very great dammage of both. For such as did obtain the government endeavoured to cut-off their brethren and almost all their near kinsmen, that they might leave the government the more peacable to their children, even as we hear is done amongst the Turks, and as we see amongst the chief of clanns in our Islands and in Ireland.
BUCH. To which of the two do you think was that contention most pernicious, to the people or to the princes?
MAIT. Certainly to the kings, seeing the greatest part of the people securing themselves doth usually stand spectators of princes contests, and yeeld alwayes as a prey to the victors.
BUCH. It seemes, then, that princes rather for themselves, than for the good of the people, desired to establish the kingdom in their own family.
MAIT. That is very probable.
BUCH. Now, that they might obtain that which did so much concerne the perpetual dignity, wealth and safety of their family, it is probable that they did dispense or remit to one another somewhat of their right; and that they might the more easily obtain the peoples goodwill, liking and consent, they on their part gave them some ease.
MAIT. I believe that.
45. BUCH. You will certainly confess it incredible that, for so great a benefit bestowed on their kings, they should endure to be in a worse case than formerly they were in.
MAIT. It is altogether incredible.
BUCH. Neither would kings have desired it with so great ambition, if they had known it would prove hurtfull to their children and unprofitable to the people?
MAIT. Not at all.
BUCH. Imagine, then, that some one in Parliament of the free people did freely ask the king, “what if to any king should succeed a son that is a fool, or mad? Will you set such over us to rule us, who cannot rule or governe themselves?”
MAIT. I think there was no need to make use of that exception, seeing by the lawes it is provided against such a case.
BUCH. Well said indeed. Let us then see, if kings had obtained from the people a free power over the lawes, whether that had been unprofitable, especially to those who desired to foresee the good of their own family in time coming.
MAIT. Why shall we think that that power would be unprofitable?
BUCH. Because nothing doth so much contribute for the continuance of a government as that temperament of government, seeing it is both honourable for kings and moderat, and safe for the people. The mind of Man hath somewhat sublime and generous imbred therein by nature, that it will obey none unless he governe profitably. Nor is there any thing more prevalent for maintaining humane society than the mutual exchange of benefits, and therefore Theopompus seems to have wisely answered his wife upbraiding him that by adding the Ephory he had diminished the power of his authority, and had left the kingdome to his sons less than he had gotten it. “It is,” saith he, “so much the more firm and secure.”
MAIT. What you relate of continuance, I perceive is most true. For I think the kingdomes of the Scots and the Danes are the most ancient of all that are in Europe, nor do they seeme by any other means to have attained that antiquity, than by the moderation of the supreame authority, whilst in the mean time the kingdomes of the Frenches, Englishes and Spaniards have past so often out of one family into another. But I do not know if our kings have been so wise as Theopompus.
46. BUCH. As they have not been so prudent, do you imagine that the people were so foolish as to neglect an occasion so opportune put into their hand, or that they were so struck with fear, or seduced by flatteries, as to give themselves over into slavery willingly?
MAIT. Perhaps it was not. But <if> the people (which indeed might be) were so blind that they did not see what might concerne their own good, or, being careless, would not see what might be for their benefit, so as to contemne it, should they not then be justly punished for their folly?
BUCH. It is not probable that any such thing was done, seeing we may see the contrary to be observed even to our dayes. For besides that wicked kings, as often as they intended tyranny over their subjects, were alwayes restrained, some vestiges of the ancient customes do yet continue in some ancient families. For the Old Scots even to our very dayes do choose their heads of clans, and, having chosen them, do give them a council of Elders, to which councill whosoever gives not obedience is deprived of all honour and dignity. What therefore is with very great care observed in the parts, would they be negligent of for the security and safety of all? And would they willingly redact [hand over] themselves into bondage to him, who was to possess a lawfull kingdome in stead of some benefit? And would they freely give over their liberty acquired by vertue, defended by armes, not interrupted for so many ages, to one not expecting it, without force, without war? For the calamity of John Baliol doth shew that that power was never granted to our kings, besides the punishments so often taken for their maladministration. Who about two hundred and sixty years ago was by the nobility rejected, because he had subjected himself and his kingdome to the authority of Edward King of England, and Robert the First was substitute in his stead. The same doth also shew that perpetual custome continued from the beginning of our government.
MAIT. What custome do you speak of?
47. BUCH. When our kings are publickly inaugurat, they solemnly promise to all the people that they will observe the lawes, rites and old statutes of their predecessors, and use the same power which they have received from them. That whole order of ceremonies doth shew, and the first entry of our kings into every city, from all which it may be easily understood what kind of power they did receive from our predecessors, to wit, none other than that they swear to maintaine the lawes, being chosen by suffrages. This condition of reigning did God propose to David and his posterity, and promiseth they should reigne so long as they should obey the lawes He had given them. Those things indeed they do, as is probable that our kings received from our ancestors a power not immense, but within certaine limites bounded and limited. And further there was the confirmation of a long time, and the usurpation of a perpetual right by the people, never reprehended by a publick decree.
MAIT. But I fear it cannot be easily obtained of kings, as being perswaded by that probability to condescend to these lawes, however sworn unto or usurped by the people.
BUCH. I also believe it is no less hard to perswade the people to pass from the right received from their ancestors, approved by the use of so many ages, and practised by one continuall tenour. I do not think it needfull to proceed by conjectures what the people is to do, since I see what they have done alredy. But if by the obstinat pertinacy [stubbornness] of both the business come to armes, he that prevaileth will give what law and right he pleaseth to the vanguished; but this will not longer continue than he who is vanquished, having again gathered together his forces, shall take up armes again. In all which contentions men usually still fight with very great damage to the people, but with the utter overthrow of kings. For from this spring do flow all the destructions of all kingdoms.
MAIT. It must needs be so.
48. BUCH. I have perhaps gone back further than was needfull, to the end you might clearly understand what kind of government there was amongst us of old. For if I had reasoned with you according to the rigour of the law, I might have gained my poynt in a far more compendious way.
MAIT. Albeit you have almost satisfied me already, yet I shall willingly hear what that is.
BUCH. I would then have you first of all to answer me this question. Do you not approve the definition of law set down by lawyers, who say that law is that which the people enacted when demanded by him to whom the prerogative of demanding belongeth?
MAIT. Indeed I do approve it.
BUCH. We have agreed that, the faults of lawes being found out, they may be amended or abrogat by the lawgivers.
MAIT. We did so.
BUCH. I suppose you perceive now that such as are borne kings are by the lawes and suffrages of the people created, no less than those whom we said were elected in the beginning. And that in receiving of lawes there will not be remedies wanting in the people, who are the lawgivers, not only against force and fraud, but also against negligence.
MAIT. I perceive that clearly.
BUCH. Only here is the difference, that the law concerning our kings was made severall ages before, and when any doth enter into the kingdome, there useth to be no new law made, but the old law is approven and justified. But amongst those who have their meeting of Estates at the election of every king, the law useth to be made, the king created and approved, and so to enter into his government.
MAIT. It is so.
BUCH. Now if you please, let us briefly recaputat what we are at accord in from the very beginning, so that if ought be rashly approven it may be retracted.
MAIT. I am content.
BUCH. First of all, then, it seemes that a king is created for the peoples sake, and that nothing more excellent is given us of God than a good king, and more pestilentious than a wicked king.
MAIT. Very right.
BUCH We have also said that a wicked king is called a tyrant.
MAIT. We have said so.
49. BUCH. And because there is not such plenty of good men so as to choose those who may prove good kings, nor so great a happiness of birth as that good luck may offer us those that are good, if we have not such as we would wish, yet we have such as either consent hath approved, or chance hath offered. Now the hazard that occureth either in choosing new kings, or in approving such as are given us by birth, was the cause that we desired lawes which might modify the government of kings. Now, these lawes should be nothing else but the express image (as far as may be) of a good prince.
MAIT. We are at accord in that also.
BUCH. It now remaineth, as I suppose, for us to speak of the punishment of tyrants.
MAIT. That only seemes to remain unspoken of.
BUCH. If, then, a king break all the bonds of lawes and plainly behave himself as a publick enemy, what think you should be done in this cae?
MAIT. Indeed I am at a stand here. For albeit the reasons you have given seem to convince me that we ought to have no society with that king, yet so great is the strength of a constant custome that, in my opinion, it hath the strengh of a law. Which custome doth so closely cleave to men in their minds, that if at any time it hath brought an errour, better it is to tolerat it than to marre the constitution of the whole body whilst we endeavour to cure a disease that is but by small by custome. For such is the nature of some diseases, that better it is to endure the pain they bring than to call for doubtsome remedies, in the applying whereof, albeit the cure may be wrought, yet they bring such sharp paines in their cure as that the cure of the disease is more pernicious than the disease it self. Next, that which troubles me more is I see that government which you call tyranny confirmed by the Word of God, and what you abhorre as the utter overthrow of lawes God doth call the law of the kingdome; the authority of that passage of Scripture doth move more than all the arguments of philosopher. If you do not explain this to me, the comments of men will not be of so great account with me but that I may instantly fall away to the adversaries side.
50. BUCH. You are, as I perceive, in the common errour, and that very grievous, who do endeavour to confirme tyranny by tyranny. For how great the tyranny of custome is in the minds of men wherein it hath taken deepest root, and too often we have found it in this our age, Herodotus an ancient writer doth give us warning by an old example, but I need not old examples. Be well advised. Consider with your self how many things there be of great moment, wherein you, following the dictates of reason, have fallen from a custome inveterat so many ages past, so that now you might have learned by domestick experiments that there is no custome more full of dangers than that which in a publick way they command us to follow. I bid you look well to it round about, how many ruines, and how great slaughters will you see therein? But if it be more clear (as we say) than the very light, I need not tarry longer in proving or illustrating a thing so perspicuous. Now as for that passage of scripture, which from the history of the kings you rather signify than explain, beware, I pray you, you think that the things which God doth abhorre in the life of tyrants are by Him allowed to kings. Now, lest this be, I bid you first consider what that people sought of the Lord; then what causes of a new petition they had. Lastly, what the Lord did answer them. First, they ask a king, but what a king? A lawfull king? Such a one they had. For Samuel was given them by the Lord, whose prerogative it was to set a king over them. He had for many years judged them lawfully according to prescript of Gods Law; but whilst in his old age his sons did judge, they did many things wickedly, and judged contrary to the lawes. I see no reason why they should ask the change, or rather amendment, of the government, or expect the same from the Lord, Who not long before had quite rooted out the whole family of Heli almost for the like cause. What do they then ask? A king such as their neighbouring nations had, who at home might be a judge to them, and abroad a leader of their armies. Now, in effect, such were tyrants. For as the people in Asia are of a more servile disposition than those of Europe, so did they the more easily obey the commands of tyrants. There is no mention made, for ought I know, by any historian of any lawfull king in Asia. Moreover, it doth easily appear that a tyrant, and not a king, is there described, in regard the Lord in Deuteronomy had prescribed to them a forme not only different from this in that place cited by you, but also plainly contrary thereto, according to which forme Samuel and the other judges had judged so many years, which, whilst they did reject, the Lord complaines that He was by them rejected.
MAIT. But the Lord doth not call him tyrant, but ever king.
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