Whether or No Self-defense Against Any Unjust Violence Offered to the Life, Be Warranted by God’s Law, and the Law of Nature and Nations
Self-preservation in all creatures in which is nature, is in the creatures suitable to their nature. The bull defends itself by its horns, the eagle by her claws and bill, it will not follow that a lamb will defend itself against a wolf any other way than by flying. So men, and Christian men, do naturally defend themselves; but the manner of self-defense in a rational creature is rational, and not always merely natural; therefore, a politic community, being a combination of many natures, as neither grace, far less can policy, destroy nature, then must these many natures be allowed of God to use a natural self-defense. If the king bring in an army of foreigners, then a politic community must defend itself in a rational way. Why? Self-defense is natural to man, and natural to a lamb, but not the same way. A lamb or a dove naturally defend themselves against beasts or another kind only by flight, not by re-action and re-offending; but it follows not that a man defends himself from his enemy only by flight. If a robber invade me, to take away my life and my purse, I may defend myself by re-action; for reason and grace both may determine the way of self-preservation. Hence royalists say, a private man against his prince has no way to defend himself but by flight; therefore, a community has no other way to defend themselves but by flight.
1. The antecedent is false. Dr Ferne allows to a private man supplications, and denying of subsidies and tribute to the prince, when he employs tribute to the destruction of the commonwealth; which, by the way, is a clear resistance, and an active resistance made against the king (Rom. 13:6-7) and against a commandment of God, except royalists grant tyrannous powers may be resisted.
2. The consequence is naught, for a private man may defend himself against unjust violence but not any way he pleases the first way is by supplications and apologies, — he may not presently use violence to the king’s servants before he supplicate, nor may he use re-offending, if flight may save David used ill the three in order. He made his defense by words, by the mediation of Jonathan; when that prevailed not, he took himself to flight, as the next; but because he knew flight was not safe every way, and nature taught him self-preservation, and reason and light of grace taught him the means, and the religious order of these means for self-preservation, therefore he adds a third, “He took Goliath’s sword, and gathered six hundred armed men,” and after that made use of an host. Now a sword and armor are not horsing and shipping for flight, but contrary to flight; so re-offending is policy’s last refuge.
A godly magistrate takes not away the life of a subject if other means can compass the end of the law, and so he is compelled and necessitated to take away the life; so the private man, in his natural self-defense, is not to use re-action, or violent re-offending, in his self-defense against any man, far less against the servants of a king, but in the exigence of the last and most inexorable necessity. And it is true that M. Symmons says, (sect. 11. p. 35,) “Self-defense is not to be used where it cannot be without sin.” It is certain, necessity is but a hungry plea for sin. (Luke 14:18,) but it is also true, re-offending comparatively, that I kill rather than I be killed, in the sinless court of nature’s spotless and harmless necessity, is lawful and necessary, except I be guilty of self-murder, in the culpable omission of self-defense. Now a private man may fly, and that is his second necessity, and violent re-offending is the third mean of self-preservation; but, with leave, violent re-offending is necessary to a private man, when his second mean, to wit, flight, is not possible, and cannot attain the end, as in the case of David: if flight do not prevail, Goliath’s sword and an host of armed men are lawful.
So, to a church and a community of protestants, men, women, aged, sucking children, sick, and diseased, who are pressed either to be killed or forsake religion and Jesus Christ, flight is not the second mean, nor a mean at all, because not possible, and therefore not. a natural mean of preservation; for the aged, the sick, the sucking infants, and sound religion in the posterity cannot flee; flight here is physically, and by nature’s necessity, impossible, and therefore no lawful mean. What is to nature physically impossible is no lawful mean. If Christ have a promise that the ends of the earth (Psal. 2:8) and the isles shall be his possession, (Isa. 49:1,) I see not how natural defense can put us to flee, even all protestants and their seed, and the weak and sick, whom we are obliged to defend as ourselves, both by the law of nature and grace. I read that seven wicked nations and idolatrous were cast out of their land to give place to the church of God to dwell there, but show me a warrant in nature’s law and in God’s word that three kingdoms of protestants, their seed, aged, sick, sucking children, should flee out of England, Scotland, Ireland, and leave religion and the land to a king and to papists, prelates, and bloody Irish, and atheists; and therefore to a church and community having God’s right and man’s law to the land, violent re-offending is their second mean (next to supplications and declarations, etc.) and flight is not required of them as of a private man; yea flight is not necessarily required of a private man, but where it is a possible mean of self-preservation; violent and unjust invasion of a private man, which is unavoidable, may be obviated with violent re-offending.
Now the unjust invasion made on Scotland in 1640, for refusing the service-book, or rather the idolatry of the mass, therein intended, was unavoidable; it was impossible for the protestants, their old and sick, their women and sucking children to flee over sea, or to have shipping between the king’s bringing an army on them at Dunse Law, and the prelates’ charging of the ministers to receive the mass book. Althusius says well, (Polit. c. 38, n. 78,) Though private men may flee, yet the estates, if they flee, they do not do their duty, to commit a country, religion and all, to a lion. Let not any object, We may not devise a way to fulfill the prophecy, Psal. 2:8-9; Isa. 49:1; it is true, if the way be our own sinful way; nor let any object, a colony went to New England and fled the persecution. Answer, True, but if fleeing be the only mean after supplication, there was no more reason that one colony should go to New England than it is necessary, and by a divine law obligatory, that the whole protestants in the three kingdoms, according to royalists’ doctrine, are to leave their native country and religion to one man, and to popish idolaters and atheists, willing to worship idols with them, and whither then shall the gospel be, which we are obliged to defend with our lives?
There is tutela vitae proxima, et remota, a mere and immediate defense of our life, and a remote or mediate defense; when there is no actual invasion made by a man seeking our life, we are not to use violent re-offending. David might have killed Saul when he was sleeping, and when he cut off the lap of his garment, but it was unlawful for him to kill the Lord’s anointed, because he is the Lord’s anointed, as it is unlawful to kill a man, because he is the image of God, (Gen. 9:6,) except in case of necessity. The magistrate in case of necessity may kill the malefactor, though his maleficus do not put him in that case, that he has not now the image of God; now prudence and light of grace determines, when we are to use violent re-offending for self-preservation, it is not left to our pleasure. In a remote posture of self-defense, we are not to use violent re-offending: David having Saul in his hand was in a remote posture of defense, the unjust invasion then was not actual, not unavoidable, not a necessary mean in human prudence for self-preservation, for king Saul was then in a habitual, not in an actual pursuit of the whole princes, elders, and judges of Israel, or of a whole community and church; Saul did but seek the life of one man, David, and that not for religion, or a national pretended offense, and therefore he could not in conscience put hands on the Lord’s anointed; but if Saul had actually invaded David for his life, David might, in that case, make use of Goliath’s sword, (for he took not that weapon with him as a cypher to boast Saul — it is no less unlawful to threaten a king than to put hands on him,) and rather kill or be killed by Saul’s emissaries; because then he should have been in an immediate and nearest posture of actual self-defense.
Now the case is far otherwise between the king and the two parliaments of England and Scotland, for the king is not sleeping in his emissaries, for he has armies in two kingdoms, and now in three kingdoms, by sea and land, night and day, in actual pursuit, not of one David, but of the estates, and a Christian community in England and Scotland, and that for religions, laws, and liberties; for the question is now between papist and protestant, between arbitrary or tyrannical government, and law government, and therefore by both the laws of the politic societies of both kingdoms, and by the law of God and nature, we are to use violent re-offending for self-preservation, and put to this necessity, when armies are in actual pursuit of all the protestant churches of the three kingdoms, to actual killing, rather than we be killed, and suffer laws and religion to be undone.
But, says the royalist, David’s argument, “God forbid that I stretch out my hand against the Lord’s anointed, my master the king,” concludes universally, that the king in his most tyrannous acts, still remaining the Lord’s anointed, cannot be resisted.
Ans. — 1. David speaks of stretching out his hand against the person of king Saul: no man in the three kingdoms did so much as attempt to do violence to the king’s person. But this argument is inconsequent, for a king invading, in his own royal person, the innocent subject, suddenly, without color of law or reason, and unavoidably, may be personally resisted, and that with opposing a violence bodily, yet in that invasion he remains the Lord’s anointed. 2. By this argument the life of a murderer cannot be taken away by a judge, for he remains one indued with God’s image, and keeps still the nature of a man under all the murders that he does, but it follows nowise, that because God has endowed his person with a sort of royalty, of a divine image, that his life cannot be taken; and certainly, if to be A man endued with God’s image, (Gen. 6:9-10,) and to be an ill-doer worthy of evil punishment, are different, to be a king and an ill-doer may be distinguished.
1. The grounds of self-defense are these: — A woman or a young man may violently oppose a king, if he force the one to adultery and incest, and the other to sodomy, though court flatterers should say, the king, in regard of his absoluteness, is lord of life and death; yet no man ever said that the king is lord of chastity, faith, and oath that the wife has made to her husband.
2. Particular nature yields to the good of universal nature, for which cause heavy bodies ascend, airy and light bodies descend. If, then, a wild bull or a goring ox, may not be let loose in a great market-confluence of people, and if any man turn so distracted as he smite himself with stones and kill all that pass by him, or come at him, in that case the man is to be bound, and his hands fettered, and all whom he invades may resist him, were they his own sons, and may save their own lives with weapons, much more a king turning a Nero. King Saul, vexed with an evil spirit from the Lord, may be resisted; and far more if a king endued with use of reason, shall put violent hands on all his subjects, kill his son and heir; yea, and violently invaded, by nature’s law, may defend themselves, and the violent restraining of such a one is but the hurting of one man, who cannot be virtually the commonwealth, but his destroying of the community of men sent out in wars, as his bloody emissaries, to the dissolution of the commonwealth.
3. The cutting off of a contagious member, that by a gangrene, would corrupt the whole body, is well warranted by nature, because the safety of the whole is to be preferred to the safety of a part. Nor is it much that royalists say, The king being the head, destroy him, and the whole body of the commonwealth is dissolved; as cut off a man’s head, and the life of the whole man is taken away. Because,
- 1st. God cuts off the spirits of tyrannous kings, and yet the commonwealth is not dissolved, no more than when a leopard or a wild boar, running through children, is killed, can be the destruction of all the children in the land.
- 2nd. A king indefinitely is referred to the commonwealth as an adequate head to a monarchical kingdom; and remove all kings and the politic body, as monarchical, in its frame, is not monarchical, but it leaves not off to be a politic body, seeing it has other judges; but the natural body without the head cannot live.
- 3rd. This or that tyrannous king, being a transient mortal thing, cannot be referred to the immortal commonwealth, as it is adequate correlate. They say, “the king never dies,” yet this king can die; an immortal politic body, such as the commonwealth, must have an immortal head, and that is a king as a king, not this or that man, possibly a tyrant, who is for the time (and eternal things abstract from time) only a king.
4. The reason of Fortunius Garcias, a skillful lawyer in Spain, is considerable, (Comment, in l. ut vim vi ff. de justit. et jure,) God has implanted in every creature natural inclinations and motions to preserve itself, and we are to love ourselves for God, and have a love to preserve ourselves rather than our neighbor; and nature’s law teaches every man to love God best of all, and next ourselves more than our neighbor; for the law says, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Then says Malderius, (com. in 12, q. 26, tom. 2, c. 10, concl. 2,) “The love of ourselves is the measure of the love of our neighbor.” But the rule and the measure is more perfect, simple, and more principal than the thing that is measured. It is true I am to love the salvation of the church, it comes nearer to God’s glory, more than my own salvation, as the wishes of Moses and Paul do prove; and I am to love the salvation of my brother more than my own temporal life; but I am to love my own temporal life more than the life of any other, and therefore, I am rather to kill than to be killed, the exigence of necessity so requiring. Nature without sin owns this as a truth, in the case of loss of life, Proxmus sum egomet mihi, (Ephes. 5:28, 29,) “He that loves his wife, loves himself; for no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourishes it, and cherishes it, even as the Lord the church.”
As then nature ties the dam to defend the young birds, and the lion her whelps, and the husband the wife, and that by a comparative re-offending, rather than the wife or children should be killed; yea, he that his wanting to his brother, (if a robber unjustly invade his brother,) and helps him not, is a murderer of his brother, so far God’s spiritual law requiring both conservation of it in our person, and preservation in others. The forced damsel was commanded to cry for help, and not the magistrate only, but the nearest private man or woman was to come, by an obligation of a divine law of the seventh commandment, to rescue the damsel with violence, even as a man is to save his enemy’s ox or his ass out of a pit. And if a private man may inflict bodily punishment of two degrees, to preserve the life and chastity of his neighbor, far rather than suffer his life and chastity to be taken away, then he may inflict violence of four degrees, even to killing, for his life, and much more for his own life. So when a robber, with deadly weapons, invades an innocent traveler to kill him for his goods, upon the supposition that if the robber be not killed, the innocent shall be killed.
Now the question is, which of the two, by God’s moral law and revealed will, in point of conscience, ought to be killed by his fellow? For we speak not now of God’s eternal decree of permitting evil, according to the which murderers may crucify the innocent Lord of glory. By no moral law of God should the unjust robber kill the innocent traveler; therefore, in this exigence of providence, the traveler should rather kill the robber. If any say, by God’s moral law not one should kill his fellow, and it is a sin against the moral law in either to kill the other, I answer, — If a third shall come in when the robber and the innocent are invading each other for his life, all acknowledge by the sixth commandment the third may cut off the robber’s arm to save the innocent; but by what law of God he may cut off his arm, he may take his life also to save the other; for it is murder to wound unjustly, and to dismember a man by private authority, as it is to take away his life; if, therefore, the third may take away the robber’s member, then also his life, so he do it without malice or appetite of revenge, and if he may do it out of this principle, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself;” because a man. is obliged more to love his own flesh than his neighbor’s, (Ephes. 5:28,) and so more to defend himself than to defend his neighbor, — then may he oppose violence to the robber. As two men drowning in a water the one is not obliged by God’s law to expose himself to drowning to save his neighbor; but by the contrary, he is obliged rather to save himself, though it were with the loss of his neighbor’s lift.
As in war, if soldiers in a strait passage be pursued on their life, nature teaches them to flee; if one fall, his fellow in that exigence is not only not obliged to lift him up, but he and the rest flying, though they trample on him and kill him, they are not guilty of murder, seeing they hated him not before, (Deut. 19:4, 8;) so Chemnit. (loc. com. de vindic. q. 3) allows private defense. 1. When the violence is sudden. 2. And the violence manifestly inevitable. 3. When the magistrate is absent and cannot help. 4. When moderation is kept as lawyers require.
- 1st. That it be done incontinent; if it be done after the injury, it is revenge, not defense.
- 2nd. Not of desire of revenge.
- 3rd. With proportion of armor. If the violent invader invade not with deadly weapons, you must not invade him with deadly weapons; and certainly the law (Exod. 22) of a man’s defending his house is clear. (1.) If he come in the night, it is presumed he is a robber. (2.) If he be taken with a weapon breaking the house, he comes to kill, a man may defend himself, wife, and children. (3.) But he is but to wound him, and if he die of the wound, the defender is free; so the defender is not to intend his death, but to save himself.
5. It were a mighty defect in providence to man, if dogs by nature may detend themselves against wolves, bulls against lions, doves against hawks, if man, in the absence of the lawful magistrate, should not defend himself against unjust violence; but one man might raise armies of papists, sick for blood, to destroy innocent men. They object, “When the king is present in his person, and his invaders, he is not absent, and so though you may rather kill a private man than suffer yourself to be killed, yet, because prudence determines the means of self-defense, you are to expose your life to hazard for justice of your king, and therefore not to do violence to the life of your king; nor can the body, in any self-defense, fight against the head, that must be the destruction of the whole.” —
1st. Though the king be present as an unjust invader in wars against his innocent subjects, he is absent as a king, and a father and defender, and present as an unjust conqueror, and therefore the innocent may defend themselves when the king neither can, nor will defend them. “Nature makes a man, (says the law, Gener. c. de decur. l. 10,l. si alius. sect. Bellissime ubique Gloss. in vers. ex magn. not. per. illum, text. ff. quod vi aut clam. l. ait praetor, sect. si debitorem meum. ff. de hisque in fraud. credito.,) even a private man, his own judge, magistrate, and defender,quando copiam judicis, qui sibi jus reddat, non habet, when he has no judge to give him justice and law.” The subjects are to give their lives for the king, as the king, because the safety of the king, as king, is the safety of the commonwealth. But the king, as offering unjust violence to his innocent subjects, is not king. Zoannet. (part 3, defens. n. 44,) —Transgrediens notorie offcium suum Judex, agit velut privatus atiquis, non ut magistratus (ff. de injur. est bonus in simili in. l. qui fundum. sect. si. tutor, ff. pro emptore).
2nd. If the politic body fight against this head in particular, not as head, but as an oppressor of the people, there is no fear of dissolution; if the body rise against all magistracy, as magistracy and laws, dissolution of all must follow. Parliaments and inferior judges are heads (Num. 1:16; 10:4; Deut 1:15; Josh, 22:21; Mic. 3:1, 9, 11; 1 Kings 8:1; 1 Chron. 5:25; 2 Chron. 5:2,) no less than the king; and it is unlawful to offer violence to them, though I shall rather think a private man is to suffer the king to kill him rather than he kill the king, because he is to prefer the life of a private man to the life of a public man.
6. By the law of nature a ruler is appointed to defend the innocent. Now, by nature, an infant in the womb defends itself first, before the parents can defend it, then when parents and magistrates are not, (and violent invading magistrates are not in that magistrates,) nature has commended every man to self-defense.
7. The law of nature excepts no violence, whether inflicted by a magistrate or any other. Unjust violence from a ruler is double injustice. 1. He does unjustly as a man. 2. As a member of the commonwealth. 3. He commits a special kind of sin of injustice against his office, but it is absurd to say we may lawfully defend ourselves from smaller injuries, by the law of nature, and not from the greater. “If the Pope, says Fer. Vasquez (illust. quest. l. 1, c. 24, n. 24, 25) command to take away benefices from the just owner, those who are to execute his commandment are not to obey, but to write back that that mandate came not from his holiness, but from the avarice of his officers; but if the Pope still continue and press the same unjust mandate, the same should be written again to him: and though there be none above the Pope, yet there is natural self-defense patent for all.” “Defensio vitae necessaria est, et a jure naturali profluit” (L. ut vim. ff. de just, et jure 16,) “Nam quod quisque ob tutelam carporis sui fecerit, jure fecisse videatur,” (C. jus naturale, 1 distinc. l. 1, ff. de vi et vi armata, l. injuriarum, ff. de injuria: C. significasti. 2, de hom. l. scientiam, sect. qui non aliter ff. ad leg. Aquil; C. si vero 1, de sent. excom. et l. sed etsi ff. ad leg. Aquil.) “Etiamsi sequatur homicidium.” Vasquez. (1. 1, c. 17, n. 5.) — “Etiam occidere licet ob defensionem rerum. Vim vi repellere omnia jura permittunt in C. signijicasti.” Garcias Fortunius (Comment, in l. ut vim. ff. de instit. et jur. n. 3.) — “Defendere se est juris naturos et gentium. A jure civili fuit additum moderamen inculpates tutelae.” Novel (defens. n. 101.) — “Occidens principem vel alium tyrannidem exercentem, a pœna homicidii excusatur.” Grotius (de jure belli et pacis, l. 2, c. 1, n. 3.) — “Si corpus impetatur vi presente, cum periculo vitas non aliter vitabili, tunc bellum est licitum etiam cum interfectione periculum inferentis, ratio, natura quemque sibi commendat.” Barclaius (advers. Monar. l. 3, c. 8.) — “Est jus cuilibet se tenendi adversus immanem sevitiam.”
But what ground (says the royalist) is there to rake arms against the king? Jealousies and suspicions are not enough.
Ans. — (1.) The king sent first an army to Scotland, and blocked us up by sea, before we took arms. (2.) Papists were armed in England. They have professed themselves in their religion of Trent to be so much the holier, that they root out protestants. (3.) The king declared we had broken loyalty to him since the last parliament. (4.) He declared both kingdoms rebels. (5.) Attempted in his emissaries to destroy the parliament; (6.) And to bring in a foreign enemy. And the law says, “An imminent danger, which is a sufficient warrant to take up arms, is not strokes, but either the terror of arming or threatening.” Glossator. (in d. l. 1, C.) — “Unde vi. ait non esse verbera expectanda, sed vel terrorem armorum sufficere, vel minas, et hoc esse imminens periculum.” L. sed et si quemcunque in princ. ff. ad leg. Aquil l. 3, quod qui armati ff. de vi et vi armata is qui aggressorem C. ad legem Corneli.
In most heinous sins, conatus, the endeavor and aim, etiamsi effectus non sequatur, puniri debet, is punishable. Bartol. in l., “Si quis non dicam rapere.”
The king has aimed at the destruction of his subjects, through the power of wicked counselors, and we are to consider not the intention of the workers, but the nature and intention of the work. Papists are in arms, — their religion, the conspiracy of Trent, their conscience, (if they have any,) their malice against the covenant of Scotland, which abjures their religion to the full, their ceremonies, their prelates, — lead and necessitate them to root out the name of protestant religion, yea, and to stab a king who is a protestant. Nor is our king, remaining a protestant, and adhering to his oath made at the coronation in both kingdoms, lord of his own person, master of himself, nor able, as king, to be a king over protestant subjects, if the papists, now in arms under his standard, shall prevail.
The king has been compelled to go against his own oath, and the laws which he did swear to maintain; the Pope sends to his popish armies both dispensations, bulls, mandates, and encouragements; the king has made a cessation with the bloody Irish, and has put arms in the hands of papists. Now, he being under the oath of God, tied to maintain the protestant religion, he has a metaphysically subtle, piercing faith of miracles, who believes armed papists and prelates shall defend the religion of protestants; and those who have abjured prelates as the lawful sons of the Pope, that o9 a0nti/xristoj and as the law says, Quilibet in dubio praesumitur bonus. L. merito praesumi. L. non omnes, sect. a Barbaris de re milit. Charity believes not ill; so charity is not a fool to believe all things. So says the law, Semel malus, semper praesumitur malus, in eodem genere. C. semel malus de jure gentium in 6. Once wicked, is always wicked in that kind. Marius Salamonius, l. C. in L. ut vim atque injuriam ff. de just et jure.
We are not to wait on strokes, the terror of armor, omnium consensu, by consent of all is sufficient (n. 3). “If I see (says he) the enemy take an arrow out of the quiver, before he bend the bow, it is lawful to prevent him with a blow — cunctatio est periculosa.” The king’s coming with armed men into the House of Commons to demand the five members, is very symbolical, and war was printed on that fact, “he that runs may read.” His coming to Hull with an army, says not he had no errand there, but to ask what it was in the dock. Novellus, that learned Venetian lawyer, in a treatise for defense, makes continuatam rixam, a continued upbraiding, a sufficient ground of violent detence. He cites Dr Comniter. in L. ut vim. f. de just et jure. Yea, he says, drunkenness, (defens. n. 44,) error, (n. 46,) madness, (n. 49, 50,) ignorance, (n. 51, 52,) impudence, (n. 54,) necessity, (n. 56,) laciviousness, (n. 58,) continual reproaches, (n. 59,) the fervour of anger, (n. 64,) threatening, (n. 66,) fear of imminent danger, (n. 67,) and just grief, do excuse a man from homicide, and that in these he ought to be more mildly punished, quia obnubilatum et mancum est consilium, reason in these being lame and clogged. (Ambros. l. 1. offic.) Qui non repellit injuriam a socio, cum potest, tam est in vitio, quam ille qui facit.
And as nature, so the law says, “When the losses are such as can never be repaired, as death, mutilation, loss of chastity, quoniam facta infecta fieri nequeunt, things of that kind once done, can never be undone, we are to prevent the enemy” (l. Zonat. tract. defens. par. 3, l. in bello sect. factae de capit, notat. Gloss. in l. si quis provocatione). If the king send an Irish rebel to cast me over a bridge, and drown me in a water, I am to do nothing, while the king’s emissary first cast me over, and then in the next room I am to defend myself; but nature and the law of self-defense warrants me (if I know certainly his aim,) to horse him first over the bridge, and then consult how to defend myself at my own leisure.
Royalists object that David, in his defense, never invaded and persecuted Saul; yea, when he came upon Saul and his men sleeping, to would not kill any; but the Scottish and parliament’s forces not only defend, but invade, offend, kill, and plunder; and this is clearly an offensive, not a defensive war.
Ans. 1. — There is no defensive war different in specie and nature from an offensive war; if we speak physically, they differ only in the event and intention of the heart; and it is most clear that the affection and intention does make one and the same action of taking away the life, either homicide, or no homicide.
1. If a man, out of hatred, deliberately take away his brother’s life, he is a murderer eatenus, but if that same man had taken away that same brother’s life, by the flying off of an axe-head off the staff, while he was hewing timber, he neither hating him before, nor intending to hurt his brother, he is no murderer, by God’s express law, (Deut. 4:42; 19:4; Joshua 20:5.) 2. The cause between the king and the two parliaments, and between Saul and David, are so different in this, as it is much for us. Royalists say, David might, if he had seen offending to conduce for self-preservation, have invaded Saul’s men, and, say they, the case was extraordinary, and binds not us to self-defense; and thus they must say — for offensive weapons, such as Goliath’s sword, and an host of armed men, cannot by any rational man be assumed (and David had the wisdom of God) but to offend, if providence should so dispose; and so what was lawful to David, is lawful to us in self-defense; he might offend lawfully, and so may we.
2. If Saul and the Philistines, aiming (as under an oath) to set up dagon in the land of Israel, should invade David, and the princes and elders of Israel who made him king; and if David, with an host of armed men, he and the princes of Israel, should come in that case upon Saul and the Philistines sleeping, if in that case David might not lawfully have cut off the Philistines, and as he defended in that case God’s church and true religion, if he might not then have lawfully killed, I say, the Philistines, I remit to the conscience of the reader. Now to us, papists and prelates under the king’s banner, are Philistines, introducing the idolatry of bread-worship and popery, as hateful to God as dagon-worship.
3. Saul intended no arbitrary government, nor to make Israel a conquered people, nor yet to cut off all that professed the true worship of God; nor came Saul against these princes, elders and people, who made him king, only David’s head would have made Saul lay down arms; but prelates, and papists, and malignants, under the king, intend to make the king’s sole will a law, to destroy the court of parliament, which puts laws in execution against their idolatry; and their aim is, that protestants be a conquered people; and their attempt has been hitherto to blow up king and parliament, to cut off all protestants; and they are in arms, in diverse parts of the kingdom, against the princes of the land, who are no less judges and deputies of the Lord than the king himself; and would kill, and do kill, plunder, and spoil us, if we kill not them. And the case is every way now between armies and armies, as between a single man unjustly invaded for his life, and an unjust invader. Neither in a natural action, such as is self-defense, is that of policy to be urged, — none can be judge in his own cause, when oppression is manifest: one may be both agent and patient, as the fire and water conflicting; there is no need of a judge, a community casts not off nature; when the judge is wanting, nature is judge, actor, accused, and all.
Lastly, no man is lord of the members of his own body, (m. l. liber homo ff. ad leg. Aqui.) nor lord of his own life, but is to be accountable to God for it.