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Common Sense

sinful to acknowledge any being under that title but the Lord of Hosts. And when a man
seriously reflects on the idolatrous homage which is paid to the persons of kings, he need
not wonder that the Almighty, ever jealous of his honour, should disapprove of a form of
government which so impiously invades the prerogative of heaven.
Monarchy is ranked in scripture as one of the sins of the Jews, for which a curse in
reserve is denounced against them. The history of that transaction is worth attending to.
The children of Israel being oppressed by the Midianites, Gideon marched against them
with a small army, and victory, through the divine interposition, decided in his favour.
The Jews, elate with success, and attributing it to the generalship of Gideon, proposed
making him a king, saying, RULE THOU OVER US, THOU AND THY SON AND
THY SON'S SON. Here was temptation in its fullest extent; not a kingdom only, but an
hereditary one, but Gideon in the piety of his soul replied, I WILL NOT RULE OVER
YOU, NEITHER SHALL MY SON RULE OVER YOU _THE LORD SHALL RULE
OVER YOU._ Words need not be more explicit; Gideon doth not decline the honour, but
denieth their right to give it; neither doth he compliment them with invented declarations
of his thanks, but in the positive style of a prophet charges them with disaffection to their
proper Sovereign, the King of heaven.
About one hundred and thirty years after this, they fell again into the same error. The
hankering which the Jews had for the idolatrous customs of the Heathens, is something
exceedingly unaccountable; but so it was, that laying hold of the misconduct of Samuel's
two sons, who were entrusted with some secular concerns, they came in an abrupt and
clamorous manner to Samuel, saying, BEHOLD THOU ART OLD, AND THY SONS
WALK NOT IN THY WAYS, NOW MAKE US A KING TO JUDGE US, LIKE ALL
OTHER NATIONS. And here we cannot but observe that their motives were bad, viz.
that they might be LIKE unto other nations, i.e. the Heathens, whereas their true glory
laid in being as much UNLIKE them as possible. BUT THE THING DISPLEASED
SAMUEL WHEN THEY SAID, GIVE US A KING TO JUDGE US; AND SAMUEL
PRAYED UNTO THE LORD, AND THE LORD SAID UNTO SAMUEL, HEARKEN
UNTO THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE IN ALL THAT THEY SAY UNTO THEE, FOR
THEY HAVE NOT REJECTED THEE, BUT THEY HAVE REJECTED ME, _THAT I
SHOULD NOT REIGN OVER THEM._ ACCORDING TO ALL THE WORKS
WHICH THEY HAVE SINCE THE DAY THAT I BROUGHT THEM UP OUT OF
EGYPT, EVEN UNTO THIS DAY; WHEREWITH THEY HAVE FORSAKEN ME
AND SERVED OTHER GODS; SO DO THEY ALSO UNTO THEE. NOW
THEREFORE HEARKEN UNTO THEIR VOICE, HOWBEIT, PROTEST SOLEMNLY
UNTO THEM AND SHEW THEM THE MANNER OF THE KING THAT SHALL
REIGN OVER THEM, I.E. not of any particular king, but the general manner of the
kings of the earth, whom Israel was so eagerly copying after. And notwithstanding the
great distance of time and difference of manners, the character is still in fashion. AND
SAMUEL TOLD ALL THE WORDS OF THE LORD UNTO THE PEOPLE, THAT
ASKED OF HIM A KING. AND HE SAID, THIS SHALL BE THE MANNER OF THE
KING THAT SHALL REIGN OVER YOU; HE WILL TAKE YOUR SONS AND
APPOINT THEM FOR HIMSELF, FOR HIS CHARIOTS, AND TO BE HIS
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