Of Monarchy And Hereditary Succession
Mankind being originally equals in the order of creation, the equality could only be
destroyed by some subsequent circumstance; the distinctions of rich, and poor, may in a
great measure be accounted for, and that without having recourse to the harsh, ill-
sounding names of oppression and avarice. Oppression is often the CONSEQUENCE,
but seldom or never the MEANS of riches; and though avarice will preserve a man from
being necessitously poor, it generally makes him too timorous to be wealthy.
But there is another and greater distinction, for which no truly natural or religious reason
can be assigned, and that is, the distinction of men into KINGS and SUBJECTS. Male
and female are the distinctions of nature, good and bad the distinctions of heaven; but
how a race of men came into the world so exalted above the rest, and distinguished like
some new species, is worth inquiring into, and whether they are the means of happiness
or of misery to mankind.
In the early ages of the world, according to the scripture chronology, there were no kings;
the consequence of which was, there were no wars; it is the pride of kings which throw
mankind into confusion. Holland without a king hath enjoyed more peace for this last
century than any of the monarchial governments in Europe. Antiquity favours the same
remark; for the quiet and rural lives of the first patriarchs hath a happy something in
them, which vanishes away when we come to the history of Jewish royalty.
Government by kings was first introduced into the world by the Heathens, from whom
the children of Israel copied the custom. It was the most prosperous invention the Devil
ever set on foot for the promotion of idolatry. The Heathens paid divine honours to their
deceased kings, and the Christian world hath improved on the plan, by doing the same to
their living ones. How impious is the title of sacred majesty applied to a worm, who in
the midst of his splendor is crumbling into dust!
As the exalting one man so greatly above the rest cannot be justified on the equal rights
of nature, so neither can it be defended on the authority of scripture; for the will of the
Almighty, as declared by Gideon and the prophet Samuel, expressly disapproves of
government by kings. All anti-monarchical parts of scripture have been very smoothly
glossed over in monarchical governments, but they undoubtedly merit the attention of
countries which have their governments yet to form. RENDER UNTO CAESAR THE
THINGS WHICH ARE CAESAR'S is the scripture doctrine of courts, yet it is no support
of monarchical government, for the Jews at that time were without a king, and in a state
of vassalage to the Romans.
Now three thousand years passed away from the Mosaic account of the creation, till the
Jews under a national delusion requested a king. Till then their form of government
(except in extraordinary cases, where the Almighty interposed) was a kind of republic
administered by a judge and the elders of the tribes. Kings they had none, and it was held