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judges to kings; and, after he had forbidden many things unto the kings, as many wives, covetousness, and the like, he commandeth, that the kings which were to reign over Israel should write the law of Deuteronomy, or cause it to be written; and to shew how greatly the king should honour the law, he addeth: 4 It shall be with him, and he shall read therein
* all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear
* the Lord his God, and to keep all the words of this
* law, and these ordinances, for to do them : that he 'may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his
* sons.' But to take away any other man's field, say they, is contrary to the laws of God, in the same book written. For it is said, Deut. vi., '. That which is just 'and right shalt thou follow, that thou mayst live.' Now, if it be not permitted to carry away grapes' more than thou canst eat, out of another man's vineyard, but forbidden by God; it is much less lawful to take the vineyard itself from the owner, and give it to another. Neither are the words of the text*, (say they,) such as do warrant the kings of Israel, or make it proper unto them, to take at will any thing from their vassals. For it is not said, that it shall be lawful for the king, or the king may do this or that; but it is written, that the king will take your sons; and again, this shall be the manner of the king that shall reign over you. God thereby foreshewing what power, severed from piety, (because it is accountable to God only,) will do in the future. And hereof we find the first example in Achab, who took from Naboth both his vineyard and his life, contrary to the trust which God had put in him, of governing well iiis people. For God commanded, Deut. xvi., ' That 'his people shall be judged with righteous judg'mem.' Wherefore, though the king had offered unto Naboth composition, as a vineyard of better value, or the worth in money, which he refused; yet, because he was falsely accused, and unjustly condemn
1 Deut. tmi 34. 2 Lojrse.
ed, (though by colour of law,) how grievously Achab was punished by God the scriptures tell us. Neither was it a plea sufficient for Achab, against the allrighteous God, to say that it was done without his consent, and by the elders of Israel. For God had not then left his people to the elders, but to the king, who is called a living law, even as David testifieth of himself: ' Posuisti me in caput gentium.' For this of St. Augustine is very true: ' Simulata innocentia 'non est innocentia; simulata aequitas, non est aj'quitas: sed duplicatur peccatum in quo est ini-.
feigned equity, are neither the one nor the other; but the fault or offence is there doubled, in which there is both iniquity and dissimulation. Such, in effect, is their disputation, who think this place to contain the description of a tyrant. But the arguments on the contrary side, as they are many and forcible, so are they well known to all; being excellently handled in that princely discourse of The true law offree monarchies, which treatise I may not presume to abridge, much less here to insert. Only this much I will say, that if practice do shew the greatness of authority, even the best kings of Judah and Israel were not so tied by any laws, but that they did whatsoever they pleased in the greatest things; and commanded some of their own princes, and of their own brethren, to be slain, without any trial of law, being sometimes by prophets reprehended, sometimes not. For though David confessed his offence for the death of Uriah, yet Solomon killing his elder brother, and others, the same was not imputed unto him as any offence.
That the state of Israel should receive this change of government, it was not only foretold by Moses in Deuteronomy, but prophesied of by Jacob in this scripture: 'The sceptre shall not depart from Ju'dah V &c. It was also promised by God to Abraham for a blessing. For it was not only assured, that
feigned innocence, and
his issues should in number equal the stars in heaven, but that kings should proceed of him 4. Which state, seeing it is framed from the pattern of his sole rule, who is Lord of the universal, and the excellency thereof, in respect of all other governments, hath been by many judicious men handled and proved, I shall not need to over-paint that which is garnished with better colours already than I can lay on.
In the time of the judges, every man hath observed what civil war Israel had; what outrageous slaughters they committed upon each other; in what miserable servitude they lived for many years; and when it fared best with them, they did but defend their own territories, or recover some parts thereof formerly lost.. The Canaanites dwelt in the best vallies of the country. The Ammonites held much of Gilead over Jordan ; the Philistines the sea-coasts; and the Jebusites, Jerusalem itself, till David's time; all which that king did not only conquer and establish, but he mastered and subjected all the neighbour nations and kings, and made them his tributaries and vassals. But whether it were for that the Israelites were moved by those reasons, which allure the most of all nations to live under a monarch; or whether, by this means, they sought to be cleared from the sons of Samuel8, they became deaf to all the persuasions and threats which Samuel used, insisting upon this point, that they would have a king, both to judge them and defend them; whereunto, when Samuel had warrant from God to consent, he sent every man to his own city and abiding.
Of the election of Saul.
After that Samuel had dismissed the assembly at Mizpeh, he forbare the election of a king, till such time as he was therein directed by God; who fore
5 Gen. xvii. 6 I Sam. viii.
told him the day before, that he would present unto him a man of the land of Benjamin, whom he commanded Samuel to anoint. So Samuel went unto Ramath Sophim, to make a feast for the entertainment of Saul, (whom yet he knew not, but knew the truth of God's promises,) and Saul also having wandered divers days to seek his father's asses, at length, by the advice of his servant, travelled towards Ramath, to find out a seer or a prophet, hoping from him to be told what way to take, to find his beasts. In which journey it pleased God, (who doth many times order the greatest things by the simplest passages and persons,) to elect Saul, who sought an ass, and not a kingdom; like as formerly it had pleased him to call Moses, while he fed the sheep of Jethro; and after to make choice of David', the youngest of eight sons, and by the scriptures called a little one, who was then keeping of beasts, and changed h is sheep-hook into a sceptre, making him of all other the most victorious king of Judah and Israel. So John and Jacob were taken from casting their nets, to become fishers of men, and honoured with the .titles of apostles, a dignity that died not in the grave, as all worldly honours do, but permanent and everlasting in God's endless kingdom.
When Samuel was entered into Ramath, he prepared a banquet for the king, whom he expected, and staid his arrival at the gate. Not long after came Saul, whom God shewed to Samuel, and made him know that it was the same whom he had foretold him of, that he should rule the people of God. Saul finding Samuel in the gate, but knowing him not, though a prophet and judge oflsrael, much less knowing the honour which attended him, asked Samuel in what part of the city the seer dwelt; Samuel answered, that himself was the man he sought, and prayed Saul to go before him to the high place, where Samuel, setting him according to his degree, above all that
1 1 Sam rri.
were invited, conferred with him afterwards of the affairs of the kingdom, and of God's graces to be bestowed on him, and the morning following anointed him king of Israel.
After this, he told him all that should happen to him in the way homeward: that two men should encounter him by Rachel's sepulchre, who should tell him that his asses were found; and that his father's cares were changed from the fear of losing his beasts, to doubt the loss of his son: that he should then meet three other men in the plain of Tabor; then a company of prophets ; and that he should be partaker of God's spirit, and prophesy with them; and that thereby his condition and disposition should be changed from the vulgar, into that which became a king elected and favoured of God.
But the prophets here spoken of, men endued with spiritual gifts, were not of the first and most reverenced number, who, by divine revelation, foretold . things to come, reprehended without fear the errors of their kings, and wrought miracles;—of which number were Moses, Joshua, Samuel; and after them, Gad, Nathan, Ahias, Elias, Elisaeas, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and the rest: for these prophets, saith St. Chrysostom *, • Omnia tempora percurrunt, praeterita, prae* sentia, et futura:' but they were of those of whom St. Paul speaketh, 1 Cor. xiv. 15., who, enriched with spiritual gifts, expounded the scriptures and the law.
At Mizpeh Samuel assembled the people, that he might present Saul to them, who as yet knew nothing of his election; neither did Saul acquaint his own uncle therewith, when he asked him what had passed between him and Samuel; for either he thought his estate not yet assured, or else that it might be dangerous for him to reveal it, till he were confirmed by general consent. .When the tribes were assembled at Mizpeh, the general opinion is, that he was chosen by lot. Chiinhi thinks, by the
2 Chrjs, in Fill, lliii.