Whether neighbour princes may, or are bound by law to aid the subjects of other princes, persecuted for true religion, or oppressed by manifest tyranny.
We have yet one other question to treat of, in the discussing whereof, there is more use of an equitable judgment than of a nimble apprehension; and if charity were but in any reasonable proportion prevalent amongst the men of this age, the disputation thereof was altogether frivolous; but, seeing nothing in these days is more rare, nor less esteemed than charity, we will speak somewhat of this our question. We have already sufficiently proved, that all tyrants, whether those who seek to captivate the minds and souls of the people with an erroneous and superstitious opinion in matter of religion, or, those who would enthral their bodies and estates with miserable servitude and excessive impositions, may justly by the people, be both suppressed and expulsed? But, for so much as tyrants are for the most part so cunning, and subjects seldom so cautelous, that the disease is hardly known, or, at the least, not carefully observed before the remedy prove almost desperate, nor think of their own defence before they are brought to those straits, that they are unable to defend themselves, but compelled to implore the assistance of others: Our demand therefore is, if Christian princes lawfully may, and ought to succour those subjects who are afflicted for true religion, or oppressed by unjust servitude, and whose sufferings are either for the kingdom of Christ, or for the liberty of their own state? There are many, who, hoping to advance their own ends, and encroach on others' rights, will readily embrace the part of the afflicted, and proclaim the lawfulness of it; but the hope of gain is the certain and only aim of their purposes. And in this manner the Romans, Alexander the Great, and divers others, pretending to suppress tyrants, have oftentimes enlarged their own limits.
It is not long since we saw King Henry the Second make wars on the Emperor Charles the Fifth, under colour of defending and delivering the Protestant princes. As also Henry the Eighth, King of England, was in like manner ready to assist the Germans, if the Emperor Charles should molest them. But if there be some appearance of danger, and little expectance of profit, then it is that most princes do vehemently dispute the lawfulness of the action. And as the former cover their ambition and avarice with the veil of charity and piety, so, on the contrary do the others call their fear and cowardly baseness integrity and justice; although that piety (which is ever careful of another's good) have no part in the counsels of the first. nor justice (which affectionately desires the easing of a neighbour's grief) in cooling the charitable intendments of the latter. Therefore, without leaning either to the one side or the other, let us follow those rules which piety and justice trace us out in matter of religion.
First, all accord in this, that there is only one Church, whereof Jesus Christ is the head, the members whereof are so united and conjoined together, that if the least of them be offended or wronged, they all participate both in the harm and sorrow, as throughout Holy Scripture plainly appears: wherefore the church is compared to a body. Now, it oftentimes happens, that the body is not only overthrown by a wound in the arm or thigh, but even also much endangered, yea, sometimes killed by a small hurt in the little finger. Vainly, therefore, does any man vaunt that this body is recommended to his care and custody, if he suffer that to be dismembered and pulled in pieces which he might have preserved whole and entire. The church is compared to an edifice: on which side soever the building is undermined, it many times chances that the whole tumbles down, and on what rafter or piece of timber soever the flame takes hold, it endangers the whole house of burning; he must needs be therefore worthy of scorn, who should defer to quench the fire which had caught his house top, because he dwells most in the cellar. Would not all hold him for a madman who should neglect by countermining to frustrate a mine, because it was intended to overthrow that wall there, and not this here.
Again, the church is resembled to a ship, which, as it sails together, so does it sink together; in so much that in a tempest, those who be in the forecastle, or in the keel, are no more secure than those who remain at the stern or on the deck: so that the proverb commonly says, "When men run the like hazard in matter of danger, that they venture both in one bottom." This being granted questionless, whosoever has not a fellow-feeling in commiserating the trouble, danger, and distress of the church, is no member of that body, nor domestic in the family of Jesus Christ, nor hath any place in the ark of the covenant of grace. He who has any sense of religion in his heart, ought no more to doubt whether he be obliged to aid the afflicted members of the church, than he would be assisting to himself in the like distress; for the union of the church unites us all into one body, and therefore every one in his calling must be ready to assist the needy, and so much the more willingly, by how much the Almighty has bestowed a greater portion of his blessings on us, which were not conferred that we should be made possessors of them, but that we should be dispensers thereof according to the necessity of his saints.
As this church is one, so is she recommended and given in charge to all Christian princes in general, and to every one of them in particular; for so much as it was dangerous to leave the care to one alone, and the unity of it would not by any means permit that she should be divided into pieces and every portion assigned unto one particular; God has committed it all entire to particulars, and all the parts of it to all in general, not only to preserve and defend it, but also to amplify and increase it as much as might be. Insomuch that if a prince who has undertaken the care of a portion of the church, as that of Germany and England, and, notwithstanding neglect and forsake another part that is oppressed, and which he might succour, he doubtless abandons the church, Christ having but one only spouse, which the prince is so bound to preserve and defend, that she be not violated or corrupted in any part, if it be possible. And in the same manner, as every private person is bound by his humble and ardent prayers to God, to desire the restoring of the church, so likewise are the magistrates tied diligently to procure the same, with the utmost of their power and means which God has put into their hands. For the church of Ephesus is no other than that of Colossus, but these two are portions of the universal church, which is the kingdom of Christ, the increase and prosperity whereof ought to be the continual subject of all private men's prayers and desires; but it is the duty of all kings, princes, and magistrates, not only to amplify and extend the limits and bounds of the church in all places, but only to preserve and defend it against all men whatsoever. Wherefore there was but one temple in Judea built by Solomon, which represented the unity of the church; and therefore ridiculous and worthy of punishment was that churchwarden, who had care only of some small part of the church, and suffered all the rest to be spoiled with rain and weather. In like manner, all Christian kings, when they receive the sword on the day of their coronation, solemnly swear to maintain the catholic or universal church, and the ceremony then used cloth fully express it, for holding the sword in their hands, they turn to the east, west, north, and south, and brandish it, to the end that it may be known that no part of the world is excepted. As by this ceremony they assume the protection of the church, it must be questionless understood of the true church, and not of the false; therefore ought they to employ the utmost of their ability to reform, and wholly to restore that which they hold to be the pure and truly Christian church, to wit, ordered and governed according to the direction of the Word of God. That this was the practice of godly princes, we have their examples to instruct us.
In the time of Ezechias, King of Judah, the kingdom of Israel had been a long time before in subjection to the Assyrians, to wit, ever since the King Hosea, his time; and therefore if the church of Judah only, and not the whole universal church had been committed to the custody of Ezechias; and if in the preservation of the church, the same course were to be held, as in the dividing of lands, and imposing of tributes, then questionably Ezechias would have contained himself within his own limits, especially then when the exorbitant power of the Assyrians forded it everywhere. Now, we read that he sent express messengers throughout Israel, to wit, to the subjects of the King of Assyria, to invite them to come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Paschal Feast; yea, and he aided the faithful Israelites of the tribes of Ephraim and Manasses, and others the subjects of the Assyrians, to ruin the high places which were in their quarters.
We read also, that the good king Josias expelled idolatry, not only out of his own kingdom, but also even out of the kingdom of Israel, which was then wholly in subjection to the King of Assyria, and no marvel, for where the glory of God and the kingdom of Christ are in question, there no bounds or limits can confine the zeal and fervent affection of pious and godly princes. Though the opposition be great, and the power of the opposers greater, yet the more they fear God, the less they will fear men. These generous examples of divers godly princes, have since been imitated by sundry Christian kings, by whose means the church (which was heretofore restrained within the narrow limits of Palestine) has since been dilated throughout the universal world. Constantine and Licinius governed the empire together, the one in the Orient, the other in the Occident. They were associates of equal power and authority. And amongst equals, as the proverb is, "There is no command."
Notwithstanding, because Licinius does everywhere banish, torment, and put to death the Christians, and amongst them divers of the nobility, and that for and under presence of religion, Constantine makes war against him, and by force compels him to give free liberty of religion to the Christians; and because he broke his faith, and relapsed into his former cruelties, he caused him to be apprehended and put to death in the city of Thessalonica. This emperor's piety was with so great an applause celebrated by the divines of those times, that they suppose that saying in the prophet Isaiah to be meant by him: "That kings shall be pastors and nursing fathers of the church." After his death, the Roman empire was divided equally between his sons, without advantaging the one more than the other. Constans favoured the orthodox Christians, Constantus, being the elder, leaned to the Arrians, and for that cause banished the learned Athanasius from Alexandria; the greatest professed adversary of the Arrians. Certainly, if any consideration in matter of confines be absolutely requisite, it must needs be amongst brethren; and notwithstanding, Constans threatened to war on his brother if he restore not Athanasius, and had without doubt performed it, if the other had long deferred the accomplishment of his desire. And if he proceeded so far for the restitution of one bishop, had it not been much more likely and reasonable for him to have assisted a good part of the people, if they implored his aid against the tyranny of those who refused them the exercise of their religion, under the authority of their magistrates and governors? So at the persuasion of Atticus the bishop, Theodosius made war on Chosroes, King of Persia, to deliver the Christians of his kingdom from persecution, although they were but particular and private persons; which certainly those most just princes, who instituted so many worthy laws, and had so great and special care of justice, would not have done, if by that fact they had supposed anything were usurped on another man's right, or the law of nations violated. But to what end were so many expeditions undertaken by Christian princes into the Holy Land against the Saracens? Wherefore were demanded and raised so many of those Saladine tenths? To what purpose were so many confederacies made, and crusades proclaimed against the Turks, if it were not lawful for Christian princes, yea, those furthest remote, to deliver the church of God from the oppression of tyrants, and to free captive Christians from under the yoke of bondage? What were the motives that led them to those wars? What were the reasons that urged them to undergo those dangers? But only in regard of the churches' union, Christ summoned every man from all parts with a unanimous consent, to undertake the defence thereof? For all men are bound to repulse common dangers with a joint and common opposition, all which have a natural consent and relation with this we now treat of. If this were lawful for them against Mahomet, and not only lawful, but that the backward and negligent were ever made liable to all infamous contempt, and the forward and ready undertakers always recompensed with all honourable respect and reward, according to the merit of their virtues; wherefore not now against the enemy of Christ and his saints? If it be a lawful war to fight against the Greeks (that I may use that phrase) when they assail our Troy; wherefore is it unlawful to pursue and prevent that incendiary Sinon? Finally, if it have been esteemed an heroical act to deliver Christians from corporal servitude (for the Turks enforce none in point of religion), is it not a thing yet much more noble to enfranchise and set at liberty souls imprisoned in the mists of error ?
These examples of so many religious princes, might well have the directive power of law. But let us hear what God Himself pronounces in many places of His Word by the mouth of His prophets, against those who advance not the building up of His church, or who make no reckoning of her afflictions. The Gadites, the Reubenites, and half the tribe of Manasses desire of Moses that he would allot them their portion on the other side of Jordan. Moses grants their request, but with this proviso and condition, that they should not only assist their other brethren the Israelites to conquer the land of Canaan; but also that they should march the first, and serve as vanguard to the rest, because they had their portions first set them forth, and if they fail to perform this duty, he with an anathema, destines them to destruction, and compares them to those who were adjudged rebels at Cadisbarnea. And what, says he, "your brethren shall fight, and you in the mean season rest quiet at home? " Nay, on the contrary, you also shall pass Jordan, and not return into their houses, before first the Lord have driven his enemies out from before his face, and granted place to your brethren as well as you, then shall you be innocent before the Lord and His people Israel. He shews by this that those who God first blessed with so great a benefit, if they help not their brethren, if they make not themselves sharers in their labours, companions in their travels, and leaders in their dangers, they must questionless expect a heavy punishment to fall upon them.
Likewise when under the conduct of Deborah, the Nephtalites and Zabulonites took arms against the tyrant Jabin; and that in the mean season the Reubenites, who should have been first in the field, took their ease and played on their pipes, whilst their flocks and herds fed at liberty; the Gadites held themselves secured with the rampire of the ever; the Danites gloried in their command at sea, and Ashur, to be brief, was confident in the difficult access of their mountains. The Spirit of the Lord speaking by the prophetess, does in express terms condemn them all: "Curse ye Meros" (said the Angel of the Lord), "curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof, because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty.
But blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, who, though she might have alleged the alliance which her husband had with the Canaanites, did, notwithstanding, kill Sisera, the general of the enemies' army. And therefore Uriah spoke religiously, and like a true patriarch, when he said: " The ark of the Lord, and Israel, and Judah abide in tents, and my Lord Joab, and the servants of my Lord are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink and to lie with my wife? As thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing." But, on the contrary, impious and wicked were the Princes of Israel, who, supposing themselves secured by the craggy mountains of Samaria, and strong fortification of Sion, took liberty to loose themselves in luxurious feasts, loose delights, drinking delicious wines, and sleeping in perfumed beds of ivory, despising in the mean season poor Joseph; to wit, the Lord's flock tormented and miserably vexed on all sides, nor have any compassion on their affliction. "The Lord God hath sworn by Himself, saith the Lord God of Hosts, I abhor the excellency of Jacob, and hate his palaces, therefore will I deliver up the city, with all that is therein, and those that wallow thus in pleasures, shall be the first that shall go into captivity." Wickedly, therefore, did those Ephraimnes, who, instead of congratulating and applauding the famous and notable victories of Gideon and Jephta, did envy and traduce them, whom, notwithstanding, they had forsaken in dangers.
As much may be said of the Israelites, who, seeing David overcome the difficulty of his affairs, and remain a peaceable king, say aloud, "We are thy flesh and thy bones." And some years after, seeing him embroiled again in troubles, cried out, "We have no part in David, neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse." Let us rank also with these, all those Christians in name only, who will communicate at the holy table, and yet refuse to take the cup of affliction with their brethren, who look for salvation in the church, and care not for the safety and preservation of the church and the members thereof. Briefly, who adore one and the same God the Father, acknowledge and avow themselves of the same household of faith, and profess to be one and the same body in Jesus Christ, and, notwithstanding, yield no succour nor assistance to their Saviour, afflicted in his members; what vengeance do you think will God inflict on such impiety? Moses compares those who abandon their brethren to the rebels of Cadisbarnea. Now, none of those by the decree of the Almighty, entered into the land of Canaan. Let not those then pretend any interest in the heavenly Canaan, who will not succour Christ when He is crucified, and suffering a thousand times a day in his members; and, as it were, begging their alms from door to door. The Son of God with his own mouth condemns them to everlasting fire, that when he was hungry gave Him no meat; when He was thirsty gave Him no drink; when He was a stranger, lodged Him not; naked, and clothed Him not; sick, and in prison, and visited Him not. And, therefore, let those expect punishments without end, who lend a deaf ear to the complaint's and groans of our Saviour Jesus Christ, suffering all these things daily in his members; although otherwise they may appear both to others and themselves, to be jolly Christians, yet shall their condition be much more miserable than that of many infidels. For why ? were they the Jews only, and Scribes and Pharisees, to speak properly, that crucified Christ? or were they Ethnicks, Turks, or some certain pernicious sects of Christians, which crucify, torment, and persecute him in his members? No, certainly, the Jews hold Him as impostor, the Ethnicks a malefactor, the Turks an infidel, the others an heretic, insomuch as if we consider the intention of these men, as the censoring of all offences ought to have principal relation "hereunto, we cannot conclude that it is properly Christ that they persecute with such hatred, but some criminal person, who, in their opinion deserves this usage. But they do truly and properly persecute and crucify Christ Jesus, who profess to acknowledge Him for the Messiah, God and Redeemer of the world; and which, notwithstanding, fail to free Him from persecution and vexation in His members, when it is in their power to do it. Briefly, he who omits to deliver his neighbour from the hands of the murderer, when he sees him in evident danger of his life, is questionless guilty of the murder, as well as the murderer. For seeing he neglected when he had means to preserve his life, it must needs necessarily follow that he desired his death. And in all crimes the will and intendment ought principally to be regarded. But questionless, these Christian princes, who do not relieve and assist the true professors, who suffer for true religion, are much more guilty of murder than any other, because they might deliver from danger an infinite number of people, who for want of timely succour, suffer death and torments under the cruel hands of their persecutors. And to this may be added, That to suffer one's brother to be murdered, is a greater offence than if he were a stranger. Nay, I say further, These forsakers of their brethren in their time of danger and distress, are more vile, and more to be abhorred than the tyrants themselves who persecute them. For it is much more wicked, and worthy of greater punishment, to kill an honest man who is innocent and fearing God (as those who consent with them in the faith, must of necessity know the true professors to be), than a thief, an impostor, a magician, or an heretic, as those who persecute the true Christians do commonly believe them to be. It is a greater offence by many degrees to strive with God, than man. Briefly, in one and the same action it is a much more grievous crime, perfidiously to betray, than ignorantly to offend. But may the same also be said of them who refuse to assist those who are oppressed by tyranny, or defend the liberty of the commonwealth against the oppression of tyrants? For in this case the conjunction or confederacy seems not to be of so strict a condition between the one and the other; here we speak of the commonwealth diversely governed according to the customs of the countries, and particularly recommended to these here, or those there; and not of the church of God, which is composed of all, and recommended to all in general, and to every one in particular.
The Jew says, our Saviour Christ is not only neighbour to the Jew, but also to the Samaritan, and to every other man. But we ought to love our neighbour as ourselves; and therefore an Israelite is not only bound to deliver an Israelite from the hands of thieves, if it be in his power, but every stranger also; yea, though unknown, if he will rightly discharge his duty. Neither let him dispute whether it be lawful to defend another, who believes he may justly defend himself. For it is much more just, if we truly consider the concomitants, to deliver from danger and outrage another than one's self; seeing that what is done for pure charity, is more right and allowable, than that which is executed for colour, or desire of revenge, or by any other transport of passion: in revenging our own wrongs we never keep a mean; whereas in other men's, though much greater, the most intemperate will easily observe moderation. Furthermore, the heathens themselves may teach us what humane society, and what the law of nature requires of us in this business; wherefore Cicero says, "That nature being the common mother of mankind, prescribes and ordains, that every man endeavour and procure the good of another, whatsoever he be, only because he is a man; otherwise all bonds of society, yea, and mankind itself, must needs go to ruin."
And therefore, justice is built on these two bases or pillars; first, that none be wronged; secondly, that good be done to all, if it be possible. So also are there two sorts of injustice; the first, in those who offer injury to their neighbours; the second, in them who, when they have means to deliver the oppressed, do, notwithstanding, suffer them to sink under the burden of their wrongs. For whosoever does wrong to another, either moved "hereunto by anger, or any other passion, he may in a sort be truly said to lay violent hands on his companion; but he that hath means, and defends not the afflicted, or to his power, wards not the blows that are struck at him, is as much faulty, as if he forsook his parents, or his friends, or his country in their distress. That which was done by the first may well be attributed to choler which is a short madness; the fault committed by the other discovers a bad mind and a wicked purpose, which are the perpetual tormentors and tyrants of the conscience. The fury of the first may be in some sort excused, but the malice of the second admits no colour of defence. Peradventure you will say, I fear in aiding the one I shall do wrong to the other. And I answer, you seek a cloak of justice wherewith to cover your base remissness. And, if you lay your hand on your heart, you will presently confess, that it is somewhat else, and not justice, that withholds you from performing your duty. For, as the same Cicero says in another place, "Either thou wilt not make the wrongdoer shine enemy, or not take pains, or not be at so much charge, or else negligence, sloth or the hindering of shine own occasions, or the crossing of other purposes, takes thee off from the defence of those who otherwise thou art bound to relieve. Now in saying thou only attend shine own affairs, fearing to wrong another, thou fallest into another kind of injustice: for thou abandoneth human society, in that thou wilt not afford any endeavour either of mind, body, or goods, for the necessary preservation thereof." Read the directions of the heathen philosophers and politicians who have written more divinely herein, than many Christians in these days. From hence also proceeds, that the Roman law designs punishment to that neighbour who will not deliver the slave from the outrageous fury of his master.
Amongst the Egyptians, if any man had seen another assailed and distressed by thieves and robbers, and did not according to his power presently aid him, he was adjudged worthy of death, if at the least he discovered or delivered not the delinquents into the hand of the magistrate. If he were negligent in performing this duty for the first mulct, he was to receive a certain number of blows on his body, and to fast for three days together. If the neighbour be so firmly obliged in this mutual duty of succour to his neighbour, yea, to an unknown person in case he be assailed by thieves: shall it not be lawful for a good prince to assist, not slaves to an imperious master, or children against a furious father, but a kingdom against a tyrant, the commonwealth against the private spleen of one, the people (who are indeed the true owners of the state) against a ministering servant to the public. And, if he carelessly or wilfully omit this duty, deserves he not himself to be esteemed a tyrant, and punished accordingly, as well as the other a robber, who neglected to assist his neighbour in that danger? Thucydides upon this matter says, "That those are not only tyrants which make other men slaves, but much more those who, having means to suppress and prevent such oppression, take no care to perform it"; and amongst others, those who assumed the title of protectors of Greece, and defenders of the country, and yet stir not to deliver their country from oppression of strangers. And truly indeed; for a tyrant is in some sort compelled to hold a straight and tyrannous hand over those who, by violence and tyranny, he hath constrained to obey him, because, as Tiberius said, "he holds the wolf by the ears, whom he can neither hold without pain and force, nor let go without danger and death."
To the end then that he may blot out one sin with another sin, he fills up one wickedness to another, and is forced to do injuries to others, lest he should prove by remissness injurious to himself. But the prince who, with a negligent and idle regard, looks on the outrageousness of a tyrant, and the massacring of innocents that he might have preserved, like the barbarous spectacles of the Roman sword-plays is so much more guilty than the tyrant himself, by how much the cruel and homicidious directors and appointers of these bloody sports were more justly punishable by all good laws than the poor and constrained actors in those murdering tragedies. And as he questionless deserves greater punishment who, out of insolent jollity, murders one, than he who unwillingly for fear of a further harm kills a man; if any object that is it against reason and good order to meddle in the affairs of another, I answer with the old man in Terence "I am a man, and I believe that all duties of humanity are fit and convenient for me. If others seeking to cover their base negligence, and careless unwillingness, allege that bounds and jurisdictions are distinguished one from another, and that it is not lawful to thrust one's sickle into another's harvest," neither am I also of that opinion, that upon any such colour or presence, it is lawful for a prince to encroach upon another's jurisdiction or right, or upon that occasion to usurp another's country, and so carry another man's corn into his barn, as divers have taken such shadows to mask their bad intentions. I will not say that after the manner of those arbitrators whom Cicero speaks of, thou adjudge the things in controversy to thyself. But I require that you repress the prince who invades the kingdom of Christ, that you contain the tyrant within his own limits, that you stretch forth your hand of compassion to the people afflicted, that you raise up the commonwealth lying grovelling on the ground, and that you so carry yourself in the ordering and managing of this, that all men may see your principal aim and end was the public benefit of human society, and not any private profit or advantage of your own. For seeing that justice respects only the public, and that which is without, and injustice fixes a man wholly on himself, it doubtless becomes a man truly honest to dispose his actions, that every private interest give place, and yield to public commodity.
Briefly, to epitomize what has been formerly said, if a prince outrageously overpass the bounds of piety and justice, a neighbour prince may justly and religiously leave his own country, not to invade and usurp another's, but to contain the other within the limits of justice and equity. And if he neglect or omit his duty herein, he shews himself a wicked and unworthy magistrate. If a prince tyrannize over the people, a neighbour prince ought to yield succour as freely and willingly to the people, as he would do to the prince his brother if the people mutinied against him: yea, he should so much the more readily succour the people, by how much there is more just cause of pity to see many afflicted, than one alone. If Porsenna brought Tarquinius Superbus back to Rome, much more justly might Constantine, requested by the senate, and Roman people, expel Maxentius the tyrant from Rome. Briefly, if man become a wolf to man, who hinders that man (according to the proverb), may not be instead of God to the needy? And therefore the ancients have ranked Hercules amongst the gods, because he punished and tamed Procrustes, Busiris, and other tyrants, the plagues of mankind, and monsters of the earth. So whilst the Roman empire retained her freedom, she was truly accounted the safeguard of all the world against the violence of tyrants, because the senate was the port and refuge of kings, people, and nations. In like manner Constantine, called by the Romans against Maxentius, had God Almighty for the leader of his army. And the whole church does with exceeding commendations celebrate his enterprise, although that Maxentius had the same authority in the West, as Constantine had in the East. Also Charlemagne undertook war against the Lombards, being requested to assist the nobility of Italy: although the kingdom of the Lombards had been of a long continuance, and he had no just presence of right over them. In like manner when Charles the Bold, King of France, had tyrannously put to death the governor of the country between the rivers of Seine and Loire, with the Duke Lambert, and another nobleman called Jametius, and that other great men of the kingdom were retired unto Lewis King of Germany, brother (but by another mother) unto Charles, to request aid against him, and his mother called Judith, one of the most pernicious women in the world, Lewis gave them audience in a full assembly of the German princes, by whose joint advice it was decreed, that wars should be made against Charles for the re-establishing in their goods, honours, and estates, those whom he had unjustly dispossessed.
Finally, as there have ever been tyrants distressed here and there, so also all histories testify that there have been neighbouring princes to oppose tyranny, and maintain the people in their right. The princes of these times by imitating so worthy examples, should' suppress the tyrants both of bodies and souls, and restrain the oppressors both of the commonwealth, and of the church of Christ: otherwise, they themselves may most deservedly be branded with that infamous title of tyrant.
And to conclude this discourse in a word, piety commands that the law and church of God be maintained. Justice requires that tyrants and destroyers of the commonwealth be compelled to reason. Charity challenges the right of relieving and restoring the oppressed. Those who make no account of these things, do as much as in them lies to drive piety, justice, and charity out of this world, that they may never more be heard of.
Previous | Contents