Common Sense, British Edition

Of Monarchy and Hereditary Sucession

Page 8

8                               COMMON SENSE.

requested a king. Till then their form of government (ex-
cept 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 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 honor should
disapprove of a form of government which so impiously in-
vades 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,
thro’ 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,
more explicit; Gideon doth not decline the honor, but de-
nieth their right to give it; neither doth he compliment them
with invented declarations of his thanks, but in the positive
stile of a prophet charges them with disaffection to their pro-
per 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 cla-
morous 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 the 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,




“Common Sense, British Edition,” Common Sense Digital Edition, accessed June 25, 2019,

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