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Calvin's Sermon on I Samuel 8:11-22, The Fearful Consequences of Rejecting God as King

We must now explain Samuel's speech to the people of Israel, in which he reminds them that they were still free to withdraw from their plans and to change their original intention to seek a king. Then he says that the king who will reign over them will take their sons for his own purposes and will cause much plundering and robbery. As we said in our last Sermon, these words show that the Lord does not give kings the right to use their power to subject the people to tyranny. Indeed, when the liberty to resist tyranny seems to be taken away by princes who have taken over, one can justly ask this question: since kings and princes are bound by covenant to the people, to administer the law in truest equality, sincerity, and integrity; if they break faith and usurp tyrannical power by which they allow themselves everything they want: is it not possible for the people to consider together taking measures in order to remedy the evil? A difficult question indeed, which in this time is neither pleasant to consider in detail, nor is it even expedient to do so. For we have seen in any today who seek an occasion of changing things and allow themselves to go too far in agitating and overthrowing powers and authorities. These matters should be dealt with very soberly. Therefore, it behooves us to be content with what the Sacred Scripture teaches us, that God certainly punishes those who do not merit a good government by leading them into tyranny under bad princes.