Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/642

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antees to the people all the liberty they can enjoy without disturbing the social order." But. as the sovereign alone is to decide what degree of oppression is necessary, and as there is no means of enforcing the law of God in case he sees fit to violate it, this guarantee of the liberty of the people seems to be of the slenderest and filmiest texture.

"The people of themselves have no right to determine what shall be the constitution and fundamental laws of the state, since this would be a limitation of sovereignty, which can not be conditioned and circumscribed except by itself, otherwise it would not be that supreme power established by God for the good of society." Even if a king has sworn to observe the constitution of the realm, he may set it aside if he finds it prejudicial to the exercise of his sovereignty and injurious to the highest interests of the state. "An oath can never be permitted to become a bond of iniquity, or a cause of harm to the people. Besides, the head of the Church has been authorized by God to absolve consciences from oaths, whenever he thinks there are good reasons for doing so. Even if a monarch should violate the constitution and laws of the country inconsiderately and without just cause, universal contempt and censure would be the only possible penalty for such an act. The supreme power may be praised or blamed, but can not be judged or condemned by any other power, since it is supreme. The people must accept the result with resignation, and will lose nothing thereby, because the fundamental laws are the work of man, but the sovereign power is the work of God.

"D. But suppose the king burdens his subjects with enormous taxes and squanders the money of the state, would not the revolt of the people be justifiable?

"M. No, it would not be justifiable, because the people have no right to judge of the necessities and expenditures of the sovereign, and the Holy Spirit through the mouth of Saint Paul has commanded the people to pay tribute, but has nowhere said that they should audit the accounts of kings.

"D. When the king cruelly abuses and does not respect the lives and blood of his subjects, would not revolt and revolution be justifiable?

"M. Not at all, because the people are not judges and avengers of injuries done them by private persons, and much less of those inflicted upon them by princes whom God has appointed to rule over them."

As regards freedom of opinion, every man is at liberty to entertain whatever opinions he pleases, and the government can not persecute him on this account, because it has no means of knowing his opinions. But when these secret thoughts and judgments of the mind are expressed in words, whether spoken or written,