Civil Government

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Subsections

The General Equity of O.T. Civil Laws

Resistance to Tyrrany

War

Against Separation from Impure Civil Governments

Church-State Relations

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Order of Contents

Treatises
Prayers for the Civil Government
Against the Regulative Principle of Civil Government

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Treatises

On the 1500’s

Article

Figgis, J. Neville – Political Thought in the Sixteenth Century  being ch. 22 in The Cambridge Modern History, vol. 3, The Wars of Religion  1909  35 pp.

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Books

Allen, J.W. – A History of Political Thought in the Sixteenth Century  1928  575 pp.

Murray, Robert – Political Consequences of the Reformation: Studies in Sixteenth Century Political Thought  Buy  1960  338 pp.

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1500’s

Calvin, John – Of Civil Government 1536, 32 long paragraphs, being chapter 20 of Book 4 of his Institutes of the Christian Religion 

Bullinger, Henry – On the Duties of Rulers and Subjects  beginning on p. 15, 20 pages, chapter 2 from Edmund Morgan’s Edmund Morgan’s Puritan Political Ideas: 1558-1794

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1600’s

On Rutherford’s, Lex Rex  1644

Adams, Brandon – Rutherford’s Lex Rex – Summary  2017  91 paragraphs

Gillespie, George – ‘On Whether Lawful Authorities may Impose Oaths’  1649  31 paragraphs

The original Westminster Confession in chapter 22.3 says that, “It is a sin to refuse an oath touching anything that is good and just, being imposed by lawful authority.”  See this article for the proof-texts of this Biblical teaching and that it was lawful for Scotland and England to impose the Solemn League and Covenant, 1643, on their populaces (which was the catalyst for the Westminster Confession of Faith).

Hausam, Mark – Against Cameronianism, Part 1Part 2  2012  28 & 18 paragraphs

Cameronianism, contrary to Westminster Confession 23.4, teaches that if a civil government is not fully Christian then it does not have lawful authority from God.  The view came from the covenanter Richard Cameron in Scotland in the 1680’s and is currently held by Still Waters Revival as well as some other Reformed Presbyterians. 

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1800’s

Girardeau, John – Conscience and Civil Government: an Oration  1860  28 pp.

Hodge, Charles – On Suing another Christian in Civil Court, from his Commentary on 1 Corinthians, ch. 6:1-11

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Contemporary

Kayser, Phillip – Torture: a Biblical Critique  2010  22 pp.

Kayser demonstrates that torture is contrary to numerous principles in scripture.

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Prayers for the Civil Government

John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan

‘Just a Talker’, p. 44

“O Lord, bless our sinful, godless, Sabbath-breaking Privy Council.  Thou knowest that Thou art not honored there, for they profane thy holy day by their meetings for state business.”

“O Lord, bless the high courts of parliament now assembled.  Thou knowest that Thou art not honored there, where potsherd warreth with potsherd.  Do Thou be there to over-rule their deliberations.”

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Against the Regulative Principle of Civil Government

Quotes

William Ames

An analytical exposition of both epistles of the apostle Peter, illustrated by doctrines out of every text.  And applied by their uses, for a further progress in holiness (London, 1641), p. 58  HT: Daniel Ritchie

Question:  Why is the Magistracy called an ‘ordinance of man’ [1 Pet. 2] v. 13, seeing all powers are ordained of God, and every power is the ordinance of God, Rom. 13:1-2?

Answer:  The superiority of power, or government itself, is simply and absolutely commanded by God, and in that respect [it] is called the ordinance of God; but this or that special manner of power or government is not determined by God, but by men; and is therefore [it is] called an ordinance of man, which as touching the nature of it, may also be called an ordinance of God: And this is the difference betwixt an ecclesiastical and a civil office:  An ecclesiastical office is not legitimate if it be not directly determined by God Himself, and consequently cannot be changed by men: but this or that civil office may be made and changed by men.  And the reason of the difference is this, because God and Christ alone has dominion and power in spiritual matters; but in civil matters men are also [g]ods, though not absolute.”

 

George Gillespie

Aaron’s rod blossoming; or, the divine ordinance of church government vindicated (1646; Edinburgh, 1844), p. 84  HT: Daniel Ritchie

“The presbyterial government has no such liberty nor arbitrariness as civil or military government has, there being in all civil or temporal affairs a great deal of latitude left to those who manage the same, so that they command nor act against the Word of God.  But presbyterial government is tied up to the rules of Scripture in all such particulars as are properly spiritual and proper to the church, though, in other particulars, occasional circumstances of times, places, accommodations and the like, the same light of nature and reason guides both church and state; yet in things properly spiritual and ecclesiastical, there is not near so much latitude left to the presbytery, as there is in civil affairs to the magistrate.”

One hundred and eleven propositions concerning the ministry and government of the church (1647; Edinburgh, 1844), p. 12  HT: Daniel Ritchie

“40. The reformed churches believe also, and openly confess, the power and authority of emperors over their empires, of kings over their kingdoms, of princes and dukes over their dominions, and of other magistrates or states over their commonwealths and cities, to be the ordinances of God Himself appointed as well as to the manifestation of his own glory, as to the singular profit of mankind: and withal, that by reason of the will of God Himself, revealed in his Word, we must not only suffer and be content that those do rule which are set over their own territories, whether by hereditary or elective right, but also to love them, fear them, and with all reverence and honor embrace them as the ambassadors and ministers of the most high and good God, being in his stead, and preferred for the good of their subjects, to pour out prayers for them, to pay tributes to them, and in all business of the commonwealth which is not against the Word of God, to obey their laws and edicts.”

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Samuel Rutherford  1658

A Survey of the Survey of that Sum of Church Discipline Penned by Thomas Hooker, p. 278

“2.  The civil corporation may:

[1.] limit the major [an official] in regard of time, for a year and no longer;

2. they may make him half a tyrant, a dictator and absolute, or give him less power, that he shall rule none but with the consent of 12 assessors; but the people may not make him a pastor for a year and then lay him aside for no fault as a major is unofficed; nor may they limit him so as he shall not preach in season and out of season but by the consent of 12 men.

3.  The corporation may erect itself in a kingdom or commonwealth and may create consuls, dictators, praetors, tribunos plebis, etc. as may most serve for the safety and peace of this State; but the Church may bring in no new officers but those appointed by Christ; nor may they alter the government, and metamorphose it into another than that which is according to the pattern showed in the mount.”

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“But let us remember that, while Christ forgives the sins of men, he does not overturn political order, or reverse the sentences and punishments appointed by the laws.”

John Calvin

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