Book 4 of 4 - External Means by which God Invites Us into the Society of Christ and Holds Us Therein
Chapter 20 - Civil Government
30-32 - lesser magistrates ought to check tyranny; obey God first
30. In Scripture, God often avenged tyranny using other nations, or judges. The former had evil intentions of conquest, while judges were self-consciously carrying out God's command. Both got the job done.
31. So "let the princes hear and be afraid." But "let us not at once think that it is entrusted to us, to whom no command has been given except to obey and suffer. I am speaking all the while of private individuals." Lawful, subordinate governments may withstand evil kings. "If they wink at kings who violently fall upon and assault the lowly common folk, I declare that their dissimulation involves nefarious perfidy."
32. "Obedience [to evil kings] is never to lead us away from obedience to [God]" See Dan 6:22-23, where "the king had exceeded his limits, and had not only been a wrongdoer against men, but... against God." Israel wrongly willingly followed evil laws - Hos 5:11. Courtiers cloak their evil in the bad laws of the king. Sin's old excuse is, "but it's legal." The king's wrath can be great, in lawfully resisting him - Prov 16:14 - but "we must obey God rather than men" - Acts 5:29. We must "suffer anything rather than turn aside from piety."
Calvin ends the Institutes with "GOD BE PRAISED."