Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Take heed what you do, magistrate

Calvin's Institutes (1559)
Book 4 of 4 - External Means by which God Invites Us into the Society of Christ and Holds Us Therein

Chapter 20 - Civil Government
3-7 - Need and call for civil government
3. It is as necessary as "bread, water, sun, and air." Gov't must prevent public sacrilege and ensure "that a public manifestation of religion may exist among Christians." We will treat 3 parts of gov't separately: the magistrate, the laws, and the people.

4. The magistrate rules in God's place, as inferred from Ex 22:8; Ps 82:1, 6; John 10:35; Deut 1:16-17; 2 Chron 19:6; Prov 8:14-16; Rom 12:8; 1 Cor 12:28. Rom 13:1-2 is even more clear. And several OT saints were civil magistrates: David, Josiah, Hezekiah, Joseph, Daniel, Moses, Joshua. This office is "holy and lawful before God."

5. Some radicals say they don't need civil gov't, "but they claim a perfection of which not even a hundredth part is seen in them." See Ps 2:12; Isa 49:23; Ps 21; 22; 45; 72; 89; 110; 132; 1 Tim 2:2, "in which the right of rulers is asserted."

6. Magistrates must be faithful, since they act in God's place. See 2 Chron 19:6-7; Isa 3:14-15.

7. Radicals claim Luke 22:25-26 rejects earthly authority over others, but Scripture elsewhere honors it - Rom 13:1; Prov 8:15; 24:21; 1 Pet 2:17 - even the power of one, a monarch, which is "least pleasant" to us.

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