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med that wait for me. Psal. cxxii. 9. Because of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek thy good. Ezra vii. 23. Whatsoever is commanded by the
God of heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his
The Reformed Church has declared her mind on this article as follows.
OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT.
1. It is the will of God, revealed by the constitution of human nature, and more clearly in the sacred scriptures, that his rational creatures, living together in one part of the world, and connected by a common interest, and by common duties, should enter into a civil association, for the better preservation of peace and order, in subserviency to godliness and honesty.
1 Cor. xi. 14. Doth not even nature itself teach you? Gen. I. 7. All the elders [rulers] of the land of Egypt, Exod. iii. 16. Go and gather the elders of Israel together. I Sam. xvi. 4. And the elders of the town trembled at his coming. Exod. xviii. 19. Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee. 21. Thou shalt provide out of all the people, able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness. 22. And let them judge the people. 23. And all this people shall also go to their place in peace. Isa. xxxii. 17. And the work of righteousness shall be peace. 18. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places. Rom. xii. 17. Provide things honeft in the sight of all men. 18. As much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. I rim. ii. 2. For kings and all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty. Rom. xiii. 2. Whosover, therefore, resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God.
2. It is the duty of all men voluntarily to form civil societies, establishing such authority, as may best tend to preserve order, liberty, and religion, among them; and it is lawful for them to model their constitutions of government in such a manner as may appear most suitable to them, provided such constitutions, in their principles and distribution of power, Le in nothing contrary to the divine law.
Prov. xxi. 3. To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. Ezek. xlv. 9. Remove violence and spoil, and execute judgment and justice, take away your exactions from my people, saith the Lord. Deut. i. 13. Take you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers ever you. 14. And ye answered me and said, The thing which thou hast spoken is good for us to do. Chap. xvi. 18. Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates. Ezek. xxx. 21. And their governor shall proceed from the midst of them-this that engaged his heart to approach unto me. 22. And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. I Tim. ii. 2. That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty. Deut. xvii. 14. When thou art come unto the land-and shall dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me. 15. Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee whoni the Lord thy God shalt choose-Thou mayeft not set a ftranger over thee. 16. But he shall not multiply horses to himself; 17. Neither shall he multiply wives-neither silver and gold. 20. That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment.
3. God, the supreme governor, is the fountain of all power and authority, and civil magistrates are his deputies: In the administration of government, obedience is due to their lawful commands for conscience sake; but no power, which deprives the subject of civil libertywhich wantonly squanders his property, and sports with his life-or which authorizes false religion, (however it may exist according to divine Providence,) is approved of, or sanctioned by God, or ought to be esteemed or supported by man as a moral institution.
Rom. xiii. 1. There is no power but of God. 4. He is the minister of God to thee for good. 5. Wherefore, ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. Prov. xxix. 2. When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: But when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn. Chap. xxviii. 15. As a roaring lion, and a raging bear; so is a wicked ruler. Psalm xciv. 20. Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee? Psalm ii. 2. The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers took counsel against the Lord. Hos. viii. 3. Israel hath cast off the thing that is good. 4. They have set up kings, but not by me. Rev. xiii. I. And saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns-and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. Chap. xii. 9. The dragon-that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan. Chap. xvii. 12. The ten horns which thou saweft are ten kings-receive power as kings one hour with the beast. 14. These shall make war with the lamb. 17. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree and give their kingdom unto the beast.
4. God, who, in his holy providence, makes even the wrath of man to praise him, sometimes manages the magistrates which are over heathen and other wicked nations, balancing their ambition, their interest, and their power, in such a manner, as to maintain some degree of peace and safety in the empire, and sometimes makes use of them as a scourge to punish guilty sinners, for their rebellion against the King of heaven.
Psal. Ixxxii. 1. God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods. 1xxv. 7. He putteth down one, and setteth up another. Isa. xlv. 1. Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, 5. 1 girded thee, though thou haft not known me. 13. He shail build my city, and he hall let go my captives, not for price or reward. Jer. xxix. 7. And seek the peace of the city-for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace. Ezra ix. 7. For our iniquities have we been delivered into the hand of the kings of the land. Neh. ix. 37. The kings whom thou haft set over us because of our sins.
5. It is lawful for Christians residing in nations in which the light of the gospel has not been generally diffused, to continue in submission to such authority as may exist over them, agreeably to the law of nature, which, where revelation does not exist, is the only standard of civil duty. In such cases the infidelity of the ruler cannot make void the just authority conferred upon him by the constitution.
1 Pet. ii. 12. Having your conversation honeft among the Gentiles. 13. Submit yourselves to every ordinancé of man for the Lord's fake. 16. As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness. Rom. ii. 14. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these having not the law are a law unto themselves. Jonah iii. 7. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineweh, by the decree of the king and his nobles. 10. And God repented him of the evil that he said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.
sons? Ver. 25. And thou, Ezra, after the wisdom of thy God that is in thine hand, set magistrates and judges, which may judge all the people that
are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of thy God; and teach ye them that know them not. Ver. 26. And whosoever will not do the law
6. Christian rulers, appointed to office according to a righteous civil constitution, have authority from God, to rule in subserviency to the Kingdom of Christ, and are to be conscien:tiously supported by the persons, the property, and the prayers of the ruled, in the maintenance of the peace, the safety, and the honour of the nation.
Psalm ii. 10. Be wise now, therefore, b ye kings; be instructed, ye judges of the earth. 11. Serve the Lord with fear. 12. Kiss the son, lest he be angry. Psalm 1xxii. 11. Yea, all kings shall fall down before him; all nations shall serve him. Dan. vii. 14. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him. 27. And all dominions shall serve and obey him. Prov. viii. 15. By me kings reign, and princes de.ree justice. Rom. xiii. 4. He is the minister of God to thee for good. 5. Where fore, ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 7. Render, therefore, to all their dues: tribute, to whom tribute; fear, to whom fear; honour, to whom honour.
7. It is the duty of the Christian magistrate to take order, that open blasphemy and idolatry, licentiousness and immorality, be suppressed, and that the church of Christ be supported throughout the commonwealth; and for the better discharge of these important duties, it is lawful for him to call synods, in order to consult with them; to be present at them, not interfering with their proceedings, (unless they become manifestly seditious and dangerous to the peace.) but supporting the independency of the church, and its righteous decisions, and preserving its unity and order against the attempts of such despisers of ecclesiastical authority as should endeavour, in a riotous manner, to disturb their proceedings.
Rom. xiii, 4. For he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil. Lev. xxiv. 16. And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he fhall surely be put to death. 2 Chron. xiv. 2. And Ass did that which was good and right. 3. He took away the altars of the strange gods, and the high places, and brake down their images. Rev. xvii. 16. These shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. Prov. xx. 26. A wise king scattereth the wicked. Psalm ci. 8. I will early destroy all the wicked of the land. Prov. xiv. 34. Righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people. Chap. xvi. 12. The throne is established by righteousness. Isa. xlix. 23. Kings shall be thy nurfing fathers, [nourishers.] Chap. Ix. 10. Kings shall minister unto thee. 12. For the mation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish. Chap. Ixii. 4. And thy land shall be married. 2 Sam. xxiii. 3. He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. 2 Chron. xxix. 2. And he did right in the sight of the Lord. 4. And he brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them together. 15. And they gathered their brethren, and sanctified themselves, and came, according to the commandment of the king, by the words of the Lord, to cleanse the house of the Lord. Chap. xxx. 22. And Hezekiah spake comfortably unto all the Levites that taught the good knowledge of the Lord. Rev. xxi. 24. And the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. Dan. vii. 22. And the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. 1 Cor. x. 31. Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Psalm cxxxvii. 5. If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. cxii. 7. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.
We therefore condemn the following errors, and testify against all who maintain them: 1. "That civil government is not an ordinance of God."
2. "That christians owe no allegiance to civil authority."
3. "That civil government is founded in grace."
4. "That the scripture revelation is not the rule by which Christians should direct their civil conduct."
5. "That the magistrate, as such, has nothing to do with the Christian religion, nor the minister a right to examine the policy of nations, and teach civil duties."
6. "That Christians are bound to cherish, as the ordinance of God, all those who may be exalted in providence to power in a nation, although they may be tyrants and usurpers, and bound by an oath to give their power unto the beast, in the establishment of a false religion." 7. "That it is lawful for civil rulers to authorize the purchase and sale of any part of the human family, as slaves."
8. "That a constitution of government which deprives unoffending men of liberty and property is a moral institution, to be recognized as God's ordinance."
OF THE RIGHT OF DISSENT FROM A CONSTITUTION OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT. 1. Civil society being a voluntary association, the nation is not bound to admit to all its peculiar privileges every person who may reside within the reach of its power, nor is every person dwelling within the limits of a nation under obligation to incorporate with the national society. Every government has the right of making laws of naturalization, and every individual possesses the right of expatriation, and both these rights are to be exercised in conformity to the law of God, the supreme ruler and judge.
Gen. xlvii. 4. For to sojourn in the land are we come.--Now, therefore, we pray thee, let thy servants dwell in the land of Goshen. Num. x. 29. And Meses said unto Hobab- Come thou with us, and we will do thee good. 20. And he said unto him, I will not go. Chap. xv. 15. One ordinance shall be both for you of the congregation, and also for the stranger that sojourneth with you. Chap. xxiv. 17. Thou shalt not pervert the judgment of the stranger. Deut. xxiii. 8. The children that are begotten of them shall enter into the congregation of the Lord, in their third generation. Acts xxi. 39. A citizen of no mean city. Chap. xxii. 27. Tell me, art thou a Roman? He said, Yea. 28. With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, but I was freeborn. Jam. iv. 12. There is one lawgiver.
2. It is the duty of Christians, for the sake of peace and order, and in humble resignation to God's good providence, to conform to the common regulations of society in things lawful; but to profess allegiance to no constitution of government which is in hostility to the kingdom of Christ, the head of the church, and the prince of the kings of the earth.
Jer. xxix. 4. Thus saith the Lord of hofts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, 5. Build
of thy God, and the law of the king, let judgment, be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment. Ver. 27. Blessed be the Lord God of our fa thers, which hath put such a thing as this in the king's heart, to beautify the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem: Ver. 28. And hath extended mercy unto me before the king and his counsellors, and before all the king's mighty princes; and I was strengthened, as the hand of the Lord my God was upon me, and I gathered together out of Israel chief men to go up with me. Lev. xxiv. 16. And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death: and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as
he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death. Deut. xiii. 5. And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put te death, (because he hath spoken to turn you away from the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the Lord thy God commanded thee to walk in,) so shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee. Ver. 6. If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy Bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers: Ver. 12. If thou shalt hear say in one of thy cities,
ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them. 6. Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters. 7. And seek the peace of the city, whither I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray unto the Lord for it; for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace. Psalm cxxxvii. 1. By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down; yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. 4. How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land? 6. Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy. 8. O daughter of Babylon, who art to be deftroyed. 9. Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones. Acts iv. 19. Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you, more than unto God, judge ye. Matt. vi. 10. Thy kingdom come. Heb. xii. 26. Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. 28. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved. Mic. iv. 8. The kingdom shall come to the daugh. ter of Jerusalem. 13. Arise, and thresh, O daughter of Zion; for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass; and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the Lord, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth.
3. Virtuous persons, who in their private capacity are endeavouring to further the true end of civil governinent, the maintenance of peace and quietness in all godliness and honesty, although they dissent from the constitution of civil government of the nation in which they reside, have a right to protection in their lives, liberties, and property, they contributing their proportion of the common taxation; but they are not to act inconsistently with their declared dissent, and it would be tyranny to constrain them to such measures.
Rom. xiii. 3. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou, then, not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shall have praise of the same. 1 Tim. ii. 2. That we may lead a quiet and peaceable lite, in all godliness and honesty. Num. xv. 16. One law, and one manner, shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you. Exod. xxii. 21. Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. Rom. ii. 3. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Jer. xxi. 12. Thus saith the Lord, Execute judgment in the morning, and deliver him that is spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor. Estb. iii. 8. And Haman said unto King Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered abroad, and dispersed among the peo ple in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king's laws; therefore, it is not for the king's profit to suffer them. 9. If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed.
4. Christians testifying against national evils, and striving in the use of moral means to ef fect a reformation, should relinquish temporal privileges, rather than do any thing which may appear to contradict their testimony, or lay a stumbling block before their weaker brethren. 1 Kings xix. 9. And he came thither unto a cave, and fodged there. 10. And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of Hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant. Heh. xi. 24 By faith, Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter. 26. Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater fiches than the treasures in Egypt. 36. And others had trials of cruel mockings, and scourgings, yea, moreover, of bonds and imprisonments. Num. xxiii. 9. Lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations. Rom. xiv. 21. It is good neither to eat flesh, or drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother fumbleth, or is offended.
We therefore condemn the following errors, and testify against all who maintain them: 1. "That it is lawful to profess or swear allegiance to an immoral constitution of civil government."
2. "That Christians, under pretence of bearing an active testimony, are bound to effect a change in the moral state of nations with the sword."
3. That it is not lawful for Christians to wage war in defence of liberty, religion, or life." 4. "That the enjoyment of no temporal privilege may be relinquished for the sake of peace, or for fear of making a Christian brother to offend."
Testimony of the Reformed Church, Chapters xxviii. and xxix,
effecting whereof, he hath power to call synods, to be present at them, and to provide that whatsoever is transacted in them be according to the mind of God 5. *
IV. It is the duty of people to pray for magistratesh, to honour their persons i, to pay them tribute and other dues *, to obey their lawful commands, and to be subject to their authority for conscience' sake 1. Infidelity, or difference in religion, doth not make void the magistrate's just and legal authority, nor free the people from their due obedience
which the Lord thy God hath given thee to dwell there, saying, &c. 2 Kings xviii. 4. He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made for unto those days the children of Israel did burn. incense to it, and he called it Nehushtan. [1 Chron. xiii. 1. to the 9th Verse. 2 Kings xxiii. 1. to the 26th Verse] 2 Chron. xxxiv. 33. And Josiah took away all the abominations out of all the countries that pertained to the children of Israel, and made all that were present in Israel to serve, even to serve the Lord their God. And all his days they departed not from following the Lord, the God of their fathers. 2 Chron. xv. 12. And they entered into a covenant, to seek the Lord God of their fathers, with all their heart and with all their soul; Ver. 13. That who soever would not seek the Lord God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or
g 2 Chron. xix. 8. Moreover, in Jerusalem did Jehoshaphat set of the Levites, and of the priests, and of the chief of the fathers of Israel, for the judgment of the Lord, and for controversies, when they returned to Jerusalem. Ver. 9. And he charged them, saying, Thus shall ye do in the fear of the Lord, faithfully, and with a perfect heart. Ver. 10. And what cause soever shall come to you of your brethren that dwell in their cities, between blood and blood, between law and commandment, statutes and judg
ments, ye shall even warn them that they trespass not against the Lord, and so wrath come upon you, and upon your brethren: this do, and ye shall not trespass. Ver. 11. And, behold, Amariah the chief priest is over you in all matters of the Lord; and Zebadiah, the son of Ishmael, the ruler of the house of Judah, for all the king's matters: also the Levites shall be officers before you. Deal courageously, and the Lord shall be with the good. [2 Chron. Chapters xxix. and xxx.] Matth. ii. 4. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. Ver. 5. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet.
IV. 1 Tim. ii. 1. I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men: Ver. 2. For kings, and for all that are in authority that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty.
i 1 Pet. ii. 17. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
k Rom. xiii. 6. For, for this cause pay you tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Ver. 7. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom, fear to whom fear, honour to whom honour.
/ Rom. xiii. 5. Wherefore ye must
* See the note on Chap. XXXI. Sect. 2.
to him : from which ecclesiastical persons are not exempted"; much less hath the Pope any power or jurisdiction
needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience' sake. Tit. iii. 1. Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work.
m 1 Pet. ii. 13. Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Ver 14. Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well. Ver. 16. As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. n Rom. xiii. 1. Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God. Kings ii. 35. And the king put Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, in his room, over the host; and Zadok the
priest did the king put in the room of Abiathar. Acts xxv. 9. But Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure, answered Paul, and said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me? Ver. 10. Then said Paul, I stand at Cesar's judgment-seat, where I ought to be judged; to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest. Ver. 11. For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die : but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Cesar. 2 Pet. ii. 1. But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. Ver.
The mind of the Associate or Secession Church, on this article, is declared in her standards, as follows.
"It is the duty of Christians, plainly and frequently enjoined on them in the word of God, and acknowledged in the Confession of all the Reformed Churches, to submit to the govern ment of that country in which Providence has ordered their lot. The civil nagistrate being an infidel, or of what we judge a false religion, does not, as our Confession most justly declares, free us from an obligation to acknowledge his authority, and to obey him in all lawful commands. Civil societies may, and ought to preserve their rights and liberties; and to them it belongs to set up these forms of government, and those magistrates, whom they judge most proper. It is a sad truth, that, in doing so, nations frequently neglect to acknowledge God, and give things injurious to religion a place in their civil constitutions. Against these evils Christians ought to testify, as the Lord gives them opportunity. But they ought by no means, on account of such blemishes in any government established by the consent of a nation, to refuse submission to it in all lawful commands, especially while it grants the same protection to them as to the other members of the community."
Testimony of the American Associate Church, Part. I. Sect. 19.
"The state is under obligations by the divine law, to the performance of such duties, as through the blessing of God may be signally useful to the Church. It is the duty of all its members, on the supposition of their being favoured with divine revelation, to embrace the truth with all their hearts, to make a scriptural profession of it, to annex themselves to the Church of Christ, and to join with her in the celebration of all divine ordinances. It is their duty, in their collective capacity, to withdraw any positive countenance and support, whether by legal establishments or otherwise, which they may have formerly given to a false religion, to abolish any laws that may be standing in the way of the progress of the true; and so to regulate the whole of their civil constitution and administration, that they may prove subservient to the interests of evangelical truth, and the advancement of pure and undefiled religion. In a word, it is their duty, in the choice of their civil rulers, to have such a regard for the interests of religion, as to set none over them, but such as they have ground to think will not improve their power for the injury of the church; but be themselves good examples to others in the ways of godliness, But though they should not only neglect, but plainly con tradict, their duty in this matter, this can never warrant a minority to refuse subjection to any whom the general body set up, in all their lawful commands."
We condemn and testify against the doctrine of those who maintain that in a nation, which has fallen from reformation once attained, the minority adhering to this reformation may lawfully refuse subjection to the powers that be, and obedience to their just commands. We reject this, as not only contrary to the general tenor of scripture, but as directly tending to introduce endless anarchy."
Testimony of the Associate Church of Scotland Chap. XXIV. Sect. 5. &c.