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through any forms, or by means of any body of magistracy, are inherent, and are ordained, limited, and bounded by God: and whoever, in whatever age, and by whatever means, comes to the exercise of these functions, as a magistrate, does so by the providence of God. And this distinction between the abstract idea of civil society and its ordained functions, and the concrete idea of the magistracy at any time in authority, is clearly preserved: for damnation is threatened to those who would destroy society-as if they withstood God himselfwhile obedience to magistrates is required because they are ministers of God, appointed for the very objects stated by the apostle, and which essentially embrace the fundamental objects of civil society. This, then, is the nature, origin, and authority of civil society, and the civil magistrate.

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The duty which God requires of human governments as his ordinance, and of magistrates as his ministers, is stated with equal completeness and precision. They are to be a terror to evil works, not to good works. They are for the praise of all that do good. They must not bear the sword in vain; for, as a minister of God, the magistrate is a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Both the state and the magistrate, are obliged to look to the support and prosperity of organized society, in all that relates to "custom and "tribute "the wide and indispensable financial necessities of this institute of God. In all this, they are entitled to due obedience, honor, fear, respect, and reverence; and this as matter of conscience, and out of the love of the citizen; the magistrate being entitled thereto, partly by reason of his office, and still further by reason of the fidelity, assiduity, and success, with which he attends continually on the things it is his duty to do. To protect, to nourish, to advance all good actions and good men; to restrain and punish all evil actions and evil men; to preserve and to guide unto its high and just ends, by righteous, wise, and necessary means, that ordinance of God which we call civil society; this is the design of civil government-the duty of civil magistrates.

The corresponding obligations laid by God upon the citizen, are still more largely stated. The apostle begins by enjoining upon every soul, obedience to all human authority to which we are subject; a command so comprehensive and so distinctive


of revealed religion, that he who is not "a law-abiding can not be a child of God. And he gives, at once, the very highest religious reason for the command-by a double appeal to God. And at the first pause in the divine progress of his discourse, he announces that our subjectionin opposition to all ideas of licentious and capricious freedom from restraint, is one of those overwhelming "needs be” which the Scriptures so often suggest; and adds two reasons why we should willingly acquiesce in the command of God; namely, first the certainty of punishment if we will not, and secondly our conscientious obligation to do so. Expanding this wide doctrine of obedience, we are forbidden to resist this ordinance of God, whether in its abstract or its concrete, under the double threat of damnation-and of the magistrate-as before explained; it is shown that if we would escape fear of the law and the ruler, we must do good and not evil; we are warned that, as God's minister, the civil magistrate must cherish us or must punish us—as we are good or evil-that is obedient or disobedient; he commands us to discharge all our dues and obligations, of whatever kind, to the State, to the law, to the magistrate, and to all men-to do this in a frame of mind responsive to the duties we owe to make conscience of doing it-to do it in strong affection-to do it as duty pertaining unto our salvation-as those who cast off all the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light—nay, who put on the Lord Jesus Christ!

Without deeming it necessary to cite other passages of Scripture, to confirm and illustrate the one we have printed, and briefly analyzed, to a certain extent; we must say that this passage of God's Word seems to us to put the relation of civil society, of the magistrate, and of the citizen, to God, and to each other, in such a light that men must deny the authority of the word of God, or be totally ignorant of what it teaches on the subject we are discussing, or be perfectly reckless in what they advance or accept; before the follies, the heresies, and the enormities, which signalize our generation, could ever have gained acceptance as a justification of the sins against God, and the crimes against society, under which the land groans. We shall not, however, break the continuity of this inquiry, in order to expose those fatal delusions.

Human society, then, is a determinate institute ordained of God, whose safety and perpetuity he has hedged around with the most precise commands, and the severest threats. Civil government in the abstract, which is ordained of God in a secondary manner, is the necessary result of the determinate nature of society; a result which is inevitable, upon the organization and organic action of society. And a body of magistracy―(whether all the freemen as in a small democracy, or the sovereign in an empire, or anything between the two)— are ordained of God to constitute the government, practically; and are brought into power, under his special providence. The determinate functions of society are precisely and scientifically assignable; and consist of the exercise of its will (lawmaking); the exercise of its intelligence (judicial exposition of laws, rights, duties); and the exercise of its power (executive enforcement of law). Nor is it of any consequence, how variously these functions may be performed, united, or divided, so far as concerns the absolute nature of the case: it is still society, still a government, still a magistracy. Society itself being, so to speak, the concrete of man, these inherent functions of society, are identical in their essential nature, with the corresponding faculties in man; namely, that intelligence by which he knows God, that will by which he chooses God, and that power by which he obeys God. And man himself, being a created image and likeness of God, these human faculties are shadows of those infinite attributes of God, which distinguish him as a personal Spirit; namely, his intelligence which is the source of all other intelligence-his will which supreme throughout the universe, and conformity to which is the measure of all perfection-and his power which is omnipotent, and the source of all other power, and the cause of all secondary causes, from eternity to eternity. We therefore clearly see how God, making known to us his ordination of human society, makes a distinction between his relation to the abstract and the concrete; that is, to society itself, and to the magistracy; which distinction we have before pointed out. We see, also, how the allegiance of the citizen, if due to the magistrate only, would stand on a widely different ground from that it occupies when considered due to society itself. We see, also, how society itself is necessarily supreme over every


species of magistracy, and over all forms and kinds of particular institutions, administered by any sort of magistracy. We see, also, how an actual government and magistracy stand related to society, in widely different ways, when on one hand the government exists under a constitution solemnly enacted by society, and the magistracy is chosen by society, or when on the other, society has never given more than an implied consent, if any consent at all, either to one or the other. And, finally, we see how, in a free commonwealth, with such institutions, and such a magistracy as exist with us, society, and government, and magistracy are so nearly related and identified, that forcible resistance to the government or the magistracy is more difficult to be distinguished from resistance to society itself; while rebellion against the constitution, or deliberate subversion of its authority, in any way whatever, whether by the magistrate or the citizen, must be considered as next in atrocity to that direct attack on society itself, which God has so strictly forbidden. There is, however, an aggravation even of this, under oùr constitutions, which we will explain in another connection.

We have incidentally mentioned the kingdom of God in this world, which, from its adorable Head, is called the Messianic Kingdom-from the mode in which it exists under the power of the Holy Spirit is called the New Creation-and from its members and their relation to the Saviour is called the Church of Christ. Under its present form, the church militant is a visible society made up of the professed disciples of Christ-and being a society of human beings is subject to the same inherent laws, and is invested with the same organic functions, that we have pointed out in the case of civil society. The objects of the existence of this society, however, are different from, and paramount to, those for which civil society is ordained; and God has, therefore, limited and bounded the exercise of its organic functions, and regulated the powers and duties of its office-bearers, and ordained the government in the hands of these office-bearers-by divine command-in a manner suitable to the particular nature and end of this society. It is striking, and highly illustrative of what has been said before, to compare the Christian and the civil institutes with each other. In the former, the essential sovereignty

is in the Lord Jesus Christ, not in the society itself as in the latter; so that whereas the will of the civil society is made known by its laws for the regulation of the conduct of its citizens-the will of the Christian society is swallowed up in the will of God, made known in the sacred Scriptures, and its legislative function is suppressed. With regard to the judicial function of society, it is in full exercise in the Christian as in the civil commonwealth; the difference being in the subject matter of its exercise, the civil interpreting and applying its own laws, the Christian interpreting and applying only the law of God. Touching the executive function, the same state of case exists as in the judicial function; but with some peculiarities. For, in civil society, the execution and enforcement is each complete after its manner, while in Christian society, as the authority of all decisions depends on their being in conformity with the will of God, so their efficacy depends upon the power of the Holy Spirit. And as to the form that civil society may put on, in the nature of government and institutions-an immense latitude is allowed by God to civil societies-though the one he himself ordained for his ancient people, was singularly free: while, according to our apprehension, he has left no latitude at all to Christian society, as to the fundamental nature of its government and institutions-but has ordained them himself, in the nature of a free spiritual commonwealth. It will be seen at once that the jurisdiction of the Christian commonwealth is purely moral and spiritual, extending to everything concerning which the idea of duty exists-and just so far as that idea goes; while its appeal being to God and the human conscience--the right of private judgment is necessarily sacred-and every one who sees fit to take the risk, may leave the church, and adjourn over his case to the bar of God, and the day of judgment. From the nature of civil society, no such right of private judgment can exist, in such a way as to be peacefully operative; for its common exercise would render the existence of civil society impossible, by arresting the temporal effects of all its acts-whereas there can be no other but temporal effects from any of its acts. We can easily see that paramount obedience to God, may make it our duty to refuse obedience to wicked laws of man; but it is a perversion of terms and of sense to call this a right, in any other

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