IV. It is the duty of people to pray for magistrates [h], to honor their persons [i], to pay them tribute or other dues [k], to obey their lawful commands, and to be subject to their authority, for conscience’ sake [l]. Infidelity, or difference in religion, does not make void the magistrates’ just and legal authority, nor free the people from their due obedience to them [m]: from which ecclesiastical persons are not exempted [n], much less has the Pope any power and jurisdiction over them in their dominions, or over any of their people; and, least of all, to deprive them of their dominions, or lives, if he shall judge them to be heretics, or upon any other pretence whatsoever [o].
It is the duty of people to pray for magistrates [h],
[h] 1 Timothy 2:1 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.
to honor their persons [i],
[i] 1 Peter 2:17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
to pay them tribute or other dues [k],
[k] Romans 13:6 For for this cause pay ye 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.
to obey their lawful commands, and to be subject to their authority, for conscience’ sake [l].
[l] Romans 13:5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
Titus 3:1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work.
Infidelity, or difference in religion, does not make void the magistrates’ just and legal authority, nor free the people from their due obedience to them [m]:
[m] 1 Peter 2:13 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 evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. Ver.16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.
from which ecclesiastical persons are not exempted [n],
[n] Romans 13:1 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.
1 Kings 2:35 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 25:9 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 Caesar’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 Caesar.
2 Peter 2:1 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.10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. Ver.11 Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.
Jude 8 Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. Ver.9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil, he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. Ver.10 But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. Ver.11 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.
much less has the Pope any power and jurisdiction over them in their dominions, or over any of their people; and, least of all, to deprive them of their dominions, or lives, if he shall judge them to be heretics, or upon any other pretence whatsoever [o].
[o] 2 Thessalonians 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
Revelation 13:15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. Ver.16 And he caused all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: Ver.17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
End of Lesson, Day 114
For Further Study:
CHAP. XXIII. - Of the Civil Magistrate - Commentary by Gordon H. Clark
Chapter XXIII. Of the Civil Magistrate - Exposition by Robert Shaw
Chapter 23: Of the Civil Magistrate - Exposition by A.A. Hodge
A Sermon on Civil Government. JAMES R. WILLSON A.M., Feb. 11, 1821.
Civil Government: An Exposition of Romans 13:1-7. J.R.Wilson