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criminal than wrongs done to civil society; the murder of the soul deserves heavier punishment than that of the body.
4. This position, that the whole duty of the magistrate, as such, 6 respects men, not as christians but as members of civil society” is agreeable to the doctrine taught in the Declaration and Defence of the associate presbytery's principles concerning the present civil govern. ment in Britain. To this purpose are the following words of that Declaration. 66 The public good of outward and common order in all 66 reasonable society unto the glory of God is the great and only end 66 which those invested with magistracy can propose in a sole respect 6 unto that office.” Here it is to be observed, that the public good of outward and common order in all reasonable society is no other than the good of civil society; for though it comprehends the good of such order in particular religions, as well as other societies; still, the object of the magistrate's office is not the good of any society as a religious, spiritual and supernatural society, but the good of the outward order common to it with other reasonable societies. And as this public good of outward and common order is the only end, which the magistrate, as such, or in a sole respect to his office, can propose ; so the whole duty of the magistrate, as such, which can be no other than what is referred to that end, and which has nothing in it peculiar to christians, must respect men not peculiarly as christians, but generally as members of civil society.
The associate presbytery adds in the same place the following words: “ And as in prosecuting this end civilly according to their of 66 fice, it is only over men's good and evil works, that magistrates can 6 have any inspection; so it is only those which they must needs take « cognizance of for the said public good." The duty of the civil magistrate, as such, is here plainly limited to such works as it is indispensably necessary for him to take cognizance of for the good of outward and common order in civil society. These are the works of men, considered not as christians, but ag members of civil society.
The associate presbytery say farther concerning the duty of magistrates : 56 As the whole institution and end of their office are cut out * by, and lie within the compass of natural principles; it were absurd " to suppose, that there could or ought to be any exercise thereof “ towards its end, but what can be argued for and defended from na“tural principles.” It is plain, that the duty, which respects christians, as such, is peculiar to those who enjoy the benefit of the supernatural revelation, of the christian religion; and that it cannot be rightly argued for or defended on any other principles than those of that revelation. We can neither know nor do our duty to a christian as such, unless we know what a christian is; and we cannot know what a christian is, without the knowledge of revealed religion. Hence, it is evident, that the duty of the magistrate, as such, being no other than what can be argued for and defended from natural principles, is such as respects men, not as christians, but as members of civil society.
What is stated in the words of the associate presbytery now quoted, as a judicious writer observes, is the very hinge on which the controversy with the antigovernment people turns.*
* See Mr. Morison's Present Duty, page 5-13.
But though the office and duty of magistrates, as such, does not respect men as christians, it does not follow, that there are no important duties incumbent on him with regard to religion and the professors of it. A physician owes many indispensable duties to men as christians, or as members of civil society, though his duty as a physician respects them only as labouring under, or as liable to bodily diseases. So a magistrate ought to be himself a christian, and ought to lay out himself zealously for the advancement of the christian religion; though his duty as a magistrate respects men, not as christians, but as members of civil society.
1. It is the duty of the magistrate, as such, to punish vice as contrary to the peace and order of civil society. The vices which he is bound to punish in this view are breaches not only of the second, but of the first table of the moral law; such as, the open contempt of the great truths of natural religion; the profanation of God's name, by swearing in common conversation; perjury; the profane and contemptuous disturbance of public worship; the open breaches of the sabbath considered as a reasonable portion of time set apart for the worship of God; and in general all open contempt of the government of God, which lies at the root of all moral obligation, and of all confidence in human society. The due restraint and punishment of these evils by the civil magistrate are necessary for preserving the external peace and order of society; and at the same time are subservient to the profession and practice of the christian religion.
2. The civil magistrate, as such, ought to defend the church as a reasonable society against all such as attempt to take away or infringe the liberty of her members in professing and propagating the christian religion. To this purpose was the proclamation of Cyrus with regard to the building of the temple at Jerusalem. In this view, the laws of the civil state which were made in Scotland in the year 1560, and afterwards in the period between 1638 and 1649, in favour of the true reformed religion, may well be considered as belonging to the work of God which was then carried on-so far as these laws were for giving protection and security to the subjects in the profession of that religion, without prejudice to others in their civil rights. But in these laws, those who constituted the reformed church, were not considered spiritually as christians, but rather civilly, as peculiarly valuable members of civil society. As a christian and member of the best reformed church, the magistrate ought to know, that the religion of Protestants is better than that of Papists; that the principles of the Protestant religion are maintained more purely bý Presbyterians, than by Episcopalians, Baptists, Methodists, and others; and that as the purest form of religion is most conducive to true godliness, so it is most beneficial to civil society. According to this knowledge which he possesses as a christian, he ought to proceed, as a magistrate, in granting those who belong to the purest church such distinguishing favours as are optional and arbitrary to him ; such as that of employing the members of the purest church in places of public trust; or any other privilege that he can confer on them as-most esteemed members of civil society, without prejudice to the natural rights, the liberty and property of others. In this matter, the church is considered as a reasonable society comprehended in the general society of the nation or commonwealth; and the purest particular church is most favoured as being a reasonable society, whose principles are such as have the happiest influence on the welfare of the whole nation.
3. The civil magistrate, as such, ought to abolish all such laws and customs in the civil state as cannot be defended by any natural principles of reason. The civil state ought to annul the laws that give the magistrate a power of dictating to the church, which is a spiritual or supernatural society, what she is to receive as the matter of her faith or the form of her worship; or a power of interfering in her discipline or government; and also to abolish such superstitious customs, as that of putting a stop to the public business, on account of certain holy days, the periodical observation of which has no warrant from natural or revealed religion; or that of swearing by laying the hand upon and kissing the gospels. Much was done in removing such evils by the civil powers of England and Scotland, both in the reformation from popery in the sixteenth century, and in the reformation from prelacy between 1638 and 1649.
4. The civil magistrate, set up by a people, who generally profess the christian religion, ought to be a christian; and to exercise his office in subserviency to the interests of Christ in his church. It is true, that civil qualifications alone constitute the being of the magistrate as such; and entitle him to the obedience of the people in his lawful commands, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. But, in order to the well-being of the magistrate, it is necessary, that he be a sincere christian. A christian is under greater ties, and has more powerful motives to be faithful in performing the duties of his station, than any other; and we have seen, that there are many duties incumbent on the magistrate as such, the faithful discharge of which would be eminently beneficial and encouraging to the church of Christ. But, besides what he may do by the discharge of the duties which necessarily belong to his office, being himself a christian, and a faithful member of the church, he may greatly promote her interests by his pious example, and by his improving every opportunity, which his high station gives him, of encouraging his people to steadfastness in adhering to all the truths and ordinances of the Lord Christ. He might be often saying to a minister, what the apostle bids the Colossians say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry, which thou hast received of the Lord, that thou fulfil it,
No. 2. Of Christ's Mediatory Kingdom. Some suppose, that all outward things in the kingdom of nature and providence, even considered in their material being as obvious to our external senses, and considered in their natural ordering to their natural ends, are now transferred to the mediatory kingdom of Christ, upon a new right of donation and purchase. Whence, indeed, it would follow, that the common enjoyment of all outward things, by all unbelievers through the world, as well as by all believers, by beasts as well as men, must be properly through Christ as Mediator, and through the channel of his blood. On this subject the following observations are offered :
1. All Divine prerogatives and administrations are to be ascribed to him, who is our glorious Mediator; though they must not all be ascribed to him as Mediator. Our Lord Jesus, considered as God, and considered as Mediator, is one and the same person; and there fore, when we ascribe some things to him as God, and other things to him as Mediator; we do not ascribe different things to different persons, but all to one and the same glorious person,
2. The confounding of our Lord's Divine and essential glory with his mediatory and acquired glory, must be a detracting from his Godhead. For to suppose, that all the glory, or glorious characters and administrations, ascribed to him in scripture, are to be under stood of him as Mediator, would be to deny his Godhead. It would be to suppose, that his Godhead is absorbed in the glory of his mediatory character; as the Eutychians of old, pretended to magnify the Mediator's glory, by supposing, that his human nature is absorbed in the glory of his Divine nature.
To suppose that his common providence by which, as God, he governs all his creatures, and orders all natural things in their natural course to their natural ends, is now transferred to his mediatory character and kingdom, is to suppose that a Divine dominion over the creatures, which is inseparable from his Godhead, is laid aside, for giving place to a mediatory dominion; a supposition which would be a material denying or degrading of his Godhead.
The same administrations, materially considered, are in different respects, to be ascribed to Christ, both as God, and as Mediator. For each of his administrations, as it supposes or implies a satisfaction to law and justice, must be ascribed to him as Mediator: but the same administration, considered in another respect, must be ascribed to him as God. Thus, the judgement of the ungodly, considered as it terminates in their perdition, belongs to him as God. But the same judgement, as it terminates in the vindication of the glory of his despised grace, in the display of his glory as God. man, or in the greater triumph of his people, belongs to him as Mediator.
3. The mediatory kingdom of our Lord Jesus is not of this world in any respect. Though his mediatory kingdom is in this world, and the things of it are things in this world; yet no outward things whatsoever, considered as things of this world or worldly things, can be justly looked upon as belonging to his mediatory kingdom, or as belonging to him upon a right of donation and purchase, no such donation of purchase being either needful or competent to him, who is over all God blessed forever. But the gracious and supernatural ordering of outward material things, unto gracious and supernatural ends, in the channel of love and favour to his people, and in subserviency to the purposes and glory of free grace in their salvation; all such ordering of these things, or these things considered as coming through the channel of such gracious ordering, are not of this world, though in it. And thus, "the providence of God, after a most special manner, taketh is care of his church, and disposeth all things to the good thereof."*
4. There can be no proper enjoyment of any benefits from Christ, as benefits of his mediatory kingdom, but in a way of fellowship with
. Confession of Faith, chap. v. $ 7
him by faith. Thus no common material benefits, as enjoyed by wicked men or unbelievers, can be considered as benefits of his Mediatory kingdom, or as fruits of his purchase. These material benefits, in the most general consideration thereof, proceed from God as the Creator and Preserver of the world; in which respect, they are common to men and beasts. But more particularly, they always come to men in some covenant channel. They come to wicked men, or unbelievers, through the broken covenant, in the channel of its curse. And so, whatever material goodness is in these things to them suited to their fleshly nature, like the goodness thereof to the beasts ; yet there is no spiritual goodness attending them, no Divine love but wrath. On the other hand, these benefits come to believers through the covenant of grace, in the channel of its blessing. And so they enjoy these benefits, in a way of communion with Christ, as benefits of his Mediatory kingdom.
5. The only things that can be properly reckoned the purchase of Christ, or the proper fruits of his death, are such things as the vindictive justice of God could not admit of without a satisfaction. Such is the venting of the love of God to sinners, by receiving into a state of pardon or favour. Such are all the parts of their salvation, with the glory of Christ and of free grace thereby. But vindictive justice could require or admit of no satisfaction, in order to the preserving of the natural world in its natural course, after the fall: for that very justice, in the curse of the broken covenant, necessarily required the preservation of the world, for the seed that had sinned and fallen in their first covenant head. In a word, all doctrine about the shedding of Christ's blood for any of these things, in order to which vindictive justice did and could not admit of a satisfaction, is at best but a doctrine about the shedding of his blood in vain, and injurious to the glory of that mystery. See Mr. Gib's Display of the Secession Testimony, pages 300, 301, 302.
No. 3. On the obligation of the covenants, which the people of any
nation have entered into for religion and reformation. It is sometimes asked, how a nation can be under the obligation of a covenant which is entered into by the church only ? It is answered, that when the members of a particular church constitute what is considered as a nation or civil state; they ought to devote that nation to the Lord; binding the nation and all the citizens belonging to it to be his people, and to profess and maintain his truths and
ordinances in purity. If it be said, that they may as well devote any other nation to the Lord: it may be answered, no; because what they devote to the Lord ought to be their own. As civil relations, such as, husband and wife, master and servant, as magistrate and subject, are acknow. ledged in the church on account of the various duties they owe to God and to one another. So people may be acknowledged in the church as constituting a family, a commonwealth or nation; and therefore they may devote themselves considered in that capacity to the Lord, and engage to walk in all his commandments and ordinances. But it is urged, that though the individuals that actually come under such an