Archive for February, 2016

Patristic Scholarship on Images of Christ and the Second Commandment

February 29, 2016

blog art our father.jpg

 

What is the historical testimony of the Patristic regarding images of Christ? How does the Reformed view compare to the Patristic? Is the Reformed view a novelty?

The answer is that the Reformed view is faithful to the Patristic testimony and is not a novelty or something made up in the 16th century. At the end of all the quotes are two additional quotes by early church fathers regarding when and why images came into the Christian faith..

What Lactantius said in the 3rd century is still equally true today, “Wherefore there is no doubt, but that no religion is in that place wheresoever any image is”

Justin Martyr (A.D. 100- 165)

“And often out of vessels of dishonour, by merely changing the form, and making an image of the requisite shape, they make what they call a god; which we consider not only senseless, but to be even insulting to God, who, having ineffable glory and form, thus gets His name attached to things that are corruptible”

Marcus Minucius Felix (A.D. 197 – 250)

“I must tell you that we neither adore crosses nor desire them. You it is, ye Pagans, who worship wooden gods, who are the most likely people to adore wooden crosses, as being part of the same substance with your deities. For what else are your ensigns, flags, and standards, but crosses, gilt and beautiful. ” -(Octavius of Marcus Minucius Felix, chapter XXIX). 197 A.D, Jerome’s De Viris Illustribus #58 speaks of him as “Romae insignis causidicus” [one of Rome’s notable solicitors]

Titus Flavius Clemens also known as Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 150 – 215)

“It is with a different kind of spell that art deludes you…. It leads you to pay religious honor and worship to images and pictures.”

“Ages before, Moses expressly commanded that neither a carved, nor molten, nor molded, nor painted likeness should be made. This was so that we would not cling to things of sense, but pass to spiritual objects. For familiarity with the sense of sight disparages the reverence of what is divine”

Irenaeus Bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul (A.D. 130 – 202)

“They style themselves Gnostics. They also possess images, some of them painted, and others formed from different kinds of material; while they maintain that a likeness of Christ was made by Pilate at that time when Jesus lived among them. They crown these images, and set them up along with the images of the philosophers of the world that is to say, with the images of Pythagoras, and Plato, and Aristotle, and the rest. They have also other modes of honouring these images, after the same manner of the Gentiles.” -Against Heresies

Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus (A.D. 160 – 225)

“All things, therefore, does human error worship, except the Founder of all Himself. The images of those things are idols; the consecration of the images is idolatry.”

“Tertullian, a most ancient Writer and Doctor of the Church, who lived about one hundred and threescore years after the death of our Saviour Christ, both in sundry other places of his works, and specially in his book written against the manner of crowning (Contra corandi morem.), and in another little treatise entitled, Of the soldier’s crown or garland, doth most sharply and vehemently write and inveigh against images or idols. And upon St. John’s words, the first Epistle and fifth Chapter, saith thus, St. John (saith he) deeply considering the matter, saith: My little children, keep yourselves from images or idols. He saith not now, keep yourselves from idolatry, as it were from the service and worshipping of them: but from the images or idols themselves, that is, from the shape and likeness of them. Four it were an unworthy thing, that the image of the living God should become the image of a dead idol. Do you not think those persons which place images and idols in Churches and Temples, yea shrine them even over the Lords table, even as it were of purpose to the worshipping and honouring of them, take good heed to either of St. John’s counsel, or Tertullian’s? Four so to place images and idols is it to keep themselves from them, or else to receive and embrace them.” Quoted in the Anglican Book of Homilies

Origen Adamántios (A.D. 184 – 253)

“Christian men and Jews, when they hear these words of the Law (Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and shalt not make any image) do not only abhor the Temples, Altars, and Images of the gods, but if need be, will rather die then they should defile themselves with any impiety.”

“In the common wealth of the Jews, the carver of idols and image maker, was cast far off and forbidden, lest they should have any occasion to make images, which might pluck certain foolish persons from God, and turn the eyes of their souls to the contemplation of earthly things.”

And in another place of the same book: “It is not only (saith he) a mad and frantic part to worship images, but also once to dissemble or wink at it. And a man may know God and his only son, and those which have had such honour given them by God, that they be called gods: But it is not possible that any should by worshipping of images get any knowledge of God.” Against Celsus

Thascius Caecilius Cyprianus (A.D. 200 – 258)

“Believers, and men who claim for themselves the authority of the Christian name, are not ashamed—are not, I repeat, ashamed to find a defence in the heavenly Scriptures for the vain superstitions associated with the public exhibitions of the heathens, and thus to attribute divine authority to idolatry. For how is it, that what is done by the heathens in honour of any idol is resorted to in a public show by faithful Christians, and the heathen idolatry is maintained, and the true and divine religion is trampled upon in contempt of God?”

Athanásios Alexandrías (A.D. 297 – 373)

“Nor have they escaped prophetic censure; for there also is their refutation, where the Spirit says , “they shall be ashamed that have formed a god, and carved all of them that which is vain: and all by whom they were made are dried up: and let the deaf ones among men all assemble and stand up together, and let them be confounded and put to shame together..” While those who profess to give still deeper and more philosophical reasons than these say, that the reason of idols being prepared and fashioned is for the invocation and manifestation of divine angels and powers, that appearing by these means they may teach men concerning the knowledge of God; and that they serve as letters for men, by referring to which they may learn to apprehend God… Such then is their mythology,—for far be it from us to call it a theology.”

“Let them tell, I pray you, how God may be known by an image. If it be by the matter of an image, then there needeth no shape or form, seeing that God hath appeared in all material creatures which do testify his glory. Now if they say he is known by the form or fashion: Is he not better to be known by the living things themselves, whose fashions the images express? Four of surety, the glory of God should be more evidently known, if it were declared by reasonable and living creatures, rather then by dead and unmoveable images. Therefore when ye do grave or paint images, to the end to know God thereby, surely ye do an unworthy and unfit thing. And in another place of the same book he saith, The invention of images came of no good, but of evil, and whatsoever hath an evil beginning, can never in any thing be judged good, seeing it is altogether naught.” -Against the Gentiles

Lucius Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius (A.D. 240 – 320)

“But the image of the ever-living God ought to be living and endued with perception. But if it received this name from resemblance, how can it be supposed that these images resemble God, which have neither perception nor motion? Therefore the image of God is not that which is fashioned by the fingers of men out of stone, or bronze, or other material, but man himself, since he has both perception and motion, and performs many and great actions.” Divine Institutes Book 2 (Origin of Error) Ch.2. (The work is an extended examination of the folly of idolatry.)

“Thus they delude the credulity of men by lying divination, because it is not expedient for them to lay open the truth. These are they who taught men to make images and statues; who, in order that they might turn away the minds of men from the worship of the true God…” Divine Institutes Book 2 (Origin of Error) Ch.17

“God is above man, and is not placed beneath, but is to be sought in the highest region. Wherefore there is no doubt, but that no religion is in that place wheresoever any image is: Four if religion stand in godly things, (and there is no godliness but in heavenly things) then be images without religion.” Divine Institutes Book 2 (Origin of Error) Ch.19

Hippolytus (A.D. 170 – 235) Hippolytus charges Simon with,

“And they have an image of Simon (fashioned) into the figure of Jupiter, and (an image) of Helen in the form of Minerva; and they pay adoration to these.” But they call the one Lord and the other Lady. And if any one amongst them, on seeing the images of either Simon or Helen, would call them by name, he is cast off, as being ignorant of the mysteries. (Hippolytus. Refutation of All Heresies (Book VI, Chapters XIV, XV)’

Epiphanius Bishop of Salamine in Cyprus (A.D. 310 – 403)

“I entered (saith Epiphanius ) into a certain Church to pray: I found there a linen cloth hanging in the Church door, painted, and having in it the image of Christ, as it were, or of some other Saint, (I remember not well whose image it was) therefore when I did see the image of a man hanging in the Church of Christ, contrary to the authority of the Scriptures, I did tear it, and gave counsel to the keepers of the Church, that they should wind a poor man that was dead in the said cloth, and to bury him.” -Letter to John Patriarch of Jerusalem

“I pray you will the Elders of that place to receive this cloth which I have sent by this bearer, and command them that from henceforth no such painted clothes contrary to our religion, be hanged in the Church of Christ . For it becommeth your goodness rather to have this care, that you take away such scrupulosity, which is unfitting for the Church of Christ, and offensive to the people committed to your charge. And this Epistle, as worthy to be read of many, did St. Jerome himself translate in to the Latin tongue.” -Second Letter to John Patriarch of Jerusalem with second cloth

Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus commonly known as Jerome (A.D. 347 – 420) on Epiphanius and Augustine,

“We also assert that the blessed bishop Epiphanius did right when, finding on the doors of a church a veil on which was painted a picture supposedly of Christ or some saint, he ripped it down and took it away, because to see a picture of a man hanging in the Church of Christ was contrary to the authority of Scripture. Wherefore he charged that from henceforth no such veils, which were contrary to our religion, should be hung in the Church of Christ, and that rather such questionable things, unworthy of the Church of Christ and the faithful people, should be removed. Moreover, we approve of this opinion of St. Augustine concerning true religion: “Let not the worship of the works of men be a religion for us. For the artists themselves who make such things are better; yet we ought not to worship them”” (De Vera Religione, cap. 55).

“Thou hast (saith Jerome) Pope Epiphanius, which doth openly in his letters call thee an heretic. Surely thou art not to be preferred before him, neither for age nor learning, nor godliness of life, nor by the testimony of the whole world. And shortly after in the same treatise saith St. Jerome: Bishop Epiphanius was ever of so great veneration and estimation, that Valens the Emperor, who was a great persecutor, did not once touch him. Four heretics, being princes, thought it their shame if they should persecute such a notable man. And in the tripartite Ecclesiastical history, the ninth book and xlviii. Chapter, is testified, that Epiphanius being yet alive did work miracles, and that after his death devils, being expelled at his grave or tomb, did roar. Thus you see what authority St. Jerome and that most ancient history give unto the holy and learned Bishop Epiphanius, whose judgement of images in Churches and Temples, then beginning by stealth to creep in, is worthy to be noted” Treatise against the errors of John Bishop of Jerusalem Book 9 chapter 48.

Cyrillus Hierosolymitanus (A.D. 313 – 386)

“Many have left the creator, and have worshipped the creature, neither have they been abashed to say unto a stock: Thou art my father, and unto a stone, Thou begottest me. Four many, yea, almost all (alas for sorrow) are fallen unto such folly, that they have given the glory of deity or Godhead, to things without sense or feeling.” – upon the Gospel of Saint John (quoted in the Anglican Book of Homilies)

Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis (A.D. 354 – 430)

“Thus, they erred, who sought Christ and his apostles not in the sacred writings, but on painted walls.”

“know thou that none of the dead, nor any thing that is made of God, is worshipped as God of the Catholic Christians, of whom there is a Church also in your Town.“ – 44th Epistle to Maximus

“religion is most pure without images” -Lib. de civi. dei chapter 43

“images be of more force to crooken an unhappy soul, then to teach and instruct it” -Lib. de civi. dei chapter 43

“Every child, yea every beast knoweth that it is not God that they see. Wherefore then doeth the holy Ghost so often admonish us of that which all men know?” Commentary on the Psalms, In Psal. 36. & 113

Augustine’s judgment of Images in Churches; that by and by they breed error and idolatry.

Synod of Elvira (A.D. 300 -303)

The 36th canon of the Synod of Elvira prohibited images.

Council of Elibertine of A.D. 366

“Pictures ought not to be in churches, nor any object of adoration or praise be painted on the walls.” -Council of Elibertine

Seventh Ecumenical Council of A.D. 754 also known as Epitome of the Definition of the Iconoclastic Conciliabulum held in Constantinople

“The Definition of the Holy, Great, and Ecumenical Seventh Synod.

The holy and Ecumenical synod, which by the grace of God and most pious command of the God-beloved and orthodox Emperors, Constantine and Leo, now assembled in the imperial residence city, in the temple of the holy and inviolate Mother of God and Virgin Mary, surnamed in Blachernæ, have decreed as follows.

Satan misguided men, so that they worshipped the creature instead of the Creator. The Mosaic law and the prophets cooperated to undo this ruin; but in order to save mankind thoroughly, God sent his own Son, who turned us away from error and the worshipping of idols, and taught us the worshipping of God in spirit and in truth. As messengers of his saving doctrine, he left us his Apostles and disciples, and these adorned the Church, his Bride, with his glorious doctrines. This ornament of the Church the holy Fathers and the six Ecumenical Councils have preserved inviolate. But the before-mentioned demi-urgos of wickedness could not endure the sight of this adornment, and gradually brought back idolatry under the appearance of Christianity. As then Christ armed his Apostles against the ancient idolatry with the power of the Holy Spirit, and sent them out into all the world, so has he awakened against the new idolatry his servants our faithful Emperors, and endowed them with the same wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Impelled by the Holy Spirit they could no longer be witnesses of the Church being laid waste by the deception of demons, and summoned the sanctified assembly of the God-beloved bishops, that they might institute at a synod a scriptural examination into the deceitful colouring of the pictures (ὁμοιωμάτων) which draws down the spirit of man from the lofty adoration (λατρείας) of God to the low and material adoration (λατρείαν) of the creature, and that they, under divine guidance, might express their view on the subject.

Our holy synod therefore assembled, and we, its 338 members, follow the older synodal decrees, and accept and proclaim joyfully the dogmas handed down, principally those of the six holy Ecumenical Synods. In the first place the holy and ecumenical great synod assembled at Nice, etc.

After we had carefully examined their decrees under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we found that the unlawful art of painting living creatures blasphemed the fundamental doctrine of our salvation—namely, the Incarnation of Christ, and contradicted the six holy synods. These condemned Nestorius because he divided the one Son and Word of God into two sons, and on the other side, Arius, Dioscorus, Eutyches, and Severus, because they maintained a mingling of the two natures of the one Christ.

Wherefore we thought it right, to shew forth with all accuracy, in our present definition the error of such as make and venerate these, for it is the unanimous doctrine of all the holy Fathers and of the six Ecumenical Synods, that no one may imagine any kind of separation or mingling in opposition to the unsearchable, unspeakable, and incomprehensible union of the two natures in the one hypostasis or person. What avails, then, the folly of the painter, who from sinful love of gain depicts that which should not be depicted—that is, with his polluted hands he tries to fashion that which should only be believed in the heart and confessed with the mouth? He makes an image and calls it Christ. The name Christ signifies God and man. Consequently it is an image of God and man, and consequently he has in his foolish mind, in his representation of the created flesh, depicted the Godhead which cannot be represented, and thus mingled what should not be mingled. Thus he is guilty of a double blasphemy—the one in making an image of the Godhead, and the other by mingling the Godhead and manhood. Those fall into the same blasphemy who venerate 544the image, and the same woe rests upon both, because they err with Arius, Dioscorus, and Eutyches, and with the heresy of the Acephali. When, however, they are blamed for undertaking to depict the divine nature of Christ, which should not be depicted, they take refuge in the excuse: We represent only the flesh of Christ which we have seen and handled. But that is a Nestorian error. For it should be considered that that flesh was also the flesh of God the Word, without any separation, perfectly assumed by the divine nature and made wholly divine. How could it now be separated and represented apart? So is it with the human soul of Christ which mediates between the Godhead of the Son and the dulness of the flesh. As the human flesh is at the same time flesh of God the Word, so is the human soul also soul of God the Word, and both at the same time, the soul being deified as well as the body, and the Godhead remained undivided even in the separation of the soul from the body in his voluntary passion. For where the soul of Christ is, there is also his Godhead; and where the body of Christ is, there too is his Godhead. If then in his passion the divinity remained inseparable from these, how do the fools venture to separate the flesh from the Godhead, and represent it by itself as the image of a mere man? They fall into the abyss of impiety, since they separate the flesh from the Godhead, ascribe to it a subsistence of its own, a personality of its own, which they depict, and thus introduce a fourth person into the Trinity. Moreover, they represent as not being made divine, that which has been made divine by being assumed by the Godhead. Whoever, then, makes an image of Christ, either depicts the Godhead which cannot be depicted, and mingles it with the manhood (like the Monophysites), or he represents the body of Christ as not made divine and separate and as a person apart, like the Nestorians.

The only admissible figure of the humanity of Christ, however, is bread and wine in the holy Supper. This and no other form, this and no other type, has he chosen to represent his incarnation. Bread he ordered to be brought, but not a representation of the human form, so that idolatry might not arise. And as the body of Christ is made divine, so also this figure of the body of Christ, the bread, is made divine by the descent of the Holy Spirit; it becomes the divine body of Christ by the mediation of the priest who, separating the oblation from that which is common, sanctifies it.

The evil custom of assigning names to the images does not come down from Christ and the Apostles and the holy Fathers; nor have these left behind them any prayer by which an image should be hallowed or made anything else than ordinary matter.

If, however, some say, we might be right in regard to the images of Christ, on account of the mysterious union of the two natures, but it is not right for us to forbid also the images of the altogether spotless and ever-glorious Mother of God, of the prophets, apostles, and martyrs, who were mere men and did not consist of two natures; we may reply, first of all: If those fall away, there is no longer need of these. But we will also consider what may be said against these in particular. Christianity has rejected the whole of heathenism, and so not merely heathen sacrifices, but also the heathen worship of images. The Saints live on eternally with God, although they have died. If anyone thinks to call them back again to life by a dead art, discovered by the heathen, he makes himself guilty of blasphemy. Who dares attempt with heathenish art to paint the Mother of God, who is exalted above all heavens and the Saints? It is not permitted to Christians, who have the hope of the resurrection, to imitate the customs of demon-worshippers, and to insult the Saints, who shine in so great glory, by common dead matter.

Moreover, we can prove our view by Holy Scripture and the Fathers. In the former it is said: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth;” and: “Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath;” on which account God spoke to the Israelites on the Mount, from the midst of the fire, but showed them no image. Further: “They changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man,…and served the creature more than the Creator.” [Several other passages, even less to the point, are cited.]

The same is taught also by the holy Fathers. [The Synod appeals to a passage from Epiphanius and to one inserted into the writings of Theodotus of Ancyra, a friend of St. Cyril’s; to utterances—in no way striking—of Gregory of Nazianzum, of SS. Chrysostom, Basil, Athanasius of Amphilochius and of Eusebius Pamphili, from his Letter to the Empress Constantia, who had asked him for a picture of Christ.]

Supported by the Holy Scriptures and the Fathers, we declare unanimously, in the name of the Holy Trinity, that there shall be rejected and removed and cursed out of the Christian Church every likeness which is made out of any material and colour whatever by the evil art of painters.

Whoever in future dares to make such a thing, or to venerate it, or set it up in a church, or in a private house, or possesses it in secret, shall, if bishop, presbyter, or deacon, be deposed; if monk or layman, be anathematised, and become liable to be tried by the secular laws as an adversary of God and an enemy of the doctrines handed down by the Fathers. At the same time we ordain that no incumbent of a church shall venture, under pretext of destroying the error in regard to images, to lay his hands on the holy vessels in order to have them altered, because they are adorned with figures. The same is provided in regard to the vestments of churches, cloths, and all that is dedicated to divine service. If, however, the incumbent of a church wishes to have such church vessels and vestments altered, he must do this only with the assent of the holy Ecumenical patriarch and at the bidding of our pious Emperors. So also no prince or secular official shall rob the churches, as some have done in former times, under the pretext of destroying images. All this we ordain, believing that we speak as doth the Apostle, for we also believe that we have the spirit of Christ; and as our predecessors who believed the same thing spake what they had synodically defined, so we believe and therefore do we speak, and set forth a definition of what has seemed good to us following and in accordance with the definitions of our Fathers.

(1) If anyone shall not confess, according to the tradition of the Apostles and Fathers, in the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost one godhead, nature and substance, will and operation, virtue and dominion, kingdom and power in three subsistences, that is in their most glorious Persons, let him be anathema.

(2) If anyone does not confess that one of the Trinity was made flesh, let him be anathema.

(3) If anyone does not confess that the holy Virgin is truly the Mother of God, etc.

(4) If anyone does not confess one Christ both God and man, etc.

(5) If anyone does not confess that the flesh of the Lord is life-giving because it is the flesh of the Word of God, etc.

(6) If anyone does not confess two natures in Christ, etc.

(7) If anyone does not confess that Christ is seated with God the Father in body and soul, and so will come to judge, and that he will remain God forever without any grossness, etc.

(8) If anyone ventures to represent the divine image (χαρακτήρ) of the Word after the Incarnation with material colours, let him be anathema!

(9) If anyone ventures to represent in human figures, by means of material colours, by reason of the incarnation, the substance or person (ousia or hypostasis) of the Word, which cannot be depicted, and does not rather confess that even after the Incarnation he [i.e., the Word] cannot be depicted, let him be anathema!

(10) If anyone ventures to represent the hypostatic union of the two natures in a picture, and calls it Christ, and thus falsely represents a union of the two natures, etc.!

(11) If anyone separates the flesh united with the person of the Word from it, and endeavours to represent it separately in a picture, etc.!

(12) If anyone separates the one Christ into two persons, and endeavours to represent Him who was born of the Virgin separately, and thus accepts only a relative (σχετική) union of the natures, etc.

(13) If anyone represents in a picture the flesh deified by its union with the Word, and thus separates it from the Godhead, etc.

(14) If anyone endeavours to represent by material colours, God the Word as a mere man, who, although bearing the form of God, yet has assumed the form of a servant in his own person, and thus endeavours to separate him from his inseparable Godhead, so that he thereby introduces a quaternity into the Holy Trinity, etc.

(15) If anyone shall not confess the holy ever-virgin Mary, truly and properly the Mother of God, to be higher than every creature whether visible or invisible, and does not with sincere faith seek her intercessions as of one having confidence in her access to our God, since she bare him, etc.

(16) If anyone shall endeavour to represent the forms of the Saints in lifeless pictures with material colours which are of no value (for this notion is vain and introduced by the devil), and does not rather represent their virtues as living images in himself, etc.

(17) If anyone denies the profit of the invocation of Saints, etc.

(18) If anyone denies the resurrection of the dead, and the judgment, and the condign retribution to everyone, endless torment and endless bliss, etc.

(19) If anyone does not accept this our Holy and Ecumenical Seventh Synod, let him be anathema from the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, and from the seven holy Ecumenical Synods!

[Then follows the prohibition of the making or teaching any other faith, and the penalties for disobedience. After this follow the acclamations.]

The divine Kings Constantine and Leo said: Let the holy and ecumenical synod say, if with the consent of all the most holy bishops the definition just read has been set forth.

The holy synod cried out: Thus we all believe, we all are of the same mind. We have all with one voice and voluntarily subscribed. This is the faith of the Apostles. Many years to the Emperors! They are the light of orthodoxy! Many years to the orthodox Emperors! God preserve your Empire! You have now more firmly proclaimed the inseparability of the two natures of Christ! You have banished all idolatry! You have destroyed the heresies of Germanus [of Constantinople], George and Mansur [μανσουρ, John Damascene]. Anathema to Germanus, the double-minded, and worshipper of wood! Anathema to George, his associate, to the falsifier of the doctrine of the Fathers! Anathema to Mansur, who has an evil name and Saracen opinions! To the betrayer of Christ and the enemy of the Empire, to the teacher of impiety, the perverter of Scripture, Mansur, anathema! The Trinity has deposed these three!”

When did Images start to come into the Christian Faith…

Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus commonly known as Jerome (A.D. 347 – 420)

“that the errors of Images hath come in and passed to the Christians from the Gentiles, by an Heathenish use and custom.“ -upon the tenth Chapter of the Prophet Jeremiah

Eusebius Pamphili (A.D. 260 – 339)

“ It is no marvel if they which being Gentiles before, and did believe, seemed to offer this, as a gift to our Saviour, for the benefits which they had received of him, Yea and we do see now that Images of Peter and Paul, and of our Saviour himself be made, and tables to be painted, which me think to have been observed and kept indifferently by an Heathenish custom. Four the Heathen are wont so to honour them whom they judged honour worthy, for that some tokens of old men should be kept. Four the remembrance of posterity is a token of their honour that were before, and the love of those that come after.” -Seventh Book of his history Ecclesiastical, the 14th Chapter

Advertisements

Ecclesia Reformata, Semper Reformanda Secundum Verbum Dei -The Abuse!

February 26, 2016

semperreformanda.png

 

Do you know the history of Semper Reformanda? Do you know what it really means?

The truth is the Reformers never actually used the phrase. The phrase was actually started in the Second Dutch Reformation and was used in 1674 by Jodocus van Lodenstein. According to these theologians, the Reformation reformed the doctrine of the church, but the lives and practices of God’s people always need further reformation. So it did not really have to do with doctrine and Orthodoxy but with Orthopraxy, with how we live our lives as well as our practices of God’s people. Lodenstein and other Second Dutch Reformation theologians were committed to the teaching of the Reformed confession and catechism; they did not believe that they were in error, they simply wanted to see that teaching become more thoroughly applied as well as understood. It is also true that that the Second Dutch Reformation theologians saw that further Reformation was needed that was not touched or barely touched in the First Reformation. Those things had to do with the Civil Magistracy and it’s proper roles to guard not only the Second Table of the Law but also the First Table of the Law, Preceptive Civil Magistrates, How to properly deal with Tyrants as well as matters of the Church Calendar such as Christmas, Easter, etc.

The phrase “The church is reformed and always [in need of] being reformed according to the Word of God.” The verb is passive: the church is not “always reforming,” but is “always being reformed” by the Spirit of God through the Word. Also it is done corporately and not individually. The phrase was never intended to become a license for corrupting the Reformed faith.

The Confessions, Creeds, Testimonies confess the faith that we all share across a multitude of cultures and eras. It is one Faith, One Baptism, One Church, One Spirit. “the faith once and for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). The Reformed standards summarize what Reformed Christians believe to be the clear teaching of God’s Word. They are systematic summaries of what we believe the Scriptures teaches. They are the work and fruits of the Spirit of God upon the Church.

The Reformed Faith wanted to reform everything to the Word of God. Not by novelty, creativity or by any human whim are we to determine for our doctrine, worship or lives.

‘Ecclesia Reformata, Semper Reformanda Secundum Verbum Dei’ is often abused by liberal churches but it can also be abused by conservative churches who want to encourage a broader definition of the Reformed Faith. It is usually invoked as a way of expressing dissatisfaction with Reformed theology as received and expressed in the Reformed confessions and the Historic Reformed Faith.

One thing that is extremely important though is that confessional Reformed churches must also beware of not forgetting that our doctrinal standards are subordinate authorities but still authorities.

As I stated earlier, They are the fruits of that great work of the Spirit as it continues to guide us through our confessions and catechisms corporately as the Church.

Should we change our doctrine if found in error? Sure but it should be done through the Courts of the Lord as He has given to us through Presbyteries and Synods. But as Dr. R. Scott Clark has said, “we should not, under cover of this late-seventeenth-century slogan, subvert what Scripture teaches for a continuing, never-ending Reformation that leads us away from the heart and soul of what we confess.Ÿ”

So the next time someone falsely uses Semper Reformanda, I will say Balderdash! And PoppyCock!

**Quoting R. Scott Clark is no endorsement of him for all things, just on this issue.

Old Light and New Light, Auld Licht and New Licht What does this all mean?

February 18, 2016

presbyterianchurches

 

Within Scottish Presbyterianism there are several terms that seem very foreign to people. What on Earth do they mean… It definitely is complicated… Here I dive into what all the terms mean and what was all the factions about. Here I try to simplify and give you what you need to know about these terms. This was no small task. Understanding the complexities is enough to give anybody a massive headache… LoL

Cameronian Covenanter

Cameronianism has been largely monolithic without much division up til 1782. But we did have a division in 1833 that led to Old Light and New Light Churches. A debate started after the War of 1812, it was over swearing allegiance to the U.S. Constitution split the Cameronian Covenanters. The “Old Light” believed keeping with their Covenanter heritage, refused to swear allegiance to the constitution and thus become citizens because the constitution made no mention of the Lordship of Christ, whereas the “New Light” believed that we can swear to the constitution and participate and fellowship with the American government.

 
In 1782, almost all of the church merged with the Associate Presbyterian Church (the Seceders) to form the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, holding that the new situation of independence removed the reasons for political dissent. But Cameronianism continued to strive and grow again.

In 1840, two ministers and a few elders left to form the Reformed Presbytery (nicknamed the Steelites, after David Steele, their most prominent leader), their split was to the right hand of the church where most splits were to the left hand of the church, they continue today in various clan factions.

We also had a large defection of congregations that left the denomination in 1876 and merged into the Free Church of Scotland.

There was also a large defection in 1891 where more then half the congregations left and merged with United Presbyterian Church over the issues of political dissent and voting.

Old Light and New Light Division

Old Light Churches were complete political dissenters. The Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America came from the Old Light Churches. But many in the RPCNA do not adhere to the Old Light view today.

New Light Churches allowed for participating and adhering to the American government. The New Light churches formed the Reformed Presbyterian Church, General Synod.

Seceders (Those that seceded from the Solemn League and Covenant and came into the Revolution Settlement church in 1688/89)

Auld Licht and New Licht – Burgher Versus Anti-Burgher Division

In 1733 the First Secession from the Church of Scotland resulted in the creation of the “Associate Presbytery”. This church split in 1747 over the issue of the Burgher Oath, which required holders of public offices to affirm approval of the religion “presently professed in this kingdom”. The issue was civil compulsion in religious affairs. The Anti-Burghers had an independence of conviction and an unwillingness to compromise over sincerely held beliefs

Auld Licht and New Licht Burgher Further Division

The Burgher Churches furthered split in 1798. The Auld Licht of the Burgher Churches held solidly to the solemn obligations of the Solemn League and Covenant and were more Calvinistic.

While the New Licht Burgher churches were more liberal. They had more influence on the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland.

Auld Licht and New Licht Anti-Burgher Further Division

The Anti-Burgher Churches also furthered split in 1806.

I really cannot find out why these two groups divided. The following is taken after I poured over the History of the Sucession Church giving me a very large headache, by ‘History of the Succession Church’, by Rev. John McKerrow, the massive two volume history.

“In the month of September, 1805, the brethren, who had withdrawn from the Synod, found that their number had increased by ordinations and accessions to fifteen; and they resolved to constitute themselves into a synod, under the designation of “The Associate Synod” but that they might not be confounded with the ecclesiastical judicatory, from which they had separated, they have ordinarily been known by the distinctive appellation of ” The Original Burgher Synod.” The party who left the Synod was so small, and the influence of those who composed it was so inconsiderable, that no serious loss was sustained by their departure. Men of unprejudiced minds were at a loss to find on what ground

this separation had taken place. Though the separatists declaimed loudly against the Synod, for having abandoned their original principles as Seceders, yet there were few persons in the country so clear-sighted as to be able to discover wherein the change of principle consisted. It is now a matter of history, that when an investigation was made into the truth of this allegation, before the highest law tribunals of

the country, it was declared from the Bench, after a long and patient hearing of the two contending parties, that there was not the slightest foundation for such a charge being advanced. The decision, to which a reference has now been made, deserves a place in this record, both on account of the connexion which it has with this portion of the Secession history, and also because it shows what was the opinion entertained, by neutral persons, concerning the conduct of those brethren who renounced the communion of the Synod. It was declared that they had left the church to which they belonged without any assignable cause, and without any fault on the part of the Synod.

Mr John Jervie, and his colleague Mr Jedidiah Aikman, ministers of the Burgher Associate congregation in Perth, espoused opposite sides in this controversy; and when the separation above mentioned took place, Mr Jervie renounced his connexion with the Synod, while Mr Aikman continued firm in his adherence. The congregation were divided in sentiment as well as the ministers. One portion went along with Mr Jervie, while another portion held the same views as Mr Aikman; but each party claimed the property of the congregation as its own. An appeal to the courts of law was the consequence. A long and expensive litigation ensued. The determination of the question was regarded with considerable anxiety -by the Synods, to which the contending parties severally belonged; for upon the issue of this process depended the property of other congregations, besides that of Perth. The grand object of those who had left the Synod was to show, that the Synod (and of course the party adhering to

it), by adopting the Preamble, had abandoned the original principles of the Secession Church, while they themselves still continued to maintain their original ground; and that, of course, they were entitled to the exclusive possession of the place of worship, seeing that it was built and upheld for the maintenance of these principles. It was upon this point, that the ultimate decision of the question was made to depend. For when the process was carried by appeal before the House of Lords, this was the principle laid down by Lord Chancellor Eldon, as the ground on which judgment ought to be pronounced; but as it had not been made evident to their Lordships, that the Synod had abandoned any of the principles hitherto maintained by the Secession Church, it was remitted back to the Court of Session, to get this point ascertained.

Upon this single point, then, both parties concentrated their strength before a tribunal, the members of which could not be supposed to entertain the slightest partiality in favour of either. Every effort of learned ingenuity and of legal argumentation was put forth by the pursuers (or Old Light party) to show, that the Synod had moved away from the ground which their predecessors in the Secession had always occupied. Their failure was complete. So far from being able to establish, to the satisfaction of the Lords of Session, the truth of the allegation, which they had so confidently advanced, their Lordships were convinced by the arguments of the opposite party, that no change of principle had taken place; and they gave their decision accordingly.”

Making all of it even more complicated. In 1820, the New Licht Anti-Burghers and the New Licht Burghers united as the United Secession Church, which in turn united with the Relief Church in 1847 which united with most of the Free Church of Scotland in 1900 to create the United Free Church of Scotland, most of whom ultimately reunited with the Church of Scotland in 1929.

Where am I in all of this mess. I am an Old Light Cameronian Covenanter holding strictly to the old ways and hold firmly to the Act, Declaration and Testimony of 1761. The RPCNA have done much recovering from it’s liberalism that it fell into so I am in the RPCNA but I also hold that the RPCNA is in need of recovering from much declensions over the century. May God further our Re-Reformation and bless us exceedingly.

Sabbath Peace On Earth Today: A Vision from the Outer Hebrides and the Dutch Bible Belt

February 17, 2016

Dutch bible belt.jpg

There are several places around the Earth where the Sabbath Day is still strictly adhered to. It is a glorious thing to behold where whole communities, towns and cities keep the Sabbath day holy. Places where all businesses are closed even community swimming pools are shut down. Where people walk or ride their bicycles to Church and Sabbath peace is truly a peace on Earth. People who are not Christians respect their neighbors enough to keep even their children out of sight of playing and where jogging is frowned upon. These places look so lovely that it almost makes me want to emigrate to these places.

Dutch Bible Belt

dutch bible belt.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Truly an amazing place that captures my imagination of what can be done here in the United States and other parts of the world. Where town ordinances are ordinances from the Word of God. A place where one friend even commented, “I am shocked that any such place ever even existed on earth.”. Within the Dutch Bible Belt there are at least 500,000 Reformed Fundamentalist Christians who control the entire belt. They control all the local government and only pass laws when they are in accord with the Divine Law of God. Cities of Yerseke, Tholen, Ouddorp, Opheusden, Kesteren, Barneveld, Nunspeet, Elspeet and Staphorst are all within the Dutch Bible Belt, and the three biggest cities are also part of the bible, they are Ede, Veenendaal and Kampen.

Link to 6 minute video on the Dutch Bible Belt: http://www.dw.com/en/the-netherlands-life-in-the-bible-belt/av-16329239

Three of the most notable Reformed Churches are the Christian Reformed Churches, the Restored Reformed Church and the Reformed Congregations (“Gereformeerde Gemeenten”), known colloquially as zwarte-kousenkerken (“black stockings churches”). Most of them came out of the Mainline Dutch Reformed Church after the 1832 schism, known as the Afscheiding (“Secession”) and the 1886 schism, Doleantie (“Sorrow”) which was led by Abraham Kuyper and formed their more own more conservative congregations.

So this is not some small fringe group but a massive powerhouse of Orthodox Reformed Christianity.

The belt has one of the highest rate of church attendance and if you miss church you must give an account to the Congregation. Those Reformed Christians in the bible are oppose to the liberal practices of Dutch society, such as euthanasia, gay rights, abortion etc. Public life is accompanied by conservative outlook, preference for large families (the region has relatively high fertility rates), and an emphasis on traditional values. They even reject state run vaccination programs and generally do not get vaccinated.

In many ways, it almost looks like the Amish Communities of Pennsylvania except they do not reject electricity, are involved in politics and are not Anabaptist but strictly Reformed and Calvinistic.

These are the true heirs of John Calvin, the 16th century Reformed Reformation. And they have very little deviated from the historic teachings of the Reformed Church.

Pious sobriety dictates politics, fashion and other aspects of daily life in the town of Staphorst, 90 minutes from from liberal Amsterdam. (4)

Statistics from cable company Ziggo show that nearly 80 percent of locals have no television in an attempt to shutter out the hedonistic outside world. Residents flock to church in thousands twice every Sunday, when no buses run. In 2005 the municipal council banned swearing, though no penalty is imposed. In 2009 In the municipal elections, most residents voted for the SGP Christian party, which bars women from holding public office.

In Staphorst, the town of 16,000 people has one of Europe’s highest birth rates, few career women and fewer restaurants. It also boasts nearly 1,000 women who still wear the chaste modest, cover-all outfit of their great-grandmothers.

The traditional clothing comprises over a dozen items of clothing in summer, including a anklr-length, black, pleated skirt; apron; shawl and bonnet; and black shoes. Also key are the black thigh-high socks, traditionally hand knitted and fastened with an elastic band, that gave rise to the Bible Belters’ nickname of “zwartekousen” (black stockings).

Even among women who have abandoned the traditional dress as old-fashioned, hardly any wear trousers which they regard as “men’s clothing, unbiblical,” “A dress is what I feel comfortable in,” said Jentje Veijer, 21, adding she had no desire to visit Amsterdam with its famous red-light district, “because they have different values there.”

More then Half of young people in Staphorst move directly from their parental home to marriage and only one in 30 babies are born to unmarried parents and the Dutch Bible Belt has one of the Netherlands’ lowest divorce rates: 39 per 1,000 residents.

The Dutch Bible belt town of Ede in Gelderland has rejected all forms of Sunday shopping in a local referendum. Residents of the town and outlying villages voted against three proposals: region-wide Sunday shopping, 12 Sunday shopping days a year and town centre-only Sunday shopping. (1)

In the Belt Football on the Sabbath is completely forbidden for whatever the occasion even if the Netherlands make it to the first football World Cup title. In the village of Elburg the local minister has prayed for Oranje to lose. He has even advised parents to put a filter on their children’s computers so they do not watch such a ‘sinful’ match. (2)

Even a scantily-clad woman underwear ads was removed from a bus shelter in the Brabant town of Aalburg because it was against the Town Ordinances.. (3) (Watch out if you click the link because it shows the underwear ad) In SGP circles (The Bible Belt Political Party) women are expected to dress modestly and wear skirts.

Christian parties dominate the local council and the SGP, which believes that the country should be governed ‘entirely on the basis of the ordinances of God as revealed in the Holy Scriptures’, is the biggest of them, with four seats.

Even the local newspaper does not have a sports section but does have a lot of information regarding church events, activities and those things that are important to the church.

Outer Hebrides: Isle of Lewis, Isle of Harris and Isle of Stornoway

 

237px-Outerhebrideslewis2.png

 

In the Outer Hebrides of Scotland there lies an Isle named Lewis. There in Lewis a strong Scottish Presbyterian presence is felt. It is said that it is one of the last places in Britain where the Sabbath is still held. The northern islands of Lewis and Harris are dominated by Calvinist ‘free churches’. They are also home to a unique form of Gaelic psalm singing. The Christian Religion is extremely important in Lewis, with much of the population belonging to one of five Presbyterian churches represented on the Island: the Free Church, the Free Church (Continuing), a congregation of the Associated Presbyterian Churches, the Free Presbyterian Church and the Church of Scotland.

“The Reverend Alasdair Smith, who is now in his 80s, and his wife Chrissie remember the days when people would be “horrified” by someone riding a bicycle on the Sabbath – even if they were cycling to church.

Chrissie says: “I went to Sunday school and enjoyed it because you could walk to the school with your friends and if it was a nice day you ambled back. Because that was the only time you got to go for a walk – to church or Sunday school – not for pleasure.” (5)

Reverend Smith did not grow up Christian, but he remembers how careful his mother tried to keep the Sabbath day and not to offend her neighbors,

“She wouldn’t let my dad work in the garden and she would ask me to play behind the house so I couldn’t be seen by our neighbours.” “As a child I resented that, because it made me feel guilty and furtive. I felt I was being watched and disapproved of – and that didn’t seem fair.“ “But now, as an adult … I understand my mother was showing respect.”

Even in Lewis today most businesses are closed and it is frowned upon to go swimming or to go in a sauna. Community swimming pools and sauna are even closed if you even wanted to go to a public one.

 

isle-of-lewis-outer-hebri-007.jpg

 

Many people eat light meals so there is not too much kitchen work and it gives them time to spend with their children and focus on their souls as well as their own.

Even people who don’t believe in the Sabbath or are unbelievers keep the ground rules, for example, ‘don’t put washing out on a Sunday’.

There is a major controversy about having a sports center that will be open on the Sabbath.

Free Church minister Rev Dr Iain D Campbell, of Day One, (formerly the Lord’s Day Observance Society), says that Sunday sports centre opening would have a negative effect on the community as a whole. “I know people say there is nothing wrong with it but maybe we are not examining it properly. What about the people that need to work to give others that option? What about the pressure there would be on families to enter their children into sports competitions that take place on a Sunday and so on?”

On the Isle of Harris, is one of largely Presbyterian population that practises sabbatarianism and all retail outlets are shut on Sunday. This area has been described as one of the last bastion of conservative Calvinism in Britain.

Stornoway, like the northern (Protestant) Hebrides as a whole, has a tradition of adherence to the Sabbath. As Stornoway, with the majority of the island’s services, shops and businesses, undergoes the most visible change on a Sunday.

The strong Presbyterian (mainly Free Church) makeup of the island undoubtedly is a major force behind the recent campaigns to retain Sunday’s peaceful nature.

A Vision

Both the Outer Hebrides and the Dutch Bible Belt sounds almost paradise to my ears, a bit of peace of Heaven on Earth. But what these places have done in my mind are examples for us. Examples that may be instituted even here in the United States. We need such Communities built. We need the Sabbath peace for our souls and we need to come together to create such places. The old adage is “United we stand, divided we fall” and we have been divided and separated for way too long. And our enemies have known this and they have worked very hard to keep Christian communities from building up even by subverting from within to create a bias against creating Christian communities. What I am proposing is solid Reformed and Covenanter communities where we rule ourselves as far as possible. Come together and build together.

We need absolutely to do what our ancestors did in the United Societies back in Scotland. They had set up a state within a state.

“At their first convention and in the Lanark Declaration, the Societies had created a state within a state. However, from their perspective it was a question of legitimacy. The Societies’ saw their convention as invested with legitimate authority from the People until a new legitimate state was created, as it derived from the power of a people reduced to a radical state of nature and free of their obligations to their governors.”-The United Societies: Militancy, Martyrdom and the Presbyterian Movement in Late-Restoration Scotland, I679 to I688 by Mark Jardine

“Regarding the Societies’ general meetings or correspondences, the Vindication avoided the secular term ‘general convention’ and denied that they had created an ‘Erastian republic’ by discussing matters of church and state in a judicial manner in their general meetings. Instead the Vindication countered that they had not assumed a power of magistracy, but because they had been reduced to a state of ‘native & radical liberty’ they had ‘judged it lawful, expedient, & necessary’ to form by ‘common consent’ a general meeting for the management of affairs among the ‘purer & better part’. It also maintained that nothing in public matters or relevant to their testimony was agreed to without ‘harmonious consent’ and claimed that their resolutions were not ‘formal statutes of either civil or ecclesiastic judicatories’, yet understood as of ‘binding force upon all’ within the Societies, but not on the whole kingdom.”-The United Societies: Militancy, Martyrdom and the Presbyterian Movement in Late-Restoration Scotland, I679 to I688 by Mark Jardine

The United Societies was the great concept of a state within a state. They basically set up an entire State within the State of Scotland thereby being as far from the wicked fellowship with the then government of Scotland that was illegitimate. It allowed for full political dissent. It paralleled the Government of Scotland and set up a counter government that the Society people were able to use including a court system. And they believed having such would eventually allow them to have even greater success of no longer being a state within a state but to be a Covenanted Nation.

This would be akin to the Jewish Communities of New York or the Amish Communities around the Country. The Indian Reservations that is a state within a state or even some of the Muslim Sharia no-go zone territories that are popping up around the nation. Or like the Dutch Bible Belt of the Netherlands or the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.. It can be done and it has been done. The path and road has been shown to us.

We should set up our own schools, medical centers with faith based medical doctors, libraries, businesses with commerce such as food stores and merchandise stores that is Covenanter friendly and not giving funds to wicked causes. They can be set up like Amish stores that are dotting the Pennsylvania country side that sell to other Amish people. Hand made furniture builders, etc.. And not all separated but close together in our own communities. We should not allow the United States government to command us or tell us what to do within our businesses or who we can hire or whom we can sell to. If the Amish can do it we certainly can do it. And as more and more heathen businesses around this country give in to funding Planned Parenthood or the Sodomy agenda and we are forced to no longer shop at such businesses we NEED our own replacements or we are not going to be able to shop or buy anything. And until we do such we will not have the True Sabbath Peace around us and by being divided and separated we will fall.

This is a true Post Millennial Dream. Let us work forward our goals.. And then the Real Sabbath Peace will reign from coast to coast and from every island.

The greatest problem in all this will come in convincing men that we are permitted to do this by Divine Law (we have be taught so much bad theology over the decades) and that that they could be economically successful in such a community. Like Lot, everyone wants to live near the prosperous pagans. We live in a lukewarm to cold age and where money is the biggest desire for men even those who call themselves Christians. But the examples and patterns of success are before us. Duty is ours, Providence is God’s. Let us do our duty and be that shining beacon of light on the hill.

(1) http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2015/06/dutch-bible-belt-town-rejects-sunday-shopping-in-local-referendum/

(2) http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2010/07/bible_belt_says_no_to_football/

(3) http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2015/12/offensive-underwear-advert-removed-from-bible-belt-town/

(4) http://www.hewdge.com/2009/08/978/

(5) http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-29708202

The Importance of Swords and Firearms within the Covenanter Communion

February 15, 2016

A_Covenanters'_Conventicle with guns.jpg

 

Within the United Societies it was required that all be armed at all times…

“All delegates [to the first convention of the United Societies] were sworn to secrecy regarding Societies’ business until mid I683 and they organised collections of funds among their prayer societies which were used to fund Societies’ projects and provide relief for those suffering persecution. All members of the Societies were expected to be armed.” -Mark Jardine, The United Societies: Militancy, Martyrdom and the Presbyterian Movement in Late-Restoration Scotland, I679 to I688

In Pennsylvania we not only re-swore and Renewed the covenants with uplifted swords

“In November, 1743, one hundred years after the signing of the Solemn League and Covenant, Mr. Craighead gathered together all the Covenanters in Eastern Pennsylvania, at Middle Octorara, Lancaster County, and, after the dispensation of the Lord’s Supper, led them in the renewing of the Covenants. Here they declared, with uplifted swords, their independence of an ecclesiastical body that strangely upheld Erastian prelacy; and also declared their separation from the Crown which had so impiously violated Covenant engagements on both sides of the Atlantic.” Renewal of the Solemn League and Covenant of 1743 in Octorara Pennsylvania

But also In 1747 Richard Locke, an S.P.G. missionary to Lancaster County wrote to the Reverend George Craig that

“The Country is very much over spread … Covenanters who receive their Sacrament with a gun charg’d and drawn sword; profess they’d fight for Christ Against the civil magistrate. …” -Letters of Reverend Richard Locke and Reverend George Craig, Pennslvania Magazine of History and Biography, XXIV (1900), 474-475

We are the don’t mess with us Reformed folk…

You might also find of interest, firearms among the Puritans that was done by my friend Stephen Halbrook over at Theonomy Resources, titled ‘Armed and Ready: the Puritan Tradition of Bringing Guns to Services’

http://theonomyresources.blogspot.com/2016/02/armed-and-ready-puritan-tradition-of.html

 

guns and swords

 

fear the tartan.jpg

True Patriotism and Political Dissent

February 13, 2016

Richard Camerons Death

 

Thy soil was tainted too with armed hordes Prowling like cannibals in search of blood 2 Assassins bravoes ruthless as their swords Abhorred alike by mankind and by God Who spared nor sex nor age but strewed their road With patriot corses thick as autumn’s leaves But patriot tears shall aye bedew the sod Which blooms above these martyrs hallowed graves Whilst many a balmy sigh from beauty’s bosom heaves … Land of the brave that nursed heroic Bruce And gave the patriotic Wallace birth Thou rt covered with a thousand glorious hues And mightiest of the mighty here on earth May pure religion dwell by every hearth Within thy borders May the patriot’s flame Mix with thy legislation and thy worth Still keep thee on the pinnacle of fame For ever and for aye proceed we to our theme … Carnage hath done her work And all is hushed All save the lamentation of despair The stiffled sob the dying groan which rushed Incessant on the horror striken ear Shriek execration blasphemy and prayer And praise were blent For on the blood stained sod Oppressors and oppressed commingled were The despot’s tool the patriot saint who trod The thorny path which leads to glory and to God“

The Covenanter Communion

 

Many people think it is horrifying when they learn that we Covenanters do not believe in voting, holding office, military service, pledging allegiance, etc to the current system of government. They think we are being unpatriotic, hateful of America. They think we do not support our troops. Even worse they may think of us as treasonist people. Subverters and seditionist of our government. Many people believe that we have an absolute duty to vote. Now while I might agree that we are subverters as Alexander Craighead the first Covenanter minister in America was called a sower of sedition I deny that we are not patriotic. We do love our land and we want to see our nation come under the authority of the one ultimate King, who rules over all nations. Our political dissent is a true patriotism with a fervent desire and fire down within us that want to see our nation florish and not perish. Covenanters were and are intensely patriotic.

Sadly, The modern American church suffers from the idolatry of Patriotism and a false patriotism at that. And if you disagree with their concept of patriotism whether that is not pledging to the American flag, or you don’t vote then you are unpatriotic.. But what is more true is that political dissent is a painful but necessary sacrifice and it is not a denial of our patriotism but a sign and symbol of our true patriotism.

“Political dissent is a painful sacrifice, made only because of the demands of a higher loyalty. The position of the Church is an expression, not a denial, of our patriotism. The greatest service which one human being can perform for another is to lead him or her to the Lord Jesus Christ. That is precisely the service which Covenanters wish to perform for their beloved nations.” — Testimony of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland

“Think about it, Friend, for God may visit suddenly. It is better for the nation to acknowledge God and live, than to continue to reject Him and be destroyed. Who is on the Lord’s side?” Who is the True patriot? The Covenanter!””–Rev. F.M. Foster in an article “Watch your Step” in the Covenanter Witness Oct 24, 1928 p. 185-186

We do not merely want to see men die senselessly but for a true purpose and for our Lord and King, our only Redeemer. We do not want to see our nation under judgment from God but blessed by the Divine Yahovah and flourish from coast to coast. The moral evils of America threaten the very existence of our nation. God’s judgment is upon us if we do not alter course.

The Covenanters were America’s first Christian nationalists. We have for two centuries decried the fact that the United States was not and is not a Christian nation. We are God’s rebels–just as likely to be Patriots against Britain as we were to be Whiskey Rebels against the federal government. We fight for an explicitly Christian America in the midst of what we see as a secular state that failed the test of Christian nationhood. Covenanter Settlers to Pennsylvania brought with them three things: whiskey, the Presbyterian faith, and an intense spirit of independence.

“This Kingdom is not the Christian Church merely, but evidently involves the idea of a civil dominion, in association, however, with the Christian religion in its purity, for it takes the place of those kingdoms, which it has demolished, and covers with its benign rule “the earth,” which they had oppressed, and saturated with the blood of the Christian and the patriot.” Covenanter William L. Roberts, The Higher Law, 1851

“Patriots have toiled and in their country’s cause. Bled nobly and their deeds as they deserve. Receive good recompense but Martyrs struggle for a brighter prize and win it with more pain and suffering yet few remember them.”-Grave Stone of Covenanter Robert Nairns of Bonhill, Died 1685

“If our country shall be saved from the moral evils that threaten her life, it will only be through a radical change of the compact which binds Christ’s followers in unholy agreement with political atheism and infidelity. To agree to administer civil government over a nation, largely made up of Christians, and enjoying greatest Christian freedom, with the name of God unrecognized in the fundamental law, and the Lord’s Authority, and the Lord’s Day, and the Lord’s Book, constitutionally ignored and dishonored, is certainly unworthy of the disciples of Jesus, and a blot on true patriotism. Both patriotism and religion, with united voice and earnest call, demand separation from a political system, that bars out the law of Christ, and Christ himself, who is KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. Therefore, Covenanters withdraw from the Government of this country by political dissent, and decline to take any responsible part in the administration of civil power.”-The Covenanters in America: The Voice of their Testimony on Present Moral Issues. Rev. J. C. M’Feeters

“WHO then will come to the help of the Lord against the mighty? Who will lend a hand to bear up the fallen banner of the Covenant?—that banner that was once borne up so nobly on the hills of our native land, by men of whom the world was not worthy. The hosts of Antichrist are gathering; they are mustering for the final conflict; they are banded together as one man—with “one heart and one soul.” Where is the host that is to confront them? Who can stand against them, but those who feel that necessity is laid upon them so to do, as being bound by the oath of God, and are willing, though with deepest humility, to be followers of those, who “for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus,” “loved not their lives unto the death.” Oh! shall it be said, that in this crisis of the world’s history, the sons of Scotland could see “the abomination that maketh desolate” set up in the midst of them, and yet look tamely on? Shall it be told in the days to come, that your fathers have laboured, and struggled, and bled, to transmit to you a scriptural faith and a scriptural Church, and all the rich blessings of the gospel—that through your supineness you should allow your children to be deprived of these blessings? Oh! surely it shall not be. As patriots—as freemen—set for the defence of liberty in the Thermopylae of the world, I call on you to rally around the standard of “CHRIST’S CROWN AND COVENANT” under which alone true liberty can be permanently found. As the children of the martyrs—if your hearts have ever been warmed by the study of their heroic contendings—if your souls have ever been elevated by seeing the noble Argyll leaving his broad domains, and the wife of his bosom, and all that was dear to him, to lay his head for this cause meekly on the block, while the peace of God was so abundantly poured into his heart, that he was constrained to exclaim, “His goodness quite overcomes me!” If you have ever shed a tear over Margaret Wilson, when drowned at eighteen years of age, in the bay of Wigton, as a martyr to the Covenant—who, rather than compromise her testimony for the truth, firmly replied to those who had revived her, when almost half-dead, and offered her life on unscriptural terms, “I am one of Christ’s children; let me go;” and then, along with her aged companion, found a watery grave; if you have ever admired the grace given to Marion Harvey, that enabled her, on the scaffold, at Borrowstonness, at the age of twenty, to cry, “O free love, that ever He should make me feel that his love is better than life!” if you ever felt your faith invigorated by the sublime farewell that the youthful Hugh M’Kail, when standing on the fatal ladder, while the light of heaven shone in his face, and the Spirit of glory and of God. did rest upon him, bade to “sun, moon, and stars, father and mother, and all delights”—going on in a strain of seraphic rapture, till he finished with “Welcome glory; welcome eternal life; welcome death;” if you have ever felt the power of such memories as these, by which God and man alike bore testimony to this Covenant, I call on you to prove, that you are not unworthy of your sires—that you are not the degenerate plants of a strange vine. As the children of God, who know that God is a Spirit, and that they who worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth, I entreat you to arouse yourselves to stem” -Rev. Alex Hislop, 1858, The Scriptural Principles of the Solemn League and Covenanter

“It is the duty of every patriot to protect his country from its government.” (Thomas Paine) and “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” (Thomas Jefferson) (No endorsement of Thomas Paine or Thomas Jefferson intended)

So we suffer the painful sacrifice of political out of love for our country. We also suffer political dissent because we are not to be associated with wicked governments and rulers lest we become accomplice in their wicked deeds or that by our association we confirm their legitimacy. So in conclusion, ours is a True Patriotism for this country and a higher loyalist to the King of kings.

This is the final of 6 part series on Civil Magistracy, Qualifications, Electing and Political Dissent. The Final two parts were previous written on my blog some time ago and deals with the reasoning for our Political Dissent.

You can find them here,

Why I Do Not and Cannot Vote In the Present State and Nature of Our Nation @ https://mintdill.wordpress.com/2015/08/27/why-i-do-not-and-cannot-vote-in-the-present-state-and-nature-of-our-nation/

Why Political Dissent @ https://mintdill.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/why-political-dissent-among-reformed-covenanters/

 

guns and swords

Why I Cannot Support Rand Paul or Ted Cruz

February 12, 2016

coronation service

 

It is often asked why I cannot support Rand Paul or Ted Cruz. They claim to be believers, right? They fear God? So what is the deal? Why won’t you support them?

§Act Declaration and Testimony of 1741,

“we find, the Word of GOD gives an express and particular Rule and Direction anent the Election and Duty of Kings, Exod. 18.21, and Deut. 17.14, to the End, which we look upon as a Moral Precept, and therefore binding upon Christians under the New Testament, as well as upon Israel under the Old.” – Act, Declaration and Testimony of 1741

§Act Declaration and Testimony of 1761 regarding Election of Magistrates,

“We further assert and maintain, that the constituting of the relation betwixt rulers and ruled, is voluntary and mutual; and that the lawful constitution of civil magistrates, is, by the mutual election of the people (in whom is the radical right, or intermediate voice of God, of choosing and appointing such as are to sway the scepter of government over them) and consent of those who are elated and chosen for the exercise of that office, with certain stipulations according to scripture and right reason, obliging each other unto the duty of their different stations and relations. And further we affirm that when magistrates are so constituted, christians are bound by the law of God to pray for the divine blessing upon their persons and government, reverence and highly esteem them, yield a conscientious subjection and obedience to their lawful commands, defend and support then in the due exercise of their power; which power magistrates are especially to exert for the outward defense of the church of God, against all her external enemies, restraining or otherwise punishing, as the case may require, all open blasphemers, idolaters, false-worshipers, heretics, with all avowed contemners of the worship and discipline of the house of God; and by his civil sanction to corroborate all the laws and ordinances of Christ’s house, providing and enjoining that every thing in the house of the God of heaven, be done according to the law of the God of heaven. Proof Text Deut. 17:14; 2 Kings 11:17; 1 Sam. 11:15; 1 Tim. 2:1,2; 1 Peter 2:17; Rom. 13:2 to 8; 2 Kings 18:4, and 23:1 to 26; 2 Chron. 29, and 30, chapter throughout; Ezra 7:28. Confess. chap. 23, sec. 3, coronation oath of Scotland, sworn and subscribed by Charles II. at Scone, January 1st, 1651, and oath of fidelity by the people.”

§Alexander Shield on Choosing our Magistrates,

“The New Testament gives a definitive statement of civil government in Romans ch. 13 v. 1-9 and 1 Timothy ch. 2 v. 1-2; which is a summary of the pattern also found in the Old Testament. We shall first take in review these Old Testament passages where we have the epitome of kingship delineated. Thus the qualifications of those who exercise civil rule are that, They must be men of truth, fearing God and hating covetousness (Ex. 18.21); they must be just, and not deceitful, false or oppressive: He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God (2 Sam. 23.2-3); they must be men of understanding, they must be of the same nation, and not strangers (Deut. 13 v. 1 & 17; Jer. 30 v. 21). They are to be elected by all the people, that is, by the adult men among whom they are to rule: The men of Judah made David king (2 Sam. 2 v. 4) or again: The people made Saul King (1 Sam. 11.15) and as also in the words of Hushai: Whom the Lord and this people, and all the men of Israel choose, his will I be (2 Sam. 16.18). Any perversion of this order by those who thrust in upon the people however they accomplish it, is usurpation; as in Hos. 8.4: ‘They made kings but not by me; that is, strictly and only in the way appointed by God, and which is said to be “by” him as if God himself had actually done it.” Alexander Shield, A Hind Let Loose – Qualifications of Civil Magistrates

§James Willson on Choosing our Magistrates,

“To permit Atheists, Deists, Jews, Pagans, profane men, heretics, such as are the blasphemers of Messiah’s Godhead, and Papists, who are gross idolaters, to occupy places of honor and power as legislators, judges, etc., is to offer a direct insult to the holy Jesus. They do not, they will not, they cannot “kiss the Son” (Ps. 2:12), according to the Father’s command. To elevate such men is direct opposition to the King of kings. … Cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord acorrupt thing” (Mal. 1:14). “He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God” (2 Sma. 23:3).” -From his essay titled Prince Messiah’s Claims to Dominion over all Governments as found in the recently published (by Crown and Covenant) book Political Danger p. 262.

§My Reasons Laid Out on Why I cannot Support Rand Paul or Ted Cruz.

First, he has to met the essential qualifications laid down in Ex. 18…

Secondly, he has to be an orthodox Christian and one who is in Covenant. As a Baptist both Rand Paul and Ted Cruz would be disqualified since those who do not baptize their children are cut off from the Covenant and the nation and therefore does not hold citizenship in a nation. This is something all Covenanters all hold.

Thirdly, he has to uphold all the laws of God that pertain to the moral law of God including those of Idolatry, Blasphemy and Sabbath Desecrating. Rand Paul’s libertarianism goes against that and Ted Cruz’s Baptist Theology and false Patriotism in the American Constitution and First Amendment would forbid this..

Fourthly, he has to sustain and uphold the true Reformed religion and nurture it and suppress false religions in the land. Known as National Covenanting and the Establishment Clause in Historic Reformed Theology. His libertarianism goes against that..

Fifthly, he holds to the constitution which is blasphemous and false to us Covenanters. Athiestical to the core.

Sixthly, he would uphold the constitution which as I said previous no Covenanter can hold to and which we totally dissent from.

Seventhly, By running (and if by chance one of them won) they would have to take an unlawful oath to uphold the Constitution. Which we see as totally sinful. Which is also why we dissent from voting, since if we vote for the person and they won and they took the oath, we would become accomplices in their sinful oath.

Eighthly, They must uphold the previous Covenant promises of the nation that were sworn unto and are perpetual, such as in our case the Solemn League and Covenant.

We believe that these are vital essential requirements for supporting any candidate to any seat of magistracy in any and all lands.

Election of Women on the Seat of Magistracy

February 12, 2016

bloody mary.jpghillary clinton.jpg

 

 

 

 

“To promote a woman to bear rule, superiority, dominion, or empire above any realm, nation, or city, is repugnant to nature; contumely [an insult] to God, a thing most contrary to his revealed will and approved ordinance; and finally, it is the subversion of good order, of all equity and justice”

John Knox, First Blast of the Trumpet

 

Women are excluded from magisterial roles as well as military roles and having both is a sign of judgment,

“My people—infants are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, your guides mislead you and they have swallowed up the course of your paths.” Isaiah 3:12

“Behold, your troops are women in your midst. The gates of your land are wide open to your enemies; fire has devoured your bars.” Nahum 3:13

By mentioning Nahum 3:13 it is not my goal here to argue against drafting women. My good friend Paul Barth over at ReformedTheonomy Blog has already excellently done so. You can read his article here @ https://reformedtheonomy.wordpress.com/2016/02/09/women-in-the-military-and-in-combat/

This article of mine is only going to be talking about electing women to the seat of magistracy within the Reformed Faith. This also deals with lesser magistrates such as governors, mayors, legislative offices, judges and even police officers.

In the Old Testament, all regular offices of the church were held by males. Judges and prophets were irregular offices, and as such were very infrequently held by females, sometimes to show that the men were not stepping up to their responsibilities. Even civil rulers were male as a rule. This was not a historical accident; it reflected the creational order of authority established in the Garden of Eden.

Ordinarily we assume continuity between the Old and New Testaments.

§Reformed work, Mystery of Magistracy Unvailed said,

“The evil and judgment of weak rulers. And I will give children to be their princes, and babes to rule over them, Isa. 3:4. Wo unto thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning, Eccl. 10:16. Better is a poor and wise child, than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished, Eccl. 4:13. For out of prison he cometh to reign, whereas he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor, verse 14. As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them, Isa. 3:12.”

“Two years ago, John Knox in a private conversation, asked my opinion respecting female government. I frankly answered that because it was a deviation from the primitive and established order of nature, it ought to be held as a judgment on man for his dereliction of his rights …“ -John Calvin, “Letter DXXXVIII to William Cecil” in Selected Works of John Calvin: Tracts and Letters, ed. Henry Beveridge & Jules Bonnet, vol. 7, (Philadelphia, 1860), p. 46.]

§Henry Bullinger on Choosing Magistrates,

“Here I have to speak somewhat touching the election of magistrates: and first, to whom the choice and ordering of the magistrate doth belong secondarily, whom and what kind of men it is best to choose to be magistrates; and lastly, the manner and order of consecrating those which once are chosen.

Touching the election of magistrates, to whom that office should belong… Now for the good election of magistrates, the Lord himself declareth whom and what kind of men he will have to be chosen, in these very words: “Look over all the people, consider them diligently, and choose from among them men of courage, such as fear God, speakers of truth, and haters of covetousness, and make them rulers over thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens, to judge the people at all seasons.” Four things the Lord requireth in a good governour. First, that he be a man of courage, of strength or force, that is, which hath ability to do the thing whereunto he is appointed. That ability consisteth in mind rather than in body. For it is required, that he be not a fool, but wise and skilful in that which he hath to do: because the office of a captain is to know how to set his army in order of battle, rather than to fight himself; or as a chariot-man ought rather to know how to guide his cart in driving, than to draw it himself. And therewithal too, there is demanded a boldness of stomach to dare to do the things that he already knoweth; for constancy and sufferance are very needful in every captain.

In the second place that is set down, which indeed is the first; let him fear God, let him be religious and not superstitious. No idolater preserveth the commonwealth, but rather destroyeth it; and a wicked man defendeth not truth and true religion, but persecuteth and driveth them out of his jurisdiction. Let this magistrate of ours therefore be of the right religion, sound in faith, believing the word of God, and knowing that God is present among men and doth repay to whom he list according to their deserts. …

This place is made more manifest by conferring it with other places in the law of God. Moses, in Deuteronomy, saith to the people: “Bring men of wisdom, of understanding, and of an honest life, according to your tribes.” [Deuteronomy 1:13] Three things here again doth the wise man, Moses, require in them that are to be appointed magistrates in his commonweal. First, saith he, let them be wise. But the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord. Let them therefore be ordained as magistrates, that are friends to God and true religion; let them be wise, and not foolish idiots. Secondarily, they must be men of understanding; that is, men of experience, who by long and continual exercise in handling of matters are able at the first brunt to deal in all cases according to the law. Lastly, they must be men of honest report, whose life and sound conversation are by their deeds perfectly tried and sufficiently witnessed of unto the people: and finally, they must be such as bear authority, and not be despised as rascal and vile knaves.”…” Henry Bullinger, The Decades

§Richard Cameron on Choosing Magistrates,

“Ye will not look to Christ, and yet there is no other ye can have help from but from Him. There is none to help you at all, except you acknowledge Him as your King and Head, and except you acknowledge no other magistrate but according to what He ordains in His word. See what David says, “He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.” Compare this with “Moreover, thou shalt provide out of all the people, able men, such as fear God, men of truth hating covetousness. Therefore let the fear of God be upon you, take heed, and do it, for there is no iniquity with the Lord your God.” Ye see such should be men that fear God, and men of truth. Oh, take heed and consider what you are doing! Cry unto the Lord, and let us fight against these wicked rulers with the weapons of the spiritual warfare, the arms of secret prayer. Let us pray unto the Lord to cut them off, and the Lord will raise up those that will condemn and despise them.” -Richard Cameron, ‘Sermon on Hosea 13:9-10 (1680)′ in Sermons in times of persecution in Scotland, by sufferers for the royal prerogatives of Jesus Christ, ed. James Kerr (Edinburgh, 1880), p. 417.

§Alexander Shield on Choosing our Magistrates,

“The New Testament gives a definitive statement of civil government in Romans ch. 13 v. 1-9 and 1 Timothy ch. 2 v. 1-2; which is a summary of the pattern also found in the Old Testament. We shall first take in review these Old Testament passages where we have the epitome of kingship delineated. Thus the qualifications of those who exercise civil rule are that, They must be men of truth, fearing God and hating covetousness (Ex. 18.21); they must be just, and not deceitful, false or oppressive: He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God (2 Sam. 23.2-3); they must be men of understanding, they must be of the same nation, and not strangers (Deut. 13 v. 1 & 17; Jer. 30 v. 21). They are to be elected by all the people, that is, by the adult men among whom they are to rule: The men of Judah made David king (2 Sam. 2 v. 4) or again: The people made Saul King (1 Sam. 11.15) and as also in the words of Hushai: Whom the Lord and this people, and all the men of Israel choose, his will I be (2 Sam. 16.18). Any perversion of this order by those who thrust in upon the people however they accomplish it, is usurpation; as in Hos. 8.4: ‘They made kings but not by me; that is, strictly and only in the way appointed by God, and which is said to be “by” him as if God himself had actually done it.” Alexander Shield, A Hind Let Loose – Qualifications of Civil Magistrates

§James Willson on Choosing Magistrates,

“To permit Atheists, Deists, Jews, Pagans, profane men, heretics, such as are the blasphemers of Messiah’s Godhead, and Papists, who are gross idolaters, to occupy places of honor and power as legislators, judges, etc., is to offer a direct insult to the holy Jesus. They do not, they will not, they cannot “kiss the Son” (Ps. 2:12), according to the Father’s command. To elevate such men is direct opposition to the King of kings.

“Cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord acorrupt thing” (Mal. 1:14). “He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God” (2 Sma. 23:3).” -From his essay titled Prince Messiah’s Claims to Dominion over all Governments as found in the recently published (by Crown and Covenant) book Political Danger p. 262.

§Act Declaration and Testimony of 1741,

“we find, the Word of GOD gives an express and particular Rule and Direction anent the Election and Duty of Kings, Exod. 18.21, and Deut. 17.14, to the End, which we look upon as a Moral Precept, and therefore binding upon Christians under the New Testament, as well as upon Israel under the Old.” – Act, Declaration and Testimony of 1741

§Act Declaration and Testimony of 1761 regarding Election of Magistrates,

We further assert and maintain, that the constituting of the relation betwixt rulers and ruled, is voluntary and mutual; and that the lawful constitution of civil magistrates, is, by the mutual election of the people (in whom is the radical right, or intermediate voice of God, of choosing and appointing such as are to sway the scepter of government over them) and consent of those who are elated and chosen for the exercise of that office, with certain stipulations according to scripture and right reason, obliging each other unto the duty of their different stations and relations. And further we affirm that when magistrates are so constituted, christians are bound by the law of God to pray for the divine blessing upon their persons and government, reverence and highly esteem them, yield a conscientious subjection and obedience to their lawful commands, defend and support then in the due exercise of their power; which power magistrates are especially to exert for the outward defense of the church of God, against all her external enemies, restraining or otherwise punishing, as the case may require, all open blasphemers, idolaters, false-worshipers, heretics, with all avowed contemners of the worship and discipline of the house of God; and by his civil sanction to corroborate all the laws and ordinances of Christ’s house, providing and enjoining that every thing in the house of the God of heaven, be done according to the law of the God of heaven. Proof Text Deut. 17:14; 2 Kings 11:17; 1 Sam. 11:15; 1 Tim. 2:1,2; 1 Peter 2:17; Rom. 13:2 to 8; 2 Kings 18:4, and 23:1 to 26; 2 Chron. 29, and 30, chapter throughout; Ezra 7:28. Confess. chap. 23, sec. 3, coronation oath of Scotland, sworn and subscribed by Charles II. at Scone, January 1st, 1651, and oath of fidelity by the people.

§Historical Testimony against Electing Women to Civil Magistracy,

The great Reformer John Knox said it best with regards to Ministers of Justice in The First Blast of the Trumpet, 1558,

“no person has power to give the thing which does not justly appertain to themselves. But the authority of a woman is a corrupted fountain, and therefore from her can never spring any lawful officer. She is not born to rule over men, and therefore she can appoint none by her gift, nor by her power (which she has not), to the place of a lawful magistrate; and therefore, [those] who receive of a woman office or authority are adulterous and bastard officers before God. … For that woman [who] reigns above man, she has obtained it by treason and conspiracy committed against God. How can it be then, that she, being criminal and guilty of treason committed against God, can appoint any officer pleasing in his sight? It is a thing impossible. Wherefore, let men that receive of women authority, honour, or office, be most assuredly persuaded, that in so maintaining that usurped power, they declare themselves enemies to God. If any think, that because the realms and estates thereof have given their consents to a woman, and have established her and her authority, that therefore it is lawful and acceptable before God, let the same men remember what I have said before: to wit, that God cannot approve the doing nor consent of any multitude, concluding anything against his word and ordinance; and therefore they must have a more assured defence against the wrath of God than the approbation and consent of a blinded multitude, or else they shall not be able to stand in the presence of a consuming fire.

That is, they must acknowledge that the regiment of a woman is a thing most odious in the presence of God. They must refuse to be her officers, because she is a traitress and rebel against God ”

“In the Rules of the Law thus is it written: “Women are removed from all civil and public office, so that they neither may be judges, neither may they occupy the place of the magistrate, neither yet may they be speakers for others.”

“To promote a woman to bear rule, superiority, dominion, or empire above any realm, nation, or city, is repugnant to nature; contumely [an insult] to God, a thing most contrary to his revealed will and approved ordinance; and finally, it is the subversion of good order, of all equity and justice”

” And therefore, I say, that of necessity it is that this monstiferous empire of women (which amongst all enormities that this day do abound upon the face of the whole earth, is most detestable and damnable) be openly revealed and plainly declared to the world, to the end that some may repent and be saved. ”

John Calvin commenting on 1 Corinthians 14:34 said that women should never be in any position of governing authority. He wrote: “And unquestionably, wherever even natural propriety has been maintained, women have in all ages been excluded from the public management of affairs. It is the dictate of common sense, that female government is improper and unseemly.”

Paul’s normative view of marriage is that it is good and the greatest way to demonstrate the love and service between Christ and his people. It is extremely rare to be gifted with singleness and if you burn with lust and want to be married then you have not been gifted with singleness. In a normative view, Marriage is something that has been commanded from the beginning, A woman shall leave her father and mother shall be joined to her husband. It is for the procreation of the race of man, which fulfills the command “Be fruitful and multiply.. The man is the lord or master of the house and wife (1 Peter 3:6) and the wife is to bear all submission ( Ephesians 5:22-25, Titus 2:5). The man is the provider who is to work by the sweat of his brow (Genesis 3:17-19) while the women is the keeper of the home (1 Timothy 5:14). She is the help-meet and weaker vessel (Genesis 2:18, 1 Peter 3:7). Man is the head of the women (1 Cor. 11:3), and she is not to bear authority over man (1 Timothy 2:12) nor is she to even hold the an office of the church and must remain quite in the church even to the point of asking a question to her husband at home (1 Corinthians 14:34). The man as a provider must provide three basic necessities to his wife, Food, Raiment (Clothing) and Conjugal Affairs (Marriage bed affairs), (Exo 21:20).

“Now St. Paul is not speaking here of individuals, or of particular households. Rather, he has divided the human race into two parts, as was indicated in the previous sermon. So there is the male, and the female. I say this, because even though a man may not be married, he still has this privilege of nature: he is a head. Of whom? Of women, because we are not merely to examine one house, but the order that God has established in this world. In the case of a widow, or of a young woman who has yet to marry, the subjection of which St. Paul is speaking still pertains to them. Why? Because it applies to the entire feminine sex ” -John Calvin, Men, Women, and Order of the Church

“Then St. Paul adds that Jesus Christ is the head of the man. If anyone asks why he distinguishes here between male and the female, when it days in other passages that in Jesus Christ such a distinction is not to be made: the answer is, that regarding our eternal salvation it is true that one must not distinguish between man and woman, or between the king and a shepherd, or between a German and a Frenchman. Regarding policy however, we have what St. Paul declares here; for our Lord Jesus Christ did not come to mix up nature, or to abolish what belongs to the preservation of decency and peace among us. Therefore, let us note both things carefully. So, as to being children of God, and being governed by His Holy Spirit, and partakers of the inheritance of the Kingdom of Heaven, as to calling upon God, being baptized and coming to the Supper, one must not make a difference between male and female, between a prince and a poor working man, as we said. For the brother whom the world despises must glory because God has exalted him and united him with the greatest and most excellent people in the world. The one who is great and noble must humble himself, because God has been pleased to associate him with such as were contemptible and had no stateliness. Since this is the way it is, we must know that regarding our salvation, and regarding the Kingdom of God (which is spiritual), there is no distinction or differences between man and woman, servant and master, poor and rich, great and small. Nevertheless, there does have to be some order among us, and Jesus Christ did not mean to eliminate it, as some flighty and scatteredbrained dreamers have taken this passage we have cited, and have dragged the holy scriptures by the hair (as the saying goes). ” ” -John Calvin, Men, Women, and Order of the Church

“Woman in her greatest perfection was made to serve and obey man, not to rule and command him: as Saint Paul does reason in these words, “Man is not of woman, but woman of the man.” And man was not created for the cause of woman, but the woman for the cause of man, and therefore ought the woman to have power upon her head (that is a coverture in sign of subjection). Of which words it is plain that the Apostle meaneth, that woman in her greatest perfection should have known, that man was Lord above her: and therefore she should never have pretended any kind of superiority above him, no more then do the angels above God the creator or above Christ Jesus their head. ” John Knox, First Blast of the Trumpet
I am extremely pleased that my denomination is trying to protect our women and allow official stance of our denomination that would give Continuous Objector status in case our government decides to include women in the Draft or Selective Service.

RPCNA 2015 Report to Synod from the Presbyterian and Reformed Commission on Chaplains and Military Personnel (PRCCMP):

“The Commission directed the Chairman of the PRCCMP to establish a committee to draft a letter addressing our respective churches of the likelihood of a radical change of the Selective Service law of the United States, namely the required registration of 18 year old females on the Draft Rolls, most probably by 2016. Further, that this letter recommend adopting the following (or similar) declaration in individual congregational by-laws, namely that the Bible forbids women serving as warriors, as well as an explicit declaration that registering 18 year old women for the draft or being drafted is evil and unbiblical. This will provide a valid argument for conscientious objector status for covenant daughters, granddaughters, and other women of our respective denominations.”

§What about Deborah?

Deborah was not a magistrate.. She judged Israel but was no magistrate or carried the sword of a magistrate which is forbidden in Exodus 18 as held by the Historic Reformed Church…

“For they are never able to prove that either Deborah, or any other godly woman (having commendation of the Holy Ghost within the scriptures), has usurped authority above any realm or nation … Whereof I doubt not but that every reasonable man does consider, that this Barak was not her husband; and thereof, likewise, it is evident, that her judgment and government in Israel was no such usurped power as our queens unjustly possess this day; but that it was a spirit of prophecy which rested upon her, what time the multitude of the people had wrought wickedly in the eyes of the Lord; [117]by which spirit she did rebuke the idolatry and iniquity of the people, exhort them to repentance, and, in the end, did bring them this comfort, that God should deliver them from the bondage and thralldom of their enemies. And this she might do, notwithstanding that another did occupy the place of the supreme magistrate (if [there] was any in those days in Israel) … If any stick to the term, alleging that the Holy Ghost says “that she judged Israel,” let them understand that neither does the Hebrew word, neither yet the Latin, always signify civil judgment, or the execution of the temporal sword; but most commonly [it] is taken in the sense which we have before expressed. For of Christ it is said, “He shall judge many nations,” and that, “He shall pronounce judgment to the Gentiles” (Isa. 2:4; 42:1; Micah 4:2-3) and yet it is evident that he was no minister of the temporal sword. God commanded Jerusalem and Judah to judge betwixt him and his vineyard (Isa. 5:3), and yet he appointed not them all to be civil magistrates.” -John Knox, First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women

Deborah was used by God as a judgment and punishment. Isaiah 3:12 clearly teaches that it is a sign of judgment of God. Deborah also got Barak to DO HIS duty.

§What about Jael?

Jael was nowhere consider a Judge or Magistrate. She was a godly women who in the Providence of God had the opportunity to deal a fatal blow to a murderer and tyrant and save God’s people.

Covenanter Alexander Shield in 1668 wrote,

“When the Lord discomfited the host of Jabin, and Sisera his captain fled into the house of Heber the Kenite, Jael Heber’s wife took a nail of the tent, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, Judges 4.21, of which the prophetess Deborah says, chap. 5.24, “Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be above women in the tent.” Yet not only was Jael no magistrate, but in subjection to and at peace with Jabin, though she killed his captain. But there was no injustice here, when he was declared a public enemy, the war was just, he was an oppressor of the people of God, it became Jael, as a member of the commonwealth, to betray and cut off the common enemy. Therefore Jael had sinned, if she had not killed him. … whence we see what inconveniences they are driven to, that deny this principle of natural justice, the lawfulness of cutting off public enemies, to procure the deliverance of the Lord’s people”

Jael is like imitable and I have no problem with her example but this again cannot be used to justify women as ministers of the Gospel or even a magistrate or a military solider. It was an act of self defense, defense for others and a member of the commonwealth to act against the enemy.

The Ministers of the Gospel and the Ministers of Justice are limited to men. Not only are Ministers of the Gospel stated to be limited to men in the NT but the office was also limited to men in the OT. And continuity must stand here. Ministers of Justice are also limited to men in Exodus 18 and when women rule over nation it is a judgement sign, Isaiah 3:12.

§Complete Work of John Knox’s First Blast Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women,

THE PREFACE

The kingdom appertains to our God. [Psalm 22:28]

Wonder it is, that amongst so many pregnant wits as the isle of Great Britain has produced, so many godly and zealous preachers as England did sometime nourish, and amongst so many learned, and men of grave judgment, as this day by Jezebel are exiled, none is found so stout of courage, so faithful to God, nor loving to their native country, that they dare admonish the inhabitants of that isle, how abominable before God is the empire or rule of a wicked woman (yea, of a traitress and bastard); and what may a people or nation, left destitute of a lawful head, do by the authority of God’s word in electing and appointing common rulers and magistrates. That isle (alas!) for the contempt and horrible abuse of God’s mercies offered, and for the shameful revolting to Satan from Christ Jesus, and from his gospel once professed, does justly merit to be left in the hands of their own counsel, and so to come to confusion and bondage of strangers. [1]But yet I fear that this universal negligence of such as sometimes were esteemed watchmen shall rather aggravate our former ingratitude, than excuse this our universal and ungodly silence in so weighty a matter. We see our country set forth for a prey to foreign nations; we hear [of] the blood of our brethren, the members of Christ Jesus, most cruelly to be shed; and the monstrous empire [government] of a cruel woman (the secret counsel of God excepted) we know to be the only occasion of all those miseries; and yet with silence we pass the time, as though the matter did nothing appertain to us. [2]But the contrary examples of the ancient prophets move me to doubt of this our fact. For Israel did universally decline from God by embracing idolatry under Jeroboam ­ in which they did continue even unto the destruction of their commonwealth (1 Kings 12:25-33). And Judah, with Jerusalem, did follow the vile superstition and open iniquity of Samaria (Ezek. 16). But yet the prophets of God ceased not to admonish the one and the other; yea, even after God had poured forth his plagues upon them. For Jeremiah did write to the captives in Babylon, and did correct their errors, plainly instructing them who did remain in the midst of that idolatrous nation (Jer. 29). Ezekiel, from the midst of his brethren (prisoners in Chaldea) did write his vision to those that were in Jerusalem; and, sharply rebuking their vices, assured them that they should not escape the vengeance of God, by reason of their abominations committed (Ezek. 7-9).

[3]The same prophets, for comfort of the afflicted and chosen saints of God, who did lie hid amongst the reprobate of that age (as commonly does the corn amongst the chaff), did prophesy and before speak the changes of kingdoms, the punishment of tyrants, and the vengeance which God would execute upon the oppressors of his people (Isa. 13; Jer. 46; Ezek. 36). [4]The same did Daniel, and the rest of the prophets, every one in their season. By whose examples, and by the plain precept which is given to Ezekiel (3″18-21), commanding him that he shall say to the wicked, “Thou shalt die the death,” we in this our miserable age are bound to admonish the world, and the tyrants thereof, of their sudden destruction, to assure them and to cry unto them, whether they list or not, “that the blood of the saints, which by them is shed, continually crieth and craveth the vengeance in the presence of the Lord of Hosts” (Rev. 6:9-10). And further, it is our duty to open the truth revealed unto us, unto the ignorant and blind world; unless that, to our own condemnation, we list to wrap up and hide the talent committed to our charge.

I am assured that God has revealed to some in this our age, that it is more than a monster in nature that a woman shall reign and have empire above man. And yet, with us all there is such silence, as if God therewith were nothing offended. [5]I know the natural man, enemy to God, shall find many causes why no such doctrine ought to be published in these our dangerous days: first, for that it may seem to tend to sedition; secondarily, it shall be dangerous, not only to the writer or publisher, but also to all such as shall read the writings, or favour this truth spoken; and last, it shall not amend the chief offenders, partly because it shall never come to their ears, and partly because they will not be admonished in such cases.

I answer, if any of these be a sufficient reason, that a known truth shall be concealed, then were the ancient prophets of God very fools, who did not better provide for their own quietness, than to hazard their lives for rebuking of vices, and for the opening of such crimes as were not known to the world. And Christ Jesus did injury to his apostles, commanding them to preach repentance and remission of sins in his name to every realm and nation. And Paul did not understand his own liberty, when he cried, “Woe be to me, if I preach not the evangel!” (1 Cor. 9:16). If fear, I say, of persecution, of slander, or of any inconvenience before named, might have excused and discharged the servants of God from plainly rebuking the sins of the world, just cause had every one of them to have ceased from their office. For suddenly their doctrine was accused by terms of sedition, of new learning, and of treason. Persecution and vehement trouble did shortly come upon the professors with the preachers. Kings, princes, and worldly rulers did conspire against God, and against his anointed Christ Jesus (Matt. 26:57-68; Acts 18:12-16; 21:28-39; Ps. 2; Acts 4:1-33).

But what? Did any of these move the prophets and apostles to faint in their vocation [calling]? No. But by the resistance (which the devil made to them by his supporters) were they the more inflamed to publish the truth revealed unto them, and to witness with their blood, that grievous condemnation and God’s heavy vengeance should follow the proud contempt of graces offered. The fidelity, bold courage, and constancy of those that are passed before us, ought to provoke us to follow in their footsteps, unless we look for another kingdom than Christ has promised to such as persevere in profession of his name to the end.

If any think that the empire of women is not of such importance, that for the suppressing of the same any man is bound to hazard his life: I answer, that to suppress it is in the hand of God alone. [6]But to utter the impiety and abomination of the same, I say, it is the duty of every true messenger of God to whom the truth is revealed in that behalf. [7]For the especial duty of God’s messengers is to preach repentance, to admonish the offenders of their offenses, and to say to the wicked, “Thou shalt die the death, except thou repent.” This, I trust, no man will deny to be the proper office of all God’s messengers, to preach (as I have said) repentance and remission of sins. But neither of both can be done, except the conscience of the offenders be accused and convicted of transgression. But how shall any man repent, not knowing wherein he has offended? And where no repentance is found, there can be no entry to grace. And therefore, I say, that of necessity it is that this monstiferous empire of women (which amongst all enormities that this day do abound upon the face of the whole earth, is most detestable and damnable) be openly revealed and plainly declared to the world, to the end that some may repent and be saved. And thus far to the first sort.

To such as think that it will be long before such doctrine comes to the ears of the chief offenders, [8]I answer, that the verity of God is of that nature, that at one time or at another it will purchase to itself audience. It is an odor [aroma] and smell that cannot be suppressed. Yea, it is a trumpet that will sound in despite of the adversary. It will compel the very enemies, to their own confusion, to testify and bear witness of it. For I find that the prophecy and preaching of Elijah were declared in the hall of the king of Syria, by the servants and flatterers of the same wicked king, making mention that Elijah declared to the king of Israel whatsoever the said king of Syria spoke in his most secret chamber (2 Kings 6:12). And the wondrous works of Jesus Christ were notified to Herod, not in any great praise or commendation of his doctrine, but rather to signify that Christ called that tyrant a fox, and that he did no more regard his authority than did John the baptist, whom Herod before had beheaded for the liberty of his tongue (Matt. 14:1-2).

But whether the bearers of the rumours and tidings were favourers of Christ, or flatterers of the tyrant, certain it is that the fame, as well of Christ’s doctrine as of his works, came to the ears of Herod. Even so may the sound of our weak trumpet, by the support of some wind (blow it from the south, or blow it from the north, it is no matter), come to the ears of the chief offenders. But whether it does or not, yet dare we not cease to blow as God will give strength (Rom. 1:15-17). [9]For we are debtors to more than princes: to wit, to the multitude of our brethren, of whom, no doubt, a great number have heretofore offended by error and ignorance, giving their suffrages, consent, and help to establish women in their kingdoms and empires, not understanding how abominable, odious, and detestable is all such usurped authority in the presence of God. And therefore must the truth be plainly spoken, that the simple and rude multitude may be admonished.

And as concerning the danger which may hereof ensue, I am not altogether so brutish and insensible, but that I have laid my account, what the finishing of the work may cost me for my own part. [10]First, I am not ignorant how difficult and dangerous it is to speak against a common error, especially when the ambitious minds of men and women are called to the obedience of God’s simple commandment. For to the most part of men, whatsoever antiquity has received appears lawful and godly. And secondarily, I look to have more adversaries, not only of the ignorant multitude, but also of the wise, politic, and quiet spirits of the world ­ so that as well shall such as ought to maintain the truth and verity of God become enemies to me in this case, as shall the princes and ambitious persons who, to maintain their unjust tyranny, do always study to suppress the same. And thus I am most certainly persuaded that my labour shall not escape reprehension of many.

[11]But because I remember that account of the talents received must be made to him ­ who neither respects the multitude, neither yet approves the wisdom, policy, peace, nor antiquity, concluding or determining anything against his eternal will, revealed to us in his most blessed word ­ I am compelled to cover my eyes, and shut up my ears, that I neither see the multitude that shall withstand me in this matter, neither that I shall hear the opprobrium, nor consider the dangers which I may incur for uttering the same. I shall be called foolish, curious, despiteful, and a sower of sedition; and one day, perchance (although now [I] am nameless) I may be attainted [condemned] of treason. [12]But seeing that it is impossible, but that either I shall offend God, daily calling to my conscience that I ought to manifest the known verity; or else that I shall displease the world for doing the same; I have determined to obey God, notwithstanding that the world shall rage thereat.

I know that the world offended (by God’s permission) may kill the body; but God’s majesty offended has power to punish body and soul for ever. His majesty is offended when his precepts are contemned and his threatenings esteemed to be of none effect. And amongst his manifold precepts given to his prophets, and amongst his threatenings, none is more vehement than is that which is pronounced by Ezekiel in these words: “Son of man, I have appointed thee a watchman to the house of Israel, that thou shouldest hear from my mouth the word; and that thou mayest admonish them plainly, when I shall say to the wicked man, ‘O wicked, thou shalt assuredly die.’ Then if thou shalt not speak, that thou mayest plainly admonish him that he may leave his wicked way, the wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require of thy hand. But and if thou shalt plainly admonish the wicked man, and yet he shall not turn from his way, such a one shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul” (Ezek. 33:7-9).

This precept, I say, with the threatening annexed, together with the rest that is spoken in the same chapter, not to Ezekiel only, but to every one whom God places watchman over his people and flock (and watchmen are they, whose eyes he does open, and whose conscience he pricks to admonish the ungodly), compels me to utter my conscience in this matter, notwithstanding that the whole world should be offended with me for so doing. [13]If any wonder why I do conceal my name, let him be assured that the fear of corporeal punishment is neither the only, neither the chief cause. My purpose is thrice to blow the trumpet in the same matter, if God so permits. Twice I intend to do it without name; but at the last blast to take the blame upon myself, that all others may be purged.

THE FIRST BLAST

TO AWAKEN WOMEN DEGENERATE

To promote a woman to bear rule, superiority, dominion, or empire above any realm, nation, or city, is repugnant to nature; contumely [an insult] to God, a thing most contrary to his revealed will and approved ordinance; and finally, it is the subversion of good order, of all equity and justice.

In the probation of this proposition, I will not be so curious as to gather whatsoever may amplify, set forth, or decor the same; but I am purposed, even as I have spoken my conscience in most plain and few words, so to stand content with a simple proof of every member, bringing in for my witness God’s ordinance in nature, his plain will revealed in his word, and by the minds of such as be most ancient amongst godly writers.

[The Empire of Women is

Repugnant to Nature]

And first, where I affirm the empire of a woman to be a thing repugnant to nature, I mean not only that God, by the order of his creation, has spoiled [deprived] woman of authority and dominion, but also that man has seen, proved, and pronounced just causes why it should be. Man, I say, in many other cases, does in this behalf see very clearly. [14]For the causes are so manifest, that they cannot be hid. For who can deny but it is repugnant to nature, that the blind shall be appointed to lead and conduct such as do see? That the weak, the sick, and impotent persons shall nourish and keep the whole and strong? And finally, that the foolish, mad, and frenetic shall govern the discreet, and give counsel to such as be sober of mind? And such be all women, compared unto man in bearing of authority. For their sight in civil regiment is but blindness; their strength, weakness; their counsel, foolishness; and judgment, frenzy, if it be rightly considered.

[15]I except such as God, by singular privilege, and for certain causes known only to himself, has exempted from the common rank of women, and do speak of women as nature and experience do this day declare them. Nature, I say, does paint them forth to be weak, frail, impatient, feeble, and foolish; and experience has declared them to be inconstant, variable, cruel, lacking the spirit of counsel and regiment. And these notable faults have men in all ages espied in that kind, for the which not only they have removed women from rule and authority, but also some have thought that men subject to the counsel or empire of their wives were unworthy of public office. [16]For thus writes Aristotle, in the second of his Politics. What difference shall we put, says he, whether that women bear authority, or the husbands that obey the empire of their wives, be appointed to be magistrates? For what ensues the one, must needs follow the other: to wit, injustice, confusion, and disorder. The same author further reasons, that the policy or regiment of the Lacedemonians (who other ways amongst the Greeks were most excellent) was not worthy to be reputed nor accounted amongst the number of commonwealths that were well governed, because the magistrates and rulers of the same were too much given to please and obey their wives. What would this writer (I pray you) have said to that realm or nation, where a woman sits crowned in Parliament amongst the midst of men?

“Oh fearful and terrible are thy judgments, O Lord, which thus hast abased man for his iniquity!”

I am assuredly persuaded that if any of those men, which, illuminated only by the light of nature, did see and pronounce the causes sufficient why women ought not to bear rule nor authority, should this day live and see a woman sitting in judgment, or riding from Parliament in the midst of men, having the royal crown upon her head, the sword and the scepter borne before her, in sign that the administration of justice was in her power: I am assuredly persuaded, I say, that such a sight should so astonish them, that they should judge the whole world to be transformed into the Amazons,[17] and that such a metamorphosis and change was made of all the men of that country, as poets do feign was made of the companions of Ulysses; or at least, that albeit the outward form of men remained, yet should they judge their hearts were changed from the wisdom, understanding, and courage of men, to the foolish fondness and cowardice of women. Yea, they further should pronounce, that where women reign or be in authority, that there must needs vanity be preferred to virtue, ambition and pride to temperance and modesty; and finally, that avarice, the mother of all mischief, must needs devour equity and justice.[18] [19]

But lest that we shall seem to be of this opinion alone, let us hear what others have seen and decreed in this matter. [20]In the Rules of the Law thus is it written: [21]”Women are removed from all civil and public office, so that they neither may be judges, neither may they occupy the place of the magistrate, neither yet may they be speakers for others.” The same is repeated in the third and the sixteenth books of the Digests,[22] where certain persons are forbidden, Ne pro aliis postulent, that is, that they be no speakers nor advocates for others.[23]And among the rest, women are forbidden, and this cause is added, that they do not against shamefacedness [modesty] intermeddle themselves with the causes of others; neither yet that women presume to use the offices due to men. The Law in the same place does further declare that a natural shamefacedness [modesty] ought to be in womankind,[24] which most certainly she loses whensoever she takes upon her the office and estate of man. [25]As in Calphurnia was evidently declared, who having license to speak before the senate, at length she became so impudent and importunate, that by her babbling she troubled the whole assembly; and so gave occasion that this law was established.[26]

[27]In the first book of the Digests, it is pronounced that the condition of the woman, in many cases, is worse than of the man: as in jurisdiction (says the Law), in receiving of cure and tuition, in adoption, in public accusation, in delation, in all popular action, and in motherly power which she has not upon her own sons. The Law further will not permit that the woman give anything to her husband, because it is against the nature of her kind, being the inferior member, to presume to give anything to her head.[28] The Law does moreover pronounce womankind to be most avaricious (which is a vice intolerable in those that should rule or minister justice).[29] And Aristotle, as before is touched, does plainly affirm, that wheresoever women bear dominion, there the people must needs be disordered, living and abounding in all intemperance, given to pride, excess, and vanity; and finally, in the end, they must needs come to confusion and ruin.[30]

[31]Would to God the examples were not so manifest to the further declaration of the imperfections of women, of their natural weakness and inordinate appetites! I might adduce histories, proving some women to have died for sudden joy; some for impatience to have murdered themselves; some to have burned with such inordinate lust, that for the quenching of the same, they have betrayed to strangers their country and city;[32] and some to have been so desirous of dominion, that for the obtaining of the same, they have murdered the children of their own sons, yea, and some have killed with cruelty their own husbands and children.[33] [34] [35] But to me it is sufficient (because this part of nature is not my most sure foundation) to have proved, that men illuminated only by the light of nature have seen and have determined that it is a thing most repugnant to nature, that women rule and govern over men. [36]For those that will not permit a woman to have power over her own sons, will not permit her (I am assured) to have rule over a realm; and those that will not suffer her to speak in defence of those that be accused (neither that will admit her accusation intended against man) will not approve her that she shall sit in judgment, crowned with the royal crown, usurping authority in the midst of men.

[The Empire of Women is Contrary

to the Revealed Will of God]

But now to the second part of nature, in the which I include the revealed will and perfect ordinance of God; and against this part of nature, I say, that it does manifestly repugn that any woman shall reign and bear dominion over man. For God, first by the order of his creation, and after by the curse and malediction pronounced against the woman (by reason of her rebellion) has pronounced the contrary.

[37]First, I say, that woman in her greatest perfection was made to serve and obey man, not to rule and command him. As St. Paul does reason in these words: “Man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man. And man was not created for the cause of the woman, but the woman for the cause of man; and therefore ought the woman to have a power upon her head” [1 Cor. 11:8-10] (that is, a cover in sign of subjection). Of which words it is plain that the apostle means, that woman in her greatest perfection should have known that man was lord above her; and therefore that she should never have pretended any kind of superiority above him, no more than do the angels above God the Creator, or above Christ their head.[38] So I say, that in her greatest perfection, woman was created to be subject to man.

[39]But after her fall and rebellion committed against God, there was put upon her a new necessity, and she was made subject to man by the irrevocable sentence of God, pronounced in these words: “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception. With sorrow shalt thou bear thy children, and thy will shall be subject to thy man; and he shall bear dominion over thee” (Gen. 3:16).[40] Hereby may such as altogether be not blinded plainly see, that God by his sentence has dejected all women from empire and dominion above man. For two punishments are laid upon her: to wit, a dolour, anguish, and pain, as oft as ever she shall be mother; and a subjection of her self, her appetites, and will, to her husband, and to his will. From the former part of this malediction can neither art, nobility, policy, nor law made by man deliver womankind; but whosoever attains to that honour to be mother, proves in experience the effect and strength of God’s word. But (alas!) ignorance of God, ambition, and tyranny have studied to abolish and destroy the second part of God’s punishment. For women are lifted up to be heads over realms, and to rule above men at their pleasure and appetites. [41]But horrible is the vengeance which is prepared for the one and for the other, for the promoters and for the persons promoted, except they speedily repent. For they shall be dejected from the glory of the sons of God to the slavery of the devil, and to the torment that is prepared for all such as do exalt themselves against God.

Against God can nothing be more manifest than that a woman shall be exalted to reign above man; for the contrary sentence he has pronounced in these words: “Thy will shall be subject to thy husband, and he shall bear dominion over thee” (Gen. 3:16). As [though] God should say, “Forasmuch as you have abused your former condition, and because your free will has brought yourself and mankind into the bondage of Satan, I therefore will bring you in bondage to man. For where before your obedience should have been voluntary, now it shall be by constraint and by necessity; and that because you have deceived your man, you shall therefore be no longer mistress over your own appetites, over your own will or desires. For in you there is neither reason nor discretion which are able to moderate your affections, and therefore they shall be subject to the desire of your man. He shall be lord and governor, not only over your body, but even over your appetites and will.” This sentence, I say, did God pronounce against Eve and her daughters, as the rest of the scriptures do evidently witness. So that no woman can ever presume to reign above man, but the same she must needs do in despite of God, and in contempt of his punishment and malediction.[42]

[43]I am not ignorant, that the most part of men do understand this malediction of the subjection of the wife to her husband, and of the dominion which he bears above her. But the Holy Ghost gives to us another interpretation of this place, taking from all women all kinds of superiority, authority, and power over man, speaking as follows, by the mouth of St. Paul: “I suffer not a woman to teach, neither yet to usurp authority above man” (1 Tim. 2:12). Here he names women in general, excepting none; affirming that she may usurp authority above no man. And that he speaks more plainly in another place in these words: “Let women keep silence in the congregation, for it is not permitted to them to speak, but to be subject, as the law sayeth” (1 Cor. 14:34). These two testimonies of the Holy Ghost are sufficient to prove whatsoever we have affirmed before, and to repress the inordinate pride of women, as also to correct the foolishness of those that have studied to exalt women in authority above men, against God and against his sentence pronounced.

But that the same two places of the apostle may the better be understood: it is to be noted, that in the latter, which is written in the first epistle to the Corinthians, the 14th chapter (vvs. 7-32), before the apostle had permitted that all persons should prophesy one after another, adding this reason, “that all may learn and all may receive consolation;” and lest that any might have judged, that amongst a rude multitude, and the plurality of speakers, many things little to purpose might have been affirmed, or else that some confusion might have arisen, he adds, “The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets;” as [if] he should say, “God shall always raise up some to whom the verity shall be revealed, and unto such you shall give place, albeit they sit in the lowest seats.” And thus the apostle would have prophesying an exercise to be free to the whole church, that every one should communicate with the congregation what God had revealed to them, providing that it were orderly done. [44]But from this general privilege he excluded all women, saying, “Let women keep silence in the congregation.” And why, I pray you? Was it because that the apostle thought no woman to have any knowledge? No, he gives another reason, saying, “Let her be subject, as the law saith” (1 Cor. 14:34). In which words is first to be noted, that the apostle calls this former sentence pronounced against woman a law: that is, the immutable decree of God, who by his own voice has subjected her to one member of the congregation, that is to her husband. [45]Whereupon the Holy Ghost concludes, that she may never rule nor bear empire above man; for she that is made subject to one, may never be preferred to many. And that the Holy Ghost does manifestly express, saying: “I suffer not that woman usurp authority above man” (1 Tim. 2:12). He says not, “I will not that woman usurp authority above her husband;” but he names man in general, taking from her all power and authority to speak, to reason, to interpret, or to teach; but principally to rule or to judge in the assembly of men. So that woman by the law of God, and by the interpretation of the Holy Ghost, is utterly forbidden to occupy the place of God in the offices aforesaid, which he has assigned to man, whom he has appointed and ordained his lieutenant in earth, excluding from that honour and dignity all women, as this short argument shall evidently declare.

[46]The apostle takes power from all women to speak in the assembly. Ergo, he permits no woman to rule above man. [47]The former part is evident, whereupon the conclusion of necessity does follow; for he that takes from woman the least part of authority, dominion, or rule, will not permit unto her that which is [the] greatest. But greater it is to reign above realms and nations, to publish and to make laws, and to command men of all estates, and finally, to appoint judges and ministers, than to speak in the congregation. For her judgment, sentence, or opinion in the congregation, may be judged by all, may be corrected by the learned, and reformed by the godly. But woman being promoted in sovereign authority, her laws must be obeyed, her opinion followed, and her tyranny maintained, supposing that it be expressly against God and the profit of the commonwealth, as too manifest experience does this day witness.

And therefore yet again I repeat, that which before I have affirmed: to wit, that a woman promoted to sit in the seat of God (that is, to teach, to judge, or to reign above man) is a monster in nature, contumely to God, and a thing most repugnant to his will and ordinance. For he has deprived them, as before is proved, of speaking in the congregation, and has expressly forbidden them to usurp any kind of authority above man. How then will he suffer them to reign and have empire above realms and nations? He will never, I say, approve it, because it is a thing most repugnant to his perfect ordinance, as after shall be declared, and as the former scriptures have plainly given testimony. To the which to add anything were superfluous, were it not that the world is almost now come to that blindness, that whatsoever pleases not the princes and the multitude, the same is rejected as doctrine newly forged, and is condemned for heresy. I have therefore thought good to recite the minds of some ancient writers in the same matter, to the end that such as altogether be not blinded by the devil, may consider and understand this my judgment to be no new interpretation of God’s scriptures, but to be the uniform consent of the most part of godly writers since the time of the apostles.

[48]Tertullian, in his book of Women’s Apparel, after he has shown many causes why gorgeous apparel is abominable and odious in a woman, adds these words, speaking as it were to every woman by name: [49]”Do you not know,” says he, “that you are Eve. The sentence of God lives and is effectual against this kind; and in this world, of necessity it is, that the punishment also live. You are the port and gate of the devil. You are the first transgressor of God’s law. You did persuade and easily deceive him whom the devil durst not assault. For your merit (that is, for your death), it behooved the Son of God to suffer the death; and does it yet abide in your mind to deck you above your skin coats?”

By these and many other grave sentences and quick interrogations, did this godly writer labour to bring every woman in contemplation of herself, to the end that every one, deeply weighing what sentence God had pronounced against the whole race and daughters of Eve, might not only learn daily to humble and subject themselves in the presence of God, but also that they should avoid and abhor whatsoever thing might exalt them or puff them up in pride, or that might be occasion that they should forget the curse and malediction of God. And what, I pray you, is more able to cause a woman to forget her own condition, than if she is lifted up in authority above man? It is a very difficult thing to a man (be he never so constant) promoted to honours, not to be tickled somewhat with pride (for the wind of vain glory does easily carry up the dry dust of the earth). [50]But as for woman, it is no more possible that she, being set aloft in authority above man, shall resist the motions of pride, than it is able to the weak reed, or to the turning weathercock, not to bow or turn at the vehemence of the inconstant wind. And therefore the same writer expressly forbids all women to intermeddle with the office of man. [51]For thus he writes in his book de Viginibus Velandis: “It is not permitted to a woman to speak in the congregation, neither to teach, neither to baptize, neither to vindicate to herself any office of man.” [52]The same he speaks yet more plainly in the Preface of his sixth book written Against Marcion, where, recounting certain monstrous things which were to be seen at the Sea called Euxinum, amongst the rest, he recites this as a great monster in nature, “that women in those parts were not tamed nor abased by consideration of their own sex, but that, all shame laid apart, they made expenses upon weapons, and learned the feats of war, having more pleasure to fight than to marry and be subject to man.” Thus far of Tertullian, whose words are so plain, that they need no explanation. For he that takes from her all office appertaining to man, [and] will not suffer her to reign above man ­ and he that judges it a monster in nature that a woman shall exercise weapons ­ must judge it to be a monster of monsters that a woman shall be exalted above a whole realm and nation. Of the same mind are Origen and diverse others (whose sentences I omit to avoid prolixity), yea, even till the days of Augustine.

[53]Augustine, in his twenty-second book written Against Faustus, proves that a woman ought to serve her husband as unto God, affirming that in nothing has woman equal power with man, saving that neither of both have power over their own bodies. By which he would plainly conclude, that woman ought never to pretend nor thirst for that power and authority which are due to man. [54]For so he does explain himself in another place, affirming that woman ought to be repressed and bridled betimes, if she aspires to any dominion; alleging that it is dangerous and perilous to suffer her to proceed, although it is in temporal and corporeal things. And thereto he adds these words: “God sees not for a time, neither is there any new thing in his sight and knowledge:” meaning thereby, that what God has seen in one woman (as concerning dominion and bearing of authority) the same he sees in all; and what he has forbidden to one, the same he also forbids to all. [55]And this most evidently yet in another place he writes, moving this question, “How can woman be the image of God, seeing (says he) she is subject to man, and has none authority, neither to teach, neither to be witness, neither to judge, much less to rule or bear empire?” [56]These are the very words of Augustine, of which it is evident that this godly writer does not only agree with Tertullian, before recited, but also with the former sentence of the Law, which takes from woman not only all authority amongst men, but also every office appertaining to man.

To the question how she can be the image of God, he answers as follows: “Woman,” says he, “compared to other creatures, is the image of God, for she bears dominion over them. But compared unto man, she may not be called the image of God, for she bears not rule and lordship over man, but ought to obey him,” etc.[57] And how that woman ought to obey man, he speaks yet more clearly in these words, “The woman shall be subject to man as unto Christ. For woman,” says he, “has not her example from the body and from the flesh, that so she shall be subject to man, as the flesh is unto the Spirit, because that the flesh in the weakness and mortality of this life lusts and strives against the Spirit, and therefore would not the Holy Ghost give example of subjection to the woman of any such thing,” etc. This sentence of Augustine ought to be noted of all women, for in it he plainly affirms, that woman ought to be subject to man, that she never ought more to desire preeminence [over] him, than that she ought to desire above Christ Jesus.

With Augustine, St. Jerome agrees in every point,[58] who thus writes in his Hexaemeron: “Adam was deceived by Eve, and not Eve by Adam, and therefore it is just, that woman receive and acknowledge him for governor whom she called to sin, lest that again she slide and fall by womanly facility.” And writing upon the epistle to the Ephesians, he says, “Let women be subject to their own husbands as unto the Lord; for man is head to the woman, and Christ is head to the congregation, and he is Saviour to the body; but the congregation is subject to Christ, even so ought women to be to their husbands in all things” (Eph. 5:22-24). He proceeds further, saying, “Women are commanded to be subject to men by the law of nature, because man is the author or beginner of the woman: for as Christ is the head of the church, so is man of the woman. From Christ the church took beginning, and therefore it is subject unto him; even so did woman take beginning from man that she should be subject.” Thus we hear the agreeing of these two writers to be such, that a man might judge the one to have stolen the words and sentences from the other. And yet it is plain, that during the time of their writing, the one was far distant from the other. But the Holy Ghost, who is the Spirit of concord and unity, did so illuminate their hearts, and direct their tongues and pens, that as they did conceive and understand one truth, so did they pronounce and utter the same, leaving a testimony of their knowledge and concord to us their posterity.

If any think that all these former sentences be spoken only of the subjection of the married woman to her husband: as before I have proved the contrary by the plain words and reasoning of St. Paul, so shall I shortly do the same by other testimonies of the foresaid writers. [59]The same Ambrose, writing upon the second chapter of the first epistle to Timothy, after he has spoken much of the simple arrayment of women, he adds these words: “Woman ought not only to have simple arrayment, but all authority is to be denied unto her. For she must be in subjection to man (of whom she has taken her origin), as well in habit as in service.” And after a few words, he says, “Because that death did enter into the world by her, there is no boldness that ought to be permitted unto her, but she ought to be in humility.” Hereof it is plain, that from all [every] woman, be she married or unmarried, is all authority taken to execute any office that appertains to man. Yea, it is plain, that all [every] woman is commanded to serve, to be in humility and subjection. Which thing yet speaks the same writer more plainly in these words:[60] “It is not permitted to women to speak, but to be in silence, as the law says (1 Cor. 14:34). What says the law? ‘Unto thy husband shall thy conversion be, and he shall bear dominion over thee’ (Gen. 3:16). This is a special law,” says Ambrose, “whose sentence, lest it should be violated, infirmed, or made weak, women are commanded to be in silence.” Here he includes all women; and yet he proceeds further in the same place, saying, “It is shame for them to presume to speak of the law, in the house of the Lord,[61] who has commanded them to be subject to their men.”

But most plainly speaks he, writing upon the 16th chapter (vs. 13) of the epistle of St. Paul to the Romans, upon these words: “Salute Rufus and his mother.”[62] “For this cause,” says Ambrose, “did the apostle place Rufus before his mother, for the election of the administration of the grace of God, in the which a woman has no place. For he was chosen and promoted by the Lord to take care over his business, that is, over the church, to which office his mother could not be appointed, albeit she was a woman so holy that the apostle called her his mother.” Hereof it is plain, that the administration of the grace of God is denied to all [every] woman. By the administration of God’s grace, is understood not only the preaching of the word and administration of the sacraments, by the which the grace of God is presented and ordinarily distributed unto man, but also the administration of civil justice, by the which virtue ought to be maintained, and vices punished. The execution whereof is no less denied to woman, than is the preaching of the evangel, or administration of the sacraments, as hereafter shall most plainly appear.

Chrysostom, amongst the Greek writers of no small credit, speaking in rebuke of men, who in his days were become inferior to some women in wit and in godliness, says, [63]”For this cause was woman put under your power (he speaks to man in general), and you were pronounced lord over her, that she should obey you, and that the head should not follow the feet. But often it is, that we see the contrary, that he who in his order ought to be the head, does not keep the order of the feet (that is, does not rule the feet), [64]and that she that is in place of the foot is constituted to be the head.” He speaks these words, as it were, in admiration [astonishment] that man was become so brutish, that he did not consider it to be a thing most monstrous that woman should be preferred to man in anything, whom God had subjected to man in all things.

He proceeds, saying, “Nevertheless, it is the part of man, with diligent care, to repel the woman that gives him wicked counsel; and woman, which gave that pestilent counsel to man, ought at all times to have the punishment which was given to Eve sounding in her ears.” And in another place,[65] he induces [brings in] God speaking to the woman in this sort: “Because you left him, of whose nature you were participant, and for whom you were formed, and have had pleasure to have familiarity with that wicked beast, and would take his counsel; [66]therefore I subject you to man, and I appoint and affirm him to be your lord, that you may acknowledge his dominion; and because you could not bear rule, learn well to be ruled.” Why they should not bear rule, he declares in other places, saying, “Womankind is imprudent and soft (or flexible): imprudent, because she cannot consider with wisdom and reason the things which she hears and sees; and soft she is, because she is easily bowed.”[67] I know that Chrysostom brings in these words, to declare the cause why false prophets do commonly deceive women, because they are easily persuaded to any opinion, especially if it be against God; and because they lack prudence and right reason to judge the things that are spoken. But hereof may their nature be espied, and the vices of the same, which in no wise ought to be in those that are appointed to govern others. [68]For they ought to be constant, stable, prudent, and doing everything with discretion and reason, which virtues women cannot have in equality with men. For that he does witness in another place, saying, “Women have in themselves a tickling and study of vain glory; and that they may have in common with men. They are suddenly moved to anger; and that they have also common with some men. [69]But virtues in which they excel, they have not common with man; and therefore has the apostle removed them from the office of teaching, which is an evident proof that in virtue they far differ from man.”

Let the reasons of this writer be marked, for further he yet proceeds, after that he has in many words lamented the effeminate manners of men, who were so far degenerated to the weakness of woman, that some might have demanded, “Why may not women teach amongst such a sort of men, who in wisdom and godliness are become inferior unto women?” He finally concludes, “That not withstanding that men be degenerate, yet may not women usurp any authority above them.” [70]And in the end he adds these words, “These things I do not speak to extol them (that is women), but to the confusion and shame of ourselves, and to admonish us to take again the dominion that is meet and convenient for us; not only that power which is according to the excellency of dignity, but that which is according to providence, and according to help and virtue; for then is the body in best proportion when is has the best governor.”

O that both man and woman should consider the profound counsel and admonition of this father! He would not that man for appetite of any vain glory should desire preeminence above woman. For God has not made man to be head for any such cause, but having respect to that weakness and imperfection which always lets [hinders] woman to govern. He has ordained man to be superior; and that Chrysostom means, saying, “Then is the body in best proportion when it has the best governor. But woman can never be the best governor, by reason that she, being spoiled [deprived] of the spirit of regiment, can never attain to that degree to be called or judged a good governor; because in the nature of all [every] woman lurks such vices as in good governors are not tolerable.”[71] Which the same writer expresses in these words, “Womankind,” says he, “is rash and fool-hardy; and their covetousness is like the gulf of hell, that is insatiable.”[72] And therefore in another place, he wills that woman shall have nothing to do in judgment, in common affairs, or in the regiment of the commonwealth (because she is impatient of troubles), but that she shall live in tranquility and quietness. And if she has occasion to go from the house, that yet she shall have no matter of trouble, neither to follow her, neither to be offered unto her, as commonly there must be to such as bear authority.

And with Chrysostom fully agrees Basilius Magnus, in a sermon which he makes upon some places of scripture,[73] wherein he reproves diverse vices; and amongst the rest, he affirms woman to be a tender creature, flexible, soft, and pitiful; which nature God has given unto her, that she may be apt to nourish children. The which facility of the woman did Satan abuse, and thereby brought her from the obedience of God. And, therefore, in diverse other places does he conclude that she is not apt to bear rule, and that she is forbidden to teach.

Innumerable more testimonies of all sorts of writers may be adduced for the same purpose, but with these I stand content; judging it sufficient, to stop the mouth of such as accuse and condemn all doctrine as heretical which displeases them in any point, that I have proved by the determinations and laws of men illuminated only by the light of nature, by the order of God’s creation, by the curse and malediction pronounced against woman by the mouth of St. Paul, who is the interpreter of God’s sentence and law, and finally, by the minds of those writers who, in the church of God, have been always held in greatest reverence: that it is a thing most repugnant to nature, to God’s will and appointed ordinance (yea, that it cannot be without contumely [insult] committed against God), that a woman should be promoted to dominion or empire, to reign over man, be it in realm, nation, province, or city. Now rests it in a few words to be shown that the same empire of women is the subversion of good order, equity and justice.

[The Empire of Women is Subversive

of Good Order, Equity and Justice]

Augustine defines order to be that thing by the which God has appointed and ordained all things.[74] Note well, reader, that Augustine will admit no order where God’s appointment is absent and lacking. And in another place he says, “that order is a disposition, giving their own proper places to things that are unequal,” which he terms in Latin, parium et disparium, that is, of things equal or like, and things unequal or unlike.[75] Of which two places, and of the whole disputation (which is contained in his second book De Ordine),[76] it is evident that whatsoever is done either without the assurance of God’s will, or else against his will manifestly revealed in his word, is done against all order. But such is the empire and regiment of all women (as evidently before is declared); and therefore, I say, it is a thing plainly repugnant to good order: yea, it is the subversion of the same.

If any list to reject the definition of Augustine, as either not proper to this purpose, or else as insufficient to prove my intent, let the same man understand, that in so doing he has infirmed my argument nothing. For as I depend not upon the determinations of men, so I think my cause no weaker, albeit their authority is denied unto me; provided that God by his revealed will, and manifest word, stands plain and evident on my side.

That God has subjected womankind to man, by the order of his creation, and by the curse that he has pronounced against her, is declared before. [77]Besides these, he has set before our eyes two other mirrors and glasses, in which he wills that we should behold the order which he has appointed and established in nature: the one is the natural body of man; the other is the politic or civil body of that commonwealth, in which God by his own word has appointed an order. In the natural body of man, God has appointed an order that the head shall occupy the uppermost place; and the head he has joined with the body, that from it life and motion do flow to the rest of the members. In it he has placed the eye to see, the ear to hear, and the tongue to speak, which offices are appointed to none other member of the body. The rest of the members have every one their own place and office appointed, but none may have neither the place nor office of the head. For who would not judge that body to be a monster, where there was no head eminent above the rest, but that the eyes were in the hands, the tongue and the mouth beneath in the belly, and the ears in the feet? Men, I say, should not only pronounce this body to be a monster, but assuredly they might conclude that such a body could not long endure. [78]And no less monstrous is the body of that commonwealth where a woman bears empire; for either it does lack a lawful head (as in very deed it does), or else there is an idol exalted in the place of the true head.

[79]I call that an idol which has the form and appearance, but lacks the virtue and strength which the name and proportion do resemble and promise. As images have face, nose, eyes, mouth, hands, and feet painted, but the use of the same cannot the craft and art of man give them, as the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David teaches us, saying, “They have eyes, but they see not; mouth, but they speak not; nose, but they smell not; hands and feet, but they neither touch nor have power to go” (Ps. 115:5-7). [80]And such, I say, is every realm and nation where a woman bears dominion. For in despite of God (he of his just judgment so giving them over to a reprobate mind) may a realm, I confess, exalt up a woman to that monstiferous honour, to be esteemed as head. But impossible it is to man and angel to give unto her the properties and perfect offices of a lawful head; for the same God that has denied power to the hand to speak, to the belly to hear, and to the feet to see, has denied to woman power to command man, and has taken away wisdom to consider, and providence to foresee, the things that are profitable to the commonwealth: yea, finally, he has denied to her in any case to be head to a man, but plainly has pronounced that “man is head to woman, even as Christ is head to all man [every man]” (1 Cor. 11:3).

If men in a blind rage should assemble together, and appoint themselves another head than Christ Jesus (as the Papists have done their Romish Antichrist), should Christ therefore lose his own dignity, or should God give to that counterfeit head power to give life to the body, to see whatsoever might endanger or hurt it, or to speak in defence, and to hear the request of every subject? It is certain that he would not. For that honour he has appointed before all times to his only Son; and the same will he give to no creature besides. [81]No more will he admit nor accept woman to be the lawful head over man, although man, devil, or angel will conjure in their favour. For seeing he has subjected her to one (as before is said), he will never permit her to reign over many. Seeing he has commanded her to hear and obey one, he will not suffer that she speak, and with usurped authority command realms and nations.

Chrysostom, explaining these words of the apostle (1 Cor. 11:3), “The head of woman is man,” compares God in his universal regiment to a king sitting in his royal majesty, to whom all his subjects, commanded to give homage and obedience, appear before him, bearing every one such a badge and cognizance of dignity and honour as he has given to them; which if they despise and contemn, then do they dishonour their king. “Even so,” says he, “ought man and woman to appear before God, bearing the ensigns of the condition which they have received of him. Man has received a certain glory and dignity above the woman; and therefore ought he to appear before his high Majesty bearing the sign of his honour, having no cover upon his head, to witness that in earth man has no head.”[82] Beware Chrysostom what you say! [83]You shall be reputed a traitor if Englishmen hear you, for they must have my sovereign lady and mistress; and Scotland has drunken also the enchantment and venom of Circe[84] ­ let it be so to their own shame and confusion.

[85]He proceeds in these words, “But woman ought to be covered, to witness that in earth she had a head, that is man.” True it is, Chrysostom, woman is covered in both the said realms, but it is not with the sign of subjection, but it is with the sign of superiority: to wit, with the royal crown. To that he answers in these words: “What if man neglects his honour? He is no less to be mocked,” says Chrysostom, “than if a king should depose himself of his diadem or crown and royal estate, and clothe himself in the habit of a slave.” What, I pray you, should this godly father have said, if he had seen all the men of a realm or nation fall down before a woman? If he had seen the crown, scepter, and sword, which are ensigns of the royal dignity given to her, and a woman cursed of God, and made subject to man, placed in the throne of justice to sit as God’s lieutenant? What, I say, in this behalf, should any heart unfeignedly fearing God have judged of such men? I am assured that not only should they have been judged foolish, but also enraged and slaves to Satan, manifestly fighting against God and his appointed order.

The more that I consider the subversion of God’s order, which he has placed generally in all living things, the more I do wonder at the blindness of man, who does not consider himself in this case so degenerate, [86]that the brute beasts are to be preferred unto him in this behalf. For nature has in all beasts printed a certain mark of dominion in the male, and a certain subjection in the female, which they keep inviolate. For no man ever saw the lion make obedience, and stoop before the lioness; neither yet can it be proved that the hind takes the conducting of the herd amongst the harts. And yet (alas!) man, who by the mouth of God has dominion appointed to him over woman, does not only to his own shame stoop under the obedience of women, but also, in despite of God and of his appointed order, rejoices and maintains that monstrous authority as a thing lawful and just. [87]The insolent joy, the bonfires and banqueting, which were in London, and elsewhere in England, when that cursed Jezebel was proclaimed queen, did witness to my heart that men were become more than enraged; for else how could they have so rejoiced at their own confusion and certain destruction? For what man was there of so base judgment (supposing that he had any light of God), who did not see the erecting of that monster to be the overthrow of true religion, and the assured destruction of England, and of the ancient liberties thereof? And yet, nevertheless, all men so triumphed, as if God had delivered them from all calamity.

“But just and righteous, terrible and fearful, are thy judgments, O Lord! For as sometimes thou didst so punish men for unthankfulness ­ that man shamed not to commit villainy with man, and that because, knowing thee to be God, they glorified thee not as God (Rom. 1:21-22) ­ even so hast thou most justly now punished the proud rebellion and horrible ingratitude of the realms of England and Scotland. For when thou didst offer thyself most mercifully to them both, offering the means by which they might have been joined together for ever in godly concord, then was the one proud and cruel, and the other inconstant and fickle of promise.

“But yet (alas!) did miserable England further rebel against thee. For albeit thou didst not cease to heap benefit upon benefit during the reign of an innocent and tender king, yet no man did acknowledge thy potent hand and marvellous working. [88]The stout courage of captains, the wit and policy of counsellors, the learning of bishops, did rob thee of thy glory and honour. For what then was heard as concerning religion, but ‘the king’s proceedings, the king’s proceedings must be obeyed? It is enacted by Parliament, therefore it is treason to speak in the contrary.’

“But this was not the end of this miserable tragedy. [89]For thou didst yet proceed to offer thy favours, sending thy prophets and messengers to call for reformation of life in all estates. For even from the highest to the lowest, all were declined from thee (yea, even those that should have been the lanterns to others). Some, I am assured, did quake and tremble, and from the bottom of their hearts thirsted amendment, and for the same purpose did earnestly call for discipline. But then burst forth the venom which before lurked; then might they not contain their despiteful voices, but with open mouths did cry, ‘We will not have such a one to reign over us.’ Then, I say, was every man so stout that he would not be brought in bondage; no, not to thee, O Lord, but with disdain did the multitude cast from them the amiable yoke of Christ Jesus. [90]No man would suffer his sin to be rebuked; no man would have his life called to trial. And thus did they refuse thee, O Lord, and thy Son Christ Jesus to be their pastor, protector, and prince. And therefore hast thou given them over to a reprobate mind. [91]Thou hast taken from them the spirit of boldness, of wisdom, and of righteous judgment. They see their own destruction, and yet they have no grace to avoid it. Yea, they are become so blind that, knowing the pit, they headlong cast themselves into the same, as the nobility of England do this day, fighting in the defence of their mortal enemy, the Spaniard.

“Finally, they are so destitute of understanding and judgment, that although they know that there is a liberty and freedom which their predecessors have enjoyed, yet are they compelled to bow their necks under the yoke of Satan, and of his proud mistress, pestilent Papists and proud Spaniards. And yet they cannot consider, that where a woman reigns and Papists bear authority, that there Satan must needs be president of the council. Thus hast thou, O Lord, in thy hot displeasure, revenged the contempt of thy graces offered.

[92]”But, O Lord, if thou shalt retain wrath to the end, what flesh is able to sustain? We have sinned, O Lord, and are not worthy to be relieved. But worthy art thou, O Lord, to be a true God, and worthy is thy Son Christ Jesus to have his evangel and glory advanced, which both are trodden under foot in this cruel murder and persecution, which the builders of Babylon commit in their fury, [and] have raised against thy children for the establishing of their kingdom. Let the sobs therefore of thy prisoners, O Lord, pass up to thine ears; consider their affliction; and let the eyes of thy mercy look down upon the blood of such as die for testimony of thy eternal verity; and let not thine enemies mock thy judgment for ever. To thee, O Lord, I turn my wretched and wicked heart; to thee alone I direct my complaint and groans; for in that isle to thy saints is left no comfort.”

Albeit I have thus (talking with my God in the anguish of my heart) somewhat digressed, yet I have not utterly forgotten my former proposition: to wit, that it is a thing repugnant to the order of nature that any woman be exalted to rule over men. For God has denied unto her the office of a head. And in the treating of this part, I remember that I have made the nobility both of England and Scotland inferior to brute beasts, for they do to women that which no male amongst the common sort of beasts can be proved to do to their female: that is, they reverence them, and quake at their presence; they obey their commandments, and that against God. Wherefore I judge them not only subjects to women, but slaves of Satan, and servants of iniquity.

If any man thinks these my words sharp or vehement, let him consider that the offence is more heinous than can be expressed by words. For where all things are expressly concluded against the glory and honour of God, and where the blood of the saints of God is commanded to be shed, whom shall we judge, God or the devil, to be president of that council? [93]Plain it is, that God rules not by his love, mercy, nor grace in the assembly of the ungodly; then it rests that the devil, the prince of this world, does reign over such tyrants. Whose servants, I pray you, shall they be judged such as obey and execute their tyranny? God, for his great mercies’ sake, illuminate the eyes of men, that they may perceive into what miserable bondage they are brought by the monstiferous empire of women!

[94]The second glass which God has set before the eyes of man, wherein he may behold the order which pleases his wisdom (concerning authority and dominion) is that commonwealth to which it pleased his Majesty to appoint and give laws, statutes, rites, and ceremonies, not only concerning religion, but also touching their policy and regiment of the same. And against that order it does manifestly repugn, that any woman shall occupy the throne of God: that is, the royal seat which he by his word has appointed to man; as is evident, in giving the law to Israel, concerning the election of a king. For thus it is written, “If thou shalt say, ‘I will appoint a king above me, as the rest of the nations which are about me;’ thou shalt make thee a king, whom the Lord thy God shall choose: one from amongst the midst of thy brethren thou shalt appoint king above thee. Thou mayest not make a stranger, that is not thy brother” (Deut. 17:14-15). Here expressly is a man appointed to be chosen king, and a man native amongst themselves; by which precept are all women and all strangers excluded.

What may be objected for the part or election of a stranger shall be, God willing, answered in The Blast of the Second Trumpet. For this present [time], I say, that the erecting of a woman to that honour is not only to invert the order which God has established, but also it is to defile, pollute, and profane (so far as in man lies) the throne and seat of God, [95]which he has sanctified and appointed for man only, in the course of this wretched life, to occupy and possess as his minister and lieutenant, excluding from the same all women, as before is expressed.

[96]If any thinks that the fore written law did bind the Jews only, let the same man consider that the election of a king and appointing of judges did neither appertain to the ceremonial law,[97] neither yet was it merely judicial; but that it did flow from the moral law, as an ordinance having respect to the conservation of both the tables. For the office of the magistrate ought to have the first and chief respect to the glory of God, commanded and contained in the former table, as is evident by that which was enjoined to Joshua, what time he was accepted and admitted ruler and governor over his people, in these words: “Thou shalt divide the inheritance to this people, the which I have sworn to their fathers to give unto them; so that thou be valiant and strong, that thou mayest keep and do according to that holy law, which my servant Moses hast commanded thee. Thou shalt not decline from it, neither to the right hand, neither to the left hand, that thou mayest do prudently in all things that thou takest in hand. [98]Let not the book of this law depart from thy mouth; but meditate in it day and night, that thou mayest keep and do according to everything that is written in it. For then shall thy ways prosper, and then shalt thou do prudently,” etc. (Josh. 1:1-9).

And God gives the same precept by the mouth of Moses to kings, after they are elected, in these words: “When he shall sit in the throne, or seat of his kingdom, he shall write to himself a copy of this law in a book. And that shall be with him, that he may read in it all the days of his life; that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law, and all these statutes, that he may do them,”etc. (Deut. 17:18-20). Of these two places it is evident, that principally it appertains to the king, or to the chief magistrate, to know the will of God, to be instructed in his law and statutes, and to promote his glory with his whole heart and study, which are the chief points of the first table.

No man denies, but that the sword is committed to the magistrate, to the end that he should punish vice and maintain virtue. [99]To punish vice, I say: not only that which troubles the tranquillity and quiet estate of the commonwealth (by adultery, theft, or murder committed), but also such vices as openly impugn the glory of God, as idolatry, blasphemy, and manifest heresy, taught and obstinately maintained, as the histories and notable acts of Hezekiah, Jehoshaphat, and Josiah do plainly teach us; whose study and care was not only to glorify God in their own life and conversation, but also they unfeignedly did travail to bring their subjects to the true worshipping and honouring of God; and did destroy all monuments of idolatry, did punish to death the teachers of it, and removed from office and honours such as were maintainers of those abominations. Whereby, I suppose, that it is evident, that the office of the king, or supreme magistrate, has respect to the moral law, and to the conservation of both the tables.

[100]Now, if the moral law is the constant and unchangeable will of God, to which the Gentile is no less bound than was the Jew; and if God wills, that amongst the Gentiles the ministers and executors of his law be now appointed, as sometimes they were appointed amongst the Jews; further, if the execution of justice is no less requisite in the policy of the Gentiles, than ever it was amongst the Jews; what man can be so foolish to suppose or believe, that God will now admit those persons to sit in judgment, or to reign over men in the commonwealth of the Gentiles, whom he by his expressed word and ordinance did before debar and exclude from the same? And that women were excluded from the royal seat, the which ought to be the sanctuary to all poor afflicted, and therefore is justly called the seat of God (besides the place before recited of the election of a king, and besides the places of the New Testament, which are most evident), the order and election which were kept in Judah and Israel do manifestly declare. [101]For when the males of the kingly stock failed, as oft as it chanced in Israel, and sometimes in Judah, it never entered into the hearts of the people to choose and promote to honours any of the king’s daughters (had he never so many); but knowing God’s vengeance to be poured forth upon the father by the taking away of his sons, they had no further respect to his stock, but elected such one man or other as they judged most apt for that honour and authority. Of which premises, I conclude (as before) that to promote a woman head over men is repugnant to nature, and a thing most contrary to that order which God has approved in that commonwealth which he did institute and rule by his word.

But now to the last point: to wit, that the empire of a woman is a thing repugnant to justice, and the destruction of every commonwealth where it is received. In probation [proof] whereof, because the matter is more than evident, I will use few words.

[102]First, I say, if justice is a constant and perpetual will to give to every person their own right (as the most learned in all ages have defined it to be), then to give, or to will to give, to any person that which is not their right, must repugn to justice. But to reign above man can never be the right to woman, because it is a thing denied unto her by God, as is before declared. Therefore, to promote her to that estate or dignity can be nothing else but repugnancy to justice. If I should speak no more, this were sufficient. For except that either they can improve the definition of justice, or else that they can entreat God to revoke and call back his sentence pronounced against woman, they shall be compelled to admit my conclusion.

If any find fault with justice as it is defined, he may well accuse others, but me he shall not hurt, for I have the shield, the weapon, and the warrant of him, who assuredly will defend this quarrel; and he commands me to cry: [103]”Whatsoever repugns to the will of God, expressed in his most sacred word, repugns to justice; but that women have authority over men, repugns to the will of God expressed in his word; and therefore my Author commands me to conclude, without fear, that all such authority repugns to justice.” The first part of the argument, I trust, neither Jew nor Gentile dare deny; [104]for it is a principle not only universally confessed, but also so deeply printed in the heart of man, be his nature never so corrupted, that whether he will or not, he is compelled at one time or other to acknowledge and confess that justice is violated when things are done against the will of God, expressed by his word. And to this confession the reprobate are no less co-acted and constrained, than are the children of God, albeit to a diverse end.

The elect, with displeasure of their fact, confess their offence, having access to grace and mercy, as did Adam, David, Peter, and all other penitent offenders. [105]But the reprobate, notwithstanding they are compelled to acknowledge the will of God to be just, the which they have offended, yet are they never inwardly displeased with their iniquity, but rage, complain, and storm against God, whose vengeance they cannot escape ­ as did Cain, Judas, Herod, Julian [called] the Apostate, yea, Jezebel and Athaliah (Gen. 4:9-12; Matt. 27:3-5). For Cain no doubt was convicted in conscience that he had done against justice in [the] murdering of his brother. Judas did confess openly before the high priest that he had sinned in betraying innocent blood. Herod, being stricken by the angel, did mock those his flatterers, saying unto them, “Behold your God” (meaning himself) “cannot now preserve himself from corruption and worms.” Julian was compelled in the end to cry, “O, Galilean!” (so always in contempt did he name our Saviour Jesus Christ) “thou hast now overcome.” And who doubts but Jezebel and Athaliah, before their miserable end, were convicted in their cankered consciences to acknowledge that the murder which they had committed, and the empire which the one had usurped six years, were repugnant to justice? [106]Even so they shall, I doubt not, which this day do possess and maintain that monstiferous authority of women, shortly be compelled to acknowledge that their studies and devices have been bent against God, and that all such authority as women have usurped repugns to justice; because, as I have said, it repugns to the will of God expressed in his sacred word.

And if any man doubts hereof, let him mark well the words of the apostle, saying, “I permit not a woman to teach, neither yet to usurp authority above man” (1 Tim. 2:12). No man, I trust, will deny these words of the apostle to be the will of God expressed in his word; and he says openly, “I permit not,” etc., which is as much as “I will not,” that a woman have authority, charge, or power over man; for so much imports the Greek word authentein in that place. Now, let man and angel conspire against God; let them pronounce their laws, and say, “We will suffer women to bear authority: who then can depose them?” Yet shall this one word of the eternal God, spoken by the mouth of a weak man, thrust them every one into hell (Rev. 2:20-23). Jezebel may for a time sleep quietly in the bed of her fornication and whoredom; she may teach and deceive for a season; but neither shall she preserve herself, neither yet her adulterous children, from great affliction, and from the sword of God’s vengeance, which shall shortly apprehend such works of iniquity. The admonition I defer to the end.

Here I might bring in the oppression and injustice which is committed against realms and nations, which sometimes lived free, and now are brought in bondage of foreign nations by the reason of this monstiferous authority and empire of women. But that I delay till better opportunity. And now I think it expedient to answer such objections as carnal and worldly men, yea, men ignorant of God, use to make for maintenance of this tyranny (authority it is not worthy to be called) and most unjust empire of woman.

[Common Objections Answered]

[107]First, they do object the examples of Deborah, and of Huldah, the prophetesses, of whom the one judged Israel, and the other, by all appearance, did teach and exhort (Judges 4; 2 Chron. 34:20-28).

Secondarily, they do object the law made by Moses for the daughters of Zelophehad (Num. 27:1-12).

Thirdly, the consent of the estates of such realms as have approved the empire and regiment of women.

And last, the long custom which has received the regiment of women, their valiant acts and prosperity, together with some papistical laws which have confirmed the same.

[108]To the first I answer, that particular examples do establish no common law. The causes were known to God alone, why he took the spirit of wisdom and force from all men of those ages; and did so mightily assist women against nature, and against his ordinary course; that the one he made a deliverer to his afflicted people Israel, and to the other he gave not only perseverance in the true religion, when the most part of men had declined from the same, but also to her he gave the spirit of prophecy, to assure King Josiah of the things which were to come. With these women, I say, did God work potently and miraculously; yea, to them he gave most singular grace and privilege.

But who has commanded that a public, yea, a tyrannical and most wicked law be established upon these examples? [109]The men that object the same are not altogether ignorant that examples have no strength when the question is of law. As if I should ask, “What marriage is lawful.” And it should be answered, “that lawful it is to man not only to have many wives at once, but also it is lawful to marry two sisters, and to enjoy them both living at once, because David, Jacob, and Solomon, servants of God, did the same.” I trust that no man would justify the vanity of this reason. Or if the question were demanded, if a Christian, with a good conscience, may defraud, steal, or deceive? And [an] answer were made, that so he might, by the example of the Israelites, who, at God’s commandment, deceived the Egyptians, and spoiled them of their garments, gold, and silver: I think likewise this reason should be mocked.

And what greater force, I pray you, has the former argument: Deborah did rule Israel, and Huldah spoke prophecy in Judah; ergo, it is lawful for women to reign above realms and nations, or to teach in the presence of men. The consequent is vain, and of none effect. [110]For of examples, as is before declared, we may establish no law; but we are always bound to the written law, and to the commandment expressed in the same. And the law written and pronounced by God forbids no less that any woman reign over man, than it forbids man to take plurality of wives, to marry two sisters living at once, to steal, to rob, to murder, or to lie. If any of these has been transgressed, and yet God has not imputed the same, it makes not the like fact or deed lawful unto us. For God (being free) may, for such causes as are approved by his inscrutable wisdom, dispense with the rigour of his law, and may use his creatures at his pleasure. But the same power is not permitted to man, whom he has made subject to his law, and not to the examples of fathers. And this I think sufficient to the reasonable and moderate spirits.

But to repress the raging of woman’s madness, I will descend somewhat deeper into the matter; and not fear to affirm, that as we find a contrary spirit in all these most wicked women (that this day are exalted in to this tyrannical authority) to the spirit that was in those godly matrons; so, I say, [111]I fear not to affirm, that their condition is unlike, and that their end shall be diverse. In those matrons, we find that the spirit of mercy, truth, justice, and of humility did reign. Under them we find that God did show mercy to his people, delivering them from the tyranny of strangers, and from the venom of idolatry, by the hands and counsel of those women. But in these of our ages, we find cruelty, falsehood, pride, covetousness, deceit, and oppression. In them we also find the spirit of Jezebel and Athaliah; under them we find the simple people oppressed, the true religion extinguished, and the blood of Christ’s members most cruelly shed; and, finally, by their practices and deceit, we find ancient realms and nations given and betrayed into the hands of strangers, the titles and liberties of them taken from the just possessors. [112]Which one thing is an evident testimony, how unlike our mischievous Marys be unto Deborah, under whom were strangers chased out of Israel, God so raising her up to be a mother and deliverer to his oppressed people. But (alas!) he has raised up these Jezebels to be the uttermost of his plagues, the which man’s unthankfulness has long deserved. But his secret and most just judgment shall neither excuse them, neither their maintainers, because their counsels are diverse.

But to prosecute my purpose, let such as list to defend these monsters in their tyranny prove, first, that their sovereign mistresses are like Deborah in godliness and piety; and secondarily, that the same success does follow their tyranny, which did follow the extraordinary regiment of that godly matron. [113]Which thing, although they were able to do (as they never shall be, let them blow till they burst), yet shall her example profit them nothing at all. [114]For they are never able to prove that either Deborah, or any other godly woman (having commendation of the Holy Ghost within the scriptures), has usurped authority above any realm or nation by reason of her birth and blood; neither yet did they claim it by right or inheritance; but God by his singular privilege, favour, and grace, exempted Deborah from the common malediction given to women in that behalf; and against nature he made her prudent in counsel, strong in courage, happy in regiment, and a blessed mother and deliverer to his people. [115]The which he did, partly to advance and notify the power of his majesty, as well to his enemies as to his own people, in that he declared himself able to give salvation and deliverance by means of the most weak vessels; and partly he did it to confound and shame all men of that age, because they had for the most part declined from his true obedience. And therefore was the spirit of courage, regiment, and boldness taken from them for a time, to their confusion and further humiliation.

But what makes this for Mary and her match Philip? One thing I would ask of such as depend upon the example of Deborah, whether she was widow or wife when she judged Israel, and when God gave that notable victory to his people under her? If they answer she was a widow, I would lay against them the testimony of the Holy Ghost, witnessing that she was wife to Lapidoth (Judges 4:4). And if they will shift and allege that she might be called so, notwithstanding that her husband was dead: I urge them further, that they are not able to prove it to be any common phrase or manner of speech in the scriptures, that a woman shall be called the wife of a dead man, except that there be some note added, whereby it may be known that her husband is departed, as is witnessed of Anna (Luke 2:36-37). But in this place of the Judges, there is no note added that her husband should be dead, but rather the contrary expressed. For the text says, “In that time a woman named Deborah, a prophetess, wife of Lapidoth, judged Israel” (Judges 4:4). [116]The Holy Ghost plainly speaks, that what time she judged Israel, she was wife of Lapidoth. If she was his wife, and if she ruled all alone in Israel, then I ask, “Why did she not prefer her husband to that honour to be captain, and to be leader to the host of the Lord?” If any think that it was her husband, the text proves the contrary; for it affirms that Barak, of the tribe of Naphtali, was appointed to that office. If Barak had been her husband, to what purpose should the Holy Ghost so diligently have noted the tribe, and another name than was expressed before? Yea, to what purpose should it be noted that she sent and called him?

Whereof I doubt not but that every reasonable man does consider, that this Barak was not her husband; and thereof, likewise, it is evident, that her judgment and government in Israel was no such usurped power as our queens unjustly possess this day; but that it was a spirit of prophecy which rested upon her, what time the multitude of the people had wrought wickedly in the eyes of the Lord; [117]by which spirit she did rebuke the idolatry and iniquity of the people, exhort them to repentance, and, in the end, did bring them this comfort, that God should deliver them from the bondage and thralldom of their enemies. And this she might do, notwithstanding that another did occupy the place of the supreme magistrate (if [there] was any in those days in Israel), for so I find did Huldah, the wife of Shallum, in the days of Josiah, king of Judah, speak prophecy and comfort the king (2 Kings 22:14); and yet he resigned to her neither the scepter nor the sword.

That this our interpretation, how that Deborah did judge in Israel, is the true meaning of the Holy Ghost, the pondering and weighing of the history shall manifestly prove. When she sends for Barak, I pray you, in whose name gives she him his charge? [118]Does she speak to him as kings and princes use to speak to their subjects in such cases? No, but she speaks as she that had a special revelation from God, which neither was known to Barak, nor to the people, saying, “Hath not the Lord God of Israel commanded thee?” This is her preface, by the which she would stir up the dull senses of Barak and of the people, willing to persuade unto them, that the time was come when God would show himself their protector and deliverer; in which preface, she usurps to herself neither power nor authority. For she says not, “I, being your princess, your mistress, your sovereign lady and queen, command you upon your allegiance, and under pain of treason, to go and gather an army.” No, she spoils herself of all power to command, attributing that authority to God, of whom she had her revelation and certitude to appoint Barak captain, which appears more plainly after. For when she had declared to him the whole counsel of God, appointing unto him as well the number of soldiers, as the tribes out of which they should be gathered; and when she had appointed the place of battle (which she could not have done but by special revelation from God), and had assured him of victory in the name of God; and yet that he fainted, and openly refused to enter in to that journey, except that the prophetess would accompany him; she did use against him no external power, she did not threaten him with rebellion and death. But for assurance of his faint heart and weak conscience, being content to go with him, she pronounces, that the glory should not be his in that journey, but that the Lord should sell Siserah into the hand of a woman.

Such as have more pleasure in light than in darkness may clearly perceive that Deborah did usurp no such power nor authority as our queens do this day claim; but that she was endued with the spirit of wisdom, of knowledge, and of the true fear of God, and by the same she judged the facts of the rest of the people. She rebuked their defection and idolatry, yea, and also did redress to her power their injuries that were done by man to man. But all this, I say, she did by the spiritual sword, that is, by the word of God, and not by any temporal regiment or authority which she did usurp over Israel: in which, I suppose, at that time there was no lawful magistrate, by the reason of their great affliction. For so witnesses the history, saying, “And Ehud being dead, the Lord sold Israel into the hand of Jabin, king of Canaan;” and he by Siserah his captain afflicted Israel greatly the space of twenty years. And Deborah herself, in her song of thanksgiving, confesses that before she did arise mother in Israel, and in the days of Jael, there was nothing but confusion and trouble.

[119]If any stick to the term, alleging that the Holy Ghost says “that she judged Israel,” let them understand that neither does the Hebrew word, neither yet the Latin, always signify civil judgment, or the execution of the temporal sword; but most commonly [it] is taken in the sense which we have before expressed. For of Christ it is said, “He shall judge many nations,” and that, “He shall pronounce judgment to the Gentiles” (Isa. 2:4; 42:1; Micah 4:2-3) and yet it is evident that he was no minister of the temporal sword. God commanded Jerusalem and Judah to judge betwixt him and his vineyard (Isa. 5:3), and yet he appointed not them all to be civil magistrates.

To Ezekiel it is said, “Shalt thou not judge them, son of man?” And after, “Thou son of man, shalt thou not judge? Shalt thou not judge, I say, the city of blood?” And also, “Behold, I shall judge betwixt beast and beast” (Ezek. 20:4; 22:2; 34:17, 20). And such places, in great number, are to be found throughout the holy scriptures. And yet I trust no man will be so foolish as to think, that any of the prophets were appointed by God to be political judges, or to punish the sins of man by corporeal punishment. No, the manner of their judgment is expressed in these words: “Declare to them all their abominations; and thou shalt say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “A city shedding blood in the midst of her, that her time may approach, and which hath made idols against herself that she might be polluted; thou hast transgressed in the blood which thou hast shed; and thou are polluted in the idols which thou hast made”‘” (Ezek. 22:2-4).

Thus, I say, do the prophets of God judge, pronouncing the sentence of God against malefactors. And so I doubt not but Deborah judged, what time Israel had declined from God, rebuking their defection, and exhorting them to repentance, without usurpation of any civil authority. [120]And if the people gave unto her for a time any reverence or honour, as her godliness and happy counsel did well deserve, yet was it no such empire as our monsters claim; for which of her sons or nearest kinsmen left she ruler and judge in Israel after her? The Holy Ghost expresses no such thing; whereof it is evident, that by her example God offers no occasion to establish any regiment of women above men, realms, and nations.

[121]But now to the second objection, in which women require (as to them appears) nothing but equity and justice, whilst they, and their patrons for them, require dominion and empire above men. For this is their question: “Is it not lawful that women have their right and inheritance, like as the daughters of Zelophehad were commanded by the mouth of Moses, to have their portion of ground in their tribe?”

I answer, it is not only lawful that women possess their inheritance, but I affirm also that justice and equity require that so they do. [122]But therewith I add that which gladly they list not understand, that to bear rule or authority over man can never be right nor inheritance to woman; for that can never be just inheritance to any person which God by his word has plainly denied unto them. But to all women has God denied authority above man, as most manifestly is before declared; therefore to her it can never be inheritance. And thus must the advocates of our ladies provide some better example and stronger argument, for the law made in favour of the daughters of Zelophehad will serve them nothing.

[123]And assuredly great wonder it is, that in so great light of God’s truth, men list to grope and wander in darkness. For let them speak of conscience, if the petition of any of these forenamed women was to reign over any one tribe, yea, or yet over any one man within Israel. Plain it is they did not, but only required that they might have a portion of ground among the men of their tribe, lest that the name of their father should be abolished. And this was granted unto them without respect to any civil regiment. And what makes this, I pray you, for the establishing of this monstrous empire of women? [124]The question is not, if women may not succeed to possession, substance, patrimony, or inheritance, such as fathers may leave to their children; for that I willingly grant. But the question is, if women may succeed to their fathers in offices, and chiefly to that office, the executor whereof does occupy the place and throne of God. And that I absolutely deny, and fear not to say, that to place a woman in authority above a realm is to pollute and profane the royal seat, the throne of justice, which ought to be the throne of God; and that to maintain them in the same is nothing else but continually to rebel against God.

One thing there is yet to be noted and observed in the law made concerning the inheritance of the daughters of Zelophehad (Num. 36:6-12): to wit, that it was forbidden unto them to marry without their own tribe, lest that such portion as fell to their lot should be transferred from one tribe to another, and so should the tribe of Manasseh be defrauded and spoiled of their just inheritance by their occasion. [125]For avoiding of which, it was commanded by Moses that they should marry in the family or household of the tribe and kindred of their father. Wonder it is, that the advocates and patrons of the right of our ladies did not consider and ponder this law, before they counseled the blind princes and unworthy nobles of their country to betray the liberties thereof into the hands of strangers: England, for satisfying of the inordinate appetites of that cruel monster Mary (unworthy, by reason of her bloody tyranny, of the name of a woman), betrayed, alas! to the proud Spaniard; and Scotland, by the rash madness of foolish governors, and by the practices of a crafty dame, resigned likewise, under the title of marriage, into the power of France.

[126]Does such translation of realms and nations please the justice of God? Or is the possession, by such means obtained, lawful in his sight? Assured I am that it is not. No otherwise, I say, than is that possession whereunto thieves, murderers, tyrants and oppressors do attain by theft, murder, tyranny, violence, deceit, and oppression, which God of his secret (but yet most just) judgment does often permit for punishment, as well of the sufferers as of the violent oppressors, but does never approve the same as lawful and godly. [127]For if he would not permit that the inheritance of the children of Israel should pass from one tribe to another by the marriage of any daughter, notwithstanding that they were all one people, all spoke one tongue, all were descended of one father, and all did profess one God and one religion; if yet, I say, God would not suffer that the commodity and usual fruit which might be gathered of the portion of ground limited and assigned to one tribe should pass to another, will he suffer that the liberties, laws, commodities, and fruits of whole realms and nations be given into the power and distribution of others by reason of marriage? and in the powers of such as besides that they are of a strange tongue, of strange manners and laws, they are also ignorant of God, enemies to his truth, deniers of Christ Jesus, persecutors of his true members, and haters of all virtue? [128]As the odious nation of Spaniards does manifestly declare, who for very despite which they do bear against Christ Jesus, whom their forefathers did crucify (for Jews they are, as histories do witness, and they themselves confess), do this day make plain war against all true professors of his holy gospel. And how blindly and outrageously the French king and his pestilent prelates do fight against the verity of God, the flaming fires which lick up the innocent blood of Christ’s members do witness, and by his [the king’s] cruel edicts[129] is notified and proclaimed.[130] And yet to these two cruel tyrants (to France and Spain I mean) is the right and possession of England and Scotland appointed. But just or lawful shall that possession never be, till God does change the statute of his former law, which he will not do for the pleasure of man. For he has not created the earth to satisfy the ambition of two or three tyrants, but for the universal seed of Adam; and has appointed and defined the bounds of their habitation, to diverse nations assigning diverse countries (Acts 17:26), as he himself confesses, speaking to Israel in these words: “You shall pass by the bounds and limits of your brethren, the sons of Esau, who dwell in Mt. Seir. They shall fear you; but take diligent heed that ye shew not yourselves cruel against them; for I will give you no part of their land; no, not the breadth of a foot. For Mt. Seir I have given to Esau to be possessed.” And the same he does witness to the sons of Lot, to whom he had given Ar to be possessed (Deut. 2:4-5, 9).

And Moses plainly affirms, that when the Almighty did distribute and divide the possessions to the Gentiles, and when he did disperse and scatter the sons of men, that then he did appoint the limits and bounds of peoples, for the number of the sons of Israel (Deut. 32:8). [131]Whereof it is plain, that God has not exposed the earth in prey to tyrants, making all things lawful which by violence and murder they may possess; but that he has appointed to every several nation a several possession, willing them to stand content (as nature did teach an ethnic [heathen][132] to affirm) with that portion which by lot and just means they had enjoyed. For what causes God permitted this his distribution to be troubled, and the realms of ancient nations to be possessed of strangers, I delay at this time to treat. Only this I have recited, to give the world to understand that the reign, empire, and authority of women have no ground within God’s scriptures. [133]Yea, that realms or provinces possessed by their marriage is nothing but unjust conquest; for so little does the law made for the daughters of Zelophehad help the cause of your queens, that utterly it fights against them, both damning their authority and fact. But now to the third objection.

The consent, say they, of realms and laws pronounced and admitted in this behalf, long conseutude and custom, together with the felicity of some women in their empires, have established their authority. [134]To whom I answer, that neither may the tyranny of princes, neither the foolishness of people, neither wicked laws made against God, neither yet the felicity that in this earth may hereof ensue, make that thing lawful which he by his word has manifestly condemned. For if the approbation of princes and people, and laws made by men, or the consent of realms, may establish anything against God and his word, then should idolatry be preferred to the true religion; for more realms and nations, more laws and decrees published by emperors, with common consent of their counsels, have established the one than have approved the other. And yet I think that no man of sound judgment will therefore justify and defend idolatry; no more ought any man to maintain this odious empire of women, although that it were approved of all men by their laws. For the same God, that in plain words forbids idolatry, does also forbid the authority of women over man, as the words of St. Paul before rehearsed do plainly teach us. [135]And therefore, whether women be deposed from that unjust authority (have they never usurped it so long), or if all such honour be denied unto them, I fear not to affirm that they are neither defrauded of right nor inheritance. For to woman can that honour never be due nor lawful (much less inheritance) which God has so manifestly denied unto them.

I am not ignorant that the subtle wits of carnal men (which can never be brought under the obedience of God’s simple precepts), to maintain this monstrous empire, have yet two vain shifts. [136]First, they allege, that albeit women may not absolutely reign by themselves, because they may neither sit in judgment, neither pronounce sentence, neither execute any public office; yet may they do all such things by their lieutenants, deputies, and judges substitute. Secondarily, they say, a woman born to rule over any realm may choose her a husband, and to him she may transfer and give her authority and right. To both I answer in few words.

First, that from a corrupt and venomed fountain can spring no wholesome water. Secondarily, that no person has power to give the thing which does not justly appertain to themselves. [137]But the authority of a woman is a corrupted fountain, and therefore from her can never spring any lawful officer. She is not born to rule over men, and therefore she can appoint none by her gift, nor by her power (which she has not), to the place of a lawful magistrate; [138]and therefore, [those] who receive of a woman office or authority are adulterous and bastard officers before God. This may appear strange at the first affirmation, but if we will be as indifferent [impartial] and equal in the cause of God as that we can be in the cause of man, the reason shall suddenly appear. The case supposed, that a tyrant by conspiracy usurped the royal seat and dignity of a king, and in the same did so establish himself, that he appointed officers, and did what he list for a time; and in this meantime the native king made strait inhibition of all his subjects, that none should adhere to this traitor, neither yet receive any dignity of him; yet, nevertheless, they would honour the same traitor as king, and become his officers in all affairs of the realm: if after the native prince did recover his just honour and possession, should he repute or esteem any man of the traitor’s appointment for a lawful magistrate, or for his friend and true subject? Or should he not rather with one sentence condemn the head with the members? And if he should do so, who is able to accuse him of rigour, much less condemn his sentence of injustice? And dare we deny the same power to God in the like case? [139]For that woman [who] reigns above man, she has obtained it by treason and conspiracy committed against God. How can it be then, that she, being criminal and guilty of treason committed against God, can appoint any officer pleasing in his sight? It is a thing impossible.

Wherefore, let men that receive of women authority, honour, or office, be most assuredly persuaded, that in so maintaining that usurped power, they declare themselves enemies to God. If any think, that because the realms and estates thereof have given their consents to a woman, and have established her and her authority, that therefore it is lawful and acceptable before God, let the same men remember what I have said before: to wit, that God cannot approve the doing nor consent of any multitude, concluding anything against his word and ordinance; and therefore they must have a more assured defence against the wrath of God than the approbation and consent of a blinded multitude, or else they shall not be able to stand in the presence of a consuming fire. That is, they must acknowledge that the regiment of a woman is a thing most odious in the presence of God. They must refuse to be her officers, because she is a traitress and rebel against God. And finally, they must study to repress her inordinate pride and tyranny to the uttermost of their power.

[140]The same is the duty of the nobility and estates, by whose blindness a woman is promoted. First, insofar as they have most heinously offended against God, placing in authority such as God by his word has removed from the same, unfeignedly they ought to call for mercy. And, being admonished of their error and damnable fact, in sign and token of true repentance, with common consent, they ought to retreat [retract] that which unadvisedly and by ignorance they have pronounced; and ought, without further delay, to remove from authority all such persons as by usurpation, violence, or tyranny, do possess the same. For so did Israel and Judah after they had revolted from David, and Judah alone in the days of Athaliah (1 Kings 11). [141]For after that she, by murdering of her son’s children, had obtained empire over the land, and had most unhappily reigned in Judah six years, Jehoiada the high priest called together the captains and chief rulers of the people; and showing to them the king’s son Joash, did bind them by an oath to depose that wicked woman, and to promote the king to his royal seat; which they faithfully did, killing at his commandment not only that cruel and mischievous woman, but also the people did destroy the temples of Baal, break his altars and images, and kill Mattan, Baal’s high priest, before his altars.

The same is the duty as well of the estates as of the people that have been blinded. First, they ought to remove from honour and authority that monster in nature: so I call a woman clad in the habit of a man, yea, a woman against nature reigning above man. Secondarily, if any presume to defend that impiety, they ought not to fear, first to pronounce, and then after to execute against them the sentence of death. If any man is afraid to violate the oath of obedience which they have made to such monsters, let them be most assuredly persuaded, that as the beginning of their oaths (proceeding from ignorance) was sin, so is the obstinate purpose to keep the same nothing but plain rebellion against God. But of this matter in The Second Blast, God willing, we shall speak more at large.

[Conclusion]

And now, to put an end to The First Blast. Seeing that by the order of nature; by the malediction and curse pronounced against woman, by the mouth of St. Paul, the interpreter of God’s sentence; by the example of that commonwealth in which God by his word planted order and policy; and, finally, by the judgment of the most godly writers; God has dejected woman from rule, dominion, empire, and authority above man: moreover, seeing that neither the example of Deborah, neither the law made for the daughters of Zelophehad, neither yet the foolish consent of an ignorant multitude, are able to justify that which God so plainly has condemned; [142]let all men take heed what quarrel and cause from henceforth they do defend.

If God raises up any noble heart to vindicate the liberty of his country, and to suppress the monstrous empire of women, let all such as shall presume to defend them in the same most certainly know, that in so doing they lift up their hand against God, and that one day they shall find his power to fight against their foolishness. Let not the faithful, godly, and valiant hearts of Christ’s soldiers be utterly discouraged, neither yet let the tyrants rejoice, albeit for a time they triumph against such as study to repress their tyranny, and to remove them from unjust authority. For the causes [are known to God] alone why he suffers the soldiers to fail in battle, whom nevertheless he commands to fight. As sometimes did Israel fighting against Benjamin. The cause of the Israelites was most just; for it was to punish that horrible abomination of those sons of Belial, abusing the Levite’s wife, whom the Benjamites did defend; and they had God’s precept to assure them of well-doing, for he did not only command them to fight, but also appointed Judah to be their leader and captain; and yet they fell twice in plain battle against those most wicked adulterers (Judges 20).

[143]The secret cause of this, I say, is known to God alone. But by his evident scriptures we may assuredly gather, that by such means does his wisdom sometimes beat down the pride of the flesh (for the Israelites at the first trusted in their multitude, power, and strength); and sometimes by such overthrows he will punish the offences of his own children, and bring them to the unfeigned knowledge of the same, before he will give them victory against the manifest contemners, whom he has appointed nevertheless to uttermost perdition; as the end of the battle did witness. For although with great murder the children of Israel did twice fall before the Benjamites; yet after they had wept before the Lord, after they had fasted and made sacrifice in sign of their unfeigned repentance; they so prevailed against the proud tribe of Benjamin, that after twenty-five thousand strong men of war were killed, in battle, they destroyed man, woman, child, and beast, as well in the fields as in the cities, which all were burned with fire; so that of that whole tribe only six hundred men remained, who fled to the wilderness, where they remained four months, and so were saved.

[144]The same God who did execute this grievous punishment, even by the hands of those whom he suffered twice to be overcome in battle, does this day retain his power and justice. Cursed Jezebel of England, with the pestilent and detestable generation of Papists, make no little brag and boast, that they have triumphed not only against Wyatt,[145] but also against all such as have enterprised anything against them or their proceedings. But let her and them consider, that yet they have not prevailed against God; his throne is more high than that the length of their horns are able to reach.

And let them further consider, that in the beginning of this their bloody reign, the harvest of their iniquity was not come to full maturity and ripeness. No! it was so green, so secret I mean, so covered, and so hid with hypocrisy, that some men (even the servants of God) thought it not impossible but that wolves might be changed into lambs, and also that the viper might remove her natural venom. But God, who does reveal in his appointed time the secrets of hearts, and that will have his judgments justified even by the very wicked, has now given open testimony of her and their beastly cruelty. For man and woman, learned and unlearned, nobles and men of baser sort, aged fathers and tender damsels, and finally, the bones of the dead, as well women as men, have tasted of their tyranny. So that now, not only the blood of father Latimer, of the mild man of God the bishop of Canterbury [Cranmer], of learned and discreet Ridley, of innocent Lady Jane Dudley [Grey], and many godly and worthy preachers that cannot be forgotten, such as fire has consumed, and the sword of tyranny most unjustly has shed, do call for vengeance in the ears of the Lord God of hosts; but also the sobs and tears of the poor oppressed, the groanings of the angels (the watchmen) of the Lord, yea, and every earthly creature abused by their tyranny, do continually cry and call for the hasty execution of the same.

I fear not to say, that the day of vengeance, which shall apprehend that horrible monster Jezebel of England, and such as maintain her monstrous cruelty, is already appointed in the counsel of the eternal. And I verily believe that it is so nigh, that she shall not reign so long in tyranny as hitherto she has done,[146] when God shall declare himself to be her enemy, when he shall pour forth contempt upon her according to her cruelty, and shall kindle the hearts of such as sometimes did favour her with deadly hatred against her, that they may execute his judgments. And therefore, let such as assist her take heed what they do; for assuredly her empire and reign is a wall without foundation. [147]I mean the same of the authority of all women. It has been underpropped this blind time that is past, with the foolishness of people, and with the wicked laws of ignorant and tyrannical princes. But the fire of God’s word is already laid to those rotten props (I include the pope’s law with the rest), and presently they burn, albeit we espy not the flame. When they are consumed (as shortly they will be, for stubble and dry timber cannot endure the fire), that rotten wall, the usurped and unjust empire of women, shall fall by itself in despite of all men, to the destruction of so many as shall labour to uphold it. And therefore let all men be advertised, for the trumpet has once blown.

Praise God, ye that fear him (Ps. 22:23).

Qualifications of Civil Magistrates, Are we Electing a Pastor In Chief

February 12, 2016

“We find, the Word of GOD gives an express and particular Rule and Direction anent the Election and Duty of Kings, Exod. 18.21, and Deut. 17.14, to the End, which we look upon as a Moral Precept, and therefore binding upon Christians under the New Testament, as well as upon Israel under the Old.”- Act, Declaration and Testimony of 1741

According to the Reformed Faith there are vital and essential qualifications of Civil Magistrates from the precepts of Scripture- the Divine Law. These qualifications are not mere suggestions but absolutely required for any or all candidates aspiring for any role within Civil Government. If any person votes for an unqualified candidate it is an act of sin and treason against the God of heaven and earth and of every nation. If there are no qualified candidate then we are required to abstain from voting. We are not permitted to vote for the lesser of two evils. A vote for the lesser of two evils is still a vote for evil. And when good men vote for evil men, evil rules with their given consent, and with impunity.

The Biblical Qualifications of the Civil Magistrate in Ex. 18:21; Nehemiah 7:2; Deut. 16:18; 2 Sam. 23:3; and Rom. 13:3 were qualifications not for the Ecclesiastical Leaders but for the Magistrates of the Land. God then chose an Ecclesiastical Sanhedrin with the 70 elders in Exodus 24 and Numbers 11 which were a Presbytery for the Church. They were completely distinct in function and sphere of authority without mixture or separation.

For Reformed Christian, life on earth is about absolute submission to Christ the kingly Redeemer and diligent work to extend that kingship in the earth.

The Kingdom of God extends itself to all places and spheres including the state and kings are bounded by the law of God and if they do not obey they are loosed from and stripped of kingship,

“First, the Holy Scripture doth teach, that God reigns by his own proper authority, and kings by derivation, God from himself, kings from God, that God hath a jurisdiction proper, kings are his delegates. It follows then, that the jurisdiction of God hath no limits, that of kings bounded, that the power of God is infinite, that of kings confined, that the kingdom of God extends itself to all places, that of kings is restrained within the confines of certain countries. In like manner God hath created of nothing both heaven and earth; wherefore by good right He is lord, and true proprietor, both of the one and the other. All the inhabitants of the earth hold of Him that which they have, and are but His tenants and farmers; all the princes and governors of the world are His stipendiaries and vassals, and are bound to take and acknowledge their investitures from Him.

Briefly, God alone is the owner and lord, and all men of what degree or quality soever they be, are His servants, farmers, officers and vassals, and owe account and acknowledgment to Him, according to that which He hath committed to their dispensation; the higher their place is the greater their account must be, and according to the ranks whereunto God hath raised them, must they make their reckoning before His divine majesty, which the Holy Scriptures teacheth in infinite places, and all the faithful, yea, and the wisest among the heathen have ever acknowledged. …

And, therefore, seeing all the kings of the world are under his feet, it is no marvel, if God be called the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords; all kings be termed His ministers established to judge rightly, and govern justly the world in the quality of lieutenants. By me (so saith the divine wisdom) kings reign, and the princes judge the earth. If they do it not he looseth the bonds of kings, and girdeth their loins with a girdle. As if he should say, it is in my power to establish kings in their thrones, or to thrust them out, and from that occasion the throne of kings is called the throne of God.” –Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos by Junius Brutus Presumed to be Philippe de Mornay famous Huguenot warrior, 1579

§A Question

A question normally arises when using Exodus 18:21, does Jethro’s advice to his son in law really make a law?

Jethro was a priest of God and the message came from God through Jethro… This is Reformed Theology and confessional….

Verse 23 – “and God command thee so”

“So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father in law” because it was what God command him through his father in law….

“Jethro does not suppose that Moses will take his advice without further consultation. He assumes that the matter will be laid by Moses before God, and God’s will learnt concerning it. The entire narrative supposes that there was some established means by which the Israelite leader could refer a matter to Jehovah and obtain a decision upon it.” Pulpit Commentary

“If God approve of the course which I suggest, to whose wisdom I submit my opinion. For Jethro might well think that Moses neither would nor might make so great an alteration in the government without consulting God about it, and expecting his answer.” Matthew Poole’s Commentary

“If thou shall do this thing,…. Hearken to the advice given, and put it in execution, by choosing out of the people, and placing over them, judges qualified, as directed: and God command thee so; for he did not desire him to follow his advice any further than it appeared to be according to the will of God, which he doubted not he would inquire about; and if he found it was agreeable to it, and should pursue it:” John Gill’s Commentary

” If thou shalt do this thing, &c.—Jethro’s counsel was given merely in the form of a suggestion; it was not to be adopted without the express sanction and approval of a better and higher Counsellor” Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

§Historical Testimony

§Act Declaration and Testimony of 1761 regarding Election of Magistrates

We further assert and maintain, that the constituting of the relation betwixt rulers and ruled, is voluntary and mutual; and that the lawful constitution of civil magistrates, is, by the mutual election of the people (in whom is the radical right, or intermediate voice of God, of choosing and appointing such as are to sway the scepter of government over them) and consent of those who are elated and chosen for the exercise of that office, with certain stipulations according to scripture and right reason, obliging each other unto the duty of their different stations and relations. And further we affirm that when magistrates are so constituted, christians are bound by the law of God to pray for the divine blessing upon their persons and government, reverence and highly esteem them, yield a conscientious subjection and obedience to their lawful commands, defend and support then in the due exercise of their power; which power magistrates are especially to exert for the outward defense of the church of God, against all her external enemies, restraining or otherwise punishing, as the case may require, all open blasphemers, idolaters, false-worshipers, heretics, with all avowed contemners of the worship and discipline of the house of God; and by his civil sanction to corroborate all the laws and ordinances of Christ’s house, providing and enjoining that every thing in the house of the God of heaven, be done according to the law of the God of heaven. Proof Text Deut. 17:14; 2 Kings 11:17; 1 Sam. 11:15; 1 Tim. 2:1,2; 1 Peter 2:17; Rom. 13:2 to 8; 2 Kings 18:4, and 23:1 to 26; 2 Chron. 29, and 30, chapter throughout; Ezra 7:28. Confess. chap. 23, sec. 3, coronation oath of Scotland, sworn and subscribed by Charles II. at Scone, January 1st, 1651, and oath of fidelity by the people.”

The first thing we must realize is that there has not been qualified candidate for the highest office of the land in the history of America nor even in England since the days of the English revolution.

1st, No king nor queen at, or since the revolution, were or are qualified with scriptural and covenant qualifications, no took the ancient Scots coronation oath; which qualifications were, by several laudable acts of parliament, made the fundamental qualifications, sin qua non, of admission to that office by the laws of the crown: But on the contrary, are sworn to maintain the English constitution and prelatic hierarchy in direct opposition unto the same sworn to in the Solemn League and Covenant.” John Howi, 1780, To the Reader, Preface to Faithful Contendings, Michael Shield

The Scripture is explicitly clear on the Election of Magistrates as well as their duty and their limitations.

They must be men of truth and must fear God and hate covetousness (Ex. 18:21, Nehemiah 7:2,Romans 13)

They must judge the people with just judgment (Deut. 16:18)

They must be just, and not deceitful, false or oppressive: He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God (2 Sam. 23:2-3)

They must be men of understanding, they must be of the same nation, (Deut. 13 v. 1 & 17; Jer. 30 v.21)

They are to be elected by all the people, that is, by the adult men among whom they are to rule: The men of Judah made David king (2 Sam. 2 v. 4) or again: The people made Saul king (1 Sam. 11:15) and as also in the words of Hushai: Whom the Lord and this people, and all the men of Israel choose, his will I be (1 Sam. 16:18)

They must uphold the previous Covenant promises of the nation that were sworn unto and are perpetual, such as in our case the Solemn League and Covenant.

Summary

1. They must be believers who fear God and obey His commandments.

2. They must be men of truth and judge the people with just judgments according to God’s law.

3. He must not be oppressive, ruling in the fear of God, he must not go beyond God laws.

4. The must be men of understanding and wisdom.

5. They must only be men.

6. They must be of the same nation.

7. They be elected by the people.

8. They must spread Christ’s crown rights and covenant throughout the land.

9. They must acknowledge Christ’s laws as the supreme laws of the land.

10. They must uphold previous Covenant promises of the nation.

Any perversion of this order by those who trust in upon the people however they accomplish it, is usurpation; as in Hos. 8:4 “They made kings but not by me”; that is, strictly and only in the way appointed by God, and which is said to be by him as if God himself had actually done it.”

“Nations, as such, by the immutable decree of God the Father, have been given to Jesus Christ that He may rule over them as their supreme Lord. They are, therefore, required to acknowledge and serve Him in all their ways, and submit to His mediatorial authority insofar as it has been revealed to them. …

§Testimony of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland on Choosing our Magistrates,

In defiance of scriptural injunctions (Exod.18:21; 2Sam.23:3), no moral or religious qualifications are demanded of those who aspire to political office. There is no adequate recognition of Christ as King of the nation. This exclusion of the Lord Jesus from national life is in breach of a solemn covenant engagement undertaken in 1643 on behalf of England, Ireland and Scotland and known as the Solemn League and Covenant.

Where the government of a nation thus flouts the authority of Jesus Christ, the rendering of unqualified allegiance to Him by Christians will require them to withhold their unqualified allegiance to the State. They will have to separate from the State where the State separates from Christ. The only position consistent for the Christian is the position of dissent from any constitution or form of government which refuses or neglects to own allegiance to Jesus Christ, since professing Christians in nations, which give moral support to such constitution or form of government, share in the responsibility for its anti- christian character. (Matt.6:24; Acts 4:19; Exod.23:2; Ps.94:20; 2Cor.6:17; Eph.5:11). … While fully entitled by the civil law to all the rights of membership in the governing society, Christians, because of their primary allegiance to Christ, ought not to avail themselves of the exercise of those rights when they conflict with His supremacy. In particular, Christians should vote only for candidates for political office who recognise the kingship of Jesus Christ by:-

(a) giving evidence of consistent Christian character;

(b) promising to frame all their policies in accordance with the Word of God and to resist all pressures of political expediency and party discipline which might compromise such obedience;

(c) making an explicit declaration of dissent from everything within their sphere of government which is contrary to the Word of God and pledging themselves to work for public and national recognition of Christ;

(d) refusing, where applicable, to take the present oath of allegiance …

Political dissent is a painful sacrifice, made only because of the demands of a higher loyalty. The position of the Church is an expression, not a denial, of our patriotism. The greatest service which one human being can perform for another is to lead him or her to the Lord Jesus Christ. That is precisely the service which Covenanters wish to perform for their beloved nations.” — Testimony of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland

§John Calvin on Choosing our Magistrates,

“And ye peoples, to whom God gave the liberty to choose your own magistrates, see to it, that ye do not forfeit this favor, by electing to the positions of highest honor, rascals and enemies of God.” -John Calvin

“In this especially consists the best condition of the people, when they can choose, by common consent, their own shepherds [i.e. civil rulers]: for when any one by force usurps the supreme power, it is tyranny; and when men become kings by hereditary right, it seems not consistent with liberty.” Calvin on Micah 5:5

§Martin Bucer on Choosing our Magistrates,

“In order to accomplish this conscientiously and consistently, the Lord willed these magistrates of his people to be selected with utmost care, by an accurate investigation of his gifts to individuals, so that they might be specifically yaneshe hayil, i.e., “men endowed with heroic virtue, fearing God, loving virtue and hating dirty lucre and gain” (Ex. 18:21). … Therefore, on this account, God specifically requires of the magistrates of his people that they be men of truth, i.e., singular lovers and supporters of and fighters for truth and sincerity (Ex. 1 8 : 2 1 ) .” Bucer, De Regno Christian

§Henry Bullinger on Choosing our Magistrates,

“And how this place and argument do require, that I speak somewhat touching the office or authority of the magistrate: which (by God’s help) I will assay to do, not that I mean or can allege all that may be said thereof, but that which shall seem most properly to declare the meaning of it, and is most necessary for this present treatise.

Magistratus (which word we use for the room wherein the magistrate is) doth take the name a magistris populi designandis, “of assigning the masters, guiders, and captains of the people.” That room and place is called by the name of “power” or “authority,” by reason of the power that is given to it of God. It is called by the name of “domination,” for the dominion that the Lord doth grant it upon the earth. They are called princes that have that dominion: for they have a pre-eminence above the people. They are called consuls, of counseling; and kings, of commanding, ruling, and governing the people. So, then, the magistracy (that I may henceforward use this word of the magistrate’s power and place) is an office, and an action in executing of the same.

….

The magistracy, by the scriptures, may be defined to be a divine ordinance or action, whereby the good being defended by the prince’s aid, and the evil suppressed by the same authority, godliness, justice, honesty, peace, and tranquility, both public and private, are safely preserved. Whereby we gather, that to govern a commonwealth, and to execute the office of a magistrate, is a worship and service to God himself. God verily is delighted therein. For the office of a magistrate is a thing most excellent, and abounding with all good works, as in my former sermon I have declared.

Here I have to speak somewhat touching the election of magistrates: and first, to whom the choice and ordering of the magistrate doth belong secondarily, whom and what kind of men it is best to choose to be magistrates; and lastly, the manner and order of consecrating those which once are chosen.

Touching the election of magistrates, to whom that office should belong… Now for the good election of magistrates, the Lord himself declareth whom and what kind of men he will have to be chosen, in these very words: “Look over all the people, consider them diligently, and choose from among them men of courage, such as fear God, speakers of truth, and haters of covetousness, and make them rulers over thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens, to judge the people at all seasons.” Four things the Lord requireth in a good governour. First, that he be a man of courage, of strength or force, that is, which hath ability to do the thing whereunto he is appointed. That ability consisteth in mind rather than in body. For it is required, that he be not a fool, but wise and skilful in that which he hath to do: because the office of a captain is to know how to set his army in order of battle, rather than to fight himself; or as a chariot-man ought rather to know how to guide his cart in driving, than to draw it himself. And therewithal too, there is demanded a boldness of stomach to dare to do the things that he already knoweth; for constancy and sufferance are very needful in every captain.

In the second place that is set down, which indeed is the first; let him fear God, let him be religious and not superstitious. No idolater preserveth the commonwealth, but rather destroyeth it; and a wicked man defendeth not truth and true religion, but persecuteth and driveth them out of his jurisdiction. Let this magistrate of ours therefore be of the right religion, sound in faith, believing the word of God, and knowing that God is present among men and doth repay to whom he list according to their deserts. …

Thirdly, there is required of him, which msut be chosen and called to be magistrate, that he be true in word and deed, so that he be not found to be an hypocrite, a liar, a deceiver, a turncoat, nor one which out of one mouth doth blow both hot and cold; but faithful, simple, a plain dealer, and blameless. He must not be more liberal in promising than in performing. He must not be one that setteth light by an oath, not a false swearer, nor a perjured man. Fourthly, because many are in the office desires riches, and seek to increase their wealth by bribes, the Lord removeth such from the magistracy and forbiddeth good magistrates to be covetous: yea, he doth expressly charge them to hate and abhor it; as he both also, in another place, not only forbid them to take bribes, but also command them to shake off and rid their hands of all rewards. Covetousness and greedy desires of bribes are the very plagues that choke good magistrates. …

This place is made more manifest by conferring it with other places in the law of God. Moses, in Deuteronomy, saith to the people: “Bring men of wisdom, of understanding, and of an honest life, according to your tribes.” [Deuteronomy 1:13] Three things here again doth the wise man, Moses, require in them that are to be appointed magistrates in his commonweal. First, saith he, let them be wise. But the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord. Let them therefore be ordained as magistrates, that are friends to God and true religion; let them be wise, and not foolish idiots. Secondarily, they must be men of understanding; that is, men of experience, who by long and continual exercise in handling of matters are able at the first brunt to deal in all cases according to the law. Lastly, they must be men of honest report, whose life and sound conversation are by their deeds perfectly tried and sufficiently witnessed of unto the people: and finally, they must be such as bear authority, and not be despised as rascal and vile knaves.” Bullinger, The Decades

§The Lion of the Covenant Richard Cameron on Choosing our Magistrates,

“Ye will not look to Christ, and yet there is no other ye can have help from but from Him. There is none to help you at all, except you acknowledge Him as your King and Head, and except you acknowledge no other magistrate but according to what He ordains in His word. See what David says, “He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.” Compare this with “Moreover, thou shalt provide out of all the people, able men, such as fear God, men of truth hating covetousness. Therefore let the fear of God be upon you, take heed, and do it, for there is no iniquity with the Lord your God.” Ye see such should be men that fear God, and men of truth. Oh, take heed and consider what you are doing! Cry unto the Lord, and let us fight against these wicked rulers with the weapons of the spiritual warfare, the arms of secret prayer. Let us pray unto the Lord to cut them off, and the Lord will raise up those that will condemn and despise them.” Richard Cameron, ‘Sermon on Hosea 13:9-10 (1680)′ in Sermons in times of persecution in Scotland, by sufferers for the royal prerogatives of Jesus Christ, ed. James Kerr (Edinburgh, 1880), p. 417.

§American Covenanter minister James R. Willson on Choosing our Magistrates,

“The ungodly are to be excluded from political office. His honor must be promoted by excluding His open enemies from office. “When the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn” (Prov. 29:2). Why? Because the Messiah chastises them for exalting the foes of His church and law. To permit Atheists, Deists, Jews, Pagans, profane men, heretics, such as are the blasphemers of Messiah’s Godhead, and Papists, who are gross idolaters, to occupy places of honor and power as legislators, judges, etc., is to offer a direct insult to the holy Jesus. They do not, they will not, they cannot “kiss the Son” (Ps. 2:12), according to the Father’s command. To elevate such men is direct opposition to the King of kings.

“Cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord acorrupt thing” (Mal. 1:14). “He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God” (2 Sma. 23:3). -From his essay titled Prince Messiah’s Claims to Dominion over all Governments as found in the recently published (by Crown and Covenant) book Political Danger p. 262.

“Britain and the United States are colonies within Jehovah’s government; and if they refuse to acknowledge the authority of Messiah, he will treat them as rebel provinces of his empire. In the United States, the refusal to acknowledge God, has probably been more explicit than it ever was in any other nation. Soon after we had obtained, through the beneficent providence of God, liberation from the dominion of a foreign power; soon after the most eminent displays of Jehovah’s goodness to our land; the convention, elected to form articles of fundamental law for the commonwealth, rejected the government of God, and with a degree of ingratitude, perhaps without a parallel, formed a constitution in which there is not the slighest hint of homage to the God of heaven; in which God receives no more honor than the devil. They force all within their territories to bow before them, but they refuse to bow before the throne of God. This is a species of national atheism, almost as enormous as that of the French republic, whose representatives voted, that there is no God. It is to all intents practical atheism; and we cannot doubt that those who planned such rebellion against the King of kings and Lord of lords, were practical atheists and professed infidels.” -The Subjection of Kings and Nations to Messiah, p. 65 in Political Danger published by Crown and Covenant Publications.

“The command is to all—to states, republics, kingdoms, and empires, in whatever quarter of the world they may be found, from whatever branch of the human family they may be descended, and whatever may be their local peculiarities and pursuits—let all bow down before the Mediator and serve him. But we must be more particular.

1. It is their duty to bind themselves to him by covenant engagement, consecrating themselves to him, swearing allegiance to him as their King and Lord, binding themselves to one another, and, as united together in social compact, to seek the protection and the blessings of Messiah, Heaven’s Almighty Vicegerent. …

The subjection of Israel to the government of God, was to him in the mediatorial person and character; for the relation in which he stood to them, and they to him, was a gracious covenant relation—a relation which God, absolutely considered, cannot sustain to any of the guilty race of Adam, either individually or nationally. Whatever may be said of their national polity, of the connexion, or rather as some ignorantly assert, of the perfect sameness of their church and civil state, still it is abundantly evident, that they had a civil government, a national territory and property, and civil relations and rights; and that all these were completely subjected to the government of the Son of God, in his character of Mediator.

Is there any intimation in the whole volume of inspiration, that other nations should not copy after the example set them in Judea? Any hint that the honors there claimed by Messiah, and conceded to him, were peculiar to that territory, and that he does not demand them in other quarters of the world? Nothing like it; but quite the reverse. “The uttermost parts of the earth are given to him for inheritance;” “he is the governor among the nations;” “Sheba’s and Seba’s kings shall offer gifts, yea all kings shall fall down before him;” “the isles shall wait for his law;” “the gathering of the people shall be to him.” The lion of the tribe of Judah has the volume of providence committed to him, and he prevails to open the seals of the book in which the destiny of the nations is recorded: “he is prince of the kings of the earth;” and “hath on his vesture and on his thigh written, King of kings, and Lord of lords.” Indeed, is not easy to conceive, how God could have expressed his will more plainly, or have more fully and distinctly asserted the claims of his Son to universal dominion, and the duty of nations to acknowledge him.” -The Subjection of Kings and Nations to Messiah, Political Danger published by Crown and Covenant Publications.

§Alexander Shield on Choosing our Magistrates,

“The New Testament gives a definitive statement of civil government in Romans ch. 13 v. 1-9 and 1 Timothy ch. 2 v. 1-2; which is a summary of the pattern also found in the Old Testament. We shall first take in review these Old Testament passages where we have the epitome of kingship delineated. Thus the qualifications of those who exercise civil rule are that, They must be men of truth, fearing God and hating covetousness (Ex. 18.21); they must be just, and not deceitful, false or oppressive: He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God (2 Sam. 23.2-3); they must be men of understanding, they must be of the same nation, and not strangers (Deut. 13 v. 1 & 17; Jer. 30 v. 21). They are to be elected by all the people, that is, by the adult men among whom they are to rule: The men of Judah made David king (2 Sam. 2 v. 4) or again: The people made Saul King (1 Sam. 11.15) and as also in the words of Hushai: Whom the Lord and this people, and all the men of Israel choose, his will I be (2 Sam. 16.18). Any perversion of this order by those who thrust in upon the people however they accomplish it, is usurpation; as in Hos. 8.4: ‘They made kings but not by me; that is, strictly and only in the way appointed by God, and which is said to be “by” him as if God himself had actually done it.” -A Hind Let Loose, 1668

Summary

So they must be

  1. Men
  2. Men of truth
  3. Fearing God
  4. Hating Covetousness
  5. Must be Just
  6. Not deceitful or false
  7. Not Oppressive
  8. Rule in the Fear of God
  9. Men of understanding
  10. Must be of the same nation (Not strangers)
  11. Elected by the adult men of the nation
  12. They must uphold previous sworn covenants of the national

 

 

§“But we aren’t electing a pastor in chief!”

 

Someone will of course ask “But we aren’t electing a pastor in chief!”

The short answer is yes we are. Not that we are electing an Ecclesiastical minister but according to the Scripture a Magistrate is both a minister (Romans 13:4) and a pastor (2 Samuel: chapters 1-13).

“This consideration makes a true king: to recognize himself a minister of God in governing his kingdom. Now, that king who in ruling over his realm does not serve God’s glory exercises not kingly rule but brigandage.” – John Calvin

“And moreover, under this word ‘pastor’, the office of a good king is expressed to us in this reign of David; namely, that he must care for his subjects as a shepherd for his flock.  Now two things are required of a shepherd.  The first is that he provide his animals with good pasture, and then that he keep them safe from all thieves and wolves and trouble.  Now that (I say) is what princes must do.  If they think that they will render an account to God for the charge that is committed to them, they must see to it that their subjects live in peace and that they are maintained; and then, in the second place, that they defend them against all troubles.  How far from that are those who call themselves pastors but who ask for nothing but the wool – and are not even content with that.  They must fleece their poor subjects; they cut their throats to suck up their blood.

One sees today that princes have neither regard nor consideration for their duty, which is to keep their subjects in good pasture.  They are supposed to care for them but, on the contrary, they are like lions.  Puffed up with pride, they think the world is created for them alone, and hence they have no scruples about swallowing up and eating the substance of poor people.  And after they have thus consumed their poor subjects, ambition also pushes them to wage war.  It does not matter to them that people burn and kill, and that the earth is full of orphans and widows.  And why?  Because they are princes, they say, and have power to do this.  Indeed, but as the psalmist says, ‘God is seated in the midst of them and has ordained them with this charge for which they must give account’ (Psa. 47:8-9).  And they will be judged like the very smallest.  For ‘this world will pass’ with its ‘fashion’ (1 Cor. 7:31).  But those who hold a slightly higher rank and dominion over the people must carefully note this – that they are pastors.  That was known even by the pagans, for when they spoke of kings and princes, they by the pagans, for when they spoke of kings and princes, they called them pastors, as their writings demonstrate.  And who taught them such language?  God, who imprinted it in their hearts, so as to render inexcusable those who employ tyranny.” John Calvin, Sermons on 2 Samuel: chapters 1-13, trans. D. F. Kelly (Edinburgh, 1992), pp 177-8.

§Duties of all Magistrates

Civil Magistrates also have certain duties according to Divine law that if not carried out or enforced is sinful on both the action of the Magistrate as well as the Nation as a whole.

 

Seven duties of civil magistrates outlined in Scripture and enforced in the Westminster Standards:

 

1. Nationally eradicate idolatry and false religion (cf. 2 Chron. 34:3-7; 2 Chron. 31:1; 2 Chron. 15:8; 2 Chron. 15:16, etc.).

 

2. Nationally promote the true worship, discipline, and doctrine of the church of Christ (2 Chron. 29:11-30:6; 2 Chron. 30:12-27; Ezra 10:10vv.; Neh. 10:31-32, etc.).

 

3. Nationally establish the one true religion and church (cf. 2 Chron. 34:8- 17; 2 Chron. 29:3-5; 2 Chron. 31:2-3; 2 Chron. 31:20-21; 2 Chron. 32:12, etc.).

 

4. Nationally confess their own sins and the sins of their fathers (2 Chron. 34:21; 2 Chron. 29:6-7; 2 Chron. 30:7-9; Ezra 9:6-10:2; Neh. 9:2-37, etc.).

 

5. Nationally publish the truth (2 Chron. 34:30; Ezra 10:7-8, etc.).

 

6. Nationally renew covenant with God and set the state upon a fully covenanted biblical pattern, agreeing to nationally obey the law of God (2 Chron. 34:31; 2 Chron. 29:10; 2 Chron. 15:12-15; Ezra 10:3-4; Neh. 9:38-10:31, etc.).

 

7. Nationally cause (by civil power) the inhabitants of the nation to stand to the covenant (2 Chron. 34:32-33; 2 Chron. 15:12-13; Ezra 10:5, etc.).

John Calvin on Principles of Magistracy

February 5, 2016

Election Day is approaching at a quick rate. There are many misunderstandings of the Christian and Reformed principles when it comes to Civil Magistracy. There will be false statements circulating claiming “We are not electing a Pastor in Chief” or “Christians should not be involved in politics”, even worse “We should vote for the one person who has a chance of winning even if he is not a Christian or qualified by Scripture.” In other words, we should vote for the lesser of two evils.. None of this is biblical or Reformed. Of course I am a Covenanter dissenter and will not be voting because of the wickedness of our current system but if you are going to vote, hear at least John Calvin on the subject of whom we as Christians are morally responsible for in placing in the seat of civil authority.

calvin.jpg

 

§Speaking of New Testament Times Isaiah says,

Thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders. And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me. (Isaiah 49:22-23)

§John Calvin speaking on Psalm 2 and Isaiah 49:23,

“…without a doubt he is speaking of the kingdom of our Lord Jesus. He admonishes all kings and authorities to be wise and to take heed to themselves. What is this wisdom? What is the lesson He gives them? To abdicate it all? Hardly! But to fear God and give homage to His Son…Furthermore, Isaiah prophesies that the kings will become the foster fathers of the Christian church and that queens will nurse it with their breasts (Isa. 49:23). I beg of you, how do you reconcile the fact that kings will be protectors of the Christian Church if their vocation is inconsistent with Christianity?” -Calvin, Treatises Against the Anabaptists and Libertines, p. 79 Libertines, p. 79

§John Calvin again speaking on Psalm 2,

“When David says, ‘Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth;” “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry’ (Psalm 2:10, 12), he does not order them to lay aside their authority and return to private life, but to make the power with which they are invested subject to Christ, that he may rule over all.” John Calvin

§John Calvin States on the Second Use of the Law of God,

“The second office of the Law is, by means of its fearful denunciations and the consequent dread of punishment, to curb those who, unless forced, have no regard for rectitude and justice. Such persons are curbed not because their mind is inwardly moved and affected, but because, as if a bridle were laid upon them, they refrain their hands from external acts, and internally check the depravity which would otherwise petulantly burst forth. It is true, they are not on this account either better or more righteous in the sight of God. For although restrained by terror or shame, they dare not proceed to what their mind has conceived, nor give full license to their raging lust, their heart is by no means trained to fear and obedience. Nay, the more they restrain themselves, the more they are inflamed, the more they rage and boil, prepared for any act or outbreak whatsoever were it not for the terror of the law. And not only so, but they thoroughly detest the law itself, and execrate the Lawgiver; so that if they could, they would most willingly annihilate him, because they cannot bear either his ordering what is right, or his avenging the despisers of his Majesty. The feeling of all who are not yet regenerate, though in some more, in others less lively, is, that in regard to the observance of the law, they are not led by voluntary submission, but dragged by the force of fear. Nevertheless, this forced and extorted righteousness is necessary for the good of society, its peace being secured by a provision but for which all things would be thrown into tumult and confusion. Nay, this tuition is not without its use, even to the children of God, who, previous to their effectual calling, being destitute of the Spirit of holiness, freely indulge the lusts of the flesh. When, by the fear of Divine vengeance, they are deterred from open outbreakings, though, from not being subdued in mind, they profit little at present, still they are in some measure trained to bear the yoke of righteousness, so that when they are called, they are not like mere novices, studying a discipline of which previously they had no knowledge. This office seems to be especially in the view of the Apostle, when he says, “That the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for men-stealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine,” (1 Tim. 1:9, 10). He thus indicates that it is a restraint on unruly lusts that would otherwise burst all bonds.” – John Calvin, Institutes 2.7.10

§John Calvin on Choosing our Magistrates,

“And ye peoples, to whom God gave the liberty to choose your own magistrates, see to it, that ye do not forfeit this favor, by electing to the positions of highest honor, rascals and enemies of God.” -John Calvin

“In this especially consists the best condition of the people, when they can choose, by common consent, their own shepherds [i.e. civil rulers]: for when any one by force usurps the supreme power, it is tyranny; and when men become kings by hereditary right, it seems not consistent with liberty.” Calvin on Micah 5:5

§John Calvin states with regard to Magistrates as ministers of God,

“This consideration makes a true king: to recognize himself a minister of God in governing his kingdom. Now, that king who in ruling over his realm does not serve God’s glory exercises not kingly rule but brigandage.” – John Calvin

§John Calvin on Magistrates called Pastors,

“And moreover, under this word ‘pastor’, the office of a good king is expressed to us in this reign of David; namely, that he must care for his subjects as a shepherd for his flock.  Now two things are required of a shepherd.  The first is that he provide his animals with good pasture, and then that he keep them safe from all thieves and wolves and trouble.  Now that (I say) is what princes must do.  If they think that they will render an account to God for the charge that is committed to them, they must see to it that their subjects live in peace and that they are maintained; and then, in the second place, that they defend them against all troubles.  How far from that are those who call themselves pastors but who ask for nothing but the wool – and are not even content with that.  They must fleece their poor subjects; they cut their throats to suck up their blood.

One sees today that princes have neither regard nor consideration for their duty, which is to keep their subjects in good pasture.  They are supposed to care for them but, on the contrary, they are like lions.  Puffed up with pride, they think the world is created for them alone, and hence they have no scruples about swallowing up and eating the substance of poor people.  And after they have thus consumed their poor subjects, ambition also pushes them to wage war.  It does not matter to them that people burn and kill, and that the earth is full of orphans and widows.  And why?  Because they are princes, they say, and have power to do this.  Indeed, but as the psalmist says, ‘God is seated in the midst of them and has ordained them with this charge for which they must give account’ (Psa. 47:8-9).  And they will be judged like the very smallest.  For ‘this world will pass’ with its ‘fashion’ (1 Cor. 7:31).  But those who hold a slightly higher rank and dominion over the people must carefully note this – that they are pastors.  That was known even by the pagans, for when they spoke of kings and princes, they by the pagans, for when they spoke of kings and princes, they called them pastors, as their writings demonstrate.  And who taught them such language?  God, who imprinted it in their hearts, so as to render inexcusable those who employ tyranny.” John Calvin, Sermons on 2 Samuel: chapters 1-13, trans. D. F. Kelly (Edinburgh, 1992), pp 177-8.

§John Calvin on the Duty of Magistrates and it being Extended to Both Tables of the Law,

“Of the duty of Magistrates. Their first care the preservation of the Christian religion and true piety. This proved.

The duty of magistrates, its nature, as described by the word of God, and the things in which it consists, I will here indicate in passing. That it extends to both tables of the law, did Scripture not teach, we might learn from profane writers; for no man has discoursed of the duty of magistrates, the enacting of laws, and the common weal, without beginning with religion and divine worship. Thus all have confessed that no polity can be successfully established unless piety be its first care, and that those laws are absurd which disregard the rights of God, and consult only for men. Seeing then that among philosophers religion holds the first place, and that the same thing has always been observed with the universal consent of nations, Christian princes and magistrates may be ashamed of their heartlessness if they make it not their care. We have already shown that this office is specially assigned them by God, and indeed it is right that they exert themselves in asserting and defending the honour of him whose vicegerents they are, and by whose favour they rule. Hence in Scripture holy kings are especially praised for restoring the worship of God when corrupted or overthrown, or for taking care that religion flourished under them in purity and safety. On the other hand, the sacred history sets down anarchy among the vices, when it states that there was no king in Israel, and, therefore, every one did as he pleased (Judges 21:25). This rebukes the folly of those who would neglect the care of divine things, and devote themselves merely to the administration of justice among men; as if God had appointed rulers in his own name to decide earthly controversies, and omitted what was of far greater moment, his own pure worship as prescribed by his law. Such views are adopted by turbulent men, who, in their eagerness to make all kinds of innovations with impunity, would fain get rid of all the vindicators of violated piety. In regard to the second table of the law, Jeremiah addresses rulers, “Thus saith the Lord, Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood” (Jer. 22:3). To the same effect is the exhortation in the Psalm, “Defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; rid them out of the hand of the wicked” (Psalm 82:3, 4). Moses also declared to the princes whom he had substituted for himself, “Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him. Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great: ye shall not be afraid of the face of man, for the judgment is God’s” (Deut. 1:16). I say nothing as to such passages as these, “He shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt;” “neither shall he multiply wives to himself; neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold;” “he shall write him a copy of this law in a book;” “and it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God;” “that his heart be not lifted up above his brethren” (Deut. 17:16-20). In here explaining the duties of magistrates, my exposition is intended not so much for the instruction of magistrates themselves, as to teach others why there are magistrates, and to what end they have been appointed by God. We say, therefore, that they are the ordained guardians and vindicators of public innocence, modesty, honour, and tranquillity, so that it should be their only study to provide for the common peace and safety. Of these things David declares that he will set an example when he shall have ascended the throne. “A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person. Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer. Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me” (Psalm 101:4-6). But as rulers cannot do this unless they protect the good against the injuries of the bad, and give aid and protection to the oppressed, they are armed with power to curb manifest evil-doers and criminals, by whose misconduct the public tranquillity is disturbed or harassed. For we have full experience of the truth of Solon’s saying, that all public matters depend on reward and punishment; that where these are wanting, the whole discipline of states totters and falls to pieces. For in the minds of many the love of equity and justice grows cold, if due honour be not paid to virtue, and the licentiousness of the wicked cannot be restrained, without strict discipline and the infliction of punishment. The two things are comprehended by the prophet when he enjoins kings and other rulers to execute “judgment and righteousness” (Jer. 21:12; 22:3). It is righteousness (justice) to take charge of the innocent, to defend and avenge them, and set them free: it is judgment to withstand the audacity of the wicked, to repress their violence, and punish their faults. -Institutes of the Christian Religion 4.20.9

§John Calvin on Christ Forgiveness of Sins of Men do Not Overturn Political Order or Reverse the Punishments,

“But let us remember that, while Christ forgives the sins of men, he does not overturn political order, or reverse the sentences and punishments appointed by the laws.” –John Calvin

§John Calvin on the Limits of Civil Government,

“And herewith let us note that they who are ordained and appointed by God to execute justice, ought to keep themselves in the high beaten path, in which God wants them to go without taking to themselves any new lesson. For it is not for earthly Judges to make laws at their pleasure, and to say every day, I will do this, and I will do otherwise, but they must have a careful eye to their office and duty. See how it is God who speaks, we must execute that which he commands, and therefore let men hold themselves to it, and not presume to alter his commandment in any way, for otherwise a man may pretend many good excuses, but God likes better of the obedience which men yield to him than of all that ever they can allege in reason. (1Samuel 15:22), although it has never such great likelihood.” -John Calvin, Sermon on Deut. 25: 13-19

“Moreover, touching civil order, God had an eye to that which the weakness of the world might bear and conformed himself to it, and therefore there were many things which were not punished by the Law of Moses. Nevertheless we are taught that even though our faults are not judged by men, we must not therefore fall asleep in our sins. For we will gain little, though earthly judges let us alone, and we escape without punishment before them, if in the meantime the wrath of God increases on us and because he has patiently awaited our amendment, it grows more and more against us, and we put that into use which St. Paul says, that is namely that we hoard up to ourselves a treasure of greater condemnation. (Romans 2:3-6) Let us therefore learn to not have such regard for men, that if they do not complain of our faults or accuse us, or frame no indictment against us, that we think we are therefore acquitted.” John Calvin, Sermon on Deut. 22: 25-30

§John Calvin on the Establishment Principle,

“Hence it ought to be observed that something remarkable is here demanded from princes, besides an ordinary profession of faith; for the Lord has bestowed on them authority and power to defend the Church and to promote the glory of God. This is indeed the duty of all; but kings, in proportion as their power is greater, ought to devote themselves to it more earnestly, and to labor in it more diligently.”—John Calvin, Commentary on Isaiah (1550).

§John Calvin on Magistrates dealing with Heretics and Blasphemers,

“Whoever shall now contend that it is unjust to put heretics and blasphemers to death will knowingly and willingly incur their very guilt. This is not laid down on human authority; it is God who speaks and prescribes a perpetual rule for his Church. It is not in vain that he banishes all those human affections which soften our hearts; that he commands paternal love and all the benevolent feelings between brothers, relations, and friends to cease; in a word, that he almost deprives men of their nature in order that nothing may hinder their holy zeal. Why is so implacable a severity exacted but that we may know that God is defrauded of his honour, unless the piety that is due to him be preferred to all human duties, and that when his glory is to be asserted, humanity must be almost obliterated from our memories? Many people have accused me of such ferocious cruelty that I would like to kill again the man I have destroyed. Not only am I indifferent to their comments, but I rejoice in the fact that they spit in my face.” John Calvin, Defense of Orthodox Faith against the Prodigious Errors of the Spaniard Michael Servetus, published in early 1554

“God makes plain that the false prophet is to be stoned without mercy. We are to crush beneath our heel all affections of nature when his honor is involved” John Calvin Commentary on Deuteronomy 13, Bainton 1951:70

“Moreover, God Himself has explicitly instructed us to kill heretics, to smite with the sword any city that abandons the worship of the true faith revealed by Him.” John Calvin, Comments on Ex. 22:20, Lev. 24:16, Deut. 13:5-15, 17:2-5.

“But when I perceived that the fury of certain bad men had risen to such a height in your realm, that there was no place in it for sound doctrine, I thought it might be of service if I were in the same work both to give instruction to my countrymen, and also lay before your Majesty a Confession, from which you may learn what the doctrine is that so inflames the rage of those madmen who are this day, with fire and sword, troubling your kingdom. For I fear not to declare, that what I have here given may be regarded as a summary of the very doctrine which, they vociferate, ought to be punished with confiscation, exile, imprisonment, and flames, as well as exterminated by land and sea. This, I allow, is a fearful punishment which God sends on the earth; but if the wickedness of men so deserves, why do we strive to oppose the just vengeance of God?” John Calvin, Prefatory Address in his Institutes to Francis, King of the French, 1536.

“[They] well deserve to be repressed by the sword which is committed to you, seeing that they attack not the King only, but God who has seated him upon the throne, and has entrusted to you the protection as well of His person as of His majesty.” John Calvin, Letter to the Lord Protector of Somerset, adviser to King Edward VI, October 22, 1548

“Honour, glory, and riches shall be the reward of your pains; but above all, do not fail to rid the country of those scoundrels [Anabaptists and others], who stir up the people to revolt against us. Such monsters should be exterminated, as I have exterminated Michael Servetus the Spaniard.” Letter to the Marquis Paet, chamberlain to the King of Navarre, 1561.

§John Calvin on Women in the Role of Magistrates or Any other Governing Affairs,

John Calvin commenting on 1 Corinthians 14:34 said that women should never be in any position of governing authority. He wrote: “And unquestionably, wherever even natural propriety has been maintained, women have in all ages been excluded from the public management of affairs. It is the dictate of common sense, that female government is improper and unseemly.”

§John Calvin on when Magistrates despoil their honor,

“If a king, or ruler, or magistrate, do become so lofty that he diminishes the honor and authority of God, he is but a man. We must thus think also of pastors. For he which goeth beyond his bounds in his office, (because he setteth himself against God:) must be despoiled of his honor, lest, under a color or visor, he deceive.” — John Calvin on Acts 5:29

§John Calvin on Obeying Wicked Rulers being a Pretext of Due Submission,

“Many … under pretext of due submission, obey the wicked will of kings in opposition to justice and right…. To gratify the transitory kings of earth, they take no account of God… They plead the frivolous excuse that they obey their princes according to the word of God.” -John Calvin on Exodus 1:17

§John Calvin on not obeying Earthly Princes when they lay aside their Power and Rise up against God,

“For earthly princes lay aside their power when they rise up against God, and are unworthy to be reckoned among the number of mankind. We ought, rather, to spit upon their heads than to obey them.” -Commentary on Daniel