Act, Declaration, & Testimony for the Whole of our Covenanted Reformation, as Attained to, and Established in Britain and Ireland; Particularly Betwixt the Years 1638 and 1649, Inclusive eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 292 pages of information about Act, Declaration, & Testimony for the Whole of our Covenanted Reformation, as Attained to, and Established in Britain and Ireland; Particularly Betwixt the Years 1638 and 1649, Inclusive.
against.  The sum of their principles anent civil magistracy, may be collected from these few passages, to be found in a print entitled, Answers by the Associate Presbytery to reasons of dissent, &c.—­Page 70.  “This divine law, not only endows men in their present state with a natural inclination to civil society and government, but it presents unto them an indispensable necessity of erecting the same into some form, as a moral duty, the obligation and benefit whereof no wickedness in them can lose or forfeit.—­Page 74.  Whatever magistrates any civil state acknowledged, were to be subjected to throughout the same.—­Page 50.  Such a measure of these qualifications (viz., scriptural) and duties cannot be required for the being of the lawful magistrate’s office, either as essential to it, or a condition of it sine qua non:  I. It cannot be required as essential thereunto; for then it would be the same thing with magistracy, which is grossly absurd, and big with absurdities.  In the next place, it cannot be a condition of it sine qua non, or, without which one is not really a magistrate, however far sustained as such by civil society; for then no person could be a magistrate, unless he were so faultlessly.  The due measure and performance of scriptural qualifications and duties belong not to the being and validity of the magistrate’s office, but to the well-being and usefulness thereof.—­P. 87.  The precepts, already explained, are a rule of duty toward any who are, and while they are acknowledged as magistrates by the civil society.  Nothing needs be added for the clearing of this, but the overthrow of a distinction that has been made of those that are acknowledged as magistrates by the civil society, into such as are so by the preceptive will of God, and such as are so by his providential will only; which distinction is altogether groundless and absurd:  All providential magistrates are also preceptive, and that equally in the above respect (viz., as to the origin of their office) the office and authority of them all, in itself considered, does equally arise from, and agree unto the preceptive will of God.—­P. 88.  The precepts already explained (Prov. xxiv, 21; Eccl. x, 4; Luke xx, 25; Rom. xiii, 1-8; Tit. iii, 1; 1 Pet. ii, 13-18), are a rule of duty equally toward any who are, and while they are acknowledged as magistrates by the civil society; they are, and continue to be a rule of duty in this matter, particularly, to all the Lord’s people, in all periods, places, and cases.”  These few passages, containing the substance of Seceders’ principles on the head of civil government, may be reduced to the following particulars:  1.  They maintain the people to be the ultimate fountain of magistracy, and that as they have a right to choose whomsoever they please to the exercise of civil government over them; so their inclinations, whether good or bad, constitute a lawful magistrate, without regard had
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Act, Declaration, & Testimony for the Whole of our Covenanted Reformation, as Attained to, and Established in Britain and Ireland; Particularly Betwixt the Years 1638 and 1649, Inclusive from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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