The Divine Right of Church Government by Sundry Ministers Of Christ Within The City Of London eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 431 pages of information about The Divine Right of Church Government by Sundry Ministers Of Christ Within The City Of London.

Thus those of the presbyterian judgment are willing to give to Caesar those things that are Caesar’s, even about matters of religion, that the magistrate may see, it is far from their intention in the least degree to intrench upon his just power, by asserting the spiritual power, which Christ hath seated in his church officers, distinct from the magistratical power:  but as for them of the independent judgment, and their adherents, they divest the magistrate of such power.[31]


II.  Some power on the other hand touching religion and church affairs, is utterly denied to the civil magistrate, as no way belonging to him at all by virtue of his office of magistracy.  Take it thus: 

Jesus Christ, our Mediator, now under the New Testament, hath committed no spiritual power at all, magisterial or ministerial, properly, internally, formally, or virtually ecclesiastical, nor any exercise thereof, for the government of his Church, to the political magistrate, heathen or Christian, as the subject or receptacle thereof by virtue of his magistratical office.

For explication hereof briefly thus:  1.  What is meant by spiritual power, magisterial and ministerial, is laid down in the general nature of the government, Chap.  III.  And, That all magisterial lordly power over the Church, belongs peculiarly and only to Jesus Christ our Mediator, Lord of all, is proved, Chap.  V. Consequently, the civil magistrate can challenge no such power, without usurpation upon Christ’s prerogative.  We hence condemn the Pope as Antichrist, while he claims to be Christ’s vicar-general over Christ’s visible Church on earth.  So that all the question here will be about the ministerial power, whether any such belong to the civil magistrate. 2.  What is meant by power, properly, internally, formally, or virtually ecclesiastical?  Thus conceive:  These several terms are purposely used, the more clearly and fully to distinguish power purely ecclesiastical, which is denied to the magistrate, from power purely political about ecclesiastical objects, which is granted to him; which is called ecclesiastical, not properly, but improperly; not internally, but externally; not formally, but only objectively, as conversant about ecclesiastical objects.  Nor hath he any such ecclesiastical power in him virtually, i.e. so as to convey and give it to any other under him.  He may grant and protect the public exercise of that power within his dominions; but designation of particular persons to the office and power, is from the Church; the donation of the office and power only from Christ himself.  So that magistracy doth not formally nor virtually comprehend in it ecclesiastical power for church government; for a magistrate, as a magistrate, hath no inward ecclesiastical power at all belonging to him.

For confirmation of this proposition, consider these ensuing arguments.

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The Divine Right of Church Government by Sundry Ministers Of Christ Within The City Of London from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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