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in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will." Dan. 5: 21. "He was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the Most High God ruleth in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will.'
Rom. 13: 1-7. 'Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: for he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath but also for conscience sake. For, for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues; tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.'
Titus 3: 1. 'Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work.'
1 Peter 2: 13, 14. 'Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as su preme, or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well.'
These passages prove conclusively, that God establishes human governments, as parts of moral government.
2. It is a matter of fact, that God does exert moral influences through the instrumentality of human governments.
3. It is a matter of fact, that he often executes his law, punishes vice, and rewards virtue, through the instrumentality of human governments.
4. Under the Jewish Theocracy, where God was King, it was found indispensable to have the forms of the executive department of government. IV. It is the duty of all men to aid in the establishment and support of Human Government.
1. Because human governments are plainly a necessity of human beings.
2. As all men are in some way dependent upon them, it is the duty of every man to aid in their establishment and support.
3. As the great law of benevolence, or universal good-willing, demands the existence of human governments, all men are under a perpetual and unalterable moral obligation to aid in their establishment and support.
4. In popular or elective governments, every man having a right to vote, and every human being who has moral influence, is bound to exert that influence, in the promotion of virtue and happiness. And as human governments are plainly indispensable to the highest good of man, they are bound to exert their influence to secure a legislation that is in accordance with the law of God.
5. The obligation of human beings to support and obey human governments, while they legislate upon the principles of the moral law, is as unalterable as the moral law itself.
V. It is absurd to suppose that human governments can ever be dispensed with in the present world.
1. Because such a supposition is entirely inconsistent with the nature of human beings.
2. It is equally inconsistent with their relations and circum
3. Because it assumes that the necessity of government is founded alone in human depravity: whereas the foundation of this necessity is human ignorance, and human depravity is only an additional reason for the existence of human governments. The primary idea of law is to teach; hence law has a precept. It is authoritative, and therefore has a penalty.
4. Because it assumes that men would always agree in judgment, if their hearts were right, irrespective of their degrees of information. But this is as far as possible from the truth.
5. Because it sets aside one of the plainest and most unequivocal doctrines of revelation.
VI. I am to answer objections.
Obj. 1. The kingdom of God is represented in the Bible as subverting all other kingdoms.
Ans. This is true, and all that can be meant by this is, that the time shall come when God shall be regarded as the supreme and universal sovereign of the universe, when his law shall be regarded as universally obligatory; when all Kings, Legislators, and Judges shall act as his servants, declaring,
applying, and administering the great principles of his law to all the affairs of human beings. Thus God will be the Supreme Sovereign, and earthly rulers will be Governors, Kings, and Judges under him, and acting by his authority as revealed in the Bible.
Obj. II. It is objected that God only providentially estab lishes human governments, and that he does not approve of their selfish and wicked administration; that he only uses them providentially as he does Satan for the promotion of his own designs.
Ans. 1. God no where commands mankind to obey Satan, but he does command them to obey magistrates and rulers.
Rom. 13: 1. "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers: for there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”
1 Pet. 2: 13, 14. "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well."
2. He no where recognizes Satan as his servant, sent and set by him to administer justice and execute wrath upon the wicked; but he does this in respect to human governments.
Rom. 13: 2-6. "Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same. For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid: for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience' sake. For, for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing."
3. It is true indeed that God approves of nothing that is ungodly and selfish in human governments. Neither did he approve of what was ungodly and selfish in the Scribes and Pharisees; and yet Christ said to his disciples, "The Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. Therefore whatsoever things they command you, that observe and do; but do ye not after their works, for they say, and do not." Here the plain common sense principle is recognized, that we are to obey when the requirement is not inconsistent with the moral law, what
ever may be the character or the motive of the ruler. We are always to obey heartily as unto the Lord, and not unto men, and render obedience to magistrates for the honor and glory of God, and as doing service to him.
Obj. III. It is objected that Christians should leave human governments to the management of the ungodly, and not be diverted from the work of saving souls to intermeddle with human governments.
Ans. 1. This is not being diverted from the work of saving souls. The promotion of public and private order and happiness is one of the indispensable means of saving souls.
2. It is nonsense to admit that Christians are under an obligation to obey human government, and still have nothing to do with the choice of those who shall govern.
Obj. IV. It is objected that we are commanded not to avenge ourselves, that "Vengeance is mine, and I will repay saith the Lord." It is said, that if I may not avenge or redress my own wrongs in my own person, I may not do it through the instrumentality of human government.
Ans. 1. It does not follow that because you may not take it upon you to redress your own wrongs by a summary and personal infliction of punishment upon the transgressor, that human governments may not punish them.
2. Because all private wrongs are a public injury; and irrespective of any particular regard to your personal interest, magistrates are bound to punish crime for the public good.
3. It does not follow, because that while God has expressly forbidden you to redress your own wrongs by administering personal and private chastisement, he has expressly recognized the right and made it the duty of a public magistrate to punish crimes.
Obj. V. It is objected that love is so much better than law that where love reigns in the heart, law can be universally dispensed with.
Ans. 1. This supposes that if there is only love there need be no rule of duty.
2. This objection overlooks the fact that law is in all worlds the rule of duty, and that legal sanctions make up an indispensable part of that circle of motives that are suited to the nature, relations, and government of moral beings.
3. The law requires love; and nothing is law, either human or divine, that is inconsistent with universal benevolence. And to suppose that love is better than law, is to suppose that obedience to law sets aside the necessity of law.
Obj. VI. It is objected that Christians have something else to do besides meddle with politics.
Ans. 1. In a popular government, politics are an indispensable part of religion. No man can possibly be benevolent or religious without concerning himself to a greater or less extent with the affairs of human government.
2. It is true that Christians have something else to do than to go with a party to do evil, or to meddle with politics in a selfish or ungodly manner. But they are bound to meddle with politics in popular governments, for the same reason that they are bound to seek the universal good of all men.
Obj. VII. It is said that human governments are no where expressly authorized in the Bible.
Ans. 1. This is a mistake. Both their existence and lawfulness are as expressly recognized in the above quoted scriptures as they can be.
2. If God did not expressly authorize them, it would still be both the right and the duty of mankind to institute human governments, because they are plainly demanded by the necessities of human nature. It is a first truth, that whatever is essential to the highest good of moral beings in any world, they have a right and are bound to do. So far, therefore, are men from needing any express authority to establish human governments, that no possible prohibition could render their establishment unlawful. It has been shown, in these lectures on moral government, that moral law is a unit-that it is that rule of action which is in accordance with the nature, relations, and circumstances of moral beings-that whatever is in accordance with, and demanded by the nature, relations, and circumstances of moral beings, is obligatory on them. It is moral law, and no power in the universe can set it aside. Therefore, were the scriptures entirely silent on the subject of human governments, and on the subject of family government, as they actually are on a great many important subjects, this would be no objection to the lawfulness, and expediency, necessity, and duty of establishing human governments. Obj. VIII. It is said that human governments are founded in and sustained by force, and that this is inconsistent with the spirit of the gospel.
Ans. 1. There cannot be a difference between the spirit of the Old and New Testaments, or between the spirit of the law and the gospel, unless God has changed, and unless Christ has undertaken to make void the law, through faith, which cannot be.