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THE CIVIL MAGISTRATE
Confession 23.1 God, the supreme Lord and King of all
the world, hath ordained civil magistrates, to be, under Him, over the people,
for His own glory, and the public good: and, to this end, hath armed them with
the power of the sword, for the defence and encouragement of them that are
good, and for the punishment of evil doers.(a)
(a) Rom. 13:1, 2, 3, 4; I Pet. 2:13, 14.
Confession 23.2. It is lawful for Christians to accept
and execute the office of a magistrate, when called thereunto;(b) in the
managing whereof, as they ought especially to maintain piety, justice, and
peace, according to the wholesome laws of each commonwealth;(c) so for that
end, they may lawfully now, under the New Testament, wage war, upon just and
(b) Prov. 8:15, 16; Rom. 13:1, 2, 4.
(c) Ps. 2:10, 11, 12; I Tim. 2:2; Ps. 82:3, 4; II Sam. 23:3; I Pet. 2:13.
(d) Luke 3:14; Rom. 13:4; Matt. 8:9, 10; Acts 10:1, 2; Rev. 17:14, 16.
Confession 23.3. The civil magistrate may not assume to
himself the administration of the Word and sacraments, or the power of the
keys of the kingdom of heaven:(e) yet he hath authority, and it is his duty,
to take order, that unity and peace be. preserved in the Church, that the
truth of God be kept pure and entire; that all blasphemies and heresies be
suppressed; all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented or
reformed; and all the ordinances of God duly settled, administrated, and
observed.(f) For the better effecting whereof, he hath power to call synods,
to be present at them, and to provide that whatsoever is transacted in them be
according to the mind of God.(g)
(e) II Chron. 26:18 with Matt. 18:17 and Matt. 16:19; I Cor. 12:28, 29; Eph.
4:11, 12; I Cor. 4:1, 2; Rom. 10:15; Heb. 5:4.
(f) Isa. 49:23; Ps. 122:9; Ezra 7:23, 25, 26, 27, 28; Lev. 24:16; Deut. 13:5,
6, 12; I Kings 18:4; I Chron. 13:1 to 9; II Kings 23:1 to 26; II Chron. 34:33;
II Chron. 15:12, 13.
(g) II Chron. 19:8, 9, 10, 11; II Chron. 29 and 30; Matt. 2:4, 5.
Confession 23.4. It is the duty of people to pray for
magistrates,(h) to honour their persons,(i) to pay them tribute or other
dues,(k) to obey their lawful commands, and to be subject to their authority,
for conscience' sake.(l) Infidelity, or difference in religion, doth not make
void the magistrates' just and legal authority, nor free the people from their
due obedience to them:(m) from which ecclesiastical persons are not
exempted,(n) much less hath the Pope any power and jurisdiction over them in
their dominions, or over any of their people; and, least of all, to deprive
them of their dominions, or lives, if he shall judge them to be heretics, or
upon any other pretence whatsoever.(o)
(h) I Tim. 2:1, 2.
(i) I Pet. 2:17.
(k) Rom. 13:6, 7.
(l) Rom. 13:5; Tit. 3:1.
(m) I Pet. 2:13, 14, 16.
(n) Rom. 13:1; I Kings 2:35; Acts 25:9, 10, 11; II Pet. 2:1, 10, 11; Jude ver.
8, 9, 10, 11.
(o) II Thess. 2:4; Rev. 13:15, 16, 17.