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Chapter 24. Of the Civil Magistrate

We confess and acknowledge empires, kingdoms, dominions, and cities to be distinguished and ordained by God: the powers and authorities in the same (be it of emperors in their empires, of kings in their realms, dukes and princes in their dominions, or of other magistrates in free cities) to be God's holy ordinance, ordained for manifestation of his own glory, and for the singular profit and commodity of mankind.159159Rom. 13:1; Titus 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:13-14. So that whosoever goes about to take away or to confound the whole state of civil policies, now long established; we affirm the same men not only to be enemies to mankind, but also wickedly to fight against God's expressed will.160160Rom. 13:2.

We further confess and acknowledge, that such persons as are placed in authority are to be loved, honoured, feared, and held in most reverent estimation161161Rom. 13:7; 1 Pet. 2:17. because they are the lieutenants of God, in whose sessions God himself does sit and judge162162Ps. 82:1. (yea even the judges and princes themselves), to whom by God is given the sword, to the praise and defense of good men, and to revenge and punish all open malefactors.1631631 Pet. 2:14. Moreover, to kings, princes, rulers, and magistrates, we affirm that chiefly and most principally the conservation and purgation of the religion appertains; so that not only they are appointed for civil policy, but also for maintenance of the true religion, and for suppressing of idolatry and superstition whatsoever: as in David,1641641 Chron. 22-26. Jehoshaphat,1651652 Chron. 17:6, etc.; 19:8, etc.; Hezekiah,1661662 Chron. 29-31. Josiah,1671672 Chron. 34-35. and others, highly commended for their zeal in that case, may be espied.

And therefore we confess and avow, that such as resist the supreme power (doing that thing which appertains to his charge), do resist God's ordinance, and therefore cannot be guiltless. And further, we affirm that whosoever denies unto them their aid, counsel and comfort, while the princes and rulers vigilantly travail in the execution of their office, that the same men deny their help, support and counsel to God, who, by the presence of his lieutenant, craves it of them.

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