[from The Covenanter, May 1846, I.10. 305-306.]
How can those who deny that the Scriptures are an “immediate” rule to magistrates in civil things, justify an appeal, such as is now making by the advocates of capital punishment, to the Bible as containing an imperative law on that subject? Are nations bound, or are they not, to adopt the law of the Bible on that subject, because it is in the Bible?
Again, did Christ give, in his Mediatory character, the precepts contained in Genesis nine to Noah and all his posterity? or did he there speak to Noah as an absolute God? If the latter, then, must not the church modify her views a little in regard to Christ’s prophetical office so as to exclude from that office the revelation of a large part of the Bible? If the former, then, how can we avoid the conclusion that Christ as Mediator gives some laws, at least, to nations and magistrates, and that of course, he has authority, or right to rule over them?
The following resolutions—being the first three out of the seven unanimously adopted by the Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Ireland on the subject of the Maynooth endowment—imbody an unanswerable arguments against the admission of Papists to the exercise of political power in Protestant countries.
“The Synod, having taken into consideration the measure of the present British Government for permanently endowing the Roman Catholic College of Maynooth,—
“I.—That nations to which the light of Divine revelation has come are under obligation to submit to the reigning Mediator, the Prince of the kings of the earth, to receive and explicitly acknowledge the authority of His Word, and to appoint rulers, enact laws, and administer their policy, according to the supreme and infallible standard;—and to give national countenance and support to systems which the Word of God clearly condemns—to systems that are erroneous, idolatrous and enslaving—is contempt of the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of nations, and rebellion against Him—despite done to His blessed Word—and cannot therefore fail to draw down upon the nation the Divine indignation, and to entail the fearful consequences which have ever followed the support and advancement of idolatry.
“II.—That Sacred Scripture has clearly delineated a great organized system of heresy, idolatry, and blasphemy, as existing in the times of the New Testament; that the predictions and declarations of the Inspired Word have been remarkably verified in the character and history of Popery; that it is a combined system of grievous and soul-destroying error; that idolatry is its leading character, and blasphemy is inscribed on its forehead, fully warranting the designation, ‘Babylon the great, the mother of harlots, and of abominations that are done upon the earth;’ and that it is justly styled Antichrist, as it has ever proved itself the stated enemy of Christ, while it has been the foe to man, both as an individual and as a member of civil and ecclesiastical society; and that against it and its supporters the judgments of Heaven are denounced, and will most surely be executed.
“III.—That the glorious reformation of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was particularly directed against the errors, idolatries, and usurpations of the Man of Sin; and the Reformation, as carried forward in Britain and Ireland, and advanced to a greater degree of light and power than in any other country, and secured by solemn federal deeds, became a national measure, by which Popery was repudiated and abjured, and the nation pledged, by a morally unalterable instrument, to support the Protestant religion, and to maintain a Protestant King and Government, in defence of the truth; and that the knowledge of Scriptural principle, religions practice, intellectual superiority, and prosperity of Britain, are to be traced, under God, to the deliverance of the nation from Popish darkness and tyranny; while the records of the past bear unequivocal testimony that, in proportion as Antichrist has been encouraged and fostered by the State, so the glory of the nation has declined, and tokens of Divine displeasure have been displayed against the land; and the persecution of Protestants, to bonds and death, wherever Popery has had the power, illustrates its true spirit, and gives solemn warning of what may be anticipated from its prevalence and ascendancy.