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Dominion of Christ: Part 1.

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Dominion of Christ: Part 1.

James Dodson

[from The Covenanter, March 1848, III.8. 228-236.]


[NOTE FROM JAMES M. WILLSON, EDITOR] 

The author of the following article is a minister of the Associate Church. In giving this article a place in our pages, we would remark 1st, That it is not our intention to take any part in the question respecting the course of the [Evangelical] Repository in refusing to admit it into its pages, and hence we have taken the liberty of striking out of the opening paragraph, some remarks on this point. 2nd, The general drift of the article, and the bulk of its reasoning, meets our approbation. It is designed to prove that magistracy is instituted in the Scriptures, and that of course, all who have the Bible are bound to go to the Scriptures to ascertain what magistracy is; that to invent a system of magistracy out of men’s own heads,—leaving the Bible out of view—is foolish, unwarrantable, infidel. In connexion with this—for they are inseparable—the writer maintains the accountability of the magistrate to God in Christ. 3rd, We would have preferred the use in some instances, of other phraseology. Some of the expressions employed respecting the origin of magistracy, are liable to be abused— they may be even misunderstood.

With these general remarks, we lay the article before our readers, asking for it a careful perusal, especially that part which treats of the relation between religion and magistracy.

The writer promises another article on the subject.


by

John McAuley

Mr. Editor:—As the [Evangelical] Repository has replied to my article published in the Covenanter,[HERE] and utterly refuses to publish for me, I have concluded to ask of you another favour. I am perfectly willing to let the reader decide whether it is brotherly, honest, or honourable, to reply to my article without either publishing it, or allowing me to reply in his pages, to his misrepresentations of it. If he had published it, his readers could have done both him and me justice; but as it is, they can do neither of us justice.

The Repository makes a great noise about “confounding propositions,” “divines asserting that ecclesiastical government did not originate in the Mediator,” that I teach that “magistracy has its origin in grace” &c. But every intelligent reader who has read my article will at once see that this is all nothing but noise and sound, for it was no part of my plan to meddle with these distinctions, or with his proposition. I first give a qualified assent to his proposition, and then distinctly state, “What I principally design, however, is to examine the orthodoxy of your inference, particularly that part which says and are not bound to discharge the duties of their office in his name.” Then what I proposed to prove was this,—that civil rulers are bound to discharge the duties of their office in the name of Christ, and that the contrary doctrine is false. It is true I did not state the design of my remarks in a formal proposition, but it was sufficiently plain. Now, when I had plainly stated the design of my remarks, why did not the good brother undertake to show that the arguments which I adduce to prove this informal proposition are false? But no, instead of this, he labours to draw off the attention of his readers entirely from the point at issue, and direct it to matters concerning which I only made a passing remark; as though this was the great matter under consideration.

It must also be kept in mind that my assent to his proposition is qualified, I admit the truth of it, not in the light in which he understands it, but “abstractly considered.” The reason why I used this qualifying phrase in giving assent to his proposition, was because I was well aware that we did not both understand it in the same way. I knew that when the question concerning the origin of magistracy would come under consideration, that a question would arise out of it; this question I waived at the time, because the proving of what I had under consideration would decide that question which our good brother supposes to be a previous one. He thinks that because I reason from the effect to the cause, that it is no reasoning at all. My method was not to prove that the magistrate is the deputy of Christ, and then show from that, that he, is bound to perform the duties of his office in the name of Christ; but to demonstrate that the word of God requires him to perform his duties in the name of Christ, and that therefore he must be the deputy of the Mediator. If the Repository had possessed all that sagacity which he seems inclined to monopolize, he could have discovered this as easily as he “corrected the mistakes” of his good brother “in relation to the fundamental principles of the question.”

Again, he represents me as teaching the doctrine “that magistracy originates in God as the God of grace,” against which “even the Reformed Presbyterians testify.” Now, I believe as well as he does, that magistracy, abstractly considered, does not have its origin in God as the God of grace: neither do I believe that religion does (natural religion); Rom. 1:19-21. But we do not say that because natural religion has its origin in God essentially considered, therefore the ministers of supernatural religion are not the deputies of the Mediator. No: this would be no better than some of our good brother’s inferences. To say that because natural magistracy, or that which has its origin in natural principles, entirely independent of supernatural revelation, has its origin in God essentially considered, therefore Christian magistracy is not administered by the God of grace, would be equally false reasoning. By natural magistracy, I mean such as exists among the holy angels, such as would have existed among men in a state of innocence, or such as exists in a miserably corrupt state among fallen and unregenerate men, and fallen angels; (for Satan is a prince.) The magistracy that exists among fallen men and angels, is just as corrupt as they are. But as heathen magistracy is the only visible form in which natural magistracy exists in this world, my remarks will be confined to it.

Now, it is manifest that heathen magistracy has its origin in God essentially considered, because it exists where God is not known as the God of grace, or as a God in Christ: where there is no revelation of mercy, or dispensation of the Spirit. It is God essentially considered, who has revealed this ordinance to the heathen by the light of nature; Rom. 1:19, 20, “because that which may be known of God is manifested in them, (or to them,) for God hath shewed it to them,” &c. And it is equally certain that God essentially considered, revealed to them the moral natural law as their only rule of magistracy; for God in this character reveals to the heathen no positive precepts. Magistracy, then, among the heathen, of necessity has its origin in God essentially considered: but we do not say that because heathen magistracy has this origin, therefore Christian magistracy has also. The rule of the heathen magistrate’s obedience is, of necessity, confined to “natural principles:” but we do not say, that because this is the only rule of the heathen magistrate, therefore it is of the Christian magistrate also. This would confound heathen and Christian magistracy.

Again, it is certain that natural religion has its origin in God essentially considered, because it exists among the heathen in a corrupt form, where God is not known as a God in Christ. God has taught them by the light of nature, and his general providences, that he is the Creator, Preserver, Law-giver, and Judge. He has thus revealed to them his natural attributes, “even his eternal power and Godhead” Rom. 1:19, 32; Acts 17:28. He has also, in the same character and manner, made known to them that it is their duty to worship him and be thankful, Rom. 1:21. He has also, in the same character and manner, revealed to them the moral natural law as the only rule for their direction, in performing the duties of natural religion. Thus we see that heathen magistracy and natural religion have a common origin. And now, if there is any such a thing as Christian magistracy, it bears the same relation to the Christian religion, that heathen magistracy does to natural religion, both in its origin and administration. I will not pretend to say whether our good brother believes in the existence of such a thing as Christian magistracy or not, but for my part I do, and will lay down two propositions for consideration. 1, Heathen magistracy has its origin in God essentially considered.[1] 2, Christian magistracy has its origin in God as the God of grace.

I will take it for granted that the good brother will admit the truth of the first proposition; the truth of the second, I will endeavour to prove.

I

That Christian magistracy has its origin in God as the God of grace, is manifest. 1, Because it is impossible that there ever could have been any other than heathen magistracy, had not the God of grace given us a revelation of his will: and certainly none but the infidel will deny that the scriptures were given by God as the God of grace. Divine revelation is absolutely essential to the very existence of Christian magistracy: where divine revelation does not exist Christian magistracy cannot. It could no more exist without it, than the effect could without a cause. It is impossible that there could be any proposition more glaringly absurd, or grossly erroneous, than the proposition that Christian magistracy originated in God essentially considered without Christ, without grace. And not only so, the very existence of Christian magistracy would be impossible without a Mediator without the execution of his offices, the influences of his Spirit, and the bestowment of divine grace. Divine grace bears the same relation to Christian magistracy in its origin, continuance, and administration, that the cause does to the effect. We have no account in all the annals of history, of one heathen government being converted into a Christian government, or one heathen magistrate into a Christian magistrate, until divine grace did the work, or gave origin or existence to it. To expect so great a change to take place in any other way than by the power of Christ, and the bestowment of divine grace, would be to expect an effect to be produced without a cause. Before Christian magistracy can be set up, heathen magistracy must be put down. Now, who puts down the one and sets up the other? Does God essentially considered? Who “subdues his people to himself, rules and governs them, and conquers and restrains all his and our enemies?” Does God out of Christ do all this? Who takes away those things that hinder the very existence of Christian magistracy, and brings about that state of affairs, out of which it necessarily arises? Let this defensor fidei answer. Again, what Almighty, all subduing, all constraining principle does the author of this change bring into action to produce it? Is it the love of God out of Christ? No such thing: No power in the heavens above, in the earth beneath, nor in the waters under the earth, but the power of Christ. No constraining influence but the love of God in Christ, as manifested in the everlasting gospel, the everlasting Covenants can produce this change. And yet the divine Mediator, and divine grace, have nothing to do in giving origin or existence to Christian magistracy! Nothing to do in its administration or continuance! A doctrine worthy of this defender of the faith. I care not how many bibles and missionaries you send to a heathen government, for the purpose of converting it into a Christian government, nor how long, nor how faithfully these missionaries labour, to setup, or give existence to Christian magistracy, there will be absolutely nothing done until the power of Christ does it; but when He begins to work, who “calls things that are not as though they were,” then will it spring into existence.

But perhaps the good brother would be so good as to show us some other way in which Christian magistracy could have an origin. If he cannot, he must show us to call his “true issue” a false one. And certainly one who could so successfully “correct the mistakes” of his good brother McAuley, would not commit so egregious a blunder as that of confounding heathen and Christian magistracy; for they are not the same thing, they differ too widely to have a common origin. Would he have patience with us while we endeavour to point out some of their distinguishing characteristics? 1, Heathen magistracy is characterized by hatred of both God and man; there is not an attribute of Jehovah but what the heathen magistrate hates with an inveterate and incurable hatred. It is characterized by a hatred of religion, both natural and supernatural, Rom. 1:28: by a hatred of the divine law, whether written or unwritten, Rom. 8:7. But Christian magistracy is characterized, by love both to God and man;—to the divine law and religion. 2, Heathen magistracy is characterized by selfishness, pride, haughtiness, ambition, revenge, ingratitude, and impenitence, or as the Apostle to the Romans expresses it Chap. 1:18, “ungodliness and unrighteousness,” or the same Apostle to the Galatians, 5:19, “the works of the flesh:” but Christian magistracy is characterized by benevolence, humility, meekness, forbearance and penitence, by Godliness and righteousness, by the fruits of the Spirit. Now the question is first, is it God essentially considered, who makes the Christian magistrate to differ so widely from the Heathen magistrate? If not, then Christian magistracy does not have its origin in God in this character, but it is all the work of the Mediator, who is the minister of the God of grace, sent into the world for the purpose of effecting this change. Secondly, did these characteristics of the Christian magistrate, have their origin in God essentially considered, or in the God of grace? They could not originate in God essentially considered, therefore they must in the God of grace, and are the work of the Mediator. Take these characteristics from the magistrate, and it leaves him a heathen, but give them to him and they constitute him a Christian, magistrate. Then first, Christian magistracy had a decretive origin in the divine purpose, or counsel of peace. Secondly, an actual existence in the application of redemption, and the exercise of the divine power of Christ as a king.

II

Christian magistracy has its origin in the God of grace; because the scriptures were given by Him in that character, and because they are obligatory on the Christian magistrate. The scriptures express and enforce the authority of the God of grace, but not that of God essentially considered. 1, The scriptures alone oblige the conscience of the Christian magistrate; and it is false doctrine—legalism, to assert that the law as written on the heart of man at his creation is obligatory on the Christian Magistrate. The brother in replying to the charge of “virtually denying that the moral law or the law of the ten commandments, is the rule of the civil magistrate’s obedience,” asks “was it (the law of the ten commandments) not written upon man’s heart in his creation? How then do we deny that this law is the rule, because we exclude from this rule those principles which do not enter into the law, viewed as a moral natural law, and as coming from God in His essential character as the moral governor of the universe?” Now I willingly admit that the law of the ten commandants was written on the heart of man, at his creation, by God in his essential character; but I contend that it was there written as a covenant of works: and that this same law is now imperfectly written on the hearts of all the heathen, and of all unbelievers, in the same covenant form; but I utterly deny that the Christian magistrate is obliged by the law in that form—“he is not under the law.” It is not the law that was written on the heart of man by God in his essential character, to which the Christian magistrate owes obedience, though the law in this form is the formal and only rule of the Heathen magistrate’s obedience, who is “under sin”—“of the works of the law” and “under the curse:”—but it is the law written by the finger of God on tables of stone,—put into the ark of the Covenant—under the mercy seat; or the law that the God of grace writes on the heart, as Heb. 8:10: “I will put my laws in their mind, and write them in their heart and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people,” (also, Jer. 31:33,) that binds the conscience of the Christian magistrate, and is the formal and only rule of his obedience. I know that the law written on the heart by God in his essential character, and that written on tables of stone, or on the heart of the believer, by God as the God of grace, are the same as to their letter;—but they are essentially different as to their form. All who are under the law in the first form, are under the curse, if we are under the law in this form as citizens, we are in our civil relations under the curse, and if we are under the curse in any sense, we are in every sense. But all who are under the law in the second form, (“under the law to Christ,”) are under grace; and cannot be under the curse in any sense, because they are not under the law in the first form, in any sense. All who obey it in the first form, are dishonouring God, because they are going about to establish their own righteousness, but all who obey it in the second form, are glorifying God, because they are submitting themselves to the righteousness of God.

Now, I am perfectly willing to leave it to the reader, if the good brother does not place men in their civil relations, under the law in the first form, consequently under the covenant of works, for he places them under the law “as coming from God in his essential character.” We hope he will see and acknowledge his mistake, for it is a fundamental one. All his philosophy can never free him from the charge of legalism, until he retracts what he has written, until he acknowledges that his “true issue” is a false one: for he expressly says, “we exclude from this rule (the rule of the civil magistrate’s obedience) those principles which do not enter into the law, viewed as a moral natural law, and as coming from God in his essential character,” that is, he excludes every thing that relates to the covenant of grace, or the God of grace, and of course, all that is left after the good brother’s expurgation, relates to the covenant of works, and a God out of Christ.

Again, those who are under the law in the first form, cannot be under it in the second:—cannot be “married to another, to him who is raised from the dead,” Rom. 7:4. Again, it is clear that the law given by God as the God of grace, was intended entirely to supersede the law given by God in his essential character, just as the covenant of grace was intended to supersede the covenant of works, Rom. 7:6: therefore, the law given by God as the God of grace, is the Christian magistrate’s  only rule of obedience. God authoritatively enjoins obedience to it in this form, and prohibits it in the other. Those that are under it in the latter form, can be profited nothing by Christ, Gal. 5:4: also, Rom. 4:14.

III

Christian magistracy has its origin in God as the God of grace, because it is an integral parta very important part of revealed, or supernatural religion; and as such is under the control of the God of grace; consequently under the dominion of the Mediator.

1. The duties of Christian magistrates are component parts of the Christian religion, because they are enjoined and inforced by the Scriptures given by the God of grace,—inforced by the sanction of the new covenant, and not by that of the old covenant. Would the good brother tell us what is the sanction by which the moral natural law, given by God in his essential character, is inforced? It cannot be that obedience to the law in this form is inforced by “those principles which do not enter into the law viewed as a moral natural law, and as coming from God in his essential character,” therefore it must be inforced by “those principles which do enter into the law viewed as a moral natural law.” Now what are those principles which do not, and what those that do enter into this law? First, what are those principles which do not enter into this law? They are all those “excluded” principles, belonging to the covenant of grace. Secondly, but what are those that do enter into it? They are those principles which relate to the covenant of works—the forfeited benefits, and the curse. These are all the sanction the law in that form has, for we cannot admit that utilitarian principles, or self-love enter into the law in any form.

Now God has given his law to man in two forms, and these two forms relate to two covenants. The form given so man, before the fall, by God in his essential character, relates to the covenant of works; the other given to man, after the fall, by the God of grace, to the covenant of grace. Again, God has, in the Scriptures, given two kind of ministers—civil, and ecclesiastical, and according to our good brother’s philosophy, civil magistrates are under the first form, consequently under the covenant of works. Then according to this philosophy, we have a dispensation of the covenant, of works, dispensed by the “ministers of God” essentially considered. To dispense what? The benefits of the covenant of works? Then we, as Christian citizens, were all this time under the covenant of works, and did not know it, for our good brother tells us that the “moral natural law” under which we are as citizens and magistrates, “of course does not include in it those principles that have a relation to the covenant of grace,” that is, this law has no connection whatever with any of the promises, or benefits of the covenant of grace;—the good brother has “excluded” all such things from that law under which we are as magistrates and people. How then is the civil magistrate to inforce on his subjects those duties which he enjoins? It can’t be by any of those excluded principles, such as mercy, forgiveness, redemption, salvation or eternal life,—it can’t be by the love of God in Christ:—it can’t be by the incarnation, death, resurrection, ascension, and intercession of Jesus Christ, or his coming to judge the world at the last day, for these are the very principles which do relate to the covenant of grace, and as such are all excluded, lest we, as Christian citizens, and magistrates, should all he brought under the dominion of Him who has bought us with a price!

2. Christian magistracy is a constituent part of the Christian religion; because all the promises in the Scriptures, that are given to magistrates and people, are promises of the gospel, and as such relate to the covenant of grace; for the moral natural law given by God essentially considered, has not one promise connected with it, its promises and benefits were all forfeited in the original apostacy of man, and the law in this form pours out nothing but curses on all those who are under it. And certainly no one deserving the name of Christian will contend that we are under the law in the first form, as citizens, and under it in the second form, as Christians, for if we are, in any sense, under the law in the first form, we are under the curse, and if under the curse in any sense, we are under it in every sense, for whatsoever the law saith, it saith to them that are under the law, Rom. 3:19. Then if our good brother’s philosophy be true, we, as citizens, are under the curse of the law in the form in which it was given by God in his essential character; but as Christians we are under the blessings connected with it in the form in which it is given by the God of grace! “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth?” “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” It is certain there is an exercise of dominion in giving promises, and in bestowing grace to receive the grace offered and conveyed in them. Then it follows that men, in their civil relations, are under the dominion of Christ, for if those promises which are given to men in their civil relations, are not received by them in those relations, they cannot be received at all. It is as true that Christ enjoins duties on, and gives promises to kings, as it is that he does to fathers, and it is as true that the performing of these duties, and the receiving and resting on these promises, in the one case, are parts of the Christian religion, as it is in the other:—what is commanded to the King must be done by the King,—what is promised to the King must be received by the King; in the same way, that what is commanded to the father, must be done by the father, and what is promised to the father, must be received by the father.

3. Christian magistracy, is a part of the Christian religion, because all the mercies which God bestows on Christian magistrates, and nations, are bestowed on them by Him as the God of grace, and these mercies all flow to them through the Mediator, for God essentially considered, bestows no mercies on either magistrates or nations. But perhaps the good brother would contend that magistrates and citizens, as such, do not stand in need of any mercy, in as much as they, as such, have no sin,—do not transgress the law, and in as much as they have no guilt, as such; for he says that “Christ in the covenant of grace is not to be regarded as the representative of magistrates and citizens as such.” Why? Certainly because, as such, they are neither sinners, nor guilty, for if they were they would need a representative, they would need mercy. But the good brother’s allegation has no truth in it. Christ did represent magistrates and citizens, for he, in his estate of humiliation, was both a king and a citizen, he was a king on his holy hill of Zion, he performed the duties, of a citizen—paid tribute.[2] And now I cannot here forbear giving my good brother a piece of advice, which I am sure would be for his good, that is, lay aside his crude notions about philosophy, and take a few lessons on Theology, from his good neighbor, the author of Divine and Human Rights, for whose periodical he will have it that I am an agent.[3]

4. Christian magistracy is a component part of the Christian religion, because the duties of it are enumerated with other duties acknowledged to be Christian, 1 Pet. 2:17. Here, love to the brotherhood, the fear of God, and honoring the king, are all placed in a catalogue, as a summary of all our duties, in every relation—social, religious, and civil; and these duties are all given and inforced by God in the same character,—as the God of grace, for these duties were all delivered by the Apostle, not as a messenger or minister of God essentially considered, but in the character of an “Apostle of Jesus Christ,” 1 Pet. 1:1. And, certainly, the divine law is administered by God, in the same character in which it is given and inforced, for to give and inforce law is to administer it. But Jesus Christ gives and inforces law about civil duties, therefore he exercises dominion over men in their civil relations. And it is not a dominion that is divided between Jesus Christ, and God essentially considered, Matt 28:18. “All power is given to me in heaven and earth.” I deny that God essentially considered, ever delivered one jot or iota of the Bible; I deny that he ever sent in this character a minister to fallen man, to reveal his will or execute his law: but God, as the God of grace, did send a messenger from Heaven to reveal his will, and execute his law,—clothed with all power in heaven and earth, even Him by whom “kings reign and princes decree justice,” by whom “princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.” Prov. 8:15,16. Solomon here means the Mediator, for it is the same that “was set up from everlasting,” verse 23, by whom kings reign, &c. Again, when the God of grace sent this minister into the world, he commands kings and judges to receive wisdom and instruction from him, Ps. 2:10, Col. 2:3. God essentially considered never sent a minister or prophet to make kings and judges wise. He commands them in the same Psalm to “serve” him—Him who was set on the holy hill of Zion,—to “kiss” him, in token of submission to his authority. And it must be kept in mind that God, in his essential character, does not speak in the Scriptures.

5. Christian magistracy is acknowledged to be a part of the Christian religion, by all orthodox churches, because it has a place in their confessions, or systems of religion. A system of religion, without an article on magistracy would be manifestly defective. So, a civil constitution without an article on religion is equally defective: they are in this aspect perfectly homogeneous bodies.—The author and administrator of both, is the God of grace, the character of each is religious. Hence the duty of the Church to support a scriptural civil government, and testify against all corruptions, either in its constitution or administration, for it is a part of the trust committed to the Church to promote and maintain sound doctrine, concerning this matter, both in theory and practice. Hence again, the duty of all civil governments to profess the Christian religion, and as far as it is competent to them to support it, and oppose all false religions, for these are a part of the duties committed to civil rulers. It is manifest that the framers of the Larger Catechism considered magistracy a part of religion, for in pointing out, Ques. 108, 129, the duty of superiors to inferiors, they speak of the duties of all kinds of superiors together, and among those duties which belong to all kinds of superiors alike, they mention, “providing for them all things necessary for soul and body.” Thus the duties of the Church and State to acknowledge and support each other, are mutual and reciprocal. But wherever our good brother’s views concerning civil recognitions prevail, civil governments will always deny, instead of acknowledge—oppose instead of support, the Christian religion. It is impossible that it could be otherwise, than that a system of legalism would be an antagonist of religion, and it is because all nations are practicing on his system of philosophy that they “give their power to the beast.” The doctrine that men in their civil relations are not under the law of Christ, is the doctrine of devils—a doctrine that an ungodly world has always drunk in with avidity.

6. Christian magistracy, is a part of the Christian religion, because Jesus Christ will judge all kings and rulers at the last day. He even now “judgeth among the gods.” It is the God of grace, who in the 82nd Psalm, is said “to stand in the congregation of the mighty, and judge among the gods,”—who hath “committed all judgment to the Son,” and “who will judge the world in righteousness at the last day by Him, even by that man whom he hath ordained.” Acts 18:31. Here we see that Christ performs the highest act of administration, over all men, in every relation, and one which necessarily supposes the exercise of every other act of administration, for he that judges by the law is the same that gave, and inforces it. Neither is the fact that the heathen have not the law given by the God of grace, and know not Jesus Christ, any reason why they should not be judged by him, for they are all apostates from the covenant of grace, and rebels against the authority of Christ, because they all descended from the family of Noah, who was both a preacher, and an heir of the righteousness of faith. All Noah’s family knew Christ and were in covenant with him. Then if Christian magistracy be a part of the religion of Christ, and all heathen magistrates are rebels against Him, it is clear that they are all under his dominion, and that Christian magistracy has its origin in God as the God of grace. And if the heathen are under that kind of magistracy which had its origin in God essentially considered, it is because those of the descendants of Noah, who “did not like to retain God in their knowledge” have fallen from that kind of magistracy which had its origin in God as the God of grace; and have fallen in with the good brother’s philosophy, in the same way that those who “are justified by the law, are fallen from grace:” in the same way that those who become offended at God’s plan of salvation by grace, naturally fall in love with their own plan of salvation by works. It was their hatred of the covenant of grace that drove the great majority of Noah’s family from it to the covenant of works, and provoked the Almighty to give them over to a reprobate mind to do those things which are not convenient, Rom. 1:28. It is just as plain that the philosophy of the Repository is a constituent part of natural religion, as it is that Christian magistracy is a part of the Christian religion. His philosophy concerning magistracy, relates to the same covenant that natural religion does—the covenant of works, natural religion knows no other covenant.

The Repository feels very certain my doctrines on this subject are opposed to a distinctive principle of the Secession Church. I deny the charge. Where is their testimony for the truth that the magistrate is not the deputy of Christ, and against the error that he is the deputy of Christ? Where is their testimony for the truth that the magistracy is bound not to perform the duties of his office in the name of Christ, and against the error that he is bound, &c? where is their testimony for the truth that both heathen and Christian magistracy have their origin in God essentially considered, and against the error that Christian magistracy has its origin in the God of grace? No, the Secession never had any settled or distinctive views about the subject.


FOOTNOTES:


[1] I do not mean that any of the corruptions of heathen magistracy have their in God essentially considered.

[2] Lest he should offend them.—Ed. Cov.

[3] If It is proper for me here to state that my name was put on the list of his agents without either my knowledge or consent, and that some time after I received his periodical, I forwarded the pay for the first volume, and ordered its discontinuance. I never acted as a solicitor of subscriptions for that periodical. I did in a solitary instance, when solicited by a friend, not a member of my congregation, act as agent for the Armory, and would do so again, for it, or any orthodox Presbyterian paper.—J. M’A.