20. OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT.
This chapter consists of two principal heads, -
I. General discourse on the necessity, dignity, and use of Civil Government, in opposition to
the frantic proceedings of the Anabaptists, sec. 1-3.
II. A special exposition of the three leading parts of which Civil Government consists, sec.
The first part
treats of the function of Magistrates, whose authority and calling is proved, sec.
4-7. Next, the three forms of civil government are added, sec. 8. Thirdly, Consideration of the
office of the civil magistrate in respect of piety and righteousness. Here, of rewards and
punishments, viz., punishing the guilty, protecting the innocent, repressing the seditious,
managing, the affairs of peace and war, sec. 9-13.
The second part
treats of Laws, their utility, necessity, form, authority, constitution, and scope,
sec. 14-16. The last part relates to the People, and explains the use of laws, courts, and
magistrates, to the common society of Christians, sec. 17-21. Deference which private
individuals owe to magistrates, and how far obedience ought to be carried, sec. 22-32.
Last part of the whole work, relating to the institution of Civil Government. The
consideration of it necessary,
1. To refute the Anabaptists.
2. To refute the flatterers of princes.
3. To excite our gratitude to God.
Civil government not opposed to Christian liberty. Civil government to be distinguished from the
spiritual kingdom of Christ.
Objections of the Anabaptists,
1. That civil government is unworthy of a Christian man.
2. That it is diametrically repugnant to the Christian profession. Answer.
The answer confirmed. Discourse reduced to three heads,
1. Of Laws.
2. Of Magistrates.
3. Of the People.