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by Dr. John Thomas
But such children should remember that "it is better to obey God than man" and that he that loves parents more than Jesus, is not worthy of him.
Better leave the paternal roof as an outcast, than dishonour him by preferring their laws to his.
If man's domestic sovereignty be thus qualified and limited by the grace of God, shall we say that he conferred on man "a divine right" to govern his species in its spiritual and civil concerns?
To found kingdoms and empires, and to invent religions as a means of imparting durability to their thrones?
What God permits and regulates is one thing; and what He appoints is another.
He permits thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, to exist; He regulates them, setting over them the basest of men, if such answer His intentions best; prevents them circumventing His purposes; and commands His saints to "be subject unto the higher powers.
For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God.
Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves punishment.
For the magistrates are not a terror to good deeds, but to the evil.
… Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: for he is a servant of God unto that which is good for thee".
God did not commission man to set up these powers.
All He required of him was to obey whatsoever He chose to appoint.
But, when man became a rebel, his rebellious spirit was transmitted to his posterity; and, refusing to be governed by the grace of God, they founded dominions of their own, upon principles which were utterly subversive of the government of God upon the earth.
He could as easily have quashed their treasonable proceedings as He stopped the building of Babel; but in His wisdom He chose rather to give them scope, and to subject their usurpations to such regulations as would in the end promote His own glory and their confusion.
Therefore it is that Paul says every power is of God; and the powers that be are ordained of Him.
This is matter of great consolation and rejoicing to His saints; for, though the tyrants may propose, it is God only that disposes events.
The saints who understand the word will keep aloof from politics.
None are more interested in them than they; but they will mix themselves up neither with one party nor another; for God regulates them all: therefore to be found in any such strife would be to contend in some way or other against Him.
The servant of the Lord must not strive, except "for the faith once delivered to the saints".
For this he is commanded to "contend earnestly," because such a contention is to "fight the good fight of faith," and to "lay hold on eternal life".
In the beginning, then, God reserved to Himself the right of dominion over the human race.
He gave it not to Adam, nor to his posterity; but claimed the undivided sovereignty over all man's concerns for Himself by right of creation; and for him whom He might ordain as His representative upon earth.
All the kingdoms that exist, or have existed, with the exception of the Commonwealth of Israel, are based upon the usurpation of the rights of God, and of His Son, Jesus Christ; nor is there a king or queen, pope or emperor, among the Gentiles, who reigns "by the grace of God".