Ten Agreements and Ten Differences Between Church and State

Ten Agreements

1. They are both from God; both the Magistrate, and the Minister is authorized from God, both are the Ministers of God, and shall give account of their administrations to God.

2. Both are tied to observe the Law and Commandments of God: and both have certain directions from the Word of God to guide them in their administration.

3. Both Civil Magistrates and Church Officers are Fathers and ought to be honored and obeyed according to the fifth Commandment: Utrumque scilicet dominium, saith Luther, both Governments, the Civil and the Ecclesiastical, do pertain to that Commandment.

4. Both Magistracy and Ministry are appointed for the glory of God as Supreme, and for the good of men as the subordinate end.

5. They are both of them mutually aiding and auxiliary, each to other. Magistracy strengthens the Ministry, and the Ministry strengthens Magistracy.

6. They agree in their general kind; they are both Powers and Governments.

7. Both of them require singular qualifications, eminent gifts and endowments and of both it holds true, Quis ad haec idoneus?

8. Both of them have degrees of censures and correction according to the degrees of offences.

9. Neither the one nor the other may give out sentence against one who is not convict, or whose offence is not proved.

10. Both of them have a certain kind of Jurisdiction in foro exteriori (in the external). For though the Ecclesiastical power be spiritual, and exercised about such things as belong to the inward man only; yet as Dr. Rivet upon the Decalogue saith truly, “there is a two-fold power of external jurisdiction which is exercised in foro exteriori: one by church censures, excommunication, lesser and greater which is not committed to the magistrate, but to church officers. Another, which is civil and coercive, and that is the magistrate’s.” (pp. 260-261). But Mr. Coleman told us, he was persuaded it will trouble the whole World to bound Ecclesiastical and Civil Jurisdiction, the one from the other.

Well, I have given ten agreements. I will now give ten differences.

Ten Differences

The difference between them is great; they differ in their causes, effects, objects, adjuncts, correlations, executions, and ultimate terminations.

1. In the efficient cause. The King of Nations hath instituted the Civil power; The King of Saints hath instituted the Ecclesiastical power. I mean the most high God, possessor of Heaven and Earth, who exercises Sovereignty over the workmanship of his own hands, and so over all mankind, hath instituted Magistrates to be in his stead, as gods upon Earth. But Jesus Christ as Mediator and King of the Church, whom his Father hath set upon his holy Hill of Zion (Ps. 2:6), to reign over the House of Jacob for ever (Luke 1:33), who hath the key of the House of David laid upon his shoulder (Is. 22:22), hath instituted an Ecclesiastical power and government in the hands of Church officers, whom in his name he sends forth.

2. In the matter. Magistracy or Civil power hath for the matter of it the earthly Scepter and the Temporal Sword: that is, it is Monarchical and Legislative: it is also punitive or coercive of those that do evil; understand, upon the like reason, remunerative of those that do well. The Ecclesiastical power hath for the matter of it, the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven [Matt. 16; Matt. 18; Matt. 28]. 1. The key of knowledge or doctrine, and that to be administered, not only severally by each Minister concionaliter (publicly preaching), but also Consistorially and Synodically in determining controversies of Faith [Acts 15], and that according to the rule of holy Scripture only: which is clavis δογματική (the key of dogma) [John 20; 1 Cor. 4:1; 11:23; 2 Cor. 2:6-8; 2 Thess. 2:15]. 2. The key of order and decency, so to speak: by which the circumstances of Gods Worship and all such particulars in Ecclesiastical affairs, as are not determined in Scripture, are determined by the Ministers and ruling Officers of the Church, so as may best agree to the general rules of the word concerning order and decency, avoiding of scandal, doing all to the glory of God, and to the edifying of one another. And this is clavis διατακτική (the key of order) [1 Cor. 11; 1 Cor. 14]. 3. The key of corrective discipline or censures to be exercised upon the scandalous and obstinate: which is clavis κριτική (the key of judgment) [Matt. 18; 1 Cor. 5]. 4. Add also the key of Ordination or mission of Church-Officers, which I may call clavis έξονσιαστική (the key of authority), the authorizing or power giving key, others call it missio potestativa (the power of sending) [Rom. 10:15; 1 Tim. 4:14; Heb. 5:4].

3. They differ in their forms. The power of Magistracy is αρχιτεκτονική (lordly) and δεσποτική (magisterial). It is an authority or dominion exercised in the particulars above mentioned, and that in an immediate subordination to God: for which reason Magistrates are called gods (cf. Psalm 82). The Ecclesiastical power is ύπηρετική (menial/servant-like), or διακονική (diaconal), or όικονομική (economic) only. It is merely Ministerial and Steward-like, and exercised in an immediate subordination to Jesus Christ, as King of the Church, and in his name and authority.

4. They differ in their ends. The supreme end of Magistracy is only the glory of God, as King of Nations, and as exercising dominion over the inhabitants of the earth: And in that respect the Magistrate is appointed to keep his Subjects within the bounds of external obedience to the moral Law, the obligation where of lies upon all Nations, and all men. The supreme end of the Ecclesiastical power, is either proximus (near) or remotus (remote). The nearest and immediate end is the glory of Jesus Christ, as Mediator and King of the Church. The more remote end is the glory of God, as having all power and authority in heaven and earth. You will say, Must not then the Christian Magistrate intend the glory of Jesus Christ, and to be subservient to him as he is Mediator and King of the Church? Certainly he ought and must; and God forbid but that he should do so. But how? not qua (in the capacity of) Magistrate, but qua (in the capacity of) Christian. If you say to me again, Must not the Christian Magistrate intend to be otherwise subservient to the Kingdom of Jesus Christ as Mediator, then by personal or private Christian duties, which are incumbent to every Christian? I answer, no doubt he ought to intend more, even to glorify Jesus Christ in the administration of Magistracy. Which that you may rightly apprehend, and that I be not misunderstood, take this distinction. It is altogether incumbent to the ruling Officers of the Church, to intend the glory of Christ as Mediator, even ex natura rei, in regard of the very nature of Ecclesiastical power and government which hath no other end and use for which it was intended and instituted, but to be subservient to the Kingly office of Jesus Christ in the governing of his Church upon earth (and therefore sublata Ecclesia perit regimen Ecclesiasticum, take away the Church out of a Nation, and you take away all Ecclesiastical power of government, which makes another difference from Magistracy, as we shall see anon.) But the Magistrate though Christian and godly, doth not ex natura rei, in regard of the nature of his particular vocation intend the glory of Jesus Christ as Mediator, and King of the Church: but in regard of the common principles of Christian Religion, which do oblige every Christian in his particular vocation and station (and so the Magistrate in his) to intend that end. All Christians are commanded that whatever they do in word or deed, they do all in the name of the Lord Jesus (Col. 3:17), that is, according to the will of Christ, and for the glory of Christ: And so a Merchant, a Mariner, a Tradesman, a Schoolmaster, a Captain, a Soldier, a Printer, and in a word, every Christian in his own place and station ought to intend the glory of Christ, and the good of his Church and Kingdom. Upon which ground and principle, if the Magistrate be Christian, it is incumbent to him so to administer that high and eminent vocation of his, that Christ may be glorified as King of the Church, and that this Kingdom of Christ may flourish in his Dominions, (which would God every Magistrate called Christian did really intend). So then the glory of Christ as Mediator and King of the Church, is to the Ministry both finis operis, and finis operantis. To the Magistrate, though Christian, it is only finis operantis; That is, it is the end of the godly Magistrate, but not the end of Magistracy: whereas it is not only the end of the godly Minister, but the end of the Ministry itself. The Ministers intendment of this end, flows from the nature of their particular vocation. The Magistrates intendment of the same end, flows from the nature of their general vocation of Christianity, acting, guiding, and having influence into their particular vocation. So much of the supreme ends.

Now the subordinate end of all Ecclesiastical power, is, that all who are of the Church, whether Officers or members, may live godly, righteously, and soberly in this present world, be kept within the bounds of obedience to the Gospel, void of all known offence toward God, and toward man, and be made to walk according to the rules delivered to us by Christ and his Apostles. The subordinate end of the Civil power is, that all public sins committed presumptuously against the moral Law, may be exemplarily punished, and that peace, justice, and good order may be preserved and maintained in the Commonwealth, which doth greatly redound to the comfort and good of the Church, and to the promoting of the course of the Gospel. For this end the Apostle bids us pray for Kings, and all who are in Authority (though they be Pagans, much more if they be Christians) that we may live under them a peaceable and quiet life, in all Godliness and Honesty: (1 Tim. 2:2). He saith not simply, that we may live in Godliness and Honesty, but that we may both live peaceably and quietly, and also live godly and honestly: which is the very same that we commonly say of the Magistrate, that he is Custos utrius Tabulae. He is to take special care that all his Subjects be made to observe the Law of God, and live not only in moral honesty, but in Godliness, and that so living, they may also enjoy peace and quietness. More particularly; the end of Church censures is, that men may be ashamed, humbled, reduced to repentance, that their spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. The end of civil punishments inflicted by the Magistrate is, That justice may be done according to Law, and that peace and good order may be maintained in the Commonwealth, as hath been said. The end of delivering Hymeneus and Alexander to Satan was that they may learn not to blaspheme (1 Tim. 1:20). Erastus yields to Beza that the Apostle doth not say Ut non possint blasphemare, that henceforth they may not be able to sin as they did before (which yet he acknowledges to be the end of civil punishments,) but that they may learn not to blaspheme. Wherefore when he expounds ϊνα παιδενθώσι (“that they may learn” 1 Tim. 1:20), to no other sense but this, That the Apostle had delivered those two to be killed by Satan, Ut non possint, that they may not be able to blaspheme so any more; just as a Magistrate delivers a thief from the gallows, that he may not be able to steal any more, and (as he tells us some speak) that he may learn to steal no more: He is herein confuted, not only out of the Text, but out of himself. So then, the end of Church-censures is ϊνα παιδενθώσι, that the offenders may learn or be instructed to do so no more; which belongeth to the inward man or soul. The end of civil punishments is, Ut non possint (as Erastus tells us) that the offenders may not be able or at least (being alive and some way free) may not dare to do the like, the sword being appointed for a terror to them who do evil, to restrain them from public and punishable offences, not to work upon the spirit of their minds, nor to effect the destroying of the flesh by mortification, that the spirit may be safe in the day of the Lord.

5. In respect of the effects. The effects of the Civil power are Civil Laws, Civil punishments, Civil rewards. The effects of the Ecclesiastical power, are Determinations of Controversies of Faith, Canons concerning Order and Decency in the Church, Ordination or Deposition of Church-Officers, Suspension from the Sacrament, and Excommunication. The powers being distinct in their nature and causes, the effects must needs be distinct, which flow from the actuating and putting in execution of the powers. I do not here speak of the effects of the Ecclesiastical power of Order, the dispensing of the Word and Sacraments; but of the effects of the power of Jurisdiction or Government, of which only the controversy is.

6. In their objects. The Civil power hath for the object of it τά βιωτικά (the things of this life), matters of Peace, War, Justice, the Kings matters, and the Country-matters, those things that belong to the external man: But the Ecclesiastical power hath for the object of it, things pertaining to God, the Lords matters, as they are distinct from Civil matters, and things belonging to the inward man, distinct from the things belonging to the outward man. This difference Protestant writers do put between the Civil and Ecclesiastical powers. Fr. Junius Ecclesiast. lib. 3, cap. 4, saith thus:

“We have put into our definition human things to be the subject of Civil administration: but the subject of Ecclesiastical administration, we have taught to be things Divine and Sacred. Things Divine and Sacred we call both those which God commandeth for the sanctification of our mind and conscience, as things necessary; and also those which the decency and order of the Church requireth to be ordained and observed, for the profitable and convenient use of the things which are necessary: For example, Prayers, the administration of the Word and Sacraments, Ecclesiastical censure, are things necessary and essentially belonging to the Communion of Saints: but set days, set hours, set places, fasts and the like, belong to the decency and order of the Church, etc. But human things we call such as touch the life, the body goods and good name, as they are expounded in the second Table of the Decalogue; for these are the things in which the whole Civil administration standeth.”

Tilen, Synt. part. 2. disp. 32. tells us to the same purpose, That Civil Government or Magistracy versatur circa res terrenas & hominem externum. Magistratus instituti sunt à Deo rerum humanarum quae hominum societati necessariae sunt, respectu, & ad earum curam (Danaui Pol. Christ. lib. 6. cap. 1).

If it be objected, How can these things agree with that which hath been before by us acknowledged, that the Civil Magistrate ought to take special care of Religion, of the conservation and purgation thereof, of the abolishing idolatry and superstition; and ought to be Custos utriusque Tabulae (keeper of both Tables), of the first, as well as second Table? I answer, That Magistrates are appointed, not only for Civil Policy, but for the conservation and purgation of Religion as is expressed in the Confession of Faith of the Church of Scotland, before cited, we firmly believe, as a most undoubted truth. But when Divines make the object of Magistracy to be only such things as belong to this life and to humane society, they do not mean the object of the Magistrate’s Care (as if he were not to take care of Religion;) but the object of his Operation. The Magistrate himself may not assume the administration of the keys, nor the dispensing of Church-censures; he can but punish the external man with external punishments. Of which more afterwards.

7. In the Adjuncts. For 1. the Ecclesiastical power in Presbyterial or Synodical Assemblies, ought not to be exercised without prayer and calling upon the Name of the Lord (Matt. 18:19). There is no such obligation upon the Civil power, as that there may be no Civil Court of Justice without prayer. 2. In divers cases Civil Jurisdiction hath been and is in the person of one man: But no Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction is committed to one man, but to an Assembly in which two at least must agree in the thing, as is gathered from the Text last cited. 3. No private or secret offence ought to be brought before an Ecclesiastical Court, except in the case of contumacy and impenitency, after previous admonitions: This is the ordinary rule, not to dispute now extraordinary exceptions from that rule. But the Civil power is not bound up by any such ordinary rule: For I suppose, our opposites will hardly say (at least hardly make it good) that no Civil injury or breach of Law and Justice, being privately committed, may be brought before a Civil Court, except first there be previous admonitions, and the party admonished prove obstinate and impenitent.

8. In their correlations. The Correlatum of Magistracy is people embodied in a Common-wealth, or a Civil corporation. The Correlatum of the Ecclesiastical power is people embodied in a Church, or Spiritual corporation. The Common-wealth is not in the Church, but the Church is in the Common-wealth, that is, One is not therefore in or of the Church, because he is in or of the Commonwealth, of which the Church is a part; but yet every one that is a Member of the Church, is also a Member of the Commonwealth, of which that Church is a part. The Apostle distinguishes those that are without, and those that are within in reference to the Church, who were notwithstanding both sorts within in reference to the Common-wealth (1 Cor. 5:12-13). The Correlatum of the Ecclesiastical power may be quite taken away by persecution, or by defection, when the Correlatum of the civil power may remain. And therefore the Ecclesiastical and the civil power do not se mutuò ponere & tollere [the ecclesiastical and civil power are not coupled so that when you lose one you lose the other].

9. There is a great difference in the ultimate termination. The Ecclesiastical power can go no further then Excommunication, or (in case of extraordinary warrants, and when one is known to have blasphemed against the holy Ghost) to Anathema Maranatha. If one be not humbled and reduced by Excommunication, the Church can do no more, but leave him to the Judgement of God, who hath promised to ratify in Heaven, what his Servants in his Name, and according to his Will, do upon Earth. Salmasius spends a whole chapter in confuting the Point of the coactive and Magistratical Jurisdiction of Bishops. See Walo Messal. cap. 6. He acknowledges in that very place, (pg. 455-462) that the Elders of the Church have in common the power of Ecclesiastical Discipline, to suspend from the Sacrament and to excommunicate, and to receive the offender again upon the evidence of his repentance. But the Point he asserts is, That Bishops or Elders have no such power as the Magistrate hath, and that if he that is excommunicate do not care for it, nor submit himself, the Elders cannot compel him. But the termination or Quo usque of the civil power, is most different from this. It is unto death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment (Ezra 7:26).

10. They differ in a divided execution. That is, the Ecclesiastical power ought to censure sometime one whom the Magistrate thinks not fit to punish with temporal or civil punishments: And again, the Magistrate ought to punish with the temporal Sword, one whom the Church ought not to cut off by the Spiritual Sword. This difference Pareus gives, Explic. Catech. quaest. 85, art. 4, and it cannot be denied: For those that plead most for Liberty of conscience and argue against all civil or temporal punishments of heretics, do notwithstanding acknowledge, that the Church whereof they are Members ought to censure and excommunicate them, and doth not her duty except she do so. The Church may have reason to esteem one as an Heathen and a Publican that is no Church Member, whom yet the Magistrate in prudence and policy doth permit to live in the Common-wealth. Again, the most notorious and scandalous sinners, blasphemers, murderers, adulterers, incestuous persons, robbers, &c. when God gives them repentance, and the signs thereof do appear, the Church doth not bind but loose them, doth not retain but remit their sins; I mean ministerially and declaratively. Not withstanding the Magistrate may and ought to do Justice according to Law, even upon those penitent sinners.

George Gillespie, Aaron’s Rod Blossoming, Book II, chapter IV, Of the Agreements and Differences Between the Nature of the Civil and of the Ecclesiastical Powers or Governments, pp. 85-90.


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