PUT NOT YOUR TRUST IN PRINCES:
SAMUEL RUTHERFORD, THE FOUR CAUSES, AND THE LIMITATION OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT
TALES OF TWO CITIES: CHRISTIANITY AND POLITICS,
ed. Stephen Clark (
2. Extracts from the chapter as published
What claim has this ‘Christendom’ … upon our interest now? … Its claim on us is simply that of witness. It attests, as a matter of history, the actual impact of the Christian faith on European politics, and it expounds this impact in its developed political reflections. Those who ruled in Christendom and those who thought and argued about government believed that the Gospel was true. They intended their institutions to reflect Christ’s coming reign. We can criticise their understanding of the Gospel; we can criticise their applications of it; but we can no more be uninterested in their witness than an astronomer can be uninterested in what people see through telescopes. And while no testimony to Christ can safely be ignored, this one lays claim with a special seriousness; for although it is no longer our tradition, we are its dénouement, or perhaps its débâcle. It was the womb in which our late-modernity came to birth. Even our refusal of Christendom has been learned from Christendom. Its insights and errors have fashioned, sometimes by repetition and sometimes by reaction, the insights and errors which comprise the platitudes of our own era.
Oliver O’Donovan, The Desire of the Nations, p. 194
Samuel Rutherford wrote of himself, “I am
made of extremes” and few who are acquainted with his writings would deny it. Author both of
the spiritually intense Letters and
of densely argued Latin works of Reformed scholasticism, he was, in
Taylor Innes’s oft-cited phrase, “
One inescapable aspect of a consideration
of Saints and Society is that of the
role of the civil government and although it might be argued that Rutherford
was not an original thinker in this area, his status as a widely-known and
outspoken representative of one particular strand of Christian political
thought suggests that he might make an interesting case study. What follows,
therefore, is an attempt to summarize
There are several interesting and
valuable things, then, that this chapter is not. It is not a study of
Lex, rex: The Law and the Prince
Lex, rex: The Law and the Prince. A Dispute for the just Prerogative of King
and People. Containing the Reasons
and Causes of the most necessary
Defensive Wars of the
This, then, was a defence of the Scots’
military action against Charles, both in the so-called Bishops’ Wars of
1639-40, and from 1643 onwards in support of the parliamentary side in the English
Civil War. John Maxwell, Bishop of Ross until the
The argument of the book is laid out in answers to forty-four questions. Coffey’s summary of the main focus of the questions is helpful:
Questions I to
XIV dealt with the origins of government, and Questions XV to XXI with the
relation between king and people, especially the institutions of parliament and
the judiciary. The heart of the book is found in the answers to Questions XXII
to XXVII, where
Lex, rex is a curious book
which approaches its subject from various angles. Close exegesis of particular
biblical passages and phrases, with reference to numerous commentators, lies
hard up against interaction with Jesuitical political thought, while constant
appeal to natural law sits alongside detailed accounts of Scottish history and
reference to a range of Reformed confessions.
What is clear, however, is that the book hit the mark. Coffey writes:
According to the Scottish moderate, Henry Guthry, every member of the 1645 General Assembly ‘had in his hand that Book lately published by Mr Samuel Rutherford … [which was] so idolised that whereas Buchanan’s treatise De Jure Regni apud Scotos, was looked upon as an oracle, this coming forth, it was slighted (as not anti-monarchical enough) and Rutherford’s Lex, rex only thought authentic’.
And, as is well known, in September 1660,
not long after the restoration of Charles II, copies of Lex, rex were burned in
Lex, rex and Aristotle’s “Four Causes”
The first sentence of Lex, rex outlines the subject matter of
the book and sets our agenda.
I reduce all that I am to speak of the power of kings, to the author or efficient, - the matter or subject, - the form or power, - the end and fruit of their government, - and to some cases of resistance.
If we reorder the causes (to final,
efficient, formal and material), rephrase them as questions, and take “cases of
resistance” to be “forms of limitation”, then we approach
What is the Purpose or Goal of Civil Government? (The Final Cause)
God, as a good creator, intends the
well-being of his creatures and so programmes human beings with a natural
inclination to their own good and a natural instinct for their own
self-preservation. Further, he grants
them both the power of self-preservation and the duty of self-defence.
This duty of self-preservation, which, from a good Creator’s hand, amounts to a duty to seek the good and to be happy, is binding and thus the right of self-defence is inalienable. Human beings do not have the power to destroy themselves and they “can no more resign power of self-defence, which nature hath given them, than they can be guilty of self-murder”. Just as no-one has power to murder another or let another be murdered but rather has the duty to prevent murder, so no-one has the power to murder himself or let himself be murdered but rather has the duty to prevent harm to himself.
Government is about self-preservation
Government, at its most basic, may be considered as the exercise of power for a person’s self-preservation and well-being and, therefore, is natural. Self-government is the first form of government - one’s own exercise of power to defend against evil and to secure the good. Equally naturally, the second form of government is domestic government in which the father, by virtue of being a father, has the power and the duty of defending his family members and seeking their well-being.
Beyond self-government and domestic government, however, a third form emerges. Although the duty of self-preservation is inescapable and although the right of self-defence is inalienable, a person or group of people may delegate their power in order better to secure their well-being. This delegation of the power of self-preservation is the basis of civil government. God intends for men to live peaceably and so, “…supposing that men be combined in societies … it is natural that they join in a civil society”. In fact, a community’s failure to “set … rulers over themselves” would be, “a breach of the fifth commandment”. In particular, the entrance of sin makes civil government a necessity and without “kings and other judges … all human societies should be dissolved”.
A community of itself, because of sin, is a naked society that can but destroy itself, and every one eat the flesh of his brother; therefore God hath appointed a king or governor, who shall take care of that community, rule them in peace, and save all from reciprocation of mutual acts of violence.
The supreme law
And if laws, then certainly rulers are to be judged by the same criterion:
The genuine and intrinsical end of a king
is the good, (
Civil rulers as servants
The logic of this
may have sounded somewhat demeaning to Royalist ears but
The king, as king, hath all his official and relative goodness in the world, as relative to the end. All that you can imagine to be in a king, as a king, is all relative to the safety and good of the people, (Rom. 13:4) "He is a minister for thy good”. He should not, as king, make himself, or his own gain and honour, his end.
The king, as a king, is formally and essentially the "minister of God for our good," (Rom. 13:4; 1 Tim. 2:2) and cannot come under any notion as a king, but as a mean, not as an end, nor as that which he is, to seek himself ... And God’s end in giving a king is the good and safety of his people.
differently, the personal means is a servant and
Freedom and the “health of the people”
This, of course, invites
the question as to what constitutes the “good, safety, peace and salvation of
the people” and
A man being created according to God’s image, he is res sacra, a sacred thing, and can no more, by nature’s law, be sold and bought, than a religious and sacred thing dedicated to God. … Every man by nature is a freeman born, that is, by nature no man cometh out of the womb under any civil subjection to king, prince, or judge, to master, captain, conqueror, teacher, &c.
In fact, civil or political subjection is characteristic only of a fallen world and is “a penal fruit of sin, and against nature … because all men are born by nature of equal condition”. One aspect of the good and safety of the people is the maintenance of these freedoms and when the actions of the civil government either allow or themselves bring about unnatural and unjust subjection then those actions are contrary to the God-given end of government.
A second aspect of the good and safety of the people relates to this. A person’s freedom and well-being are defined by the law of God and are violated when another human being breaks that law as it bears upon the relationship between them. God’s law prohibits theft and thus not-to-be-stolen-from is part of human freedom and well-being. The restraint and punishment of thieves is the promotion of human good and safety and is therefore a key component of the community’s delegated power of self-preservation which is the basis of civil government.
A pure and protected church and the health of the people
Clearly, then, the salus populi will include freedom from theft, rape, murder and the like. But the first commandment is to worship the true God and the next three commandments require that he be worshipped truly. In this, supremely, the people’s good and safety consists. And since the church is the promoter and guardian of the true worship of the true God, the civil government’s relationship with the church will be an important aspect of its faithfulness or unfaithfulness in discharging its God-given responsibility of seeking the health and peace of the people.
The boundaries of
responsibility between church and civil government are not given much attention
in Lex, rex, although this was a
question to which
A king is a special gift from God, given to feed and defend the people of God, that they may lead a godly and peaceable life under him, (Psal. 78:71-2; 1 Tim. 2:2).
Since the health of the people is most bound up with pure worship, then the most intense, indeed, the archetypal failure of civil government would be to require the church to institute false worship. Only one thing worse could be imagined: the attempt to impose false worship by force:
He is made by God and the people king, for the church and people of God’s sake, that he may defend true religion for the behalf and salvation of all. If therefore he defend not religion for the salvation of the souls of all in his public and royal way, it is presumed as undeniable that the people of God, who by the law of nature are to care for their own souls, are to defend in their way true religion, which so nearly concerneth them and their eternal happiness.
This, of course,
is exactly what
The health of the people a touchstone for questions of government
If a nation seeth that aristocratical government is better than monarchy, hic et nunc, that the sequels of such a monarchy is bloody, destructive, tyrannous; that the monarchy compelleth the free subjects to Mahomedanism, to gross idolatry, they cannot, by the divine bond of any oath, captive their natural freedom, which is to choose a government and governors for their safety, and for a peaceable and godly life.
Again, in considering the role of the lesser magistrates, the key consideration will be the degree to which their presence or absence, effectiveness or ineffectiveness secures the end of government:
These judges cannot but be univocally and essentially judges no less than the king, without which in a kingdom justice is physically impossible; and anarchy, and violence, and confusion, must follow, if they be wanting in the kingdom. But without inferior judges, though there be a king, justice is physically impossible; and anarchy and confusion, &c. must follow.
It is no surprise, in view of the importance which Rutherford places upon the reasons for which government exists, that when he comes to define tyranny he does so less by reference to the way in which power is attained or maintained or to the demeanour of the ruler but by reference to the end of government. A tyrant is one who uses power for purposes other than those which God has assigned; a tyrant is defined not by how much power he has or uses but by the purposes to which he puts his power:
Tyranny being a work of Satan, is not from God, because sin, either habitual or actual, is not from God: the power that is, must be from God; the magistrate, as magistrate, is good in nature of office, and the intrinsic end of his office, (Rom. 13:4) for he is the minister of God for thy good; and, therefore, a power ethical, politic, or moral, to oppress, is not from God, and is not a power, but a licentious deviation of a power; and is no more from God, but from sinful nature and the old serpent, than a license to sin.
Simply, there is “power to be a father” and
“power to be a tyrant”. The one is “power to fight for the people” and the
other “power to waste and destroy them”. At every turn
And, as suggested
above, he has no doubt that Charles has badly failed the test. The charges are
repeatedly brought that the king has tried to “press … upon the people a false
and idolatrous religion”. The “idolatry of bread-worship and popery”
which was being imposed was “as hateful to God as dagon-worship”
and “the Service Book commanded, in the king’s absolute authority, all Scotland
to commit grosser idolatry, in the intention of the work, if not in the
intention of the commander, than was in Babylon”. But what was “hateful to God” and “grosser
idolatry than was in
In response to the objection that these were merely matters of interpretation, Rutherford denies that “tyranny can be obscure long” but, deliberately choosing the number thought to comprise the king’s army against Scotland in 1639-40, makes the point that, “if a king bring in upon his native subjects twenty thousand Turks armed, and the king lead them, it is evident they come not to make a friendly visit to salute the kingdom, and depart in peace”.
The health of the people as warrant for removing a government
One step remains. The end of government is the good and safety of the people. The form of government, the assessment of rulers, the civil government’s relationship with the church and the definition of tyranny are all to be judged in relation to this. The final step is the recognition that if the community’s delegation of the exercise of power for self-preservation is defined by and limited to the safeguarding of the community’s health and peace, then it is understood to be a conditional grant and one which may be withdrawn if the civil government does not meet the conditions of the grant.
naturally from the inalienability of the duty and right of self-defence. If I
transfer my power of self-defence to an agency and that agency then exercises
power against me then since my transfer of power did not and could not involve
the alienation of the (inalienable) duty of self-defence but merely the
temporary and conditional delegation of executive power, I must resist that
agency and, so far as I am able, reverse the grant of power.
Again and again,
If the estates of a kingdom give the power to a king, it is their own power in the fountain; and if they give it for their own good, they have power to judge when it is used against themselves, and for their evil, and so power to limit and resist the power that they gave.
The community … may resume its power, which it gave conditionally to the ruler for its own safety and good; and in so far as this condition is violated, and power turned to the destruction of the commonwealth, it is to be esteemed as not given.
In summary, then, government is the exercise of power for self-preservation. Civil government receives a conditional transfer of such power from the community which does not thereby forfeit its right or escape its duty of self-defence. The end of government is the good of the people and is achieved by preserving their natural liberty and equality, by restraining and punishing the evil-doer and by protecting and supporting the church. Since the people’s highest good is found in the true worship of the true God, the civil government’s most vicious and reprehensible abuse of power would be in hindering such worship or, worse still, imposing false worship. Nothing could be more contrary to the health and safety of the people. In such a case, the people’s duty of self-defence would require – at this point - resistance to the civil government and renunciation of its power.
Who or What Brings Civil Government into Being? (The Efficient Cause)
What is Government? What is the Essence of Government? (The Formal Cause)
What is the Civil Government made out of? (The Material Cause)
Summary and transition
The civil government, then, according to
There are many practical questions we
would like to ask Rutherford about the relationship between institutions in
society, about how precisely the distinctions which he lays down are to be
applied, about whether organizing the material in relation to Aristotle’s four
causes did not lead inevitably to a certain set of answers, about particular
phrases and concepts within Lex, rex, about
what we are to do for and in response to persecuting authorities and persecuted
brothers and sisters, and about what he, Rutherford, would do if he were with
us under judgment, where the marginalized church experiences – and even
embraces – cultural impotence and irrelevance. However, the key questions which
twenty-first century Christian readers wish to bring to the work cluster around
issues of salvation history. Modern readers would wish to question
Apart from the necessary geographical spread of true religion, in what ways have the cross and resurrection of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit shaped – or made a difference to – your political theory? Lex, rex gives the impression that the principles of civil government are timeless laws rather than historical reflections of and upon God’s saving work in Christ.
Similarly, what eschatological perspectives do you bring to bear upon the nature and function of civil government? Does Lex, rex reflect the realities of which Joel Garver writes:
Ecclesial order and civil order … do not occupy two different spaces, but two different times: the church having an eternal end, rooted in God’s past saving acts in Christ, made present now in word and sacrament; the civil order having a temporal function within the present saeculum, ordained to continually pass away, though its treasures are carried in the bosom of the church into the eternal kingdom (Rev 21.24).
Another way of asking the same question would be to reflect upon O’Donovan’s determination to “place political history within the history of God’s reign”. Does Lex, rex do this?
There is an ecclesiological angle on this too. How does your view of the church shape your view of the state and how does your view of the state shape your view of the church? To what extent is Lex, rex simply presbyterianism in civil affairs? What difference does the fact that the church is a nation, a political entity and the only eschatological social unit make to our understanding of the nation-state, to the possibility that a nation may, as such, be in covenant with God, and to the relationship between the civil authority in a nation and the church in that nation? Do you follow through the political implications of your declaration that the church is “a free kingdom that oweth spiritual tribute to none on earth, as being the freeborn princess and daughter to the King of kings”.
Aspects of biblical interpretation also arise. Surely, no Christian would disagree with your view, as summarized by John Coffey, that the Old Testament is “the magistrate’s most important textbook”. However, it would be reassuring to have an explanation of the methods by which you draw relevant distinctions about the applicability and conceptual transfer of passages located in one cultural and redemptive-historical moment to situations in a very different cultural and redemptive-historical moment.
Still on the question of authority, some more definite biblical warrant would be welcome for the natural law axiom upon which you lay so very much stress, namely, the duty of the individual human person to seek his own well-being. The way that you combine it with emphatic theocentricity reminds us of Baxter in your day and those who call themselves “Christian hedonists” in ours. Both work as though there was a unqualified command lawfully to defend ourselves and pursue our own good.
Putting these concerns together, we recognize that the political theory of Lex, rex is Christian, in so far as it is built upon the propositions of Christian dogmatics. What is less clear is how far it is evangelical in the sense that it expresses and is shaped by the gospel story which is the shape of history itself. Admittedly, the whole approach only makes sense if orthodox Christian teaching about “God” and “humankind” and “sin” and suchlike are true but does this political theory reflect the newness and the strangeness of the kingdom of God embodied in Jesus the servant and established by his death and resurrection?
It is not hard to imagine that
The issue is whether the hope of forming Christian culture in the wider society is inherent to the Church’s mission, or a deviation from the Church’s mission. Should the Christian ekklesia want to remake the earthly city in her image?
The centrality of the church, the universal Lordship of Christ as the beloved of the Father, the civil authority’s accountability not to the church but to Christ himself, the subordination of all human institutions to God’s redemptive purposes are all assumed by Rutherford. It is not that he is behind us in these matters but rather that he is so far ahead that, unless we hurry up, he is about to lap us. He knows full well that:
The church’s one
project is to witness to the
What we are relearning, he assumes. Lessons of Christian politics are lessons of redeemed society; stern words to the powers that be are part of fulfilling the Great Commission, to disciple the nations and teach them to observe all that Christ has commanded.
In his turn,
· What is the purpose of civil government?
· What brings it into being?
· What is the essence of civil government?
· What is the stuff of which it is made?
· Under what conditions, if any, may the civil government be resisted?
This leads to his second major question
to us: how can we pretend that those who differ on these foundational questions
of government may still act together as though there is something deeper still
which unites them? This, of course, is
the question by which he exposes the myths of neutrality and pluralism alike.
The purpose of civil government is to secure the well-being of the people by
protecting them and the church so that they may attain their highest good in
the knowledge of God in Christ. True or false?
The God who rules all things through his exalted Son brings government
into being using the consent of the people as a means. True or false? What makes government government is its
submission to and embodiment of the law of God discovered through study and
application of his infallible and sufficient Word, the Bible. True or
false? Government is made of sinful
human beings each one of whom is directly accountable in conscience and on
judgment day to the one true living God.
True or false?
In the Christian era there is no neutral performance on the part of rulers; either they accommodate to the energy of the divine mission, or they hurl themselves into defiance.
Every actual society reaches answers to these questions which it treats as normative, and so makes definite religious judgments about the proper content of religious belief and practice. The false consciousness of the would-be secular society lies in its determination to conceal the religious judgments that it has made.
What follows is obvious – a question for
those who seek to affirm the possibility or legitimacy of neutrality or
pluralism in civil government. If,
Pressing his point, Rutherford might then ask whether, far from there being a tension in his thought between the “Whig constitutionalist” and the “Presbyterian theocrat”, it is not rather the case – in a politically presuppositionalist sort of way – that all that is good and proper in his political theory hangs or falls together. Coffey describes how Lex, rex is experienced as an “ambiguous book” by modern readers:
On the one hand,
Rutherford might reply that those
features of his thought which are attractive to moderns (the “modern liberal”
Rutherford) – its contractarianism, division of powers, checks and balances,
emphasis on the rule of law, person-office distinction – cannot be separated
from the Reformed systematics and covenantal reading of Scripture (the
“thoroughly reactionary” Rutherford) with which they are associated in Lex, rex. This is because they are not
merely “associated”. Rather,
Taking this further: if, for a few moments, Rutherford could set aside his own refusal of toleration, he might even ask modern Christians who are so keen on toleration for an explanation of how they think that pluralism can provide a basis for it. Imagine that the constitution sets out the principles by which a society determines what is to be tolerated and what to be criminalized, that is, what should be placed on the statute book. A full pluralist constitution will say something like “everyone is right and no-one is right and none of us can ever know for sure.” This makes any toleration which is offered “out there” in the public square or on the statute-book either arbitrary or unfounded. In contrast – and somewhat ironically - a commitment at the level of the constitution to the recognition of the authority of Christ provides solid grounds for extending toleration exactly as far as he commands. The constitution will read, “Jesus Christ is Kings of Kings and we are to do what he says”. The statute-book can then say with a proper basis in the constitution, “The King says that behaviours X and Y are to be tolerated (with respect to sanctions from the magistrate) and that behaviours A and B are to be punished.” And, depending on answers to a multitude of exegetical questions, it is a distinct possibility that X and Y will include “belief in a false god”. Toleration has a foundation in a “Christendomite” constitution which it does not have in a pluralist constitution. This, too, demonstrates that those wishing for “Whig constitutionalist” benefits such as toleration need the “Reformed theocrat” Christendom ideal (the “professedly Christian civil order”) to underpin such benefits.
This means, of course, that
If the mission of the church needs a certain social space, for men and women of every nation to be drawn into the governed community of God’s Kingdom, then secular authority is authorised to provide and ensure that space …the goals and conduct of secular government are to be reconceived to serve the needs of international mobility and contact which the advancement of the Gospel requires.
Again, since the instruments and powers of the highest well-being of a community rest with the church rather than with the civil government, how have you allowed political discourse to proceed on the assumption that the civil government itself is the provider, promoter and protector of the highest goods? O’Donovan again:
When believers find themselves confronted with an order that, implicitly or explicitly, offers itself as the sufficient and necessary condition of human welfare, they will recognise the beast. When a political structure makes this claim, we call it ‘totalitarian’.
He might continue, when and why did you start acting as though Christ was king only of the church? When and why did you stop instilling a distrust of princes as a fundamental rule of healthy social life? Or reminding believers and civil rulers alike that the authorities do not have personal power but are rather the embodiment of the law and legitimate only to the degree that they discharge that responsibility faithfully? And addressing the ruling power with the Word of Christ? After all, “the church has to instruct it [the ruling power] in the ways of the humble state”.
More anxiously, he might experience a brief crisis of confidence as he notices two things to which O’Donovan refers: that the great tradition of Christian political theology was in flow from 1100 to 1650 and also that:
In the seventeenth century philosophy came to lose confidence in the objectivity of final causes … now there arose a tradition of explaining societies entirely by reference to efficient causes … Individual agents had their ends; but objective structures only had their origins. Moral purposes and goals, questions of human virtue and fulfilment, seemed intrusive, another form of theocratic temptation.
His questions continue: Why are you so docile before the civil government as though it was spiritually dangerous to be politically critical or as though the civil ruler was not a servant of the same Christ who is bridegroom to the church? What is the legitimacy of the civil government? Do you agree with me that it is only legitimate so far as it is lawful and that as and when and where it contradicts the law of God it is not legitimate authority but only a beast? What do you make of O’Donovan’s claim that:
The state exists in order to give judgment; but under the authority of Christ’s rule it gives judgment under law, never as its own law. One might say that the only sense of political authority acknowledged within Christendom was the law of the ascended Christ, and that all political authority was the authority of that law.
When did you last declare that an action of the civil government was against the law of God, therefore tyrannical, and to be denounced, ignored or resisted by the people of God? Are you not – perhaps through not having thought through issues of legitimacy and of the person-office distinction – so biddable that you are in danger of performing unrighteous actions and then claiming that you were “only following orders” as if God’s requirement that you submit to the authorities were unqualified?
He would ask us to explain why we act as though democracies cannot be tyrannical. Since the opposite of tyranny is “obedience to God’s law” rather than “majority support”, why do we act as though majority support legitimates the actions of a civil ruler? If all those under 60 years of age voted to expropriate the goods of all those over 60 years of age, would that not be an act of tyranny? He might raise the question of how far and why we place establishing democratic institutions and habits of public life above or before the building of the church as the key to a stable and prosperous society. Challenging us with what we could not deny – that democracy is not the hope for the world - he might ask in what ways the church declares the danger of idolizing democracy. If health and wholeness and true humanness is secured for individuals by the gospel rather than by the establishment of democracy then would not the same be true for societies? What leads us to put our hope for world peace (to the extent that we have such a hope) in the spread of democracy rather than in the Isaiah 2 spread of the kingdom?
And since he saw so many raised eyebrows when he spoke of there being no duty to suffer as such, he might ask in what ways, if any, we could refute his arguments about the suffering of Christ and the instructions of I Peter 2. Would we counsel the “forced damsel” to resist and if so, does not all that he says about self-defence and armed resistance simply follow on?
It would be surprising if
For all the words which we might put into
“The golden reign and dominion of the
Gospel, and the high glory of the never-enough-praised Prince of the kings of
the earth” was
This was what he suffered for: “I suffer for my royal and princely King Jesus, and for his kingly crown, and the freedom of his kingdom that his Father hath given him”.
This is what he prayed for:
kings of Tarshish and of the isles must bring presents to our Lord Jesus (Ps
This is what he longed for: “Let never dew lie upon my branches and let my poor flower wither at the root, so that Christ were enthroned and His glory advanced in all the world and especially in these kingdoms”.
And this is what he urged others to stand firm for:
We may agree with little or with much of the political theory of Lex, rex but it would be a blessing to us, to our church and to our nation if we could have just a fraction of the spirit of Samuel Rutherford, its author, who, more than anything else, lived with the desire that as “the beginning, the firstborn from among the dead” Jesus Christ should have the first place in all things. 
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Anthony de Jasay,
Choice, Contract, Consent: A Restatement
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Submission?” in Reformed Witness, Volume I, July 1993, Number 7 - two
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Austin Fagothey, Right and Reason,
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Martin A. Foulner, “Samuel Rutherford
and Theonomy” online articles at http://www.kuyper.org/news/page_wc2.html http://www.kuyper.org/news/page_wc3.html
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online article at http://www.lasalle.edu/~garver/gospel.htm (accessed
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Place, Chap 10, “From Reformation to
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The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy, and Natural Order,
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Leithart, Against Christianity,
C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength, 1945
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 Letters of Samuel Rutherford, CLXVIII.
 Such as Exercitationes Apologeticae pro Divina Gratia, 1636, which provoked his
 Letters, CLXVII.
 In Politics,
p. 157, Coffey states that, “
 In Further Reading at the close of this chapter I have listed some of the works which have most shaped my own political thought. There can be few better starting points, for the serious reader, than Oliver O’Donovan’s magisterial The Desire of the Nations along with From Irenaeus to Grotius: A Sourcebook in Christian Political Thought which O’Donovan co-edited with his wife, Joan Lockwood O’Donovan. For those with less time to devote to these matters, Peter Leithart’s Against Christianity is a most stimulating and highly readable introduction to some key themes in Christian political thought.
addition to Coffey’s work, the pieces by Raath and de Freitas, by David Hall, and by J.D. Ford are useful in providing critical
 At the beginning of Further Reading at the end of this chapter, I have listed the three main forms in which Lex, Rex is available. It is to be hoped that a critical modern edition may be produced before long.
 Amongst Rutherford’s publications in the five years or so after his arrival at Westminster were the following: The Due Right of Presbyteries, 1644; The Tryal and Triumph of Faith, 1645; The Divine Right of Church Government and Excommunication, 1646; Christ Dying and Drawing Sinners to Himself, 1647; A Survey of Spiritual Antichrist, 1648; A Free Disputation against Pretended Liberty of Conscience, 1649.
 The title page also carried the citation: “I Sam.12.25. But if you shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your King.”
 Coffey, Politics, p. 152.
 The pagination of the original is slightly muddled but there are 40 pages of title, preface and contents followed by 434 pages of text (numbered 1-467 but jumping from p. 280 to p. 313). Quotations and references in this chapter will be to the more readily available 1843 edition which modernized spelling and renumbered some paragraphs but made virtually no other changes. This edition has been recently reprinted by Sprinkle Publications. The page number in the original follows in square brackets. Additionally, Bible references have been standardized.
 Rutherford refers to Maxwell as,
amongst other things, “the excommunicated prelate” (p. 9 ), “the unchurched Prelate”
(p. 10 ), “this Demas [who]
forsook us and embraced the world” (p. 25 ), “this pratler” (p.
27 46]), “this calumniator” (p. 205 ), “the windy man” (p.
205 ), and a
“black-mouthed calumniator” (p. 205 ). He writes frequently of Maxwell’s
Arminianism, calls him a “rotten papist” (p. 207 ), and accuses him of
drunkenness (p. 181 ). Repeatedly he accuses Maxwell of plagiarism, calling him
“the plagiary Prelate” (p. 29 ), “the poor Plagiarius” (p.
63 ), and
declaring that “in his book there is not one line which is his own, except his
railings” (p. 65 ). On p. 30 
 Coffey, Politics, p. 151.
 p. 1 .
 p. 6 .
 p. 178 .
 p. 34 [59-60]. See also pp. 46 [81-83], 159 [325-26], 162 [330-32], 185 373-75].
 p. 2 .
 p. 5 .
 p. 25 .
 p. 79 142].
 pp. 111 [201-3], 227-28 [453-56].
 p. 65 .
 p. 69 .
 p. 119 218]. See also pp. 142 [262-63], 210 , 228 [455-57].
 p. 119 .
 p. 124 .
 p. 137 .
 p. 103 [187-88].
 p. 83 .
 p. 120 .
 p. 70 .
 p. 51 .
 p. 51 [91-92].
 p. 66 .
 p. 51 .
 p. 64 .
 pp. 59 [105-7], 64-65 [115-118].
 p. 48 .
 p. 56 .
 p. 44 .
 p. 94 .
 p. 34 .
 p. 38 .
 p. 55 .
 p. 166 .
 p. 110 .
 p. 117 [213-14].
 p. 39 .
 p. 36 .
 p. 143 .
 p. 69 . See also p. 141 .
 There is another King, “Conclusions”.
 O’Donovan, The Desire of the Nations, p. 19.
 Rutherford, Letters, CCLXXXI.
 Coffey, Politics, p. 157.
 Leithart, Against Christianity, p. 125.
 O’Donovan, Desire, p. 195.
 O’Donovan, Desire, p. 217.
 O’Donovan, Desire, p.247.
 Coffey, Politics, p. 29.
 Coffey, Politics, p. 187.
 O’Donovan, Desire, p. 146-47.
 O’Donovan, Desire, p. 274.
 O’Donovan, Desire, p. 219.
 O’Donovan, Desire, p. 4.
 O’Donovan, Desire, p. 8.
 O’Donovan, Desire, p. 233.
 Letters, CCLXXXVIII.
 Letters, LXI.
 Letters, CCLXXXVIII.
 Letters, CCLXXXIV.
 Letters, CCLXVIII.
 Letters, CLXXI.