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the abominations, he brake down all the altars of Baal; he pulled down their groves, and carved images. His first office was to abolish such things as were hateful unto God, he accounted that his service was not to be admitted according to the pleasure of the state. But he, seeing the abominations thereof, it so stirred up his zeal, that he did utterly abolish them, that they might not remain within his dominions. 2nd. He thought it not sufficient to pull down the idols, but he compelled also, by his authority, all who were found in Israel to serve the Lord their God. So that here two courses are here undertaken. The first was the abolishing of all false worship, as abominable. And the second, an establishing of the true service of God, and a compelling of those under his power to join with him in the service of God. And the success of all is set down in the latter part of this verse 33. In all his days they turned not back from the Lord God of their fathers, they departed not from the ways of the Lord, which is a wonderful thing, that not only Judah and Benjamin should be brought to conformity, but also all Israel, which were a stiff-necked people. In the 2nd of Chron. 30, when king Hezekiah sent unto the children of Israel, that they should come unto the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, to keep the passover there (which they had not done of a long time) it is said that the posts passed from city to city, through the land of Ephraim and Manasseh ; but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them, the evil was so overspread, that it was to no purpose. But now, there coming a king who passed his father in zeal, who would not suffer God to be dishonoured in his country, behold the success which God giveth unto him. In all his days there was no trouble, they departed not from following the Lord their God. These are the excellent things delivered in this abridgment of the acts of Josiah. We now come unto the several instructions.
The first is the care which this good king had in matters merely ecclesiastical.
No doubt in his politic government he deserved commendations. But the especial thing for which he is here commended, is for his government and care in ecclesiastical mat
ters. Many are content to take upon them as little as may
i 1 Tim. chap. 2. ver. 2.
Judges, chap. 20. ver. 28.
not be bad in these things, why, then, should they be blamed for the neglect hereof.
The use hereof is, first against the enemies of God's truth, and his and our adversaries. This evidently proveth the justice of that oath of allegiance, which is required by authority, to acknowledge the prince to be of supreme government. The meaning is this, that God hath put into the hand of a prince, a temporal and compulsive sword, it is supreme in him. And this civil government is not to be restrained within the things which are in outward and civil government only, but it also must show itself in causes ecclesiastical. What say the enemies of the truth? They wave all this, as though they were distracted, calling it abominable adulation, blasphemy, and untruth. These men would be in the number of those of whom the apostle speaketh, they dare speak evil of those who are in authority, and of those things they understand not. For this is so evident by the word of God, that nothing is more clear. They foully stumble where the way is plain. Is this heresy? Why? Because that which is proper to the priest, is translated to the prince. Now we call heaven and earth to witness that it is a slander. We labour to give Cæsar that which is Cæsar's, and the minister that which belongeth to the minister. We say God hath his double government, civil and ecclesiastical, and that these two are so distinct, that they cannot be confounded. Will Josiah execute the office of the priest ? Will he burn incense ? The priest then may say, it is not fit for thee to offer sacrifice. And therefore Cardinal Bellarmine abuseth the Queen, when he saith, a silly woman playeth the Pope. As if we gave any part of spiritual authority unto princes, men or women. There is a government peculiar for them, and given from God": They that govern well are worthy of double honour. We see there the apostle giveth a certain kind of government unto the elders and governors of the Church. And the apostle argueth that he which cannot govern his own
ation et par
it kizze ment shock
n 1 Tim. chap. 5. ver. 17.
• Ibid. chap. 3. ver. 5.
family is unfit to govern the Church of God; so that there is a government proper to them, which the king cannot execute, which is not outward, but spiritual, over the soul. The Lord hath raised a pale of partition, he hath a sword not temporal, but spiritual. It must not be so amongst you, saith our Saviour, Peter put up thy sword. The authority, then, the Church hath is merely spiritual, it striketh the soul, it proceedeth no further. It beginneth with admonition; as the apostle speaketh to Titus, “ these things speak, admonish, and reprove with authority.” That now, I say, albeit the king hath authority supreme, and excellent in his kind, yet is not he exempted from this authority spi- . ritual; but when there is a despatch from the court of Heaven, and an ambassador sent to stand before him, he speaketh with authority in the name of the Lord, charging his soul to be obedient, and he standeth bound to yield to this authority, as well as others. Now, if admonition will not serve the turn, the Lord hath appointed censures of excommunication, a committing of a man to the Lord's gaol, that he may be outlawed for a time, and put (perhaps for ever) from the congregation. These are only spiritual, they reach not to the outward man.
Now, because there are many who have no sense of these things, if excommunication, admonition, outward censures, and (for a need) the curse of anathema will do no good, the Lord then hath commanded an outward sword, yea he hath directed a temporal sword to deal with the outward man. Is then the magistrate bound to strike with this sword in causes civil only? No! the magistrate is bound with his civil authority to punish as well the faults committed against the first table as against the second. He may inflict it upon a false prophet, upon an idolator, and the like transgressors, and he is bound to inflict it upon a thief, a murderer, or such like transgressors of the second table. So that there is no confusion betwixt these authorities. They are both distinct, you may see in what manner they are so. There is a traitor (here is the case), hath the minister nothing to do with this ? Yes, he may use his spiritual sword; he may put him from the blood of Christ, and may again ad.
mit him into the Church upon repentance. And yet the civil sword also may punish him still, yea cut him off. So that here are two divers governments, both aiming at one end; for both are bound to command men to subject themselves unto God; but after a different manner.
The one striketh upon the soul, the other upon the body of a man. This is the first point to be observed, the power which the magistrate hath in causes ecclesiastical.
We come now to the second branch set down. The first was, that by his authority, the king took away all idolatrous abominations, out of the countries appertaining to the children of Israel ; where by abominations is meant idolatrous services. Those plants which God never planted he will root out; these abominations that were hateful unto him he removeth. The second instruction from hence is this: the prince standeth bound in conscience, as he will be a faithful governor of that Israel which God hath given, that he will tolerate nor suffer any thing to be within his dominions which is displeasing unto God; much less such abominations as God hateth. Therefore, this observe, that wheresoever there standeth one and saith thus; these men be quiet, they do no harm, why may they not then be tolerated ? Tolerated, will a good prince say, shall I tolerate them who are abominable to the Lord my God ? unto him who hath advanced me above my brethren, and hath put the sword into mine hands ? Shall I do that which is abominable unto him? Josiah did otherwise, I will not do it. He took away all abominations, and that in all places of his land. And here let us remember, that those who suffer such, may incur in the highest measure the indignation of God, as well as others who are so. There is a charge given to the angel and pastor of the Church of Pergamus; they are there commended for many good things, but yet I have one quarrel against them (saith the Lord) because thou sufferest them which maintain the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Art thou an idolator ? No; but thou sufferest them that are so. And for this the
p Revel. chap. 2. ver. 12.