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. 4-32.
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.