Calvin on the Civil Magistrate
From the Institutes of the Christian Religion


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Book III, chap. 19, sec. 15-16

15. Distinction to be made between Spiritual and Civil government. These must not be confounded. How far conscience can be bound by human constitutions. Definition of conscience. Definition explained by passages from the Apostolic writings. 

16. The relation which conscience bears to external obedience; first, in things good and evil; secondly, in things indifferent.

Book IV, chap. 20

1. Last part of the whole work, relating to the institution of Civil Government. The consideration of it necessary,
    a. To refute the Anabaptists.
    b. To refute the flatterers of princes.
    c. To excite our gratitude to God.
Civil government not opposed to Christian liberty. Civil government to be distinguished from the spiritual kingdom of Christ.

2. Objections of the Anabaptists,
    a. That civil government is unworthy of a Christian man.
    b. That it is diametrically repugnant to the Christian profession. Answer.
3. The answer confirmed. Discourse reduced to three heads,
    a. Of Laws.
    b. Of Magistrates.
    c. Of the People.
4. The office of Magistrates approved by God.
    a. They are called Gods.
    b. They are ordained by the wisdom of God. Examples of pious Magistrates.
5. Civil government appointed by God for Jews, not Christians. This objection answered. click
6. Divine appointment of Magistrates. Effect which this ought to have on Magistrates themselves. click
7. This consideration should repress the fury of the Anabaptists. click
8. Three forms of civil government, Monarchy, Aristocracy, Democracy. Impossible absolutely to say which is best. click
9. Of the duty of Magistrates. Their first care the preservation of the Christian religion and true piety. This proved. click
10. Objections of Anabaptists to this view. These answered. click
11. Lawfulness of War. click
12. Objection that the lawfulness of War is not taught in Scripture. Answer. click
13. Right of exacting tribute and raising revenues. click
14. Of Laws, their necessity and utility. Distinction between the Moral, Ceremonial, and Judicial Law of Moses. click
15. Sum and scope of the Moral Law. Of the Ceremonial and Judicial Law. Conclusion. click
16. All laws should be just. Civil law of Moses; how far in force, and how far abrogated. click
17. Of the People, and of the use of laws as respects individuals. click
18. How far litigation lawful. click
19. Refutation of the Anabaptists, who condemn all judicial proceedings. click
20. Objection, that Christ forbids us to resist evil. Answer. click
21. Objection, that Paul condemns law-suits absolutely. Answer. click
22. Of the respect and obedience due to Magistrates. click
23. Same subject continued. click
24. How far submission due to tyrants. click
25. Same continued. click
26. Proof from Scripture. click
27. Proof Continued. (from Jeremiah 27) click
28. Objections answered. click
29. Considerations to curb impatience under tyranny. click
30. Considerations considered. click
31. General submission due by private individuals. click
32. Obedience due only in so far as compatible with the word of God. click