Monday, August 30, 2010

John Owen and Theonomy

In The Works of John Owen, the famous Puritan theologian John Owen writes,

"Although the institutions and examples of the Old Testament, of the duty of magistrates in the things and about the worship of God, are not, in their whole latitude and extent, to be drawn into rules that should be obligatory to all magistrates now, under the administration of the gospel,--and that because the magistrate then was “custos, vindex, et administrator legis judicialis, et politiae Mosaicae,” from which, as most think, we are freed;-- yet, doubtless, there is something moral in those institutions, which, being unclothed of their Judaical form, is still binding to all in the like kind, as to some analogy and proportion.

"Subduct from those administrations what was proper to, and lies upon the account of, the church and nation of the Jews, and what remains upon the general notion of a church and nation must be everlastingly binding.

"And this amounts thus far, at least, that judges, rulers, and magistrates, which are promised under the New Testament to be given in mercy, and to be of singular usefulness, as the judges were under the Old, are to take care that the gospel church may, in its concernment as such, be supported and promoted, and the truth propagated wherewith they are intrusted; as the others took care that it might be well with the Judaical church as such. And on these, and such like principles as these are, may you safely bottom yourselves in that undertaking wherein you seek for direction from God this day."

John Owen, The Works of John Owen, vol. 8 (London: Johnstone and Hunter, 1851), p. 394

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