The Utility of Magistracy
Psalm 82:1-8
God stands in the congregation of the mighty; he judges among the gods.

Take government out of the world, and then take the sun out of the firmament, and leave it no more a κόσμος, a beautiful structure, but a χάος, a confused heap; without this men would be like Ishmael, wild men; every man's hand would be against his brother (Genesis 26:12). It is reported of Maximilian the emperor, that as oft as he passed by the gallows he would pug off his hat and salute it, with a calve sancta justitia! All hail, holy justice. Of all people, Christians have most cause to bless God for it; for they are exposed more to the malice of wicked men by reason of their profession and principles, which are so opposite to the ways of the world, so that they are as lambs amongst lions, as sheep amongst wolves, as a lily amongst thorns, which would soon be devoured, did not the great Shepherd of the flock raise up shepherds under Him to defend it. These are the ministers of God for our good —

1. For our natural good, for our lives.

2. Civil good, for our estate.

3. Moral, for defence of us in goodness.

4. Spiritual, to protect the Gospel; and this good is reduced by the apostle to three heads (1 Timothy 2:2), peace, piety, and honesty.They are a means under God to preserve the lives of us and ours; our goods, sabbaths, ordinances, and all that is near and dear to us; so that when government fails —

1. Order fails;

2. Religion fails;

3. Justice fails;

4. Strength fails;

5. Wealth fails;

6. Honour fails;

7. Peace fails.As where there is no ministry, the people perish; so where there is no magistracy, the people come to ruin (Proverbs 2:14). These are shields to defend us, fathers to tender us, yea, nursing fathers to carry us in their bosoms, pillars that under God uphold the world, that it fall not into confusion, and the very life of the State (Lamentations 4:20).

(T. Hall, B. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: {A Psalm of Asaph.} God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.

WEB: God presides in the great assembly. He judges among the gods.

The Supremacy of God
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