Positive Law and the Regulative Principle

O Almighty Lord, and everlasting God, vouchsafe, we beseech thee, to direct, sanctify and govern, both our hearts and bodies, in the ways of thy laws, and in the works of thy commandments; that through thy most mighty protection, both here and ever, we may be preserved in body and soul; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Holy Scripture : natural law :: canons on adiaphora : positive law. The argument from liberty in favour of the Regulative Principle of Worship is bunk, unless we’re prepared also to drop positive law from the rule of the civil magistrate. Both ministerium and magisterium govern the body in the way of God’s holy law; the Holy Ghost, who alone can see the hearts of men, will govern immediately the hearts of believers. Against the rule of faith, ‘Fool, do not boast; Thou canst not touch the freedom of my mind’: for God guards this inner freedom jealously. As for the rest, however, within the bounds and in the spirit of what the Lord has himself revealed, the two earthly authorities have free rein to rule as they deem wisest. The strong form of the RPW would threaten to overthrow their authority.


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