Aside

Vermigli on the Civil Magistrate

Peter Martyr Vermigli certainly thought the civil magistrate was charged with a spiritual task, with the power of God’s word, but according to the law rather than the gospel (HT: Adam Parker):

‘Both ministers and magistrates act to nurture the pious, but in different ways. The magistrate increases them in works, honours and merits. The minister consoles them through the promises of God and the sacraments. The magistrate assures that the laws are kept most carefully, the guilty are punished, and the good are both helped and nurtured. The law acts as a mute magistrate, while the magistrate represents the moving and speaking law. Certainly he is also a minister of God since, as Paul said, magistrates sing the praises of those who live justly. The magistrate wields the sword against the wicked, acting as the avenger and champion of God, and looks to nothing else but the salvation of men.’

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