previous next

[42] Scriptures alone contain the law of God. “There is undoubtedly a forme of civil Government instituted by God himself in the holy Scriptures. . . . We should derogate from the sufficiency and perfection of the Scriptures, if we should deny it.” From these main premises he deduced a system that is altogether remarkable for its thorough-going simplicity. Since the law has been declared once for all, perfect and complete, there is no need for a legislative branch of government; and since Christ is the sole overlord and king, there is no need for an earthly head of the state; it remains only to provide a competent magisterial system to hear causes and adjudicate differences. Society is concerned wholly with duties and not at all with rights; government therefore begins and ends with the magistrate. In order to secure an adequate magistracy, Eliot proposed to divide society into groups of tens, fifties, hundreds, and thousands, each of which should choose its rulers, who in turn should choose their representatives in the higher councils; and so there was evolved an ascending series of magistrates until the supreme council of the nation was reached, the decisions of which should be final.

The duties of all the Rulers of the civil part of the Kingdom of Christ, are as followeth ... to govern the people in the orderly and seasonable practice of all the Commanders of God, in actions liable to Political observations, whether of piety and love to God, or of justice, and love to man with peace.

Far removed as The Christian commonwealth was from the saner thought of the Army democrats, it is the logical culmination of all theocratic dreams. The ideal of social unity, of relentless conformity, according to which the rebel is a social outlaw to be silenced at any cost, dominates this Christian Utopia as mercilessly as it dominated the policy of Laud. In setting up King Jesus for King Charles, there was to be no easing of the yoke upon the rebellious spirit; and in binding society upon the letter of the Scripture there was to be no room for the democratic aspirations of the leveller. Curious as this little work is-testifying rather to the sincerity of Eliot's Hebraism than to his political intelligence or to his knowledge of men — it is characteristic of the man who consecrated his

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
John Eliot (2)
Christ (2)
Laud (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: