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a republican in theory, he was no leveller. That he was not, appears from the passages cited in the notes upon the foregoing discourse; and will be still more evident to any who will take the trouble to peruse the whole of the last chapter of the last book of his "Institutions of the Christian Religion." In that chapter, he professedly treats the question of the consistency of civil government with the scheme of Christianity; which he maintains against the fanatics of his times*. He shows that submission to the magistrate is under all forms of government a religious duty †: He declares his preference of a republican aristocracy to any other form: But this declaration is prefaced with an express protest against the futility of the question what form is absolutely and in itself the best §: He affirms, that the advantage of one government above another depends much upon circumstances; that the circumstances of different countries require different forms; that government under

* Institut. lib. iv. cap. xx. sect. 1, 2, 3.

+ Sect. 8.

§ Sect. 8.

+ Sect. 8.

Sect. 8.

every form is a Divine ordinance*; that the variety of governments in the different regions of the earth is no less conducive to the general benefit of mankind, and no less the work of Providence, than the variety of climates: And with respect to monarchy in particular, (by which, it is to be observed, he means absolute monarchy,) he remarks, that submission to monarchical governments is particularly enjoined in holy writ; for this especial reason,- that monarchy was the form which in the early ages was the most disliked . Whatever preference therefore, in speculation, he might give to the republican form, he could not, with these principles, be practically an enemy to the government of kings. This last chapter of his "Institutions," in which he expressly treats the general question of government, must be supposed to contain the authentic exposition of his deliberate opinions upon the whole of the subject,

the confession of his political faith; and by reference to this, any passages in other parts of his writings, in which subordinate

*Sect. 4.

† Sect. 8.

+ Sect. 7.

questions are incidentally touched, ought in candour to be interpreted. The passages in which he has been supposed to betray the principles of a leveller lie widely scattered in his comment on the book of Daniel. They shall be briefly examined, nearly in the order in which they occur. If it should be found that they bear a different sense from that which hath been imposed upon them, it will necessarily follow, that they will not justify the reflections which have been cast.

In the thirty-ninth verse of the second chapter, "And after thee shall arise another kingdom, inferior to thee," this difficulty presents itself: With what truth could the prophet say, that the kingdom which was to arise next after Nebuchadnezzar's, namely the Medo-Persian, should be inferior to his; when in fact, in wealth and power it was greatly the superior of the two? for Nebuchadnezzar's Chaldean kingdom, with its appendages, made a part only of the vast empire of the Medes and Persians under Cyrus. of the difficulty is this,

Calvin's solution whether it be the

true one or no, is not the question; but it is this, that the Medo-Persian empire was in this respect inferior to Nebuchad nezzar's, that it was worse in a moral sense; the condition of mankind being more miserable, and the manners more degenerate: The cause of which he refers to this general maxim, that the more monarchies (i. e. empires, under whatever form of government,) extend themselves to distant regions, the more licentiousness rages in the world*. That the word monarchiæ" he renders "empires" without regard to any particular form of government, is most manifest, from the use of it in the comment on the very next verse; where, after the example of his inspired author, the expositor applies it to the Roman empire under its popular government. From this general observation upon the baleful influence of overgrown empires upon the happiness and morals of man, he draws this conclusion: "Hence it appears, how great is the folly and madness of the


"Quo sese longius extendunt monarchiæ, eo etiam plus licentiæ in mundo grassatur."


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generality, who desire to have kings of irresistible power; which is just the same as to desire a river of irresistible rapidity, as Isaiah speaks, exposing this folly:" And again, They are altogether mad who desire monarchies of the first magnitude; for it cannot be but that political order should be much impaired where a single person occupies so wide a space It is evident that this passage expresses no general disapprobation of monarchy, but of absolute monarchy of the arbitrary rule of one man of such arbitrary rule stretched over a vast extent of country and of such extensive arbitrary dominion founded upon conquest. In truth, irresistible military force is the specific thing intended under the epithet "potentissimos;" as appears by the reference to the prophet Isaiah; for that is the power represented by

"Unde apparet, quanta sit omnium fere stultitia et vesania, qui cupiunt habere reges potentissimos; perinde ac siquis appeteret fluvium rapidissimum, quemadmodum Iesaias loquitur, coarguens hanc stultitiam." "Prorsus igitur delirant, qui appetunt summas monarchias; quia fieri non potest, quin tantundem decedat ex legitimo ordine, ubi unus occupat tam latum spatium.”

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