Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man - In every settled state, and under every form of political government, where the laws are not in opposition to the laws of God, it may be very soundly and rationally said: "Genuine Christians have nothing to do with the laws but to obey them." Society and civil security are in a most dangerous state when the people take it into their heads that they have a right to remodel and change the laws. See the whole of this subject fully handled in the notes on Romans 13:1, etc., to which I beg every reader, who may wish to know the political sentiments of this work, to have recourse.
The words literally signify, not every ordinance of man, but every human creature; yet signifies sometimes to arrange, order, as well as to create, and therefore our translation may do: but as the apostle is evidently speaking here of magistracy, or legislative authority, and as the appointment of magistrates was termed a creating of them, it is better to understand the words thus, All the constituted authorities. So, Decem tribunos plebis per pontificem creaverunt ; Cor. Nep. "They created ten tribunes of the plebeians, by the high priest." Carthagine quotannis annui bini reges creabantur; Caesar . "They created two kings every year at Carthage." Consules creantur Caesar et Servilius; Sallust. "Caesar and Servilius are created consuls." Creare ducem gerendo bello . "To create a general to conduct the war." The meaning of St. Peter appears to be this: the Jews thought it unlawful to obey any ruler that was not of their own stock; the apostle tells them they should obey the civil magistrate, let him be of what stock he may, whether a Jew or a Gentile, and let him exercise the government in whatsoever form. This is the general proposition: and then he instances emperors and their deputies; and, far from its being unlawful for them to obey a heathen magistrate, they were to do it for the Lord' s sake, , on account of the Lord, whose will it was, and who commanded it.
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