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Skeletons of a Course of
Theological Lectures

By Charles G. Finney

Lecture XXV.

Moral Government.--No. 4.


What Is Implied In The Right To Govern.


1. The right to govern does not imply, that the will of the ruler can make law.

2. Nor the right to pass or enforce any arbitrary law. But --

3. It implies the right to declare and define the law of nature.

4. It implies the right to enforce obedience, with sanctions equivalent to its importance.

5. The right to govern implies the duty to govern.

6. The right of government implies, the obligations of obedience on the part of the governed.

7. It implies, that it is both the right and the duty, to execute penal sanctions, when the interests of the government demand the execution of them.

Reciprocal Duties Of The Ruler And Ruled.

1. They are under mutual obligation to aim, with single eye, at promoting the great end of government.

2. The ruler is under obligation to keep in view the foundation of his right to govern, and never assume or exercise authority that is not essential to the promotion of the highest good.

3. He is under obligation to regard and treat every interest according to its relative value.

4. He is never, in any case, to depart from the true spirit and principles of government.

5. He is invariably to reward virtue.

6. He is always to inflict penal evil upon transgressors, unless the highest good can as well, or better be secured in another way.

7. He is under obligation to pursue that course that will, upon the whole, result in the least evil, and promote the highest good.

8. The ruled are bound to co operate with the ruler in this, with all their powers, with all they are and have.

9. They are under obligation to be obedient in all things, so far as, and no farther than the laws are in accordance with and promotive of the highest good of the whole.

10. They are bound to be disinterested; that is--to discard all selfishness, and to regard and treat every interest according to its relative value.

11. Both ruler and ruled are under obligation to exercise all that self-denial that is essential to the promotion of the highest good.

12. As it is the ruler's duty to inflict, so it is the subject's duty to submit to any penal inflictions that are deserved, and important to the highest interests of the government.