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Charles Bridges on Government and Politics


Charles Bridges (1794-1869) was a great evangelical leader in the Church of England of the 19th century.

"By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth." Proverbs 8:15-16.

Another glorious contemplation of this Divine Person! He proclaims himself to be the source of power and authority, no less than of counsel and wisdom. "KING OF KINGS" was the mysterious name written upon his vesture. (Rev. xix. 16; i. 5; xvii. 14.) Yet his crown does not displace the regal diadem from the brow of earthly princes; nor is the sceptre to fall from their hands. These ensigns of power are to be held, but in subordination to his own. By me kings reign; not only by my permission, but by my appointment. They bear my name. They are stamped with my authority. (Exod. xxii. 28. Ps. lxxxii. 6. John, x. 35.) Proud anarchy disputes the prerogative, and traces the authority to the people; only that they may cast off the yoke of God, and "do that which is right in their own eyes." (Judg. xvii. 6; xix. 1. Hos. viii. 4. 2 Pet. ii. 10. Jude, 8.) Scripture polities lay down the offensive truth – "There is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God. They are ministers of God," not servants of the people. (Rom. xiii. 1-6.) Government in all its administrations – kings, princes, nobles, judges – is a Divinely-consecrated ordinance. Every kingdom is a province of the universal empire of the "King of kings." Men may mix their own pride, folly, and self-will with this appointment. But God's providential counter-working preserves the substantial blessing. Yet, if "the power be exclusively of God," then is Wisdom, by whom kings reign, the very essence and person of God. And here is our rest, our anchor in this world's agitating storm. "The government of the world is on the shoulders" of "the Head of the Church." (Isa. ix. 6.) All things – all power in heaven and in earth – is delivered unto him of his Father. "The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice." (Ps. xcvii. 1.)


A Commentary on Proverbs,” by Charles Bridges. First published 1846. This edition reprinted by The Banner of Truth Trust, 1987. p 76.