Friday, November 7, 2014

Edward Dering and the Regulative Principle of the State

Edward Dering (or Deering) (1540-1576), English Reformer, Puritan divine

Dering and Ruler Qualifications

In advocating ruler qualifications, Dering appeals to the Old Testament:
But now, touching this calling in magistrates and officers of our commonwealth, I will lay no more, but in one word, as the Scripture speaketh. God calleth him unto his dignity, who is orderly appointed, and is a man of courage, fearing God, dealing truly, having no respect of persons, and hating covetousness ... [1] 
All Laws must Conform to the Equity of the Law of Moses

Deering believed that rulers must base all laws on the equity of the law of Moses:

We are sure that the law of Moses, was, to the people of Israel, an absolute and a most perfect rule of justice; so that all laws ought to be made according to its equity.[2]


[1] Edward Dering, "The three and twenty lecture, upon the 4, 5, and 6 verses," in Dering, Twenty-seven Lectures, Or Readings, Upon Part of the Epistle Written to the Hebrews, (London: Thomas Woodcocke, 1590). Digital version in Google books without page number. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from We have modernized the text.

[2] Cited in Benjamin Brook, The Lives of the Puritans: Containing a Biographical Account of Those Divines who Distinguished Themselves in the Cause of Religious Liberty, from the Reformation Under Queen Elizabeth, to the Act of Uniformity in 1662: Volume 1 (London: James Black, 1813), 206.

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