Thomas McCrie on the distinctions between the ecclesiastical and civil jurisdictions

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
... They differ in their objects. Civil judgment is pronounced on things that pertain to this life and the external man—his property, his life, his liberty, or his good name; ecclesiastical judgment, on things that pertain to the welfare of the soul and to the life to come. If the former has to do with religious matters, it is either upon the ground that religion in general is conducive to the welfare of secular society, or because particular religious acts interfere with civil rights; if the latter have to do with civil matters, it is only in so far as they relate to the conscience. If at any time the same actions, materially considered, fall under the cognizance of both jurisdictions, as in the case of theft or murder, the formal light in which they are judged by each is different; the secular judicatory proceeds against them as crimes, which injure civil society; the ecclesiastical as scandals, which mar the purity of the church.

They differ in their ends. The end of secular judgment, in subordination to the glory of God, is the external peace and temporal prosperity of men, or, as the apostle expresses it, “that we may live quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness and honesty.” The end of ecclesiastical judgment, in subordination to the glory of God by Christ, is the promoting of the spiritual and eternal interests of man, or, in the words of the same apostle, “that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” ...

For more, see Thomas McCrie on the distinctions between the ecclesiastical and civil jurisdictions.
 
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