William Perkins on the distinction between public and private revenge

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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
... Now Christ forbiddeth not resisting by a lawful defence, but by way of private revenge; for he speaketh to his Disciples, and to private men, saying, I say unto you which hear, (as Saint Luke hath it, Ch. 6. 27.) Yet further to clear this interpretation, we must know, the Scripture mentioneth two kinds of revenge, Public, and Private: Public revenge, is when the Magistrate according to justice, and the law of God, punisheth an evil person, that wrongeth his brother.

Private revenge, is when those that are no Magistrates, will revenge themselves on such as doe them wrong. The public revenge is allowed by Saint Paul, calling the Magistrate, God’s minister, for the executing of revenge upon evil doers. Private revenge, is forbidden by the same Apostle, Revenge not thy self. Now by this doctrine it is plain, that our Saviour Christ here forbidding revenge, meaneth not public, but private revenge. ...

For more, see William Perkins on the distinction between public and private revenge.
 
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