I. In the first place, there is a foundation laid for a friendly alliance between the Church and state, in the fact of the twofold character which Christ sustains of Head of the Church, and also of Head over all things to the Church.
That civil government is an ordinance of God, as the God of nature and not of grace, is a most important truth, and one that lies at the foundation of the essential difference between the state and the Church, which owes its origin to Christ as Mediator. But it is no less true that God has handed over to Christ, as Mediator, the ordinance of civil government, to be employed by Him in subordination to the great purposes of His mediatorial reign. Among “the all things” over which Christ is now made Head to the Church, is to be numbered the ordinance of magistracy or civil government in this world,—a truth which seems unquestionably to draw with it the conclusion that, in the hands of Christ, and under His control, the civil government of nations may be made instrumental in advancing the interests and promoting the well-being of the Church. In the joint dominion to which Christ has been exalted, both over the state and over the Church, and in the express and avowed object for which this dominion has been vouchsafed to Him, we recognise a foundation laid for those two Divine ordinances, originally separate and still essentially distinct, becoming serviceable and advantageous to each other. In the assertion that Christ is made Head over the kingdoms of men for the good of His Church, there is unquestionably implied the further assertion, that Christ can make the kingdoms of men, in one way or other, contribute to the well-being of His Church. Even were the state to be identified with the world as ungodly and alienated from Christ—as many Voluntaries are accustomed to identify it—still He could, by His power and grace, convert the state, as He does convert even wicked men, into the unwitting instruments for promoting the interests of His Church. But the state is not to be identified or confounded with a world that lieth in wickedness. It is an ordinance of God, both good in itself and appointed for good. The very end for which it has been placed under subjection to the Messiah is, that it may be instrumental, under Him, for securing the spiritual interests and promoting the welfare of His kingdom of grace; and it approaches very nearly to the assertion that Christ has failed in the object for which He has been set over it as Head, to assert that the state, from its nature or constitution, cannot in any manner be converted into a willing and conscious instrument for promoting the prosperity of the Church, and advancing the cause of Christianity. In the common subordination to Christ which the body politic and body ecclesiastical alike underlie, and in the object which is to be promoted by that subordination, we see the foundation laid for a friendly alliance and co-operation between Church and state. Distinct and separate in their essential character, they are yet brought into one through their mutual subjection to the same Divine Head, and their mutual subserviency to the same gracious purpose. Fundamentally unlike in their character on earth, they are resolved into a higher unity through means of one Head in heaven. The Church and the state, because equally the servants of Christ, are helps made and meet for each other.