The Reign of Christ. Book Two. Chapter One: By What Ways and Means the Kingdom of Christ Can and Should Be Reformed by Devout Kings
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To begin, Your Royal Highness, I have no doubt that Your Majesty himself sees that the reformation of the Kingdom of Christ which we require, rather, which the salvation of all of us requires, cannot really be expected from the bishops while there are so few among them who are fully aware of the power of this Kingdom and their own official responsibilities but so many who by all possible means which they dare employ either oppose, postpone, or delay this reformation. Your Majesty must remember that sovereign power in this realm was entrusted to him by the supreme King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and that every soul was made subject to his royal authority, including the souls of bishops and all the clergy (Rom. 13:1). That is why it is fitting for Your Majesty to be quite seriously concerned about the restoration of their duty and ministry and to act with a more burning energy toward this very goal, the more the renewal of this office contributes toward the salvation of all and the more its neglect endangers and its dissipation damages everyone’s salvation.
Worthy of Your Majesty’s consideration and conscientious imitation are the examples of men like David, Solomon, Asa, Hezekiah, Josiah, and Nehemiah, whom the Scriptures praise resoundingly for their piety and the sound administration of their kingdoms. When true religion had seriously fallen apart in their times and the priesthood was perniciously corrupted, these men personally undertook the task of the renewal of religion as a matter of royal right and duty. For this holy and difficult purpose, they gathered around them as advisers and assistants some priests, prophets, and other devout men, who, they thought, gave promise in their knowledge of God and in their zeal of accomplishing very much indeed. They then took care before all else that the law of God was very energetically declared and explained to the people. The next step was to persuade all, after they had professed obedience to the law, once more wholeheartedly to accept and truly to reverence the Lord’s covenant. Then, finally, they reorganized and renewed the estate and ministry of priests and Levites and the entire administration of religion, according to the law of God; and they watched most vigilantly that no one should destroy what they had done.
In regard to the efforts and attempts of these devout princes to reestablish the Kingdom of God for their people, passages of divine Scripture quite appropriate for pious reading and reflection are the following: concerning David, II Sam., ch. 6, and I Chron., chs. 13, 14, 15, 16, 23, and the three following chapters; concerning Solomon, I Kings, ch. 8, and II Chron., chs. 5, 6, and 7; concerning Asa, II Chron., ch. 15; and concerning Hezekiah, II Kings, ch. 18:1-7, and II Chron., chs. 29 and 31; concerning Josiah, II Kings, chs. 22 and 23, II Chron., chs. 34 and 35; concerning Nehemiah, the entire book of that name.
In these examples and histories, Your Majesty will clearly see, first, that it is within his official capacity to undertake the renewal of the important priestly order and office, just as the care for other estates and offices is within his prerogative.