Rollock: The Judicial Laws Are Abolished But The Natural Law Remains

It is true, indeed, a prince should be loath to put out that life that God hath put in, and should beware, to judge rashly in capital crimes. It is no small matter to make a crime capital; but if the crime be capital and deadly, the prince hath no power to hold his hand aback from execution, and to forgive. Indeed, for weighty and great considerations, a prince may mitigate the punishment, but to say he may let the man go free, he hath no power. But yet they will insist further, and say, Is not this one of the judicial laws that was given to the Jews—then what have we to do with it? I answer, these laws, seeing the Jews, and their commonwealth, and laws politic, are abrogate, in so far as they concerned that people, we have nothing ado with them—they are abolished; but for as much as they are grounded upon nature, and natural law, we have ado with them. As for this law, it is natural. Ye know, that natural men, ethnics, who had never the law of the Jews, they executed the murderer.

Robert Rollock, Lectures Upon The Passion, Resurrection, And Ascension Of Christ (Edinburgh: The Wodrow Society, 1616), 87–88.


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  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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