Free Online Bible Library | Divine Right of Kings

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Divine Right of Kings

In the Middle Ages it was widely held that royal authority was divinely ordained, but not the person of the king. The Puritans of both England and New England held that all government was of divine origin and received its just powers from God alone. On the other hand, the divine right theory, as practiced by the Stuarts in seventeenth- century England and by Louis XIV and his successors in France, was founded on the belief that the king possessed an absolute grant of authority from God Himself. The king was, therefore, above the law of the land, but at the same time he was directly responsible to God for the welfare of his people, as a father to his family. Thus disobedience to the king was disobedience to God, and therefore sin. This theory of government virtually disappeared in England after the Revolution of 1688-89.