Wilhelmus a Brakel was a seventeenth-century Dutch Reformed pastor, and a leader in the so-called Second Reformation of the Dutch churches. At one blog dedicated to Brakel this development in Dutch Protestantism receives the following description:
By this term, Nadere Reformatie, we mean a movement in the 17th century which was a reaction against dead orthodoxy and [the] secularization of Christianity in the Church of the Reformation and which insisted on the practise of faith. This may also be called a special form of Pietism, because the central idea is the â€œpraxis pietatis.â€ The origin of the pietistic trend lies in England and the father of Puritan Pietism [who] was William Perkins. Via Willem Teellinck and Guilielmus Amesius a direct influence on a kindred movement in Holland ensued. To this movement belong the Teellincks, Voetius, Van Lodenstein, Saldenus, the two Brakels, and especially also Witsius. This movement is not meant as a correction of the Reformation but as the consequence of it. The background of the conspicuous preciseness is the desire to serve God fully according to His will.
In sum, Dutch pietism was an effort fuse the personal piety of experiemental Calvinism with the rigor of the original Reformed movement.
Old Lifers are not known for relishing pietism, as a current discussion points out. And yet, even Dutch Reformed pietists, like Brakel, had enough sense to recognize the insights of post-Constantinian 2 kingdom theology. I hope the Baylys are listening.
The following comes from Brakel’s A Christian’s Reasonable Service, Book 2, chapter 29. (Props go out to our other mid-western correspondent):
Does the civil government have any authority at all with regard to the church? If yes, what does or does this not consist of?
We wish to preface our answer to this question by stating that first, all members of the clergyâ€”ministers, elders, and deaconsâ€”are subject to the civil government as individuals , and thus are in one and the same category as other people. I repeat, as individuals. This is not true, however, as far as their ecclesiastical
standing is concerned, for as such, they are subject to consistories, Classes, and Synods, and thus are subject to the only King of the church, Jesus Christ.
Secondly, if members of the clergy conduct themselves contrary to civil laws pertaining to all citizens, they, just as other citizens, may and must be punished according to the magnitude of their crime.
Thirdly, since members of the clergy are not servants of the civil government, but as individuals are in the same category as all other citizens, they have the same right to legal defense. Therefore, in the event of an indictment, legal procedures must be initiated against them the same as against other citizens.
Fourthly, members of the clergy and the entire congregation, each in their own position, are obligated to honor and obey the civil government conscientiouslyâ€”with heart and in deeds. They are to do so not by way of compulsion, but in an affectionate manner, out of love for God, whose supremacy and majesty are reflected in the office of civil government. No one is released from the duty of rendering honor and obedience simply because he is a member of the clergy or of the church. This is true even if the civil government is either pagan, Islamic, heretical or Christian, good or evil, godly or ungodly, compassionate or severe. It is the duty of elders to stir everyone up to render such honor and obedience. â€œLet every soul be subject unto the higher powersâ€ (Rom. 13:1)