With this whole Divine Right of Kings, or magistrates, theme, what has always struck me is how this seems to exclude the right of the people to defend themselves from attacks from unjust governments. This is because Calvin sees all rights and responsibilities as extending directly from God and not as Political Philosophers of the enlightenment were beginning to hypothesize, by consent of the governed. For this reason, it would seem that a people must tolerate any atrocity perpetrated by its leadership.
Calvin seems to say this in the following quote. "We owe this attitude of reverence and therefore of piety toward all our rulers in the highest degree, whatever they may be like." (Institutes, 4.20.29) He advocates this for the people at large, and I think this makes sense in the context of Calvin's own system and with the whole idea that we live in two worlds, the Kingdom of God and this Earthly Realm. Claire addresses the idea of how much depravity within the government is beyond toleration.
I think this is very much in line with the "Two World's" notion as well. Private citizens do not have a right of rebellion, but sub-magistrates have been appointed by God, in effect, at least partly, to restrain the arbitrariness of monarchical rule. It almost feels as though Calvin is cobbling together some kind of balance of power theory, that checks and balances within the government itself ought to carry out God's will should this be the overthrow of the monarch. Even so, I think this statement from Calvin could be used to justify almost any rebellion, if those in rebellion could at least get some filing clerk to support it.
My question is, "What would Clavin have thought of the American Revolution?" Yae or Nae?