This article examines the relationship between the magistrate and his subjects as developed in the Tractatus de regimine seculari et ecclesiastico (1619) by the German jurist Dietrich Reinking (1590–1664). The Tractatus represents the magistrate-subject relationship by reference to the adjectives publicus and privatus . We argue that these adjectives carry particular weight within the context of Reinking’s political theory that bases itself upon the Lutheran doctrine of the two kingdoms. Publicus is associated with a figure of authority that has been divinely ordained and governs the world, while privatus refers to the inferior subjects, who must obey the political authorities, even when these authorities act unjustly. This obedience has limits, however. If the magistratus issues a precept that contradicts divine and natural law, private subjects are entitled to disobey. Indeed, subjects, who participate in public administration, may actively resist, if the magistrate violates the fundamental laws of the empire. Such violations amounts to committing a sin against the divine authority that has ordained the officium of the magistrate, and which defines him as something more than a private man. Thus, the adjectives publicus and privatus belong to the worldly kingdom, where personae privatae are governed by personae publicae : this governance is parcelled into different officia that govern the res publica and are constrained by divine and natural law. In the spiritual kingdom, this distinction between private and public collapses, and individuals are placed on the same level vis-à-vis Christ, who is the sole persona publica .