“Regarding our eternal salvation it is true that one must not distinguish between man and woman, or between king and a shepherd, or between a German and a Frenchman. Regard policy however, we have what St. Paul declares here; for our Lord Jesus Christ did not come to mix up nature, or to abolish what belongs to the preservation of decency and peace among us….Regarding the kingdom of God (which is spiritual) there is no distinction or difference between man and woman, servant and master, poor and rich, great and small. Nevertheless, there does have to be some order among us, and Jesus Christ did not mean to eliminate it, as some flighty and scatterbrained dreamers [believe].”
John Calvin — Sermon on 1 Corinthians 11:2-3
Every one who goes beyond the limits of his calling provokes the wrath of God against himself by his rashness. Let every one therefore be satisfied with his lot, and learn not to aim at anything higher, but, on the contrary, to remain in his own rank in which God has placed him. If God stretch out his hand, and lift us up higher, we ought to go forward; but no one ought to take it on himself, or to strive for it from his own choice. And even those who are raised to a higher rank of honor ought to conduct themselves humbly and submissively, not with any pretended modesty, but with minds so thoroughly depressed that nothing can lift them up.”
In comments on Isaiah 14.13
It is the Lord’s peculiar work to divide people into their respective ranks, distinguishing one from another, as seemeth good to him, all men being on a level by nature.
On Psalm 87
Now we know for what end God would have rank and dignity to exist among men, and that is, that there might be something like a bridle to restrain the waywardness of the multitude.
Lecture 26 on Hosea
Since Isaiah reckons this confusion among the curses of God, and declares that, when the distinction of ranks is laid aside, it is a terrible display of the vengeance of God, we ought to conclude, on the other hand, how much God is pleased with regular government and the good order of society, and also how great a privilege it is to have it preserved among us; for when it is taken away, the life of man differs little from the sustenance of cattle and of beasts of prey.
On Isaiah 24:2
Meanwhile, the political distinction of ranks is not to be repudiated, for natural reason itself dictates this in order to take away confusion.
On Numbers 3:5