THE TESTIMONY OF A Cloud of Witnesses, Who in their Generation have testified against that horrible Evil of FORCING of CONSCI­ENCE, and PERSECUTION about Matters of RELIGION.

Whose Testimony may be seasonable and sutable for the present state of the wise and learned men in England, whether of the Magistrates or of the Clergy; And may serve as a timely Warning to them all, of defiling their hands with that horrible filthy thing, which is already in part committed in the Land.

Composed together, and Translated into English, by a living Witness against the aforesaid Evil, WILLIAM CATON.

God shall perswade Japheth, and he shall dwell in the Tents of Shem, and Canaan shall be his Servant,

Gen. 9.27.

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their Testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death,

Rev. 12.11.

Printed in the Year, 1662.



IN these latter Dayes, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ hath raised up many Witnesses, who Faith­fully bear their Testimony to the Eternal Truth, against the many Evils which superabound in the World; but as the Testimony of his Faithful Witnesses hath been heretofore Rejected by the World; in like manner is the Testimony of his Servants now, con­temned and set at nought by the Wise and Learned of this World, who now with their Power and Wisdom resist the Almighty, as in Ages and Generations past: which thing I seriously observing, it entered into my Heart to manifest the Testimony of some of the Anti­ents (who heretofore have been renowed in their Ge­nerations) to my Country-men, to the end, that both the Wise and Simple, Noble and Ignoble amonst them, might see and perceive, how that the Almighty, even the Lord of Hosts, hath so far opened the Understand­ings of many, as that he hath given them to see the Evil of that horrible Evil, (viz.) of FORCING of CONSCIENCE; which noysome and hurtful thing hath been testified against by Emperours and Kings, and by other Potentates of the Earth, who by experience have found the Evil of it: And likewise it hath been witnessed against by many Wise and Eminent Learned Men in their several Generations, even as it is now testi­fied against, by the Servants and Hand-maids of the Most High, which is evidently manifested by this follow­ing Treatise.

[Page]It hath been long upon me to produce this to our Native Country, and to publish these Testimonies in its own Language, that its Inhabitants might understand how other Kingdoms and Countries have been depopu­lated and spoyled, through their Persisting in the afore­said Evil; and that they also might be warned from run­ning head-long in that evil Course unto Perdition, and thereby incur Desolation upon the Land, and hasten the Lord's Judgements upon its Inhabitants.

Much I might have added to the further demonstra­ting of this Evil, but being there is so much writ alrea­dy concerning it, and so much testified daily against it, and that I was not desirous to make a great Volumn, but chused much rather such a compendious Abstract as this; Therefore have I only inserted their Testimonies, without any Paraphrasing upon them, which I leave unto thy just Judgement.

Sometimes I have instanced the Chronicle or History, in which they are to be found more at large, and some­time I have not; for I believe that very few of them are extant in our English Language, and that there is not one among a thousand in England that do know the Chronologies, out of which they have been extracted.

If that thou (Courteous Reader) do with the Spirit of Meekness peruse this brief Treatise, then mayest thou reap of the Fruit of this my Labour of Love, the effects of which I shall leave unto the Lord, whose Power I know is sufficient to make it effectual.

W. C.

The Epistle to the READER.

IT hath been the fervent labour and travel of my youth, to seek for, and to follow after the way of Righteousness and Truth, and it hath ever been the very temper of my Spirit until this day, to affect Iustice and Mercy; and the Virtues of the Lord God hath delighted my Soul, in what Person, and among what People soever as I have seen the same, and perfect Liberty and Freedom in all the wayes of God inwardly and outwardly, in all the exercise of godliness; and the Virtues of the Spirit of Christ I have longed after, and according to that Light and Knowledge committed to me, these things have I followed that I might attain to the perfection thereof, to the fulfilling of my Faith and Patience in the enjoy­ment of these things, when God himself should bring them forth in the World, and give his chosen People the possession of the same as the Lot of their Inheritance.

And for this Cause and the accomplishing of this end, I have had my Portion of afflictions among many other; and I have suffered somewhat in Body and Spirit in my day, if possibly this may be ob­tained in the end (to wit) free, open, publick and perfect Liberty in the exercise of Conscience, in Duty and Worship to Godwards, in and through the whole World; This hath been and is the end of that long travelled Iourney, which once obtained is a sufficient reward for all Afflictions, and Tribulations, and Persecutions suffered and endured in the way; and saving my Hope, and Faith, and Confidence in the Promises of God concerning this thing, the heart would faint, the Spirit fail, and the Soul be weary, and nothing could comfort my life: Thus it is not onely with me, but with many more like minded, who are all Travellers, Mourners and disconsolate, till the Lord appear bringing with him perfect Liberty of Conscience to all his People, now Oppressed and Imposed upon with grievous Burdens of Force and Violence, concerning Worship and Duty to Godwards, under which Soul groans, Spirit grieves, Life mourns, and the Holy Seed is slain in all Nations through the World; and the Soul, Spirit, Life, and Holy Seed, Cryes unto God day and night, and are poured out before him, How long Lord, how long, [Page] when shall it once be, That Persons, Peoples, and Nations, shall offer Service, Obedience and Worship to thee, according to thy Teach­ing, and as they are led and perswaded by thy Spirit? Free Service and Worship, and without force is that which God onely accepts, and by which he is glorified; 'tis the way of true Worship, 'tis the way of Salvation, Duty and Service, in the exercise of the free Spirit of the Lord, in the hearts of his People, in this onely is he delighted; and all the exercise of that concern which is by force through Imposition, is neither pleasing to him, nor saving to the Soul, but abomination in his sight, as Iniquity which his Soul hates, and a vexation of guilt unto the Righteous Soul: Hence may it be said, wo unto Imposed Worship and Service which is forced by outward Power, it grieves and vexes the God of Heaven unto Wrath and Indignation, and it wounds and oppresses the Immortal Soul unto Death and Damnation.

Surely, It is contrary to the very purpose of God in Order of Creation, who made and Ordained Mankind free from Bondage, and never brought him forth into the World to be a subjected slave to the will of another man, in things Temporal, much lesse in things Spiritual, and relating to Eternity; and this work of Imposing by force in matters of Faith, Worship, and Duty to God, of one man upon another, or of some Persons over all, is certainly an Act of Bondage and Slavery, laid as a grievous yoak upon the necks one of another, and subjecting one another in Oppression, not unto the good Will of the Creator, but unto the evil will of mortal perish­ing and sinful Creature, and this differing from and contrary to, the pure and perfect Order and Decree of Creation, which was blessed altogether; and whatsoever is degenerated by Corruption, and Erred through Temptation from that Pure and Holy Order of Creation, either in things Wordly or Divine; is in the Curse and Oposition against the Holy Creator, and so is this thing of which I am now Treating, Imposition upon Conscience in matters Divine and Temporal: Force, exercised in Spiritual Cases, is the high­est Product of Degeneration, and the greater degression from the Holy Order of Creation; for without Controversie the Creator himself, reserved and retained in his alone onely Power, the Priviledge of Supremacy, in and over the inward man, in all the matters Immortal, that he might be the onely Lord in that Case, [Page] and give Spiritual Law, to Command, and force thereby to exercise the Soul and heart, in Fear, Love, Faith, Worship, and Obedience to himself, that he might be served as the Lord over all, most chiefly in respect of the Inward Spiritual and Immortal man; This Power of Supremacy I say, he reserved and retained in him­self in the Creation to exercise over Mankind, and did not commit this Priviledge to any other; wherefore without Controversie, it is an Usurpation of the Creators rightful Dominion, it is a robbing of him of his Dignity and Prerogative, it is an Act of Violence done against his Soveraignty, an audacious intruding into his proper right, and a violating of the Law and Decree of Creation, for one Person, or one People, to assume to themselves, Power, Authority and Government, over other Persons and Peoples, in Commanding and Imposing in matters Spiritual, over their Con­sciences in the Worship and Service of God; and it is such an abomination against the Creator both in the Cause and End of it, That he will arise and take Vengeance upon it, and he will ease him­self of all such his adversaries.

Again, It is contrary to the Law of Love, Unity, Fellow­ship, and Concord among the sons of men, by order of Creation, which God appointed to be among them; and by Imposing in matters of Spiritual concern, as aforesaid, that Love, Unity, Fellowship and Concord among men decreed in Creation, is broken and confounded, and disannulled among them, by reason of the same, and Nations and Kingdoms hate and contend one with another; Neighbors and Brethren, cannot agree but fall into strife one against another: Kings and their Subjects, Rulers and their People, are in discord, de­bate, Disobedience and Rebellion one contrary to another, by reason that Liberty of Conscience in Worship and Duty to Godwards is wanting in the World, and Impositions and force by outward Authority in that Case, are prevailing and in Power; And thus the Law of Love, Unity, and Concord, Decreed in Creation, is violated, despised, and made voyd; and hatred, divisions, strifes, and dis­cords intraduced in its room, and abounds in the Spirits and visible actions of the sons of men through the World, to the woful effects of killing, persecuting, and destroying one another, Nation of Na­tion, Neighbours of Neighbours, and Kings of their Subjects; occasioned and grounded upon this thing as the Foundation of the same, (to wit) Imposing by force upon Conscience in matters [Page] Divine. Wherefore not onely against God is this evil extended, to dishonour and disgrace him as is shewed, but against man also is this evil and mischief in the effects of it reached forth as ye have seen; and the Law of Creation is violated, both in respect of Creator and Creature. It is in its cause and ground so evil, in its works and effects so wicked and mischievous, and in its end so provoking and damnable, and all this both in respect of God and man, that I have not yet Com­prehended the height and depth thereof; though my Spirit from a Child hath often entered into the serious Considerations of this thing, with mourning and sorrow because of it, and with testimony and abhorrance against it; and at this hour I am a sufferer in body and Spirit, because of the same; Carnal Imposition upon Conscience in Spi­ritual things, wo unto it, my Soul hates, and my God will Plague in his season.

If I should study in searching to find out, and to discribe all the evils, mischiefs and wofull Inconveniences, and effects of this Gulf out of which they ascend, I might make this Epistle a large Vo­lumn; but since that I have elsewhere written about this matter, I shall now Contract this, with the saying of the Apostle, This Mistery of iniquity doth work, untill he be taken out of the way; Yea, this Imposition upon Conscience opposite to perfect Liberty in the exercise of the same, is the onely Main, Material, Support, Prop, and Defence of the Kingdome of Antichrist throughout the World at this day: and whomsoever as are friends hereunto, they are friends to him, and they love his wayes, and are subjects of his Kingdome, and are rebellious against Christ, and to his Kingdome they are Enemies: Wherefore my heart and soul saith within me, would to God I had such a gift of Demonstration, by Pen or Tongue, and that the same were so forcible and Efficacious to awaken every soul, to an abhorrance and dislike of that Spirit, Principle and Practice of Imposition upon Conscience, that there might be a total turning from the Kingdome of Antichrist, which Consists of Falshood, Darkness, Sin, and Enmity, of Bon­dage, Oppression, and cruel Impositions to the Kingdome of Christ Jesus, which Consists of Truth, Light and Righteousness, of free­dome and perfect Liberty in Soul and Spirit; Which Kingdome and Government, the Lord of Heaven and Earth will promote and Exalt in the Kingdomes of this World, which must become the [Page] Kingdomes of the Lord and of His Christ, according to Pro­mise.

It hath ever been my Iudgment, That want of Liberty and free exercise of Conscience in Spiritual matters, and the Con­trary Imposed by worldly Power, and it remains still with me, That this is one main Cause of the woful Distractions in Kingdomes, of the unsetledness in States, and of many evil Consequences abounding in the Governments of the World; and also the Cause wherefore the God of Heaven is angry and provoked against them, and for which Cause he will smite and wound, confound and overturn Kingdomes, Powers, and Authorities, even till he Reign whose Right it is; who onely and alone, will Rule in the free exercise of Soul, Spirit, and Conscience, through the teachings of his own Spirit: And though much Opposition and great Contention have been made against this in the World, in which men have striven against their own good and welfare, yet there is a day, and it hastens to come in Power, when Imposition upon Conscience by outward worldly force in Cases Divine, will be banished the whole Fabrick of the Cre­ation, and exiled into the pit of never-rising obscurity and darkness, and then shall the Sons of men be delivered from the Violence of it, and from all its miserable and mischievous Consequence; Then shall the heritage of the Lord rejoyce in Ioy unspeakable, being de­livered from the oppression under which she hath long mourned, tra­velled, and groaned in deep distresse; Then shall Nations de­light in amity one with another; then shall Neighbours rejoyce in So­ciety one among another; and then shall Kings and Rulers love their Subjects and People freely, and People shall Obey and serve their Rulers with a willing and chearful heart and mind; Hereby the God of Heaven should be Glorified, and all People become Blessed, Amity, Love, Unity, and Concord, and the first Creation order and Decree, would be restored between God and his Creatures, and also between man and man, in holy Covenant.

And this matter (to wit) Concerning Liberty of Conscience in the free exercise of Godliness) hath been of these late years in great Debate and Contest among men in these Nations, and some have been of one Iudgement, and others of a contrary about this mat­ter, and the Contention hath arisen very high, even unto Blood and losse of all; and is yet remaining undetermined in the minds and [Page] Spirits of many people, which ought to be resolved in every heart through conviction by sound Arguments of Truth and Divine reason; and men ought then to obey the same according to inward Spiritual Conviction; and this Case ought not to be determined by Carnal weapons, forcibly Compelling people in the Case by the Impositions of Conquest, in a Violent way of outward Power: And since that, This is a Case dubious, whether free Liberty of Conscience in the exercise of Worship, or Imposition about the same is most worthy: I therefore upon this necessity calling upon me, with my willingness to assist in such a work, would add my mite and grain of Knowledge and Wisdome towards the resolving of such a dubious and needful Case, And have taken this opportunity and occasion thus to declare my mind, and shall leave the effect hereof to the purpose and Providence of the Lord, who onely is Wise, to work whatsoever he will, by whomsoever he pleases; for he never yet limited himself to any one Instrument, in the bringing forth, and accomplishing his purpose; however no man is to dispute the Leadings and Commands of God, nor yet to measure his obedience to him, by either objected, or real Consequence, in the fruits and effects of his obedience: And this is that warrant (to wit the leadings of God) under the Com­mission of which, the Servants of God do Act in their Obedience, and disputes not the Authority nor the Consequence, but leaves the Issue of all things to him that Commands.

The total sum of this matter (to wit, Liberty of Conscience) is very large, and requires multitude of Words, and many arguments to unfold the Truth of it, the vertue of it, and the Evil Causes, Works and effects of the Contrary; but at this time I shall contract the sum into, & state it in this total head; Whether it is not perfect Reason, Justice, and Equity, and that without all Exceptions, that every man upon the Earth, be permitted in the free exercise of Conscience, without any kind of Force put upon him by any man to the con­trary, to follow that Religion, and to live in such Faith, and perform such Worship to God, as he dares trust his own Soul withal, and give account thereof before God in the day of dreadful Judgement.

My Iudgement is on the affirmative Part, in answer to this Que­stion, and it is my Iudgement in the Fear and Spirit of the Lord, that 'tis perfectly reasonable, Just and Equal, that every man in the [Page] World be permitted his Liberty in the free exercise of his Conscience, and that without any force imposed upon him to the Contrary, to follow that Religion, and live in that Faith, and perform that Worship to God, with which he dares trust his own Soul to the Salvation thereof; and the contrary is Unreasonable, Unjust and Unequal; and this might be amplified in a large manner upon occa­sion: And this is not only my Iudgement alone, nor the false Fancy of a single Person, but it is the Faith and Judgement of many more, and that not of Fools altogether, but of the Wise, not only of some few men of our Age, but of many Ages past, whose Princi­ples were for the Toleration of Liberty in the exercise of Consci­ence in matters Spiritual, as in this smal Treatise following more at large appears; to which, for proof of this Particular, and to se­cond the Truth of my Iudgement, I do refer the serious and well considerate Reader; in which small Piece, he may find the Iudge­ments of divers Persons asserted by their own Sayings, concerning the very Case of Liberty of Conscience; and what esteem some Kings and Princes, and Religious Men have had of the same; for this following Piece (to which I am now prefacing) is no other than a certain sum of brief Collections, of the Sayings of Emperors, Kings and Potentates, of former Ages, contracted into this short method, for the better Intelligence of all that are inquiring about this occasion; and such is mine affection to the present Contraction collected, that I wish, that all the Rulers and Princes of our Age through the World, would seriously read, and rightly study the same, and improve it to their own advantage, in practising the Sayings of their Grave and Wise Progenitors; and oh that they would engross this small Piece in their Records, and enclose it in their Closets, and use the same as Counsel and Instruction to themselves in the Premises; the effect of it might prove happy to them, if their pre­sent Practise would be answerable to the Intimations of the Anti­ents.

And this small Piece happily ariving the harbour of my hands, through the tedious industry of the Collector, and through other passages of tempestious Dangers, which it lay liable unto; I have transported it over a serious view, and am affected with it unto my Commendation and approof; first of the matter it self, and second­ly of its Author's pains and Industry, in forming of it into this [Page] method, in which it now appears; both of which I cannot but commend, and do also herewith recommend to the View, Considera­tion, and Instruction of every impartial Reader, who must, and that every man for himself, be judge of the verity of what he Reads, even by the Light of the Spirit of Christ Iesus in his own Conscience; to which this is singly committed.

E. B.

THE TESTIMONY OF A CLOUD of WITNESSES, Who in their Generation have testified against that horrible Evil of FORCING OF CON­SCIENCE, and PERSECUTION about Matters of RELIGION.


Concerning the Christian Religion, how it is not to be planted, esta­blished, nor defended by Weapons, nor by Violence; and how it doth not admit of any forcing of Conscience.

A Certain Chancellour, speaking before the King and his Council at Orleans, in praise of the Christian Religion, said, That those that went about to Establish the same by Weapons, did against their Calling, which is (said he) to suffer Violence, and not to do it.

Herein differ we (said Chrisostomus) from the Heathen, who do force and compel by Violence, but the Christians they are patient and forbearing; neither hath our Religion had her be­ginning with Weapons (said he) neither hath it been maintain­ed by Weapons.

It is not the manner of the Children of God to Persecute others to Death about their Religion, but it hath been, and is their Condition to be put to Death themselves for the Testi­mony of the Truth; Moreover (said he) the shedding of blood [Page 2] about Religion, is an evident token of Antichrist. Relig. Uryl. Pag. 192.

That Religion which goeth about to set up a Sect, which seek­eth not Peace, but speaketh against all, and will suffer none equal with it, but will be alone Master, and exercise Lordship over the faith of all others, and with the Civil Powers, perse­cute those that are of another Opinion, by shedding their blood, Banishing of them, and spoiling of their Goods, or with War and Fighting Establish their own, such do thereby shew that they are no right Shepherds of the true Christians, but rather Wolves, Caines, Ishmaelites, and Esauhites, whose hand is against all, and every mans hand against them.

The Kingdom of Christ (which is otherwise called the Chri­stian Church, said a certain Writer) hath no earthly King, no Temporal Magistrate nor Governour, for the Lord alone is King in his Kingdom; as he is Ordained to be the Head of the Church, so he hath committed that to none to Govern.

This King governeth with the word of his Grace, the Soul and Conscience; here are none compelled, for there is a Spi­ritual Freedom and willingness, there is no Violence or con­tention; which was held forth by the Figure of Solomon's Temple, where no Hammar, no Axe, or Iron instrument was to be heard, but there's Love and Unity, Peace and Mercy among all his Children.

That is certain (said one) that all Religion is vain without true Godliness, and it is little matter of what Opinion any man be in different points of Religion, while he leadeth an ungodly life, and through that Doctaine which he professeth is not bet­tered, but bittered against his fellow Christian, and hateth, judgeth, and persecuteth him, as it often happeneth among them that seem to be Religious.

The States of Holland, have confessed that the point of Reli­gion in the Government of a Land, was of great concernment; And further they said, that they abominated forcing of Con­science, otherwise then with good Doctrine, good works, and in­treaties.

A certain Turkish Ambassadour, complained to the King Em­manuel of Portugal, of the King of Spain, for his compelling [Page 3] by Violence the Moores in his Dominion to the Christian Faith or Religion, saying; it was not lawful neither for the Christians, nor yet for the Mahomets to compel any man so, as that he should forsake that Religion in which he had been Educated; And that he could not be silent to see such things, to the in­jury and desolation of People in the general, but must testifie that it was to the prejudice of Mankind, and to the disadvantage of Religion, &c.

Osorius declared, That it was neither according to the Law, nor according to Religion, to compel the Iewes and Moores to the Faith; And that none ought to determine to restrain the free mind, for he affirmed, it was not the Will of Christ, neither ought such things to be.

Anno 1455. The Turk wrote a Letter to the Pope Calixtus the third, wherein he acknowledged, that Iesus Christ had been a great Prophet, yet (said he) he hath not commanded that any should compel People by Violence and Weapons, to believe his Law.

Haywardus said, That the best Writers of that time did agree in one Opinion, and with Tertulliano, Lactantio, Cassiodoro, Iosepho, &c. That People must inform men to imbrace Religion with reason, and not compel them by Violence.

I have for a long season determined (said one of the Kings of France) to reform the Church, which without Peace (said he) I cannot do, and it is impossible to reform or convert People by Violence.

I am King as a Shepherd (said he) and will not shed the blood of my Sheep, but will gather them through the mildness and goodness of a King, and not through the Power of Tyranny; And I will give them of the Reformed Religion, right Liberty to live and dwell free, without being examined, perplexed, molested, or compelled to any thing contrary to their Conscience; for they shall have the free exercise of their Religion, &c. Vide Chron. Vande Onderg. 2. Deel. Page 1514.

And as concerning the planting, nourishing, and defending of the Christian Religion, that is said to be the office and work of upright and sincere Teachers; further (saith he) it concerns [Page 4] the Magistrate to defend and protect the Innocent and harm­less People, who are Persecuted, Robbed, Prisoned, and Ty­rannically used.

Experience hath sufficiently manifested, both in France, Ger­many, Bohemia, and in the Low-Countries, and elsewhere, that to make War about Religion, or thereby to establish and defend it, is an absolute perverse and destructive means, and that which is totally against the true Christian Religion: yet notwithstanding some cry up Weapons, Weapons, but alas have we not seen, that Weapons are stirred up against Weapons? And what is this recon­ciling slaughter, with slaughter, and blood with blood, but the manner and custome of the Heathen?


Concerning the true and false Church; the Gospel and Religion: As also shewing the insufficiency of carnal Weapons in Spiritual Matters.

THe Church that is dispersed through the World, hath the name of Christ her Head, and is strengthened not with re­sisting, but with Suffering and Patience; for the Gospel in the Primitive Church, was not Preached with Swords and an Arm­ed hand, but with Exhortation and Perswasion, Hist. Eccl. lib. 4 Chap. 26.

Barnardus said, The Church must not persecute as Wolves, but be Persecuted, like as the Sheep are of the Wolves; And in this Calamity of the World, they stand as Palm-trees through the Power of God, and grow and increase; so that some have esteemed Sanguis Martirum est semen Ecclesiae, (i. e.) the blood of the Martyrs to be the seed of the Church; for (said he) as one was put to death, there came ten in his stead.

Luther said, That the hypocrites Church was to be known by its manners, whose Image and figure was Esau, yet she boasted of God, and would be accounted his Church, but lived wholly according to the World.

Further (said he) the true Church is not defended by a fleshly [Page 5] Arm, which wicked Bishops especially use and cry unto, Thae­sau. Pag. 622.

As heretofore, he that was born after the flesh, Persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so is it now, &c. Con­sider these words of Paul (said Castellio) Ishmael that was born after the flesh, Persecuted Isaac who was born after the Spirit; even so now do the fleshly Persecute the Spiritual; But Abell did not Persecure Cain, nor Lot the Sodomites, nor David Saul, nor the true Prophets the false, nor Christ and his Apostles the Scribes and Pharesees, although some of them might have done it, yet nevertheless they did it not.

So is it at this day, though the number of the Righteous be but smal, who are Persecuted of the wicked, yet sometimes they might injury their Persecutors, but they are so far from doing that, that they are rather helpful to them, and do seek their Salvation.

The false Church is grounded more upon men then upon Christ, and she Persecuteth those that live Righteously accor­ding to the Word of God, and such as reprove her for her failings.

Damascenus said, that the Gospel had been Preached in all the World, but did not conquer its opposers with Weapons, Arms, or Fighting, but a few unlearned, confounded the Wise ones of the World.

Oh (said Boudaert) that the Bishops were so well experienced in the Word of God, that they would rather with Reason seek to bring them that go astray to the right way, then to compell them by Corporal punishment to adhere unto their Elect.

It is impossible (said Luther) that the Church of Christ should be, or should stand without bloodsheding, for the Devil who is an Enemy of God's Church, is also a Lyar and a Mur­therer, yet the Church hath alwayes increased in blood, said He; in the Colloq.

Sanguine mundata est Ecclesia, Sanguine cepit
Sanguine succrevit, sanguine finis erit.

[Page 6] Ian Monliu, the Bishop of Valence affirmed, That it was an Error to molest the publick Peace with Weapons, under pre­tence of Religion; a thing (saith he) which hath been alwayes abhorred by the Antients.

For Wars and compulsary punishments, have never been the means to bring to Unity; For Wars and cruelty tend to the destroying both of Body and Soul, even of those, who perad­venture might otherwise have been gained through love and gentleness, for that counsel which tends to cruelty is worse then the desease; yet notwithstanding, it is the manner of such Bishops to plead for Weapons as have lost the Spiritual Sword of Peter, and therefore (said he) do they now make that Sword their Defence, which he drew against the servant of the High Priest. Chron. vande Rel. uriih. pag. 123, 124.

Anno 1579. The States of Holland said, That this they ob­served, finding it by true experience, (viz.) dat gewelt ende wapenen luttel helpen tot verbreijdinghe ende behoudenisse der Re­ligien (i. e.) That violence and Weapons availed little in spreading, and maintaining Religion; And further said they, as we would not have that men should do violence to our con­sciences, neither will we do violence to the consciences of others; for we are not to do that to another, which we would not have another to do unto us.

The Prince of Orange said, We are not so unexperienced in the Doctrine of the Christian Religion, as that we do not know, that all those tyes of Conscience wreathed or turned of men, are to no purpose to bind man before God: People should not think it strange, nor therefore take up Arms (said he) because that many of the Inhabitants of this Country are become of another opi­nion, and simply declare themselves, yea against the Will of the Magistrates, which thing the Histories do testifie not to be new, but that such differences have been in the World in many Mo­narchies heretofore.

To the same purpose did the States of Holland testifie, (viz.) how that difference in doctrine was not strange in the Church, but said they, it is better rectified through forbearance, then through devision, Inde Apolog. 1581. fol. 15.


Concerning cruel Lawes against Hereticks, how the Bishops and Clergy heretofore have been the cause of them; who are the cause of tumults; the necessity of just Liberty, and the good effect thereof.

IN the year 553. the Pope Palagius instituted first of all, That Hereticks and Apostates should be forced by external com­pulsion, &c. Clemens the fifth made Lawes that Hereticks should be burned; Gerandus Naviomagus sheweth, how that the Laws for putting of Hereticks to death, came not by the free will of the Emperours, but through the earnest importuning of blood-thirsty Bishops, whose constant recourse was a burthen to the Emperours, so that finally they obtained what they desired; but when the Clergy could not prevail with one Emperour, they excluded him out of Italy, excommunicated him, brought him in suspition, freed the Subjects from the Oath, and stirred them up against the Power; And thus have the Clergy handled when they could not have their wills.

And it might be plenteously manifested out of the Histories, how that it hath been blood-thirsty Bishops with others of the Clergy, that have provoked Kings, and the Potentates of the Earth to cruelty, and who have counselled them to make bloody Lawes, like the Bishop Nestorius, who in his Sermon spoke unto the Emperour and said, O Emperour give me a Land cleansed of Hereticks, and I will give thee Heaven; help me against the Hereticks, and I will help thee to subdue the Persians thy Ene­mies, &c. Yet it doth not appear that upright and sincere Tea­chers have sought the defence or help of the Emperours or Kings against Hereticks, but it is evident that banishing and persecuting to death about Religion, came not from the example of the Righteous, but rather from the Heathen, and from Arius, Nestorius, Palagius, and their Proselytes.

There was a certain man that complained unto the Prince of [Page 8] Orange, saying, That it was sufficiently known, that since the dayes of the Apostles, that hurtful and noisom Plague hath reigned and had the Dominion in the Church, (viz.) that the greatest part of the Divines and Clergy, have assumed more Authority and Power to themselves (yea and have taken it by force) then ever God the Father gave them; And the aforesaid Prince observed, how they sought to usurp Authority over the Conscience, and to bring People in subjection to their Lawes and Institutions.

There are some Teachers (said a certain wise man) that are exceeding cruel, angry, passionate, full of Covetousness and Pride, who judge and reject all things but their own, and would have such punished and put to death as do not agree with them, and conform unto them; Another sort there are that are Meek, Patient, Gentle and Humble, who bear all things, and hope all things, and will compel none to their Religion.

Brassius said, That they that have a right Evangelical Doctrine and Faith, persecute none, but are persecuted them­selves; 'tis true Paul said, we should reject a Heretick after the first and second Admonition; but he said not, that we should Banish him out of the City or Country.

Consider once, said Adrianus, and see if the Hereticks have not alwayes persecuted the Righteous; but where do you find that false Prophets and false Teachers have been persecuted of the World, which doth alwayes love that which belongs to it, and vilifie, curse, kill and murder that which Christ hath chosen; for that which he chuseth is not of the World: And now is Christ and his Disciples (said he) esteemed of the World as Hereticks, Seducers, Uprore-makers; and the Seducers, Here­ticks, and they that rise up against the Lord, and his Anointed, they are by the World called Christians.

The true Christians have been alwayes persecuted of the World, not because they have deserved it, but because they have not been conformable to their false Doctrines, false Sa­craments, their Vanity and Superstition.

It is the manner of the false Teachers (said a certain writer) to cry out against those that teach any thing contrary to them; for say they, They make Tumults among the People; and this with [Page 9] other things they charge upon those that reprove them, when they themselves are the most tumultuous; for if they did not stir up the Magistrates and People to Persecution and shedding of blood, there would not be such Tumults among the People.

Moreover the contention and Tumults that are among men, proceed not from them that serve God in the exercise of their Religion according to their Conscience, but from such as will not suffer that, but with Violence will usurp Authority over the Faith of others.

The Histories do testifie, how that the Mallady wherewith several Emperours, Kings, and Princes have been perplexed, could nor be cured, nor perfect Peace and Rest injoyed, nor true Obedience and Subjection maintained to Magistracy, ex­cept they gave Liberty of Conscience to their Subjects; where­fore some of them suffered themselves to be thereunto per­swaded by their Subjects.

Anno 1601. In the Land of Cleave, there was a notable Re­formation and Tolleration in Religion; For there it was de­creed, that from henceforth, no man should be adjudged unfit for places of Office, for his different judgement in Religion; which did occasion much trust and Peace, and did free the Peo­ple from all Persecution in Spiritual matters.

It hath been formerly said▪ that when a Prince cometh so far, that between two parties he defendeth one party with Weapons, and oppresseth the other with Weapons, that then he getteth the name of a Tyrant, and robbeth the Land of its welfare, and through his own Power weakeneth his own might, and maketh the same open for an Enemy. Merck-tyck: Page 57.


The evil Effects of Forcing of the Conscience; what it is; Their Folly shewn, that would have the Magistrates to Force People; How the Old Fathers and Antient Christians hereto­fore have witnessed against it; and what other Means they used.

THis do most Histories testifie (viz.) That the Distracti­ons, Uproars, and many more Inconveniences have been chiefly occasioned through severe Proclamations, cruel Proceed­ings, and Persecution about matters of Religion, and Forcing of Conscience, which is plenteously to be found in several Chro­nicles; but especially in the Chronicles of the overthrow of the Tyrants, Printed at Hoorn, in North Holland, Anno 1620.

Forcing of Conscience is said to be this (to wit) When any Compels Men to do any thing which is contrary to their Con­science, or to abstain from such Exercises as they in Conscience esteem to be profitable and necessary to their Salvation; one of these two is that which is commonly called forcing of Con­science, against which the Martyrs since the Dayes of the Apostles have testified, and have manifested it clearly to be an unfitting thing, as might be shewn at large out of Histories, Books of Martyrs, Apologies, Remonstrations, &c.

Maximillian the Emperor, told Hendricus the King of France, That there was no Sin so great (in his account) as to do Vio­lence to the Conscience; And that those that went about to conquer the same, thinking to gain Heaven, did often lose that they had upon Earth.

It is well known, that many are of Opinion, that it is very necessary that the Magistrate compel by Force and Violence the unwilling to the Faith, to the end that they may come of themselves as they imagine: But said Erasmus, Most men are so disposed, that they will rather be led then compelled, and that by Intreaties more may be obtained than through Cruel­ties.

[Page 10]Those that are ignorant of the drawings of the Father (said a Wise man) would have Magistrates to draw by violence; such, as do not only remain Ignorant of the Drawings of the Father, but also others that are in the Truth, they would have drawn to their dead Inventions, as if they would conform so soon as they are punished: But I suppose (saith he) that those that would otherwise come of themselves voluntarily, through Punishments are terrified away; As the Fish in the Water that come voluntarily to the Bait and Net, but when People would compel them, they fly. The truth of this, can Geneva, Savoy, and other Places witnesse, said the Author.

Chrisostomus said, That in Heavenly matters, People must use no Violence; for saith he, These that use Violence, estrange men most of all from their Religion; instancing an Example in West-India, of the Spaniards Tormenting a Casique or Lord, (so called) and one of the Clergy seeking by his Preaching to convert him to the Faith, told him of Heaven and Hell, &c. Then he asked the Clergy-man, Where he and the Spaniards should be? he said in Heaven; then said the other, Let me continue in Hell, not being willing to be with such cruel Peo­ple: Bartolomeus delas casas Lactantius dixit, non est opus vi et injura quia Religio cogi non potest; verbis potius quam verberibus ves agenda est, ut sit voluntas. Nihil est enim tam voluntarium quam Religio, in quasi animus sacrificantis aversus est, jam sublata, jam nulla est.

Augustinus said, He did not approve of the Emperors Compel­ling any by violence, contrary to their Conscience; and he with Chrisostomus, together with several others of the Antient Writers, inferred from the 13th. of Matthew, that men should do no Violence to Hereticks neitheir compel any to the free Faith, seeing God would have a willing unforced Heart. Chron. van de urijh. der, Rel. 2. deel, pag. 17.

There were some in a certain National Synod, that did much endeavour to stir up the civil Powers to compel all Peo­ple by Fines, or other politick Punishments, to come to hear the Sermon; but others bare Testimony against such politick [Page 12] Corrections, as to punish by Fines, Imprisonments, &c. which they esteem unfitting to be introduced into the Church, being they were inconsistant with the Christian Long-Suffering and Meekness, and for the which they had no Example neither in the Old nor New Testament. Anno 1619.

Calvin said, That the Apostle gave to understand, that to exercise Authority over ones Faith, was in no wise just nor tolerable; yea, (saith he) it is Tyranny in the Church, for Faith ought to be free from all Subjection of men.

Though some are yet of that Opinion, that it is lawful for the Magistrates to compel People contrary to their Consciences, by corporal Punishments, yea even to the Death, for to make them keep silent, or confess things contrary to their minds: Yet most of the Old Fathers have alledged, that it hath not been lawful for the Magistrates to touch the Conscience, as to force it in matters of Religion. Merck-teyck. Chap. 4. 2 Deel. pag. 132.

The Antient Christians did not approve of any External Compulsion, but only by Intreating, by good Living, with Ex­hortations, Doctrins, Informations and endeavours, they labour­ed to convince People, and through the Word of Truth, they sought to bring People Captive so under the Obedience of Christ; and if the like means now do not prevail, then no hu­mane invention through doing Violence will, for that will ra­ther make them worse, as heretofore it hath done.

The most Violence that can be done by man, cannot com­pel or change the vain infidelity of the mind; how should that then possibly move or alter them, that are unmoveably established in the Eternal Truth, who will not in any wise be brought to receive things that are damnable, nor to forsake that which they esteem to be necessary to their Salvation.


A Chancellours Testimony. Their Folly that would force Men, and the Fruits thereof. How Iust Liberty would preserve Unity. And how they that Force others, would not be forced.

TThe Chancellour of France said in the great Assembly of the three States before the King,

  • First, That the absurdity of the Romish Church was the Cause of Heresie.
  • Secondly, That evil Remedies had strengthened the same.
  • Thirdly, That the Weapons of Love, Prayer, and Informa­tion with the Word of God, were fit for such a Battle.
  • Fourthly, That a good Life Preached more than Words.
  • Fifthly, That the Sword could do little against the Spirit, except it was to undoe both Body and Soul. In the Comm. Fol. 132.

Are they not carnal and violent Ishmaelites (said one) who would Violently Force rational Men (often to humane and damnable Opinions) as Horses and Mules, and not with kind­ness intreat, and only instruct with the Truth, and invite to the needful spiritual knowledge of the Truth, and true Worship, as reasonable and free men.

Humani juris et naturalis potestatis est unicuique, quod putave­rit colere, nec alij prodest aut obest alterius Religio; sed nec Re­ligionis est cogere Religionem que sponte non vi suscipi debeat.

Erasmus said, the Divines not relying upon that Power wherewith they ought to be Armed, they make Violence their Refuge, as if men might be compelled to believe otherwise than their Opinion.

When several of the Priests in the Low-Country, Reque­sted of the Prince and States, that they would introduce Ordi­nances and Disciplin according to their Opinions; but the Prince and the States rejected their Requests, esteeming them pre­juditial both to Religion and Policy, when they observed the [Page 14] divers Opinions that were among the People, concluding it was the best (as many Politicians have done) to preserve Unity among the People, to give Liberty at all, and to compel none, Anno 1608. Edict. Fol. 27.

It hath also been the judgement of many, That Forcing of Conscience hath made many Hipocrites, but no true Servants of God: Therefore ought men to strive with the Word and Dis­putation, and to conquer with Reason, said Augustinus, least that we make them Hypocritically Catholicks, whom before we have known to be manifest Hereticks. Anno 1200.

The Chronicles do shew, how that they that are, and have been but seemingly Religious, do commonly joyn themselves to that Religion or Sect which is the uppermost, whereby they may live in Ease, Honour and Fulness, and get profit and prefer­ment, through Places and Offices; instancing how that in Eng­land, there were them in the Dayes of King Hendrick and Ed­ward, that shewed themselves to be Protestants; and in the Dayes of Queen Mary Papists, and Persecuted others to Death, and afterwards in the dayes of Queen Elizabeth, got again in the lap of the Protestant Church, and then persecuted the Papists; vide the second part of the Chronicle of the overthrow of Ty­rants, pag. 1502.

Arennius affirmed, That all Forcing of Conscience, though it was but a forbidding of the Exercise which is esteemed by one or another to be necessary to Salvation, was in no wise right nor fitting: He also affirmed, That through Diversities of Re­ligions, the Kingdom should not be brought into any Distur­bance.

The Antient Reformed Protestants, termed that Forcing of Conscience, when they were constrained to leave off the exercise of their Religion, saying, Car nous privant de nostre Religion, on nous tiendroit en une continuele mort corporelle & spirituelle. (i. e.) For to deprive us of our Religion, is to keep us in a perpetual corporal and spiritual Death. Adding thereunto, how that they would rather be put to Death, than be bereaved of the ex­ercise of their Religion, &c.

Many have testified, and many do testifie, that Forcing of Conscience is a wicked destructive means, both for Soul and Bo­dy, [Page 15] against which the Martyrs that have suffered have universal­ly born Testimony.

Now (said a certain Wise Man) Let these consider, who do so much stir up the Powers of the Earth to Force free minds a­gainst their consciences, whether they would be forced by vio­lence against their conscience, to imbrace the Popes Faith of Rome, with all its Superstitions, or that which is worse, and that upon pain of death: Let such then judge (said he) how hard it is to be Forced against ones conscience to any Form of Wor­ship, which is not in the Spirit and Truth, &c.

If any durst speak freely what he beleiveth, and thinketh in his heart (saith Castellio) he should say that he thinketh, and believeth that such Forcers are absolute Tyrants; and that whereunto they press him is not good: And if formerly he had any inclination thereunto, that he through such violence cometh wholly to abhor it.

The Antient Protestants testified, that that Religion which was defended with cruelty, was not grounded upon the Word of God.


A shift of the Popes; a humane invention; how the Spiritual Kingdome, and true Church, subsisteth and is Defended by Spiritual Weapons; and how Persecution answereth not the end of Persecutors.

THE History sheweth, how that this is one of the Popes Maxim's, (viz.) that when he sees the Spiritual Weapons are not sufficient for him, then doth he fly unto the carnal, therewith to help himself: Int Duii [...]se, 244.

And others have been and are of that opinion, That Religion could not be preserved without the Magistrates Sword, there­fore understood they, that they were to be cryed unto for help, as many do now.

But Ireneus Philaletius said, That this was but a humane in­vention of the Natural understanding, which would gladly [Page 16] change the Nature of the Church of Christ; but it is in vain said he.

The States of Holland said, That the true Ministers of Christ, who did perfectly trust in the Lord, had no External Sword, nither did they call unto any civill Power for Protection; but they used the Sword of the Spirit, which is the living Word of God, with which they defended the Church, &c. vide urede Handel van Colen, Pag. 198.

Barnardus said, That the Kindome of Christ was Spiritul, and as it was builded by Spiritual Vertues, so was it spread, preserved, and established with Spiritual Weapons; for its Ene­mies were and are Spiritual, Eph. 6.11. & 2.2.

Lactantius said, If you will with blood, with evil, and with torments defend the Worship, it shall not thereby be defended, but polluted, Lib. 5. Chap. 20.

The Apostles had not the assistance of Emperours, Kings, Princes, nor Lords; but had even the whole World against them, (said a certain Wise Man) wherefore how can this stirring up, and instigating of Magistrates be Evangelical, or according to the Gospel? Or how can this work of tumultuous Teachers, bring honour to Gods Word and his Truth? Who hath hereto­fore defended the Church of Christ, was it defended by Pilate? Or was the Church of the Apostles no Church? What coercive Power or outward Protection had they? Or what external Pow­er, or outward defence had their Church in the Beginning? And cannot the true Church now subsist, with that which she had in the Begining?

And it is evident, that many who have suffered much Perse­cution for the exercise of their conscience, have been thereby strengthened, and have therein multiplyed; therefore it is ap­parent, that the fruit of Persecuting to death in matters of Re­ligion, is wholly contrary to the determination of Perse­cutors.

Castellius said, That Paul strove with Spiritual Weapons, and thereby overcame hundreds; but we (alas said he) are together by hundreds to put to death one single man, and appear for Christ with fleshly Weapons, to the end that People might un­derstand, [Page 17] that we are stripped of the Spiritual Weapons, and will have a fleshly Christ.

But seeing the Apostles, who Planted the Church were satis­fied with their Spiritual Weapons; it is then evident, that they who make use of carnal Weapons, confide not sufficiently in the Spiritual, which they would confide in no doubt if they had them, seeing they are alsufficient, as shall appear at the com­ing of the Lord; who will conquer Antichrist his greatest Ene­my, with no other Weapon, then with the Sword of his Mouth.

Constantinus the Emperour said, That it was enough that he preserved the unity of the Faith, that he might be excusable before the judgement Seat of God, and that he would leave every one to his own understanding, according to the account he will give before the judgement Seat of Christ; hereto may we stir up People (said he) not compel them, beseech them to come into the unity of the Christians; but to do violence to them, we will not in no wise.

[Nota] Herein was Constantinus much commended, because that he tollerated every one to believe, and to serve God as he was perswaded in his own heart, esteeming his gentleness and mercy more available, then severe Proclamations; and in this particular he was not deceived, Sabast. Frank. Chron. fol. 127.

The Christian Religion (said the States of Holland) is a great Mistery, for the furtherance of which God doth not make use of wicked Souldiers, nor of Bow, nor of Sword, but his Spirit, and the Shepherds that are sent by him; further they said it was not their intention to compell any to their Religion, &c.


How the Inquisitioners and Clergy have stirred up the Powers to Persecute; and what fair pretences Persecutors have had; how dangerous it is to root out the Tares before the time; and wherein the Ancient Protestants have been more Noble than the Clergy now.

IT is a common thing with many, to accuse those with troub­ling of the Churches peace, and with disturbing of the publick peace, (said a certain wise Man) who teach otherwise than the Church, or who speak any thing against the Clergy, or dispute with any of their restless Priests, or hold their Meetings apart, though it be in all civility and stilness.

In like manner hath the Inquisitioners and the Clergy (said he) stirred up the Emperour, the King of Spain and of France, to terrible Persecution, laying it upon their consciences to quit themselves severely against the Hereticks, if they would escape the Lords reproof, though most of their Subjects and Land should perish. And when the Clergy had prevailed with them, then they declared in their Proclamations and Edicts, That their intent was onely the Glory of God, and the Salvation of the Hereticks Souls, and to prevent the peoples being drawn to any cursed Error or Sect, but that they should continue in subjection, and in the old observations of the Mother, the H. Church, and H. Christians Faith and Sacraments, as appears from their Proclamations, Annis. 1538, 1546, 1560, 1564.

Erasmus said, How that sometime it cometh to passe, that those who with more fury, then with good understanding carry on matters, do sometime not only root out the Wheat with the Tares (which Christ hath forbidden) but also in place of root­ting out the Tares do root out the Wheat; seeing they Judge be­fore they have understanding, or will make that odious, which is well spoken by perverting of it; And they will have that to be a Zeal for Religion, and a detesting of Heresie, when it is [Page 19] the onely destroying of Godliness and Unity. Chron. van de Rel. urijh. 2 Deel, pag. 33.

Augustinus said, Some disturbed the peace of the Church, while they went about to root out the Tares before the time; and through this Error of blindness (said he) are they them­selves seperated so much the more from being united unto Christ.

Retnaldus testified, That he who with Imprisoning and Per­secuting seeketh to spread the Gospel, and greaseth his hands with blood, shall much rather be looked upon for a wild Hunter, then a Preacher, or a Defender of the Christian Re­ligion.

Erasmus said, That the World had common Lawes for to punish offenders; but the Christian meeknesse must rather use diligence to reform men, then to judge them.

In the begining of Reformation (saith the Chron.) the Church gloried of the Truths Weapons, and desired that those that had any thing to say concerning their Doctrine, should freely re­prove them, and they would defend the same with the holy Scripture; Exhorting people in their Pulpits, and freely prof­fering to confer or Dispute with any, and every one had then freedome.

But now will not the Clergy (said the same Author) be spoken against, who sit at ease in Pride, Idleness, and Fulness; and if any do speak against them, they will so much as in them lie, cause such to suffer, charging them with breaking the Peace of the Church, or the Peace of the Kingdome; and with rayling words, will evade entering into a sober discourse, thereby manifesting the badness of their Cause, and the guiltiness of their Conscience; and then seek to defend themselves more by the Power of the Magistrate, then with Gods Word and Godly testimony; and in the mean time prejudice others, by procu­ring their own rest and peace; but surely this is neither just, right, nor equal.

Further (saith he) in the mean time those men would have a triumphant Church upon the Earth, but no suffering; neither will they suffer any trouble, difficulty, or opposition, but do make the Magistrate believe, that such things incurr trouble, [Page 20] Uproar, Disturbance, &c. Yet nevertheless some of the Cler­gy themselves have put forth sundry Treatises, wherein they shewed how that the Peace and Welfare of the Land might be preserved, though several Religions in the Land were tolle­rated.

Quand à la permission de S'assembler es Temples, Sire, aucunc division & tumulte ne'n adviendra entre vous Subjects, mais bien un repos public & extinction de toute Sedition Populaire.

As touching the permitting the assembling together in Tem­ples, no manner of Division or Tumult can from hence arise among your Subjects, but rather a Publick rest and extinguish­ing of all Popular Sedition.

For the Chronicle also sheweth, how that the disturbance and trouble cometh not through those that live orderly according to their Conscience and the word of God, and accordingly exercise their Religion in Stilness, but through those who will not suffer this, nor bear others, but seek to have the Preheminence, and to exercise Lordship over others, and therefore do they raise up Persecution.

But the States of Holland testified, Dat waer vervolginghen Ziju, datter daer al in roere is, maer waer geen en sijn al sijnder verscheij­den Religien, dat daer alle saelren stilder sijn, so [...]olr in onse vijden is bevonden, (i. e.) That where there was Persecution, there was all in distraction; but where there was none (though there were several Religions) there all things were the quieter; as have been evident in our dayes, said they. Vide urede Handel van Coln. fol. 53.


Concerning obedience to Magistrates; the vanity and evil of forcing of Conscience; Certain Mixims asserted by many wise men, how Vio­lence becometh not the Ministers of the Gospel, neither hath Christ nor his Apostles taught it, nor practised it.

CAlvin said, That those that are set over us must be obeyed, if that the command of God be not thereby [Page 21] disobeyed, but if they lead us from Obedience to God, and presumptuously strive against the Lord, then must they not be regarded (said he) to the end that God with his Authority may retain the Preheminence.

The States of Holland, testified, That Subjects were not obliged in all things, whether right or unright, to be subject to their Princes. Int plac. Anno 1581. 2. Deel. fol. 12.

Prince of Orange being commanded by the King, when he de­parted out of Zealand, to put many sober People to death, who were suspected concerning their Religion, but therein he would not obey the King, knowing he could not do it with a good Conscience, and also being assured, that it was better to obey God than man.

Moreover (said a certain Writer) the truth with sad experi­ence hath learned us, and plainly shewn us, That forcing of Con­science and Persecuting about Religion is not onely in vain, but a direct contrary means, and a cause of Sects and disturbances, and of many evils, as the Chroncles of Germany, France and the Low Countryes, do abundantly testifie.

The States of Holland also affirmed, That it was not possible to find out means of any good and certain Peace, otherwise then by Tollerating more then one Religion.

Experientia satis edocti sumus, ferrum, flammas, exilum, pros­criptiones, irritasse potius, quam sannasse morbum menti inhae­rentem.

The King of France was moved with great Zeal (said a cer­tain Bishop) to ordain great Torment and punishment for the Hereticks, thinking thereby to root out their Opinion, and to Unite the People together in one Opinion; but in his determi­nation (saith he) he was deceived; So was also Duke d'Alba, who for five or six years together, endeavoured with exceeding great Tyranny, to maintain the Law of the King in the Low-Countryes. In Het. 36. van de standt der Rel. fol. 190.

Now notwithstanding the great Persecution that is and hath been about Religion, these following Maximes are asserted and owned by most men;

  • 1. That Faith is the gift of God.
  • 2. That Relgion ought to be free.
  • [Page 22]3. That no Religion by Violence can be imprinted in the Heart.
  • 4. That Forcing maketh men Hypocrites.
  • 5. That it is impossible to preserve the Land in Peace, without giving Liberty for the free exercise of Religion.
  • 6. That in one Land or City, there may be well more Religions than one.
  • 7. That it is a seed of Contention and Uproar among the People, when men contrary to Promise, and to what they ought, resist one another in their Religion.
  • 8. And that prohibiting the free exercise of Religion, tendeth openly or manifestly to the destruction of men, which happeneth, when one party with Violence seeketh to root out anothers Religion.

Nevertheless (said the Author) it is evident, that many foolish Zealots will obstinatly run on in that destructive path of forcing Conscience, and thereby bereave others of the Exercise of their Religion.

Fredericus the King of Bohemia said, That in these last times there were many different Opinions risen among men in mat­ters of Faith and Religion, but according to what is contained in the Scripture, and according to the setled Foundation of Doctrine (said he) men will not be urged, compelled or forced in their Conscience; for when such forcing hath been attempted, it hath had an evil end; and in the chiefest Kingdoms and Pro­vinces, there hath been a remarkable change made; for through this means, Cities come to be more ruined than benefitted. Vide his Declaration Printed in the Hagne, Anno 1619.

It doth in no wise become the Preachers of the Gospel, and Ministers of the New-Testament, to deal in Matters of Faith by Force, Violence and Tyranny (said a wise Man) or thereun­to to help, Counsel, or Advise; but with Prayer, with the Word of God, and with the Sword of the Spirit.

Lambertus testified, saying, Truly things are not well, nei­ther do men right, when they go about to remove Hereticks and Errors with Weapons; for the Truth and certainty of the Christian Doctrin, ought not to depend upon the uncertain Effects of War: Therefore hath neither Christ himself nor his Apostles, taught men to take up Armes against them that were reprobated from the Faith, as if that were an external means for to rout out Errors, for the receiving or spreading of Reli­gion, [Page 23] which is through fear of Weapons, is more like unto Mahometisme, than unto the Christian Religion.

Stephanus the King of Poland said, Our desire is, that all the Cities and Inhabitants did praise one God unanimously; but it hath been declared, that in the latter Dayes Offences shall come; therefore will not we compel any to believe (said he) but will keep Peace and concord among the Contentious, that contend about Religion, and defend every one in his Religion. Chronicle of the Tyrants, second P. pag. 1326.


How Iudas Proselytes now do follow his footsteps; How Confusion and Uproar is not occasioned in a Land through a just Toleration, but rather through want of it; And how none ought to be Banish­ed about Religion.

THe Histories sheweth, how that some of the Clergy hath said, That the Princes ought to kiss the Son, and to use their Power for to preserve and defend Religion against all her Enemies, though their Lands should therefore be spoyled: But the Son of God hath never taught any man so to kiss him, though he was so unkindly kissed of Iudas, as many Betrayers do yet in his Members; yet notwithstanding Christ nor his Apostles did not seek to deliver Iudas over to the Magistrates, but Iudas sought to deliver Christ over to them: And so do Iudas Children at this day, deliver the true Christians (whom they falsly call Hereticks) into the Hands of the Earthly Powers.

And though some say, That People of different Opinions, cannot live together in a Kingdom without continual conten­tion; and therefore say they, must that be prevented with Fire and Sword. But what though there be vertue and filthiness in a Kingdom, good and bad men, which are one contrary to the other, one must not therefore (said a wise Man) to pre­vent it, bring a whole Kingdom or Land into Confusion, by stirring up the People one against another.

[Page 24]Again, the true Church (said he) hath never helped her self with Persecution, neither doth she use any other Sword than God's Word, which she having and keeping the Com­mands of God, prepareth her self for to bear the Cross, and to Suffer Persecution, but not to bring Suffering upon others.

Moreover it is evident, That in Dutchland, Poland, and in the Low-Countryes, more Religions than one are Suffered, and yet there are not continual Uproars and Tumults, as some imagine such Toleration would occasion in a Kingdom; there­fore may we conclude, that it is not the Toleration of more Re­ligions than one, which produceth Uproar in a Kingdom, but rather the untowardness and perverseness of them that seek to obstruct this Toleration.

Camerarius said, That it was groundless and irrational to say, that Diversities of Opinions in matters of Religion do disturb the Polity; but on the contrary, the Polity is disturbed, when any man with the Liberty of his Opinion is not contented, but will molest and trouble others.

But some say, That every one in matters of Faith, are bound to obey the Magistrates under whom they live, and to follow them, and that they are worthy of Punishment who do it not.

But let such know (saith the Author) that they do not only hereby condemn the first Reformed Protestants, but also the true Prophets and Apostles, yea, Christ himself, and all the Martyrs, and so justifie their Persecutors and Murderers; if not, then may not the Magistrates now, oppress a Church, or a Religion, as many of the disorderly Clergy would gladly see (said he) and make the Magistrates believe.

And it is to be observed, how that among the Jews there were many Sects, as the Pharisees, Esseans, Galileans, Saduces, Samaritans, &c. who retained many unwholsome Opinions, yet they were not so Persecuted, as now the false Christians do Persecute one another.

The History sheweth, how that it hath been sufficiently pro­ved, That none ought to Banish any about Religion that payed Tribute; yea, that the peaceable Jews and Heathen ought not to be Banished out of the Land where they were born; for that [Page 25] which they have, they possess through that right which is com­mon to all Nations; and to banish People, is said to be directly contrary to the Law of Nature, and to the Commands of Love; for Kings and Princes so well as others, Ought to do unto others as they would have others to do unto them, And if they would not be Banished out of their Dominions, then should not they Banish others; and Innocency becometh them as well as others, who ought to do Evil to no man.

Les Princes qui se sont Gouvernez par douceur & clemence con­jointe a Iustice, & qui ont use de moderation & debonnairete en vers leurs subjets ont tousjours grandement prosperè & longuement regne.

Mais au contraire, les Princes cruels, iniques, perfides & oppresseurs de leurs subjets, sont incontinent tombez eux & leur estat en peril [...] en totale ruine, &c. par. N. M. Anno 1576.

Those Princes that have ruled by Gentleness and Clemency added to Justice, and have exercised Moderation and Meekness towards their Subjects alwayes, greatly prospered and Reigned long.

But on the contrary, those Princes that have been Cruel, Un­just, Perfidious and Oppressors of their Subjects, have soon faln, they and their Estate into danger, or total Ruin, N. M. 1576.


The Severity of a Popish Synode; The Disposition of the right Christians; How Heresie is not slain through the Death of Here­ticks; and the evil consequence of the Laws, which tend to the putting of Hereticks to Death.

IN a General Synod holden at Rome, it was forbidden men to hold any Fellowship with those they termed Enemies of Religion, neither were they in any thing to assist them, which might tend to the preserving of their Life, and great things were promised them that persecuted such, and inflicted punish­ment to the utmost upon them. Vide Merula, pag. 772.

But the true Christians Persecute no man about Religion, [Page 26] Socrat. lib. 4. chap. 3. For the right Christians did alwayes deal mercifully with them that were Hereticks indeed, and not Tyrannically by shedding of their Blood; but Hereticks and Infidels have been alwayes cruel towards the Christians, with Persecuting of them to Death.

When men with the Truth (said one) slayeth the lies of Here­ticks, then their Bodies remain alive, and their Souls come to be cured; but when men put Hereticks to death, they do not slay the Heresie, but rather both Body and Soul.

Veritus said, Seeing Christ is a Lamb, whom you profess to be your Head and Captain, then it behoveth you to be Sheep, and to use the same Weapons which he made use of, for he will not be a Shepherd of Wolves, and Wild Beasts, but only of Sheep; wherefore if you lose the nature of Sheep (said he) and be changed into Wolves or Wild Beasts, and use fleshly Wea­pons, then will you exclude your selves out of his calling, and forsake his Banner, and then will he not be your Captain.

Often doth Chrisostomus shew, how that the true Christians may not put any Heretick to Death, nor with Violence Force him to the Faith; manifesting how it is against the Scripture, Reason and Equity, that People should put men to Death be­cause of their Opinion or Ignorance, who otherwise are of a good Life and Conversation.

Aug. Diligite homines, interficite Errores, sine sevitia pro verita­te certate.

Where hast thou ever read in thy dayes (said Menno) in the Writings of the Apostles, that Christ or the Apostles ever cry­ed out to the Magistrates for their Power, against them that would not hear their Doctrin, nor obey their Words? I know certainly said he, that where the Magistrate shall banish with the Sword, there is not the right Knowledge, Spiritual Word, nor Church of Christ; 'tis Invocare brachium seculare.

It is not Christian-like but Tyrannical, said D. Philipsen, to Banish and Persecute People about Faith and Religion, and they that so do, are certainly of the Pharisaical Generation to whom Stephen said, you stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you do alwayes resist the Holy Ghost, Acts 7.51, 52.

When a King or a Prince giveth forth a Law, by virtue of [Page 27] which Murderers are to be put to Death, then all the People that own and obey this Law, will do their best in helping to put them Death, whom they know assuredly to be Murderers; even so (said a certain Writer) when the Bishops, Presbyters, or any other writeth or publisheth, that People ought to put Hereticks to Death, then must it needs follow (said he) that the Papists shall do their best to put the Protestants to Death, and the Protestants the Papists, the Episcopal men the Presby­terians, and the Presbyterians the Episcopal men; for every Sect supposeth themselves to be the right Believers, and the rest they esteem to be Hereticks; and then should Mannasseh with Ephraim, and Ephraim with Mannasseh, rise up against the Jews, yet should not the Wrath of the Lord be appeased.

Castellius testified, how that some of the Divines (so called) when they medled with Hereticks, they judged them all to be Apostates, false Prophets, and Blasphemers, to the end, that thereby they might the more vilifie and oppresse those that dif­fered from them; which (saith he) hath been the manner of all Scribes and Pharisees.

But who can produce a Law out of the holy Scripture, that requires Hereticks to be put to Death? 'tis true (said he) there are Laws against Blasphemers; but what is this to the purpose, except it can be proved that Hereticks are Blasphemers? for who will believe that all these who at this day are crlled Here­ticks, are Blasphemers and ungodly Men? who are so foolish as to believe the Pope (who judgeth the Protestants to be Blasphemers, because they differ from him in point of the Sa­crament) that they therefore are Blasphemers? and that the Baptists are Blasphemers, because they differ from him in their Baptism.

Aeontius said, It cannot be that a Heretick should reject his Errour when he will, except that some reason constrain him thereunto; Wherefore then said he, do you trouble such a mise­rable man, for to make him Lie, and to provoke him more and more to Sin against the Lord? surely men cannot deny but that it is an Invention of Satan (said he) for to Force the Servants of God to deny Christ for fear of Punishment: Further (said he) people must seek to conquer such men, not through Threatnings, [Page 28] but it must be through the Power of certain Testimonies and living Manifestations.


The Popes Counsel and Intreaty; The sad Effects of cruel Procla­mations; How Inconsistant it is with the Life of Christ to Perse­cute; Under what pretence the true Believers have Suffered; And how Persecution cannot effect the thing for which it is in­tended.

HEresie is a Greek Word, and signifieth a Sect or an Opini­on, and they that did stiff-neckedly cleave unto evil Sects were called by the Greeks [...], by the Latines Pertinaces, and by us are they called Hereticks. Now it is an easie matter to accuse a man of being a Heretick, and of retaining Opini­ons contrary to his Conscience; but it is a difficult thing, suffi­ciently to prove and manifest the same; for all the Martyrs that have Suffered for the name of Christ, have been accused with being Hereticks, even as the Innocent Lamb's of Christ that Suffer now for his Names sake, are accused at this day.

Pope Paul the third, counselled and intreated the Emperour Charles, and King Ferdinandus, to compel the Protestants to for­sake their Error. Anno 1545.

There can be no greater Suffering and Sorrow (said a certain wise Man) brought upon such as fear the Lord, than there may by compelling them through Punishment, to do that which is against their Conscience, or to leave off such an Exercise as they are perswaded in their Conscience is necessary to their Salvation.

The History do shew, how that in the Low-Countries, there were betwixt eighteen and nineteen thousand Men put to Death, upon their resisting of the Inquisition, being brought into those Parts.

Moreover, the Chronicle testifieth, That in the Dayes of Charles the Emperor, there were above fifty thousand Men put to Death by Proclamations; some Proclamations did forbid [Page 29] upon pain of Death, Peoples holding any Fellowship with them that fled, or were Banished about Religion, or of assisting them with Money or Provision; yea, one was Hanged (saith the Chro­nicle) because he entertained his own Son, Merck-tyck. pag. 77.

Now, if any Emperor, King, Prince, or Superiours, should through the Counsel of the Divines or Clergy, goe the same way that this Emperor Charles went with his Son King Phillip, who were Destroyed with their Land and People; who may not so truly, as certainly Prophesie and warn such Powers, who wil­fully take such a Course (said the Author) that they also will bring themselves with their Land, Religion, and Subjects to Ruine?

M. Publ. Alienis malis cautior. Seneca, 21.

Some are, and have been of that Opinion, That there are no People that ought to be more severely Punished than Hereticks, Blasphemers, and Contemners of Religion.

But what said Erasmus, Is it a greater Transgression to be a Christian than to be a Murtherer of Father or Mother, &c. But such things shall the Devil raise up against the Gospel; and oftentimes they are called Hereticks, who do so little contemn Religion, that they will die for their Religion; and therefore it appears (said he) that they are no despisers of Religion, who are so given up to Suffer, for to keep a good Conscience before God.

Likewise, He appears to be free from Blasphemy, who will rather die, than by imbracing Error will be freed from Death or Persecution; such appear to be free from Blaspheming God willingly.

And as concerning the Life of Christ, that hath been alwayes so meek, that it is as possible to find an Example of a Lambs devouring of a Wolf, as of that putting a Heretick to Death by the Sword; and they in whom his Spirit dwelleth are mind­ed like him: But as concerning Persecutors, while in the New-Testament they find nothing but Meekness, which is di­rectly contrary to their Persecution (said he) therefore are they necessitated to fly unto the Old, by which they suffiiently ma­nifest whose Spirits Children they are.

[Page 30]This doth the multitude of the Martyrs testifie with their Innocent Blood, how that the true Believers, have Suffered as Hereticks, Blasphemers, Uproar-makers, Contemners of Re­ligion, and Seducers, &c.

Yet it is a fast and certain Rule (saith the History) That where the Spirit of God and his truth hath place, that there must all Consultations of Persecutions cease; then much more the thing it self, knowing that their Weapons are wholly Spiritual (even as God and his whole Kingdom is) which must be used and Felt, and keep the Authority; for there are (saith he) Weapons of Love, of Prayer, of Peace, and of Pa­tience, whereby the inward Understanding of the Heart and Soul, may be brought unto the right Way: But what is Flesh and Blood with fleshly Weapons, alas (said he) in no wise fitting, but like unto the World, which run on in the broad Way to Destruction.

Moreover it is evident enough, for in the whole Europa, Expe­rience hath learned it, that the cruel Condemning, Banish­ing, Persecuting and putting Hereticks to Death about Matters of Faith and Religion, is an absolute contrary means, for to rout out Hereticks, for to unite the divided Christendom, and to quiet its Disturbances.

And it hath also been found by Experience, that External Peace and Unity, can, and may be better preserved in a King­dom or Common-wealth, through forbearance, and by Suffering of contrary Opinions (through Love and Christian Meek­ness) than by Banishing and Persecuting People to Death, about Matters of Faith and Religion.


When the Bishops began to seek the help of the Magistrate; How it then Ministered Offence; What Punishment the Church hereto­fore had (according to the Will of the Lord) for Hereticks; And how difficult a thing it is for Magistrates to judge aright in Matters of Heresie.

ERasmus Testified, That for above 400. Years, the Bishops did not seek the help of the Emperors against the Here­ticks; and when they did seek it against the insufferable Wick­edness of the Donatisten, it did not please the good Party, that they should then seek the help of the Civil Power; for they then Judged, that it became not the Bishops to use any other Weapons, or to have any other Help, than the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, although the Evil was incurable, yet would they have excluded it by Excomunication, which is said to be the greatest Judgment or Punishment that then the Church had.

Now it is confessed, that the Lord Jesus Christ hath mani­fested his Will by that which is left upon record, and which was delivered by his Apostles, who have shewn us how we should carry our selves.

  • 1. Towards them that resist the Truth, 2 Tim. 2.24, 25. Chap. 3.6.8. Chap. 4.15.
  • 2. Towards Back-sliders, 1 Tim. 1.20.
  • 3. Towards them that deny the Resurrection, 2 Tim. 2.16, 18.
  • 4. Towards them that Teach what they ought not, Titus 1.11, 13.
  • 5. Towards them that cause Divisions and Offences, Rom. 16.17.
  • 6. Towards false Prophets, Mat. 7.15. Chap. 16.11, 12.
  • 7. Towards them that Walk Disorderly, 2 Thes. 3.6.
  • 8. Towards Pharisaical Hypocrites, that have the Form of Godliness, and not the Power, Luke 12.1. 2 Tim. 3.5.
  • 9. Towards false Brethren, 1 Cor. 5.11.
  • [Page 32]10. Towards Hereticks, Titus 3.10.
  • 11. Towards Fornicators, and Idolaters, 1 Cor. 5.11.
  • 12. Towards the Disobedient, 2 Thess. 3.14.
  • 13. Towards the Stiff-necked, Mat. 18.17.

Thus it appears from the Scripture of Truth, that it was not the Will of our Lord and Lawgiver, That they should be punish­ed with severe Punishments in Prisons, or by Banishment, or by having their Goods spoyled, or by being put to Death; nay, but he hath rather commanded,

1. That with Meekness we should Instruct,
2 Tim. 24.25.
2. Deliver unto Satan,
1 Tim. 1.20.
3. Sharply to rebuke,
Tit. 1.11, 13.
4. To avoid them,
Rom. 16.17. 2 Thes. 3.6. 2 Ioh. 10.11.
5. To beware of them,
Mat. 7.15.
6. To have no fellowship with them,
1 Cor. 5.11.
7. To reject them,
Tit. 3.10. 2 Tim. 4.15.
8. To let them alone,
Mat. 15.14.
9. To esteem them as Heathens or Publicans,
Mat. 18.17.

Thus we see the Laws that the Lord Jesus Christ hath ordain­ed for their Punishment, to the end, that the Fruits hereafter mentioned might be brought forth; for God willeth not (as many blood thirsty Men) that they should die and perish; but the Will of God is;

That they all should repent,
2 Pet 3.9. 2 Tim. 2.25.
That they cease from mens Traditions.
That they might be ashamed,
2 Thes. 3.14.
That they might learn not to Blaspheme,
1 Tim. 1.20.
That they might be found in the Faith,
Tit. 1.13.
That the Spirit might be saved,
1 Cor. 5.5.

For the Power which the Lord hath given the Apostles, was to Edification, and not to Destruction, 2 Cor. 13.10.

Erasmus said, The Christian Meekness must satisfie it self with these Punishments; to Stone, that is the Jewes work; but the true Christians work is to Heal.

Ambrosius said, That Hereticks were only to be Punished by Excomunication, and not to be Beat and Persecuted; for so did the Heathen said he, that knew not God: And Ignatius said, you shall seperate your selves from them, and exhort them to Repentance.

[Page 33] In Haereticis coercendis quatenus progredi liceat ubi nominatius eos ultimo supplicio affici non deberi aperte demonstratur, Christlin­ge Impressum, Anno 1577. Sectio 2.

Chrisostomus said, That he was not such a Fool, as that he would suffer them to be his Judges who were his open Enemies, for it is against all right and reason, that he who is the Accuser, and Witness, should also be Judge. Every one (saith he) will be judge over another, yet none acknowledging the other to be his Judge.

Tell me then ye wise Men (who would have the Hereticks Punished, or Persecuted to Death by the Magistrate) who shall be the Judge, the Magistrate, the Church, or the Doctrin which is spoken against? And how shall the Magistrate be assured of the Odiousness of the Blasphemy, and Crimes? And how shall the Magistrate know certainly who are punishable Sismaticks, Apostates, false Teachers, Hereticks and Seducers; who they are that set up a Sect or a Church? Who believe well or Evil? Who Teach according too, or contrary to the Scripture? Who are moved of God, or by his own Zeal? Who do according to a good Conscience or contrary? Who are wounded and judged in themselves, and who are not? And who are obstinate and stiff-necked Hereticks, or constant upright Christians?

But suppose the Magistrates should refer this to the Divines or Clergy (said he) to judge of, what more assurance shall they have than the Magistrate? who through their strong im­portuning, blindly Persecute the Hereticks, and have martyred and put to death most of the Christians and Servants of God; (said he) how can they then more than the Magistrate judge of such hidden Mysteries as before mentioned? Vide Synopsis Disp. 57. Thes. Chap. 20.


The necessity of just and equal Liberty; How expedient it is to hear and see before one Iudge; How the Persecuting Clergy do follow the Example of the Iewes; How Life and Conversation hath not been so much looked at, as difference in Doctrine and Worship; And how prejudicial it would be for Christians, if their Counsel were followed, that stir up men to Persecute.

ARemnus said, The profitableness of the King and King­dom, requireth a firm and intire Union of all the Citi­zens and Subjects; now there can be no firm Union (said he) except that all the Citizens and Subjects injoy equality, and that especially in matters of Religion; for inequallity among them in that particular, is and hath been of most Politicians cal­led one Pestilence of the Kingdom or Common-Wealth. Anno 1575. Com. dist. Fol. 79.

Qui autem partem civium consulunt, partem negligunt rem per­nitiosissimam in civitatem inducunt. Cicero in offi.

When the King Lodewick of France, was much importuned by the Cardinals and Bishops to put several People to Death in his Dominion, who were accused of much odious Heresie; the King said, If I were to begin a War with the Turk, or the De­vil, I would first hear them: And afterwards he sent Legaten to examine the matter, and when he found them to be such in their Life and Conversation, and Worship, that he broke out with an Oath, and said, These men are better than I with my Catholicks. Urede hand. van Colen. Fol. 39.

The Iewes, Scribes and Pharisees, exclaimed against Christ to the Magistrate, and said, If he had not been an Evil doer, we would not have delivered Him up unto thee: And then they ac­cused Him of perverting the Nation, of forbidding the People to give tribute to Caesar, of stirring up the People, of casting out De­vils through Beelzebub; and they also said, That they had a Law, and that by that Law he ought to die, &c. Luke 23.2, 5. John [Page 35] 18.30. Mark. 3.21. John 19.6, 7. Thus did they seek to deceive Pilate, who was unexperienced in their Law; even as the Clergy now (said a certain Writer) stir up the Magi­strates with their Lies, seeking to make them believe that they have a Law, by which Hereticks ought to be Persecuted and put to Death; and by their Sophistical Art (said he) can they pre­vaile with them so far, as that finally they (to continue their Friend, and the Emperours (or the Kings) deliver them in­to their hands as Pilate did Christ, who said, Take Him, and Iudge Him according to your Law, &c. Certainly said one, where Christ is now made manifest, there are also Iudas's to be found, the World is no better nor holier then it was, but rather worse; and therefore doth the Truth now suffer under the name of He­resie (said he) as heretofore.

For now in these Dayes men do little regard Life or Con­versation, but presently fall upon judging of the Doctrine, Persecuting and shamefully Intreating those that differ from them in Doctrine, though their Life be never so good (said he) but indeed they ought to do otherwise, and with the Spirit of Meekness to instruct those that Erre, and not to put men to death for their Errors, which is indeed a very great Error.

Condonabiles sunt quidem piorum hominum errores, sicut et non quivis corporis morbus uxitialis est.

Certainly it is Unchristian-like, yea unnatural, That any should judge a man to be an obstinate Heretick, who lives a good life, and is of an upright mind, and who cannot compre­hend the matter otherwise than he understandeth it, and there­upon is he resolved to suffer whatsoever may come; but when they have nothing to charge against his Life, then rail they against his Doctrine; like as the Persecutors of Daniel said, We shall have nothing against him, except it be concerning his Wor­ship: And as Amazia the Priest of Bethel informed the King against Amos, and accused him of Uproar, and told him that the Land could not bear all his Words, Amos 7.10. Dan. 6.5. Acts 24. Ier. 26.8, 9, 11.

If one Sect should rise up against another, to the destroying one of another (which must needs follow, if their Counsel be [Page 36] followed, who would have Hereticks put to Death) then when they had destroyed one another, consider then what a door there would be opened for the Turk, and for other Barbarous People, for them to take possession of the remainder, and then to Tyran­nize over them.

But as Lactantius said, Even as they are deceived in the Religion it self, so are they deceived in the manner of its Pro­tection; for the true Religion is not to be defended with Killing, but with Exhorting; not with Cruelty, but with Patience; not with Wickedness, but by Faith: for they that go about to de­fend their Worship with Torments, they rather pollute it, than defend it.


Several Testimonies against Persecution, and Forcing of Conscience; Of the Liberty among the Heathen; How Meekness is better than War; How the Christians Meetings were forbidden upon Pain of Death; And of the Efficacy of Faith and Patience.

STephanus King of Poland, said, It belongeth not to me to Reform the Conscience, I have alwayes gladly given that over to God which belongeth to him, and so shall I do now; and also for the future, I will suffer the Weeds to grow until the time of Harvest, for I know that the number of Believers is but small; therefore said he, when some were proceeding in Persecution, Ego sum Rex Populorum non Conscientiarum (i. e.) I am King of the People, and not of their Consciences: He also affirmed, That Religion was not to be planted with Fire and Sword. Chron. van de Rel. vrijh. 2 deel.

Tindallus (apud Foxium in Actis et Monument is) said, The New-Testament of Christ suffered no Law of Compelling, but alone of Perswading and Exhorting, pag. 1338.

Timestius, Exhorted the Emperor, To cease from Persecution, beseeching him that he would not be cruel by reason of the dis­cord or defference of the Christians Doctrine, seeing there was such a multitude of Sects among the Heathen; and that [Page 37] every one continue in his own Doctrine, contrary to the Mean­ing and Doctrine of the rest.

The Prince of Orange Testified, That it was impossible that the Land should be kept in Peace, except there was a free Tol­leration in the exercise of Religion, Anno 1579.

Swinckfeild testified, That according to the Doctrine of Christ and the Example of the Apostles, it did not become the Preach­ers of the Gospel, and Ministers of the New-Testament, in no wise to Force with Violence and Tyranny the Conscience in Matters of Faith, but with the Sword of the Spirit, the Power of God, and with Prayer, were they to resist the evil Spi­rit and all its Temptations, and with long Suffering learn to overcome them all.

The Chronicle testifieth, How that Theodosius Persecuted no Man, neither did he constrain any to hold Fellowship with him, but permitted every Man to meet in his own house, or at his own Meeting; and he being a very meek man, did there­by (to wit, through Meekness) sooner bring his Subjects to Obedience, than by War, neither would he Force the Consci­ences of his Subjects. Relig. Uriih. pag. 6.

Iohn Taulerius spoke also much in his Sermon Book, of the Tri­bulation, Oppression and great Suffering, that the Christians were to expect here, but not that he should cause any of them to suffer.

The Burgemeesteren of Amsterdam testified, That no man had Power to bind another mans Conscience, let him be who he will (said they) for this Power pertaineth only to God, under whose Command and Power the Conscience is, Anno 1617.

Erasmus said, That though they take our Moneys and Goods, they cannot therefore hurt our Salvation; they afflict us much with Prisons, but they do not thereby separate us from God: Moreover the Lord said, If they Persecute you in one City, fly unto another; thereby doth he teach (saith Eras) that persecuted Christians, should not expel Weapons with Weapons, but rather fly before Weapons; for if Peter was reproved, because he drew his Sword against the Wicked and Ungodly, for his harm­less Lord; wherefore then should a Christian man for the fu­ture, revenge Wrong with Wrong, when it is done unto him? In de Krijgdes urede. Fol. 63.

[Page 38] Lactantius said, We Christians desire not that any man against his Will should serve our God, who is the Creator of all things, neither are we likewise angry if he be not served; for we be­lieve (saith he) that his Majesty might as well revenge their despisings, as he doth the injuries of his Servants: And therefore when we suffer such shameful things, we keep silent, referring vengeance unto the Lord, and do not like unto those who would be esteemed Defenders of their Gods, who are full of Wrath against those that do not honour them. Rel. Uriih. pag. 17.

We are assured (said Cyprianus) That they that Persecute us, shall not remain long unpunished, and the greater Injuries which they have done, the more manifest revenge will come upon them; though we had no knowledge of the Antient times, yet notwithstanding, that which of late hath happened, might serve for a sufficient Warning, (to wit) that in so short a time (saith he) so grievious and terrible a revenge is already come upon Persecutors. Merula. pag. 214.

When Cyprianus was threatned to be Banished out of the Land, except he would renounce the Christian Religion; he replyed to those that threatned him, and said, He that carrieth Christ shut up in his Heart and Mind, can be no Exile or ba­nished Man, For the Earth is the Lords, and the Fulness thereof. Afterwards he was much urged by the Governour to betray his Brethren, to which he would in no wise condescend; and when the Governour told him, that the Emperour had forbidden the Meetings of the Christians, that they should not meet upon pain of death, then he gave the Governour to understand, that he was prepared to die for the Profession of the Truth.

Moreover said Cyprianus, Have we not seen that the Martyrs of Christ, did not look upon their Torments with cruel Eyes, neither did they threaten Tyrants, but was more sorrowful for their Blindness, than for their own Suffering. Anno 1567.

Petrus Viretus said, That there was nothing that sooner broke the Violence of Tyranny, than the Patience of the Saints; neither was there any better means to take away the sharpness of their Swords (said he) and to quench and extinguish their Fire, than through Faith, Constancy and Prayer.


Augustinus's Testimony; How Ambrosius was threatned; How pri­vate Meetings could not be prevented by Proclamations, &c. How it is the Duty of Christians to continue their Meetings; And how we are to Obey God more than the Emperor or the King.

AUgustinus testified, That when Emperours were in Error, then did they make Laws for to defend Errors against the Truth; yet Ambrosius would not obey the Emperor in things that were contrary to God and his Commands, wherefore the Emperor threatned, that he would cut off his Head; then said Ambrosius, I will Suffer as a Bishop, do thou as becometh an Exe­cutioner or Hangman. Apoph. Fol. 144.

The Chronicle testifieth, How that in times past, private Meetings could never be hindred through rigorous Proclamati­ons, strict Orders, and Executions, nor yet Sects of sinister Opi­nions, but by how much the more they were forbidden by Or­ders, and Persecuted, by so much the more they Acted against the Orders. Bor. 111.6.91.

Moreover it sheweth, how the Martyrs in Tribulation were mostly accused, because they continued their Meetings contra­ry to the Command of the King. Int Martel. lib. 5. pag. 456.

This is the Duty of all the Faithful (said a certain wise Man) That they continue their Meetings together in the name and fear of the Lord, though Kings, Princes, and Magistrates by their Proclamations and Orders command the contrary; for after the Apostle through many perils of his Life, had Preach­ed the Doctrin of the Gospel in Synagogues, Schools and Mar­kets, and being resisted by open Violence, and forbidden to Preach any more in that Name, he notwithstanding after that kept Meetings in private Houses when he Preached.

Grotius testified, How that it was the Opinion of some, that they that did cruelly handle, such as kept their Meetings (not to Gormandize or play the Glutton, nor to disturb the publick [Page 40] Peace, but as Schools of Vertue) were themselves in such a State, as ought to be punished. Vide Grot. lib. 2. pag. 445.

The History sheweth, how that heretofore some said, as others do now, That new things, as new Opinions, &c. are alwayes to be feared, especially great Meetings and Assemblies; but (said the Author) Men need not fear that Doctrine which tends to the bringing of People to Piety and Honesty; neither need men be afraid of the Meetings of honest peaceable People, who seek not to keep themselves private, except that they be there­unto constrained; concerning whom I may say (said he) as Augustus said concerning the Meetings of the Jews, that they were not to Domineer, nor to be excessive in eating and drink­ing, nor yet to disturb the Peace, &c.

Anno 1560. In Scotland it was decreed and concluded, That People should in all things, obey the Magistrates, Religion only excepted. Hist. Georg. Fol. 697.

Lucernus said, He that commandeth any thing wherewith he bindeth the Conscience, that is an Antichrist. Inde Bennse Disp. Fol. 71.

Therefore said Erasmus, If that at any time Evangelical Godliness require that People must contemn their Commands, that must be done with such moderation, as that it may not be through any hate against them, but through a godly Zeal. Vide Exod. 1.16, 17, 21. Considering how that the Commands of God are to be esteemed above the Commands of Men; Obey your Masters (saith he) but not against God, to whom you are more bound than unto men.

Daniel kept himself Innocent before God and the King, not­withstanding his doing contrary to the King's command, con­cerning the free Exercise of his Religion, Dan. 6.22.

But say some, the Powers will not suffer this new Doctrine; I know not, but that they might well suffer it, where it funda­mentally manifesteth it self, said Vrbanus Regnis; yet though they will not suffer it, every true Christian knoweth that he ought to keep to the Lord and his Truth, and in such a case he may (said he) without contempt of Authority, let pass that worldly command; and of this will the spiritual Law admit: For it doth not become the Emperour, nor the King to determine any [Page 41] thing against the divine Command, nor to do any thing that is against the Rule of the Exangelical Prophets, and Apostles Truth; and if that they command any Evil, then must we give them this answer, We must obey God rather than Men, Acts 5.29. But in these things which are not against the Command of God, we will be subject. Yet when the Emperour or King commandeth one thing, and God another, and that we obey God, who hath the Supream Power, we desire herein to be excused by the Emperour and King; if they threaten Imprison­ment for Disobedience, he threatneth Hell. Vide his Epistle of twofold Righteousness, Fol. 6, 7. Anno 1532.


How it doth not become the Magistrate to Force the Conscience, nor to be a Iudge in Points of Doctrine; and of what dangerous consequence it would be, if the Magistrate should proceed against Hereticks, according to his own Interpretation of the Law.

CAstellius testified, That in Matters of Religion, there was no other Magistrate than Christ alone, and they that he (not with the Sword, but with his Word) armeth and sendeth forth.

The Antient Protestants testified, How that the most of the old Fathers affirmed, That the Magistrate had nothing to do to meddle with the Conscience, to force and compel that to be­lieve, seeing that the temporal Sword was put into their Hands to Punish Theeves, Murderers, and other disturbers of the Peace; but as concerning Religion, and that which pertaineth unto the Soul, the only Spiritual Sword, the Word of God, must and ought herein to Remedy, separating the Zeal and Re­ligion which did defend man from Tumults, and disturbing of Governments. Neither doth it belong to any man to ordain other Laws for Punishment, besides those which God hath ap­pointed; and therefore is it so highly forbidden to add or dimi­nish, Deut. 4.2. Chap. 12.32. Rev. 22.18. for no Laws but God's bind the Conscience. Merck-tyck, pag. 245.

[Page 42]Moreover it hath been formerly testified, That they do very unchristianly, who under pretence of Ecclesiastical Discipline, introduce a new Authority over the Faith and Consciences of Men, Isa. 10.12. Psal. 94.20, 21.

Acontius testified, That it was against the Office of a Magi­strate to be a Judge in Points of Doctrine, in matters of Reli­gion, and in the same to use his Power violently; and that in particular he should do contrary to his Office, if that he used his Power to please any man, as that when he had committed the care of Religion to some particular Person or Persons, and that he should be ready to draw out his Sword against those whom the other accused as Hereticks, or give the Weapon into their Hand: Now how guilty (he that thus did) would be in the day of the Lord, may you judge.

Alcmerus testified, That God alone is the judge of the heart, and that he alone should judge of Faith and Unbelief; there­fore is it not lawful for Princes (said he) to judge any man in matters of Faith, while they are not guilty of any manifest transgression of any known civil Law, as Theft, Murder, &c. for they are Judges of the Body, and not of the Soul, Rel. uriih. 2 deel. pag. 52.

Through what impudency dare you judge them to Death (saith Castellius) that profess the name of Christ? who hath taught you the matters of Religion, of which you are most ig­norant? I believe you will say, you do not these things alone from your own Judgement, but through the judgement of the Learned, who hath taught you, who ought to be Punished, and put to Death; and verily it is so (said he) for I see that your Learned men do injoyne you, not to put any to Death about Religion, but according to their Judgement.

W. Teelingh testified, That the Magistrate ought not to rest upon the conclusion of the Church, nor thereupon to proceed, being that the Church might err, and that it was dangerous fol­lowing. De hevige ende huestige Kerckelijcbre luijden (i. e.) the vehement and hasty Clergy. In Eubul. 252.254, 256, Fol­lies.

The Lord of Pleffy referred the Judgement of Doctrine and Teachers, &c. to the Judgement of all Christians, and not [Page 43] only to the Judgement of the pollitick Magistrates, nor not alone to the Ecclesiastical Clergy, neither only to them both, no, but to all men. Vide his Trac. of the Church, pag. 80, 130, 147.

Experience hath sufficiently demonstrated, that it is a very hurtful thing, to compel all People to dance after the Magi­strates Pipe (said a certain Writer) for where it hath been so, Oh! what hath been the Effect thereof, but most common­ly an Universal Delusion of the Subjects, with a Bloody Per­secution of the true Prophets; for the greatest multitude of men is never the best; as also the greatest number of Emperors and Kings are not very Holy, but often have shewn themselves (saith he) to be very wicked. Merck-tyck. pag. 307.

The Lord hath expresly declared (said one) That the Magi­strate is no fit Judge to judge of Doctrine; and that the use of such Jurisdiction is forbidden him. For how shall a man know a Heretick but by knowing the Cause, whereby a man is made a Heretick? And if the Magistrate do so interpret the Law, as that he thinketh those Hereticks may be forgiven, who have not endeavoured to counsel others, and that they are to be put to Death, who persevere in teaching others, and are resolved so to do; shall men then be in safety, and their Credit and Welfare preserved? certainly no; for so often as the Truth shall falsely be scandalized with the name of Heresie, through the Orders of the Magistrate, so often shall the Servants of the Lord be thereby brought into Suffering; for it is not lawful for them to whom God hath manifested his Truth, to hide their Talent in the Earth, through silence and dissimulation. Vide Arg. des Sat. lib. 3. pag. 184. idem pag. 94, 95.

With what clearer Example can the Magistrates be exhorted not to depend upon any mans Judgement, then that concerning the Son of God, who was so carelesly given over, not only ac­cording to the Judgement of his wicked and ungodly Enemies, but also according to their desire. Take Him (said Pilate) and judge him according to your Law. pag. 100.

David said, That Heaven was given to the Lord of Heaven, but the Earth unto the Children of men; that is, God hath given man Power over earthly matters, and over whatsoever belong­eth [Page 44] unto Earthly Matters, but over Heavenly Matters, and these things which appertain unto the Kingdom of Heaven, the King of Heaven hath only dominion over. Vred. hand. tot. Col. Fol. 137, 195.

Regula sit morte non puniendos, sed Iudex videat et ponderet.


How the Truth is Oppressed through somes Vsurpation; How the Protestants have been hindred from Printing of their Books; The unjustness of the thing; How it hath been the Papists doing, who will neither suffer Disputations nor Books against themselves; The Cause why; And how unjust a thing it is that one should usurp Authority over all the rest, &c.

NOt without Reason are men offended, said Calvine, when they see the Truth of God lye oppressed with Fire and Sword, and that none dare appear to help and defend the same; and that Error is so strongly maintained with the Cloak of Lawful Iudgement, that there is no Freedom to reprove and amend the same; neither will they that have the name of the Supream Authority, suffer any thing to be spoken that is con­trary to their Institutions; and if one reprove or rebuke them, and Teach any thing contrary to what they Teach, then do they account that to be uproarish, when they themselves are the most tumultuous, Decl. Chap. 14, 15. Further he added, That if they themselves did not stir up the Mighty to shed Blood, there would never arise so many Uproars among the People.

And it was Luthers Opinion, That those that stirred up the Princes to Persecute about Religion, they raised the Uproar. Thesaur. pag. 679.

Likewise the Reformed Protestants complained of being forbidden to Print Bookes, and to Sell them, as appears from the Chronicles; which thing the Prince of Orange held for un­fitting, a Forcing of Conscience, a quenching of Prophesie, and an oppressing of the Truth. Bor. Chron. second part, Fol. 48.47.

[Page 45]The Papists counselled the Emperour, the Princes and States, That they should obstruct Writing and Printing of Books, as also Disputing and Preaching, otherwise than according to the Interpretation and Approbation of the Church; and that the Dispersers of such Books should be Punished. Vide, History of the Counsel of Trent. pag. 42, 43.

When Tacitus had declared, How that the Lords Fathers had thought it good, to burn the Books of Cremutius Cordus (some of which were afterwards brought to light) he said, He must laugh at the Folly of those, who thought by their present Power, they could extinguish the remembrance of them from ages to come, for most commonly the contrary happens; and when men reprove the glorious Understandings, their honour and renown is not thereby diminished, but rather augmented: Further (said he) All Kings that have used great Tyranny in such Cases, have thereby brought contempt upon themselves, and more honour and esteem to the other. Vide Annales, lib. 3. pag. 22.

The Emperour Nero, caused the Books of F. Veientio (who reproved the Priests and the Council) to be burned; yet while they were to be gotten (notwithstanding the danger) they were sought and read, but afterwards People were permitted to have them and to read them.

[Nota.] When such Writings (said he) are little esteemed, they perish of themselves, but when men are angry, then they come to be the more manifest; for the difficulty in procuring of them, sharpeneth the Desire, kindleth the Zeal, and bring­eth the matter into more esteem. Pol. 4. Lipsi. 6. lib. Fol. 354.

The Professors of Leyden said, That it sounded strange in their Ears, that Men were come to the forbidding of Books, and would not suffer them according to their Rights and Privi­ledges; A thing (said they) for which People have justly ex­claimed against the Popish Government, for Liberty herein chief­ly consisteth, (viz.) that every one may freely speak his Judg­ment; and heretofore it hath been esteemed a mark of Tyranny, when People might not speak their thoughts. Vide their Remonst. Anno 1582. Verily (said they further) Reason which op­poseth [Page 46] all Tyranny, teacheth us in the general, that the truth can be no more than the Light constrained; therefore is it Ty­rannical to forbid good Books, as the Apostate Iulianus did.

The King of Spain, with other of the Popish Princes, will not suffer different Religions in their Dominion, nor yet Dis­putations about Religion, neither will they suffer any Books that speak in the least against their Orders and Religion; this do many reprove in the Papists, and yet would gladly have it so themselves.

They fear (said Lactantius) that being conquered by us, they should be constrained to give us the hand; whereby they suffici­ently manifest the desparation of their corrupt Reason, seeing they dare not search nor enter into dispute with any, because they know they should soon be overcome; and so not searching, they expel Wisdom, and set Violence in its place; and being they endeavour to judge those as being guilty, whom they know well to be guiltless, yet will they not suffer their Innocency to be made manifest; as if it were more unreasonable to manifest In­nocency, than to condemn them that have not been heard: But as I have said (said he) They fear that they should not be able to judge, if they heard; and therefore Tortour, Kill, and Ba­nish they the Servants of the most high God, that is, righteous Men. Lactant. lib. 5. Chap. 1.

Certainly (said Acontius) If the Shepherds once get it so far, as that none may oppose them, then will they Force the poor People, and compel them to receive whatsoever they will; Then woe be to us and our Posterity, and woe be to all honest People; if it once come again so far, that the just and equal defence against the Learned, should be esteemed Calumnies, Wicked­ness, and Crimen laesae Ma estatis. Arg. des sat. lib. 3. Fol. 97. For the Pope Innocentius the third, made a Law, That he that pre­sumed to Blaspheme the Pope, was to be Punished with death, neither was any to speak against him, nor against the Church of Rome, which were not to be judged by any man: Likewise a Synod at Rome made a Decree, That none in the World should speak against the Church of Rome; and cruelly did they Perse­cute those that did contrary to their Decree. Merul. pag. 783, 787, 741, 748.

[Page 47]At Geneva it was also forbidden by a Proclamation, that any should speak against Calvin and his Doctrine. An. 1553. Anno 1619. There were several of the Clergy in the Low-Country, that thought it needful that some Order was taken, for the pre­venting and dispersing of such Books as they thought unfit­ting.

If that one Church or Teacher (said Castel.) be only tole­rated, to reprove, vilifie, and falsely to accuse all other, and that without permitting any Opposition, Defence or Reply; how can such clear themselves from being of those, who will be Holier than others? And how can they reprove that great Wickedness in the Papists of cutting out Peoples Tongues (or depriving them of the power of Speaking) while they do the same, though in another manner. Castel. cal. Chap. 19.

With diligence do they hinder so much as they can any Books being Written or Printed against them, to the end, that they might not be made manifest; and if they be Printed, that they may not be sold but burned; and moreover, if any have them, such are to be Banished and esteemed as Hereticks▪ Merck-tyck. pag. 315.

If that some had Power according to their Wills (said one) all should finally be esteemed and holden for Blasphemers and Hereticks, that reprove any Divine of any Error, or that is of another Opinion in Points of Religion. Chron. vande Rel. uriih. 223.

But said the Duke of Saexon, It would tend to much praise, if they by their Doings and Authority did bring it to pass, that this Controversie might not be ended with Arms or Weapons, but that an orderly course might be maintained, which would heal the Sickness, reconcile the Church or People, and do no Violence to the Consciences of Men. Vide John Sleid. Chron. lib. 10.

God's Mercy and Iudgment rationally shewn to England.

HEar O England, and consider the things which the Lord hath done in thee, and suffer me a little to reason with thee, thou choicest of the Nations, and much Renowned among God's Peo­ple; In thee hath the Light, Glory, and Power of the Lord of Hosts appeared; in thee hath the Standard of the Lord been set up; in thee hath the acceptable Day of Salvation and Deliverance been Proclaimed; in thee hath many Prophets and Hand-maids been brought forth, which have gone out of thee into other Nations, and thou hast been as a Nursery unto them; in thee hath the everlasting Gospel been Preached freely, both in thy Steeple-houses, Markets, High-wayes, and in many other Places; in thee hath the Way of Life, Peace, and Everlasting Salvation been made manifest; yea, in thee hath the God of Heaven thy Creator, done many nota­ble and wonderful things; And what! wilt thou now undo thy self by resisting the Lord, by rebelling against Him, and by chusing thy own Wayes, by fulfilling thy own Lusts, and by satisfying thy own Desires, by Perse­cuting and shamefully Intreating the Servants and Hand-maids of the Most High? Of which things thou wouldst not have become so highly guilty, hadst thou not rebelled against the Light of the Lord which is arisen in thee, and resisted his Eternal Power and Coun­sel, which is broke forth in the midst of thee; many besides my self lament over thee, and the Hearts of many have been filled with Sorrow and Heaviness, by reason of thy Degeneration and Apostasie, by reason [Page 49] of thy Violence and Cruelty, and by reason of thy Per­secution and Oppression; Oh! alas for thee, how shalt thou avoid the Wrath that is to come, or escape the Hand of the Lord? yet thy Destruction will be of thy self, and thy Iniquities the Cause of thy Judgement.

But hear and consider, and suffer me to reason a lit­tle with thee; Was thy King reduced out of his deplo­rable Sufferings in forragin Parts, and Peaceably intro­duced into thee, to connive at the grievous Suffering of the Innocent in thee? Have thy Parliaments and Councils been broken to pieces, and with contempt secluded, to the end that others might come in, to make Acts and Laws for the Binding and Forcing of the Consciences of the Lords dear Children? Were thy Bishops reinstalled to exercise Lordship over Gods Heri­tage, and to augment the Sufferings of the afflicted in thee? Were thy Judges and Justices (together with many inferior Officers) turned out of their Places, that others who are more deboyst might come in, to Oppress and Persecute the Harmless, more than heretofore, in thee? Were thy high, notional pretended gifted Priests ejected, that they that are more Lewd and Prophane, might be brought in? Yet greater havock and spoile to make of the Saints, and of their Substance, than their Predecessors did? In summa, Was that notable over­turning and remarkable change, which of late happen­ed in thee, to this end? Or was it not rather to manifest the Power of the Most High, and his wonderful Works in thee, that thy Inhabitants might know that he alone will Rule, not alone in thee, but in all the Kingdoms of the whole Earth.

Moreover, consider whether or no it hath been for thy Profit and Honour, to have so many of the Lord's [Page 50] Servants and Hand-maids in thy Goals, Dungeons and Houses of Correction; and so many Drunkards and Swearers, Cozenners and Cheaters, at Liberty in thy Cities, Towns and Villages? Is it for thy Honour, and the Welfare of thy Inhabitants Souls, that Covetous and Proud men, yea such as God never sent, should have their free Liberty to Preach in thee for their Heir, and that the true Messengers and Servants of the Lord (who Preach freely) should be cast into Holes and Dunge­ons, thereby to silence them, or to prevent them from spreading God's Truth abroad in thee? Is it for thy Pro­fit and Advantage, that faithful and discreet Merchants, trusty and laborious Tradesmen, diligent and expert Marriners, careful and industrious Husband-men, should be deprived of their Liberty, about the exercise of their Conscience, and thereby consequently obstructed from getting a comfortable Livelihood for themselves and their Families? How think'st thou shall they be able to Pay all the Customes, Taxes, Dues, Rights, and Assessments, &c. that are required in thee of thy Inhabi­tants? How shall they possibly discharge those I say, if they do not injoy their Liberty and the Priviledges of free-born English-men; and if they thereby come to be Impoverished, what will their Impoverishment en­rich thee? Or who is there in thee that will willingly re­lieve and maintain such, if external Poverty should overtake them? Were it not therefore better for thee to let them injoy their Liberty (notwithstanding their different Judgment in matters of Religion, provided that they lived Peaceably in the Kingdom) that through Diligence and Industry, they might win or gain their own Bread, though with the Sweat of their Browes, that the Land might so much the better yeild her In­crease, [Page 51] and that Trading in thee might not decay, to the Impoverishing of many more Families, whose Livelihood depends upon their Trade, which can scarcely go well when the Father or Master of it is cast into a Prison for the Exercise of his Couscience? which things I know will tend to the laying of thee waste, and to the depopu­lating of thee, even as many Parts of Germany and other Countries, have been laid waste and ruined; which deso­lation hath had its rise from such differences in part, as seem to arise in thee, which in process of time may pro­duce the like Effects, if God in his Mercy, through his Power and Wisdom do not direct them. Though this brief Hint which I signifie hereof to thee, may be little regarded by thee, yet when thou hast felt the smart of it, then mayest thou lament it as other places have done, and remember that it was told thee before it came upon thee: And this shall I add further (viz.) If thy Land open her Mouth to drink the Blood of the Saints (after which it seems to thirst already) then expect thou the coming of the overflowing scourge suddenly, which hath been heavy upon other Countries, who have pol­luted themselves with the Blood of the Lamb's Follow­ers, from which horrible thing, the Lord deliver Thee. Though I am not within thy Territories, yet my Spirit is present with the suffering Seed in thy Dominion; for the deliverance of which my Soul hath often interceed­ed unto the Lord; and know assuredly, that in true and entire Love to thee, have I laid these things before thee, for thy Inhabitants (my Country-men) to weigh and consider in the Light of the Lord.

W. C.

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