VVholsome Severity reconciled with CHRISTIAN LIBERTY. OR, The true Resolution of a present Con­troversie concerning Liberty of CONSCIENCE. Here you have the Question stated, the middle way betwixt Popish Tyrannie and Schismatizing Liberty approved, and also confirmed from Scripture, and the testimonies of Divines, yea of whole Churches: The chiefe Arguments and Exceptions used in The Bloudy Tenent, The Compassionate Samaritane, M. S. to A. S. &c. examined. Eight Distinctions added for qualifying and clearing the whole matter. And in conclusion a Paraenetick to the five Apo­logists for choosing Accommodation rather then Toleration.


Ia. Cranford.
Decemb. 16. 1644.
August. contra primam Gaudentii Epist. c. 5.
Ab [...] autem ut ista persecutio dicenda sit hominum, cum sit potius pro hominibus liberandis persecutio vitiorum, qualem facit aegris etiam diligentia medieorum.
Idem contra Epist. Parmen. lib. 1. cap. 7.
Prius enim probent se non esse Haereticos vel Schismaticos, tum demum de indignis poenis suis lividam emittant vocem, &c. nos corporum persecutores vocant, se animarum interfecto­res non vocant.

LONDON, Printed for Christopher Meredith, and are to be sold at the Signe of the Crane in Pauls Churchyard. 1645.

To the Christian and courteous Reader.

IT cannot be unknown to any, except such as are ignorant of Satans devices, and altogether strangers to the Histories of former times, that when the Church commeth out of Idolatry, and out of bit­ter servitude and grievous pressures of conscience, all her storms are not over her head, but she begins to be as­saulted and afflicted more then before with heresies, schismes, and home-bred disturbances. Which through the manifold wisdome and over-ruling dispensation of God, who worketh all things according to the counsel of his will, is Englands lot this day, that this may be to those in whom the Lord hath no pleasure, a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, that they may goe and fall back ward, and be broken; & sna­red, and taken: that others, who are approved, may be made manifest; yea, that many may be purified, and tried, and made white; and that in the issue God may have the greater glory in making a soveraign remedy out of poysonfull Ingredients, and his [Page] people may say, blessed be the Lord God of Israel who only doth wondrous things.

But now will the Sectaries be contented (as Christs witnesses in former times were) to be examined and judged according to the word of God, and if they be found to be what they are accused to be, then to suffer accordingly? Nay, if so, they fear they shall run too great a hazard. Therefore they cry out for toleration and liberty of conscience, hereby going about not only themselves to fish in troubled waters, but to improve at once the manifold advantages of sympathising with the principles of the most part of men amongst us; for as it is a common plea and bond of union among all hereticks and sectaries, how many soever their divisions and sub­divisions be among themselves;See the Review of the Cove­nant. yea, they give (in this) the right hand of fellowship to the Prelaticall and ma­lignant party, for they also put in for liberty of consci­ence: and as carnall and prophane men desire nothing more then that they may not be compelled to any religi­ous duty, but permitted to doe what seem good in their own eies. So liberty of conscience is a sweet and taking word among the lesse discerning sort of godly people, newly come out of the house of bondage, out of the popish and Prelaticall tyranny; I say the lesse discerning sort, because those of the godly who have their senses exerci­sed to discern good and evill, know that liberty of here­sie [Page] and schisme is no part of the liberty of conscience which Christ hath purchased to us at so dear a rate. But is there no golden book and taking bait for the Magistrate? yes sure; for his part he is told that he may punish any breach of peace or civill justice, or a trespasse against the State and against civill authority, but yet not put forth his power against any man for heresie or schisme, being matters of religion and of conscience. As if both Polititians and Divines had been in a great error when they said that the end and use of Magistra­cy is to make bonum hominem, as well as bonum civem, a good man as well as a good commonwealths man. Shall I adde further, that all who wish well to the publike from principles either of religion or policy, want not here their own tentations, perswading to a to­leration of sectaries, in regard of the necessity of an u­nion against the common adversary, and the great ha­zard, if not certain ruine, of the cause, by our own rup­tures?

Vnder these fair colours and handsome pretexts doe sectaries infuse their poyson, I mean their pernicious, God-provoking, Truth-defacing, Church ruinating, & State-shaking toleration. The plain english of the que­stion is this: whether the Christian Magistrate be kee­per of both Tables: whether he ought to suppresse his own enemies, but not Gods enemies, and preserve his [Page] own ordinances, but not Christs Ordinances frō violation. Whether the troublers of Israel may be troubled. Whe­ther the wilde boars and beasts of the forest must have leave to break down the hedges of the Lords vineyard; and whether ravening wolves in sheeps clothing must be permitted to converse freely in the flock of Christ. Whether after the black Devil of Idolatry and tyranny is trod under our feet, a white Devill of heresie and schisme, under the name of tender consciences, must be admitted to walk up and down among us. Whether not only pious and peaceable men, (whom I shall never con­sent to persecute) but those also who are as a pestilence or a Gangrene in the body of Christ, men of corrupt minds and turbulent spirits, who draw factions after them, make a breach and rent in Israel, resist the truth and reformation of religion, spread abroad all the ways they can their pernicious errors, and by no other means can be reduced; whether those also ought to be spared and let alone. I have endeavoured in this following discourse to vindicate the lawfull, yea necessary use of the coer­cive power of the Christian Magistrate in suppressing and punishing hereticks and sectaries, according as the degree of their offence and of the Churches danger shal require: Which when I had done, there came to my hands a book called The storming of Antichrist. Indeed, The recruting of Antichrist, and the [Page] storming of Zion, (if so be that I may anabaptize an Anabaptists book) Take one passage for instance, pa. 25. And for Papists, saith he, though they are least to be borne of all others, because of the uncertainty of their keeping faith with Here­ticks, as they call us, and because they may be absolved of securements that can arise from the just solemn oaths, and because of their cru­elty against the Protestants in divers Countries where they get the upper hand, and because they are profest Idolaters, yet may they be born with (as I suppose with submission to better judgments) in Protestant government, in point of religion, because we have no command to root out any for conscience, &c. Why then? is this to storm Antichrist? or is it not rather a storming of this party, in the prevailing whereof God will have far more glory then in the prevailing of the Popish and Prelaticall party, as himself speaketh, pa. 34. And if he will storm, sure some of his Ladders are too short. If any one rail against Christ (saith he, p. 23.) or deny the Scriptures to be his word, or affirm the Epistles to be only letters written to particular Churches, and no rule for us, and so unsettle our faith, this I take may be punish­ed by the Magistrate, because all or most Na­tions [Page] in the world doe it. That all the Nations in the world doe punish for these things, I am yet to learn: and those that doe, doe they not also punish men for o­ther ways of unsetling the grounds of faith besides these? The declining of some of the Epistles as being letters written upon particular occasions, and no rule for us, is an error which hath been pretended to be no lesse con­scientious then those errors which now he will have in­dulged. Lastly, if he would needs storm, why would he not make some new breach? I find no materiall ar­guments in him for liberty of conscience, but what I found before in the bloudy Tenent, the compas­sionate Samaritane, and M. S. to A. S. so that my ensuing answers to them shall serve his turn. And now Reader buy the truth, and sell it not. Search for knowledge as for hid treasures. If thou readest with a unprejudiced mind, I dare promise thee through Gods blessing a satisfied mind.

THE TRUE RESOLUTION of a present Controversie concer­ning Liberty of Conscience.

COncerning this Question there are three opi­nions; two extreams, and one in the middle. So it is resolved not only by D. Voetius, in his late Disputations De libertate conscientiae, but long before by Calvin, in his Refuta­tion of the errours of Servetus, where he disputeth this very question, Whether Christian Judges may lawfully punish Hereticks.

The first opinion is that of the Papists, who hold it to be not only no sin, but good service to God, to extirpate by fire and sword, all that are adversaries to, or opposers of the Church and Catholick Religion.In 2am 2ae disp. 1. quaest. 11. punct. [...]. Upon this ground Grego­rius de Valentia tells us there were 180. of the Albigenses burnt under Pope Innocentius the third; and in the Councell of Constance were burnt John Hus and Hierome of Pragus.

Suarez de triplice virtute, Tract. 1. disp. 23. sect. 2. layeth downe these Assertions. 1. That all Hereticks who after sufficient instruction and admonition, still persist in their error, are to be without mercy put to death. 2. That all im­penitent Hereticks, though they professe to be Catholicks, being convict of heresie, are to be put to death. 3. That re­lapsing Hereticks, though penitent, are to be put to death [Page 2] without mercy. 4. That it is most probable, that Heresi­archs, Dogmatists, or the authors of an heresie, though tru­ly penitent, yet are not to be received to favour, but delive­red to the civil sword. 5. That a heretick who hath not relapsed, if before sentence past against him, he convert of his owne accord, he is not to bee punished with death, but with some smaller punishment, such as perpetuall imprison­ment, or the like. Ibid. Tract. 3. disp. 12. sect. 12. hee saith, that Schismaticks may be punished with almost all the pu­nishments of Hereticks.

Azor. Institut. moral. Tom. 1. lib. 8. cap. 14. Ʋtri (que) verò, tum relapsi, tum alii, quando pertinaces sunt, vivi igne exuruntur: si verò pertinaces non sint, prius strangulari solent, & postea com­buri. See the like, Becan, Summa part. 3. Tract. 1. quaest. 6. & 9. Turrian, in 2am 2ae disp. 56. dub. 1. Some of them also maintaine the compelling of Infidels to be baptized, as Sco­tus in lib. 4. Sent. dist. 4. quaest. 9. and they who follow him.

The second opinion doth fall short, as farre as the former doth exceed: that is, that the Magistrate ought not to in­flict any punishment, nor put forth any coercive power up­pon Hereticks or Sectaries, but on the contrary grant them liberty and toleration. This was the opinion of the Don [...] ­tists, against which Augustine hath written both much and well, in divers places: though himselfe was once in the same error, till he did take the matter into his second and better thoughts, as is evident by his Retractations, lib. 2. cap. 2. & epist. 48. In the same error are the Socinians and Armi­nians. See Pelt [...]i Harmonia, Artic. 21. Nic. Bodecher. Socinia­no. Remonstrantismus. cap. 25. See also Grotii Apologeticus, cap. 6. pag. 130. Theoph. Nicolaid. Refut. Tractat. de Ecclesia, cap. 4. p. 33. The very same is maintained in some Bookes printed amongst our selves in this yeare of confusion: viz. The bloudy Tenent: Liberty of Conscience: The Compassionate Samaritan: John the Baptist: and by Mr. Goodwin in his [...]EOMAXIA, pag. 50. and in his Innocencies Triumph, pag. 8. In which places he denyeth that the Magistrate, and par­ticularly that the two Houses of Parliament may impose [Page 3] any thing pertaining to the service and worship of God un­der mulcts or penalties. So M. S. to A. S. pag. 53. 54. 55. &c. disputeth against the coercive power of the Magistrate to suppresse Heresies and Sects. This power the Presbyterians doe ascribe to the Magistrate, as I shall shew by and by: Therefore I still averre, that Mr. Goodwin in denying and op­posing this power, doth herein (as in divers other particu­lars) ascribe much lesse to the Magistrate then the Presby­terians doe: which overthroweth that insinuation of the five Apologists pag. 19.

The third opinion is, that the Magistrate may and ought to exercise his coercive power, in suppressing and punishing Hereticks and Sectaries, lesse or more, according as the na­ture and degree of the error, schisme, obstinacy, and danger of seducing others, doth require. This as it was the judge­ment of the orthodox Ancients, (vide Optatiopera, edit. Al­baspin. pag. 204. 215.) so it is followed by our soundest Pro­testant Writers; most largely by Beza against Bellius and Monfortius, in a peculiar Treatise De Haereticis à Magi­stratu puniendis. And though Gerhard, Brochmand. de magist. polit. cap 2. quaest. 3. dub 2. Fatemur idol [...]latras istos crassos, qui abos seducunt, [...]ci­dendos esse. Et infra. Haereti­cos qui è terri­torio principis exire jussi, de­ [...]rectant obse­quium, ac pacē publicam tur­bant, vita plecti posse, damus faciles. Et infra. Haereticos tan­quam falsarios, castigandos & puniondos esse censemus, sed non morte, verùm carcere, exilio, excommunicati [...]e. Vide Cal [...]in. Refut. error. Mich. Serveti, pag. 694. inter opusc. Scimus tres esse errorum gradus: & quibusdam fatemur dandam esse veniam, aliis modicam castigationem sufficere, ut tantum manifesta impietas capital. suppl [...]cio plectatur. Fideles saepius Paulus hortatur ut se invicem tolerent, quamvis aliqua sit inter eos dissensio: nempe siqua levis superstitio & inscitia simplicium m [...]n [...]es occupat; ut cam patientia corrigere potiùs studeant, quàm intemperanter ad vindictam efferveant. Secundum errorum ge­nus, etsi castigationem meretur, mediocris tamen adhibenda est severicas: tantum ne indulgentiâ alatur eorum improbitas & contumacia qui fidei unitatem scindere cuperent. Sed ubi à s [...]is fun­damentis convellitur religio, detestandae in Deum blasphemi [...]e pro [...]e [...]untur, impiis & pestiferis dogmatibus in exitium rapiuntur animae; denique ubi palam defectio ab un [...]o Deo, purâ (que) do­ctrinâ tentatur, ad extremum illud remedium descendere necesse est, ne mo tale venenum lon­gius serpat. This Treatise is approved by Bulling [...]r in an Epistle to Calvin. Vide Calv. E­pist. p. 197. where he addeth: Dudum D. Vr [...]anus Regius unà cum omn [...]bus Luneburgen. Ec­clesiae ministris, edito etiam l [...]bro Germanico, ostendit jure divino & humano coerceri Haereti­cos. Concerning moderation he saith after: Scio tibi nec crudele esse i [...]genium, nec te ul­lam atrocitatem approbare: quis nesciat etiam hîc modum adhibendum esse? At quomodo Ser­veto Lernae haereseôn & pertinacissimo homini parci potuerit, non video. When Monfortius had stated the question thus: Sunt quidam qui volunt omnes Haereticos, hoc est, ab ipsis dissent [...]en­tes, interfici, &c. Beza ansvvereth him: Ergo si potest, vel unum nominet qui aut omnes Hae­reticos c [...]suerit interficiendos, aut ita sibi placuerit ut alios omnes diversum sentientes pro hae­reticis habuerit. Brochmand, and o­ther [Page 4] Lutheran Writers, make a controversie where they need not, alledging that the Calvinists (so nicknamed) hold as the Papists doe, that all Hereticks without distinction are to be put to death: The truth is, they themselves say as much as either Calvin or Beza, or any other whom they take for adversaries in this Question, that is, that Hereticks are to be punished by mulcts, imprisonments, banishments, and if they be grosse idolaters or blasphemers, and seducers of others, then to be put to death. What is it else that Calvin teacheth, when he distinguisheth three kindes of errors: some to be tolerated with a spirit of meeknesse, and such as ought not to separate betwixt brethren: others not to be tolerated, but to be suppressed with a certaine degree of se­verity: a third sort so abominable and pestiferous, that they are to be cut off by the highest punishments?

And lest it be thought that this is but the opinion of some few, that the magistrate ought thus by a strong hand, and by civill punishments suppresse Hereticks and Sectaries: let it be observed what is held forth and professed concerning this businesse, by the Reformed Churches in their publicke Confessions of Faith. In the latter Confession of Helvetia, cap. 30. it is said that the magistrate ought to root out lies and all superstition, with all impiety and idolatry. And after; Let him suppresse stubborne Hereticks. In the French Confession, art. 39. Therefore he hath also delivered the sword into the hands of the Magistrates, to wit, that offences may be repressed, not only those which are committed against the second Table, but also a­gainst the first. In the Belgick Confession, art. 36. Therefore hath he armed the Magistrate with the sword for punishing them that doe evill, and for defending such as doe well. Moreover it is their duty not only to be carefull and watchfull for the preserva­tion of the civill government, but also to defend the holy Ministery, and to abolish and overthrow all Idolatry, and counterfeit worship of God. Beza de haeret, à magistr. puniend. tells us in the begin­ning, that the Ministers of Helvetia had declared themselves to be of the same judgement, in a booke published of that Argument. And toward the end he citeth the Saxon Con­fession, [Page 5] Luther, Melancthon, Brentius, Bucerus, Wolsangus Capito, and Bullinger. The Synod of Dort, Ses. 138. in their sentence against the Remonstrants doth not only interdict them of all their Ecclesiasticall and Academicall functions, but also beseech the States Generall by the secular power further to suppresse and restrain them.

The Arguments whereby this third or middle opinion is confirmed (that we may not build upon humane authority) are these.

First,Stratag. Satan. lib. 3. pa. 150, 151. Sed sunt qui tantum usque ad Christum viguisse cam legē putent, &c. Et poenam illam corporalem aeternae damnationis typum fuisse, &c. Quae quidem conjectura adeo mihi non inepta visa est, ut quam­obrem rejici possit non inve [...]i [...]em; nisi ei ratio in lege posita refraga [...]e­tur. Est [...] in [...] Vt omnis Is­rael audiens time [...], neque pos [...]ac quicquam admittat ej [...]smodi. Quae certe ratio perpetuo v [...]get. the law, Deut. 13. 6, 7, 8, 9. concer­ning the stoning and killing of him, who shall secretly intice people, saying, Let us go after other gods. If it be said, that this law did bind the Jews only, and is not morall nor perpetuall. I answer, Jacobus Acontius, though he be of another opinion concerning this question then I am, yet he candidly and freely confesseth, that he seeth nothing in that law, which doth not belong to the New Testament, as well as the Old; for saith he, the reason and ground of the law, the use and end of it, is morall and perpetuall, ver. 11. All Israel shall hear and fear, and shall doe no more any such wickednesse, as this is among you. But yet, saith Acont [...]us, this law doth not concern Here­ticks, who beleeve and teach errors concerning the true God or his worship; but only Apostates who fall away to other gods:Pela [...]gus in Deuter. 13 Qui blas [...]hem [...] sunt, qui Ecclesiam & Rem [...]ub. a­ [...]erte t [...]ant, qu sed [...]t [...]osi sunt meritas incur­r [...]nt poer [...]s: cae­t [...] corrige [...]di s [...]nt, modisque [...] ex [...]mplo Theo­dosi [...] & Justi­niani Imperat [...] ­rum, apud So­cratem lib. 5. c. 10. Theodosius [...] ur­be ej [...]cit. In this I shall not much contend with him; only thus far, if Apostates are to be stoned and killed accor­ding to that law, then surely seducing Hereticks are also to receive their measure and proportion of punishment; The morall equity of the law requireth thus much at least, that if we compare Heresy and Apostasy together, look how much lesse the evill of sin is in Heresy, so much and no more is to be remitted of the evill of punishment, especially the dan­ger of contagion and seducement, being as much or rather more in Heresy then in Apostasy; yea, that which is called Heresy being oftentimes a reall following after other gods. [Page 6] But the Law, Deut. 13. for punishing with death, as well whole Cities as particular persons, for falling away to other gods, is not the only law for punishing even capi­tally grosse sins against the first Table. See Exod. 22. 20. He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the Lord only, he shall be utterly destroyed, Exod. 31. [...]4. Every one that defileth the Sabbath, shall surely be [...]ut to death, Levit. 24. 16. And he that blasphemeth the Name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death, Deut. 17. 2, 3, 4. 5. If there be found among you within any of thy gates, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wronght wickednesse in the sight of the Lord thy God, in transgressing his Covenant, and hath gone and served other gods and worshipped them, &c. Thou shalt bring forth that man or that woman unto thy gates, even that man or that wo­man, and shalt stone them with stones till they die.

It will be asked, But how doth it appear that these or any other Judiciall Laws of Moses doe at all appertain to us, as rules to guide us in like cases? I shall wish him who scrupleth this, to read Piscator his Appendix to his Obser­vations upon the 21, 22, 23. Chapters of Exodus, where he excellently disputeth this question, Whether the Christian Magistrate be bound to observe the Judicial laws of Moses, as well as the Jewish Magistrate was. He answereth by the common distinction, he is obliged to those things in the Ju­diciall law which are unchangeable, & common to all Na­tions: but not to those things which are mutable, or pro­per to the Jewish Republike. But then he explaineth this distinction, that by things mutable, and proper to the Jews, he understandeth the emancipation of an Hebrew servant or handmaid in the seventh year, a mans marying his bro­thers wife and raising up seed to his brother, the forgiving of debts at the Jubilee, marying with one of the same Tribe, and if there be any other like to these; also Cere­moniall trespasses, as touching a dead body, &c. But things immutable, and common to all Nations are the laws con­cerning Morall trespasses, Sins against the Morall law, as murther, adultery, theft, enticing away from God, blasphe­my, [Page 7] striking of Parents. Now that the Christian Magi­strate is bound to observe these Judiciall lawes of Moses which appoint the punishments of sins against the Morall law, he proveth by these reasons.

1. If it were not so, then it is free and arbitrary to the Magistrate to appoint what punishments himself pleaseth. But this is not arbitrary to him, for he is the Minister of God, Rom. 13. 4. and the judgement is the Lords, Deut. 1. 7. 2 Chron. 19. 6. And if the Magistrate be Keeper of both Tables, he must keep them in such manner as God hath delivered them to him.

2. Christs words, Mat. 5. 17. Think not that I am come to destroy the Law or the Prophets, I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill, are comprehensive of the Judiciall law, it being a part of the law of Moses; Now he could not fulfill the Ju­diciall law, except either by his practice, or by teaching o­thers still to observe it; not by his own practice, for he would not condemn the Adulteresse, Joh. 8. 11. nor divide the Inheritance, Luke 12. 13, 14. Therefore it must be by his doctrine for our observing it.

3. If Christ in his Sermon, Mat. 5. would teach that the Morall law belongeth to us Christians, in so much as he vindicateth it from the false glosses of the Scribes & Phari­sees; then he meant to hold forth the Judiciall law concer­ning Morall trespasses as belonging to us also: for he vindi­cateth and interpreteth the Judiciall law, as well as the Mo­rall, Mat. 5. 38. An eye for an eye, &c.

4. If God would have the Morall law transmitted from the Jewish people to the Christian people; then he would also have the Judiciall law transmitted from the Jewish Magistrate to the Christian Magistrate: There being the same reason of immutability in the punishments, which is in the offences; Idolatry and Adultery displeaseth God now as much as then; and Theft displeaseth God now no more then before.

5. Whatsoever things were written af [...]r [...]time, were written for our learning▪ Rom. 15. 4. and what shall the Christian [Page 8] Magistrate learn from those Judiciall laws, but the will of God to be his rule in like cases? The Ceremoniall law was written for our learning, that we might know the fulfilling of all those Types, but the Judiciall law was not Typicall.

6. Doe all to the glory of God, 1 Cor. 10. 3 [...]. Mat. [...]. 16. How shall Christian Magistrates glorifie God more then by observing Gods own laws, as most just, and such as they cannot make better?

7. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin, Rom. 14. 23. Now when the Christian Magistrate punisheth [...] against the Mo­rall law, if he doe this in faith and in assurance of pleasing God, he must have his assurance from the Word of God, for faith can build upon no other foundation: it is the Word which must assure the Conscience, God hath commanded such a thing, therefore it is my duty to doe it, God hath not forbidden such a thing, therefore I am free to doe it. But the will of God concerning Civill justice and punish­ments is no where so fully and cleerly revealed as in the Ju­diciall law of Moses. This therefore must be the surest prop and stay to the conscience of the Christian Magistrate.

These are not my reasons (if it be not a word or two ad­ded by way of explaining and strengthning) but the sub­stance of Piscators reasons: Unto which I adde, 1. Though we have clear and full scriptures in the New Testament for abolishing the Ceremoniall law yet we no where reade in all the new Testament of the abol [...]shing of the Judicial law, so far as it did concern the punishing of sins against the Mo­rall law, of which Heresy and seducing of souls is one, and a great one. Once God did reveal his will for punishing those sins by such and such punishments. He who will hold that the Christian Magistrate is not bound to inflict such punish­ments for such sins, is bound to prove that those former lawes of God are abolished, and to shew some scripture for it. 2. That Iudiciall law for having two or three wit­nesses in judgement, Deut. 19. 15. Heb. 10. 28. is transfer­red even with an obligation to us Christians, and it con­cerneth all judgement, as well Ecclesiasticall as Civill, Mat. [Page 9] 18. 16. 2 Cor. 13. 1. and some [...] particulars might be instanced in, which are pressed and enforced from the Iudi­ciall law, by some who yet mind not the obligation of it. To conclude therefore this point, though other judiciall or forensecall laws concerning the punishments of sins a­gainst the Morall law, may, yea, must be allowed of in Christian Republikes and Kingdomes; Provided always, they be not contrary or contradictory to Gods own Iudi­ciall laws: yet I fear not to hold with Junius, de Politia Mosis cap. 6, that he who was punishable by death under that Iudiciall law, is punishable by death still; and he who was not punished by death then, is not to be punished by death now; And so much for the first argument from the Law of God.

A second argument we have from divers laudable exam­ples in the Old Testament; Moses drew the sword against Idolaters, Exod. 32. 27. the children of Israel resolved to go out to war against the Reubenites and Gadites, when they understood that they were building another Altar. Jos. 22. 12. Elijah commanded to slay the Priests of Baal, 1 Kings 18. 40. In Asa his time there was a Covenant for putting to death such as would not seek the Lord God of their Fa­thers, 2 Chro. 15. 13. Iehu slew the Priests of Ahab, and the worshippers of Baal, 2 Kings 10. 11. 24. First, search­ing and making sure that there were none of the servants of the Lord among them, ver. 23. Iosiah sacrificed the Priests of Samaria upon their own altars, 2 Kings 23. 20. Nebuchad­nezzar, though an Heathē, being convinced that there was no god like the God of Israel, made a Decree, that whosoever speaketh blasphemy, or uttereth any error against God, shall be out in pieces, and their houses made a dunghill, Dan. 3. 29. As for those whose errors and corruptions in religion were not so great, there was some (though not the highest) severity used against them: Moses was so angry with the people that were seduced into Idolatry, that he burnt the Calf which they had worshipped, and ground it to pow­der, and strewed it upon the water, and made the Children of [Page 10] Israel to drinke of it, Exod. 32. 20. Thereby teaching them (as Hierome and others give the reason) to abhorre that Idola­try, while their Idoll did passe from them among their own excrements. Asa did remove his mother Maachah from being Queen, because of an Idoll which she had made in a grove, 1 Kings 15. 13. Josiah caused all that were present in Jeru­salem and Benjamin to stand to the Covenant. 2 Chron. 34. 32. which could not be without either threatning or inflicting punishment upon the transgressors; there being many at that time disaffected to the Reformation.

O but saith M. S. to A. S. pag. 51, 52. Idolatry and Ido­laters were the adaequate object of that coercive power in matters of religion, whereof we reade in the Old Testament. Nor doe we read that ever the lewish Kings or Magistrates attempted any thing against Sectaries or Schismaticks. I answer, 1. The object of that coercive power of Josiah, 2 Chron. 34. 32. was generally the matter of the Covenant, that is, the taking away not only of Idolatry, but of all abo­minations, and a walking after the Lord, and keeping of his Te­stimonies, and Statutes, and Commandments, ver. 31. 33. Nehe­miah did drive away the son of Eliashib the high Priest, not for Idolatry, but for marying the daughter of Sanballat, and thereby defiling the Covenant of the Priesthood, Nehem. 13. 28, 29. Ezra made the Chief Priests, the Levites, and all Israel to enter into a Covenant and to swear, that they would put away the strange wives, and that it should be done according to the Law, Ezra 10. 3. 5. and whosoever would not come to Ierusalem for this thing, was not only himself excommunicated from the Church, but all his goods forfeited. v. 8. Artaxerxes decreed punishment for all who should oppose the Law of God, and the building of the Tem­ple: wherein he is so far approved, as that Ezra blesseth God for it, Ezra 7. 26, 27. Whosoever will not doe the law of thy God, and the law of the King, let judgement be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death, or unto banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or imprisonment, &c. which doth not concern Idolatry only, but generally the laws of God, v. 25. [Page 11] Set Magistrates and Iudges which may judge all the people, all such as know the laws of thy God. He who wrote Liberty of Con­science, p. 27, 28. is so far confounded with this laudable De­cree of Artaxerxes, that he can say no more to it, but that it was the commandment of God, not an invention of men which Artaxerxes did thus impose, which is as much as we desire. But 2. Sects and Schismes are to be punished as well, though not as much as Heresy and Idolatry. There are degrees of faults, and accordingly degrees of punishments. Augustine wrote an Epistle to Bonifacius upon this occasi­on,Tom. 2. Ep. 50. to shew that the Donatists had nothing to doe with the Arrians, and so were not to be punished with such rigour and severity; yet he adviseth that moderate mulcts and punishments may be laid upon them, & that their Bishops or Ministers may be banished. In his 127 Epist. he intercedeth most earnestly with the proconsul of Africk, that he might not put to death the Donatists, but represse them some other ways. We have also a scripture example for punishing Secta­ries who are not Hereticks. It is agreed among interpreters, there were in Iudah two sorts of high places, some on which God was worshipped, others on which idols were worship­ped, & it is most manifest from 2 Chro. 33. 17. and from the reconciling of 2 Chro. 15. 17. with ch. 14. 3. 5. the one sort was the high places of Idolatry, the other, the high places of wil­worship; yet the Priests of the latter, as well as of the former, were punished by Iosiah, as Tostatus proveth from 2 Kings 23. and the text it self is clear, for he put to death the Priests of Sama [...]ia, who had sacrificed in the high places of Idolatry, vers. 20. but as for those who sacrificed in the high places of wil-worship, because they sacrificed to the Lord only (as the word is, 2 Chron. 33. 17.) therefore Iosiah did not put them to death, only he caused them to goe out of all the Cities of Judah, and to cease from the Priests office, so that they durst not come up to the Altar of the Lord at Jerusalem, only they were permitted to eat of the unleavened bread a­mong their brethren, ver. 8, 9. which is parallel to that law, Ezek. 44. ver, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. a prophecy concerning [Page 12] the Christian Temple, and the times of the New Testament, wth reacheth a blow to another silly & short-sighted evasion, used both in the Bloudy Tenent, and in M. S. to A.S. that all this coercive power exercised in the Old Testament, was ty­picall, & therefore not imitable now in the New Testament. Whereunto I further reply, 1. The reason of all that coer­cive severity was morall and perpetuall, as was shewed be­fore from Deut. 13. 11. Next, why did they not prove that it was typicall? shall we take their fancy for a certainty? They have neither Scripture nor Interpreters for it. 3. They confound the Judiciall lawes of Moses with the Ceremo­niall, making the Judicatories and Justice typicall no lesse then the Ceremonies. 4. They doe utterly overthrow the investiture of Christian Princes and Magistrates with any power at all in matters of Religion, from the Old Testa­ment. So that one may not argue thus: The godly Kings of Judah did remove the monuments of Idolatry and Super­stition, therefore so should the Christian Magistrate doe. The most arrant malignant may answer in the words of Mr. Williams, chap. 109. that the Civill power or State of Israel, so farre as it attended upon the spirituall, was meerly figu­rative: Or in the words of M. S. pag. 51. There are two reasons very considerable why the Kings of Judah might be inve­sted by God with a larger power in matters of religion, then Kings or Magistrates under the Gospel have any ground or warrant to claime from them. First, they were types of Christ (but by the way how doth he prove that Asa, Jehu, and Josiah were types of Christ?) which no King under heaven at this day is. Secondly, not the people onely, but the very land over which they ruled were typicall. 5. The punishment of persons was a part of their reformation, as well as the destruction of monu­ments, and why must we follow their example in the one, more then the other? If we smart under both their diseases, we must apply both their remedies, or neither.

The third argument is drawne from the New Testament. The magistrate beareth not the sword in vaine, for he is the mi­nister of God, a revenger to execute wrath on him that doth evill, [Page 13] Rom. 13. 4. But I assume; Hereticks and Sectaries doe evill, yea much evill, especially when they draw many others af­ter them in their pernicious wayes. It was the observation of one of the greatest Politicians of this Kingdome,See Bacous Es­sayes pag. 11, 12. That he­resies and schismes are of all others the greatest scandalls: yea more then corruption of manners. One of his reasons is, because every sect of them hath a diverse posture or cringe by themselves, which cannot but move derision in worldlings, and depraved poli­ticks, who are apt to contemne holy things. I know it will be an­swered, If any Sectary make a breach of peace, or disturb the State, then indeed the magistrate ought to redresse it by a coercive power. So John the Baptist, pag. 57. So Mr. Willi­ams, chap. 52. answereth, Rom. 13. 4. is not meant of evill a­gainst the Christian estate, but of evill against the Civill State. M. S. pag. 53. 54. tells us that he is not for the tole­ration of Sects and Schismes, except only upon this supposition, that the professors or maintainers of them be otherwise peaceable in the State, and every wayes subject to the lawes and lawfull power of the civill Magistrate. I answer, the experience of former times may make us so wise as to foresee that here­sie and schisme tendeth to the breach of the civill peace, and to a rupture in the State as well as in the Church. What com­motions did the Arrians make in all the Easterne parts? the Macedonians in Greece? the Donatists in Africke? How did the Anabaptists raise and soment the bloudy warre of the Boores in Germany, wherein were killed above 100000 men?

Tantum relligio potuit suadere malorum.

How satanicall was Julians designe to bring the Christians to nought, by granting liberty of conscience to all the here­ticks and sectaries that were among them? But suppose the Commonwealth to runne no hazard by the toleration of Heresies and Schismes, I answer further, 1. The Text, Rom. 13. 4. speaketh generally, and we must not distinguish where the Scripture doth not distinguish. 2. Those that are in au­thority are to take such courses and so to rule, that we may not onely lead a quiet and peaceable life, but further that it [Page 14] be in all godlinesse and honesty, 1 Tim. 2. 2. The magistrate is keeper of both Tables, and is to punish the violation of the first Table, as well as of the second. 3. Will any man, saith An­gustine, who is in his right wit, say to Kings, Doe not care by whom the Church of God in your Kingdome be maintained or op­posed: it doth not concerne you in your Kingdome, who will be re­ligious, who sacrilegious: to whom notwithstanding it cannot bee said, It doth not concerne you in your Kingdome, who be chaste, who whorish, &c. Is the soules keeping faith and truth to God a l [...]ghter matter, then that of a woman to a man? He confesseth in the same Epistle,Epist. 50. No [...] ­null [...]fratribus videbatur, [...]n quibus & ego eram, quamvis Donatistarum rab [...]es usque­quaque saeviret, non esse petendū ab Imperatori­bus, ut ipsam haeresim juberent on [...]ino non esse, paenam constituendo eis qui in illa esse voluis­sent: sed ho [...] potius constituere [...], ut eorum furiosas violentias non paterentur. Notwithstan­ding he acknovvledgeth a great mercy of God in inclining the Emperors heart another way. Hinc ergo factum est ut Imperator religiosus & pius perlatis in notitiam suam talibus causis, mallet piissimis legibus illius impietatis errorem omnino corrigere, [...]t eos qui contra Chr [...]stum Christi sign [...] portaren [...], ad unitatem Catholicam terrendo & coerceudo redigere, quàm saeviendi tantum modo auferre licentiam, & errandi ac percundi relinquere. that he and some other African Di­vines were sometime of that opinion, that the Emperour should not at all punish the Donatists for their heresie or er­ror, but such of them only as should be found to commit any riot or breach of peace, especially the furious and violent Cir­cumcellions. But afterward he confesseth that the Emperour had as good reason to represse their pernicious error, as their furious violence.

A fourth Argument is drawne from the names which the Scripture giveth to Hereticks and Sectaries, holding forth the extreame danger of tolerating and letting them alone. They are called ravening wolves, Matth. 7. 15. and grievous wolves not sparing the flocke, Act. 20. 29. theeves and robbers, John 10. 8.Calv. Refut. er­ror. Mich. Ser­veti. Porro [...]ru­delis est ista quam laudant elementia, oves exponere in praedam ut lu­pis parcatur. Et infra. Quid enim absurdius est, quam furta severè puniat Judex, sacrilegiis licentiam dare? quam suum cui (que) honorem salvū tucatur, lacerandā impiis exponere Dei gloriā? Their word eateth as a canker, 2 Tim. 2. 17. and is as a little leaven leavening the whole lumpe, Gal. 5. 9. They are troublers of Israel, Act. 15. 24. Gal. 5. 12. Shall the troublers of the State be punished, and the troublers of Israel go free? Shal Physitians cut off the member that hath a Gangrene in it, because it indangereth the whole body, and shall the [Page 15] great State physitians suffer the Gangrene to spread in the Church? Shall mens bodies, goods, and purses, be so farre cared for, that theeves and robbers must not be suffered, but justice done upon them; and shall those have immunity who steale away soules from Christ, and rob us of the pearle of truth? Nay shall the poore sheepe be so much looked to, that the wolfe must not be spared; and shall we suffer the soule-destroying wolves to enter, yea abide peaceably a­mong the dear-bought flock of Jesus Christ?

Other Arguments might be added, but let these suffice at this present. I come next to answer all the materiall obje­ctions which I have either read or heard (to my best re­membrance) alledged against this coercive power of the Magistrate in matters of Religion.

First, the Parable of the Tares is objected:Tossanus in lo­cum. Sunt qui hoc loco abu­tuntur ut pro­bent non esse su­mend [...]m suppli­cium de haere­ticis. [...]art­wright. Hist. Christi ex 4. E­va [...]g. lib. 2. p. 145. Sed hoc 100 Haeretico­rum patroni ad clientum suorū impunitatem a [...]ndam abu­t [...]nt [...]r. Quibus vel ex hoc ipse loco resistitur. Et primum quidem quoniam hoc loco de to â improbocum universitate extirpanda agitur. Nihil igitur im­pedit quo minus quidam ex improborum turbâ del bati, supplicio. Quod nisi ita [...] sit, quo fundamento verbi Dei fares, homicidae, proditores, &c. nsimiles morte mulctentur? Nam si salva hujus parabolae doctrina, hi in crucem agi aut capite truncari possint, nedum haeretici multo magis mortis poenâ plectantus. Si enim peritura bona & hanc vitam eripien [...]es, &c. Si Principis majestatem visla [...]s, &c. n [...]dum, &c. Deinde modo ita evellantur ut criti [...]um non unà eradicetur, bonâ cum parab [...]le ver [...]â, extmi posse liquet. Christ will not have the tares to be pluckt up, but to grow together with the wheat untill the harvest, Mat. 13. 29. 30. In this argument Mr. Williams in his Bloudy Tenent putteth a great deale of confidence. But I am as confident to discover the strength of it to be lesse then nothing. For first he taketh the tares to be meant neither of hypocrites in the Church, whether discovered or undiscovered; nor yet of those who are scandalous offenders in their life and conversation, but only of Antichristian Idolaters and false worshippers: which is a most false interpretation. Christ himselfe expoundeth it generally, vers. 38. The good seed are the children of the Kingdome: but the tares are the children of the wicked one. And vers. 41. the tares are expounded to be all that offend, and which doe iniquity. This being the cleare meaning, it will follow un­deniably, that if the Magistrate must spare those who are meant by tares in the Parable, then he must spare and let a­lone [Page 16] all scandalous offenders, murtherers, adulterers, drun­kards, theeves, &c. when any such are discovered in the vi­sible Church. But this cannot be the meaning of the tares in the Parable, saith Mr. Williams, chap. 24. that wicked livers, opposite to the children of God, should be understood. For then, [...] upon this par b [...] mo­v [...]th this do [...]: Si pru­ [...] be [...], & isque aV messem [...]e­nenda est pati­e [...], quomodo ej [...]cie [...]d [...] su [...]t quidam de me­di [...] nostrum? I'le answereth Inter triticum et zizania qu [...]d nos appell [...]mus l [...]ium, quamdiu be [...]la est & nondum culmus venit ad spicam grandis simil­tudo est, & i [...] d [...] ­scernendo aut nulla aut per­diffic [...]l [...]s d [...] ­stantia. Praemo­net ergo Domi­nus, ne ubi quid ambiguum est, cito s [...]entiam proferamus, sed Deo Jud [...]ci terminum re­servemus. saith he, when Christ saith, Let the tares alone, he should contradict other ordinances for the punishment of evill do­ers by the Magistrate. But this is a base begging of the que­stion: for he well knew that those against whom he disputes hold that his exposition of the Parable contradicteth the ordinance of God for punishing Idolaters and Hereticks, the question being whether this be not an ordinance as well as the punishment of scandalous livers. Besides, if the tares be Antichristian Idolaters, and they must not be pluckt up, but suffered to grow till the harvest, as he expoundeth, this con­tradicteth other Scriptures, which say that the sword must be drawne against Antichristian idolaters, and they thereby cut off, Revel. 13. 10. and 17. 16.

But I proceed to a second answer. If by tares I should suppose only to be meant Idolaters, Hereticks, and false wor­shippers (which is a glosse contrary to the text, as I have de­monstrate) yet their argument will not conclude the for­bearing or sparing of such, except onely in such cases, and so farre as the true worshippers of God cannot be certainly and infallibly dignosced from the false worshippers, as the wheat from the tares: as Jehu would not destroy the wor­shippers of Baal, till he was sure that none of the servants of the Lord were among them, 2 King. 10. 23. The reason why the tares are not to be pluckt up, is, lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them, vers. 29. Now when a man is sure that he plucks up nothing but tares, or rather thornes, without the least danger to the wheat, how doth the Parable strike against his so doing? If M. S. will not beleeve me, let him beleeve himselfe, pag. 50. For my part, saith he, when the Civill Magistrate shall be farre enough out of this danger of fighting against God, I have nothing to say against his fighting with superstition, heresie, schisme, &c.

[Page 17] Thirdly, what if I shape yet another answer to the argu­ment out of Mr. Williams owne words? chap. 27. I acknow­ledge, saith he, this command [Let them alone] was expresly spo­ken to the messengers or ministers of the Gospel, who have not ci­vill power or authority in their hand, and therefore not to the civill Magistrate, King or Governour. Now therefore what a bloc­kish argument is it, to reason from this Parable against the coercive power of the magistrate in matters of religion? If there must be a forbearance of any severity, we must for­beare Church censures and excommunication a way of roo­ting out the tares, which Mr. Williams himselfe justifieth as much as we doe.

Fourthly, and if the utter extirpation and plucking up of Hereticks by capitall punishments, should be understood to be forbidden in the parable, (as it is not) yet the stopping of their mouths, the dissipating and suppressing of them, some other coercive way, is not forbidden, as Chrysostome noteth upon the place, whom Euthymius and Theophylactus doe follow in this, allowing of coercive, though not capitall punishments.

Fifthly, Calvin, Beza, and our best Interpreters, take the scope and intent of that parable, not to be against the im­moderate severity of Magistrates, but against the immode­rate zeal of those who imagine to have the Church rid of all scandalous and wicked persons, as wheat without tares, corn without chaffe, a flock of sheep without goats, which hath been the fancy of Novatians, Donatists and Anabaptists. The parable therefore intimates unto us (as Bucerus upon the place expoundeth it) that when the Magistrate hath done all his duty in exercising his coercive power, yet to the worlds end there will be in the Church a mixture of good and bad. So that it is the universall and perfect purging of the Church, which is put off to the last judgement, not the punishment of particular persons. Neither doe the ser­vants in the parable aske whether they should pluck up this or that visible tare, but whether they should goe and make the whole field rid of them; which field is the generall vi­sible [Page 18] Church sowed with the seed of the Gospel; and so much for that argument.

Another negative argument is this. Such a coercive power in matters of religion, maketh men hypocrites and seven times more the children of hell. Christs Ordinances put upon a whole City, or a Nation, may more civilize and moralize, but never christianize them; saith M Williams, chap. 82. I answer, this argument doth utterly condemn Jo­siahs Reformation as sinfull, for he caused all Judah to stand to the Covenant, as we heard before from 2 Chron. 34. 32. yet Iudah became thereby more hypocriticall. Treacherous Iudah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but fained­ly, saith the Lord, speaking of those very days of Iosiah, Ier. 3. 6. 10.

2. This argument maketh also against the punishment of adulteries, murthers, thefts, robberies, &c. for unlesse filthy lust, hatred, and covetousnesse in the heart be mortified, and men convert freely and sincerely, the reducing of them to a morall conversation maketh them hypocrites, and nee­rer hell then before.

3. There are two sorts of Christs Ordinances: some for the communion of Saints: others, for the conversion of sinners: It is far from our thoughts to admit, much lesse to compell, a whole City, or Nation promiscuously, to the use of the former. But yet converting or reducing ordinances may and ought to put upon all whom they concern. The means must be used and mens hearts left to God.

Object. 3. This Doctrine of the Magistrates coercive power, maketh many to stumble at the Presbyterian Re­formation, as a bloudy Reformation, as a building of Zion with bloud, and Ierusalem with iniquity, Mic. 3. 10. Answ. 1. We have not so learned Christ, we abominate the Popish and Prelaticall tyranny. We know that the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, pa­tient: In meeknesse instructing those that oppose themselves, if God pera [...]venture will give them repentance to the acknowledg­ing of the truth, 2 Tim. 2. 24, 25. yet he who said so, could al­so [Page 19] say, I would they were even [...]ut off which trouble you, G [...]l. 5. 12. It is my souls desire that the secular coercive power may be put [...]orth upon those only who can by no other means be reclaimed, & who can be no longer spared with­out a visible rupture in the Church, and the manifest dan­ger of seducing and misleading many souls. A Presbytery is not so ill a neighbour, that no man who hath the least dif­fering opinion may live beside it.

But 2. this objection doth as much strike against the New England government, as against the government of the neighbouring reformed Churches. For in New Eng­land there hath been severity enough (to say no worse) u­sed against Hereticks and Schismaticks.Th [...]s doth Au­gustine argue a­gainst the Do­n [...]til [...]s who pleaded so much for liber­ty of consci [...]ce to themselves, and yet gave no liberty of conscience to others where they were able to hinder it. Centraliter. Pet [...]l [...]. 2. c. 39. Noli [...]rgo d [...]ce [...]e, absit, absit à ne­stracōs [...]e [...]tia, ut ad n [...]stram fidē aliquem com­p [...]ll [...]mus facitis enimubi potestis; ubi autem n [...]n facitis, non po­testis, sivel [...]gū sive invidae ti­more, sive resi­stentium mul­titudine. And here I must appeal the consciences of those who now plead so much for liberty of conscience and toleration in this Kingdome, were they able to root out the Presbyterians and their way, & could find civil authority inclinable to put forth the coer­cive power against it, whether in that case would they not say, that the Magistrate may represse it by strong hand, if it cannot be otherwise repressed. It is not without cause that I put this Quere to them; for M. S. pag. 50. (a passage be­fore cited) doth allow of the Magistrates fighting against a doctrine or way which is indeed superstition, heresy, or schisme, and only pretendeth to be from God, when it is in­deed from men. Also that pamphlet called As you were, p. 3. tels us that it was neither Gamal [...]els meaning nor Mr. Good­w [...]ns meaning, that every way pretending to be from God must be let alone, but that only we are to refrain & let alone, till we are certain that we are out of danger of fighting a­gainst God, while we endeavour to overthrow it. Now I as­sume, there are some who plead for liberty of conscience, who professe that they are certain and fully assured, upon de­monstrative proofs, that the Presbyteriall way is not from God, nor according to the mind of Jesus Christ (which is hintedtous both in the pamphlet last cited p. 5, 6. & in [...]EO­MAXIA pag. 25.) Therefore according to their principles they must allow of the putting forth of the civil coercive power a­gainst [Page 20] the Presbyteriall way. And if so, what a grand impo­sture is this? what a deceiving of the world? what a mock­ing of the Parliament and of the Kingdome? to plead gene­rally for liberty of conscience, when they intend only li­berty to themselves, not to others that are opposite to them. Which appeareth yet further by the compassionate Sama­ritane, pag. 10. he saith that no man is to be punished or discountenanced by authority for his opinion, unlesse it be dangerous to the State, pag. 23, 24. he discourseth against the opinion of Presbyterians as most dangerous to the State. Therefore he would have the Presbyterians discountenan­ced and punished by authority, and intendeth liberty only to the Separatists, Anabaptists, and the like.

I have done with three objections, but I have three words more to speak with the compassionate Samaritane, in answer to his three arguments for liberty of conscience, in which though all the strength of his discourse doth lie, I hope to make him ashamed of them, if he can at all blush.

His first argument is this. Whatsoever a mans reason doth conclude to be true or false, to be agreeable or disagreeable to Gods word, that same to that man is his opinion or judgement, and so man is by his own reason necessitated to be of that mind he is: Now where there is a necessity, there ought to be no punish­ment, for punishment is the recompence of voluntary actions, there­fore no man ought to be punished for his judgement. Answ. 1. The question is not whether a man ought to be punished for his judgement, but whether a man ought to be punished for such professions or practises in religion, as are found to be pernicious, hurtfull, and destructive, to the glory of God, the truth of the Gospell, the Ordinances of Christ, the reformation of Religion, the peace of the Church. I know he will be ready still to set on foot his argument, for that a mans judgement and reason doth so necessitate and conclude him that he cannot chuse but professe and practice as he doth. Therefore I adde 2. this argument of his striketh against the justice of the Parliament done or to be done upon Malig­nants, for as much as their judgement bindeth them, and [Page 21] their reason doth necessitate them to judge and speak and act as they doe. 3. It striketh at the very justice of God upon reprobate and unbeleeving men, for as much as they cannot receive the things of God, 1 Cor. 2. 14. cannot hear the words of Christ, Joh. 8. 43. cannot receive the spirit of truth, Ioh. 14. 17. But 4. the formall solution is this; there is a grosse fallacy in the argument, for we must distinguish necessity, there is a naturall necessity, which takes away the [...], and a morallnecessity, which takes away the [...] of a mans being of another judgement or way. Again, there is an absolute necessity, and a hypotheticall necessity. Now the necessity of a Hereticks judging thus, because his rea­son concludeth him thus, is not a morall necessity or obligation upon him, as if it were not lawfull to him to judge or doe otherwise, (nay he ought and is bound by the word of God to judge otherwise, and doe otherwise) but it is a naturall necessity, (I meane of sinfull nature) and that not simple and absolute, neither, but hypotheticall only, and upon this supposition that he hath not yet opened his eyes to re­ceive more light, nor set his heart singly and in the feare of God to seeke more light. So that the plaine English of this Samaritan argument is this: Though Gods word bindeth a man to such a duty, yet if his owne erroneous, perverse and corrupt judgement conclude him so farre that his opinion cannot agree with the word of God, and himselfe cannot be brought to the practice of that necessary duty; such a man ought not to be punished. Or as if one should argue thus: He that hath borrowed from me a thousand pound, hath by his owne fault disabled himselfe to pay it: there­fore I may not call him to an account for it.

But let us see whether this Samaritan be happier in his se­cond argument. Which is this: It's knowne that the Fathers, Generall Councels, Nationall Assemblies, Synods and Parliaments in their times have beene most grossely mistaken: and though the present times be wiser then the former, &c. yet since there re­maines a possibility of error, notwithstanding never so great pre­sumptions to the contrary, one sort of men are not to compell ano­ther, [Page 22] since this hazard is run thereby, that he who is in an error may be the constrainer of him who is in the truth.

Answ. 1. Farewell Parliaments, if this argument hold good. The Parliament may fine no man, imprison no man, banish no man: they may compell no man to Assessements, Taxes, Excise, Billeting of Souldiers &c. And why forsooth? because they may not presume of an infallible and unerring spirit, but may erre, and have erred as well as other men.

2 He argueth from the hazard of compulsion, it may fall out that he who is in the truth may be constrained and persecuted. True: it may fall out so; and the Lord save us that we never be accessary to the persecuting of any who is in the truth, for so it may be againe through mens cor­ruption and abuse of the magistrates power, (so the best things may be abused.)

But the liberty of conscience which he pleadeth for, runs a farre greater hazard, even the hazard of not only shaking but overturning truth, and peace, and religion, and ordi­nances, and Church, and soules, and all. To the ruine of all these, and to a thousand mischiefes, this kinde of liberty prepareth a broad way, and openeth a wide doore; and it is better, as he said, to live where nothing is lawfull, then where every thing is lawfull.

3. It followes not that because Parliaments may not pre­sume of an unerring spirit, therefore they cannot be certaine that they are in the truth concerning this or that particular, so that they may confidently compell men to it, without feare of fighting against God. The acknowledgement of a possibility of error, and that we know but in part as long as we are in this world, may well consist with mens fulnesse of perswasion from the light of Gods word, concerning this or that truth to be beleeved, or duty to be done.

I make haste to his third argument. To compell me, saith he, against my conscience, is to compell me against what I beleeve to be true, and so against my faith; now whatsoever is not of faith is sinne: to compell me therefore against my conscience, is to compell me to doe that which is sinfull. And, Againe I am coun­selled [Page 23] by the Apostle to be perswaded in my owne minde of the truth of that way wherein I serve the Lord, &c.

Answ. 1. This also shaketh loose Parliamentary autho­rity; though the Gentleman who wrote these arguments pretendeth to stand for it, as much as any other. His argu­ment will conclude (if it concludeth at all) that the Parlia­ment may not compell Malignants, disaffected persons, Re­bels, to any thing which they are not perswaded in their own minds to be right. It is against my conscience, wil the Antiparliamentary malignant say, to contribute to the war, to acknowledge this for a Parliament, as long as the King doth not acknowledg it; to reveal such a design, or to confesse this or that plot against the Parliament, whē I am examined; therefore I shal sin if I do so, for whatsoever is not of faith is sinne, and the Parliament shall compell me to sinne, if they compell me to doe so. For though the thing may be in it selfe good, yet if it doe not appeare to be so to my conscience, the pra­ctice thereof in me is sinfull, which therefore I ought not to bee compelled unto, saith the Samaritan. If hee say his argument is only concerning matters of religion, I answer, Whatever his intention be in offering the argument, the very na­ture and force of the argument it selfe driveth universally against the compelling of a man to any thing whatsoever which is against his owne conscience, except be will say that it is a sinne to serve God against my consci [...]nce, but it is no sinne to serve the Parliament against my conscience. Saith not the Apostle. WHATSOEVER is not of faith is sinne: and, He that doubteth is damned?

But 2.An es de Consc. l [...]b. 1. cap 5. Agere saepe li­ [...]t, man [...]te dubitatione speculativa. when the Apostle saith so, he doth not exclude all manner of doubting, as the Casuists well observe, but only practicall doubts: for a man may have his conscience mo­rally and practically certaine, so that he may doe such a thing lawfully, and with confidence that he is doing the will of God, and yet withall he may be perhaps fluctuating in some speculative doubts concerning that very thing. For instance: a Christian may come to the Lords Table with so much faith (I meane not now the faith of the person [Page 24] which justifieth before God, but the faith of that action) as maketh his comming lawfull, though his thoughts be exer­cised with some doubts concerning the truth of his repen­tance and faith. A souldier may in faith goe out to warre, being assured that what he doth he may doe without sinne, but yet he hath happily his owne speculative doubts con­cerning the nature, causes, and ends of the warre. A man may with freedome and perswasion of minde (so farre as concerneth his practice) submit to Presbyteriall govern­ment, who yet perhaps hath not throughly satisfied himselfe concerning the grounds and warrants which it hath from the word of God.

The Samaritan will reply (it may be) that he hath no faith at all concerning the practice it selfe, and that he may not be compelled to doe any thing against his conscience, for that were to compell him to sinne. To take off this, I adde 3. If the thing be indifferent, I confesse no man is to be com­pelled to it against his conscience, for this hath beene the tyranny of Papists and Prelats, to compell men against their consciences to certaine rites which themselves acknowled­ged to be meerly indifferent, setting aside obedience to au­thority in such things, which (say they) is not indifferent. But if the word of God either directly or by necessary con­sequence, make the thing necessary, and such as we cannot leave undone without sinne and breach of duty; if there be such an obligation from the word, then may a man bee compelled to it, though against his conscience.

But then you will say, I am brought into a necessity of sinning, for if I obey not, I refuse a duty; if I obey, I doe it against my conscience. Answ. This necessity is not abso­lute, but hypotheticall, is not perse, but per accidens, so long as a man retaineth the error of his conscience, which he ought to cast away. You will say againe, supposing that my con­science cannot be satisfied, nor made of another opinion then now I am of, whether in this case, and so long as it standeth thus with me, may authority compell me to obey against my conscience, and so to sinne? or whether ought [Page 25] they not rather permit me not to obey, because my con­science forbiddeth me. Answ. The thing being necessary, as hath been said, it is pars tutior, yea, tutissima, that a man be compelled to it, though it be against his erring and ill informed conscience. I know so long as he hath such an erring conscience he cannot but sin in obeying. But the sin of not obeying is greater and heavier: for this is a sin in the fact it self; that a sin in the manner of doing only, being not done in faith: this is a sin of it selfe, that is a sin only by accident: this is a sin materially; that is a sinne only inter­pretatively to him, because he thinks so: this is a sin for the substance; that a sin for the circumstance: this cannot be made to be no sin, for the nature of the duty cannot be al­tered; that may cease to be a sin, for the mans conscience may through Gods mercy and blessing upon the means, be better informed. So that there can be no doubt but this is every way a greater sin then that, and consequently more to be avoided. And thus I have dispatched the Samaritane who did undertake to pour oyl into the wounds of the Separati­on. Medice cura teipsum.

The next thing comes in my way, is an argument brought for liberty of conscience, from Gamaliels speech in favour of the Apostles, Act. 5. 38, 39. Refrain from these men & let them alone: for if this counsell or this work be of men, it will come to nought. But if it be of God ye cannot overthrow it, lest haply ye be found even to fight against God. The strength of his argu­mentation did lie in this Dilemma; this doctrine or way is either of men, or of God. If it be of men, you shall not need to represse it, for it will come to nought of it self, which he proves by two Historicall instances of Judas and Theudas. If it be of God, it is in vain to strive against it, for it must prevail, and the counsell of heaven must stand. Therefore be what it will be, there is no danger to let it alone. But on the other side, if ye goe about to represse it ye runne the hazard both of fighting against God, and of provoking the displeasure as well of the Romanes who have not permitted [Page 26] unto you the liberty of capitall punishments, as of the peo­ple of the Jews who magnifie these men and their way. This is the whole substance, sense, and scope of that speech of Gamaliel in the Councell. Hence did some argue for a toleration to Servetus and other Hereticks. And though this their way was then discovered to be their folly, yet their posterity approve their sayings. The same argument is used in that pamphlet called Liberty of Conscience, p. 34, 35. Upon the same foundation doth M Goodwin build in his [...], and the Paraenetick for Christian liberty, pag. 2. and 11. sup­posing the credit and authority of Gamaliels speech, for matter of truth to be one and the same with other scriptures, and that there is nothing in all that speech but what is fully consonant with the word of God, unquestionably so acknow­ledged. So Mr Goodwin affirmeth, p. 10. and after him one P. P. which is by interpretation, Poor Pamphleter, fals in the same ditch; he might well call it As you were, for he makes that party to be never a jot more in the right. First of all he will contend with us that Protestant Interpreters doe commend Gamaliels speech,Calv. Refut. Error. M. Ser­veti. Gamali­elit authoritas perperam abil­lis adducitur, &c. Gamaliel amb [...]g [...]ni quid rectu [...] sit, quasi caecus in tenebris, neque bu [...] neque illuc se conser [...]e audet: sed saspendi [...] sente [...]tiam. In erim ex veris p [...]incipiis malam conseque [...]tiam clicit, nihil ad ib [...]n lum esse [...], quia deus quod suum est tuebitu [...]: quod autem ab homi­nibus est, possum ibit, &c. Patidius est quam ut refu [...]atione ind [...]g [...]at, quod quidam ex propha­norum ho [...]num dictis colligun [...], Si de cultu dei & legis doctrin [...] hab [...]tur quaestio, non esse crim [...]n morte aut vinc [...]lis d [...]gnum. P [...]l [...]rgus in Act. 5. Sic in causae qualitate s [...]spensus hae­ret; nec proba [...]e nec improbare potest apostolicam doctrinam. Et infra. Ex judicio hominis in foro prudentis, n [...]utiquam Theologice concludendam, qu [...]d à paenis & correctionibus fit ces­sandum, quia deus ad scandala to [...] & m [...]la prorsus eradicanda ipse sufficiat. Magistratus enim officium ex 13 Rom. v. 4. & aliunde notum est. and justify M Goodwins Do­ctrine. Sure I am, Calvin takes Gamaliel to be a godlesse Polititian, and a Neutralist, and his speech to have a great error in it. So saith Pelargus upon the place.

But to save me a labour in looking upon other Interpre­ters, because the Poor Pamphleter appealeth first to Piscator and Beza, and afterwards to Gualther, (as Mr Goodwin did [Page 27] before him) let him be judged by these and no other. P [...]s­cator saith plainly, that Gamaliels speech was not right,Piscat. Non fuit rectum (Gamaliclis consilium) ratio­ne illius conne­xi, Si est ex hominibus con­filium sive opus [...], disselv [...]tur: q [...]ate [...]us voluit collegas inde coll [...]ge [...]e, no [...] i­g [...]tur esse ipsis elaborandum ut opus illud dissolvant. Nam etsi novationes huma [...]o consilio & au laci [...] s [...]s­ceptae, tandem dissolvuntur: tamen officium Magistratus est, operam dare ut illas comp [...]scant & proh [...]beant, & ejusmodi novatores pro merito puniant, sed praecunte legitima [...]gn [...]tione causae. Beza, Non certè quod Evangelio faveret (Gamaliel) nisi D [...]scipuli sui Sauli fait dissi­milis, (infra 22. 3.) sed quod homo esset moderatus & vereretur ne caedem Apostelorum con­tra Roma [...]orum authoritatem factam, gravius aliquid sequeretur. Gualther. Perniciosissimi dogmatis occasionem hinc venantur, quo nullius conatus quantum vis improbes, nullius etiam err [...]res quantumvis impios & blasphemos vi coercendes esse [...]lamant. Vnde aliud scqui non po­test quam universae disciplinae tum politicae tum ecclesiasticae c [...]n [...]ulsio: frustra enim geret Ma­gistratus gladium. while he saith, If this counsellor this work be of men, it will come to nought, his meaning being that therefore they should let it alone. Beza thinks Gamaliel spake not from love to the A­postles, but from fear of the Romanes. Gualther thinks it a most pernicious Tenent which some build upon this place, concerning the toleration of heresies and errors. Yea, Beza de Haereticis à Magistratu puniendis, citeth and approveth Calvins judgement, condemning Gamaliel for Neutrality, and his speech of error.

These learned Divines have so well opened and cleared the point, that there is no place left for what the Poore Pam­pleter hath said, yet two things more I must take notice of in him. He saith it was not for any fear of the Jews or Ro­manes that Gamaliel gave this advice. Not for fear of the people of the Jews, for that would be but at the Apostles ap­prehension, not execution. What non-sense is here? the people were angry at laying hands on the Apostles, but there was no fear of their wrath if the Apostles should be killed. Not for fear of the Romanes wrath, which, saith he, they often regarded not, as Acts 23. 27. A place which confuteth himself, for when the Jews would have killed Paul, Clau­dius Lysias came with an army and rescued him: a danger which we must think the wisdome of Gamaliel & the coun­cell could better foresee, then that rude and furious multi­tude, which would have killed Paul.

[Page 28] Next be will not yeeld so much as that Gamaliel did doubt whether the Apostles doctrine were from God or not, and that he made it an uncertain case. In this Sir you have faced about, sure you are not As you were, for M Goodwin himself [...]. pag. 11. saith, that Gamaliel in point of judgement or conscience, was still but where he was doubtfull and in suspence with himself about the businesse. Well, but why hath he now denyed that Gamaliel made it a doubtfull and uncer­tain case? He might, saith he, and in all likelyhood did thus expresse himself for fear or policy: So did Hushai strangely for an honest heart in that case of Davids, in his counsell to Absalon, 2 Sam. 17. yet Hushai made a round lie, even against his knowledge. Look about you my Masters, know whom ye trust; here's a generation of men, pretending to a more per­fect and Saint-like reformation then others, but yet they think it no fault to lie and dissemble for good ends. Nay that's not all, pag. 4. answering to an objection made a­gainst those who doe commend and magnifie themselves, for greater gifts and graces then other men have; He tels us it is no fault for a man not only to compare, but preferre himself to another, and that on purpose to heighten his own estimation. Which how sweetly it agrees with Pauls do­ctrine, Phil. 2. 3. In lowlinesse of mind let each esteem other better then themselves; let every sober and moderate spirit judge. How now, poor Pamphleter? is it not enough for you to defend a lying tongue, but you will needs de­fend pride too? those are two (I am sure) of the seven things which are abomination to the Lord, Prov. 6. 16, 17. And here I leave the poor Pamphleter with this black mark upon him; I will not proceed to answer a fool in his foolish­nesse, lest I be like unto him; thus far I have answered, lest he be wise in his own eyes.

Only I adde one thing more in answer to that argument for liberty of conscience, from Acts 5. 38, 39. Suppose Ga­maliels principles to be good, and this speech to be of truth and authority, (which I have proved it is not) yet it is not ap­plicable to the toleration of hereticks and sectaries now, that [Page 29] case of the Apostles being extraordinary, and great miracles wrought by them, to the conviction of their most malig­nant opposites, Act. 4. 16.

Some it may be will object further from Isa. 11. 9. a place objected in the Paraenetick, pag. 3. They shall not hurt nor de­stroy in all my holy mountaine. And Luke 9. 54. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord wilt thou that we command fire to come downe from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of, for the Sonne of man is not come to destroy mens lives, but to save them. A place objected by Nicolaides Refut. tract. de Eccl, cap. 4.

Answ. That prophecy concerning the Christian Church, Isa. 11. 9. is not to be understood generally, as the word soundeth, for then adulterers, murtherers, &c. are not to be hurt and destroyed by the Christian Magistrate. The mea­ning therefore is, that those who have formerly been as Li­ons & Wolves to the poor Lambs of Christ, shall either be renewed and changed in their nature, or (which is more probable) shal be so restrained and overawed by the power and providence of God, that it shal not be in their power to hurt or destroy any of the Saints for the truth or the Gospels sake. [...], Neither shall they bee able to destroy any: So the Septuagints. God shall so preserve and protect his Church, that she shall be like a Lamb among Wolves, or like a Kid among Leopards, or like a Childe putting his hand on the Cockatrice den, and yet shall not be hurt nor destroyed thereby. And as this pro­phecie guardeth and protecteth none but those who are in Gods holy Mountaine, professors and lovers of the Gospel, and the ordinances of Jesus Christ: So our Lord Christs re­buke, Luke 9. 54, 55. striketh not against any just and ne­cessary severity, but against a private vindictive spirit, and carnall blinde zeale: It being the purpose of Christ, then, most of all other times, not to exercise violence, (as tyrants doe in conquering new dominions) but to conquer and sub­due soules by his doctrine and miracles, with a spirit of [Page 30] meeknesse, especially having to doe with the Samaritans, or any other who had never yet knowne nor received the Gospel. Even those who say most for a coercive power to be put forth against Heretickes and Schismaticks, doe not allow of the compelling of Infidels, Pagans, or Jewes, by ex­ternall punishments to receive the Gospel.

But now after all this debate upon the question in hand, and after all these arguments for the affirmative and for the negative, some will happily desire and expect some fur­ther modification and explanation of the matter in certain positive conclusions or distinguishing assertions. For whose satisfaction I say,

First, there are five sorts of toleration proceeding from five different principles. 1. Of indifferency. 2. Of policy. 3. Of pretended conscience and equity. 4. Of necessity. 5. Of charity.

The first is when the Magistrate is a Nullifidian, Neutra­list, and Adiaphorist, esteeming as Gallio did, questions of the law and of the Ordinances of Christ, to be of words & names, or things which he careth not for, Acts 18. 14, 15.

The second is when the Magistrate tolerateth hereticks and sectaries for his own profit, or some such interest of po­licy, such as maketh the Pope to tolerate the Jews in Italy, yea in Rome it self, where they have their synagogues, cir­cumcision and liturgies, because his profit by them is greater then by the very Courtizans; yea, besides their certain tri­bute, he doth sometimes impose on them a subsidy of ten thousand crownes extraordinary for some service of the State, as Europae speculum, pag. 221, 222. hath represented to us. And whether the States of the united Provinces do not grant tolerations upon the like interests of their own profit, I leave it to the judgement of their own consciences.

The third is the toleration pleaded for here, by Mr Willi­ams, the compassionate Samaritane, &c. as if justice, equity, duty, and conscience should make the Magistrate forbear all coercive power in matters of religion. All these three I utterly condemn, and the former arguments doe strongly militate against them.

[Page 31] The fourth kinde of toleration, arising from necessity which hath no law,Kekerman. curs. philos. disp. 35. probl. 14. doth agree to these words of the Jesuit Becan [...]s. Tametsi prin­ceps aut Magi­stratus Catholi­cus omnibus mo­dis impodere de­beat, l [...]bertae­tem [...] gionis, [...]t dictum est: si ta non i [...] facere non p [...]ssit sine graviori incommodo boni publici, potest eam tolerare tanquam min [...]s malum, ad evitandum majus, quod [...]alioqui sequetur. Polan. com. in Dan. 3. 29. Mag [...]strat [...]m Chr [...]stimum d [...]cet veram rel g [...]onem, &c. in sua repub. constit [...]ere, & quidem solam, &c. Incidunt tamen non­nunquam tempora quibus optimi Reges ac Mag [...]stratus, pa [...]is publicae retinendae causi, vita [...] ­darumque intestinarum seditionum [...]n cessitate adducti, c [...]guntur exemplo peritorum na [...] r [...] ­rum veluti tempestati cedere, & superstitiosos errantesque f [...]rre: ut potius aliqua & respu [...]. & rel gio habeatur quam nulla. Both these Writers doe purposely frame this answer to the question concerning toleration. may well be mourned for as an afflicti­on, it cannot be condemned as the Magistrates fault. Even a David may have cause to complain that the sons of Zer­viah are too strong for him. In such cases as these, our Di­vines have given a relief to the conscience of the Christian Magistrate, purging him of the guilt of this kind of tolera­tion; provided always, that he hath endeavoured so farre as he can to extirpate heresies, and to establish the true re­ligion only. Which hath nothing to doe with that princi­ple now defended, that the Magistrate though he may never so easily, yet he ought not nor cannot without sin exercise a coercive power in matters of religion.

The fifth and last is that kind of toleration whereby the Magistrate when it is in the power of his hand to punish and extirpate, yet having to doe with such of whom there is good hope either of reducing them by convincing their judgements, or of uniting them to the Church by a safe ac­commodation of differences, he granteth them a Superse­deas; or though there be no such grounds of hope concern­ing them,Calv. Besut. Error. [...]. Serveti. E [...]g [...] hîc tene [...] est p [...]udentia & moderatio, [...] vel pro causa inc [...]g [...]ita ta­mul [...]u [...]e eff [...]r­vea [...]t principes, vel immanis [...] ­vit [...]a [...]d sangui­n [...]m fande [...]d [...]m ruant. yet while he might crush them with the foot of power, in Christian pity and moderation, he forbeareth so far as may not be destructive to the peace and right govern­ment of the Church, using his coercive power with such mixture of mercy as createth no mischief to the rest of the Church. I speak not only of bearing with those who are weak in the faith, Rom. 15. 1. but of sparing even those who have perverred the faith, so far as the word of God and rules of Christian moderation would have severity tempe­red [Page 32] with mercy: that is (as hath been said) so far as is not destructive to the Churches peace, nor shaketh the [...]ounda­tions of the established form of Church government, and no further: these last two kinds of toleration are allowed; the first three are wholy condemned.

My second distinction is concerning the punishments inflicted by the Magistrate upon Hereticks. [...]. 2. S [...]rm. 8. p. 7 [...]. [...], &c. Sed timor dei, aequitas & prud [...]rtia judicis intelliget ex [...] quomodo punienda [...] sedacto [...]ibus & seductis [...] & per vicax rebel [...] & minime mal [...]t [...]. They are either extermina­tive, or medicinall. Such as blaspheme God or Jesus Christ, or who fall away them­selves and seduce others to Idolatry, ought to be utterly cut off according to the law of God. But as for other Hereticks, they are to be chastened with medicinall pu­nishments as mulcts, imprisonments, ba­nishment, by which through Gods blessing they may be humbled, ashamed, and redu­ced. Not that I think the proper end of civill and coercive punishments to be the conversion and salvation of the Delinquent, (which is the end of Church censures & of Excommunication it self) but that the right method of proceeding doth require that the Magistrate inflict the smaller punishments first, that there may be place for the offenders bringing forth of fruits worthy of repentance, and he may be at least re­duced to externall order and obedience, being perswa­de [...] by the terror of civill power, which may and doth (when blessed of God) prove a preparation to free obe­dience, as the needle is to the thread, or the law to the Gospell, servile fear to filiall fear: and that the Magi­strate step not up to the highest justice till other punish­ments have proved ineffectuall: which made Constantine punish the Hereticks of his time not with death, but with banishment, as is manifest by the Proem of the Councell of Nice. In such cases it may be said to the Heretick of the Magistrate, He is the Minister of God to thee for good, [Page 33] more good I am sure,Magis illa per­sequebaetur Sa­ram supe [...]bi [...]n­de, quàm illam Sera coerce do [...] illa enim a [...]i­nae faciebat is­juriam, ista im­p [...]n [...]bat super­biae disc [...]pl [...]nā. Ep 50. Beza de Haeret. à Magistr. puniend. Tacco quod toties adversus Dena [...]istas & Circum­cell ones Augustinus testatur experienti [...] ipsa [...]doctus, pl [...]rosque eo esse inge to ut nulla re magis quàm severitate in [...]fficio contincantur: adeò ut quod initio poenae formidine vita unt, id ipsum postea libenter fugiant, & asperitatem illam fibi saluberrimam fuisse testent [...]r. then if the golden reins of civill ju­stice should be loosed, and he suffered to doe what he list. Therefore Augustine likeneth this coercive punishing of Hereticks to Sarah her dealing roughly with Hagar, for her good and humiliation. I conclude, connivence and indul­gence to Hereticks is a cruell mercy: correction is a merci­full severity, and a wholesome medicine, as well to themselves as to the Church.

Thirdly, we must distinguish betwixt the coercive po­wer of the Magistrare in matters of religion, and the abuse of that power; when we justifie the power, we justifie not the abuse of it; and when we condemn the abuse, we must not therefore condemn the power. Acontius Stratag. Stat. li. 3. pag. 147. buildeth much upon this notion, let a man ima­gine that his lot is fallen in those times when the truth is persecuted by authority, when the Magistrate justifieth the wicked and condemneth the godly, (which hath been the more ordinary condition of the Church) and then let him accordingly shape the resolution of the question concerning the Magistrates punishing of Hereticks. Will not a man think (saith he) it had been better that Hereticks had not been punished, then that upon pretence of coercive power against Hereticks, the edge of the Civill sword be turned to­wards the Preachers and Professors of the truth? But not­withstanding of all this, truth must be truth, and justice must be justice, abuse it who will. Parliaments and Synods have been many times enemies to the truth, and have a­bused their power in matters of religion: must we there­fore deny the power of Parliaments and Synods? or must we cast off any ordinance of God because of the abuse of it? If the thing were indifferent, the abuse might take a­way the use: not so, when the thing is necessary. I adde (which is well observed by Calvin) when Jeremiah was [Page 34] accused and arraigned as worthy to die, his defence is not this, You ought not to vindicate religion with the sword, nor put any man to death for the cause of conscience, but this is it, Know ye for a certain, that if ye put me to death, ye shall surely bring in­nocent bloud upon your selves, and upon this city, and upon the inhabitants thereof: for of a truth the Lord hath sent me unto you to speak all these words in your ears, Jer. 26. 15. Neither did ever the Apostles (though often persecuted) plead the unlawfulnesse of persecuting men for heresie, but they plea­ded the goodnesse of their cause, and that they were no He­reticks.

Fourthly, I distinguish betwixt bare opinions or specula­tions, and scandalous or pernicious practices, as Mr Burton doth in his Vindication of the Independent Churches, pag. 70. You must distinguish, saith he, betwixt mens consciences and their practises. The conscience simply considered in it self is for God, the Lord of the conscience alone to judge, as before. But for a mans practises (of which alone man can take cognizance) if they be against any of Gods Commandements of the first or second Table; that appertains to the civill Magistrate to punish, who is for this cause called Custos utriusque Tabulae,Bullinger. ubi supra. Dume­nim fides falsa in an [...]mo s [...]pul­ta latet, no [...] in­fi [...]t quenquam n [...]si infidelem, p [...]niri non po­tell infidelis: ubi a [...]t [...]m fid [...]s laten erump [...]t in blasphemias, ac deum palam lacerat & pro­ximos quosque infi [...]it, coercen­dus est blasphe­mus & sedu­ctor, ne malum latius serpat. the keeper of both Tables: for this he citeth Rom. 13. 3, 4. and addeth. So as we see here what is the object of civill power, to wit, actions good or bad, not bare opinions, not thoughts, not conscience, but actions. And this is his answer to the Interrogatory con­cerning the lawfull coercive power of civill Magistrates in suppressing heresies. In which he hand somely yeeldeth the point, for who doth advise the Parliament to punish men for their thoughts, or bare opinions, or for conscience simply considered in it self? It is for preaching, printing, spreading of dangerous opinions, for schismaticall, pernici­ous and scandalous practises, for drawing factions among the people contrary to the Covenant, for resisting the refor­mation of religion, for lying and railing against the Cove­nant, the Parliament, the assembly of Divines, or against the reformed Churches.

Fifthly, we must distinguish the persons who are in the [Page 35] Error, whether Heresiarchs and ring-leaders, or whether fol­lowers only, and such as do actiagere; whether schismatizing, or schismatized; whether more weake, or more wilfull; whe­ther seducers, or seduced; whether pious, or prophane, or Phari­saicall; whether peaceable, moderate, calme, docile, or turbu­lent, factious, fierce, railing, obstinate, incorrigible. So that when the thing is brought from the Thesis to the Hypothe­sis, there is very much to be trusted to the prudence, circum­spection, and observation of those who are in authority,The Papists fall very farre shore in distingu [...]shing the persons, and proportioning the punishments. For instance see Tannerus The [...]l. S [...]hol Tom. 3. disp. 1. quaest. 8. dub. 6. n. 129. Hac poena (mo [...]tis) ubi recepta est, affici, tumon nes r [...]lapsos, etiamsi couverti denu [...] veli [...]t, tum omnes post admonitionē pert n [...]ce [...], etiamsi nunquam relapsi sint. Abt [...]roqui nec re [...]apsi sunt, nec in per­tinac [...]a pe [...]sever [...]nt, nec ali [...]s per­verterunt, licet in r [...]gore mortem nihilominus promereantur, ordina­riè tamen mortis poena affici non s [...] ­len [...], sed carceris p [...]rpetui. As for that punishment commonly cal­led Irregularity, he will have it to fall not only upon the Hereticke himselfe but upon his sonnes and nephewes. Ib. n. 111. to set apart those for punish­ment who resist Reformation, as Jannes and Jambres did resist Moses, 2 Tim. 3. 8. and are said to trouble the Churches, Act. 15. 24. Gal. 1. 7. & 5. 12. and to trouble them more or lesse, as they are more or lesse troublers of Israel. Let not the Magistrate feare to say to every Achan, Why hast thou troubled us? the Lord shall trouble thee this day, Jos. 7. 25. Other seduced ones the Magistrate is to command sub poena, and cause them stand to the Covenant of God, as Iosiah did, if they cannot be perswaded to doe it willing­ly. If the Magistrate miscarry in a misap­plication of his coercive power, let him an­swer to God and his conscience for his error. It is not in my thoughts either to plead for or allow of the persecuting of pious and peaceable men.

Sixtly, as the reformation and preservation of religion differ much from the propagation of religion: so the coercive po­wer put forth in the suppressing of Heresie or Schisme, is a thing of another nature then the compelling of Infidels by the sword to receive the Gospell. Let the Pope, and the Spa­niard, and Mahomet propagate religion by the sword; that is not it I plead for. None of the Gentiles was of old com­pelled to be circumcised, but being circumcised he might be compelled to keepe the Law of Moses. Also if strangers of the Gentiles were sojourning or trading in the land of Is­rael, [Page 36] they might be compelled to abstaine from the pub­licke and scandalous breaking of the morall Law, Nehem. 13. 16. 21. Exod. 20. 10. which things did belong to the preservation, not to the propagation of religion.

Seventhly, to establish by a law the toleration, liberty and immunity of such a Sect or Way, so as all that will may joyne in it, is a thing of most dangerous consequence. But to permit such or so many persons of a Sect to enjoy the li­berty of their owne consciences and practices, with such li­mitations as shall be found necessary, is a tolerable Tolera­tion, I meane a thing though not to be wished, yet to be al­lowed. The Romans in their Heathenish way did put a dif­ference betwixt these two:T. Livius D [...] ­cad. 4 l [...]b. 9. p. 696. edit. Basil. 1549. Datum deinde consuli­bus negotium est, ut omnia Bacchanalia Romae primum, deinde per to [...]am Italium dera [...]re [...]e [...]t: extra qua n [...]si qua ibi vetusta ara, aut signum consecratu [...] esset; in reliquum deinde S. C. c [...]u [...]um est, ne qua Ba [...]chanalia Romae, neve in Ital a esse [...]t. Si qui [...] tal [...] sacrum s [...]l [...]nne & necessarium duceret, nec sine religione & piacul [...] se id omittere p [...]s­se apud Prae [...]orem urbanum profiteretur: Praetor S [...]natum consuleret si ei permissum esset, cum in Senatu centum non minus esse it, ita id sacrum faceret, dum ne plus quinque sacrificio in­teressent. when they abolished the Bac­chanalian festivity and discharged it, they granted no tole­ration to such as pleased still to observe it: only they were content that some few upon leave first obtained from the Senate, and upon certaine conditions, might be permitted to continue their owne practice, as to their part.

Eightly, there is also a great difference betwixt Toleration and Accommodation. By accommodation I understand an a­greement of dissenters with the rest of the Church in pra­cticall conclusions, so that if any difference be, it is in their principles, not in their practices, and so not obvious, apparent and scandalous to people. I had rather goe two miles in an Accommodation, (yea as many as the word of God will suf­fer me) then one mile in a Toleration. For in that way there is no schisme, no rent in Israel, but the Lord one, and his name one. In this way there is Temple against Temple, and Altar against Altar, Manasseh against Ephraim, and Ephraim against Manasseh, and they both against Judah: a misery from which the Lord deliver us. I doe not deny but if a safe and [Page 37] happy Accommodation be impossible, such a Toleration as I have formerly spoken of, is not to be disallowed. But the Accommodation is a more excellent way, and that which is to be rather embraced, yea endeavoured for and followed after, according to the Apostles rule, Phil. 3. 15, 16. (which Isidorus Pelusiota did long since observe to be the best and happiest way of putting an end to divisions and dissentions in the Church) Let us therefore as many as be perfect be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall re­veale even this unto you. Neverthelesse whereto we have already attained, let us walke by the same rule, let us minde the same thing.

If it be said, Quorsum haec? what doe I conclude from all this? It is to leave this confirmed and sealed truth in the bosome of the High Court of Parliament, and of all infe­riour Magistrates according to their place and interest, un­der them, That it is their duty, without respect of persons, to en­deavour the extirpation of Heresie and Schisme, and whatsoever shall be found contrary to found doctrine, and the power of godl [...]nesse, lest they partake in other mens sinnes, and thereby be in danger to receive of their plagues; and that the Lord may be one, and his name one in the three kingdomes: And to endeavour the disco­very of all such as have beene or shall be evill instruments, by hin­dring the reformation of Religion, or making any faction or parti [...] amongst the people, contrary to the solemne League and Covenant, that they may be brought to publick triall, and receive condigne punishment, &c. Which as they had great reason to sweare and covenant, so now they have greater reason to performe accordingly; and as it is in it selfe a duty, and we tyed to it by the oath of God, and his vawes that are upon us, a [...] straitly as ever the sacrifice to the hornes of the altar: So we are to take speciall notice of the unhappy consequents which fol­low upon our slacknesse, slownesse and [...], in ful­filling that sacred Oath, viz. The hindring of uniformity, the continuing and increasing of n [...]pture both in Church and State, the retarding of Reformation, the spreading and multiplying of Heresies and Sects, while every one doth [Page 38] what is right in his owne eyes; the great scandall given both to enemies and friends: to enemies, who are made to thinke worse of our Covenant, because we doe not performe it: The Review of the Covenant, printed at Oxford, upbrai­deth us with this: that Heresie and Schisme was never more suffered, and lesse suppressed in London, then since we sware to endeavour the extirpation of the same: To friends also, who are mightily stumbled by our promising so much, and performing so little in this kinde:Judicent con­scientiae vestrae, quomodo omne Haeresium ge­nus inultum permitti, multifaria schismatum semina impunè spargi, & prohana errorum dogmata passim in vulgus proferri possint it illa civitate, quae tam expresso, sancto & severo juramento sese c [...] ­ram Deo devinaexit, ad omnes errores, harese, schismata è domo Dei ejicienda. which the Wallachian Classis in their late Letter to the Reverend Assembly of Di­vines at Westminster (printed before Apollonius his Booke) doth sadly and seriously lay to our consciences.

A Paraenetick.

BEfore I end, I have a word of exhortation for the five Apologists, and such others as shall (I trust) agree with the Churches of both Kingdomes, not only in one Confes­sion of Faith; but in one Directorie of Worship. Me thinks I heare them calling to me to say on. Et tu mi fili? said Cae­sar. And must you also brethren, give a wound to the bo­dy of Christ? Doe not, O doe not involve your selves in the plea of Toleration with the Separatists and Anabaptists. Do not partake in their Separation, lest you partake in their sup­pression. Let us heare no more Paraeneticks for Toleration, or liberty of Conscience: but as many as you will for a just and mercifull Accommodation: a thing mentioned by that Author, pa. 3. but not sought after. If you be the Sonnes of peace, you shall be characterized by this Shibboleth, you will call for Accommodation, not for Toleration; for one way,Gen. 13. 7, 8. not for two. Let there be no strife betweene us and you, for we be brethren: and is not the Canaanite and the Pe­rizzite yet in the land? O let it not be told in Gath, nor pub­lished in the streets of Ashkelon. Let it not be said, that [Page 39] there can be no unity in the Church without Prelacy. Bre­thren I charge you by the Roes and by the Hindes of the field, Cant. 2. 7. that ye awake not nor stirre up Jesus Christ till he please; for his rest is sweet and glorious with his welbeloved. It shall bee no griefe of heart to you afterward, that you have pleased others as well as your selves, and have stretched your prin­ciples for an Accommodation in Church government, as well as in Worship, and that for the Churches peace and e­dification; and that the eares of our common enemies may tingle,Act. 9. 31. when it shall be said, The Churches of Christ in Eng­land have rest, and are edified, and walking in the feare of the Lord, and in the joy of the Holy Ghost are multiplyed. Alas, how shall our divisions and contentions hinder the preaching and learning of Christ, and the edifying one another in love! Is Christ divided? saith the Apostle. There is but one Christ, yea the head and the body makes one Christ, so that you cannot divide the body without dividing Christ. Is there so much as a seame in all Christs garment? Is it not woven throughout from the top to the bottome? Will you have one halfe of Israel to follow Tibni, and another halfe to follow Omri? O brethren, we shall be one in heaven, let us packe up differences in this place of our pilgrimage, the best way wee can. Nay, we will not despaire of unity in this world.Jer. 32. 3 [...]. Ezech. 11. 19. Isa. 11. 13. 14. Hath not God promised to give us one heart and one way? and that Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vexe Ephraim, but they shall flee upon the shoulders of the Philistims toward the East, they shall spoile them of the East to­gether? Joh. 17. 21. Hath not the Mediator (whom the Father heareth alwayes) prayed that all his may be one? Brethren, it is not impossible, pray for it, endeavour it, presse hard toward the marke of Accommodation. How much better is it that you be one with the other Reformed Churches, though somewhat straitned and bound up, then to bee divided though at full liberty and elbow-roome?Pro. 17 1. Better is a dry mor­sell and quietnesse therewith, then a house full of sacrifices with strife. Doth not the Solemne League and Covenant binde you sincerely, really, and constantly to endeavour the nea­rest [Page 40] (marke nearest) uniformity and conjunction in religion: and that you shall not suffer your selves directly or indi­rectly to be withdrawne from this blessed union and con­junction. I know there is a spirit of jealousie walking up and downe. O beware of groundlesse feares and apprehen­sions. Iudge not, Mat. 7. 1. Joh. 7. 24. lest you be judged. Iudge not according to ap­pearance, but judge righteous judgement. Many false rumours and surmises there have beene concerning the Presbyterian principles, practices, designes. Expertus loquor. I am perswa­ded if there were but a right understanding one of anothers intentions, the Accommodation I speak of would not bee difficult. Brethren, if you will not hearken to wholsome counsell, you shall be the more inexcusable. I have in my eye that law of God,Lev. 19. 17. Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thy heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sinne upon him. Pro. 27. 6. Zech. 8. 19. 1 Pet. 3. 11. Faithfull are the wounds of a friend. Therefore love the truth and peace. Yea, seeke peace and pursue it.

Consider what I say. The Lord guide your feet in the way of peace. And O that God would put it in your hearts to cry downe Toleration, and to cry up Accommodation!

Amen, Amen.


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