Liberty of Conscience
To Resolve Doubts moved by Mr. John
Goodwin, John Baptist, Dr. Jer. Taylor, the
Belgic Arminians, Socinians, and other Authors
contending for lawless Liberty or licen-
tious Toleration of Sects and Heresies.
By Samuel Rutherford Professor of Divinity
In the University of St. Andrews
And I will walk at liberty, for I seek thy precepts.
Printed by R.I. for Andrew Crook, and are to be sold at his
Shop, at the sign of the Green Dragon in St. Paulís
Godly and impartial Reader.
††††† I offer (Worthy Reader) to your unpartiall and ingenuous censure these my ensuing thoughts against Liberty of conscience, from which way looking to me with a face of Atheism, I call the Adversaries, Libertines, not intending to reach a blow to any godly man, or to wound those who out of weakness are captived with that error, but to breed in the hearts of the godly a detestation of that way, which in truth hath its rise from Libertinism, and savoureth rankly of wide, loose and bold Atheistical thoughts of the majesty of God, as if our conscience had a Prerogative Royal beside a rule; yea (which is prodigious) in its simple apprehensions of God, of the Mediator, of the revealed will of God, above the Law of God: So I think, and all say so, and our faith and hope must be resolved in the first principle of skepticism. So it seems to me, for the young daughters of the mind, the simplest acts of apprehendding, knowing, believing God and divine truths are innocent, harmless ill-less soul-works, being from un- der all dominion of either freewill or a divine Law, and the mind, a free born absolute Princess, can no more incur guiltiness in its operations about an infi- nite Sovereign God, and his revealed will, by this law- less way, then the fire in burning, the Sun in enlightening, the stone in moving downward, be arraigned of any breach of Law, if toleration have place.
†††† 2. All certainty of believing, all steadfastness, rooting, and unmovable establishing in the truth, all life of consolations and comforts in the Scriptures, all peace of heavenly confidence, all joy unspeakable and full of glory, all lively hope, all patient and submissive waiting for the fruits of the harvest, all wrestling in prayer, all gloriation in tribulation, and all triumphing in praising, all rejoicing in the Spirit, being bottomed on fallible opinions, on doubtful disputations of skeptics, may be the reelings of windmills, fair fancies, and dreams; for who (say they) is infallible: and who hath known the mind of the Lord? so as the truth must be monopolized to any one Sect, or way? Who in faith or fullness of assurance can convince or rebuke gainsayers, heretics, or such as bring another doctrine, as Those whom you so labor to convince and rebuke?
†††† 3. Conscience is hereby made every manís Rule, Umpire, Judge, Bible, and his God, which if he follow, he is but at the worst, a godly, pious, holy Heretic, who feareth his conscience more than his creator, and is to be judged of you a Saint.
†††† 4. Hence conscience being deified, all rebuking, exhorting, counter-arguing, yea all the Ministry of the Gospel must be laid aside; no man must judge brother Idolater, or brother Familist, or Saints to be Socinians, or men of corrupt minds, perverse disputers, vain-janglers, wresters, rackers, or torturers of Scripture, whose words eat as a canker, who subvert whole houses, who speak the visions of their own head, and see false burdens, for all these who were of old, but are now quite gone out of the world; for who can make a window in any manís soul, and see there heart-obstinacy which only doth essentially constitute the heretic, the blasphemer, the false† prophet?
†††† But is not brotherly forbearance, Christian indulgence a debt we owe to brethren, Saints, and the truly godly in errors, and mind infirmities, which by a natural emanation or resultance get the fore-start of freewill?
†††† To which I shall speak in these few considerations.
†††† 1. It is much to be desired with the prayers and suits of the children of God, that where there are two opinions, there may be one heart, that the Father of Spirits would unite the hearts of all the children of one Father, and the heirs of one house.
†††† 2. Papists here have exceeded in boundless domination and tyranny over the consciences of men: and what ever is contrary to the lawless decrees of their Councils and Popes, is an unexpiable heresy,† and cannot be purged but by fire and fagot. 2. Who ever refuse subjection of conscience to that Enemy of Christ, and to that woman-mistress of witchcrafts, on whose skirts is found the blood of the martyrs of Jesus, is presently an heretic, and his arguments answered with burning-quick, this tyranny over conscience we disclaim; yet for that ought not the other extremity of wild toleration be embraced.
†††† 3. We cannot think but all Saints in this side of glory carry to heaven with them errors, mistakes, and prophesying in part, and the fairest Stars and lights in this lower firmament of the Church are clouded, and the benefit of the Moon serves to enlighten the under garden of Lillies, where Christ feedeth, till the day break, and the shadows flee away. And here brotherly indulgence and reciporation of the debt of compassionnate forbearance of the infirmities one of another must have place.
†††† 4. Yet so, as there can be no conflict of grace against grace; nor can the taking off the Foxes which destroy the Vines, be contrary to the gentleness and meekness of the Saints in fulfilling the law of love, and bearing one anotherís burdens, nor can love seated essentially in a new born child of the second birth be contrary to the zeal of God in withstanding to the face a Saint looking awry, and walking not with a straight foot according to the truth of the gospel; which way if heeded in sincerity, should breed more union of hearts, and be a greater testimony of faithfulness to a straying sheep, than our cruel meekness, and bloody gentleness in a pretended bearing with tender consciences under a color of paying the debt of bastard love, while as we suffer millions to perish, through silence and merciless condolency with them in their sinful depraving of the truth.
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† In the Lord Jesus,
††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††S. R.
Chapt. 1. Of Conscience and its Nature.
ō The name Conscience
ō Conscience the practical knowledge
ō Conscience a power, not an act or habit
ō What sort of knowledge is ascribed to the Conscience
ō Of the sunthresis
ō Of Conscience in relation to the major Assumption and Conclusion of a practical Syllogism
ō The object of Conscience
ō Conscience to be reverenced
ō Of obligation of Conscience,† and the acts therefrom resulting
ō Of witnessing of Conscience, and self reflection
ō The knowledge of our own state of grace, may be had by the fruits of the Spirit of Sanctification
ō Acts of Conscience in relation to the Conclusion
ō A Conscience good or ill
ō A good Conscience
ō Conscience the rarest peace that God made
ō A tender Conscience
ō Who engross the name of tender Consciences to themselves
ō Of a Scrupulous Conscience
ō The causes of a Scrupulous Conscience
Chapt. 2. Conscience under Synods, and how; and that the Conscience cannot have absolute liberty in matters of religion.
ō How a Synod compelleth
ō The Conditions that Libertines require to be in a Synod
ō The Church though not infallible, may determine infallible points
ō A Confession, Covenant, or Synodical decree, a secondary rule of Faith
ō A Ministerial and public, and a Christian and private judgment and faith how they differ
ō Libertines give us Skepticism and Fluctuation for Faith
ō There is need of Interpretation and decision of Synods
ō That Confessions ought to be only in express Scripture words, is another false principle of Libertines
ō Ancient bonds of Liberty of Conscience
ō The end of Synods is not to remove heresies by any means good or bad, or to crush heresy so effectually as these heresies shall never be heard of in the world again
ō The necessity of Synods
ō Pastors subject the disobedient to wrath, yet are not lords over the conscience; ergo, neither are Synods lords over the conscience for that
ō The subject of a Synod not a skeptic conjectural truth as Liber tines suppose
ō The sense of Scripture from Synods believed truly to be infallible, although Synods consist of men who are not infallible,† as an earthen pitcher doth contain gold and precious rubies and sapphires in it, though there be no gold in the matter of the pitcher but only clay, 2 Cor. 4.7
ō How a true decision of a Synod is ever the same and not retractable
ō Though all truths be peremptorily decided in the word, yet is there need of a ministerial and declarative decision of men, because teachers may deceive, and those that are taught are ignorant and dull
ō Men are to come to Synods not as Nullifidians but as engaged for Truth
ō Synods may impose on others and how?
ō Ancient bonds or Liberty of Conscience stated
ō The conditional imposing of Synods consisteth well with trying of all things, what Libertines say on the contrary is naught
ō Conditional imposing proveth the imposer to be no lord of conscience
Chapt. 3. The Church may complain of heretics
ō Pastors are not out of their calling, nor apparitors, nor tale-bearers, if they complain to the magistrate of heretics
Chapt. 4. The state of the question of compulsion of conscience and toleration
ō Opinions cannot be compelled, nor the mind or will in the elicit acts.
ō The question is, whether the magistrate may compulsorily restrain the external act of the outward man in religion
ō Shame and fear of rebukes, by pastors and church censures have the same compulsory influences on false teachers, that the fear of public punishment by the Synod hath
ō Church censures are as compulsory on the conscience, as coercing by the sword
ō Some external actions of injustice flowing from mere conscience are punished justly, without any note of persecution by grant of Libertines, and why not all others also?
ō Ancient bonds of liberty of conscience
ō Discountenancing of men† and negative punishing of them for their conscience is punishing of them.
ō Ancient bonds p.12
ō How religion may be compelled, how not
ō One mans religion remaining in the mind and will, may hurt or benefit the man himself, not any others: but true religion, as it comes forth into acts of teaching may edify and win others, and false religion may subvert the faith of others
ō The magistrate does not command religious acts as service to God, but rather forbids their contraries, as disservice to Christian societies
ō How Turtullian and Lactantius are to be expounded of forcing to heathen religion
ō Though we can compel none to religion, it follows not that the magistrate may not punish those that seduce others to false religion
ō Lactantius speaks of compulsion without all teaching
ō Those that are without the church are not to be compelled
ō Because the magistrateís compulsion makes heretics it followeth not, he should not punish heretics, for so he should not punish murderers
ō The magistrate may by the sword curb such impediments, that keep men from embracing the truth, according to Augustine
ō Answer to Doctor Adam Stewart
ō Impotency of free will objected by Master John Goodwin, no reason why the magistrate ought not to punish seducing teachers, as the Donatists of old objected
ō State of the question more strictly proposed
ō It may as well be said because there be no express laws against murderers, parricides, sorcerers, sodomites, in the New Testament more than against false teachers, that therefore sorcerers are no less than heretics to be tolerated
Chapt. 5. Of Fundamentals,
ō The number of fundamentals
ō A saving disposition of faith to believe all truths revealed, though the man be ignorant of many, may consist with the state of grace.
ō Three things that are among those to be believed. 1.Things simply Necessary 2.Simply profitable 3.By consequence necessary; how the Papists err in these
ō Some consequences necessary
ō Builders of hay and stubble on the foundation may be saved, and those that fall in murder and adultery out of infirmity may be also saved? Yet there is no consequence; ergo, the magistrate should tolerate both
Chapt. 6. Errors in non-fundamentals obstinately held are punishable
ō Obstinacy in ceremonies after full information deserveth punishment
ō Those that err in non-fundamentals, may deserve to be punished.
ō To teach the necessity of circumcision, not an error formally and primarily, but by consequence fundamental; and the contrary truth not necessary, necessitate medii
ō The toleration of all who err in non-fundamentals examined
ō Queries proposed to M. John Goodwin, who asserteth a catholic toleration of all religions, upon the ground of weakness of freewill, and want of grace?
ō Most arguments of Libertines infer a catholic toleration in non-fundamentals, as well as in fundamentals
ō What deductions the Spirit makes in the soul of an elect knowing but a few fundamentals and going out of this life who knoweth?
ō To know revealed truths of God is a commanded worship of God?
ō One general confession of faith without a particular sense containing the true and orthodox meaning of the word not sufficient
ō Divers pious conferences between us and Lutherans
ō They hate God and love blasphemies in the consequence who obstinately hold to them in the antecedents
ō They may be false teachers and so punishable who err not in fundamentals
ō Divers things not fundamentally believed with certainty of faith
ō Believing of truths revealed of God with a reserve, blasphemous, and turneth believers into Skeptics and Nullifidians
ō Believing with a reserve against the motion of the Holy Ghost
ō Believing with a reserve against the stability of faith
ō Against the trying of all things, and spirits, enjoined by the Holy Ghost
ō Faith with a reserve against our prayers for knowledge and growing therein
ō The Holy Ghost bids us not believe with a reserve
ō To believe with a reserve contrary to our doing, and suffering for truth and faith
ō Two distinctions necessary touching controverted points
ō Some things of their own nature not controversial, yet the deductions from them to our blind nature are controversial
ō Fundamentals of faith most controversial to our blind nature
Chapt. 7. What opinions may be tolerated, what not.
ō Some far off errors may be tolerated
ō Schism and actual gathering of churches out of churches cannot be tolerated
ō The place of Romans 14 willing us to receive the weak, no plea for toleration
ō Philippians Let us walk according to the same rule, etcÖ nothing for toleration
Chapt. 8. Whether heresy be a sin or a mere error and innocency, whether a heretic be an evil doer?
ō Libertines make heresy a mere innocent and unpunishable error of the mind
ō Heresy is a sin as well as idolatry though we could neither define heresy nor idolatry
ō Heresy proved to be a heinous sin
ō The Holy Ghost contrary to Libertines, supposeth undeniably that heretics are known, and so they are not known to God only, when he bids us beware of them, avoid them, bid them not God speed
ō Pertinacity may be, and is known to men
ō Heresy a wicked resisting of the truth, and yet not blasphemy against the Holy Ghost
ō Libertines say that a heretic dying for his heresy hath no evil conscience, but a spiritual and heavenly end
ō The vain glory of the devils, martyrs who die for heresy
ō Spiritual stupidity and malice both together in heretics and Satanís martyrs
ō Some ignorance consists with the sin against the Holy Ghost.
Chapt. 9. Of Liberty of Prophesying, of erroneous indictments of conscience, that it is not our rule.
ō Who is a heretic to Arminians, Titus 3:10
ō None to Libertines are heretic, but such as profess a religion, which they believe with persuasion to be false
ō To desire false prophets to cease out of the land is no quenching of the Spirit
Chapt. 10. Of Indulgence in Fundamental or Non-fundamental Errors.
ō How the Arminian Libertines do define a heretic
ō Heretics to Libertines only such as deny things knowable by the light of nature
ō Diversity of opinions among them
ō The punishing of men for publishing of fundamental errors, and the indulgence of a toleration yielded to them though they teach all errors in non-fundamentals, a vain distinction, and hath no ground in scripture
ō Some murders non-fundamental in David which yet are consistent with the state of salvation, should as well be tolerated, as some errors in non-fundamentals by the distinction of Libertines
ō Some non-fundamentals clearly in the word revealed, not to be believed with a reserve, and other non-fundamentals with a reserve.
ō Queries propounded to Libertines
ō Why may not the Magistrate lawfully spare the life of him, who out of a Libertine conscience merely sacrificeth his child to God? or, Why should he punish with the sword, some acts not destructive to peace in the conscience of the punished, and not all acts of the same kind?
ō To compel men to do against their conscience, that is, to sin, neither in Old or New Testament is lawful, Deuteronomy 13 and 17
ō There is the same obligation, the same formal reason (so saith the Lord) of believing non-fundamentals revealed, and fundamentals, and the same necessity of divine command, not the same necessity of means, called necessitas medii
Chapt. 11. Of Obliging Power of Conscience.
ō The state of the question touching the obligation that conscience layeth on us
ō Ancient bonds of liberty of conscience Sect. 2 Chap. 6 p.26.
ō Though the magistrate punish false teachers it follows not, that he compels them to sin against their conscience
ō Godís way and manner of calling, is no ground why the magistrate should not punish false teachers
ō Ancient bonds of liberty of conscience Chapt. 6 p.26
ō Who is the self-condemned heretic, Titus 3:10
Chapt. 12. Arguments against pretended toleration.
ō Toleration hath no warrant in the word
ō Toleration inferreth skepticism
ō Want of infallibility in new Testament, no reason for the toleration in the new Testament
ō Toleration is against faith, hope, comfort in the Scriptures.
ō Toleration is against the ministry of the word
ō Rulers by the fourth commandment are to see all under them worship God
ō Proposals of the army under Sir Thomas Fairfax 12.p.10
Chapt. 13. Magistracy and perpetual laws in the Old Testament warrant the civil coercing of false prophets.
ō Rulers as rulers, not as typical rulers, punished false teachers with the sword
ō Typicalness did not privilege all the
ō How typicalness priviledgeth men to such and such actions, how not.
ō Seducers punished by bodily death
ō Punishing of idolaters and blasphemers of the Law of Nature.
ō How wars that are extraordinary in the manner, and in some particular acts, may be and are in the substance of the acts, ordinary rules obliging us
ō The law of God warranted by the law teacheth that false teachers and heretics are to be punished with the sword
ō The law of Deuteronomy 17:2, 3 for punishing idolaters
ō There was no consulting with the oracle who should be put to death for his conscience in the Old Testament, but an ordinary way of trying evil doers by judicial proceeding and hearing of witnesses
ō The end of punishing of false teachers with the sword is not their conversion to God (ministers of the Gospel only labor in that field) but the not perverting of souls, and disturbing the safety† of human societies
ō Sacrificing of Children to Molech punished with death by Godís law, not as murder, but as spiritual whoredom
Chapt. 14. Cavils against coercive judicial laws, for punishing false prophets in the old Testament.
ō Laws punishing false teachers were moral, not temporary and pedagogical
ō Power of fathers and masters in the fourth commandment coercive.
ō Compelling to hypocrisy for fear of shame and reproaches, as guilty as compelling men with the sword, not to publish heresies, nor seduce others
ō A third answer
ō Blasphemers and idolaters never were judged to die by consulting with the immediate oracle of God, as John Goodwin imagineth, Hagiomastix Sections 34, 35, 36, 37
ō We have as sure a word of scripture, as immediate consulting with the oracle of God
ō Want of infallibility should exclude all judges to judge, pastors to preach or write, Synods to advise, because we cannot do these with prophetical infallibility
ō A twofold typicalness in the Old Testament, one merely ceremonial, unreducible, another typical, but of civil and natural use; the use of the latter ceaseth not, because it was sometime typical, so is punishing of seducers
ō Seducers of old denied no other-waies God, than our false prophets now a-days do deny him
ō Not only those who offend against the principles of nature, but those that publish and hold errors against the supernatural principles of the Gospel are to be punished by the sword
ō Such as slew their children to Molech denied no more the word of God than our heretics now do
ō There be false prophets now under the New Testament as there were under the Old Testament
Chapt. 15. Christís not rebuking toleration, and the law, Deuteronomy 13 vindicated.
ō Christís not express rebuking of the Magistrates tolerating heresies, makes not for Christís approving of toleration of heresies, more than of tolerating the absolving of a murderer at the time of the feast, or other crimes against the second table
ō The laws Deuteronomy 13 three in number explicated, the first two were moral, the third ceremonial for the most part
ō The wars in the Old Testament warrant wars in the New, according to the natural equity in them, but they bind not according to the ceremonial and temporary typicalness annexed to them
Chapt. 16. Prophecies in the Old Testament especially Zechariah 13:1-6 for punishing false prophets vindicated.
ō Prophecies in the Old Testament especially Zechariah 13:1-7 prove that false teachers under the New Testament, ought to be punished with the sword
ō So John Goodwin answereth in his Appendix to Hagiomastix.
ō The prophecy Zechariah 13 and the house of David noteth not the Jews only excluding the Gentiles
ō Master Goodwinís answer to Zechariah 13
ō Answer of Mr. Goodwin
ō It is not metaphorical thrusting through that is spoken of Zechariah 13 but really inflicted death and bodily punishment
Chapt. 17. Places in the New Testament especially Romans 13 for punishing of false teachers vindicated.
ō So John Goodwin Hagiomastix
ō The ignorance of the Christian Magistrate in matters of religion, no ground why by his office, he ought not to know so far truth and falsehood, as to punish heresies, published and spread
ō Ordinary professors may know who are heretics and who false teachers
ō Magistrates as Magistrates, cannot judge all evil doers, for heathen
ō Magistrates who never heard the gospel, cannot judge gospel heretics
ō How Christ taketh service of a Christian Magistrate
ō Master John GoodwinHow Master Goodwin would elude the place Romans 13 to prove that false teachers are not evil doers
ō Paul Romans 13, speaks of Magistrates in general, what they ought to be, not of Roman magistrates as they were then
ō Roman well doing and ill-doing not meant in the text
Chapt. 18. The place I Timothy 2:1, 2, for coercive power over false prophets cleared.
ō The place I Timothy 2:1-3 explained
ō We are to pray that magistrates as magistrates may not only permit but procure to us that we may live in godliness
ō Revelation The ten kings as kings punish the whore, and burn her flesh for her idolatry
ō Extraordinary punishing of heretics, no case of the magistrateís neglect, argueth that the magistrate ought to punish them
Chapt. 19. Exemption of false prophets from coercive power,
is not Christian liberty.
ō This liberty of conscience is not Christian liberty
ō A speculative conscience no more freed from the magistrate than a practical conscience
ō Ecclesiastical censures as compulsory as the sword
Chapt. 20. The parable of the wheat and the tares discussed and cleared.
ō The scope of the parable of the tares, and the vindication thereof.
ō The danger of punishing the innocent, in lieu of the guilty, through mistake, is no argument that heretics should not be punished by the magistrate
ō The tares are not meant of heretics, but of all the wicked who shall be burned with unquenchable fire
ō The parable of the tares, and of the sower, most distinct parables in matter and scope
ō ďLet them growĒ not expounded by Christ, and what it meaneth.
ō What is understood by tares
ō Heresy may be known
ō What is meant by plucking up
ō What is meant by field, what by the wheat
ō All the tithes of the parable must not be expounded, nor the time exactly searched into, when the tares were first sown
ō How sins are more heinous under the New Testament, and how God is now no less severe, then under the Law, and a city that will defend and protect a false prophet against justice, is to be dealt with the same ways, as under the Old Testament, except that the typicalness is removed
ō What ďLet them growĒ imports
ō How we are to bear permissive providences, wherein evils of sin fall out
ō Christ must mean by tares and wheat, persons, not doctrines, good and ill
ō Whether false teachers, if they repent must be spared, or because they may repent
Chapt. 21. Of the Samaritans, and of the non-compelling of heathens, how the Covenant bindeth us.
ō The not burning of the Samaritans doth prove nothing for immunity of heretics from the sword
ō How far we may compel other nations, or heathens to embrace the truth faith
ō Of the Covenantís obliging of us, to the religious observance thereof
ō The word of God as it is in every manís conscience no rule of Reformation in the Covenant
ō The equivocation of sectaries in swearing the Covenant
ō The author of the ancient bonds an ignorant prevaricator in the Covenant
ō All moral compelling of heretics, and refuting of false teachers by the word, is as unlawful as compulsion by the sword, according to the principles of libertines
ō The magistrate as the magistrate cannot send ministers but in a compulsory way
ō How independents were ensnared by Presbyterians to take the Covenant as the author saith
ō How independents swore to defend the Presbyterian government, and with tongue, pen, and sword, cry out at it, as tyrannical, antichristian and popish
ō Libertines make conscience, not the word of God their rule.
ō How appearing to the conscience makes not the word of God to be the obliging rule, but only as touching the right and due manner of being obliged thereby
Chapt. 22. The pretended liberty of
conscience against the National League and Covenant, the ordinances of the
Chapt. 23. The Place of Acts 5:34 to wit, the counsel of Gamaliel disused, and found nothing for liberty of conscience
ō Mr. Goodwinís unsound gloss touching the counsel of Gamaliel, Acts 5
ō Gamalielís argument proveth as strongly, that murderers and adulterers should not be punished, as that men ought not to be punished for their conscience
ō The argument of Gamaliel owned by adversaries, rendereth all the fundamentals of the gospel uncertain, and topic skepticism to all the most well settled believers
ō Gamalielís argument doth conclude, that we are not to oppose by arguments and scripture, any blasphemous way against the gospel
ō Immediate providence is not the rule of our actions
Chapt. 24 . Whether punishing of seducing teachers, be inconsistent with the meekness of Christ, place Luke disused.
ō The Lordís not burning
ō The case of Elias calling for fire from heaven, and of the Apostles, much different
ō The meekness of Christ being extended to publicans, extortioners, and harlots, doth as well conclude, such ought not to be punished by the magistrate, as that false teachers ought not to be punished by him.
ō By places from the meekness of Christ, Socinians labor to prove the magistrate is to shed no blood under the New Testament
ō Christís not breaking the bruised reed, would prove that heretics are gracious persons though weak in saving grace, and lovingly cherished by Christ, if place Isaiah 42, Matthew 12:19, 20 help the adversaries.
ō Christís meekness not inconsistent with his justice
ō Rash judgment condemned I Corinthians 4:5, 6, is nothing for pretended toleration
ō That many through the corruption of their own heart, render hypocritical obedience because of the sword, proveth nothing against the use of the sword to coerce false teachers
ō Matters of religion ought to be enacted by the law of princes and Christian rulers, that such as contravene may be punished
ō Laws of rulers in matters of religion do only bind the outward man
ō The false teacher is not to be sent to the church and pastors thereof, that he may be convinced before he be punished
Chapt. 25. Whether the rulers by their office, in order to peace, are to stand to the laws of Moses, for punishing seducing teachers
ō How judicial laws oblige to punishment
ō Judicial laws were deduced from the moral law
ō True cause of war with other nations
ō Two kingdoms become one body, by a religious covenant, if it be mutual, the one part may avenge the quarrel of the covenant on the other in case of breach
ō The new altar erected by the two tribes and the half, beyond Jordan, Joshua 22. How a just cause of war
ō Christian princesí laws against errors and heresies
ō As Constantine gave out severe laws against Donatists, so did Julianus the apostate restore temples to heretics, and grant liberty of conscience to them, that so he might destroy the name and religion of Christians, as is before observed, so Aug. Ep. 166 ad. Donat.
ō God only determineth punishments for sin
ō The punishing of a seducing prophet is moral
ō The punishing of seducing teachers is an act of justice, obliging men ever, and everywhere
ō False teachers in seducing others apprehend the hand of divine vengeance pursuing them, as other ill doers do, and so it must be natural justice in the magistrate to punish them
ō The punishing of false prophets is of the law of nature
ō Idolatry is to be punished by the judge, and that by the testimony of Job, who was obliged to observe no judicial law, but only the law moral and the law of nature
ō How the fathers deny the sword is to be used against men for their conscience
ō Church censures and rebukes for conscience infer most of all the absurdities the Libertines impute to us
ō That there was an immediate response of Godís oracle telling who was the false teacher, is an unwarranted forgery of the Libertines
ō If heresy be innocence, seducing heretics ought to be praised and rewarded
ō The magistrate as magistrate according to prophecies in the Old
ō Testament is to punish seducers
ō What Mr. Williams giveth to the magistrate in religion is not sufficient
ō Christian kings are no more nurse-fathers, Isaiah 49:23, to the true churches of Christ, than to the synagogue of Antichrist, according to the way of Libertines
ō The mind of divers famous authors touching the parable of the tares.
ō The parable of the tares considered
ō Mr. Williams holdeth that the prince owes protection to all idolatrous and bloody churches, if they be his subjects
ō How the magistrate is to judge of heresy
ō A magistrate and a Christian magistrate are to be differenced, nor can or ought, all magistrates to judge of, or punish all heretics.†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††
ō Whether peace of civil societies be sure, where there is toleration of all religions
ō Peace is commanded in the New Testament, no word of toleration of divers religions, nor precept, promise, or practice therefore,
ō No ground for abolishing of judicial laws touching that point.
ō Libertines give us heathenish not Christian peace under many religions
Chapt. 26. Whether punishing of seducing teachers be persecution for conscience.
ō There is a tongue persecution condemned by Libertines themselves.
ō Libertines persecute others for conscience
ō Libertines ought not to suffer death for any truth
ō The Lordís patience toward sinners in the Old Testament no argument of not coercing false prophets
ō Hope of gaining heretics no more a ground of sparing them, than of sparing murderers who also may be gained
ō Whether to be persecuted for conscience true or false be a note of the true church
ō No new commandments under the New Testament
ō They that suffer for blasphemy, suffer according to the will of God in Peterís sense by Libertines way
Chapt. 27. Whether our darkness and incapacity to believe and profess, together with the darkness and obscurity of scripture be a sufficient ground for toleration.
ō Our inability to believe is no plea for toleration
ō Preaching of the word without the Spirit as unable to work faith, as the sword
ō Heresies are knowable
ō Forced conscience as strong an argument against Deuteronomy 13 as against us
ō The magistrate commandeth the outward man, and yet commandeth not carnal repentance and hypocritical turning to God
ō Because we may abstain from heresy on false grounds, it follows not that the magistrate hath not power to punish heresy
ō Libertinism of toleration is grounded upon the pretended obscurity of scripture
ō Toleration putteth a hundred senses upon the Scripture, and makes many rules of faith
ō John Goodwin denieth that we have scriptures or any ground of faith, but that which is made of menís credit and learning
ō The means of delivering of scripture to us may be fallible, yet the scripture infallible
ō Reasons to prove that the scriptures we now have are the very word of God
ō The knowledge of God is commanded, and the mind is under a law, as well as the will and affections
ō The trying of the missals of Gregory and Ambrose was mere foolery
ō Speculative ignorance of things revealed is sin
ō The place I Corinthians 3:11-13 cleared and vindicated
ō Doctor Taylorís mistake of heresy
ō What vincibleness must be in heresy
ō Dr. Taylor maketh the doctrine of purgatory no heresy
ō Simple errors of things revealed in the word are condemning sins.
ō How opinions are judicable and punishable
ō Son-sacrificing upon mere religious ground, is not murder punishable according to Libertines way
Chapt. 28. Divers other arguments for pretended toleration answered
ō The magistrates ministry is civil not spiritual
ō The laws of Artaxerxes, Cyrus, Darius, etcÖ ratifying the law of God by civil punishments, were the duties of civil magistrates
ō Artaxerxes made laws by the light of nature to restrain men from idolatry
ō From punishing of false teachers it follows not, that Jews and the idolatrous heathens should be killed
ō Differences betwixt punishing of false teachers in the Old and the New Testament
ō Circular turnings from Protestantism to Popery proveth nothing against the punishing of seducers
ō The objection, that the sword is a carnal way to suppress heresy answered
ō Most of the objections from forcing of consciences conclude against the laws of God in the Old Testament, as well as against us
ō The law Deuteronomy 13,† Leviticus† 24, etcÖ was not executed upon such††† only as sinned against the law of nature
ō No need of a law, process, judge, witness, accuser, or inquiring in the written word of God
ō Ecclesiastical and civil coaction do both work alike upon understanding and will
ō Errors against supernatural truth are not rebukeable, because not punishable, and contra
ō Four sundry considerations by which sins are censured
ō The magistrate is subject to the just power of the church, and the church to the just power of the magistrate, neither of them to the abused power
ō How the Jews suffered the heathen idolaters to dwell amongst them.
ō John Baptist would have us less careful of heretical doctrines, because we are elected to glory, than of other vile sins
ō John Baptist and Libertines teach, that liberty of conscience is a way to find out truth
ō When the Holy Ghost forbids us to believe false christs, or to receive antichristian teachers, he bids us also believe and receive them as saints by the Libertines way
ō Libertines make the judging of heretics to be heretics, a bold intruding into the counsel of God
ō Libertines say that God hath decreed heresies to be
ō Variety of judgments in Godís matters a grief to the godly
ō The punishing of heresies investeth not the magistrate in a headship over the church
Of Conscience and its nature.
And herein do I exercise myself to have always a Conscience void of offense toward God, and toward man.
This is a part of Paulís Apology which he brings out before Festus the Governor, he dare bring out his conscience before his accusers; the subject of this part is conscience,† In which we have, 1. the subject, Conscience. 2. The quality of it, Free of offense. 2. The entireness and perfection of it, in the first Table, as a religious man toward God; as one of a sound conversation, in the duties of the second Table, toward man. 3. And that not at starts, when a good blood of godliness came on him; but diapantos, Always, at all times. 4. This was not a conscience to lie beside him as the wretches Gold, which for many years seeth neither sun nor wind; but it is a Conscience walking in the streets, and in action. Herein, that is, in this religion and hope of the resurrection, do I labour or exercise my self, this field do I plow. 5. There is considerable Grammar in the object of this exercise. I labour to have, to be a Lord, a Master, and an owner of a good conscience; a conscience is one thing, and to have a conscience, another thing; often the conscience hath the man and Lords it over him, or
rather Tyrannizeth over the Judas, and the man hath not the conscience. And these five do comprehend the latitude, the length and breadth of a good conscience.
††† †Therefore of conscience; 2. of the good Conscience. Of conscience, a little of the Name; 2. Of the thing. The Hebrews express the name by the name of heart. bb'le \\\ which I grant does signify the mind, understanding, will, and by a figure it noteth the heart, 2 Sam. 24:10. And Davidís heart smote him. Solomon saith to Shimei, I . Thou knoweth all the evil that thy heart (thy conscience) is privy to.
†††† Conscience is but knowledge with a witness; its observed, that sunei,dhsij, Conscience, a Word used about 32 times in the New Testament, is but once by the Translators in the Old Testament, Ecclesiastes 10:20. Hence it noteth that a Man hath a fellow, or (to speak so) a College-observer with him, and that is God who knoweth first, and perfectly the ways and thoughts of a man, and his conscience is an under-witness, and an observer
with God, but a dim and blind beholder in comparison of God. 2. It is a knowledge not a large as that of the whole understanding faculty, but restricted, and in order only to the manís actions, words, thoughts, the condition or state he is in, in Christ, or not in Christ. It so signifieth practical knowledge that there is a Verb Nishal that signifieth to have a heart, or to be practically wise, Job 11:12. Vain man bb'le would have a heart, or be hearted and wise; and Cant. 4:9 Thou hast taken away my heart, or, unheartened me, my sister, my spouse. 2. The heart goeth also for a word that signifieth a picture, Job 38:36. Who hath given understanding to the heart, ywIk.f, †it ignifieth curious engraving; wittily devised by the understandding, and it noteth an excellent picture, pleasant to see, from a root that signifieth to behold, and to paint; for all the inventions, pictures, engraven works in the soul is in the conscience. Sinners draw on their conscience and, heart many fair fancies, pictures and engraven pieces of devised pleasures, They use the
word x;Wr spirit for the Conscience also. Psalms 34:18. The Lord saveth the broken in spirit. Prov. 18:4. A wounded spirit who can bear it? For the word spirit in that language sig-
nifieth the whole soul, Ecclesiastes 3:21, chapter 8:8. and the whole strength, marrow, courage, and flower of the soul, Job 6:8. Joshua 5:1. There was no more Spirit in them, because Conscience is all, it is the good or best, or the evil or worst in the man, does he keep conscience, all is safe; does he lose conscience, all is gone: it is the spirits, the rose, the only precious thing of the soul, the body is clay and oar, the conscience is the gold of the man.
†††† Now touching Conscience. I propose these, 1. Its nature. 2. Its object. 3. Its office. 4. The kinds of Conscience; And 5. the adjuncts of it, the liberty of Conscience, and that much controverted prerogative to be free in opinions, and in religions, from bands that men can lay on it.
†††† Conscience is considered by Divines as a principle of our acting in order to what the Lord commandeth us in the Law and the Gospel; and it commeth here to be considered, in a three-fold consideration. 1. As Conscience is in its abstract nature; yet as it is in man only, I speak nothing of the conscience of Angels, and Devils. 2. As the Conscience is good or bad; For the conscience in Adam, before the fall was in a great perfection, and the Glorified spirits carry a good conscience up to heaven with them, as the damned take to hell a piece of hell within them, an evil conscience, yet there was neither in Adam,† nor can there be in the Glorified, an evil conscience, nor any such accidental acts of Conscience, as to accuse, smite, torment.
†††† 3. Conscience is considered as acting well or ill, it hath influence on the affections, to cause a feast of joy, to stir up to faith, hope, sadness, etc...
†††† Touching the nature of Conscience. It seemeth to me to be a power of the practical understanding according to which the man is obliged and directed to give judgment of himself, that is of his state and condition, and of all his actions, inclinations, thoughts, and words. It is first an understanding power, not an act or an actual judgment. 1. It is not a distinct faculty from the understanding, but the understanding as it giveth judgment, in court, of the manís state and of all his ways, as whether he be in favor with God, or no, and now whether he be in Christ, or not, and of all his motions and actions within or without. But it would appear not to be an act, because to oblige, to di-
rect to accuse, are acts of the Conscience, and therefore do not flow from other acts; it is true, the thoughts, Rom. 2.15. are said to accuse, or excuse, but by thoughts there is meant the Conscience itself, not first thinking, and then accusing, but the Conscience breathing out the bad or good perfume or challenging and accusing, or of excusing and comforting thoughts, and acts. All acts flow from either young powers, which they call potency, or from stronger and more aged and radicated powers, which they call habits: Things produced by motion, and motion itself, are the effects of the mover (saith Amesius de Consc. Lib. I. Cap. I. Nu.4) and therefore the act of accusing, may be from the Conscience which is an act; this consequence cannot stand; the motion, and the thing produced by motion, is from the mover, true, but the act of moving is from the mover, as he actuateth his power, so is directing, and accusing from the power in the practical understanding, not from the act of understanding which is nothing in this case, but the act of accusing, and nothing can come from itself as a cause. 2. When the believer or wicked men go to sleep, and put off their cloths, they do not put off their Conscience, and though the conscience sleeps not with the man, yet doth it not in sleep, necessarily act by accusing, or excusing, and therefore remaineth as a power in man, not ever acting; See Malderus in 12.q.19. Disp. 82. ar 4.5.
††††††††† 2. Its an understanding power, and belongeth to the judgement and understanding. Esa. 5.3. Judge, I pray you, between me and my vineyard. Its true, some make it the inclination of the will, as Henriquez, Quodlib. I.q.18. And Durandus may seem not far from it, 2.d.39. Some say it belongeth to both. But the will is no knowing faculty, the Conscience is a knowing faculty, Eccles. 7.22. For oftentimes also thine heart knoweth that though also haft cursed others. 2. There is more of reason and sound knowledge in the conscience, then in the whole understanding soul, it is a Crystal globe of reason, the beam, the sun, the candle of the soul; for to know God and the creatures, in our relative obligation to God in Christ, is the role, the blossom, the flower of knowledge, Job 17.3. to† see God, and his beauty expressed in Christ, and the comeliness and incomparable glory of his amiable and lovely Essence as holden forth to us in Christ, is the highest reach of the conscience.
†††† If Conscience be so divine a peace, filled bank-full with reason and light, then the more of knowledge, the more of conscience, as the more of fire, the more heat, the more of the sun, the more light. Then when fancy goes for conscience, as in euthystats, and new Spirits grappling beside the word of God, a new Angel commended only from Newness a white Angel without, and a black Angel within, conscience must be turned in a dream. 2. Novelty can go for conscience, our nature is quickly taken with novelty, even as a new friend, a new field, a new house, a new garden, a new garment, so a new Christ, a new faith, prov wjran, delights us. 3. Heresy goeth for Conscience; the Conscience of some fancy that to kill their children to Molech, is a doctrine that entered in the heart of God, to command, Jer. 7.30,31.
†††† A Conscience void of knowledge is void of goodness; silence and dumbness is not peace; An innocent toothless conscience that cannot see, nor hear, nor speak, cannot bark, far less can it bite before it have teeth, such a conscience covenanteth with the sinner, Let me alone, let me sleep till the smoke of the furnace of hell waken me. If there be any sense or life, fire can bring it forth; a worm at the heart can bear witness, if it have any life. This Conscience is like the service Book, or like the Mass, or the Popish Image, you but see these things, they cannot speak, nor act upon the soul.
†††† The nature of Conscience is further cleared by its office, and object; which are the fecund and third particulars proposed.
†††† That we may the more distinctly speak of these, it would be cleared what sort of knowledge is ascribed to the Conscience.
†††† Conscience is not the simple judgment and apprehension of things, as things are knowable; this is the speculative understandding, but it is the power to know things ourselves, and actions, in order to obey God and serve him. 2. But the question is, whether Conscience be a simple practical apprehension of things, or a compounded and discoursive apprehension. To which I answer. 1. That as the speculative understanding, knoweth many things without discourse, as to apprehend the sun, heaven, nature of motion, and many things in its second operation and work, as to apprehend the Sun to be an hundredth,
sixty and seven times more than the Earth, yet it referreth both the first and second operations of the mind to know things by discourse, so the Conscience as conscience doth apprehend in its first operation, God, Christ, sin; and in its second operation God to be infinite, Christ to be the alone choicest of Saviours; So it is consummate and perfected in a discourse or syllogism by Conscience, totally and completely in order to our practice and faith.
As He that killeth his brother hath not life eternal.
But I have killed my brother.
Ergo, I have not life eternal. So Cain.
And He that believeth in him who justifieth the ungodly,
is justified and saved.
But I believe in him who justifieth the ungodly.
Ergo, I am justified and saved. So David, Paul.
†††† The knowledge of the major by itself is an act of conscience, as to deny and mis-believe the major Proposition is an act of a blinded and evil conscience; but the completeness of Conscience standeth in the knowledge of the whole syllogism. Hence they say, that the sunthresis, the Magazine and Thesaurehouse of the conscience, the habit or power that judgeth of the Law of nature is the major Proposition, or the principles of right or wrong written in the heart by nature maketh the conscience in regard of the proposition to be called, Lex the Law. In regard of the assumption, or the second proposition, Conscience is a witness, a spy sent from heaven to record all the facts, in which assumption are included both our facts, actions,
words, thoughts, inclinations, habits of sin or grace, and the mans state and condition. In regard of the conclusion or third proposition, Conscience is a Judge and the deputy of God; and it is but one and the same conscience acting all the three, the acts of Law, a Witness, a Judge.
†††† The sunthresis, the conserving power of the soul, is that faculty or power, in which are hidden and laid up the moral principles of right and wrong, known by the light of nature, and so is a part of a natural conscience, and in it are treasured up the Scripture and Gospel-truths, which are known by the light of a star of a greater Magnitude, to wit, the candle shi-
ning in a divine revelation, and this is part of the enlightened and supernatural Conscience.
†††† Of this intellectual Treasure-house, we are to know these. 1. That in the inner Cabinet, the natural habit of Moral principles lodgeth, the Register of the common notions left in us by nature, the Ancient Records and Chronicles which were in Adamís time, the Law of Nature of two volumes, one of the first Table, that there is a God, that he createth and governeth all things, that there is but one God, infinitely good, more just rewarding the Evil and the good; and of the second Table, as to love our Parents, obey Superiors, to hurt no man, the acts of humanity; All these are written in the soul, in deep letters, yet the Ink is dim and old, and therefore this light is like the Moon swimming through watery clouds, often under a shadow, and yet still in the firmament. Caligula, and others, under a cloud, denied there was any God, yet when the cloud was over, the light broke out of prison, and granted, a God there must be; strong winds do blow out a Torch in the night, and will blow in the same light again; and that there be other seeds, though come from a far land, and not growing out of the ground, as the former, is clear, for Christ scattereth some Gospel-truths in this Chalmer; as John 7.28. Then cried Jesus in the Temple; as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and whence I am. John 15.24. But now they have both seen, and hated both me and my Father.
†††† 2. This is a part of the Conscience, because by no faculty in man, but by the conscience are these truths apprehended. 2. And when in any ill blood, deny such truths, as that there is a God, and Parents are not to be loved, we all say such do sin; and offer violence to their conscience. 3. Sins against these fundamentals, cry vengeance with a more hideous shout, and cry, than spiritual sins that are spun with a smaller thread, for such go nearer to put off humanity.
†††† The knowledge of the assumption is Conscience as a Book or Witness, and it is either considered as it is in habit, and keeps a record of the manís facts; or as in act it bringeth them forth, and applyeth the Law to the fact, and is called edictamin, the indictment, and charge given in; This and this hath thou done.
†††† Now that Conscience bringeth good or ill out of the Book that containeth the memorial, or Chronicle of the manís deeds is clear, as 1. The Conscience can look back and laugh, and solace itself at that which is well done, and bring it forth, Psal. 16. 2. O my soul thou hast said unto the Lord, though art my Lord. Psal. 140.6. I said unto the Lord, though art my God. So Hezekiah, like the man that cheereth himself with the sight of the gold in his treasure, Esai. 37.3. Remember now, O Lord, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee, in truth, and with a perfect heart. Or 2. it can look back and purge itself, as David, Psal. 7. O my God, if I have done this. Job 16.17. Job 29. 12, 13, 14. chap. 31.5,6,7,8,9, etc... 3. It can bring out evil deeds, as Josephís brethren do, when they are in trouble. This distress is come on us, for that when we saw the anguish of our brother, and he besought us, we would not hear, Gen. 42.21.
†††† The knowledge of the conclusion is judgment, and the sentence of a Judge.
†††† 2. For the second point of Conscience which is its object; this can be nothing but Gods revealed will expressed to us, either in the Law of Nature, or in the Law written, or the Gospel. Doctor Hamond saith, to abstain from a thing indifferent, as Marriage, ws apo bdeluktou~, as from a thing abominable or unlawful, is by Scripture and Councils condemned as sinful. Why? Because to Marry, or not to Marry, is indifferent. But he may remember, that Papists forbid Church-men to Marry, do they forbid it, because Marriage which to them is a Sacrament, is an abominable and unlawful Sacrament? I think no. Yet all our Divines say, not only the Manicheans, but also the Papists are these, who teach a doctrine of Devils, I Tim. 4.3 while they forbid Marriage, though not under the notion of a thing abominable; So the Popish Doctor acquitteth the Papists, and condemneth Protestants, who so far agree to have the adequate rule of Conscience to be Godís will revealed in his word, that to make a religious Law to forbid Marriage and Meats, and other things indifferent to them is a doctrine of Devils, to all our Divines, though they forbid them not as things unlawful, and under the not on things abominable.
††† †Use. If the conscience have an indictment against you from
heaven, and from the word of God, which is the Law-book of the Judge of all flesh; Ergo, We are to stand in awe of Conscience. And look how much goodness and true fear of God is in a Man, as much fear of himself and reverence to his own conscience is within him. For 1. to be holden even with
the charges and writs of an erring conscience is obedience to the Law of nature, as we would not be willing that a scout, or a spy sent from a strange Land should see our nakedness, weakness, folly, security. When the Conscience returneth, to the Father of Spirits, it can tell tales of men, and can libel many pollutions of the flesh and spirit acted by the man, while the
Conscience lodged with clay and a polluted Spirit. 2. Because Conscience is something of God, a domestic little God, a keeper sent from heaven, a divine piece which is all eye, all sense, and hath the word with it, in so far it is to be reverenced, and he that reverenceth the King, reverenceth the Ambassador, in so far as he carrieth along the Kingís will, he that honoureth the Lord must honour the servant. 3. Solomon saith, Prov. 15.5 A fool despiseth his fathers reproof, but he that regardeth it is prudent. Vers. 10. He that hateth reproof shall die. To receive Instructions and rebukes from Conscience, in So far as they come from the Word of truth is spiritual prudence, and he that turneth away his ear from his conscience, shall die. 4. As to submit to the Word, is to submit to God, so to offer violence to a divine truth, is to wrestle with God, and by the like proportion to stoop before Conscience carrying a message from God, is to submit to God, and to do violence to the domestic light and truth of God, is all one as to wrestle with God. 5. We count a tender Conscience, such as was in Joshua, who did yield and cede to the Law of God, and its threatenings, a soft heart; then to stand out as a flint-stone or an Adamant, against the warnings of an inward Law must argue hardness of heart. 6. There is nothing so strong and divine as truth, a Conscience that will bargain to buy and sell truth, and will be the Lord and Conquerer, not the captive and taken prisoner of the Gospel, bearing itself on upon the soul in power and majesty, hath his one foot on the borders of the sin against the Holy Ghost. 7. It is like the man walketh not at random, but by rule, who is not made all of stout-
ness, and ventureth not inconsiderately on actions and ways which undoubtedly are the seeds of eternity, but feareth his Pedagogue and teacher in so far as the law and will of the Judge of the world goeth along with him.
†††† 2. Because the Word of God must be the rule of Conscience, and Conscience is a servant, and a under-Judge only, not a Lord, nor an Absolute and independent Sovereign, whose voice is a Law, therefore an Idolatrous and exorbitant rule of Conscience is here also to be condemned. Conscience is ruled by Scripture, but it is not Scripture, nor a Canonic book and rule of faith and conversation, it often speaketh Apocrypha, and is neither God, nor Pope, but can reel, and totter, and dream, to ascribe more to conscience then is Just, and to make new and bold opinions of God, broad and venturous and daring affirmations, the very Oracles of heaven, because they are the brood (as is conceived) of an equal and unbiased Conscience, is presumption, near to Atheism; the grossest Idolatry is to make yourself the Idol: whereas tender consciences suffer most persecution, and are not active in daring, there is extreme pride in such as lead families and are Christians in new heresies. Some are extremely sworn and devoted to Conscience as Conscience: humility is not daringly peremptory. Many weak ones pine away in fevers of sinistrous thoughts of Christ, as if his love were cold to them, Esa. 49. 14,15. and fancy an imaginary and a made-plea with Christ; Oh he loveth any but me, and because they make an Idol of the weak oracle of Conscience, they make also an Idol of meek Jesus Christ, as if they would try, if Christís love can be cold, and his blood and bowels can act any more mercy to them.
†††† The third is the office of Conscience in one general. It cometh under the name of Obligation. But to come to particulars. There be two sorts of operations of Conscience, some illicite and imbred, other imperate or commanded.
†††† These which be Imbred are of two kinds. 1. Such as conscience simply as conscience acteth as in general to oblige; and in particular. 1. To direct; 2. To discern; 3. To excite, Dirigere, Discernere, Impellere. Others are such as issue from Conscience, as good or ill; as right, or not right; as these in well-doing. 1. It approveth. 2. It excuseth. 3. It
absolveth, in ill doing it disalloweth and reproveth. 2. It Accuseth or chargeth. 3. It condemneth. These imperated operations of Conscience, are such as Conscience acteth on theaffections, or commandeth the affections to act, but are not properly acts of Conscience, nor of the practical understanding; but acts of the affections resulting from the Conscienceís well or ill doing, as to rejoice, to grieve and check, and the like. But there be other acts that agree to Conscience in order to the assumption; others in order to the Conclusion.
†††† In order to the Assumption it specially doth bear witness and testify of its own acts, both that the man hath done this fact; And 2. of the quality of it, that it is done against God, the Mediator Christ, free grace, the word of reconciliation; as a faithful witness must not only depone the fact, but all the circumstances and qualities, in so far as they come under the senses of seeing and hearing, and may aggravate the fact, and give light to the Judge; and what testimony the Conscience giveth of the actions of man, the like it is to give of the state and condition, whether it be good or ill; hence these acts of recognition. As 1. Conscience doth its duty in reflecting on it self: It tries the mans actions and state; hence these three words, 2 Cor. 13.5. try, or tempt, or pierce, and dig into your selves; peira,zete, many dig holes in windows in the conscience of others who never dug a hole in their own heart, 2. dokima,zete examine what mettle is in your selves and actions, men are un willing to find oar or dross in themselves; and we are bidden, 2 Cor. 11.31, diakri,nein e`autou.j, lead witnesses, sentence and Judge ourselves. To these generals there is a second act, which is called, Psalm 4.5. Speak with your heart. You testify little of the man that you never heard speak. Men are frequently to converse with their heart by heart communing, and soul quarries; so you find out the bias and the weight that sways with the heart, Jer. 5.24. ďNeither say they in their heart, let us now feare the Lord our God. Hos. 7.2. They say not in their heart, that I consider all their wickedness.
†††† 3. There is laying of the Conscience in its reflect act, and the actions together, Hag. 1.5. Lay your heart upon your ways. It is that which David saith, Psalm 119.59. I considered, Heb. I thoughted my ways.
†††† 4. There is wandering and estrangement of a man from his own heart, and when he lays his case to heart, he is said to return to his own heart. I King. 8.47. If they shall bethink themselves, heb. If they shall return to their own heart; or come home to their own heart, in the land of their captivity and repent, then hear thou. Men are abroad in their thoughts, and seldom at home with their own heart, But of this act of witnessing of the Conscience, it is of moment, to know how and by what Medium, or way the conscience doth witness to man of his state, that he is a child of God and in Christ, whether God doth witness our state and condition to us, by inherent qualifications in us, Because we love the brethren, because we have sincere hearts, and aim in all things to obey God.
†††† Asser. I. God speaketh by his own works of sanctification that we are in Christ, I John 2.3. And hereby we know that we know him, because we keep his commandments. I John 3. 14. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the Brethren. Now as God speaketh and revealeth his glory, God-head, power, and eternity, by his visible works of creation, so as we may gather by certainty of faith, that God is glorious, wise, omnipotent, eternal, Rom. 1.19,20,21. Psal. 19.1,2,3,4. Rom. 10.17,18,19,20. Upon them grounds, when we find in our souls the works of that spirit that raised the Lord from the death, as love to the brethren, because brethren, sincere walking with God, and Christs life, Gal. 2.20. we may with the certainty of faith, collect that we are the children of God; and if the knowledge of our state in Christ, from the works of sanctification be but conjectural, and may deceive us, and not a sufficient foundation of sound peace, nor enough to make us inexcusable, that from the sickness of inward heartlove which I feel in my own soul to Christ, I can have no divine assurance that I am in Christ, and cannot be made inexcusable in not believing the spirit dwelleth in me by his acting and working, then we cannot infer Gods infinite wisdom, omnipotency, and eternity, from his works of Creation, and I cannot be inexcusable, if I believe not Gods wisdom and power from the works of creation; is not the pertinacity of unbelief as damnable, when I believe not God acting in his Spirit sanctifying, as when I believe not God acting in this first workmanship of Creation?
†††† 2. In all actings, motions, and walkings of the Holy Ghost in my soul, in the stirrings of the New birth, when the spirit of Jesus maketh a noise with his feet walking, acting, moving in love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, temperance, which are apples and blossoms which grow on the tree of life, Gal. 5.22,23. It were no sin to me to sleep and believe these were but imaginary dreams, and fancied notions, if I were not to believe where these are, the soul that findeth them undeniably is in Christ.
†††† 3. The Saints comforting themselves in their godly, sincere, and blameless walking before God in love, knew what they spoke, and what spirit was in them, and that they walked not after the flesh, as men speak and fancy in a night dream, not knowing whether they be in Christ, or not; these were speeches of waking men, whose wits were in action. Psalm. 26.8. Lord I have loved thy habitation, and the place where thine honour dwelleth. Psalm 119.63. I am a companion of all them that fear thee; and of them that keep thy precepts. Verse 97. O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day. Verse 103. How sweet are thy words unto my taste! Yea sweeter then honey to my mouth. Verse 111. Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my Heart. Verse 162. I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth a great spoil: and the Church, Cant. 2.3. I sat down under his shadow, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. Verse 5. Stay me with flagons and comfort me with apples, for I am sick of love Isaiah 26.9. With my soul have I desired thee in the night: yea with my spirit within me, I will seek thee early. And Hezekiah looking to his good Conscience, saith, II Kings 20.3. Remember now, O Lord, that I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart. So Paul, 2 Cor. 1.12. For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God we had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-wards. Now if the saints can thus speak with the light and persuasion of Faith, before God and men, to their own solid peace and consolation, then may they be persuaded by these fruits of the Spirit, that they are branches growing in the Vine Christ, else all these speeches are but de-
lusions and fancies; and they must speak no other thing of themselves as vessels of the grace of God, then hypocrites and reprobates may say of themselves? For D. Crispe, and the Libertines of New England, whose doctrine subverts the Faith, say, there can be no marks of saving grace from whence we can draw either comfort or peace, be it universal obedience, since- cerity, love to the Brethren, but it may be in hypocrites, in a Jew following the righteousness of the law, Rom. 10.1. and renouncing† Christ,. Surely if works of saving grace speak no other thing than hypocrites and devils may have: then first, holy walking is no ground of comfort, and a good conscience hath no more to yield David, Job, Hezekiah, Paul, the Apostles, and Martyrs, when they suffer for Christ, and his truth, and are in heavy afflictions and chains, then it can yield to the vilest of men. 2. A man, a Christian shall never find any grounds of certainty of his adoption in any thing, save in the hidden decrees of Election, and reprobation, and if some immediate testimony of a Spirit, which may be great doubt to many, who walk as many Antinomians do, according to the flesh. 3. All their rejoicing in simplicity and godly sincerity, 2 Cor. 1.12. is empty fancies and delusions, for they rejoice in that in which hypocrites and reprobates may have as deep a share as they. But that there is also some immediate testimony of the Spirit, though never separated from the fruits of the Spirit, I hope to prove elsewhere.
†††† The last act of Conscience is in relation to the Conclusion, which is the crisis, or judgment of all; from whence flow the acts of approving, or improving; excusing, or accusing; condemning, or absolving: from these as the Conscience doth well or ill, arise, I. Joy, called a feast, in which the soul is refreshed, not the fancy. 2. Upon a solid ground, a bottom that cannot sink, from that which is well done. 2. Consolation, which is a joy in tribulation. 2. Faith, going from what the man doth well, to a general; To these that walk according to this rule, peace. 4. Hope, that the Lord who hath promised will do the soul good in the latter end, these four issue from a good conscience; from approving and excusing: But the affections which flow from improving, and accusing, and condemning, are 1. Shame, whence the man is
Displeased with what he hath done, this is good when it looketh only, or most to the sin, or ill, when most to the punishment. 2. Sadness. 3. Distrust, or unbelief. 4. Fear. 5. despair. 6. Anger, vexation, or the worm that dieth not; it is no wonder that a greater number of troublesome affections flow from the one, then from the other; evil is second and broody.
†††† The 4. which I proposed is the second circumstance of the text, which draweth in the rest, and it is a conscience aproskopov, free of stones or blocks, that neither actively causeth myself nor others to stumble, nor passively is under a reatus or guilt before God, called a good conscience, to which is opposite an evil conscience. Now the conscience is good, either in regard of integrity; a clean, a good, a pure conscience: or secondly in regard of calmness and peace; to this latter is opposed a Conscience penally evil or troubled, of which no more the good conscience is either good in judging, or recta, or vera; the contrary of this, an erring Conscience, which I speak of after the other; or good in a moral quality. In this meaning the conscience is good, which is first sprinkled with the blood of Christ from dead works, to serve the living God. Heb.9.14. For by Christ must the guilty be purged, that there may be no more Conscience of sins, Hebrews 10.2. This is the conscience which is called agaqh, good I Tim. 1.5. kepaqarmenh purged, and washed, Hebrews 10.2. in regard the great spot of guiltiness is taken away, and kaqara I Tim. 1.5. clear, pure, terse, like a Crystal glass, and kalh, Hebrews 13. 18. good and honest, or beautiful and fair, a good conscience is a comely, resplendent, lovely thing; and it is a conscience in the text, void of stumbling; there is a conscience that wants feet, and is lame,
and halteth; and is always tripping, stumbling, falling; to this is opposed a conscience, ponhros Heb. 10.22 let us draw near with a true heart, with full assurance, r`erantisme,noi ta.j kardi,aj avpo. suneidh,sewj ponhra/j being sprinkled in the heart from an evil conscience; and to this is opposed a polluted memiamme,noij, conscience, Tit. 1.15. The wisdom of God in creating the world is much, and most seen in creating so rare a piece as the soul, and the most curious piece in the soul is that lump of Divinity the Conscience, it is the likest to a chip, and a beam of God
though it be not a part of the infinite majesty, yet it smelleth more of God then the heavens, the sun, the stars, or all the glorious things on earth, precious stones, sapphires, rubies, or herbs, roses, lilies, that the Lord hath made, now when the flower and crown of the whole creation, which is the spirit, is corrupted, it is the foulest thing that is: when the Angels, the sons of the morning, fell, and their conscience the spirit of the purest and most glorious spirits was polluted with guilt, though infinite grace could have cured this rare piece, yet infinite wisdom, as it were, giving over the cause, and grace and mercy standing aloof from the misery of angels, a Saviour is denied them, and justice worketh the farther on this noble piece, the conscience of these fallen spirits, to destroy them; God would not stretch out one finger to repair their conscience; but when the conscience of man was polluted, because grace has ever run in this channel to work upon free chose
and arbitration, to save men, not angles, and of men, these, and these, not others; therefore the Lord fell upon a rarer work than creation, to redeem the choicest piece of creation, to wash souls, and to restore consciences to a higher luster and beauty than they had at the first. Now what ever God doth no man can do it for him, an infinite agent cannot work by a deputy, and among all his works none required more of God, of the Artifice of Grace, and mercy, wisdom, deepness of love, than to wash a polluted conscience, there was more of God required to mend and solder the Jewel, than to make and preserve it. The blood of bulls and goats cannot be spoken of here; now to make conscience again fundamentally good, there was need that the most curious art of free grace, should be set on work to act a greater miracle on this choicest piece, than ever was before or after; to make the conscience good, an act of attonement and expiation to satisfy infinite justice must pass, and† by shedding of, and sprinkling on the conscience the blood of God; the conscience only, and no other way known to men or angels, could be restored.
†††† Use. We profess that the moral washing of the out-side of the cup hath nothing in it of a good conscience; moral honesty alone, can no more inherit the kingdom of heaven, than flesh and blood.
†††† 2. A good conscience from justification hath peace and joy. Prov. 15.5. A good conscience ; or Heb. He that is good in heart is in a continual feast. Its an allusion to the Shew-bread that was set before God always; or as Exod. 25. 30. bread of faces, that was to be before the Lord continually; called by them, dymiT' ~x,l† perpetual bread; this hath no fountain cause, but sense of reconciliation with God.
†††† 3. A good conscience is a complete entire thing, as our text saith, both toward God and man; its not to be a moral man in the duties of the second table, and a skeptic in the duties of the first table, not in some few fundamentals, as patrons for liberty of conscience do plead, but in the whole revealed will of God; and therefore the good conscience consisteth in an indivisible point, as they say, the number of four doth, if you add one, or take one from it, you vary the essence, and make it three or five, not four; so Paul taketh in completeness in it, I have all good conscience, either all or none; and a good conscience toward God and man; not a conscience for the streets and the Church, and not for the house, and not for the days Hosanna, and not for eternity; therefore they require an habit to a good conscience,† I have exercised myself to have always a good conscience, there is a difference between one song, and the habit of music, and a step and a way, Psal. 119. 133. order, (not my one single step,) but my steps, ym;['P in the plural number; to fall on a good word by hazard, and to salute Christ in the by, doth not quit from having an evil conscience; as one wrong step, or extemporary slip, doth not render a believer a man of an ill conscience; the wicked world quarrel with the saints before men, because they cannot live as Angels, but the true and latent cause is because they will not live as Devils, and go with them to the same excess of riot.
†††† 4. The Formalis ratio of all good conscience, is conscience. Conscience acteth not on by-respects, but for conscience, Rom. 13.5. Wherefore ye must be subject not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. Conscience then doth all by rule, and saileth by compass, and considereth the motion not of the clouds, but of the stares which move regularly; whereas the
evil conscience, Lev. 26.15. is said to play the reprobate in Gods testimonies. sa;m' †to cast away, to loath, it is called, Jer. 6.30. reprobate metal which no man would choose; There is conscience that walketh contrary to God, Lev. 26. 21. †yrIq, in occursu, there is a defect of the letter b† the word is from a root that signifieth to meet in the way, or to rafter or plank an house, where board is joined with board, some will join issue with God, as if they had hardened their heart against him, and were nothing afraid to meet him, and join battle with him, as if they were good enough and strong enough for God, as one rafter in a house is apt to join with another, there be some forward ones, who wrestle with God. Psalm. 18.17. With the forward, with the wrestler who boweth his body, thou wilt wrestle. But a good conscience knoweth God better than so, and is a mass of heavenly light, and therefore joined with faith unfeigned. 1 Tim. 1.5. and verse 19. Timothy is exhortted to hold faith and a good conscience, as if they failed both in one vessel: if faith sink, a good conscience cannot swim; much more might be added of a good conscience, but our care would be to keep conscience, as we would do a Jewel of great price, and as we do a watch of Gold, a moat or straw will interrupt the motion of a watch, it cannot be violently moved; when Grace and the blood of atonement oileth the wheels of conscience they move sweetly and equally. Sometimes its secure or dead, or (which is the extremity of sleep, as death is superlative and deepest sleep) seared or burnt with a hot iron; when the man hath sinned God out of the world, first as fools do, Psal. 14.1. and next out of his own conscience; and such a conscience in Pharaoh may awake per intervalla, and go to bed again, and be buried at other times; it can discourse and argue away heretically the ill day and judgment, at other times it will crow furiously, and as unseasonably as the cock, which they say hath much in it of the planet of the sun, and therefore begineth to sing when the sun hath passed his declination, and begineth to ascend, when men are in deepest sleep.
††† There is a second division of conscience, and it is from the second acts and good disposition of conscience, and that is a gender, or a not tender conscience.
The tender conscience is only choicest of consciences, so Dr. Ames maketh it that which is opposed to an hard heart, the worst conscience that is; we have some choice examples of a tender conscience, 2 King. 22.19. Because thy heart was tender, and thou wast cast down before the face of the Lord: the word %kr †to grow soft is ascribed to oil, Psalm. 55. 22. His words were softer than oil; it is Prov. 4.3. tender and dear; it is ascribed to young children, or young cattle, its a conscience that easily yeildeth and rendereth to God; so in Job. Chap. 31. who was so tender at the remembrance of Godís
rising up against him to visit him, that verse 13. he durst not despise the cause of his man-servant, or his maid-servant, when they contended with him, and in David, who when he but cut off the lap of the manís garment, who fought to cut off his life, yet his heart smote him: the word hk'n" is to strike, or kill, or plague, frequent in the book of Exodus, God shook every herb of the field. God struck or plagued the first borne; it is sometimes to whip or scourge, so as the mark of the stroke remaineth; after Davidís striking of the Lords anointed, there remained an vibex, an impression and a mark in a soft heart.
†††† Whoever would engross the name of a tender conscience to themselves, do challenge the high perfection of David, Josiah, Job, and of that which is the flower and Garland of all godliness, and these that are not tender in conscience in some measure (if any will think they have it in the perfection, they see little in their own heart,) are deemed profane, irreligious, and men of bold and daring consciences; so we shall, and must yield in a question of personal interest, that these are the only perfectionists, and tender consciences who are for toleration of all religions, and are professed Antinomians, Arrians, Arminians, Socinians, and such like. But the day shall
reveal every manís work what it is. It cannot be denied but the more tenderness, the more of God, and the more of conscience; but by tenderness is meant fear and awesomeness of sin, so no question, there is some conscience that is made of glass, and is easily broken, and some of iron and brass, lay hell on it, let Christ say to Judas in his face, he shall be-
tray his Master, and he hath a devil, yet his conscience doth not crow before day light, to waken him. But give us leave to contend for our righteousness, we believe we have found a ransom, and yet we hold that toleration of all religions is not far from blasphemy, and therefore to any way to Monopolize the title of tender consciences to themselves, as a Characteristical note to difference them from Presbyterians, and such as dare not, out of the fear of God, and reverence to their own conscience, in this point awing them, but judge liberty of conscience fleshy liberty, in that title, seem to hold forth no tenderness of conscience at all, except they allow us to share with them in the name of tender consciences. Which name I durst no more take than to call myself a Perfectist, or holier than my brethren, whereas its more congruous to think and call ourselves, the chief of sinners. To be bold with the Scriptures, and to dispense with new dreams touching God, Christ and the mysteries of the Gospel, in all heresies and blasphemies that they may be tolerated, is boldness of conscience. 2. Pertinacity after conviction, and then to say, wecannot come up to the rule, when the truth is, we will not come up to the rule, is no tenderness. 3. A tender conscience feareth an oath, and dare not say, every man may swear a covenant with God in his own sense, yes, itís a Jesuitís conscience. 4. To carry on a design under pretence of Religion, with lies, breaking of oaths, treaties, promises, is a far other thing than tenderness.
†††† 2. How Antinomians, who deny that the regenerate have any conscience of sin, or that they are to confess, or be grieved in conscience, for Incests, Adulteries, Murders, Rapes, Oppressions, or the like, or can crowd in under the lap of this veil of tender consciences, is more than the truly godly can see.
†††† 3. To condemn all the godly in the three Kingdoms, and the churches of New England, as not tender consciences, because they profess that liberty of conscience is Atheistical licentiousness, seemeth to be a harder measure than these godly persons deserve, who out of some tenderness of conscience dare not but condemn liberty of sinning against the duties of this table; and therefore, if toleration of all false ways entitle men
to tender consciences, because it is the opinion of some godlymen, why should not these who are also godly, and out of conscience hold the contrary opinion, be also called tender consciences? And if this be, we shall not know who they are, who are to be termed tender consciences, who not.
†††† But I had rather speak a little of a scrupulous conscience; the scripture saith, the heart of Josiah was tender, but that, he wept at the reading of the Law, sure it was not scrupulosity, which is always a fault and disease of the conscience, as when the conscience doubts and fears for trifles, where there is no grave and weighty cause. The place 1 Sam 25.31. in which Abigail so speaketh to David, is not to be expounded of a scrupulous, but of a justly grieved conscience. This shall be no grief unto thee, nor offence of heart unto my Lord, either that thou hast shed blood causeless, or that thou hast avenged thyself. Heb. It shall not be staggering, or stumbling to thy heart, for qWP is to offend, stumble, fall, to remove out of the place. Isa. 28.7. Rab. Abraham reads it, they have made others to stumble, and qyPi Nah. 2. 10. knees smite one against another: the one knee, in affrighted men, offendeth the other, and makes the other to stumble or fall. So in a trembling conscience, sin maketh the conscience to go out of the way, and fall; as one knee trembling, maketh another knee in a race to fall. Abigail dissuadeth David from shedding innocent blood, or avenging himself on Nabal, because so to do should be no grief of conscience. Itís a litote. It shall be a feast and a rejoicing of conscience, that thou hast not sinned against God. And this is to be considered, that a grieved conscience, travailing with remorse, is even so far tender, that it either abstaineth, if the sin be to be committed, or it grieveth, if it be committed, and in the truly godly soliciteth for reconciliation. A doubting conscience is ignorant of the thing done or to be done, and inclineth to neither sides. But a scrupulous conscience inclineth to the one side, but with doubting and a trouble of mind; as the traveler walketh, but with some pain, as if there were a little stone in his shoe. Azorius par. 1. instit. Moral 1.2.c.20.q.I. Malderus in 12. g. 19. ar. 5.6. disp. 88. Amesius de Conscient. l. I. c. 6.
†††† The causes of a scrupulous conscience are 1. Godís wise and just
permission. 2. Satanís working and acting on a cold, distracted, sad bodily complexion. 3. Ignorance. Weakness of judgment. 4. Immoderate fear troubling reason. 5. Inconstancy of the mind. 6. And withal some tenderness. Gregorius said, bonarum conscientiarum est ibi culpam agnoscere, ubi culpa non est. It is one of the most godly errors, and a sin that smelleth of grace. Papists, miserable comforters, say, a special way to be delivered, is to submit yourself to a superiorís blind command. They say, a Priest was freed of his scruple, when he obeyed Bernardís bare word, and trusted in it; hearing that, Vade et me‚ fide confisus sacrifica, go and upon my faith sacrifice confidently.
†††† It were good to use heavenly violence against scruples fantasy will cast in, I should not pray, because God hath decreed whither I pray, or pray not, the thing I suit, shall never be. 2. its good to turn away the mind from threatenings; he tempteth providence, who having a weak head, will walk upon the house top. In rovings and grinding of a timorous mind, unbelief will break one link of Godís chain, and that broken must break another, and that a third, till the faith of eternal election be broken. As in a wall of four squared stones not well cemented, loose and break out one stone, that will break another, and that other loose a third, till the whole wall must fall: weakness can spin out thread after thread, one doubt after another, till the poor† soul be taken off the Gospel-foundation of consolation.
CHAP.† I I.
Conscience under Synods, and how; and, that the
Conscience cannot have absolute liberty in
matters of Religion.
THE conscience is a tender piece, and either the best friend next to the Physician who can whole broken consciences, or the saddest enemy: if sick, it is like an aching tooth, the more you touch it, the more it pains you. The conscience of its own nature, is a knowing power of the practical understanding, as
therefore no illicit acts of the soul can be compelled, neither can conscience act being muzzled and forced; but this hindereth not, but that men and devils in their conscience must know and believe many things in some sense against their will: as the devil out of the natural efficacy of conscience cannot choose, but he must believe that there is a God, yet where there is a trembling, there must be some reluctance in the will and affections. Judas must believe his damnation was approaching, when he hanged himself, but against his heart. The Belgic Arminians, who contend for liberty of conscience in all ways, Apol. 35.p.295. say, By determinations of Synods violence is not offered to conscience, as conscience signifieth a mere internal act of the mind, eminent or abiding within the mind, but as conscience signifieth an act of the mind by which any doth believe he is obliged to teach others which he persuadeth himself to be true and necessary, so the man is compelled by a Synodís prescription, to dissemble what he believeth he ought to profess, and which he believeth to be false.
†††† Answ. Say that the decision of the Synod be agreeable to the word; the Lord layeth on the coaction to all, to believe and accordingly profess the truth, and that by a Synod as Christ saith, he that heareth you heareth me: so the coaction, such as it is, must come principally from God; instrumentally from the Synod; but it floweth from both by accident, and through menís abuse, who receive not the truth in love, but for fear of shame, least they should by the godly go for perverters of souls, Act. 15. that they do hypocritically profess what they ought sincerely to believe and profess; may we not say many men of corrupt minds believed circumcision to be necessary, and yet for fear of the Apostlesí censure that they should be judged troublers of souls, liars and false teachers, as they are judged to be Act. 15.24. would dissemble? And they are no other ways by a Synodical truth compelled to lie and dissemble by shame and falling out of the hearts of the Apostles and of all the godly the one way than the other; in that case than in this case. For there be but two ways of working on the mind to drive men to be of another opinion, one by fear either of shame, reproach or censures civil or ecclesiastical, another by mere teaching and instructing.
†††† Now for the liberty of prophesying that Arminians require, and so the liberty of Synods, let us inquire if it be true liberty.††††
†††† 1. They require a full liberty to every man without scruple or fear of danger, to declare his mind in Synods, and to examine what is controverted.
†††† Answ. It is in some respect commendable that heretics be candid and ingenuous to declare, even, what their heretical judgment and indictment of conscience leads them to believe, but a full liberty to question, in the Synod, whether there be a God, or no, or whether Christ died for sinners, ought not to be, for that is license, and heretical license: a point controverted any may question: and these, that Act. 15. held necessity of circumcision, might seek resolution of their arguments and doubts, but under pretext of liberty free of fear and danger, they have not liberty to sin; that is, after they are or may be, (if willfulness stood not in their way) inwardly convinced, they have not liberty obstinately to press sophisms against the truth, for this is an undeniable principle, liberty to sin is fleshly license not liberty.
†††† Armin. In controversies of religion which the scripture doth not evidently decide, what can certainly be determined by the Church, which ever, and in everything which it determines, is believed may err?
†††† Answ. There is nothing that the scripture hath left simple, and in itself controversial.† Actu primo the scripture hath determined of all things contained in it, whether fundamentals or not fundamentals; only in regard of our dullness and sinful blindness some things are controverted, and therefore the Church may determine from light of the word some thing that was a controversy to the Fathers ignorant of the original tongues, which is now no controversy. Yea the fallible church may determine infallible points. This is a principle that Libertines proceed upon, that men who are not infallible may err, and therefore can hold forth to others no infallible truth. Which is most false, for prophets and apostles, Nathan, Samuel, David, Peter being deserted of the immediately inspiring Spirit did err as well as the Church and Pastors now deserted of the ordinary Spirit can and do err. For all men, Prophets and Apostles are liars, Rom. 3. yet they may and do carry infallible truth to others; a
blind man may hold a candle to others. 3. By this reason Pastors can preach nothing certain in fundamentals, though faith come by hearing, and faith is of a certain and determinate fixed truth of God, more permanent than heaven or earth; why, because by this reason pastors in preaching fundamentals are not infallible . 4. Nor is this a good reason, it is believed the Church may err in Synods, ergo, it doth err and determines nothing that is infallible and certain in Synods; no more than this is a good consequence, David may sin in praying, ergo, he doth sin in praying: a potential ad actum non valet consequential,
†††† Armin. A confession is not a rule of faith it hath not the lowest place in the Church.
†††† Answ. The covenant written and sealed in Nehemiahís time was a secondary rule of faith, and a rule even so far as it agreed with the Law of Moses, for they enter in a curse and an oath to walk in Godís Law, not to give their sons and daughters in marriage to the heathen, not to buy victuals from the heathen on the Sabbath, to charge themselves to give money to maintain the service of God, Nehe.9.38. chap.10. 1, 2, 3, 29, 30, 31, 32. Which written Covenant was not Scripture; and Act. 15. the decrees of the Synod was not formally Scripture, yet to be observed as a secondary rule. For so far Arminians.
†††† A Doctor as a Doctor believeth not, a Doctor believeth as a sheep, not as a shepherd, and his judgment of matters of faith is not public but private and common to teachers with every one of the sheep: and there is a like and equal power in shepherd and every one of the flock of believing; and the sheep in matters of faith are no more obliged to stand to the judgment of the shepherd than the teachers to the judgment of the sheep; the teachers have a privilege of order and honor, above the sheep; but no privilege of Law and power. Then the Church though she believe and certainly know, that she erreth not in her decisions, yea though it fall out she err not, yet ought not to take power to herself to command others to believe that to be true which she believes, or to impose silence upon others, who, cannot in conscience acquiesce to what they command.
†††† Answ. There is something true in this; there is a two-fold Judgment, one saving, and Christian common to all by which both shepherd and sheep believe; and its true of this, that the
Sheep are not more to stand to the judgment of shepherds, than the shepherds to the judgment of the sheep in point of Christian believing, which (sure) is common to both shepherd and Sheep: for the alone authority of God speaking in his word. And so the Doctor believes not as a Doctor but as a Christian. But secondly, there is another judgment that is ministerial, official, and authoritative, and this is terminated not on Christian believing, but supposeth a ministerial believing; that what the shepherd teaches others God revealed to him first, and is put forth in a ministerial and official judging either in Synods, or in public Pastoral Sermons and authoritative, but ministerial publishing the will and mind of Christ. Mal. 2.7. They shall seek the Law from his mouth. Heb. 13.7.17. That way the people depends upon the Ministerial judgment of Synods and Pastors: but its most false that Pastors depends on their Ministerial judgment who are sheep, and that there is a like and equal power in shepherds and sheep; and itís† false, that though the Church believes she errs not, and doth not err, yet the Church may not command and in Synods Ministerially and with all authority rebuke, such as pervert souls. Act. 15.22. And that Doctors may not as the heralds and Ministers of Christ rebuke men sharply, avpoto,mwj that they may be sound in the faith, Tit. 1.13. For Pastors and Synods teach fundamentals of faith ministerially to the people, and by hearing of them is faith begotten in the hearers; and they may command, exhort, rebuke with all long suffering, 2 Tim. 4.1,2. 2 Tim. 2.14. Stop their mouths, Tit. 1.11. and authoritatively enjoin them silence. Act. 15. 22, 23, 24, 25. Act 6.4. Though they cannot by reason of an erroneous conscience or a conscience burnt with an hot iron acquiesce to the determination of a Synod; Yea though they be unruly, vain talkers and deceivers, they must be commanded to be silent. Nor must the Church and Angels of the Church of Thyatira, Ephesus, or Pergamos suffer Jezebel to seduce, nor ravening wolves to devour the flock, nor their word to eat as a Canker; For this judgment authoritative as it is in the head of the Church (Christ) as in the fountain and only Law-giver, so it is Ministerially only and by way of office in the Elders, as the will and mind of the King is in the inferior Judge, the Ambassador or Herald, not in the people, And the people are ob-
liged to obey those that are over them in the Lord, who watch for their souls, as those who must give an account. But there is no ground to say the shepherds are obliged to stand to and obey the ministerial and official judgment of the people: and of this it is said, he that heareth you (Ministers of the Gospel, not the people) heareth me, he that dispiseth you dispiseth me. And this is more than† a privilege of order and honor, which one Christian hath above another in regard of eminence of graces, gifts, and of wisdom, experience, and age, it is a privilege of office to speak in the name of the Lord, and yet it is inferior to a privilege of the law, because the Lord only imposeth laws upon the conscience, for it is a middle judgment less than Legislative, Supreme and absolute over the conscience, this is in none save only in the King and head of the Church, and is Royal and Princely; Yet is it more (I say not more excellent, it not being saving of itself as in believers) than a privilege of mere honor and order, for though it lay no more bands on the conscience to obtain faith because it is holden forth by men, it having no influence on the conscience because of men, whose word is not the formal object of faith, yet hath it an official authority from Pastors (which is not merely titulary) so as they may ministerially and officially command obedience to their judgment as far as it agrees with the mind of Christ, no farther: and when it is disobeyed may inflict censures, which private Christians cannot do, and putteth these who disobey under another guiltiness, than if private Christians did speak the same word to wit not only in a case of disobedience to the second Command, but in a state of disobedience to the fifth command formally, as not honoring father and mother whereas to disobey that same word by way of counsel in the mouth of a brother, though it be the breach of the fifth command also, Yet not in such a manner as when we refuse to hear the messenger of the Lord of Hosts; and his judgment as a messenger of God is publique and binds as public to highest obedience to the fifth command, but as it is a judgment of faith common to the Doctor with other Christians, it binds as the mind of God holding faith in the second Commandment what we are to believe.
†††† Arminians. The word of God is sufficient for the deciding of controversies, its clear, what need is there of decision, if men acquiesce to the decision of God as it lies in Scripture--- if the word of God express the sense of God, or if it have need of interpretation, why is there not a free interpretation left to every man? Do we think our words are clearer than the word of God, we do a mighty injury to the word of God, if we believe that. How much better were it, if we would nourish peace and concord leaving interpretations free to every man? It is most sure to contain ourselves within the speaking of holy scripture, and the form of words of the Holy Ghost, and that no man be troubled who shows himself willing to contain himself within these.
†††† Answ. Here is a mere fluctuation and Skepticism even in fundamentals and the faith of them, for all interpretation of Scripture is rejected, there is no distinction in fundamentals or no fundamentals, for in principles of faith, that Christ is God and man, and died for sinners, the Scripture is most plain, and what need then of our interpretation? then let Arians and Socinnians believe him to be God man and to die for sinners in their sense, the Familists in a contrary sense, the Georgians in another contrary sense, the Papists in a third, the Protestants a fourth, and so as many heads, as many faiths, every sect, and man must have some sense, else his faith is non-sense, and if he err from the sense of the Holy Ghost, the scripture is no scripture, if it be believed in a sense contrary to the scripture to him who so believes; and so his faith is no faith, but a vain night-fancy, and seeing the word of God gives us but one faith, and one truth, and one Gospel; if interpretations be left free to every man, these Libertines gives us millions of faiths with millions of senses, and so no faith at all.
†††† Secondly, They give us two decisions, one made by God, and another by the Church contrary to Godís, that has no rule but every manís private judgment and free fancy, as if the decision of controversies made by the Church in Synods which we suppose is not divided from that of Godís, were some other thing than the decision of the Holy Ghost speaking in the word and declared by the Church in a ministerial way, and if it be any other than this, it is not to be received, nor a lawful decisi-
on ministerial of a Synod, but to be rejected.
†††† Thirdly, if there be no need of a decision to expone the word, because the word is clear, and if we wrong the word of God if we think our words are clearer than Gods, it is true, if we had eyes to see and apprehend the mind of God in his word, without an interpretation, then all ministry and preaching of the Gospel is cried down by this, what have any to do to expone the first principles of the Oracles of God to the Hebrews c.5? or what need they teach, exhort, preach in season and out of season? What needeth the Eunuch a teacher, or Cornelius Peter, or Saul Ananias to teach them? had they not the Scriptures? if Timothy, the preachers that speak the word of the Lord to the Hebrews, Philip, Peter, Ananias think their words clearer than the word of God, they do a great injury to the word of God; or if they believed their words were clearer than the words of Isaiah and the Prophets, and they did that which was not necessary, if they opened and expounded the Prophets and decided controversies; for they should have acquiesced to the decision of God as it lieth in the Scripture, and not have preached but read the Prophets, and left if free to the hearers to put on the words of Scripture, what interpretation and sense they thought best.
†††† Fourthly, That no confessions ought to be but in express words of Scripture, shall free all men and consequently all Churches from obedience to that which Peter commands. 1 Pet.3. 15. Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear. When Stephen Acts 7. and Paul Acts 26. were accused of
heresy and speaking against Moses and the temple, they made a confession of their faith not in words of Scripture, but in deductions and necessary consequences drawn from Scripture and applied to themselves, and those in Nehemiahís time who wrote and sealed or subscribed a Covenant, did not write and seal the express, Decalogue and ten Commandments, nor the words of the Covenant of Grace. I will be thy God and the God of thy seed, but entered into a curse and into an oath to walk in Godís Law which was given by Moses the servant of God and to observe, and to do all the Commandments of the Lord our God and his judgments and his statutes and that (say they) we would not give our daughters to the people of the Land, not take their
daughters for our sons, and if the people of the Land bring ware or victuals on the Sabbath day to sell, that we would not buy it of them and Nehemiah c. 10. v. 29,30,31,32,33,34. etc... compared with Nehemiah c.9.v.38. Which words are not a confession nor Covenant in express Scripture, save that they are historically inserted in the Cannon of the Scripture by the Holy Ghost. In which sense the law and decree of Nebuchadnezzar Daniel 6. And of other heathen Kings as Daniel 3.29.30 Ezra.1. 2,3. c.7. 11,12,13,14, etc... Are Scriptures; but they are not the express words of the law, for there is nothing in the express law touching the Sabbath, of no buying ware and victual from the heathen of the land that Nehemiah speaks of, which warranteth us to enter in the like Covenant, and make the like confession of faith to defend and stand to the Protestant Religion, and that Christ was God and man, and man in one person, and that we shall not buy ware or victuals from the Anabaptist and Familists of England who trample on the Sabbath day though these be not express words of Scripture. It is true, Libertines say men have made apologies and confessions of faith for their own defense as Steven and Paul but they enjoined not these by authority and command as a rule of faith upon others, and wrote them not as a fixed standard of the faith of others, and that warrants no Church to impose a faith upon others.
†††† Answ. 1. This will prove that as one man accused of heresy may publish a confession of his faith which may clear his innocence and the soundness of his faith to others and remove the scandal according to that of I Pet. 3.15. And by the same reason, Independents, Libertines, Familists, Antinomians, Anabaptists and all the Sects of England, upon the same ground that the Albigenses went upon, should by some confession and Covenant give an account of their faith and hope with meekness and fear. And what particular persons are obliged to do that Churches when they are slandered as unsound in the faith are obliged to do: and so I look at a form or confession of faith as
a necessary apology for clearing of the good name of a Church defamed with heresies, and new sects, but for the imposing of this confession upon other, these others are either neighbor Churches, or their own Members.
†††† As concerning neighbor-Churches they have no authority over them. Yet may they declare that Familists who say Christ is not come in the flesh are the Spirit of the Antichrist, and for these, of their own Church, if they go out from them and separate to an Antichristian side, after the example of the Apostles and Elders they may command them to abstain from such and such heretical opinions, and after they have convicted them as perverters of souls, proceed to excommunication against them as refusers to consent to the form of wholesome words: as may be proved from Math. 18.15, 16, 17, etc... Rom. 16. 17, 1 Thes. 2.13, 14, 15. And other Scriptures as Reve. 2. 1, 2, 3. v. 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20. Now that it is not sufficient that they be put to subscribe a confession of faith in only scripture words is clear, 1. because the Jews will swear and seal the Old Testament in their own sense, but their sense makes the old Testament to be the word of man, not the word of God. The Sadducees acknowledged the five books of Moses to be the word of God, yet because they denied the resurrection of the dead; Christ argueth them Math. 22.45. Ignorant both of the power of God asserted in the books of Moses and of the scriptures, especially of that scripture which God spake out of the bush to Moses; I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, etc... Exod. 3.6. Yet would the Sadducees have sworn and subscribed all the book of Exodus as the undoubted word of God, but when they denied the resurrection, sure these words I am the God of Abraham etc... making the Covenant of grace to die when Abraham died, and Abraham to have perished in soul and body as they expounded it, was not the word of God; and Papists will subscribe the old and new Testament and the three creeds, the Nicene Creed, the Creed of Athanasius, and that which commonly is called the Apostles Creed. Yet as they expound the word and these Creeds, we say they transform the word of God into the doctrine of devils and most abominable Idolatry, the greatest heretics that were, Arrius, Nestorius, Appollinaris, Macedonius, the Treithite acknowledge the scripture to be the word of God, and will swear and subscribe the word of God and contain themselves intra sacre scripture lecutiones, within the words of scripture. But their faith is not the faith of the scripture, and this makes ten thousand
and millions of faiths whereas the word saith there is but one faith. For Arrius hath one faith, Apollinaris another, Nestorius another, and every heretic a faith according to the sense that he falsely puts on the scripture, and all may swear one confession of faith in scripture words.
†††† Arminians say, no man after he hath received a decree of a Synod is longer obliged to it, nor upon any other condition, but in so far and so long as he judgeth in his conscience that it is true.
†††† Answ. This is mere skepticism, and to make the conscience whether erroneous, or not erroneous to be a bible and a rule of faith. For though the erroneous conscience say, it is service to God to kill the innocent Apostles John 16.1. Yet the sixth commandement lies upon these murderers with equal strength, thou shalt not kill, otherwise they are not guilty of murder. For if a Synod decree to kill Peter and John, because they preach that the Son of Mary is the Messiah, is bloody persecution. Then so soon as Scribes and Pharisees in their erroneous conscience (for Libertines make exceptions of no consciences, an erroneous more than another, not erring in fundamentals more than of another.) shall judge it service to God to kill the Apostles they are loosed from the sixth commandment and no longer obliged to this (thou shalt not murder.) So the author of the tractate called Armini. Where menís scope is any way to remove controveries, there is there no care or little at all of the truth of God, and where the external peace of the common-wealth is heeded precisely, there peace of conscience is of none or of little value, the truth is not there persuaded, but crushed.
†††† Ans. The learned and renowned professors of Leiden answer the end of Synods is not by any means good or bad to remove controversies but to bury them by the power of the word. 2 Only external peace separated from truth should not be intended, but conjoined with truth and peace of conscience. 3. The end of Synods is not effectually and actu secundo to silence heretics and gain-sayers of the truth, not is it Christís scope in convincing the Sadducees that the dead must rise Math. 22. to persuade the truth, so as there shall never be on earth a Sadducee again who denies the resurrection, for in Paulís and in the Apostlesí time the Sadducees still denied the resurrection,
after the Synod of Jerusalem Acts 15. There arose many that said we must keep the law of Ceremonies, but the end of Synods is to do what may actu primo, remove controversies and silence heretics by clearing scripture, and truth, but the end is not to remove obstinacy that is not the scope of Synods nor of preaching, nor of the scriptures, but of all these are in the event as God blesseth them and concurreth with them: the end of Synods is not to oppress or deprive ministers, the end of despised and obstinately refused truth is such.
†††† Armini. Synods should not aim at setting up their own authoritity which in matters of faith is none at all, such decisions are the heart of Popery, and makes all religion without Synods to be uncertain.
†††† Ans. Synods should take care that no man despise their authority, as Timothy is exhorted by Paul but their authority in matters of faith is conditional, and so not nul. 2. Synods are necessary ad bene esse, not absolutely, for many are saved, both persecuted churches, and believers who never had help of Synods to clear their faith. 3. But none more contend then Libertines do for a faith as uncertain as the weather which may change with every new moon. The same also may be said of preaching and a ministry which the Lord Jesus ascending on high gave for the edifying his body the Church, that religion is uncertain without it. For Pastors in public should convince gainsayers and so remove heretics. Tit. 1.9, 10, 11. 1 Tim. 6.3, 4 as well as Synods, and Libertines in their conscience know Protestant Synods Lord over the faith of none as if they took to themselves infallibility as Popish Synods do.†
†††† Armini. Since Synods may err, how then place they religion in security?
†††† Obj. But Pastors oblige not men to receive what they say, under pain of censures, as Synods do.
†††† Answ. Under pain of divine if not Ecclesiastical punishment, and the one is that way as binding to the conscience as the other, yea more, for it is a greater obligation for Pastors to subject men to divine wrath, if they receive not what they preach,
than for Synods to bind them only to Ecclesiastical censures and yet none can say that Pastors exercise tyranny over the conscience: for the former, Ergo neither can Synods justly be deemed Lords over the conscience for the latter.
†††† Armin. Very often fewer; and provincial Synods do determine more soundly then many and Ecumenical Synods.
†††† Answ. That is by accident; one Michaiah saw more than four hundred prophets of Baal. But this objection is against the safety that is in a multitude of counselors and in the excellency of two convened in the name of Christ above one.
†††† Armin. Decision of Synods cannot oblige men while they know that the decision was rightly made, it is not enough to oblige any to consent that that which is decided is true and agreeable to the word of God, of necessity every manís private judgment must go before, otherwise its an implicit faith.
†††† Answ. That many should duly, and as he ought believe, and receive the decision of a Synod, it must be both true, and he must believe and know that it is true, but that it may oblige him and doth oblige him, whether his conscience be erroneous, or no, is as true, for then this Commandment (Thou shalt not kill) (Honour they father and thy mother) should lay no obligation on a man that believes it is service to God to kill the Apostles, as John 16. some do. For no man is exempted from an obligation to obey Godís Law, because of his own sinful and culpable ignorance, for we speak not now of invincible ignorance of these things which we are not obliged to know or believe. But if our sinful and erroneous conscience free us from actual obligation to be tied by a law, then our erroneous conscience freeth us from sinning against a law, and so from punishment, for whatever freeth a man from actual obligation freeth him also from actual sinning, for all sin is a doing against a Law-obligation, and if so, then are none to be led by any rule but their own conscience, the written Law and Gospel is not henceforth our rule any more.
†††† Arminians. The last condition of a Synod is, that the subject of a Synodical decision be ever left to a free examination, and to a farther free discussion and revise. The learned professors of Leyden answer that which is once true and fixed in the word of God, is ever true and fixed in the
word of God. The Arminians reply, what is true and fixed in the word of God is ever so, and ought to remain so, for the word is beyond all danger erring. But what is believed to be fixed and fixed and ratified in a Synod is not so, because it is obnoxious to error.
†††† Answ. They require that before we come to a Synod where fundamental truths are Synodically determined, we be as a razed table and as clean paper in which no thing is written, and so must we be after a Synod hath determined according to the word of God, that is be still Skeptics and believe nothing fixedly, and be rooted in no faith; nay not in the faith of the fundamentals that are most clear in the word of God; for it is impossible that we can believe the clearest fundamentals, as that God created the world, and Christ God-Man redeemed it, but we must believe them by the intervening and intermediation of our own sense or the Churchís sense, or the sense of some Godly Doctor; now because all these senses are fallible, and we see Familists put one sense on fundamentals, Papists another sense, and all private men may do the like, it is not possible that any man can be rooted in any faith at all by this way, for all senses are fallible; and though the scripture giveth clear and evident senses yet such is the heretical dullness of men, that reject these infallible senses as false; and those others that by their own confession are fallible and so can neither be established by the word, nor by the interpretations of men, though senses of Scripture rendered by Synods be fallible in the way they come to us, because men delivering them may err, yet being agreeable to the word, they are in themselves infallible. And so the old and new Testament in the way they come to us may be fallible, because printers are not prophets but may miscarry and dream; but it followeth not they are not the infallible word of life in themselves, when the Spirit witnesseth to us that God, divinitie, transforming glory are in these books: as a spouse knoweth the hand-writ style, loveliness of a letter from her husband to be certainly no counterfeit but true, though the bearer be a rogue and can deceive.
†††† Secondly, this answer still supposeth that Synods do give senses contrary to the word of God, and, so we grant they are not only fallible but false and erroneous, and are to be exami-
ned of new again in that case; but we hold, when lawful Synods convened in the name of Christ do determine according to the word of God they are to be† heard as Ambassadors who in Christís stead teach us, and what is once true and ratified in Synods in this manner is ever true and ratified as the reverend professors say and never subject to any further exanimation, and new discussion, so as it must be changed and retracted as false. For this is to subject the very word of God to retraction and change, because a Synod did declare and truly determine it in a Ministerial way to be the word of God. For what Synods determine being the undeniable word of God is intrinsically infallible, and can never become fallible, though fallible and sinful men that are obnoxious to error and mistakes do hold it forth Ministerially to others: and it is false that we are to believe that what Synods determine according to the word of God, we are to believe it is fallible and liable to error, and may an untruth, because they so determine, for then when a Synod determines, there is but one true God, this principle of faith is believed to be subject to Retraction and falsehood, because a Synod hath determined it to be a truth. But the truth is we are to believe truths determined by Synods to be infallible, and never again liable to retraction or discussion, because they are and were in themselves and without any Synodical determination infallible, but not for this formal medium, because, so faith the Synod, but because so faith the Lord. It is true, new heretics pretending new light may arise as Math. 24.24. And call in question all fundamentals that are determined that are cleared in former Synods, but it follows not but these truths are still in themselves fixed and unmovable as the Pole-Star, though evil men bring them under a new Synodical examination as Familists do now raze the foundations of Christianity, yet Daniel and Christ are innocent, though wicked men accuse them judicially as deceivers: nor is it enough that Libertines say it may be the word of God and the infallible word of God which the Synod determineth, but it is not so to us, we are to believe it with a reserve, because we cannot know it so to be.
†††† But I answer this concludes not only against a Synodical determination, but against all scripture, and all prophetical and Apostolic determinations in the scripture, for that there is
one God not three as the Treithits dream, is believed by some to be false, by others to be true. Yet undeniably it is in itself, true that there is but one God, nor is it therefore to be believed with a reserve, because the Synod hath so determined according to the word of God: and this were some answer if we should teach that men should believe, because so saith a Synod. But all the mystery is, though a Synod should determine a truth an hundred times according to the word, yet if the conscience say it is no truth, the determination of a Synod doth not oblige at all (say Libertines) because the conscience according to the mind of Libertines is the nearest obliging rule, but any thing obligeth not to obedience and faith as it appears either true or good to our conscience, for to kill the Apostles appears lawful, to commit adultery and murder appeareth good to many, yet are not men obliged to kill the Apostles, or to commit adultery.
†††† Armini. If a thing be determined out of the word of God by a Synod, then was that thing before determined in the word of God, and yet that must be examined in a Synod which is supposed to be† decided in the word, what need is there of a Synodical examination of that which is supposed to be liable to no error, for so must the word of God be examined.
†††† Answ. What the Bereans heard the Apostle Paul preach Act. 17. 11, 12. was the very Gospel determined in the Scriptures of the Prophets, what then needed they try the Gospel or examine what is infallible in private among themselves more than in public Synods? This argument is against the Apostles rule, Try all things, and try the Spirits whether they be of God or not, for sure these rules warranted them to examine Paul, Peter and Johnís doctrine and Spirits and finding them to be truths decided in the word to receive them, therefore after there is a Scriptural decision it doth not follow that there should not be a Declarative or Ministerial decision by Synods and by pastors preaching the Gospel. For this doth close subvert all ministry and preaching, and all trying of the spirits, nor is it hence concluded that, we examine the word of God, as if it could be false, but that we are both in private and in public to examine and try whether that which is proposed to us as the word of God be the word of God or no: But we examine and suspect
the credit of men; who may and can lie.
†††† Secondly, but this supposeth that what ever is brought under a Synodical discussion is false or at least fallible, which is a most false principle of Libertines, and that nothing which is the word of God should fall under a Synodical discussion, to be tried which is true: thus far the word of God as it is the word of God is not to be tried, nor determined but in reference to messengers who are but sinful men and can deceive, and to our dullness and sinful ignorance, there is need that a ministry and Synods help us with declarative and ministerial declarations until we be where they shall not need a Temple. And what Libertines say, the same said Anabaptists, so Bullinger saith Anabaptists taught that the Evangelist should be recited without Words casting it (that is without preaching) and that every man was free to interpret the Scripture as he will, and that the interpretation of Scripture is not the word of God. So that the peoples conscience and private sense is their Scripture and rule of faith; we need not then Scripture, every manís sense is his Rule, which yet is not so good divinity as the heathen Melytus accused Socrates of, and thought Socrates was worthy to die, for that such as the people believeth to be gods, he believeth to be nothing such, but thinketh there be some new Deities: and was it a crime that Socrates thought the peopleís lust was no good rule in divinity?
†††† Armini. All should be admitted to Synods because Religion concerneth the conscience of all, or if it be confusion to admit all to come, yet should no decision be, except first all the church be acquainted with the business.
†††† Answ. God never appointed all and every one to lay burdens and Directories or Laws upon themselves as is clear. Act. 15. God keeps ever that order in his Church of some to teach and some to be taught, of some to obey and some to be over others in the Lord: that before Laws be made that concern the conscience, there should be a reference of all made to the people, and they acquainted with reasons form the word of God before a decision we shall not condemn, but it is nothing against us.
†††† Armini. These that come to Synods ought to be engaged to no Church, or to no confession. But every way free.
†††† Answ. Then such as convened in a Synod in the Church of Pergamus and Thyatira should not be principled in the faith of Christ and his truth against the deeds of the Nicolaitans, with whom fornication went for a thing indifferent, or against such as hold the doctrine of Balaam, or Jezebel, they must all come as indifferent to absolve as to condemn the Nicolaitans and the false Prophetess Jezebel. But Paul and Barnabas came to the Council of Jerusalem as members thereof, being sore engaged to condemn circumcision as not necessary to salvation, and had preached against such a necessity and yet were not biased voters in the assembly, and by this reason if Fundamentals be to be established in a Synod, and the contrary errors to be refuted, when Doctors come to a Synod they must leave faith and soundness of faith at home, and come to the Synod with purpose to buy and bargain there for a new faith. And let all men come thither as Skeptics and Nullifidians, and go so also away believing with a reserve, that that the Synod hath determined, may be a lie. But as Arminians take true liberty of free-will to be an absolute power to do ill or well, stand or fall eternally, so they judge that Liberty of prophesying is a Liberty to teach and believe indifferently either lies or truth, heresies or sound doctrine, whereas liberty to do ill in any sense is licentiousness, not liberty.
†††† Armini. The question is not, whether a man when he judges right can err, for who can assume that? But whither either a man or a church who judgeth rightly according to the word of God, have any law or power to command and enjoin others to receive and believe, what they have rightly judged, and that without controversy, for no man is obliged to receive and believe a truth, which a Synod unanimously or for the most part, hath truly judged, because the Synod hath so judged, or saith so.
†††† Answ. But Libertines make such a question, for they affirm that a Synod doth never judge so rightly, but we must believe what they judge with a reserve, and so that what they determine is false, or may the next day be false.
†††† Secondly, we conceive that God hath given to some one single Pastor, and far more to a Synod of Pastors and Doctors a power to rebuke, teach, exhort with all authority 2.
Tim. 4 1.2. To charge Tit. 2.14 them before the Lord. 1. Tim. 6. 17. to lay on burdens and decrees Act. 15.28.c.16.4. And that all that hear them believe and receive as true what they speak in the Name of the Lord, according to that, he that heareth you heareth me; he that despiseth you, despiseth me. He
that will not hear an Ambassador as an Ambassador speaking from his Master and Prince, refuseth to hear the Prince that sent him, yet we say not that they are to be heard without controversy as they object, that is, peremptorily, absolutely as if their word were the very Oracle of God, but they are to be heard, but not but after trying and searching, and not but conditionally in so far as they carry the mind of God along with them, so that there may be an appeal to the Scripture; and place left for examining and trying of their doctrine whether it be so or not.
†††† Another Libertine saith, it is in vain said, Try all things, if a Synod may impose: for either the trial relates to a particular judgment to be made, and that judgment to a practice to be confirmed, or not, if not, as good not try, if I try only for trialís sake, and if when I have tried, I am but where I was, to wit, I must be concluded by others vote and imposition; if yea, then to what purpose is the imposition? For if I approve it, the imposition is needless, if I reject ítis fruitless.
†††† Answ. 1. There is no doubt, but trying all things 1 Thess. 5. relates to judgment and practice, nor is it more against the Ministerial and conditional imposition of a Synod, to you to try, than it is against the imposition and commanding power of the Prophets, Jeremiah, or others, or the Apostles, Paul Act. 17. or John 1 John 3.1. For prophets and Apostles impose Scriptures as Paul did Act. 17. on the Bereans; but conditionally after they find it agreeable to the Scripture, and the Prophets and Apostles, conclude by their vote and sentence, yet better you try as not try. For this argument is more against the Bereansí trying of Paul who had Apostolic power to impose
and place the poor Bereans in the place they were in before they tried, and so as good the Bereans not try Paulís doctrine, as try it; for they are concluded by Paulís vote, if they miscarry in their trying and find, though mistakenly and ignorantly (as this Gamaliel argueth) that Paulís doctrine is contrary to
the Scriptures, are they not concluded under unbelief in refusing
the Gospel and in stumbling at the stone laid on Zion? Sure they are. 2. If you approve Paulís doctrine, the imposition, or peremptory command of Paul to receive it, else he will shake the dust off his feet against you and leave death at your door, the imposition is not needless, but the commanding power in the Ambassador of Christ, be they one as a single pastor, or many, as a Synod, is not needless but useful and fruitful, and is the power of God and the savour of life in itself. Should an ignorant man say the commanding ministerial power of the Gospel which saith, except ye believe ye shall die in your sins, needless? when it bringeth forth fruit. Suppose Paul say to Elimas (as in effect he did) if thou wilt not believe, and cease to pervert others from believing, I will smite thee with blind nesse. If this imposing had wrought faith in Elimas, as by the grace of God it might, had this imposing been needless? The man might as well say: because this tree brings forth fruit being digged and branched, and pruned, therefore digging was needless. But he supposeth vainly that imposing and commands issuing from Synods under penalties and censures are contrary to trying all things, because imposing concludes men under censures, though they try the decrees of Synods to be unjust, but the imposing of Synods is conditional, not absolute as Libertines suppose, for after Synods impose, if believers after trying and due examining, shall find that truly and really the decrees are beside or contrary to the word of truth, the imposing neither is a just Imposing, nor any imposing at all. For neither Prophet, nor Apostle, nor Angel from heaven, nor Church can lay commands upon men imposing or binding under pain of censures to that which is unsound and false or unjust or wicked, and if people shall find their decrees truly to be so after trial they have power to reject them. And 3. the last part of the argument if I reject the imposing command of a Synod, it is fruitless, is a poor one like the wit of the author. For if I reject these imposing commands, when just and lawful they are fruitless to me, and the savour of death as the despised Gospel is: But not simply fruitless on Godís part, as the argument supposeth, except the author with Arminiansí dream that God intendeth obedience in all lawful Ordinances, but he cometh short of his end in the Reprobate. But Ordinances are
not fruitless to God, for they prosper ever in the errand they are sent for Isaiah 55.11. 2 Cor. 2.16, 17. If they render men inexcusable, they are not fruitless, for they clear the justice of God.
†††† 2. They that have right (saith the author) and power of imposing, are Lords of my faith, but so are not any men, the Apostles themselves assumed it not; for by faith ye stand. Take away a Christianís judicious faith, and you take away his legs, his standing under him.
†††† Answ. So do all the ignorant and heady Libertines in England argue, but not one of them had a head ever to prove this consequence. For the apostles had ministerial right to impose and command in the name of the Lord under pain of censures, yet are not either prophets or apostles lords of menís faith, but ministers and mere servants: it is just as if you would say such a Justice of peace imposeth, that is commandeth you obey such laws under penalties, ergo this Justice of peace takes on him to be Sovereign Prince and King over these whom he thus imposingly commandeth. 2. This imposing takes not away judicious believing, all is a beggarly suiting of the question. If imposing were a commanding that we receive absolutely what they say, be it good, or ill, without examining the argument were concludent as God himself requires Abraham to kill his son, Abraham was without examination to give absolute obedience, and this proveth God to be Lord of the conscience, for knowing his word to be his word we are not to examine it by the Scripture or Law of nature, because if we know who speaks, we are not to examine what is spoken. But though we know who speaks among Creatures, be it a Prophet, an Apostle, an Angel, yet must we examine both who speaks and what is spoken. 3. In vain (saith he) did the Bereans try the Apostleís doctrine, and unduly were they commended, if that doctrine were imposed upon them.
†††† Answer. It follows only in vain did the Bereans try Paulís doctrine, if Paul took Godís room and commanded the Bereans to receive his Gospel hand over head, whether it was agreeable to the scriptures or no: the ignorance of the nature of Protestant Synods and of Popish Synods begetteth many ignorant and foolish objections in Li-
bertines. It is true Papists say, their Synods but impose ministerially upon men, not as lords of menís faith, but they take away what they give. For 1. they will have none to examine and try the decrees of their Synods, which we leave to all. 2. Though they say they propose nothing in Synods, but what
is agreeable to the word of God, yet will they be the sole, and only infallible judges of what is the word of God, what not, what is Scripture, what is the word of God in the breast of the Church, and they must be the only infallible Expositors of the word of God, and what is agreeable to the word of God (or which is all one to menís traditions) what not, and so they by consequence make themselves lords over menís faith. Which the apostle Paul would not do for he said not to the Bereans, when you have tried, whither my doctrine be agreeable to the Scripture, or no, yet I and the Apostles are the only sole infallible judges both of our own doctrine, and of all your tryings, and you have not so much as a private judgment left to you.
The Church may complain of Hereticks.
†††† The same author argueth against the Churchís instigating of the Magistrate against men for matters of conscience 1.Ministers are not armed with force and it is not fit they should sevire per alios stir up the Magistrate against others, the Magistrate is the Minister of God properly for wrath. But it is fit for Ministers to say as Christ, I came not to destroy but to save a live.
†††† Answ. The Author saith the question is not of transmitting of such things to the Magistrate as belong to manners, but to conscience, as if an heretic failed against no manners. Yet all his arguments prove that ministers should not complain to the Magistrate of ill manners and the scandalous conversation of any and this he instanceth from the example of Christ, who John 8, would not accuse a woman of adultery. 2. The Magistrate is as properly the Minister of God for good, for the praise of well-doing, as the Minister of God for wrath, and if the
Church should tell the Magistrate his duty, as watchmen should do to all under their care Ezek. 3.16, 17, 18, 19. Magistrate or other, if the Magistrate spare the life of a murderer, the watchmen are unfaithful, if they complain not openly and tell the Magistrate he does not his duty, and upon the same ground, if the Magistrate must coerce with the sword seducing wolves and Jezebels, the Pastors ought to admonish him. And its Atheistic to say the Magistrate is conscious of sins against manners, and of his duty and obligation he needs no instigation. Because no Magistrate be he an Achab or a David, but he needs be quickened† to his duty, and will send a murderer away, and a bloody Joab whom God will have not to live, and should the prophets be called instigators, and savientes per alios, such as destroy menís lives when they tell the Magistrate he is a murderer and guilty of innocent blood, if he suffer the bloody man to live? Or should this be calling taletelling, and the Pastor thrusting of himself into a more disaffecting office to be a Tale-teller anApparitor or Summoner of men to the Civil Magistrateís
court, he made such a poor man be fined and wife and children be starved because he is not of his opinion. What would this author give an Atheist leave to say? but so slander free preaching or free Synodical complaining to the Magistrate? Such a man of our charge is damned by his own conscience and devours the flock, as Arrius and Manes did, such a one is a bloody murderer, a Sorcerer, the Magistrate bears the sword to execute vengeance on evil doers, and yet suffer known murderers to live and be gray-haired, are ministers, who are to warn Fathers, Teachers, Masters, Judges, Kings Jer. 1.10. Nations, and Kingdoms of their duty, thrusters of themselves into a disaffecting office, and Apparitors and Summoners of men before Civil courts, because they warn the Magistrate of his duty? Is this obtruding into another office to give warning to all to be free of the blood of all men? This is like the speech of a wicked King Amaziah 2 Chro. 25. 16. To the prophet who rebuked him, for seeking after the Gods of the Nations. Art thou made of the Kingís Counsel? Forbear, why shouldest thou be smitten? I therefore summon this author to compeer before the judge of the world, and give an account of this doctrine, for he speaks it against the faithful servants of God of the Church of Scotland,
who complained to the king of Idolatrous seducers and Semminary priests and Jesuits, of bloody murderers, of grinders; of the faces of the poor and incorrigible scandalous offenders; whose wretched example was a shame to the gospel and brought guilt upon the land, that he might use the sword against such evil doers? And should ministers be Apparitors and tale-tellers either against such as deserve capital punishment for sins against the second table as well as against the first table? Woe will be to him that calls good evil and evil good. Is the necessary duty of the calling of a watchman to warn the Magistrate of his bloody omissions, (for so the Lord calls it Isaiah 1.21, 22. Isaiah 3.12, 13, 14, 15. Prov. 29.7. Prov. 31.8. And exhorts to it) an overdoing? And a tale-bearing?
†††† He cites also the example (p. 76. 77.) of Christ who would not accuse the woman taken in adultery. What doth this prove? Ergo Christ would not have faithful pastors to complain both to God, and to preach against rulers who punish not incorrigible adulterers? Christ would not accuse her, he would not
judge her. Ergo the Judges under the new Testament who accuse, judge and condemn adulterers, are not followers of Christ? What can an Anabaptist allege more to prove there ought to be no Magistrates under the new Testament? Adulterers must be tolerated: A minister should not preach that the Magistrate sins in not punishing the Adulterer. Christ complained not of Pilate mixing the Galileans blood with their sacrifice to Ceasar, should therefore ministers not complain though the Christain Magistrate suffer such blood-shed?
†††† Of the same kind is that wrangling, prudent fathers encourage not their children to inform of one anotherís faults, because it doth not nourish love. What then? Ergo Ministers should complain to the Godly Magistrate of no omissions at all? I think by this Divinity, if one brother know his brother to kill his brother, he should neither inform Father nor Magistrate that the murderer may be rebuked by the father or corrected by the Judge, because that may hinder love, but let this wrangler answer, whither it be more real love to the murderers soul to inform against him, and more glory to God, more peace to the family; or to be silent and let his brother run to hell; and wrath lie upon the whole land? It is but a loss of time to re-
fute such weak foolery against natural reason, far more contrary to sound Divinity, for if pastors inform against evil doers our of desire of revenge, malice or hatred, they ought not upon these grounds to rebuke any sins at all, and we condemn the doing of good duties upon evil motives and principles.
The state of the question of compulsion of Conscience,
The question touching Liberty of conscience was never by† us, nor any man, save Libertines, themselves and ignorant Anabaptists both of old and late moved concerning internal liberty remaining within the soul, as liberty to think, understand, judge, conclude, whither the Magistrate can force men, with the sword to opinions, and cudgel them out of some into other contrary judgments, in the matters of God, for the Magistrate cannot take on him, yea nor the Church under the pain of censures compel any to think well of Christ, or ill of Antichrist. Yet most of the senseless arguments of the times are, drawn from the immediate subjection of the conscience to God, from the nature of conscience, religion, faith, fear, and the elicit acts of the soul which cannot be compelled, yea in this meaning, we think God can neither offer violence, to mind, understanding, will or affections of love, fear, joy, because all these elicit acts cannot flow from any principle, but the internal and vital inclinations of the soul, though the devils be said to believe against their will, yet not against the inclination of the understanding or desiring faculty.
†††† All the question is concerning the imperated acts and these external, that is not touching opinions and acts of the mind, but that which is visible and audible in these opinions, to wit, the speaking, professed holding of them, publishing, teaching, printing, and known external persuading of others to be
of our mind. So that the question will come to this, whither the Magistrates sword be to regulate our words that concerns our neighbor, as that we lie not, we forswear not, to the
hurt of the life and credit of our neighbour, that we slander not, rail upon no man, far less against the prince and ruler of the people, but whether the words we utter or publish of God though never such blasphemies, and lies, because they come from the conscience (as is truths or words we speak for or against our neighbour did not flow from a conscience either good or ill) be above or beyond all swords or coercive power of men. It is clear the question must be thus stated, for all the laws of the old Testament (which we hold in their moral equity to be perpetual) that are touching blasphemies, heresies, solicitation to worship false Gods and the breach of which the Godly Magistrate was to punish, command or forbid only such things as may be proved by two or three witnesses, and which husband and wife are not to conceal, and from which all Israel must abstain for fear of the like punishment. Deut. 13.8,† 9,† 10, 11. Deut. 17. 5, 6. Levit. 20. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. But opinions in the Mind, acts of the understanding, can never be proved by witnesses and such as neither Magistrate nor Church can censure.
†††† Then we refer to all the Godly, if Libertines and Anabaptists deal brotherly† in affirming that Presbyterians persecute them, because out of tenderness of conscience, they cannot come up to the light and judgment of their brethren in all opinions.
†††† There is a toleration politic and civil and spiritual or Ecclesiastic shame and fear in punishing heresies either by the Judge or the Church, whither in civil or Ecclesiastical censures, rebukes, Excommunication is an evil of punishment in both, as is evident, if we compare Judg. 18.7. Where it is said, There was no Magistrate in the land that might put them to shame in any thing. Deut. 13.11 With these places that speaketh of spiritual censures, in the fear and shame of them as 1 Tim. 5.19. Receive not an accusation against an Elder, but before two or three witnesses, then an Elder that is scandalous may incur shame of being accused, and Mat 18.17. let him be to thee as a heathen and a publican. 1 Tim. 5. 20. them that sin, rebuke before all, that others also may fear. So the avoiding of Idolaters, and Heretics. 1 Cor. 9. 11. Tit. 2. 10. 2. John 10. Gal 1. 8. brings public shame on them 2. Thess. 3. 14. then look what forcing power the shame the Magistrates can put Heretics to, and what compulsory influence it hath on the
conscience and so should not be inflicted on men for their conscience and holding of heresies, as Libertines say, the same compulsory power hath concional rebukes of pastors or private Christians, and of admonition, excommunication or the avoiding of the society of false teachers either by the whole church or by private Christians, and the arguments proving the Magistrate cannot punish for conscience in his politic sphere, do also prove that heretics should not be rebuked sharply that they may be sound in the faith, contrary to Tit. 1.13. and that we should neither admonish them nor avoid their company which is absurd; so they be more ingenious Libertines who free false teachers and heretics from both civil ecclesiastical censures, than these who free them from civil and subject them to ecclesiastical censures, for ecclesiastical compulsion hath no more influence on the conscience by way of teaching then politic or civil, and the arguments taken from the nature of conscience is as strong to prove that the church of Pergamus, Ephesus, Thyatira should suffer liars, false Apostles and Seducers, such as hold the doctrine of Balaam and Jezebel the deceiving prophetess, who teach and profess according to their erroneous conscience contrary to Rev. 1. 2, 3, 14, 20. as that the Godly prince should suffer them: nor can it be said that church-censures are spiritual punishments and so work on the spirit, and have instructing, rebuking and exhorting going before, but the sword is a bodily punishment, and hath not instructing going before. For I answer though these two punishments differ, yet they agree that formally both are alike compulsory of the conscience, and neither of them act upon the spirit by teaching and instructing as the word doth, so as excommunication of a heretic should have instructing and convincing going before, so should also the Magistrate presuppose, before he strike with the sword, that the false teacher hath been instructed and convinced, and so he doth formally punish him with the sword, for his pertinacious perverting of souls.
†††† 3. Nor can it be replied that men should not be punished for either opinions, or for holding opinions that flow from mere conscience, when they publish preach and print them from no principle, but mere conscience, not for gain or a morsel of bread, or for preferment in the state or Army. To this I an-
swer, lay aside opinions and answer me this, how the Judges that are for liberty of conscience are not to punish some words except they would be guilty of persecution, to wit, such as these, the Trinity is but a fiction, Christ is no more God than another holy man. Yea, Christ was but an Impostor, and yet they punish words and deeds of the same kind that come from mere conscience. The answer must be, the former words are from mere conscience and the publishers thereof will swear they hold them as the mere enforcing light and judgment of their conscience; but these other words and deeds which the Magistrate censures, are not from mere conscience. But I believe these that acted in the late controverted Parliament and by virtue thereof, yea and many Godly men of them that are punished by the Judges and many of the Godly that fled for fear act from mere conscience, and will swear they did so act according to their sworn covenant, and to prevent a new war: and that they did it neither for gain, nor for preferment in State or Army. And if it were referred to the consciences of most of the Army why they disbanded not when the Parliament commanded them, but do by their practices treat a war to themselves and the land (a judgment of God of all others the saddest) when they have none to fight against but shadows and enemies of straw and hay; I judge they would swear that they judged the charge of the Houses against their conscience, and unjust, and that they hold up wars out of mere conscience, and to vindicate the oppressed subjects and for preventing of a new war, and not for gain or preferment. So the question is not yet answered; why some external actions of words and deeds coming from mere conscience without any carnal pretext, as they will swear cannot be punished, but violence must be done to conscience, so the men persecuted, and others that do the like and speak the like from no principle but pure conscience, without any carnal pretext, as they will swear; are punished and yet neither violence is done to conscience nor the men persecuted, for acting according to conscience and a sworn covenant. But they justly punished: if acting from mere conscience be the formal cause why men are not to be punished, it should hold in all such acts.
† †††4. They seem to me sick in the brain, who held that it is an act of love and charity in the Magistrate to restrain Arrianism, Socinianism, etc... and to discountenance such seducers, and yet bring arguments against all external force in matters of religion or compulsion in general: a discountenancing and a keeping of men from places, dignities, offices, is the highest compulsion of penalty you can devise. What arguments fight against any compulsion of the Magistrate positive or negative doth fight against all. If it be lawful for the Magistrate, as for all other men, to do all he can for the truth as some say, and the Magistrates invitations, recommendation, exemplary profession; general tuition, excluding, coercing, are all nothing but words; these agree to all Christains as Christians and are nothing peculiar to the Magistrate, the Magistrate as a Magistrate cannot request, he must command as a Magistrate, and all his commands if disobeyed, are in order to the sword.
†††† 5. The question is not whether religion can be enforced upon men by the Magistrate by the dint and violence of the sword, or only persuaded by the power of the word. We hold with Lactantius that religion cannot be compelled, nor can mercy and justice and love to our neighbour commaned in the second table, be more compelled then faith in Christ. Hence give me leave to prove two things. 1. That Religion and faith cannot be forced on men. 2. That this is a vain consequence, Religion cannot be forced but must be persuaded by the word and Spirit, Ergo the Magistrate can use no coercive power in punishing heretics and false teachers.
†††† For the first, we lay hold on all the arguments that prove the word preached to be the only means of converting the soul, begetting of faith and that carnal weapons are not able, yea nor were they ever appointed of God, to ding down strong holds, nor can they make a willing people: and Lactantuis said well, What is left to us, if anotherís lust extort that by force, which we must do willingly? And that of Tertullian. It is of the law or right of man and of his natural power what every man worships, what he thinks he should worship, nor doth the religion of one either do good or do evil to another man, nor is it religion to compel religion, which ought
To be received by will not by force: since sacrifices (of worship) are required of a willing mind. In which I observe. 1. Tertullian speaks not of the true Christian religion which is now in question: but of religion in general as it is comprehensive of both true and false religion. Because he speaks of that religion which by the law of nature a man chooseth, and is humani juris and naturalis potestatis: but it is not of the law of man or natural power, nor in flesh and bloodís power to choose the true Christian religion, that election is Supernatural faith Tertullian there and else where often, as also the Scripture. John 6.44. Math. 16.17. Math. 11. 25,† 26,† 27. 2. Religion is taken two ways 1. for the inward and outward acts of religion as seen both to God and man as Lactantius, Tertullian and others say, so it is most true. Christians ought not with force of sword, compel Jews, nor Jews or pagans compel Christians to be of their religion, because religion is not begotten in any, by persuasion of the mind, nor by forcing of the man. Again religion is taken for the external profession and acting and performances of true religion within the church or by such as profess the truth, that are obvious to the eyes of Magistrates and pastors, and thus the sword is no means of God to force men positively to external worship or performances. But the sword is a means negatively to punish acts of false worship in those that are under the Christian Magistrate and profess Christian society, in so far as these acts come out to the eyes of men and are destructive to the souls of these in a Christian religion, Tis even so (and not otherwise punishable by the Magistrate;) for he may punish omissions of hearing the Doctrine of the Gospel and other external performances of worship, as as these omissions by ill example or otherwise are offensive to the souls of these that are to lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty; nor does it follow that the sword is a kindly means to force outward performances, for the Magistrate as the Magistrate does not command these outward performances as service to God, but rather forbids the omissions of them as destructing to man, for example a physician commands fasting, Pastors after the example of James commands fasting when judgments are on us, the physician
commands it, in so far as eating troubles the common society of humors, members and temper of the body, and the physician forbids eating so as he will have no more to do with the patient, if he will disobey: and so trouble the temper of the body, which is the only object the physician works on. Pastors command fasting to be in sincerity for afflicting and humbling the soul under the mighty hand of God. So the Magistrate forbids cutting of a vein or shedding of blood as a thing troubling the peace of humane society, yet his command is not a direct means of preventing diseases in the body of a subject and for healthy living. But the physician commands to cut a vein and to shed blood for health and to prevent a disease, and sins neither against the Magistrate nor God in so doing: so doth the Magistrate not directly command going to Church as a worship to God, so as his commands have influence on the conscience as the Pastors commands have, but he commands going to church and hearing so as the omission of hearing hurts the society where of God hath made him a civil and politic head: in this latter sense must Lactantius, Tertullian and others be taken, otherwise these words, the Religion of another does his neighbour neither good nor ill in rigour, are not true, the ill example of others in idolatry brings ill upon all the church. Deut. 13.5. yea and the fierce anger of God. V. 17.
†††† Again Lactantius saith false religion cannot be compelled, but he denies not that Christians may punish blasphemies in true religion. 2. he denies we may propagate the Gospel among pagans with the sword: both which points we teach. There is no need (saith he) of force and injury, because Religion cannot be compelled, the business is to be transacted by words rather than blows, that there may be willingness. Let them (enemies of the truth) draw the sword or sharpness of their wit: if their reason be good, let it be produced: we are ready to hear, if they teach ( nothing more clear than that he speaks of the Pagans that would force Paganís worship on Christians: we believe nothing of their religion while they are silent, as we cannot yield to them while they rage against us, let them imitate us, and declare the reason of the whole matter; for we (Christians) do not allure, as they
(Pagans) frequently object to us, but we teach, we prove, we demonstrate: therefore none by us are kept against their will, for he is unprofitable to God who wants devotion and faith: and yet no man departs from us when the truth detains him.
†††† But faith Celsus fol. 84. if in the time of Lactantius Christians killed men for their religion, no man can doubt but Lactantius in these same general words inveighs against Christians who would compel men to their faith against their will, and that he abhors the violence of ours against heretics.
†††† Answ. These are of a wide difference, to kill blasphemers, and false teachers for spreading heresies and blasphemies; and to compel them by war, and fire and sword to be of our Chritain religion. As I hope to prove, for the former is lawful, the later unlawful. Its true Lactantius speaks of all religion true and false, that we are to compel none with the sword to any religion, but he no where saith that the Magistrates may not kill open and pernicious seducers and false teachers who pervert others, for the Magistrate is not to compel yea not to intend the conversion of a pernicious seducer, but to intend to take his head from him, for his destroying of souls. And Lactantius denies religion after it is begotten, can be defended, that is nourished and conserved in the hearts of people by the sword, but by the word and spirit. Those are far different tormenting and piety (saith he) nor can violence be conjoined with verity, nor justice with cruelty.
†††† And again, but as in religion, so also in defending of religion they are deceived, religion is to be defended† not by killing but admonishing, others read, by being killed, not by cruelty, but by patience, not by wickedness, but by faith.
†††† But here he speaks of defending in a hostile way, by killing those that will not be of our religion, be it the pagan religion and most devilish not of defending the Christian professors, from the infection of wolvish seducers, by the sword of the Nurse-father of the church, who is to defend good men and to execute vengeance on evil doers. For in all this Lactantius speaks of such a violence as is without teaching, parati sumus andire si doceant tacentibus certe nihil credimus. But suppose
some fathers were in that error (as Augustine was, but ratracted it) though Augustine affirm we may compel men to the faith, yet he speaks of improper compulsion, and of Donatists and such as are within the Church, whose actions the Magistrate ought to punish, which is not a compelling of the seducer to the sound faith, but an act of justice in punishing him for his spreading of heresies to the perverting of the faith of others. Upon these grounds Cyrillus saith, Mosesí law is gone and the Kingdom of Christ is wholly heavenly, and spiritual, and therefore hath spiritual sacrifices and spiritual armor: and therefore a spiritual not a carnal sword to punish the enemies of this kingdom, becomes Christian men. But he speaks of enemies without the Church (who as I constantly hold) are not with wars and the sword to be compelled to embrace the Christian religion and therefore addeth on the contrary. Israel did fight against Amorites, Canaanites and Jebusites with weapons of iron: but he speaks not of the laws Deut. 13. c. 17. Lev. 24. and such, in which death was decreed for the false prophet within the visible Church. At sometimes the fathers have complied with unsound Emperors who have tolerated, Nestorians, Arians, and Jews, but that is no law for us. But the other point is that though these that are without are not to be compelled to embrace the true religion it followeth not that the Magistrate should not coerce false prophets, or pernicious teachers, such as Baalís priests who openly seduce the people of God to idolatry.
†††††††† I. Because the Magistrate cannot, nor ought not to compel evil doers , murderers, adulterers, robbers, liars, to be internally peaceably, chaste, content with their own as well as they must be such externally, no more than he can com- pel them to inward fear, love, faith in God, and to the external performances thereof. But it doth not follow that therefore the Magistrate cannot command external acts of mercy, chastity, self-contentedness, and should not punish murder, adultery, theft, robbery, perjury, for to punish these makes many hypocritically peaceable, chaste, content with their own, true in their word, as well as punishing false teachers and heretics maketh many hypocritically sound in the faith so Augustine contra Petilian.1.3. c. 83.
2. There is no ground in scripture to say that because the Canaanites erred against the duties of the first table only, that therefore Israel was to destroy them in war. For Joshua 11. 26, 27, 28. the contrary is clear, Joshua made war with them, because God having hardened their heart they came out in battle against Israel: and so the cause of the war was not religion and their madness of idolatry (though on the Lordís part it was a provoking cause) but violence in invading an harmless and innocent people, so Joshua and Israel compelled them not to embrace the true religion, then from thence it cannot follow therefore no laws were to be made against the false prophets and blasphemer. And if that consequence was null then, it cannot be strong now. So we say under the new Testament: we cannot bring in to the faith the Heathen and Pagans by violence and the sword, it follows not Ergo, no blasphemer within the visible Church should be forced. 3. violence and the sword is no means to work men to subjection to Christ, it follows not, ergo because the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but spiritual. 2. Cor. 10. 5. 6. the Apostle should not say shall I come unto you with the rod or in love, or in the spirit of meekness. 1 Cor. 4. 21. and therefore he should not deliver any to Satan. 4. nor is this a good consequence, because the fear of bodily death or punishment by the sword cannot convert, therefore it cannot terrify men from external blasphemy and tempting of others to false worship, for the external man his words, solicitations, do ill by teaching, and his actions, not the inward man or the conscience and the soul is the object the Magistrate is to work on. For neither under Moses more than now, could the sword convert men to the true Religion yet bodily death was to be inflicted on the seducer, then, as now Deut. 13.l1. And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is among you: and afflictions work same way now. Rom. 13. 3. for rulers are not a terror to good works but to the evil, wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same.
†††† There be five pull-backs that keep men even in heresy and in a false way, as may be collected out of Augustine's writings
from which by the terror of just laws, they may be affrighted from seducing of others as 1. fear of offending men especially those of their own way; 2. an hardening custom in a false way. 3. a wicked sluggishness in not searching the truth of God. 4. the wicked tongues of enemies that shall traduce them, if they leave heresies. 5. a vain persuasion that men may be saved in any religion. See Augustine epist. 114. and ad Vincent. epist. 48. epist. 50. ad Bonifacium. contra petili anum. l. 3. c. 83. lib. 3. contra Cresconium cap. 51. contra Guidentum. l. 1. c 19. and lib. contra Parmen. c. 10. contra Gaudent. l. 1. c. 24. de unitate Eccles. c. 20. epist. 166. And so that which the objector Mr. John Goodwine long ago objected is easily answered, that the Magistrate cannot in justice punish that which is unavoidable and above the power of free-will to resist, but such are all heresies and errors of the mind. For this might well have been objected against that most just law Deut. 13. why should God command to stone to death a seducer that tempts any of his people to worship false Gods, because such a man is sick but of an error in the mind, he believes he does service to his God, whom he believes to be the true God, in so doing, and had the heathen and Jews under Moses more strength of free-will and more grace to resist Apostasy, blasphemy, wicked opinions against the true God, than we have now under the gospel. And the Lord hath expressly said Deut. 13. 11. Israel shall fear (bodily death) and do such wickedness no more: now this was not Ceremonial or typical fear, but mere natural fear sufficient to retract and withdraw men from external acts of seducing and blaspheming, which is all that the Magistrate can do. 2. this is the very objection of Donatists and Augustine answers truly. By this answer the Magistrate should not punish murderers and adulterers for they have not grace to resist temptation to murder, certainly the Spirit of Revenge, and of whoredoms must be as strong above free will as the Spirit of error and lies. Ahab then sinned not in believing the lying prophets who deceived him: and it was not in his power to resist the efficacy of lying inflicted on him for his former sins. And what sins the Magistrate punisheth he doth punish as the formal Minister of God. Rom. 13. and so this is
the Pelagian, Arminian and Popish objection against God and free Grace, as much as against us. 3. the wickedest seducer is punished for his external acts of false teaching and seducing which may, and must be proved by witness or confessed by the delinquent, before he can justly punish him, but not for any mind-error which is obvious neither to judge nor witness.
††† Then the true state of the question is not whether the sword be a means of conversion of men to the true faith, nor 2. whether heathen by fire and sword are to be compelled to embrace the truth, nor 3. whether violence without instruction and arguing from light of scriptures, should be used against false teachers, nor 4. whether the Magistrate can punish the opinions of the mind, and strain internal liberty. But whether or no ought the Godly and Christian Prince restrain and punish with the sword false teachers, publishers of heretical and pernicious doctrines, which may be proved by witness, and tends to the injuring of the souls of the people of God, in a Christian society, and are dishonorable to God, and contrary to sound doctrine; and so coerce men for external misdemeanors flowing from a practical conscience sinning against the second table, as well as from a speculative conscience (to borrow these terms here) when they profess and are ready to swear they perform these externals merely from and for conscience. For since false teachers and heretics in regard of the spiritualness of their sin are the worst of evil doers, and such as work abomination in the Israel of God, and there is no particular laws in the New Testament for bodily coercing of Sorcerers, Adulterers, Thieves, Traitors, false witnesses, who but speak lies against the good name of their neighbour, not against the name of God, nor against Sodomites, defilers of their bodies with beasts, perjured persons, Covenant breakers, liars etc... What reason in nature can there be to punish the one, and not the other? for it may with as good color of reason be said, that all the Laws in the old Testament, for drawing of the sword against Sodomites, Adulterers and such like, were typical and temporary, and are done away now in Christ, for Christ will have these converted in as spiritual a way by the only power of the word of God as the other and no where in any express law in the New Testament doth God command to
use the bloody sword against them, more than against blasphemers. And to remove these gross sins out of Christian societies by the sword is no less a carnal and a bodily afflictive way of dealing with their consciences, as to deal so with seducers; and its enough to that negative argument, that no where it is expressed a duty of the Magistrate, under the New Testament to use the sword against false teachers, nor does our Savior or the Apostles rebuke the Magistrate for omitting of their duty in this. Yea Paul, 1 Cor. 6. 9, 10, 11. when he shows that some of the Corinthians abused their body with mankind, were thieves, drunkards, extortionists, he no where saith that it was the Magistrates duty to take away their head for Sodomy, which certainly it was, and that by the very law of nature, but he was Godís instrument for their conversion by the power of the word, ver. 11. and 1 Cor. 4.15 as he labored to convert the Galatians who sometimes worshipped dumb idols, and the Ephesians who worshipped the vain idol Diana Acts 19. yea, nor is there
any New Testament law for taking away the life of a murderer, for that of our Saviors. Math. 26. 52. all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword: except we say it was so a Judicial law among the Jews, as it was a law of nature Gen. 9. before there was a commonwealth erected among the Jews, cannot be called a New Testament law, to Peter and John and the disciples who were obliged at that same very time to keep the Passover and to be subject to all the Jewish laws.
A foundation (saith Pareus Iren. c. 9) is that which is in the lowest place of the building to bear up that which is built upon it, and without which the building cannot stand.
†††† That then must be the foundation of faith and salvation which is precisely necessary to be believed by all that are saved. Alardas Valek gives us four fundamentals facienda and vitanda things to be done and eschewed in the Decalogue 2. credenda, to be believed in the Creed. 3. roganda, to be sought from God in prayer 4. usurpanda things to be pra-
cticed, as the sacraments. How the repenting thief knew all these, I see not, yet a taste of some of them ye may see and with the infused life of God he was ready to believe and do the rest. For the first he knew robbery and violence to be damned in the Decalogue, we are justly here, and repented. 2. for the second, he believed in Christ as king, the Son of God and a Savior. Christ was accused that he called himself the Son of God and a king, when the man saith of Christ this man hath done nothing amiss: he believes him to be the Son of God, and the Savior who had the keys of paradise at his girdle, 3. he prays to him. Lord remember me when thou comes to thy kingdom. 4. for external worship or Sacraments, it is like he knew little: yet he confessed Christ a king when his disciples denied him and fled, and the world persecuted him. Cycillus Hyerosolymitian reduceth them to two; the knowledge of points of faith. 2. the doing of good works. Had he added according to the new covenant it were good. Calvin saith epist. 182. I refuse not the Augustine confession. Cui pridem volens and libens subscripsi, sicut eam Author interpretatus est. Yet in the 10th article thereof the substantial body and blood of Christ is said to be really present under the spece of bread and wine. Ambrose in cap 9. Lu. negat Christum, qui non omnia que sunt Christi consitetur. It is only thus far true: he that hath sufficient means of believing† what the word saith may confess all truths of Christ and doth not deny Christ, but as some do not all the good they may, yet have a saving disposition to it, though either they through infirmities leave it undone, or through want of opportunity, yet believing are saved: So these that want means of knowing and confessing all truths yet have the habit of faith to believe them, though they never actually confess them, do not deny Christ. Though Ireneus l.1.c.3. Tertullain de Virginibus velandis Augusti. to. 10. de Tempore sar. 2. and Ruffinus in the exposition of the Creed say that which is called the Apostles Creed, came from the Apostles: yet there is no sufficient ground for us to believe the authentic Authority of it. Conrad, worships while he was yet sound. de causis justis and necessariis deserendi paptus. par. 1. dis. 1. the 29th saith of
these points that are contained in the Apostles Creed: some things are simply necessary for salvation, without which faith and repentance cannot be 2. some not so necessary, yet profitable and of themselves saving. 3. other things by consequence and by accident are necessary, not of themselves and separate from the fundamentals, the Church of Rome errs in the fundamentals, in the doctrine of our Savior and his offices, in the doctrine of merit, human satisfactions, indulgences, the Scriptures, the Church. In the 2nd† they err about baptism, the Lordís supper, confirmation, unction, penance, though of themselves they happily deprive not of life eternal, yet because the subject about which the matter is versed is most necessary, they are pernicious errors. These of the third sort touching creation, providence, mortification, though of themselves they might be called errors, simple ignorance, yet for the dangerous consequences, they are pernicious heresies.††††† Mr. John Durie in his Theological consultation maketh three sort of necessary points. 1. these, without the knowledge of which Christ cannot be known in the covenant of grace, not by faith retained, which are comprehended in the paction of the covenant. 2. saving points which secretly lurk in these necessary points, yet by just and evident consequence may be deduced there from, though they be not in the express words of the covenant. 3. some things that are profitable, the express knowledge whereof conduceth to the fuller knowledge and faith of these things necessary, yet are not such, but Christ may be believed by simple souls and rested on for salvation, without such a precise form of speaking.
†††† Augusti. de Trinit. l. 14. c. 1. It is one thing to know what we are to believe, another thing how, or with what certainty we are to believe, Nazianz Orat. 5. de Theol. perinde ea que. ex Scriptures colliguntar, atqui ea que scribuntur. What is in Scripture by consequence is scripture: the ignorance of the Resurrection, which was in Scripture to the Sadducees by consequence only was an ignorance of the Scripture Math. 22. 29, 30, 31. and a soul condemning error. It is a question, yea no question, to die denying the resurrection is to die without faith, happily to die ignorant of it, having never heard the
Gospel is not so high a sin, but who can say such can be saved? August. serm. 30. de verbis Apost. si negent equalem, negant silium, sinegant filium, negant Christum, si negant Christum, negant in carne venisse.
†††† Origen l. 2 de peccat. c. 34 all Christiansí faith stands in these two, that the first Adam destroyed us, the second saves us: errors about justifying faith, and errors touching historecal faith are far different.
†††† The foundation is Christ and none but he 2. the gold builded on the foundation is the doctrine of Christ, and a created thing, yet simply necessary to be believed. 3. the hay and stubble that is built on it must be vanities and fooleries believed, yet of themselves such as extinguish not saving faith and love, no more then sins of infirmity are inconsistent with saving faith, then both the manís hay and stubble and his sins of infirmity against the second table may be burnt and the man saved: but it follows not the Church and Magistrate should therefore not punish or censure the builders of hay and stubble upon the foundation, but should tolerate them, for a Godly man, as David and Peter may fall in adultery, in treacherous murder and denial of Christ, yet it follows not that the Magistrate should tolerate and not punish murder and adultery in a Christian society, and that Paul should not sharply rebuke, and if need be, farther proceed to the censure of the Church: if Peter either deny his Lord, though out of infirmity and fear, or if he Judaize and look awry to the Gospel.
Errors in Non Fundamentals obstinately held
Yee must bear one anotherís infirmities, and restore these that fall with the spirit of meekness. Gal. 6.1. and yet not tolerate their errors, and forbear to admonish and also sharply rebuke them and if need be, the Church and Magistrate may proceed to further censures, to excommunication and the use of the sword, for justice is not contrary to meek-
ness, nor one fruit of the Spirit contrary to another. He that spareth the rod hateth the child: yet should not a father be cruel to his child, nor is his correcting contrary to fatherly compassion, but not correcting is cruelty to and hatred of the child: and the like we are to think of the punishments and
censures of the Nurse father of the Church, and of the Church.
†††† There be some things of doubtful disputations that the weak in knowledge cannot conceive, and yet are to be instructed in meekness and received as brethren. Rom. 14. 1. 2. but if these same weak, after sufficient instruction, when the ceremonies of Mosesí law became deadly and unlawful (as they were then indifferent) would needs be circumcised, abstain from meats, and keep the whole Ceremonial law, whatever should be said on the contrary, and would compel others to be circumcised and pervert the souls of many even after the date of the indifference of these things is expired, Paul then is so far from giving place for an hour or betraying Christian liberty Gal. 2. or from bearing with them that he withstandeth them to their faces, and wisheth that such as trouble others so were cut off and might bear their judgment. Gal. 5. 10. 11. which clearly holdeth forth, whatever the meaning of these words be, that Paul though these that would teach others they must be circumcised, were worthy to bear their judgment and to be punished for so basta,sei to. kri,ma importeth.
†††† And it shall be a work of difficulty to prove that to be circumcised was necessary to salvation, and these that so taught Act. 15. and Gal. chap. 5. did teach an error of itself fundamental and that subverted the faith: whoever then would be circumcised fell from Christ Gal. 5. as Paul saith, but that was by consequence, sure it was not an error, in terminis fundamental, as this, Christ is not the Savior of mankind, only it was an error that by consequence subverted the foundation, and was a falling from Christ by consequence, and a coming again under the debt of the whole law, and of salvation by the law, which was ever impossible, and so say it was necessary to salvation, necessitate medij, so as all the Galatians who received Christ and the Gospel and would have plucked out their eyes for Paul, who died ignorant of
this point (whoever will now be circumcise. is fallen from Christ) were eternally damned, and died out of Christ is a groundless saying: there was a glorious Church in Galatia before Paul wrote that epistle to them, for he wrote it upon occasion of their being seduced, who were made believe the necessity of circumcision, and it is clear Paul would not have written that of circumcision, if that error had not been sown among them by false teachers, if therefore such as were made believe that had not been bewitched to believe the necessity of Ceremonies for justification, they being in Christ; should have been saved by faith, though this controversy in terminis had never come to their ears whether are believers justified by faith only, or must they also be circumcised and keep the law? that they may be justified and saved. And sure many are now in our days (which is more) glorified, who never knew, but only virtually, and implicitly, that to be circumcised, or to keep Jewish days is not necessary to justified persons, yea sure many in Britain are saved who never knew this fundamental truth. 2. Act. 15. it is clear that some taught the brethren, except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved: the contrary truth is no express fundamental truth, because a fundamental truth expressly necessary is so necessary (necessitate medij) as without the knowledge thereof we cannot be saved. Now these teachers knew that the Apostles and Elders and Saints at Jerusalem were not circumcised so, and they knew believing Gentiles were not circumcised at all, and yet they knew the Apostles were not damned, they knew all children dying before the eighth day were not damned, they must then hold that circumcision was only necessary to salvation, by way of
precept: and the brethren that believed and so if they had died in that state had undeniably been saved, were ignorant of this; and v. 7. there was much disputing among believers yea among the Apostles who were not ignorant of fundamentals: and undoubtedly had saving faith long before, Math. 16. 17. 18. till James fully determined the question from the word of God. v.13, 14, 15, 16. then it is most clear that these that err in other points that are not fundamentals in which all Christians agree may be perverters of souls and so deserve to be
rebuked by the Church and punished. 3. This opinion of forbearing all, save such as err in fundamentals, though they err in non fundamentals is grounded upon this, that the Scripture is evidently plain and clear in fundamentals, but in other points of non-fundamentals, the Scripture is dark, and in regard of the darkness and natural ignorance of our mind which is invincible almost, we must forbear one another and give and take elbow room and latitude of indulgence, because the Magistrate and Church are not infallible, but both Godly and learned may be on each side, so that there should be no peace nor union of hearts in Christian societies, but all Churches on earth must disband and be dissolved, if each should punish and
censure one another for holding contrary tenets.
†††† But 1. Mr. John Goodwine who contendeth for a Catholic toleration of all, of any religion whatsoever, whether they err in fundamentals or non-fundamentals, and his words because unanswerable to me against this distinction I set down. I desire it be taken (saith he) to serious consideration, whether, or how far, it is meet to punish or censure poor miserable men, for not holding or not asserting the truth of these things, which they cannot come without much labor and contention of mind; yea not without some good degree of some reason and understanding too, to judge so much as probable, nor at all to come to believe or know them certainly, but only by an immediate and supernatural work of the spirit of God? are men to be punished, because God hath not imparted to them his Spirit of grace and supernatural illumination? This learned and sharp witted Divine (as any I see of that way) confirms me much that toleration in non-fundamentals and non-toleration in errors fundamental, is a distinction cannot subsist, in the way that Libertines in England now go: for to know or believe supernatural non-fundamentals as the histories of the miracles of Christ the Prophets and Apostles requires a work of the Spirit of grace and supernatural illumination, as to know or believe fundamentals; why then should men be punished for holding errors in the one and not in the other? and the conscience cannot be compelled in the one more then in the other: but with favor I desire an answer to these quarries.
†††† Query 1. Whether men deserve to be pitied and spoken of
compassionately, as poor miserable men, who hold errors in fundamentals which they cannot know, judge probable, or believe without work of the Spirit of grace, and supernatural illumination, more than the false prophet, Deut. 13. and Elimas the perverter of the Gospel deserves to be pitied?
†††† Query 2. Hence whether the sinful blindness of our mind that makes us, because poor and miserable, unpunishable by men, must not black the spotless justice of our Lord, who yet punisheth original mind-blindness in thousands of the sons of Adam?
†††† Query 3. Whether this hinteth not at Arminian universal power of believing, and doing what we can, otherwise God cannot deny further grace, or punish that natural impotency of not knowing or not believing?
†††† Query 4. Whether the same query may not be retorted upon the Justice of Godís law, Deut. 13. mutatis mutandis, thus whether is it meet that the just God should command a poor miserable seducing Jew, who saith, Let us go and worship strange Gods, since this miserable impostor, being a son of sin and wrath by nature, cannot come without much labor and contention of mind, yea nor without some good degree of reason to judge so much as it is probable, nor at all to believe or know certainly, that Baal is not the true God, but the God of the Jews, only; excluding all the world from saving means of salvation, is the only true God, only to be served and worshipped, but only by an immediate and supernatural work of the Spirit of God? are men either Jews under the law, or Gentiles under the Gospel, to be punished and stoned to death, because God hath not impparted to them his Spirit of grace, and supernatural illumination?
†††† Query 5. Is it meet to punish David (suppose he were no King) for adultery and treacherous murder, since without a work of the Spirit of Grace, who only effectually saves us from being led into temptation, he cannot eschew the falling into adultery and murder? are men-adulterers, and men-murderers to be punished, because God hath not imparted unto them his spirit of grace, by whose actual assistance only they can decline adultery and murder?
†††† Query 6. Whether did ever Presbyterian, or any man else, teach that the Magistrate should punish with the sword poor miserable men, because they cannot believe points of faith by
the supernatural illumination of the Spirit? whether is not the question perverted when a query is made, whether the Magistrate is to punish poor men for not understanding, not knowing, not judging, not believing supernatural truths? we say the Magistrate or his sword hath nothing to do with the elect and internal acts of the mind, of understanding, knowing, judging or believing, but only with external acts of speaking, teaching, publishing dangerous and pernicious doctrines to the hurt and destruction of the souls of others?
†††† Query 7. Whether the Magistrate does therefore force the conscience of a false teacher, because he cannot, he dare not keep up doctrines pernicious to the souls of others, but publish them, because his erroneous and evil conscience judgeth them to be saving and necessary truths, when the Magistrate punisheth him, more then he forceth the conscience of a murderer whom he punisheth, though this murderer judged in his conscience that the man he killed did him so crying and oppressive an injury as in the court of God, deserved bodily death; or when this man murdered his son in a sacrifice to God out of mere conscience?
†††† Query 8. Whether or no this divine, who will have none to be punished for erring in fundamentals, because they believe them not, doth not say, none that teacheth there is no God, that Jesus Christ is a grand impostor, and falls from the truth, and saith Satan is the only God of this world, and only to be served, ought to be so much as rebuked, for without the immediate and supernatural work of the Spirit of God, they cannot know or believe these truths and are men to be rebuked and preached against, because, God hath not imparted to them his Spirit of Grace? whether doth not this arguing evict all the Ministry, rebukes, and exhortation, and moral extirpating of heresies by the power of the word?
†††† Query 9. Whether this be not the old argument of Donatists who argued from liberty of free-will to conclude liberty of conscience? and said forcing of free-will, if the Magistrate hinder men to be a willing people to Christ, is an injury done to conscience and to free-will, and to God† the Creator of the soul? and the same might be objected against the decree of Nebuchadnezzar and Artaxtexes.
†††† Query. 10. Whether or no, are men punished, because God doth
not bestow the Spirit of Grace on them, by which they would flee all evildoing, when they are punished for evil doing?
†††† Query 11. Whereas this distinct argument presupposeth that the Magistrate should tolerate errors in fundamentals, and in non-fundamentals, because of the difficulty of knowing of fundamentals, must it not follow that men are far rather to be tolerated, who err in fundamentals, than such as err in non-fundamentals, and so the more blasphemous that seducing teachers be, as if they deny there is a God, and that nature, and chance rules all, and that Christ was an impostor, the Gospel a fable, the Scripture a mere dream, the more they are to be pitied, and a higher measure of indulgence and toleration is due to them, than to such as are godly and err but in lesser points, that are more easily known, as concerning usury, accidental killing of our neighbour, or the meaning of some places of Scripture, or err in matters touching Church-government or the like?
†††† Query 12. Since also Libertines lay for a ground, that the Magistrate is not infallible in judging of matters of Religion, especially that are supernatural, such as the mysteries of the Gospel, the incarnation, sufferings and death of Christ, his satisfaction for sinners, etc... and Christians are not infallible in either teaching these to others, or in believing them, for their faith and practice, and therefore the Magistrate ought to tolerate all these; how then can this Divine talk of a certainty of knowing and teaching, and holding of divine truths; for by this principle of toleration, that no man hath infallibility in matters of Religion, since the prophets and Apostles fell asleep, there can be no certainty of faith either in ruler or people, but all our faith in fundamentals or non-fundamentals, must be fallible, dubious, conjectural.
†††† And for such as yield a toleration in non-fundamentals, but deny it in fundamentals: 1. They must quit all arguments used by Libertines for toleration, from the nature of
conscience, that it cannot be constrained. 2. That they must be a willing people that follow Christ. 3. That God is Lord of the conscience only. 4. That compulsion makes hypocrites. 5. That to know, maintain, and profess truths of the Gospel, is not in our power, as to kill or not to kill, because acts of the understanding fall not under the dominion of free-will. 6. That the preaching of the word, and persuading by Scripture and reason, not the sword and strong hand, is the way to propagate truth, and extirpate heresies. 7. That the laws of Moses against false teachers, were only typical, and perished with other cermonials, and therefore there is no warrant under the New Testament for punishing heretics; all these and the like do with equal strength conclude against toleration of such as err in non-fundamentals, as well as in fundamentals; for in neither the one nor the other, is the conscience to be strained; nor can Magistrates be Lords of the conscience in fundamentals, more than in non-fundamentals, and we must be a willing people in fundamentals, as in non-fundamentals; nor can the sword, but preaching of the word only, be a means of propagating of non-fundamentals more than of fundamentals, when then Libertines have lost all these arguments, by reason of this distinction, which here hath no place, their cause must be weak and lean.
†††† To determine what is fundamental, what not, and the number of fundamental points, and the least measure of knowledge of fundamentals, in which the essence of saving faith may consist, or the simple want of the knowledge of which fundamentals, is inconsistent with saving faith in minimo quod non, is more than Magistrate or Church can well know. Sure it borders with one of Godís secrets, touching the final state of salvation, or damnation of particular men.
†††† And it is as sure, this is a fundamental, to believe that God is, that he is a rewarder of those that seek him, that there is not a name under Heaven by which men may be saved, but by the name of Jesus, that no man can come to the father, but by Christ, that he that believes
not, the wrath of God abideth on him, and he is condemned already, then he was condemned and under wrath before, even from the womb.
†††† Nor is this a good argument of Bellius, where Christ is, what he doth, how he sits at the right hand of God, how he is one with the Father, many tings of the Trinity, of God, Predestination, Angels, the state of men after this life, are points not so necessary to be known, for publicans and harlots who enter into heaven, may be ignorant of them, and though they were known, they make not a man better, according to that, if I had all knowledge, if I have not love, it is nothing.
†††† For 1. The exact knowledge of these are not so necessary, and that is all that this argument can conclude: but the scripture saith no more, that publicans and harlots, remaining publicans and harlots, enter into the kingdom of heaven, in sensu composito, nor when it saith, the blind see, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the meaning should be blind, and deaf, remaining blind, and deaf, do see and hear: or the dead remaining dead in their graves, and void of life, do live and have life; but these that were blind now see, when blindness is removed, otherwise some may take harlotry into heaven with them: and because the word of God is a seed, when this is in the heart of a dying harlot, Christ came to save sinners, and to save me: how, or what way the Spirit sits upon this egg and warms it, and what births of saving truths, the Spirit joined with the spirit of a dying man, brings forth, who knows? the repenting thief knew Christ to be the savior of men, and a King, who could dispose of heaven, but what deductions the Spirit made within, who knows? nor is it a truth that the knowledge of any revealed truths of God makes no man the better for it leans on this ground, that,
†††† The spiritual law of God commands not a conformity between the understanding power of the soul and the Law, to require that the mind conceive, apprehend, and know God, and his will, as he reveals himself to us, which yet is included in the command of loving of God with all the heart, with all the soule, with all the strength, and so with all
the mind, though that knowledge be directed to no other practice, but belief.
†††† 2. It leans upon another false ground, that to believe (I speak of an intellectual assenting to divine truths) it being an act of the understanding, and a necessary result of knowledge doth not make a man better, which yet is most false, for beside that it is commanded, not to believe a revealed truth, is a sin, and renders men morally ill, and worse; now that text that saith, 1 Cor. 13. Though I had all knowledge, saith also, though I had all faith, yea though I gave my goods to the poor, and my body to be burnt, I am nothing; that is, I cannot be saved, or any other than a damned hypocrite that tinkles like gold, and is but brass; now by this reason, to give to the poor, to believe omnipotence in miracles, should not be commanded of God.
†††† Davenentius thinks a general confession of the Catholic Church sufficient, and that between us and Lutherans there is not required a confession in particulars controverted. But it is true Lutherans and we agree in most fundamentals, but a confession in general fundamentals when expounded and believed practically by each side (as it must be) must have contrary senses to each side; now this way the Jews and Samaritans both agreed, there was one God, and that the Messiah should come, and that he should tell them all things, yet one confession common to both, that each might believe and be saved was not possible, for Christ saith, John 4. The Samaritans worshipped they knew not what, but salvation is of the Jews. And should Christians and Jews agree in one general confession drawn out of the Old Testament, that there is one God, that the Messiah is, he that dies for the sins of his people, that the Decalogue it a perfect rule, etc... we could not swear and subscribe that confession, for as expounded by the Jews, it could not be the doctrine of the Old Testament, nor any part of the word of God, but flat contradictory thereunto as any point of heathen Divinity; for fundamentals to some may be, and are untruths to others, even this, that the Messiah Christ is the Saviour of the world, both Jews, and we say, but they mean one thing by Messiah, we another; so we cannot have one faith, nor one confession.
†††† I deny not, but these were pious conferences, that at Dipse an. 1631. in which there were on the one side, Matthias Hocas, Polycarpus Leiserus, Henrieus Haffuerus; on the other side, Joan. Berius, Joan. Crotius, Theophilus Nenbergius, who went through the Augustine confession and agreed in the truth, almost in all.
†††† At the agreement or concord of Marpurge, an 1529. were Dather, Malancthon, Osiander, Brentius, Stephanus Agricota, who brake not the bond of peace with Zwinglius, Bucer, Hedion, there present.
†††† At the conference of Wittenberge, an 1536, where were present Capito, Bucerus, Musculus, and other grave Divines of higher Germany; on the other side, Luther, Melancthon, Pomeranus, Cruciger, in which Luther said, brethren, If ye teach and believe that the true body and true blood of the Lord is exhibited in the supper, & quad hee perceptio vere fiat, and that truly or really there is a receiving thereof, we agree as brethren; but the truth is, there were contrary faiths touching the presence of Christís body and blood in the Sacrament; and therefore I humbly conceive all such General confessions as must be a coat to cover two contrary faiths, is but a daubing of the matter with untempered mortar; much dealing like this was in the council of Trent, in which neither Papist nor Protestant was condemned; and yet the truth suffered; I speak not this as if each side could exactly know every vein of the controversy, for we prophesy but in part, but to shew I cannot but abominate truth and falsehood, patched up in one confession of faith; for if two men should agree in such a bargain, A covenants with B to give him a ship full of spices; B promises to give an hundred thousand pounds for these spices, A believes they are metaphorrical spices he gives, B believes they are the most real and excellent spices of Egypt, B promises a hundred thousand pounds of field stones, A expects good, real, and true money; this were but mutual juggling of one with another. It were another consideration, if both sides agreeing in this general confession were ignorant, and did neither know nor believe any sense that were destructive to the true and sound sense of the Confession, for then they might be saved
by, or in one and the same faith of this General Confession, whereas now the contrary senses of this Confession makes them now not one General, but two particular distinct, and contradictory faiths; for the question is, whether the side believing the General Confession with a sense in the consequence, that destroys the text, have any faith at all of this General Confession. For it is a question to me whether a Turk hath the faith of this point, that there is a God, since he believes positively so many blasphemous fooleries of this God, as the Alcharon suggesteth, and whether a Papist as a Papist, believes Christ to be the only one Savior of sinners, since withal he believes so many thousand Gods and true Christs to be at once in sundry places, and so many blasphemies against the nature, offices, and essential properties of Christ, as the Romish faith teacheth.
†††† But ye will say, it is not charity to say that Papists have not the faith of the one only Savior, seeing he would die for that point, and for the consequences that there be many Saviors, if the monster of transubstantiation stand, yet he neither knows nor believes the logical consequence, nor the consequent, but hates both, to wit, if the bread be truly and really the Savior that died on the cross, ergo, how many hosts and consecrated breads there be, there must be as many a thousand, ten thousand Christs and Gods, yea he would be burnt quick before he deny this truth, there is but one only Savior the Son of Mary; then if ye hang him or burn him for believing transubstantiation, since he is otherwise a devout, pious and just man, ye hang him for the mere ignorance of a poor logical consequence, and for no blasphemy: and the like may be said of Familists, Antinomians, and others, who (as they say) are godly men, and cannot see the logical consequences, and absurd blasphemies that you with your wit, deduce from their doctrine, for their soul hates these blasphemies as much as you.
†††† Ans. I say not for believing transubstantiation only, men are to be hanged; the question now is of bodily punishing, hanging and burning quick are particular kinds of punishing, in which I should be as sparing as another man, but the question may draw to this, whether the Laws of England and Scotland be bloody and unjust, that ordains seminary Priests
and Jesuits, whose trade it is to seduce souls to the whole body of Popery, to be hanged. I conceive they are most just laws, and warranted by Deut. 13. and many other Scriptures, and that the King and Parliaments of either Kingdoms serve Christ, and kiss the Son in making and executing these Laws.
†††† 2. I see nothing said against bodily punishing of such as teach transubstantiation to others: for the idolaters and seducers in the Old Testament believed the same way, there is one true God Jehovah that brought them out of Egypt, Exod. 32.4, 5. Jeroboam who made two Gods, and Jehu who was zealous for Jehovah, 1 King. 13. 6. c. 13. 1, 2, 3. 2 King. 9. 25, 36, 37.c. 10. 16. 20, 21. and Joram, 2 King 5.7. acknowledged God could kill and make alive, and was just in his promises and threatenings, yet worshipped the golden calves, those who cried the Temple of the Lord, must acknowledge there was but one true God, yet they burnt incense to Baal, and
killed their children to Molech, Jer. 7.4, 5 9. 30, 31. They that asked of Jehovah the ordinances of their God, and fasted to Jehovah, Isaiah 58. 1, 2, 3, 4. yet inflamed themselves under every green tree, Isaiah 57.5. and stew their children under the cliffs of the rocks† the heathen knew God, and one God, who made the heaven and the earth, and worshipped him, though ignorantly, agnwsws Rom. 1.20, 21. Act. 17.23. yet denied and hated this logical consequence that they had forsaken the Lord, Jer.9. 13, 14 or Deut. 32.18. forgotten the rock that begat them, Ps. 78. 11, 41. Ps. 107. 12, 13. that they forsook him days without number; yea they did more than God required, to keep God in their mind, and not forget him as they said, they changed him into the form of corruptible things to be memorials of God to them; and the Lord said, For all this, they refuse to know me; they have said, It is not the Lord, yea they would have died for it, rather than have said, there is no God that made heaven and earth. And they did err indeed, in a consequence, against the light of nature, yet the ireligious and wicked stopping of eyes and ears at natural consequences in matters of Religion is no innocent error, as is clear, Isaiah 44.18. They have not known, nor understood for he hath shut their eyes that they cannot see and their hearts, that
they cannot understand, 19. And none considers in his heart, neither is there knowledge, nor understanding to say, I have burnt part of it in the fire, yea also I have baked bread upon the coals thereof, I have roasted flesh and eaten it, and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination, shall I fall down to the stock of a tree, 20. He feedeth on ashes, etc...
†††† Now as Israel said ever, the Creator of the ends of the earth is our God, the tree is but a likeness and resemblance of God, Isaiah 18.18. Isaiah 46. 5, 6, 7. so they denied this consequence, ergo, a part of† your God is burnt in the fire, and with the coals of your burnt God, you bake bread, roast flesh, and warm your bodies when you are cold, and worship a lie, and an abomination, as the Papists say, we adore very Christ in, and under the accidents of the bread, even the same God-man, Maryís Son, who died on the cross; yet they deny this consequence, ergo, a part of† your God and Savior is baked in the oven, eaten, and cast out with the draught, and a part thereof, even of the same flour and dough is made a God by the Priest, and ye say, I will bow down and worship the residue of that which the baker did bake, and
roast, in the oven, and so ye worship a lie, and an abomination, as the old Idolaters did, Isaiah 44. yet the Papists will deny this consequence, that he multiplies Gods as loaves are multiplied in an oven; because as Isaiah saith, he knoweth not, he understandeth not, God hath shut his eyes; certainly that knowledge he denies to the Idolater, is the natural† knowledge of a natural consequence. if ye worship a bit of an ash-tree, or a bit of bread, ergo, the half of your God, or the quarter thereof, is baked in an oven, ergo, there is a lie, and an abomination in your right hand; then the denial of logical consequences in Religion, and the teaching thereof to others, may be, and is an heresy, and punishable by the Magistrate, as Deut. 13. and Exod. 32. so Christ rebukes Matth. 22. Sadducees as ignorant of the Scripture, when they denied but the consequence or a logical connexion, as God is not the God of the dead but of the living, ergo, the dead must rise again, and Abraham must live, and his body be raised from the dead. And 2. the idolaters who were to die by the Law of God, Exod. 32. Deut. 13, denied not the true God more than our false teachers do now. We see no reason why
none should be false teachers, but such only as deny fundamentals, and that pertinaciously, though these by Divines be called Heretics.††
†††† 1. Rom. 16.17. Paul saith, Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them that cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them, then as we are not to distinguish where the Law and the Word of God does not distinguish, so we are to count them false teachers, who lead in a faction in the Church, contrary to any doctrine of truth, whether fundamental or not fundamental, and to avoid them as Seducers.
† †††2. Peterís error, since he believed Christ was come, Matth 16.17. was not fundamental, but consistent with faith, yet Paul withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed, and if he had pertinaciously gone on to walk not uprightly according to the truth of the Gospel, since Paul would not have given place by subjection to such, no not for an hour, Gal. 2.11-15. he should have been worthy of more than rebuke, yea of higher censure, the like we must say of Barnabas and other Jews, who all sinned though in a far inferior degree with these, who came in privily to spy out the Christian liberty of the Gentiles to bring them into bondage, under the Ceremonial law.
†††† Gal. 1.8. Paul saith, If we or an angel from heaven should preach (any other Gospel) than that which we have preached, let him be accursed; which place, with good warrant, our Divines bring against the unwritten traditions of Papists, of what kind soever they be, fundamentals or non-fundamentals, whether they be obtruded as necessary points of salvation or not necessary, but accidentals, or arbitrary points, yet conducing for the better observing of necessary points, for I have proved elsewhere, that Papists esteem their unwritten traditions, not necessary points of faith, yea many of them to be accidentals, serving only ad melius esse, for order and decency, yea and great doctors of them say, neither the Pope nor the Church can devise novum dogma fidei, a new article of Faith, or a new Sacrament: nor can we say that the adding of Romish ceremonials, such as consecrating of Churches, baptizing of bells, sign of the cross, are funda-
mental errors, and inconsistent with saving faith; the text Gal. 1.8, 9. evinceth that they or some other Gospel or doctrine, beside that the Galatians had learned (for Paul taught the Galatians many points besides fundamentals only) and so that the teachers of them were accursed, and so to be separated from, rebuked, withstood, censured, yea cut off as troublers of the Church, Gal. 5.
†††† 4. These to whom the Spirit of God giveth the title due to false teachers are punishable as false teachers and heretics, though in a less degree. But the Holy Ghost giveth the title due to false teachers to such as err not in fundamentals, ergo, the assumption is made good by Tit. 1.13,14. the Apostle willeth them to be rebuked as not sound in the faith, as those that turn others from the truth in giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men, to fables and needless Genealogies, and vain janglings, and strivings about the Law that were unprofitable and vain: now these questions about Genealogies and the law, opinions on either sides being vain and unprofitable, and not edifying in the faith could not be fundamental errors of themselves, and inconsistent with saving grace and salvation, but hay and stubble builded upon the foundation: yet consider what the Holy Ghost saith of them, Tit. 1.10. For those are many unruly and vain talkers, and deceivers, especially they of the circumcision, 11. whose mouth must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things they ought not, 13. Rebuke them sharply that they may be sound in the faith, and to soundness in the faith he opposeth, v.14. giving heed unto Jewish fables and commandments of men that turn from the truth, 1 Tim. 6.3. If any man teach otherwise (then I have taught; now Paulís doctrine of widows, of elders, and not sudden accusing them, his charge to Timothy no to drink water, but a little wine, were not fundamentals, the ignorance whereof excludeth men from salvation,) If any man consent no to the wholesome words, even the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness, 4. He is proud knowing nothing as he ought, doting about questions and strife of words, whereof commeth envy, strife, railing, evil surmisings, 5. Perverse disputing of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness, from such turn away; then doting about questions, strife of words, be-
sides, not consenting to the words of Christ and doctrine of godliness, is disputing of men of corrupt minds, from which we are to turn away. As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine. 4. Neither give heed to fables and endless Genealogies, which minister questions, rather then edifying, which is in faith, then to preach fables and endless Genealogies which are not fundamental errors, are yet another doctrine than the Apostles taught, and those that so teach are to be charged to teach no such thing, and so under two or three witnesses, if they willfully continue therein, to be accused and censured, yea and we are to avoid them, and not to receive them in our houses, nor bid them God speed, and so non-fundamentals as questions of Genealogies come in under the name of e`terodidaskalei/n of teaching uncouth doctrine. Now sure questions of Genealogies are but the hay and stubble that are builded on the foundation, which shall suffer burning, when the teacher holding the foundation Christ that be saved, yea such as teach circumcision, though with Christ, then must teach another Gospel, though not as necessary to justification, as Peter and Barnabas, compelled the Gentiles to be circumcised though they believed that circumcision was not necessary to salvation. And it should be hard to assert the believing of the day of Christ to be at hand, since the believing of it was an article of faith, the time when, or how soon, in the believing Thessalonians, though they were miss-led by some false teachers, is nothing so fundamental as that an error touching that time must be inconsistent with saving faith, for the Apostles said, These were the last days, and Christ had told, the day and hour was known to no man, no not to the Angels, yet Paul insinuates as much, as they did, shake the faith of the Thessalonians, who made them believe, it was at hand. 2. Thess. 2. 2 We beseech you brethren by the coming of the Lord Jesus--- that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter, as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
†††† Yea, 5. We believe with certainty of faith, many things which are not fundamentals, as 2. Pet. 3.8. But (beloved) be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. How many (suppose we) are in glory that died ignorant of this, and had not
faith, or any certainty of faith of this point, that time hath with God no coexistence of a duration long and short? Yet Peter proposeth it to be believed with certainty of faith, and how many points of sacred history doth the Holy Ghost tell us Heb. 11. of Cain and Abelís sacrificing, of Abraham sojourning in a strange Country, of Sarahís bearing a child in her old age, of Isaacís blessing of Jacob, and Josephís worshipping leaning on the end of a staff, Moses being hid three months, the falling of the Walls of Jericho, which we believe by certainty of divine faith, that are not fundamentals? Yea, and if we believe not whatever Paul and the rest of the Apostles have written, and what Moses and the Prophets, have said, we must take them to be false witnesses in saying, preaching, and writing what is not true, as Paul saith, I Cor. 15. 15. and the Apostles saith, Act. 5. 32. And we are his witnesses of these things, and so is also the Holy Ghost. Now these things refer not only to Christís death and resurrection, but to points not fundamental: as namely who were the instruments of his death, even the high-priest, Pharisees and chief-priests, ver.30. Whom ye slew and hanged on a tree, Act. 4.10. Whom ye crucified, Act.3.26. Whom ye have crucified. Now the apostles and the Holy Ghost were witnesses of the truth of both fundamentals and non-fundamentals, of all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day he was taken up to heaven, as is clear, Act. 1. 8. Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and in Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth, Luke 24. 48. Ye are my witnesses of these things, that is, ver. 44. Of all things that must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms concerning me, then the witnessing of the sacrifices, types, and particular ceremonies that shadowed out Christ, of his being born in Bethlehem, Mic. 2. of his being crucified between two transgressors, Isaiah 53. of his riding to Jerusalem on an ass colt, Zach. 9. Of his casting out buyers and sellers out of the Temple, through his zeal to the house of God, Psalm 69. of the betraying of him by Judas, and many historical things that are not fundamentals, yet all these were a part of the Apostlesí and the Holy Ghostís testimony, Act. 5. 32. And to be believed with divine certitude of sav-
ing faith, no less then the Articles of fundamentals, that Christ was the son of man, and died for our sins and rose for our righteousness, except we say that the apostles are false witnesses, and make God a liar, in saying that Judas betrayed him not, and that Barrabas a Murderer was not preferred to him, I Cor. 15. 15. John 3. 33. I John 5. 10. For if we give God the lie in non-fundamentals, one or two fixedly and peremptorily, and lead a good life, and so we are saved but not otherwise, but as touching non-fundamentals, we may believe these with a reserve and a demure, and may believe them for a day, or an hour, and deny them tomorrow, and again, be carried about with a new wind of doctrine and believe the third day, and deny them the fourth day, believe them the fifth day, and deny them the sixth day, and so make a whirly-gigge of our faith, and a new faith for a new moon, or for a half, and a quarter moon, as the Independents, in their apology makes this a principle of their faith to believe these things so, as we leave room for a new light to cast a board again at the blowing of the wind of a new fancy (of which we have seen more in the Assembly of Divines, these four years, past than we desire to see in any that profess godliness) and as the Holland- Arminians say (from whom new lights or old darknesses have their rise) a faith of a thousand years may be the worst of all, which (say we) is most false, a false opinion of God, and a thousand year old lie, a gray-haired untruth is the worst of conjectures, but faith it neither is, nor can be called. but the late Independents, and the new Libertines of England do only say such a monthly faith is to be tolerated because of the darkness of our mind in the matters of God, which yet is faith, not but a conjectural opinion. But they say, by a command† of God, we must have no other faith except in some few fundamentals, and no man since Adam died (except the man Christ) ever knew or could determine how few, or how many, so our faith in fundamentals in that, totters, for they say, these precepts and commands of the Holy Ghost. Try the spirits whither they be of God or no. Try all things, hold that which is
good, and the example of the noble Bereans who examined Paulís doctrine, by the Scriptures, doth lay a divine command on them to believe non-fundamentals with a reserve. Yea they say with the Arminians, &c. that it is against liberty of prophesying, whereas liberty of lying in the name of the Lord is of the devil, who hath taken liberty or rather hellish license to lie from the beginning, and they say, it is against our growing in knowledge, and the prayers of the Saints that God would open their eyes to see the wonders of his Law, and lead them into all truth, and against the prophecies that in the last days the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, the light of the moon shall be at the light of the sun, and the light of the sun, as the light of seven days, and the day star shall arise in the hearts of many, and the Spirit shall be powered on all flesh, young and old, maids and children. To all which I say, either the Spirit of God moves men to the faith of this (there is no Church visible on earth, but such as is constituted of believers, such as those of Corinth, and Rome, and others were, after they were planted and watered by the Apostles) or no. If no they have not faith of it, and so it is. 1 no truth of God, to Independents, etc... for which they can suffer, but a mere opinion, then they cannot suffer for it in faith, and to believe any truth of God because the Lord so saith, is wrought only by the Holy Ghost, if it be wrought by the Holy Ghost, then it is a truth of God, and a divine truth, for the Holy Ghost moves no man to believe a lie, for a truth of God, if it be a divine truth then doth not the Holy Ghost† will you so to believe it for a truth, as you must upon a new light believe the contrary tomorrow. For I renew the argument in its full strength, touching the faith of the contraindicant which you believed the last day, either the Holy Ghost must move you to believe that contraindicant as a truth of God, or no: If no, it is not divine faith you have of it: if yea, then the faith of the former was the believing of a lie, so that you must make the Holy Ghost the father of believing a lie. 2. The object of divine faith a lie,
†††† 2. This is to teach us to be carried about with every wind of doctrine, whereas faith of fundamentals or non-fundamentals is to believe a truth, because so saith the Lord, that cannot lie, nor speak untruth, but you will men to believe these non-fundamental truths, so as they may be as well lies as divine truths.
†††† 3. These precepts, Try the spirits, Try all things, enjoin an examination of fundamentals, as well as non-fundamentals: and what reason have Independents to say these precepts hold in non-fundamentals only. Mr. John Goodwin with better ground saith, they hold in all, for must we hold that which is good only in non-fundamentals? And did not the Bereans try Paulís doctrine by the Scripture, in the most and only necessary fundamental which Paul preached, that Jesus Christ was the Messiah that died, rose again, Act 17.3. and are therefore commended by the Holy Ghost, v. 10. 11 ? above those of† Thessalonica, and must we believe every Spirit who preach fundamental truths, or fundamental errors, who say Christ is not yet come in the flesh, upon trust? the contrary of which John expressly enjoineth, I John 4.1-3: yea we are rather to try fundamentals, and to walk upon sure and unmovable principles, since an error here hazardeth our eternal salvation, and is of as great concernment as our souls are, but errors or mistakes in non-fundamentals, though they be sins, yet are consistent with saving faith, and the state of salvation.
†††† 4. Try all things, try the spirits, must have this sense, believe what ever God saith, be it fundamental or non-fundamental, not only after you have searched the Scriptures, and found it agreeable thereunto, as the Bereans did, but though you find it consonant to the writings of the Prophets and Apostles, yet because you are not infallible, nor the Spirit that leads you therein infallible, believe it with a reserve (say the Independents) and with leaving place to a new light, so as you must believe it today to be a truth of God, tomorrow to be a lie, the third day a truth, the fourth day a lie, and so a circle till your doomsday come, so as you must ever believe and learn, never come to a settlement and establishing in the truth; but die trying, die doubting, die with a trepidation and a reserve, and die and live a skeptic, like
the Philosophers that said they knew nothing, and I think Libertines cannot but be skeptics, and there is more to be said for the skepticism of some, then the Libertinism of others.
†††† 5. Would these Masters argue formally, they must say whatever doctrine, we are to try before we receive it, that we may uncompelledly receive and believe it, after trial that ought to be tolerated by the Magistrate in doctrine and practice, or profession suitable thereunto before men.
†††† I would assume, But whether there be a God, and but one God, and all fundamentals or non-fundamentals, be divine truths; yea, and whether fornication be sin, and plurality of wives, and community of goods, and spoiling of wicked men of their wives, and their lands, and possessions, as the Israelites spoiled the Egyptians, are such truths that we must try before we receive, believe, and accordingly believe and practice; ergo, the Magistrate is to tolerate fornication, plurality of wives, spoiling of men of their possessions and goods, and community of goods; but the conclusion is absurd and blasphemous, and against the Law of nature; for if there be no Magistracy, nor violence to be done to ill-doers under the New Testament, neither must we defend our own lives, nor fly, nor resist injuries, but turn up the other cheek to him that smites the one, and if a man take your cloak, give him your coat also, according to the sense that Anabaptists put on the words; yea and cut off your hands and feet, pluck out your eyes, if they cause you to offend and shed your own blood, which is the greatest and most unnatural violence that is.
†††† 6. The sense of this (Try all, and hold that which is good) must be, Try and search the true senses of divine truths, and then having tried and believed, hold the truth, and believe it for a day, and yield to the light of the just contrary tomorrow, and having found a contrary light, try that the third morrow, and yield to another new and contrary light the third morrow. Now the Holy Ghost must command doubting by that means, and doubting till we lose faith, and find it again, and lose it again in a circle, and if we must try all things, and try all spirits, the Bereans must try their own trying, and their own doubtings and believing, and so into infinite; and when they find Christ to be in Paulís doctrine, and that of Moses and the Prophets, yet must they try and doubt, and believe the doctrine of the
Prophets and Apostles, and of the Holy Ghost, with the Libertines reserve, waiting when the Holy Ghost shall give himself the lie, and say, I moved you to believe such a truth, and such an article of faith the last year, but now
after a more deep consideration, I move you to believe the contrary, yet so as ye leave room to my new light.
†††† 7. The sense also of these (Lord enlighten mine eyes) that I may know thee with a fuller evidence not of Moon-light, but of Day-light, or as of seven days into one, be this, Lord open my eyes, and increase my knowledge, grant that thy holy Spirit may bestow upon my dark soul more skeptical, conjectural, and fluctuating knowledge to know and believe things with a reserve, and with a leaving of room to believe the contrary tomorrow of that
which I believe today, and the contraindicant of that the third day which I shall believe tomorrow, and so till I die; let me, Lord, have the grace of a circular faith, running like the wheel of the wind-mill, for the growing knowledge we seek of God as in a way of growing ever in this life, till grace be turned into glory, 2 Pet. 3. 18. if our growth of knowledge stand, as Libertines say, in a circular motion from darkness to light, and back again from light to darkness, like the motion of a beast in a horse-mill, so as I know, and learn and believe this topic truth of faith to day, I unknown, I unlearn and deny it tomorrow as an untruth: and again, I take it up the third day as a truth; then we seek in prayer not settled and fixed knowledge, and a well rooted faith of truths to believe them without a reserve, or a demure, to send away the opinion I have of this non-fundamental or fundamental truth as a gross mistake, and to welcome the just contrary opinion as a truth: and again, to send it away upon a new light, etc...† now this is but a mocking of God to pray for his Spirit that we may barter and change opinions with every new Moon; for our prayer for new light, is not that the Holy Ghost would teach us faith and opinion of truths and falsehoods in a circle; but that God, 1. Would give the Spirit of revelation to see Gospel truths with a clear revelation of faith. 2. That he would be pleased to cause that light by which we see the same ancient Go-
spel-truths, shine more fully, with a larger measure of heavenly evidence. 3. That our light may so grow into the perfect day, that we see new deductions, consequences, and heavenly new fresh conclusions from the former truths of God. But by skeptical faith, we pray that God would give us a contrary new light, to get a new faith, of truths, formerly believed contradicent to the word of God, and to that faith which produced joy, yea joy unspeakable and glorious, 1 Pet. 1. 7, 8. and glorying in tribulation, and sweetness of peace, Rom. 5. 1, 2, 3. for this, not the light of the Moon turned in the light of the Sun, or of the Sun, as seven days in one, but light turned in night darkness, the truth in a lie, and the Spirit of truth made the father of lies.
†††† 8. The Apostles never bid us know any truth of God with a reserve. Libertines bid us, the Apostles, and the Holy Ghost in them, bids us know assuredly that Jesus is Christ the Lord, they exhort us to be rooted and established in the faith, Col. 2. to be fully persuaded of all, both fundamentals, and the historicals, of the birth, life, miracles, words, facts, death, sufferings, and burial, resurrection, ascension, etc... of Christ, as Luke exhorteth Theophilus, Luke 1. 1, 2, 3. yea the Apostle clearly Heb. 5. exhorteth to the faith of many points concerning Christ, beside the first principles of the Oracles of God; that of Catechetic points fit for babes who have not stomachs to bear stronger food, v. 12, 13.†† 1. Because he rebuketh them for being dull of hearing, which is opposite to being teachers of the word of truth to others; which must insinuate they were to have faith; and not conjectural and fluctuating opinions of the things they were to teach. 2. He reproves them for that they had not their senses exercised to discern good and ill, and that they were unskillful in the words of righteousness. 3. He exhorteth them, chap.6. 1. to be carried on to perfection, beyond the principles of the doctrine of Christ. Now to be carried to know all, except some fundamentals and principles with a reserve and a doubting of the truth, is not to have the senses exercised to discern good and ill, nor to be skillful in the word of truth, nor to go on to perfection, but to stand still, as in a horse-mill, and be at the same perfection of know-
ledge in knowing and believing all, even fundamentals, say some, or all non-fundamentals, say other Libertines, with a reserve, and a resolution to judge them all falsehood and lies.
†††† 9. It argues the word of God, of obscurity and darkness, as not being able to instruct us in all truths, and renders it as a nose of wax in all non-fundamentals, histories, narrations, etc... in which notwithstanding the Scripture is as evident, plain, simple, obvious to the lowest capacities in most points, except some few Prophecies, as it is in fundamentals, and lays a blasphemies charge on the Holy Ghost, as if he had written the Scriptures, upon an intention that we should have no assured and fixed knowledge, no faith but a mere probable opinion, a conjectural, dubious apprehension of truths, with a reserve to believe the contrary, as if the Lordís purpose had been that we should all be skeptics, and die doubting: and how then can God in justice punish any man, for not believing and doing the will of our Master and Lord? If it be impossible even by the light of the Spirit to know his will in whole (as some say) and in the most part ( as others say) yea it must not be our sinful darkness in that we cannot believe most of the matters of God, but with a reserve, but it is the will and command of God we do so: and how shall we know the second faith contradictory to the former to be the mind of
God, and not the first, and the third, and not the second, and the fourth, and not the third, and so the end? since we are to believe all the four with a reserve, and all to our dying day with a reserve for the word is alike dubious now as in Paulís days: and since the Apostles charge us to believe and be comforted in believing the truths which they believed, not as Apostles, but as Christians, and as fellow Citizens with us, we must say that the apostles also believed with a reserve, which is blasphemous.
†††† 10. All our practices according to fundamentals or non-fundamentals must be in faith, that is, with a persuasion that what we do is according to the revealed will of God, otherwise we sin, Rom. 14. 23. and are condemned in all we do. But if this faith with a reserve, be the rule of our practice,
we can do nothing in faith, but with a resolve upon doubting: so what you do, may as possibly be murder, idolatry, stealing, lying, as obedience to God, yea, you must believe, that what you do to day is lawful, but yet so, as tomorrow you must believe upon a new light, that it is unlawful and sin, yea, and this makes the erroneous conscience the rule of your faith, and practice, for if the Holy Ghost command you to believe such points, with the faith of a reserve, he must command you to practice, according to the present faith that he commands you to have of those truths. But the present you have, may be the belief of a lie and a blasphemous untruth, and so the ten Commandements should be a rule to no man. But his erroneous conscience, if then he believe that it is such acceptable worship as God craved of Abraham, that you sacrifice your son to God, you believe it with a reserve, and you are to practice it with a reserve, and obliged to practice what you are obliged to believe: but you are obliged to believe with a reserve, that it is acceptable service to God to sacrifice your child to him; for it is a non-fundamental not clearly determined in the word, at least it is controverted by many that go for godly people. Now if so, God shall oblige men to sin and not to sin; to do his revealed will, and not to do his revealed will, in the same commandment, which were blasphemous, now that we are to practice according to our faith of reserve. I prove by the doctrine of Libertines, for they teach a man is to suffer death, and any torment, rather than that he say, there be three persons in one God, and two natures and on person in Christ, and that Presbyterian Government is lawful, that the Christian Prince is to punish false teachers if he believe in his conscience, though he is to believe with a reserve and doubtsomely, that these are truths contrary to the word of God, then is his faith with a reserve, which may be the faith of a lie, his only obliging rule of his practice, according to the way of Libertines. I confess he is rather to† suffer death than to profess any doctrine contrary to the dictates even of an erroneous conscience, because he should choose afflictions rather than sin. But when we are commanded
faith with a reserve, as they say, we are commanded to believe a lie (which is blasphemous) and what we are commanded to believe by the Lord in his word, that must be an obliging rule to our practice, and so must we be obliged to sin; nor can it be said to offer your child to God in a sacrifice, is against the light, and a clear Law of nature, and a fundamental error; for in this dispute Libertines arguments are for a toleration of all, whether they err in fundamentals or non-fundamentals, nor can they determine what is of their own natural, are controversial and disputable to human reason, and what not, for we either speak what are de facto actually controverted, in all the Christian world, or what be those that in regard of their disproportion to human reason, of their own nature, may be controverted. 2. Or we speak of those which are not controversial amongst Christians, who acknowledge the Old and New Testament, to be the word of God, and what are not clearly determined in the word; and touching the former, there is nothing we know not controverted in the Christian world, except that there is a God; and that is also controverted two ways: Atheists so far wink, though nature cannot, no not in devils, and godless men run it self stark blind as they deny there is a God; out of malice. 2. They cavil at all arguments brought† to prove that there must be a God, though they be strong enough for the wit of the devil to answer.
†††† Now for these that are of their own nature controversial (though no truths, especially truths revealed and spoken by the God of truth, are in themselves controversial, or such as can be opposed) yet are there two sorts of truths that are in relation to human reason controvertable. 1. The principles of nature that God is, that he is infinite, omnipotent, just, merciful, omniscient, &c. to be loved, served, obeyed, &c. that superiors and parents are to be honored, our neighbor not to be hurt, that we should do to others as we would they should do to us, are not of themselves controversial; but the practical conclusions drawn from thence are controversial in regard of our darkness, as polygamy, community of goods:
all these, whether the saints may rob and spoil wicked men of their possessions, and kill them upon the right and authority of Saintship, are of themselves controversial in relation to our nature who acknowledge scriptures to be the word of God; but for supernatural truths that cannot find lodging in the sphere, or under the shadow of natural reason, such as the doctrine of one God in three persons of the incarnation of two natures in Christ, of the imputed righteousness of Christ, of salvation by believing in a crucified Savior, the resurrection of the dead; and those that are not knowable but by supernatural revelation, though they be the fundamentals of the Christian faith, yet are they more controversial of themselves than the most part of non-fundamentals, as John Goodwin does rightly observe, for nature hath more shadow of reason to cavil and plead against these, than any other truths; if then no coercive power ought to be used against such as teach errors contrary to the word of God, and against fundamentals, because such points are controversial, there is far more warrant to free those from all coercive power who deny all principles of the Christian faith, and turn so from the faith that they deny the word of God, the books of the Old and New testament, to be any thing but fancied fables, because they teach things most controversial; and so upon the grounds of Libertines, one Catholic toleration is due to all; and if any shall turn Jew or Mahometan, or Indian or heathenish in his Religion, having been a glistening star in the firmament of Christianity, and should pervert the right ways of the Lord, with Elimas, the Magistrate hath nothing to do to punish him, though he carry Navies, and millions of souls to hell, yea, nor is he to be rebuked nor declaimed against as a child of the devil, and an enemy to all righteousness, but with all meekness and gentleness to be instructed, for rebuking of him thus, is as unjust, since it is not in his power what he thinks or apprehends for truth, or what not, (say Libertines) as to command the sun to shine at midnight.
C h a p. VII.
What opinions may be tolerated, what not.
†††† But are there no far off truths at all to be tolerated? do not learned men give divers and contrary expositions of one and the same text of Scripture? and hath not the Church suffered errors and erroneous opinions in godly learned men in all ages even in Turtullian, Augustine and others? and have not implored the sword of the Magistrate against them, though all errors printed and preached hurt the souls of others more or less.
†††† Answ. Some errors are about things that God hath left indifferent, for the time, as opinion and practices, about meats and days, Rom. 14.1 Cor. 8. c. 10. in these, God gives an indulgence, and bids us so long as the date of indifference endureth, bear with the weaker, but Rom. 14. 1 Cor.8. you shall not find that Paul beareth with the unlimited practice of days and meats absolutely, and in all cases, as for the case of scandal, Paul sharply rebuketh the practice, to the scandalizing of the weak, and calleth it soul murder, and here it is like the Church may suffer sinful ignorances, for as the Magistrate is not to punish all externals, sins of infirmity against the second table, for then human societies must be dissolved, and could not subsist, except there be a reciprocal yielding to the infirmities of men, as they are weak and frail; as we must not make a man an offender for a word, though it be a hasty and sinful word, even in a family where the Lord of the house hath the power of the rod, and proportionally, in other societies, we would hear Solomon saying, Eccles. 7.21. Also take not heed to all words that are spoken, least thou hear thy servant curse thee. So it would appear, that some lower errors, that are far off, without the compass of the ordinary discerning of man; and lie at a distance from the foundation (as fundamentals, and gospel-promise lie near the heart of Christ) may be dispensed with as a conjecture, what became of the meat that Christ ate after his resur-
rection, when he was now in the state of immorality, and some probable opinions that neither better the holder, nor much promote or hinder the edification of others, are not much to be heeded, save that curiosity in them is sinful, and happily may be tolerated: or whether the heavens And earth after the day of judgment, shall be annihilated and turned to nothing, and be no more; or if they shall be renewed, and delivered from vanity, and endued with new qualities to stand still as lasting and eternal monuments and witnesses of the glory of God Creator, as the Man-Christ, and the redeemed in heaven in soul and body, live in glory to be eternal lectures and testimonies of the glory of the Lord, Redeemer and Sanctifier of his people, which latter seemeth most probable, and the Scripture may seem to say much for either side.
†††† 2. For diverse expositions of one and the same text, as that, we look for new Heavens and new earth, when neither of the expositions so far as is revealed to the godly and learned, who in this life do but know and prophesy in part, do neither hurt the foundation, nor cross any clear truth, that is non-fundamental, we think the opinions of both may be tolerated, even though the one of them be in itself an error, and that upon the ground that Church and Magistrates both are to tolerate, not to punish these infirmities, against both tables, that are the necessary results of sin original, common to all men, as men, bearing about with them a body of sin. And the like I say of other the like opinions about matters of religion, and especially matters of fact, as the virginity of Mary for all her life.
†††† 3. Such opinions and practices as make an evident schism in a Church, and set up two distinct Churches, of different forms of government, and pretending to different instituitions of Christ, of which the one must by the nature of their principles labor the destruction of the other, cannot be tolerated, &c for each pretending their fellow Churches to be of man, and so of the devil, though they should both make one true invisible Church, agreeing in all fundamentals, and may other truths, yet sure the whole
should be a kingdom divided against itself, and this destroyeth peace and unityÖ And if Paul could not endure the divisions of one and the same Church of Corinth, though they pretended not to be different churches, for those that said they were of Paul professed they could not be disciples of Peter, but he sharply rebuked them as carnal men, and such as divided Christ, and by consequence must say, Paul was crucified for them, and was their redeemer, and so, if obstinately they had proceeded in that separation, Paul would have gone on to higher censures of the Church: far more could he not endure gathering of true Churches out of true Churches, which is the professed practice of Independents: and yet both sides pretending the Spirit of discerning; could say, the Spirit testifies to my soul, that Paul is the only called preacher, and the other, nay but to my discerning Cephas or Peter is the only man, that I can hear or follow. And a third, nay, not any on earth, nor any ministry will I acknowledge, but Jesus Christ whom the heavens must contain till the last day, is my only, only preacher, now if a Jezebel come in and say no ministry is to be heard but Christ, and turn away all from hearing the word, and not suffer Sergius Paulus or any other to hear Paul or any godly minister, sure Jezebel should be a perverter of the right ways of the Lord, and so not to be suffered.
†††† 4. As touching opinions more manifestly erroneous as Justine Martyr his saving of men metalogou, if they used the light of nature well, though they were ignorant of Christ, the Montanism of Turtullian, and his way of damning second marriage (which the very Jesuit Toletus comment. in Joan: said he wrote contra fidem Catholicam, against the Catholic faith.) and Augustine his condemning of all infants dying without Baptism, and Origen his hintings at a sort of purgatory after death, the Greek fathers their prescience of good works, and faith as the causes of predestination, their Pelagianism and semi-pelagianism touching menís free will beginning and meeting Godís grace, especially, hard sayings of Chrysostom, Grego Nyssynus, and others, and the incongruous words of Hieronymus, nostrum est incipere and deiisequi. Their immediate
extolling of the bishop of Rome, for personal gifts, their orations of and apostrophes to the martyrs dead, with an oi tis aisqhsis with that doubtsome condition, if there be any feeling of our affairs in the dead, which was the ground work of invocation of Saints, it is a question and to be proved, whether the Church and Christian Magistrate (when there were any) should tolerate these, for some opinions or truths are as brass, so as we cannot put a stamp of necessity of edification on them, and some are pieces of gold and foundation stones, so other truths are near of blood to fundamentals, and pinnings in the wall, though not foundations, and because the want of them may hurt the wall, they must go as pieces of current silver.
†††† Only two or three objections must be removed; As 1. Rom. 14. They erred against a Law of God, who kept days, and abstained from meats, conceiving that the conscience of Godís Law, did enjoin such a practice, whereas there was no such Law now, the Apostle was persuaded there were no creatures unclean now, but to him, who, through error of conscience, believed they were unclean, v. 14. Yea the earth being the Lords, they might eat swineís flesh or meats, though sacrificed to Idols, without conscience of a law, 1 Cor. c.8. c.10. yet Paul is so far from censuring such weak ones, that he bids receive them as brethren, and not trouble them with thorny disputations.
†††† Answ. Paul bids receive them, ergo, he bids tolerate them all together, it follows not, he will have them informed that there is no such divine law that presseth them, and so a moral toleration of not refuting their error is denied to them.
†††† 2. He bids receive them in a practice in itself, for that time, indifferent (for 1 Cor.8.8. Neither if they did eat, were they the better, nor if they did not eat, were they the worse) but only erroneous in the manner, because of the twilight and sparklings of the light of the Gospel not fully promulgated to the Jews. Will it follow that the Jews should be tolerated still, and perpetually to circumcise and keep the ceremonial law, and to teach others so to do? for Libertines contend for a constant and perpetual toleration of all Jewish and sinful practices.
Ob. 2. Paul speaking of Ceremonies, Ph. 3.15. saith, Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded, and if, in any thing, ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. 16. Nevertheless whereunto we have attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same things.
†††† Answ. This is the only Magna Charta abused for liberty of conscience, which yet crosseth it, but favors it now. Paul giveth two rules, neither of them are for toleration, but against it; the one is for the mind within, the other for the practice without: for the former, he willeth all the perfect to mind this, that is, to endeavor Paulís one thing, and to be followers of him, v. 17. forgetting that which is behind, and† pressing toward the mark, and if any be otherwise minded in the matter of circumcision, if he mind the journey toward the garland, God shall clear his doubts to him there is nothing here for Libertines, except we say, let all the godly mind to walk toward the garland, by practicing circumcision, (as if that were the way) and by tolerating of others to practice Jewish Ceremonies, and if they be otherwise minded, God shall reveal their error, but in the mean time we are to suffer them to mind that, for the which Paul saith, their end is destruction, their belly their God, and they are dogs† and evil doers, v. 19.2.3. as for the other rule of practice, v. 16. If it plead for Libertines, the sense must be, as far as we have obtained the mind of Christ let us practice, that is, let us be circumcised, and teach and profess and publish to others, all the heresies and blasphemies that seem to us to be true doctrine according to this rule, and let us mind the same thing, let us contend for the garland, and walking according to our conscience our only rule, and practicing unlawful ceremonies, and publishing and professing all the heresies we can, we mind the same crown and garland. Now except walking according to the rule be restricted to careful and diligent practicing of these things in which we all agree, which must exclude a practicing or publishing of doctrines controverted, and that we should abstain from practicing and publishing of opinions in which we agree not, nothing can be extorted hence in favor of toleration. Our brethren say, Let us gather Churches out of true Churches, and separate ourselves from true Churches, and preach Familism, Antinomianism, Ari-
anism, and what not? and then we walk according to the same rule, which must be most contradictory to the mind of the Holy Ghost, and therefore Libertines durst never draw a formal argument for toleration out of these or any other places, but bring us such reasons as by the nineteenth consequence comes not up to the purpose; for by the gloss of Libertines, Let us walk according to the same rule, must be, Let us practice and walk (for it cannot be meant of heart-opinions) according to the known rule conceived by our conscience to be right (though it may be wrong and sinful) and so let us be circumcised, and make a fair show in the flesh at the false Apostles did, for if some believed circumcision, and the law to be necessary for justification, then Paul must bid them walk contrary to their light, and then the perfect had attained light to practice unlawful Jewish ceremonies.
C H A P. VIII.
Whether heresy be a sin, or a mere error and innocency: whether an
heretic be an evil doer?
†††† What is naked and mere simple heresy (say the Belgic Arminians) but a mere device? or is heresy only error (say they) which hath place in the mind of him that erreth: nor is error sufficient to constitute a thing heresy, nor if it were, is it the object or cause of any punishment, a mere error does not go out of him that erreth, he that erreth cannot be punished; the mind of man is not liable to any command, only God commandeth minds, thoughts are free from paying tribute to men, pertinacity is not of the nature of heresy, nor blasphemy; nor if they were, can heretics therefore be punished? nor doth sedition make heresy punishable; so they make heresy nothing but a name, who (say they) can say an heretic is an evil doer? evil doers confess their evil deeds, and know them to be worthy of punishment, by the law of God and man: heretics deny they are heretics, or that they have any bad opinions, or that they blaspheme, they profess the contrary, that they are ready to dye an hundred deaths rather than they should blaspheme, thieves steal, that they may steal, heretics seduce not, that they may seduce, but that they may reduce
men is a better mind and save them from eternal destruction. Minus Celjus also de heretics Coercendis, sect. 1. f. 5.6.
†††† Asser. 1. But. 1. Though† neither we nor Libertines could define idolatry nor murderer, nor adultery, yet sure the Law of God condemns idolatry, murderer, adultery as sins; this is the custom of jugglers and sophisters, who deny there is such a thing as robbing, or hedge-robbers, why, what is an hedge-robbing? you cannot define it, and not one of twenty, agree with another what hedge-robbers are, therefore there is not such a thing as an hedge-robber. Nor do sorcerers confess they are sorcerers, nor can you tell what sorcery is; and there is not such a thing in the world: so many argue.
†††† Asser. 2. Heresy is not a mere error, nor innocency, but a heinous transgression against God. 1 Because Paul, Gal.5. ver. 19,20,21. reckoneth heresies among the works of the flesh with idolatry, witchcraft, envy, strife, and sedition, then it is a work of the devil, and of sinful flesh. 2. That which God permitteth, that those that are approved may be made manifest in the Church of Christ, that must be a sin, but such is heresy, 1 Cor. 11.19. 3. Grievous wolves not sparing the flock, false prophets, and false Christs, who deceive (if it were possible) the very elect, such as make their Disciples two fold the children of the devil, thieves and robbers, who come to steal and to kill, and to drink the blood of souls, these who subvert whole houses, and whose word eats as a gangrene, are not innocent, and simply erring men, nor is their error, simple error, but a high transgression against God, but such are heretics, Act. 20.29, 30. Mat. 24.24. Mat. 23.15. John 10. 8,9,10. Tit. 1. 11 2 Tim. 2. 17. 4 These who are† deceivers and deceived, unruly, and vain talkers, to be rebuked sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, and these, who we are not to receive into our† houses, nor bid them God speed, least we be partakers of their evil doings, these of whom we are to be aware, lest they ensnare us, and whom we are, after once or twice admonition, to reject, and from whom we are to turn away, must be such as do more than simply err in
mind, and their errors being so pernicious must come out of him that erreth, and subverteth whole houses, and lead silly women captive laden with divers lusts, and must be subject to commands of those that are in place, since they are to be sharp-
ly rebuked are not innocent, but do grievously sin and are punishable. But such are heretic, Tit. 1.11,12,13. 2 John 10.11. 2 Tim. 4.15. Tit.3.10. 2 Tim.3.5.† 5. Such as do evil and that as false teachers, and resist the truth, as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, and do Paul and the faithful preachers of the Gospel much evil, in perverting souls and in withstanding the gospel, as Alexander the copper-Smith did, who subvert whole houses, lead souls captive, deceive many, who speak words which eat the souls of many as a Canker, and subvert the faith of many, though they deny they do evil, or seduce any, or that they intend to seduce any, are evil doers, not innocent. But such are heretics who privilie bring in damnable heresies, and make merchandise of men, with fair words, and buy and sell souls, 2 Pet. 2.1,2,3,4. 2. Tim. 3.8. 2 Tim. 4.14,15. 2 Tim.3.6. 2 Tim. 2.17,18. 6 These cannot be innocent, nor free of all commands, rebukes, punishment, whom the Holy Ghost stiles proud, perverse disputers, men of corrupt minds, destitute of the truth, 1 Tim. 6.4,5. False Christs, Matth. 24.24. Deceivers, Tit. 1.11. Men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith, 2 Tim. 3.8,9. Whose folly shall be made known to many, who are self condemned, as knowing (if they would not wink and shut their eyes at noon-day) that they deceive, and are deceived, Tit. 3.10.7 These and many other things in these seducing teachers
do evidence that heresy, and seducing teaching of Heretics are not a simple disease in the mind, since they are willingly ignorant, 2 Pet. 3.7. qelontes as such as believed Baal to be God, and worship him, are such of whom the Lord saith, Jer. 9.6. Through deceit they refuse to know me, saith the Lord. The Holy Ghost saith they do much evil, resist the truth, buy menís souls as if they were Merchants, are perverse disputers, are proud, unruly, talkers, all which showeth that their will hath an influence in their knowledge and mind.
†††† All the Arguments of Libertines against the definition of an heretic, tend to prove that there is not such a thing as an heretic in the world, As if a robber arraigned upon his head before a judge, would say, there is no such thing in the world as Robbery, it is a mere fiction, or their reasons prove
pertince, which we say is the formal reason and essence of heresy, is only in the heart, and known to God only, and therefore, since neither the Church, nor the Magistrate know the heart, we must leave it to God, all menís judgements of the heart are uncertain, and deceiving conjectures, no man of set purpose desires to do evil, but when he knows he does evil, no man persuades himself that he erreth, when the matter is about eternal salvation, therefore it is not lawful to charge any heretic that he acts malice against his light, charity persuadeth another thing, and who knowingly (saith Minus Celsus) and willingly sins against the known truth, his crime is not properly heresy, but the sin and blasphemy against the Holy Ghost for whom we are not to pray, and is a sin that shall never be pardoned, and therefore it is in vain to accuse this man of heresy.
†††† Answ. This vain argument of foolish men is against the Holy Ghost, not against us, for charity then must forbid us to judge evil of our brother, or to beware of him, to avoid him, to admonish or rebuke him for heresy, for a sin known to God only, or to reject him, or to refuse him lodging in our house, or to bid him God speed, for you condemn him and flee and avoid him as an heretic, and in so doing ye take Godís office on you to judge the heart, now when the Holy Ghost bids us admonish, rebuke, instruct with meekness: Heretics, if they will not be gained, reject and avoid them, doth he not clearly hold forth that heretics may be known; when Solomon saith, go not by the door of the whore, make no friendship with an angry man, be not companions with thieves and robbers, doth he not insinuate, that the whore and the angry man, and the thief may be known? or would he say, the whore is only known to God, and charity forbids you to judge any woman a whore, or any teacher, who saith he would show you the straight way to heaven, and the way that he himself walketh in, and no man persuades himself that he erreth when the matter is concerning his own eternal salvation, and it is only known to God whether he be an heretic or no, yet admonish him as an heretic, and reject him and avoid his company as a Heretic. This is as much as if a physician would say, it is impossible to any man to know, save God only, what
houses are infected with the pestilence, yet I counsel you, for your health, go not into any pest-house.
†††† 2. It is most false that pertinacity is known to God only, that pertinacity that evidences itself to us, by such marks and outward evidences is known to us, as such a Familist, a Socinian leadeth silly women captive, and subverteth the faith of many, and causeth simple people to believe the God manifested in the flesh and crucified, is nothing but a Saint-Suffering, and having much of God and saving grace evidenced in him, and he is once and twice by word and writing admonished, but he still goes on and seduces many, then he is so far pertinacious, as ye may judge him an heretic, and having tried that he is an heretical spirit, avoid him, and bid him not Godspeed, doth not Paul exhort the elders of Ephesus to take heed of ravening wolves that should arise and speak diestramme,na †perverse things to draw away disciples after them, and they should not spare the flock, Act. 20.29,30. Yea, but our abominable Libertines come in and say, Elders of Ephesus, be charitable, judge them not to be grievous wolves, lest ye condemn them for wolves before men, who are the redeemed sheep of Christ in the high court, it is true, they speak perverse things, as ye apprehend, but
Elders, are you infallible now? when Paul and the Apostles are departed this life, they judge that you speak perverse things, and ye are the grievous wolves. You hear them speak new doctrines, it is true, but you know not whether they be pertinacious, pertinacity is in the heart only, be charitable, for only God knows the heart, say not is the flock they are ravening wolves, seducers, and that knowingly and willingly they sin against the known truth, no man erreth dedita opera of set purpose, nor persuades himself that he errs, when the matter is concerning eternal salvation, charity forbids you to ascribe maliciousness of erring to men, who err not with their will, and you
Church and Angel of the churches of Pergamus and of Thyatira, be charitable and judge not those that teach the doctrine of Balaam, and Jezebel to be false prophets, you hear their words, but God only tryeth the reigns and the heart, you know not whether they teach, what they teach, with pertinacity, all judging of the mind and heart of others are uncertain conjectures, neither they nor any other do err believing, and being persuaded, that they err, when the matter is of such concernment as eternal salvation.
†††† 3. Nor is the crime, the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, when any do maliciously resist the truth. 1. When there is not a high measure of illumination and persuasion going before, which is not in every heretic. 2. When pertinacity is bent against a side and party of godly men, not so much for despite and malice against them as they are godly, or out of despite to the Spirit of Grace, as out of a mind puffed up with love-sickness, of their own learning, and great parts, and undervaluing of a contrary faction, as they suppose, for there be divers branches of opposing the known truth, as from fleshly lusts, 2 Pet. 2.17.18. 2 Pet.3.3. from pride, 1 Tim. 6.3,4,5. from avarice and love of the world, v.5. 2 Pet. 2.3,15,16. and yet all maliciously, that are not to be judged the sin against the Holy Ghost, except, it be such an
opposing of the known truth as comes from the spiritual malicious opposing of God and his known truth, as the devils did; and it may be also that some heretics sin the sin against the Holy Ghost in teaching lies in hypocrisy, as the Pharisees did, who leave not off for that to be heretics and false teachers.
†††† 4. Where men are savingly and soundly persuaded that the business is a matter of salvation , they will not finally and totally err,† but that there is such a persuasion in heretics, is utterly denied by us; and where there is a persuasion in great measure, but literal, and historical, and faith thereunto answerable, that the matter is eternal salvation and damnation, that they do not err and lead other captives to their error, is denied, and it is more charity of heretics who are self-condemned by their own heart, Tit. 3.10. and are willingly ignorant, 2 Pet. 3.5. then the Holy Ghost allows.
†††† 5. Yea this will make heresy and heretics that are to the Holy Ghost seducers, ravening wolves, subverters of the faith of others, thieves, and robbers, foxes, reprobate concerning the faith, self-condemned; to be godly, zealous, innocent, erring against their will, free of malice, and so the Holy Ghost must do a great deal of injury to men who go for heretics, in this characterizing them to us under titles and characters, which no mortal man can give to them.
†††† But what surer sign can there be (saith Celsus) of no evil conscience than that a man will spend his blood, neglect his life, drink a cup which was so horrible to Christ, that it caused him sweat blood, and fall on the earth, and yet he will joyfully die rather, ere he quit the known truth, this he must do for some end? and is there any man who will willingly choose eternal destruction? nor can his end be pleasure, for he is to leave all these, wife, children, goods; nor honor, for an heretic dies a most infamous man, and full of reproaches.
†††† Answ. This renders the heretic the most innocent and righteous Martyr that ever was; for if his end be only life eternal, and none of the three ends which lead all sinners; neither pleasure, nor profit, nor honor, 1 John 2.16. and if he ought to follow his conscience, all heresy shall be nothing but a most innocent, harmless, godly and zealous error, why then doth this author say, it is such a sin as he is self-condemned; that is, as he expoundeth it, though there were not a God, nor any other to condemn him, yet he is condemned of himself? why doth the Holy Ghost bid us turn away from such a godly innocent man, who loveth the truth of Christ, Christ and heaven, better than father, mother, brother, sister, lands, inheritances, his own glory and name, yea nor his own life, sure he must be the man to whom life eternal, and a hundred fold more is due by the promise of our Savior, Matthew 19.28, 29. yea he doth more than merit life eternal, he is free of self, any aim to pleasure, profit, honor, or any created thing, and minds God only as his end; but can his end, though never so good, justify his heresy, or his dying for a lie? let Celsus, or any Libertine, shew what end the fathers had in killing their sons and daughters to God? the Holy Ghost saith, they sacrifice to devils, not to God, but they would not say they intended to gratify the devil, but to serve God in giving the dearest thing they had for God; and could their end be pleasure, profit, honor? to look on these, except in a spiritual fury, and mad zeal, that Satan inspired them withal is folly, for there was no pleasure in it but sorrow, no gain, but to lose a sweet child, but it purchased to them great glory to be said to love their Lord God, above the fruit of their body, and to give the fruit of their body for the sin of their soul.
Religio tantum potuit suadere malorum.
That they might be delivered from the torment of conscience they were under, and the fury and hellish zeal of not sparing the flesh, and losing the life for an heresy, which the heretic knows through the glimmering of a conscience deluded, to be a heresy, but will revenge, on a contrary sect, of a contrary opinion, desire of glory, and a name of knowledge, of a great wit, singular holiness blind the light, and what was their end who baked bread, and warmed them selves with a part of an Ash tree, and of the residue made a God and worshipped it? It is a vain thing to ask what rational end a man hath in these, for God hath judicially shut his eyes and his heart, as the devil hath run away with his natural wit.
†††† 2. It is bad divinity to say there was no other cup offered to Christ, but the cup of temporary death offered to all the Martyrs, as if Christ suffered not the wrath of God, and death, due by justice, to all the Elect, whose sins he bare, he must think basely of Christ, the grace of union and of unction of whom it is said, Isaiah 4.2. He shall not be discouraged, who teacheth that the fear and apprehension of death temporary caused him sweat blood, and complain, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? and what comfort have we in Christís death, if he suffered not that which is equivalent to eternal wrath? and if he suffered no other death than a godly Martyr did, whereupon Minus Celsus goeth on to extol heathens, who died worthily for the hope of eternity, as Anaxarchus, who bad the enemies beat the Behows, not Anax archus, when they were hammering him alive with iron hammers, and Hannibal who, lest he should come into the hands of the Romans, drank the poison which he carried under a pearl in his ring, hoping for immorality: these and the like serve to equal the death of Hannibal and Jesus Christ, and to make Anazarchus, Hannibal, Empedocles, Seneca, who Judas like murdered themselves, to be freed of servitude, and upon the lean and empty hope they had of eternal life, to have died concientia non mala, with no ill conscience; for neither pleasure, profit, nor honor, but for the hope of life eternal, as the Martyrs of the devil do, espe-
cially Servetus who died roaring and crying like a hopeless beast; as if there could be a good conscience in Hannibal, or any heathen, who knew and heard nothing of a conscience sprinkled in the blood of Jesus, and purged from dead works, to serve the living God, as if heathen self-murderers, who against the Law of nature kill themselves, deserved no more to be punished by the Magistrate the Minister of God, than a godly innocent heretic burnt for blaspheming of the Trinity and the Son of God: as a despairing dog Servetus died, and that they had efficax signum conscientia non malae, they had truly a good conscience, were free of hypocrisy, or vain-glory, or any bad end in killing themselves, this serves as much to free the most desperate and hellish murderers, from the sword of the Minister of God as heresy: so Celsus plays the Atheist egregiously in setting self-murderers, Hannibal, Seneca, Empedocles, slaves of vain-glory up at the right hand of God with Christ. But if Celsus would but offer a shadow of an argument, it should be thus, Innocent men that die for no worldly end, and will both willingly be killed, and kill themselves with their own hands, for no end but to obtain life eternal, and because they will not do that which an erroneous conscience, stuffed with arrogance, pride, self-adoration of learning, zeal, and a name, judgeth to be sin, are not to be punished by the sword, but such are heretics willing to be Martyrs for the devil, and heathen that kill themselves to obtain eternal life; ergo, the major is false, the assumption bloody and unjust, the conclusion blasphemous and Atheisticall.
†††† 3. Consider how Celsus proveth that the heretics that die for heresies is not taken with vain-glory, and for a name, because a heretic dies infamous and filled with reproach, but make an argument of that, he that dies for that which, in the opinion of the contrary side, is infamous and reproachful, cannot die for a name among men, and vain-glory; but he that dies for heresy, dies so, ergo, The major is most false, for to die for heresy in the estimation of the heretic, and of all of his opinion, and of all, that for all after generations shall be of his opinion is no reproach, but an everlasting name to the heretic so dying, and a name and glory with men is do,xh| an opinion, and is coined, lives and breaths in the conceit and brain of men; we all say, Lucretia, Seneca, Cato, died for vain-glory,
for to the Romans it was glorious, yet they died truly and really infamous; for Christians, who know what true honor and true liberty is, say and truly think, they died infamous, and shameless murderers and slaves to the people, and the air and breath of the peopleís mouth, and their empty plaudit.
†††† 4. Nor will any man (far less an heretic) willingly choose the destruction of his own soul.
†††† Answ. An Atheist sticks not to contradict God, Prov. 8. 36. All they that hate me love death; but false teachers and heretics, hate wisdom and Christ, Deut. 13.3. not to follow God is to hate God, he denies the Lord that bought him, he is proud, destitute of the truth, a vain and unruly talker, reprobate as concerning faith, leads captive souls, and such cannot choose the fear of the Lord.
†††† 2. He speaketh like an heathen; for the will of heretics and of all godless men is captive, and the will they have is to serve the devil, and though we could not tell determinately what end an heretic hath, in dying for his heresy,
it cannot prove his innocence.
†††† Yea the Donatists killed themselves, and cast themselves down head-long from an high place, they did that (saith Mr. Celsus) out of obstinacy and malice to be avenged on Catholics, and bring them under the guilt of persecutors, which was an evil conscience in them, but there can be no evil conscience in an heretic dying for his opinion, an heretic dying for his opinion cannot have an ill conscience, he prays to God, commends his safety to him, acknowledgeth Christ his Son, his Redeemer and Savior, sings hymns and praises in the midst of the flames of fire.
†††† Answ. That is a conjecture that Donatists and Circumcellions killed themselves to be revenged on Catholics, Augustine neither Ep. 6.1. nor Ep. 50 nor elsewhere makes mention of such an end they had, but because they believed it was happiness to die for Christ, yea though so it were, praying and praising, and crying, The temple of the Lord, will he say there can be no malice in thieves, murderers, adulterers, perjured persons, walkers after other Gods, and such as kill their sons to the devil in Tophet, Jer.7.3,4,5, 9.30,31. and in bloody persecutors, who said the Lord be glorified, Isaiah 66.5. and
in these that think they do God service, in killing the Apostles of the Lord, John 16. 1. the man speaks not like a divine but an Atheist, and most that are for Libertinism, to me are Atheists.
†††† 2. When Servetus and other Martyrs of the Devil died, we heard nothing of their singing of Psalms in the fire. Paul Best a swearer, and a drunkard, who denies the Deity of the Son of God, is not one of these. But Celsus (I conceive) thinks the godly martyrs that the bloody mother of fornications Babylon hath killed, for the testimony of Jesus, were heretics, because they had no certainty of faith for the truths they were burnt for, because the faith of Libertines is Skepticism.
†††† 3. Heretics may, before men, pray and acknowledge a Savior, but as the formal of heresy, so of sound faith is in the heart, and unseen to Celsus, and therefore this argument is but a conjecture, and so Paul, 2 Tim. 3. saith, those that depart from the faith, have but a form of godliness, and deny the power thereof.
†††† 4. Though heretics acknowledge a Redeemer, which yet may be questioned whether they do all so, even those who deny the Lord that bought them, yet these arguments of Celsus and Libertines plead for liberty of conscience, not only to heretics, that acknowledge a Redeemer, but to all, to open blasphemers, apostates from the Christian faith to Judaism and Mohammedanism, for should any Christian turn Jew (as some have done, and pray to God, and be willing to die for Judaism and acknowledge the Messiah to come, Libertines can no more make a window in this manís conscience to see his end in so doing, and know infallibly that neither pleasure, profit, nor honor led him, but mere and only principles of Religion, in regard places in the New Testament cite passages of the Old so far, seemingly, to reason contrary to the scope of the Prophets, then you can see to the conscience of a heretic, and Religion is to be compelled in no man, one or other, nor the sword or violence used against any; though Celsus and the Belgic Remonstrants think false teachers may rather be banished and imprisoned, lest they pervert the faith of others. But if they yield any corpo
ral restraint or violence may be used against false teachers,
they fall from their cause and lose all their arguments for one degree of one violence (though banishment be cousin Germans to death, and to some who cannot live and subsist but in England, as there are many such, far worse) can no more be used against the conscience, then forcing of ten degrees, or tormenting deaths.
†††† But (saith Celsus) Heretics that die for their heresy are stupid and drunken. But how can stupidity and malice be in one, (saith he) malice is not without certain knowledge, stupidity deprives men of knowledge, and render them blocks, can ye find a man who willingly and wittingly makes defection from God and resists the truth against his own conscience, and yet is so stupid that he knows not what he doth, and can endure foolishly to die for maintaining a lie?
†††† Answ. If the Author were not stupid, he would not declare himself so Atheistically ignorant of spiritual stupidity; for highest malice and a hardened and fattened heart, eyes, ears, and a heart that cannot see, hear, or perceive, and so are spiritually stupid, do not lodge sundered one from another, Isaiah 6. 9, 10, 11. hath this man read the word, Isaiah 29. 9. Stay yourselves and wonder, cry ye out, and cry, they are drunken but not with wine, they stagger, but not with strong drink. 10. The Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of a deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes; the Prophets and your Rulers, the Seers hath he covered, and yet these same were deep hypocrites, and malicious opposers of the ways of God, enemies too, and persecutors of the true prophets sent of God. v. 13. and who were these but Scribes and Pharisees, in whom there was as much malice against Christ and his Disciples, as can be in the devil, or such as sin against the Holy Ghost? as may be seen, Matthew 13, 14, 15. Matthew 12. 31, 32. Matthew 15. 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9. And God poured the spirit of slumber on the Jews, Rom. 11. 7. 8. and there was superlative malice in them against the known truth, Act. 13. 45. 46. and blasphemy, Act 14. 2, 3, 4, 5. and yet these men in evil, and as touching literal, knowledge know well what they were doing (though they were spiritually blocks.) See Matthew 2. 4, 5, 6. John 7. 28. John 3. 2. They privily bring in (2 Pet. 2.) damnable heresies, they make merchandise of you with fair words, then they wanted not devilish wit enough. And 1 Tim. 4. 1. They speak lies out of hypocrisy
and the doctrine of Devils, forbidding meats and marriage, there is wit, for these look like singular mortification, yet they have a conscience so stupid, as it were burnt with a hot iron.
†††† This also is gross ignorance in Libertines, that they think those who sin against knowledge, and conscience and out of malice, as those that sin against the Holy Ghost, do not sin through ignorance also, which is most false, for the most malicious sin against knowledge hath an interpretative ignorance conjoined with it, as the Pharisees who sinned against the Holy Ghost, in crucifying Christ (some of them as is clear, John 8. 28. John 9. 40, 41 and else where) yet they sinned ignorantly also, for had thy known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory, I Cor. 2. 8.
C H A P. IX
Of Liberty of prophesying of erroneous indictment of Conscience that
it is not our Rule.
But we judge that Heretics admonished and convinced of their error do sin on the borders, at least, of the sin against the Holy Ghost, in regard they be auvtokata,kritoj self condemned, as Paul saith, Tit. 3. 10. A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition, reject. 11. Knowing that he, that is such, is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself. Where the Apostle saith, an admonished and wrought upon heretic, who is convinced of the truth, and yet still resisteth evxe,straptai, He is perverted, or subvertted, desperately perverted, like a building thrown down to the foundation. 2. he sinneth, as condemned of himself, that is, judged and condemned by his own conscience, and so sinneth willfully, and with a high measure of light, but he shutteth his eyes against the light and known truth, and resisteth it.
†††† The Heretic here spoken of, Tit. 3. 10. is not the man who moves such questions (say they) as he knows to be vain and light as Arminians say. For as Vedelius saith, he expressly speaks of an heretic.
†††† It is a question, if any be called an Heretic in the word, because he moves such questions. 1. The Heretic here is subverted, and so turned off the foundation Christ. But he that moveth vain and unprofitable questions can at
best, but build his hay and stubble upon the foundation Christ; now such a man may be builded upon the foundation, and saved, though the fire destroy his work, and so he is not turned off the foundation. Yea, if he wittingly and willingly move vain and light questions he cannot be saved, nor doth that follow, for his knowledge of the levity of these questions aggravates his sin, but cannot cause to amount to a sin so high as to subvert the mans faith, because he may keep the foundation, though he hold these vain and light opinions, for they are not in themselves destructive of the foundation. 2. There is no mention, nor any hint here of vain and light questions, but of admonished heretics, therefore Eusebius 1. 4. c. 13. refers it to those that deny Christís divinity, to Marcion and Cerinthus, and they say John would not stay in the stoves with Cerinthus, and Polycarpus his disciple would not speak with Marcion, but said, I know thee to be the first borne of Satan.
† †††3. It is here to be noted, that these Authors also make the conscience, though erroneous even in fundamentals, the rule of faith, if the person believe that he worships God according to the rule of the word, and there be some moral honesty in him, and so teach there should be a toleration of all heretics, then no man is the heretic, but he who professeth points of truth, which he believeth to be lies and untruth; but so there is not an heretic in the world, but the devil, and such as profess a false Religion, before men, which in their conscience they believe to be false. But the Apostle saith, 1 Tim. 3. 1. Now the Spirit speaketh expressly that in the latter times men shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits (Popish Priests and Familists) and doctrine of Devils,
2.Speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience seared with an hot iron, 3. Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats. Now a seared conscience burnt with an hot iron may and doth teach marriage to be unlawful to some, and do believe it for a truth, that Church-men should not en-
tangle themselves with the affairs of this life, such as marriage and care of children, because Pastors go a warfare for Jesus Christ, yet the text saith, they that so teach are seducers, who with a seared conscience, speak lies in hypocrisy, and so must be heretics and worse.
†††† No rule can be falser, and more crooked than the conscience, for if ye must be obliged to follow conscience, because it is conscience, or because right or wrong; if you must follow conscience because conscience, ye must ever follow your conscience, though never so wrong; for the most erroneous conscience is conscience, though the devil should immediately actuate it, yet doth not leave off to be conscience, and to be the rule, and if so, when the conscience of some saith itís good service to God to kill the Apostles of our Lord, because they preach the Gospel, then do persecutors nothing, but what they are in duty bound to do, when they murder the Apostles, because they preach the Gospel; for to follow the rule, which God hath appointted must be a bounden duty. And the same must follow, if the conscience as evil be the rule, for then should men serve God, in sacrificing their sons to God, in community and plurality of wives, whenever their conscience should dictate
any such thing to be lawful, though, in itself, it be most contrary to the word of God. If the conscience as good, or as the Arminians seem to say, as principled with moral honesty be our rule, then the conscience as conscience is not the rule, but as it is ruled by moral honesty, this we cannot say, for moral honesty qualifying the conscience as a rule, is not able to render the conscience a straight and perfect rule in supernatural duties, since it is but a natural principle in us, and that a most corrupt one, by reason of sin, and how then should it regulate us in all the ways of the service and worship of God? should it ever oblige us to believe in him, who justifieth the ungodly?
†††† 2. Again, the Lord maketh the Law and his revealed will in the word, the rule of all our actions, Deut. 5. 31,32. Deut. 12. 31, 32. Ps. 119. 9.† 2 King 10. 31
†††† If that which is called Liberty of prophesying be examined, it is either a liberty of believing, and teaching
what is intrinsically true according to the word, now this they will not say, for we deny not liberty to prophesy truth to all that are called to publish it. Or secondly, it is a liberty to prophesy what is false, which is conceived to be false, that is devilish license not liberty; sure God hath allowed no such liberty to men to prophesy falsely, and to destroy souls, in this meaning, God hath no more allowed us liberty of prophesying false things, then liberty of killing, whoreing, robbing, or lying. Or thirdly liberty of prophesying is liberty of prophesying truths or falsehood, which yet are conceived to be truth, not falsehood by those who prophesy; nor hath God given so a liberty of prophesying, for every true liberty of prophesying, God hath given to his Prophets and Apostles, if it be a lawful gift, the use thereof is commanded and enjoined to us, as the Arminians say it is in these words, 1 Thess. 5. 19, 20. Quench not the Spirit, despise not prophesying, for they say, the meaning of these words are, Quench not the spiritual sense of the word which any man saith and persuadeth himself he hath from the Spirit of God, that is, either by inspiration or suggestion of the Spirit, or by the help of the Spirit of God, in which sense the Apostles seem to take the word, 2 Thess. 2.2. 1 John 4. 1. Now all the liberty of prophesying is here set upon a brazen pillar of (so it seems to be) and we say (so it seems not to be) but God certainly will not have Nathan, David, Samuel, Ezekiel, in either Old or New Testament, to extinguish the Spirit, or to despise prophesying, but God gave no liberty, nor entered it ever in his heart to command such liberty of prophesying to his Prophets of old, except we say, that God gave to Nathan liberty to say to David, Do all that is in thine heart, build thou the Temple, and the Lord shall be with thee, which was an untruth, and that God had Samuel say of Eliah, he is the Lords anointed, and gave him liberty to prophesy that which was false, whereas the Lord saith to Ezekiel, ch. 2. Hear the word of my mouth, and Jeremiah c. 1. 17. Arise and speak unto them all that I command thee; and thereby binds them up, and denyeth all liberty of preaching or prophesying their own word, or Their own persuasions, even under the notion of the word of the Lord, and doubtless when Nathan exhorted David to build the Temple, and Samuel said, that Eliah was the Lordís
anointed, they spake not that as their own word, but were persuaded that God revealed himself to them, though both were mistaken grossly; so Christ saith to his Apostles, Matthew 28. 19, 20. Go preach, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; he interdicteth them upon the same reason to bring any of their own Commandments flowing from their own Spirit, under any pretence, though they think them right, though Peter should conceive to Judaize a little, Gal. 2. was the mind of Christ, and he might preach it, and practice it, as the mind of Christ, yet Peter and all the Apostles, Matthew 28. are bound up, they have no liberty of conscience to preach their own (videtur) so it seems; for then should our faith be ultimately resolved into menís fancies, and (so thinketh our Reverend Saltmarsh, or Wil. Del) and not into the word of God. Libertines say their Goddess, their Diana, is strangled and fettered, and the Spirit quenched, if this liberty of prophesying be denied to them; but to restrain liberty of sinning and lieing, is no violence done to the spirit of prophesy, but this exposition calleth the fancies of men the spiritual sense of the word of God, as Familists and Antinomians in England father their dreams upon the Spirit of God. So Pet. Stairie, who ordinarily preacheth the rovings of his own fancy, taught 29. Oct. 1647. before the House of Commons, after the Houses passed a brave Ordinance for Liberty of Conscience and Prophesying, that the House should not oppose, or resist any thing that pretended to Christ. Now if he spake this to the House as a Parliament, he forbad to hinder a Simon Magus, an Hymenetus, a Philetus, a Jezebel, a Jesuit, to preach what he pleased, for Jesuits pretend to Jesus both name and thing, all the Familists, Socinians, Arians, Libertines, and false teachers, who deceive (if it were possible) the very elect, pretend to Jesus Christ, and to the anointing. If he spake to the people, they are not by the word of truth, nor all the Ministers in England to refute the false Teachers that pretend to Christ, for to refute them, were to oppose and resist them, for if they pretend to Christ, you know not since ye are not infallible, but they may be teachers, sent of God, though they be the most errand seducers that ever spake, and so they are no ways to be resisted, who resist the truth.
†††† 2. Quench not the Spirit, must have this meaning, Quench not the dreams of Independents, Libertines, Antinomians, for they persuade themselves they have the Spirit of God and mind of Christ, in all they speak.
†††† 3. But this Quench not the Spirit, is, cherish, entertain the gracious motions and inspirations of the Spirit in your selves, and despise not, that is, highly reverence the preaching of the Gospel, separate not the Spirit and the Word, for it is a litotes, where less is spoken but more intended, as Isaiah 50. 5. John 6. 37. but this gloss yieldeth this sense. Despise not the Spirit, that is, believe whatever a godly preacher saith, be it his own dreams and rovings to be the word of God, and reverence it, for he persuades himself it is so, and speaketh them as the oracles of God, though they be his own wind-mills, and sparkles of his own vain-glory. For this, (not to quench, not to despise) is undeniably to believe these prophesyings as the word of God, how then are we to try all doctrines and spirits, if we are to take all for fish that comes into the net? But since you are not infallible (say Libertines) it is an extinguishing of the Spirit to account that to be the spirit of Satan which agreeth not with your spirit, if your authority were infallible, as that of the Apostles was, the answer would have some color, though the Apostles used not that authority to crush liberty of prophesying, but they commend the trying of the Spirits, and since our judgment is not infallible, reason requires that we should not desire other spirits pious and good to be oppressed and suffocated.
†††† Answ. We reject no Spirit, because it agrees not with ours; for our Spirit is not the rule, as Libertines contend, but because it swerves from the oracles of God; if any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith.
†††† 2. This answer saith, that no man now in the Christian Church can try all things, doctrines, and spirits, and refuse the evil and deluding spirits, and hold fast that which is good, and believe the spirits, speaking from God, because it is to extinguish the Spirit (say our Libertines,) since we are not infallible Apostles to judge these Spirits for mad fancies that agree not with our Spirit; we say its impossible to try all things, and hold that which is good, but we must judge
false spirits to be false spirits, not because they agree not with ours (that is the calumny of Libertines) but because they swerve from the word of truth, though we be not infallible as the Apostles were, but this reason supposeth that because of want of Apostolic infallibility we should try all spirits, and all doctrines, but condemn, reject, and refuse none, as spirits of the devil, for that is to extinguish the Spirit, and pitch and settle our faith upon no doctrine, but like Skeptics fail about the coasts of truth all our life, and die in no belief at all.
†††† 3. It is false that the Apostles did not crush your liberty of prophesying, for Paul, 2. Thess. 2. 2. extinguish those spirits who would shake the faith of the Thessalonians, to make them believe that the day of Christ was at hand, for he forbids to believe them, and John extinguisheth the Familistical and Antichristian spirits, who denied Christ to be come in the flesh.
†††† O but (say Libertines) these false spirits, knew what they preached to be lies, and yet preached them as from God, and we stand for no such liberty of prophesying nor such spirits as these.
†††† Answ. This is a conjecture, that they believed the day of Christ was not near hand, and yet preached it was near, there is not one shadow in the text, or color hinteth that way: for, Familists and Seducers now, have not so much to say for their dreams as they had, yea, they had much to say, that made them believe that day was near hand, since Christ had said, these were the last days, and the Apostles do writ it, that now were the last times, and that the end of the world was fallen on them, and they preached all† they wrote, and so it is rather like they believed the day of Christ was near, and the Antichrist in Johnís time, had as much as seducers now have, to make them believe that Christ was not come in the flesh, since the blinded Jews alleged all the prophesies of the old Testament as not fulfilled in the son of Mary, and sure they had more to make them believe it, then Gortin, Saltmarsh, and other Familists (whom Libertines (I believe) call a part of the godly party) if they speak according to their conscience, can allege for their new, false, and fleshly visions they preach and print.
†††† 4. Though we be not infallible as the Apostles were, yet reason will not say, we should not desire that pious and good spirits, that is, those that call themselves so, but are liars, to be extinguished. For we are to pray that God would cause the unclean spirit, and the false Prophet, Libertines and others, to cease out of the land, and so faith requires, we should try them by the word, and pray and desire they were crushed and extinguished, I mean not in their person, but as touching their false doctrine.
†††† But present yourself (say Arminians) before the tribunal of Papists and they will condemn you of Heresy, and if you allege the Spirit teacheth you, they will answer, is that the spirit which corrupt and mad reason teacheth you? the spirit of the Devil, said the spirit of Christ was the spirit of Beelzebub.
†††† Answ. What inferred Libertines hence against us? this is to place no more power in Synods but directive: Sir, if it please you, this is Gods will. But we hold lawful Synods (which is not in the Synagogue of Rome or Papist) may as well rebuke, exhort, and instruct with all Authority, as Timothy, or any one particular pastor, and this is more than the directive and skeptic teaching of one private Libertine, teaching (with a reserve) convincing and condemning another in a Skeptical way. But all tends to this, Protestant Synods convened in Christís name, can say no more, but we teach what our judgment is, it may be true, it may be false, yield a Skeptic consent with a reserve to it, that is all, and why? because Protestant Synods convened in the name of Antichrist can peremptorily and tyrannically condemn the truth as heresy, and say they are infallible, and their Synodical decrees are the very word of God, Ergo, Protestant Synods, may not authoritatively command you in the name of Christ to believe and receive their lawful decrees conditionally, after ye find them agreeable to the word of God, there is no consequence here. Prelates condemned the truth as heresy and schism, Pharisees condemned Christ as a Samaritan, ergo, Protestants sound in the faith cannot condemn popery, Familism, and ergo, Paul cannot condemn Elimas as a perverter of the ways of righteousness: this is, as if you would say, a robber cannot by law jure condemn a traveler to render
his purse, ergo, a Judge cannot compel this traveler to pay just debt.
†††† We do not instance from the teaching of the spirit, but from the clear word of God.
C H A P. X
Of indulgence in fundamental, or non-fundamental errors.
†††† But say the Arminians, the question is of Heretics, not of those who dare deny the things openly decided in the Scripture, but of those who call in question those things that are, or may be contraverted, There was never an Heretic who called in question whether thieves, drunkards, robbers, railers, Idolaters, shall enter into the Kingdom of heaven, or whether God be to be loved above all things, he is not a Christian, he is not an heretic, but worse than a heretic who denies those things that are plain and obvious in scripture. But he that layeth a law upon others, which he must follow under pain of death, imprisonment or banishment in things belonging to liberty of prophesying, which are conjoined with the reverence of God and the scripture, trampleth all prophesies under foot.
†††† Answ. 1. This definition of an Heretic is in question, there be in England who deny all scriptures as no word of God, yet are judged by Libertines, not punishable by man. 2. All things that may be controverted, is wide. Nothing but it is converted, except whether there be a God or not, and many doubt of that: There be even now, who deny Jesus Christ God-man, the necessity of his death, his offices, the immortality of the soul, the resurrection, last judgment, a heaven, a hell, but all to Libertines are uncertain, and the denial of any point, not by the light of reason, but by supernatural revelation, such as these articles, that God is one in three distinct persons, that Christ is God and Man in one person, that he died to satisfy divine justice, that we are saved by his righteousness imputed to us by faith, etc... Is no heresy, but may consist with true godliness, and therefore they give instance in fundamentals which are known by the light of nature, as that thieves, drunkards shall not inherit the Kingdom of God, that God is to be loved above
all things, now these are principles of natural Theology known to heathens, so that such godly men, to which Libertines would yield an indulgence and liberty, are good moral honest civil men, who believe fundamentals known by the light of nature to Christians and Heathens equally, for civil heathens may have the sound faith of all such fundamentals, and believing moral and natural fundamentals, though they know not Jesus Christ, or possibly never heard of him, may be saved and not be beholden to Christ known as a Savior, so some Libertines tell us, not any man is to suffer death, though he deny and maliciously oppose, all the principles of the Gospel, because these
any known no ways, but by supernatural revelation, and the light of faith which commeth from God, but I take the ground of this to be, because supernatural light is above us, and not in our power, but by this reason, Christ should not have rebuked the Pharisees for not believing in him, nor the Sadducees for denying the resurrection, nor should Paul have smitten Elimas with blindness for perverting Sergius Paulus from the faith, for it was not in their power to know or believe otherwise of these Gospel fundamentals that are not believed, but by supernatural revelation, than they did, other Libertines say, they are only Heretics or at least punishable by men, who deny fundamentals of Christian Religion, but are sparing to tell us what fundamentals, whether of law and known by the light of nature, or of Gospel known only by supernatural revelation, so that ere they find the heretic, they must show you the point they deny is fundamental, and its possible that is a difficile business, whether it be fundamental or not, if he go for a Sectary he is a godly man, and his godliness shall prove the point is not fundamental, for this is the logic of our time, such a people are godly, therefore their opinions are against no fundamental point, whereas this is a better consequence; such points are fundamental, ergo, if men twice or thrice admonished do yet willfully go on to maintain opinions manifestly contrary, they are not godly, for the Apostle tells us of doctrine according to godl-ness then must the doctrine soundly believed make the person godly or argue him to be so, but the man let him go
for a Saint cannot make or argue the doctrine to be the doctrine according to godliness, if it be not so in itself, and we are inclined, if the man be of our own tribe and sect, to defend his tenets, and not to judge them fundamental errors.
†††† 2. We wish much an argument to prove bodily violence, or Ecclesiastical co-action may be used against men erring in points fundamental, but not in non-fundamentals, since God delivers his mind as clearly in non-fundamentals, if not more clearly, as in fundamentals, and the authority of the Lord who commands faith is as great in non-fundamentals, and our obligation to believe no less, than in the most necessary fundamentals; as therefore abstinence from adultery with Bathsheba, and murdering of Uriah in David, is as necessary, necessitate precepti, as the whole course of Davidís repentance and turning to God, yet it is not so necessary, necessitate medii, for David is a saved Saint, though he abstain not from that adultery and murder, but without conversion from the state of sinful nature to the way of saving grace, it is impossible David can be saved; so to abstain from Idolatry, and to demolish the high places, and to punish those who resort to them is a godly practice, yet though Aaron commit Idolatry with the golden Calf, yea and make the people naked also: and Asa, though he demolish not the high places all his reign, nor punish any for that Idolatry, and did persecute the Seer, yet Aaron was the faithful Priest, and the anointed of God, and Asa and some other Kings heart, were perfect before the Lord, though they fell in these sins, nor were these fundamentals, sins in practice, inconsistent with saving faith, more than errors and teaching of errors in non-fundamentals, to the ruin of many souls doth exclude a possibility of being in the state of saving grace, but it cannot follow, that because teaching and publishing of errors in non-fundamentals is consistent with saving grace, that therefore these non-fundamental sins of murder, adultery, tolerating of Idolatrous high places, persecuting of faithful Prophets, making of a golden Calf, and hallowing of it to be adored as the God that brought Israel out of
Egypt, are sins not to be tolerated in the truly godly, such as Aaron, David, and Asa, for then should they be tolerated in
the wicked also, for the toleration of such in the godly, because they are not fundamental wickednesses, inconsistent with saving grace, is as destructive and more, because of their extreme scandalousness, to all peace and safety of human societies, and to the duty of the godly Magistrate, as these same sins in the wicked, upon the same grounds publishing of all errors non-fundamental, the toleration of the high places are as inconsistent with peace, destructive and injurious to souls, especially in the godly, as scandalous to other false teachers, as these non-fundamental sins.
†††† But (say they) the reason is not alike in non-fundamental sins, that are expressly condemned by all, Aaronís Idolatry, Davidís adultery, Asaís persecution, no man ever defended, therefore they cannot be tolerated by the Magistrate without sin, though the acting of these sins may consist with sound faith. But most of non-fundamentals are not clearly determined in the word, in regard of our dullness and natural blindness, and therefore the Magistrate cannot punish the non-fundamental errors, for these which be non-fundamental errors to some godly and learned, are non-fundamental and seasonable truths to others, as godly and learned as they are. But to all the godly and learned, Aaronís Idolatry, Davidís adultery and murder, Asaís tolerating the high places, and imprisoning the Seer, were sins unjustifiable, and by the light of nature such as no godly Magistrate can tolerate.
†††† But I answer, if this be a good reason, why there is not the like consideration of these sins non-fundamental, and doctrines non-fundamental, because some doctrines non-fundamental are reasonable truths to some godly and learned, and these same are lies and untruths to others, as godly and learned as they; then should also divers fundamental errors be tolerated as well as non-fundamental errors, which Independents, the Masters of this distinction with the Arminians will not say, because to some godly and learned Independents, this is a fundamental truth, that murder, and adultery, and robbery, are not to be tolerated by the Magistrate, that Magistracy is an ordinance of God, but to many Anabaptists as godly and learned as they, it is
not only no fundamental truth, but a fundamental error, under our meek Saviorís reign, there ought to be neither sword nor spear, but instead of them, plow-shares are pruning hooks, and since Libertines will not have godliness to be valued by soundness in doctrine, but by menís spirits of discerning and charity, Independents are to repute Familists, Socinians, Antinomians as godly and learned as themselves: Now Independents think that Christ God-man came to satisfy the justice of God for our sins, and that Ordinance are necessary for all in this life, yet these, and many the like Familists and Socinians judge fundamental lies, and who have any discerning, and have heard Mr. John Goodwin pray, and seen his writings, which I have done, will repute him as godly and learned as any Independents in England: so I judge with correction; yet he will say the godly and learned Independents in England hold many points to be fundamental truths which he reputes to be fundamental untruths, as namely concerning justification by faith, that the Scriptures we now have by the faith whereof we must be saved, is the word of God. Mr. John Goodwin must say these are fundamental, lies, and many fundamentals in the late Confession of Assembly, I know Mr. John Goodwin in his writings, denyeth to be fundamental all truths.
†††† 2. It is not enough to say most of the non-fundamentals are not determined clearly in the word, Libertines we now dispute withal, must say, not any non-fundamentals are determined in the word, but all fundamentals are clearly determined, else they must belie their distinction which Independents in the Apologetic Narration make almost a principle of faith (though I hope it shall never be one to me) that all non-fundamentals are to be believed without a reserve, and all fundamentals with a reserve; for if many non-fundamentals are also to be believed without a reserve, it would have been service to the Church, they had beaten out that Arminian principle a little more, and subdivided non-fundamentals in such as are to be believed
with a reserve, and a demure, and such as are to be believed without a reserve, then in some non-fundamentals men are not to be tolerated, and what be these. 2 The
distinction should so bear a leg and halt, for then some fundamentals we believe without a reserve, and no toleration is to be yielded in them, but the sword and the club must press faith in these, and we are to believe but some non-fundamentals with a reserve, not all, and indulgence is due to men in some non-fundamentals, not in others; but we know our Brethren's frequent arguing, Independency is not fundamental, ergo, our Brethren should tolerate it, but we deny this consequence; yea Erastianism in its highest sphere is not fundamental, and yet high Erastianism is persecution both of Independency and Presbytery, doth it follow then, it must be tolerated?
†††† 3. If the Magistrate cannot punish the error in non-fundamentals, because, in regard of our dullness, they are not clear in the word, so in regard of our dullness many fundamentals in the Gospel are as unclear, and that all acknowledge that Aaronís Idolatry, and Davidís adultery and murder, are sins unjustifiable, and which the Magistrate by the light of nature is not to tolerate, and that he is not a Christian who denies that thieves and Idolaters who shall not enter into heaven, and that God is to be loved above all, is a great untruth, many Anabaptists there were in Bullingerís time, who taught none but whores and harlots should enter into the Kingdom of God, which is cousin German to this. Again, what is theft, is as disputable, as in the case of usury, and whether the Saints the just and spiritual inheritors of the earth, all things are yours (saith Paul) do rob and steal, if they invade the possessions, houses, monies, and lands of unregenerate and carnal man? whether he be a murderer who sacrificeth his child to God in imitation of Abraham? are as unclear, in regard of our natural blindness, as most of the non-fundamentals: and Anabaptists that are godly and learned, have as much to say from Scripture for denying of fundamentals, as in many in non-fundamentals can
plead, why their tenets are true, and though erroneous, yet not punishable; and they should upon the same ground have a toleration for murderers, robbers, thieves, that flow from mere conscience, and religious grounds, and though these practices be destructive to peace,
yet with what conscience can the Magistrate punish them as destructive to peace, when it is not clearly determined in the word of God that they are destructive to true human peace? For if they be lawful, and some of them acts of worship, as the actors are in conscience persuaded they are, they cannot be destructive to peace, yea to punish them is tyranny over the conscience, say Libertines. Now I propose these Queries, and desire Libertines to answer them.
†††† 1. Should not the Magistrate punish no thefts, no robbery, no murder, but such as are thefts, robberies, and murders, undeniably and uncontroversially to the conscience of all that are members of that society, whether AnaBaptists or others?
†††† 2. Should the Magistrate abstain from punishing of that which is false worship, for example sacrificing of a child to God, for fear he domineer over the conscience of a Christian, and so transgress his sphere, and sit down in Godís room (which is really murder, and shedding of innocent blood) though it be not so to the man-slayer, but acceptable service to God, and yet punish the same false worship, as murder and destructive to peace, whereas to the actorís conscience, whom he desires to favor, it is not murder and not destructive to peace, does he not really and by his office as great violence, and exerciseth no less a domineering power over the manís conscience, than if he should punish this as false worship?
†††† 3. Will, or can notional or mental considerations license the Magistrate to domineer over menís consciences, and exercise soul-tyranny and invade the Throne of God over the conscience, when it is upon the same reasons and arguments of Scripture; as probable that the taking away of a fatherís head for sacrificing his son to God, is not destructive to peace, nor any breach of the sixth Commandment, as it is probable it is true and acceptable, and worship to God, and though it were false worship, it is as probable that to punish it, is a sacrilegious invading of Godís place, as it is an act of justice in the Magistrate?
†††† 4. If the Magistrate must believe, as the Libertine doth,
doth, and teacheth him, what he will, if it were King and Parliament, and all the Judges in Britain, if they be of the faith of Libertines, what conscience have they to take away the head of a father, who sacrificeth his only child to God, upon mere religious principles, what warrant have they before the tribunal of God to cut off his head, as a peace-breaker, rather than to spare his life as a sacrificer, and a devout, and zealous (whether it be blind zeal or no, the Libertine Magistrate hath nothing to do to judge) worshipper of God? whether or no hath the Magistrate who in that case, killeth an innocent man (according to his own libertine-conscience) greater respect to false peace in a humane society, than to true piety and innocent walking with God, which forbids him to punish any thing that is only to the subject, he punisheth, a mere devout worshipping of God.
†††† 5. Upon the same ground, should not the mass, and all the broad worship on earth be tolerated, since it hath far less connection with disturbance of peace, than the Anabaptists children-killing worship of God?
†††† 6. If the formal is ratio, the only formal reason and cause why the Magistrate is to use corporal coercion against none now under the New Testament, but is to suffer every man to worship God, as he best pleaseth, because the worship of the New Testament is more spiritual, the Law-giver Christ, a meeker Mediator, than Moses, and there is no warrant now to hinder any man, or lay bands and coactive violence upon Christís free subjects, with force of sword, to restrain them in one worship, more than another, what reason an Anabaptistís offering his son a sacrifice to God should be restrained in his sacrificing, more than in other acts of worship? is not the man persecuted for his conscience? is not this a carnal, and no New Testament way of restraining him, when he is restrained by the sword? is not
the only word of God, and no weapons that are carnal, the way of rescuing men from all false worship, and the only way.
†††† 7. Nor can the bloodiness and cruelty of that worship be a sufficient ground, why the Magistrate may restrain the conscience of the devout worshipper, for who ought to sit
as Lord Judge above the conscience of this father, and sentence the worship as destructive to peace, or the worshipper as a bloody man? his conscience is under the New Testament, and the Lord his only judge.
†††† But by the light of nature, that the father kill the son to God, is murder, and cruelty.
†††† But I answer, if it be grateful worship to God, it is no more cruelty than to burn a beast to God, and you are to suppose that a godly Anabaptist, hath warrant from God for that worship, as well for burning of beasts, and offering yearly thousands of bullocks and sheep to God, in memory of Christ once already sacrificed for sinners, and that there is in it neither cruelty to beasts, nor hurt to the Commonwealth, that the Magistrate can restrain, for though there be no reason at all for the worship, ex natura rei, if we consider the worship itself, yet there is such reason to tolerate the worship, so as if the Magistrate restrain, he tyrannizeth over the conscience, and a bloody conscience is a conscience incapable of violence, and as immediately in the New Testament, subject to God only, not to the sword, as a good conscience, then if the sword can strain no conscience as conscience; how can it squeeze a conscience wading in bloody son-butchery more than any other conscience?
†††† 8. If the Magistrateís punishing of any for his conscience be a violent compelling of him to sin, to worship or to forbear worship against his conscience, how will Libertines clear Magistracy in the Old Testament, from being intrinsically a sinful ordinance, for the Magistrate in the Old Testament in stoning to death the seducing Prophet, and the blasphemer must compel him to sin against his conscience, and to profess Jehovah, not Baal was the true God, whereas the seducer believed in his conscience the contrary, since to compel men to sin is intrinsically sinful, let Libertines answer the query, if God ever in Old or New Testament could command sin, or if there was ever such a thing heard that a Magistrate might by his office command men to sin, or then punish them?
†††† 9. Let Libertines answer if Arminians extend not liberty
of prophesying as far as menís lusts can carry them, in these words, But to suffer every man (say they) to assert publicly in Religion every thing is perilous. Why its for either that which he asserteth is true, or false, if it be true, why admit we it not? why do we imprison the Author thereof? this injury reflects upon God the Author of truth: if it be false, the truth shall easily overcome it, or, of itself it shall melt like wax before the Sun, if ye offer violence to it, ye strip Religion of its glory, and furnish oil to error. Whether is not reason as strong to refute errors fundamental as non-fundamental? whether if ye offer violence to truth in fundamentals, as well as in non-fundamentals, ye strip Religion and truth of its glory, and furnish oil to error?
†††† They go on and tell us, We need not ever be in learning those that are clearly determined in the word; for they are clear, open, and of undoubted truths in the Scripture, in other points† (not fundamental) a Christian is ever a disciple and a searcher, not that he doth ever doubt and hesitate, but because, though for the present he neither doubt, nor hath cause of doubting, yet can he not be sure of these points, with such a certitude, which is free of all danger of error, and therefore he is often to examine these according to the rule that cannot err, and so it is enough before God that he may be said ever to learn, and to come to the knowledge of the truth, as far as frailty in this life can permit.
†††† Answ. 1. There is then no stability of faith, but in two or three points, in which all Papists, Lutherans, Antitrinitarians, Arians, Socinians, Libertines, Familists, Sabellians, Nestorians, Macedonians, Arminians, Antinomians, Seekers, Enthusiasts, AnaBaptists, etc... agree, and make one true Church, believing what is necessary for salvation, and holding the foundation Christ, and we have no divine faith of the miracles that Christ wrought, that the old world perished with waters, which God speaks as clearly in the word, as he doth fundamentals.
†††† But Libertines should distinguish the formal reason of believing truths, which breedeth an obligation, and the necessity of believing, for the one only formal reason of believing, both fundamentals and non-fundamentals, is
thus, saith the Lord, For we are as much obliged to believe
non-fundamentals that are clear, as that there were eight persons saved in the Ark, and the old world drowned with waters, Sodom burnt with fire, as to believe fundamentals, that there is no name whereby men may be saved, but by the name of Jesus, for the Authority of God speaking in his word and his command doth equally oblige to both, but there is no such necessity so absolute in believing non-fundamentals, as in believing these, without the knowledge whereof, we cannot be saved, but it never followeth that errors in
non-fundamentals published and taught to the ruin of the souls of many, they having such a strong connection and influence on the knowledge of fundamentals, are to be tolerated since our sinning here doth as equally and strongly strike against the authority and express command of God (at least in most things of that kind) as in points fundamental, and therefore the Magistrate who is to look to the honor of God as a Christian, and peace of societies in all, is as much obliged to punish, clearly opened, non-fundamental as fundamental false doctrines.
C H A P. XI
Of the obliging power of Conscience.
†††† Libertines bewilder themselves, and the Reader, both touching an erroneous conscience, and the obligation thereof, Mr. Williams saith, Such a person (whatever his doctrine be, true or false) suffereth persecution for conscience; as Daniel was cast into the Lions den, and many thousand Christians, and the Apostles were persecuted, because they durst not cease to preach and practice what they believed was by God commanded.
†††† But this is a foul mistake, Daniel suffered not for conscience simply, because he practiced what he believed to be truth, but because he practiced what he truly congruenter Dei voluntati revelatae, congruously and agreeably to the revealed will of God, he believed, and the like is to be said of the Apostles, not the conveniency, and commensurableness of their practice, and their conscience simply, but their be-
lieving, tali modo, such a way made their sufferings to be sufferings for righteousnessí sake; for then must we say that Paul persecuted with the tongue, the Corinthians for their conscience, 1 Cor. 15.34. Awake to righteousness and sin not, I speak it to your shame, for some have not the knowledge of God. Those that denied the resurrection, through error of conscience, said the dead shall not rise again, for Paul proves by strong arguments that the dead shall rise, and so takes away the error of their conscience, why then puts he shame and reproach on them, and names them fools, and void of the knowledge of God? and such as believed in vain? it was not in their power to correct the errors of their conscience, and if they maintained, what they believed in conscience, was true (as by Paulís demonstrating the truth to their conscience is evident) they were persecuted for righteousness, if out of mere innocent and faultless ignorance, they denied the resurrection, Paul should deal more gently with them, than upbraid them as fools and Epicures who said, Let us eat, for tomorrow, we shall die, if they did all believe the Resurrection, and yet professed the contrary, there was no need to take pains as he doth to prove it.
†††† Saul killed the Gibeonites out of zeal to the children of Israel: It is like the blind ignorant zeal he had, thinking the Covenant that Joshua made with them, did not oblige the posterity, was the cause of his murdering of them, yet he suffered not in his sons that were hanged for that blind zeal, as righteous, and following the rule of his conscience in that.
†††† But touching an erring conscience, the question is not whether an erroneous conscience doth so tie, that we must do nothing on the contrary, nor is the question whether the nearest actually obliging rule, be conscience; the Arminians tell us, Though the word of God, of itself, and by itself, have power to oblige, yet it actually obligeth no man, except it be understood, and so is believed to be understood, after we use all possible diligence and prudence, for no man is obliged to follow the true sense of the word against his conscience, though it be erroneous but we think the word of God is both the farthest and nearest, and the only obliging rule, and that the ditement of the conscience doth nei-
ther bind potentially nor actually, but is a mere reporter, a messenger and an official relater of the will and mind, to God, to us, and all the obliging† power is from the word, as the messenger of a King and Judge, is not the obliging rule that ties the subject, or the Heraldsí promulgation of the Law, is no obliging rule, for promulgation of Heralds, is common both to just and to unjust laws, and certainly unjust laws from a just Prince lay no band on the conscience or on the man, far less can the promulgation as the promulgation lay any bands on the conscience, the word of a Messenger and Herald is at the best but a condition, or the approximation of the obliging power to us, but all the obliging power is from the King and the Judge. It is most false then, that these Libertines say, that the word doth not actually oblige, except it be understood, for the understanding, information, and indictment of conscience, doth not add any actual obligation to the word that it had not before, it only is a reporter, to carry both the word and the actual obligation to the man; the Herald promulgating the law, adds no obligation actual or potential to the law that it had not before, only it makes an union, in distance, and near application and conjunction between the actually obliging
law, and the understanding knowledge of the person, orsubject, who is obliged to keep the law, though it be true the fire cannot actually burn, but as timber is cast to it, yet the fire hath from its own nature both potential and actuall burning, not from the act of casting the timber in the fire; nor is this a concludent reason, no man is obliged to follow the true sense of the word against his conscience, though erroneous, ergo, the erroneous conscience doth oblige, or ergo, actual obligation to obedience is not from the word, but from the conscience; no more than this is a good consequence, no man is obliged to obey the Law in itself, just contrary to the promulgation of an erring and mistaking Herald, ergo, the mistaking Heraldís promulgation giveth to the Law actual obligation over the subject, for it only followeth, ergo, we are not to do contrary to the actual indictment of an erroneous conscience, but not obliged to follow the erroneous conscience, nor are we obliged to follow what our
conscience saith is true and good, because, or upon this formal reason and ground,† that the conscience saith so, more than we are to believe and practice, what the Church or the conscience of others: the Church, the learned and godly say, for we make not the word of the Church the formal object of our faith, but (thus saith the Lord only) because the Church is but a company of men, and so our faith should depend upon men, even though holy and speaking ingenuously what their conscience dictates as true, which
is absurd, ergo, by the same reason, what one manís conscience, our own, or othersí say, is not the formal object of our faith and practices, for so also our faith should depend on man, not on God. And we say the conscience at its best, is but Regula Regulata not, Regula Regulans, nor ought it to have the throne of God, for God is only Regula Regulans. If it were a rule, it is to be ruled by God, and his word, yea, as we are to try all things and not believe with a blind faith what others say, or their conscience proposeth to themselves and us, as truth, for then we make a Pope of the consciences of men, under the notion of teachers and Church, so we are not to be ruled without trying, and absolutely by our own conscience, but to try its dictates by the word of God, otherwise we make a Pope, and a God of our own conscience.
†††† Some say, as a right informed conscience obligeth to do what it dictates, so an erroneous conscience obligeth to do according to its prescript. Durandus and others saith, ligat non obligat, it bindeth that ye cannot do against it, which some call negative obligation, but non obligat, it obligeth not as a divine rule, which is positive obligation.
†††† Tannerus saith, A conscience that invincibly erreth, both bindeth, that we cannot do against it, and obligeth that we should not follow it. Which hath truth in the matter of fact, a Judge invincibly ignorant of an accused manís innocency, when two or three witnesses do swear he is guilty, doth lawfully condemn the innocent man, having used all possible diligence to find out the truth, and not being able to find it, but this is rather error or ignorance of the fact, than an erroneous conscience, for he proceeds according to the
law, with a well-informed conscience, following what the law saith, by the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every thing be established. The erroneous conscience so long as it remaineth, by the law of nature, layeth on an obligation on a man, not to do against it, Rom. 14.14. To him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. vers. 23. He that doubteth is damned, if he eat, because he eateth not of faith, for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. So Ambrose, our opinion layeth a law upon us. Gammacheus saith it is a vain distinction of binding and obliging, Inter ligationem & obligationem. And that we are obliged to follow an erroneous conscience so long as it continueth erroneous, because here (saith he) we dispute not concerning that which is good, but that which is commanded, But if the conscience dictate that something is to be commanded and to be done under pain of sin, and yet we do it not, we resist conscience, and so we sin, because the obligation is no more to good only, but rather to that which is commanded. The Jesuit Malderus saith the same; Contientiam erroneam & ligare & obligare, because an object materially considered is such, an object by accident, but it is an object perse, kindly when it is proposed by practical reason, for what is not of faith is sin, Gal. 5. 3. I testify to every one that is circumcised, that he is debtor to do the whole law.
†††† Answ. There can be no reason, why conscience, because conscience, or because wicked, more obligeth; than why Will, because wicked will should oblige, since in every wicked conscience actually drawing men to ill, of either heresy or practice, there is something of wicked Will, and though there were nothing of will, or of the affections in an erroneous conscience, yet since conscience as a knowing faculty is under the law of God, an erroneous conscience must be a transgressing conscience, and it is a contradiction, that a faculty sinning should oblige to obedience to the law of God, in the same consideration, because it sinneth. But these School-niceties do not oblige us, we shall be unwilling in any terms to say that God, or, which is all one, the law of nature, layeth on us an obligation to that which is sinful, or to sin, if any think he is obliged to be circumcised, sure he must think himself obliged to eat the Passover also, and to
keep the whole Ceremonial law, but that the law of nature obligeth him either so to think, and erroneously believe and practice, the whole Ceremonial Law is another thing. It is true, a doubting conscience, that thinks he is obliged by the law to abstain from eating swineís flesh, is either obliged to eat swineís flesh, or not to eat, for to eat, or not eat, are opposed by way of contradiction, but there is no apparent contradiction but admiteth of some qualification, and modification, set the contradiction in an evangelical sense, as you must, and then it shall be, there be none in the visible Church, but he must either eat in faith, or not eat in faith, he must either be circumcised in faith, etc... For both the Law and Gospel oblige to the action and to all the manner, way, and requisite circumstances of the action, to wit; that it be done in faith, sincerely for God, in a due manner, etc... Now so we say; he is neither to eat simply, nor not to eat simply, but either to eat in faith, or to abstain from eating in faith, and without an erring and doubting conscience: and we are not to do upon a supposition, that the conscience stand erroneous, nor hath the erroneous conscience any warrant at all, nor commission from the Sovereign Lord of conscience, to command you to believe you must be circumcised, or upon the supposal of that faith to oblige you to be circumcised, more than any earthly judge hath a warrant from God to command murder or robbery; nor is it a law of nature, or of God that you must do absolutely and without trying what an erroneous conscience indicts you to do, under pain of sin, nor is it a sin to resist an erroneous conscience by not doing, or suspending the action, more than it is a sin not to obey an earthly judge, when he commandeth beside, and contrary to the law of the supreme Law-Giver. No wonder they make a Pope of conscience, who make the conscience of the Pope the supreme court that obligeth all men on earth. The reason of this error is, Papists (and Libertines join with them in this) dream that as God doth command unerringly, and indeclinably, so he hath communi-
cated to Popes and Heralds, and to every lawful Commander under him, and so to the conscience, that they may unerrantly, and indeclinably also command, but they should remember when power of commanding comes out of God, the fountain of authority, now it looseth its absolute undeclinableness, when it is in conscience, or in any creature, and it is only conditional and limited in the streams, whereas it was absolute and sovereign in the fountain.
†††† 2. In the case of an erroneous conscience standing in its vigorous thing, the question is, both, what is commanded, and what is good, for these two are not contrary, but agree well: for the Lordís command to Adam (eat not of this fruit) is to Adam the cause why the not eating is good, and the cause of the obligation to what is commanded also, but only the obligation is (ad modum facii, non ad factum) to the manner of doing, that if we do, or abstain, we do it tali modo, in faith, and persuasion without any jarring between the conscience and the object, but there is no obligation to the fact. On the regular way of doing, I am never obliged to obey God with an erring conscience, or contrary to the indictment of an erring conscience.
†††† 3. The material object being sin, and forbidden by the law of God, is an object by accident, even when it is proposed by practical reason, if that reason be erroneous, and misinformed, as it is in this case, the proposing of practical reason, doth not make that to be good or commanded, which of itself was neither good nor commanded, but sinful, it may make it good in the manner of doing, and oblige in the manner of doing, but that is not our question, but whether the practical judgment and conscience remaining erroneous, doth both ligare, bind and oblige to the fact that is sinful, that is denied. And though he that is circumcised upon the supposal of a blind, erring, and Jewish conscience, thinking the law of shadows obligeth when the body Christ is come, he is a debtor to do the whole Law, and to eat the Passover, to sacrifice at Jerusalem, to keep the new-Moons, etc... But how is he debtor? He is this way debtor, what warrant he hath to be circumcised, he hath the same warrant to keep the Passover, to
sacrifice, that is, he hath as good reason for to do all, or is as well obliged upon his false principles he goes on, to keep all the law of ceremonies as to be circumcised, or do a part only, but he is erroneously and sinfully made, by himself, a debtor to the whole Law, but God made him a debtor neither to the one, nor to the other, and in Godís Court, though if he be circumcised, he must be circumcised this way, that is, his conscience must dictate that Godís Law still in force commands him so to do, but this is but a necessity of supposition that falleth upon the manner of the doing, not upon the fact, for no Law of God warranteth him to be circumcised, and no law of God makes him debtor to do all the rest of the law of ceremonies, he is obliged neither to be circumcised erroneously, nor to abstain from circumcision erroneously, but to lay aside his erroneous conscience, and to abstain from circumcision according† to the indictment of a well informed conscience.
†††† So we easily answer that ignorant objection of fantastical Sectaries, in needless Pamphlets and Queries, smelling of non-sense and self-conceit, speaking they knownot what: If the sword be used against errors to suppress† them, then must the Magistrate command and compel men of tender consciences to sin, and to do against the light of their conscience; for what is not of faith, is sin. And the Spirit himself waits and violates not the liberty of the reasonable soul, by superseding the faculties thereof, but approves every truth to the understanding, and moves the will without violence, with a rational force: Shall man be more zealous for God, then God is for himself? God himself doth not force men, but call them to repentance. --- If the word (calling) be considered, whether will it warrant any further means than arguments, persuasions, and entreaties (make them as forcible as you can) if
you hold the fear of punishment over men, it must be the fear of divine punishment, etc...
†††† Answ. For 1. we no where teach that the sword is a means of converting, but the just vengeance that is inflicted by the Minister of God upon false teachers, as upon other evil doers, so it is not destinated by God for spiritual gaining and reducing of heretics that may repent, but for judicial expiation of wrongs done to the flock and Christian society.
†††† 2. This poor argument will conclude against all Laws of Magistrates, against murderers, bloody traitors, for the Laws of the Minister of God, the King forbids the English Jesuit to stab his Prince, and compels him to abstain from King-killing, and if this Jesuit abstain from killing his Sovereign Lord, and abstain not in faith, but against the light of his Jesuitical and bloody conscience, which dictates to him, that he is a Protestant Prince and a heretic, and he is obliged in conscience for the advancement of the Catholic cause to stab him, doth the supreme Magistrate compel this Jesuit to sin? and doth he force the Jesuits conscience? for to do in faith hath place in duties of the second Table, as well as in the first, and men out of consciand in faith, and moved by the Holy Ghostís gracious actings are to obey all lawful commands of the Magistrate, as to pay tribute, to abstain from murder, treason, adultery, robbing and stealing, if they be subjects of tender consciences, and why then should the Magistrate compel and force men to these duties which are to be done in faith, and in a spiritual manner? for sure the Spirit forces them not to do these in faith, so the command of the Magistrate moveth every Christian to practice, and act of obedience to menís Laws for conscience sake, and the Spirit moves the whole powers of the soul, both the understanding and the will without violence, with a rational force, and why should the Magistrate then be more zealous for God, then God is for himself? and all this may be said against all Laws in the Old Testament, why should the Magistrate compel men against their faith and conscience not to believe, not to practice any such seducing ways, as to say, Come let us go serve other Gods; Should Moses be more zealous for God, then God is for himself? but the truth is, the Magistrate as the Magistrate doth not meddle with the conscience, not the manner of obedience to Law, whether they be obeyed in faith, or against the light of conscience, that is nothing to him, he commands but the external actions, preach no heresy, no Familism, Socinanism under the pain of corporal punishment; if Pastors obey this charge hypocritically, not in faith, it is their sin, not the Magistrates, he neither commands thus, preach no heresy, in faith and persuasion, nor yet, in no faith, in no persua-
sion. And Augustine tells us the Donatists objected the same, God compelleth none, but hath given men freewill to obey him, contr. petil. 1. 2. c. 83. Epist, 48. ad vincentum, Contr. Gaudentin. l. 1. c. 25 Contr. Crese. 1. 3. c. 51. which often remind the Reader of, and the Donatists also said this† compulsion makes hypocrites, when they are compelled to go to hear the word, Augustine answers, Although some that are compelled to hear remain hypocrites and counterfeit, yet for these, such as are sincere, should not have been left ungathered in.
†††† And for that of Godís calling to repentance, he is but an ignorant senseless man who wrote that book. The Spirit waits, (saith he) and violates not liberty. If the meaning be, the Lord is long-suffering and patient, and lets men go on in their sins, and in his own time effectually calleth them, this is a senseless sense, for God waits not on one out of his longanimity and forbearance, lest he should force free will, for the freewill is ever alike impotent, rebellious and refractory, till God subdue it, if the meaning be (as another sense it cannot have) The Spirit waits and violates not liberty, that is, the Spirit waits until freewill be in a good blood and a congruous disposition to obey, and then the Spirit, for fear of forcing of it, if he should come on it undexterously to work it against the hair, catcheth the opportunity when he sees it is not on a strain of rebellion, and in a distemper, and then he draws the freewill without force; the man (I judge) is innocent and incapable of this school heresy of late Jesuits, who devise a Pelagian congruous calling: and this were nothing to the purpose, and should neither have head nor feet to the matter in hand, for the Spirit who can carry freewill, though most rebelliously distempered his way, is not afraid of freewillís contradictorious opposing, but can in every moment subdue freewill without forcing, he never waits on, for such a matter, except there be a time when freewill is to hard a party for the Spirit to yoke withal; or when nature or some preparatory grace makes it easier for the Spirit to conquiesse, consent at one time more than another.
†††† 2. Godís not forcing of freewill is no rule to the Magistrate not to awe men to abstain from perverting of souls for
fear of the sword, for by the same reason, because Godís Spirit moves the Saints to be subject to every ordinance of man, Judge, or good Law, for the Lords sake, and for conscience, for he must obey this, Rom. 13. 5. 1 Pet. 2. 13. and the Spirit compels not in these more than in the others; so this argument, God must work faith, give repentance, and make a willing people, ergo, the Christian Magistrate cannot with his authority do it, is all granted. This is but a very rotten rush, a straw, Enthusiasts so argue, God teacheth sufficiently, ergo, the Scriptures and ministry of men are not requisite, the discipline of the godly Magistrate cannot ascend so high as to have influence on the conscience and beget faith no more than the preaching of the word by the Ministers of the Gospel without the Spirit, ergo, the godly Magistrate cannot with† the sword keep the external man in outward obedience to Gospel-ordinances, it in no sort can be a good consequence, nor is it good divinity to say with Pelagians and Arminians, that the calling of God extends no further than to arguments, persuasions, entreaties and threatenings, for the calling of God extendeth further than to so much as man can do, in calling of
sinners to repentance, but men can act upon the mind, will, and reasonable soul, by arguments, persuasions, entreaties and threatenings, for all that is done by the Ministry of men. But in effectual calling (of which we here speak) it is certain, the Lord infuseth a new heart, a new spirit, draws efficaciously to the Son, which is a further and higher way of omnipotencies, calling and drawing, than all the moral persuasion by argument, entreaties, and threatenings, performable by men or Angels; so this man is either an ignorant or a gross Arminian.
†††† Now from all this, it is easy to expound that character which the Holy Ghost putteth upon the heretic, Tit. 3. 10. he is judged as condemned of himself, that is, the truth is so clearly opened to him, or he may, if he did not wink, and shut his eyes, clearly see and believe the truth, if he did not knowingly, prudently, and willingly resist the truth, and therefore is condemned by his own heart.
†††† But Minus Celsus saith, the words carry a far other sense, to wit, That by sinning he is the author of his own condem-
nation, because in choosing true Religion, he thinks he hath made a right choice, when he hath chosen a false Religion, being deceived by his own judgment, he falleth into damnation, which, miserable man, he hath created to himself, and in which he chooseth to persist, and therefore is to be eschewed. So it is said, the Jews judged themselves unworthy of eternal life. So I believe the heretic is called self-condemned, because he doth those things that renders himself worthy of damnation. So Castalio. or he is self-condemned, that is, he is damned, though there were none to condemn him but himself. So Erasmus.
†††† Answ. He is self-condemned, who may be condemned by his own conscience, though for the present the conscience be burnt with a hot iron, and the man will not permit it to summon, accuse, condemn, no less than he who is actually condemned of his conscience, for it is a laudable act, and a natural virtue of the conscience to give sentence against a heresy when it ought so to do, as it is a vice of the conscience to be dumb† at heresies; but if he love the truth, though he cannot actually condemn the heresy, he is not self-condemned.
†††† The heretic (saith Celsus) is an innocent man, and is not such a man as sins against light, nor maliciously, nor with an ill conscience, nor is his end gain, pleasure, nor an ambitious lusting after a name, he seeth none of these are attainable, yea, it is his desire of life eternal, and his zeal that setteth him on work, and rather or he dishonor God and deny the known truth, and sin against his conscience, he had rather choose torment, and die a martyr, and drink that direful and bitter cup of death, which was so terrible to Jesus Christ, that it caused him to fall to the earth, sweat blood and water. So he, Sol. 14, 15, 16. which if it be true, an heretic is rather an innocent Angel, than a guilty man, condemned of his own conscience. Yet Minus Celsus saith here, he behaveth himself as one worthy of damnation, and damned, though none but himself condemn him, 1 John 3. 20. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart and knoweth all things, It is like then, an innocent man is
condemned, and his company to be eschewed as a pestilent wretched man.
†††† Yet the Arminians say, though discipline is to be exercised on heretics condemned by themselves, yet are they bewitched with a great prejudice--- so as heresy is a vice of nature rather than of free-will. And in another place, only nature, by no fault of heretics void of grace, begetteth these errors, and not freewill despising the help of grace; they are seduced not of their own accord, but by necessity of nature, for they seduce not because they will seduce, but because they cannot seduce.
†††† It needs not an answer, that they say, the Jews judged themselves unworthy of life eternal, not knowingly, for knowingly they did it, Act. 13. v. 45. they spake against the convincing and enlightening Gospel, contradicting and blaspheming. So ch. 14. 1, 2. for which sin against the Holy Ghost, Paul turned from them, and preacheth the Gospel to the Gentiles; yet Minus Celsus will have the Jews to err innocently in that malicious fact.
†††† Answ. To forbid marriage and meats, can hardly be arraigned as fundamental errors, nor the Authors such as must deny the Scriptures to be the word of God, yet they are such as depart from the faith, teach doctrines of devils, speak lies in hypocrisy, and have their conscience burnt with an hot iron; and if heretics be as innocent as their sin, if it be but a fault of nature, as blindness from the womb, or deafness, not of will, but of nature, why are they to be rebuked, accused, condemned of their own conscience? But they little know the heart of man, who find not malice, prejudice, pride, desire of glory, to hold up a faction, often gain and hunger for court to lodge with errors of the mind; and whereas Libertines say we promote truth with blood, we retort it thus, they promote heresy with the sword, and deny thousands of Atheists, bloody men their way, because their purse, the Parliament, the sword, the Army is on their side.
C H A P. XII.
Arguments against pretended toleration.
†††† Hence I proceed to argue thus against this pretended liberty.
†††† Every duty of the Christian Magistrate, hath warrant in the Old or New Testament, which exactly teacheth the duty of Ruler and subject, Father and children, Master and servant, etc...
†††† But toleration† of many false ways, and the permitting of men to speak lies in the name of the Lord, and to seduce souls, hath no warrant in the Old or New Testament; ergo, such a toleration is no duty of the Magistrate; the major is clear from the perfection of the word of God; the assumption is proved by a negative argument from the Scripture, it is no where written expressly, or by consequence, to be the duty of the Ruler, therefore it is not his duty to tolerate or permit.
†††† If it be replied, because it is not holden forth in Scripture to be the Rulerís duty to punish men for their conscience, therefore it must be the Rulerís duty to tolerate and permit them.
†††† It is answered, the word of God is as perfect in teaching for what sins the Ruler should not punish, as for what he should punish, the son for the fatherís transgression, should not be punished by the Magistrate, for that is injustice in men, and he should not punish, except the crime be confessed or proved by the mouth of two witnesses. The Maid that was forced in the field, and had none to help her, is free of punishment also; and so is the man that kills his brother and hated him not before.
†††† Again, if those that seduce souls be most hurtful and pernicious to Christian societies, and those that teach the way of God truly to be useful, the Ruler must not be neutral and indifferent, as touching the use of his power toward either; but as he is for the praise of well-doing by virtue of his office, so must he be an executer of wrath on evildoers, especially such as hurt Christian societies, whose peace and quiet living in all godliness and honesty he is to procure.
†††† That which inferreth necessarily many Religions, many faiths, many sundry Gospels in one Christian society, is not of God. But the toleration of all ways, and many Religions is such; ergo, this toleration is not of God: The
proposition is evident, because there is but one old way, Jer. 6. 16. One Lord, on faith, one baptism, Eph. 4. 4. One faith once delivered to the Saints, Jude 3. one truth to be bought, Prov. 23. 23. one Christ, which the Apostles, heard, saw, and handled with their hands, from the beginning, 1 John 1, 1. One name of Jesus, not any other under heaven by which we may be saved, Act. 4. 12. not Jehovah and Malcom, Zeph. 1. 5. not Jehovah and Baal, 1 King. 18. 21. not the true God, and the Gods of the heathen, the Samaritan mixture, 2 King. 17. 33. (2) And this one way we are to keep with one heart, Ezek. 11. 19. with one judgment, one mind, one tongue, one shoulder, Act. 4. 32, 2 Cor. 13. 11, Phil. 4. 2, 1 Cor. 1. 10, Zeph. 3. 9. Zach. 4. 9. Being rooted and established in the faith, Col. 2. 7. Not tossed to and fro, nor carried about with every wind of doctrine, Eph. 4. 14. Without wavering, Heb. 13. 9.
†††† For the assumption: That God hath appointed in his revealed will, that every man should serve God as best pleaseth him, and as it seems good in his own erroneous conscience, and that every man should pervert the soul of his brother, and the Magistrate should put no man to shame for is, is as good as if there were no Magistrate, and that it is
against his calling as a Magistrate, is clear, for the Holy Ghost saith, that, Judges 16. 5. Micah had a house of Gods, and made an Ephod, and a Teraphim, and† consecrated one of his sons, who became his Priest, was from this, v. 6. In those days there was no King in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes; ergo, the Magistrates by his office is to take care that Micah and others serve not God as it seems good to their own erroneous conscience, and so, that another follow not another Religion, and a third, another third Religion, as seems good in every manís own eyes.
†††† If the Magistrate restrain not the high places, for which he is rebuked, as some sacrifice at Jerusalem at Godís command; so the people for the most part sacrifice in the high place through the Princeís fault, and then there be two Religions, and upon the same sinful indulgence they may multiply groves, and altars according to the number of their Cities: And as there were false Prophets among the people then, so now, who with fair words make merchandise of menís souls, who by the revealed will of God must be tolerated to do the like, and others the like, till Religions be multiplied: and this we must say, except it be affirmed that under the New Testament: The corruption of our nature is not so great, through neglect of Magistracy to do what seems good in our own eyes under the New Testament, and to run a whoring from God to other high places as they did, and if so, neither should there be a Magistracy under the New Testament to restrain us in ways of conversation touching the second Table, to wit, to hedge men in from robbing and stealing, from incestuous Marriages and Polygamy, upon mere conscience; for if the Saints be the only just owners of the earth, as many now hold, it is no more punishable by the Ruler, as robbery, that a Saint take the Ox, Ass, Monies, Possessions of his neighbor, who is a carnal and wicked man, than that he take of his own goods for his use, when he is naked and starving, which by the Law of nature he ought to use before he famish, and incestuous Marriages are to some consciences as unpunishable now, as when
Cain and Abel married their own sisters; and if conscience ought not to be forced in one thing, neither can violence be offered to it in any thing that unfainedly pretends to conscience.
†††† That indulgence and forbearance of all from the Ruler, which lays an undeniable ground for Skepticism, Fluctuation, and doubting in matters of Religion, is not of God. But such is toleration of sundry Religions, ergo,
†††† The major is thus proved: True Religion suggesteth an avsfa,leia( †and a perfect understanding, Luke 1. 3. knowledge and persuasion of faith, Rom. 14. 14. 23. faith by many infallible tokens, Act 1. 3. Full persuasion, Rom. 8. 39. II Tim. 1. 12, II Tim. 3. 16, 17. All riches of the full assurance of understanding, Col. 2. 2.
†††† The assumption I thus prove; Because the Libertines say, that special and principal ground of no indulgence to false Prophets under the Old Testament, was because the Prophets were infallible, God himself who only knows the heart, designed the false teacher, and the blasphemer by immediate resolution from his own oracle, and made it out of question whether that was heresy or no, and whether presumptuously against the light of conscience the man held, professed and taught others so to do, and believe as he did: So Arminian Libertines: So Minus Celsus; So Vaticanus: So John Goodwin, and the English Libertines.
†††† But now since the Prophets and Apostles fell asleep, no Magistrate, no Synod is infallible, all men are apt to deceive, and be deceived, for whether in fundamentals or non-fundamentals: none now can challenge Prophetical
or Apostolic infallibility, the Synod condemning Socinians, Familists, as heretics are not infallible, but may as rather be the heretics, as those whom they condemn, for they have not monopolized the Holy Spirit to them-
themselves, so say they, we have no immediate Oracle to determine heresy: and what we believe in all, except some few fundamentals, we are to believe with a reserve, leaving room to a new contrary light say the Independents, yea but it holdeth in believing fundamentals, as well as non-fundamentals, for in neither have we Prophetical infallibility and immediate Oracles, and
Scripture shows we have as great darkness, blindness of mind, natural fluctuation to believe nothing in supernatural fundamentals in the Gospel, as in non-fundamentals, but with trepidation and doubting of mind, we no more having monopolized the Spirit to us than Sectaries, nor Sectaries more than we, in the one than in the other, in fundamentals, than in non-fundamentals: whatever we believe, upon this principle of Reciprocal Toleration, both we and Sectaries are to believe with a special reserve to change that faith with the next new Moon, when contrary new light shall appear, so are we taught to have faith of nothing, but to be tossed to and fro, and to be carried about with every wind of doctrine, with wavering, not rooted, nor established, nor fully persuaded of any thing, contrary to Ephes. 4. 14. Hebrews 3. 19. Coloss. 2. 2. 7. Roman. 14. 23. II Timothy 1. 12. And this destroys faith, and makes it a mere conjecture, and an unsettled opinion, with a fluctuation of mind, to wait the tide of a new contrary light, and send this old faith away, and admit of another, yet so as to lodge that new one with a moveable reserve, and so must we live and die doubting, and mere Nullifidians.
†††† That which destroyeth all our hope, comfort of the Scriptures, zeal, constancy, and rejoicing in suffering for the truth, for Christ and the Gospel is not to be held, nor is it from God.
†††† But toleration of sundry Religions is such, ergo, The Proposition is clear for the places of Scriptures placing these Christian graces in believers, as Heb. 5. 19, 20. I Pet. 1. 3. I Thess. 5. 8. Rom. 15. 4, 5. Rom. 12. 11. Rom. 5. 1, 2, 3. Eph. 3. 1. Phil. 1. 12, 13. Heb. 10. 33, 34. Matth. 19. 29, 30.
†††† Now toleration lays this ground as a principle, Men are not to be troubled for their conscience, because they believe, hold, publish, and teach what they do right or wrong, according to their conscience, be it erroneous, or not erroneous; and their zeal, hope, persuasion, comfort, carrieth them to undergo the reproaches of Heretics, Seducers, false Prophets, imprisonment, torture, death, burning quick, rather than they would sin against known truth, and offend against a conscience though erroneous, yet because the sufferers are not infallible, and it may be a lie, they believe, publish, and suffer for, their hope may be grounded on a lie, their comfort not bottomed on the Scripture, and so false hope and comfort, their rejoicing in sufferings, and undergoing torture, and violent death, but fleeting and counterfeit joy, their zeal without knowledge, a bastard zeal, having nothing to do with the word, and Gospel-promises; but in the bottom, as contrary to them as light is to darkness: for what any
Saint or Professor believes and publishes, he is to believe and publish, and die in it, and for it, with a faith that the contrary may be a truth of God, and so to be tolerated and born with: now the hope of the hypocrite is therefore compared to the spiderís web, to a broken tree, to a blasted olive tree, his joy to a night vision, a dream, the cracking of thorns under a pot, because both hope and joy, and all his comfort is grounded on an erroneous conscience, a lie, an imagination, not on the word of God.
†††† Now so is the joy, comfort, and hope of all Religions which Libertines contend must be tolerated, they confess they may be truths, they may belies, yet if they be punished for them, they suffer persecution for righteousness, for Christ, for truth.
†††† That which taketh away all ways of removing Heresies under the New Testament, both† by the sword, and refuting of gainsayers by the word, all rebuking, all avoiding of them, is not of God. But such is this pretended Toleration, ergo, It is not of God, the major is evident of itself.
†††† The assumption I thus prove: Therefore the Magistrate should not punish Heretics, because he cannot do it in faith, for he not being infallible, he cannot certainly and undeniably know that he
punisheth the man for that which is a Heresy, or for that which is a truth, and so while he is plucking up Tares, he may be plucking up Wheat, and so he cannot in faith punish him, say they.
†††† But this reason strongly evinceth, according to the way of Libertines, the gainsaying heretic is not to be refuted, nor to be sharply rebuked, that he may be sound in the faith: nor to be avoided as self-condemned, contrary to Titus 1. 11, 12, 13. Titus 3. 10. Romans 16. 17. II Timothy. 2. 14, 15. I Timothy 6. 3, 4. Matth. 22. 29, 30, 31, 32. I Cor. 15. 1, 2, 3, 4, etc... because whatever any Christian professor doth, as well as the Christian Magistrate, he must do it in faith, Rom. 14. 23. otherwise he sinneth.
†††† And it is no less sin (I speak not of the degrees) to refute, judge, and condemn, rebuke and avoid a brother as a self-condemned Heretic, when it is not evident to the conscience of Pastors, Synods, or any private Christians, who may refute, admonish, and rebuke Heretics by the word of God, Titus 1. 11, 12, 13, Titus 3. 10. Rom. 16. 17. that he is an heretic, for they may be reproaching and speaking against such as are sound in the Faith, and Wheat; not heretics and Tares, for ought they know, who have not monopolized the Holy Spirit to themselves only, more than these whom they refute, admonish, rebuke and avoid as Heretics, and so they cannot in faith more obey the Holy Ghostís charge, and rebuke Heretics, than the Magistrate can in faith draw the Sword against them.
†††† The father commands the children now in the state of sin, to learn and hear the judgments and testimonies of God, Gen. 18. 19. Exod. 12. 27. Psalm 78. 3, 5, 6. Joel. 1, 2, 3. and that in order to the rod and bodily punishment, Prov. 13. 24. Prov. 23. 13. Withhold not correction from the child, for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. 24. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. Damnable heresies bring swift destruction, 2. Pet. 2. 1. The fourth command is given to the father of the house, Exod. 20. in order to son, servant, and stranger, to cause them to keep the Sabbath; which Nehemiah as a father and a ruler practiced by the sword, Nehem. 13. 19, 20, 21, 22. And the like Morally, layeth bands on all Magistrates and Ministers, according to the power of the rod, civil or ecclesiastical committed to them, Eli a father and a judge despised God, 1 Sam. 2. 30. in not correcting his sons, for abusing of their priestly power: his sons might have pretended conscience that they could not live upon the ordinary allowance for the priest, and that the law of nature might bear them out in their practices; yea, every man is to take care that he and his house serve the Lord, nor did Joshua as a Magistrate only, chap. 24. 15. but as a master of a house so speak, then must the Prince, the Parliament, the Magistrates say the like, and take care according to their places as fathers of the common-wealth to do the same.
†† ††Hence we thus argue, whatever coercive power to command, threaten, promise, punish, restrain, reward, God hath given to parents, masters of families, teachers, tutors, officers in war, Kings and Princes, is the good gift of God and a talent to be employed for the good of souls, and in order to observe the duty of the first Table, every one in order to their station. Because Kings are to bring their glory and honor to the new Jerusalem: itís either Kingly honor and power, which is essentially coactive, or then, it is nothing but that holy rich men that bring their glory to it, Rev. 21. 24. And kings shall minister to the Church. It is ei-
ther royal service as Kings, or then no more favor is bestowed on the Church, than if private men ministered to the Church, Isaiah 60. ver. 10. And if it be not for the beautifying of the House of God at Jerusalem, in obeying the Law of God, and inflicting death, or banishment on the refusers of obedience, as the Persian Monarch did, Ezra 7. 28. 26, 27, 28. It is not glory brought to Jerusalem. But such a coercive power hath the Lord given, as a talent and gift to parents, masters, teachers, tutors, officers, Kings and Princes: as these places evince.
†††† And thus, that which the master of a Christian family may do, that the father of the Common-wealth the King, in his place may do. But the master of a family may and ought to deny, an act of humanity, or hospitality to strangers that are false teachers, who bring another Gospel, II John 10. whom he must neither lodge, nor bid God speed: because he brings another Gospel; which he otherwise owes by the law of nature to a Pagan, and a man not known to him, Heb. 13. 1, 2. Job 31. 32. Gen. 18. 1, 2, 3, 4. chap. 19, 1, 2, 3. The proposition is clear upon the ground that David as an head of an house, will cut off all liars, and wicked persons out of his house, as a godly King he will also cut off early from the Church (called the city of God) all wicked doers, Psal. 101. For if every Christian family of New England must refuse lodging to a false teacher, must not the Governor and Judges, who have power to command and regulate acts of hospitality, join their civil authority to forbid any master of an house, to lodge such a pestilent heretic? And what is this but the highest degree of banishment? And if the Christian Magistrate who may in law dispose of Inns and lodging of strangers, for the public good, should command any to receive such a man in his house, should he not offer violence to the conscience of the master of the house? And yet if the man were sound in the faith, and should only seem a false teacher to the master of the house, the adversaries would say, the godly ruler may command an act of the law of nature, to lodge a saint, who only upon mistake, and an erroneous conscience is suspected to be an heretic, for they say the Ruler may use
his power in duties of the second Table.
†††† 3. It appears that the laws of both Kingdoms ordained English or Scottish seminary priests, or Jesuits that come to either Kingdom to seduce men to the Romish faith, to be hanged, to have better ground in the word of God, II John 10. and which forbids any under pain of death to lodge such than the twelfth proposal for peace, that licenceth Jesuits and Priests and so commandeth Protestants to lodge such, if they disturb not the peace of the Kingdome, though they lead millions of souls to hell. For upon this proposal, suppose all England were truly godly, the King might command the just contrary to what the Apostle John extorts, if he follow the consciences of the new Army.
C H A P. XIII.
Magistracy and perpetual Laws in the old Testament warrant the
civil coercing of false Prophets.
†††† What the Patriarchs, and Godly Princes of Israel and Judah were obliged to do, as Rulers and Princes, and not as such Rulers who were privileged types of Christ, that all Kings and Rulers under the new testament are obliged to do. For quod convenit h auto convenit† kata pantos what agreeth to Kings as such, and to Rulers as such, agreeth to all Kings, and to all Rulers.
†††† But Patriarchs and Godly Princes, as Rulers commanded the putting away of strange Gods, as Jacob, Gen. 35. 2, 3, 4. did, and the worship of the true God: as Abraham, Gen. 18. He being a Prince within himself. So repenting Manasses, II Chron. 33. 15, 16. removed strange Gods, and new Alters. Asa removed Idolatry and Queen-mother for her Idolatry, II Chron. 14. renewed the Covenant, and commanded that whosoever should not seek the Lord God of Israel, should be put to death whether small or great, whether man or woman: Jehosaphat is commended, because he took away the high places, and the
groves, as other godly Kings are blemished for not removing of them, 2 Chro. 19. 4. Nevertheless there are good things found in thee, saith the Prophet, Jehu. Hezekiah removed the high places, the images, groves, brazen Serpent, restored the Passover, worship, Priests. And Josiah destroyed the high places, groves, carved, and molten Images, Idols, and Altars of Baal, the horses dedicated to the Sun, houses of the Sodomites, Topheth, Baalís Priests, 2 Chro. 34. Now that they did this as Princes, not as priviledged types of Christ, and that God requires this at the hands of King Charles, when God shall establish him in his Throne, to take order with Arians, Socinians, Antitrinitarians, Familists, Antinomians, Anabaptists, Seekers, etc... is evident.
†††† 1. Their assertion, that all the Judges and kings, were types of Christ, even Jeroboam, Jehu, Ahab, and the vilest of them is said, not proved.
†††† 2. That typicalness invested all these Kings with a power over the conscience, 2. to convert men to God with a sword of steel.
†††† 3. To punish Idolaters, whereas they had none, if they had wanted this typicalness, the contrary being evident in Cyrus, Artaxerxes, Darius.
†††† 4. That this typicalness made Jeroboam, Ahab, and such who sold themselves to wickedness, infallible to judge who were true Prophets, and reward them, and who were seducers, to put them to death, the contrary of which is clear in Ahab, and men of his stamp.
†††† 5. We require any ground from the word that they were types of Christ.
†††† 6. That the typicalness of the land made the head, the King, a type of Christ, and not all the inhabitants types also.
†††† 7. That the typicalness of the land made the King head of the Church, and yet he might not offer incense, but he must be stricken with leprosy as King Uzzah was.
†† ††9. That Church and State was one.
†††† 10. That the King was supreme Church-Judge above the Priests that handle the Law, and over both judicatures of Church and State,
†††† 11. That they were all Prophets, and by an extraordinary typical power removed the high places,
killed Baalís Priests; all which fancies taken for granted lieth between them and this, That Princes now have nothing to do with Christ and Religion more then Indians.
†††† 2. That they did this as Princes of common equity by the law of Nature; I prove 1. Darius who was undeniably no type of Christ to his great commendation makes a Law, Ezra. 6. 11. I have made a decree that whosoever shall alter this word, let timber be pulled from his house, and being set up, let him be hanged thereon, and let his house be made a dunghill for this; and this is commended by the Holy Ghost, v. 14. They prospered through the prophesying of Haggai, etc... according to the Commandement of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus and Darius, and Artaxerxes King of Persia. And Ezra chap. 7. Artaxerxes saith v. 26. Whosoever will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the King (enjoining obedience thereunto) let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death, or unto banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment. And Artaxerxes was no type of Christ, yet Ezra addeth in the next verse, 27. Blessed be the Lord God of our Fathers, which hath put such a thing as this in the heart of the King, to beautify the house of the Lord at Jerusalem. If it stand good that patrons of liberty say, he was not to bless God for this, he had cause to mourn, that the heathen King being no type of Christ, should intermeddle with that which belonged not to him, to strain the tender consciences of men, and to force Religion upon them with the sword; for chap. 10. v. 7, 8. this is set down as a blessed decree which brought on an Assembly, for putting away strange wives. The like is clear in the decree of Darius, Daniel 6. for worshipping the God of Daniel, and of the King of Nineveh, for a general fast, Jonah 3. and Nebuchadnezzar, Dan. 3. 28, 29.
†††† 3. Typicalness sometime may be ground of doing what is extraordinary, as Sampson killed himself and his enemies, which he could not have done in ordinary, but he was in it a type of Christ, who slew more in his death, (and that most voluntary, John 10. 18.) than in his life. And Solomon as a type married the daughter of the King of Egypt, typifying Christ, who joined himself in marriage with the Church of the Gentiles; but it is no good consequence, the Kings of
Judah being types did punish Idolaters, therefore their punishing of Idolaters was extraordinary. For David subdued the Ammonites and Philistines, and so did Joshua the Canaanites, as types of Christ, who subdueth all our spiritual enemies, and makes the Gentiles his willing subjects, but it followeth not that therefore Christian Kings may not imitate Joshua and David in making war with Nations that come against them in battle, as these did against the people of Israel, Josh. 11. 26, 27. Ps. 2. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. For sometimes the ground of typical actions is moral, as Josephís brethren bowed to him by virtue of the fifth Commandment, because Joseph was a Prince second to the King, yet both he and they were types, for these that despised and sold Christ bowed to him; sometimes the ground of typical actions is an extraordinary impulsion, and then they bind not to imitation, as a man may not kill himself, that he may kill his enemies, to follow Sampson, in that extraordinary motion of the Spirit, in which he was a type of Christ. But if there be no more but naked typicalness in the Kings of Israel and Judah in punishing Idolaters, except they did it by extraordinary impulsion, which cannot be proved, it concludes nothing against us.
†††† We argue from examples of Seducers, who have been punished with bodily death or otherwise: As at the command of Moses the Prince, three thousand were slain, Exod. 32. 26, 27, 28. for worshipping the golden Calf, that God might that day bestow a blessing on them, 29. and Moses might make atonement for them, vers. 30. Numb. 25. Moses commands all the heads of the people to be hanged before the Sun, that the fierce anger of the Lord may be turned away from Israel, because they were joined to Baal-peor, and the sacrifice of the Gods of Moab, 1, 2, 3, 4. Phineas in his zeal turned away the anger of God in that he thrust through Zimri in the act of uncleanness with Cosby a Medianitish woman. And Elias caused slay the Priests of Baal, with the sword. And Paul struck Elimas the Sorcerer with blindness, because he labored to
pervert Sergius Paulus the deputy, from the faith, Act. 13. 8, 9, 10. the son of the Israelitish woman, whose father was an Egyptian, while he did strive with a man of Israel and so in passion and malice toward the man, as would appear, cursed God, was stoned to death, and a law was made on it against the blasphemer, Levit. 24. 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. which is, ver. 15, 16. Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin, 16. And whosoever blasphemeth the name of the Lord he shall surely be put to death; and all the congregation shall certainly stone him, as well the stranger as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord shall be put to death: there be two things here to me that proveth this was no judicial temporary law binding Israel only.
†††† 1. His God, holdeth forth, that nature abhorreth, and the sum of the first command written in the heart is, he that curseth his maker whom he is to bless, love, and serve with all his heart, should die.
†††† 2. This law obligeth the stranger, and any heathen to be put to death, if he should blaspheme God, saith it is the law of nature, and obligeth us under the New Testament as being the first and highest sin that nature crieth shame, and woe upon; and we are to conceive it was a lawful war attempted by the ten tribes to go against the tribe of Ruben, God and the half of Manasseh, Josh. 10. 11, 12. etc... to 34. because they set up a new Alter to worship (as their brethren conceived) which if true, certainly was a clear apostasy from the God of Israel. That Joshua destroyed the Canaanites for their Idolatry, Josh. 6. 21, 22. chap. 20, etc... I confess will not warrant us to make war, and destroy with the sword, all the Indians, and Idolaters on earth, and to compel them to worship the true God in the Mediator Christ, without preaching first the gospel to them: Nor can it warrant us to kill every ignorant blinded Papist with the sword, nor can we deny, but what Elias and Paul did against false teachers, was by extraordinary impulsion, because the ordinary Magistrate would not, as Ahab and Jezabel, and could not, through ignorance of the gospel punish perverters of the truth: but sure these examples prove corporal, and sometimes capital, punishment ought
by the Magistrate to be inflicted on all blasphemers, on all ringleaders of Idolatry and false worship, as Exod. 32. They forced Aaron to make the calf, and Levit. 25. they were heads, rulers, and chief offenders that were hanged, the manner of the punishment may be exemplary and determined of God, for the example of after ages, whither by death, for simple heresy in one seduced, which was no ring-leader, (which I find hath not been done by God, in the old or new Testament) but seducers and ring-leaders by the law, such as cease not to subvert the faith of others should die, yet these examples clearly hold forth so much of the law of nature as bodily punishment, according to the measure of the offence is due: otherwise if Christ have freed false teachers from all punishment external, or that may be thought to work any otherwise than by mere spiritual instructing in all meekness, than by the liberty purchased by Christ they are freed from shame and reproach, for shame and the publicness of suffering is an external punishment, and is another means, besides meek instructing, as is clear from Judges 8. 7. and from Saulís calling Jonathan the son of a rebellious woman, in which he handled him shamefully, I Sam. 20. 34. Isa. 50. 6. Luk. 14. 9. Yea, by this way of Libertines, false teachers are not to be rebuked, nor avoided, that they may be ashamed, Paul may not upbraid the Cretans, and call them idle bellies, and liars, that they† may be sound in the faith: for that must be contrary to the liberty, wherewith Christ hath made them free. And a bodily punishment may be extraordinary in regard of the manner of doing, when done by miracle, and fire brought from heaven, and in regard of the persons that inflict it, as that which Phineas did being Priest, and Elias being a Prophet, and Paul being an Apostle, when the Magistrate will not do his part; and yet the punishment in the nature and substance, may be according to an ordinary law of God that binds us: Paul strikes Elimas with blindness; it is no rule for ministers to do the like to false teachers; but it is the rule for him that bears the sword, to inflict bodily punishment upon perverters of the Gospel, if this were not, Joshuaís wars with the Canaanites that were according
to a moral and perpetual rule of justice, and binds us, Josh. 11. 26, 27. should not bind us to lawful defensive wars in the like case, contrary to the law of nature, Josh. 11. 26, 27. because Joshua in these wars did many things
extraordinarily, and killed all the cattle and women with child, which we are not to do. The answer of many is, These were extraordinary, ergo, they bind not us. Is no answer, they were extraordinary in the manner, not in the substance and nature of the punishment, in which the course of justice warrants us, as a rule flowing from the law of nature, though the manner and extraordinary accidents are before us, as no obliging law, upon the same ground many argue; the Apostles, who were immediately inspired, give out Synodical decrees, Acts 15. therefore Elders that are not infallible, may not give decrees according to the word of truth. Yea (say we) neither should this be a good consequence, the Prophets, and immediately inspired Apostles† preached and prophesied the will of God as the Lord taught them. Ergo, Ministers, now, though not immediately inspired may not preach the mind of God according to the proportion of faith, for we think the consequence is most strong, according to the word, we are to follow the Prophets and Apostles in that, in which they followed the law of nature, which is, that every Ambassador relate faithfully his Princeís will, though some have ordinary gifts, some extraordinary and rare gifts in relating the same embassage. So it is no good consequences, some by extraordinary warrant did punish evil doers, ergo, the ordinary Magistrate hath not therefore power to punish such evil doers.
†††† The express law of God, and of nature written in the heart of all, proveth that the seducer should die, Deut. 13. If a prophet or a Dreamer arise, and say, let us go after other Gods, he shall be put to death.
†††† That is no temporary law obliging the Jews only, the Text saith.
†††† 1 Let us go (saith the Dreamer) after other Gods to serve
them, this sin is against the first command, and that immaculate principle of nature, graven in the heart of man, That there is one only true God, and he only to be served.
†††† 2. It is against the love of God, ver. 2. The Lord tryeth you whether you love the Lord your God: if he be God our love is due to him.
†††† 3. It is against the fear of God, v. 4. Ye shall fear him: if he be God, he is omnipotent, infinitely great and dreadful, therefore by the light of nature to be feared. And 5. cleaved to as the only happiness of men. Add to these, that
it is a moral transgression, if Magistracy, and lawful revenging of violence and injustice by the Minister of God, and Government against highest soul-oppression, be a natural Remedy, not a temporary positive salve (as undoubtedly it is) then sure he that seduces so, should die.
†††† 1. He speaks aversion and turning away from God, and that is hell and the extremity of miseries.
†††† 2. He thrusts thee out of the way, v. 5. a word of violence. Then
†††† 3. he is evil and destructive to the society of men, which the Magistrate by his office should defend, v. 5. So shalt thou put away the evil from the midst of thee.
†††† 4. He seeks to thrust thee from the Lord thy God, that brought thee out of the Land of Egypt. The word †xd;n" †is to remove from God, as from an unclean and cursed thing, and it expresseth excommunication, and then to thrust men away from the Lord in Covenant with us, that can save from the greatest of miseries, must be the highest of injuries, and if the Lord proved a public avenger against the highest wrongs that can be done in a society (as he doth) then certainly against this.
†††† 5. It is a wrong that God would have all Israel to fear, a wickedness that strikes at the root of society. 11. And all Israel shall hear and fear, and do no more any such wickedness as this among you. And v. 13. such are children of Belial, they make all things and persons cursed they come among, and bring on the land, the fierce anger of the Lord, v. 17. the intrinsical work and end of the Magistrate is to avenge evil doing, and so to remove the fierce anger of the Lord from a land, that the people may fear and not do any such wickedness,
as is clear, Deut. 13. 10. 11. Exod. 32. 29. 30. Deut. 19. 20. Rom. 13. 3, 4, 5. I Pet. 2. 14. Now the false Prophet is such as brings on all these evils, and therefore if Magistrates stand under the new Testament, and if there be such a sin now as thrusting away people from the Lord who hath, in Christ, delivered us from a greater bondage then that of Egypt, this must be a perpetual Law.
†††† Deut. 17. 2. If there be found any among you within any of thy gates which the Lord thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the Lord in transgressing his Covenant, 3. and hath gone and served other Gods and worshipped them, either the Sun or the Moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded. 4. And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and the thing certain that such abomination is wrought in Israel. 5. Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman which hath committed that wicked thing unto thy gates, even that man and that woman, and shall stone them with stones till they die. 6. At the mouth of two witnesses or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death.
†††† Hence not simple Idolaters, nor all the Nations round about, nor all the Papists, that are educated in Idolatry, by this Law shall be put to death, but such as are within the gates of Israel. 2. In covenant with God. 3. It is wrought in Israel, and so Apostates to Judaism, to strange Gods are to be punished; so we reach not that Nations are to be converted by the sword, or that the idolatry of Indians, the blasphemy of Jews, is a sufficient ground to make war against them, and cut them off with the sword.
†††† 2.Apostates turning to false Gods, were by a written law judged. There is† no consulting of an Oracle by urim and thummim here, as Libertines say, but just as the murderer is to be judged under the New Testament, if it be told thee, the people or the Judge, and thou hast heard of it. v. 6. Under two witnesses, he shall be convinced. It were a vain thing to go and seek witnesses, and follow reports and hear-says, if they had an immediate Oracle to inform the Judge and say, Here the Idolatry, there the Idolater, bind him and lead him away to death, (as some Patrons of Liberty plead) we read not any such conjecture.
†††† 3. He is not persecuted for opinions, Because he cannot come up to that measure of light in judgment that other Saints attain unto, but he is put to death for an external act of Idolatry, that is seen, heard, proved by two witnesses. and for external abomination wrought in Israel, v. 5, 6. the Lord never puts a Judge to prove opinions (that remain within the walls of the heart, and are things of the mind) by witnesses, nor is the end of putting to death to force, beat, or cudgel him to the sound faith, with the sword, but to be avenged on his sin, to remove evil, to save the Israel of God from infection.
†††† 4. It is not single Idolatry that is his death, but his Idolatry in seducing others by word or example, he works such abomination in Israel, v. 4. in the Church of God, which tendeth to seduce others.
†††† Deut. 18. 18. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren like unto thee, that is, Christ Act 3. 22. so the Holy Ghost in the Apostles expounds it. And he adds ver. 20. But the Prophet that shall presume (he must mean in the time of the Messiah, when the true Prophet shall rise) to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that Prophet shall die. It is a prophecy of a New Testament Law, because many were to come in Christís name, and say, Lo I am Christ, as many now do, so Zach. 13. 1, 2, 3, 4.
†††† Levit. 20. 2. Whosoever of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his† seed is Molech, he shall surely be put to death. This Law, if it did lie upon the strangers and heathen, then; it was not judicial, but it must lye on us Gentiles, now; Who can free us from it?
†††† Object. But he was put to death not for false worship, but for murdering of his Son.
†††† Answ. No Law of God or men, can judge that murder, which is done without hatred to the party murdered, as is clear Deut. 19. 11, 12, 13. chap. 4. 42. chap. 19. 4. but here, the dearer their sons were to them, they the rather offered them to their God.
†††† 2. The Text gives no reason why such should be put
to death for murder, but for false worship, against the first Table, Ver. 3. He defiles my Sanctuary, he profanes my holy name, ver. 5. the Magistrate must kill such a seducer, for he commits whoredom with Molech.
C H A P. XIV.
Cavils against coercive judicial Laws, for punishing false prophets in
the Old Testament removed.
†††† The first common Answer made to all these, is: That these were judicial and Old Testament Laws, when God dealt more strictly with the Jews, and hedged them in with severer laws, penalties, and a greater measure of bondage, than now under the meek and gentle reign of the Messiah.
†††† Answ. More severity, and a stricter tutory to be over the Church in non-age, and under Pedagogy, we grant, Gal. 4. 1, 2, 3. But that is in regard of Ceremonial hedges, laws, and days, but it is to beg the question, to say that moral transgressions are destructive, if not more, to Christian societies now as then, such as blasphemy, idolatry, heresy, that were punished with the sword then, must now be more loosed from all bodily punishment in any kind, than murder, sorcery, adultery, perjury. For the comparison of a milder Government under Jesus, than under Moses, cannot stand in fencing some moral transgressions utterly from the sword, and in leaving others less weighty, under as bloody punishments as ever they were. When no reason from the word of truth, can be given, why the murderer should die by the sword, now and then, but blasphemy, and offering the sons to Molech, as the Indians do now, was then by the law of Nature, a dis-worship, or a false worship, punishable in Jews and heathen, but now it is not in any punishable by the sword at all. 2. The sword did not force the conscience of any then, more than now, nor could it cudgel an Idolater, or a blasphemer, into the sound faith then, more than now, and weapons of the Prophets in the
Old Testament, as well as the Apostles in the New, were not carnal but spiritual, and mighty through God. Prophets, as Prophets, no more used the sword against menís consciences of old, than Christ, his Apostles, and Ministers do now, Mat. 28. 19, 20. And as Christ saith now, preach the Gospel, but kill none, use neither staff nor sword, nor miraculous power to destroy heretic, or burn Samaria, so he said to his Prophets, speak my word to Israel and Judah and the Nations, to Nineveh and others, but kill none, and use the sword against none of the rebellious who will not hear, that they may be converted. Yet he commanded the magistrate to use the sword against the seducing Prophet, nor can the Libertines shew us of a Ceremonial death inflicted for the transgression of a moral law, which transgression is now made free from all bodily punishment, indeed the man that refused to raise up feed to his brother was put to shame by the law, and we are freed from both the law, and the penalty thereof, and the man that gathered sticks on the Sabbath was put to death by an answer from Gods mouth, but the breach of the holy Sabbath instituted before the fall is no Ceremonial transgression, nor do we think that every violation of the Sabbath was punished by death, but that the Magistrate, Masters and Fathers, are not to punish with bodily coercive power the transgressors of the fourth command, is most false. For what the Magistrate commands the Subject, the Master the servant, the Father the sons, and which they have warrant from the Moral law to command in these relations, that they command in order to the sword and rod, if their commandments find no other welcome but rebellion, for the power of Magistrate, and Master, yea, and of the Father now in the state of sin is essentially coercive; they may compel their inferiors by strong hand, either to do or suffer the will of God, which is sufficient to prove our point. Though it be true, some moral transgressions Moses punished with death, as
Sabbath-breaking, it followeth not therefore the godly Prince may now punish it with death, but it follows not therefore, such† transgressors are made free, through Christ of all bodily punishment, as Libertines infer, for though