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doctrinesof the gospel. In thus endeavouring tomake their subjects attend on, receive, and observe the doctrines of the gospel, all appearance of force should be carefully avoided, as that is apt to provoke a diflike, rather than to promote a chearful embracement of them. But force may be used to restrain, or duly and seafonebly punish the insolent oppofers and revilers of the true religion, which is established. And, on no account, ought such plagues of nations, as well as of Churches, to receive any authoritative licence to commit such wickednefs.
OBJECT. XXXV. “The annexing of temporal encouragements to the profession and practice of the Christian religion or external discouragements to the profession or practice of such opinions and worship as are contrary to it,--tends to render men hypocrites, and their religion merely carnal, in obedience to civil authority, and influenced by mere carnal motives. It makes men trample on and debauch their conscience, and so fap the foundation of all true piety and virtue."
Answ. 1. God, who well knows the true nature of religious worship and obedience, and highly regards the candor and purity of conscience, excited the Israelites to it, partly by external encouragements, restraints and terrors, Deut. ivriii. xxvii. xxxii. Lev. xviii.-XX. xxvi. and by each of his prophets, Ifa.i.to Mal. iv. And even under the gospel, godliness hath the promises of this life, as well as of that which is to come, 1 Tim. iv. 8. 1
-Did you mean to blaspheme his conduct as absolutely devilish?
2. With God's approbation, David, Nehemiah and others, by familiar intimacy, and by preferring them to posts of honour, encouraged fuch as appeared eminent in the profession and practice of revealed religion; and they excluded such as appeare
Pet. iii. 13.
ed notoriously wicked, Pfal. cxix. 63. & ci. 6, 7. Neh. vii. 2. & xiii. 28. Nay, David before-hand publicly intimated his resolution to prefer only pious and faithful men.- -And why not, when such bid fairest to be eminently useful officers in the State ?
3. Why may not men, even by external advantages be encouraged to an external attendance upon gospel ordinances, which, by the blesing of God and the working of his Spirit, may issue in rendering them eminently useful subjects, and in their eternal salvation, even as children may be hired to that reading of their Bible and learning of their Catechifm, which may iffue in their conversion and everlasting life?
4. Regard to the command of parents, masters, magiftrates, and ministers, all at once, in our religious profession and practice, is no way inconfiftent with, but may be delightfully subordinated to a supreme regard to the authority of God in them.
5. Do you really think, that those, who believe neither a God, nor a heaven, nor a hell, ought un. der pretence of civil right, to be as readily admitted to places of power and trust, in civil governments as the most pious? -Nay, are not even a profef. fion and practice of the Christian religion much more profitable in a nation, than open blafphemy, impiety and idolatry, which we have heard from God's own word, exceedingly corrupt men's morals, and pull down the wrath of God on the fociety.
6. If such things only be restrained and punished, as are plainly contrary to the law of God, and a right conscience, and never punished, till after suf. ficient means of conviction have been afforded and trampled on, how can that make men difsemble with
fin inst their conscicence, any more than the
punishment of theft, murder, inceft, or the like, can do it?
OBJECT. XXXVI. « The abolishment of all civil establishments of revealed religion, would have a remarkable tendency to render men truly pious, truly sincere, in their faith, profession and worship; and" to render them excellent subjects, candid, peaceable, and affectionate lovers of one another. It would effectully root out Popery and every thing Gimilar."
ANSW. !. Just as remarkable a tendency, as the leaving of children to themselves hath to render them truly virtuous, and a diftinguished honour to their parents, Prov. xxix. 15. 1 Sam. ii. 13.-as remarkable a tendency as the abolishment of all ecclefiaftical establishments of it would have to render men perfeet faints.
2. It is plain, that God, when he fixed a civil eftablishment of revealed religion, and when he represented, as above, heresy, blafphemy, and idola. try, as rendering men monsters of all manner of wickedness, instead of good subjects, neighbours, or Christians, thought otherwise. Are you wiser than He?
3. Never, that I know of, was there a nation of numerous fociety on earth, in which there was iefs of a religious establishment, good or bad, than 2mong the Ismaelians of Irak and Syria, and the Gia. gas of Africa. What were the noted virtues which flourished among them? Murders, affassinations, which cannot be read or heard, without horror. Under the protection of an extensive toleration, how did England, about an hundred and thirty years ago, fwarm with Sectarian errors, blafphemies, confusions? And, what hath either the peace of the State, or the orthodoxy and holiness of our Church gained by our last Scotch toleration? Repeated at.
tempts in 1715 and 1745, to unhinge our civil eitablishment and dethrone our lawful Sovereigns in favour of Popish pretenders, are the noted advantages, which have accrued to our State, and an alarming increase of infidelity, profaneness, and Popery, to our Church. Instead of fcarce fix hundred Papifts, which was once all that could be reckoned in Scotland, their number now, may amount to about thirty thousand. In about a dozen of parishes in the North, they have above twenty congregations, several of them pretty large, and a College and an Academy for training up priefts. How quickly these, with the Scotch Colleges abroad, may furniih converters for the whole nation, God only knows. In the parish of South Uist, there are 2300 Papists and 300 Proteftants; in Barra 1250 Papists and go Protestants; in Ardnamurchan 1950 Papists, and 17 Protestants; in Kirkmichael and its neighbouring parith 1520 Papifts; in Kilmanivaig 1600; and in Glenelg 1340.
OBJECT. XXXVII. “ All civil laws establishing Tevealed religion must necessarily land magiitrates in persecuting their subjects; for, if these civil laws be contemned and violated, the breakers muft be pu. nished."
Answ. 1. For this reason no superior, parent, master, minister, or magistrate, must make any appointment relative to religious matters, because, if it be disregarded, punishment or censure must be inflicted, and that will amount to perfecution in the sense of the objection. No duty must ever be attempted, left fome perplexing conséquence fhould attend it.
2. Tho? evil doer's ordinarily reckon restraints of iniquity perfecution, the Scripture allows nothing to be perfecution but unjust severities exercised against the profession or practice of gospel-truth-at least against innocence or virtue. Punishment of men for what is plainly contrary to the word of God is no persecution for conscience fake, but a proper correction of them for trampling on and murdering their conscience.
3. If by the blessing of God, parents can do much to advance religion in their families, without any furious or hurtful beating of their children,--and ministers do much to promote it in their congre. gations, without proceeding, perhaps once in their life, to the higher excommunication; and if both may do much to render their children and people useful members of the Commonwealth, without having power to fine, imprison or kill them, why may not magistrates by their appointments, encouragements and example, much promote the profeffion and practice of revealed religion, without proceeding, unless very rarely, to any disagreeable severities? -The point we attempted directly to e. ftablish is, that magiftrates ought never to grant an qu. thoritative toleration to grofs heresy, blafphemy, idolatry; you therefore act uncandidly in perpetually haling in the affair of punishments; even
capital ones, just as your tolerant friends the antient Remonftrants perpetually haled in the doctrine of reprobation, in order to render the sovereignty of God's grace odious to the people.
4. If magistrates take heed never to punish on the head of religious matters, but when the crime is plainly relevant and manifest, plainly contrary to the laws of God, as well as to those of the land, and that the punishment be SUITABLE and SEASONABLE, circumstantially calculated to promote the real wel fare of the Commonwealth, why should they be charged with persecution, for prudently supporting their most important laws, and yet held innocent, not virtuous, in supporting their comparatively in