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fignificant laws, relative to filhing, fowling, hunting, or the like?

OBJECT. XXXVIII. “Let things be reduced to practice. What could be done, just now, in Britain, without an authoritative toleration of the di:Ferent parties in religion."

ANSW. I. No difficulty of the performance of clu.. ties can be a sufficient reason for the neglect of them. No difficulty of re&tifying what is in disorder, can be a proof that it is not duty to attempt it. Because I find it so hard work to keep my heart with all diligence, and often know not how to get its sinful disorders rectified, it will not follow, that to obtain inward quietness, I should, in God's name, give an authoritative toleration to my feveral lufts, except perhaps the groffer ones of malice, whoredom, drunkenness.

2. The rules of rectifying what pertains to religion in Britain, is plain. Let magistrates and sub-1 jects impartially and earnestly search the oracles of God, depending on the illuniinating influence of his Spirit.-Let every thing not contained in the Scripture be thrown out of both civil and ecelefiafti. cal establishments of religion, and every thing plainly appointed therein for chę gospel-Church, be authorized. Let the whole adminiftration of government in Church and State, and subjection to it, be regulated by the law of God. Let every prudent and winning method be taken to promote an univer-, sally chearful compliance.If any continue to diffent, let every degree and form of tender forbearance be exercised towards them, which the express laws of God will permit, especially, if by a circumspect life, they manifest themselves persons of a truly tender conscience, with respect to what they apprehend.If all will not concur in these measures, let particular persone, in their feveral stations, act as becometh

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the gospel of Christ, obeying God rather than man, and doing all that he hath commanded, without turning aside to the right-hand or the left. And if need be, let them take up their cross, and patiently follow Chrift, counting nothing too dear unto them, if they may uprightly finish their course with joy.

-Upon trial, it would be found as easy for magiftrates to rectify the disorders in their department, relative to religion, as it would be for Church-rulers in Britain, to re&ify what pertains to theirs, in which, you just now pled; that there never should any

toleration at all. OBJECT. XXXIX. « The great Dr. OWEN zealously pled for authoritative toleration, and that magiftrates ought not to interfere with religious matters."

Answ. I. We call no man mafter. One is our nafter even Christ. Dr. Owen's authority would be too light to balance that of many thousands of Pro. teftant divines. But let us hear his judgment, for ought I know his FINAL JUDGMENT, in his Sermon before the English Parliament, OCTOBER 13th, 1652

" The civil powers-- shall be disposed of, into án useful subserviency to the interest, power, and kingdom of Jesus Christ; hence they are faid to be his kingdoms, Rev. xi. 15*. Judges and Rulers as SUCH must kiss the Son and own his sceptre and ad

ways. Some think, if you were well fettled, you ought not, as rulers of the nations, to put forth your power for the interest of Chrift. The good Lord keep your hearts from that apprehension to It is the duty of magistrates to seek the good, peace; and prosperity of the people committed to their charge, and to prevent and remove EVERY THING, that will bring confusion, destruction and defolation upon them, Estherox. 3. Pfal. ci. Magistrates are the ministers of God for good— UNIVERSAL GOOD of them, to whom they are given, Rom. xiii. 4. and are to watch and apply themselves to this very

vance his

Page 33.

+ P. 36.

thing, ver. 6. It is incumbent on them to act, even as kings and men in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty,--and all may come to the knowledge of the truth, I Tim. ii. I-4: They are to feed the people committed to their charge, with all their might, unto universal peace and welfare.

The things opposite to the good of any nation and people, are of two forts;

(1.) Such as are really, directly, and immediately opposed to that state wherein they close together, and find prosperity,--seditions, tumults, disorders, -violent or fraudulent breaking in upon the privileges and enjoyments of fingular perfons without any confideration of him who ruleth all things.Such evils as these, nations and rulers, supposed to be athifts, would, with all their strength, labour to prevent.-

(2.) Such as are morally and meritoriously opposed to their good and 'welfare, in that they will certainly pluck down the judgments and wrath of God upon that nation, where they are practised and allowed, Rom. i. Shall he be thought a magistrate to bear out the name, authority, and presence of God to men, that, so he and his people have present peace like a herd of (wine, cares not though such things as will certainły devour their strength, and then utterly consume them, do pass current. Seeing they that rule over men must be just, ruling in the fear of the Lord, the sole reason why they sheathe the sword of justice in the bowels of thieves, murderers, adulterers, is: not, because their outward peace is actually disturbed by them-but principally because be, in whose stead they stand and minister, is provoked by such wickedness to deftrag both the one and the other. And, if there be the same reason concerning other things, they also call for the fame procedure.

-To gather up now what hath been spoken; Confidering the gospel's right to be propagated with all its concernments in every nation under heaven, and the blessings, peace, proSperity, and protection, wherewith it is attended, when and where received, and the certain destruction 'which accompanies the rejection and contempt of it.

Considering the duty, that by God's appointment is incumbent on them that rule over men, That in the fear of the Lord they ought to seek the good, peace, and prosperity of them that are committed to their charge, and to prevent, obviate, remove, and revenge that which tends to their hurt, perturbation, deftru&ion, immediate from heaven, or from the hand of men; and in their whole ad. -ministration to take care, that the worshippers of God *in Christ may lead a quiet and peaccable life in all godliness and honesty. Let any one, who hath the least fense of the account, which he must--make to the great King and Judge of the world, of the authority and power wherewith he was intrusted, determine, Whether it be not incumbent on him, by all the protection he can afford; by all the privileges he can indulge; by all the support he can grant; by all that encouragement he is required or allowed to give to any person whatsoever,--to further the propagation of the gospel, which upon the matter, is the only thing of concernment, as well unto i his life, as unto that which is to come.. -And, if

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thing be allowed in a nation, which, in God's efteem, may amount to a contempt and despising thereof, men may be taught by fad experience, what will be the iffue of such ALLUWANCE* Although the institu

* P. 58, 59.

tions and examples of the Old Testament, of the duty of magistrates in the things about the worship of God, are not, in their whole latitude and extent, to be drawn into rules-obligatory to all magistrates, now under--the gospel, yet doubtless, there is something moral in these institutions. Subduct from these administrations, what was proper to the Church and nation of the Jews, and what remains upon the general account of a Church and nation, must be everlastingly binding; and this amounts thus far' at least, That Judges, Rulers and Magistrates, which are promised under the New Testament, to be given in mercy, and to be of singular usefulness, as the Judges were under the Old, are to take care, That the gospel-Church, may, in its concernments as fuch be supported and promoted and the truth propagated, wherewith they are intrusted. --Know, that ERROR and FALSEHOCD have no right or title, either from God or men, unto any privilege, protection, ado vantage, liberty, or any good thing, you are intrusted' withal. To dispose that unto a Lie, which is the right of, and due to TRUTH, is to deal treacheroufiy with Him, by whom you are employed *. Know that in things of practice fo of PERSUASION, that are impious and wicked, either in themselves or natural consequences, the plea of conscience is an aggravation of the crime. If men's conscience be feared, and them felves given up to a reprobate mind, to do those things, that are not convenient, there is no doubt but they ought to suffer such things as are assigned and appointed by God to such practices +" A truly golden speech, and which nothing, but the deepest con. viction of its truth, could have drawn from an Independent, in his then circumstances.

Upon the whole, Sir, I readily grant, that a mul.

*P: 6263

+ F. 646

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