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and like grosser corruptions, and insults upon the true religion, when they become openly notorious, and especially if obstinately continued in to the just offence and hurt of others.
1. Such restraint and punishment are represented in Scripture as an eminent service done to God, Exod. xxxii
. 4, 26, 29. 1 Sam. xv. 2, 3. xviii. 22. Rev. xvii. 14, 16. xix. 17-19. Song ii. 15. in which last text, the word rendered TAKE ordinarily fignifies an external and forcible taking, compare 2 Sam. i. 10. Judges xii. 6. xvi. 3, 21. Pfalm cxxxix. 9. Exod. iv. 4. Gen. xxv. 26. xxii. 13. ** 2. The end of God's appointment of magiftrates, is the good of the subjects, Rom. xiv. 4. Now such corruptions in religion impair that good in preventing the spread and success of the gospel, which are so exceedingly calculated to render men virtuous and happy, even in this life, 1 Tim. iv. 8. 1 Pet. i. II, 12, 13. Tit. ii. 12. and in promoting the húrt of men's morals, safety, estate, peace or liberty, Rom. i. 21-32., xvi. 18. 2 Pet. ii. 1, 2, 3, 10, 12, 13, 16, 18, 19. Jude, ver. 4, 8, 10, 1', 12, 13, 16, 18, 19. 2 Tim. iv. 3, 4. iii. 19, 13. ii. 16, 17. Tim. iv. 2-5. vi. 3, 4.
3. Such restraint and punishment are reprsented in Scriptnre as a blesing to be prayed for, 1 Tim. ii. 1, 2, 4. and as a blefing for which God ought to be thanked, Ezra vii. 25––28. Rev. xi. 15, 17.
4. It is promised, that such restraint and punishment should be produced by the effusion-of the holy Ghoft upon the Christian Church, Zech. xii. 10, 12, 14. with xiii. 1-6. and that they should tend to the advantage, even of some feducers, who should be brought to account the inflicters their-real FRIENDS, Zech. xiji. 4, 56..'
5. The Scripture represents Evil as removed, and GOOD both moral and civil as obtained, by such re
straints and punishments, Deut. xvii. 2, 5, 7, 10. · Kings xviii. 40, 41. 2 Chron. xiv. 3, 4, 5. and wickedness and misery as overflowing a nation, when neglected, Eccl. viii. ii. Judg. xvii. 4, 5, 6, 12. 1 Sam. ii. 12--29, and iv. Ezek. xxii. 25, 26, 30, 31.
6. When the proper judges neglected such restraint and punishment, God raised up some in an extraordinary way, to execute it. Thus Elijah caufed flay the prophets of Baal, 1 Kings xviii. 40. Jehu caused slay others of them, 2 Kings x. 5---25. The Jews, under the direction of Jehoiada, flew Mattan the priest of Baal, and Christ himself once and again drove the buyers and sellers out the teinple, John ii. 13---19. Mat. xxi. 12. Why ought not magistrates, who are his vicegerents, as God, to imitate his conduct, Pral, lxxxii, 1, 6. 2 Chron: xix. 6. Rom. xiii. 1-4.
7. The Scripture affords many approven instances of such restraint or punishment of gross corruptions in religion, as by Jacob, Gen. xxxv. 24. by the judges in the time and country of Job, Job'xxxi. 26–28. by Mofes, Exod. xxxii. 4, 20, 22, 29. by the rulers of the ten tribes, Josh. xxii, 10–34. by Ara, 2 Chron. xv. 12, 13, 15. by Jehoshaphat, 2 Chron. xix. 3—8. by Jotiah, 2 Chron. xxxiv. 4, 33. 2 Kings xxiii. 5, 20. by Nehemiah, Neh. X. 20. by Nebuchadnezzar, Dan. iii. 29. by Artaxerxes, Ezra. vii. 26. and by the protestant destroyers of Antichrift, Rev. xvii. 16.
y. Beside their power, as men, to try all things by the law of God manifested to them, and their power of Christian discretion (if they are Christians) to judge by the word of God what is for their own spiritual and eternal advantage, magistrates, as such, have a power of POLITICALLY judging and determining, what and how, principles and practices
of the true religion are to be connected with political rewards or encouragements; or, what ought to be professed and practised by persons, as members of their political society, in order to promote the real welfare of it, in subordination to the glory of God, as King of nations.
1. If they may enact laws in the matters of God, as hath been proven; and may judge in what is fundamental in religion,--or in that which is contained in express words of Scripture, or in matters of the second table of the moral law,--then they must have power to judge of that which is plainly deducible from the express words of Scripture, by neceffary consequence, and in those matters of the first table of the moral law, which as much belong to the Jaw of nature, as any in the second;er politically to judge why, and how, such a reli
gious profeision and practice is to be encouraged by • the civil authority; and how, and why, that which
is notoriously opposite to the true religion, is to be discouraged.
2. Without this political judging of them, magistrates could never determine, whether the decisions of ecclesiastical courts ought to be ratified by their civil authority or not, i Theff. v. 21. Acts xvii. 11. If in judging of those things, magistrates improve the Word, the Spirit, and the faithful ministers of God, for their counsellors, they bid fair to have a divine sentence in their lips, and not to err in judgment, Deut. xvii. 18-20. Psal. cxix. 97–105. Prov. xvi. 10. Isa. xxxii. 1. If, neglecting to consult these, magiftrates give a corrupt sentence, they lie open to the judgment of God,--to the restraint and correction of the collective body, of the subjects, or their representatives, and also to ecclefiaftical censure, if they be Church-members.
3. If magiftrates be nursing fathers to the Chris
tian Church, Isa. xlix. 23. they ought to prevent her being poisoned with corrupt food; and hence must have a power politically to judge what is corrupt, and what is not.
4. If the magistrate be the keeper of the peace the kingdom, then, if a party in the Church, complaining of the grofs errors of the other, should form a furious schism, he must have power politically to judge, who is in the right, or in the wrong,
who adhere to the truths established by law, and who do not;--and to thew favour accordingly, I Theff. v. 21.
5. If magistrates may restrain and punish evil doers, they may exercise this power over Church officers, if, in their Synods, they make blasphemous or idlatrous decrees, which tend to disturb the Commonwealth, and dishonour God, the King of nations, --and hence must politically judge of their conduct by. the laws of God and the land.--No cevenanted subjection to Church judicatures, as a member of the Church, can deprive them of this political judgment, any more than of their right of cognitiin and discretion as men and Christians. Magillraics' political judgment, how principles or practices are to be connected with civil encouragements or dil. couragements, is no jnfallible rule of Church courts' judging, how principles and practices.ought to be connected with ecclesiastical encouragements or cenfures: nor are the decisions of ecclefiaftical courts any infallible rule to direct magiftrates. But the law of God is the only infallible and fupreme rule to both. Nor is the decision of the one subordinate to that of the other; but both, as well as every man's right to judge for himself according to the law of God, what he is to believe and practise in order to his own peace and comfort, and his joyful answering in the final judgment of Guy, are supreme in their respective departments, subordinated only to the judgment of God himself.
-But, to argue the matter still more particularly,
1. If magistracy, conscience, and human rights, natural and civil, be all Merived froin God, as all but Atheists must allow, magistrates can have no more power, authoritativel, to tolerate fu, than God him. self can command it. If God, by virtue of the infinite perfection of his nature, have no will, no power, authoritatively to proclaim liberty to commit fin, he cannot communicate any such power to the-magistrate. Nor can the magistrate account to God for exceeding his power in licensing that which is infinitely injurious to him, more than the British king's Lion-keeper hath power, or could be account-able for loosing and hunting out the lions in the to. wer upon His Majesty. If conscience derive all its power
from God, it can have no more power to enjoin any thing sinful, than Lord North hath to hire ruffians to aflaffinate his Sovereign. If all human rights be derived from God, the primary and supreme proprietor of all things, it is impoflible they can authorize men to contrive or cominit any thing insul, or can protest them in it.
2. Men's state in this world is neither separated 11or separable from, but closely connected with their eternal itate. And magistracy is an ordinance of God, appointed by him for his own glory, and to promote the chief end of mankind in glorifying him, Rom. xiii. 2. Prov. xvi. 4. i Cor. x. 31. 1 Pet. iv. Rom xii. 36. But, how, Sir, do magiftrates promote this end, if they give the fame degree of protection, though perhaps, not of encouragement, to the soul-ruining and practice-corrupting delusions and abominations of Satan, as they do the eternally-faving religion of God and his Chrift!-----if they give the same countenance to them, who to the corrup