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holds them as finners against, and condemned by their conscience, Tit. iii. 10, 11.
4. The absurdity of men's consciences being suftained as a standard, as well as the proper method of magistrates' making laws relative to religion, have been already manifested. Magistrates' consciences have no more just claim to God-head than those of their meanest subjects. Not, therefore, magistrates' pretences to conscience, but plain and evident marks of the authority of God manifested in, and from the Scriptures, muft determine their subjects to receive a religion in obedience to their authority, as subordinated to the authority of God, the Most High, Superior of both.
OBJECT. XXVI. " In Rom. xiii. where the power of magiftrates is more fully described than any where else in the New Testament, only the commands of the second table of the moral law are subjoined, to mark that it only extonds to the concerns of men one with another."
Answ. 1. Who authorized the objector to put afunder the two Testaments and the two tables which God hath joined? Or, to separate the first part of that chapter from the last, which certainly relates to religion, any more than from verse 9th,
2. The magistrate's character, minister of God for good, terror to, and revenger of evil doers, and his duty to love his neighbours as himself there hinted, cannot admit of his having no care about religion and the first table of the moral law.
3. To oblige men carefully to search the whole Scriptures, God hath feldom, if ever, manifefted his whole will, relative to any thing, in one pasfage.
OBJECT. XXVII. “ If we allow magistrates any power at-all about religious matters, we must plunge ourselves into inextricable difficulties, as the precise
limits of civil and ecclesiastical power can never be fixed,--and every small mistake in religious opina ions, or neglect of religious duties, must bring men to the gibet, as these draw down the wrath of God on nations, as well as blasphemy and idolatry do.”
Answ. 1. There is no more difficulty in limiting the power of magistrates about either religion or virtue, than in fixing precise limits to the power of Church rulers, relative to those matters. fix precise limits to Church-power according to the word of God, and I fhall noxt moment fix as precise limits for the power of the magistrate. If you limit the exercise of Church power to duties require ed, and fins forbidden in the first table of the moral: law,---you naturally leave the care of the duties reqạired in the fecond table to the magistrate. But then, whether a Church of Christ, having no care or power about morality toward menor a deputed kingdom of God without any care or power about any thing relating to the honour of God, be most absurd and devilish, I know not. If you aver, That the power of Church-rulers extends to the external obedience or difobedience of Church-members to both tables of God's law, not as civil, but as spiri tual conduct, tending to the fpiritual advantage of hurt of the Church, and therefore connected with the spiritual encouragements or frowns of Christ's visible Church; and that they meddle not with fins. against the second table as crimes against mens' person or property, but as scandals against the spiritual edi. fication of the Church, and the glory of Jesus Christ therein concerned; I immediately reply, That precisely in like manner, the power of magistrates extends to the external obedience or disobedience of civil subjects as such, to both tables of God's law, not as it is of a spiritual nature, but as it affects the civil welfare or hurt of the nation, or honour of God as;
the King of it, and so ought to stand connected with civil encouragements or discouragements. If you pretend, that it will be still hard to fhew, how far magiftrates may, in that view, proceed in matters of the first table, particularly with respect to offending clergymen. I answer, that it is not one whit harder, than to shew how far Church-courts may proceed in matters of the second table, particularly with respect to offensive magistratical administrations.
2. Your pretence, that if magistrates punish any faults in religion, they must punish all known faults in the same form and degree, is but a deceitful infult on the Most High, who, in his word, appointed the capital punishment of idolaters and blasphemers, and yet never warranted the punishment of many faults relative to religion, in like manner; nay, for ought I see, hath not required magistrates at all to punish any thing but the moft atrocious faults in it. If you insult Christ, who hath not commanded any faults, but atrocious ones obstinately continued in, to be censured with excommunication, and hath never commanded many lefser'neglects and infirmi, ties of Church-members to be censured at all. It is an insult on common sense. Would you, or any man in his wits, either cenfure or punish men as feverly for a simple neglect of a religious duty, as for an. open and blasphemous insulting of religion? Would you censure or punish the stealing of a single straw as severely as the stealing of a man or woman? Would you censure or punish, a prick with a pin, as, feverely as the cutting of a man's throat, or the rip, ping up of a woman with child.
OBJECT. XXVIII. “ Either every error in doctrine, and mistake in worship, must be punished by the magistrate, or only that which is more glaring and notorious. If it is only the latter, How are the
limits of what is punishable, and what is not, and the degree of punihment proper for each, to be precisely fixed.”
ANSW. 1. If every species of duty must be neglected, and the contrary fin allowed, where it is difficult to fix the precise boundaries of fin or duty, -or where it is difficult to fix the precise degrees of encouragement to be given to such obedience, or of censure or punishment due to such fin, men must be left to live like absolute atheists, in both Church and State, every man doing that which is right in his own eyes.
2. Unless you prove that every infult of, and outrage against God and his religion ought to pass unpunished, and even be licenfed and authorized, yourself must be equally embarrassed in fixing what is punishable and what is not, and what must be the form and degree of punithment annexed to each punishable fault.
3. Nay, unless you prove, that all deeds, however horrid, ought to be tolerated in both Church and State, How are you to fix precisely, what deeds are censurable or punishable, and what not; and what form and degree of censure or punishment is proper for each, in every particular form and cir. cumstance.' 'A man may as really, and for ought men can prove against him, as juftly pretend confcience for his wicked deeds of treason, murder, robbery, &c. as for his damnable herefies, blafphemies, and idolatrous worship. Wicked deeds, if God be true, are the native fruits of gross errors and idolatrous worship. A confcience, which un-der the clear light of Scripture revelation, approves the whole system of Popery or Socinianism, may as reafonably dictate the murder of faints, dethrone ment of lawful Sovereigns, community of women and goods, &c. Let once the plea of conscience, be
admitted in the case of treason, theft, robbery, murder, and the like, and I will undertake, it shall be as commonly pled, as in the case of gross herefy, blasphemy and idolatry; and it will be as impossible for judges to disprove it in the one cafe, as in the óther. Nothing therefore, will truly answer your tolerant scheme, but that every man be allowed to profess, worship, and act as he pleaseth.
4. Let therefore magistrates, as well as Churchrulers, in their punishing and censuring work, make God's word their rule; and if they do not perceive from it clearly the proper degrees of punishment and censure, let them rather err on the charitable fide, than in approaches to severity.
OBJECT. XXIX. “ But, how are heretics, blaf. phemers, and idolaters to be got judged in order to punishment? They must be judged only by theit Peers, by persons of the same station as themselves, quite impartial, and no wise attached to the contrary sentiments or practices."
Answ. 1. But, how can you prove from Scrip ture or reason, that such criminals mult be judged only by their Peers; or that there is a nation under heaven, in which criminals are judged by such Peers, as you mention?
2. Allowing that our juries consist of the proper Peers of the criminals, yet they judge not concerning the relevancy of the crime, or the form or degree of punishments, but of the proof of the fact, which, in the case of heresy, blasphemy, or idolatry, is ordinarily no more difficult, than in the case of adultery, incest, theft, murder, &c.
3. Nothing can be more absurd, than to pretend, that men's detestation of heresy, blasphemy, and i. dolatry, disqualifies them from judging heretics, blafphemers, and idolaters. What! Doth men's abhorrence of theft, murder, adultery, disqualify