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science just as they do. And if it was not according to the wisdom of Christ, who was and is King of Kings, by outward force to constrain others to believe him or receive him, as being a thing inconsistent with the nature of his ministry and spiritual government, do not they grolly offend him, who will be needs wifer than he, and think to force men against their persuasion to conform to their doctrine and worship? The word of the Lord said, Not ly power and by might, but by the Spirit of the Lord, Zech. iv. 6. But these say, Not by the Spirit of the Lord, but by might and carnal power.
The apostle faith plainly, We wrestle not with fiesh 2 Cor. :c. and blood; and the weapons of our warfare are not
carnal, but Spiritual: but these men will needs wrestle with flesh and blood, when they cannot prevail with the Spirit and the understanding; and not having spiritual weapons, go about with carnal weapons to establish Christ's kingdom, which they can never do: and therefore when the matter is well sifted, it is found to be more out of love to self, and from a principle of pride in man to have all others to bow to him, than from the love
of God. Christ indeed takes another method; for Pfal. 110. he faith, He will make his people a willing people
in the day of his power; but these men labour against mens wills and consciences, not by Christ's power, but by the outward sword, to make men the people of Christ, which they never can do, as shall hereafter be shewn.
But Thirdly, Christ fully and plainly declareth to us his sense in this matter in the parable of the tares, Mat. xiii. of which we have himself the interpreter, ver. 38, 39, 40, 42. where he expounds them to be the children of the wicked one, and yet he will not have the servants to meddle with them, left they pull up the wheat therewith. Now it cannot be denied but bereticks are here included; and although these servants faw the tares,
and had a certain discerning of them; yet Christ would not they should meddle, left they should hurt the wheat: thereby intimating, that that capacity in man to be mistaken, ought to be a bridle upon him, to make him wary in such matters; and therefore, to prevent this hurt, he gives a positive prohibition, But he said, Nay, ver. 29. So that they who will notwithstanding be pulling up that which they judge is tares, do openly declare, that they make no scruple to break the commands of Christ. Miserable is that evasion which some of our adversaries use here, in alledging these tares are meant of hypocrites, and not of bereticks! But how to evince that, seeing bereticks, as well as hypocrites, are children of the wicked one, they have not any thing but their own bare affirmation, which is therefore justly rejected.
If they say, Because hypocrites cannot be discerned, Object. but fo may bereticks;
This is both false, and a begging of the ques- Answ. tion. For those that have a spiritual discerning, can discern both bypocrites and bereticks; and those that want it, cannot certainly discern either.. Seeing the question will arise, Whether that is a heresy which the magistrate faith is so? and seeing it is both possible, and confessed by all to have often fallen out, that some magistrates have judged that heresy which was not, punishing men accordingly for truth, instead of error; there can be no argument drawn from the obviousness or evidence of heresy, unless we should conclude heresy could never be mistaken for truth, nor truth for heresy; whereof experience shews daily the contrary, even among Christians. But neither is this shift applicable to this place; for the servants did discern the tares, and yet were liable to hurt the wheat, if they had offered to pull them up.
§. III. But they object against this liberty of con- Object. science, Deut. xiii. 5. where false prophets are appointed
to be put to death; and accordingly they give example
thereof. Answ. The case no way holds parallel ; those particular
commands to the Jews, and practices following upon them, are not a rule for Christians; else we might by the fame rule say, It were lawful for us to borrow of our neighbours their goods, and so carry them away, because the Jews did so by God's command; or that it is lawful for Christians to invade their neighbours kingdoms, and cut them all off without mercy, because the Jews did so to the Ca
naanites, by the command of God. Object. If they urge, That these commands ought to stand,
except they be repealed in the gospel; Answ. I fay, The precepts and practices of Christ and
his apostles mentioned are a sufficient repeal: for if we should plead, that every command given to the Jews is binding upon us, except there be a particular repeal; then would it follow, that because it was lawful for the Jews, if any man killed one, for the nearest kindred presently to kill the murderer, without any order of law, it were lawful for us to do so likewise. And doth not this command of Deut, xiii. 9. openly order him who is enticed by another to forsake the Lord, tho' it were his brother, his son, his daughter, or his wife, prefently to kill him or her ? Thou shalt surely kill bim, thy hand shall be first upon him, to put him to death. If this command were to be followed, there needed neither inquisition nor magistrate to do the business; and yet there is no reason why they should shuffle by this part, and not the other ; yea, to argue this way from the practice among the Jews, were to overturn the very gospel, and to set up again the carnal ordinances among the Jews, to pull down the spiritual ones of the gospel. Indeed we can far better argue from the analogy betwixt the figurative and carnal state of the Jews, and the real and Spiritual one under the gospel; that as Moses
delivered the Jews out of outward Egypt, ly an out-
But Secondly, They urge, Rom. xiii. where the ma- Objeét.
But so is hypocrisy also; yet they confess he Answ. ought not to punish that. Therefore this mult be understood of moral evils, relative to affairs betwixt man and man, not of matters of judgment or worship; or else what great absurdities would follow, considering that Paul wrote here to the church of Rome, which was under the government of Nero, an impious heathen, and persecutor of the cburch? Now if a power to punish in point of beresy be here included, it will necessarily follow, that Nero had this power; yea, and that he had it of God; for because the power was of God, therefore the apostle urges their obedience. But can there be any thing more absurd, than to say thac Nero had power to judge in such cases ? Surely if Christian magistrates be not to punish for hypo
crisy, because they cannot outwardly discern it; far less could Nero punish any body for beresy, which he was uncapable to discern. And if Nero had not power to judge or punish in point of beresy, then nothing can be urged from this place ; since all that is said here, is spoken as applicable to Nero, with a particular relation to whom it was written. And if Nero had such a power, surely he was to exercise it according to his judgment and conscience, and in doing thereof he was not to be blamed; which was enough to justify him in his persecuting of the apostles, and murdering the
Christians. Object. Thirdly, They object that saying of the apostle
to the Galatians, v. 12. I would they were even cut off which trouble
you. Answ. But how this imports any more than a cutting off
from the church, is not, nor can be shewn. Beza upon the place, faith, We cannot understand that other. wise than of excommunication, such as was that of the incestuous Corinthian. And indeed it is madness to suppose it otherwise ; for Paul would not bave these cut off otherwise than be did Hymenæus and Philetus, who were blafphemers ; which was by giving them over to Satan, not by cutting off their beads.
The same way may be answered that other argument, drawn from Rev. ii. 20. where the church of Thyatira is reproved for suffering the woman Jezebel : which can be no other ways understood, than that they did not excommunicate her, or cut her off by a church censure. For as to corporal punishment, it is known that at that time the ChriNians had not power to punish hereticks so, if they
had had a mind to it. Object. Fourthly, They alledge, that heresies are nun
bered among the works of the flesh, Gal. v. 20.
Ergo, &c. Answ. That magiftrates have power to punislı all the works of the flesh is denied, and not yet proved.