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Title: The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution for Cause of Conscience Discussed and Mr. Cotton's Letter Examined and Answered

Author: Roger Williams

Editor: Edward Bean Underhill

Release date: July 1, 2021 [eBook #65739]

Language: English



E-text prepared by Brian Wilson, MFR,
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
from page images generously made available by
Internet Archive


Note: Images of the original pages are available through Internet Archive. See








Honorary Secretaries.



It has been a matter of regret with many, that the writings of the early members and ministers of the Baptist churches of this country should be comparatively so little known. The present appears to be a favourable time to reprint such of them as may be deemed worthy of perpetuation, from their historical or theological importance.

These writings are confined to no peculiarity of sentiment, but embrace every topic of divine truth, which the word of God presents for the salvation of the believer, as well as for the regulation of the church of Christ.

To the Baptists, belongs the honour of first asserting in this land, and of establishing on the immutable basis of just argument and scripture rule, the right of every man to worship God as conscience dictates, in submission only to divine command.


Rejecting the authority of men in matters of faith, they wrote with great simplicity and directness of purpose. Scripture alone was their authority, and excepting some of their polemical works, their productions are remarkably free from that parade of learning which was the fault of their age.

They were not, however, destitute of learning. Most of the early Baptists had had an university education: and if this privilege was not enjoyed by their successors, it was because the national seats of learning denied it to them. The names of Bampfield, Canne, Cornwell, Danvers, Delaune, Du Veil, Denne, Grantham, Jessey, Knollys, Smyth, and Tombes, are sufficient to prove that the Baptist churches were not destitute of able and learned expounders of their sentiments, eminent for their attainments in both classical and divine knowledge.

The historical value of the works which it is proposed to reproduce, is very great. Their authors exercised no mean influence on the course of national affairs during the period of Cromwell’s protectorate, and they became in subsequent reigns, as they had been in times preceding the Commonwealth, the especial objects of ecclesiastical and political persecution. Some of the works which it is desired to publish will also embrace the period of the Reformation, and illustrate the sufferings endured, by the baptists of that eventful period, for conscience sake.

As theological writers they are characterized by fervour of spirit; deep study of the word of God; great facility of application of divine truths to passing events; a holy attachment to “the truth as it is in Jesus;” clear and pungent exhibitions of the word of life; an uncompromising adherence to the scriptures as the rule of doctrine, practice, and ecclesiastical organization and discipline; and finally, a fearless following of their convictions, derived from the divine oracles.

Works of this kind are also wanting for our congregational and family libraries. It is to be feared that too many of us are ignorant of our own history, and of the great and good men who lost all in the maintenance of our principles.

The series of proposed volumes will include the works of both General and Particular Baptists; Records and Manuscripts relating to the rise and progress of Baptist churches; Translations of such works as may illustrate the sufferings of the Baptists and the extension of their principles, together with such Documents as are to be found only in large historical collections, or may not yet have appeared in an accessible form. On the Baptismal controversy only those treatises will be given, which are of acknowledged worth or historic value. The whole will be accompanied with biographical notices of the authors, and with such notes and illustrations as may be essential to their completeness.

The publications will consist of works produced before the close of the seventeenth century. The following list comprises the names of some of the authors whose works are intended to form part of the series;—Bampfield, Blackwood, Bunyan, Canne, Collier, Collins, Cornwall, Danvers, Delaune, Denne, Du Veil, Drapes, Grantham, Griffith, Helwys, How, Jeffrey, Jessey, Keach, Kiffin, King, Knollys, Lawrence, Palmer, Powell, Pendarves, Smyth, Stennett, Tombes, Roger Williams, &c.

Terms of Subscription.

1. Every subscriber of ten shillings and sixpence annually will be entitled to one copy of every work issued during the year of his subscription. Two volumes at least will be published for the 10s. 6d.

2. Subscriptions will be considered due, in advance on the first of January of every year.

3. Ministers and Sunday Schools obtaining each ten subscribers annually, will be entitled to one copy of every work published in the year for which such subscriptions are paid.

4. Books will be delivered, free of expense, in London, Edinburgh, and Dublin, from which places they will be sent at the cost of the subscriber by any channel he may appoint.

Subscriptions will be received by the Treasurer, at Vassall Road, Kennington; by the Honorary Secretaries, Mr. Underhill, of Newmarket House, Nailsworth; Rev. W. Jones, at Stepney College; or by any member of the Council; also by Mr. G. Offor, jun., Secretary, Baptist Mission House, Moorgate Street, London, to whom all communications for the Society should be addressed, or at the Depository, B. L. Green’s, 68, Paternoster Row.








The Hanserd Knollys Society,





It was on the 1st day of December, in the year 1630, that Mr. Roger Williams, with his wife, embarked at Bristol for America, in the ship Lyon, Captain William Pierce.

Two years and a half before, a number of eminent and enthusiastic men had gone forth, animated by religious principles and purposes, to seek a home and a refuge from persecution on the wild and untenanted shores of Massachusetts Bay. Charles I. had announced his design of ruling the English people by arbitrary power, only a few days before a patent for the Company of Massachusetts Bay passed the seals.[1] No provision was made in this document for the exercise of religious liberty. The emigrants were puritans, and although they had suffered long for conscience’ sake, on this subject their views were as contracted as those of their brethren who in Elizabeth’s reign sought the overthrow of England’s hierarchy.[2] The patent secured to them, however, to a great extent, a legislative independence of the mother country; but they soon employed that power to persecute differing consciences.

The emigrants landed at Salem at the end of June, 1629.[vi] A few mud hovels alone marked the place of their future abode. On their passage they arranged the order of their government, and bound themselves by solemn covenant to each other and the Lord. As religion was the cause of their abandonment of their native land, so was its establishment their first care. At their request a few of the settlers at Plymouth, where in 1620 a colony had been established by the members of Mr. John Robinson’s church, came over to assist and advise on the arrangement of their church polity. After several conferences, the order determined on was the congregational, and measures were immediately taken for the choice of elders and deacons. A day of fasting and prayer was appointed, and thirty persons covenanted together to walk in the ways of God. Mr. Skelton was chosen pastor, Mr. Higginson teacher, both puritan clergymen of celebrity, and Mr. Houghton ruling elder. They agreed with the church at Plymouth, “That the children of the faithful are church members with their parents, and that their baptism is a seal of their being so.”[3]

The church was thus self-constituted. It owned no allegiance to bishop, priest, or king. It recognized but one authority—the King of saints: but one rule—the word of God. The new system did not, however, meet with the approbation of all this little company. Some still fondly clung to the episcopacy of their native land, and to the more imposing rites of their mother church. The main body of the emigrants did not altogether refuse to have communion with the church which had so unnaturally driven them away; but, as they said, they separated from her corruptions, and rejected the human inventions in worship which they discovered in her fold. Not so all. Liberty of worship they desired indeed, but not a new form of polity. Two brothers, John and Samuel Browne, the one a lawyer, the other a merchant, were the leaders of this little band. They wished the continuance of the Common Prayer, of the ceremonies[vii] usually observed in the administration of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and a wider door for the entrance of members into a church state. Dissatisfied with the new order of things, they set up a separate assembly. This was a mutiny against the state, as well as against the church; and proving incorrigible, the brothers were sent home in “the Lyon’s Whelp.”[4]

In the year 1630, a large addition was made to the pilgrim band, on the arrival of Governor Winthrop. Not less than 1500 persons accompanied him, to escape the bigotry and persecuting spirit of Laud. Several new settlements were formed, and the seat of the colonial government was fixed at Boston. Though sincere in their attachment to true religion, and desirous of practising its duties unmolested by episcopal tyranny, they thought not of toleration for others. No such idea had dawned upon them. They were prepared to practise over other consciences the like tyranny to that from which they had fled.

With nobler views than these did Mr. Williams disembark at Boston, after a very tempestuous voyage, on the 5th of February in the year 1631. The infant colony had suffered very much during the winter from the severity of the weather, and the scarcity of provisions. The arrival of the Lyon was welcomed with gratitude, as the friendly interposition of the hand of God.[5]

Roger Williams was at this time little more than thirty years of age—“a young minister, godly and zealous, having precious gifts.”[6] Tradition tells us, that he was born in Wales: that he was in some way related to Cromwell: that his parents were in humble life: and that he owed his education to Sir Edward Coke, who, accidentally observing his attention at public worship, and ascertaining the accuracy of the notes he took of the sermon, sent him to the University of Oxford. All this may or may not be true; but it is[viii] evident that his education was liberal, and that he had a good acquaintance with the classics and the original languages of the scriptures.

He himself informs us, that in his early years his heart was imbued with spiritual life. “From my childhood, the Father of lights and mercies touched my soul with a love to himself, to his only begotten, the true Lord Jesus, to his holy scriptures.”[7] At this time he must have been about twelve years old. His first studies were directed to the law, probably at the suggestion of his patron. He became early attached to those democratic principles which are so ably stated in the “Bloudy Tenent,” and to those rights of liberty which found so able a defender in the aged Coke. Subsequently, however, he turned his attention to theology, and assumed the charge of a parish. It was during this period that he became acquainted with the leading emigrants to America; and he appears to have been the most decided amongst them in their opposition to the liturgy, ceremonies, and hierarchy of the English church.[8] It is probable that it was upon the subject of the grievances they endured, he had the interview with King James of which he speaks in a letter written late in life.[9]

It was a notable year, both in Old and in New England, in which Williams sought a refuge for conscience amid the wilds of America. Autocratic rule was decided upon by the infatuated Charles, and the utterance of the most arbitrary principles from the pulpits of the court clergy was encouraged. Doctrines subversive of popular rights were taught, and the sermons containing them published at the king’s[ix] special command. Laud assumed a similar authority in ecclesiastical affairs. With unscrupulous zeal and severity he sought to extirpate puritanism from the church. The Calvinistic interpretation of the articles was condemned, and Bishop Davenant was rebuked for a sermon which he preached upon the 17th. The puritans were to a man Calvinists, the Laudean party were Arminians. And as if to give the former practical proof of the lengths to which Laud was prepared to go, and to shut them up either to silence or to voluntary banishment, Leighton, for his “Plea against Prelacy,” was this year committed to prison for life, fined £10,000, degraded from his ministry, whipped, pilloried, his ears cut off, his nose slit, and his face branded with a hot iron. From this tyranny over thought and conscience Williams fled, only to bear his testimony against similar outrages upon conscience and human rights in the New World—to find the same principles in active operation among the very men who like him had suffered, and who like him sought relief on that distant shore.

No sooner had Mr. Williams landed at Boston, than we find him declaring his opinion, that “the magistrate might not punish a breach of the sabbath, nor any other offence, as it was a breach of the first table.”[10] Moreover, so impure did he deem the communion of the church of England, that he hesitated to hold communion with any church that continued in any manner favourable to it. This was, however, the case with the church at Boston. It refused to regard the hierarchy and parishional assemblies of the English church as portions of the abominations of anti-christ. It permitted its members, when in England, to commune with it, in hearing the word and in the private administration of the sacraments.[11] Thus while separating from its corruptions, the emigrants clave to it with a fond pertinacity. This was displeasing to the free soul of Williams. He refused to join the congregation at Boston. It would have been a weak and sinful compliance[x] with evil. He could not regard the cruelties and severities, and oppression, exercised by the church of England, with any feelings but those of indignation. That could not be the true church of Christ on whose skirts was found sprinkled the blood of saints and martyrs. He therefore gladly accepted the invitation of the church at Salem, and a few weeks after his arrival he left Boston to enter upon the pastorate there.

But on the very same day on which he commenced his ministry at Salem (April 12), the General Court of the Colony expressed its disapprobation of the step, and required the church to forbear any further proceeding. This was an arbitrary and unjust interference with the rights of the Salem church. As a congregational and independent community, it had a perfect right to select Mr. Williams for its pastor. The choice of its ministry is one of the church’s most sacred privileges, to be exercised only in subordination to the laws and to the will of its great Head. This right the General Court most flagrantly violated, and thus laid the foundation for that course of resistance which eventually led to the banishment of Mr. Williams.[12]

To the civil government of the colony Mr. Williams was prepared to give all due submission. Very soon after his arrival, he entered his name upon the list of those who desired to be made freemen, and on the 12th of May took the customary oaths. Yet as if to bring into conflict at the earliest moment, and to excite the expression of those generous sentiments on religious and civil liberty which animated the soul of Mr. Williams, on that very day the court “ordered and agreed, that for the time to come, no man shall be admitted to the freedom of this body politic, but such as are members of some of the churches within the limits of the same.” Thus a theocracy was established. The government belonged to the saints. They alone could rule in the commonwealth, or be capable of the exercise of[xi] civil rights. “Not only was the door of calling to magistracy shut against natural and unregenerate men, though excellently fitted for civil offices, but also against the best and ablest servants of God, except they be entered into church estate.”[13] This was to follow, according to Williams’ idea, “Moses’ church constitution,” “to pluck up the roots and foundations of all common society in the world, to turn the garden and paradise of the church and saints into the field of the civil state of the world, and to reduce the world to the first chaos or confusion.” Our readers will find his reasons at large, against this perilous course, in the subsequent pages of this volume.[14]

As peace could not be enjoyed at Salem, before the end of the summer Mr. Williams withdrew to Plymouth; “where,” says Governor Bradford, “he was freely entertained, according to our poor ability, and exercised his gifts among us; and after some time was admitted a member of the church, and his teaching well approved.”[15] Two years he laboured in the ministry of the word among the pilgrim fathers; but it would seem not without proclaiming those principles of freedom which had already made him an object of jealousy. For on requesting his dismissal thence to Salem, in the autumn of 1635, we find the elder, Mr. Brewster, persuading the church at Plymouth to relinquish communion with him, lest he should “run the same course of rigid separation and anabaptistry which Mr. John Smith, the se-baptist, at Amsterdam, had done.”[16] It was during his residence at Plymouth[xii] that he acquired that knowledge of the Indian language, and that acquaintance with the chiefs of the Narragansetts, which became so serviceable to him in his banishment.

His acceptance of their invitation afforded sincere and great pleasure to the church at Salem. His former ministry amongst them had resulted in a warm attachment, and not a few left Plymouth to place themselves under his spiritual care. Two or three weeks only could have passed after his return, when, on the 3rd of September, Mr. Cotton, his destined antagonist in the strife on liberty of conscience, landed at Boston, in company with Mr. Hooker and Mr. Stone; which “glorious triumvirate coming together, made the poor people in the wilderness to say, That the God of heaven had supplied them with what would in some sort answer their three great necessities: Cotton for their clothing, Hooker for their fishing, and Stone for their building.”[17]

John Cotton was the son of a puritan lawyer. Educated at Cambridge, he had acquired a large amount of learning; and by his study of the schoolmen sharpened the natural acuteness and subtilty of his mind. In theology he was a thorough Calvinist, and adopted in all their extent the theocratic principles of the great Genevan reformer. On his arrival in New England, he was immediately called upon to advise and arrange the civil and ecclesiastical affairs of the colony. By his personal influence the churches were settled in a regular and permanent form, and their laws of discipline were finally determined by the platform adopted at Cambridge in 1648. The civil laws were adjusted to the polity of the church, and while nominally distinct, they supported and assisted each other.[18]


Matter for complaint was soon discovered against Mr. Williams. At Plymouth he had already urged objections relative to the royal patent, under which the colonists held their lands. A manuscript treatise concerning it now became the subject of consideration by the General Court. In this work, Mr. Williams appears to have questioned the King’s right to grant the possession of lands which did not belong to him, but to the natives who hunted over them. Equity required that they should be fairly purchased of the Indian possessors. Mr. Williams was “convented” before the Court. Subsequently, he gave satisfaction to his judges of his “intentions and loyalty,” and the matter was passed by. It will be seen, however, that this accusation was revived, and declared to be one of the causes of his banishment.[19]

For a few months, during the sickness of Mr. Skelton, Mr. Williams continued his ministry without interruption, and with great acceptance. On the 2nd of August, 1634, Mr. Skelton died, and the Salem church shortly thereafter chose him to be their settled teacher. To this the magistrates and ministers objected. His principles were obnoxious to them. They sent a request to the church, that they would not ordain him. But in the exercise of their undoubted right the church persisted, and Mr. Williams was regularly inducted to the office of teacher.[20]

Occasion was soon found to punish the church and its refractory minister. On November the 17th, he was summoned to appear before the Court, for again teaching publicly “against the king’s patent, and our great sin in claiming right thereby to this country: and for terming the churches of England[xiv] anti-christian.” A new accusation was made on the 30th of the following April, 1635. He had taught publicly, it was said, “that a magistrate ought not to tender an oath to an unregenerate man, for that we thereby have communion with a wicked man in the worship of God, and cause him to take the name of God in vain. He was heard before all the ministers, and very clearly confuted.”[21] In the month of July he was again summoned to Boston, and some other dangerous opinions were now laid to his charge. He was accused of maintaining:—That the magistrate ought not to punish the breach of the first table, otherwise than in such cases as did disturb the civil peace:—That a man ought not to pray with the unregenerate, though wife or child—That a man ought not to give thanks after the sacrament, nor after meat. But the aggravation of his offences was that, notwithstanding these crimes were charged upon him, the church at Salem, in spite of the magisterial admonitions, and the exhortations of the pastors, had called him to the office of teacher. To mark their sense of this recusancy, the Salem people were refused, three days after, the possession of a piece of land for which they had applied, and to which they had a just claim.[22]

This flagrant wrong induced Mr. Williams and his church to write admonitory letters to the churches of which these magistrates were members, requesting them to admonish the magistrates of the criminality of their conduct, it being a “breach of the rule of justice.” The letters were thus addressed because the members of the churches were the only freemen, and the only parties interested in the civil government of the colony. They were without effect. His own people began to waver under the pressure of ministerial power and influence. Mr. Williams’s health too gave way, “by his excessive labours, preaching thrice a week, by labours night and day in the field; and by travels night and[xv] day to go and come from the Court.” Even his wife added to his affliction by her reproaches, “till at length he drew her to partake with him in the error of his way.”[23] He now declared his intention to withdraw communion from all the churches in the Bay, and from Salem also if they would not separate with him. His friend Endicot was imprisoned for justifying the letter of admonition, and Mr. Sharpe was summoned to appear to answer for the same. In October he was called before the Court for the last time. All the ministers were present. They had already decided “that any one was worthy of banishment who should obstinately assert, that the civil magistrate might not intermeddle even to stop a church from apostacy and heresy.”[24] His letters were read, which he justified; he maintained all his opinions. After a disputation with Mr. Hooker, who could not “reduce him from any of his errors,” he was sentenced to banishment in six weeks, all the ministers, save one, approving of the deed.[25]

Before proceeding to detail the subsequent events of his history, it will be necessary to make a few remarks on the topics of accusation brought against Mr. Williams, and especially since they are often referred to in the pages of the works now in the reader’s hands.

The causes of his banishment are given by Mr. Williams in p. 375 of this volume, with which agrees Governor Winthrop’s testimony cited above. Mr. Cotton, however, does not concur in this statement: the two last causes he[xvi] denies, giving as his reason, “that many are known to hold both those opinions, and are yet tolerated not only to live in the commonwealth, but also in the fellowship of the churches.” The other two points, he likewise asserts, were held by some, who yet were permitted to enjoy both civil and church liberties.[26] What then were the grounds of this harsh proceeding according to Mr. Cotton? They were as follows:—“Two things there were, which to my best observation, and remembrance, caused the sentence of his banishment: and two other fell in, that hastened it. 1. His violent and tumultuous carriage against the patent.... 2. The magistrates, and other members of the general Court upon intelligence of some episcopal and malignant practices against the country, they made an order of Court to take trial of the fidelity of the people, not by imposing upon them, but by offering to them, an oath of fidelity. This oath when it came abroad, he vehemently withstood it, and dissuaded sundry from it, partly because it was, as he said, Christ’s prerogative to have his office established by oath: partly because an oath was a part of God’s worship, and God’s worship was not to be put upon carnal persons, as he conceived many of the people to be.” The two concurring causes were:—1. That notwithstanding his “heady and turbulent spirit,” which induced the magistrates to advise the church at Salem not to call him to the office of teacher, yet the major part of the church made choice of him. And when for this the Court refused Salem the parcel of land, Mr. Williams stirred up the church to unite with him in letters of admonition to the churches “whereof those magistrates were members, to admonish them of their open transgression of the rule of justice.” 2. That when by letters from the ministers the Salem church was inclined to abandon their teacher, Mr. Williams renounced communion with Salem and all the churches in the Bay, refused to resort to public worship, and preached to “sundry who began to resort to his family,” on the Lord’s day.[27]


On examination, it is evident that the two statements do not materially differ. Mr. Williams held the patents to be sinful “wherein Christian kings, so called, are invested with right by virtue of their Christianity, to take and give away the lands and countries of other men.”[28] It were easy to represent opposition to the patent of New England as overthrowing the foundation on which colonial laws were framed, and as a denial of the power claimed by the ministers and the General Court “to erect such a government of the church as is most agreeable to the word.” Such was Mr. Cotton’s view, and which he succeeded in impressing on the minds of the magistrates. Mr. Williams may perhaps have acquired somewhat of his jealousy concerning these patents from the instructions of Sir Edward Coke, who so nobly withstood the indiscriminate granting of monopolies in the parliament of his native land.[29] There can be no question that Williams was substantially right. His own practice, when subsequently laying the basis for the state of Rhode Island, evinces the equity, uprightness, and generosity of his motives. Perhaps too his views upon the origin of all governmental power may have had some influence in producing his opposition. He held that the sovereignty lay in the hands of the people. No patent or royal rights could therefore be alleged as against the popular will. That must make rulers, confirm the laws, and control the acts of the executive. Before it patents, privileges, and monopolies, the exclusive rights of a few, must sink away.

Moreover, it is clear, from Cotton’s own statement, that this question of the patent involved that of religious liberty. The colony claimed under it the right of erecting a church, of framing an ecclesiastical polity: and it exercised it. Ecclesiastical laws were made every whit as stringent as the canons of the establishment of the mother country. Already we have seen that church members alone could be freemen. Every adult person was compelled to be present at public congregational worship, and to support both ministry and church with payment[xviii] of dues enforced by magisterial power.[30] “Three months was, by the law, the time of patience to the excommunicate, before the secular power was to deal with him:” then the obstinate person might be fined, imprisoned, or banished. Several persons were banished for noncompliance with the state religion.[31] In 1644, a law was promulgated against the baptists, by which “it is ordered and agreed, that if any person or persons, within this jurisdiction, shall either openly condemn or oppose the baptizing of infants,” or seduce others, or leave the congregation during the administration of the rite, they “shall be sentenced to banishment.” The same year we accordingly find that a poor man was tied up and whipped for refusing to have his child sprinkled.[32] Heresy, blasphemy, and some other the like crimes, exposed the culprit to expatriation. It was against this course that Mr. Williams afterwards wrote his “Bloudy Tenent;” and through the “sad evil” “of the civil magistrates dealing in matters of conscience and religion, as also of persecuting and hunting any for any matter merely spiritual and religious,” which he opposed, was he banished.[33]

The question of the patent could not therefore be discussed in the General Court without involving a discussion upon religious liberty. Mr. Cotton has chosen to make most prominent, in his articles of accusation, the question of the[xix] origin of the patent; the magistrate, whose statement is adduced by Mr. Williams, places in the forefront that of the magistrate’s power over conscience. As the matter stood, these two subjects were allied. To doubt the one was to doubt the other. But Mr. Williams was decided as to the iniquity of both.

On the subject of the denial of the oath of fidelity, it is evident, from Mr. Cotton’s statement, that the oath owed its origin to intolerance. Episcopacy should have no place under congregational rule, no more than independency could be suffered to exist under the domination of the English hierarchy. But Mr. Williams appears to have objected to the oath chiefly on other grounds: it was allowed by all parties that oath-taking was a religious act. If so, it was concluded by Mr. Williams, in entire consistency with his other views, that, 1, It ought not to be forced on any, so far as it was religious; nor, 2, could an unregenerate man take part in what was thought to be an act of religious worship. Whether an oath be a religious act, we shall not discuss; but on the admitted principles of the parties engaged in this strife, Mr. Williams’s argument seems to us irrefragable.

On the concurring causes referred to by Mr. Cotton, it will be unnecessary to make extended comment. The first of these is treated of at length in the second piece of this volume. Mr. Cotton and Mr. Williams were representatives of the two great bodies of dissentients from the law-established church of England. One party deemed it to be an anti-christian church, its rites to be avoided, its ministry forsaken, its communion abjured: these were the Separatists, or true Nonconformists, to whom Mr. Williams belonged.[34] The other party, although declaiming against the supposed corruptions of the church, loved its stately service, its governmental patronage, its common prayer, and its parishional[xx] assemblies:[35] these were the puritans who, in New England, became Independents, or Congregationalists[36]—in Old England, during the Commonwealth, chiefly Presbyterians, and some Independents: to these Mr. Cotton belonged.

Mr. Williams thought it his duty to renounce all connection with the oppressor of the Lord’s people, and also with those who still held communion with her.[37] Let us not deem him too rigid in these principles of separation. There can be no fellowship between Christ and Belial. And if, as was indeed the case, the Anglican church too largely exhibited those principles which were subversive of man’s inalienable rights, exercised a tyrannous and intolerable sway over the bodies and consciences of the people, and drove from her fold, as outcasts, many of her best and holiest children,—it is no wonder that they should in return regard her touch as polluting, her ecclesiastical frame as the work of anti-christ. The Congregationalists introduced her spirit and practice into the legislation of the New World, and it behoved every lover of true liberty to stand aloof and separate from the evil. This did Mr. Williams. He was right in regarding the relation of the Congregational polity to the civil state in New England as implicitly a national church state, although that relation was denied to be explicitly national by Mr. Cotton and his brethren. “I affirm,” said Williams, “that that church estate, that religion and worship which is commanded, or permitted to be but one in a country, nation, or province, that church is not in the nature of the particular churches of Christ, but in the nature of a national or state church.”[38]

It is, however, to this controversy that we are indebted[xxi] for the second of the pieces reprinted in this volume. While wandering among the uncivilized tribes of Indians, Mr. Cotton’s letter came into Mr. Williams’s hands.[39] It seems to have been a part of a somewhat extended correspondence between them, and to have originated in Mr. Cotton’s twofold desire to correct the aberrations, as he deemed them, of his old friend, and to shield himself from the charge of being not only an accessory, but to some degree the instigator of the sentence of banishment decreed against him. His defence of himself is unworthy of his candour, and betrays, by its subtle distinctions and passionate language, by his cruel insinuations and ready seizure of the most trifling inaccuracies, a mind ill at ease and painfully conscious that he had dealt both unjustly and unkindly with his former companion in tribulation. By some means, but without his knowledge, Mr. Cotton’s letter got into print, to him most “unwelcome;” and while in England, in 1644, Mr. Williams printed his reply. It will be seen that Mr. Williams has given the whole of it: and with scrupulous fidelity, adding thereto his remarks and reasonings. Mr. Cotton, however, did not hesitate to aver the righteousness of the persecution and banishment which Williams endured.[40]

In the Colonial Records, the date of Mr. Williams’s sentence is November 3, (1635). He immediately withdrew from all church communion with the authors of his sufferings. A few attached friends assembled around him, and preparations were made for departure.[41] It would seem that he had, for some time, contemplated the formation of a settlement where liberty, both civil and religious, should be enjoyed. This reached the ears of his adversaries. His[xxii] Lord’s day addresses were attractive to many, and withdrew them from the congregations of the dominant sect. Provoked at “the increase of concourse of people to him on the Lord’s days in private,” and fearing the further extension of principles so subversive of their state-church proceedings, they resolved on Mr. Williams’s immediate deportation. Two or three months had to elapse, of the additional time granted for his departure, before their sentence could take effect. Delay was dangerous: therefore the Court met at Boston on the 11th of January, 1636, and resolved that he should immediately be shipped for England, in a vessel then riding at anchor in the bay. A warrant was despatched summoning him to Boston. He returned answer that his life was in hazard; and came not. A pinnace was sent to fetch him; “but when they came at his house, they found he had been gone three days before; but whither they could not learn.”[42]

His wife and two children, the youngest less than three months old, were left behind. By a mortgage on his property at Salem he had raised money to supply his wants. He then plunged into the untrodden wilds; being “denied the common air to breathe in, and a civil cohabitation upon the same common earth; yea, and also without mercy and human compassion, exposed to winter miseries in a howling wilderness.”[43]

After fourteen weeks’ exposure to frost and snow, “not knowing what bread or bed did mean,” he arrived at Seekonk,[44] on the east bank of Pawtucket river. Here he began to build and plant. In the following expressive lines he seems to refer to the kind support afforded him by the Indians:—

“God’s providence is rich to his,
Let none distrustful be;
In wilderness, in great distress,
These ravens have fed me.”[45]


Their hospitality he requited throughout his long life by acts of benevolence, and by unceasing efforts to benefit and befriend them. He taught them Christianity; and was the first of the American pilgrims to convey to these savage tribes the message of salvation.

Before his crops were ripe for harvest, he received intimation from the governor of Plymouth, that he had “fallen into the edge of their bounds,” and as they were loath to offend the people of the Bay, he was requested to remove beyond their jurisdiction. With five companions he embarked in his canoe, descending the river, till arriving at a little cove on the opposite side, they were hailed by the Indians with the cry of “What cheer?[46] Cheered with this friendly salutation they went ashore. Again embarking, and descending the stream, they reached a spot at the mouth of the Mohassuck river, where they landed, near to a spring—remaining to this day as an emblem of those vital blessings which flow to society from true liberty. That spot is “holy ground,” where sprung up the first civil polity in the world permitting freedom to the human soul in things of God. There Roger Williams founded the town of Providence. It was, and has ever been, the “refuge of distressed consciences.” Persecution has never sullied its annals. Freedom to worship God was the desire of its founder—for himself and for all, and he nobly endured till it was accomplished.

It has been generally held that the fourteen weeks above referred to were spent by Mr. Williams in traversing the wilderness, and in penetrating the vast forests which separated Salem from Seekonk by land. Some doubts have of late, however, been thrown upon this view.

It can scarcely be supposed that so long a time could have been occupied in the land journey from Salem to Seekonk. The distance is about fifty miles. Even if we allow a considerable addition to this, occasioned by the detour rendered necessary to avoid the settlements on the Bay, the time consumed[xxiv] cannot be accounted for. He himself has given us no details of this eventful journey. Only passing references to it occur in his various works. Yet these are of such a kind as to render it more probable that his journey was made by sea, coasting from place to place, holding intercourse with the native tribes, whose language he had previously acquired.[47] His route by sea would be not less than 200 miles, to accomplish which by his own unaided arm, together with the interviews he undoubtedly held with the aborigines, and the time necessarily allotted for repose, or spent in waiting for favourable weather, might well fill the fourteen weeks he tells us his journey lasted. His language supports this view, “Mr. Winthrop, he says, privately wrote me to steer my course to the Narraganset Bay. I took his prudent motion, and waiving all other thoughts and emotions I steered my course from Salem, though in winter snow, into these parts.” Again, “It pleased the Most High to direct my steps into this bay;” which words would seem only applicable to a voyage by water. “I was sorely tossed for one fourteen weeks.” This language is evidently such as would be most natural in referring to a passage by sea.[48] But there is one paragraph in the present volume which would seem to decide the question. It is found at page 386. “Had his soul [Cotton’s] been in my soul’s case, exposed to the miseries, poverties, necessities, wants, debts, hardships of sea and land, in a banished condition, he would, I presume, reach forth a more merciful cordial to the afflicted.” Here distinct reference is made to the sea as the scene of some of those hardships he endured. It is moreover known that travelling at that time was chiefly by water, that Williams was a skilful boatman, and that he possessed a boat of his own soon after his settlement at Providence. In the view of these particulars, we are constrained to the conclusion that Mr. Williams journeyed[xxv] by sea, often landing to seek for food, and to hold intercourse with the natives as to his final settlement.[49]

On reaching Providence, the first object of Mr. Williams would be to obtain possession of some land. This he acquired from the Narragansett Indians, the owners of the soil surrounding the bay into which he had steered his course. By a deed dated the 24th March, 1638, certain lands and meadows were made over to him by the Indian chiefs which he had purchased of them two years before, that is, at the time of his settlement amongst them. He shortly after reconveyed these lands, to his companions. In a deed dated 1661, he says, “I desired it might be for a shelter for persons distressed for conscience. I then considering the condition of divers of my distressed countrymen, I communicated my said purchase unto my loving friends [whom he names], who then desired to take shelter here with me.”[50] This worthy conception of his noble mind was realized, and he lived to see a settled community formed wherein liberty of conscience was a primary and fundamental law. Thirty-five years afterward he could say, “Here, all over this colony, a great number of weak and distressed souls, scattered, are flying hither from Old and New England, the Most High and Only Wise hath, in his infinite wisdom, provided this country and this corner as a shelter for the poor and persecuted, according to their several persuasions.”[51]

The year 1638 witnessed the settlement of Rhode Island, from which the state subsequently took its name, by some other parties, driven from Massachusetts by the persecution of the ruling clerical power. So great was the hatred or the envy felt towards the new colony, that Massachusetts framed a law prohibiting the inhabitants of Providence from coming within its bounds.[52] This was a cruel law, for thus trading[xxvi] was hindered with the English vessels frequenting Boston, from whence came the chief supplies of foreign goods. So great was the scarcity of paper from this cause among the Rhode Islanders, that “the first of their writings that are to be found, appear on small scraps of paper, wrote as thick, and crowded as close as possible.” “God knows,” says Williams, “that many thousand pounds cannot repay the very temporary losses I have sustained,” by being debarred from Boston.[53]

In March 1639, Mr. Williams became a baptist, together with several more of his companions in exile. As none in the colony had been baptized, a Mr. Holliman was selected to baptize Mr. Williams, who then baptized Mr. Holliman and ten others. Thus was founded the first baptist church in America.[54] On the 1st of the following July, Mr. Williams and his wife, with eight others, were excommunicated by the church at Salem, then under the pastoral care of the celebrated Hugh Peters. Thus was destroyed the last link which bound these exiles to the congregational churches of New England, where infant baptism and persecution abode, as in other churches, in sisterly embrace together.[55]

Mr. Williams appears to have remained pastor of the newly formed church but a few months. For, while retaining all his original sentiments upon the doctrines of God’s word, and the ordinances of the church, he conceived a true ministry must derive its authority from direct apostolic succession or endowment: that, therefore, without such a commission he had no authority to assume the office of pastor, or be a teacher in the house of God, or proclaim to the impenitent the saving mercies of redemption. It is, however, by no means clear that he regarded the latter as wrong, for we find him in after days desiring to print several discourses which he had delivered amongst the Indians.[56] He seems rather to have conceived that the church of Christ had so[xxvii] fallen into apostacy, as to have lost both its right form and the due administration of the ordinances, which could only be restored by some new apostolic, or specially commissioned messenger from above. Various passages in the present volume will be met with which favour this view:[57] the following is from his “Hireling Ministry:” “In the poor small span of my life, I desired to have been a diligent and constant observer, and have been myself many ways engaged, in city, in country, in court, in schools, in universities, in churches, in Old and New England, and yet cannot, in the holy presence of God, bring in the result of a satisfying discovery, that either the begetting ministry of the apostles or messengers to the nations, or the feeding and nourishing ministry of pastors and teachers, according to the first institution of the Lord Jesus, are yet restored and extant.”[58] From this passage it would seem that his objections were rather owing to the imperfection of the church in its revived condition, than to the want of a right succession in the ministry. These imperfections could be removed by a new apostolic ministry alone. He therefore was opposed to “the office of any ministry, but such as the Lord Jesus appointeth.” Perhaps in the following assertion of Mr. Cotton we have the true expression of Mr. Williams’s views. He conceived “that the apostacy of anti-christ hath so far corrupted all, that there can be no recovery out of that apostacy till Christ shall send forth new apostles to plant churches anew.”[59]

The constantly increasing number of settlers in the new colony rendered a form of civil government necessary. A model was drawn up, of which the essential principles were democratic. The power was invested in the freemen, orderly assembled, or a major part of them. None were to be accounted[xxviii] delinquents for doctrine, “provided it be not directly repugnant to the government or laws established.” And a few months later this was further confirmed by a special act, “that that law concerning liberty of conscience in point of doctrine, be perpetuated.” Thus liberty of conscience was the basis of the legislation of the colony of Rhode Island, and its annals have remained to this day unsullied by the blot of persecution.[60] But many were the examples of an opposite course occurring in the neighbouring colony of Boston. Not satisfied with having driven Williams and many more from their borders by their oppressive measures against conscience, the General Court laid claim to jurisdiction over the young and rapidly increasing settlements of the sons of liberty. This, concurring with other causes, led the inhabitants of Rhode Island and Providence to request Mr. Williams to take passage to England; and there, if possible, obtain a charter defining their rights, and giving them independent authority, freed from the intrusive interference of the Massachusetts Bay.

In the month of June 1643, Mr. Williams set sail from New York for England, for he was not permitted to enter the territories of Massachusetts, and to ship from the more convenient port of Boston, although his services in allaying Indian ferocity, and preventing by his influence the attacks of the native tribes upon their settlements, were of the highest value and of the most important kind.[61]

At the time of his arrival in England, the country was involved in the horrors of civil war. By an ordinance dated Nov. 3, 1643, the affairs of the colonies were intrusted to a board of commissioners, of which Lord Warwick was the head. Aided by the influence of his friend, Sir Henry[xxix] Vane, Mr. Williams quickly obtained the charter he sought, dated March 14, 1644, giving to the “Providence Plantations in the Narragansett Bay,” full power to rule themselves, by any form of government they preferred.[62]

With this charter Mr. Williams, in the summer of the same year, returned to New England, and landed at Boston, Sept. 17th, emboldened to tread this forbidden ground by a commendatory letter to the Governor and Assistants of the Bay, from several noblemen and members of parliament. The first elections under this charter were held at Portsmouth in May 1641, when the General Assembly then constituted, proceeded to frame a code of laws, and to commence the structure of their civil government. It was declared in the act then passed, “that the form of government established in Providence Plantations is democratical, that is to say, a government held by the free and voluntary consent of all, or the greater part of the free inhabitants.” The conclusion of this Magna Charta of Rhode Island is in these memorable words: “These are the laws that concern all men, and these are the penalties for the transgression thereof, which, by common consent, are ratified and established throughout the whole colony. And otherwise than thus, what is herein forbidden, all men may walk as their consciences persuade them, every one in the name of his God. And let the saints of the Most High walk in this colony without molestation, in the name of Jehovah their God, for ever and ever.[63] Mr. Roger Williams was chosen assistant, and in subsequent years governor. Thus under the auspices of this noble-minded man was sown the germ of modern democratic institutions, combining therewith the yet more precious seed of religious liberty.

We here trace no further the history of Roger Williams in relation to the state of which he was the honoured founder. To the period at which we have arrived, their story is indissolubly[xxx] allied together. Others, imbued with his principles, henceforth took part in working out the great and then unsolved problem—how liberty, civil and religious, could exist in harmony with dutiful obedience to rightful laws. Posterity is witness to the result. The great communities of the Old World are daily approximating to that example, and recognizing the truth and power of those principles which throw around the name of Roger Williams a halo of imperishable glory and renown.

The work of this eminent man, reprinted in the following pages, owes its origin to the events we have detailed, and to some other very interesting circumstances. In the first volume of the publications of the Hanserd Knollys Society, will be found a piece, entitled “An Humble Supplication to the King’s Majesty, as it was presented, 1620.” This was a baptist production. It is a well arranged, clear, and concise argument against persecution, and for liberty of conscience. Mr. Williams informs us that this treatise was written by a prisoner in Newgate for conscience’ sake. So rigid was his confinement that paper, pens, and ink were denied him. He had recourse to sheets of paper sent, by a friend in London, as stoppers to the bottle containing his daily allowance of milk. He wrote his thoughts in milk on the paper thus provided, and returned them to his friend in the same way. “In such paper, written with milk, nothing will appear; but the way of reading it by fire being known to this friend who received the papers, he transcribed and kept together the papers, although the author himself could not correct, nor view what himself had written.”[64]

From this treatise was taken those arguments against persecution,[65] which being replied to by Mr. Cotton, gave rise to the work of Mr. Williams, and which he has so significantly called “The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution Discussed.” Mr. Cotton tells us that this excerpt was sent to him about the year 1635, by Mr. Williams, and that Mr. Williams, against the “royal law of the love of the[xxxi] gospel, and without his knowledge, published it, with his reply, adding thereto a refutation.”[66] A contradictory and more particular account is, however, given of the affair by Mr. Williams. No such letter or intercourse, he tells us, passed between him and Mr. Cotton on this subject. The prisoner’s arguments against persecution were presented to Mr. Cotton by Mr. Hall, a congregational minister at Roxbury, to whom also Mr. Cotton’s answer was addressed. Mr. Hall not being satisfied, sent the papers to Mr. Williams already printed, who, therefore, conceiving that being printed they were no longer private papers, felt at liberty to publish his discussion of Mr. Cotton’s principles.[67] At the time when Mr. Cotton wrote the letter to Mr. Hall, he tells us that Mr. Williams “did keep communion with all his brethren, and held loving acquaintance with myself.” It must therefore have been written some time before the banishment of Mr. Williams, and soon after the arrival of Mr. Cotton in New England.

At the close of Mr. Cotton’s letter is found a reference to “a treatise sent to some of the brethren late of Salem, who doubted as you do.” This treatise is the “Model of Church and Civil Power,” the examination of which forms the second part of the “Bloudy Tenent.”[68] The authorship of it is attributed to Mr. Cotton by Mr. Williams. This Mr. Cotton denies. He charges Mr. Williams with a “double falsehood:” First, in saying that he wrote it; second, that the ministers who did write it sent it to Salem.[69] This “blustering[xxxii] charge” Mr. Williams repudiates. He refers to the closing paragraph of Cotton’s own letter, and avers, “to my knowledge it was reported, according to this hint of Mr. Cotton’s, that from the ministers of the churches such a model composed by them was sent to Salem.” He then adds, that hearing of it he wrote to “his worthy friend Mr. Sharp, elder of the church at Salem, for the sight of it, who accordingly sent it to him.” Moreover, Mr. Cotton approved of it, promoted it, and directed others to repair to it for satisfactory information:[70] it was therefore unworthy of him to pass so “deep censures for none or innocent mistakes.” The real author of it was probably Mr. Richard Mather, of whom we are told that “when the platform of Church Discipline was agreed—in the year 1647, Mr. Mather’s model was that out of which it was chiefly taken.”[71] Or perhaps it may preferably be regarded as the result of an act passed by the General Court in the year 1634, wherein the elders of every church were entreated to “consult and advise of one uniform order of discipline in the churches ... and to consider how far the magistrates are bound to interpose for the preservation of that uniformity and peace of the churches.”[72] Certain it is, that the principles of this document pervade all the subsequent legislation of the colony, and many of its conclusions were embodied in the ecclesiastical and civil laws. Mr. Williams did well in selecting these two pieces for discussion. They broadly state those views which are antagonist to intellectual and religious freedom. Other treatises were published to defend New England practices against the observations of friends in Old England, which are occasionally referred to by Mr. Williams; but in none of them were developed to the same extent, that persecuting spirit and theocratic legislation which Mr. Williams so ably, so patiently, and so thoroughly confronts and confutes in the following pages.

The “Bloudy Tenent” was published in England in the year 1644, and without the name either of the author or[xxxiii] publisher. It was written while he was occupied in obtaining the charter for Rhode Island. In many parts it bears evident tokens of haste, and occasional obscurities show that he had found no time to amend his work. Indeed he tells us, “that when these discussions were prepared for public in London, his time was eaten up in attendance upon the service of the parliament and city, for the supply of the poor of the city with wood, during the stop of coal from Newcastle, and the mutinies of the poor for firing.”[73] Nevertheless, his style is generally animated, the discussion acutely managed, and frequent images of great beauty adorn his page.

Although not the first in England among the baptist advocates for the great principle of liberty of conscience, Roger Williams holds a preeminent place. Previous to the Bloudy Tenent, several pieces had been published, of great interest and value. Some of these have been reprinted;[74] and we have already seen how one of them gave rise to the present work of Williams. In 1642 we find a baptist asserting as one of the results of infant baptism, that “hence also collaterally have been brought the power of the civil magistrate into the church ... being willingly ignorant that the state and church of the Jews is to be considered in a twofold respect, one as it was a civil state and commonwealth and kingdom, in respect whereof it was common to other civil states and kingdoms in the world; the other as it was the church of God, and in relation thereto had worship, commandments, a kingly office, and government, which no other state and kingdom had or ought to have: for herein it was altogether typical. This state (the church) being spiritual admits of none but Him, their spiritual Head, Lawgiver, James iv. 12.”[75]

In 1643 another most able piece appeared, entitled, “Liberty of Conscience; or the sole means to obtain peace and truth.” The author expresses his opinion that the distractions[xxxiv] and troubles of the nation were owing in great measure to the general obstinacy and averseness of most men of all ranks and qualities to tolerate and bear with tender consciences, and different opinions of their brethren.

The same year in which the “Bloudy Tenent” was published, there issued from the press “The Compassionate Samaritan, Unbinding the Conscience, and pouring oil into the wounds which have been made upon the separation.” This piece likewise asserts the rights of conscience with great clearness and power.

Until now the baptists stood alone in this conflict, they were the only known advocates for perfect liberty; but in this year Mr. John Goodwin also came forth to aid them,[76] and by his powerful writings did much to disseminate right views on this great subject.

The activity of Mr. Williams, and his deep interest in whatever concerned the well-being of his fellow countrymen, are still more illustrated by the publications which he put forth while in England. For he not only published his “Key into the Language of America,” composed while on his voyage to this country, and the two treatises reprinted in this volume; but also an anonymous piece, entitled “Queries of Highest Consideration proposed to Mr. Thomas Goodwin—presented to the High Court of Parliament,”[77] containing clear and accurate observations on the respective provinces of civil and ecclesiastical authority.

The publication of the “Bloudy Tenent” was most offensive to the various parties into which the ruling powers of the State were divided. The presbyterians exclaimed against it as full of heresy and blasphemy. If we may believe Mr. Richardson, they even proceeded so far as to burn it.[78] To this we are inclined to attach some confidence, as thereby we may account for the extreme rarity of the book, and for what[xxxv] is in fact a second edition, published in the same year. The existing copies of the work do not quite agree. While they are page for page and line for line the same, they differ in the fact of a table of errata being found in some, which errata are corrected in others. There is also a slight difference in the type and orthography of the title page.[79]

Baillie informs us that Williams’s work did not meet with the approbation of the English Independents. Its toleration was too unlimited for their taste. They were willing to grant liberty only to those sound in fundamentals—the identical views of their brother Congregationalists of America.[80] Yet we are informed in a subsequent work by Mr. Williams, that it operated most beneficially on the public mind. “These images and clouts it hath pleased God to make use of to stop no small leaks of persecution, that lately began to flow in upon dissenting consciences, and to Master Cotton’s own, and to the peace and quietness of the Independents, which they have so long and so wonderfully enjoyed.”[81]

In the year 1647, Mr. Cotton attempted a reply to Mr. Williams. He entitled his work, “The Bloudy Tenent washed, and made white in the bloud of the Lambe: being discussed and discharged of blood-guiltinesse by just Defence, &c. Whereunto is added a Reply to Mr. Williams’s Answer to Mr. Cotton’s Letter. By John Cotton, Batchelor in Divinity, and Teacher of the Church of Christ at Boston in New England. London. 1647.” 4to. pp. 195 and 144. In the notes of the present volume,[82] various examples are given of the character of this reply, and of the tortuous constructions adopted to escape the home thrusts of Mr. Williams. As compared with Williams’s work it displays[xxxvi] great unfairness, and a most lamentable want of Christian temper and spirit—it is “wormwood and gall,” to use Mr. Williams’s own words.

A rejoinder appeared in the year 1652. It is entitled “The Bloody Tenent yet more Bloody by Mr. Cotton’s endevour to wash it white in the blood of the Lambe, &c. By R. Williams, of Providence in New-England. London, 1652.” 4to. pp. 373. It is characterized by the kindest tone, the most affectionate spirit, and a considerate treatment of Mr. Cotton’s perversions, errors, and mistakes, which he did not deserve. It is proposed to reprint this volume as necessary to the completeness of the present.

The work it is now the editor’s great pleasure and satisfaction to place in the hands of the subscribers is of great rarity. But six copies are at present known to exist of the original editions. Three of these are in America; two in the Library of Brown University, Rhode Island, and one in the library of Harvard College. Three are in this country; one in the library of the present American Consul, Colonel Aspinall; one in the British Museum; and one in the Bodleian Library. From the latter the present reprint is made by the kind permission of the Librarian. It is a volume of two hundred and forty-seven pages, in small quarto. The original table of Contents is given with the pagination only altered. Mr. Williams’s Reply to Mr. Cotton’s Letter, is of still greater rarity. Two copies are in America; one in Yale College which is much mutilated, and one in the possession of the family of the late Moses Brown, Esq., of Providence. Two are in this country; one in the British Museum, and one in the Bodleian Library, which is also somewhat mutilated. This reprint is from the latter. The proof sheets have been compared with the very fine copy in the British Museum, by my kind friend George Offor, Esq.

E. B. U.

Newmarket House, August 9th, 1848.



Truth and Peace, their rare and seldom meeting 31
Two great complaints of Peace 33
Persecutors seldom plead Christ but Moses for their author 34
Strife, Christian and unchristian 34
A threefold doleful cry 35
The wonderful providence of God in the writing of the arguments against persecution 36
A definition of persecution discussed 37
Conscience will not be restrained from its own worship, nor constrained to another 38
A chaste soul in God’s worship compared to a chaste wife 38
God’s people have erred from the very fundamentals of visible worship 39
Four sorts of spiritual foundations in the New Testament 39
The six fundamentals of the Christian religion 40
The coming out of Babel not local, but mystical 40
The great ignorance of God’s people concerning the nature of a true church 41
Common prayer written against by the New English ministers 43
God’s people have worshipped God with false worships 43
God is pleased sometimes to convey good unto his people beyond a promise 44[xxxviii]
A notable speech of King James to a great nonconformist turned persecutor 45
Civil peace discussed 45
The difference between spiritual and civil state 46
Six cases wherein God’s people have been usually accounted arrogant, and peace breakers, but most unjustly 48
The true causes of breach and disturbance of civil peace 52
A preposterous way of suppressing errors 53
Persecutors must needs oppress both erroneous and true consciences 53
All persecutors of Christ profess not to persecute him 55
What is meant by the heretic, Tit. iii. 58
The word heretic generally mistaken 59
Corporal killing in the law, typing out spiritual killing in the gospel 62
The carriage of a soul sensible of mercy, towards others in their blindness, &c. 64
The difference between the church and the world, wherein it is, in all places 65
The church and civil state confusedly made all one 66
The most peaceable accused for peace breaking 67
A large examination of what is meant by the tares, and letting of them alone 68
Satan’s subtlety about the opening of scripture 69
Two sorts of hypocrites 74
The Lord Jesus the great teacher by parables, and the only expounder of them 75
Preaching for conversion is properly out of the church 76
The tares proved properly to signify anti-christians 77
God’s kingdom on earth the visible church 78
The difference between the wheat and the tares, as also between these tares and all others 78
A civil magistracy from the beginning of the world 79
The tares are to be tolerated the longest of all sinners 81
The danger of infection by permitting of the tares, assoiled 82
The civil magistrate not so particularly spoken to in the New Testament as fathers, masters, &c., and why? 85
A twofold state of Christianity: persecuted under the Roman emperors, and apostated under the Roman popes 85
Three particulars contained in that prohibition of Christ Jesus concerning the tares, Let them alone, Matt. xiii. 86
Accompanying with idolaters, 1 Cor. v. discussed 88
Civil magistrates never invested by Christ Jesus with the power and title of defenders of the faith 92
God’s people [Israel] ever earnest with God for an arm of flesh 93
The dreadful punishment of the blind Pharisees in four respects 94
The point of seducing, infecting, or soul-killing, examined 96
Strange confusions in punishments 100[xxxix]
The blood of souls, Acts xx., lies upon such as profess the ministry: the blood of bodies only upon the state 100
Usurpers and true heirs of Christ Jesus 101
The civil magistrate bound to preserve the bodies of their subjects, and not to destroy them for conscience’ sake 103
The fire from heaven, Rev. xiii. 13, 2 Tim. ii. 25, 26, examined 104
The original of the Christian name, Acts xi. 105
A civil sword in religion makes a nation of hypocrites, Isa. x. 107
A difference of the true and false Christ and Christians 109
The nature of the worship of unbelieving and natural persons 109
Antoninus Pius’s famous act concerning religion 110
Isa. ii. 4, Mic. iv. 3, concerning Christ’s visible kingdom, discussed 110
Acts xx. 29, the suppressing of spiritual wolves, discussed 112
It is in vain to decline the name of the head of the church, and yet to practise the headship 114
Titus i. 9, 10, discussed 115
Unmerciful and bloody doctrine 116
The spiritual weapons, 2 Cor. x. 4, discussed 117
Civil weapons most improper in spiritual causes 118
The spiritual artillery, Eph. vi., applied 119
Rom. xiii., concerning civil rulers’ power in spiritual causes, largely examined 121
Paul’s appeal to Cæsar, examined 128
And cleared by five arguments 128
Four sorts of swords 131
What is to be understood by evil, Rom. xiii. 4 133
Though evil be always evil, yet the permission of it may sometimes be good 136
Two sorts of commands, both from Moses and Christ 138
The permission of divorce in Israel, Matt. xix. 17, 18 138
Usury in the civil state lawfully permitted 139
Seducing teachers, either pagans, Jewish, Turkish, or anti-christian, may yet be obedient subjects to the civil laws 141
Scandalous livers against the civil state 142
Toleration of Jezebel and Balaam, Rev. ii. 14, 20, examined 143
The Christian world hath swallowed up Christianity 145
Christ Jesus the deepest politician that ever was, yet commands he a toleration of anti-christians 149
The princes of the world seldom take part with Christ Jesus 150
Buchanan’s item to King James 151
King James’s sayings against persecution 151
King Stephen’s, of Poland, sayings against persecution 152
Forcing of conscience a soul-rape 152
Persecution for conscience hath been the lancet which hath let blood the nations. All spiritual whores are bloody 152
Polygamy, or the many wives of the fathers 153[xl]
David advancing of God’s worship against order 153
Constantine and the good emperors, confessed to have done more hurt to the name and crown of Christ, than the bloody Neros did 154
The language of persecutors 156
Christ’s lilies may flourish in the church, notwithstanding the weeds in the world permitted 156
Queen Elizabeth and King James, their persecuting for cause of religion examined 157
Queen Elizabeth confessed by Mr. Cotton to have almost fired the world in civil combustions 158
The wars between the papists and the protestants 159
The wars and success of the Waldensians against three popes 159
God’s people victorious overcomers, and with what weapons 160
The Christian church doth not persecute, but is persecuted 160
The nature of excommunication 161
The opinion of ancient writers examined concerning the doctrine of persecution 163
Constraint upon conscience in Old and New England 164
The Indians of New England permitted in their worshipping of devils 165
In two cases a false religion will not hurt 167
The absolute sufficiency of the sword of the Spirit 168
A national church not instituted by Christ 169
Man hath no power to make laws to bind conscience 169
Hearing of the word in a church estate a part of God’s worship 173
Papists’ plea for toleration of conscience 173
Protestant partiality in the cause of persecution 174
Pills to purge out the bitter humour of persecution 175
Superstition and persecution have had many votes and suffrages from God’s own people 176
Soul-killing discussed 176
Phineas’s act discussed 179
Elijah’s slaughters examined 180
Dangerous consequences flowing from the civil magistrate’s power in spiritual cases 183
The world turned upside down 184
The wonderful answer of the ministers of New England to the ministers of Old 184
Lamentable differences even amongst them that fear God 185
The doctrine of persecution ever drives the most godly out of the world 186
A MODEL OF CHURCH AND CIVIL POWER, composed by Mr. Cotton and the ministers of New England, and sent to Salem, (as a further confirmation of the bloody doctrine of persecution for cause of conscience) examined and answered 189
Christ’s power in the church confest to be above all magistrates in spiritual things 190[xli]
Isa. xlix. 23, lamentably wrested 190
The civil commonweal, and the spiritual commonweal, the church, not inconsistent, though independent the one on the other 192
Christ’s ordinances put upon a whole city or nation may civilize them, and moralize, but not christianize, before repentance first wrought 193
Mr. Cotton and the New English minister’s confession, that the magistrate hath neither civil nor spiritual power in soul matters 194
The magistrates and the church, (by Mr. Cotton’s grounds) in one and the same cause, made the judges on the bench, and delinquents at the bar 196
A demonstrative illustration, that the magistrate cannot have power over the church in spiritual or church causes 197
The true way of the God of peace, in differences between the church and the magistrate 198
The terms godliness and honesty explained, 1 Tim. ii. 1, and honesty proved not to signify in that place the righteousness of the second table 201
The forcing of men to God’s worship, the greatest breach of civil peace 203
The Roman Cæsars of Christ’s time described 204
It pleased not the Lord Jesus, in the institution of the Christian church, to appoint and raise up any civil government to take care of his worship 205
The true custodes utriusque tabulæ, and keepers of the ordinances and worship of Jesus Christ 206
The kings of Egypt, Moab, Philistia, Assyria, Nineveh, were not charged with the worship of God, as the kings of Judah were 207
Masters of families not charged under the gospel to force all the consciences of their families to worship 207
God’s people have then shined brightest in godliness, when they have enjoyed least quietness 210
Few magistrates, few men, spiritually good; yet divers sorts of commendable goodness beside spiritual 211
Civil power originally and fundamentally in the people Mr. Cotton and the New English give the power of Christ into the hands of the commonweal 214
Laws concerning religion, of two sorts 217
The very Indians abhor to disturb any conscience at worship 217
Canons and constitutions pretended civil, but indeed ecclesiastical 217
A threefold guilt lying upon civil powers, commanding the subject’s soul in worship 222
Persons may with less sin be forced to marry whom they cannot love, than to worship where they cannot believe 223
As the cause, so the weapons of the beast and the lamb are infinitely different 226
Artaxerxes his decree examined 227
The sum of the examples of the gentile king’s decrees concerning God’s worship in scripture 230[xlii]
The doctrine of putting to death blasphemers of Christ, cuts off the hopes of the Jews partaking in his blood 232
The direful effects of fighting for conscience 233
Error is confident as well as truth 234
Spiritual prisons 236
Some consciences not so easily healed and cured as men imagine 237
Persecutors dispute with heretics, as a tyrannical cat with the poor mouse: and with a true witness, as a roaring lion with an innocent lamb in his paw 239
Persecutors endure not the name of persecutors 239
Psalm ci., concerning cutting off the wicked, examined 241
No difference of lands and countries, since Christ Jesus his coming 242
The New English separate in America, but not in Europe 244
Christ Jesus forbidding his followers to permit leaven in the church, doth not forbid to permit leaven in the world 246
The wall (Cant. viii. 9.) discussed 246
Every religion commands its professors to hear only its own priests or ministers 248
Jonah his preaching to the Ninevites discussed 248
Hearing of the word discussed 248
Eglon his rising up to Ehud’s message, discussed 248
A twofold ministry of Christ: first, apostolical, properly converting. Secondly, feeding or pastoral 249
The New English forcing people to church, and yet not to religion (as they say), forcing them to be of no religion all their days 249
The civil state can no more lawfully compel the consciences of men to church to hear the word, than to receive the sacraments 250
No precedent in the word, of any people converting and baptizing themselves 253
True conversion to visible Christianity is not only from sins against the second table, but from false worships also 254
The commission, Matt. xxviii., discussed 254
The civil magistrate not betrusted with that commission 255
Jehoshaphat, 2 Chron. xvii., a figure of Christ Jesus in his church, not of the civil magistrate in the state 256
The maintenance of the ministry, Gal. vi. 6, examined 257
Christ Jesus never appointed a maintenance of the ministry from impenitent and unbelieving 257
They that compel men to hear, compel them also to pay for their hearing and conversion 258
Luke xiv., Compel them to come in, examined 258
Natural men can neither truly worship, nor maintain it 259
The national church of the Jews might well be forced to a settled maintenance: but not so the Christian church 261
The maintenance which Christ hath appointed his ministry in the church 262
The universities of Europe causes of universal sins and plagues: yet schools are honourable for tongues and arts 263[xliii]
The true church is Christ’s school, and believers his scholars 264
Mr. Ainsworth excellent in the tongues, yet no university man 265
King Henry the Eighth set down in the pope’s chair in England 266
Apocrypha, homilies, and common prayer, precious to our forefathers 266
Reformation proved fallible 267
The precedent of the kings of Israel and Judah largely examined 271
The Persian kings’ example make strongly against the doctrine of persecution 272
1. The difference of the land of Canaan from all lands and countries in seven [eight] particulars 273
2. The difference of the people of Israel from all other peoples, in seven particulars 278
Wonderful turnings of religion in England in twelve years revolution 280
The pope not unlike to recover his monarchy over Europe before his downfall 280
Israel, God’s only church, might well renew that national covenant and ceremonial worship, which other nations cannot do 283
The difference of the kings and governors of Israel from all kings and governors of the world, in four particulars 284
Five demonstrative arguments proving the unsoundness of the maxim, viz., the church and commonweal are like Hippocrates’ twins 286
A sacrilegious prostitution of the name Christian 290
David immediately inspired by God in his ordering of church affairs 291
Solomon’s deposing Abiathar, 1 Kings ii. 26, 27, discussed 292
The liberties of Christ’s churches in the choice of her officers 293
A civil influence dangerous to the saints’ liberties 293
Jehoshaphat’s fast examined 294
God will not wrong Cæsar, and Cæsar should not wrong God 294
The famous acts of Josiah examined 295
Magistracy in general from God, the particular forms from the people 295
Israel confirmed in a national covenant by revelations, signs, and miracles; but not so any other land 295
Kings and nations often plant and often pluck up religions 296
A national church ever subject to turn and return 297
A woman, Papissa, or head of the church 297
The papists nearer to the truth, concerning the governor of the church, than most protestants 297
The kingly power of the Lord Jesus troubles all the kings and rulers of the world 298
A twofold exaltation of Christ 298
A monarchical and ministerial power of Christ 300
Three great competitors for the ministerial power of Christ 300
The pope pretendeth to the ministerial power of Christ, yet upon the point challengeth the monarchical also 300
Three great factions in England, striving for the arm of flesh 300
The churches of the separation ought in humanity and subjects’ liberty not to be oppressed, but at least permitted 302[xliv]
Seven reasons proving that the kings of Israel and Judah can have no other but a spiritual antitype 303
Christianity adds not to the nature of a civil commonweal; nor doth want of Christianity diminish it 304
Most strange, yet most true consequences from the civil magistrates being the antitype of the kings of Israel and Judah 305
If no religion but what the commonweal approve, then no Christ, no God, but at the pleasure of the world 305
The true antitype of the kings of Israel and Judah 306
4. The difference of Israel’s statutes and laws from all others in three particulars 306
5. The difference of Israel’s punishments and rewards from all others 308
Temporal prosperity most proper to the national state of the Jew 308
The excommunication in Israel 308
The corporal stoning in the law, typed out spiritual stoning in the gospel 308
The wars of Israel typical and unparalleled, but by the spiritual wars of spiritual Israel 309
The famous typical captivity of the Jews 311
Their wonderful victories 311
The mystical army of white troopers 312
Whether the civil state of Israel was precedential 313
Great unfaithfulness in magistrates [ministers] to cast the burden of judging and establishing Christianity upon the commonweal 314
Thousands of lawful civil magistrates, who never hear of Jesus Christ 315
Nero and the persecuting emperors not so injurious to Christianity as Constantine and others, who assumed a power in spiritual things 316
They who force the conscience of others, cry out of persecution when their own are forced 316
Constantine and others wanted not so much affection, as information of judgment 317
Civil authority giving and lending their horns to bishops, dangerous to Christ’s truth 317
The spiritual power of Christ Jesus compared in scripture to the incomparable horn of the rhinoceros 318
The nursing fathers and mothers, Isa. xlix. 319
The civil magistrate owes three things to the true church of Christ 319
The civil magistrate owes two things to false worshippers 320
The rise of high commissions 321
Pious magistrates’ and ministers’ consciences are persuaded for that, which other as pious magistrates’ and ministers’ consciences condemn 321
An apt similitude discussed concerning the civil magistrate 322
A grievous charge against the Christian church and the king of it 330
A strange law in New England formerly against excommunicate persons 331
A dangerous doctrine against all civil magistrates 331
Original sin charged to hurt the civil state 331
They who give the magistrate more than his due, are apt to disrobe him of what is his 332[xlv]
A strange double picture 336
The great privileges of the true church of Christ 336
Two similitudes illustrating the true power of the magistrate 337
A marvellous challenge of more power under the Christian, than under the heathen magistrate 339
Civil magistrates, derivatives from the fountains or bodies of people 341
A believing magistrate no more a magistrate than an unbelieving 341
The excellency of Christianity in all callings 341
The magistrate like a pilot in the ship of the commonweal 342
The terms heathen and Christian magistrates 343
The unjust and partial liberty to some consciences, and bondage unto all others 344
The commission, Matt. xxviii. 19, 20, not proper to pastors and teachers, least of all to the civil magistrate 345
Unto whom now belongs the care of all the churches, &c. 345
Acts xv. commonly misapplied 346
The promise of Christ’s presence, Matt. xviii., distinct from that Matt. xxviii. 347
Church administrations firstly charged upon the ministers thereof 349
Queen Elizabeth’s bishops truer to their principles than many of a better spirit and profession 350
Mr. Barrowe’s profession concerning Queen Elizabeth 350
The inventions of men swerving from the true essentials of civil and spiritual commonweals 353
A great question, viz., whether only church members, that is, godly persons, in a particular church estate, be only eligible into the magistracy 353
The world being divided in thirty parts, twenty-five never heard of Christ 354
Lawful civil states where churches of Christ are not 355
Few Christians wise and noble, and qualified for affairs of state 355
The Ninevites’ fast examined 357
Luke xxii. 36 discussed 359
Rev. xvii. 16 discussed 361
Conclusion 363
To the Impartial Reader 367
If Jesus Christ bring more light he must be persecuted 371
Public sins, the cause of public calamities, must be discovered 372
Grounds of Mr. Williams’s banishment 375
Persecutors do no good to men’s souls 377
Mr. Cotton’s proof from Prov. xi. 26 discussed 379
Spiritual offences only liable to spiritual censure 382
Mr. Cotton ignorant of the cause of Williams’s sufferings 383[xlvi]
Civil peace and magistracy blessed ordinances of God 384
The mercies of a civil state distinct from those of a spiritual state 385
Affliction for Christ sweet 390
The state of godly persons in gross sins 393
God’s mystical Israel must come forth of Babel before they build the temple 395
New England refuses church fellowship with godly ministers of Old England 398
Christ considered personally and in his people 398
Mr. Cotton confessing the true and false constitution of the church 401
Difference between God’s institutions to the Jews and anti-christian institutions 403
Coming forth of Babel not local 406
The polygamy of the fathers 410
Every true church separate from idols 411
The substance of true repentance in all God’s children 412
The first Christians the best pattern for Christians now 413
Mr. Cotton against a national church, and yet holds fellowship with it 415
The Jewish national church not to be separated from 417
Mr. Cotton extenuates national churches 420
Mr. Cotton guilty of cruelty in persecuting, yet cries out against due severity in the church 423
God’s controversy for persecution 424
The puritans and separatists compared 424
Mr. Ainsworth’s poverty 426
Four sorts of backsliders from separation 428
Mr. Canne’s Answer to Mr. Robinson’s Liberty of Hearing 429
Preachers and pastors far different 430
The fellowship of the word taught in a church estate 432
False callings or commissions for the ministry 433
The Nonconformists’ grounds enforce separation 436
Mr. Cotton’s practice of separation in New England 436
Persecution is unjust oppression wheresoever 438]

of Persecution, for cause of
Conscience, discussed, in

A Conference betweene

In all tender Affection, present to the High
Court of Parliament, (as the result of
their Discourse) these, (amongst other
Passages) of highest consideration.


Printed in the Year 1644.


First. That the blood of so many hundred thousand souls of protestants and papists, spilt in the wars of present and former ages, for their respective consciences, is not required nor accepted by Jesus Christ the Prince of Peace.

Secondly. Pregnant scriptures and arguments are throughout the work proposed against the doctrine of persecution for cause of conscience.

Thirdly. Satisfactory answers are given to scriptures and objections produced by Mr. Calvin, Beza, Mr. Cotton, and the ministers of the New English churches, and others former and later, tending to prove the doctrine of persecution for cause of conscience.

Fourthly. The doctrine of persecution for cause of conscience, is proved guilty of all the blood of the souls crying for vengeance under the altar.

Fifthly. All civil states, with their officers of justice, in their respective constitutions and administrations, are proved essentially civil, and therefore not judges, governors, or defenders of the spiritual, or Christian, state and worship.


Sixthly. It is the will and command of God that, since the coming of his Son the Lord Jesus, a permission of the most Paganish, Jewish, Turkish, or anti-christian consciences and worships be granted to all men in all nations and countries: and they are only to be fought against with that sword which is only, in soul matters, able to conquer: to wit, the sword of God’s Spirit, the word of God.

Seventhly. The state of the land of Israel, the kings and people thereof, in peace and war, is proved figurative and ceremonial, and no pattern nor precedent for any kingdom or civil state in the world to follow.

Eighthly. God requireth not an uniformity of religion to be enacted and enforced in any civil state; which enforced uniformity, sooner or later, is the greatest occasion of civil war, ravishing of conscience, persecution of Christ Jesus in his servants, and of the hypocrisy and destruction of millions of souls.

Ninthly. In holding an enforced uniformity of religion in a civil state, we must necessarily disclaim our desires and hopes of the Jews’ conversion to Christ.

Tenthly. An enforced uniformity of religion throughout a nation or civil state, confounds the civil and religious, denies the principles of Christianity and civility, and that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.

Eleventhly. The permission of other consciences and worships than a state professeth, only can, according to God, procure a firm and lasting peace; good assurance being taken, according to the wisdom of the civil state, for uniformity of civil obedience from all sorts.

Twelfthly. Lastly, true civility and Christianity may both flourish in a state or kingdom, notwithstanding the permission of divers and contrary consciences, either of Jew or Gentile.




Right honourable and renowned Patriots,

Next to the saving of your own souls in the lamentable shipwreck of mankind, your task as Christians is to save the souls, but as magistrates the bodies and goods, of others.

Many excellent discourses have been presented to your fathers’ hands and yours, in former and present parliaments. I shall be humbly bold to say, that, in what concerns your duties as magistrates towards others, a more necessary and seasonable debate was never yet presented.

Two things your honours here may please to view, in this controversy of persecution for cause of conscience, beyond what is extant.

First. The whole body of this controversy formed and pitched in true battalia.

Secondly. Although in respect of myself it be impar congressus, yet, in the power of that God who is Maximus in Minimis, your Honours shall see the controversy is discussed with men as able as most, eminent for ability and piety—Mr. Cotton, and the New English ministers.

When the prophets in scripture have given their coats of arms and escutcheons to great men, your Honours know the Babylonian monarch hath the lion, the Persian[4] the bear, the Grecian the leopard, the Roman a compound of the former three, most strange and dreadful, Dan. vii.

Their oppressing, plundering, ravishing, murdering, not only the bodies, but the souls of men, are large explaining commentaries of such similitudes.

Your Honours have been famous to the end of the world for your unparalleled wisdom, courage, justice, mercy, in the vindicating your civil laws, liberties, &c. Yet let it not be grievous to your Honours’ thoughts to ponder a little, why all the prayers, and tears, and fastings, in this nation, have not pierced the heavens, and quenched these flames; which yet who knows how far they will spread, and when they will out!

Your Honours have broke the jaws of the oppressor, and taken the prey out of his teeth, Job xxix. 17. For which act, I believe, it hath pleased the Most High God to set a guard, not only of trained men, but of mighty angels, to secure your sitting, and the city.

I fear we are not pardoned, though reprieved. Oh! that there may be a lengthening of London’s tranquillity, of the parliament’s safety, by [shewing] mercy to the poor! Dan. iv. [27.]

Right Honourable, soul yoke, soul oppressions, plunderings, ravishings, &c., are of a crimson and deepest dye, and I believe the chief of England’s sins—unstopping the vials of England’s present sorrows.

This glass presents your Honours with arguments from religion, reason, experience: all proving that the greatest yokes yet lying upon English necks, the people’s and your own, are of a spiritual and foul nature.

All former parliaments have changed these yokes according to their consciences, popish or protestant. It is now your Honour’s turn at helm, and as [is] your task so I hope [is] your resolution—not to change: for that is but to turn the wheel, which another parliament, and the[5] very next, may turn again; but to ease the subjects and yourselves from a yoke (as was once spoke in a case not unlike, Acts xv. [10]) which neither you nor your fathers were ever able to bear.

Most noble senators; your fathers, whose seats you fill, are mouldered, and mouldering their brains, their tongues, &c., to ashes in the pit of rottenness: they and you must shortly, together with two worlds of men, appear at the great bar. It shall then be no grief of heart that you have now attended to the cries of souls, thousands oppressed, millions ravished, by the acts and statutes concerning souls not yet repealed—of bodies impoverished, imprisoned, &c., for their souls’ belief: yea, slaughtered on heaps for religious controversies, in the wars of present and former ages.

The famous saying of a late king of Bohemia.

“Notwithstanding the success of later times, wherein sundry opinions have been hatched about the subject of religion, a man may clearly discern with his eye, and as it were touch with his finger, that according to the verity of holy scripture, &c., men’s consciences ought in no sort to be violated, urged, or constrained. And whensoever men have attempted any thing by this violent course, whether openly or by secret means, the issue hath been pernicious, and the cause of great and wonderful innovations in the principallest and mightiest kingdoms and countries,” &c.[83]

It cannot be denied to be a pious and prudential act for your Honours, according to your conscience, to call for the advice of faithful counsellors in the high debates concerning your own, and the souls of others.

Yet, let it not be imputed as a crime for any suppliant to the God of heaven for you, if, the humble sense of what their souls believe, they pour forth, amongst others, these three requests at the throne of grace:


First. That neither your Honours, nor those excellent and worthy persons whose advice you seek, limit the Holy One of Israel to their apprehensions, debates, conclusions, rejecting or neglecting the humble and faithful suggestions of any, though as base as spittle and clay, with which sometimes Christ Jesus opens the eyes of them that are born blind.

Secondly. That the present and future generations of the sons of men may never have cause to say that such a parliament, as England never enjoyed the like, should model the worship of the living, eternal, and invisible God, after the bias of any earthly interest, though of the highest concernment under the sun. And yet saith the learned Sir Francis Bacon[84] (however otherwise persuaded, yet thus he confesseth), “Such as hold pressure of conscience, are guided therein by some private interests of their own.”

Thirdly. [That] whatever way of worshipping God your own consciences are persuaded to walk in, yet, from any bloody act of violence to the consciences of others, it may never be told at Rome nor Oxford, that the parliament of England hath committed a greater rape than if they had forced or ravished the bodies of all the women in the world.

And that England’s parliament, so famous throughout all Europe and the world, should at last turn papists, prelatists, Presbyterians, Independents, Socinians, Familists, Antinomians, &c., by confirming all these sorts of consciences by civil force and violence to their consciences.[85]



While I plead the cause of truth and innocency against the bloody doctrine of persecution for cause of conscience, I judge it not unfit to give alarm to myself, and to [all] men, to prepare to be persecuted or hunted for cause of conscience.

Whether thou standest charged with ten or but two talents, if thou huntest any for cause of conscience, how canst thou say thou followest the Lamb of God, who so abhorred that practice?

If Paul, if Jesus Christ, were present here at London, and the question were proposed, what religion would they approve of—the papists, prelatists, Presbyterians, Independents, &c., would each say, Of mine, Of mine?

But put the second question: if one of the several sorts should by major vote attain the sword of steel, what weapons doth Christ Jesus authorize them to fight with in his cause? Do not all men hate the persecutor, and every conscience, true or false, complain of cruelty, tyranny, &c.?

Two mountains of crying guilt lie heavy upon the backs of all men that name the name of Christ, in the eyes of Jews, Turks, and Pagans.

First. The blasphemies of their idolatrous inventions, superstitions, and most unchristian conversations.


Secondly. The bloody, irreligious, and inhuman oppressions and destructions under the mask or veil of the name of Christ, &c.

Oh! how likely is the jealous Jehovah, the consuming fire, to end these present slaughters of the holy witnesses in a greater slaughter! Rev. v.

Six years preaching of so much truth of Christ as that time afforded in K. Edward’s days, kindles the flames of Q. Mary’s bloody persecutions.

Who can now but expect that after so many scores of years preaching and professing of more truth, and amongst so many great contentions amongst the very best of protestants, a fiery furnace should be heat, and who sees not now the fires kindling?

I confess I have little hopes, till those flames are over, that this discourse against the doctrine of persecution for cause of conscience should pass current, I say not amongst the wolves and lions, but even amongst the sheep of Christ themselves. Yet, liberavi animam meam, I have not hid within my breast my soul’s belief. And, although sleeping on the bed either of the pleasures or profits of sin, thinkest thou thy conscience bound to smite at him that dares to waken thee? Yet in the midst of all these civil and spiritual wars, I hope we shall agree in these particulars,

First. However the proud (upon the advantage of a higher earth or ground) overlook the poor, and cry out schismatics, heretics, &c., shall blasphemers and seducers escape unpunished? Yet there is a sorer punishment in the gospel for despising of Christ than Moses, even when the despiser of Moses was put to death without mercy, Heb. x. 28, 29. He that believeth shall not be damned, Mark xvi. 16.

Secondly. Whatever worship, ministry, ministration,[9] the best and purest, are practised without faith and true persuasion that they are the true institutions of God, they are sin, sinful worships, ministries, &c. And however in civil things we may be servants unto men, yet in divine and spiritual things the poorest peasant must disdain the service of the highest prince. Be ye not the servants of men, 1 Cor. vii. [23].

Thirdly. Without search and trial no man attains this faith and right persuasion. 1 Thes. v. [21], Try all things.

In vain have English parliaments permitted English bibles in the poorest English houses, and the simplest man or woman to search the scriptures, if yet against their souls persuasion from the scripture, they should be forced, as if they lived in Spain or Rome itself without the sight of a bible, to believe as the church believes.

Fourthly. Having tried, we must hold fast, 1 Thes. v. [21], upon the loss of a crown, Rev. iii. [11]; we must not let go for all the fleabitings of the present afflictions, &c. Having bought truth dear, we must not sell it cheap, not the least grain of it for the whole world; no, not for the saving of souls, though our own most precious; least of all for the bitter sweetening of a little vanishing pleasure:—For a little puff of credit and reputation from the changeable breath of uncertain sons of men: for the broken bags of riches on eagles’ wings: for a dream of these—any or all of these, which on our death-bed vanish and leave tormenting stings behind them. Oh! how much better is it from the love of truth, from the love of the Father of lights from whence it comes, from the love of the Son of God, who is the way and the truth, to say as he, John xviii. 37: For this end was I born, and for this end came I into the world, that I might bear witness to the truth.




“In the multitude of counsellours there is safety;” it is therefore humbly desired to be instructed in this point, viz.:—

Whether persecution for cause of conscience be not against the doctrine of Jesus Christ, the King of kings. The scriptures and reasons are these.[86]

1. Because Christ commandeth, that the tares and wheat, which some understand are those that walk in the truth, and those that walk in lies, should be let alone in the world, and not plucked up until the harvest, which is the end of the world. Matt. xiii. 30, 38, &c.

2. The same commandeth, Matt. xv. 14, that they that are blind (as some interpret, led on in false religion, and are offended with him for teaching true religion) should be let alone, referring their punishment unto their falling into the ditch.

3. Again, Luke ix. 54, 55, he reproved his disciples[11] who would have had fire come down from heaven and devour those Samaritans who would not receive Him, in these words: “Ye know not of what Spirit ye are; the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.

4. Paul, the apostle of our Lord, teacheth, 2 Tim. ii. 24, that the servant of the Lord must not strive, but must be gentle toward all men; suffering the evil men, instructing them with meekness that are contrary minded, proving if God at any time will give them repentance, that they may acknowledge the truth, and come to amendment out of that snare of the devil, &c.

5. According to these blessed commandments, the holy prophets foretold, that when the law of Moses concerning worship should cease, and Christ’s kingdom be established, Isa. ii. 4; Mic. iv. 3, 4, They shall break their swords into mattocks, and their spears into scythes. And Isa. xi. 9, Then shall none hurt nor destroy in all the mountain of my holiness, &c. And when he came, the same he taught and practised, as before. So did his disciples after him, for the weapons of his warfare are not carnal (saith the apostle), 2 Cor. x. 4.

But he chargeth straitly, that his disciples should be so far from persecuting those that would not be of their religion, that when they were persecuted they should pray, Matt. v. 44; when they were cursed, they should bless, &c.

And the reason seems to be, because they who now are tares, may hereafter become wheat; they who are now blind, may hereafter see; they that now resist him, may hereafter receive him; they that are now in the devil’s snare, in adverseness to the truth, may hereafter come to repentance; they that are now blasphemers and persecutors, as Paul was, may in time become faithful as[12] he; they that are now idolaters, as the Corinthians once were, 1 Cor. vi. 9, may hereafter become true worshippers as they; they that are now no people of God, nor under mercy, as the saints sometimes were, 1 Pet. ii. 10, may hereafter become the people of God, and obtain mercy, as they.

Some come not till the eleventh hour, Matt. xx. 6: if those that come not till the last hour should be destroyed, because they come not at the first, then should they never come, but be prevented.

All which promises are in all humility referred to your godly wise consideration.

II. Because this persecution for cause of conscience is against the profession and practice of famous princes.

First, you may please to consider the speech of King James, in his majesty’s speech in parliament, 1609. He saith, “It is a sure rule in divinity, that God never loves to plant his church by violence and bloodshed.”

And in his highness’ Apology, p. 4, speaking of such papists that took the oath, thus:

“I gave good proof that I intended no persecution against them for conscience’ cause, but only desired to be secured for civil obedience, which for conscience’ cause they are bound to perform.”

And, p. 60, speaking of Blackwell, the archpriest, his majesty saith, “It was never my intention to lay any thing to the said archpriest’s charge, as I have never done to any, for cause of conscience.”

And in his highness’ exposition on Rev. xx. printed 1588, and after in 1603, his majesty writeth thus: “Sixthly, the compassing of the saints, and the besieging of the beloved city, declareth unto us a certain note of a false church to be persecution; for they come to seek the faithful, the faithful are them that are sought:[13] the wicked are the besiegers, the faithful are the besieged.”

Secondly, the saying of Stephen, king of Poland: “I am a king of men, not of consciences; a commander of bodies, not of souls.”

Thirdly, the king of Bohemia hath thus written:

“And, notwithstanding, the success of the later times, wherein sundry opinions have been hatched about the subject of religion, may make one clearly discern with his eye, and (as it were) to touch with his finger, that according to the verity of holy scriptures, and a maxim heretofore told and maintained by the ancient doctors of the church; that men’s consciences ought in no sort to be violated, urged, or constrained; and whensoever men have attempted any thing by this violent course, whether openly or by secret means, the issue hath been pernicious, and the cause of great and wonderful innovations in the principallest and mightiest kingdoms and countries of all Christendom.”

And further, his majesty saith: “So that once more we do profess, before God and the whole world, that from this time forward we are firmly resolved not to persecute, or molest, or suffer to be persecuted or molested, any person whosoever for matter of religion; no, not they that profess themselves to be of the Romish church, neither to trouble or disturb them in the exercise of their religion, so they live conformable to the laws of the states,” &c.

And for the practice of this, where is persecution for cause of conscience, except in England and where popery reigns? and there neither in all places, as appeareth by France, Poland, and other places.

Nay, it is not practised amongst the heathen, that acknowledge not the true God, as the Turk, Persian, and others.


3. Reas.

Thirdly, because persecution for cause of conscience is condemned by ancient and later writers; yea, and the papists themselves.

Hilary against Auxentius, saith thus: “The Christian church doth not persecute, but is persecuted. And lamentable it is to see the great folly of these times, and to sigh at the foolish opinion of this world, in that men think by human aid to help God, and with worldly pomp and power to undertake to defend the Christian church. I ask of you bishops, what help used the apostles in the publishing of the gospel? With the aid of what power did they preach Christ, and converted the heathen from their idolatry to God? When they were in prisons, and lay in chains, did they praise and give thanks to God for any dignities, graces, and favours received from the court? Or do you think that Paul went about with regal mandates, or kingly authority, to gather and establish the church of Christ? Sought he protection from Nero, Vespasian? The apostles wrought with their hands for their own maintenance, travelling by land and water, from town to city, to preach Christ; yea, the more they were forbidden, the more they taught and preached Christ. But now, alas! human help must assist and protect the faith, and give the same countenance. To and by vain and worldly honours do men seek to defend the church of Christ, as if he by his power were unable to perform it.”

The same, against the Arians:

“The church now, which formerly by enduring misery and imprisonment, was known to be a true church, doth now terrify others by imprisonment, banishment, and misery, and boasteth that she is highly esteemed of the world; when as the true church cannot but be hated of the same.”

Tertull. ad Scapulam: “It agreeth both with human[15] reason, and natural equity, that every man worship God uncompelled, and believe what he will; for another man’s religion and belief neither hurteth nor profiteth any one: neither beseemeth it any religion to compel another to be of their religion, which willingly and freely should be embraced, and not by constraint: forasmuch as the offerings were required of those that freely and with good will offered, and not from the contrary.”

Jerome in Proem. lib. 4. in Jeremiam. “Heresy must be cut off with the sword of the Spirit; let us strike through with the arrows of the Spirit all sons and disciples of misled heretics, that is, with testimonies of holy scriptures. The slaughter of heretics is by the word of God.”

Brentius upon 1 Cor. iii. “No man hath power to make or give laws to Christians, whereby to bind their consciences; for willingly, freely, and uncompelled, with a ready desire and cheerful mind, must those that come, run unto Christ.”

Luther, in his book of the civil magistrate, saith: “The laws of the civil magistrate’s government extend no further than over the body or goods, and to that which is external: for over the soul God will not suffer any man to rule; only he himself will rule there. Wherefore, whosoever doth undertake to give laws unto the souls and consciences of men, he usurpeth that government himself which appertaineth unto God,” &c.

Therefore, upon 1 Kings vi. “In the building of the temple there was no sound of iron heard, to signify that Christ will have in his church a free and a willing people, not compelled and constrained by laws and statutes.”

Again, he saith upon Luke xxii. “It is not the true catholic church which is defended by the secular arm or human power, but the false and feigned church; which[16] although it carries the name of a church, yet it denies the power thereof.”

And upon Psalm xvii. he saith: “For the true church of Christ knoweth not brachium seculare, which the bishops now-a-days chiefly use.”

Again, in Postil. Dom. 1. post. Epiphan., he saith: “Let not Christians be commanded, but exhorted; for he that willingly will not do that whereunto he is friendly exhorted, he is no Christian: whereof they that do compel those that are not willing, show thereby that they are not Christian preachers, but worldly beadles.”

Again, upon 1 Pet. iii. he saith: “If the civil magistrate shall command me to believe thus and thus, I should answer him after this manner: Lord, or sir, look you to your civil or worldly government, your power extends not so far as to command any thing in God’s kingdom; therefore herein I may not hear you. For if you cannot bear it, that any should usurp authority where you have to command, how do you think that God should suffer you to thrust him from his seat, and to seat yourself therein?”

Lastly, the papists, the inventors of persecution, in a wicked book of theirs, set forth in King James’s reign, thus:

“Moreover, the means which Almighty God appointed his officers to use in the conversion of kingdoms, and nations, and people, was humility, patience, charity: saying, Behold, I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves, Matt. x. 16. He did not say, ‘Behold, I send you as wolves among sheep, to kill, imprison, spoil, and devour those unto whom they were sent.’”

“Again, ver. 17, he saith: They to whom I send you will deliver you up into councils, and in their synagogues they will scourge you; and to presidents and to kings shall you be led for my sake. He doth not say, ‘You, whom I send, shall[17] deliver the people, whom you ought to convert, unto councils, and put them in prisons, and lead them to Presidents, and tribunal seats, and make their religion felony and treason.’

“Again he saith, ver. 32: When ye enter into an house, salute it, saying, Peace be unto this house. He doth not say, ‘You shall send pursuivants to ransack or spoil the house.’

“Again he saith, John x. The good pastor giveth his life for his sheep; the thief cometh not but to steal, kill, and destroy. He doth not say, ‘The thief giveth his life for his sheep, and the good pastor cometh not but to steal, kill, and destroy.’”

So that we holding our peace, our adversaries themselves speak for us, or rather for the truth.


And first, that it is no prejudice to the commonwealth if liberty of conscience were suffered to such as do fear God indeed, as is or will be manifest in such men’s lives and conversations.

Abraham abode among the Canaanites a long time, yet contrary to them in religion, Gen. xiii. 7, and xvi. 13. Again: he sojourned in Gerar, and king Abimelech gave him leave to abide in his land, Gen. xx. 21, 23, 24.

Isaac also dwelt in the same land, yet contrary in religion, Gen. xxvi.

Jacob lived twenty years in one house with his uncle Laban, yet differed in religion, Gen. xxxi.

The people of Israel were about 430 years in that infamous land of Egypt, and afterwards seventy years in Babylon, all which time they differed in religion from those States, Exod. xii. and 2 Chron. xxxvi.

Come to the time of Christ, where Israel was under the[18] Romans, where lived divers sects of religions, as Herodians, Scribes and Pharisees, Sadducees and Libertines, Theudæans and Samaritans, beside the common religion of the Jews, Christ, and his apostles. All which differed from the common religion of the state, which is like the worship of Diana, which almost the whole world then worshipped, Acts xix. 20.

All these lived under the government of Cæsar, being nothing hurtful unto the commonwealth, giving unto Cæsar that which was his. And for their religion and consciences towards God he left them to themselves, as having no dominion over their souls and consciences. And when the enemies of the truth raised up any tumults, the wisdom of the magistrate most widely appeased them, Acts xviii. 14, and xix. 35.




The question which you put is, whether persecution for cause of conscience be not against the doctrine of Jesus Christ, the King of kings?

Now, by persecution for cause of conscience, I conceive you mean, either for professing some point of doctrine which you believe in conscience to be the truth, or for practising some work which in conscience you believe to be a religious duty.

Now in points of doctrine some are fundamental, without right belief whereof a man cannot be saved; others are circumstantial, or less principal, wherein men may differ in judgment without prejudice of salvation on either part.

In like sort, in points of practice, some concern the weightier duties of the law, as, what God we worship, and with what kind of worship; whether such as, if it be right, fellowship with God is held; if corrupt, fellowship with him is lost.

Again, in points of doctrine and worship less principal, either they are held forth in a meek and peaceable way,[20] though the things be erroneous or unlawful: or they are held forth with such arrogance and impetuousness, as tendeth and reacheth (even of itself) to the disturbance of civil peace.

Finally, let me add this one distinction more: when we are persecuted for conscience’ sake, it is either for conscience rightly informed, or for erroneous and blind conscience.

These things premised, I would lay down mine answer to the question in certain conclusions.


First, it is not lawful to persecute any for conscience’ sake rightly informed; for in persecuting such, Christ himself is persecuted in them, Acts ix. 4.


Secondly, for an erroneous and blind conscience, (even in fundamental and weighty points) it is not lawful to persecute any, till after admonition once or twice; and so the apostle directeth, Tit. iii. 10, and giveth the reason, that in fundamental and principal points of doctrine or worship, the word of God in such things is so clear, that he cannot but be convinced in conscience of the dangerous error of his way after once or twice admonition, wisely and faithfully dispensed. And then, if any one persist, it is not out of conscience, but against his conscience, as the apostle saith, ver. 11, He is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself; that is, of his own conscience. So that if such a man, after such admonition, shall still persist in the error of his way, and be therefore punished, he is not persecuted for cause of conscience, but for sinning against his own conscience.


Thirdly. In things of lesser moment, whether points of doctrine or worship, if a man hold them forth in a spirit of Christian meekness and love, though with zeal and constancy, he is not to be persecuted, but tolerated, till God may be pleased to manifest his truth to him, Phil. iii. 17; Rom. xiv. 1-4.



But if a man hold forth, or profess, any error or false way, with a boisterous and arrogant spirit, to the disturbance of civil peace, he may justly be punished according to the quality and measure of the disturbance caused by him.

Now let us consider of your reasons or objections to the contrary.

Your first head of objections is taken from the scripture.

Object. 1. Because Christ commandeth to let alone the tares and wheat to grow together unto the harvest, Matt. xiii. 30, 38.

Answ. Tares are not briars and thorns, but partly hypocrites, like unto the godly, but indeed carnal, as the tares are like to wheat, but are not wheat; or partly such corrupt doctrines or practices as are indeed unsound, but yet such as come very near the truth (as tares do to the wheat), and so near, that good men may be taken with them; and so the persons in whom they grow cannot be rooted out but good will be rooted up with them. And in such a case Christ calleth for toleration, not for penal prosecution, according to the third conclusion.

Object. 2. In Matt. xv. 14, Christ commandeth his disciples to let the blind alone till they fall into the ditch; therefore he would have their punishment deferred till their final destruction.

Answ. He there speaketh not to public officers, whether in church or commonweal, but to his private disciples, concerning the Pharisees, over whom they had no power. And the command he giveth to let them alone, is spoken in regard of troubling themselves, or regarding the offence which they took at the wholesome doctrine of the gospel. As who should say, Though they be offended at this saying of mine, yet do not you fear their fear, nor be[22] troubled at their offence, which they take at my doctrine, not out of sound judgment, but out of their blindness. But this maketh nothing to the cause in hand.

Object. 3. In Luke ix. 54, 55, Christ reproveth his disciples, who would have had fire come down from heaven to consume the Samaritans, who refused to receive Him.

Object. 4. And Paul teacheth Timothy, not to strive, but to be gentle towards all men, suffering evil patiently.

Answ. Both these are directions to ministers of the gospel, how to deal, not with obstinate offenders in the church that sin against conscience, but either with men without, as the Samaritans were, and many unconverted Christians in Crete, whom Titus, as an evangelist, was to seek to convert: or at best with some Jews or Gentiles in the church, who, though carnal, yet were not convinced of the error of their way. And it is true, it became not the spirit of the gospel to convert aliens to the faith of Christ, such as the Samaritans were, by fire and brimstone; nor to deal harshly in public ministry, or private conference, with all such contrary-minded men, as either had not yet entered into church-fellowship, or if they had, yet did hitherto sin of ignorance, not against conscience.

But neither of both these texts do hinder the ministers of the gospel to proceed in a church-way against church-members, when they become scandalous offenders either in life or doctrine; much less do they speak at all to civil magistrates.

Object. 5. From the prediction of the prophets, who foretold that carnal weapons should cease in the days of the gospel, Isa. ii. 4, and xi. 9; Mic. iv. 3, 4. And the apostle professeth, The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, 2 Cor. x. 4. And Christ is so far from persecuting those that would not be of his religion, that he chargeth them, when they are persecuted themselves they[23] should pray, and when they are cursed they should bless. The reason whereof seemeth to be, that they who are now persecutors and wicked persons, may become true disciples and converts.


Answ. Those predictions in the prophets do only show, first, with what kind of weapons he will subdue the nations to the obedience of the faith of the gospel, not by fire and sword, and weapons of war, but by the power of his word and Spirit, which no man doubteth of.


Secondly. Those predictions of the prophets show what the meek and peaceable temper will be of all the true converts to Christianity, not lions or leopards, &c., not cruel oppressors, nor malignant opposers, nor biters of one another. But [they] do not forbid them to drive ravenous wolves from the sheepfold, and to restrain them from devouring the sheep of Christ.

And when Paul saith, The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but spiritual, he denieth not civil weapons of justice to the civil magistrate, Rom. xiii., but only to church officers. And yet the weapons of such officers he acknowledgeth to be such, as though they be spiritual, yet are ready to take vengeance of all disobedience, 2 Cor. x. 6; which hath reference, amongst other ordinances, to the censure of the church against scandalous offenders.


When Christ commandeth his disciples to bless them that curse them and persecute them, he giveth not therein a rule to public officers, whether in church or commonweal, to suffer notorious sinners, either in life or doctrine, to pass away with a blessing; but to private Christians to suffer persecution patiently, yea, and to pray for their persecutors.

Again, it is true Christ would have his disciples to be far from persecuting, for that is a sinful oppression of men, for righteousness’ sake; but that hindereth not but[24] that he would have them execute upon all disobedience the judgment and vengeance required in the word, 2 Cor. x. 6; Rom. xiii. 4.


Though it be true that wicked persons now may by the grace of God become true disciples and converts, yet we may not do evil that good may come thereof. And evil it would be to tolerate notorious evil doers, whether seducing teachers, or scandalous livers. Christ had something against the angel of the church of Pergamos for tolerating them that held the doctrine of Balaam, and against the church of Thyatira for tolerating Jezebel to teach and seduce, Rev. ii. 14, 20.

Your second head of reasons is taken from the profession and practice of famous princes, king James, Stephen of Poland, king of Bohemia.

Whereunto a treble answer may briefly be returned.

First, we willingly acknowledge that none is to be persecuted at all, no more than they may be oppressed for righteousness’ sake.

Again, we acknowledge that none is to be punished for his conscience, though misinformed, as hath been said, unless his error be fundamental, or seditiously and turbulently promoted, and that after due conviction of his conscience, that it may appear he is not punished for his conscience, but for sinning against his conscience.

Furthermore, we acknowledge, none is to be constrained to believe or profess the true religion till he be convinced in judgment of the truth of it; but yet restrained he may [be] from blaspheming the truth, and from seducing any unto pernicious errors.

2. We answer, what princes profess or practise, is not a rule of conscience. They many times tolerate that in point of state policy, which cannot justly be tolerated in point of true Christianity.


Again, princes many times tolerate offenders out of very necessity, when the offenders are either too many, or too mighty for them to punish; in which respect David tolerated Joab and his murders: but against his will.

3. We answer further, that for those three princes named by you, who tolerated religion, we can name you more and greater who have not tolerated heretics and schismatics, notwithstanding their pretence of conscience, and arrogating the crown of martyrdom to their sufferings.

Constantine the Great, at the request of the General Council of Nice, banished Arius, with some of his fellows.[87] The same Constantine made a severe law against the Donatists. And the like proceedings against them were used by Valentinian, Gratian, and Theodosius, as Augustine reporteth.[88] Only Julian the Apostate granted liberty to heretics as well as to pagans, that he might, by tolerating all weeds to grow, choke the vitals of Christianity; which was also the practice and sin of Valens the Arian.

Queen Elizabeth, as famous for her government as any of the former, it is well known what laws she made and executed against papists. Yea, and king James, one of your own witnesses, though he was slow in proceeding against papists, as you say, for conscience’ sake, yet you[26] are not ignorant how sharply and severely he punished those whom the malignant world calleth Puritans, men of more conscience and better faith than he tolerated.

I come now to your third and last argument, taken from the judgment of ancient and later writers, yea, even of papists themselves, who have condemned persecution for conscience’ sake.

You begin with Hilary, whose testimony we might admit without any prejudice to the truth; for it is true, the Christian church doth not persecute, but is persecuted. But to excommunicate an heretic, is not to persecute; that is, it is not to punish an innocent, but a culpable and damnable person, and that not for conscience, but for persisting in error against light of conscience, whereof it hath been convinced.

It is true also what he saith, that neither the apostles did, nor may we, propagate [the] Christian religion by the sword; but if pagans cannot be won by the word, they are not to be compelled by the sword. Nevertheless, this hindereth not but if they or any others should blaspheme the true God, and his true religion, they ought to be severely punished; and no less do they deserve, if they seduce from the truth to damnable heresy or idolatry.

Your next writer, which is Tertullian, speaketh to the same purpose in the place alleged by you. His intent is only to restrain Scapula, the Roman governor of Africa, from the persecution of Christians, for not offering sacrifice to their gods: and for that end fetcheth an argument from the law of natural equity, not to compel any to any religion, but to permit them either to believe willingly, or not to believe at all. Which we acknowledge, and accordingly permit the Indians to continue in their unbelief. Nevertheless, it will not therefore be lawful[27] openly to tolerate the worship of devils, or idols, or the seduction of any from the truth.

When Tertullian saith, “Another man’s religion neither hurteth nor profiteth any,” it must be understood of private worship, and religion professed in private: otherwise a false religion professed by the members of a church, or by such as have given their names to Christ, will be the ruin and desolation of the church, as appeareth by the threats of Christ to the churches of Asia, Rev. ii.

Your next author, Hierom, crosseth not the truth, nor advantageth your cause; for we grant what he saith, that heresy must be cut off with the sword of the Spirit. But this hindereth not, but that being so cut down, if the heretic still persist in his heresy to the seduction of others, he may be cut off by the civil sword to prevent the perdition of others. And that to be Hierom’s meaning, appeareth by his note upon that of the apostle, A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump; “therefore,” saith he, “a spark, as soon as it appeareth, is to be extinguished, and the leaven to be removed from the rest of the dough, rotten pieces of flesh are to be cut off, and a scabbed beast is to be driven from the sheepfold, lest the whole house, mass of dough, body, and flock, be set on fire with the spark, be soured with the leaven, be putrified with the rotten flesh, perish by the scabbed beast.”[89]

Brentius, whom you next quote, speaketh not to your cause. We willingly grant him and you, that man hath no power to make laws to bind conscience. But this[28] hindereth not, but that men may see the laws of God observed which do bind conscience.

The like answer may be returned to Luther, whom you next allege. First, that the government of the civil magistrate extendeth no further than over the bodies and goods of their subjects, not over their souls; and therefore they may not undertake to give laws to the souls and consciences of men.

Secondly, that the church of Christ doth not use the arm of secular power to compel men to the faith or profession of the truth, for this is to be done by spiritual weapons, whereby Christians are to be exhorted, not compelled.

But this hindereth not that Christians sinning against light of faith and conscience, may justly be censured by the church with excommunication, and by the civil sword also, in case they shall corrupt others to the perdition of their souls.

As for the testimony of the popish book, we weigh it not, as knowing whatsoever they speak for toleration of religion where themselves are under hatches, when they come to sit at stern, they judge and practise quite contrary: as both their writings and judicial proceedings have testified to the world these many years.

To shut up this argument from testimony of writers. It is well known Augustine retracted this opinion of yours, which in his younger times he had held, but in after riper age reversed and refuted, as appeareth in the second book of his Retractations, chap. 5, and in his Epistles, 48, 50. And in his first book against Parmenianus, chap. 7, he showeth, that if the Donatists were punished with death, they were justly punished. And in his eleventh Tractate upon John, “They murder,” saith he, “souls, and themselves are afflicted in body: they[29] put men to everlasting death, and yet they complain when themselves are put to suffer temporal death.”[90]

Optatus, in his third book,[91] justifieth Macarius, who had put some heretics to death; that he had done no more herein than what Moses, Phineas, and Elias had done before him.

Bernard, in his sixty-sixth Sermon in Cantica:[92] “Out of doubt,” saith he, “it is better that they should be restrained by the sword of him, who beareth not the sword in vain, than that they should be suffered to draw many others into their error. For he is the minister of God for wrath to every evil doer.”

Calvin’s judgment is well known, who procured the death of Michael Servetus for pertinacity in heresy, and defended his fact by a book written of that argument.[93]

Beza also wrote a book, De Hæreticis Morte Plectendis, that heretics are to be punished with death.[94] Aretius[30] likewise took the like course about the death of Valentinus Gentilis; and justified the magistrate’s proceeding against him, in a history written of that argument.[95]

Finally, you come to answer some main objections, as you call them, which yet are but one, and that one objecteth nothing against what we hold. It is, say you, no prejudice to the commonwealth, if liberty of conscience were suffered to such as fear God indeed, which you prove by the examples of the patriarchs and others.

But we readily grant you, liberty of conscience is to be granted to men that fear God indeed, as knowing they will not persist in heresy, or turbulent schism, when they are convinced in conscience of the sinfulness thereof.

But the question, is, whether an heretic, after once or twice admonition, and so after conviction, or any other scandalous and heinous offender, may be tolerated, either in the church without excommunication, or in the commonwealth without such punishment as may preserve others from dangerous and damnable infection.

Thus much I thought needful to be spoken, for avoiding the grounds of your error.

I forbear adding reasons to justify the truth, because you may find that done to your hand, in a treatise sent to some of the brethren late of Salem, who doubted as you do.

The Lord Jesus lead you by a Spirit of truth into all truth, through Jesus Christ.




Truth. In what dark corner of the world, sweet Peace, are we two met? How hath this present evil world banished me from all the coasts and quarters of it? And how hath the righteous God in judgment taken thee from the earth? Rev. vi. 4.

Truth and Peace rarely and seldom meet.

Peace. It is lamentably true, blessed Truth, the foundations of the world have long been out of course: the gates of earth and hell have conspired together to intercept our joyful meeting and our holy kisses. With what a wearied, tired wing have I flown over nations, kingdoms, cities, towns, to find out precious Truth!

Truth. The like inquiries in my flights and travels have I made for Peace, and still am told she hath left the earth, and fled to heaven.

Peace. Dear Truth, what is the earth but a dungeon of darkness, where Truth is not?


Truth. And what is the Peace thereof but a fleeting dream, thine ape and counterfeit?

Peace. Oh! where is the promise of the God of heaven, that Righteousness and Peace shall kiss each other?

Truth. Patience, sweet Peace, these heavens and earth are growing old, and shall be changed like a garment, Psal. cii. [26.] They shall melt away, and be burnt up with all the works that are therein; and the Most High Eternal Creator shall gloriously create new heavens and new earth, wherein dwells righteousness, 2 Pet. iii. [13.] Our kisses then shall have their endless date of pure and sweetest joys. Till then both thou and I must hope, and wait, and bear the fury of the dragon’s wrath, whose monstrous lies and furies shall with himself be cast into the lake of fire, the second death, Rev. xx. [10, 14.]

Peace. Most precious Truth, thou knowest we are both pursued and laid [in wait] for. Mine heart is full of sighs, mine eyes with tears. Where can I better vent my full, oppressed bosom than into thine, whose faithful lips may for these few hours revive my drooping, wandering spirits, and here begin to wipe tears from mine eyes, and the eyes of my dearest children?

Truth. Sweet daughter of the God of peace, begin. Pour out thy sorrows, vent thy complaints. How joyful am I to improve these precious minutes to revive our hearts, both thine and mine, and the hearts of all that love the truth and peace, Zach. viii. [19.]

Peace. Dear Truth, I know thy birth, thy nature, thy delight. They that know thee will prize thee far above themselves and lives, and sell themselves to buy thee. Well spake that famous Elizabeth to her famous attorney, Sir Edward Coke; “Mr. Attorney, go on as thou hast begun, and still plead, not pro Domina Regina, but pro Domina Veritate.”


Truth. It is true, my crown is high; my sceptre is strong to break down strongest holds, to throw down highest crowns of all that plead, though but in thought, against me. Some few there are, but oh! how few are valiant for the truth, and dare to plead my cause, as my witnesses in sackcloth, Rev. xi. [3]; while all men’s tongues are bent like bows to shoot out lying words against me!

Peace. Oh! how could I spend eternal days and endless dates at thy holy feet, in listening to the precious oracles of thy mouth! All the words of thy mouth are truth, and there is no iniquity in them. Thy lips drop as the honey-comb. But oh! since we must part anon, let us, as thou saidst, improve our minutes, and, according as thou promisedst, revive me with thy words, which are sweeter than the honey and the honey-comb.


Peace. Dear Truth, I have two sad complaints.

Two great complaints of Peace.

First. The most sober of thy witnesses, that dare to plead thy cause, how are they charged to be mine enemies—contentious, turbulent, seditious!

Secondly. Thine enemies, though they speak and rail against thee, though they outrageously pursue, imprison, banish, kill thy faithful witnesses, yet how is all vermilioned over for justice against the heretics! Yea, if they kindle coals, and blow the flames of devouring wars, that leave neither spiritual nor civil state, but burn up branch and root, yet how do all pretend an holy war! He that kills, and he that is killed, they both cry out, “It is for God, and for their conscience.”


Persecutors seldom plead Christ, but Moses, for their author.

It is true, nor one nor other seldom dare to plead the mighty Prince Christ Jesus for their author, yet both (both protestant and papist) pretend they have spoke with Moses and the prophets, who all, say they, before Christ came, allowed such holy persecutions [and] holy wars against the enemies of holy church.

[Prov. xvii. 14.]

Truth. Dear Peace, to ease thy first complaint, it is true, thy dearest sons, most like their mother, peace-keeping, peace-making sons of God, have borne and still must bear the blurs of troublers of Israel, and turners of the world upside down. And it is true again, what Solomon once spake: The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water, therefore, saith he, leave off contention before it be meddled with. This caveat should keep the banks and sluices firm and strong, that strife, like a breach of waters, break not in upon the sons of men.

Strife distinguished.

Yet strife must be distinguished: it is necessary, or unnecessary, godly or ungodly, Christian or unchristian, &c.

1. Ungodly strife.

It is unnecessary, unlawful, dishonourable, ungodly, unchristian, in most cases in the world: for there is a possibility of keeping sweet Peace in most cases, and, if it be possible, it is the express command of God that Peace be kept, Rom. xii. [18.]

2. Godly strife.

Again, it is necessary, honourable, godly, &c., with civil and earthly weapons to defend the innocent, and to rescue the oppressed from the violent paws and jaws of oppressing, persecuting Nimrods, Psal. lxxiii. Job xxix.

It is as necessary, yea, more honourable, godly, and Christian, to fight the fight of faith, with religious and spiritual artillery, and to contend earnestly for the faith of Jesus, once delivered to the saints, against all opposers, and the gates of earth and hell, men or devils, yea, against Paul himself, or an angel from heaven, if he bring any other faith or doctrine, Jude 4, 9; Gal. i. 8.


Peace. With a clashing of such arms am I never wakened. Speak once again, dear Truth, to my second complaint of bloody persecution, and devouring wars, marching under the colours of upright justice and holy zeal, &c.

A threefold doleful cry.

Truth. Mine ears have long been filled with a threefold doleful outcry—

Christ’s worship is his bed, Cant. i. 16. False worship, therefore, is a false bed.

First. Of one hundred forty-four thousand virgins, Rev. xiv., forced and ravished by emperors, kings, governors, to their beds of worship and religion; set up, like Absalom’s, on high, in their several states and countries.

The cry of the souls under the altar.

Secondly. The cry of those precious souls under the altar, Rev. vi. [9,] the souls of such as have been persecuted and slain for the testimony and witness of Jesus, whose blood hath been spilt like water upon the earth; and that because they have held fast the truth and witness of Jesus, against the worship of the states and times, compelling to an uniformity of state religion.

These cries of murdered virgins, who can sit still and hear? Who can but run, with zeal inflamed, to prevent the deflowering of chaste souls, and spilling of the blood of the innocent? Humanity stirs up and prompts the sons of men to draw material swords for a virgin’s chastity and life, against a ravishing murderer; and piety and Christianity must needs awaken the sons of God to draw the spiritual sword, the word of God, to preserve the chastity and life of spiritual virgins, who abhor the spiritual defilements of false worship, Rev. xiv.

A cry of the whole earth.

Thirdly. The cry of the whole earth, made drunk with the blood of its inhabitants slaughtering each other in their blinded zeal for conscience, for religion, against the catholics, against the Lutherans, &c.

What fearful cries, within these twenty years, of hundred thousands, men, women, children, fathers,[36] mothers, husbands, wives, brethren, sisters, old and young, high and low, plundered, ravished, slaughtered, murdered, famished! And hence these cries, that men fling away the spiritual sword and spiritual artillery, in spiritual and religious causes, and rather trust, for the suppressing of each other’s gods, conscience, and religion, as they suppose, to an arm of flesh and sword of steel.

Truth. Sweet Peace, what hast thou there?

Peace. Arguments against persecution for cause of conscience.

Truth. And what there?

Peace. An answer to such arguments, contrarily maintaining such persecution for cause of conscience.

Truth. These arguments against such persecution, and the answer pleading for it, [are] written, as Love hopes, from godly intentions, hearts, and hands, yet in a marvellously different style and manner—the arguments against persecution in milk, the answer for it, as I may say, in blood.

The wonderful providence of God in the writing of the arguments against persecution in milk.

The author of these arguments against persecution, as I have been informed, being committed by some then in power close prisoner to Newgate, for the witness of some truths of Jesus, and having not the use of pen and ink, wrote these arguments in milk, in sheets of paper brought to him by the woman, his keeper, from a friend in London as the stopples of his milk bottle.

In such paper, written with milk, nothing will appear; but the way of reading it by fire being known to this friend who received the papers, he transcribed and kept together the papers, although the author himself could not correct, nor view what himself had written.

It was in milk, tending to soul nourishment, even for babes and sucklings in Christ:—

It was in milk, spiritually white, pure and innocent,[37] like those white horses of the word of truth and meekness, and the white linen or armour of righteousness, in the army of Jesus, Rev. vi. and xix.:—

It was in milk, soft, meek, peaceable, and gentle, tending both to the peace of souls, and the peace of states and kingdoms.

The answer writ in blood.

Peace. The answer, though I hope out of milky pure intentions, is returned in blood—bloody and slaughterous conclusions—bloody to the souls of all men, forced to the religion and worship which every civil state or commonweal agrees on, and compels all subjects to, in a dissembled uniformity:—

Bloody to the bodies, first of the holy witnesses of Christ Jesus, who testify against such invented worships:—

Secondly, of the nations and peoples slaughtering each other for their several respective religions and consciences.


Truth. In the answer, Mr. Cotton first lays down several distinctions and conclusions of his own, tending to prove persecution.

Secondly. Answers to the scriptures and arguments proposed against persecution.

The first distinction discussed.

Peace. The first distinction is this: by persecution for cause of conscience, “I conceive you mean either for professing some point of doctrine which you believe in conscience to be the truth, or for practising some work which you believe in conscience to be a religious duty.”

Definition of persecution discussed.

Truth. I acknowledge that to molest any person, Jew or Gentile, for either professing doctrine, or practising[38] worship merely religious or spiritual, it is to persecute him; and such a person, whatever his doctrine or practice be, true or false, suffereth persecution for conscience.

Conscience will not be restrained from its own worship, nor constrained to another.

But withal I desire it may be well observed, that this distinction is not full and complete. For beside this, that a man may be persecuted because he holdeth or practiseth what he believes in conscience to be a truth, as Daniel did, for which he was cast into the lions’ den, Dan. vi. 16, and many thousands of Christians, because they durst not cease to preach and practise what they believed was by God commanded, as the apostles answered, Acts iv. and v., I say, besides this, a man may also be persecuted because he dares not be constrained to yield obedience to such doctrines and worships as are by men invented and appointed. So the three famous Jews, who were cast into the fiery furnace for refusing to fall down, in a nonconformity to the whole conforming world, before the golden image, Dan. iii. 21.[96] So thousands of Christ’s witnesses, and of late in those bloody Marian days, have rather chosen to yield their bodies to all sorts of torments, than to subscribe to doctrines, or practise worships, unto which the states and times (as Nebuchadnezzar to his golden image) have compelled and urged them.

A chaste soul in God’s worship, like a chaste wife.

A chaste wife will not only abhor to be restrained from her husband’s bed as adulterous and polluted, but also abhor (if not much more) to be constrained to the bed of a stranger. And what is abominable in corporal, is much more loathsome in spiritual whoredom and defilement.

The spouse of Christ Jesus, who could not find her soul’s beloved in the ways of his worship and ministry,[39] Cant. i., iii., and v. chapters, abhorred to turn aside to other flocks, worships, &c., and to embrace the bosom of a false Christ, Cant. i. 8.


Peace. The second distinction is this:—

The second distinction discussed.

“In points of doctrine some are fundamental, without right belief whereof a man cannot be saved; others are circumstantial and less principal, wherein a man may differ in judgment without prejudice of salvation on either part.”

God’s people may err from the very fundamentals of visible worship.

Truth. To this distinction I dare not subscribe, for then I should everlastingly condemn thousands, and ten thousands, yea, the whole generation of the righteous, who since the falling away from the first primitive Christian state or worship, have and do err fundamentally concerning the true matter, constitution, gathering, and governing of the church. And yet, far be it from any pious breast to imagine that they are not saved, and that their souls are not bound up in the bundle of eternal life.[97]

We read of four sorts of spiritual, or Christian, foundations in the New Testament.

Four sorts of spiritual foundations.

First, the foundation of all foundations, the corner-stone itself, the Lord Jesus, on whom all depend—persons, doctrines, practices, 1 Cor. iii. [11.]

2. Ministerial foundations. The church is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Ephes. ii. 20.


3. The foundation of future rejoicing in the fruits of obedience, 1 Tim. vi. [19.]

Στοιχεῖα, θεμὲιοὶ. The six foundations of the Christian religion or worship.

4. The foundation of doctrines, without the knowledge of which there can be no true profession of Christ, according to the first institution, Heb. vi. [1, 2,]—the foundation, or principles, of repentance from dead works, faith towards God, the doctrine of baptisms, laying on of hands, the resurrection, and eternal judgment. In some of these, to wit, those concerning baptisms and laying on of hands, God’s people will be found to be ignorant for many hundred years; and I yet cannot see it proved that light is risen, I mean the light of the first institution, in practice.

God’s people in their persons, heart-waking (Cant. v. 2), in the life of personal grace, will yet be found fast asleep in respect of public Christian worship.

Coming out of Babel, not local, but mystical.

God’s people, in their persons, are His, most dear and precious: yet in respect of the Christian worship they are mingled amongst the Babylonians, from whence they are called to come out, not locally, as some have said, for that belonged to a material and local Babel (and literal Babel and Jerusalem have now no difference, John iv. 21), but spiritually and mystically to come out from her sins and abominations.

The great ignorance of God’s people concerning the nature of the true church.

If Mr. Cotton maintain the true church of Christ to consist of the true matter of holy persons called out from the world (and the true form of union in a church government), and that also neither national, provincial, nor diocesan churches are of Christ’s institution: how many thousands of God’s people of all sorts, clergy and laity, as they call them, will they find, both in former and later times, captivated in such national, provincial, and diocesan churches? yea, and so far from living in, yea or knowing of any such churches, for matter and form, as they conceive now only to be true, that until of late years, how[41] few of God’s people knew any other church than the parish church of dead stones or timber? It being a late marvellous light, revealed by Christ Jesus, the Sun of righteousness, that his people are a company or church of living stones, 1 Pet. ii. 9.

Mr. Cotton and all the half separatists, halting between true and false churches, and consequently not yet clear in the fundamental matter of a Christian church.

And, however his own soul, and the souls of many others, precious to God, are persuaded to separate from national, provincial, and diocesan churches, and to assemble into particular churches, yet, since there are no parish churches in England, but what are made up of the parish bounds within such and such a compass of houses, and that such churches have been and are in constant dependence on, and subordination to the national church: how can the New English particular churches join with the old English parish churches in so many ordinances of word, prayer, singing, contribution, &c., but they must needs confess, that as yet their souls are far from the knowledge of the foundation of a true Christian church, whose matter must not only be living stones, but also separated from the rubbish of anti-christian confusions and desolations.


Peace. With lamentation, I may add, how can their souls be clear in this foundation of the true Christian matter, who persecute and oppress their own acknowledged brethren, presenting light unto them about this point? But I shall now present you with Mr. Cotton’s third distinction. “In points of practice,” saith he, “some concern the weightier duties of the law, as what God we worship, and with what kind of worship; whether such,[42] as if it be right, fellowship with God is held; if false, fellowship with God is lost.”

Truth. It is worth the inquiry, what kind of worship he intendeth: for worship is of various signification. Whether in general acceptation he mean the rightness or corruptness of the church, or the ministry of the church, or the ministrations of the word, prayer, seals, &c.

The true ministry a fundamental.

And because it pleaseth the Spirit of God to make the ministry one of the foundations of the Christian religion, Heb. vi. 1, 2, and also to make the ministry of the word and prayer in the church to be two special works, even of the apostles themselves, Acts vi. 2, I shall desire it may be well considered in the fear of God.[98]

The New English ministers examined.

First, concerning the ministry of the word. The New English ministers, when they were new elected and ordained ministers in New England, must undeniably grant, that at that time they were no ministers, notwithstanding their profession of standing so long in a true ministry in old England, whether received from the bishops, which some have maintained true, or from the people, which Mr. Cotton and others better liked, and which ministry was always accounted perpetual and indelible. I apply, and ask, will it not follow, that if their new ministry and ordination be true, the former was false? and if false, that in the exercise of it, notwithstanding abilities, graces, intentions, labours, and, by God’s gracious, unpromised, and extraordinary blessing, some success, I say, will it not according to this distinction follow, that according to visible rule, fellowship with God was lost?


Common prayer cast off, and written against by the New English.

Secondly, concerning prayer. The New English ministers have disclaimed and written against that worshipping of God by the common or set forms of prayer, which yet themselves practised in England, notwithstanding they knew that many servants of God, in great sufferings, witnessed against such a ministry of the word, and such a ministry of prayer.

Peace. I could name the persons, time, and place, when some of them were faithfully admonished for using of the Common Prayer, and the arguments presented to them, then seeming weak, but now acknowledged sound; yet, at that time, they satisfied their hearts with the practice of the author of the Council of Trent, who used to read only some of the choicest selected prayers in the mass-book, which I confess was also their own practice in their using of the Common Prayer.[99] But now, according to this distinction, I ask whether or no fellowship with God in such prayers was lost?

God’s people have worshipped God with false worships.

Truth. I could particularize other exercises of worship, which cannot be denied, according to this distinction, to be of the weightier points of the law: to wit, what God we worship, and with what kind of worship? wherein fellowship with God, in many of our unclean and abominable worships, hath been lost. Only upon these premises I shall observe: first, that God’s people, even the standard-bearers and leaders of them, according to this distinction, have worshipped God, in their sleepy ignorance, by such a kind of worship as wherein fellowship with God is lost;[44] yea also, that it is possible for them to do, after much light is risen against such worship, and in particular, brought to the eyes of such holy and worthy persons.

Secondly, there may be inward and secret fellowship with God in false ministries of word and prayer, (for that to the eternal praise of infinite mercy, beyond a word or promise of God, I acknowledge[100]) when yet, as the distinction saith, in such worship, not being right, fellowship with God is lost, and such a service or ministration must be lamented and forsaken.

Fundamentals of Christian worship not so easy and clear.

Thirdly, I observe that God’s people may live and die in such kinds of worship, notwithstanding that light from God, publicly and privately, hath been presented to them, able to convince; yet, not reaching to their conviction, and forsaking of such ways, contrary to a conclusion afterward expressed; to wit, “that fundamentals are so clear, that a man cannot but be convinced in conscience, and therefore that such a person not being convinced, he is condemned of himself, and may be persecuted for sinning against his conscience.”

Fourthly, I observe, that in such a maintaining a clearness of fundamentals or weightier points, and upon that ground a persecuting of men because they sin against their consciences, Mr. Cotton measures that to others, which himself when he lived in such practices would not have had measured to himself. As first, that it might have been affirmed of him, that in such practices he did sin against his conscience, having sufficient light shining about him.

Secondly, that he should or might lawfully have been cut off by death or banishment, as an heretic, sinning against his own conscience.


A notable speech of king James to a great nonconformist, turned persecutor.

And in this respect the speech of king James was notable to a great nonconformitant, converted, as is said, by king James to conformity, and counselling the king afterward to persecute the nonconformists even unto death: “Thou beast,” quoth the king, “if I had dealt so with thee in thy nonconformity, where hadst thou been?”


The four distinctions discussed.

Peace. The next distinction concerneth the manner of persons holding forth the aforesaid practices, not only the weightier duties of the law, but points of doctrine and worship less principal:—

“Some,” saith he, “hold them forth in a meek and peaceable way; some with such arrogance and impetuousness, as of itself tendeth to the disturbance of civil peace.”

Truth. In the examination of this distinction we shall discuss,

First, what is civil peace (wherein we shall vindicate thy name the better),

Secondly, what it is to hold forth a doctrine, or practice, in this impetuousness or arrogancy.

What civil peace is.

First, for civil peace, what is it but pax civitatis, the peace of the city, whether an English city, Scotch, or Irish city, or further abroad, French, Spanish, Turkish city, &c.

God’s people must be nonconformitants to evil.

Thus it pleased the Father of lights to define it, Jer. xxix. 7, Pray for the peace of the city; which peace of the city, or citizens, so compacted in a civil way of union, may be entire, unbroken, safe, &c., notwithstanding so many thousands of God’s people, the Jews, were there in bondage, and would neither be constrained to the worship[46] of the city Babel, nor restrained from so much of the worship of the true God as they then could practice, as is plain in the practice of the three worthies, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, as also of Daniel, Dan. iii. and Dan. vi.—the peace of the city or kingdom being a far different peace from the peace of the religion, or spiritual worship, maintained and professed of the citizens. This peace of their (worship which worship also in some cities being various) being a false peace, God’s people were and ought to be nonconformitants, not daring either to be restrained from the true, or constrained to false worship; and yet without breach of the civil or city peace, properly so called.

The difference between spiritual and civil peace.

Peace. Hence it is that so many glorious and flourishing cities of the world maintain their civil peace; yea, the very Americans and wildest pagans keep the peace of their towns or cities, though neither in one nor the other can any man prove a true church of God in those places, and consequently no spiritual and heavenly peace. The peace spiritual, whether true or false, being of a higher and far different nature from the peace of the place or people, being merely and essentially civil and human.

The difference between the spiritual and civil state. The civil state, the spiritual estate, and the church of Christ distinct in Ephesus.

Truth. Oh! how lost are the sons of men in this point! To illustrate this:—the church, or company of worshippers, whether true or false, is like unto a body or college of physicians in a city—like unto a corporation, society, or company of East India or Turkey merchants, or any other society or company in London; which companies may hold their courts, keep their records, hold disputations, and in matters concerning their society may dissent, divide, break into schisms and factions, sue and implead each other at the law, yea, wholly break up and dissolve into pieces and nothing, and yet the peace of the city not be in the least measure impaired or disturbed; because the essence or being of the city, and so the well being and[47] peace thereof, is essentially distinct from those particular societies; the city courts, city laws, city punishments distinct from theirs. The city was before them, and stands absolute and entire when such a corporation or society is taken down. For instance further, the city or civil state of Ephesus was essentially distinct from the worship of Diana in the city, or of the whole city. Again, the church of Christ in Ephesus, which were God’s people, converted and called out from the worship of that city unto Christianity, or worship of God in Christ, was distinct from both.

Now suppose that God remove the candlestick from Ephesus, yea, though the whole worship of the city of Ephesus should be altered, yet, if men be true and honestly ingenuous to city covenants, combinations, and principles, all this might be without the least impeachment or infringement of the peace of the city of Ephesus.

Thus in the city of Smyrna was the city itself or civil estate one thing, the spiritual or religious state of Smyrna another: the church of Christ in Smyrna distinct from them both. And the synagogue of the Jews, whether literally Jews, as some think, or mystically false Christians, as others, called the synagogue of Satan, Rev. ii., [was] distinct from all these. And notwithstanding these spiritual oppositions in point of worship and religion, yet hear we not the least noise—nor need we, if men keep but the bond of civility, of any civil breach, or breach of civil peace amongst them; and to persecute God’s people there for religion, that only was a breach of civility itself.



Peace. Now to the second query, what it is to hold forth doctrine or practice in an arrogant or impetuous way?

The answerer too obscure in generals. God’s meekest servants use to be counted arrogant and impetuous.

Truth. Although it hath not pleased Mr. Cotton to declare what is this arrogant or impetuous holding forth of doctrine or practice tending to disturbance of civil peace, I cannot but express my sad and sorrowful observation, how it pleaseth God to leave him as to take up the common reproachful accusation of the accuser of God’s children: to wit, that they are arrogant and impetuous. Which charge, together with that of obstinacy, pertinacity, pride, troublers of the city, &c., Satan commonly loads the meekest of the saints and witnesses of Jesus with.

Six cases wherein God’s people have been bold and zealous, yet not arrogant.

To wipe off, therefore, these foul blurs and aspersions from the fair and beautiful face of the spouse of Jesus, I shall select and propose five or six cases, for which God’s witnesses, in all ages and generations of men, have been charged with arrogance, impetuousness, &c., and yet the God of heaven, and Judge of all men, hath graciously discharged them from such crimes, and maintained and avowed them for his faithful and peaceable servants.

Christ Jesus and his disciples teach publicly a new doctrine, fundamentally different from the religion professed.

First, God’s people have proclaimed, taught, disputed, for divers months together, a new religion and worship, contrary to the worship projected in the town, city, or state where they have lived, or where they have travelled, as did the Lord Jesus himself over all Galilee, and the apostles after Him in all places, both in the synagogues and market-places, as appears Acts xvii. 2, 17; Acts xviii. 4, 8. Yet this is no arrogance nor impetuousness.

God’s servants zealous and bold to the faces of the highest. 1 Kings xviii. 18. Luke xiii. 32. Acts xxiii. 3.

Secondly, God’s servants have been zealous for their Lord and Master, even to the very faces of the highest,[49] and concerning the persons of the highest, so far as they have opposed the truth of God: so Elijah to the face of Ahab, “It is not I, but thou, and thy father’s house, that troublest Israel.” So the Lord Jesus concerning Herod, Go, tell that fox. So Paul, God delivered me from the mouth of the lion; and to Ananias, Thou whited wall; and yet in all this no arrogance, nor impetuousness.

God’s people constantly immoveable to death.

Thirdly, God’s people have been immoveable, constant, and resolved to the death, in refusing to submit to false worships, and in preaching and professing the true worship, contrary to the express command of public authority. So the three famous worthies against the command of Nebuchadnezzar, and the uniform conformity of all nations agreeing upon a false worship, Dan. iii. So the apostles, Acts iv. and v., and so the witnesses of Jesus in all ages, who loved not their lives to the death, Rev. xii., not regarding sweet life nor bitter death, and yet not arrogant, nor impetuous.

God’s people ever maintained Christ Jesus the only Lord and King to the conscience.

Fourthly, God’s people, since the coming of the King of Israel, the Lord Jesus, have openly and constantly professed, that no civil magistrate, no king, nor Cæsar, have any power over the souls or consciences of their subjects, in the matters of God and the crown of Jesus; but the civil magistrates themselves, yea, kings and Cæsars, are bound to subject their own souls to the ministry and church, the power and government of this Lord Jesus, the King of kings. Hence was the charge against the apostles (false in civil, but true in spirituals) that they affirmed that there was another King, one Jesus, Acts xvii. 7. And, indeed, this was the great charge against the Lord Jesus himself, which the Jews laid against him, and for which he suffered death, as appears by the accusation written over his head upon the gallows, John xix. 19, Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.


That Christ is King alone over conscience is the sum of all true preaching.

This was and is the sum of all true preaching of the gospel, or glad news, viz., that God anointed Jesus to be the sole King and Governor of all the Israel of God in spiritual and soul causes, Ps. ii. 9; Acts ii. 36. Yet this kingly power of His, he resolved not to manage in His own person, but ministerially in the hands of such messengers which he sent forth to preach and baptize, and to such as believed that word they preached, John xvii. And yet here no arrogance, nor impetuousness.

God’s people have seemed the disturbers of civil state.

5. God’s people, in delivering the mind and will of God concerning the kingdoms and civil states where they have lived, have seemed in all show of common sense and rational policy, if men look not higher with the eye of faith, to endanger and overthrow the very civil state, as appeareth by all Jeremiah’s preaching and counsel to king Zedekiah, his princes and people, insomuch that the charge of the princes against Jeremiah was, that he discouraged the army from fighting against the Babylonians, and weakened the land from its own defence; and this charge in the eye of reason, seemed not to be unreasonable, or unrighteous, Jer. xxxvii. and xxxviii.; and yet in Jeremiah no arrogance, nor impetuousness.

God’s word and people the occasion of tumults.

6. Lastly, God’s people, by their preaching, disputing, &c., have been, though not the cause, yet accidentally the occasion of great contentions and divisions, yea, tumults and uproars, in towns and cities where they have lived and come; and yet neither their doctrine nor themselves arrogant nor impetuous, however so charged: for thus the Lord Jesus discovereth men’s false and secure suppositions, Luke xii. 51, Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on the earth? I tell you, nay; but rather division; for from henceforth shall there be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three, the father shall be divided against the son and the son against the father, &c.[51] And thus upon the occasion of the apostles’ preaching the kingdom and worship of God in Christ, were most commonly uproars and tumults wherever they came. For instance, those strange and monstrous uproars at Iconium, at Ephesus, at Jerusalem, Acts xiv. 4; Acts xix. 29, 40; Acts xxi. 30, 31.


[1 Obj.]

Peace. It will be said, dear Truth, what the Lord Jesus and his messengers taught was truth; but the question is about error.

Truth. I answer, This distinction now in discussion concerns not truth or error, but the manner of holding forth or divulging.

I acknowledge that such may be the way and manner of holding forth, either with railing or reviling, daring or challenging speeches, or with force of arms, swords, guns, prisons, &c., that it may not only tend to break, but may actually break the civil peace, or peace of the city.

The instances proposed carry a great show of impetuousness, yet all are pure and peaceable.

Yet these instances propounded are cases of great opposition and spiritual hostility, and occasions of breach of civil peace; and yet as the borders, or matter, were of gold, so the specks, or manner, (Cantic. i. [11,]) were of silver: both matter and manner pure, holy, peaceable, and inoffensive.

Moreover, I answer, That it is possible and common for persons of soft and gentle nature and spirits, to hold out falsehood with more seeming meekness and peaceableness, than the Lord Jesus or his servants did or do hold forth the true and everlasting gospel. So that the answerer would be requested to explain what he means by this[52] arrogant and impetuous holding forth of any doctrine, which very manner of holding forth tends to break civil peace, and comes under the cognizance and correction of the civil magistrate, lest he build the sepulchre of the prophets, and say, If we had been in the Pharisees’ days, the Roman emperor’s days, or the bloody Marian days, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets, Matt. xxiii. 30, who were charged with arrogance and impetuousness.


[2 Obj.]

Peace. It will here be said, whence then ariseth civil dissensions and uproars about matters of religion?

The true cause of tumults at the preaching of the word.

Truth. I answer: When a kingdom or state, town or family, lies and lives in the guilt of a false god, false Christ, false worship, no wonder if sore eyes be troubled at the appearance of the light, be it never so sweet. No wonder if a body full of corrupt humours be troubled at strong, though wholesome, physic—if persons sleepy and loving to sleep be troubled at the noise of shrill, though silver, alarums. No wonder if Adonijah and all his company be amazed and troubled at the sound of the right heir, king Solomon, 1 Kings i. [41, 49,]—if the husbandmen were troubled when the Lord of the vineyard sent servant after servant, and at last his only son, and they beat, and wounded, and killed even the son himself, because they meant themselves to seize upon the inheritance, unto which they had no right, Matt. xxi. 38. Hence all those tumults about the apostles in the Acts, &c. Whereas, good eyes are not so troubled at light; vigilant and watchful persons, loyal and faithful, are not so troubled at the true, no, nor at a false religion of Jew or Gentile.


A preposterous way of suppressing errors.

Secondly. Breach of civil peace may arise when false and idolatrous practices are held forth, and yet no breach of civil peace from the doctrine or practice, or the manner of holding forth, but from that wrong and preposterous way of suppressing, preventing, and extinguishing such doctrines or practices by weapons of wrath and blood, whips, stocks, imprisonment, banishment, death, &c.; by which men commonly are persuaded to convert heretics, and to cast out unclean spirits, which only the finger of God can do, that is, the mighty power of the Spirit in the word.

Light only can expel fogs and darkness.

Hence the town is in an uproar, and the country takes the alarum to expel that fog or mist of error, heresy, blasphemy, as is supposed, with swords and guns. Whereas it is light alone, even light from the bright shining Sun of Righteousness, which is able, in the souls and consciences of men, to dispel and scatter such fogs and darkness.

Hence the sons of men, as David speaks in another case, Ps. xxxix. [6,] disquiet themselves in vain, and unmercifully disquiet others, as, by the help of the Lord, in the sequel of this discourse shall more appear.


Peace. Now the last distinction is this: “Persecution for conscience is either for a rightly informed conscience, or a blind and erroneous conscience.”

Answ. Persecutors oppress both true and erroneous consciences.

Truth. Indeed, both these consciences are persecuted; but lamentably blind and erroneous will those consciences shortly appear to be, which out of zeal for God, as is pretended, have persecuted either. And heavy is the doom of those blind guides and idol shepherds, whose right eye[54] God’s finger of jealousy hath put out, who flattering the ten horns, or worldly powers, persuade them what excellent and faithful service they perform to God, in persecuting both these consciences; either hanging up a rightly informed conscience, and therein the Lord Jesus himself, between two malefactors, or else killing the erroneous and the blind, like Saul, out of zeal to the Israel of God, the poor Gibeonites, whom it pleased God to permit to live; and yet that hostility and cruelty used against them, as the repeated judgment year after year upon the whole land after told them, could not be pardoned until the death of the persecutor, Saul [and] his sons, had appeased the Lord’s displeasure, 2 Sam. xxi.


Peace. After explication in these distinctions, it pleaseth the answerer to give his resolution to the question in four particulars.

First, that he holds it “not lawful to persecute any for conscience’ sake rightly informed, for in persecuting such,” saith he, “Christ himself is persecuted.” For which reason, truly rendered, he quotes, Acts ix. 4, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?

Truth. He that shall read this conclusion over a thousand times, shall as soon find darkness in the bright beams of the sun, as in this so clear and shining a beam of Truth; viz., that Christ Jesus, in his truth, must not be persecuted.

Yet, this I must ask, for it will be admired by all sober men, what should be the cause or inducement to the answerer’s mind to lay down such a position or thesis as this is, It is not lawful to persecute the Lord Jesus?


All persecutors of Christ profess not to persecute him.

Search all scriptures, histories, records, monuments; consult with all experiences; did ever Pharaoh, Saul, Ahab, Jezebel, Scribes and Pharisees, the Jews, Herod, the bloody Neros, Gardiners, Bonners, pope, or devil himself, profess to persecute the Son of God, Jesus as Jesus, Christ as Christ, without a mask or covering?

No, saith Pharaoh, the Israelites are idle, and therefore speak they of sacrificing. David is risen up in a conspiracy against Saul, therefore persecute him. Naboth hath blasphemed God and the king, therefore stone him. Christ is a seducer of the people, a blasphemer against God, and traitor against Cæsar, therefore hang him. Christians are schismatical, factious, heretical, therefore persecute them. The devil hath deluded John Huss, therefore crown him with a paper of devils, and burn him, &c.

Peace. One thing I see apparently in the Lord’s overruling the pen of this worthy answerer, viz., a secret whispering from heaven to him, that although his soul aim at Christ, and hath wrought much for Christ in many sincere intentions, and God’s merciful and patient acceptance, yet he hath never left the tents of such who think they do God good service in killing the Lord Jesus in his servants. And yet they say, if we had been in the days of our fathers, in queen Mary’s days, &c., we would never have consented to such persecution. And therefore, when they persecute Christ Jesus in his truths or servants, they say, “Do not say you are persecuted for the word, for Christ’s sake: for we hold it not lawful to persecute Jesus Christ.”

Let me also add a second: So far as he hath been a guide, by preaching for persecution, I say, wherein he hath been a guide and leader, by misinterpreting and applying the writings of truth, so far, I say, his own[56] mouth and hands shall judge (I hope not his person, but) his actions; for the Lord Jesus hath suffered by him, Acts ix. 5. And if the Lord Jesus himself were present, Himself should suffer that in his own person, which his servants witnessing his truth do suffer for his sake.


Peace. Their second conclusion is this: “It is not lawful to persecute an erroneous and blind conscience, even in fundamental and weighty points, till after admonition once or twice, Tit. iii. 11, and then such consciences may be persecuted; because the word of God is so clear in fundamental and weighty points, that such a person cannot but sin against his conscience, and so being condemned of himself, that is, of his conscience, he may be persecuted for sinning against his own conscience.”[101]

Truth. I answer, In that great battle between the Lord Jesus and the devil, it is observable that Satan takes up the weapons of scripture, and such scripture which in show and colour was excellent for his purpose; but in this third of Titus, as Solomon speaks of the birds of heaven, Prov. i.[57] [17,] a man may evidently see the snare: and I know the time is coming wherein it shall be said, Surely in vain the net is laid in the sight of the saints (heavenly birds).

So palpably gross and thick is the mist and fog which Satan hath raised about this scripture, that he that can but see men as trees in matters of God’s worship, may easily discern what a wonderful deep sleep God’s people are fallen into concerning the visible kingdom of Christ; insomuch that this third of Titus, which through fearful profanations hath so many hundred years been the pretended bulwark and defence of all the bloody wolves, dens of lions, and mountains of leopards, hunting and devouring the witnesses of Jesus, should now be the refuge and defence of (as I hope) the lambs and little ones of Jesus: yet, in this point, so preaching and practising so unlike to themselves, to the Lord Jesus, and lamentably too like to His and their persecutors.


Peace. Bright Truth, since this place of Titus is such a pretended bulwark for persecuting of heretics, and under that pretence of persecuting all thy followers, I beseech you by the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness, scatter these mists, and unfold these particulars out of the text:—

First. What this man is that is an heretic.

Secondly. How this heretic is condemned of himself.

Thirdly. What is this first and second admonition, and by whom it is supposed to be given.

Fourthly. What is this rejecting of Him, and by whom it is supposed this rejection was to be made.


What is meant by heretic in Titus.

Truth. First, what is this heretic? I find him commonly defined to be such an one as is obstinate in fundamentals, and so also I conceive the answerer seems to resent him, saying, that the apostle renders this reason why after once and twice admonition he ought to be persecuted; because in fundamental and principal points of doctrine and worship, the word of God is so clear, that the heretic cannot but be convinced in his own conscience.

But of this reason, I find not one tittle mentioned in this scripture. For although he saith such an one is condemned of himself, yet he saith not, nor will it follow, that fundamentals are so clear, that after first and second admonition, a person that submits not to them is condemned of himself, any more than in lesser points. This eleventh verse hath reference to the former verses. Titus, an evangelist, a preacher of glad news, abiding here with the church of Christ at Crete, is required by Paul to avoid, to reject, and to teach the church to reject, genealogies, disputes, and unprofitable questions about the law. Such a like charge it is as he gave to Timothy, left also an evangelist at Ephesus, 1 Tim. i. 4.

If it should be objected, what is to be done to such contentious, vain strivers about genealogies and questions unprofitable?—The apostle seems plainly to answer, Let him be once and twice admonished.

Obj. Yea, but what if once and twice admonition prevail not?

The apostle seems to answer, αἱρετικὸν ἄνθρωπον; and that is, the man that is wilfully obstinate after such once and twice admonition, reject him.

With this scripture agrees that of 1 Tim. vi. 4, 5, where Timothy is commanded to withdraw himself from such who dote about questions and strifes of words.

All which are points of a lower and inferior nature, not[59] properly falling within the terms or notions of those (στοιχεῖα) first principles and (θεμελίους) foundations of the Christian profession, to wit, repentance from dead works, faith towards God, the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, the resurrection, and eternal judgment, Heb. vi. 2, &c.

Concerning these fundamentals (although nothing is so little in the Christian worship, but may be referred to one of these six, yet) doth not Paul to Timothy or Titus speak in those places by me alleged, or of any of these, as may evidently appear by the context and scope.

The beloved spouse of Christ is no receptacle for any filthy person, obstinate in any filthiness against the purity of the Lord Jesus, who hath commanded his people to purge out the old leaven, not only greater portions, but a little leaven which will leaven the whole lump; and therefore this heretic, or obstinate person in these vain and unprofitable questions, was to be rejected, as well as if his obstinacy had been in greater matters.

Again, if there were a door or window left open to vain and unprofitable questions, and sins of smaller nature, how apt are persons to cover [them] with a silken covering, and to say, Why, I am no heretic in fundamentals, spare me in this or that little one, this or that opinion or practice, these are of an inferior, circumstantial nature, &c.

The word heretic generally mistaken.

So the coherence with the former verses, and the scope of the Spirit of God in this and other like scriptures being carefully observed, this Greek word heretic is no more in true English, and in truth, than an obstinate and wilful person in the church of Crete, striving and contending about those unprofitable questions and genealogies, &c.; and [it] is not such a monster intended in this place, as most interpreters run upon, to wit, one obstinate in fundamentals, and, as the answerer makes the apostle to write,[60] in such fundamentals and principal points, wherein the word of God is so clear that a man cannot but be convinced in conscience, and therefore is not persecuted for matter of conscience, but for sinning against his conscience.


Peace. Now, in the second place, what is this self-condemnation?

Truth. The apostle seemeth to make this a ground of the rejecting of such a person—because he is subverted and sinneth, being condemned of himself. It will appear upon due search, that this self-condemning is not here intended to be in heretics (as men say) in fundamentals only; but, as it is meant here, in men obstinate in the lesser questions, &c.

First, he is subverted, or turned crooked, ἐξέστραπται, a word opposite to straightness, or rightness. So that the scope is, as I conceive—upon true and faithful admonition once or twice, the pride of heart, or heat of wrath, draws a veil over the eyes and heart, so that the soul is turned off or loosed from the checks of truth.

Secondly, he sinneth, ἁμαρτάνει; that is, being subverted, or turned aside, he sinneth, or wanders from the path of truth, and is condemned by himself, αὐτοκάτακριτος; that is, by the secret checks and whisperings of his own conscience, which will take God’s part against a man’s self, in smiting, accusing, &c.

Checks of conscience.

Which checks of conscience we find even in God’s own dear people, as is most admirably opened in the fifth of Canticles, in those sad, drowsy, and unkind passages of the spouse, in her answer to the knocks and calls of the[61] Lord Jesus; which God’s people, in all their awakenings, acknowledge how slightly they have listened to the checks of their own consciences. This the answerer pleaseth to call sinning against his conscience, for which he may lawfully be persecuted: to wit, for sinning against his conscience.

Which conclusion—though painted over with the vermilion of mistaken scripture, and that old dream of Jew and Gentile that the crown of Jesus will consist of outward material gold, and his sword be made of iron or steel, executing judgment in his church and kingdom by corporal punishment—I hope, by the assistance of the Lord Jesus, to manifest it to be the overturning and rooting up the very foundations and roots of all true Christianity, and absolutely denying the Lord Jesus, the great anointed, to be yet come in the flesh.


This will appear, if we examine the two last queries of this place of Titus; to wit,

First. What this admonition is?

Secondly. What is the rejection here intended? Reject him.

First, then, Titus, unto whom this epistle and these directions were written, and in him to all that succeed him in the like work of the gospel to the world’s end, was no minister of the civil state, armed with the majesty and terror of a material sword, who might for offences against the civil state inflict punishments upon the bodies of men by imprisonments, whippings, fines, banishment, death. Titus was a minister of the gospel, or glad tidings, armed[62] only with the spiritual sword of the word of God, and [with] such spiritual weapons as (yet) through God were mighty to the casting down of strongholds, yea, every high thought of the highest head and heart in the world, 2 Cor. x. 4.

What is the first and second admonition. What the rejecting of the heretic was. Corporal killing in the law, typing out spiritual killing, by excommunication, in the gospel.

Therefore, these first and second admonitions were not civil or corporal punishments on men’s persons or purses, which courts of men may lawfully inflict upon malefactors; but they were the reprehensions, convictions, exhortations, and persuasions of the word of the eternal God, charged home to the conscience in the name and presence of the Lord Jesus, in the midst of the church. Which being despised and not hearkened to, in the last place follows rejection; which is not a cutting off by heading, hanging, burning, &c., or an expelling of the country and coasts; neither [of] which (no, nor any lesser civil punishment) Titus, nor the church at Crete, had any power to exercise. But it was that dreadful cutting off from that visible head and body, Christ Jesus and his church; that purging out of the old leaven from the lump of the saints; the putting away of the evil and wicked person from the holy land and commonwealth of God’s Israel, 1 Cor. v. [6, 7.][102] Where it is observable, that the same word used by Moses for putting a malefactor to death, in typical Israel, by sword, stoning, &c., Deut. xiii. 5, is here used by Paul for the spiritual killing, or cutting off by excommunication, 1 Cor. v. 13, Put away that evil person, &c.


Now, I desire the answerer, and any, in the holy awe and fear of God, to consider, that—

From whom the first and second admonition was to proceed, from them also was the rejecting or casting out to proceed, as before. But not from the civil magistrate, to whom Paul writes not this epistle, and who also is not bound once and twice to admonish, but may speedily punish, as he sees cause, the persons or purses of delinquents against his civil state; but from Titus, the minister or angel of the church, and from the church with him, were these first and second admonitions to proceed.

And, therefore, at last also, this rejecting: which can be no other but a casting out, or excommunicating of him from their church society.

Indeed, this rejecting is no other than that avoiding which Paul writes of to the church of Christ at Rome, Rom. xvi. 17; which avoiding, however wofully perverted by some to prove persecution, belonged to the governors of Christ’s church and kingdom in Rome, and not to the Roman emperor, for him to rid and avoid the world of them by bloody and cruel persecution.


The third conclusion discussed.

Peace. The third conclusion is—in points of lesser moment there ought to be a toleration.

Satan’s policy.

Which though I acknowledge to be the truth of God, yet three things are very observable in the manner of laying it down: for Satan useth excellent arrows to bad marks, and sometimes beyond the intent, and hidden from the eye of the archer.

The answerer granteth a toleration.

First, saith he, such a person is to be tolerated till God may be pleased to reveal his truth to him.


Patience to be used toward the opposite.

Truth. This is well observed by you: for indeed this is the very ground why the apostle calls for meekness and gentleness toward all men, and toward such as oppose themselves, 2 Tim. ii. [25]; because there is a peradventure, or it may be; “It may be, God may give them repentance.” That God that hath shown mercy to one, may show mercy to another. It may be, that eye-salve that anointed one man’s eye who was blind and opposite, may another as blind and opposite. He that hath given repentance to the husband, may give it to his wife, &c.

The carriage of a soul, sensible of mercy, toward other sinners in their blindness and opposition.

Hence the soul that is lively and sensible of mercy received to itself in former blindness, opposition, and enmity against God, cannot but be patient and gentle toward the Jews, who yet deny the Lord Jesus to be come, and justify their forefathers in murdering of him: toward the Turks, who acknowledge Christ a great prophet, yet less than Mahomet: yea, to all the several sorts of anti-christians, who set up many a false Christ instead of him: and, lastly, to the pagans, and wildest sorts of the sons of men, who have not yet heard of the Father, nor the Son: and to all these sorts, Jews, Turks, anti-christians, pagans, when they oppose the light presented to them, in the sense of its own former opposition, and that God peradventure may at last give repentance. I add, such a soul will not only be patient, but earnestly and constantly pray for all sorts of men, that out of them God’s elect may be called to the fellowship of Christ Jesus; and, lastly, not only pray, but endeavour, to its utmost ability, their participation of the same grace and mercy.[103]


That great rock upon which so many gallant ships miscarry, viz., that such persons, false prophets, heretics, &c., were to be put to death in Israel, I shall, with God’s assistance, remove. As also that fine silken covering of the image, viz., that such persons ought to be put to death, or banished, to prevent the infecting and seducing of others, I shall, with God’s assistance, in the following discourse pluck off.

The answerer confounds the churches in Philippi and Rome, with the cities Philippi and Rome.

Secondly, I observe from the scriptures he quoteth for this toleration, Phil. iii. [17], and Rom. xiv. [1-4], how closely, yet I hope unadvisedly, he makes the churches of Christ at Philippi and Rome all one with the cities Philippi and Rome, in which the churches were, and to whom only Paul wrote. As if what these churches in Philippi and Rome must tolerate amongst themselves, that the cities Philippi and Rome must tolerate in their citizens: and what these churches must not tolerate, that these cities, Philippi and Rome, must not tolerate within the compass of the city, state, and jurisdiction.

Truth. Upon that ground, by undeniable consequence, these cities, Philippi and Rome, were bound not to tolerate themselves, that is, the cities and citizens of Philippi and Rome, in their own civil life and being; but must kill or expel themselves from their own cities, as being idolatrous worshippers of other gods than the true God in Jesus Christ.

Difference between the church and the world.

But as the lily is amongst the thorns, so is Christ’s love among the daughters; and as the apple-tree among the trees of the forest, so is her beloved among the sons;[66] so great a difference is there between the church in a city or country, and the civil state, city, or country in which it is.

No less then (as David in another case, Ps. ciii. [11], as far as the heavens are from the earth) are they that are truly Christ’s (that is, anointed truly with the Spirit of Christ) [different] from many thousands who love not the Lord Jesus Christ, and yet are and must be permitted in the world, or civil state, although they [i. e., the world, &c.] have no right to enter into the gates of Jerusalem, the church of God.

The church and civil state confusedly made all one.

And this is the more carefully to be minded, because whenever a toleration of others’ religion and conscience is pleaded for, such as are (I hope in truth) zealous for God, readily produce plenty of scriptures written to the church, both before and since Christ’s coming, all commanding and pressing the putting forth of the unclean, the cutting off the obstinate, the purging out the leaven, rejecting of heretics. As if because briars, thorns, and thistles may not be in the garden of the church, therefore they must all be plucked up out of the wilderness. Whereas he that is a briar, that is, a Jew, a Turk, a pagan, an anti-christian, to-day, may be, when the word of the Lord runs freely, a member of Jesus Christ to-morrow, cut out of the wild olive and planted into the true.

Persecutors have forgotten the blessedness promised to the merciful, Matt. v. [7.]

Peace. Thirdly, from this toleration of persons but holding lesser errors, I observe the unmercifulness of such doctrines and hearts, as if they had forgotten the blessedness; Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy, Matt. v. [7.] He that is slightly and but a little hurt, shall be suffered, and means vouchsafed for his cure. But the deep wounded sinners, and leprous, ulcerous, and those of bloody issues twelve years together, and those which have been bowed down thirty-eight years of their[67] life, they must not be suffered, until peradventure God may give them repentance. But either it is not lawful for a godly magistrate to rule and govern such a people, as some have said, or else if they be under government, and reform not to the state religion after the first and second admonition, the civil magistrate is bound to persecute, &c.

Truth. Such persons have need, as Paul to the Romans, chap. xii. 1, to be besought by the mercy of God to put on bowels of mercy toward such as have neither wronged them in body nor goods, and therefore justly should not be punished in their goods or persons.


Peace. I shall now trouble you, dear Truth, but with one conclusion more, which is this, viz., that if a man hold forth error with a boisterous and arrogant spirit, to the disturbance of the civil peace, he ought to be punished, &c.

Truth. To this I have spoken to, confessing that if any man commit aught of those things which Paul was accused of, Acts xxv. 11, he ought not to be spared, yea, he ought not, as Paul saith, in such cases to refuse to die.

What persons are guilty of breach of civil peace.

But if the matter be of another nature, a spiritual and divine nature, I have written before in many cases, and might in many more, that the worship which a state professeth may be contradicted and preached against, and yet no breach of civil peace. And if a breach follow, it is not made by such doctrines, but by the boisterous and violent opposers of them.

The most peaceable wrongfully accused of peace-breaking.

Such persons only break the city’s or kingdom’s peace, who cry out for prison and swords against such who cross[68] their judgment or practice in religion. For as Joseph’s mistress accused Joseph of uncleanness, and calls out for civil violence against him, when Joseph was chaste and herself guilty, so, commonly, the meek and peaceable of the earth are traduced as rebels, factious, peace-breakers, although they deal not with the state or state matters, but matters of divine and spiritual nature, when their traducers are the only unpeaceable, and guilty of breach of civil peace.[104]

Peace. We are now come to the second part of the answer, which is a particular examination of such grounds as are brought against such persecution.

The first sort of grounds are from the scriptures.


The examination of what is meant by the tares and the command of the Lord Jesus to let them alone.

First, Matt. xiii. 30, 38, “Because Christ commandeth to let alone the tares to grow up together with the wheat, until the harvest.”

Unto which he answereth: “That tares are not briars and thorns, but partly hypocrites, like unto the godly, but indeed carnal, as the tares are like to wheat, but are not wheat; or partly such corrupt doctrines or practices as are indeed unsound, but yet such as come very near the truth (as tares do to the wheat), and so near, that good men may be taken with them; and so the persons in whom they grow cannot be rooted out but good wheat will be rooted out with them. In such a case,” saith he,[69] “Christ calleth for peaceable toleration, and not for penal prosecution, according to the third conclusion.”

The answerer’s fallacious exposition, that tares signify either persons, doctrines, or practices.

Truth. The substance of this answer I conceive to be, first, negative; that by tares are not meant persons of another religion and worship, that is, saith he, “they are not briars and thorns.”

Secondly, affirmative; by tares are meant either persons or doctrines, or practices; persons, as hypocrites, like the godly; doctrines or practices corrupt, yet like the truth.

For answer hereunto, I confess that not only those worthy witnesses, whose memories are sweet with all that fear God, Calvin, Beza, &c., but of later times many conjoin with this worthy answerer, to satisfy themselves and others with such an interpretation.

The answerer barely affirming a most strange interpretation.

But, alas! how dark is the soul left that desires to walk with God in holy fear and trembling, when in such a weighty and mighty point as this is, that in matters of conscience concerneth the spilling of the blood of thousands, and the civil peace of the world in the taking up arms to suppress all false religions!—when, I say, no evidence, or demonstration of the Spirit, is brought to prove such an interpretation, nor arguments from the place itself or the scriptures of truth to confirm it; but a bare affirmation that these tares must signify persons, or doctrines and practices.

Satan’s subtlety about the opening of scripture.

I will not imagine any deceitful purpose in the answerer’s thoughts in the proposal of these three—persons, doctrines, or practices; yet dare I confidently avouch, that the old serpent hath deceived his precious soul, and by tongue and pen would deceive the souls of others by such a method of dividing the word of truth. A threefold cord, and so a threefold snare, is strong; and too like it is[70] that one of the three, either persons, doctrines, or practices, may catch some feet.[105]


Peace. The place then being of such importance as concerning the truth of God, the blood of thousands, yea, the blood of saints, and of the Lord Jesus in them, I shall request your more diligent search, by the Lord’s holy assistance, into this scripture.

[Truth.] I shall make it evident, that by these tares in this parable are meant persons in respect of their religion and way of worship, open and visible professors, as bad as briars and thorns; not only suspected foxes, but as bad as those greedy wolves which Paul speaks of, Acts xx. [29], who with perverse and evil doctrines labour spiritually to devour the flock, and to draw away disciples after them, whose mouths must be stopped, and yet no carnal force and weapon to be used against them; but their mischief to be resisted with those mighty weapons of the holy armoury of the Lord Jesus, wherein there hangs a thousand shields, Cant. iv. [4.]

That the Lord Jesus intendeth not doctrines, or practices, by the tares in this parable, is clear; for,

First, the Lord Jesus expressly interpreteth the good[71] seed to be persons, and those the children of the kingdom; and the tares also to signify men, and those the children of the wicked one, ver. 38.[106]

Toleration in Rom. xiv. considered. Toleration of Jewish ceremonies, for a time, upon some grounds in the Jewish church, proves not toleration of popish and anti-christian ceremonies in the Christian church, although in the state.

Secondly, such corrupt doctrines or practices are not to be tolerated now, as those Jewish observations, the Lord’s own ordinances, were for a while to be permitted, Rom. xiv. Nor so long as till the angels, the reapers, come to reap the harvest in the end of the world. For can we think, that because the tender consciences of the Jews were to be tendered in their differences of meats, that therefore persons must now be tolerated in the church (for I speak not of the civil state), and that to the world’s end, in superstitious forbearing and forbidding of flesh in popish Lents, and superstitious Fridays, &c.; and that because they were to be tendered in their observation of Jewish holidays, that therefore until the harvest, or world’s end, persons must now be tolerated (I mean in the church) in the observation of popish Christmas, Easter, Whitsuntide, and other superstitious popish festivals?

I willingly acknowledge, that if the members of a church of Christ shall upon some delusion of Satan kneel at the Lord’s supper, keep Christmas, or any other popish observation, great tenderness ought to be used in winning his soul from the error of his way; and yet I see not that persons so practising were fit to be received into the churches of Christ now, as the Jews, weak in the faith, that is, in the liberties of Christ, were to be received, Rom. xiv. 1.[72] And least of all (as before) that the toleration or permission of such ought to continue till doomsday, or the end of the world, as this parable urgeth the toleration: Let them alone until the harvest.


Again, hypocrites were not intended by the Lord Jesus in this famous parable.

Tares proved not to signify hypocrites.

First, the original word ζιζάνια, signifying all those weeds which spring up with the corn, as cockle, darnel, tares, &c., seems to imply such a kind of people as commonly and generally are known to be manifestly different from, and opposite to, the true worshippers of God, here called the children of the kingdom: as these weeds, tares, cockle, darnel, &c., are commonly and presently known by every husbandman to differ from the wheat, and to be opposite, and contrary, and hurtful unto it.[107]

Now whereas it is pleaded that these tares are like the wheat, and so like that this consimilitude, or likeness, is made the ground of this interpretation, viz., that tares must needs signify hypocrites, or doctrines, or practices, who are like God’s children, truth, &c.:—

I answer, first, the parable holds forth no such thing, that the likeness of the tares should deceive the servants to cause them to suppose for a time that they were good wheat; but that as soon as ever the tares appeared, ver.[73] 26, the servants came to the householder about them, ver. 27. The scripture holds forth no such time wherein they doubted or suspected what they were.

Peace. It may be said they did not appear to be tares until the corn was in the blade, and put forth its fruit.

The false and counterfeit Christians appear as soon as the true and faithful.

Truth. I answer, the one appeared as soon as the other; for so the word clearly carries it, that seed of both having been sown, when the wheat appeared and put forth its blade and fruit, the tares also were as early, and put forth themselves, or appeared also.

Secondly, there is such a dissimilitude, or unlikeness, I say such a dissimilitude, that as soon as the tares, and wheat are sprung up to blade and fruit, every husbandman can tell which is wheat, and which are tares and cockle, &c.

Peace. It may be said, True: so when the hypocrite is manifested, then all may know him, &c.; but before hypocrites be manifested by fruits they are unknown.

I answer: search into the parable, and ask when was it that the servants first complained of the tares to the householder, but when they appeared or came in sight, there being no interim, wherein the servants could not tell what to make of them, but doubted whether they were wheat or tares, as the answerer implies.

Hypocritical Christians.

Secondly, when was it that the householder gave charge to let them alone, but after that they appeared, and were known to be tares; which should imply by this interpretation of the answerer, that when men are discovered and known to be hypocrites, yet, still such a generation of hypocrites in the church must be let alone and tolerated until the harvest, or end of the world; which is contrary to all order, piety, and safety, in the church of the Lord Jesus, as doubtless the answerer will grant. So that these tares being notoriously known to be different from the[74] corn, I conclude that they cannot here be intended by the Lord Jesus to signify secret hypocrites, but more open and apparent sinners.[108]


The tares cannot signify hypocrites.

The second reason why these tares cannot signify hypocrites in the church, I take from the Lord Jesus’s own interpretation of the field, in which both wheat and tares are sown, which, saith he, is the world, out of which God chooseth and calleth his church.

Two sorts of hypocrites, 1. In the church, as Judas, Simon Magus; and these must be tolerated until discovered, and no longer. 2. Hypocrites in the world, which are false Christians, false churches; and these the Lord Jesus will have let alone unto harvest.

The world lies in wickedness, is like a wilderness, or a sea of wild beasts innumerable, fornicators, covetous, idolaters, &c.; with whom God’s people may lawfully converse and cohabit in cities, towns, &c., else must they not live in the world, but go out of it. In which world, as soon as ever the Lord Jesus had sown the good seed, the children of the kingdom, true Christianity, or the true church, the enemy, Satan, presently, in the night of security, ignorance, and error, whilst men slept, sowed also these tares, which are anti-christians, or false Christians. These strange professors of the name of Jesus the ministers and prophets of God beholding, they are ready to run to heaven to fetch fiery judgments from thence to consume[75] these strange Christians, and to pluck them by the roots out of the world. But the Son of man, the meek Lamb of God—for the elect’s sake which must be gathered out of Jew and Gentile, pagan, anti-christian—commands a permission of them in the world, until the time of the end of the world, when the goats and sheep, the tares and wheat, shall be eternally separated each from other.

The field by most, generally, but falsely, interpreted the church.

Peace. You know some excellent worthies, dead and living, have laboured to turn this field of the world into the garden of the church.[109]

The Lord Jesus the great teacher by parables, and the only expounder of them.

Truth. But who can imagine that the wisdom of the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ,[110] would so open this parable, as he professedly doth, as that it should be closer shut up, and that one difficulty or lock should be opened by a greater and harder, in calling the world the church? Contrary also to the way of the light and love that is in Jesus, when he would purposely teach and instruct his scholars; contrary to the nature of parables and similitudes; and lastly, to the nature of the church or garden of Christ.



The scope of the parable. Four sorts of ground, or hearers of the word, in the world, and but one properly in the church; the rest seldom come, or accidentally, to hear the word in the church, which word ought to be fitted for the feeding of the church or flock: preaching for conversion, is properly out of the church.

In the former parable, the Lord Jesus compared the kingdom of heaven to the sowing of seed. The true messengers of Christ are the sowers, who cast the seed of the word of the kingdom upon four sorts of ground. Which four sorts of ground, or hearts of men, cannot be supposed to be of the church, nor will it ever be proved that the church consisteth of any more sorts or natures of ground properly but one, to wit, the honest and good ground. And the proper work of the church concerns the flourishing and prosperity of this sort of ground, and not the other unconverted three sorts; who, it may be, seldom or never come near the church, unless they be forced by the civil sword, which the pattern or first sower never used; and being forced, they are put into a way of religion by such a course—if not so, they are forced to live without a religion: for one of the two must necessarily follow, as I shall prove afterward.

In the field of the world, then, are all those sorts of ground: highway hearers, stony and thorny ground hearers, as well as the honest and good ground; and I suppose it will not now be said by the answerer, that those three sorts of bad grounds were hypocrites, or tares, in the church.[111]


The scope of the parable of the tares.

Now after the Lord Jesus had propounded that great leading parable of the sower and the seed, he is pleased to propound this parable of the tares, with admirable coherence and sweet consolation to the honest and good ground; who, with glad and honest hearts, having received the word of the kingdom, may yet seem to be discouraged and troubled with so many anti-christians and false professors of the name of Christ.

The Lord Jesus, therefore, gives direction concerning these tares, that unto the end of the world, successively in all the sorts and generations of them, they must be (not approved or countenanced, but) let alone, or permitted in the world.

The Lord Jesus in this parable of the tares, gives direction and consolation to his servants.

Secondly, he gives to his own good seed this consolation: that those heavenly reapers, the angels, in the harvest, or end of the world, will take an order and course with them, to wit, they shall bind them into bundles, and cast them into the everlasting burnings; and to make the cup of their consolation run over, he adds, ver. 43, Then, then at that time, shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.

The tares proved properly to signify anti-christians.

These tares, then, neither being erroneous doctrines, nor corrupt practices, nor hypocrites, in the true church, intended by the Lord Jesus in this parable, I shall, in the third place, by the help of the same Lord Jesus, evidently prove that these tares can be no other sort of sinners but false worshippers, idolaters, and in particular [and] properly, anti-christians.



Matt. viii. 12. Matt. xxi. 43. God’s kingdom on earth the visible church.

First, then, these tares are such sinners as are opposite and contrary to the children of the kingdom, visibly so declared and manifest, ver. 38.[112] Now the kingdom of God below is the visible church of Christ Jesus, according to Matt. viii. 12. The children of the kingdom, which are threatened to be cast out, seem to be the Jews, which were then the only visible church in covenant with the Lord, when all other nations followed other gods and worships. And more plain is that fearful threatening, Matt. xxi. 43, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation that will bring forth the fruits thereof.

The distinction between the wheat and the tares, as also between these tares and all other.

Such, then, are the good seed, good wheat, children of the kingdom, as are the disciples, members, and subjects of the Lord Jesus Christ, his church and kingdom: and therefore, consequently, such are the tares, as are opposite to these, idolaters, will-worshippers, not truly but falsely submitting to Jesus: and in especial, the children of the wicked one, visibly so appearing. Which wicked one I take not to be the devil; for the Lord Jesus seems to make them distinct: He that sows the good seed, saith he, is the Son of man; the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked, or wickedness; the enemy that soweth them is the devil.

The original here τοῦ πονηροῦ, agrees with that, Luke[79] xi. 4, Deliver us ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ, from evil, or wickedness; opposite to the children of the kingdom and the righteousness thereof.


Peace. It is true, that all drunkards, thieves, unclean persons, &c., are opposite to God’s children.

Truth. Answ. Their opposition here against the children of the kingdom, is such an opposition as properly fights against the religious state, or worship, of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Secondly, it is manifest that the Lord Jesus in this parable intends no other sort of sinners: unto whom he saith, Let them alone, in church or state; for then he should contradict other holy and blessed ordinances for the punishment of offenders, both in Christian and civil state.

Civil magistracy from the beginning of the world. Offenders against the civil laws not to be perpetually tolerated.

First, in civil state. From the beginning of the world, God hath armed fathers, masters, magistrates, to punish evil doers; that is, such, of whose actions fathers, masters, magistrates are to judge, and accordingly to punish such sinners as transgress against the good and peace of their civil state, families, towns, cities, kingdoms—their states, governments, governors, laws, punishments, and weapons being all of a civil nature; and therefore neither disobedience to parents or magistrates, nor murder, nor quarrelling, uncleanness, nor lasciviousness, stealing nor extortion, neither aught of that kind ought to be let alone, either in lesser or greater families, towns, cities, kingdoms, Rom. xiii.; but seasonably to be suppressed, as may best conduce to the public safety.


Nor offenders in the church of Christ Jesus to be suffered.

Again, secondly, in the kingdom of Christ Jesus, whose kingdom, officers, laws, punishments, weapons, are spiritual and of a soul nature, he will not have anti-christian idolaters, extortioners, covetous, &c., to be let alone; but the unclean and lepers to be thrust forth, the old leaven purged out, the obstinate in sin spiritually stoned to death, and put away from Israel; and this by many degrees of gentle admonition in private and public, as the case requires.

Therefore, if neither offenders against the civil laws, state, and peace ought to be let alone; nor the spiritual estate, the church of Jesus Christ, ought to bear with them that are evil, Rev. ii. 2, I conclude that these are sinners of another nature—idolaters, false worshippers, anti-christians, who without discouragement to true Christians must be let alone, and permitted in the world to grow and fill up the measure of their sins, after the image of him that hath sown them, until the great harvest shall make the difference.[113]


The great reapers are the angels.

Thirdly, in that the officers, unto whom these tares are referred, are the angels, the heavenly reapers at the[81] last day, it is clear as the light that, as before, these tares cannot signify hypocrites in the church; who, when they are discovered and seen to be tares, opposite to the good fruit of the good seed, are not to be let alone to the angels at harvest, or end of the world, but purged out by the governors of the church, and the whole church of Christ.[114] Again, they cannot be offenders against the civil state and common welfare, whose dealing with is not suspended unto the coming of the angels, but [permitted] unto men, who, although they know not the Lord Jesus Christ, yet are lawful governors and rulers in civil things.

Accordingly, in the fourth and last place, in that the plucking up of these tares out of this field must be let alone unto the very harvest or end of the world, it is apparent from thence, that, as before, they could not signify hypocrites in the church, who, when they are discovered to be so, as these tares were discovered to be tares, are not to be suffered, after the first and second admonition, but to be rejected, and every brother that walketh disorderly to be withdrawn or separated from.[115] So likewise no offender against the civil state, by robbery, murder, adultery, oppression, sedition, mutiny, is for ever to be connived at, and to enjoy a perpetual toleration unto the world’s end, as these tares must.

The tares to be tolerated the longest of any sinners.

Moses for a while held his peace against the sedition of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. David for a season tolerated Shimei, Joab, Adonijah. But till the harvest,[82] or end of the world, the Lord never intended that any but these spiritual and mystical tares should be so permitted.


The danger of infection by these tares assoiled.

Truth. Now if any imagine that the time or date is long, that in the mean season they may do a world of mischief before the world’s end, as by infection, &c.

Lamentable experience hath proved this true of late in Europe, and lamentably true in the slaughter of some hundred thousands of the English.

First, I answer, that as the civil state keeps itself with a civil guard, in case these tares shall attempt aught against the peace and welfare of it let such civil offences be punished; and yet, as tares opposite to Christ’s kingdom, let their worship and consciences be tolerated.[116]

Secondly, the church, or spiritual state, city, or kingdom, hath laws, and orders, and armories, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, Cant. iv. 4, weapons and ammunition, able to break down the strongest holds, 2 Cor. x. 4, and so to defend itself against the very gates of earth or hell.[117]

Thirdly, the Lord himself knows who are his, and his foundation remaineth sure; his elect or chosen cannot perish nor be finally deceived.[118]

Lastly, the Lord Jesus here, in this parable, lays down two reasons, able to content and satisfy our hearts to bear[83] patiently this their contradiction and anti-christianity, and to permit or let them alone.

First, lest the good wheat be plucked up and rooted up also out of this field of the world. If such combustions and fightings were as to pluck up all the false professors of the name of Christ, the good wheat also would enjoy little peace, but be in danger to be plucked up and torn out of this world by such bloody storms and tempests.[119]

And, therefore, as God’s people are commanded, Jer. xxix. 7, to pray for the peace of material Babel, wherein they were captivated, and 1 Tim. ii. 1, 2, to pray for all men, and specially [for] kings and governors, that in the peace of the civil state they may have peace: so, contrary to the opinion and practice of most, drunk with the cup of the whore’s fornication, yea, and of God’s own people, fast asleep in anti-christian Delilah’s lap, obedience to the command of Christ to let the tares alone will prove the only means to preserve their civil peace, and that without obedience to this command of Christ, it is impossible (without great transgression against the Lord in carnal policy, which will not long hold out) to preserve the civil peace.

Beside, God’s people, the good wheat, are generally plucked up and persecuted, as well as the vilest idolaters, whether Jews or anti-christians: which the Lord Jesus seems in this parable to foretell.

The great and dreadful harvest.

The second reason noted in the parable, which may satisfy any man from wondering at the patience of God, is this: when the world is ripe in sin, in the sins of anti-christianism (as the Lord spake of the sins of the Amorites, Gen. xv. 16), then those holy and mighty officers and[84] executioners, the angels, with their sharp and cutting sickles of eternal vengeance, shall down with them, and bundle them up for the everlasting burnings.[120]

Then shall that man of sin, 2 Thess. ii. [8], be consumed by the breath of the mouth of the Lord Jesus; and all that worship the beast and his picture, and receive his mark into their forehead or their hands, shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation, and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb, and the smoke of their torment shall ascend up for ever and ever, Rev. xiv. 10, 11.


Peace. You have been larger in vindicating this scripture from the violence offered unto it, because, as I said before, it is of such great consequence; as also, because so many excellent hands have not rightly divided it, to the great misguiding of many precious feet, which otherwise might have been turned into the paths of more peaceableness in themselves and towards others.

Truth. I shall be briefer in the scriptures following.

The charge of Christ Jesus, Let alone the tares, was not spoken to magistrates, ministers of the civil state, but to ministers of the gospel.

Peace. Yet before you depart from this, I must crave your patience to satisfy one objection, and that is: These servants to whom the householder answereth, seem to be the ministers or messengers of the gospel, not the magistrates of the civil state, and therefore this charge of the[85] Lord Jesus is not given to magistrates, to let alone false worshippers and idolaters.

Again, being spoken by the Lord Jesus to his messengers, it seems to concern hypocrites in the church, as before was spoken, and not false worshippers in the state, or world.

Truth. I answer, first, I believe I have sufficiently and abundantly proved, that these tares are not offenders in the civil state. Nor, secondly, hypocrites in the church, when once discovered so to be; and that therefore the Lord Jesus intends a grosser kind of hypocrites, professing the name of churches and Christians in the field of the world, or commonwealth.

The civil magistrate not so particularly spoken to as fathers and masters, in the New Testament, and why, Eph. v. 6; Col. iii. 4, &c.

Secondly, I acknowledge this command, Let them alone, was expressly spoken to the messengers or ministers of the gospel, who have no civil power or authority in their hand, and therefore not to the civil magistrate, king, or governor, to whom it pleased not the Lord Jesus, by himself or by his apostles, to give particular rules or directions concerning their behaviour and carriage in civil magistracy, as they have done expressly concerning the duty of fathers, mothers, children, masters, servants, yea, and of subjects towards magistrates, Ephes. v. and vi.; Colos. iii. and iv. &c.

A twofold state of Christianity the persecuted under the Roman emperors, and the apostate ever since.

I conceive not the reason of this to be, as some weakly have done, because the Lord Jesus would not have any followers of his to hold the place of civil magistracy, but rather that he foresaw, and the Holy Spirit in the apostles foresaw, how few magistrates, either in the first persecuted or apostated state of Christianity, would embrace his yoke. In the persecuted state, magistrates hated the very name of Christ, or Christianity. In the state apostate, some few magistrates, in their persons holy and precious, yet as concerning their places, as they have professed to have[86] been governors or heads of the church, have been so many false heads, and have constituted so many false visible Christs.

Thirdly, I conceive this charge of the Lord Jesus to his messengers, the preachers and proclaimers of his mind, is a sufficient declaration of the mind of the Lord Jesus, if any civil magistrate should make question what were his duty concerning spiritual things.

Christ’s messengers receive a threefold charge in that prohibition of Christ, Let them alone.

The apostles, and in them all that succeed them, being commanded not to pluck up the tares, but let them alone, received from the Lord Jesus a threefold charge.

First, to let them alone, and not to pluck them up by prayer to God for their present temporal destruction.[121]

God’s people not to pray for the present ruin and destruction of idolaters, although their persecutors, but for their peace and salvation.

Jeremy had a commission to plant and build, to pluck up and destroy kingdoms, Jer. i. 10; therefore he is commanded not to pray for that people whom God had a purpose to pluck up, Jer. xiv. 11, and he plucks up the whole nation by prayer, Lament, iii. 66. Thus Elijah brought fire from heaven to consume the captains and the fifties, 2 Kings i. And the apostles desired also so to practise against the Samaritans, Luke ix. 54, but were reproved by the Lord Jesus. For, contrarily, the saints, and servants, and churches of Christ, are to pray for all men, especially for all magistrates, of what sort or religions soever, and to seek the peace of the city, whatever city it be, because in the peace of the place God’s people have peace also, Jer. xxix. 7; 2 Tim. ii., &c.

Secondly, God’s messengers are herein commanded not to prophecy, or denounce, a present destruction or extirpation[87] of all false professors of the name of Christ, which are whole towns, cities, and kingdoms full.[122]

The word of God rightly denounced plucks up kingdoms.

Jeremy did thus pluck up kingdoms, in those fearful prophecies he poured forth against all the nations of the world, throughout his chaps. xxiv., xxv., xxvi., &c.; as did also the other prophets in a measure, though none comparably to Jeremy and Ezekiel.

Such denunciations of present temporal judgments, are not the messengers of the Lord Jesus to pour forth. It is true, many sore and fearful plagues are poured forth upon the Roman emperors and Roman popes in the Revelation, yet not to their utter extirpation or plucking up until the harvest.

God’s ministers are not to provoke magistrates to persecute anti-christians. 1 Pet. ii. 9. 1 Cor. v.

Thirdly, I conceive God’s messengers are charged to let them alone, and not pluck them up, by exciting and stirring up civil magistrates, kings, emperors, governors, parliaments, or general courts, or assemblies, to punish and persecute all such persons out of their dominions and territories as worship not the true God, according to the revealed will of God in Christ Jesus. It is true, Elijah thus stirred up Ahab to kill all the priests and prophets of Baal; but that was in that figurative state of the land of Canaan, as I have already and shall further manifest, not to be matched or paralleled by any other state, but the spiritual state or church of Christ in all the world, putting the false prophets and idolaters spiritually to death by the two-edged sword and power of the Lord Jesus, as that church of Israel did corporally.[123]


Companying with idolaters, 1 Cor. v., discussed.

And therefore saith Paul expressly, 1 Cor. v. 10, we must go out of the world, in case we may not company in civil converse with idolaters, &c.

Peace. It may be said, some sorts of sinners are there mentioned, as drunkards, railers, extortioners, who are to be punished by the civil sword—why not idolaters also? for although the subject may lawfully converse, buy and sell, and live with such, yet the civil magistrates shall nevertheless be justly blamed in suffering of them.

Lawful converse with idolaters in civil, but not in spiritual things.

Truth. I answer, the apostle, in this scripture, speaks not of permission of either, but expressly shows the difference between the church and the world, and the lawfulness of conversation with such persons in civil things, with whom it is not lawful to have converse in spirituals: secretly withal foretelling, that magistrates and people, whole states and kingdoms, should be idolatrous and anti-christian, yet with whom, notwithstanding, the saints and churches of God might lawfully cohabit, and hold civil converse and conversation.

Concerning their permission of what they judge idolatrous, I have and shall speak at large.

Dangerous and ungrounded zeal.

Peace. Oh! how contrary unto this command of the Lord Jesus have such, as have conceived themselves the true messengers of the Lord Jesus, in all ages, not let such professors and prophets alone, whom they have judged tares; but have provoked kings and kingdoms (and some out of good intentions and zeal to God) to prosecute and persecute such even unto death! Amongst whom God’s people, the good wheat, hath also been plucked up, as all ages and histories testify, and too, too oft the world laid upon bloody heaps in civil and intestine desolations[89] on this occasion. All which would be prevented, and the greatest breaches made up in the peace of our own or other countries, were this command of the Lord Jesus obeyed, to wit, to let them alone until the harvest.


[Truth.] I shall conclude this controversy about this parable, in this brief sum and recapitulation of what hath been said. I hope, by the evident demonstration of God’s Spirit to the conscience, I have proved, negatively,

First. That the tares in this parable cannot signify doctrines or practices, as was affirmed, but persons.

Secondly. The tares cannot signify hypocrites in the church, either undiscovered or discovered.

Thirdly. The tares here cannot signify scandalous offenders in the church.

Fourthly. Nor scandalous offenders, in life and conversation, against the civil state.

Fifthly. The field in which these tares are sown, is not the church.

Again, affirmatively: First. The field is properly the world, the civil state, or commonwealth.

Secondly. The tares here intended by the Lord Jesus, are anti-christian idolaters, opposite to the good seed of the kingdom, true Christians.

Thirdly. The ministers or messengers of the Lord Jesus ought to let them alone to live in the world, and neither seek by prayer, or prophecy, to pluck them up before the harvest.

Fourthly. This permission or suffering of them in the field of the world, is not for hurt, but for common good,[90] even for the good of the good wheat, the people of God.

Lastly. The patience of God is, that the patience of man ought to be exercised toward them; and yet notwithstanding, their doom is fearful at the harvest, even gathering, bundling, and everlasting burnings, by the mighty hand of the angels in the end of the world.


Matt. xv. 14, the second scripture controverted in this cause.

Peace. The second scripture brought against such persecution for cause of conscience, is Matt. xv. 14; where the disciples being troubled at the Pharisees’ carriage toward the Lord Jesus and his doctrines, and relating how they were offended at him, the Lord Jesus commanded his disciples to let them alone, and gives this reason—that the blind lead the blind, and both should fall into the ditch.

Unto which, answer is made, “That it makes nothing to the cause, because it was spoken to his private disciples, and not to public officers in church or state: and also, because it was spoken in regard of troubling themselves, or regarding the offence which the Pharisees took.”

Christ Jesus never directed his disciples to the civil magistrate for help in his cause.

Truth. I answer,—to pass by his assertion of the privacy of the apostles, in that the Lord Jesus commanding to let them alone, that is, not only not to be offended themselves, but not to meddle with them—it appears it was no ordinance of God, nor Christ, for the disciples to have gone further, and have complained to, and excited, the civil magistrate to his duty: which if it had been an ordinance of God and Christ, either for the vindicating of Christ’s doctrine, or the recovering of the Pharisees, or the[91] preserving of others from infection, the Lord Jesus would never have commanded them to omit that which should have tended to these holy ends.[124]


Peace. It may be said, that neither the Roman Cæsar, nor Herod, nor Pilate, knew aught of the true God, or of Christ; and it had been in vain to have made complaint to them who were not fit and competent, but ignorant and opposite judges.

Paul’s appealing to Cæsar.

Truth. I answer, first, this removes, by the way, that stumbling-block which many fall at, to wit, Paul’s appealing to Cæsar; which since he could not in common sense do unto Cæsar as a competent judge in such cases, and wherein he should have also denied his own apostleship or office, in which regard, to wit, in matters of Christ, he was higher than Cæsar himself—it must needs follow, that his appeal was merely in respect of his civil wrongs, and false accusations of sedition, &c.[125]


Civil magistrates never appointed by God defenders of the faith of Jesus. Every one is bound to put forth himself to his utmost power in God’s business, and where it stops, the guilt will lie.

Secondly, if it had been an ordinance of God, that all civil magistrates were bound to judge in causes spiritual or Christian, as to suppress heresies, defend the faith of Jesus, although that Cæsar, Herod, Pilate were wicked, ignorant, and opposite, yet the disciples, and the Lord Christ himself, had been bound to have performed the duty of faithful subjects, for the preventing of further evil, and the clearing of themselves, and so to have left the matter upon the magistrates’ care and conscience, by complaining unto the magistrate against such evils. For every person is bound to go as far as lies in his power for the preventing and the redressing of evil; and where it stops in any, and runs not clear, there the guilt, like filth or mud, will lie.

Christ could easily have been furnished with godly magistrates, if he had so appointed.

Thirdly, had it been the holy purpose of God to have established the doctrine and kingdom of his Son this way, since his coming he would have furnished commonweals, kingdoms, cities, &c., then and since, with such temporal powers and magistrates as should have been excellently fit and competent: for he that could have had legions of angels, if he so pleased, could as easily have been, and still be furnished with legions of good and gracious magistrates to this end and purpose.[126]



It is generally said, that God hath in former times, and doth still, and will hereafter stir up kings and queens, &c.

I answer, that place of Isa. xlix. 23, will appear to be far from proving such kings and queens judges of ecclesiastical causes: and if not judges, they may not punish.

In spiritual things, themselves are subject to the church and censures of it, although in civil respects superior. How shall those kings and queens be supreme governors of the church, and yet lick the dust of the church’s feet? as it is there expressed.[127]

God’s Israel earnest with God for an arm of flesh, which God gives in his anger, and takes away in his wrath.

Thirdly, God’s Israel of old were earnest with God for a king, for an arm of flesh, for a king to protect them, as other nations had: God’s Israel still have ever been restless with God for an arm of flesh.

God gave them Saul in his anger, and took him away in his wrath: and God hath given many a Saul in his anger, that is, an arm of flesh in the way of his providence: though I judge not all persons whom Saul in his calling typed out, to be of Saul’s spirit, for I speak of a state and outward visible power only.

I add, God will take away such stays, on whom God’s people rest, in his wrath: that king David, that is, Christ Jesus the antitype, in his own spiritual power in the hands of the saints, may spiritually and for ever be advanced.

And therefore I conclude, it was in one respect that the Lord Jesus said, Let them alone; because it was no ordinance[94] for any disciple of Jesus to prosecute the Pharisees at Cæsar’s bar.

The punishment of blind Pharisees, though let alone, yet is greater than any corporal punishment in the world, in four respects.

Beside, let it be seriously considered by such as plead for present corporal punishments, as conceiving that such sinners, though they break not civil peace, should not escape unpunished—I say, let it be considered, though for the present their punishment is deferred, yet the punishment inflicted on them will be found to amount to a higher pitch than any corporal punishment in the world beside, and that in these four respects:—


The eye of the soul struck out, is worse than for both right and left eye of the body to be struck out ten thousand times.

First, by just judgment from God, false teachers are stark blind. God’s sword hath struck out the right eye of their mind and spiritual understanding, ten thousand times a greater punishment than if the magistrate should command both the right and left eye of their bodies to be bored or plucked out; and that in so many fearful respects if the blindness of the soul and of the body were a little compared together—whether we look at that want of guidance, or the want of joy and pleasure, which the light of the eye affordeth; or whether we look at the damage, shame, deformity, and danger, which blindness brings to the outward man; and much more true in the want of the former, and misery of the latter, in spiritual and soul blindness to all eternity.

Some souls incurable, whom not only corporal, but spiritual physic can nothing avail.

Secondly, how fearful is that wound that no balm in Gilead can cure! How dreadful is that blindness which for ever to all eye-salve is incurable! For if persons be wilfully and desperately obstinate, after light shining forth, Let them alone, saith the Lord. So spake the Lord[95] once of Ephraim: Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone, Hos. iv. 17. What more lamentable condition, than when the Lord hath given a poor sinner over as a hopeless patient, incurable, which we are wont to account a sorer affliction, than if a man were torn and racked, &c.

And this I speak, not that I conceive that all whom the Lord Jesus commands his servants to pass from and let alone, to permit and tolerate, when it is in their power corporally to molest them, I say, that all are thus incurable; yet that sometimes that word is spoken by Christ Jesus to his servants to be patient, for neither can corporal or spiritual balm or physic ever heal or cure them.

The bottomless pit, or ditch, into which the spiritually blind fall.

Thirdly, their end is the ditch, that bottomless pit of everlasting separation from the holy and sweet presence of the Father of lights, goodness, and mercy itself—endless, easeless, in extremity, universality, and eternity of torments; which most direful and lamentable downfall, should strike a holy fear and trembling into all that see the pit whither these blind Pharisees are tumbling, and cause us to strive, so far as hope may be, by the spiritual eye-salve of the word of God, to heal and cure them of this their soul-destroying blindness.

Fourthly, of those that fall into this dreadful ditch, both leader and followers, how deplorable in more especial manner is the leader’s case, upon whose neck the followers tumble—the ruin, not only of his own soul, being horrible, but also the ruin of the followers’ souls eternally galling and tormenting.

Peace. Some will say, these things are indeed full of horror; yet such is the state of all sinners, and of many malefactors, whom yet the state is bound to punish, and sometimes by death itself.

Truth. I answer, the civil magistrate beareth not the sword in vain, but to cut off civil offences, yea, and the[96] offenders too in case. But what is this to a blind Pharisee, resisting the doctrine of Christ, who haply may be as good a subject, and as peaceable and profitable to the civil state as any: and for his spiritual offence against the Lord Jesus, in denying him to be the true Christ, he suffereth the vengeance of a dreadful judgment, both present and eternal, as before.[128]


Peace. Yea: but it is said that the blind Pharisees, misguiding the subjects of a civil state, greatly sin against a civil state, and therefore justly suffer civil punishments; for shall the civil magistrate take care of outsides only, to wit, of the bodies of men, and not of souls, in labouring to procure their everlasting welfare?

Soul-killing the chiefest murder. No magistrate can execute true justice in killing soul for soul but Christ Jesus, who by typical death in the law typed out spiritual in the gospel.

Truth. I answer, It is a truth: the mischief of a blind Pharisee’s blind guidance is greater than if he acted treasons, murders, &c.; and the loss of one soul by his seduction, is a greater mischief than if he blew up parliaments, and cut the throats of kings or emperors, so precious is that invaluable jewel of a soul above all the present lives and bodies of all the men in the world! And therefore I affirm, that justice, calling for eye for eye, tooth for tooth, life for life, calls also soul for soul;[97] which the blind-guiding, seducing Pharisee, shall truly pay in that dreadful ditch, which the Lord Jesus speaks of. But this sentence against him, the Lord Jesus only pronounceth in his church, his spiritual judicature, and executes this sentence in part at present, and hereafter to all eternity. Such a sentence no civil judge can pass, such a death no civil sword can inflict.[129]

A great mistake in most to conceive that dead men, that is, souls dead in sin, may be infected by false doctrine.

I answer, secondly, Dead men cannot be infected. The civil state, the world, being in a natural state, dead in sin, whatever be the state-religion unto which persons are forced, it is impossible it should be infected. Indeed the living, the believing, the church and spiritual state, that and that only is capable of infection; for whose help we shall presently see what preservatives and remedies the Lord Jesus hath appointed.

All natural men being dead in sin, yet none die everlastingly but such as are thereunto ordained.

Moreover, as we see in a common plague or infection the names are taken how many are to die, and not one more shall be struck than the destroying angel hath the names of:[130] so here, whatever be the soul-infection breathed out from the lying lips of a plague-sick Pharisee, yet the names are taken, not one elect or chosen of God shall perish. God’s sheep are safe in his eternal hand and counsel, and he that knows his material, knows also his mystical stars, their numbers, and calls them every one by name. None fall into the ditch on the blind Pharisee’s back but such as were ordained to that condemnation, both guide and followers, 1 Pet. ii. 8; Jude 4. The vessels of wrath shall break and split, and only they, to the praise of God’s eternal justice, Rom. ix. 22.



Peace. But it is said, be it granted that in a common plague or infection none are smitten and die but such as are appointed, yet it is not only every man’s duty, but the common duty of the magistrate to prevent infection, and to preserve the common health of the place; likewise, though the number of the elect be sure, and God knows who are his, yet hath he appointed means for their preservation from perdition, and from infection, and therefore the angel is blamed for suffering Balaam’s doctrine, and Jezebel, to seduce Christ Jesus’ servants, Rev. ii. [14, 20]; Tit. iii. 10; Rom. xvi. 17.

The Lord Jesus hath not left his church without spiritual antidotes and remedies against infection.

Truth. I answer, Let the scripture, that of Titus, Reject an heretic, and Rom. xvi. 17, Avoid them that are contentious, &c., let them, and all of like nature, be examined, and it will appear that the great and good Physician, Christ Jesus, the Head of the body, and King of the church, hath not been unfaithful in providing spiritual antidotes and preservatives against the spiritual sickness, sores, weaknesses, dangers, of his church and people. But he never appointed the civil sword for either antidote or remedy, as an addition to those spirituals which he hath left with his wife, his church or people.[131]

The miserable bondage God’s people live in.

Hence how great is the bondage, the captivity of God’s[99] own people to Babylonish or confused mixtures in worship, and unto worldly and earthly policies to uphold state-religions or worships: since that which is written to the angel and church at Pergamos shall be interpreted as sent to the governor and city of Pergamos, and that which is sent to Titus and the church of Christ at Crete must be delivered to the civil officers and city thereof.

But as the civil magistrate hath his charge of the bodies and goods of the subject: so have the spiritual officers, governors, and overseers of Christ’s city or kingdom, the charge of their souls, and soul-safety.[132] Hence that charge of Paul to Timothy, 1 Tim. v. 20, Them that sin rebuke before all, that others may learn to fear. This is, in the church of Christ, a spiritual means for the healing of a soul that hath sinned, or taken infection, and for the preventing of the infecting of others, that others may learn to fear, &c.


Peace. It is said true, that Titus and Timothy, and so the officers of the church of Christ, are bound to prevent soul-infection: but what hinders that the magistrate should not be charged also with this duty?

The kings and queens of England governors of the church.

Truth. I answer, many things I have answered, and more shall, at present I shall only say this: If it be the magistrate’s duty or office, then is he both a temporal and[100] ecclesiastical officer: [the] contrary to which most men will affirm. And yet we know, the policy of our own land and country hath established to the kings and queens thereof the supreme heads or governors of the church of England.

Strange confusion in punishments.

That doctrine and distinction, that a magistrate may punish a heretic civilly, will not here avail; for what is Babel, if this be not, confusedly to punish corporal or civil offences with spiritual or church censures (the offender not being a member of it), or to punish soul or spiritual offences with corporal or temporal weapons, proper to delinquents against the temporal or civil state.

Woe were it with the civil magistrate if the blood of souls (beside the ordinary care of the bodies and goods of the subjects) should cry against him.

Lastly, woe were it with the civil magistrate—and most intolerable burdens do they lay upon their backs that teach this doctrine—if together with the common care and charge of the commonwealth, the peace and safety of the town, city, state, or kingdom, the blood of every soul that perisheth should cry against him; unless he could say with Paul, Acts xx. [26,] (in spiritual regards), I am clear from the blood of all men, that is, the blood of souls, which was his charge to look after, so far as his preaching went, not the blood of bodies which belongeth to the civil magistrate.

The magistrates’ duties toward the church, the spouse of Christ.

I acknowledge he ought to cherish, as a foster-father, the Lord Jesus, in his truth, in his saints, to cleave unto them himself, and to countenance them even to the death, yea, also, to break the teeth of the lions, who offer civil violence and injury unto them.

Usurpers and true heirs of the spiritual crown of Jesus.

But, to see all his subjects Christians, to keep such church or Christians in the purity of worship, and see them do their duty, this belongs to the head of the body, Christ Jesus, and [to] such spiritual officers as he hath to this purpose deputed, whose right it is, according to the true pattern. Abimelech, Saul, Adonijah, Athalia, were but[101] usurpers: David, Solomon, Joash, &c., they were the true heirs and types of Christ Jesus, in his true power and authority in his kingdom.


Luke ix. 54, 55, discussed.

Peace. The next scripture brought against such persecution is Luke ix. 54, 55: where the Lord Jesus reproved his disciples, who would have had fire come down from heaven, and devour those Samaritans that would not receive him, in these words: You know not of what spirit you are, the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.

With this scripture Mr. Cotton joins the fourth, and answers both in one, which is this, 2 Tim. ii. 24, The servant of the Lord must not strive, but must be gentle toward all men, suffering the evil men, instructing them with meekness that are contrary-minded and oppose themselves; proving if God peradventure will give them repentance that they may acknowledge the truth, and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

An excellent saying of persecutors themselves.

Unto both these scriptures it pleased him thus to answer: “Both these are directions to ministers of the gospel how to deal, not with obstinate offenders in the church who sin against conscience, but either with men without, as the Samaritans were, and many unconverted Christians in Crete, whom Titus, as an evangelist, was to seek to convert: or at best with some Jews or Gentiles in the church, who, though carnal, yet were not convinced of the error of their way. And it is true, it became not the spirit of the gospel to convert aliens to the faith, such[102] as the Samaritans were, by fire and brimstone, nor to deal harshly in public ministry, or private conference, with all such several minded men, as either had not yet entered into church fellowship, or if they had, did hitherto sin of ignorance, not against conscience. But neither of both these texts do hinder the minister of the gospel to proceed in a church way against church members, when they become scandalous offenders, either in life or doctrine, much less do they speak at all to the civil magistrate.”[133]


Truth. This perplexed and ravelled answer, wherein so many things and so doubtful are wrapt up and entangled together, I shall take in pieces.

The answerer when he should speak to toleration in the state, runs to punishments in the church, which none can deny.

First, concerning that of the Lord Jesus rebuking his disciples for their rash and ignorant bloody zeal (Luke ix.), desiring corporal destruction upon the Samaritans for refusing the Lord Jesus, &c., the answerer affirmeth, that hindereth not the ministers of the gospel to proceed in a church way against scandalous offenders; which is not here questioned, but maintained to be the holy will of the Lord, and a sufficient censure and punishment, if no civil offence against the civil state be committed.


Secondly, saith he, “Much less doth this speak at all to the civil magistrate.”

Where I observe, that he implies that beside the censure of the Lord Jesus, in the hands of his spiritual governors, for any spiritual evil in life or doctrine, the civil magistrate is also to inflict corporal punishment upon the contrary-minded:[134] whereas,

If the civil magistrate be a Christian, he is bound to be like Christ in saving, not destroying men’s bodies.

First, if the civil magistrate be a Christian, a disciple, or follower of the meek Lamb of God, he is bound to be far from destroying the bodies of men for refusing to receive the Lord Jesus Christ: for otherwise he should not know, according to this speech of the Lord Jesus, what spirit he was of, yea, and to be ignorant of the sweet end of the coming of the Son of man, which was not to destroy the bodies of men, but to save both bodies and souls, vers. 55, 56.

The civil magistrate bound not to inflict, nor to suffer any other to inflict, violence, stripes, or any other corporal punishment, for evil against Christ.

Secondly, if the civil magistrate being a Christian, gifted, prophesy in the church, 1 Cor. xiv. 1—although the Lord Jesus Christ, whom they in their own persons hold forth, shall be refused—yet they are here forbidden to call for fire from heaven, that is, to procure or inflict any corporal judgment, upon such offenders, remembering the end of the Lord Jesus’ coming [was] not to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.

Lastly, this also concerns the conscience of the civil magistrate. As he is bound to preserve the civil peace[104] and quiet of the place and people under him, he is bound to suffer no man to break the civil peace, by laying hands of violence upon any, though as vile as the Samaritans, for not receiving of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Rev. xiii. 13. Fire from heaven. What the fire from heaven is which the false prophet bringeth down.

It is indeed the ignorance and blind zeal of the second beast, the false prophet, Rev. xiii. 13, to persuade the civil powers of the earth to persecute the saints, that is, to bring fiery judgments upon men in a judicial way, and to pronounce that such judgments of imprisonment, banishment, death, proceed from God’s righteous vengeance upon such heretics. So dealt divers bishops in France, and England too in Queen Mary’s days, with the saints of God at their putting to death, declaiming against them in their sermons to the people, and proclaiming that these persecutions, even unto death, were God’s just judgments from heaven upon these heretics.


2 Tim. ii. 25, 26, examined.

Peace. Doubtless such fiery spirits, as the Lord Jesus said, are not of God. I pray, speak to the second place out of Timothy, 2 Epist. ii. 25, 26.

Truth. I acknowledge this instruction, to be meek and patient, &c., is properly an instruction to the ministers of the gospel. Yet divers arguments from hence will truly and fairly be collected, to manifest and evince how far the civil magistrate ought to be from dealing with the civil sword in spiritual cases.

And first, by the way I desire to ask, what were these unconverted Christians in Crete, which the answerer compareth with the Samaritans, whom Titus, saith he, as an evangelist, was to seek to convert; and whether the[105] Lord Jesus have any such disciples and followers, who yet are visibly in an unconverted state? Oh! that it may please the Father of mercies, the Father of lights, to awaken and open the eyes of all that fear before him, that they may see whether this be the language of Canaan, or the language of Ashdod.

A quære what the answerer means by his unconverted Christian in Crete.

What is an unconverted Christian, but in truth an unconverted convert? that is in English, one unturned turned; unholy holy; disciples, or followers of Jesus, not following of him: in a word, that is, Christians, or anointed by Christ, anti-christians, not anointed with the Spirit of Jesus Christ.[135]

The original of Christians.

Certain it is, such they were not unto whom the Spirit of God gives that name, Acts ii. [26.] And, indeed, whither can this tend but to uphold the blasphemy of so many as say they are Jews, that is, Christians, but are not? Rev. ii. 2. But as they are not Christians from Christ, but from the beast and his picture, so their proper name from anti-christ, is anti-christians.[136]

The answerer yet in the unconverted churches and worships.

How sad yet and how true an evidence is this, that the soul of the answerer (I speak not of his outward soul and person, but of his worship), hath never yet heard the call of the Lord Jesus to come out from those unconverted churches, from that unconverted, anti-christian Christian world, and so from anti-christ, Belial, to seek fellowship[106] with Christ Jesus and his converted Christians, disciples after the first pattern.

God’s people sleepy in the matters of Christ’s kingdom, Cant. v. 2.

Again, I observe the haste and light attention of the answerer to these scriptures, as commonly the spirits of God’s children in matters of Christ’s kingdom are very sleepy: for these persons here spoken of were not, as he speaks, unconverted Christians in Crete, whom Titus as an evangelist was to convert, but they were such opposites as Timothy, to whom Paul writes this letter at Ephesus, should not meet withal.


Peace. But what is there in this scripture of Timothy alleged concerning the civil magistracy?

Truth. I argue from this place of Timothy in particular, thus:—

1 Cor. xiv. Patience and meekness required in all that open Christ’s mysteries.

First. If the civil magistrates be Christians, or members of the church, able to prophesy in the church of Christ, then, I say as before, they are bound by this command of Christ to suffer opposition to their doctrine, with meekness and gentleness, and to be so far from striving to subdue their opposites with the civil sword, that they are bound with patience and meekness to wait, if God peradventure will please to grant repentance unto their opposites.

So also it pleaseth the answerer to acknowledge in these words:—

“It becomes not the spirit of the gospel to convert aliens to the faith (such as the Samaritans, and the unconverted Christians in Crete) with fire and brimstone.”

The civil sword may make a nation of hypocrites and anti-christians, but not one Christian.

Secondly. Be they oppositions within, and church members, as the answerer speaks, become scandalous in[107] doctrine, (I speak not of scandals against the civil state, which the civil magistrate ought to punish), it is the Lord only, as this scripture to Timothy implies, who is able to give them repentance, and recover them out of Satan’s snare. To which end also, he hath appointed those holy and dreadful censures in his church or kingdom. True it is, the sword may make, as once the Lord complained, Isa. x., a whole nation of hypocrites; but to recover a soul from Satan by repentance, and to bring them from anti-christian doctrine or worship to the doctrine or worship Christian in the least true internal or external submission, that only works the all-powerful God, by the sword of his Spirit in the hand of his spiritual officers.[137]

Wonderful changes of religion in England. England’s changes in point of religion.

What a most woeful proof hereof have the nations of the earth given in all ages? And to seek no further than our native soil, within a few scores of years, how many wonderful changes in religion hath the whole kingdom made, according to the change of the governors thereof, in the several religions which they themselves embraced! Henry the Seventh finds and leaves the kingdom absolutely popish. Henry the Eighth casts it into a mould half popish, half protestant. Edward the Sixth brings forth an edition all protestant. Queen Mary within few years defaceth Edward’s work, and renders the kingdom, after her grandfather Henry the Seventh’s pattern, all popish. Mary’s short life and religion end together; and[108] Elizabeth reviveth her brother Edward’s model, all protestant. And some eminent witnesses of God’s truth against anti-christ have inclined to believe, that before the downfall of that beast, England must once again bow down her fair neck to his proud usurping yoke and foot.

Peace. It hath been England’s sinful shame, to fashion and change their garments and religions with wondrous ease and lightness, as a higher power, a stronger sword hath prevailed; after the ancient pattern of Nebuchadnezzar’s bowing the whole world in one most solemn uniformity of worship to his golden image, Dan. iii.[138]


But it hath been thought, or said, Shall oppositions against the truth escape unpunished? will they not prove mischievous? &c.

The misery of opposites against the truth.

Truth. I answer, as before, concerning the blind guides, in case there be no civil offence committed, the magistrates, and all men that by the mercy of God to themselves discern the misery of such opposites, have cause to lament and bewail that fearful condition wherein such are entangled: to wit, in the snares and chains of Satan, with which they are so invincibly caught and held, that no power in heaven or earth but the right hand of the Lord, in the meek and gentle dispensing of the word of truth, can release and quit them.

A difference between the true and false Christ and Christians.

Those many false Christs, of whom the Lord Jesus[109] forewarns, Matt. xxiv. 5, 11, have suitably their false bodies, faith, spirit, baptism, as the Lord Jesus hath his true body, faith, spirit, &c., Ephes. iv. 5; correspondent also are their weapons, and the success, issue, or operation of them. A carnal weapon or sword of steel may produce a carnal repentance, a show, an outside, a uniformity, through a state or kingdom; but it hath pleased the Father to exalt the Lord Jesus only to be a Prince, armed with power and means sufficient to give repentance to Israel, Acts v. 31.

The worship of unbelieving, unregenerate persons.

Accordingly, an unbelieving soul being dead in sin, although he be changed from one worship to another, like a dead man shifted into several changes of apparel, cannot please God, Heb. xi. 6. And consequently, whatever such an unbelieving and unregenerate person acts in worship or religion, it is but sin, Rom. xiv. [23.] Preaching [is] sin, praying, though without beads or book, sin; breaking of bread, or Lord’s supper, sin; yea, as odious as the oblation of swine’s blood, a dog’s neck, or killing of a man, Isa. lxvi. [3.]

But faith is that gift which proceeds alone from the Father of lights, Phil. i. 29, and till he please to make his light arise and open the eyes of blind sinners, their souls shall lie fast asleep—and the faster, in that a sword of steel compels them to a worship in hypocrisy—in the dungeons of spiritual darkness and Satan’s slavery.

The danger and mischief of a civil sword in soul matters, which makes the civil magistrates deeply guilty of all those evils which he aims to suppress. That cannot be a true religion which needs carnal weapons to uphold it. Persecutors beget a persuasion of their cruelty in the hearts of the persecuted. Antoninus Pius’s golden act.

Peace. I add, that a civil sword, as woeful experience in all ages hath proved, is so far from bringing, or helping forward an opposite in religion to repentance, that magistrates sin grievously against the work of God, and blood of souls, by such proceedings. Because as commonly the sufferings of false and anti-christian teachers harden their followers, who being blind are by this means occasioned to tumble into the ditch of hell after their blind leaders, with more inflamed zeal of lying confidence: so, secondly,[110] violence and a sword of steel, beget such an impression in the sufferers, that certainly they conclude, that indeed that religion cannot be true which needs such instruments of violence to uphold it; so that persecutors are far from [a] soft and gentle commiseration of the blindness of others.[139] To this purpose it pleased the Father of spirits, of old, to constrain the emperor of Rome, Antoninus Pius, to write to all the governors of his provinces to forbear to persecute the Christians; because such dealing must needs be so far from converting the Christians from their way, that it rather begat in their minds an opinion of their cruelties, &c.[140]


Isa. ii. 4; Mic. iv. 3; Isa. xi. 9; concerning Christ’s peaceable kingdom, discussed.

Peace. The next scripture against such persecution, is that of the prophet Isa. ii. 4, together with Mic. iv. 3, They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks. Isa. xi. 9, There shall none hurt or destroy in all the mountain of my holiness.

Mr. Cotton’s excellent interpretation of those prophecies.

Unto which it pleased Mr. Cotton to say, “That these predictions do only show, first, with what kind of weapons[111] he should subdue the nations to the obedience of the faith of the gospel, not by fire and sword, and weapons of war, but by the power of the word and Spirit of God, which,” saith he, “no man doubts of.”

“Secondly, those predictions of the prophets show what the meek and peaceable temper will be of all true converts to Christianity; not lions nor leopards, not cruel oppressors nor malignant opposers, nor biters one of another: but do not forbid them to drive ravenous wolves from the sheepfold, and to restrain them from devouring the sheep of Christ.”

His doctrine and practice condemned by that interpretation.

Truth. In this first excellent and truly Christian answer, methinks the answerer may hear a voice from heaven, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee. For what can be said more heavenly, by the tongues of men and angels, to show the heavenly, meek temper of all the soldiers of the Lamb of God, as also to set forth what are the spiritual weapons and ammunition of the holy war and battle of the gospel and kingdom of Jesus Christ, for the subduing of the nations of the world unto him?

Peace. And yet out of the same mouth, which should not be, saith James, proceeds good and evil, sweet and sour; for he adds, “But this doth not forbid them to drive ravenous wolves from the sheepfold, and to restrain them from devouring the sheep of Christ.”

Spiritual and mystical wolves.

Truth. In these words, according to the judgment here maintained by him, he fights against the former truth, to wit, that by spiritual weapons Christ Jesus will subdue the nations of the earth to the obedience of the gospel: for by driving away these wolves, he intends not only the resistance and violence which the shepherds of Christ ought spiritually to make, but the civil resistance of the material swords, staves, guns, &c. Whence I argue, that same power that forceth the evil, or wolves, out, forceth the good, the sheep, in; for of the same or like things is[112] the same or like reason: as the same arm of flesh that with a staff beats off a wolf, with a rod and hook brings in the sheep: the same dog that assaulteth and teareth the wolf, frighteth and forceth in the straggling sheep.[141]


Acts xx. 29, opened.

Peace. But for the clearer opening of this mystery, I pray explicate that scripture where the Spirit of God is pleased to use this similitude of wolves, Acts xx. 29, out of which, keeping to the allegory, I shall propose these queries.

First, what wolves were these Paul warns of?

Truth. Answer. Wolves literally he will not say. Nor, secondly, persecutors of the flock, such as the Roman emperors were, [or] magistrates under him.

What those wolves were, Acts xx. 29.

Therefore, thirdly, such as brought in other religions and worships, as the Spirit of God opens it, ver. 30. Such as amongst themselves should speak perverse things, as many anti-christs did, and especially the anti-christ. And I ask, whether or no such as may hold forth other worships or religions, Jews, Turks, or anti-christians, may not be peaceable and quiet subjects, loving and helpful neighbours, fair and just dealers, true and loyal to the civil government? It is clear they may, from all[113] reason and experience in many flourishing cities and kingdoms of the world, and so offend not against the civil state and peace, nor incur the punishment of the civil sword, notwithstanding that in spiritual and mystical account they are ravenous and greedy wolves.[142]

Peace. 2. I query, to whom Paul gave this charge to watch against them, ver. 31?

Truth. They were not the magistrates of the city of Ephesus, but the elders or ministers of the church of Christ, his mystical flock of sheep, at Ephesus. Unto them was this charge of watching given, and so consequently of driving away these wolves.

Charges directed to ministers of the spiritual kingdom, falsely applied to the magistrates of the civil.

And, however that many of these charges and exhortations, given by that one Shepherd, Christ Jesus, to the shepherds or ministers of churches, be commonly attributed and directed, by the answerer in this discourse, to the civil magistrate; yet I desire, in the fear and holy presence of God, it may be inquired into, whether in all the will or testament of Christ there be any such word of Christ, by way of command, promise, or example, countenancing the governors of the civil state to meddle with these wolves, if in civil things peaceable and obedient.

No word of Christ to the civil magistrate to feed his flock, but to his ministers; who (if true) have spiritual power sufficient against spiritual wolves.

Peace. Truly, if this charge were given to the magistrates at Ephesus, or any magistrates in the world, doubtless they must be able to discern and determine,[114] out of their own official abilities in these spiritual law questions, who are spiritual sheep, what is their food, what their poison, what their properties, who their keepers, &c. So, on the contrary, who are wolves, what their properties, their haunts, their assaults, the manner of taking, &c., spiritually:—and this beside the care and study of the civil laws, and the discerning of his own proper civil sheep, obedient sheep, &c.: as also wolfish oppressors, &c., whom he is bound to punish and suppress.

Magistrates decline the name of head of the church, and yet practise the headship or government.

Truth. I know that civil magistrates, in some places, have declined the name of head of the church, and ecclesiastical judge; yet can they not with good conscience decline the name if they do the work, and perform the office of determining and punishing a merely spiritual wolf.

They must be sufficiently also able to judge in all spiritual causes, and that with their own, and not with other men’s eyes, no more than they do in civil causes, contrary to the common practice of the governors and rulers of civil states, who often set up that for a religion or worship to God, which the clergy, or churchmen, as men speak, shall in their consciences agree upon.

And if this be not so, to wit, that magistrates must not be spiritual judges, as some decline it in the title supreme head and governor, why is Gallio wont to be exclaimed against for refusing to be a judge in such matters as concerned the Jewish worship and religion? How is he censured for a profane person, without conscience, &c., in that he would be no judge or head? for that is all one in point of government.[143]


The elect shall not be devoured.

Peace. In the third place, I query, whether the Father who gave, and the Son who keeps the sheep, be not greater than all? Who can pluck these sheep, the elect, out of his hand? which answers that common objection of that danger of devouring, although there were no other weapons in the world appointed by the Lord Jesus. But,


Christ Jesus furnisheth his shepherds with power sufficient to drive away wolves. Tit. i. 9. 10, opened.

Fourthly, I ask, were not these elders or ministers of the church of Ephesus sufficiently furnished, from the Lord Jesus, to drive away these mystical and spiritual wolves?[144]

Truth. True it is, against the inhuman and uncivil violence of persecutors, they were not, nor are God’s children, able and provided; but to resist, drive away, expel, and kill spiritual and mystical wolves by the word of the Lord, none are fit to be Christ’s shepherds who are not able, Tit. i. 9-11. The bishop, or overseer, must be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers: which gainsayers to be by him convinced, that is, overcome or subdued, though it may be in themselves ever obstinate, they were, I say, as greedy wolves in Crete, as any could be at Ephesus. For so saith Paul, ver. 10: they were unruly and vain talkers, deceivers,[116] whose mouths must be stopped, who subverted whole houses; and yet Titus, and every ordinary shepherd of a flock of Christ, had ability sufficient to defend the flock from spiritual and mystical wolves, without the help of the civil magistrate.

Job xxvi. 2, 3.

Peace. In this respect, therefore, methinks we may fitly allude to that excellent answer of Job to Bildad, the Shuhite, Job xxvi., How hast thou helped him that is without power? How savest thou the arm that hath no strength? How hast thou counselled him that hath no wisdom? How hast thou plentifully declared the thing as it is?


Lastly, I ask, whether, as men deal with wolves, these wolves at Ephesus were intended by Paul to be killed, their brains dashed out with stones, staves, halberts, guns, &c., in the hands of the elders of Ephesus, &c.?[145]

Truth. Doubtless, comparing spiritual things with spiritual, all such mystical wolves must spiritually and mystically so be slain. And the witnesses of truth, Rev. xi. 5, speak fire, and kill all that hurt them, by that fiery word of God, and that two-edged sword in their hand, Ps. cxlix. 6.

Unmerciful and bloody doctrine. John vi. 15.

But oh! what streams of the blood of saints have been and must be shed, until the Lamb have obtained the victory, Rev. xvii. 14, by this unmerciful—and in the state of the New Testament, when the church is spread all the world over—most bloody doctrine, viz., the wolves (heretics) are to be driven away, their brains knocked out, and killed—the poor sheep to be preserved, for whom Christ died, &c.

Is not this to take Christ Jesus, and make him a[117] temporal king by force? John vi. 15. Is not this to make his kingdom of this world, to set up a civil and temporal Israel, to bound out new earthly, holy lands of Canaan, yea, and to set up a Spanish inquisition in all parts of the world, to the speedy destruction of thousands, yea, of millions of souls, and the frustrating of the sweet end of the coming of the Lord Jesus, to wit, to save men’s souls (and to that end not to destroy their bodies) by his own blood?[146]


2 Cor. x. 4, discussed.

Peace. The next scripture produced against such persecution is 2 Cor. x. 4, The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to avenge all disobedience, &c.

Unto which it is answered, “When Paul saith, The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but spiritual, he denieth not civil weapons of justice to the civil magistrate, Rom. xiii., but only to church officers. And yet the weapons of church officers he acknowledgeth to be such, as though they be spiritual, yet are ready to take vengeance on all disobedience, 2 Cor. x. 6: which hath reference, amongst other ordinances, to the censures of the church against scandalous offenders.”


Truth. I acknowledge that herein the Spirit of God denieth not civil weapons of justice to the civil magistrate, which the scripture he quotes, Rom. xiii., abundantly testifies.

Yet withal, I must ask, why he here affirmeth the apostle denies not civil weapons of justice to the civil magistrate? of which there is no question, unless that, according to his scope of proving persecution for conscience, he intends withal that the apostle denies not civil weapons of justice to the civil magistrate in spiritual and religious causes: the contrary whereunto, the Lord assisting, I shall evince, both from this very scripture and his own observation, and lastly by that thirteenth of the Romans, by himself quoted.

First, then, from this scripture and his own observation. The weapons of church officers, saith he, are such, which though they be spiritual, are ready to take vengeance on all disobedience; which hath reference, saith he, amongst other ordinances, to the censures of the church against scandalous offenders.

The difference of the civil and spiritual estate. Civil weapons most improper in spiritual causes: fitly exemplified by that similitude, 2 Cor. x. 4.

I hence observe, that there being in this scripture held forth a twofold state, a civil state and a spiritual, civil officers and spiritual, civil weapons and spiritual weapons, civil vengeance and punishment and a spiritual vengeance and punishment: although the Spirit speaks not here expressly of civil magistrates and their civil weapons, yet, these states being of different natures and considerations, as far differing as spirit from flesh, I first observe, that civil weapons are most improper and unfitting in matters of the spiritual state and kingdom, though in the civil state most proper and suitable.[147]



For—to keep to the similitude which the Spirit useth, for instance—to batter down a stronghold, high wall, fort, tower, or castle, men bring not a first and second admonition, and, after obstinacy, excommunication, which are spiritual weapons, concerning them that be in the church: nor exhortations to repent and be baptized, to believe in the Lord Jesus, &c., which are proper weapons to them that be without, &c.; but to take a stronghold, men bring cannons, culverins, saker,[148] bullets, powder, muskets, swords, pikes, &c., and these to this end are weapons effectual and proportionable.[149]

Spiritual weapons only effectual in spiritual and soul causes.

On the other side, to batter down idolatry, false worship, heresy, schism, blindness, hardness, out of the soul and spirit, it is vain, improper, and unsuitable to bring those weapons which are used by persecutors, stocks, whips, prisons, swords, gibbets, stakes, &c., (where these seem to prevail with some cities or kingdoms, a stronger force sets up again, what a weaker pulled down); but against these spiritual strongholds in the souls of men, spiritual artillery and weapons are proper, which are mighty through God to subdue and bring under the very thought to obedience, or else to bind fast the soul with[120] chains of darkness, and lock it up in the prison of unbelief and hardness to eternity.

Civil weapons not only improper, but unnecessary in spiritual causes.

2. I observe that as civil weapons are improper in this business, and never able to effect aught in the soul: so although they were proper, yet they are unnecessary; for if, as the Spirit here saith, and the answerer grants, spiritual weapons in the hand of church officers are able and ready to take vengeance on all disobedience, that is, able and mighty, sufficient and ready for the Lord’s work, either to save the soul, or to kill the soul of whomsoever be the party or parties opposite; in which respect I may again remember that speech of Job, How hast thou helped him that hath no power? Job xxvi. 2.

No earthly kings or governors will be so served, as we pretend to serve the King of kings.

Peace. Offer this, as Malachi once spake, to the governors, the kings of the earth, when they besiege, beleaguer, and assault great cities, castles, forts, &c., should any subject pretending his service bring store of pins, sticks, straws, bulrushes, to beat and batter down stone walls, mighty bulwarks, what might his expectation and reward be, but at least the censure of a man distract, beside himself? &c.

Ps. xlv. 4. The white troopers.

Truth. What shall we then conceive of His displeasure, who is the Chief or Prince of the kings of the earth, and rides upon the word of truth and meekness, which is the white horse, Rev. vi. and Rev. xix., with his holy witnesses, the white troopers upon white horses, when to his help and aid men bring and add such unnecessary, improper, and weak munition?

Spiritual ammunition, Eph. vi. 6, applied; material and spiritual artillery unfitly joined together. An alarm to civil or earthly rulers.

Will the Lord Jesus (did He ever in his own person practise, or did he appoint to) join to his breastplate of righteousness, the breastplate of iron and steel? to the helmet of righteousness and salvation in Christ, a helmet and crest of iron, brass, or steel? a target of wood to His shield of faith? [to] His two-edged sword, coming forth of[121] the mouth of Jesus, the material sword, the work of smiths and cutlers? or a girdle of shoe-leather to the girdle of truth? &c. Excellently fit and proper is that alarm and item, Ps. ii. 10, Be wise, therefore, O ye kings—especially those ten horns, Rev. xvii., who, under pretence of fighting for Christ Jesus, give their power to the beast against Him—and be warned, ye judges of the earth: kiss the Son, that is, with subjection and affection, acknowledge Him only the King and Judge of souls, in that power bequeathed to His ministers and churches, lest his wrath be kindled, yea, but a little; then, blessed are they that trust in Him.


Concerning the civil ruler’s power in spiritual causes discussed.

Peace. Now, in the second place, concerning that scripture, Rom. xiii., which it pleased the answerer to quote, and himself, and so many excellent servants of God have insisted upon to prove such persecution for conscience:—how have both he and they wrested this scripture, not as Peter writes of the wicked, to their eternal, yet to their own and other’s temporal destruction, by civil wars and combustions in the world?

My humble request, therefore, is to the Father of lights, to send out the bright beams of the Sun of righteousness, and to scatter the mist which that old serpent, the great juggler, Satan, hath raised about this holy scripture, and my request to you, divine Truth, is for your care and pains to enlighten and clear this scripture.

Rom. xiii. speaks not at all of spiritual but civil affairs.

Truth. First, then, upon the serious examination of this whole scripture, it will appear, that from the 9th verse of the 12th chapter to the end of this whole 13th chapter,[122] the Spirit handles the duties of the saints in the careful observation of the second table in their civil conversation, or walking towards men, and speaks not at all of any point or matter of the first table concerning the kingdom of the Lord Jesus.[150]

For, having in the whole epistle handled that great point of free justification by the free grace of God in Christ, in the beginning of the 12th chapter he exhorts the believers to give and dedicate themselves unto the Lord, both in soul and body; and unto the 9th verse of the 12th chapter he expressly mentioneth their conversation in the kingdom, or body, of Christ Jesus, together with the several officers thereof.

The scope of Rom. xiii.

And from the 9th verse to the end of the 13th [chapter], he plainly discourseth of their civil conversation and walking one toward another, and with all men, from whence he hath fair occasion to speak largely concerning their subjection to magistrates in the 13th chapter.

Love to man the duty of the whole second table.

Hence it is, that [at] ver. 7 of this 13th chapter, Paul exhorts to performance of love to all men, magistrates and subjects, vers. 7, 8, Render, therefore, to all their dues; tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. Owe nothing to any man, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

How love fulfilleth the law.

If any man doubt, as the papists speak, whether a man may perfectly fulfil the law, every man of sound judgment is ready to answer him, that these words, He that loveth hath fulfilled the law, concerneth not the whole law in the first table, that is, the worship and kingdom of God in Christ.


Secondly, That the apostle speaks not here of perfect observation of the second table, without failing in word or act toward men, but lays open the sum and substance of the law, which is love; and that he that walks by the rule of love toward all men, magistrates and subjects, he hath rightly attained unto what the law aims at, and so in evangelical obedience fulfils and keeps the law.

Hence, therefore, again in the 9th verse, having discoursed of the fifth command in this point of superiors, he makes all the rest of the commandments of the second table, which concern our walking with man,—viz., Thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not commit adultery; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not bear false witness; thou shalt not covet: and if there be any other commandment—to be briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

And verse 10, Love worketh no ill to his neighbour, therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law, that is, as before, the law concerning our civil conversation toward all men, magistrates or governors, and fellow subjects of all conditions.


Rom. xiii. so interpreted even by them that held persecution for conscience.

Peace. Although the scripture is sufficient to make the man of God perfect, and the fool wise to salvation, and our faith in God must be only founded upon the rock Christ, and not upon the sand of men’s judgments and opinions: yet, as Paul allegeth the judgment and sayings of unbelievers for their conviction, out of their own tenents and grants, “So I pray you to set down the words of one or two, not unbelievers in their persons, but excellent[124] and precious servants and witnesses of God in their times, whose names are sweet and precious to all that fear God,—who, although their judgment ran in the common stream, viz., ‘That magistrates were keepers of the two tables, defenders of the faith against heretics,’ and, notwithstanding whatever they have written for defence of their judgments, yet the light of truth so evidently shined upon their souls in this scripture, that they absolutely denied the 13th of the Romans to concern any matter of the first table.”

Calvin’s judgment of Rom. xiii.

Truth. First, I shall produce that excellent servant of God, Calvin, who, upon this 13th to the Romans, writes,[151] Tota autem hæc disputatio est de civilibus præfecturis; itaque frustra inde sacrilegam suam tyrannidem stabilire moliuntur, qui dominatum in conscientias exerceant:—“But,” saith he, “this whole discourse concerneth civil magistrates, and, therefore, in vain do they who exercise power over consciences, go about from this place to establish their sacrilegious tyranny.”[152]

God’s people loth to be found, yet proved persecutors.

Peace. I know how far most men, and especially the sheep of Jesus, will fly from the thought of exercising tyranny over conscience, that happily they will disclaim the dealing of all with men’s consciences: yet, if the acts and statutes which are made by them concerning the worship of God be attended to, their profession—and that out of zeal according to the pattern of that ceremonial and figurative state of Israel—to suffer no other religion nor worship in their territories, but one—their profession and[125] practice to defend their faith from reproach and blasphemy of heretics by civil weapons, and all that from this very 13th of the Romans—I say, if these particulars and others, be with fear and trembling, in the presence of the Most High, examined, the wonderful deceit of their own hearts shall appear unto them, and how guilty they will appear to be of wresting this scripture before the tribunal of the Most High.

Truth. Again, Calvin, speaking concerning fulfilling of the law by love, writes thus on the same place: Sed Paulus in totam legem non respicit; tantum de officiis loquitur, quæ nobis erga proximum demandantur a lege:—That is, “Paul hath not respect unto the whole law, he speaks only of those duties which the law commands towards our neighbours.” And it is manifest, that in this place by our neighbours he means high and low, magistrates and subjects, unto whom we ought to walk by the rule of love, paying unto every one their due.

Again, Cæterum Paulus hic tantum meminet secundæ tabulæ, quia de ea tantum erat quæstio:—“But Paul here only mentioneth the second table, because the question was only concerning that.”

Calvin confesseth that the first table, concerning God’s worship, is not here, in Rom. xiii. touched.

And again, Quod autem repetit, complementum legis esse dilectionem, intellige (ut prius) de ea legis parte, quod hominum societatem spectat? Prior enim legis tabula quæ est de cultu Dei minime hic attingitur:—“But in that he repeateth, that love is the fulfilling of the law, understand as before, that he speaks of that part of the law which respects human society; for the first table of the law, which concerneth the worship of God, is not in the least manner here touched.”[153]

Beza upon Rom. xiii.

After Calvin, his successor in Geneva, that holy and[126] learned Beza, upon the word ἀνακεφαλαιοῦται, if there be any other commandment it is summed up in this, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, writes thus:[154]—Tota lex nihil aliud quam amorem Dei et proximi præcipet; sed tamen cum apostolus hoc loco de mutuis hominum officiis disserat, legis vocabulum ad secundum tabulam restringendam puto. “The whole law,” saith he, “commands nothing else but the love of God, and yet, nevertheless, since the apostle in this place discourseth of the duties of men one toward another, I think this term law ought to be restrained to the second table.”[155]


Peace. I pray now proceed to the second argument from this scripture, against the use of civil weapons in matters of religions, and spiritual worship.

Truth. The Spirit of God here commands subjection and obedience to higher powers, even to the Roman emperors and all subordinate magistrates; and yet the emperors and governors under them were strangers from the life of God in Christ, yea, most averse and opposite, yea, cruel and bloody persecutors of the name and followers of Jesus: and yet unto these, is this subjection and obedience commanded. Now true it is, that as the[127] civil magistrate is apt not to content himself with the majesty of an earthly throne, crown, sword, sceptre, but to seat himself in the throne of David in the church: so God’s people, and it may be in Paul’s time, considering their high and glorious preferment and privileges by Jesus Christ, were apt to be much tempted to despise civil governors, especially such as were ignorant of the Son of God, and persecuted him in his servants.

Paul writes not to the Roman governors to defend the truth, and to punish heretics.

Now then I argue, if the apostle should have commanded this subjection unto the Roman emperors and Roman magistrates in spiritual causes, as to defend the truth which they were no way able to discern, but persecuted—and upon trust from others no magistrate, not persuaded in his own conscience, is to take it:—

Or else to punish heretics, whom then also they must discern and judge, or else condemn them, as the Jews would have Pilate condemn the Lord Jesus, upon the sentence of others—I say, if Paul should have, in this scripture, put this work upon these Roman governors, and commanded the churches of Christ to have yielded subjection in any such matters, he must, in the judgment of all men, have put out the eye of faith, and reason, and sense, at once.[156]



Paul’s appeal to Cæsar discussed.

Peace. It is said by some, why then did Paul himself, Acts xxv. 11, appeal to Cæsar, unless that Cæsar, (though he was not, yet) he ought to have been a fit judge in such matters?

If Paul had appealed to Cæsar in spiritual things, he had committed five evils.

Truth. I answer, if Paul, in this appeal to Cæsar, had referred and submitted simply and properly the cause of Christ, his ministry and ministration, to the Roman emperor’s tribunal, knowing him to be an idolatrous stranger from the true God, and a lion-like, bloody persecutor of the Lord Jesus, the Lamb of God,—I say, let it be considered, whether or no he had committed these five evils:—

The first, against the dimmest light of reason, in appealing to darkness to judge light, to unrighteousness to judge righteousness, [to] the spiritually blind to judge and end the controversy concerning heavenly colours.

Secondly, against the cause of religion, which, if condemned by every inferior idolater, must needs be condemned by the Cæsars themselves, who, Nebuchadnezzar-like, set up their state images or religions, commanding the world’s uniformity of worship to them.

Thirdly, against the holy state and calling of the Christians themselves, who, by virtue of their subjection to Christ, even the least of them, are in spiritual things above the highest potentates or emperors in the world who continue in enmity against, or in an ignorant, natural state without Christ Jesus. This honour, or high exaltation have all his holy ones, to bind, not literally but spiritually, their kings in chains, and their nobles in links of iron. Ps. cxlix. 8.


Fourthly, against his own calling, apostleship, or office of ministry, unto which Cæsar himself and all potentates, in spiritual and soul-matters, ought to have submitted; and unto which, in controversies of Christ’s church and kingdom, Cæsar himself ought to have appealed, the church of God being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets. Eph. ii. 20.

Emperors themselves, if Christians, subject to the apostles and churches in spiritual things.

And, therefore, in case that any of the Roman governors, or the emperor himself, had been humbled and converted to Christianity by the preaching of Christ, were not they themselves bound to subject themselves unto the power of the Lord Jesus in the hands of the apostles and churches, and might not the apostles and churches have refused to have baptized, or washed them into the profession of Christ Jesus, upon the apprehension of their unworthiness?

Or, if received into Christian fellowship, were they not to stand at the bar of the Lord Jesus in the church, concerning either their opinions or practices? were they not to be cast out and delivered unto Satan by the power of the Lord Jesus, if, after once and twice admonition, they persist obstinately, as faithfully and impartially as if they were the meanest in the empire? Yea, although the apostles, the churches, the elders, or governors thereof, were poor and mean, despised persons in civil respects, and were themselves bound to yield all faithful and loyal obedience to such emperors and governors in civil things.

Were they not, if Christians, bound themselves to have submitted to those spiritual decrees of the apostles and elders, as well as the lowest and meanest members of Christ? Acts xvi. And if so, how should Paul appeal in spiritual things to Cæsar, or write to the churches of Jesus to submit to them [in] Christian or spiritual matters?

Fifthly, if Paul had appealed to Cæsar in spiritual[130] respects, he had greatly profaned the holy name of God in holy things, in so improper and vain a prostitution of spiritual things to carnal and natural judgments, which are not able to comprehend spiritual matters, which are alone spiritually discerned. 1 Cor. ii. 14.

Lawful appeals in civil things to civil magistrates.

And yet Cæsar, as a civil, supreme magistrate, ought to defend Paul from civil violence, and slanderous accusations about sedition, mutiny, civil disobedience, &c. And in that sense, who doubts but God’s people may appeal to the Roman Cæsar, an Egyptian Pharaoh, a Philistian Abimelech, an Assyrian Nebuchadnezzar, the great Mogul, Prester John, the great Turk, or an Indian Sachem?[157]


Peace. Which is the third argument against the civil magistrates’ power in spiritual and soul-matters out of this scripture, Rom. xiii.?

Truth. I dispute from the nature of the magistrates’ weapons, ver. 4. He hath a sword, which he bears not in vain, delivered to him, as I acknowledge from God’s appointment in the free consent and choice of the subjects for common good.

We must distinguish of swords.


Four sorts of swords mentioned in the New Testament.

We find four sorts of swords mentioned in the New Testament.

First, the sword of persecution, which Herod stretched forth against James, Acts xii. 1, 2.

Secondly, the sword of God’s Spirit, expressly said to be the word of God, Ephes. vi. [17]. A sword of two edges, carried in the mouth of Christ, Rev. i. [16], which is of strong and mighty operation, piercing between the bones and the marrow, between the soul and the spirit, Heb. iv. [12].

Thirdly, the great sword of war and destruction, given to him that rides that terrible red horse of war, so that he takes peace from the earth, and men kill one another, as is most lamentably true in the slaughter of so many hundred thousand souls within these few years in several parts of Europe, our own and others.

None of these three swords are intended in this scripture.

The civil sword.

Therefore, fourthly, there is a civil sword, called the sword of civil justice, which being of a material, civil nature, for the defence of persons, estates, families, liberties of a city or civil state, and the suppressing of uncivil or injurious persons or actions, by such civil punishment, it cannot, according to its utmost reach and capacity, now under Christ, when all nations are merely civil, without any such typical, holy respect upon them, as was upon Israel, a national church—I say, cannot extend to spiritual and soul-causes, spiritual and soul-punishment, which belongs to that spiritual sword with two edges, the soul-piercing,—in soul-saving, or soul-killing,—the word of God.[158]



Tribute, custom, &c., merely civil recompences for civil work.

Truth. A fourth argument from this scripture, I take in the sixth verse, from tribute, custom, &c.: which is a merely civil reward, or recompence, for the magistrates’ work. Now as the wages are, such is the work; but the wages are merely civil—custom, tribute, &c.: not the contributions of the saints or churches of Christ, proper to the spiritual and Christian state. And such work only must the magistrate attend upon, as may properly deserve such civil wages, reward, or recompence.

Magistrates called by God, God’s ministers.

Lastly, that the Spirit of God never intended to direct, or warrant, the magistrate to use his power in spiritual affairs and religious worship, I argue from the term or title it pleaseth the wisdom of God to give such civil officers, to wit, ver. 6, God’s ministers.

Now at the very first blush, no man denies a double ministry.

The spiritual ministry.

The one appointed by Christ Jesus in his church, to gather, to govern, receive in, cast out, and order all the affairs of the church, the house, city, or kingdom of God, Eph. iv.; 1 Cor. xii.

The civil ministry or service.

Secondly, a civil ministry, or office, merely human and civil, which men agree to constitute, called therefore a human creation, 1 Pet. ii. [13], and is as true and lawful in those nations, cities, kingdoms, &c., which never heard of the true God, nor his holy Son Jesus, as in any part of[133] the world beside, where the name of Jesus is most taken up.

From all which premises, viz., that the scope of the Spirit of God in this chapter is to handle the matters of the second table—having handled the matters of the first, in the twelfth:—since the magistrates of whom Paul wrote, were natural, ungodly, persecuting, and yet lawful magistrates, and to be obeyed in all lawful civil things: since all magistrates are God’s ministers, essentially civil, bounded to a civil work, with civil weapons, or instruments, and paid or rewarded with civil rewards:—from all which, I say, I undeniably collect, that this scripture is generally mistaken, and wrested from the scope of God’s Spirit, and the nature of the place, and cannot truly be alleged by any for the power of the civil magistrate to be exercised in spiritual and soul-matters.


What is to be understood by evil, Rom. xiii. 4.

Peace. Against this I know many object, out of the fourth verse of this chapter, that the magistrate is to avenge, or punish, evil: from whence is gathered that heresy, false Christs, false churches, false ministries, false seals, being evil, ought to be punished civilly, &c.

Truth. I answer, that the word κακὸν is generally opposed to civil goodness, or virtue, in a commonwealth, and not to spiritual good, or religion, in the church.

Secondly, I have proved from the scope of the place, that here is not intended evil against the spiritual, or Christian estate handled in the twelfth chapter, but evil against the civil state in this thirteenth, properly falling under the cognizance of the civil minister of God, the[134] magistrate, and punishable by that civil sword of his as an incivility, disorder, or breach of that civil order, peace, and civility, unto which all the inhabitants of a city, town, or kingdom, oblige themselves.

Peace. I have heard, that the elders of the New England churches—who yet out of this thirteenth of Romans maintain persecution—grant[159] that the magistrate is to preserve the peace and welfare of the state, and therefore that he ought not to punish such sins as hurt not his peace. In particular, they say, the magistrate may not punish secret sins in the soul: nor such sins as are yet handling in the church, in a private way: nor such sins which are private in families—and therefore, they say, the magistrate transgresseth to prosecute complaints of children against their parents, servants against masters, wives against husbands, (and yet this proper to the civil state). Nor such sins as are between the members and churches themselves.

And they confess, that if the magistrate punish, and the church punish, there will be a greater rent in their peace.

Truth. From thence, sweet Peace, may we well observe,

First, the magistrate is not to punish all evil, according to this their confession.

The distinction of private and public evil will not here avail; because such as urge that term evil, viz., that the magistrate is to punish evil, urge it strictly, eo nomine; because heresy, blasphemy, false church, false ministry, is evil, as well as disorder in a civil state.

Some give to the magistrate what is not his, and take from him that which is proper to him.

Secondly, I observe, how they take away from the magistrate that which is proper to his cognizance, as the complaints of servants, children, wives, against their[135] parents, masters, husbands, &c. Families as families, being as stones which make up the common building, and are properly the object of the magistrates’ care, in respect of civil government, civil order, and obedience.[160]


Peace. I pray now, lastly, proceed to the author’s reason[161] why Christ’s disciples should be so far from persecuting:—that they ought to bless them that curse them, and pray for them that persecute them, because of the freeness of God’s grace, and the deepness of his counsels, calling them that are enemies, persecutors, no people, to become meek lambs, the sheep and people of God, according to 1 Pet. ii. 10, You which were not a people, are now a people, &c.; and Matt. xx. 6, some come at the last hour, which if they were cut off because they came not sooner, would be prevented, and so should never come.

Unto this reason, the answerer is pleased thus to reply.[162]

First, in general; we must not do evil that good may come thereof.

Toleration discussed.[163]

Secondly, in particular, he affirmeth, “that it is evil to tolerate seditious evil doers, seducing teachers, scandalous[136] livers;” and for proof of this, he quotes Christ’s reproof to the angel of the church at Pergamos, for tolerating them that hold the doctrine of Balaam; and against the church of Thyatira, for tolerating Jezebel to teach and seduce, Rev. ii. 14, 20.

Truth. I answer, first, by assenting to the general proposition, that it is most true, like unto Christ Jesus himself, a sure foundation, 1 Cor. iii. 11. Yet what is built upon it, I hope by God’s assistance to make it appear, is but hay and stubble, dead and withered, not suiting that golden foundation, nor pleasing to the Father of mercies, nor comfortable to the souls of men.

It is evil, saith he, to tolerate notorious evil doers, seducing teachers, scandalous livers.

In which speech I observe two evils:

First, that this proposition is too large and general, because the rule admits of exception, and that according to the will of God.

Evil is always evil, yet permission of it may in case be good.

1. It is true, that evil cannot alter its nature, but it is alway evil, as darkness is alway darkness, yet,

2. It must be remembered, that it is one thing to command, to conceal, to counsel, to approve evil, and another thing to permit and suffer evil with protestation against it, or dislike of it, at least without approbation of it.

Lastly, this sufferance, or permission, of evil, is not for its own sake, but for the sake of good, which puts a respect of goodness upon such permission.

God’s wonderful toleration.

Hence it is, that for God’s own glory’s sake, which is the highest good, he endures, that is, permits, or suffers, the vessels of wrath, Rom. ix. 22. And therefore, although he be of pure eyes and can behold no iniquity, yet his pure eye patiently and quietly beholds and permits all the idolatries and profanations, all the thefts and rapines, all the whoredoms and abominations, all the murders and poisonings;[137] and yet, I say, for his glory’s sake, he is patient, and long permits.

Hence for his people’s sake (which is the next good, in his Son), he is oftentimes pleased to permit and suffer the wicked to enjoy a longer reprieve. Therefore he gave Paul all the lives that were in the ship, Acts xxvii. 24.

Therefore, he would not so soon have destroyed Sodom, but granted a longer permission, had there been but ten righteous, Gen. xviii. 32. Therefore, Jer. v. 1, had he found some to have stood in the gap, he would have spared others. Therefore gave he Jezebel a time, or space, Rev. ii. 21.

Therefore, for his glory’s sake, hath he permitted longer great sinners, who afterward have perished in their season, as we see in the case of Ahab, the Ninevites, and Amorites, &c.

Deut xxiv.

Hence it pleased the Lord, not only to permit the many evils against his own honourable ordinance of marriage in the world, but was pleased, after a wonderful manner, to suffer that sin of many wives in Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon, yea, with some expressions which seem to give approbation, as 2 Sam. xii. 8, 24.[164]

Peace. It may be said, this is no pattern for us, because God is above law, and an absolute sovereign.

Truth. I answer, although we find him sometimes dispensing with his law, yet we never find him deny himself, or utter a falsehood: and therefore when it crosseth not[138] an absolute rule to permit and tolerate—as in the case of the permission of the souls and consciences of all men in the world—I have shown, and shall show further, it doth not, it will not, hinder our being holy as he is holy, in all manner of conversation.


Peace. It will yet be said, it pleaseth God to permit adulteries, murders, poisons: God suffers men, like fishes, to devour each other, Hab. i. 14; the wicked to flourish, Jer. xii. 1; yea, sends the tyrants of the world to destroy the nations, and plunder them of their riches, Isa. x. [5, 6.] Should men do so, the world would be a wilderness; and beside we have command for zealous execution of justice, impartially, speedily.

Two sorts of commands, both by Moses and Christ.

Truth. I answer, we find two sorts of commands, both from Moses and from Christ, the two great prophets and messengers from the living God, the one the type or figure of the later. Moses gave positive rules, both spiritual and civil; yet also, he gave some not positive but permissive, for the common good. So the Lord Jesus expoundeth it.

Matt. xix. 7, 8.

For whereas, the Pharisees urged it, that Moses commanded to give a bill of divorcement and to put away, the Lord Jesus expoundeth it, Moses for the hardness of your hearts suffered, or permitted, Matt. xix. 7, 8.

The permission of divorce in Israel.

This was a permissive command, universal to all Israel, for a general good, in preventing the continual fires of dissensions and combustions in families: yea, it may be murders, poisons, adulteries, which that people, as the wisdom of God foresaw, was apt, out of the hardness of[139] their heart, to break out into, were it not for this preventing permission.

Hence it was, that for a further public good sake, and the public safety, David permitted Joab, a notorious malefactor, and Shimei and Adonijah, &c. And civil states and governors, in like cases, have and do permit and suffer what neither David nor any civil governors ought to do or have done, were it not to prevent the hazard of the whole, in the shedding of much innocent blood, together with the nocent, in civil combustions.

Peace. It may be said, Joab, Shimei, Adonijah, &c., were only, as it were, reprieved for a time, and proves only that a season ought to be attended for their punishment.

Truth. Answ. I answer, I produce not these instances to prove a permission of tares—anti-christians, heretics—which other scriptures abundantly prove, but to make it clear, against the answerer’s allegation, that even in the civil state permission of notorious evil doers, even against the civil state, is not disapproved by God himself and the wisest of his servants in its season.


Usury in a commonweal, or civil state, lawfully permitted.

Truth. I proceed. Hence it is that some generals of armies, and governors of cities, towns, &c., do, and, as those former instances prove, lawfully permit some evil persons and practices. As for instance, in the civil state, usury: for the preventing of a greater evil in the civil body, as stealing, robbing, murdering, perishing of the poor, and the hindrance, or stop, of commerce and dealing in the commonwealth. Just like physicians, wisely permitting[140] noisome humours, and sometimes diseases, when the cure or purging would prove more dangerous to the destruction of the whole, a weak or crazy body, and specially at such a time.

Thus, in many other instances, it pleased the Father of lights, the God of Israel, to permit that people, especially in the matter of their demand of a king, wherein he pleaded that himself as well as Samuel was rejected.

Permission of the tares in the field of the world for a twofold good. 1. Of the good wheat. 2. Of the whole world, the field itself.

This ground, to wit, for a common good of the whole, is the same with that of the Lord Jesus commanding the tares to be permitted in the world; because, otherwise, the good wheat should be endangered to be rooted up out of the field or world also, as well as the tares. And therefore, for the good sake, the tares, which are indeed evil, were to be permitted: yea, and for the general good of the whole world, the field itself, which, for want of this obedience to that command of Christ, hath been and is laid waste and desolate with the fury and rage of civil war, professedly raised and maintained, as all states profess, for the maintenance of one true religion—after the pattern of that typical land of Canaan—and to suppress and pluck up these tares of false prophets and false professors, anti-christians, heretics, &c., out of the world.

Hence illæ lachrymæ: hence Germany’s, Ireland’s, and now England’s, tears and dreadful desolations, which ought to have been, and may be for the future,—by obedience to the command of the Lord Jesus, concerning the permission of tares to live in the world, though not in the church—I say, ought to have been, and may be mercifully prevented.



Peace. I pray descend now to the second evil which you observe in the answerer’s position, viz., that it would be evil to tolerate notorious evil doers, seducing teachers, &c.

Truth. I say, the evil is, that he most improperly and confusedly joins and couples seducing teachers with scandalous livers.

Peace. But is it not true, that the world is full of seducing teachers? and is it not true, that seducing teachers are notorious evil doers?

Truth. I answer: far be it from me to deny either. And yet, in two things, I shall discover the great evil of this joining and coupling seducing teachers and scandalous livers, as one adequate or proper object of the magistrates’ care and work to suppress and punish.

First, it is not an homogeneal (as we speak), but an heterogeneal commixture of joining together of things most different in kinds and natures, as if they were both of one consideration.

Seducing teachers, either pagan, Jewish, or anti-christian, may yet be obedient subjects to the civil laws.

For who knows not but that many seducing teachers, either of the paganish, Jewish, Turkish, or anti-christian religion, may be clear and free from scandalous offences in their life, as also from disobedience to the civil laws of a state? Yea, the answerer himself hath elsewhere granted, that if the laws of a civil state be not broken, the peace is not broken.[165]

Again, who knows not that a seducing teacher properly[142] sins against a church or spiritual estate and laws of it, and, therefore, ought most properly and only to be dealt withal in such a way, and by such weapons, as the Lord Jesus himself hath appointed; gainsayers, opposites, and disobedients—either within his church or without—to be convinced, repelled, resisted, and slain withal?

Scandalous livers against the civil state, who they are.

Whereas, scandalous offenders against parents, against magistrates in the fifth command, and so against the life, chastity, goods, or good name in the rest, is properly transgression against the civil state and common weal, or the worldly state of men: and, therefore, consequently, if the world, or civil state, ought to be preserved by civil government or governors, such scandalous offenders ought not to be tolerated, but suppressed, according to the wisdom and prudence of the said government.

Mr. Cotton’s tenet justifies all the cruel proceedings against Christ and Christians.

Secondly, as there is a fallacious conjoining and confounding together persons of several kinds and natures, differing as much as spirit and flesh, heaven and earth, each from other: so is there a silent and implicit justification of all the unrighteous and cruel proceedings of Jews and Gentiles against all the prophets of God, the Lord Jesus himself, and all his messengers and witnesses, whom their accusers have ever so coupled and mixed with notorious evil doers and scandalous livers.

Elijah was a troubler of the state; Jeremy weakened the hand of the people; yea, Moses made the people neglect their work; the Jews built the rebellious and bad city; the three worthies regarded not the command of the king; Christ Jesus deceived the people, was a conjuror and a traitor against Cæsar in being king of the Jews—indeed He was so spiritually over the true Jew, the Christian—therefore, he was numbered with notorious evil doers, and nailed to the gallows between two malefactors.


Hence Paul and all true messengers of Jesus Christ, are esteemed seducing and seditious teachers and turners of the world upside down: yea, and to my knowledge—I speak with honourable respect to the answerer, so far as he hath laboured for many truths of Christ—the answerer himself hath drunk of this cup, to be esteemed a seducing teacher.


Peace. Yea, but he produceth scriptures against such toleration, and for persecuting men for the cause of conscience: “Christ,” saith he, “had something against the angel of the church of Pergamos, for tolerating them that held the doctrine of Balaam, and against the church of Thyatira, for tolerating Jezebel to teach and seduce,” Rev. ii. 14, 20.

Truth. I may answer, with some admiration and astonishment, how it pleased the Father of lights and most jealous God to darken and veil the eye of so precious a man, as not to seek out and propose some scriptures, in the proof of so weighty an assertion, as at least might have some colour for an influence of the civil magistrate in such cases: for—

Toleration. Rev. ii. 14, 20, examined.

First, he saith not that Christ had aught against the city Pergamos, where Satan had his throne, Rev. ii. 14, but against the church at Pergamos, in which was set up the throne of Christ.

Secondly, Christ’s charge is not against the civil magistrate of Pergamos, but the messenger, or ministry, of the church in Pergamos.

Thirdly, I confess, so far as Balaam’s or Jezebel’s doctrine[144] maintained a liberty of corporal fornication, it concerned the cities of Pergamos and Thyatira, and the angel or officers of those cities, to suppress not only such practices, but such doctrines also: as the Roman emperor justly punished Ovid the poet, for teaching the wanton art of love, leading to and ushering on lasciviousness and uncleanness.

Fourthly. Yet so far as Balaam’s teachers, or Jezebel, did seduce the members of the church in Pergamos or Thyatira, to the worship of the idolaters in Pergamos or Thyatira, which will appear to be the case—I say, so far I may well and properly answer, as himself answered before those scriptures, brought from Luke ix. and 2 Tim. ii., to prove patience and permission to men opposite, viz., “these scriptures,” saith he, “are directions to ministers of the gospel;” and in the end of that passage he adds, “Much less do they speak at all to civil magistrates.”[166]

Christ’s ministers and churches, have power sufficient from Christ to suppress Balaam and Jezebel seducing to false worship.

Fifthly. Either these churches and the angels thereof had power to suppress these doctrines of Balaam, and to suppress Jezebel from teaching, or they had not:—

That they had not cannot be affirmed, for Christ’s authority is in the hands of his ministers and churches, Matt. xvi. and xviii., and 1 Cor. v.

If they had power, as must be granted, then, I conclude, sufficient power to suppress such persons, whoever they were, that maintained Balaam’s doctrine in the church at Pergamos—although the very magistrates themselves of the city of Pergamos (if Christians): and to have suppressed Jezebel from teaching and seducing in the church, had she been lady, queen, or empress, if there were no[145] more but teaching without hostility. And if so, all power and authority of magistrates and governors of Pergamos and Thyatira, and all submitting or appealing to them in such cases, must needs fall, as none of Christ’s appointment.

The Christian world hath swallowed up Christianity.

Lastly. From this perverse wresting of what is writ to the church and the officers thereof, as if it were written to the civil state and officers thereof, all may see how, since the apostasy of anti-christ, the Christian world (so called) hath swallowed up Christianity; how the church and civil state, that is, the church and the world, are now become one flock of Jesus Christ; Christ’s sheep, and the pastors or shepherds of them, all one with the several unconverted, wild, or tame beasts and cattle of the world, and the civil and earthly governors of them: the Christian church, or kingdom of the saints, that stone cut out of the mountain without hands, Dan. ii. 45, now made all one with the mountain, or civil state, the Roman empire, from whence it is cut or taken: Christ’s lilies, garden, and love, all one with the thorns, the daughters, and wilderness of the world, out of which the spouse or church of Christ is called; and amongst whom, in civil things, for a while here below, she must necessarily be mingled and have converse, unless she will go out of the world, before Christ Jesus, her Lord and husband, send for her home into the heavens, 1 Cor. v. 10.[167]



The second head of reasons against such persecution, viz., the profession of famous princes, King James, Stephen of Poland, and King of Bohemia.

Peace. Having thus, by the help of Christ, examined those scriptures, or writings of truth, brought by the author against persecution, and cleared them from such veils and mists, wherewith Mr. Cotton hath endeavoured to obscure and darken their lights: I pray you, now, by the same gracious assistance, proceed to his answer to the second head of reasons, from the profession of famous princes against persecution for conscience, King James, Stephen of Poland, King of Bohemia, unto whom the answerer returneth a treble answer.[168]

“First,” saith he, “we willingly acknowledge that none is to be persecuted at all, no more than they may be oppressed for righteousness’ sake.

“Again, we acknowledge that none is to be punished for his conscience, though misinformed, as hath been said, unless his error be fundamental, or seditiously and turbulently promoted, and that after due conviction of his conscience, that it may appear he is not punished for his conscience, but for sinning against his conscience.

“Furthermore, we acknowledge, none is to be constrained to believe or profess the true religion, till he be convinced in judgment of the truth of it; but yet restrained he may be from blaspheming the truth, and from seducing any unto pernicious errors.”

Isa. xl. 6; 2 Pet. ii.

Truth. This first answer consists of a repetition and enumeration of such grounds or conclusions, as Mr. Cotton in the entrance of this discourse laid down; and I believe that, through the help of God, in such replies as I have made unto them, I have made it evident what weak[147] foundations they have in the scriptures of truth, as also that, when such conclusions, excepting the first, as grass and the flower of the grass shall fade, that holy word of the Lord, which the author against such persecution produces, and I have cleared, shall stand for ever, even when these heavens and earth are burnt.

Peace. His second answer is this:—“What princes profess and practise, is not a rule of conscience. They many times tolerate that in point of state-policy, which cannot justly be tolerated in point of true Christianity.

“Again, Princes many times tolerate offenders out of very necessity, when the offenders are either too many or too mighty for them to punish; in which respect David tolerated Joab and his murders, but against his will.”


Truth. Unto those excellent and famous speeches of those princes, worthy to be written in golden letters, or rows of diamonds, upon all the gates of all the cities and palaces in the world, the answerer, without any particular reply, returns two things.

Mr. Cotton’s unequal dealing with princes.

First, that princes’ profession and practice is no rule of conscience: unto this, as all men will subscribe, so may they also observe how the answerer deals with princes.

One while they are the nursing fathers of the church, not only to feed, but also to correct, and, therefore, consequently bound to judge what is true feeding and correcting: and, consequently, all men are bound to submit to their feeding and correcting.

Another while, when princes cross Mr. Cotton’s judgment and practice, then it matters not what the profession[148] or practice of princes is: for, saith he, their profession and practice is no rule to conscience.

I ask then, unto what magistrates or princes will themselves, or any so persuaded, submit, as unto keepers of both tables, as unto the antitypes of the kings of Israel and Judah, and nursing fathers and mothers of the church?

First. Will it not evidently follow, that by these tenents they ought not to submit to any magistrates in the world in these cases, but to magistrates just of their own conscience? and—

Secondly. That all other consciences in the world, except their own, must be persecuted by such their magistrates?[169]

And lastly. Is not this to make magistrates but steps and stirrups, to ascend and mount up into their rich and honourable seats and saddles; I mean great and settled maintenances, which neither the Lord Jesus, nor any of his first messengers, the true patterns, did ever know?


Truth. In the second place, he saith, that princes out of state-policy tolerate what suits not with Christianity, and out of state-necessity tolerate (as David did Joab) against their wills.

To which I answer,—


The answerer acknowledgeth a necessity of some toleration.

First. That although with him, in the first, I confess that princes may tolerate that out of state-policy which will not stand with Christianity, yet, in the second, he must acknowledge with me, that there is a necessity sometimes of state-toleration, as in the case of Joab, and so his former affirmation, generally laid down (viz., that it is evil to tolerate seducing teachers or scandalous livers), was not duly weighed in the balance of the sanctuary, and is too light.

Christ Jesus the deepest politician that ever was, and yet he commands a toleration of anti-christians.

Secondly. I affirm that the state-policy and state-necessity, which, for the peace of the state and preventing of rivers of civil blood, permit the consciences of men, will be found to agree most punctually with the rules of the best politician that ever the world saw, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, in comparison of whom Solomon himself had but a drop of wisdom compared to Christ’s ocean, and was but a farthing candle compared with the all and ever glorious Sun of righteousness.

That absolute rule of this great politician for the peace of the field which is the world, and for the good and peace of the saints who must have a civil being in the world, I have discoursed of in his command of permitting the tares, that is, anti-christians, or false Christians, to be in the field of the world, growing up together with the true wheat, true Christians.


Peace. His third answer is this:—[170]

“For those three princes named by you, who tolerated religion, we can name you more and greater who have not[150] tolerated heretics and schismatics, notwithstanding their pretence of conscience, and their arrogating the crown of martyrdom to their sufferings.”

“Constantine the Great at the request of the general council at Nice, banished Arius, with some of his fellows, Sozom. lib. i. Eccles. Hist. cap. 19, 20.

“The same Constantine made a severe law against the Donatists: and the like proceedings against them were used by Valentinian, Gratian, and Theodosius, as Augustine reports in Ep. 166. Only Julian the Apostate granted liberty to heretics as well as to pagans, that he might, by tolerating all weeds to grow, choke the vitals of Christianity: which was also the practice and sin of Valens the Arian.

“Queen Elizabeth, as famous for her government as most of the former, it is well known what laws she made and executed against papists. Yea, and King James, one of your own witnesses, though he was slow in proceeding against papists, as you say, for conscience’ sake, yet you are not ignorant how sharply and severely he punished those whom the malignant world calls puritans, men of more conscience and better faith than the papists whom he tolerated.”

The princes of the world seldom take part with Christ.

Truth. Unto this, I answer: First, that for mine own part I would not use an argument from the number of princes, witnessing in profession of practice against persecution for cause of conscience; for the truth and faith of the Lord Jesus must not be received with respect of faces, be they never so high, princely and glorious.

Precious pearls and jewels, and far more precious truth, are found in muddy shells and places. The rich mines of golden truth lie hid under barren hills, and in obscure holes and corners.


Princes not persecuting are very rare.

The most high and glorious God hath chosen the poor of the world, and the witnesses of truth (Rev. xi.) are clothed in sackcloth, not in silk or satin, cloth of gold or tissue: and, therefore, I acknowledge, if the number of princes professing persecution be considered, it is rare to find a king, prince, or governor like Christ Jesus, the King of kings, and Prince of the princes of the earth, and who tread not in the steps of Herod the fox, or Nero the lion, openly or secretly persecuting the name of the Lord Jesus; such were Saul, Jeroboam, Ahab, though under a mask or pretence of the name of the God of Israel.[171]

Buchanan’s item to King James.

To that purpose was it a noble speech of Buchanan, who, lying on his death-bed, sent this item to King James:—“Remember my humble service to his majesty, and tell him that Buchanan is going to a place where few kings come.”


Truth. Secondly. I observe how inconsiderately—I hope not willingly—he passeth by the reasons and grounds urged by those three princes for their practices; for, as for the bare examples of kings or princes, they are but like shining sands, or gilded rocks, giving no solace to such as make woful shipwreck on them.

King James’s sayings against persecution.

In King James’s speech, he passeth by that golden[152] maxim in divinity, “that God never loves to plant his church by blood.”

Secondly. That civil obedience may be performed from the papists.

Thirdly. In his observation on Rev. xx., that true and certain note of a false church, to wit, persecution: “The wicked are besiegers, the faithful are besieged.”

King Stephen’s, of Poland, speech against persecution.

In King Stephen’s, of Poland, speech, he passeth by the true difference between a civil and a spiritual government: “I am,” said Stephen, “a civil magistrate over the bodies of men, not a spiritual over their souls.”

Now to confound these is Babel; and Jewish it is to seek for Moses, and bring him from his grave (which no man shall find, for God buried him) in setting up a national state or church, in a land of Canaan, which the great Messiah abolished at his coming.

Forcing of conscience is a soul-rape. Persecution for conscience, the lancet that letteth blood of kings and kingdoms.

Thirdly. He passeth by, in the speech of the King of Bohemia, that foundation in grace and nature, to wit, “That conscience ought not to be violated or forced:” and indeed it is most true, that a soul or spiritual rape is more abominable in God’s eye, than to force and ravish the bodies of all the women in the world. Secondly. That most lamentably true experience of all ages, which that king observeth, viz., “That persecution for cause of conscience hath ever proved pernicious, being the causes of all those wonderful innovations of, or changes in, the principallest and mightiest kingdoms of Christendom.” He that reads the records of truth and time with an impartial eye, shall find this to be the lancet that hath pierced the veins of kings and kingdoms, of saints and sinners, and filled the streams and rivers with their blood.

All spiritual whores are bloody.

Lastly. That king’s observation of his own time,[172] viz.,[153] “That persecution for cause of conscience was practised most in England, and such places where popery reigned:” implying, as I conceive, that such practices commonly proceed from that great whore the church of Rome, whose daughters are like their mother, and all of a bloody nature, as most commonly all whores be.


Now thirdly. In that the answerer observeth, “That amongst the Roman emperors, they that did not persecute were Julian the Apostate, and Valens the Arian; whereas the good emperors, Constantine, Gratian, Valentinian, and Theodosius, they did persecute the Arians, Donatists,” &c:—

The godly sometimes evil actors, and the ungodly good actors.

Answ. It is no new thing for godly, and eminently godly men to perform ungodly actions: nor for ungodly persons, for wicked ends, to act what in itself is good and righteous.

Polygamy, or the many wives of the fathers.

Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon, &c. (as well as Lamech, Saul, &c.) lived in constant transgression against the institution of so holy and so ratified a law of marriage, &c.; and this not against the light and checks of conscience (as other sins are wont to be recorded of them), but according to the dictate and persuasion of a resolved soul and conscience.

David’s advancing of God’s worship against God’s order.

David, out of zeal to God, with thirty thousand of Israel, and [with] majestical solemnity, carries up the ark contrary to the order God was pleased to appoint: the issue was both God’s and David’s great offence, 2 Sam. vi.

David in his zeal would build a house to entertain his God! What more pious? and what more (in show)[154] seriously consulted, when the prophet Nathan is admitted counsellor? 2 Sam. vii.

And probable it is, that his slaughter of Uriah was not without a good end, to wit, to prevent the dishonour of God’s name in the discovery of his adultery with Bathsheba. Yet David was holy and precious to God still, though like a jewel fallen into the dirt. Whereas King Ahab, though acting his fasting and humiliation, was but Ahab still, though his act, in itself, was a duty, and found success with God.


Peace. I have often heard that history reports, and I have heard that Mr. Cotton himself hath affirmed it, that Christianity fell asleep in Constantine’s bosom, and [in] the laps and bosoms of those emperors professing the name of Christ.

Constantine and the good emperors, are confessed to have done more hurt to the name and crown of the Lord Jesus, than the persecuting Neros, &c. The garden of the church, and field of the world, made all one by anti-christianism.

Truth. The unknowing zeal of Constantine and other emperors, did more hurt to Christ Jesus’s crown and kingdom, than the raging fury of the most bloody Neros.[173] In the persecutions of the latter, Christians were sweet and fragrant, like spice pounded and beaten in mortars. But these good emperors, persecuting some erroneous persons, Arius, &c., and advancing the professors of some truths of Christ—for there was no small number of truths lost in those times—and maintaining their religion by the[155] material sword—I say, by this means Christianity was eclipsed, and the professors of it fell asleep, Cant. v. 2. Babel, or confusion, was ushered in, and by degrees the gardens of the churches of saints were turned into the wilderness of whole nations, until the whole world became Christian, or Christendom, Rev. xii. and xiii.

Doubtless those holy men, emperors and bishops, intended and aimed right to exalt Christ; but not attending to the command of Christ Jesus, to permit the tares to grow in the field of the world, they make the garden of the church and field of the world to be all one; and might not only sometimes, in their zealous mistakes, persecute good wheat instead of tares, but also pluck up thousands of those precious stalks by commotions and combustions about religion, as hath been since practised in the great and wonderful changes wrought by such wars in many great and mighty states and kingdoms, as we heard even now in the observation of the King of Bohemia.


Peace. Dear Truth, before you leave this passage concerning the emperors, I shall desire you to glance your eye on this not unworthy observation, to wit, how fully this worthy answerer hath learned to speak the roaring language of lion-like persecution, far from the purity and peaceableness of the lamb, which he was wont to express in England. For thus he writes:—

“More and greater princes than these you mention,” saith he, “have not tolerated heretics and schismatics, notwithstanding their pretence of conscience, and their arrogating the crown of martyrdom to their sufferings.”


The language of persecutors—the wolves and hunters of the world.

Truth. Thy tender ear and heart, sweet Peace, endure not such language. It is true, that these terms, heretics (or wilfully obstinate) and schismatics (or renders) are used in holy writ. It is true also, that such pretend conscience, and challenge the crown of martyrdom to their suffering. Yet since, as King James spake in his mark of a false church on Rev. xx., the wicked persecute and besiege, and the godly are persecuted and besieged, this is the common clamour of persecutors against the messengers and witnesses of Jesus in all ages, viz., you are heretics, schismatics, factious, seditious, rebellious. Have not all truth’s witnesses heard such reproaches? You pretend conscience: you say you are persecuted for religion: you will say you are martyrs?

Oh! it is hard for God’s children to fall to opinion and practice of persecution, without the ready learning the language thereof. And doubtless, that soul that can so readily speak Babel’s language, hath cause to fear that he hath not yet in point of worship left the gates or suburbs of it.

Peace. Again, in blaming Julian and Valens the Arian, for tolerating “all weeds to grow, he notes their sinful end, that thereby they might choke the vitals of Christianity;” and seems to consent, in this and other passages foregoing and following on a speech of Jerome, that the weeds of false religion tolerated in the world, have a power to choke and kill true Christianity in the church.

Christ’s lilies may flourish in his church, notwithstanding the abundance of weeds (in the world) permitted.

Truth. I shall more fully answer to this on Jerome’s speech, and show that if the weeds be kept out of the garden of the church, the roses and lilies therein will flourish, notwithstanding that weeds abound in the field of the civil state. When Christianity began to be choked, it was not when Christians lodged in cold prisons, but down-beds of ease, and persecuted others, &c.



Peace. He ends this passage with approbation of Queen Elizabeth for persecuting the papists, and a reproof to King James for his persecuting the puritans, &c.

The persecutions of Queen Elizabeth and King James compared together.

Truth. I answer, if Queen Elizabeth, according to the answerer’s tenent and conscience, did well to persecute according to her conscience, King James did not ill in persecuting according to his.[174] For Mr. Cotton must grant, that either King James was not fit to be a king, had not the essential qualifications of a king, in not being able rightly to judge who ought to be persecuted, and who not: or else he must confess that King James, and all magistrates, must persecute such whom in their conscience they judge worthy to be persecuted.

I say it again, though I neither approve Queen Elizabeth or King James in such their persecutions, yet such as hold this tenent of persecuting for conscience, must also hold that civil magistrates are not essentially fitted and qualified for their function and office, except they can discern clearly the difference between such as are to be punished and persecuted, and such as are not.

Or else, if they be essentially qualified, without such a religious spirit of discerning, and yet must persecute the heretic, the schismatic, &c., must they not persecute according to their consciences and persuasion? And then doubtless, though he be excellent for civil government, may he easily, as Paul did ignorantly, persecute the Son of God instead of the son of perdition.


Therefore, lastly, according to Christ Jesus’ command, magistrates are bound not to persecute, and to see that none of their subjects be persecuted and oppressed for their conscience and worship, being otherwise subject and peaceable in civil obedience.


In the second place, I answer and ask, what glory to God, what good to the souls or bodies of their subjects, shall princes, or did these princes bring in persecuting? &c.

In his opening of the seven vials, in print, Mr. Cotton confesseth that Queen Elizabeth’s persecuting the papists had almost ruined the English nation.

Peace. Mr. Cotton tells us, in his discourse upon the third vial,[175] that Queen Elizabeth had almost fired the world in civil combustions by such her persecuting: for though he bring it in to another end, yet he confesseth that it “raised all Christendom in combustion; raised the wars of 1588 and the Spanish Invasion;” and he adds, both concerning the English nation and the Dutch, “that if God had not borne witness to his people and their laws, in defeating the intendments of their enemies, against both the nations, it might have been the ruin of them both.”


The wars between the papists and the protestants.

Truth. That those laws and practices of Queen Elizabeth raised those combustions in Christendom, I deny not: that they might likely have cost the ruin of English and Dutch, I grant.

That it was God’s gracious work in defeating the intendments of their enemies, I thankfully acknowledge. But that God bore witness to such persecutions and laws for such persecutions, I deny: for,

First, event and success come alike to all, and are no argument of love, or hatred, &c.

Secondly, the papists in their wars have ever yet had, both in peace and war, victory and dominion; and therefore, if success be the measure, God hath borne witness unto them.

It is most true, what Daniel in his eighth, and eleventh, and twelfth chapters, and John in his Revelation, eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth chapters, write of the great success of anti-christ against Christ Jesus for a time appointed.

Eventus omnis belli incertus.

Success was various between Charles V. and some German princes: Philip of Spain and the Low Countries; the French king and his protestant subjects: sometimes losing, sometimes winning, interchangeably.

The wars and success of the Waldensian witnesses against three popes and their popish armies.

But most memorable is the famous history of the Waldenses and Albigenses, those famous witnesses of Jesus Christ, who rising from Waldo, at Lyons in France (1160), spread over France, Italy, Germany, and almost all countries, into thousands and ten thousands, making separation from the pope and church of Rome. These fought many battles with various success, and had the assistance and protection of divers great princes against three succeeding popes and their armies; but after mutual slaughters and miseries to both sides, the final success of victory fell to the popedom and Romish church, in the utter extirpation of those famous Waldensian witnesses.


God’s people victorious overcomers, and with what weapons.

God’s servants are all overcomers when they war with God’s weapons, in God’s cause and worship: and in Rev. second and third chapters, seven times it is recorded—To him that overcometh, in Ephesus; to him that overcometh, in Sardis, &c.; and Rev. twelfth, God’s servants overcame the dragon, or devil, in the Roman emperors by three weapons—the blood of the Lamb, the word of their testimony, and the not loving of their lives unto the death.


The third head of arguments from ancient and later writers.

Peace. The answerer, in the next place, descends to the third and last head of arguments produced by the author, taken from the judgment of ancient and later writers, yea, even of the papists themselves, who have condemned persecution for conscience’ sake: some of which the answerer pleaseth to answer, and thus writeth:—[176]

The Christian church doth not persecute but is persecuted.

“You begin with Hilary, whose testimony without prejudice to the truth we may admit: for it is true, the Christian church doth not persecute, but is persecuted. But to excommunicate a heretic, is not to persecute, that is, it is not to punish an innocent but a culpable and damnable person, and that not for conscience, but for persisting in error against light of conscience, whereof he hath been convinced.”

Truth. In this answer there are two things:—

First. His confession of the same truth affirmed by Hilarius, to wit, that the Christian church doth not persecute, but is persecuted: suiting with that foregoing observation of King James from Rev. xx.


Peace. Yet to this he adds a colour thus: “which,” saith he, “we may admit without prejudice to the truth.”

Persecuting churches cannot be Christ’s churches.

Truth. I answer, If it be a mark of the Christian church to be persecuted, and of the anti-christian, or false church, to persecute, then those churches cannot be truly Christian, according to the first institution, which either actually themselves, or by the civil power of kings and princes given to them, or procured by them to fight for them, do persecute such as dissent from them, or be opposite against them.

Peace. Yea; but in the second place he addeth, “that to excommunicate a heretic is not to persecute, but to punish him for sinning against the light of his own conscience,” &c.

Truth. I answer, If this worthy answerer were thoroughly awaked from the spouse’s spiritual slumber (Cant. v. 3), and had recovered from the drunkenness of the great whore who intoxicateth the nations, Rev. xvii. 2, it is impossible that he should so answer: for—

The nature of excommunication.

First. Who questioneth whether to excommunicate a heretic, that is, an obstinate gainsayer, as we have opened the word upon Tit. iii.,—I say, who questioneth whether that be to persecute?—excommunication being of a spiritual nature, a sentence denounced by the word of Christ Jesus, the spiritual King of his church; and a spiritual killing by the most sharp two-edged sword of the Spirit, in delivering up the person excommunicate to Satan. Therefore, who sees not that his answer comes not near our question?[177]


Peace. In the answerer’s second conclusion, in the entrance of this discourse, he proves persecution against a heretic for sinning against his conscience, and quotes Tit. iii. 10, which only proves, as I have there made it evident, a spiritual rejecting or excommunicating from the church of God, and so comes not near the question.

What persecution, or hunting, is.

Here, again, he would prove churches charged to be false, because they persecute; I say, he would prove them not to be false, because they persecute not: for, saith he, excommunication is not persecution. Whereas the question is, as the whole discourse, and Hilary’s own amplification of the matter in this speech, and the practice of all ages testify, whether it be not a false church that doth persecute other churches or members, opposing her in spiritual and church matters, not by excommunications, but by imprisonments, stocking, whipping, fining, banishing, hanging, burning, &c., notwithstanding that such persons in civil obedience and subjection are unreprovable.

Christ’s spouse no scratcher or fighter.

Truth. I conclude this passage with Hilarius and the answerer, that the Christian church doth not persecute; no more than a lily doth scratch the thorns, or a lamb pursue and tear the wolves, or a turtle-dove hunt the hawks and eagles, or a chaste and modest virgin fight and scratch like whores and harlots.[178]

And for punishing the heretic for sinning against his conscience after conviction—which is the second conclusion he affirmeth—to be by a civil sword, I have at large there answered.



Peace. In the next place, he selecteth one passage out of Hilary—although there are many golden passages there expressed against the use of civil, earthly powers in the affairs of Christ. The passage is this:—

Who cannot be won by the word, must not be compelled by the sword.

“It is true also what he saith, that neither the apostles nor we may propagate Christian religion by the sword; but if pagans cannot be won by the word, they are not to be compelled by the sword. Nevertheless, this hindereth not,” saith he, “but if they or any other should blaspheme the true God and his true religion, they ought to be severely punished; and no less do they deserve, if they seduce from the truth to damnable heresy or idolatry.”

Truth. In which answer I observe, first, his agreement with Hilary, that the Christian religion may not be propagated by the civil sword.

Unto which I reply and ask, then what means this passage in his first answer to the former speeches of the king,[179] viz., “We acknowledge that none is to be constrained to believe or profess the true religion, till he be convinced in judgment of the truth of it?”[180] implying two things.

First. That the civil magistrate, who is to constrain with the civil sword, must judge all the consciences of their subjects, whether they be convinced or no.

Secondly. When the civil magistrate discerns that his[164] subjects’ consciences are convinced, then he may constrain them vi et armis, hostilely.

Constraint upon consciences in Old and New England.

And accordingly, the civil state and magistracy judging in spiritual things, who knows not what constraint lies upon all consciences, in old and New England, to come to church, and pay church duties,[181] which is upon the point—though with a sword of a finer gilt and trim in New England—nothing else but that which he confesseth Hilary saith true should not be done, to wit, a propagation of religion by the sword.[182]

Again, although he confesseth that propagation of religion ought not to be by the sword, yet he maintaineth the use of the sword, when persons, in the judgment of the civil state, for that is implied, blaspheme the true God, and the true religion, and also seduce others to damnable[165] heresy and idolatry. Which, because he barely affirmeth in this place, I shall defer my answer unto the after reasons of Mr. Cotton and the elders of New English churches; where scriptures are alleged, and in that place, by God’s assistance, they shall be examined and answered.


Tertullian’s speech discussed.

Peace. The answerer thus proceeds:[183] “Your next writer is Tertullian, who speaketh to the same purpose in the place alleged by you. His intent is only to restrain Scapula, the Roman governor of Africa, from persecuting the Christians, for not offering sacrifice to their gods: and for that end, fetched an argument from the law of natural equity, not to compel any to any religion, but permit them to believe [willingly], or not to believe at all. Which we acknowledge; and accordingly we judge, the English may permit the Indians to continue in their unbelief. Nevertheless, it will not therefore be lawful [openly] to tolerate the worship of devils or idols, to the seduction of any from the truth.”

Truth. Answ. In this passage he agreeth with Tertullian, and gives instance in America of the English permitting the Indians to continue in their unbelief: yet withal he affirmeth it not lawful to tolerate worshipping of devils, or seduction from the truth.

The Indians of New England permitted by the English not only to continue in their unbelief (which they cannot cure) but also in their false worship which they might by the civil sword restrain.

I answer, that in New England it is well known that they not only permit the Indians to continue in their unbelief, which neither they nor all the ministers of Christ on earth, nor angels in heaven, can help, not being[166] able to work belief: but they also permit or tolerate them in their paganish worship, which cannot be denied to be a worshipping of devils, as all false worship is.[184]

And therefore, consequently, according to the same practice, did they walk by rule and impartially, not only the Indians, but their countrymen, French, Dutch, Spanish, Persians, Turks, Jews, &c., should also be permitted in their worships, if correspondent in civil obedience.

Peace. He adds further, “When Tertullian saith, ‘That another man’s religion neither hurteth nor profiteth any;’ it must be understood of private worship and religion professed in private: otherwise a false religion professed by the members of the church, or by such as have given their names to Christ, will be the ruin and desolation of the church, as appeareth by the threats of Christ to the churches, Rev. ii.”

Truth. I answer: passing by that unsound distinction of members of the church, or those that have given their names to Christ, which in point of visible profession and worship will appear to be all one, it is plain—

First. That Tertullian doth not there speak of private, but of public worship and religion.

In two cases a false religion will not hurt the true church or the state.

Secondly. Although it be true in a church of Christ, that a false religion or worship permitted, will hurt, according to those threats of Christ, Rev. ii., yet in two[167] cases I believe a false religion will not hurt,—which is most like to have been Tertullian’s meaning.

First. A false religion out of the church will not hurt the church, no more than weeds in the wilderness hurt the enclosed garden, or poison hurt the body when it is not touched or taken, yea, and antidotes are received against it.

Secondly. A false religion and worship will not hurt the civil state, in case the worshippers break no civil law: and the answerer elsewhere acknowledgeth, that the civil laws not being broken, civil peace is not broken: and this only is the point in question.[185]


The seducing or infecting of others, discussed.

Peace. “Your next author,” saith he,[186] “Jerome, crosseth not the truth, nor advantageth your cause; for we grant what he saith, that heresy must be cut off with the sword of the Spirit: but this hinders not, but that being so cut down, if the heretic will persist in his heresy to the seduction of others, he may be cut off also by the civil sword, to prevent the perdition of others. And that to be Jerome’s meaning, appeareth by his note upon that of the apostle, A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. Therefore,” saith he, “a spark as soon as it appeareth, is to be extinguished,[168] and the leaven to be removed from the rest of the dough; rotten pieces of flesh are to be cut off, and a scabbed beast is to be driven from the sheepfold; lest the whole house, body, mass of dough, and flock, be set on fire with the spark, be putrefied with the rotten flesh, soured with the leaven, perish by the scabbed beast.”

The answerer trusteth not to the sword of the Spirit only, in spiritual causes.

Truth. I answer, first, he granteth to Jerome,[187] that heresy must be cut off with the sword of the Spirit; yet, withal, he maintaineth a cutting off by a second sword, the sword of the magistrate; and conceiveth that Jerome so means, because he quoteth that of the apostle, A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.

Answ. It is no argument to prove that Jerome meant a civil sword, by alleging 1 Cor. v. 6, or Gal. v. 9, which properly and only approve a cutting off by the sword of the Spirit in the church, and the purging out of the leaven in the church, in the cities of Corinth and Galatia.

The absolute sufficiency of the sword of the Spirit.

And if Jerome should so mean as himself doth, yet, first, that grant of his, that heresy must be cut off with the sword of the Spirit, implies an absolute sufficiency in the sword of the Spirit to cut it down, according to that mighty operation of scriptural weapons, 2 Cor. x. 4, powerfully sufficient, either to convert the heretic to God, and subdue his very thoughts into subjection to Christ, or else spiritually to slay and execute him.

The church of Christ to be kept pure.

Secondly. It is clear to be the meaning of the apostle, and of the Spirit of God, not there to speak to the church in Corinth, or Galatia, or any other church, concerning any other dough, or house, or body, or flock, but the dough, the body, the house, the flock of Christ, his church:[169] out of which such sparks, such leaven, such rotten flesh, and scabbed sheep, are to be avoided.

A national church not instituted by Christ Jesus.

Nor could the eye of this worthy answerer ever be so obscured, as to run to a smith’s shop for a sword of iron and steel to help the sword of the Spirit, if the Sun of righteousness had once been pleased to show him, that a national church, which elsewhere he professeth against, a state-church, whether explicit, as in old England, or implicit, as in New, is not the institution of the Lord Jesus Christ.[188]

The national church of the Jews. 1 Sam. xiii.

The national, typical state-church of the Jews, necessarily called for such weapons; but the particular churches of Christ in all parts of the world, consisting of Jews or Gentiles, are powerfully able, by the sword of the Spirit to defend themselves, and offend men or devils, although the state or kingdom, wherein such a church or churches of Christ are gathered, have neither carnal spear nor sword, &c.; as once it was in the national church of the land of Canaan.


Man hath no power to make laws to bind conscience.

Peace. “Brentius, whom you next quote,” saith he,[189] “speaketh not to your cause. We willingly grant you, that man hath no power to make laws to bind conscience; but this hinders not, but men may see the laws of God observed which do bind conscience.”

Truth. I answer, In granting with Brentius that man[170] hath not power to make laws to bind conscience, he overthrows such his tenent and practice as restrain men from their worship according to their conscience and belief, and constrain them to such worships, though it be out of a pretence that they are convinced, which their own souls tell them they have no satisfaction nor faith in.[190]

Secondly. Whereas he affirmeth that men may make laws to see the laws of God observed:—

I answer, as God needeth not the help of a material sword of steel to assist the sword of the Spirit in the affairs of conscience, so those men, those magistrates, yea, that commonwealth which makes such magistrates, must needs have power and authority from Christ Jesus to sit as judge, and to determine in all the great controversies concerning doctrine, discipline, government, &c.

Desperate consequences unavoidable.

And then I ask, whether upon this ground it must not evidently follow, that—

Either there is no lawful commonwealth, nor civil state of men in the world, which is not qualified with this spiritual discerning: and then also, that the very commonweal hath more light concerning the church of Christ, than the church itself.

Or, that the commonweal and magistrates thereof, must judge and punish as they are persuaded in their own belief and conscience, be their conscience paganish,[171] Turkish, or anti-christian. What is this but to confound heaven and earth together, and not only to take away the being of Christianity out of the world, but to take away all civility, and the world out of the world, and to lay all upon heaps of confusion?


Luther’s testimony in this case discussed.

Peace. “The like answer,” saith he,[191] “may be returned to Luther, whom you next allege.

“First. That the government of the civil magistrate extendeth no further than over the bodies and goods of their subjects, not over their souls; and, therefore, they may not undertake to give laws unto the souls and consciences of men.

“Secondly. That the church of Christ doth not use the arm of secular power to compel men to the true profession of the truth, for this is to be done with spiritual weapons, whereby Christians are to be exhorted, not compelled. But this,” saith he, “hindereth not that Christians sinning against light of faith and conscience, may justly be censured by the church with excommunication, and by the civil sword also, in case they shall corrupt others to the perdition of their souls.”

Truth. I answer, in this joint confession of the answerer with Luther, to wit, that the government of the civil magistrate extendeth no further than over the bodies and goods of their subjects, not over their souls: who sees not what a clear testimony from his own mouth and pen is given, to wit, that either the spiritual and church estate,[172] the preaching of the word, and the gathering of the church, the baptism of it, the ministry, government, and administrations thereof, belong to the civil body of the commonweal, that is, to the bodies and goods of men, which seems monstrous to imagine? Or else that the civil magistrate cannot, without exceeding the bounds of his office, meddle with those spiritual affairs?[192]

Mr. Cotton’s positions evidently proved contradictory to themselves.

Again, necessarily must it follow, that these two are contradictory to themselves, to wit,—

The magistrates’ power extends no further than the bodies and goods of the subject, and yet—

The magistrate must punish Christians for sinning against the light of faith and conscience, and for corrupting the souls of men. The Father of lights make this worthy answerer, and all that fear him, to see their wandering in this case: not only from his fear, but also from the light of reason itself, their own convictions and confessions.

Secondly. In his joint confession with Luther, that the church doth not use the secular power to compel men to the faith and profession of the truth, he condemneth, as before I have observed,—

First. His former implication, viz., that they may be compelled when they are convinced of the truth of it.

Secondly. Their own practice who suffer no man of any different conscience and worship to live in their jurisdiction, except that he depart from his own exercise of religion and worship, differing from the worship allowed of in the civil state, yea, and also actually submit to come to their church.


Hearing of the word of God in a church estate a part of God’s worship.

Which, however it is coloured over with this varnish, viz., that men are compelled no further than unto the hearing of the word, unto which all men are bound, yet it will appear, that teaching and being taught in a church estate is a church worship, as true and proper a church worship as the supper of the Lord, Acts ii. 46.

Secondly. All persons, papist and protestant, that are conscientious, have always suffered upon this ground especially, that they have refused to come to each other’s church or meeting.


Papists’ plea for toleration of conscience.

Peace. The next passage in the author which the answerer descends unto, is the testimony of the papists themselves, a lively and shining testimony, from scriptures alleged both against themselves and all that associate with them (as power is in their hand) in such unchristian and bloody both tenents and practices.

“As for the testimony of the popish book,” saith he,[193] “we weigh it not, as knowing whatever they speak for toleration of religion where themselves are under hatches, when they come to sit at stern they judge and practise quite contrary, as both their writings and judicial proceedings have testified to the world these many years.”

Truth. I answer, although both writings and practices have been such, yet the scriptures and expressions of truth alleged and uttered by them, speak loud and fully for them when they are under the hatches, that for their[174] conscience and religion they should not there be choked and smothered, but suffered to breathe and walk upon the decks, in the air of civil liberty and conversation, in the ship of the commonwealth, upon good assurance given of civil obedience to the civil state.

The protestants partial in the case of persecution.

Again, if this practice be so abominable in his eyes from the papists, viz., that they are so partial as to persecute when they sit at helm, and yet cry out against persecution when they are under the hatches, I shall beseech the righteous Judge of the whole world to present, as in a water or glass where face answereth to face, the faces of the papist to the protestant, answering to each other in the sameness of partiality, both of this doctrine and practice.

When Mr. Cotton and others have formerly been under hatches, what sad and true complaints have they abundantly poured forth against persecution! How have they opened that heavenly scripture, Cant. iv. 8, where Christ Jesus calls his tender wife and spouse from the fellowship with persecutors in their dens of lions and mountains of leopards?

But coming to the helm, as he speaks of the papists, how, both by preaching, writing, printing, practice, do they themselves—I hope in their persons lambs—unnaturally and partially express towards others the cruel nature of such lions and leopards?

A false balance in God’s matters abominable to God.

Oh! that the God of heaven might please to tell them how abominable in his eyes are a weight and a weight, a stone and a stone, in the bag of weights!—one weight for themselves when they are under hatches, and another for others when they come to helm.

Nor shall their confidence of their being in the truth, which they judge the papists and others are not in, no, nor the truth itself, privilege them to persecute others,[175] and to exempt themselves from persecution, because (as formerly)—

Sheep cannot hunt, no, not the wolves.

First, it is against the nature of true sheep to persecute, or hunt the beasts of the forest: no, not the same wolves who formerly have persecuted themselves.[194]

Secondly, if it be a duty and charge upon all magistrates, in all parts of the world, to judge and persecute in and for spiritual causes, then either they are no magistrates who are not able to judge in such cases, or else they must judge according to their consciences, whether pagan, Turkish, or anti-christian.

Pills to purge out the spirit of persecution.

Lastly, notwithstanding their confidence of the truth of their own way, yet the experience of our fathers’ errors, our own mistakes and ignorance, the sense of our own weaknesses and blindness in the depths of the prophecies and mysteries of the kingdom of Christ, and the great professed expectation of light to come which we are not now able to comprehend, may abate the edge, yea, sheath up the sword of persecution toward any, especially [toward] such as differ not from them in doctrines of repentance, or faith, or holiness of heart and life, and hope of glorious and eternal union to come, but only in the way and manner of the administrations of Jesus Christ.



Peace. To close this head of the testimony of writers, it pleaseth the answerer to produce a contrary testimony of Austin, Optatus, &c.[195]

Superstition and persecution have had many votes from God’s own people.

Truth. I readily acknowledge, as formerly I did concerning the testimony of princes, that anti-christ is too hard for Christ at votes and numbers; yea, and believe that in many points, wherein the servants of God these many hundred years have been fast asleep, superstition and persecution have had more suffrages and votes from God’s own people, than hath either been honourable to the Lord, or peaceable to their own or the souls of others: therefore, not to derogate from the precious memory of any of them, let us briefly consider what they have in this point affirmed.

To begin with Austin: “They murder,” saith he, “souls, and themselves are afflicted in body, and they put men to everlasting death, and yet they complain when themselves are put to temporal death.”[196]

Austin’s saying for persecution examined.

I answer, this rhetorical persuasion of human wisdom seems very reasonable in the eye of flesh and blood; but one scripture more prevails with faithful and obedient souls than thousands of plausible and eloquent speeches: in particular,


First, the scripture useth soul-killing in a large sense, not only for the teaching of false prophets and seducers, but even for the offensive walking of Christians: in which[177] respect, 1 Cor. viii. 9, a true Christian may be guilty of destroying a soul for whom Christ died, and therefore by this rule ought to be hanged, burned, &c.

Secondly, that plausible similitude will not prove that every false teaching or false practice actually kills the soul, as the body is slain, and slain but once; for souls infected or bewitched may again recover, 1 Cor. v.; Gal. v.; 2 Tim. ii., &c.[197]

Punishments provided by Christ Jesus against soul-killers and soul-wounders.

Thirdly, for soul-killings, yea, also for soul-woundings and grievings, Christ Jesus hath appointed remedies sufficient in his church. There comes forth a two-edged sword out of his mouth (Rev. i. and Rev. ii.), able to cut down heresy, as is confessed: yea, and to kill the heretic: yea, and to punish his soul everlastingly, which no sword of steel can reach unto in any punishment comparable or imaginable. And therefore, in this case, we may say of this spiritual soul-killing by the sword of Christ’s mouth, as Paul concerning the incestuous person, 2 Cor. ii. [6,] Sufficient is this punishment, &c.

Fourthly, although no soul-killers, nor soul-grievers, may be suffered in the spiritual state, or kingdom of Christ, the church; yet he hath commanded that such should be suffered and permitted to be and live in the world, as I have proved on Matt. xiii.: otherwise thousands and millions, of souls and bodies both, must be murdered and cut off by civil combustions and bloody wars about religion.

Men dead in sin cannot be soul-killed. A national enforced religion, or a civil war for religion, the two great preventers of soul-conversion and life.

Fifthly, I argue thus: the souls of all men in the world are either naturally dead in sin, or alive in Christ. If dead in sin, no man can kill them, no more than he can kill a dead man: nor is it a false teacher, or false religion,[178] that can so much prevent the means of spiritual life, as one of these two:—either the force of a material sword, imprisoning the souls of men in a state or national religion, ministry, or worship: or, secondly, civil wars and combustions for religion’s sake, whereby men are immediately cut off without any longer means of repentance.

Now again, for the souls that are alive in Christ, he hath graciously appointed ordinances powerfully sufficient to maintain and cherish that life—armour of proof able to defend them against men and devils.

Secondly, the soul once alive in Christ, is like Christ himself, Rev. i. 18, alive for ever, Rom. vi. 8; and cannot die a spiritual death.

Soul-killers prove, by the grace of Christ, soul-savers.

Lastly, grant a man to be a false teacher, a heretic, a Balaam, a spiritual witch, a wolf, a persecutor, breathing out blasphemies against Christ and slaughters against his followers, as Paul did, Acts ix. 1, I say, these who appear soul-killers to-day, by the grace of Christ may prove, as Paul, soul-savers to-morrow: and saith Paul to Timothy, 1 Tim. iv. [16,] Thou shalt save thyself and them that hear thee: which all must necessarily be prevented, if all that comes within the sense of these soul-killers must, as guilty of blood, be corporally killed and put to death.[198]



Optatus examined.

Peace. Dear Truth, your answers are so satisfactory to Austin’s speech, that if Austin himself were now living, methinks he should be of your mind. I pray descend to Optatus, “who,” saith the answerer, “justifies Macarius for putting some heretics to death, affirming that he had done no more herein than what Moses, Phineas, and Elias had done before him.”

Persecutors leave Christ, and fly to Moses for their practice.

Truth. These are shafts usually drawn from the quiver of the ceremonial and typical state of the national church of the Jews, whose shadowish and figurative state vanished at the appearing of the body and substance, the Sun of righteousness, who set up another kingdom, or church, Heb. xii. [27,] ministry and worship: in which we find no such ordinance, precept, or precedent of killing men by material swords for religion’s sake.

More particularly concerning Moses, I query what commandment, or practice of Moses, either Optatus, or the answerer here intend? Probably that passage of Deut. xiii. [15,] wherein Moses appointed a slaughter, either of a person or a city, that should depart from the God of Israel, with whom that national church was in covenant. And if so, I shall particularly reply to that place in my answer to the reasons hereunder mentioned.[199]

Concerning Phineas’s zealous act:

Phineas’s act discussed.

First, his slaying of the Israelitish man, and woman of Midian, was not for spiritual but corporal filthiness.

Secondly, no man will produce his fact as precedential[180] to any minister of the gospel so to act, in any civil state or commonwealth; although I believe in the church of God it is precedential, for either minister or people, to kill and slay with the two-edged sword of the Spirit of God, any such bold and open presumptuous sinners as these were.

Lastly, concerning Elijah: there were two famous acts of Elijah of a killing nature:

First, that of slaying 850 of Baal’s prophets, 1 Kings xviii. [40.][200]

Secondly, of the two captains and their fifties, by fire, &c.

Elijah’s slaughters examined.

For the first of these, it cannot figure, or type out, any material slaughter of the many thousands of false prophets in the world by any material sword of iron or steel: for as that passage was miraculous,[201] so find we not any such commission given by the Lord Jesus to the ministers of the Lord. And lastly, such a slaughter must not only extend to all the false prophets in the world, but, according to the answerer’s grounds, to the many thousands of thousands of idolaters and false worshippers in the kingdoms and nations of the world.

Elijah’s consuming the two captains and their companions by fire, discussed.

For the second act of Elijah, as it was also of a miraculous nature, so, secondly, when the followers of the Lord Jesus, Luke ix. [54,] proposed such a practice to the Lord Jesus, for injury offered to his own person, he disclaimed it with a mild check to their angry spirits, telling them plainly they knew not what spirits they were of: and addeth that gentle and merciful conclusion, that he came not to destroy the bodies of men, as contrarily anti-christ[181] doth—alleging these instances from the Old Testament, as also Peter’s killing Ananias, Acts v. 5, and Peter’s vision and voice, Arise, Peter, kill and eat, Acts x. 13.


Peace. You have so satisfied these instances brought by Optatus, that methinks Optatus and the answerer himself might rest satisfied.

I will not trouble you with Bernard’s argument from Rom. xiii., which you have already on that scripture so largely answered. But what think you, lastly, of Calvin, Beza, and Aretius?

Truth. Ans. Since matters of fact and opinion are barely related by the answerer without their grounds, whose grounds, notwithstanding, in this discourse are answered—I answer, if Paul himself were joined with them, yea, or an angel from heaven bringing any other rule than what the Lord Jesus hath once delivered, we have Paul’s conclusion and resolution, peremptory and dreadful, Gal. i. 8.

Peace. This passage finished, let me finish the whole by proposing one conclusion of the author of the arguments,[202] viz., “It is no prejudice to the commonwealth, if liberty of conscience were suffered to such as fear God indeed: Abraham abode a long time amongst the Canaanites, yet contrary to them in religion, Gen. xiii. 7, and xvi. 13. Again, he sojourned in Gerar, and King Abimelech gave him leave to abide in his land, Gen. xx., xxi., xxiii., xxiv.


“Isaac also dwelt in the same land, yet contrary in religion, Gen. xxvi.

“Jacob lived twenty years in one house with his uncle Laban, yet different in religion, Gen. xxxi.

“The people of Israel were about four hundred and thirty years in that infamous land of Egypt, and afterwards seventy years in Babylon: all which times they differed in religion from the states, Exod. xii., and 2 Chron. xxxvi.

“Come to the time of Christ, where Israel was under the Romans, where lived divers sects of religion, as Herodians, Scribes, and Pharisees, Sadducees and Libertines, Theudæans and Samaritans, beside the common religion of the Jews, and Christ and his apostles. All which differed from the common religion of the state, which was like the worship of Diana, which almost the whole world then worshipped, Acts xix., xx.

“All these lived under the government of Cæsar, being nothing hurtful unto the commonwealth, giving unto Cæsar that which was his. And for their religion and consciences towards God, he left them to themselves, as having no dominion over their souls and consciences: and when the enemies of the truth raised up any tumults, the wisdom of the magistrate most wisely appeased them, Acts xviii. 14, and xix. 35.”

Unto this the answerer returns thus much:—[203]

“It is true, that without prejudice to the commonwealth, liberty of conscience may be suffered to such as fear God indeed, as knowing they will not persist in heresy or turbulent schism, when they are convinced in conscience of the sinfulness thereof. But the question is, whether a heretic, after once or twice admonition, and so after conviction,[183] and any other scandalous and heinous offender, may be tolerated either in the church without excommunication, or in the commonweal without such punishment as may preserve others from dangerous and damnable infection.”


Truth. I here observe the answerer’s partiality, that none but such as truly fear God should enjoy liberty of conscience; whence the inhabitants of the world must either come into the estate of men fearing God, or else dissemble a religion in hypocrisy, or else be driven out of the world. One must follow. The first is only the gift of God; the second and third are too commonly practised upon this ground.

Again. Since there is so much controversy in the world where the name of Christ is taken up, concerning the true church, the ministry, and worship, and who are those that truly fear God; I ask, who shall judge in this case, who be they that fear God?

Dangerous consequences flowing from the civil magistrates judging in spiritual causes. The world turned upside down.

It must needs be granted, that such as have the power of suffering, or not suffering such consciences, must judge: and then must it follow, as before I intimated, that the civil state must judge of the truth of the spiritual; and then magistrates fearing or not fearing God, must judge of the fear of God; also, that their judgment or sentence must be according to their conscience, of what religion soever: or that there is no lawful magistrate, who is not able to judge in such cases. And lastly, that since the sovereign power of all civil authority is founded in the consent of the people, that every common weal hath[184] radically and fundamentally in it a power of true discerning the true fear of God, which they transfer to their magistrates and officers: or else, that there are no lawful kingdoms, cities, or towns in the world, in which a man may live, and unto whose civil government he may submit: and then, as I said before, there must be no world, nor is it lawful to live in it, because it hath not a true discerning spirit to judge them that fear or not fear God.

The wonder-answer of the ministers of the church of New England to the ministers of the church of Old England.

Lastly. Although this worthy answerer so readily grants, that liberty of conscience should be suffered to them that fear God indeed: yet we know what the ministers of the churches of New England wrote in answer to the thirty-two questions sent to them by some ministers of Old England,[204] viz., that although they confessed them to be such persons whom they approved of far above themselves, yea, who were in their hearts to live and die together; yet if they, and other godly people with them, coming over to them, should differ in church constitution, they then could not approve their civil cohabitation with them, and, consequently, could not advise the magistrates to suffer them to enjoy a civil being within their jurisdiction.

Hear, O heavens! and give ear, O earth! yea, let the heavens be astonished, and the earth tremble, at such an answer as this from such excellent men to such whom they esteem for godliness above themselves!



Peace. Yea, but they say, they doubt not if they were there but they should agree; for, say they, either you will come to us, or you may show us light to come to you, for we are but weak men, and dream not of perfection in this life.

Lamentable differences even amongst them that fear God. Between the presbyterians and independents, covenanters and non-covenanters, of both which many are truly godly in their persons.

Truth. Alas, who knows not what lamentable differences have been between the same ministers of the church of England, some conforming, others leaving their livings, friends, country, life, rather than conform; when others again, of whose personal godliness it is not questioned, have succeeded by conformity unto such forsaken (so called) livings? How great the present differences, even amongst them that fear God, concerning faith, justification, and the evidence of it? concerning repentance and godly sorrow, as also and mainly concerning the church, the matter, form, administrations, and government of it?

Let none now think that the passage to New England by sea, or the nature of the country, can do what only the key of David can do, to wit, open and shut the consciences of men.

Beside, how can this be a faithful and upright acknowledgment of their weakness and imperfection, when they preach, print, and practise such violence to the souls and bodies of others, and by their rules and grounds ought to proceed even to the killing of those whom they judge so dear unto them, and in respect of godliness far above themselves?



Peace. Yea; but, say they, the godly will not persist in heresy, or turbulent schism, when they are convinced in conscience, &c.

The doctrine of persecution necessarily, and most commonly, falls heaviest upon the most godly persons.

Truth. Sweet Peace, if the civil court and magistracy must judge, as before I have written, and those civil courts are as lawful, consisting of natural men as of godly persons, then what consequences necessarily will follow I have before mentioned. And I add, according to this conclusion it must follow, that, if the most godly persons yield not to once or twice admonition, as is maintained by the answerer, they must necessarily be esteemed obstinate persons; for if they were godly, saith he, they would yield. Must it not then be said, as it was by one passing sentence of banishment upon some whose godliness was acknowledged, that he that commanded the judge not to respect the poor in the cause of judgment, commands him not to respect the holy or the godly person?

The doctrine of persecution drives the most godly persons out of the world.

Hence I could name the place and time when a godly man, a most desirable person for his trade, &c., yet something different in conscience, propounded his willingness and desire to come to dwell in a certain town in New England; it was answered by a chief of the place, This man differs from us, and we desire not to be troubled. So that in conclusion, for no other reason in the world, the poor man, though godly, useful, and peaceable, could not be admitted to a civil being and habitation on the common earth, in that wilderness, amongst them.

The latter part of the answer, concerning the heretic, or obstinate person, to be excommunicated, and the scandalous offender to be punished in the commonweal,[187] which neither of both come near our question: I have spoken [of] I fear too largely already.

Peace. Mr. Cotton concludes with a confident persuasion of having removed the grounds of that great error, viz., that persons are not to be persecuted for cause of conscience.

The Bloody Tenent.

Truth. And I believe, dear Peace, it shall appear to them that, with fear and trembling at the word of the Lord, examine these passages, that the charge of error reboundeth back, even such an error as may well be called, The Bloody Tenent—so directly contradicting the spirit, and mind, and practice of the Prince of peace; so deeply guilty of the blood of souls, compelled and forced to hypocrisy in a spiritual and soul-rape; so deeply guilty of the blood of the souls under the altar, persecuted in all ages for the cause of conscience, and so destructive to the civil peace and welfare of all kingdoms, countries, and commonwealths.


Peace. To this conclusion, dear Truth, I heartily subscribe, and know [that] the God, the Spirit, the Prince, the angels, and all the true awaked sons of peace, will call thee blessed.

Truth. How sweet and precious are these contemplations, but oh! how sweet the actions and fruitions?

Peace. Thy lips drop as the honey-comb, honey and milk are under thy tongue; oh! that these drops, these streams, might flow without a stop or interruption!

Truth. The glorious white troopers (Rev. xix.) shall in time be mounted, and he that is the most high Prince[188] of princes, and Lord General of generals mounted upon the word of truth and meekness, Psalm xlv., shall triumph gloriously, and renew our meetings. But hark, what noise is this?

Wars for conscience.

Peace. These are the doleful drums, and shrill-sounding trumpets, the roaring, murdering cannons, the shouts of conquerors, the groans of wounded, dying, slaughtered righteous with the wicked. Dear Truth, how long? how long these dreadful sounds and direful sights? how long before my glad return and restitution?

Truth. Sweet Peace, who will believe my true report? yet true it is, if I were once believed, blessed Truth and Peace should not so soon be parted.

Peace. Dear Truth, what welcome hast thou found of late beyond thy former times, or present expectations?

The blessed Magna Charta.

Truth. Alas! my welcome changes as the times, and strongest swords and arms prevail: were I believed in this, that Christ is not delighted with the blood of men, but shed his own for his bloodiest enemies—that by the word of Christ no man for gainsaying Christ, or joining with the enemy anti-christ, should be molested with the civil sword. Were this foundation laid as the Magna Charta of highest liberties, and good security given on all hands for the preservation of it, how soon should every brow and house be stuck with olive branches?

Peace. This heavenly invitation makes me bold once more to crave thy patient ear and holy tongue. Error’s impatient and soon tired, but thou art light, and like the Father of lights, unwearied in thy shinings. Lo here! what once again I present to thy impartial censure.




Truth. What hast thou there?

A strange model of a church and commonweal, after the Mosaical and Jewish pattern.

Peace. Here is a combination of thine own children against thy very life and mine: here is a model, framed by many able, learned, and godly hands, of such a church and commonweal as wakens Moses from his unknown grave, and denies Jesus yet to have seen the earth.

Truth. Begin, sweet Peace, read and propound. My hand shall not be tired with holding the balances of the sanctuary: do thou put in, and I shall weigh as in the presence of Him whose pure eyes cannot behold iniquity.

Matt. xvi. 19, with John xx. 23, Rom. xiii. 1, Matt. x. 18, Tit. iii. 1, Acts xv. 20, Isa. xlix. 23, Gal. iii. 28.

Peace. Thus, then, speaks the preface or entrance: “Seeing God hath given a distinct power to church and commonweal, the one spiritual (called the power of the keys), the other civil (called the power of the sword), and hath made the members of both societies subject to both authorities, so that every soul in the church is subject[190] to the higher powers in the commonweal, and every member of the commonweal, being a member of the church, is subject to the laws of Christ’s kingdom, and in him to the censures of the church:—the question is, how the civil state and the church may dispense their several governments without infringement and impeachment of the power and honour of the one or of the other, and what bounds and limits the Lord hath set between both the administrations.”

Christ’s power in his church confessed to be above all magistrates’ in spiritual things.

Truth. From that conclusion, dear Peace, that “every member of the commonweal, being a member of the church, is subject to the laws of Christ’s kingdom, and in Him to the censures of the church:”—I observe, that they grant the church of Christ in spiritual causes to be superior and over the highest magistrates in the world, if members of the church.

Hence therefore I infer, may she refuse to receive, and may also cast forth any, yea, even the highest, if obstinate in sin, out of her spiritual society.

Hence, in this spiritual society, that soul who hath most of Christ, most of his Spirit, is most (spiritually) honourable, according to the scriptures quoted, Acts xv. 20; Isa. xlix. 23; Gal. iii. 28.

And if so, how can this stand with their common tenent that the civil magistrate must keep the first table: set up, reform the church: and be judge and governor in all ecclesiastical as well as civil causes?[205]

Isa. xlix. 23, lamentably wrested.

Secondly, I observe the lamentable wresting of this one scripture, Isa. xlix. 23. Sometimes this scripture must[191] prove the power of the civil magistrates, kings, and governors over the church in spiritual causes, &c. Yet here this scripture is produced to prove kings and magistrates (in spiritual causes) to be censured and corrected by the same church. It is true in several respects, he that is a governor may be a subject; but in one and the same spiritual respect to judge and to be judged, to sit on the bench and stand at the bar of Christ Jesus, is as impossible as to reconcile the east and west together.


The first head, that both jurisdictions may stand together.

The first head examined. John xvii. 36. Jer. xxix. 7. Ezra vii. 23, Rom. i. 2, 3, 1 Tim. ii. 2.

Peace. “Whereas divers affecting transcending power to themselves over the church, have persuaded the princes of the world that the kingdom of Christ in his church cannot rise or stand without the falls of those commonweals wherein it is set up, we do believe and profess the contrary to this suggestion; the government of the one being of this world, the other not; the church helping forward the prosperity of the commonweal by means only ecclesiastical and spiritual; the commonweal helping forward her own and the church’s felicity by means political or temporal:—the falls of commonweals being known to arise from their scattering and diminishing the power of the church, and the flourishing of commonweals with the well ordering of the people, even in moral and civil virtues, being observed to arise from the vigilant administration of the holy discipline of the church: as Bodin, a man not partial to church discipline, plainly testifieth. The vices in the free estate of Geneva, que legibus nusquam[192] vindicantur, by means of church discipline, sine vi et tumultu coercentur; the Christian liberty not freeing us from subjection to authority, but from enthralment and bondage unto sin.”[206]

The civil commonweal and the spiritual commonweal, the church, not inconsistent, though independent the one on the other.

Truth. Ans. From this conclusion, that the church, or kingdom of Christ, may be set up without prejudice of the commonweal, according to John xviii. 36, My kingdom is not of this world, &c., I observe, that although the kingdom of Christ, the church, and the civil kingdom or government be not inconsistent, but that both may stand together; yet that they are independent according to that scripture, and that therefore there may be, as formerly I have proved, flourishing commonweals and societies of men, where no church of Christ abideth. And, secondly, the commonweal may be in perfect peace and quiet, notwithstanding the church, the commonweal of Christ, be in distractions and spiritual oppositions, both against their religions and sometimes amongst themselves, as the church of Christ in Corinth troubled with divisions, contentions, &c.

Secondly, I observe, it is true the church helpeth forward the prosperity of the commonweal by spiritual means, Jer. xxix. 7. The prayers of God’s people procure the peace of the city where they abide; yet, that Christ’s ordinances and administrations of worship are appointed and given by Christ to any civil state, town, or city, as is[193] implied by the instance of Geneva, that I confidently deny.

Christ’s ordinances put upon a whole city or nation, may more civilize, and moralize, but never Christianize them.

The ordinances and discipline of Christ Jesus, though wrongfully and profanely applied to natural and unregenerate men, may cast a blush of civility and morality upon them, as in Geneva and other places—for the shining brightness of the very shadow of Christ’s ordinances casts a shame upon barbarism and incivility—yet withal, I affirm, that the misapplication of ordinances to unregenerate and unrepentant persons hardens up their souls in a dreadful sleep and dream of their own blessed estate, and sends millions of souls to hell in a secure expectation of a false salvation.


The second head, concerning superiority of each power.

The second head, concerning superiority of each power, Rom. xiii. 1-3; Isa. xlix. 23. Luke xii. 14, John viii. 11. And that judicium of the church in lawsuits, 1 Cor. vi. 2, is only arbitrarium, not coactivum.

Peace. “Because contention may arise in future times which of these powers under Christ is the greatest, as it hath been under anti-christ, we conceive, first, that the power of the civil magistrate is superior to the church policy in place, honours, dignity, earthly power, in the world; and the church superior to him, being a member of the church, ecclesiastically; that is, in a church way, ruling and ordering him by spiritual ordinances according to God’s [word], for his soul’s health, as any other member. So that all the power the magistrate hath over the church is temporal, not spiritual; and all the power the church hath over the magistrate is spiritual, not temporal. And as the church hath no temporal power over the magistrate, in ordine ad bonum spirituale; so the magistrate[194] hath no spiritual power over the church in ordine ad bonum temporale.

“Secondly, the delinquency of either party calleth for the exercise of the power of terror from the other part; for no rulers ordained of God are a terror to good works, but to evil, Rom. xiii. 3. So that if the church offend, the offence of the church calleth upon the civil magistrate, either to seek the healing thereof as a nursing father, by his own grave advice and the advice of other churches; or else, if he cannot so prevail, to put forth and exercise the superiority of his power in redressing what is amiss, according to the quality of the offence, by the course of civil justice.

“On the other side, if the magistrate being a member of the church shall offend, the offence calleth upon the church either to seek the healing thereof in a brotherly way, by conviction of his sin; or else, if they cannot prevail, then to exercise the superiority of their power in removing of the offence, and recovering of the offender, by church censures.”

Answer. A contradiction, to make the magistrate supreme judge in spiritual causes, and yet to have no spiritual power.

Truth. If the end of spiritual or church power is bonum spirituale, a spiritual good: and the end of civil or state power is bonum temporale, a temporal good; and secondly, if the magistrate have no spiritual power to attain to his temporal end, no more than a church hath any temporal power to attain to her spiritual end, as is confessed:—I demand, if this be not a contradiction against their own disputes, tenets, and practices, touching that question of persecution for cause of conscience. For if the magistrate be supreme judge, and so, consequently, give supreme judgment, sentence, and determination, in matters of the first table and of the church, and be custos utriusque tabulæ, [the] keeper of both tables (as they speak), and yet have no spiritual power as is affirmed—how can he determine[195] what the true church and ordinances are, and then set them up with the power of the sword? How can he give judgment of a false church, a false ministry, a false doctrine, false ordinances, and with a civil sword pull them down, if he have no spiritual power, authority, or commission from Christ Jesus for these ends and purposes?

Further, I argue thus: If the civil officer of state must determine, judge, and punish in spiritual causes, his power, authority, and commission must be either spiritual or civil, or else he hath none at all: and so acts without a commission and warrant from the Lord Jesus; and so, consequently, [he] stands guilty at the bar of Christ Jesus, to answer for such his practice as a transcendent delinquent.

The civil magistrate confessed to have no civil power over the souls of men: nor spiritual.

Now for civil power, these worthy authors confess that the government of the civil magistrate extendeth no further than over the bodies and goods of the subject, and therefore hath no civil power over the soul, and therefore, say I, not in soul-causes.

Secondly. It is here confessed, in this passage, that to attain his civil end, or bonum temporale, he hath no spiritual power; and therefore, of necessity, out of their own mouths must they be judged for provoking the magistrate, without either civil or spiritual power, to judge, punish, and persecute in spiritual causes; and to fear and tremble, lest they come near those frogs which proceed out of the mouth of the dragon, and beast, and false prophet, who, by the same arguments which the authors here use, stir up the kings of the earth to make war against the Lamb, Christ Jesus, and his followers, Rev. xvii. 14.



In the next place, I observe upon the point of delinquency, such a conclusion as heaven and earth may stand amazed at. If the church offend, say they, after advice refused, in conclusion the magistrate must redress, that is punish the church, that is in church offences and cases, by a course of civil justice.

On the other side, if the civil magistrate offend after admonition used, and not prevailing, in conclusion the church proceeds to censure, that is to excommunication, as is afterward more largely proved by them.

The magistrate and the church, by the author’s grounds, at one and the same time, in one and the same cause, made the judges on the bench and delinquents at the bar.

Now I demand, if the church be a delinquent, who shall judge? It is answered, the magistrate. Again, if the magistrate be a delinquent, I ask who shall judge? It is answered, the church. Whence I observe—which is monstrous in all cases in the world—that one person, to wit, the church or magistrate, shall be at one time the delinquent at the bar and the judge upon the bench. This is clear thus: The church must judge when the magistrate offends; and yet the magistrate must judge when the church offends. And so, consequently, in this case [the magistrate] must judge, whether she contemn civil authority in the second table, for thus dealing with him: or whether she have broken the rules of the first table, of which (say they) God hath made him keeper and conserver. And therefore, though the church make him a delinquent at the bar, yet by their confession God hath made him a judge on the bench. What blood, what tumults, have been and must be spilt upon these grounds?

Peace. Dear Truth, no question but the church may punish the magistrate spiritually, in spiritual cases; and[197] the magistrate may punish the church civilly, in civil cases; but that for one and the same cause the church must punish the magistrate, and the magistrate the church, this seems monstrous, and needs explication.

An illustration, demonstrating that the civil magistrate cannot have power over the church in spiritual or church causes.

Truth. Sweet Peace, I illustrate with this instance: A true church of Christ, of which, according to the authors’ supposition, the magistrate is a member, chooseth and calls one of her members to office. The magistrate opposeth. The church, persuaded that the magistrates’ exceptions are insufficient—according to her privilege, which these authors maintain against the magistrates’ prohibition—proceeds to ordain her officer. The magistrate chargeth the church to have made an unfit and unworthy choice, and, therefore, according to his place and power, and according to his conscience and judgment, he suppresseth such an officer, and makes void the church’s choice. Upon this the church complains against the magistrate’s violation of her privileges given her by Christ Jesus, and cries out that the magistrate is turned persecutor, and, not prevailing with admonition, she proceeds to excommunication against him. The magistrate, according to his conscience, endures not such profanation of ordinances as he conceives; and therefore, if no advice and admonition prevail, he proceeds against such obstinate abusers of Christ’s holy ordinances (as the authors grant he may) in civil court of justice, yea, and—I add according to the pattern of Israel—cuts them off by the sword, as obstinate usurpers and profaners of the holy things of Christ.

The punishments civil which the magistrate inflicts upon the church for civil crimes, lawful and necessary.

I demand, what help hath any poor church of Christ in this case, by maintaining this power of the magistrate to punish the church of Christ, I mean in spiritual and soul-cases? for otherwise I question not but he may put all the members of the church to death justly, if they commit crimes worthy thereof, as Paul spake, Acts xxv. 11.


Shall the church here fly to the pope’s sanctuary against emperors and princes excommunicate, to wit, give away their crowns, kingdoms, or dominions, and invite foreign princes to make war upon them and their territories? The authors surely will disclaim this; and yet I shall prove their tenets tend directly unto such a practice.

Or secondly, shall she say the magistrate is not a true magistrate, because not able to judge and determine in such cases? This their confession will not give them leave to say, because they cannot deny unbelievers to be lawful magistrates: and yet it shall appear, notwithstanding their confession to the contrary, their tenets imply that none but a magistrate after their own conscience is a lawful magistrate.

Therefore, thirdly, they must ingenuously and honestly confess, that if it be the duty of the magistrate to punish the church in spiritual cases, he must then judge according to his conscience and persuasion, whatever his conscience be: and then let all men judge into what a woful state they bring both the civil magistrate and church of Christ, by such a church-destroying and state-destroying doctrine.

Peace. Some will here say, in such a case either the magistrate or the church must judge; either the spiritual or civil state must be supreme.

[Truth.] I answer, if the magistrate be of another religion,—

The true way of the God of peace in differences between the church and the magistrate.

First. What hath the church to judge him being without? 1 Cor. v. [12, 13.]

Secondly. If he be a member of the church, doubtless the church hath power to judge, in spiritual and soul-cases, with spiritual and church censures, all that are within, 1 Cor. v. 1-11.

Thirdly. If the church offend against the civil peace of the state, by wronging the bodies or goods of any, the[199] magistrate bears not the sword in vain, Rom. xiii. 4, to correct any or all the members of the church. And this I conceive to be the only way of the God of peace.


The third head concerns the end of both these powers.

[Peace.] “First, the common and last end of both is God’s glory, and man’s eternal felicity.

“Secondly. The proper ends—

“First, of commonwealth, is the procuring, preserving, increasing of external and temporal peace and felicity of the state, in all godliness and honesty, 1 Tim. ii. 1, 2.

“Secondly, of the church, a begetting, preserving, increasing of internal and spiritual peace and felicity of the church, in all godliness and honesty, Esay. ii. 3, 4, and ix. 7. So that magistrates have power given them from Christ in matters of religion, because they are bound to see that outward peace be preserved, not in all ungodliness and dishonesty, for such peace is Satanical; but in all godliness and honesty, for such peace God aims at. And hence the magistrate is custos of both the tables of godliness, in the first of honesty, in the second for peace’s sake. He must see that honesty be preserved within his jurisdiction, or else the subject will not be bonus cives. He must see that godliness as well as honesty be preserved, else the subject will not be bonus vir, who is the best bonus cives. He must see that godliness and honesty be preserved, or else himself will not be bonu magistratus.”[207]


Truth. In this passage here are divers particulars affirmed, marvellously destructive both to godliness and honesty, though under a fair mask and colour of both.

The garden of the church and the wilderness of the world made all one.

First, it will appear that in spiritual things they make the garden and the wilderness, as often I have intimated—I say the garden and the wilderness, the church and the world, are all one: for thus,

If the powers of the world, or civil state, are bound to propose external peace in all godliness for their end, and the end of the church be to preserve internal peace in all godliness, I demand, if their end (godliness) be the same, is not their power and state the same also? unless they make the church subordinate to the commonwealth’s end, or the commonweal subordinate to the church’s end, which—being the governor and setter up of it, and so consequently the judge of it—it cannot be.

The commonweal more charged by these authors with the worship and ordinances, than the church.

Now if godliness be the worshipping and walking with God in Christ, is not the magistrate and commonweal charged more by this tenet with the worship and ordinances of God, than the church? for the magistrate they charge with the external peace in godliness, and the church but with the internal.

I ask further, what is this internal peace in all godliness? whether intend they internal, within the soul, which only the eye of God can see, opposed to external, or visible, which man also can discern? or else, whether they mean internal, that is spiritual, soul-matters, matters of God’s worship? and then I say, that peace, to wit, of godliness or God’s worship, they had before granted to the civil state.

The authors of these positions never yet saw a true difference between the church of Christ and the world, in point of worship.

Peace. The truth is, as I now perceive, the best and most godly of that judgment declare themselves never to have seen a true difference between the church and the world, and the spiritual and civil state; and howsoever[201] these worthy authors seem to make a kind of separation from the world, and profess that the church must consist of spiritual and living stones, saints, regenerate persons, and so make some peculiar enclosed ordinances, as the supper of the Lord, which none, say they, but godly persons must taste of; yet, by compelling all within their jurisdiction to an outward conformity of the church worship, of the word and prayer, and maintenance of the ministry thereof, they evidently declare that they still lodge and dwell in the confused mixtures of the unclean and clean, of the flock of Christ and herds of the world together—I mean, in spiritual and religious worship.

Truth. For a more full and clear discussion of this scripture, 1 Tim. ii. 1, 2, on which is weakly built such a mighty building, I shall propose and resolve these four queries.


1 Tim. ii. 1, 2, discussed.

First, what is meant by godliness and honesty in this place?

Secondly, what may the scope of the Holy Spirit of God be in this place?

Thirdly, whether the civil magistrate was then custos utriusque tabulæ, keeper of both tables? &c.

Fourthly, whether a church, or congregation of Christians, may not live in godliness and honesty, although the civil magistrate be of another conscience and worship, and the whole state and country with him?

To the first, what is here meant by godliness and honesty?


Answ. I find not that the Spirit of God here intendeth the first and second table.

The word honesty, in this place of Timothy, cannot signify here the honesty or righteousness of the second table.

For, however the word εὐσεβεία signify godliness, or the worship of God, yet the second word, σεμνότης, I find not that it signifies such an honesty as compriseth the duties of the second table, but such an honesty as signifies solemnity, gravity; and so it is turned by the translator, Tit. ii. 7, ἐν τῇ διδασκαλίᾳ ἀδιαφθορίαν, σεμνότητα, that is, in doctrine [showing] incorruptness, gravity: which doctrine cannot there be taken for the doctrine of the civil state, or second table, but the gravity, majesty, and solemnity of the spiritual doctrine of Christianity. So that, according to the translators’ own rendering of that word in Titus, this place of Timothy should be thus rendered, in all godliness, or worshipping of God, and gravity; that is, a solemn or grave profession of the worship of God. And yet this mistaken and misinterpreted scripture, is that great castle and stronghold which so many fly unto concerning the magistrates’ charge over the two tables.

Secondly, what is the scope of the Spirit of God in this place?

The scope of God’s Spirit in this place of Timothy.

I answer, first, negatively; the scope is not to speak of the duties of the first and second table.

Nor, secondly, is the scope to charge the magistrate with forcing the people, who have chosen him, to godliness, or God’s worship, according to his conscience—the magistrate keeping the peace of external godliness, and the church of internal, as is affirmed; but,

Secondly, positively; I say the Spirit of God by Paul in this place provokes Timothy and the church at Ephesus, and so consequently all the ministers of Christ’s churches, and Christians, to pray for two things:—

God’s people must pray for and endeavour the peace of the state they live in: although pagan or popish.

First, for the peaceable and quiet state of the countries and places of their abode; that is implied in their praying,[203] as Paul directs them, for a quiet and peaceable condition, and suits sweetly with the command of the Lord to his people, even in Babel, Jer. xxix. 7, pray for the peace of the city, and seek the good of it; for in the peace thereof it shall go well with you. Which rule will hold in any pagan or popish city, and therefore consequently are God’s people to pray against wars, famines, pestilences, and especially to be far from kindling coals of war, and endeavour the bringing in and advancing their conscience by the sword.

Forcing of men to godliness or God’s worship, the greatest cause of breach of civil peace.

Secondly, they are here commanded to pray for the salvation of all men; that all men, and especially kings and magistrates, might be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth; implying that the grave—or solemn and shining—profession of godliness, or God’s worship, according to Christ Jesus, is a blessed means to cause all sorts of men to be affected with the Christian profession, and to come to the same knowledge of that one God and one Mediator, Christ Jesus. All which tends directly against what it is brought for, to wit, the magistrates’ forcing all men to godliness, or the worshipping of God. Which in truth causeth the greatest breach of peace, and the greatest distractions in the world, and the setting up that for godliness or worship which is no more than Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image, a state-worship, and in some places the worship of the beast and his image, Dan. iii., Rev. xiii.



Thirdly, I query, whether the civil magistrate, which was then the Roman emperor, was keeper or guardian of both tables, as is affirmed?

The Roman Cæsars described.

Scripture and all history tell us, that those Cæsars were not only ignorant, without God, without Christ, &c.; but professed worshippers, or maintainers, of the Roman gods or devils; as also notorious for all sorts of wickedness; and, lastly, cruel and bloody lions and tigers toward the Christians for many hundred years.

Not appointed by Christ Jesus keepers and guardians of his church.

Hence, I argue from the wisdom, love, and faithfulness of the Lord Jesus in his house, it was impossible that he should appoint such ignorant, such idolatrous, such wicked, and such cruel persons to be his chief officers and deputy lieutenants under himself to keep the worship of God, to guard his church, his wife. No wise and loving father was ever known to put his child, no not his beasts, dogs, or swine, but unto fitting keepers.

Men judge it matter of high complaint, that the records of parliament, the king’s children, the Tower of London, the great seal, should be committed to unworthy keepers! And can it be, without high blasphemy, conceived that the Lord Jesus should commit his sheep, his children, yea, his spouse, his thousand shields and bucklers in the tower of his church, and lastly, his great and glorious broad seals of baptism and his supper, to be preserved pure in their administrations—I say, that the Lord Jesus, who is wisdom and faithfulness itself, should deliver these to such keepers?

Peace. Some will say, it is one thing what persons are in fact and practice; another what they ought to be by right and office.


Truth. In such cases as I have mentioned, no man doth in the common eye of reason deliver such matters of charge and trust to such as declare themselves and sins (like Sodom) at the very time of this great charge and trust to be committed to them.

Peace. It will further be said, that many of the kings of Judah, who had the charge of establishing, reforming—and so, consequently, of keeping the first table—the church, God’s worship, &c., were notoriously wicked, idolatrous, &c.

Truth. I must then say, the case is not alike; for when the Lord appointed the government of Israel after the rejection of Saul, to establish a covenant of succession in the type unto Christ, let it be minded what pattern and precedent it pleased the Lord to set for the after kings of Israel and Judah, in David, the man after his own heart.

It pleased not the Lord Jesus, in the first institution of his church, to furnish himself with any such civil governors, as unto whom he might commit the care of his worship.

But now the Lord Jesus being come himself, and having fulfilled the former types, and dissolved the national state of the church, and established a more spiritual way of worship all the world over, and appointed a spiritual government and governors, it is well known what the Roman Cæsars were, under whom both Christ Jesus himself, and his servants after him, lived and suffered; so that if the Lord Jesus had appointed any such deputies—as we find not a tittle to that purpose, nor have a shadow of true reason so to think—he must, I say, in the very first institution, have pitched upon such persons for these custodes utriusque tabulæ, keepers of both tables, as no man wise, or faithful, or loving, would have chosen in any of the former instances, or cases of a more inferior nature.

Beside, to that great pretence of Israel, I have largely spoken to.

Secondly. I ask, how could the Roman Cæsars, or any[206] civil magistrates, be custodes, keepers of the church and worship of God, when, as the authors of these positions acknowledge, that their civil power extends but to bodies and goods?

And for spiritual power they say they have none, ad bonum temporale (to a temporal good), which is their proper end; and then, having neither civil nor spiritual power from the Lord Jesus to this purpose, how come they to be such keepers as is pretended?

The true keepers which Christ Jesus appointed of his ordinances and worship.

Thirdly. If the Roman emperors were keepers, what keepers were the apostles, unto whom the Lord Jesus gave the care and charge of the churches, and by whom the Lord Jesus charged Timothy, 1 Tim. vi. 14, to keep those commands of the Lord Jesus without spot until his coming?

These keepers were called the foundation of the church, Eph. ii. 20, and made up the crown of twelve stars about the head of the woman, Rev. xii. 1; whose names were also written in the twelve foundations of [the] New Jerusalem, Rev. xxi. 14.

Yea, what keepers then are the ordinary officers of the church, appointed to be the shepherds or keepers of the flock of Christ; appointed to be the porters or doorkeepers, and to watch in the absence of Christ? Mark xiii. 34; Acts xx. [28-31.]

Yea, what charge hath the whole church itself, which is the pillar and ground of the truth, 1 Tim. i. 15, in the midst of which Christ is present with his power, 1 Cor. v. 4, to keep out or cast out the impenitent and obstinate, even kings and emperors themselves, from their spiritual society? 1 Cor. v.; James iii. 1; Gal. iii. 28.

The kings of the Assyrians, &c., not charged with God’s worship as the kings of Judah, in that national and typical church.

Fourthly. I ask, whether in the time of the kings of Israel and Judah—whom I confess in the typical and national state to be charged with both tables—I ask, whether[207] the kings of the Assyrians, the kings of the Ammonites, Moabites, Philistines, were also constituted and ordained keepers of the worship of God as the kings of Judah were, for they were also lawful magistrates in their dominions? or, whether the Roman emperors were custodes, or keepers, more than they? or more than the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, under whose civil government God’s people lived, and in his own land and city? Jer. xxix.


Constantine, Theodosius, &c., misinformed.

Peace. You remember, dear Truth, that Constantine, Theodosius, and others, were made to believe that they were the antitypes of the kings of Judah, the church of God; and Henry VIII. was told that that title, Defensor fidei, defender of the faith, though sent him by the pope for writing against Luther, was his own diadem, due unto him from Heaven. So likewise since, the kings and queens of England have been instructed.

Truth. But it was not so from the beginning, as that very difference between the national state of the church of God then, and other kings and magistrates of the world, not so charged, doth clearly evince, and leadeth us to the spiritual king of the church, Christ Jesus, the king of Israel, and his spiritual government and governors therein.

Masters of families under the gospel, not charged to force all under him from their own consciences to his.

Fifthly. I ask, whether had the Roman Cæsars more charge to see all their subjects observe and submit to the worship of God in their dominion of the world, than a master, father, or husband now, under the gospel, in his family?

Families are the foundations of government; for what[208] is a commonweal but a commonweal of families, agreeing to live together for common good?

Now in families, suppose a believing Christian husband hath an unbelieving, anti-christian wife, what other charge in this respect is given to a husband, 1 Cor. vii. [12-15], but to dwell with her as a husband, if she be pleased to dwell with him? but, to be so far from forcing her from her conscience unto his, as that if for his conscience’ sake she would depart, he was not to force her to tarry with him, 1 Cor. vii. Consequently, the father or husband of the state differing from the commonweal in religion, ought not to force the commonweal nor to be forced by it, yet is he to continue a civil husband’s care, if the commonweal will live with him, and abide in civil covenant.

Now as a husband by his love to the truth, and holy conversation in it, and seasonable exhortations, ought to endeavour to save his wife, yet abhorring to use corporal punishment, yea, in this case to child or servant: so ought the father, husband, governor of the commonweal, endeavour to win and save whom possibly he may, yet far from the appearance of civil violence.

If the charge of God’s worship was left with the Roman emperor, then was he bound to turn the whole world into the garden, flock, and spouse of Christ.

Sixthly. If the Roman emperors were charged by Christ with his worship in their dominion, and their dominion was over the world, as was the dominion of the Grecian, Persian, and Babylonian monarchy before them, who sees not, if the whole world be forced to turn Christian—as afterward and since it hath pretended to do—who sees not then, that the world, for whom Christ Jesus would not pray, and the god of it, are reconciled to Jesus Christ, and the whole field of the world become his enclosed garden?

Millions put to death.

Seventhly. If the Roman emperors ought to have been by Christ’s appointment keepers of both tables, antitypes of Israel and Judah’s kings; how many millions of[209] idolaters and blasphemers against Christ Jesus and his worship, ought they to have put to death, according to Israel’s pattern!

Christ never sent any of his ministers or servants to the civil magistrate, for help in spiritual matters.

Lastly. I ask, if the Lord Jesus had delivered his sheep and children to these wolves, his wife and spouse to such adulterers, his precious jewels to such great thieves and robbers of the world, as the Roman emperors were, what is the reason that he was never pleased to send any of his servants to their gates to crave their help and assistance in this his work, to put them in mind of their office, to challenge and claim such a service from them, according to their office, as it pleased God always to send to the kings of Israel and Judah, in the like case?

Peace. Some will here object Paul’s appealing to Cæsar.

Truth. And I must refer them to what I formerly answered to that objection. Paul never appealed to Cæsar as a judge appointed by Christ Jesus to give definitive sentence in any spiritual or church controversy; but against the civil violence and murder which the Jews intended against him, Paul justly appealed. For otherwise, if in a spiritual cause he should have appealed, he should have overthrown his own apostleship and power given him by Christ Jesus in spiritual things, above the highest kings or emperors of the world beside.


Peace. Blessed Truth, I shall now remember you of the fourth query upon this place of Timothy; to wit, whether a church of Christ Jesus may not live in God’s worship and comeliness, notwithstanding that the civil[210] magistrate profess not the same but a contrary religion and worship, in his own person and the country with him?

Truth. I answer; the churches of Christ under the Roman emperors did live in all godliness and Christian gravity, as appears by all their holy and glorious practices, which the scripture abundantly testifies.

Christ Jesus hath left power in his church to preserve herself pure, though in an idolatrous country.

Secondly. This flows from an institution or appointment of such a power and authority, left by the Lord Jesus to his apostles and churches, that no ungodliness or dishonesty, in the first appearance of it, was to be suffered, but suppressed and cast out from the churches of Christ, even the little leaven of doctrine or practice, 1 Cor. v.; Gal. v.

God’s people have used to shine in brightest godliness when they have enjoyed least quietness.

Lastly, I add, that although sometimes it pleaseth the Lord to vouchsafe his servants peace and quietness, and to command them [as] here in Timothy to pray for it, for those good ends and purposes for which God hath appointed civil magistracy in the world, to keep the world in peace and quietness: yet God’s people have used most to abound with godliness and honesty, when they have enjoyed least peace and quietness. Then, like those spices, Cant. iv. 14, myrrh, frankincense, saffron, calamus, &c., they have yielded the sweetest savour to God and man, when they were pounded and burnt in cruel persecution of the Roman censors. Then are they, as God’s venison, most sweet when most hunted: God’s stars shining brightest in the darkest night: more heavenly in conversation, more mortified, more abounding in love each to other, more longing to be with God, when the inhospitable and savage world hath used them like strangers, and forced them to hasten home to another country which they profess to seek.



Peace. Dear Truth, it seems not to be unreasonable to close up this passage with a short descant upon the assertion, viz., “A subject without godliness will not be bonus vir, a good man, and a magistrate, except he see godliness preserved, will not be bonus magistratus.

Few magistrates, few men spiritually and Christianly good. Yet divers sorts of goodness, natural, artificial, civil, &c.

Truth. I confess that without godliness, or a true worshipping of God with an upright heart, according to God’s ordinances, neither subjects nor magistrates can please God in Christ Jesus, and so be spiritually or Christianly good; which few magistrates and few men either come to, or are ordained unto: God having chosen a little flock out of the world, and those generally poor and mean, 1 Cor. i. 26; James ii. 5, yet this I must remember you of, that when the most high God created all things of nothing, he saw and acknowledged divers sorts of goodness, which must still be acknowledged in their distinct kinds: a good air, a good ground, a good tree, a good sheep, &c.

I say the same in artificials, a good garment, a good house, a good sword, a good ship.

I also add, a good city, a good company or corporation, a good husband, father, master.

Hence also we say, a good physician, a good lawyer, a good seaman, a good merchant, a good pilot for such or such a shore or harbour: that is, morally, civilly good, in their several civil respects and employments.

Hence (Ps. cxxii.) the church, or city of God, is compared to a city compact within itself; which compactness may be found in many towns and cities of the world, where yet hath not shined any spiritual or supernatural[212] goodness. Hence the Lord Jesus, Matt. xii. [25,] describes an ill state of a house or kingdom, viz., to be divided against itself, which cannot stand.

The civil goodness of cities, kingdoms, subjects, magistrates, must be owned, although spiritual goodness, proper to the Christian state or church, be wanting.

These I observe to prove, that a subject, a magistrate, may be a good subject, a good magistrate, in respect of civil or moral goodness, which thousands want; and where it is, it is commendable and beautiful, though godliness, which is infinitely more beautiful, be wanting, and which is only proper to the Christian state, the commonweal of Israel, the true church, the holy nation, Ephes. ii.; 1 Pet. ii.

Lastly, however the authors deny that there can be bonus magistratus, a good magistrate, except he see all godliness preserved; yet themselves confess that civil honesty is sufficient to make a good subject, in these words, viz., “He must see that honesty be preserved within his jurisdiction, else the subject will not be bonus cives, a good citizen;” and doubtless, if the law of relations hold true, that civil honesty which makes a good citizen, must also, together with qualifications fit for a commander, make also a good magistrate.


Peace. The fourth head is, The proper means of both these powers to attain their ends.

“First, the proper means whereby the civil power may and should attain its end, are only political, and principally these five.

“First, the erecting and establishing what form of civil government may seem in wisdom most meet, according to general rules of the word, and state of the people.


“Secondly, the making, publishing, and establishing of wholesome civil laws, not only such as concern civil justice, but also the free passage of true religion: for outward civil peace ariseth and is maintained from them both, from the latter as well as from the former.

“Civil peace cannot stand entire where religion is corrupted, 2 Chron. xv. 3, 5, 6; Judges viii. And yet such laws, though conversant about religion, may still be counted civil laws: as on the contrary, an oath doth still remain religious, though conversant about civil matters.

“Thirdly, election and appointment of civil officers, to see execution of those laws.

“Fourthly, civil punishments and rewards of transgressors and observers of these laws.

“Fifthly, taking up arms against the enemies of civil peace.

“Secondly, the means whereby the church may and should attain her ends, are only ecclesiastical, which are chiefly five.

“First, setting up that form of church government only of which Christ hath given them a pattern in his word.

“Secondly, acknowledging and admitting of no lawgiver in the church but Christ, and the publishing of his laws.

“Thirdly, electing and ordaining of such officers only as Christ hath appointed in his word.

“Fourthly, to receive into their fellowship them that are approved, and inflicting spiritual censures against them that offend.

“Fifthly, prayer and patience in suffering any evil from them that be without, who disturb their peace.

“So that magistrates, as magistrates, have no power of setting up the form of church government, electing church[214] officers, punishing with church censures; but to see that the church doth her duty herein. And on the other side, the churches, as churches, have no power, though as members of the commonweal they may have power, of erecting or altering forms of civil government, electing of civil officers, inflicting civil punishments—no, not on persons excommunicated—as by deposing magistrates from their civil authority, or withdrawing the hearts of the people against them, to their laws, no more than to discharge wives, or children, or servants, from due obedience to their husbands, parents, or masters: or by taking up arms against their magistrates, though they persecute them for conscience: for though members of churches, who are public officers, also of the civil state, may suppress by force the violence of usurpers, as Jehoiada did Athaliah, yet this they do not as members of the church, but as officers of the civil state.”

Truth. Here are divers considerable passages, which I shall briefly examine so far as concerns our controversy.

First, whereas they say, that the civil power may erect and establish what form of civil government may seem in wisdom most meet: I acknowledge the proposition to be most true, both in itself, and also considered with the end of it, that a civil government is an ordinance of God, to conserve the civil peace of people so far as concerns their bodies and goods, as formerly hath been said.

Civil power originally and fundamentally in the people.

But from this grant I infer, as before hath been touched, that the sovereign, original, and foundation of civil power, lies in the people—whom they must needs mean by the civil power distinct from the government set up: and if so, that a people may erect and establish what form of government seems to them most meet for their civil condition. It is evident that such governments as are by them erected and established, have no more power, nor for[215] no longer time, than the civil power, or people consenting and agreeing, shall betrust them with. This is clear not only in reason, but in the experience of all commonweals, where the people are not deprived of their natural freedom by the power of tyrants.

Mr. Cotton and the New English ministers, give the government of Christ’s church, or spouse, into the hands of the people, or commonweal.

And if so—that the magistrates receive their power of governing the church from the people—undeniably it follows, that a people, as a people, naturally considered, of what nature or nation soever in Europe, Asia, Africa, or America, have fundamentally and originally, as men, a power to govern the church, to see her do her duty, to correct her, to redress, reform, establish, &c. And if this be not to pull God, and Christ, and Spirit out of heaven, and subject them unto natural, sinful, inconstant men, and so consequently to Satan himself, by whom all peoples naturally are guided, let heaven and earth judge.

The very Indian Americans made governors of the church by the authors of these positions.

Peace. It cannot, by their own grant, be denied, but that the wildest Indians in America ought (and in their kind and several degrees do) to agree upon some forms of government, some more civil compact in towns, &c., some less. As also, that their civil and earthly governments be as lawful and true as any governments in the world, and therefore consequently their governors are keepers of the church, of both tables, if any church of Christ should arise or be amongst them: and therefore, lastly, if Christ have betrusted and charged the civil power with his church, they must judge according to their Indian or American consciences, for other consciences it cannot be supposed they should have.



Truth. Again, whereas they say that outward civil peace cannot stand where religion is corrupted; and quote for it 2 Chron. xv. 3, 5, 6, and Judges viii.—

Many civil states in flourishing peace and quiet where the Lord Jesus is not sounded.

I answer, with admiration, how such excellent spirits, as these authors are furnished with, not only in heavenly but earthly affairs, should so forget, and be so fast asleep in things so palpably evident, as to say that outward civil peace cannot stand where religion is corrupt. When so many stately kingdoms and governments in the world have long and long enjoyed civil peace and quiet, notwithstanding their religion is so corrupt, as that there is not the very name of Jesus Christ amongst them. And this every historian, merchant, traveller, in Europe, Asia, Africa, America, can testify: for so spake the Lord Jesus himself, John xvi. [20,] The world shall sing and rejoice.

Secondly, for that scripture, 2 Chron. xv. 3, &c., relating the miseries of Israel and Judah, and God’s plagues upon that people for corruption of their religion, it must still have reference to that peculiar state unto which God called the seed of one man, Abraham, in a figure, dealing so with them as he dealt not with any nation in the world, Ps. cxlvii., Rom. ix.

The antitype to this state I have proved to be the Christian church, which consequently hath been and is afflicted with spiritual plagues, desolations, and captivities, for corrupting of that religion which hath been revealed unto them. This appears by the seven churches; and the people of God, now so many hundred years in woful bondage and slavery to the mystical Babel, until the time of their joyful deliverance.


Peace. Yea; but they say that “such laws as are conversant about religion may still be accounted civil laws, as on the contrary an oath doth still remain religious, though conversant about civil matters.”

Truth. Laws respecting religion are twofold.

Laws concerning religion, either religious or civil.

First, such as concern the acts of worship and the worship itself, the ministers of it, their fitness or unfitness, to be suppressed or established: and for such laws we find no footing in the New Testament of Jesus Christ.

The very Indians abhor to disturb any conscience at worship.

Secondly, laws respecting religion may be such as merely concern the civil state, bodies, and goods of such and such persons, professing these and these religions; viz., that such and such persons, notorious for mutinies, treasons, rebellions, massacres, be disarmed: again, that no persons, papists, Jews, Turks, or Indians, be disturbed at their worship, a thing which the very Indians abhor to practise toward any. Also, that immunity and freedom from tax and toll may be granted unto the people of such or such a religion, as the magistrate pleaseth, Ezra vii. 24.

These and such as are of this nature, concerning only the bodies and goods of such and such religious persons, I confess are merely civil.

Canons and constitutions pretended civil but indeed ecclesiastical.

But now, on the other hand, that laws restraining persons from such and such a worship, because the civil state judgeth it to be false:—

That laws constraining to such and such a worship, because the civil state judgeth this to be the only true way of worshipping God:—

That such and such a reformation of worship be submitted unto by all subjects in such a jurisdiction:—

That such and such churches, ministers, ministries, be pulled down, and such and such churches, ministries, and ministrations, set up:—

That such laws properly concerning religion, God, the[218] souls of men, should be civil laws and constitutions, is as far from reason as that the commandments of Paul, which he gave the churches concerning Christ’s worship (1 Cor. xi. and 1 Cor. xiv.), were civil and earthly constitutions: or that the canons and constitutions of either œcumenical or national synods, concerning religion, should be civil and state conclusions and arguments.

Laws merely concerning spiritual things must needs be spiritual.

To that instance of an oath remaining religious, though conversant about civil things; I answer and acknowledge, an oath may be spiritual, though taken about earthly business; and accordingly it will prove, and only prove, what before I have said, that a law may be civil though it concern persons of this and of that religion, that is, as the persons professing it are concerned in civil respects of bodies or goods, as I have opened; whereas if it concern the souls and religions of men, simply so considered in reference to God, it must of necessity put on the nature of religious or spiritual ordinance or constitution.

Beside, it is a most improper and fallacious instance; for an oath, being an invocation of a true or false God to judge in a case, is an action of a spiritual and religious nature, whatever the subject matter be about which it is taken, whether civil or religious: but a law or constitution may be civil or religious, as the subject about which it is conversant is either civil, merely concerning bodies or goods; or religious, concerning soul and worship.


Peace. Their fifth head is concerning the magistrates’ power in making of laws.

“First, they have power to publish and apply such civil[219] laws in a state, as either are expressed in the word of God in Moses’s judicials—to wit, so far as they are of general and moral equity, and so binding all nations in all ages—to be deducted by way of general consequence and proportion from the word of God.

“For in a free state no magistrate hath power over the bodies, goods, lands, liberties of a free people, but by their free consents. And because free men are not free lords of their own estates, but are only stewards unto God, therefore they may not give their free consents to any magistrate to dispose of their bodies, goods, lands, liberties, at large as themselves please, but as God, the sovereign Lord of all, alone. And because the word is a perfect rule, as well of righteousness as of holiness, it will be therefore necessary that neither the people give consent, nor that the magistrate take power to dispose of the bodies, goods, lands, liberties of the people, but according to the laws and rules of the word of God.

“Secondly, in making laws about civil and indifferent things about the commonweal,

“First, he hath no power given him of God to make what laws he please, either in restraining from or constraining to the use of indifferent things; because that which is indifferent in its nature, may sometimes be inexpedient in its use, and consequently unlawful, 1 Cor. ii. 5, it having been long since defended upon good ground, Quicquid non expedit, quatenus non expedit, non licet.

“Secondly, he hath no power to make any such laws about indifferent things, wherein nothing good or evil is shown to the people, but only on principally the mere authority or will of the imposer, for the observance of them, Col. ii. 21, 22; 1 Cor. vii. 23, compared with Eph. vi. 6.

“It is a prerogative proper to God to require obedience of the sons of men, because of his authority and will.


“The will of no man is regula recti, unless first it be regula recta.

“It is an evil speech of some, that in some things the will of the law, not the ratio of it, must be the rule of conscience to walk by; and that princes may forbid men to seek any other reason but their authority, yea, when they command frivola et dura. And therefore it is the duty of the magistrate, in all laws about indifferent things, to show the reasons, not only the will: to show the expediency, as well as the indifferency of things of that nature.

“For we conceive in laws of this nature, it is not the will of the lawgiver only, but the reason of the law which binds. Ratio est rex legis, et lex est rex regis.

“Thirdly, because the judgment of expedient and inexpedient things is often difficult and diverse, it is meet that such laws should not proceed without due consideration of the rules of expediency set down in the word, which are these three:

“First, the rule of piety, that they may make for the glory of God, 1 Cor. x. 31.

“Secondly, the rule of charity, that no scandal come hereby to any weak brother, 1 Cor. viii. 13.

“Thirdly, the rule of charity, that no man be forced to submit against his conscience, Rom. xiv. 14, 23, nor be judged of contempt of lawful authority, because he is not suddenly persuaded of the expediency of indifferent things; for if the people be bound by God to receive such laws about such things, without any trial or satisfaction to the conscience, but must judge them expedient because the magistrate thinks them so, then the one cannot be punished in following the other, in case he shall sin in calling inexpedient expedient; but Christ saith the contrary, If the blind lead the blind, they shall both fall.


The authors’ large confession of the liberty of conscience, from the laws of civil authority in spiritual cases.

Truth. In this passage these worthy men lay down such a ground as the gates of hell are not able to shake, concerning the magistrates’ walking in indifferent things: and upon which ground that tower of Lebanon may be raised, whereon there hang a thousand shields and bucklers, Cant. iv. 4, to wit, that invincible truth, that no man is to be persecuted for cause of conscience. The ground is this, “The magistrate hath not power to make what laws he please, either in restraining or constraining to the use of indifferent things.” And further they confess, that the reason of the law, not the will of it, must be the rule of conscience. And they add this impregnable reason, viz. “If the people be bound to receive such laws without satisfaction to conscience, then one cannot be punished for following the other, in case he shall sin contrary to Christ Jesus, who saith, If the blind lead the blind, they shall both fall.

Civil magistrates confessed not to have power to urge the conscience in indifferent things.

Hence I argue, if the civil magistrate have no power to restrain or constrain their subjects in things in their own nature indifferent, as in eating of meats, wearing this or that garment, using this or that gesture; but that they are bound to try and examine his commands, and satisfy their own reason, conscience, and judgment before the Lord, and that they shall sin, if they follow the magistrate’s command, not being persuaded in their own soul and conscience that his commands are according to God: it will be much more unlawful and heinous in the magistrate to compel the subjects unto that which, according to their consciences’ persuasion, is simply unlawful, as unto a falsely constituted church, ministry, worship, administration, and they shall not escape the ditch, by being led blindfold by the magistrate; but though he fall in first, yet they shall [fall] in after him and upon him, to his greater and more dreadful judgment.


In particular thus, if the magistrate may restrain me from that gesture in the supper of the Lord which I am persuaded I ought to practise, he may also restrain me by his commands from that supper of the Lord itself in such or such a church, according to my conscience.

If he cannot, as they grant, constrain me to such or such a garment in the worship of God, can he constrain me to worship God by such a ministry, and with such worship, which my soul and conscience cannot be persuaded is of God?

If he cannot command me in that circumstance of time to worship God, this or that day, can he command me to the worship itself?

A threefold guilt lying upon civil powers commanding the subject’s soul in worship.

Peace. Methinks I discern a threefold guilt to lie upon such civil powers as impose upon and enforce the conscience, though not unto the ministration and participation of the seals,[208] yet either to depart from that worship which it is persuaded of, or to any exercise or worship which it hath not faith in.

First. Of an appearance of that Arminian, popish doctrine of free-will, as if it lay in their own power and ability to believe upon the magistrate’s command, since it is confessed that what is submitted to by any without faith it is sin, be it never so true and holy, Rom. xiv. 23.

Secondly. Since God only openeth the heart and worketh the will, Phil. ii. [13,] it seems to be a high presumption to suppose, that together with a command restraining from or constraining to worship, that God is also to be forced or commanded to give faith, to open the heart, to incline the will, &c.

Thirdly. A guilt of the hypocrisy of their subjects and people, in forcing them to act and practise in matters of[223] religion and worship against the doubts and checks of their consciences, causing their bodies to worship when their souls are far off, to draw near with their lips, their hearts being far off, &c.

Persons may with less sin be forced to marry whom they cannot love, than to worship where they cannot believe.

With less sin ten thousand-fold may a natural father force his daughter, or the father of the commonweal force all the maidens in a country to the marriage-beds of such and such men whom they cannot love, than the souls of these and other subjects to such worship or ministry, which is either a true or false bed, Cant. i. 16.

Truth. Sweet Peace, your conclusions are undeniable, and oh! that they might sink deep into those noble and honourable bosoms it so deeply concerns! But proceed.


Peace. In that fifth head they further say thus:—

“Thirdly. In matters ecclesiastical we believe, first, that civil magistrates have no power to make or constitute laws about church affairs, which the Lord Jesus hath not ordained in his word for the well-ordering of the church; for the apostle solemnly chargeth Timothy, and in him all governors of the church, before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, that the commandment given by him for the ordering of the church be kept without spot, unrebukeable, to the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Tim. vi. 14, 15. And this commandment given in the word, the apostle saith, is able to make the man of God perfect in all righteousness, 2 Tim. iii. 17. And, indeed, the administration of all Christ’s affairs, doth immediately aim at spiritual and divine ends, as the worship of God, and the[224] salvation of men’s souls: and, therefore, no law nor means can be devised by the wisdom or wit of man that can be fit or able to reach such ends; but use must be made of such only as the divine wisdom and holy will of God hath ordained.

“Secondly. We believe the magistrate’s power in making laws about church affairs, is not only thus limited and restrained by Christ to matters which concern the substance of God’s worship and of church government, but also such as concern outward order: as in rites and ceremonies for uniformity’s sake. For we find not in the gospel, that Christ hath anywhere provided for the uniformity of churches, but only for their unity.

“Paul, in matters of Christian liberty, commendeth the unity of their faith in the Holy Spirit, giving order that we should not judge nor condemn one another, in difference of judgment and practice of such things where men live to God on both sides, even though there were some error on one side, Rom. xiv. 1-6. How much less in things indifferent, where there may be no error on either side.

“When the apostle directeth the church of Corinth, that all things be done decently and in order, he meant not to give power to church officers or to civil magistrates, to order whatever they should think meet for decency and order; but only to provide that all the ordinances of God be administered in the church decently, without unnatural or uncivil uncomeliness, as that of long hair, or women’s prophesying, or the like; and orderly, without confusion or disturbance of edification, as the speaking of many at once in the church.

“Thirdly. We do nevertheless willingly grant, that magistrates, upon due and diligent search what is the counsel and will of God in his word concerning the right[225] ordering of the church, may and ought to publish and declare, establish and ratify, such laws and ordinances as Christ hath appointed in his word for the well ordering of church affairs: both for the gathering of the church, and the right administration of all the ordinances of God amongst them, in such a manner as the Lord hath appointed to edification. The law of Artaxerxes, Ezra vii. 23, was not usurpation over the church’s liberty; but a royal and just confirmation of them: Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven:—for why should there be wrath against [the realm of] the king and his sons?

Truth. Dear Peace, methinks I see before mine eyes a wall daubed up, of which Ezekiel speaks, with untempered mortar. Here they restrain the magistrate from making laws, either concerning the substance or ceremony of religion, but such only as Christ hath commanded; and those, say they, they must publish and declare after the example of Artaxerxes.

I shall herein perform two things: first, examine this magistrate’s duty to publish, declare, &c., such laws and ordinances as Christ hath appointed.

Secondly, I shall examine that proof from Artaxerxes, Ezra vii. 23.

God’s Israel desirous of Saul’s arm of flesh.

In the first, methinks I hear the voice of the people of Israel, 1 Sam. viii. 5, Make us a king, that may rule over us after the manner of the nations: rejecting the Lord ruling over them by his holy word, in the mouth of his prophets, and sheltering themselves under an arm of flesh; which arm of flesh God gave them in his anger, and cut off again in his wrath, after he had persecuted David, the figure of Christ Jesus, who hath given his people the sceptre and sword of his word and Spirit, and refused a temporal crown or weapons in the dispensation of his kingdom.

Where did the Lord Jesus or his messengers charge the[226] civil magistrate, or direct Christians to petition him, to publish, declare, or establish by his arm of flesh and earthly weapons, the religion and worship of Christ Jesus?

I find the beast and false prophet, whose rise and doctrine is not from heaven, but from the sea and earth, dreadful and terrible, by a civil sword and dignity, Rev. xiii. 2.

I find the beast hath gotten the power and might of the kings of the earth, Rev. xvii. 13.

The seven-headed beast and the Lamb differ in their weapons.

But the Lamb’s weapons are spiritually mighty, 2 Cor. x. [4.] &c., his sword is two-edged, coming out of his mouth, Rev. i. [16.] His preparations for war are white horses and white harness, which are confessed by all to be of a spiritual nature, Rev. xix.

Naboth’s case typical.

When that whore Jezebel stabbed Naboth with her pen, in stirring up the people to stone him as a blasphemer of God and the king, what a glorious mask or veil of holiness she put on? Proclaim a fast, set a day apart for humiliation; and for confirmation, let all be ratified by the king’s authority, name, and seal, 1 Kings xxi. 8, 9.

Was not this recorded for all God’s Naboths, standing for their spiritual interests in heavenly things—typed out by the typical earth and ground of Canaan’s land—that they through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope? Rom. xv. 4.

Again, I demand, who shall here sit [to] judge, whether the magistrate command any other substance or ceremony but what is Christ’s?

By their former conclusions, every soul must judge what the magistrate commandeth, and is not bound, even in indifferent things, to the magistrates’ law, further than his own soul, conscience, and judgment ascends to the reason of it. Here, the magistrate must make laws for that substance and ceremony which Christ appointed.[227] But yet he must not do this with his eyes open, but blindfold and hoodwinked; for if he judge that to be the religion of Christ, and such to be the order therein, which their consciences judge otherwise, and assent not to, they profess they must submit only to Christ’s laws, and therefore they are not bound to obey him.

Civil powers abused as a guard about the bed of spiritual whoredoms.

Oh! what is this but to make use of the civil powers and governors of the world, as a guard about the spiritual bed of soul-whoredoms, in which the kings of the earth commit spiritual fornication with the great whore, Rev. xvii. 2,—as a guard, while the inhabitants of the earth are drinking themselves drunk with the wine of her fornication?

But oh! what terrifyings, what allurings are in Jeremy’s curse and blessing! Jer. xvii. [5.] Cursed is the man that trusteth in man, that maketh flesh his arm,—too, too common in spiritual matters—and whose heart departeth from Jehovah: he shall be as a heath in the wilderness—even in the spiritual and mystical wilderness—and shall not see when comfort comes, but shall abide in drought in the wilderness, in a barren land, &c.


Peace. Oh! what mysteries are these to flesh and blood! how hard for flesh to forsake the arm thereof! But pass on, dear Truth, to their proof propounded, Ezra vii. 23, wherein Artaxerxes confirmed by law whatever was commanded by the God of heaven.

Ezra vii. 23, discussed.

Truth. In this scripture I mind, first, the people of God captivated under the dominion and government of the kings of Babel and Persia.


Secondly. Artaxerxes’s favour to these captives,

1. Of freedom to their consciences.

2. Of bounty towards them.

3. Of exempting of some of them from common charges.

Thirdly. Punishments on offenders.

Fourthly. The ground that carries him on to all this.

Fifthly. Ezra praising of God for putting this into the heart of the king.

God’s people not subject to the kings of Babel or Persia in spirituals.

Concerning the people of God the Jews, they were as lambs and sheep in the jaws of the lion, the dearly beloved of his soul under the devouring tyrants of the world, both the Babylonian and the Persian, far from their own nation and the government of their own anointed kings, the figures of the true King of the Jews, the Lord Jesus Christ.

In this respect it is clear, that the Jews were no more subject to the kings of Babylon and Persia in spiritual things, than the vessels of the sanctuary were subject to the king of Babel’s use, Dan. v.

Concerning this king, I consider, first, his person: a gentile idolater, an oppressing tyrant, one of those devouring beasts, Dan. vii. and viii. A hand of bloody conquest set the crown upon the head of these monarchs; and although in civil things they might challenge subjection, yet why should they now sit down in the throne of Israel, and govern the people and church of God in spiritual things?

Tyrants’ hearts sometimes wonderfully mollified towards God’s people.

Secondly. Consider his acts of favour, and they will not amount to a positive command that any of the Jews should go up to build the temple, nor that any of them should practise his own worship, which he kept and judged the best for his own soul and people.

It is true, he freely permits them and exerciseth a[229] bounteous assistance to them. All which argues no more, but that sometimes it pleaseth God to open the hearts of tyrants greatly to favour and further his people. Such favour found Nehemiah and Daniel, and others of God’s people have and shall find, so often as it pleaseth him to honour them that honour him before the sons of men.

Peace. Who sees not how little this scripture contributes to their tenent? But why, say some, should this king confirm all with such severe punishments? and why for all this should Ezra give thanks to God, if it were not imitable for after times?

Truth. The law of God, which he confirmed, he knew not, and therefore neither was, nor could he be a judge in the case.

Nebuchadnezzar, Darius, and Artaxerxes, their decrees examined.

And for his ground, what was it but the common terrors and convictions of an affrighted conscience?

In such fits and pangs, what have not Pharaohs, Sauls, Ahabs, Herods, Agrippas spoken? And what wonderful decrees have Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Darius, Artaxerxes, put forth concerning the God of Israel, Dan. iii. and vi., and Ezra i. and vii., &c.; and yet as far from being charged with, as they were from being affected to, the spiritual crown of governing the worship of God, and the conscience of his people.

Ezra’s thanksgiving for the king’s decree examined.

It is true, Ezra most piously and justly gave thanks to God for putting such a thing into the heart of the king; but what makes this a pattern for the laws of civil governors now under the gospel? It suited well with that national state of God’s church, that the gentile king should release them, permit them to return to their own land, assist them with other favours, and enable them to execute punishments upon offenders according to their national state.

But did God put such a thing as this into the heart of[230] the king, viz., to restrain upon pain of death all the millions of men under his dominion from the idolatries of their several and respective countries? to constrain them all, upon the like penalty, to conform to the worship of the God of Israel, to build him a temple, erect an altar, ordain priests, offer sacrifice, observe the fasts and feasts of Israel? Yea, did God put it into the king’s heart to send Levites into all the parts of his dominion, compelling them to hear? which is but a natural thing, as some unsoundly speak,[209] unto which all are bound to submit.

The duty of all civil states toward the consciences of their subjects.

Well, however, Ezra gives thanks to God for the king; and so should all that fear God in all countries, if he would please to put it into the hearts of the kings, states, and parliaments, to take off the yokes of violence, and permit, at least, the consciences of their subjects, and especially such as in truth make conscience of their worships to the God of Israel: and yet, no cause for Ezra then, or God’s Ezras and Israelites now, to acknowledge the care and charge of God’s worship, church, and ordinances, to lie upon the shoulders of Artaxerxes, or any other civil prince or ruler.

Christ needs no human confirmations.

Lastly. For the confirmation or ratification which they suppose magistrates are bound to give to the laws of Christ, I answer, God’s cause, Christ’s truth, and the two-edged sword of his word, never stood in need of a temporal sword or a human witness to confirm and ratify them. If we receive the witness of an honest man, the witness of the most holy God is greater, 1 John v. 9.

The sum of the examples of gentile kings decreeing for God’s worship in scripture.

The result and sum of the whole matter is this:—1. It may please God sometimes to stir up the rulers of the earth to permit and tolerate, to favour and countenance, God’s people in their worships, though only out of some[231] strong conviction of conscience or fear of wrath, &c.: and yet themselves neither understand God’s worship, nor leave their own state, idolatry, or country’s worship.

For this God’s people ought to give thanks unto God; yea, and all men from this example may learn, not to charge upon the magistrates’ conscience—besides the care of the civil peace, the bodies and goods of men—the spiritual peace, in the worship of God and souls of men; but hence are magistrates instructed favourably to permit their subjects in their worships, although themselves be not persuaded to submit to them, as Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes did.


Peace. The sixth question is this:—How far the church is subject to their laws?

“All those,” say they, “who are members of the commonweal are bound to be subject to all the just and righteous laws thereof, and therefore, membership in churches not cutting men off from membership in commonweals, they are bound to be subject, even every soul, Rom. xiii. 1, as Christ himself and the apostles were in their places wherein they lived. And therefore to exempt the clergy, as the papists do, from civil subjection, and to say that generatio clerici is corruptio subditi, is both sinful and scandalous to the gospel of God; and though all are equally subject, yet church members are more especially bound to yield subjection, and the most eminent most especially bound, not only because conscience doth more strongly bind, but also because their ill examples are[232] more infectious to others, pernicious to the state, and provoke God’s wrath to bring vengeance on the state.

“Hence, if the whole church, or officers of the church, shall sin against the state, or any person, by sedition, contempt of authority, heresy, blasphemy, oppression, slander, or shall withdraw any of their members from the service of the state without the consent thereof, their persons and estates are liable to civil punishments of magistrates, according to their righteous and wholesome laws, Exod. xxii. 20; Levit. xxiv. 16; Deut. xiii. 5, and xviii. 10.”

Truth. What concerns this head in civil things, I gladly subscribe unto: what concerns heresy, blasphemy, &c., I have plentifully before spoken to, and shall here only say two things.

First. Those scriptures produced concern only the people of God in a church estate, and must have reference only to the church of Christ Jesus, which, as Mr. Cotton confesseth,[210] is not national but congregational, of so many as may meet in one place, 1 Cor. xiv. [23.] and therefore no civil state can be the antitype and parallel: to which purpose, upon the eleventh question, I shall at large show the difference between the national church and state of Israel, and all other states and nations in the world.

The law of putting to death blasphemers of Christ, cuts off all hopes from the Jews of partaking in his blood.

Secondly. If the rulers of the earth are bound to put to death all that worship other gods than the true God, or that blaspheme (that is, speak evil of in a lesser or higher degree) that one true God: it must unavoidably follow, that the beloved for the Father’s sake, the Jews, whose very religion blasphemeth Christ in the highest degree—I say,[233] they are actually sons of death, and all to be immediately executed according to those quoted scriptures. And—

The direful effects of fighting for conscience.

Secondly. The towns, cities, nations, and kingdoms of the world, must generally be put to the sword, if they speedily renounce not their gods and worships, and so cease to blaspheme the true God by their idolatries. This bloody consequence cannot be avoided by any scripture rule, for if that rule be of force, Deut. xiii. and xviii., not to spare or show mercy upon person or city falling to idolatry, that bars out all favour or partiality; and then what heaps upon heaps in the slaughter-houses and shambles of civil laws must the world come to, as I have formerly noted; and that unnecessarily, it being not required by the Lord Jesus for his sake, and the magistrate’s power and weapons being essentially civil, and so not reaching to the impiety or ungodliness but the incivility and unrighteousness of tongue or hand.


Peace. Dear Truth, these are the poisoned daggers stabbing at my tender heart! Oh, when shall the Prince of peace appear, and reconcile the bloody sons of men! but let me now propose their seventh head: viz.,—

“In what order may the magistrate execute punishment on a church or church member that offendeth his laws?

“First. Gross and public, notorious sins, which are against the light of conscience, as heresy, &c., there the magistrate keeping him under safe ward should send the offender first to the church to heal his conscience, still provided that the church be both able and willing thereunto:[234] by which means the magistrate shall convince such a one’s conscience that he seeketh his healing, rather than his hurt.

“The censure also against him shall proceed with more power and blessing, and none shall have cause to say that the magistrate persecutes men for their consciences, but that he justly punishes such a one for sinning rather against his conscience, Tit. iii. 10.

“Secondly, in private offences how the magistrate may proceed, see chap. xii. It is not material whether the church or magistrate take it first in hand. Only with this caution, that if the state take it first in hand, they are not to proceed to death or banishment, until the church hath taken their course with him, to bring him to repentance, provided that the church be willing and ready thereunto.

“Secondly, in such sins wherein men plead conscience, as heresy,” &c.

Truth. Here I have many just exceptions and considerations to present.

First, they propose a distinction of some sins: some are against the light of conscience, &c., and they instance in heresy.

Error is confident as well as truth.

Ans. I have before discussed this point of a heretic sinning against light of conscience. And I shall add, that however they lay this down as an infallible conclusion, that all heresy is against light of conscience, yet—to pass by the discussion of the nature of heresy, in which respect it may so be that even themselves may be found heretical, yea, and that in fundamentals—how do all idolaters after light presented, and exhortations powerfully pressed, either Turks or pagans, Jews or anti-christians, strongly even to the death hold fast, or rather are held fast by, their delusions.


God’s people as well as others will be found obstinate in fundamental errors, in which sufferings and persecution doth harden.

Yea, God’s people themselves, being deluded and captivated, are strongly confident even against some fundamentals, especially of worship: and yet not against the light, but according to the light or eye of a deceived conscience.

Now all these consciences walk on confidently and constantly, even to the suffering of death and torments; and are more strongly confirmed in their belief and conscience, because such bloody and cruel courses of persecution are used toward them.

Secondly, speaks not the scripture expressly of the Jew, Isa. vi., Matt. xiii., Acts xxviii., that God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, &c.? all which must be spoken of the very conscience, which He that hath the golden key of David can only shut and open, and all the picklocks or swords in all the smiths’ shops in the world can neither by force or fraud prevent his time.

Strong delusions.

Is it not said of anti-christians, 2 Thess. ii., that God hath sent them strong delusions? so strong and efficacious that they believe a lie, and that so confidently, and some so conscientiously, that death itself cannot part between the delusion and their conscience.

“Again, the magistrate, say they, keeping him in safe ward: that is, the heretic, the blasphemer, idolater,” &c.

Peace. I here ask all men that love even the civil peace, where the Lord Jesus hath spoken a tittle of a prison or safe ward to this purpose?

Truth. We find indeed a prison threatened by God to his irreconciled enemies, neglecting to account with him, Matt. v. 25.

We find a prison into which persecutors cast the saints. So John, so Paul, and the apostles, Matt. xiv. 10, &c.,[236] were cast; and the great commander of, and caster into prison, is the devil, Rev. ii. 10.

Spiritual prisons.

We find a spiritual prison, indeed, a prison for spirits, 1 Pet. iii. 19, the spirits formerly rebellious against Christ Jesus, speaking by Noah unto them, now kept in safe ward against the judgment of the great day.

In excommunication, a soul obstinate in sin is delivered to Satan his jailor, and he keeps him in safe ward, until it pleaseth God to release him.

There is a prison for the devil himself a thousand years, Rev. xx. [2, 3.] And a lake of eternal fire and brimstone, into which the beast and false prophet, and all not written in the Lamb’s book, and the devil that deceived them, shall eternally be there secured and tormented.

Christ Jesus appointed no material prisons for blasphemers of him, &c.

But neither amongst these, nor in any other passage of the New Testament, do we find a prison appointed by Christ Jesus for the heretic, blasphemer, idolater, &c. being not otherwise guilty against the civil state.

The bishops’ prisons.

It is true, anti-christ, by the help of civil powers, hath his prisons to keep Christ Jesus and his members fast: such prisons may well be called the bishops’ prisons, the pope’s, the devil’s prisons. These inquisition-houses have ever been more terrible than the magistrate’s.

At first, persecuting bishops borrowed prisons of the civil magistrate, as now their successors do still in the world; but afterward they wrung the keys out of the magistrates’ hands, and hung them at their own girdles, and would have prisons of their own: as doubtless will that generation still do, if God prevent them not.



Peace. Again, say they, the magistrate should send him first to the church to heal his conscience.

Like mother like daughter.

Truth. Is not this as the prophet speaks [Ezek. xvi. 44,] like mother like daughter? So the mother of whoredoms, the church of Rome, teacheth and practiseth with all her heretics: first let the holy church convince them, and then deliver them to the secular power to receive the punishment of heretics.

Conscience not so easily healed and cured.

Peace. Methinks also they approach near that popish tenent, ex opere operato: for their exhortations and admonitions must necessarily be so operative and prevalent, that if the heretic repent not, he now sins against his conscience: not remembering that peradventure, 2 Tim. ii. [25,] If peradventure, God will give them repentance; and how strong delusions are, and believing of lies, and how hard it is to be undeceived, especially in spirituals!

Truth. And as it may so prove, when a heretic indeed is brought to this college of physicians to have his conscience healed, and one heretic is to cure another. So also when any of Christ’s witnesses, supposed heretics, are brought before them, how doth the Lord Jesus suffer whippings and stabs, when his name, and truths, and witnesses, and ordinances, are all profaned and blasphemed.

Wounding instead of healing of consciences.

Besides, suppose a man to be a heretic, and yet suppose him brought as the magistrate’s prisoner, though to a true church, to heal his conscience: what promise of presence and blessing hath the Lord Jesus made to his church and spouse in such a way? and how common is it for heretics either to be desperately hardened by such cruel courses (yet pretending soul-healing), or else through fear and[238] terror to practise gross hypocrisy, even against their consciences. So that these chirurgeons and physicians pretending to heal consciences by such a course, wound them deeper, and declare themselves chirurgeons and physicians of no value.

Peace. But what think you of the proviso added to their proposition, viz., “Provided the church be able and willing?”

Christ’s spouse able and willing to heal wounded consciences.

Truth. Doubtless this proviso derogates not a little from the nature of the spouse of Christ. For she, like that gracious woman, Prov. xxxi. 26, openeth her mouth with wisdom, and in her tongue is the law of grace: she is the pillar and ground of truth, 1 Tim. iii. 15, the golden candlestick from whence true light shineth: the angels or ministers thereof able to try false apostles, Rev. ii. 2, and convince the gainsayers, Tit. i. 9.

Again, according to their principles of suppressing persons and churches falsely worshipping, how can they permit such a blind and dead church not able and willing to heal a wounded conscience?

Peace. What should be the reason of this their expression?

Truth. Doubtless their consciences tell them how few of those churches which they yet acknowledge churches, are able and willing to hold forth Christ Jesus the Sun of righteousness, healing with his wings the doubting and afflicted conscience.

Lastly, their conscience tells them, that a servant of Christ Jesus may possibly be sent as a heretic to be healed by a false church, which church will never be willing to deal with him, or never be able to convince him.

Peace. Yea, but they say, “by such a course the magistrate shall convince such a one’s conscience that he seeks his good,” &c.

Truth. If a man thus bound be sent to a church to be[239] healed in his conscience, either he is a heretic or he is not.

A persecuting church disputes with a heretic as a cat with the mouse; and with a true witness as a lion with a lamb in his paw.

Admit he be: yet he disputes in fear, as the poor thief; [or as] the mouse disputes with a terrible persecuting cat, who while she seems to play and gently toss, yet the conclusion is a proud, insulting, and devouring cruelty.

If no heretic, but an innocent and faithful witness of any truth of Jesus, disputes he not as a lamb in the lion’s paw, being sure in the end to be torn in pieces?

Peace. They add, “The censure, this way, proceeds with more power and blessing.”

Truth. All power and blessing is from the blessed Son of God, unto whom all power is given from the Father, in heaven and earth. He hath promised his presence with his messengers, preaching and baptizing, to the world’s end, ratifying in heaven what they bind or loose on earth.

But let any man show me such a commission, instruction, and promise, given by the Son of God to civil powers in these spiritual affairs of his Christian kingdom and worship?

Peace. Lastly, they conclude, “This course of first sending the heretic to be healed by the church, takes away all excuse; for none can say that he is persecuted for his conscience, but for sinning against his conscience.”

Persecutors endure not so to be called.

Truth. Jezebel, placing poor Naboth before the elders as a blasphemer of God and the king, and sanctifying the plotted and intended murder with a day of humiliation, may seem to take away all excuse, and to conclude the blasphemer worthy to be stoned. But Jehovah, the God of recompences (Jer. li. 56), when he makes inquisition for blood, will find both Jezebel and Ahab guilty, and make the dogs a feast with the flesh of Jezebel, and leave not to Ahab a man to piss against the wall; for (as Paul in his own plea) there was nothing committed worthy of[240] death: and against thee, O king, saith Daniel, I have not sinned (Dan. vi. 22) in any civil fact against the state.


Peace. Their eighth question is this, viz., what power magistrates have about the gathering of churches?

“First, the magistrate hath power, and it is his duty to encourage and countenance such persons as voluntarily join themselves in holy covenant, both by his presence (if it may be) and promise of protection, they accepting the right hand of fellowship from other neighbour churches.

“Secondly, he hath power to forbid all idolatrous and corrupt assemblies, who offer to put themselves under their patronage, and shall attempt to join themselves into a church-estate, and if they shall not hearken, to force them therefrom by the power of the sword, Ps. ci. 8. For our tolerating many religions in a state in several churches, besides the provoking of God, may in time not only corrupt, leaven, divide, and so destroy the peace of the churches, but also dissolve the continuity of the state, especially ours, whose walls are made of the stones of the churches, it being also contrary to the end of our planting in this part of the world, which was not only to enjoy the pure ordinances, but to enjoy them all in purity.

“Thirdly, he hath power to compel all men within his grant to hear the word: for hearing the word of God is a duty, which the light of nature leadeth even heathens to. The Ninevites heard Jonah, though a stranger, and unknown unto them to be an extraordinary prophet, Jonah iii. And Eglon, the king of Moab, hearing that Ehud had a[241] message from God, he rose out of his seat for more reverent attention, Judg. iii. 20.

“Yet he hath no power to compel all men to become members of churches, because he hath not power to make them fit members for the church, which is not wrought by the power of the sword, but by the power of the word; nor may we force the churches to accept of any for members but those whom the churches themselves can freely approve of.”

Truth. To the first branch of this head I answer, that the magistrate should encourage and countenance the church, yea, and protect the persons of the church from violence, disturbance, &c., it being truly noble and glorious, by how much the spouse and queen of the Lord Jesus transcends the ladies, queens, and empresses of the world in glory, beauty, chastity, and innocency.

It is true, all magistrates in the world do this: viz., encourage and protect the church or assembly of worshippers which they judge to be true and approve of; but not permitting other consciences than their own, it hath come to pass in all ages, and yet doubtless will, that the Lord Jesus and his queen are driven and persecuted out of the world.

To the second, that the magistrate ought to suppress all churches which he judgeth false, he quoteth Ps. ci. 8, Betimes I will cut off the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all evil doers from the city of Jehovah: unto which he addeth four reasons.

Peace. Dear Truth, first, a word to that scripture, so often quoted, and so much boasted of.

Ps. ci. 8, concerning the cutting off the wicked, examined.

Truth. Concerning that holy land of Canaan, concerning the city of Jehovah, Jerusalem, out of which king David here resolves to cut off all the wicked and evil doers, I shall speak more largely on the eleventh head or[242] question, in the differences between that and all other lands.

No land of Canaan, nor holy city, now.

At present I answer, there is no holy land or city of the Lord, no king of Sion, &c., but the church of Jesus Christ, and the King thereof, according to 1 Pet. ii. 9, Ye are a holy nation; and Jerusalem is the holy people of God in the true profession of Christianity, Heb. xii., Gal. iv., and Rev. xxi., out of which the Lord Jesus by his holy ordinances, in such a government, and by such governors as he hath appointed, he cuts off every wicked person and evil doer.

No difference of lands and cities since the coming, as was before the coming, of the Lord Jesus.

If Christ Jesus had intended any difference of place, cities, or countries, doubtless Jerusalem and Samaria had been thought of, or the cities of Asia, wherein the Christian religion was so gloriously planted.

But the Lord Jesus disclaims Jerusalem and Samaria from having any respect of holiness more than other cities, John iv. 21.

And the Spirit of God evidently testifieth that the churches were in the cities and countries, not that the whole cities or countries were God’s holy land and cities, out of which all false worshippers and wicked persons were to be cut, Rev. ii. and iii.

The devil’s throne was in the city of Pergamos in respect of the state and persecution of it, and yet there was also the throne of the Lord Jesus set up in his church or worshippers in Pergamos, out of which the Balaamites, and Nicolaitanes, and every false worshipper, were to be cast, though not out of the city of Pergamos: for then Pergamos must have been thrown out of Pergamos, and the world out of the world.



Peace. Oh! that my head were a fountain, and mine eyes rivers of tears, to lament my children, the children of peace and light, thus darkening that and other lightsome scriptures with such dark and direful clouds of blood.

The bloody interpretation of Ps. ci.

Truth. Sweet Peace, thy tears are seasonable and precious, and bottled up in the heavens; but let me add a second consideration from that scripture. If that scripture may now literally be applied to nations and cities, in a parallel to Canaan and Jerusalem, since the gospel, and this Ps. ci. be literally to be applied to cities, towns, and countries in Europe and America, not only such as essay to join themselves (as they here speak) in a corrupt church estate, but such as know no church estate, nor God, nor Christ, yea, every wicked person and evil doer, must be hanged or stoned, &c., as it was in Israel; and if so, how many thousands and millions of men and women in the several kingdoms and governments of the world, must be cut off from their lands, and destroyed from their cities, as this scripture speaks!

Thirdly, since those persons in the New English plantations accounted unfit for church estate, yet remain all members of the church of England, from which New England dares not separate, no not in their sacraments (as some of the independents have published), what riddle or mystery, or rather fallacy of Satan is this![211]


The New English separate in America, but not in Europe.

Peace. It will not be offence to charity to make conjecture: first, herein New England churches secretly call their mother whore, not daring in America to join with their own mother’s children, though unexcommunicate: no, nor permit them to worship God after their consciences, and as their mother hath taught them this secretly and silently, they have a mind to do, which publicly they would seem to disclaim, and profess against.

The New English permit not their brethren of Old England to enjoy their consciences, lest their own numbers might exceed their own, or at least the greatness of their own assemblies and maintenances decrease.

Secondly, if such members of Old England should be suffered to enjoy their consciences in New England—however it is pretended they would profane ordinances for which they are unfit (as true it is in that natural persons are not fit for spiritual worship), yet this appears not to be the bottom, for in Old England the New English join with Old in the ministration of the word, prayer, singing, contribution, maintenance of the ministry, &c.—if, I say, they should set up churches after their conscience, the greatness and multitudes of their own assemblies would decay, and with all the contributions and maintenance of their ministers, unto which all or most have been forced.

Truth. Dear Peace, these are more than conjectures, thousands now espy; and all that love the purity of the worship of the living God should lament such halting. I shall add this, not only do they partially neglect to cut off the wicked of the land, but such as themselves esteemed beloved and godly have they driven forth, and keep out others which would come unto them, eminently godly by their own confession; because differing in conscience and[245] worship from them, and consequently not to be suffered in their holy land of Canaan.[212]

But having examined that scripture alleged, let us now weigh their reasons.

First, say they, the not cutting off by the sword, but tolerating many religions in a state would provoke God: unto which—

Christ Jesus never appointed all religions but his own to be cut off by the civil sword.

I answer, first (and here being no scripture produced to these reasons, shall the sooner answer), that no proof can be made from the institutions of the Lord Jesus that all religions but one are to be cut off by the civil sword; that national church in that typical land of Canaan being abolished and the Christian commonweal or church instituted.

A bloody mother.

Secondly. I affirm that the cutting off by the sword other consciences and religions, is (contrarily) most provoking unto God, expressly against his will concerning the tares, Matt. xiii., as I have before proved; as also the bloody mother of all those monstrous mischiefs, where such cutting off is used, both to the souls and bodies of men.

Thirdly. Let conscience and experience speak how in the not cutting off of their many religions, it hath pleased God not only not to be provoked, but to prosper the state of the United Provinces, our next neighbours, and that to admiration.

Peace. The second reason is, such tolerating would[246] leaven, divide, and destroy the peace of the churches.

Christ’s spiritual power most powerful.

Truth. This must also be denied upon so many former scriptures and reasons produced, proving the power of the Lord Jesus, and the sufficiency of his spiritual power in his church, for the purging forth and conquering of the least evil: yea, and for the bringing every thought in subjection unto Christ Jesus, 2 Cor. x.

Christ forbidding his followers to permit leaven in the church, doth not forbid to permit leaven in the world.

I add, they have not produced one scripture, nor can, to prove that the permitting of leaven of false doctrine in the world or civil state, will leaven the churches: only we find that the permission of leaven in persons, doctrines, or practices in the church, that indeed will corrupt and spread, 1 Cor. v., and Gal. v.; but this reason should never have been alleged, were not the particular churches in New England but as so many implicit parish churches in one implicit national church.

Peace. Their third reason is, it will dissolve the continuity of the state, especially theirs, where the walls are made of the stones of the churches.

The wall, Cant. viii. 9, discussed.

Truth. I answer briefly to this bare affirmation thus: that the true church is a wall spiritual and mystical, Cant. viii. 9.

That consequently a false church or company is a false or pretended wall, and none of Christ’s.

The civil state, power, and government is a civil wall, &c., and—

Lastly. The walls of earth or stone about a city, are the natural or artificial wall or defence of it.

Now, in consideration of these four walls, I desire it may be proved from the scriptures of truth, how the false spiritual wall, or company of false worshippers suffered in a city, can be able to destroy the true Christian wall, or company of believers.

A spiritual wall cannot properly impair the civil.

Again, how this false spiritual wall, or false church permitted,[247] can destroy the civil wall, the state and government of the city and citizens, any more than it can destroy the natural or artificial wall of earth or stone.

Spiritual may destroy spiritual, if a stronger and victorious; but spiritual cannot reach to artificial or civil.

Peace. Yea; but they fear the false spiritual wall may destroy their civil, because it is made of the stones of churches.

Truth. If this have reference to that practice amongst them, viz., that none but members of churches enjoy civil freedom amongst them, ordinarily,[213] in imitation of that national church or state of the Jews, then I answer, they that follow Moses’s church constitution, which the New English by such a practice implicitly do, must cease to pretend to the Lord Jesus Christ and his institutions.

Many flourishing civil states where true churches are not found.

Secondly. We shall find lawful civil states, both before and since Christ Jesus, in which we find not any tidings of the true God or Christ.

Lastly. Their civil New English state, framed out of their churches, may yet stand, subsist, and flourish, although they did—as by the word of the Lord they ought—permit either Jews, or Turks, or anti-christians to live amongst them subject unto their civil government.


Peace. One branch more, viz., the third, remains of this head, and it concerns the hearing of the word; “Unto which,” say they, “all men are to be compelled; because hearing of the word is a duty which even nature[248] leadeth heathens to.” For this they quote the practice of the Ninevites hearing Jonah, and Eglon, king of Moab’s rising up to Ehud’s pretended message from God, Judg. iii.

Hearing discussed. Every religion prefers its own priests and ministers before all other.

Truth. I must deny that position: for light of nature leadeth men to hear that only which nature conceiveth to be good for it, and therefore not to hear a messenger, minister, or preacher, whom conscience persuades is a false messenger or deceiver, and comes to deceive my soul: as millions of men and women in their several respective religions and consciences are so persuaded, conceiving their own to be true.

Jonah’s preaching to the Ninevites, and their hearing of his message, examined.

Secondly. As concerning the instances. Jonah did not compel the Ninevites to hear that message which he brought unto them.

Besides, the matter of compulsion to a constant worship of the word in church estate, which is the question, comes not near Jonah’s case.

Nor did Christ Jesus, or any of his ambassadors, so practise; but if persons refused to hear, the command of the Lord Jesus to his messengers was only to depart from them, shaking off the dust of their feet with a denunciation of God’s wrath against them, Matt. x.; Acts xiv.

Eglon’s rising up to Ehud’s message, examined.

Concerning Eglon’s rising up: first, Ehud compelled not that king either to hear or reverence, and all that can be imitable in Eglon is a voluntary and willing reverence, which persons ought to express to what they are persuaded comes from God.

But how do both these instances mightily convince and condemn themselves, who not only profess to turn away from, but also persecute or hurt, all such as shall dare to profess a ministry or church estate differing from their own, though for personal godliness and excellency of gifts reverenced by themselves.


A twofold ministry of Christ, converting and feeding.

Thirdly. To the point of compulsion: it hath pleased the Lord Jesus to appoint a twofold ministry of his word.

First. For unbelievers and their conversion, according to Matt. xxviii. 19, Mark xvi. 15, 16, and the constant practice of the apostles in the first preaching of the gospel.

Secondly. A ministry of feeding and nourishing up such as are converted and brought into church estate, according to Ephes. iv. &c. Now to neither of these do we find any compulsion appointed by the Lord Jesus, or practised by any of his.

The compulsion preached and practised in New England, is not to the hearing of that ministry sent forth to convert unbelievers, and to constitute churches, for such a ministry they practise not; but to the hearing of the word of edification, exhortation, consolation, dispensed only in the churches of worshippers. I apply,—

When Paul came first to Corinth to preach Jesus Christ, by their rule the magistrates of Corinth ought by the sword to have compelled all the people of Corinth to hear Paul.

Paul never used any civil compulsion.

Secondly. After a church of Christ was gathered, by their rule, the magistrates of Corinth ought to have compelled the people still, even those who had refused his doctrine (for the few only of the church embraced it) to have heard the word still, and to have kept one day in seven to the Christian’s God, and to have come to the Christian’s church all their days. And what is this but a settled formality of religion and worship, unto which a people are brought by the power of the sword?

The New English forcing their subjects to church all their days, and yet forcing them not to any religion (as they say), they force the people then to be of no religion all their days.

And however they affirm that persons are not to be compelled to be members of churches, nor the church compelled to receive any: yet if persons be compelled to forsake their religion which their hearts cleave to, and to[250] come to church, to the worship of the word, prayers, psalms, and contributions, and this all their days, I ask, whether this be not this people’s religion, unto which submitting, they shall be quiet all their days, without the enforcing them to the practice of any other religion? And if this be not so, then I ask, will it not inevitably follow, that they not only permit but enforce people to be of no religion at all, all their days?

This toleration of religion, or rather irreligious compulsion, is above all tolerations monstrous, to wit, to compel men to be of no religion all their days. I desire all men, and these worthy authors of this model, to lay their hands upon their heart, and to consider whether this compulsion of men to hear the word, as they say, whether it carries men, to wit, to be of no religion all their days:—worse than the very Indians, who dare not live without religion according as they are persuaded.

The civil state can no more lawfully compel the consciences of men to church to hear the word, than to receive the sacraments.

Lastly, I add—From the ordinance of the Lord Jesus, and practice of the apostles (Acts ii. 42), where the word and prayer is joined with the exercise of their fellowship and breaking of bread, in which exercises the church continued constantly—that it is apparent that a civil state may as lawfully compel men by the civil sword to the breaking of bread, or Lord’s supper, as to the word, or prayer, or fellowship.

For, first, they are all of the same nature, ordinances in the church (I speak of the feeding ministry in the church, unto which persons are compelled) and church worship. Secondly, every conscience in the world is fearful, at least shy of the priests and ministers of other gods and worships, and of holding spiritual fellowship in any of their services; which is the case of many a soul, viz. to question the ministers themselves, as well as the supper itself.



Peace. Dear Truth, this pressing of men to the spiritual battles of Christ Jesus, is the cause why (as it is commonly with pressed soldiers) that so many thousands fly in the day of battle. But I present you with the ninth question, viz.

What power the magistrate hath in providing of church officers?

“First, say they, the election of church officers being the proper act of the church, therefore the magistrate hath no power, either as prince or patron, to assume such power unto himself. Whom Christ sends to preach by his supreme power, the magistrate may send forth by his power subordinate, to gather churches, and may force people to hear them, but not invest them with office amongst them.

“Secondly, the maintenance of church-officers being to arise from all those who are ordinarily taught thereby, Gal. vi. 6, hence it is the duty of the civil magistrate to contend with the people, as Nehemiah did, chap. xiii. 10, 11, who do neglect and forsake the due maintenance of the church of God, and to command them to give such portion for the maintenance of church officers, as the gospel commandeth to be offered to them, freely and bountifully, 2 Cor. ix. 5, 6, 7. According as Hezekiah commanded the people to give to the priests and Levites the portions appointed by the law, that they might be encouraged in the law of the Lord, 2 Chron. xxxi. 4.

“Thirdly, the furnishing the church with set officers, depending much upon erecting and maintenance of schools, and good education of youth, and it lying chiefly in the[252] hand of the magistrate to provide for the furthering thereof, they may therefore and should so far provide for the churches as to erect schools, take care for fit governors and tutors: and commend it to all the churches, if they see it meet, that in all the churches within the jurisdiction, once in a year, and if it may be, the sabbath before the general court of election, there be a free-will offering of all people for the maintenance of such schools: and the monies of every town so given, to be brought on the day of election to the treasury of the college, and the monies to be disposed by such who are so chosen for the disposing thereof.”

Truth. In the choice of officers, it is very obscure what they mean by this supreme power of Christ Jesus sending to preach.

We know the commission of the Lord Jesus to his first messengers to go into all nations to preach and gather churches, and they were immediately sent forth by him. But Mr. Cotton elsewhere holdeth, that there is now extant no immediate ministry from Christ, but mediate, that is, from the church.

Let us first see how they agree with themselves, and secondly how they agree with the magistrate in this business.

In the first pattern there is a converting ministry to gather the church or flock of Christ.

First, if they hold a sending forth to preach by Christ’s supreme power, according to Matt. xxviii., Mark xvi., Rom. x., they must necessarily grant a time when the church is not, but is to be constituted out of the nations and peoples now converted by this preaching: whence, according to the course of scripture, the nature of the work, and their own grant in this place, it is apparent that there is a ministry before the church, gathering and espousing the church to Christ: and therefore their own tenent must needs be too light, viz. that there is no[253] ministry but that which is mediate from the church.

Peace. Blessed Truth, this doctrine of a ministry before the church, is harsh and deep, yet most true, most sweet. Yet you know their ground, that two or three godly persons may join themselves together, become a church, make officers, send them forth to preach, to convert, to baptize, and gather new churches.

No precedent of any people in the gospel converting and gathering themselves without some messenger sent from the Lord to effect those ends.

Truth. I answer, first, we find not in the first institution and pattern, that ever any such two, or three, or more, did gather and constitute themselves a church of Christ, without a ministry sent from God to invite and call them by the word, and to receive them unto fellowship with God upon the receiving of that word and message. And therefore it may very well be queried, how, without such a ministry, two or three become a church? and how the power of Christ is conveyed unto them? who espoused this people unto Jesus Christ, as the church at Corinth was espoused by Paul? 2 Cor. xi. 2. If it be said, themselves: or if it be said, the scriptures: let one instance be produced in the first patterns and practices of such a practice.

It hath been generally confessed, that there is no coming to the marriage-feast without a messenger inviting, sent from God to the souls of men, Matt. xxii., Luke xiv., Rom. x.

We find when the Thessalonians turned to God from their idols, to serve the living and true God, 1 Thess. i. 9, it pleased God to bring a word of power unto them by the mouth of Paul, in the same place.

Peace. You know, dear Truth, it is a common plea, that God’s people now are converted already, and therefore may congregate themselves, &c.

Truth. Two things must here be cleared.


Professed public conversion is not only from sins against the second table in personal repentance, but from false worship also.

First, doth their conversion amount to external turning from idols, 1 Thess. i. 9, beside their internal repentance, faith, love? &c. Secondly, who wrought this conversion, who begot these children? for though the Corinthians might have ten thousand teachers, yet Paul had begotten them by the word.

It is true, as Mr. Cotton himself elsewhere acknowledgeth, God sendeth many preachers in the way of his providence, even in Babel mystical, though not according to his ordinance and institution. So even in the wilderness God provideth for the sustentation of the woman, Rev. xii.; by which provision, even in the most popish times and places, yea, and by most false and popish callings (now in this lightsome age confessed so to be), God hath done great things to the personal conversion, consolation, and salvation of his people.

A true ministry necessary before conversion, and therefore before the church, in the first pattern.

But as there seems yet to be desired such constitution of the Christian church, as the first institution and pattern calls for: so also such a calling and converting of God’s people from anti-christian idols to the Christian worship: and therefore such a ministry, according to the first pattern, sent from Christ Jesus to renew and restore the worship and ordinances of God in Christ.

The true way of the ministry sent with that commission, Matt. xxviii. discussed.

Lastly, if it should be granted that without a ministry sent from Christ to gather churches, that God’s people in this country may be called, converted from anti-christian idols, to the true worship of God in the true church estate and ordinances, will it not follow that in all other countries of the world God’s elect must or may be so converted from their several respective false worships and idolatries, and brought into the true Christian church estate without such a ministry sent unto them? Or are there two ways appointed by the Lord Jesus, one for this country, and another for the rest of the world? Or lastly,[255] if two or three more, without a ministry, shall arise up, become a church, make ministers, &c., I ask, whether those two or three, or more, must not be accounted immediately and extraordinarily stirred up by God? and whether this be that supreme power of Christ Jesus, which they speak of, sending forth two or three private persons to make a church and ministers, without a true ministry of Christ Jesus first sent unto themselves? Is this that commission, which all ministers pretend unto, Matt. xxviii. 19, &c. first, in the hands of two or three private persons becoming a church, without a mediate call from which church, say they, there can be no true ministry, and yet also confess that Christ sendeth forth to preach by his supreme power, and the magistrate by his power subordinate to gather churches?


Peace. You have taken great pains to show the irreconcilableness of those their two assertions, viz., First, there is now no ministry, as they say, but what is mediate from the church; and yet, secondly, Christ Jesus sends preachers forth by his supreme power to gather the church. I now wait to hear, how, as they say, “the magistrate may send forth by his power subordinate to gather churches, enforcing the people to hear,” &c.

The civil magistrate not betrusted with gathering of churches.

Truth. If there be a ministry sent forth by Christ’s supreme power, and a ministry sent forth by the magistrate’s subordinate power, to gather churches—I ask, what is the difference between these two? Is there any gathering of churches but by that commission, Matt. xxviii. Teach and baptize? And is the civil magistrate entrusted[256] with a power from Christ, as his deputy, to give this commission, and so to send out ministers to preach and baptize?

If the magistrate, then much more the people of the world, from whom the magistrates receive their power.

As there is nothing in the Testament of Christ concerning such a delegation or assignment of such power of Christ to the civil magistrate: so I also ask, since in every free state civil magistrates have no power but what the peoples of those states, lands, and countries betrust them with, whether or no, by this means, it must not follow, that Christ Jesus hath left with the peoples and nations of the world his spiritual kingly power to grant commissions, and send out ministers to themselves, to preach, convert, and baptize themselves? How inevitably this follows upon their conclusion of power in magistrates to send, &c., and what unchristian and unreasonable consequences must flow from hence, let all consider in the fear of God.

Jehoshaphat (2 Chron. xvii.) a figure of Christ Jesus in his church, not of the civil magistrate in the state.

Jehoshaphat’s sending forth the Levites to teach in Judah, &c., as they allege it not, so elsewhere it shall more fully appear to be a type and figure of Christ Jesus, the only king of his church, providing for the feeding of his church and people by his true Christian priests and Levites, viz., the ministry which in the gospel he hath appointed.


Peace. We have examined the ministry, be pleased, dear Truth, to speak to the second branch of this head: viz., the maintenance of it. They affirm that the magistrate may force out the minister’s maintenance from all that are taught by them, and that after the pattern of Israel; and the argument from 1 Cor. ix., Gal. vi. 6.


Truth. This theme, viz., concerning the maintenance of the priests and ministers of worship, is indeed the apple of the eye, the Diana of the [Ephesians,[214]] &c.; yet all that love Christ Jesus in sincerity, and souls in and from him, will readily profess to abhor filthy lucre, Tit. i. 7, and the wages of Balaam, both more common and frequent than easily is discernible.

Gal. vi. 6, concerning the maintenance of the ministry, examined.

To that scripture, Gal. vi. 6, Let him that is taught in the word make him that teacheth partaker of all his goods: I answer, that teaching was of persons converted, believers entered into the school and family of Christ, the church; which church being rightly gathered, is also rightly invested with the power of the Lord Jesus, to force every soul therein by spiritual weapons and penalties to do its duty.

But this forcing of the magistrate is intended and practised to all sorts of persons, without as well as within the church, unconverted, natural and dead in sin, as well as those that live and, feeding, enjoy the benefits of spiritual food.

Christ Jesus never appointed a maintenance of ministers from the unconverted, and unbelieving.

Now for those sorts of persons to whom Christ Jesus sends his word out of church estate, Jews or Gentiles, according to the parable of Matt. xiii. highway hearers, stony ground, and thorny ground hearers, we never find tittle of any maintenance to be expected, least of all to be forced and exacted, from them. By civil power they cannot be forced, for it is no civil payment or business, no matter of Cæsar, but concerning God: nor by spiritual power, which hath nothing to do with those which are without, 1 Cor. v.

It is reasonable to expect and demand of such as live within the state a civil maintenance of their civil officers, and to force it where it is denied. It is reasonable for a schoolmaster to demand his recompence for his labour in[258] his school; but it is not reasonable to expect or force it from strangers, enemies, rebels to that city, from such as come not within, or else would not be received into the school. What is the church of Christ Jesus, but the city, the school, and family of Christ? the officers of this city, school, family, may reasonably expect maintenance from such they minister unto, but not from strangers, enemies, &c.

They that compel men to hear, compel men also to pay for their hearing and conversion.

Peace. It is most true that sin goes in a link; for that tenent, that all the men of the world may be compelled to hear Christ preached, and enjoy the labours of the teacher as well as the church itself, forceth on another also as evil, viz., that they should also be compelled to pay, as being most equal and reasonable to pay for their conversion.

Luke xiv. Compel them, examined.

Truth. Some use to urge that text of Luke xiv. 23, Compel them to come in. Compel them to mass, say the papists; compel them to church and common prayer, say the protestants; compel them to the meeting, say the New English.[215] In all these compulsions they disagree amongst themselves; but in this, viz., Compel them to pay, in this they all agree.

Two sorts of compulsion.

There is a double violence, which both error and falsehood use to the souls of men.

Moral and civil compulsion.

First, moral and persuasive; such was the persuasion first used to Joseph by his mistress: such was the persuasions of Tamar from Ammon; such was the compelling of the young man by the harlot, Prov. vii., she caught him by her much fair speech and kisses. And thus is the[259] whole world compelled to the worship of the golden image, Dan. iii.

The second compulsion is civil; such as Joseph’s mistress began to practise upon Joseph, to attain her whorish desires: such as Ammon practised on Tamar, to satisfy his brutish lust; and such was Nebuchadnezzar’s second compulsion, his fiery furnace, Dan. iii.; and mystical Nebuchadnezzar’s killing all that receive not his mark, Rev. xiii.

The ministers of Christ Jesus compel with no other sword than that of Christ’s mouth, the sword of the Spirit with two edges.

The first sort of these violences, to wit, by powerful argument and persuasion, the ministers of the gospel also use. Hence all those powerful persuasions of wisdom’s maidens, Prov. ix. Hence, saith Paul, knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men, 2 Cor. v.; and pull some out of the fire, saith Jude; such must that compulsion be, Luke xiv. 23, viz., the powerful persuasions of the word, being that two-edged sword coming out of the mouth of Christ Jesus in his true ministers, sent forth to invite poor sinners to partake of the feast of the Lamb of God. The civil ministers of the commonweal cannot be sent upon this business with their civil weapons and compulsions, but the spiritual minister of the gospel, with his spiritual sword of Christ’s mouth, a sword with two edges.

The maintenance of the ministry spiritual.

But more particularly, the contributions of Christ’s kingdom are all holy and spiritual, though consisting of material earthly substance, (as is water in baptism, bread and wine in the supper,) and joined with prayer and the Lord’s supper, Acts ii. 42.

Hence as prayer is called God’s sacrifice, so are the contributions and mutual supplies of the saints, sacrifices, Phil. iv. [18.]

Natural men can neither truly worship nor maintain it.

Hence, also, as it is impossible for natural men to be capable of God’s worship, and to feed, be nourished, and edified by any spiritual ordinance, no more than a dead[260] child can suck the breast, or a dead man feast; so also is it as impossible for a dead man, yet lodged in the grave of nature, to contribute spiritually, I mean according to scripture’s rule, as for a dead man to pay a reckoning.

I question not but natural men may for the outward act preach, pray, contribute, &c.; but neither are they worshippers suitable to him who is a Spirit, John iv. 24; nor can they, least of all, be forced to worship, or the maintenance of it, without a guilt of their hypocrisy.

Peace. They will say, what is to be done for their souls?

Truth. The apostles, whom we profess to imitate, preached the word of the Lord to unbelievers without mingling in worship with them, and such preachers and preaching such as pretend to be the true ministry of Christ ought to be and practise: not forcing them all their days to come to church and pay their duties, either so confessing that this is their religion unto which they are forced; or else that, as before, they are forced to be of no religion all their days.

Rebels not subdued by compliance, but resistance.

The way to subdue rebels is not by correspondence and communion with them, by forcing them to keep the city watches, and pay assessments, &c., which all may be practised, upon compulsion, treacherously; the first work with such is powerfully to subdue their judgments and wills, to lay down their weapons, and yield willing subjection, then come they orderly into the city, and so to city privileges.



Peace. Please you now, dear Truth, to discuss the scriptures from the Old Testament, Neh. xiii., and 2 Chron. xxxi.

The national church of the Jews might well be forced to a settled maintenance of their priests, but not so the Christian church.

Truth. God gave unto that national church of the Jews that excellent land of Canaan, and therein houses furnished, orchards, gardens, vineyards, olive-yards, fields, wells, &c.; they might well, in this settled abundance, and the promised continuation and increase of it, afford a large temporal supply to their priests and Levites, even to the tenth of all they did possess.

God’s people are now, in the gospel, brought into a spiritual land of Canaan, flowing with spiritual milk and honey, and they abound with spiritual and heavenly comforts, though in a poor and persecuted condition; therefore an enforced settled maintenance is not suitable to the gospel, as it was to the ministry of priests and Levites in the law.

Secondly, in the change of the church estate, there was also a change of the priesthood and of the law, Heb. vii. [12.] Nor did the Lord Jesus appoint that in his church, and for the maintenance of his ministry, the civil sword of the magistrate; but that the spiritual sword of the ministry should alone compel.

The civil sword of the national church of the Jews, could not type out a civil but a spiritual sword of the Christian church.

3. Therefore the compulsion used under Hezekiah and Nehemiah, was by the civil and corporal sword, a type (in that typical state) not of another material and corporal, but of a heavenly and spiritual, even the sword of the Spirit, with which Christ fighteth, Rev. ii. [12.] which is exceeding sharp, entering in between the soul and spirit, Heb. iv. [12.] and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ Jesus. He that submits not at[262] the shaking of this sword, is cut off by it; and he that despiseth this sword, all the power in the world cannot make him a true worshipper, or by his purse a maintainer of God’s worship.

No man should be bound to worship, nor maintain a worship, against his own consent.

Lastly, if any man professing to be a minister of Christ Jesus, shall bring men before the magistrate, as the practice hath been, both in Old and New England,[216] for not paying him his wages or his due: I ask, if the voluntary consent of the party hath not obliged him, how can either the officers of the parish, church, or of the civil state, compel this or that man to pay so much, more or less, to maintain such a worship or ministry? I ask further, if the determining what is each man’s due to pay, why may they not determine the tenth and more, as some desired (others opposing) in New England, and force men not only to maintenance, but to a Jewish maintenance?

Peace. Yea; but, say they, is not the labourer worthy of his hire?

Christ’s labourers worthy of their hire, but from them that hire them.

Truth. Yes, from them that hire him, from the church, to whom he laboureth or ministereth, not from the civil state: no more than the minister of the civil state is worthy of his hire from the church, but from the civil state: in which I grant the persons in the church ought to be assistant in their civil respects.

Peace. What maintenance, say they, shall the ministry of the gospel have?

What maintenance Christ hath appointed his ministers in the gospel.

Truth. We find two ways of maintenance for the ministry[263] of the gospel proposed for our direction in the New Testament.

First, the free and willing contribution of the saints, according to 1 Cor. xvi., Luke viii. 3, &c., upon which both the Lord Jesus, and his ministers lived.

Secondly, the diligent work and labour of their own hands, as Paul tells the Thessalonians, and that in two cases:

1. Either in the inabilities and necessities of the church.

2. Or for the greater advantage of Christ’s truth. As when Paul saw it would more advantage the name of Christ, he denies himself, and falls to work amongst the Corinthians and Thessalonians.

Let none call these cases extraordinary: for if persecution be the portion of Christ’s sheep, and the business or work of Christ must be dearer to us than our right eye or lives, such as will follow Paul, and follow the Lord Jesus, must not think much at, but rejoice in, poverties, necessities, hunger, cold, nakedness, &c. The stewards of Christ Jesus must be like their Lord, and abhor to steal as the evil steward, pretending that he shamed to beg, but peremptorily dig he could not.


Peace. One and the last branch, dear Truth, remains concerning schools.

“The churches,” say they, “much depend upon the schools, and the schools upon the magistrates.”

Universities of Europe a cause of universal sins and plagues; yet schools honourable for tongues and arts.

Truth. I honour schools for tongues and arts; but the institution of Europe’s universities, devoting persons (as is said) for scholars in a monastical way, forbidding marriage,[264] and labour too, I hold as far from the mind of Jesus Christ as it is from propagating his name and worship.

We count the universities the fountains, the seminaries, or seed-plots of all piety; but have not those fountains ever sent what streams the times have liked? and ever changed their taste and colour to the prince’s eye and palate?

For any depending of the church of Christ upon such schools, I find not a tittle in the Testament of Christ Jesus.

Christ’s church his school, and all believers scholars.

I find the church of Christ frequently compared to a school. All believers are his disciples or scholars, yea, women also, Acts ix. 36, There was a certain disciple, or scholar, called Dorcas.

Have not the universities sacrilegiously stolen this blessed name of Christ’s scholars from his people? Is not the very scripture language itself become absurd, to wit, to call God’s people, especially women, as Dorcas, scholars?

Peace. Some will object, how shall the scriptures be brought to light from out of popish darkness, except these schools of prophets convey them to us?

Truth. I know no schools of prophets in the New Testament, but the particular congregation of Christ Jesus, 1 Cor. xiv. And I question whether any thing but sin stopped and dried up the current of the Spirit in those rare gifts of tongues to God’s sons and daughters, serving so admirably both for the understanding of the original scriptures, and also for the propagating of the name of Christ.

Who knows but God may again pour forth the gifts of tongues?

Who knows but that it may please the Lord again to clothe his people with a spirit of zeal and courage for the name of Christ; yea, and pour forth those fiery streams again of tongues and prophecy in the restoration of Zion?


Tongues attainable out of Oxford or Cambridge.

If it be not his holy pleasure so to do, but that his people with daily study and labour must dig to come at the original fountains, God’s people have many ways, besides the university, lazy and monkish, to attain to an excellent measure of the knowledge of those tongues.

Mr. Ainsworth.

That most despised while living, and now much honoured Mr. Ainsworth,[217] had scarce his peer amongst a thousand academians for the scripture originals, and yet he scarce set foot within a college-walls.


Peace. I shall now present you with their tenth head, viz., concerning the magistrates’ power in matters of doctrine.

“That which is unjustly ascribed to the pope, is as unjustly ascribed to the magistrates, viz., to have power of making new articles of faith, or rules of life, or of pressing upon the churches to give such public honour to the apocrypha writings, or homilies of men, as to read them to the people in the room of the oracles of God.”

Truth. This position, simply considered, I acknowledge a most holy truth of God, both against the pope, and the civil magistrates’ challenge, both pretending to be the vicars of Christ Jesus upon the earth. Yet two things here I shall propose to consideration:—


King Henry the Eighth set down in the pope’s chair in England.

First, since the parliament of England thrust the pope out of his chair in England, and set down King Henry the Eighth and his successors in the pope’s room, establishing them supreme governors of the church of England: since such an absolute government is given by all men to them to be guardians of the first table and worship of God, to set up the true worship, to suppress all false, and that by the power of the sword; and therefore consequently they must judge and determine what the true is, and what the false:—

If the magistrate must punish in spiritual cases, he must of necessity be judge in spiritual causes also.

And since the magistrate is bound, by these authors’ principles, to see the church, the church officers, and members do their duty, he must therefore judge what is the church’s duty, and when she performs or not performs it, or when she exceeds; so likewise when the ministers perform their duty, or when they exceed it:—

And if the magistrate must judge, then certainly by his own eye, and not by the eyes of others, though assembled in a national or general council:—

Then also, upon his judgment must the people rest, as upon the mind and judgment of Christ, or else it must be confessed that he hath no such power left him by Christ to compel the souls of men in matters of God’s worship.

Apocrypha, Common-prayer, and homilies, precious to our forefathers.

Secondly, concerning the apocrypha writings and homilies to be urged by the magistrate to be read unto the people as the oracles of God: I ask, if the homilies of England contain not in them much precious and heavenly matter? Secondly, if they were not penned, at least many of them, by excellent men for learning, holiness, and witness of Christ’s truth incomparable? Thirdly, were they not authorized by that most rare and pious prince, Edward VI., then head of the church of England?[218][267] With what great solemnity and rejoicing were they received of thousands!

Yet now, behold their children after them sharply censure them for apocrypha writings, and homilies thrust into the room of the word of God, and so falling into the consideration of a false and counterfeit scripture.

A case.

I demand of these worthy men, whether a servant of God might then lawfully have refused to read or hear such a false scripture?

Secondly, if so, whether King Edward might have lawfully compelled such a man to yield and submit, or else have persecuted him; yea, according to the authors’ principles, whether he ought to have spared him; because after the admonitions of such pious and learned men, this man shall now prove a heretic, and as an obstinate person sinning against the light of his own conscience?

In this case what shall the consciences of the subject do, awed by the dread of the Most High? What shall the magistrate do, zealous for his glorious reformation, being constantly persuaded by his clergy of his lieutenantship received from Christ?

Reformations are fallible. Bloody conclusions.

Again, what privilege have those worthy servants of God, either in Old or New England, to be exempted from the mistakes into which those glorious worthies in King Edward’s time did fall? and if so, what bloody conclusions are presented to the world, persuading men to pluck up by the roots from the land of the living, all such as seem in their eyes heretical or obstinate!



Peace. Dear Truth, what dark and dismal bloody paths do we walk in? How is thy name and mine in all ages cried up, yet as an English flag in a Spanish bottom, not in truth, but dangerous treachery and abuse both of truth and peace!

Eleventh head.

We are now come to the eleventh head, which concerns the magistrates’ power in worship?

“First, they have power,” say they, “to reform things in the worship of God in a church corrupted, and to establish the pure worship of God, defending the same by the power of the sword against all those who shall attempt to corrupt it.

“For first, the reigning of idolatry and corruption in religion is imputed to the want of a king, Judges xvii. 5, 6.

“Secondly, remissness in reforming religion is a fault imputed to them who suffered the high places in Israel, and in Gallio who cared not for such things, Acts xviii. 17.

“Thirdly, forwardness this way is a duty not only for kings in the Old Testament, but for princes under the New, 1 Tim. ii. 2; Rom. xiii. 4; Esay. xlix. 23. Neither did the kings of Israel reform things amiss as types of Christ, but as civil magistrates, and so exemplary to all Christians. And here reformation in religion is commendable in a Persian king, Ezra vii. 23. And it is well known that remissness in princes of Christendom in matters of religion and worship, devolving the care thereof only to the clergy, and so setting the horns thereof upon the church’s head, hath been the cause of anti-christian[269] inventions, usurpations, and corruptions, in the worship and temple of God.

“Secondly, they have not power to press upon the churches stinted prayers, or set liturgies, whether new or old, popish or others, under colour of uniformity of worship, or moral goodness of them both for matter and form, conceiving our arguments sent to our brethren in England concerning this question to evince this truth.[219]

“Thirdly, they have no power to press upon the churches, neither by law, as hath been said before, nor by proclamation and command, any sacred significant ceremonies, whether more or less popish or Jewish rite, or any other device of man, be it never so little in the worship of God, under what colour soever of indifferency, civility, using them without opinion of sanctity, public peace, or obedience to righteous authority, as surplice, cross, kneeling at sacrament, salt and spittle in baptism, holy days; they having been so accursed of God, so abused by man, the imposing of some ever making way for the urging of more, the receiving of some making the conscience bow to the burden of all.

“Fourthly, they have not power to govern and rule the acts of worship in the church of God.

“It is with a magistrate in a state in respect of the acts of those who worship in a church, as it is with a prince in a ship, wherein, though he be governor of their persons, else he should not be their prince, yet is not governor of the actions of the mariners, then he should be pilot: indeed if the pilot shall manifestly err in his action,[270] he may reprove him, and so any other passenger may: or if he offend against the life and goods of any, he may in due time and place civilly punish him, which no other passenger can do; for, it is proper to Christ, the head of the church, as to prescribe so to rule the actions of his own worship in the ways of his servants, Esay. ix. 6, 7. The government of the church is upon his shoulder, which no civil officer ought to attempt. And therefore magistrates have no power to limit a minister, either to what he shall preach or pray, or in what manner they shall worship God, lest hereby they shall advance themselves above Christ, and limit his Spirit.”[220]

Truth. In this general head are proposed two things.

First, what the magistrate ought to do positively, concerning the worship of God.

Secondly. What he may do in the worship of God.

What he ought to do is comprised in these particulars:—

First. He ought to reform the worship of God when it is corrupted.

Secondly. He ought to establish a pure worship of God.

Thirdly. He ought to defend it by the sword: he ought to restrain idolatry by the sword, and to cut off offenders, as former passages have opened.

For the proof of this positive part of his duty, are propounded three sorts of scriptures.

First. From the practice of the kings of Israel and Judah.

Secondly. Some from the New Testament.


Thirdly. From the practice of kings of other nations.

Unto which I answer,—

The argument from the Babylonian and Persian kings reminded.

First. Concerning this latter, the Babylonian and Persian kings—Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Darius, Artaxerxes—I conceive I have sufficiently before proved, that these idolatrous princes making such acts concerning the God of Israel, whom they did not worship nor know, nor meant so to do, did only permit, and tolerate, and countenance the Jewish worship; and out of strong convictions that this God of Israel was able to do them good, as well as their own gods, to bring wrath upon them and their kingdoms, as they believed their own also did, in which respect all the kings of the world may be easily brought to the like; but [they] are no precedent or pattern for all princes and civil magistrates in the world, to challenge or assume the power of ruling or governing the church of Christ, and of wearing the spiritual crown of the Lord, which he alone weareth in a spiritual way by his officers and governors after his own holy appointment.

Secondly. For those of the New Testament I have, as I believe, fully and sufficiently answered.

So also that prophecy of Isa. xlix. [23.]

The precedent of the kings and governors of Israel and Judah, examined. The state of Israel relating to spiritual matters proved typical.

Lastly. However I have often touched those scriptures produced from the practice of the kings of Israel and Judah, yet, because so great a weight of this controversy lies upon this precedent of the Old Testament, from the duties of this nature enjoined to those kings and governors and their practices, obeying or disobeying, accordingly commended or reproved, I shall, with the help of Christ Jesus, the true King of Israel, declare and demonstrate how weak and brittle this supposed pillar of marble is, to bear up and sustain such a mighty burden and weight of so many high concernments as are laid upon it. In which I shall evidently prove, that the state of Israel as a[272] national state, made up of spiritual and civil power, so far as it attended upon the spiritual, was merely figurative, and typing out the Christian churches consisting of both Jews and Gentiles, enjoying the true power of the Lord Jesus, establishing, reforming, correcting, defending in all cases concerning the kingdom and government.


Peace. Blessed be the God of truth, the God of peace, who hath so long preserved us in this our retired conference without interruptions. His mercy still shields us while you express and I listen to that so much imitated, yet most inimitable state of Israel.

Yet, before you descend to particulars, dear Truth, let me cast one mite into your great treasury, concerning that instance, just now mentioned, of the Persian kings.

The Persian kings make evidently against such as produce them for maintenance of the doctrine of persecution.

Methinks those precedents of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes, are strong against New England’s tenent and practice. Those princes professedly gave free permission and bountiful encouragement to the consciences of the Jews to use and practise their religion, which religion was most eminently contrary to their own religion and their country’s worship.

Truth. I shall, sweet Peace, with more delight pass on these rough ways, from your kind acceptance and unwearied patience in attention.

In this discovery of that vast and mighty difference between that state of Israel and all other states, only to be matched and paralleled by the Christian church or Israel, I shall select some main and principal considerations concerning[273] that state, wherein the irreconcilable differences and disproportion may appear.

First. I shall consider the very land and country of Canaan itself, and present some considerations proving it to be a non-such.

The land of Canaan chosen by God to be the seat of the church; but under the New Testament all nations alike.

First. This land was espied out, and chosen by the Lord, out of all the countries of the world, to be the seat of his church and people, Ezek. xx. 6.

But now there is no respect of earth, of places, or countries with the Lord. So testified the Lord Jesus Christ himself to the woman of Samaria, John iv. [21,] professing that neither at that mountain, nor at Jerusalem, should men worship the Father.

While that national state of the church of the Jews remained, the tribes were bound to go up to Jerusalem to worship, Ps. cxxii. But now, in every nation, not the whole land or country as it was with Canaan, he that feareth God and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him, Acts x. 35. This then appeared in that large commission of the Lord Jesus to his first ministers: Go into all nations, and not only into Canaan, to carry tidings of mercy, &c.

Secondly. The former inhabitants thereof, seven great and mighty nations, Deut. vii. 1, were all devoted to destruction by the Lord’s own mouth, which was to be performed by the impartial hand of the children of Israel, without any sparing or showing mercy.

The inhabitants of Canaan’s land, every soul, to be put to death, that the Israelites might enjoy their possessions: not so now.

But so now it hath not pleased the Lord to devote any people to present destruction, commanding his people to kill and slay without covenant or compassion, Deut. vii. 2.

Where have emperors, kings, or generals an immediate call from God to destroy whole cities, city after city, men,[274] women, children, old and young, as Joshua practised? Josh. vi. and x., &c.

This did Israel to these seven nations, that they themselves might succeed them in their cities, habitations, and possessions.

This only is true in a spiritual antitype, when God’s people by the sword, the two-edged sword of God’s Spirit, slay the ungodly and become heirs, yea, fellow heirs with Christ Jesus, Rom. viii. 17. God’s meek people inherit the earth, Matt. v. [5.] They mystically, like Noah, Heb. xi. 7, condemn the whole unbelieving world, both by present and future sentence, 1 Cor. vi. 2.


The very material, gold and silver, of Canaan’s images, typically to be abhorred.

Thirdly. The very materials, the gold and silver of the idols of this land, were odious and abominable, and dangerous to the people of Israel, that they might not desire it, nor take it to themselves, Deut. vii. 25, 26, lest themselves also become a curse, and like unto those cursed, abominable things. Whereas we find not any such accursed nature in the materials of idols or images now; but that, the idolatrous forms being changed, the silver and gold may be cast and coined, and other materials lawfully employed and used.

Yet this we find in the antitype, that gold, silver: yea, house, land: yea, wives, children: yea, life itself, as they allure and draw us from God in Christ, are to be abominated and hated by us, without which hatred and indignation, against the most plausible and pleasing enticings,[275] from Christ Jesus, it is impossible for any man to be a true Christian, Luke xiv. 26.

The land of Canaan ceremonially holy.

Fourthly. This land, this earth, was a holy land, Zech. ii. 12. Ceremonially and typically holy, fields, gardens, orchards, houses, &c., which holiness the world knows not now in one land or country, house, field, garden, &c., one above another.

Greater holiness in the antitype under the gospel, than in the types under the law.

Yet in the spiritual land of Canaan, the Christian church, all things are made holy and pure, in all lands, to the pure, Tit. i. [15;] meats and drinks are sanctified, that is, dedicated to the holy use of the thankful believers, 1 Tim. iv. 5; yea, and the unbelieving husband, wife, and their children, are sanctified and made holy to believers, insomuch that that golden inscription, peculiar to the forehead of the high priest, Holiness to Jehovah, shall be written upon the very bridles of the horses, as all are dedicated to the service of Christ Jesus in the gospel’s peace and holiness.

The land of Canaan Jehovah’s land.

Fifthly. The Lord expressly calls it his own land, Lev. xxv. 23; Hos. ix. 3, Jehovah’s land, a term proper unto spiritual Canaan, the church of God, which must needs be in respect of his choice of that land to be the seat and residence of his church and ordinances.

But now the partition-wall is broken down, and in respect of the Lord’s special propriety to one country more than another, what difference between Asia and Africa, between Europe and America, between England and Turkey, London and Constantinople?

Emanuel’s land: so no land or country more than another.

This land, among many other glorious titles given to it, was called Emanuel’s land, that is, God with us, Christ’s land, or Christian land, Isa. viii. 8.

But now, Jerusalem from above is not material and earthly, but spiritual, Gal. iv. [25;] Heb. xii. [22.] Material Jerusalem is no more the Lord’s city than Jericho,[276] Nineveh, or Babel, in respect of place or country: for even at Babel literal, was a church of Jesus Christ, 1 Pet. v. [13.]

It is true, that anti-christ hath christened all those countries whereon the whore sitteth, Rev. xvii., with the title of Christ’s land, or Christian land.

The blasphemous titles of the christened and Christian world.

And Hundius, in his map of the Christian world, makes this land to extend to all Asia, a great part of Africa, all Europe, and a vast part of America, even so far as his unchristian christening hath gone. But as every false Christ hath false teachers, false Christians, false faith, hope, love, &c., and in the end false salvation, so doth he also counterfeit the false name of Christ, Christians, Christian land or country.

The material land of Canaan was to keep her sabbaths, so no material land or country now.

Sixthly. This land was to keep her sabbaths unto God. Six years they were to sow their fields, and prune their vines, but in the seventh year they were not to sow their fields, nor prune their vineyards, but to eat that which grew of itself or own accord.

But such observations doth not God now lay upon any fields, vineyards, &c., under the gospel.

God feedeth his sometimes immediately.

Yet, in the spiritual land of Canaan, the true church, there is a spiritual soul-rest or sabbath, a quiet depending upon God, a living by faith in him, a making him our portion, and casting all care upon him who careth for us: yea, sometimes he feedeth his by immediate, gracious works of providence, when comforts arise out of the earth, without secondary means or causes, as here, or as elsewhere, manna descended from heaven.

Seventhly. Such portions and possessions of lands, fields, houses, vineyards, were sold with caution or proviso of returning again in the year of jubilee to the right owners, Lev. xxv. 23.

Such cautions, such provisos, are not now enjoined by[277] God in the sale of lands, fields, inheritances, nor no such jubilee or redemption to be expected.

The jubilee of Canaan a type of restitution and redemption in the gospel.

Yea, this also finds a fulfilling in the spiritual Canaan, or church of God, unto which the silver trumpet of jubilee, the gospel, hath sounded a spiritual restitution of all their spiritual rights and inheritances, which either they have lost in the fall of the first man Adam, or in their particular falls, when they are captive, and sold unto sin, Rom. vii. [14,] or, lastly, in the spiritual captivity of Babel’s bondage. How sweet then is the name of a Saviour, in whom is the joyful sound of a deliverance and redemption!

Canaan’s land a type of the kingdom of God on earth and in heaven. Why Naboth refused to part with a garden plot to his king, upon hazard of his life.

Eighthly. This land or country was a figure or type of the kingdom of heaven above, begun here below in the church and kingdom of God, Heb. iv. 8; Heb. xi. 9, 10. Hence was a birthright so precious in Canaan’s land: hence Naboth so inexorable and resolute in refusing to part with his inheritance to King Ahab, counting all Ahab’s seeming reasonable offers most unreasonable, as soliciting him to part with a garden plot of Canaan’s land, though his refusal cost him his very life.

What land, what country now is Israel’s parallel and antitype, but that holy mystical nation, the church of God, peculiar and called out to him out of every nation and country, 1 Pet. ii. 9. In which every true spiritual Naboth hath his spiritual inheritance, which he dares not part with, though it be to his king or sovereign, and though such his refusal cost him this present life.



Peace. Doubtless that Canaan land was not a pattern for all lands: it was a non-such, unparallelled, and unmatchable.

The difference of the people of Israel and all other peoples.

Truth. Many other considerations of the same nature I might annex, but I pick here and there a flower, and pass on to a second head concerning the people themselves, wherein the state of the people shall appear unmatchable: but only by the true church and Israel of God.

The people of Israel the seed of one man.

First. The people of Israel were all the seed or offspring of one man, Abraham, Psalm cv. 6, and so downward the seed of Isaac and Jacob, hence called the Israel of God, that is, wrestlers and prevailers with God, distinguished into twelve tribes, all sprung out of Israel’s loins.

But now, few nations of the world but are a mixed seed; the people of England especially: the Britons, Picts, Romans, Saxons, Danes, and Normans, by a wonderful providence of God, being become one English people.

Only made good in the spiritual seed, the regenerate, or new-born.

Only the spiritual Israel and seed of God, the new born, are but one. Christ is the seed, Gal. iii. [16,] and they only that are Christ’s are only Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

This spiritual seed is the only antitype of the former figurative and typical. A seed which all Christians ought to propagate, yea, even the unmarried men and women who are not capable of natural offspring, for thus is this called the seed of Christ (who lived and died unmarried), Isa. lix. 21.

Secondly. This people was selected and separated to the Lord, his covenant and worship, from all the people and[279] nations of the world beside, to be his peculiar and only people, Lev. xx. 26, &c.

The people of Israel separate from all nations in spiritual, and in some civil things.

Therefore, such as returned from Babylon to Jerusalem, they separated themselves to eat the passover, Ezra vi. [21.] And in that solemn humiliation and confession before the Lord, Neh. ix. [2,] the children of Israel separated themselves from all strangers.

This separation of theirs was so famous, that it extended not only to circumcision, the passover, and matters of God’s worship, but even to temporal and civil things: thus (Ezra ix.) they separated or put away their very wives, which they had taken of the strange nations, contrary to the commandment of the Lord.

No nation so separated to God in the gospel, but only the new-born Israel that fear God in every nation.

But where hath the God of heaven, in the gospel, separated whole nations or kingdoms, English, Scotch, Irish, French, Dutch, &c., as a peculiar people and antitype of the people of Israel? Yea, where the least footing in all the scripture for a national church after Christ’s coming?

Can any people in the world pattern this sampler but the new-born Israel, such as fear God in every nation, Acts x. 35, commanded to come forth, and separate from all unclean things or persons? 2 Cor. vi. [17,] and though not bound to put away strange wives as Israel did, because of that peculiar respect upon them in civil things, yet to be holy or set apart to the Lord in all manner of civil conversation, 1 Pet. i. 15: only to marry in the Lord, yea, and to marry as if they married not, 1 Cor. vii. [29:] yea, to hate wife and children, father, mother, house, and land, yea, and life itself for the Lord Jesus, Luke xiv. 26.

The whole people of Israel miraculously brought forth of Egypt.

Thirdly. This seed of Abraham thus separate from all people unto the Lord, was wonderfully redeemed and brought from Egypt bondage, through the Red Sea, and the wilderness, unto the land of Canaan, by many strange signs and wonderful miracles, wrought by the out-stretched[280] hand of the Lord, famous and dreadful, and to be admired by all succeeding peoples and generations, Deut. iv. 32-34, Ask now from one side of the heaven unto the other, whether there hath been such a thing as this? &c.

Not so any whole nation now.

And we may ask again from one side of the heaven unto the other, whether the Lord hath now so miraculously redeemed and brought unto himself any nation or people, as he did this people of Israel.

Peace. The English, Scotch, Dutch, &c., are apt to make themselves the parallels, as wonderfully come forth of popery, &c.

Truth. 1. But first, whole nations are no churches under the gospel.

Popery not so easily turned from as is conceived.

2. Secondly, bring the nations of Europe professing protestantism to the balance of the sanctuary, and ponder well whether the body, bulk, the general, or one hundredth part of such peoples, be truly turned to God from popery:—

Who knows not how easy it is to turn, and turn, and turn again, whole nations from one religion to another?

Wonderful turnings in religion in twelve years’ compass in England.

Who knows not that within the compass of one poor span of twelve years’ revolution, all England hath become from half papist, half protestant, to be absolute protestants; from absolute protestants, to absolute papists; from absolute papists, changing as fashions, to absolute protestants?

The pope not unlike to recover his monarchy over Europe before his downfall.

I will not say, as some worthy witnesses of Christ have uttered, that all England and Europe must again submit their fair necks to the pope’s yoke; but this I say, many scriptures concerning the destruction of the beast and the whore look that way. And I add, they that feel the pulse of the people seriously, must confess that a victorious sword and a Spanish inquisition will soon make millions face about as they were in the forefathers’ time.



Peace. Oh! that the steersmen of the nations might remember this, be wise and kiss the Son, lest he go on in this his dreadful anger, and dash them in pieces here and eternally.

Who are now the true seed of Abraham.

Truth. I therefore, thirdly, add, that only such as are Abraham’s seed, circumcised in heart, new-born, Israel (or wrestlers with God), are the antitype of the former Israel; these are only the holy nation, 1 Pet. ii. 9; wonderfully redeemed from the Egypt of this world, Tit. ii. 14; brought through the Red Sea of baptism, 1 Cor. x. 2; through the wilderness of afflictions, and of the peoples, Deut. viii., Ezek. xx., into the kingdom of heaven begun below, even that Christian land of promise where flow the everlasting streams and rivers of spiritual milk and honey.

The people of Israel all holy in a typical holiness.

Fourthly, all this people universally, in typical and ceremonial respect, were holy and clean in this their separation and sequestration unto God, Exod. xix. 5. Hence, even in respect of their natural birth in that land, they were a holy seed, and Ezra makes it the matter of his great complaint, Ezra ix. 1, 2,—The holy seed have mingled themselves.

But where is now that nation, or country, upon the face of the earth, thus clean and holy unto God, and bound to so many ceremonial cleansings and purgings?

All nations now alike since the coming of the Lord Jesus.

Are not all the nations of the earth alike clean unto God? or rather, alike unclean, until it pleaseth the Father of mercies to call some out to the knowledge and grace of his Son, making them to see their filthiness, and strangeness from the commonweal of Israel, and to wash in the blood of the Lamb of God?


This taking away the difference between nation and nation, country and country, is most fully and admirably declared in that great vision of all sorts of living creatures presented unto Peter, Acts x.; whereby it pleased the Lord to inform Peter of the abolishing of the difference between Jew and Gentile in any holy or unholy, clean or unclean respect.

The children of Israel a figure of the Israel, or people, of God only under the gospel.

Fifthly—not only to speak of all, but to select one or two more—this people of Israel in that national state were a type of all the children of God in all ages under the profession of the gospel, who are therefore called the children of Abraham, and the Israel of God, Gal. iii. and Gal. vi. [16.] A kingly priesthood and holy nation, 1 Pet. ii. 9, in a clear and manifest antitype to the former Israel, Exod. xix. 6.

Hence Christians now are figuratively, in this respect, called Jews, Rev. iii. [9.] where lies a clear distinction of the true and false Christian under the consideration of the true and false Jew: Behold I will make them of the synagogue of Satan that say they are Jews and are not, but do lie, Rev. iii. [9.] But such a typical respect we find not now upon any people, nation, or country of the whole world; but out of all nations, tongues, and languages is God pleased to call some, and redeem them to himself, Rev. v. 9; and hath made no difference between the Jews and Gentiles, Greeks and Scythians, Gal. iii. [28.] who by regeneration, or second birth, become the Israel of God, Gal. vi. [16.] the temple of God, 1 Cor. iii. [17.] and the true Jerusalem, Heb. xii. [22.]

The people of Israel different from all the world in their figurative and ceremonial worships.

Lastly, all this whole nation, or people, as they were of one typical seed of Abraham, and sealed with a shameful and painful ordinance of cutting off the foreskin, which differenced them from all the world beside: so also were they bound to such and such solemnities of figurative[283] worships. Amongst many others I shall end this passage concerning the people with a famous observation out of Num. ix. 13, viz., all that whole nation was bound to celebrate and keep the feast of the passover in his season, or else they were to be put to death. But doth God require a whole nation, country, or kingdom now thus to celebrate the spiritual passover, the supper and feast of the Lamb Christ Jesus, at such a time once a year, and that whosoever shall not so do shall be put to death? What horrible profanations, what gross hypocrisies, yea, what wonderful desolations, sooner or later, must needs follow upon such a course!

Israel, God’s only church, might well renew that national covenant and ceremonial worship, which other nations cannot imitate.

It is true, the people of Israel, brought into covenant with God in Abraham, and so successively born in covenant with God, might, in that state of a national church, solemnly covenant and swear that whosoever would not seek Jehovah, the God of Israel, should be put to death, 2 Chron. xv. [12, 13.] whether small or great, whether man or woman.

But may whole nations or kingdoms now, according to any one tittle expressed by Christ Jesus to that purpose, follow that pattern of Israel, and put to death all, both men and women, great and small, that according to the rules of the gospel are not born again, penitent, humble, heavenly, patient? &c. What a world of hypocrisy from hence is practised by thousands, that for fear will stoop to give that God their bodies in a form, whom yet in truth their hearts affect not!

The hypocrisy, profanations, and slaughters which such imitations now in the gospel produce.

Yea, also what a world of profanation of the holy name and holy ordinances of the Lord, in prostituting the holy things of God, like the vessels of the sanctuary, Dan. v., to profane, impenitent, and unregenerate persons!

Lastly, what slaughters, both of men and women, must this necessarily bring into the world, by the insurrections[284] and civil wars about religion and conscience! Yea, what slaughters of the innocent and faithful witnesses of Christ Jesus, who choose to be slain all the day long for Christ’s sake, and to fight for their Lord and Master Christ, only with spiritual and Christian weapons!


Peace. It seems, dear Truth, a mighty gulf between that people and nation, and the nations of the world then extant and ever since.

Truth. As sure as the blessed substance to all those shadows, Christ Jesus, is come, so unmatchable and never to be parallelled by any national state was that Israel in the figure, or shadow.

And yet the Israel of God now, the regenerate or new born, the circumcised in heart by repentance and mortification, who willingly submit unto the Lord Jesus as their only King and Head, may fitly parallel and answer that Israel in the type, without such danger of hypocrisy, of such horrible profanations, and of firing the civil state in such bloody combustions, as all ages have brought forth upon this compelling a whole nation or kingdom to be the antitype of Israel.

The difference of the kings and governors of Israel from all kings and governors of the world. First, they were all members of the church.

Peace. Were this light entertained, some hopes would shine forth for my return and restoration.

Truth. I have yet to add a third consideration, concerning the kings and governors of that land and people.

They were to be, unless in their captivities, of their brethren, members of the true church of God: as appears in the history of Moses, the elders of Israel, and the judges and kings of Israel afterward.


But first, who can deny but that there may be now many lawful governors, magistrates, and kings, in the nations of the world, where is no true church of Jesus Christ?

Excellent talents vouchsafed by God to unregenerate persons.

Secondly, we know the many excellent gifts wherewith it hath pleased God to furnish many, enabling them for public service to their countries both in peace and war, as all ages and experience testify, on whose souls he hath not yet pleased to shine in the face of Jesus Christ: which gifts and talents must all lie buried in the earth, unless such persons may lawfully be called and chosen to, and improved in public service, notwithstanding their different or contrary conscience or worship.

A doctrine contrary to all true piety and humanity itself.

Thirdly, if none but true Christians, members of Christ Jesus, might be civil magistrates, and publicly entrusted with civil affairs, then none but members of churches, Christians, should be husbands of wives, fathers of children, masters of servants. But against this doctrine the whole creation, the whole world, may justly rise up in arms, as not only contrary to true piety, but common humanity itself. For if a commonweal be lawful amongst men that have not heard of God nor Christ, certainly their officers, ministers, and governors must be lawful also.

The papists’ doctrine of deposing magistrates, confessed in effect to be true by the protestants.

Fourthly, it is notoriously known to be the dangerous doctrine professed by some papists, that princes degenerating from their religion, and turning heretics, are to be deposed, and their subjects actually discharged from their obedience. Which doctrine all such must necessarily hold, however most loath to own it, that hold the magistrate guardian of both tables; and consequently such a one as is enabled to judge, yea, and to demonstrate to all men the worship of God: yea, and being thus governor and head of the church, he must necessarily be a part of it himself; which when by heresy he falls from—though it[286] may be by truth, miscalled heresy—he falls from his calling of magistracy, and is utterly disabled from his (pretended) guardianship and government of the church.

No civil magistrate Christian in Christ’s time.

Lastly, we may remember the practice of the Lord Jesus and his followers, commanding and practising obedience to the higher powers, though we find not one civil magistrate a Christian in all the first churches. But contrarily, the civil magistrate at that time was the bloody beast, made up (as Daniel seems to imply concerning the Roman state, Dan. vii. 7) of the lion, the bear, and the leopard, Rev. xiii. 2.


Peace. By these weights we may try the weight of that commonly received and not questioned opinion, viz., that the civil state and the spiritual, the church and the commonweal, they are like Hippocrates’ twins, they are born together, grow up together, laugh together, weep together, sicken and die together.

Five demonstrative arguments proving the unsoundness of that maxim: the church and the commonwealth are like Hippocrates’ twins.

Truth. A witty, yet a most dangerous fiction of the father of lies, who, hardened in rebellion against God, persuades God’s people to drink down such deadly poison, though he knows the truth of these five particulars, which I shall remind you of:—

Many flourishing states without a true church.

First, many flourishing states in the world have been and are at this day, which hear not of Jesus Christ, and therefore have not the presence and concurrence of a church of Christ with them.

Many of God’s people far off from a true church state, yet fit for civil services.

Secondly, there have been many thousands of God’s people, who in their personal estate and life of grace were awake to God; but in respect of church estate, they knew[287] no other than a church of dead stones, the parish church; or though some light be of late come in through some cranny, yet they seek not after, or least of all are joined to any true church of God, consisting of living and believing stones.

So that by these New English ministers’ principles, not only is the door of calling to magistracy shut against natural and unregenerate men, though excellently fitted for civil offices, but also against the best and ablest servants of God, except they be entered into church estate: so that thousands of God’s own people, excellently qualified, not knowing or not entering into such a church estate, shall not be accounted fit for civil services.

God’s people permitted and favoured by idolaters.

Thirdly, admit that a civil magistrate be neither a member of a true church of Christ, if any be in his dominions, nor in his person fear God, yet may he (possibly) give free permission without molestation, yea, and sometimes encouragement and assistance, to the service and church of God. Thus we find Abraham permitted to build and set up an altar to his God wheresoever he came, amongst the idolatrous nations in the land of Canaan. Thus Cyrus proclaims liberty to all the people of God in his dominions, freely to go up and build the temple of God at Jerusalem, and Artaxerxes after him confirmed it.

Thus the Roman emperors, and governors under them, permitted the church of God, the Jews, in the Lord Christ’s time, their temple and worship, although in civil things they were subject to the Romans.

Christ’s church gathered and governed without the help of an arm of flesh.

Fourthly, the scriptures of truth and the records of time concur in this, that the first churches of Christ Jesus, the lights, patterns, and precedents to all succeeding ages, were gathered and governed without the aid, assistance, or countenance of any civil authority, from[288] which they suffered great persecutions for the name of the Lord Jesus professed amongst them.

The nations, rulers, and kings of the earth, tumultuously rage against the Lord and his anointed, Ps. ii. 1, 2. Yet, ver. 6, it hath pleased the Father to set the Lord Jesus King upon his holy hill of Zion.

Christ Jesus would not be pleased to make use of the civil magistrate to assist him in his spiritual kingdom, nor would he yet be daunted or discouraged in his servants by all their threats and terrors: for love is strong as death, and the coals thereof give a most vehement flame, and are not quenched by all the waters and floods of mightiest opposition, Cant. viii. [6, 7.]

Christ’s true spouse, chaste and faithful to Christ Jesus, in the midst of fears or favours from the world.

Christ’s church is like a chaste and loving wife, in whose heart is fixed her husband’s love, who hath found the tenderness of his love towards her, and hath been made fruitful by him, and therefore seeks she not the smiles, nor fears the frowns, of all the emperors in the world to bring her Christ unto her, or keep him from her.

The ten horns, Rev. xiii. and xvii.

Lastly, we find in the tyrannical usurpations of the Romish anti-christ, the ten horns—which some of good note conceive to be the ten kingdoms into which the Roman empire was quartered and divided—are expressly said, Rev. xvii. 13, to have one mind to give their power and strength unto the beast; yea, ver. 17, their kingdom unto the beast, until the works of God shall be fulfilled. Whence it follows, that all those nations that are gilded over with the name of Christ, have under that mask or vizard (as some executioners and tormenters in the inquisition use to torment) persecuted the Lord Jesus Christ, either with a more open, gross, and bloody, or with a more subtle, secret, and gentle violence.

The great mystery of persecution unfolded. Christian Naboths slaughtered.

Let us cast our eyes about, turn over the records, and[289] examine the experience of past and present generations, and see if all particular observations amount not to this sum, viz., that the great whore hath committed fornication with the kings of the earth, and made drunk thereof nations with the cup of the wine of her fornications: in which drunkenness and whoredom (as whores use to practise) she hath robbed the kings and nations of their power and strength, and, Jezebel like, having procured the kings’ names and seals, she drinks [herself] drunk, Rev. xvii. [6,] with the blood of Naboth, who, because he dares not part with his rightful inheritance in the land of Canaan, the blessed land of promise and salvation in Christ, as a traitor to the civil state and blasphemer against God, she, under the colour of a day of humiliation in prayer and fasting, stones to death.


Peace. Dear Truth, how art thou hidden from the eyes of men in these mysteries! how should men weep abundantly with John, that the Lamb may please to open these blessed seals unto them!

Truth. Oh that men more prized their Maker’s fear! then should they be more acquainted with their Maker’s councils, for his secret is with them that fear him, Ps. xxv. 14.

I pass on to a second difference.

Second difference. The mystery of the anointing the kings of Israel and Judah.

The kings of Israel and Judah were all solemnly anointed with oil, Ps. lxxxix. 20, I have found David my servant, with my oil have I anointed him. Whence the kings of Israel and Judah were honoured with that mystical and glorious title of the anointed, or Christ of[290] the Lord, Lam. iv. 20, The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of Jehovah, was taken in their pits, &c.

Which anointing and title however, the man of sin, together with the crown and diadem of spiritual Israel, the church of God, he hath given to some of the kings of the earth, that so he may in lieu thereof dispose of their civil crowns the easier: yet shall we find it an incommunicable privilege and prerogative of the saints and people of God.

For as the Lord Jesus himself in the antitype was not anointed with material but spiritual oil, Ps. xlv. 7, with the oil of gladness; and Luke iv. 18, from Isaiah lxi. 1, with the Spirit of God, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings, &c.; so also all his members are anointed with the Holy Spirit of God, 2 Cor. i. 21, and 1 John ii. 20.

The name Christian, or anointed.

Hence is it that Christians rejoice in that name, as carrying the very express title of the anointed of the Lord; which most superstitiously and sacrilegiously hath been applied only unto kings.

A sacrilegious monopoly of the name Christian.

Peace. O dear Truth, how doth the great Searcher of all hearts find out the thefts of the anti-christian world! how are men carried in the dark they know not whither! How is that heavenly charge, Touch not mine anointed, &c., Ps. cv. 15, common to all Christians, or anointed [ones] with Christ their head, by way of monopoly or privilege appropriated to kings and princes!

The crown of Christ’s kingly power.

Truth. It will not be here unseasonable to call to mind that admirable prophecy, Ezek. xxi. 26, 27, Thus saith Jehovah God, remove the diadem, take away the crown; this shall not be the same; exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high; I will overturn, overturn, overturn, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him. The matter is a crown and diadem to be taken from a usurper’s head, and set upon the head of the right owner.


Peace. Doubtless this mystically intends the spiritual crown of the Lord Jesus, for these many hundred years set upon the heads of the competitors and co-rivals of the Lord Jesus, upon whose glorious head, in his messengers and churches, the crown shall be established. The anointing, the title, and the crown and power, must return to the Lord Jesus in his saints, unto whom alone belongs his power and authority in ecclesiastical or spiritual cases.


Third. The kings of Israel and Judah invested with a spiritual power.

Truth. I therefore proceed to a third difference between those kings and governors of Israel and Judah, and all other kings and rulers of the earth. Look upon the administrations of the kings of Israel and Judah, and well weigh the power and authority which those kings of Israel and Judah exercised in ecclesiastical and spiritual causes; and upon a due search we shall not find the same sceptre of spiritual power in the hand of civil authority, which was settled in the hands of the kings of Israel and Judah.

David appointed the orders of the priests and singers, he brought the ark to Jerusalem, he prepared for the building of the Temple, the pattern whereof he delivered to Solomon: yet David herein could not be a type of the kings and rulers of the earth, but of the king of heaven, Christ Jesus: for,

First, David, as he was a king, so was he also a prophet, Acts ii. 30; and therefore a type, as Moses also was, of that great prophet, the Son of God. And they that plead for David’s kingly power, must also by the same rule plead[292] for his prophetical, by which he swayed the sceptre of Israel in church affairs.

David immediately inspired by the Spirit of God, in his ordering of church matters.

Secondly, it is expressly said, 1 Chron. xxviii. 11, 12, 13, that the pattern which David gave to Solomon, concerning the matter of the temple and worship of God, he had it by the Spirit, which was no other but a figure of the immediate inspiration of the Spirit of God unto the Lord Jesus, the true spiritual king of Israel, John i. 49, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; Rabbi, thou art the King of Israel.

Solomon’s deposing Abiathar (1 Kings ii. 26, 27,) discussed.

Again, what civil magistrate may now act as Solomon, a type of Christ, doth act, 1 Kings ii. 26, 27? Solomon thrust out Abiathar from being priest unto Jehovah.

Peace. Some object that Abiathar was a man of death, ver. 26, worthy to die, as having followed Adonijah; and therefore Solomon executed no more than civil justice upon him.

Solomon’s putting Abiathar from the priesthood, examined.

Truth. Solomon remits the civil punishment, and inflicts upon him a spiritual; but by what right, but as he was king of the church, a figure of Christ?

Abiathar’s life is spared with respect to his former good service in following after David; but yet he is turned out from the priesthood.

A case put upon occasion of Abiathar’s case.

But now put the case: suppose that any of the officers of the New England churches should prove false to the state, and be discovered joining with a French Monsieur, or Spanish Don, thirsting after conquest and dominion, to further their invasions of that country; yet for some former faithful service to the state, he should not be adjudged to civil punishment:—I ask now, might their governors, or their general court (their parliament), depose such a man, a pastor, teacher, or elder, from his holy calling or office in God’s house?

Another case.

Or suppose, in a partial and corrupt state, a member or[293] officer of a church should escape with his life upon the commission of murder, ought not a church of Christ upon repentance to receive him? I suppose it will not be said, that he ought to execute himself; or that the church may use a civil sword against him. In these cases may such persons, spared in civil punishments for some reason of or by partiality of state, be punished spiritually by the civil magistrate, as Abiathar was. Let the very enemies of Zion be judges.

Secondly, if Solomon in thrusting out of Abiathar was a pattern and precedent unto all civil magistrates, why not also in putting Zadok in his room, ver. 35? But against this the pope, the bishops, the presbyterians, and the independents, will all cry out against such a practice, in their several respective claims and challenges for their ministries.

The liberties of Christ’s churches in the choice of their officers.

We find the liberty of the subjects of Christ in the choice of an apostle, Acts i.; of a deacon, Acts vi.; of elders, Acts xiv.; and guided by the assistance either of the apostles or evangelists, 1 Tim. i., Tit. i., without the least influence of any civil magistrate: which shows the beauty of their liberty.

A civil influence dangerous to the saints’ liberties.

The parliaments of England have by right free choice of their speaker: yet some princes have thus far been gratified as to nominate, yea, and implicitly to commend a speaker to them. Wise men have seen the evil consequences of those influences, though but in civil things: how much far greater and stronger are those snares, when the golden keys of the Son of God are delivered into the hands of civil authority!

Peace. You know the noise raised concerning those famous acts of Asa, Hezekiah, Jehoshaphat, Josiah. What think you of the fast proclaimed by Jehoshaphat? 2 Chron. xx. 3.


Truth. I find it to be the duty of kings and all in authority, to encourage Christ’s messengers of truth proclaiming repentance, &c.

But under the gospel, to enforce all natural and unregenerate people to acts of worship, what precedent hath Christ Jesus given us?

Jehoshaphat’s fast examined.

First, it is true Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast, &c.; but was he not in matters spiritual a type of Christ, the true king of Israel?

Secondly, Jehoshaphat calls the members of the true church to church service and worship of God.

If civil powers may enjoin the time of the church’s worship, they may also forbid her times.

But consider, if civil powers now may judge of and determine the actions of worship proper to the saints: if they may appoint the time of the church’s worship, fasting, and prayer, &c., why may they not as well forbid those times which a church of Christ shall make choice of, seeing it is a branch of the same root to forbid what liketh not, as well as to enjoin what pleaseth?

And if in those most solemn duties and exercises, why not also in other ordinary meetings and worships? And if so, where is the power of the Lord Jesus, bequeathed to his ministers and churches, of which the power of those kings was but a shadow?


Peace. The liberty of the subject sounds most sweet London and Oxford both profess to fight for: how much infinitely more sweet is that true soul liberty according to Christ Jesus!

God will not wrong Cæsar, and Cæsar should not wrong God.

I know you would not take from Cæsar aught, although it were to give to God; and what is God’s and his[295] people’s I wish that Cæsar may not take. Yet, for the satisfaction of some, be pleased to glance upon Josiah, his famous acts in the church of God, concerning the worship of God, the priests, Levites, and their services, compelling the people to keep the passover, making himself a covenant before the Lord, and compelling all that were found in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand to it.

Truth. To these famous practices of Josiah, I shall parallel the practices of England’s kings; and first, de jure, a word or two of their right: then, de facto, discuss what hath been done.

The famous acts of Josiah, examined.

First, de jure; Josiah was a precious branch of that royal root king David, who was immediately designed by God: and when the golden links of the royal chain broke in the usurpations of the Roman conqueror, it pleased the most wise God to send a son of David, a Son of God, to begin again that royal line, to sit upon the throne of his father David, Luke i. 32; Acts ii. 30.

Magistracy in general from God, the particular forms from the people.

It is not so with the Gentile princes, rulers, and magistrates, whether monarchical, aristocratical, or democratical; who, though government in general be from God, yet, receive their callings, power, and authority, both kings and parliaments, mediately from the people.

Secondly. Josiah and those kings, were kings and governors over the then true and only church of God national, brought into the covenant of God in Abraham, and so downward: and they might well be forced to stand to that covenant into which, with such immediate signs and miracles, they had been brought.

Israel confirmed in a national covenant by relations, signs, and miracles, but so not England.

But what commission from Christ Jesus had Henry VIII., Edward VI., or any, Josiah like, to force the many hundred thousands of English men and women, without such immediate signs and miracles that Israel had, to enter into a holy and spiritual covenant with the invisible[296] God, the Father of spirits, or upon pain of death, as in Josiah’s time, to stand to that which they never made, nor before evangelical repentance are possibly capable of?

Henry VIII. the first head and governor of the church of England.

Now secondly, de facto: let it be well remembered concerning the kings of England professing reformation. The foundation of all was laid in Henry VIII. The pope challengeth to be the vicar of Christ Jesus here upon earth, to have power of reforming the church, redressing abuses, &c.: Henry VIII. falls out with the pope, and challengeth that very power to himself of which he had despoiled the pope, as appears by that act of parliament establishing Henry VIII. the supreme head and governor in all cases ecclesiastical, &c.[221] It pleased the most high God to plague the pope by Henry VIII.’s means: but neither pope nor king can ever prove such power from Christ derived to either of them.

The wonderful formings and reformings of religion by England’s kings. Kings and states often plant, and often pluck up religions.

Secondly, as before intimated, let us view the works and acts of England’s imitation of Josiah’s practice. Henry VII. leaves England under the slavish bondage of the pope’s yoke. Henry VIII. reforms all England to a new fashion, half papist, half protestant. King Edward VI. turns about the wheels of the state, and works the whole land to absolute protestantism. Queen Mary, succeeding to the helm, steers a direct contrary course, breaks in pieces all that Edward wrought, and brings forth an old edition of England’s reformation all popish. Mary not living out half her days, as the prophet speaks of bloody persons, Elizabeth, like Joseph, advanced from the prison to the palace, and from the irons to the crown, she plucks up all her sister Mary’s plants, and sounds a trumpet all protestant.

What sober man stands not amazed at these revolutions?[297] and yet, like mother like daughter: and how zealous are we, their offspring, for another impression, and better edition of a national Canaan, in imitation of Judah and Josiah! which, if attained, who knows how soon succeeding kings or parliaments will quite pull down and abrogate?[222]

A national church ever subject to turn and return, &c.

Thirdly, in all these formings and reformings, a national church of natural, unregenerate men, was (like wax) the subject matter of all these forms and changes, whether popish or protestant: concerning which national state, the time is yet to come whenever the Lord Jesus hath given a word of institution and appointment.


A woman, papissa, or head of the church.

Peace. You bring to mind, dear Truth, a plea of some wiser papists for the pope’s supremacy, viz., that it was no such exorbitant or unheard of power and jurisdiction which the pope challenged, but the very same which a woman, Queen Elizabeth herself, challenged, styling her papissa or she-pope: withal pleading, that in point of reason it was far more suitable that the Lord Jesus would delegate his power rather to a clergyman than a layman, as Henry VIII.; or a woman, as his daughter Elizabeth.

The papists nearer to the truth, concerning the government of the church, than most protestants.

Truth. I believe that neither one or the other hit the white;[223] yet I believe the papists’ arrows fall the nearest to it in this particular, viz., that the government of the church of Christ should rather belong to such as profess a ministry or office spiritual, than to such as are merely temporal and civil.


So that in conclusion, the whole controversy concerning the government of Christ’s kingdom or church, will be found to lie between the true and false ministry, both challenging the true commission, power, and keys from Christ.

The kingly power of the Lord Jesus troubles all the kings and rulers of the world.

Peace. This all glorious diadem of the kingly power of the Lord Jesus hath been the eye-sore of the world, and that which the kings and rulers of the world have always lift up their hands unto.

The first report of a new king of the Jews puts Herod and all Jerusalem into frights; and the power of this most glorious King of kings over the souls and consciences of men, or over their lives and worships, is still the white that all the princes of this world shoot at, and are enraged at the tidings of the true heir, the Lord Jesus, in his servants.

A twofold exaltation of Christ.

Truth. You well mind, dear Peace, a twofold exaltation of the Lord Jesus; one in the souls and spirits of men, and so he is exalted by all that truly love him, though yet remaining in Babel’s captivity, and before they hearken to the voice of the Lord, “Come forth of Babel, my people.”

A second exaltation of Christ Jesus, upon the throne of David his father, in his church and congregation, which is his spiritual kingdom here below.

The world stormeth at both.

I confess there is a tumultuous rage at his entrance into his throne in the soul and consciences of any of his chosen; but against his second exaltation in his true kingly power and government, either monarchical in himself, or ministerial in the hands of his ministers and churches, are mustered up, and shall be in the battles of Christ yet to be fought, all the powers of the gates of earth and hell.

A fourth difference.

But I shall mention one difference more between the[299] kings of Israel and Judah, and all other kings and rulers of the Gentiles.

Kings of Israel types.

Those kings as kings of Israel were all invested with a typical and figurative respect, with which now no civil power in the world can be invested.

They wore a double crown.

They wore a double crown: first, civil; secondly, spiritual: in which respect they typed out the spiritual king of Israel, Christ Jesus.

When I say they were types, I make them not in all respects so to be; but as kings and governors over the church and kingdom of God, therein types.

The saviours of the Jews, figures of the Saviour of the world.

Hence all those saviours and deliverers, which it pleased God to stir up extraordinarily to his people, Gideon, Baruc, Sampson, &c.; in that respect of their being saviours, judges, and deliverers of God’s people, so were they types of Jesus Christ, either monarchically ruling by himself immediately, or ministerially by such whom he pleaseth to send to vindicate the liberties and inheritances of his people.


Peace. It must needs be confessed, that since the kings of Israel were ceremonially anointed with oil: and—

Secondly, in that they sat upon the throne of David, which is expressly applied to Christ Jesus, Luke i. 32; Acts ii. 30; John i. 49, their crowns were figurative and ceremonial; but some here question, whether or no they were not types of civil powers and rulers now, when kings and queens shall be nursing fathers and nursing mothers, &c.


The monarchical and ministerial power of Christ.

Truth. For answer unto such, let them first remember that the dispute lies not concerning the monarchical power of the Lord Jesus, the power of making laws, and making ordinances to his saints and subjects; but concerning a deputed and ministerial power, and this distinction the very pope himself acknowledgeth.

Three great competitors for the ministerial power of Christ. The popes great pretenders for the ministerial power of Christ.

There are three great competitors for this deputed or ministerial power of the Lord Jesus.

First. The arch-vicar of Satan, the pretended vicar of Christ on earth, who sits as God over the temple of God, exalting himself not only above all that is called God, but over the souls and consciences of all his vassals, yea, over the Spirit of Christ, over the holy scriptures, yea, and God himself, Dan. viii. and xi., and Rev. xv., together with 2 Thess. ii.

They also upon the point challenge the monarchical also.

This pretender, although he professeth to claim but the ministerial power of Christ, to declare his ordinances, to preach, baptize, ordain ministers, and yet doth he upon the point challenge the monarchical or absolute power also, being full of self-exalting and blaspheming, Dan. vii. 25, and xi. 36; Rev. xiii. 6, speaking blasphemies against the God of heaven, thinking to change times and laws; but he is the son of perdition arising out of the bottomless pit, and comes to destruction, Rev. xvii., for so hath the Lord Jesus decreed to consume him by the breath of his mouth, 2 Thess. ii.

The second great pretender, the civil magistrate.

The second great competitor to this crown of the Lord Jesus is the civil magistrate, whether emperors, kings, or other inferior officers of state, who are made to believe, by the false prophets of the world, that they are the antitypes of the kings of Israel and Judah, and wear the crown of Christ.

Three great factions challenging an arm of flesh.

Under the wing of the civil magistrate do three great factions shelter themselves, and mutually oppose each[301] other, striving as for life who shall sit down under the shadow of that arm of flesh.

1. The prelacy.

First, the prelacy: who, though some extravagants of late have inclined to waive the king, and to creep under the wings of the pope, yet so far depends upon the king, that it is justly said they are the king’s bishops.

2. The presbytery. The pope and presbytery make use of the civil magistrate but as of an executioner.

Secondly, the presbytery: who, though in truth they ascribe not so much to the civil magistrate as some too grossly do, yet they give so much to the civil magistrate as to make him absolutely the head of the church: for, if they make him the reformer of the church, the suppressor of schismatics and heretics, the protector and defender of the church, &c., what is this, in true, plain English, but to make him the judge of the true and false church, judge of what is truth and what error, who is schismatical, who heretical? unless they make him only an executioner, as the pope doth in his punishing of heretics.

I doubt not but the aristocratical government of presbyterians may well subsist in a monarchy, not only regulated but also tyrannical; yet doth it more naturally delight in the element of an aristocratical government of state, and so may properly be said to be—as the prelates the king’s, so these—the state-bishop’s.

3. Independents. The independents: who come nearest to the bishops.

The third, though not so great, yet growing faction is that (so called) independent: I prejudice not the personal worth of any of the three sorts: this latter, as I believe this discourse hath manifested, jumps with the prelates, and, though not more fully, yet more explicitly than the presbyterians, cast down the crown of the Lord Jesus at the feet of the civil magistrate. And although they pretend to receive their ministry from the choice of two or three private persons in church covenant, yet would they fain persuade the mother of Old England to imitate her daughter New England’s practice, viz., to keep out the[302] presbyterians, and only to embrace themselves, both as the state’s and the people’s bishops.

The third competition, of those that separate.

The third competition for this crown and power of the Lord Jesus is of those that separate both from one and the other, yet divided also amongst themselves into many several professions.

Of these, they that go furthest profess they must yet come nearer to the ways of the Son of God: and doubtless, so far as they have gone, they bid the most, and make the fairest plea for the purity and power of Christ Jesus,—let the rest of the inhabitants of the world be judges.

Their nearer conformity to Christ. The churches of the separation ought in humanity and subjects’ liberty not to be oppressed, but (at least) permitted.

Let all the former well be viewed in their external state, pomp, riches, conformity to the world, &c. And on the other side, let the latter be considered, in their more thorough departure from sin and sinful worship, their condescending (generally) to the lowest and meanest contentments of this life, their exposing of themselves for Christ to greater sufferings, and their desiring no civil sword nor arm of flesh, but the two-edged sword of God’s Spirit to try out the matter by: and then let the inhabitants of the world judge which come nearest to the doctrine, holiness, poverty, patience, and practice of the Lord Jesus Christ; and whether or no these latter deserve not so much of humanity and subjects’ liberty, as (not offending the civil state) in the freedom of their souls, to enjoy the common air to breathe in.


CHAP. CXX.[224]

Peace. Dear Truth, you have shown me a little draught of Zion’s sorrows, her children tearing out their mother’s bowels. Oh! when will He that stablisheth, comforteth, and builds up Zion, look down from heaven, and have mercy on her? &c.

Truth. The vision yet doth tarry, saith Habakkuk, but will most surely come; and therefore the patient and believing must wait for it.

Seven reasons, proving that the kings of Israel and Judah cannot have any other but a spiritual antitype. Civil types and figures must needs be answered by spiritual antitypes.

But to your last proposition, whether the kings of Israel and Judah were not types of civil magistrates? Now, I suppose, by what hath been already spoken, these things will be evident:—

First. That those former types of the land, of the people, of their worships, were types and figures of a spiritual land, spiritual people, and spiritual worship under Christ. Therefore, consequently, their saviours, redeemers, deliverers, judges, kings, must also have their spiritual antitypes, and so consequently not civil but spiritual governors and rulers, lest the very essential nature of types, figures, and shadows be overthrown.

Civil compulsion was proper in the national church of the Jews, but most improper in the Christian, which is not national.

Secondly. Although the magistrate by a civil sword might well compel that national church to the external exercise of their national worship: yet it is not possible, according to the rule of the New Testament, to compel whole nations to true repentance and regeneration, without which (so far as may be discerned true) the worship and holy name of God is profaned and blasphemed.

An arm of flesh and sword of steel cannot reach to cut the darkness of the mind, the hardness and unbelief of the heart, and kindly operate upon the soul’s affections to forsake[304] a long-continued father’s worship, and to embrace a new, though the best and truest. This work performs alone that sword out of the mouth of Christ, with two edges, Rev. i. and iii.

Neither Christ Jesus nor his messengers have made the civil magistrate Israel’s antitype, but the contrary.

Thirdly. We have not one tittle, in the New Testament of Christ Jesus, concerning such a parallel, neither from himself nor from his ministers, with whom he conversed forty days after his resurrection, instructing them in the matters of his kingdom, Acts i. 3.

Neither find we any such commission or direction given to the civil magistrate to this purpose, nor to the saints for their submission in matters spiritual, but the contrary, Acts iv. and v.; 1 Cor. vii. 23; Col. ii. 18.

Civil magistracy essentially civil, and the same in all parts of the world.

Fourthly. We have formerly viewed the very matter and essence of a civil magistrate, and find it the same in all parts of the world, wherever people live upon the face of the earth, agreeing together in towns, cities, provinces, kingdoms:—I say the same essentially civil, both from, 1. The rise and fountain whence it springs, to wit, the people’s choice and free consent. 2. The object of it, viz., the commonweal, or safety of such a people in their bodies and goods, as the authors of this model have themselves confessed.

Christianity adds not to the nature of a civil commonweal, nor doth want of Christianity diminish it.

This civil nature of the magistrate we have proved to receive no addition of power from the magistrate being a Christian, no more than it receives diminution from his not being a Christian, even as the commonweal is a true commonweal, although it have not heard of Christianity; and Christianity professed in it, as in Pergamos, Ephesus, &c., makes it never no more a commonweal; and Christianity taken away, and the candlestick removed, makes it nevertheless a commonweal.

Rom. xiii. evidently proves the civil work and wages of the civil magistrate.

Fifthly. The Spirit of God expressly relates the work of the civil magistrate under the gospel, Rom. xiii.,[305] expressly mentioning, as the magistrates’ object, the duties of the second table, concerning the bodies and goods of the subject.

2. The reward or wages which people owe for such a work, to wit, not the contribution of the church for any spiritual work, but tribute, toll, custom, which are wages payable by all sorts of men, natives and foreigners, who enjoy the same benefit of public peace and commerce in the nation.

Most strange, yet most true consequences from the civil magistrates now being the antitype of the kings of Israel and Judah.

Sixthly. Since civil magistrates, whether kings or parliaments, states, and governors, can receive no more in justice than what the people give: and are, therefore, but the eyes, and hands, and instruments of the people, simply considered, without respect to this or that religion; it must inevitably follow, as formerly I have touched, that if magistrates have received their power from the people, then the greatest number of the people of every land has received from Christ Jesus a power to establish, correct, reform his saints and servants, his wife and spouse, the church: and she that by the express word of the Lord, Ps. cxlix. 8, binds kings in chains, and nobles in links of iron, must herself be subject to the changeable pleasures of the people of the world, which lies in wickedness, 1 John v. 19, even in matters of heavenly and spiritual nature.

Hence, therefore, in all controversies concerning the church, ministry and worship, the last appeal must come to the bar of the people or commonweal, where all may personally meet, as in some commonweals of small number, or in greater by their representatives.

If no religion but that which the commonweal approves, then no Christ, no God, but at the pleasure of this world, 2 John 9.

Hence, then, no person esteemed a believer, and added to the church:—

No officer chosen and ordained:—

No person cast forth and excommunicated, but as the[306] commonweal and people please; and in conclusion, no church of Christ in this land or world, and consequently no visible Christ the head of it. Yea, yet higher, consequently no God in the world worshipped according to the institutions of Christ Jesus—except the several peoples of the nations of the world shall give allowance.

Peace. Dear Truth, oh! whither have our forefathers and teachers led us? Higher than to God himself, by these doctrines driven out of the world, you cannot rise: and yet so high must the inevitable and undeniable consequences of these their doctrines reach, if men walk by their own common principles.

The true antitype of the kings of Israel and Judah.

Truth. I may therefore here seasonably add a seventh, which is a necessary consequence of all the former arguments, and an argument itself: viz., we find expressly a spiritual power of Christ Jesus in the hands of his saints, ministers, and churches, to be the true antitype of those former figures in all the prophecies concerning Christ’s spiritual power, Isa. ix., Dan. vii., Mich. iv., &c., compared with Luke i. 32, Acts ii. 30, 1 Cor. v., Matt. xviii., Mark xiii. 34, &c.


Peace. Glorious and conquering Truth, methinks I see most evidently thy glorious conquests: how mighty are thy spiritual weapons, 2 Cor. x. 4, to break down those mighty and strong holds and castles, which men have fortified themselves withal against thee? Oh! that even the thoughts of men may submit and bow down to the captivity of Jesus Christ!

A fourth difference of laws and statutes from all others.

Truth. Your kind encouragement makes me proceed more cheerfully to a fourth difference from the laws and[307] statutes of this land, different from all the laws and statutes of the world, and paralleled only by the laws and ordinances of spiritual Israel.

Moses a type of Christ.

First, then, consider we the law-maker, or rather the law-publisher, or prophet, as Moses calls himself, Deut. xviii. [15,] and Acts iii. [22,] he is expressly called that prophet who figured out Christ Jesus who was to come like unto Moses, greater than Moses, as the son is greater than the servant.

Such lawgivers, or law-publishers, never had any state or people as Moses the type, or Christ Jesus, miraculously stirred up and sent as the mouth of God between God and his people.

The laws of Israel unparalleled.

Secondly, concerning the laws themselves: it is true, the second table contains the law of nature, the law moral and civil, yet such a law was also given to this people as never to any people in the world: such was the law of worship, Ps. cxlvii., peculiarly given to Jacob, and God did not deal so with other nations: which laws for the matter of the worship in all those wonderful significant sacrifices, and for the manner by such a priesthood, such a place of tabernacle, and afterward of temple, such times and solemnities of festivals, were never to be paralleled by any other nation, but only by the true Christian Israel established by Jesus Christ amongst Jews and Gentiles throughout the world.

God’s own finger penned laws for Israel.

Thirdly, the law of the ten words, Deut. x., the epitome of all the rest, it pleased the most high God to frame and pen twice, with his own most holy and dreadful finger, upon Mount Sinai, which he never did to any other nation before or since, but only to that spiritual Israel, the people and the church of God, in whose hearts of flesh he writes his laws, according to Jer. xxxi., Heb. viii. and x.


Peace. Such promulgation of such laws, by such a prophet, must needs be matchless and unparalleled.

Fifth difference.

Truth. In the fifth place, consider we the punishments and rewards annexed to the breach or observation of these laws.

Temporal prosperity most proper to the temporal national state of the Jews.

First, those which were of a temporal and present consideration of this life: blessings and curses of all sorts opened at large, Lev. xxvi. and Deut. xxviii., which cannot possibly be made good in any state, country, or kingdom, but in a spiritual sense in the church and kingdom of Christ.

The spiritual prosperity of God’s people now, the antitype.

The reason is this: such a temporal prosperity of outward peace and plenty of all things, of increase of children, of cattle, of honour, of health, of success, of victory, suits not temporally with the afflicted and persecuted estate of God’s people now: and therefore spiritual and soul-blessedness must be the antitype, viz., in the midst of revilings, and all manner of evil speeches for Christ’s sake, soul-blessedness. In the midst of afflictions and persecutions, soul-blessedness, Matt. v. and Luke vi. And yet herein the Israel of God should enjoy their spiritual peace, Gal. vi. 16.

What Israel’s excommunication was.

Out of that blessed temporal estate to be cast, or carried captive, was their excommunication or casting out of God’s sight, 2 Kings xvii. 23. Therefore was the blasphemer, the false prophet, the idolater, to be cast out or cut off from this holy land: which punishment cannot be paralleled by the punishment of any state or kingdom in the world, but only by the excommunicating or out-casting of person or church from the fellowship of the saints and churches of Christ Jesus in the gospel.

The corporal stoning in the law, typed out spiritual stoning in the gospel.

And therefore, as before I have noted, the putting away of the false prophet, by stoning him to death, Deut. xiii., is fitly answered, and that in the very same words, in the[309] antitype: when, by the general consent or stoning of the whole assembly, any wicked person is put away from amongst them, that is, spiritually cut off out of the land of the spiritually living, the people or church of God, 1 Cor. v., Gal. v.

The rewards or punishments of the laws of Israel not to be paralleled.

Lastly, the great and high reward or punishment of the keeping or breach of these laws to Israel, was such as cannot suit with any state or kingdom in the world beside. The reward of the observation was life, eternal life. The breach of any one of these laws was death, eternal death, or damnation from the presence of the Lord. So Rom. x., James ii. Such a covenant God made not before nor since with any state or people in the world. For, Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth, Rom. x. 4. And, he that believeth in that Son of God, hath eternal life; he that believeth not hath not life, but is condemned already, John iii. and 1 John v.


The wars of Israel typical.

Peace. Dear Truth, you have most lively set forth the unparalleled state of that typical land and people of the Jews in their peace and quiet government: let me now request you, in the last place, to glance at the difference of the wars of this people from the wars of other nations, and of their having no antitype but the churches of Christ Jesus.

Israel’s enemies round about.

[Truth.] First, all nations round about Israel, more or less, some time or other, had indignation against this people—Egyptians, Edomites, Moabites, Ammonites, Midians, Philistines, Assyrians, and Babylonians, &c., as appears in the history of Moses, Samuel, Judges, and Kings, and[310] in all the prophets: you have an express catalogue of them, Ps. lxxxiii., sometimes many hundred thousand enemies in pitched field against them: of Ethiopians ten hundred thousand at once in the days of Asa, 2 Chron. xiv. [9,] and at other times as the sand upon the sea shore.

The enemies of mystical Israel.

Such enemies the Lord Jesus foretold his Israel, The world shall hate you, John xv. [18, 19.] You shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake, Matt. xxiv. [9.] All that will live godly in Christ Jesus must be persecuted, or hunted, 2 Tim. iii. [12.] And not only by flesh and blood, but also by principalities, powers, spiritual wickedness in high places, Eph. vi. [12,] by the whole pagan world under the Roman emperors, and the whole anti-christian world under the Roman popes, Rev. xii. and xiii., by the kings of the earth, Rev. xvii. And Gog and Magog, like the sand upon the shore, (Rev. xx.)

Peace. Such enemies, such armies, no history, no experience proves ever to have come against one poor nation as against Israel in the type; and never was nor shall be known to come against any state or country now, but the Israel of God, the spiritual Jews, Christ’s true followers in all parts and quarters of the world.

Enemies against Israel in her own bowels.

[Truth.] Beside all these without, Israel is betrayed within her own bowels: bloody Sauls, Absaloms, Shebas, Adonijahs, Jeroboams, Athaliahs, raising insurrections, conspiracies, tumults, in the antitype and parallel, the spiritual state of the Christian church.

Secondly, consider we the famous and wonderful battles, victories, captivities, deliverances, which it pleased the God of Israel to dispense to that people and nation, and let us search if they can be paralleled by any state or people, but mystically and spiritually the true Christian Israel of God, Gal. vi. 16.


The famous typical captivities of the Jews.

How famous was the bondage and slavery of that people and nation 430 years in the land of Egypt, and as famous, glorious, and miraculous was their return through the Red Sea, a figure of baptism, 1 Cor. x. [2,] and Egypt a figure of an Egypt now, Rev. xi. 8.

How famous was the seventy years’ captivity of the Jews in Babel, transported from the land of Canaan, and at the full period returned again to Jerusalem, a type of the captivity of God’s people now, spiritually captivated in spiritual Babel, Rev. xviii. 4.

Their wonderful victories.

Time would fail me to speak of Joshua’s conquest of literal Canaan, the slaughter of thirty-one kings, of the miraculous taking of Jericho and other cities: Gideon’s miraculous battle against the Midianites: Jonathan and his armour-bearer against the Philistines: David, by his five smooth stones against Goliah: Asa, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, their mighty and miraculous victories against so many hundred thousand enemies, and that sometimes without a blow given.

What state, what kingdom, what wars and combats, victories and deliverances, can parallel this people, but the spiritual and mystical Israel of God in every nation and country of the world, typed out by that small typical handful, in that little spot of ground, the land of Canaan?

The mystical battles of God’s Israel now.

The Israel of God now, men and women, fight under the great Lord General, the Lord Jesus Christ: their weapons, armour, and artillery, are like themselves, spiritual, set forth from top to toe, Eph. vi.; so mighty and so potent that they break down the strongest holds and castles, yea, in the very souls of men, and carry into captivity the very thoughts of men, subjecting them to Christ Jesus. They are spiritual conquerors, as in all the seven churches of Asia, He that overcometh: He that overcometh, Rev. ii. and iii.


Their victories and conquests in this country are contrary to those of this world, for when they are slain and slaughtered, yet then they conquer. So overcame they the devil in the Roman emperors, Rev. xii. [11,] By the blood of the Lamb: 2. By the word of their testimony: 3. The cheerful spilling of their own blood for Christ; for they loved not their lives unto the death: and in all this they are more than conquerors through him that loved them, Rom. viii. 37.

The mystical army of white troopers, Rev. xix.

This glorious army of white troopers, horses and harness—Christ Jesus and his true Israel, Rev. xix.—gloriously conquer and overcome the beast, the false prophet, and the kings of the earth, up in arms against them, Rev. xix.; and, lastly, reigning with Christ a thousand years, they conquer the devil himself, and the numberless armies, like the sand on the sea shore, of Gog and Magog: and yet not a tittle of mention of any sword, helmet, breastplate, shield, or horse, but what is spiritual and of a heavenly nature. All which wars of Israel have been, may be, and shall be fulfilled mystically and spiritually.

I could further insist on other particulars of Israel’s unparalleled state, and might display those excellent passages which it pleaseth God to mention, Neh. ix.


Peace. You have, dear Truth, as in a glass, presented the face of old and new Israel, and as in water face answereth to face, so doth the face of typical Israel to the face of the antitype, between whom, and not between Canaan and the civil nations and countries of the world[313] now, there is an admirable consent and harmony. But I have heard some say, was not the civil state and judicials of that people precedential?

Whether the civil state of Israel was precedential.

Truth. I have in part, and might farther discover, that from the king and his throne to the very beasts, yea, [to] the excrements of their bodies (as we see in their going to war, Deut. xxiii. 12,) their civils, morals, and naturals were carried on in types; and however I acknowledge that what was simply moral, civil, and natural in Israel’s state, in their constitutions, laws, punishments, may be imitated and followed by the states, countries, cities, and kingdoms of the world: yet who can question the lawfulness of other forms of government, laws, and punishments which differ, since civil constitutions are men’s ordinances (or creation, 2 Pet. ii. 13), unto which God’s people are commanded even for the Lord’s sake to submit themselves, which if they were unlawful they ought not to do?

Peace. Having thus far proceeded in examining whether God hath charged the civil state with the establishing of the spiritual and religious, what conceive you of that next assertion, viz., “It is well known that the remissness of princes in Christendom in matters of religion and worship, devolving the care thereof only to the clergy, and so setting their horns upon the church’s head, hath been the cause of anti-christian invention, usurpation, and corruption in the worship and temple of God.”

The true Christendom.

Truth. It is lamentably come to pass by God’s just permission, Satan’s policy, the people’s sin, the malice of the wicked against Christ, and the corruption of princes and magistrates, that so many inventions, usurpations, and corruptions are risen in the worship and temple of God, throughout that part of the world which is called Christian, and may most properly be called the pope’s Christendom in opposition to Christ Jesus’s true Christian commonweal,[314] or church, the true Christendom; but that this hath arisen from princes’ remissness in not keeping their watch to establish the purity of religion, doctrine, and worship, and to punish, according to Israel’s pattern, all false ministers, by rooting them and their worships out of the world, that, I say, can never be evinced; and the many thousands of glorious souls under the altar whose blood hath been spilt by this position, and the many hundred thousand souls, driven out of their bodies by civil wars, and the many millions of souls forced to hypocrisy and ruin eternal, by enforced uniformities in worship, will to all eternity proclaim the contrary.

Great unfaithfulness in ministers to cast the chiefest burden of judging and establishing true Christianity upon the commonweal or world itself.

Indeed, it shows a most injurious idleness and unfaithfulness in such as profess to be messengers of Christ Jesus, to cast the heaviest weight of their care upon the kings and rulers of the earth, yea, upon the very commonweals, bodies of people, that is, the world itself, who have fundamentally in themselves the root of power, to set up what government and governors they shall agree upon.

Secondly, it shows abundance of carnal diffidence and distrust of the glorious power and gracious presence of the Lord Jesus, who hath given his promise and word to be with such his messengers to the end of the world, Matt. xxviii. 20.

That dog that fears to meet a man in the path, runs on with boldness at his master’s coming and presence at his back.

To govern and judge in civil affairs load enough on the civil magistrate. Magistrates can have no more power than the common consent of the people shall betrust them with.

Thirdly, what imprudence and indiscretion is it in the most common affairs of life, to conceive that emperors, kings, and rulers of the earth, must not only be qualified with political and state abilities to make and execute such civil laws which may concern the common rights, peace, and safety, which is work and business, load and burden enough for the ablest shoulders in the commonweal; but[315] also furnished with such spiritual and heavenly abilities to govern the spiritual and Christian commonweal, the flock and church of Christ, to pull down, and set up religion, to judge, determine, and punish in spiritual controversies, even to death or banishment. And, beside, that not only the several sorts of civil officers, which the people shall choose and set up, must be so authorized, but that all respective commonweals or bodies of people are charged (much more) by God with this work and business, radically and fundamentally, because all true civil magistrates, have not the least inch of civil power, but what is measured out to them from the free consent of the whole: even as a committee of parliament cannot further act than the power of the house shall arm and enable them.

Thousands of lawful magistrates, who never hear of the true church of God.

Concerning that objection which may arise from the kings of Israel and Judah, who were born members of God’s church, and trained up therein all their days, which thousands of lawful magistrates in the world, possibly born and bred in false worships, pagan or anti-christian, never heard of, and were therein types of the great anointed, the King of Israel, I have spoken sufficiently to such as have an ear to hear: and therefore,

The spiritual and civil sword cannot be managed by one and the same person. The Lord Jesus refused to manage both.

Lastly, so unsuitable is the commixing and entangling of the civil with the spiritual charge and government, that (except it was for subsistence, as we see in Paul and Barnabas working with their own hands) the Lord Jesus, and his apostles, kept themselves to one. If ever any in this world was able to manage both the spiritual and civil, church and commonweal, it was the Lord Jesus, wisdom itself: yea, he was the true heir to the crown of Israel, being the son of David: yet being sought for by the people to be made a king, John vi. [15,] he refused, and would not give a precedent to any king, prince, or ruler, to manage both swords, and to assume the charge of both tables.


Now concerning princes, I desire it may be remembered, who were most injurious and dangerous to Christianity, whether Nero, Domitian, Julian, &c., persecutors: or Constantine, Theodosius, &c., who assumed this power and authority in and over the church in spiritual things. It is confessed by the answerer and others of note, that under these latter, the church, the Christian state, religion, and worship, were most corrupted: under Constantine, Christians fell asleep on the beds of carnal ease and liberty; insomuch that some apply to his times that sleep of the church, Cant. v. 2, I sleep, though mine heart waketh.[225]


Peace. Yea; but some will say, this was not through their assuming of this power, but the ill-managing of it.

Truth. Yet are they commonly brought as the great precedents for all succeeding princes and rulers in after ages: and in this very controversy, their practices are brought as precedential to establish persecution for conscience.

Who force the consciences of others, yet are not willing to be forced themselves.

Secondly, those emperors and other princes and magistrates acted in religion according to their consciences’ persuasion, and beyond the light and persuasion of conscience can no man living walk in any fear of God. Hence have they forced their subjects to uniformity and conformity unto their own consciences, whatever they were, though not willing to have been forced themselves in the matters of God and conscience.


Constantine and others wanted not so much affection as information of conscience.

Thirdly, had not the light of their eye of conscience, and the consciences also of their teachers, been darkened, they could not have been condemned for want of heavenly affection, rare devotion, wonderful care and diligence, propounding to themselves the best patterns of the kings of Judah, David, Solomon, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Josiah, Hezekiah. But here they lost the path, and themselves, in persuading themselves to be the parallels and antitypes to those figurative and typical princes: whence they conceived themselves bound to make their cities, kingdoms, empires, new holy lands of Canaan, and themselves governors and judges in spiritual causes, compelling all consciences to Christ, and persecuting the contrary with fire and sword.

Sad consequences of charging the civil powers with the care of spirituals.

Upon these roots, how was, how is it possible, but that such bitter fruits should grow of corruption of Christianity, persecution of such godly who happily see more of Christ than such rulers themselves: their dominions and jurisdictions being overwhelmed with enforced dissimulation and hypocrisy, and (where power of resistance) with flames of civil combustion: as at this very day, he that runs may read and tremble at?

Peace. They add further, that the princes of Christendom setting their horns upon the church’s head, have been the cause of anti-christian inventions, &c.

Civil rulers giving and lending their horns or authority to bishops, both dangerous to the truth of Christ. The spiritual power of the Lord Jesus compared in scripture to the incomparable horn of the rhinoceros.

Truth. If they mean that the princes of Europe, giving their power and authority to the seven-headed and ten-horned beast of Rome, have been the cause, &c., I confess it to be one concurring cause: yet withal it must be remembered, that even before such princes set their horns, or authority, upon the beast’s head, even when they did, as I may say, but lend their horns to the bishops, even then rose up many anti-christian abominations. And though I confess there is but small difference, in some[318] respects, between the setting their horns upon the priests’ heads, whereby they are enabled immediately to push and gore whoever cross their doctrine and practice, and the lending of their horns, that is, pushing and goring such themselves, as are declared by their bishops and priests to be heretical, as was and is practised in some countries before and since the pope rose: yet I confidently affirm, that neither the Lord Jesus nor his first ordained ministers and churches (gathered by such ministers), did ever wear, or crave the help of such horns in spiritual and Christian affairs. The spiritual power of the Lord Jesus in the hands of his true ministers and churches, according to Balaam’s prophecy, Num. xxiii., is the horn of that unicorn, or rhinoceros, Ps. xcii. [10,] which is the strongest horn in the world: in comparison of which the strongest horns of the bulls of Bashan break as sticks and reeds. History tells us how that unicorn, or one-horned beast the rhinoceros, took up a bull like a tennis ball, in the theatre at Rome, before the emperor, according to that record of the poet:[226]

Quantus erat cornu cui pila taurus erat!

Unto this spiritual power of the Lord Jesus, the souls and thoughts of the highest kings and emperors must [be] subject, Matt. xvi. and xviii., 1 Cor. v. and x.


Peace. Dear Truth, you know the noise is made from those prophecies, Isaiah xlix. 23, kings and queens shall be[319] nursing fathers, &c., and Rev. xxi. 24, the kings of the earth shall bring their glory and honour to the new Jerusalem, &c.

A time when God’s people are wholly at a loss for God’s worship.

Truth. I answer with that mournful prophet, Ps. lxxiv., I see not that man, that prophet, that can tell us how long. How many excellent penmen fight each against other with their pens (like swords) in the application of those prophecies of David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Zechariah, John, when and how those prophecies shall be fulfilled!

Nursing fathers and mothers.

Secondly, whenever those prophecies are fulfilled, yet shall those kings not be heads, governors, and judges in ecclesiastical or spiritual causes; but be themselves judged and ruled, if within the church, by the power of the Lord Jesus therein. Hence saith Isaiah, those kings and queens shall lick the dust of thy feet, &c.

Peace. Some will here ask, What may the magistrate then lawfully do with his civil horn, or power, in matters of religion?

The civil horn or power being of a human constitution cannot but be of a human operation.

Truth. His horn not being the horn of that unicorn, or rhinoceros, the power of the Lord Jesus in spiritual cases: his sword not the two-edged sword of the Spirit, the word of God, hanging not about the loins or side, but at the lips, and proceeding out of the mouth of his ministers, but of a human and civil nature and constitution; it must consequently be of a human and civil operation: for who knows not that operation follows constitution? and therefore I shall end this passage with this consideration:

The civil power owes three things to the true church of Christ.

The civil magistrate either respecteth that religion and worship which his conscience is persuaded is true, and upon which he ventures his soul: or else that and those which he is persuaded are false.

Concerning the first; if that which the magistrate[320] believeth to be true, be true, I say he owes a threefold duty unto it:

1. Approbation.

First, Approbation and countenance, a reverent esteem and honourable testimony, according to Isaiah xlix., Rev. xxi., with a tender respect of truth, and the professors of it.

2. Submission.

Secondly, Personal submission of his own soul to the power of the Lord Jesus in that spiritual government and kingdom, according to Matt. xviii., 1 Cor. v.

3. Protection.

Thirdly, Protection of such true professors of Christ, whether apart, or met together, as also of their estates from violence and injury, according to Rom. xiii.

The civil magistrate owes to false worshippers.

Now secondly, if it be a false religion, unto which the civil magistrate dare not adjoin: yet, he owes,

1. Permission.

First, Permission, for approbation he owes not to what is evil, and this according to Matt. xiii. 30, for public peace and quiet’s sake.

2. Protection.

Secondly, he owes protection to the persons of his subjects, though of a false worship, that no injury be offered either to the persons or goods of any, Rom. xiii.

Peace. Dear Truth, in this eleventh head concerning the magistrates’ power in worship, you have examined what is affirmed the magistrate may do in point of worship; there remains a second, to wit, that which they say the magistrate may not do in worship.

They say, “The magistrate may not bring in set forms of prayer: nor secondly, bring in significant ceremonies: nor thirdly, not govern and rule the acts of worship in the church of God;” for which they bring an excellent similitude of a prince or magistrate in a ship, where he hath no governing power over the actions of the mariners: and secondly, that excellent prophecy concerning Christ Jesus, that his government should be upon his shoulders, Isa. ix. 6, 7.


The civil magistrate’s conscience torn and distracted between the divers and contrary affirmations, even of the most godly reformers.

Truth. Unto all this I willingly subscribe: yet can I not pass by a most injurious and unequal practice toward the civil magistrate: ceremonies, holy days, common prayer, and whatever else dislikes their consciences, that the magistrate must not bring in. Others again, as learned, as godly, as wise, have conceived the magistrate may approve or permit these in the church, and all men are bound in obedience to obey him. How shall the magistrate’s conscience be herein (between both) torn and distracted, if indeed the power either of establishing or abolishing in church matters be committed to him!

The authors of these positions deal with the civil magistrate as the soldiers dealt with the Lord Jesus.

Secondly, methinks in this case they deal with the civil magistrate as the soldiers dealt with the Lord Jesus: First, they take off his own clothes, and put upon him a purple robe, plat a crown of thorns on his head, bow the knee, and salute him by the name of King of the Jews.

They tell him that he is the keeper of both tables, he must see the church do her duty, he must establish the true church, true ministry, true ordinances, he must keep her in this purity. Again, he must abolish superstition, and punish false churches, false ministers, even to banishment and death.

The rise of high commissions.

Thus indeed do they make the blood run down the head of the civil magistrate, from the thorny vexation of that power which sometimes they crown him with; whence in great states, kingdoms, or monarchies, necessarily arise delegations of that spiritual power, high commissions, &c.

Pious magistrates and ministers’ consciences are persuaded for that which other magistrates’ consciences condemn.

Anon again they take off this purple robe, put him into his own clothes, and tell him that he hath no power to command what is against their conscience. They cannot conform to a set form of prayer, nor to ceremonies, nor holy days, &c., although the civil magistrate (that most pious prince, Edw. VI., and his famous bishops, afterwards[322] burnt for Christ) were of another conscience. Which of these two consciences shall stand? if either, [the] magistrate must put forth his civil power in these cases: the strongest arm of flesh, and most conquering, bloody sword of steel can alone decide the question.

To profess the magistrate must force the church to her duty, and yet must not judge what that is, what is it but to play in spiritual things?

I confess it is most true, that no magistrate, as no other superior, is to be obeyed in any matter displeasing to God: yet, when in matters of worship we ascribe the absolute headship and government to the magistrate, as to keep the church pure, and force her to her duty, ministers and people, and yet take unto ourselves power to judge what is right in our own eyes, and to judge the magistrate in and for those very things wherein we confess he hath power to see us do our duty, and therefore consequently must judge what our duty is: what is this but to play with magistrates, with the souls of men, with heaven, with God, with Christ Jesus? &c.


An apt similitude discussed, concerning the civil magistrate.

Peace. Pass on, holy Truth, to that similitude whereby they illustrate that negative assertion: “The prince in the ship,” say they, “is governor over the bodies of all in the ship; but he hath no power to govern the ship or the mariners in the actions of it. If the pilot manifestly err in his action, the prince may reprove him,” and so, say they, may any passenger; “if he offend against the life or goods of any, the prince may in due time and place punish him, which no private person may.”

Truth. Although, dear Peace, we both agree that civil powers may not enjoin such devices, no nor enforce on any God’s institutions, since Christ Jesus’s coming: yet,[323] for further illustration, I shall propose some queries concerning the civil magistrate’s passing in the ship of the church, wherein Christ Jesus hath appointed his ministers and officers as governors and pilots, &c.

First query: what if the prince command the master or pilot to steer such a course, which they know will never bring them to the harbour?

If in a ship at sea, wherein the governor or pilot of a ship undertakes to carry the ship to such a port, the civil magistrate (suppose a king or emperor) shall command the master such and such a course, to steer upon such or such a point, which the master knows is not their course, and which if they steer he shall never bring the ship to that port or harbour: what shall the master do? Surely all men will say, the master of the ship or pilot is to present reasons and arguments from his mariner’s art, if the prince be capable of them, or else in humble and submissive manner to persuade the prince not to interrupt them in their course and duty properly belonging to them, to wit, governing of the ship, steering of the course, &c.

2. Query, If the master of the ship command the mariners thus, and the prince command the contrary, who is to be obeyed?

If the master of the ship command the mariners thus and thus, in cunning the ship, managing the helm, trimming the sail, and the prince command the mariners a different or contrary course, who is to be obeyed?

It is confessed that the mariners may lawfully disobey the prince, and obey the governor of the ship in the actions of the ship.

3. If the prince have as much skill as the master or pilot, &c.

Thirdly, what if the prince have as much skill, which is rare, as the pilot himself? I conceive it will be answered, that the master of the ship and pilot, in what concerns the ship, are chief and above, in respect of their office, the prince himself, and their commands ought to be attended by all the mariners: unless it be in manifest error, wherein it is granted any passenger may reprove the pilot.

4. Query, Whether the meanest sailor (in respect of his skill and service) be not to be preferred before the prince himself?

Fourthly, I ask, if the prince and his attendants be unskilful in the ship’s affairs, whether every sailor and mariner, the youngest and lowest, be not, so far as concerns[324] the ship, to be preferred before the prince’s followers, and the prince himself? and their counsel and advice more to be attended to, and their service more to be desired and respected, and the prince to be requested to stand by and let the business alone in their hands?

5. Query.

Fifthly, in case a wilful king and his attendants, out of opinion of their skill, or wilfulness of passion, would so steer the course, trim sail, &c., as that in the judgment of the master and seamen the ship and lives shall be endangered: whether, in case humble persuasions prevail not, ought not the ship’s company to refuse to act in such a course, yea, and, in case power be in their hands, resist and suppress these dangerous practices of the prince and his followers, and so save the ship?

6. Query, Whether, if the master of the ship gratify the prince to the casting away of the ship and prince, &c., he be not guilty, and liable to answer?

Lastly, suppose the master, out of base fear and cowardice, or covetous desire of reward, shall yield to gratify the mind of the prince, contrary to the rules of art and experience, &c., and the ship come in danger, and perish, and the prince with it: if the master get to shore, whether may he not be justly questioned, yea, and suffer as guilty of the prince’s death, and those that perished with him? These cases are clear, wherein, according to this similitude, the prince ought not to govern and rule the actions of the ship, but such whose office, and charge, and skill it is.

The application in general of the ship to the church, &c.

The result of all is this: the church of Christ is the ship, wherein the prince—if a member, for otherwise the case is altered—is a passenger. In this ship the officers and governors, such as are appointed by the Lord Jesus, they are the chief, and in those respects above the prince himself, and are to be obeyed and submitted to in their works and administrations, even before the prince himself.

The meanest Christian according to his knowledge and grace to be preferred before the highest, who have received none or less grace of Christ.

In this respect every Christian in the church, man or woman, if of more knowledge and grace of Christ, ought to be of higher esteem, concerning religion and Christianity,[325] than all the princes in the world who have either none or less grace or knowledge of Christ: although in civil things all civil reverence, honour, and obedience ought to be yielded by all men.

A true minister of Christ ought to walk by another rule than the command of civil authority in spiritual causes.

Therefore, if in matters of religion the king command what is contrary to Christ’s rule, though according to his persuasion and conscience, who sees not that, according to the similitude, he ought not to be obeyed? Yea, and (in case) boldly, with spiritual force and power, he ought to be resisted. And if any officer of the church of Christ shall out of baseness yield to the command of the prince, to the danger of the church and souls committed to his charge, the souls that perish, notwithstanding the prince’s command, shall be laid to his charge.

Former positions compared with this similitude, and found to contradict each other.

If so, then I rejoin thus: how agree these truths of this similitude with those former positions, viz., that the civil magistrate is keeper of both tables, that he is to see the church do her duty, that he ought to establish the true religion, suppress and punish the false, and so consequently must discern, judge, and determine what the true gathering and governing of the church is, what the duty of every minister of Christ is, what the true ordinances are, and what the true administrations of them; and where men fail, correct, punish, and reform by the civil sword? I desire it may be answered, in the fear and presence of Him whose eyes are as a flame of fire, if this be not—according to the similitude, though contrary to their scope in proposing of it—to be governor of the ship of the church, to see the master, pilot, and mariners do their duty, in setting the course, steering the ship, trimming the sails, keeping the watch, &c., and where they fail, to punish them; and therefore, by undeniable consequence, to judge and determine what their duties are, when they do right, and when they do wrong: and this not only to manifest error, (for[326] then they say every passenger may reprove) but in their ordinary course and practice.

The similitude of the magistrate prescribing to the physician in civil things, but the physician to the magistrate concerning his body.

The similitude of a physician obeying the prince in the body politic, but prescribing to the prince concerning the prince’s body, wherein the prince, unless the physician manifestly err, is to be obedient to the physician, and not to be judge of the physician in his art, but to be ruled and judged as touching the state of his body by the physician:—I say this similitude and many others suiting with the former of a ship, might be alleged to prove the distinction of the civil and spiritual estate, and that according to the rule of the Lord Jesus in the gospel, the civil magistrate is only to attend the calling of the civil magistracy concerning the bodies and goods of the subjects, and is himself, if a member of the church and within, subject to the power of the Lord Jesus therein, as any member of the church is, 1 Cor. v.


Peace. Dear Truth, you have uprightly and aptly untied the knots of that eleventh head; let me present you with the twelfth head, which is,

Concerning the magistrates’ power in the censures of the church.

The twelfth head examined.

“First,” say they, “he hath no power to execute, or to substitute any civil officer to execute, any church censure, under the notion of civil or ecclesiastical men.

“Secondly, though a magistrate may immediately civilly censure such an offender, whose secret sins are made manifest by their casting out to be injurious to the good of the state, yet such offences of excommunicate persons, which[327] manifestly hurt not the good of the state, he ought not to proceed against them, sooner or later, until the church hath made her complaint to him, and given in their just reasons for help from them. For to give liberty to magistrates, without exception, to punish all excommunicate persons within so many months, may prove injurious to the person who needs, to the church who may desire, and to God who calls for longer indulgence from the hands of them.

“Thirdly, for persons not excommunicate, the magistrate hath no power immediately to censure such offences of the church members by the power of the sword, but only for such as do immediately hurt the peace of the state: because the proper end of civil government being the preservation of the peace and welfare of the state, they ought not to break down those bounds, and so to censure immediately for such sins which hurt not their peace.

“Hence, first, magistrates have no power to censure for secret sins, as deadness [or] unbelief, because they are secret, and not yet come forth immediately to hurt the peace of the state; we say immediately, for every sin, even original sin, remotely hurts the civil state.

“Secondly, hence they have no power to censure for such private sins in church members, which being not heinous may be best healed in a private way by the churches themselves. For that which may be best healed by the church, and yet is prosecuted by the state, may make a deeper wound and greater rent in the peace both of church and state: the magistrates also being members of the church, are bound to the rule of Christ, viz., not to produce any thing in public against a brother, which may be best healed in a private way.

“Now we call that private,


“First, which is only remaining in families, not known of others: and therefore a magistrate to hear and prosecute the complaint of children against their parents, servants against masters, wives against their husbands, without acquainting the church first, transgresseth the rule of Christ.

“Secondly, that which is between members of the same church, or of divers churches: for it was a double fault of the Corinthians, 1 Cor. vi., first to go to law, secondly, to do it before an infidel, seeing the church was able to judge of such kind of differences by some arbitrators among themselves. So that the magistrates should refer the differences of church members to private healing, and try that way first: by means whereof the churches should be free from much scandal, and the state from much trouble, and the hearts of the godly from much grief in beholding such breaches.

“Thirdly, such offences which the conscience of a brother dealing with another privately, dares not as yet publish openly, coming to the notice of the magistrate accidentally, he ought not to make public as yet, nor to require the grand jury to present the same, no more than the other private brother, who is dealing with him, until he see some issue of the private way.

“Thirdly, hence they have no power to put any to an oath, ex officio, to accuse themselves, or the brethren, in case either criminis suspecti, or prætensi, because this preserves not, but hurts many ways the peace of the state, and abuseth the ordinance of an oath, which is ordained to end controversies, not to begin them, Heb. vi. 16.

“Fourthly, hence they have no power to censure any for such offences as break either no civil law of God, or law of the state published according to it: for the peace of the state being preserved by wholesome laws, when they are not hurt, the peace is not hurt.”


Truth. In this passage, as I said before, I observe how weakly and partially they deal with the souls of magistrates, in telling them they are the guardians of both tables, must see the church do her duty, punish, &c.; and yet in this passage the elders or ministers of the churches not only sit judges over the magistrates’ actions in church affairs, but in civil also, straitening and enlarging his commission according to the particular interests of their own ends, or at the best their consciences.

To give the government of the church to the civil magistrate (as before), and yet to abridge his conscience, what is it but to sport with holy things? &c.

I grant the word of the Lord is the only rule, light, and lantern in all cases concerning God or man, and that the ministers of the gospel are to teach this way, hold out this lantern unto the feet of all men; but to give such an absolute power in spiritual things to the civil magistrate, and yet after their own ends or consciences to abridge it, is but the former sporting with holy things, and to walk in contradictions, as before I noted.

Many of the particulars I acknowledge true, where the magistrate is a member of the church; yet some passages call for explication, and some for observation.

First, in that they say the civil magistrate ought not to proceed against the offences of an excommunicate person, which manifestly hurt not the good of the state, until the church hath made her complaint for help from them, I observe two things:—

An evident contradiction. An excellent confession of the proper end of civil government. When civil laws are not broken, it is confessed that civil peace is not hurt.

First, a clear grant that when the church complaineth for help, then the magistrate may punish such offences as hurt not the good of the state: and yet in a few lines after they say, the magistrates have no power to censure such offences of church members by the power of the civil sword, but only such as do immediately hurt the peace of the civil state; and they add the reason, because the proper end of the civil government being the preservation of the peace and welfare of the state, they ought not to[330] break down those bounds, and so to censure immediately for such sins which hurt not their peace. And in the last place, they acknowledge the magistrate hath no power to punish any for any such offences as break no civil law of God, or law of the state published according to it: “for the peace of the state,” say they, “being preserved by wholesome laws, when they are not hurt, the peace is not hurt.”


Peace. Dear Truth, here are excellent confessions, unto which both truth and grace may gladly assent; but what is your second observation from hence?

A grievous charge against the Christian church, and the King of it.

Truth. I observe secondly, what a deep charge of weakness is laid upon the church of Christ, the laws, government, and officers thereof, and consequently upon the Lord Jesus himself: to wit, that the church is not enabled with all the power of Christ to censure sufficiently an offender—on whom yet they have executed the deepest censure in the world, to wit, cutting off from Christ, shutting out of heaven, casting to the devil—which offender’s crime reacheth not to hurt the good of the civil state; but that she is forced to make complaint to the civil state, and the officers thereof, for their help.

Oh! let not this be told in Gath, nor heard in Askelon! and oh! how dim must needs that eye be, which is bloodshot with that bloody and cruel tenent of persecution for cause of conscience!

Peace. But what should be meant by this passage, viz., “That they cannot give liberty to the magistrate to[331] punish without exception all excommunicate persons, within so many months?”

A strange law in New England formerly, against excommunicate persons.

Truth. It may be this hath reference to a law made formerly in New England, that if an excommunicate person repented not within, as I have heard, three months after sentence of excommunication, then the civil magistrate might proceed with him.

A dangerous doctrine against all civil magistrates.

These worthy men see cause to question this law upon good reasons rendered, though it appears not by their words that they wholly condemn it, only they desire a longer time, implying that after some longer time the magistrate may proceed: and indeed I see not, but according to such principles, if the magistrate himself should be cast out, he ought to be proceeded against by the civil state, and consequently deposed and punished, as the pope teacheth: yea, though happily [haply?] he had not offended against either bodies or goods of any subject.

Many sins prohibited to be punished by the magistrate, and yet they also charge him to punish all sin, Rom. xiii.

Thirdly, from this confession, that the magistrate ought not to punish for many sins above-mentioned, I observe how they cross the plea which commonly they bring for the magistrates punishing of false doctrines, heretics, &c., (viz., Rom. xiii., The magistrate is to punish them that do evil); and when it is answered, True, evil against the second table, which is there only spoken of, and against the bodies and goods of the subject, which are the proper object of the civil magistrate, as they confess: it is replied, Why? is not idolatry sin? heresy, sin? schism and false worship, sin? Yet here in this passage many evils, many sins, even of parents against their children, masters against their servants, husbands against their wives, the magistrate ought not to meddle with.

Original sin charged to hurt remotely (but falsely) the civil state.

Fourthly. I dare not assent to that assertion, “That even original [sin] remotely hurts the civil state.” It is true some do, as inclinations to murder, theft, whoredom,[332] slander, disobedience to parents, and magistrates; but blindness of mind, hardness of heart, inclination to choose or worship this or that God, this or that Christ, beside the true, these hurt not remotely the civil state, as not concerning it, but the spiritual.

Magistrates strangely forbidden to hear civil complaints.

Peace. Let me, in the last place, remind you of their charge against the magistrate, and which will necessarily turn to my wrong and prejudice: they say, the magistrate, in hearing and prosecuting the complaints of children against their parents, of servants against their masters, of wives against their husbands, without acquainting the church first, transgresseth the rule of Christ.

Truth. Sweet Peace, they that pretend to be thy dearest friends, will prove thy bitter enemies.

First, I ask for one rule out of the Testament of the Lord Jesus, to prove this deep charge and accusation against the civil magistrate?

Thousands of commonweals where no true church of Christ.

Secondly, this is built upon a supposition of what rarely falls out in the world, to wit, that there must necessarily be a true church of Christ in every lawful state, unto whom these complaints must go: whereas, how many thousand commonweals have been and are, where the name of Christ hath not (or not truly) been founded!

The complaints of families properly fall into the cognizance of the civil magistrate.

Thirdly, the magistrates’ office, according to their own grant, properly respecting the bodies and goods of their subjects, and the whole body of the commonweal being made up of families, as the members constituting that body, I see not how, according to the rule of Christ, Rom. xiii., the magistrate may refuse to hear and help the just complaints of any such petitioners—children, wives, and servants—against oppression, &c.

They who give to magistrates more than is due, are most apt to disrobe them of what is theirs.

Peace. I have long observed, that such as have been ready to ascribe to the civil magistrate and his sword more than God hath ascribed, have also been most ready to cut[333] off the skirts, and, in case of his inclining to another conscience than their own, to spoil him of the robe of that due authority with which it hath pleased God and the people to invest and clothe him.

But I shall now present you with the thirteenth head, whose title is,—


13th head.

What power magistrates have in public assemblies of churches.

“First,” say they, “the churches have power to assemble and continue such assemblies for the performance of all God’s ordinances, without or against the consent of the magistrate, renuente magistratu, because—

“Christians are commanded so to do, Matt. xxviii. 18-20.

“Also, because an angel from God commanded the apostles so to do, Acts v. 20.

“Likewise from the practice of the apostles, who were not rebellious or seditious, yet they did so, Acts iv. 18-20, Acts v. 27, 28.

“Further, from the practice of the primitive church at Jerusalem, who did meet, preach, pray, minister sacraments, censures, Acts iv. 23, renuente magistratu.

“Moreover, from the exhortation to the Hebrews, [chap.] x. 25, not to forsake their assemblies, though it were in dangerous times; and if they might do this under professed enemies, then we may much more under Christian magistrates, else we were worse under Christian magistrates[334] than heathen: therefore magistrates may not hinder them herein, as Pharaoh did the people from sacrificing, for wrath will be upon the realm, and the king and his sons, Ezra vii. 23.

“Secondly, it hath been a usurpation of foreign countries and magistrates to take upon them to determine times and places of worship; rather let the churches be left herein to their inoffensive liberty.

“Thirdly, concerning the power of synod assemblies:—

“First, in corrupt times, the magistrate, desirous to make reformation of religion, may and should call those who are most fit in several churches to assemble together in a synod, to discuss and declare from the word of God matters of doctrine and worship, and to help forward the reformation of the churches of God: this did Josiah.

“Secondly, in the reformed times, he ought to give liberty to the elders of several churches to assemble themselves by their own manual and voluntary agreement, at convenient times, as the means appointed by God whereby he may mediately reform matters amiss in churches, which immediately he cannot nor ought not to do.

“Thirdly, those meetings for this end we conceive may be of two sorts.

“1. Monthly, of some of the elders and messengers of the churches.

“2. Annual, of all the messengers and elders of the churches.

“First. Monthly, of some: first, those members of churches which are nearest together, and so may most conveniently assemble together, may, by mutual agreement, once in a month, consult of such things as make for the good of the churches.

“Secondly. The time of this meeting may be sometimes at one place, sometimes at another, upon the lecture[335] day of every church where lectures are: and let the lecture that day be ended by eleven of the clock.

“Thirdly. Let the end of this assembly be to do nothing by way of authority, but by way of counsel, as the need of churches shall require.

“Secondly, annual, of all the elders within our jurisdiction or others, whereto the churches may send once in the year to consult together for the public welfare of all the churches.

“First. Let the place be sometimes at one church, sometimes at another, as reasons for the present may require.

“Secondly. Let all the churches send their weighty questions and cases, six weeks or a month before the set time, to the church where the assembly is to be held, and the officers thereof disperse them speedily to all the churches, that so they may have time to come prepared to the discussing of them.

“Thirdly. Let this assembly do nothing by authority, but only by counsel, in all cases which fall out, leaving the determination of all things to particular churches within themselves, who are to judge and so to receive all doctrines and directions agreeing only with the word of God.”

The grounds of these assemblies.

“First. Need of each other’s help, in regard of daily emergent troubles, doubts, and controversies.

“Secondly, Love of each other’s fellowship.

“Thirdly. Of God’s glory, out of a public spirit to seek the welfare of the churches, as well as their own, 1 Cor. x. 33, 2 Cor. xi. 28.

“Fourthly. The great blessing and special presence of God upon such assemblies hitherto.


“Fifthly. The good report the elders and brethren of churches shall have hereby, by whose communion of love others shall know they are the disciples of Christ.”


A strange double picture.

Truth. I may well compare this passage to a double picture; on the first part or side of it a most fair and beautiful countenance of the pure and holy word of God: on the latter side or part, a most sour and uncomely, deformed look of a mere human invention.

The great privileges of the true spouse, or church of Christ.

Concerning the former, they prove the true and unquestionable power and privilege of the churches of Christ to assemble and practise all the holy ordinances of God, without or against the consent of the magistrate.

Their arguments from Christ’s and the angels’ voice, from the apostles’ and churches’ practice, I desire may take deep impression, written by the point of a diamond, the finger of God’s Spirit, in all hearts whom it may concern.

This liberty of the churches of Christ, he enlargeth and amplifieth so far, that he calls it a usurpation of some magistrates to determine the time and place of worship: and says, that rather the churches should be left to their inoffensive liberty.

To hold with light and walk in darkness.

Upon which grant I must renew my former query, whether this be not to walk in contradictions, to hold with light yet walk in darkness? for,—

The magistrate lift up to be the chief governor of the church, and yet cast down not to have power to appoint the place or time of meeting.

How can they say the magistrate is appointed by God and Christ the guardian of the Christian church and worship, bound to set up the true church, ministry, and ordinances, to see the church do her duty, that is, to force her[337] to it by the civil sword: bound to suppress the false church, ministry, and ordinances, and therefore, consequently, to judge and determine which is the true church, which is the false, and what is the duty of the church officers and members of it, and what not: and yet, say they, the churches must assemble, and practise all ordinances, without his consent, yea, against it. Yea, and he hath not so much power as to judge what is a convenient time and place for the churches to assemble in; which if he should do, he should be a usurper, and should abridge the church of her inoffensive liberty.

Two similitudes, illustrating the magistrate cannot be both governor of the church, and yet usurper in commanding.

As if the master or governor of a ship had power to judge who were true and fit officers, mariners, &c., for the managing of the ship, and were bound to see them each perform his duty, and to force them thereunto, and yet he should be a usurper if he should abridge them of meeting and managing the vessel at their pleasure, when they please, and how they please, without and against his consent. Certainly, if a physician have power to judge the disease of his patient, and what course of physic he must use, can he be counted a usurper unless the patient might take what physic himself pleased, day or night, summer or winter, at home in his chamber or abroad in the air?

If a church may assemble without and against the magistrate’s consent (as is affirmed), then much more constitute and become a church, &c.

Secondly, by their grant in this passage, that God’s people may thus assemble and practise ordinances without and against the consent of the magistrate, I infer, then also may they become a church, constitute and gather without or against the consent of the magistrate. Therefore may the messengers of Christ preach and baptize, that is, make disciples and wash them into the true profession of Christianity, according to the commission, though the magistrate determine and publicly declare such ministers, such baptisms, such churches to be heretical.

Thirdly, it may here be questioned, what power is now[338] given to the civil magistrate in church matters and spiritual affairs?

If it be answered, that although God’s people may do this against the magistrates’ consent, yet others may not:

Gross partiality.

I answer, as before, who sees not herein partiality to themselves? God’s people must enjoy their liberty of conscience, and not be forced; but all the subjects in a kingdom or monarchy, or the whole world beside, must be compelled by the power of the civil sword to assemble thus and thus.

Secondly, I demand, who shall judge whether they are God’s people or no? for they say, whether the magistrate consent or consent not, that is, judge so or not, they ought to go on in the ordinances, renuente magistratu.

If the civil magistrate be to build the spiritual or Christian house, he must judge in the matter.

How agrees this with their former and general assertion, that the civil magistrate must set up the Christian church and worship? Therefore, by their own grant, he must judge the godly themselves, he must discern who are fit matter for the house of God, living stones, and what unfit matter, trash and rubbish.

A close and faithful interrogatory to the consciences of the authors of these positions.

Those worthy men, the authors of these positions, and others of their judgment, have cause to examine their souls with fear and trembling in the presence of God upon this interrogatory, viz., whether or no this be not the bottom and root of the matter: if they could have the same supply of maintenance without the help of the civil sword, or were persuaded to live upon the voluntary contribution of poor saints, or their own labour, as the Lord Jesus and his first messengers did:—I say, if this lay not in the bottom, whether or no they could not be willingly shut of the civil power, and left only to their inoffensive liberties?

A sad query to some concerning their practice.

I could also put a sad query to the consciences of some, viz., what should be the reason why in their native country, where the magistrate consenteth not, they forebore to[339] practise such ordinances as now they do, and intended to do so soon as they got into another place where they might set up magistrates of their own, and a civil sword? &c. How much is it to be feared, that in case their magistrate should alter, or their persons be cast under a magistracy prohibiting their practice, whether they would then maintain their separate meetings without and against the consent of the magistrate, renuente magistratu.

A marvellous challenge of more liberty to Christians under a Christian magistrate than under the heathen.

Lastly, it may be questioned, how it comes to pass that in pleading for the church’s liberty more now under the Christian magistrate, since the Christians took that liberty in dangerous times under the heathen, why he quotes to prove such liberty, Pharaoh’s hindering the Israelites from worship, and, Ezra vii. 23, Artaxerxes’s fear of wrath upon the realm?

Are not all their hopes and arguments built upon the Christian magistrate, whom, say they, the first Christians wanted? and yet do they scare the Christian magistrate, whom they account the governor of the church, with Pharaoh and Artaxerxes, that knew not God, expecting that the Christian magistrate should act and command no more in God’s worship than they.

But what can those instances of Pharaoh’s evil in hindering the Israelites worshipping of God, and Artaxerxes giving liberty to Israel to worship God and build the temple, what can they prove but a duty in all princes and civil magistrates to take off the yoke of bondage, which commonly they lay on the necks of the souls of their subjects in matters of conscience and religion?



If the magistrates were appointed by Christ Jesus governors of his kingdom, it were not reasonable that Christians should more freely break the commands of the Christian than of the heathen magistrate.

Peace. It is plausible, but not reasonable, that God’s people should (considering the drift of these positions) expect more liberty under a Christian than under a heathen magistrate. Have God’s people more liberty to break the command of a Christian than a heathen governor? and so to set up Christ’s church and ordinances after their own conscience against his consent, more than against the consent of a heathen or unbelieving magistrate? What is become of all the great expectation what a Christian magistrate may and ought to do in establishing the church, in reforming the church, and in punishing the contrary? It is true, say they, in Christ’s time, and in the time of the first ministers and churches, there were no Christian magistrates, and therefore in that case, it was in vain for Christians to seek unto the heathen magistrates to govern the church, suppress heretics, &c.; but now we enjoy Christian magistrates, &c.

Truth. All reason and religion would now expect more submission thereof, in matters concerning Christ, to a Christian magistrate, than to a pagan or anti-christian ruler! But, dear Peace, the day will discover, the fire will try, 1 Cor. iii. [13,] what is but wood, hay, and stubble, though built, in men’s upright intention, on that foundation, Jesus Christ.

The necessity of civil government in general of God, but the special kinds of men, 1 Pet. ii. 13.

But, to wind up all, as it is most true that magistracy in general is of God, Rom. xiii., for the preservation of mankind in civil order and peace—the world otherwise would be like the sea, wherein men, like fishes, would hunt and devour each other, and the greater devour the less:—so also it is true, that magistracy in special for the several[341] kinds of it is of man, 1 Pet. ii. 13. Now what kind of magistrate soever the people shall agree to set up, whether he receive Christianity before he be set in office, or whether he receive Christianity after, he receives no more power of magistracy than a magistrate that hath received no Christianity. For neither of them both can receive more than the commonweal, the body of people and civil state, as men, communicate unto them, and betrust them with.

Civil magistrates are derivatives from the fountains or bodies of people.

All lawful magistrates in the world, both before the coming of Christ Jesus and since, (excepting those unparalleled typical magistrates of the church of Israel) are but derivatives and agents immediately derived and employed as eyes and hands, serving for the good of the whole: hence they have and can have no more power than fundamentally lies in the bodies or fountains themselves, which power, might, or authority is not religious, Christian, &c., but natural, human, and civil.

A believing magistrate no more a magistrate than an unbelieving.

And hence it is true, that a Christian captain, Christian merchant, physician, lawyer, pilot, father, master, and so consequently magistrate, &c., is no more a captain, merchant, physician, lawyer, pilot, father, master, magistrate, &c., than a captain, merchant, &c., of any other conscience or religion.

The excellency of Christianity in all callings.

It is true, Christianity teaches all these to act in their several callings to a higher ultimate end, from higher principles, in a more heavenly and spiritual manner, &c.



Peace. Oh! that thy light and brightness, dear Truth, might shine to the dark world in this particular: let it not therefore be grievous, if I request a little further illustration of it.

The magistrate like a pilot in the ship of the commonweal. Christianity steers a Christian pilot’s course. The Christian pilot hath no more power over the souls of his mariners or passengers, than the unchristian or pagan pilot.

Truth. In his season, God will glorify himself in all his truths. But to gratify thy desire, thus: A pagan or anti-christian pilot may be as skilful to carry the ship to its desired port, as any Christian mariner or pilot in the world, and may perform that work with as much safety and speed: yet have they not command over the souls and consciences of their passengers, or mariners under them, although they may justly see to the labour of the one, and the civil behaviour of all in the ship. A Christian pilot, he performs the same work, as likewise doth the metaphorical pilot in the ship of the commonweal, from a principle of knowledge and experience; but more than this, he acts from a root of the fear of God and love to mankind in his whole course. Secondly, his aim is more to glorify God, than to gain his pay, or make his voyage. Thirdly, he walks heavenly with men and God, in a constant observation of God’s hand in storms, calms, &c. So that the thread of navigation being equally spun by a believing or unbelieving pilot, yet is it drawn over with the gold of godliness and Christianity by a Christian pilot, while he is holy in all manner of Christianity, 1 Pet. i. 15. But lastly, the Christian pilot’s power over the souls and consciences of his sailors and passengers is not greater than that of the anti-christian, otherwise than he can subdue the souls of any by the two-edged sword of the Spirit, the word of God, and by his holy demeanour in his place, &c.


Peace. I shall present you with no other consideration in this first part of the picture, but this only.

The terms heathen and Christian magistrate.

Although the term heathen is most commonly appropriated to the wild naked Americans, &c., yet these worthy men justly apply it even to the civilized Romans, &c.; and consequently must it be applied to the most civilized anti-christians, who are not the church and people of God in Christ.

Truth. The word ‎ ‏גּוֹיִם‏‎‏ in the Hebrew, and ἔθνη in the Greek, signifies no more than the Gentiles, or nations of the earth, which were without and not within the true typical national church of the Jews before Christ; and since his coming, the Gentiles, or nations of the world, who are without that one holy nation of the Christian Israel, the church gathered unto Christ Jesus, in particular and distinct congregations all the world over.

All out of Christ are heathens, that is of the nations, or Gentiles.

Translators promiscuously render the words, Gentiles, heathens, nations: whence it is evident that even such as profess the name of Christ in an unregenerate and impenitent estate, whether papist, or protestant, are yet without: that is, heathen, Gentile, or of the nations.


Peace. Dear Truth, it is now time to cast your eye on the second part of this head or picture, uncomely and deformed.

Truth. It contains two sorts of religious meetings or assemblies.

First, more extraordinary and occasional, for which he quotes the practice of Josiah.


Josiah a type of Christ Jesus, the king of the church.

An. Josiah was in the type: so are not now the several governors of commonweals, kings or governors of the church or Israel; whose state I have proved to be a non-such, and not to be paralleled but in the antitype, the particular church of Christ, where Christ Jesus alone sits King in his own most holy government.

Secondly, they propound meetings or assemblings ordinary, stated, and constant, yearly and monthly, unto which the civil magistrate should give liberty. For these meetings they propound plausible arguments from the necessity of them, from Christian fellowship, from God’s glory, from the experience of the benefit of them, and from the good report of them, as also those two scriptures, 1 Cor. x. 33, 2 Cor. xi. 28.

An unjust and partial desire of liberty to some consciences, and bondage unto all others.

To these I answer, If they intend that the civil magistrate should permit liberty to the free and voluntary spiritual meetings of their subjects, I shall subscribe unto them; but if they intend that the magistrate should give liberty only unto themselves, and not to the rest of their subjects, that is to desire their own souls only to be free, and all other souls of their subjects to be kept in bondage:

Secondly, if they intend that the magistrate should enforce all the elders of such churches under their jurisdiction to keep correspondency with them in such meetings, then I say, as before, it is to cause him to give liberty with a partial hand, and unequal balance; for thus I argue:—If the civil state and civil officers be of their religion and conscience, it is not proper for them to give liberty or freedom, but to give honourable testimony and approbation, and their own personal submission to the churches. But if the civil state and officers be of another conscience and worship, and shall be bound to grant permission and liberty to them, their consciences, and meetings, and not to those of his own religion and conscience also, how will[345] this appear to be equal in the very eye of common peace and righteousness?

For those yearly and monthly meetings, as we find not any such in the first churches, so neither will those general arguments from the plausible pretence of Christian fellowship, God’s glory, &c., prove such particular ways of glorifying God, without some precept or precedent of such a kind.

The commission, Matt. xxviii. of preaching and baptizing, not properly directed to the church, or fixed teachers of it, least of all to the commonwealth.

For those scriptures, 1 Cor. x. 33, and 2 Cor. xi. 28, expressing the apostle Paul’s zeal for glorifying God, and his care for all the churches, it is clear they concern such as are indeed Paul’s successors, sent forth by Christ Jesus to preach and gather churches; but those scriptures concern not the churches themselves, nor the pastors of the churches properly, least of all the civil state and commonwealth, neither of which, the churches, the pastors, or commonwealth, do go forth personally with that commission, Matt. xxviii. [19,] to preach and baptize, that is, to gather churches unto Christ.

For as for the first, the churches are not ministers of the gospel; the angels or messengers of the churches, and the churches themselves, were distinct, Rev. ii. and iii.

As for the second, the pastors and elders of the church, their work is not to gather churches, but to govern and feed them, Acts xx., and 1 Pet. v.

As for the civil magistrate, it is a ministry indeed, magistrates are God’s ministers, Rom. xiii. 4; but it is of another nature. And therefore none of these—the churches of Christ, the shepherds of those churches, nor the civil magistrate, succeeding the apostles or first messengers, these scriptures alleged concern not any of these to have care of all the churches.

A query who have now the care of all the churches?

Peace. Dear Truth, who can hear this word, but will[346] presently cry out, Who then may rightly challenge that commission, and that promise? Matt. xxviii., &c.

A ministry before the church.

Truth. Sweet Peace, in due place and season that question may be resolved; but doubtless the true successors must precede or go before the church, making disciples, and baptizing as the apostles did, who were neither the churches, nor the pastors and fixed teachers of them, but as they gathered, so had the care of the churches.


Peace. I cease to urge this further; and, in the last place, marvel what should be the reason of that conclusion, viz., “There is no power of determination in any of these meetings, but that all must be left to the particular determination of the churches.”

Acts xv., commonly misapplied.

Truth. At the meeting at Jerusalem, when Paul and Barnabas and others were sent thither from the church of Christ at Antioch, the apostles and elders did not only consult and advise, but particularly determined the question which the church of Antioch sent to them about, Acts xv., and send their particular determinations or decrees to the churches afterward.

So that if these assemblies were of the nature of that pattern or precedent, as is generally pretended, and had such a promise of the assistance and concurrence of the Spirit as that assembly had, they might then say as that assembly did, Acts xv., It seemeth good to the Holy Spirit and to us; and should not leave particular determinations to the particular churches, in which sometimes are very few able guides and leaders.


Peace. But what should be the reason to persuade these worthy men to conceive the particular congregations, or churches, to be more fit and competent judges in such high points, than an assembly of so excellent and choice persons, who must only consult and advise? &c.

Christ’s promise and presence only makes an assembly blessed.

Truth. Doubtless there is a strong conviction in their souls of a professed promised presence of the Lord Jesus in the midst of his church, gathered after his mind and will, more than unto such kind of assemblies, though consisting of far more able persons, even the flower and cream of all the churches.

Peace. It is generally conceived, that the promise of Christ’s presence to the end of the world, Matt. xxviii. [20,] is made to the church.

The promise of Christ’s presence, Matt. xviii., distinct from that, Matt. xxviii.

Truth. There is doubtless a promise of Christ’s presence in the midst of his church and congregation, Matt. xviii. [20;] but the promise of Christ’s presence, Matt. xxviii. [20,] cannot properly and immediately belong to the church constituted and gathered, but to such ministers or messengers of Christ Jesus whom he is pleased to employ to gather and constitute the church by converting and baptizing: unto which messengers, if Christ Jesus will be pleased to send such forth, that passage, Acts xv., will be precedential.

14th position examined.

Peace. The fourteenth general head is this, viz., What power particular churches have particularly over magistrates.

“First,” say they, “they may censure any member, though a magistrate, if by sin he deserve it.

“First, because magistrates must be subject to Christ; but Christ censures all offenders, 1 Cor. v. 4, 5.

“Secondly, every brother must be subject to Christ’s censure, Matt. xviii. 15, 16, 17. But magistrates are brethren, Deut. xvii. 15.


“Thirdly, They may censure all within the church, 1 Cor. v. 11.

“But the magistrates are within the church, for they are either without, or within, or above the church: not the first, nor the last, for so Christ is only above it.

“Fourthly, the church hath a charge of all the souls of the members, and must give account thereof, Heb. xiii. 17.

“Fifthly, Christ’s censures are for the good of souls, 1 Cor. v. 6; but magistrates must not be denied any privilege for their souls, for then they must lose a privilege of Christ by being magistrates.

“Sixthly, In church privileges Christians are all one, Gal. iii. 28, Col. iii. 11.

“2. Magistrates may be censured for apparent and manifest sin against any moral law of God in their judicial proceedings, or in the execution of their office. Courts are not sanctuaries for sin; and if for no sin, then not for such especially.

“First, because sins of magistrates in court are as hateful to God. 2. And as much spoken against, Isa. x. 1, Micah iii. 1. Thirdly, God hath nowhere granted such immunity to them. Fourthly, what a brother may do privately in case of private offence, that the church may do publicly in case of public scandal. But a private brother may admonish and reprove privately in case of any private offence, Matt. xviii. 15, Luke xvii. 3, Psalm cxli. 5.

“Lastly, Civil magistracy doth not exempt any church from faithful watchfulness over any member, nor deprive a church of her due power, nor a church member of his due privilege, which is to partake of every ordinance of God, needful and requisite to their winning and salvation, ergo,—”



Truth. These arguments to prove the magistrate subject, even for sin committed in judicial proceeding, I judge, like Mount Zion, immoveable, and every true Christian that is a magistrate will judge so with me: yet a query or two will not be unseasonable.

Christ’s administrations are charged firstly upon the ministers thereof.

First, where they name the church in this whole passage, whether they mean the church without the ministry or governors of it, or with the elders and governors jointly? and if the latter, why name they not the governors at all, since that in all administrations of the church the duty lies not upon the body of the church, but firstly and properly upon the elders?

The ministers or governors of Christ’s church to be acknowledged in their dispensations.

It is true in case of the elder’s obstinacy in apparent sin, the church hath power over him, having as much power to take down as to set up, Col. iv. [17,] Say to Archippus, &c.; yet in the ordinary dispensations and administrations of the ordinances, the ministers or elders thereof are first charged with duty, &c.

Hence first for the apostles, who converted, gathered, and espoused the churches to Christ, I question whether their power to edification was not a power over the churches, as many scriptures seem to imply.

A paradox; magistrates made the judges of the churches, and governors of them, yet censurable by them.

Secondly, for the ordinary officers ordained for the ordinary and constant guiding, feeding, and governing the church, they were rulers, shepherds, bishops, or overseers, and to them was every letter and charge, commendation or reproof, directed, Rev. ii. 3, Acts xx. And that place by them quoted for the submission of the magistrates to the church, it mentions only submission to the rulers thereof, Heb. xiii. 17. Those excellent men concealed not this out[350] of ignorance, and therefore most certainly in a silent way confess, that their doctrine concerning the magistrates’ power in church causes would seem too gross, if they should not have named the whole church, and but silently implied the governors of it. And is it not wonderful in any sober eye, how the same persons, magistrates, can be exalted over the ministers and members, as being bound to establish, reform, suppress by the civil sword in punishing the body or goods, and yet for the same actions, if the church and governors thereof so conceive, be liable to a punishment ten thousand times more transcendent, to wit, excommunication, a punishment reaching to their souls, and consciences, and eternal estate; and this not only for common sins, but for those actions which immediately concern the execution of their civil office, in judicial proceeding?

Queen Elizabeth’s bishops truer to their principles, than many of a better spirit and profession.

Peace. The prelates in Queen Elizabeth’s days, kept with more plainness to their principles: for, acknowledging the queen to be supreme in all church causes, according to the title and power of Henry VIII. her father, taken from the pope, and given to him by the parliament, they professed that the queen was not a sheep, but under Christ the chief shepherd, and that the church had not power to excommunicate the queen.

Mr. Barrowe’s profession concerning Queen Elizabeth.

Truth. Therefore, sweet Peace, it was esteemed capital, in that faithful witness of so much truth as he saw, even unto death, Mr. Barrowe, to maintain before the lords of the council, that the queen herself was subject to the power of Christ Jesus in the church: which truth overthrew that other tenent, that the queen should be head and supreme in all church causes.[227]

Peace. Those bishops according to their principles,[351] though bad and false, dealt plainly, though cruelly, with Mr. Barrowe: but these authors, whose principles are the same with the bishops’, concerning the power of the magistrate in church affairs, though they waive the title, and will not call them heads or governors, which now in lighter times seems too gross, yet give they as much spiritual power and authority to the civil magistrates to the full, as ever the bishops gave unto them; although they yet also with the same breath lay all their honour in the dust, and make them to lick the dust of the feet of the churches, as it is prophesied the kings and the queens of the earth shall do, when Christ makes them nursing fathers and nursing mothers, Isa. xlix.[228] The truth is, Christ Jesus is honoured when the civil magistrate, a member of the church, punisheth any member or elder of the church with the civil sword, even to the death, for any crime against the civil state, so deserving it; for he bears not the sword in vain.

And Christ Jesus is again most highly honoured, when for apparent sin in the magistrate, being a member of the church, for otherwise they have not to meddle with him, the elders with the church admonish him, and recover his soul: or if obstinate in sin, cast him forth of their spiritual and Christian fellowship; which doubtless they could not do, were the magistrate supreme governor under Christ in ecclesiastical or church causes, and so consequently the true heir and successor of the apostles.



15th head, examined.

Peace. The fifteenth head runs thus: viz., In what cases must churches proceed with magistrates in case of offence.

“We like it well, that churches be slower in proceeding to excommunication, as of all other, so of civil magistrates, especially in point of their judicial proceedings, unless it be in scandalous breach of a manifest law of God, and that after notorious evidence of the fact, and that after due seeking and waiting for satisfaction in a previous advertisement. And though each particular church in respect of the government of Christ be independent and absolute within itself, yet where the commonweal consists of church members, it may be a point of Christian wisdom to consider and consult with the court also, so far as any thing may seem doubtful to them in the magistrate’s case, which may be further cleared by intelligence given from them; but otherwise we dare not leave it in the power of any church to forbear to proceed and agree upon that on earth, which they plainly see Christ hath resolved in his word, and will ratify in heaven.”

The inventions of men in swerving from the true essentials of civil and spiritual commonweals.

Truth. If the scope of this head be to qualify and adorn Christian impartiality and faithfulness with Christian wisdom and tenderness, I honour and applaud such a Christian motion; but whereas that case is put which is nowhere found in the pattern of the first churches, nor suiting with the rule of Christianity, to wit, that “the commonweal should consist of church members,” which must be taken privately, to wit, that none should be admitted members of the commonweal but such as are first members of the church—which must necessarily run the church upon that temptation to feel the pulse of the court[353] concerning a delinquent magistrate, before they dare proceed—I say, let such practices be brought to the touchstone of the true frame of a civil commonweal, and the true frame of the spiritual or Christian commonweal, the church of Christ, and it will be seen what wood, hay, and stubble of carnal policy and human inventions in Christ’s matters are put in place of the precious stones, gold, and silver of the ordinances of the most high and only wise God.


16th and last head examined.

Peace. Dear Truth, we are now arrived at their last head: the title is this, viz.,—

Their power in the liberties and privileges of these churches.

“First, all magistrates ought to be chosen out of church members, Exod. xviii. 21; Deut. xvii. 15; Prov. xxix. 2. When the righteous rule, the people rejoice.

“Secondly, that all free men elected, be only church members;—

“1. Because if none but church members should rule, then others should not choose, because they may elect others beside church members.

2. From the pattern of Israel, where none had power to choose but only Israel, or such as were joined to the people of God.

3. If it shall fall out that, in the court consisting of magistrates and deputies, there be a dissent between them which may hinder the common good, that they now return for ending the same to their first principles, which are the free men, and let them be consulted with.”

A great question, viz., whether only church members, that is, as is intended, godly persons, in a particular church estate, be only eligible or to be chosen for magistrates.

Truth. In this head are two branches:—first, concerning[354] the choice of magistrates, that such ought to be chosen as are church members: for which is quoted, Exod. xviii. 21; Deut. xvii. 15; Prov. xxix. 2.

Unto which I answer: It were to be wished, that since the point is so weighty, as concerning the pilots and steersmen of kingdoms and nations, &c., on whose abilities, care, and faithfulness depends most commonly the peace and safety of the commonweals they sail in: I say, it were to be wished that they had more fully explained what they intend by this affirmative, viz., “Magistrates ought to be chosen out of church members.”

For if they intend by this ought to be chosen, a necessity of convenience, viz., that for the greater advancement of common utility and rejoicing of the people, according to the place quoted, Prov. xxix. 2, it were to be desired, prayed for, and peaceably endeavoured, then I readily assent unto them.

But if by this ought they intend such a necessity as those scriptures quoted imply, viz., that people shall sin by choosing such for magistrates as are not members of churches: as the Israelites should have sinned, if they had not, according to Jethro’s counsel, Exod. xviii., and according to the command of God, Deut. xvii., chosen their judges and kings within themselves in Israel: then I propose these necessary queries;—

Lawful civil states, where churches of Christ are not. The world being divided into thirty parts, twenty-five never heard of Christ.

First. Whether those are not lawful civil combinations, societies, and communions of men, in towns, cities, states, or kingdoms, where no church of Christ is resident, yea, where his name was never yet heard of? I add to this, that men of no small note, skilful in the state of the world, acknowledge, that the world divided into thirty parts, twenty-five of that thirty have never yet heard of the name of Christ: if [therefore] their civil politics and combinations be not lawful, because they are not churches[355] and their magistrates church members, then disorder, confusion, and all unrighteousness is lawful, and pleasing to God.

Lawful heirs of crowns and civil government, although not Christian and godly.

Secondly. Whether in such states or commonweals where a church or churches of Christ are resident, such persons may not lawfully succeed to the crown or government in whom the fear of God, according to Jethro’s counsel, cannot be discerned, nor are brethren of the church, according to Deut. xvii. 15, but only are fitted with civil and moral abilities to manage the civil affairs of the civil estate.

Few Christians wise and noble, and qualified for affairs of state.

Thirdly. Since not many wise and noble are called, but the poor receive the gospel, as God hath chosen the poor of the world to be rich in faith, 1 Cor. i. 26, James ii. 5: whether it may not ordinarily come to pass, that there may not be found in a true church of Christ, which sometimes consisteth but of few persons, persons fit to be either kings or governors, &c., whose civil office is no less difficult than the office of a doctor of physic, a master or pilot of a ship, or a captain or commander of a band or army of men: for which services the children of God may be no ways qualified, though otherwise excellent for the fear of God, and the knowledge and grace of the Lord Jesus.

Some papists and some protestants agree in deposing of magistrates.

Fourthly. If magistrates ought, that is, ought only, to be chosen out of the church, I demand, if they ought not also to be dethroned and deposed when they cease to be of the church, either by voluntary departure from it, or by excommunication out of it, according to the bloody tenents and practice of some papists, with whom the protestants, according to their principles, although they seem to abhor it, do absolutely agree?

Fifthly. Therefore, lastly, I ask, if this be not to turn the world upside down, to turn the world out of the[356] world, to pluck up the roots and foundations of all common society in the world, to turn the garden and paradise of the church and saints into the field of the civil state of the world, and to reduce the world to the first chaos or confusion?


Peace. Dear Truth, thou conquerest, and shalt triumph in season, but some will say, how answer you those scriptures alleged?

Those scriptures, Exod. xviii., Deut. xvii. and xviii., &c., paralleled in the true spiritual Israel, by 1 Tim. iii., and Tit. i.

Truth. I have fully and at large declared the vast differences between that holy nation of typical Israel and all other lands and countries, how unmatchable then and now, and never to be paralleled, but by the true Israel and particular churches of Christ residing in all parts, and under the several civil governments of the world. In which churches, the Israel of God and kingdom of Christ Jesus, such only are to be chosen spiritual officers and governors, to manage his kingly power and authority in the church, as are, according to the scriptures quoted, not pope, bishops, or civil powers, but from amongst themselves, brethren, fearing God, hating covetousness or filthy lucre, according to those golden rules given by the Lord Jesus, 1 Tim. iii., and Tit. i.

The want of discerning this true parallel between Israel in the type then, and Israel the antitype now, is that rock whereon, through the Lord’s righteous jealousy, punishing the world and chastising his people, thousands dash, and make woful shipwreck.

The second branch, viz., that all freemen elected be only church members, I have before shown to be built on[357] that sandy and dangerous ground of Israel’s pattern. Oh! that it may please the Father of lights to discover this to all that fear his name! Then would they not sin to save a kingdom, nor run into the lamentable breach of civil peace and order in the world, nor be guilty of forcing thousands to hypocrisy in a state-worship, nor of profaning the holy name of God and Christ by putting their names and ordinances upon unclean and unholy persons, nor of shedding the blood of such heretics, &c., whom Christ would have enjoy longer patience and permission until the harvest, nor of the blood of the Lord Jesus himself in his faithful witnesses of truth, nor lastly, of the blood of so many hundred thousands slaughtered men, women, and children, by such uncivil and unchristian wars and combustions about the Christian faith and religion.

Peace. Dear Truth, before we part, I ask your faithful help once more, to two or three scriptures which many allege, and yet we have not spoken of.

Truth. Speak on. Here is some sand left in this our hour-glass of merciful opportunity. One grain of time’s inestimable sand is worth a golden mountain; let us not lose it.

The Ninevites’ fast examined.

Peace. The first is that of the Ninevites’ fast, commanded by the king of Nineveh and his nobles upon the preaching of Jonah: succeeded by God’s merciful answer in sparing of the city; and quoted with honourable approbation by the Lord Jesus Christ, Jonah iii., and Matt. xii. 41.

Truth. I have before proved, that even Jehoshaphat’s fast, he being king of the national church and people of Israel, could not possibly be a type or warrant for every king or magistrate in the world, whose nations, countries, or cities cannot be churches of God now in the gospel, according to Christ Jesus.

Much less can this pattern of the king of Nineveh and[358] his nobles, be a ground for kings and magistrates now to force all their subjects under them in the matters of worship.

Peace. It will be said, why did God thus answer them?

Truth. God’s mercy in hearing doth not prove an action right and according to rule.

It pleased God to hear the Israelites cry for flesh, and afterward for a king, giving both in anger to them.

It pleased God to hear Ahab’s prayer, yea, and the prayer of the devils, Luke viii. [32,] although their persons and prayers in themselves abominable.


If it be said, why did Christ approve this example?


I answer, the Lord Jesus Christ did not approve the king of Nineveh’s compelling all to worship, but the men of Nineveh’s repentance at the preaching of Jonah.

Peace. It will be said, what shall kings and magistrates now do in the plagues of sword, famine, pestilence?

Truth. Kings and magistrates must be considered, as formerly, invested with no more power than the people betrust them with.

But no people can betrust them with any spiritual power in matters of worship; but with a civil power belonging to their goods and bodies.

2. Kings and magistrates must be considered as either godly or ungodly.

If ungodly, his own and people’s duty is repentance, and reconciling of their persons unto God, before their sacrifice can be accepted. Without repentance what have any to do with the covenant or promise of God? Psalm l. 16.

Again, if godly, they are to humble themselves, and beg mercies for themselves and people.

Secondly. Upon this advantage and occasion, they are to stir up their people, as possibly they may, to repentance;[359] but not to force the consciences of people to worship.


If it be said, what must be attended to in this example?


Two things are most eminent in this example.

First. The great work of repentance, which God calls all men unto, upon the true preaching of his word.

How England and London may yet be spared.

Secondly. The nature of that true repentance, whether legal or evangelical. The people of Nineveh turned from the violence that was in their hands: and confident I am, if this nation shall turn, though but with a legal repentance, from that violent persecuting or hunting each of other for religion’s sake,—the greatest violence and hunting in the wilderness of the whole world—even as Sodom and Gomorrah upon a legal repentance had continued until Christ’s day: so consequently might England, London, &c., continue free from a general destruction, upon such a turning from their violence, until the heavens and the whole world be with fire consumed.

Peace. The second scripture is that speech of the Lord Christ, Luke xxii. 36, He that hath not a sword, let him sell his coat and buy one.

Luke xxii., the selling of the coat to buy a sword, discussed.

Truth. For the clearing of this scripture, I must propose and reconcile that seeming contrary command of the Lord Jesus to Peter, Matt. xxvi. [52,] Put up thy sword into its place, for all that take the sword shall perish by it.

In the former scripture, Luke xxii. 36, it pleased the Lord Jesus, speaking of his present trouble, to compare his former sending forth of his disciples without scrip, &c., with that present condition and trial coming upon them, wherein they should provide both scrip and sword, &c.

Yet now, first, when they tell him of two swords, he answers, It is enough: which shows his former meaning was not literal, but figurative, foreshowing his present danger above his former.


Secondly, in the same sense at the same time, Matt. xxvi. 52, commanding Peter to put up his sword, he gives a threefold reason thereof.

1. (ver. 52,) From the event of it: for all that take the sword shall perish by it.

2. The needlessness of it: for with a word to his Father, he could have twelve legions of angels.

3. The counsel of God to be fulfilled in the scripture: thus it ought to be.

Peace. It is much questioned by some, what should be the meaning of Christ Jesus in that speech, All that take the sword shall perish by the sword.

A threefold taking of the sword.

Truth. There is a threefold taking of the sword: first, by murderous cruelty, either of private persons; or secondly, public states or societies, in wrath or revenge each against other.

Secondly, a just and righteous taking of the sword in punishing offenders against the civil peace, either more personal, private, and ordinary; or more public, oppressors, tyrants, ships, navies, &c. Neither of these can it be imagined that Christ Jesus intended to Peter.

Thirdly, there is therefore a third taking of the sword, forbidden to Peter, that is, for Christ and the gospel’s cause when Christ is in danger: which made Peter strike, &c.

Peace. It seems to some most contrary to all true reason, that Christ Jesus, innocency itself, should not be defended.

Truth. The foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of man.

It is not the purpose of God, that the spiritual battles of his Son shall be fought by carnal weapons and persons.

It is not his pleasure that the world shall flame on fire with civil combustions for his Son’s sake. It is[361] directly contrary to the nature of Christ Jesus, his saints and truths, that throats of men, which is the highest contrariety to civil converse, should be torn out for his sake who most delighted to converse with the greatest sinners.

It is the counsel of God, that his servants shall overcome by three weapons of a spiritual nature, Rev. xii. 11; and that all that take the sword of steel shall perish.

Lastly, it is the counsel of God, that Christ Jesus shall shortly appear a most glorious judge and revenger against all his enemies, when the heavens and the earth shall flee before his most glorious presence.

Rev. xvii. 16, the kings’ hating of the whore, discussed.

Peace. I shall propose the last scripture much insisted on by many for carnal weapons in spiritual cases, Rev. xvii. 16, The ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and shall burn her with fire.

Truth. Not to controvert with some, whether or no the beast be yet risen and extant:—

Nor secondly, whether either the beast, or the horns, or the whore, may be taken literally for any corporal beast or whore:—

Or thirdly, whether these ten horns be punctually and exactly ten kings:—

Or fourthly, whether those ten horns signify those many kings, kingdoms, and governments, who have bowed down to the pope’s yoke, and have committed fornication with that great whore the church of Rome:—

Let this last be admitted, (which yet will cost some work to clear against all opposites): yet,—

First, can the time be now clearly demonstrated to be come? &c.

Secondly, how will it be proved, that this hatred of this[362] whore, shall be a true, chaste, Christian hatred against anti-christian, whorish practices? &c.

Thirdly, or rather that this hating, and desolating, and making naked, and burning shall arise, not by way of an ordinance warranted by the institution of Christ Jesus, but by way of providence, when, as it useth to be with all whores and their lovers, the church of Rome and her great lovers shall fall out, and by the righteous vengeance of God upon her, drunk with the blood of saints or holy ones, these mighty fornicators shall turn their love into hatred, which hatred shall make her a poor, desolate, naked whore, torn and consumed, &c.

Peace. You know it is a great controversy, how the kings of the earth shall thus deal with the whore in the seventeenth chapter, and yet so bewail her in the eighteenth chapter.

Truth. If we take it that these kings of the earth shall first hate, and plunder, and tear, and burn this whore, and yet afterward shall relent and bewail their cruel dealing toward her: or else, that as some kings deal so terribly with her, yet others of those kings shall bewail her:—

If either of these two answers stand, or a better be given, yet none of them can prove it lawful for people to give power to their kings and magistrates thus to deal with them, their subjects, for their conscience; nor for magistrates to assume a tittle more than the people betrust them with; nor for one people out of conscience to God, and for Christ’s sake, thus to kill and slaughter and burn each other. However, it may please the righteous judge, according to the famous types of Gideon’s and Jehoshaphat’s battles, to permit in justice, and to order in wisdom, these mighty and mutual slaughters each of other.


Peace. We have now, dear Truth, through the gracious hand of God, clambered up to the top of this our tedious discourse.

Truth. Oh! it is mercy inexpressible that either thou or I have had so long a breathing time, and that together!

Peace. If English ground must yet be drunk with English blood, oh! where shall Peace repose her wearied head and heavy heart?

Truth. Dear Peace, if thou find welcome, and the God of peace miraculously please to quench these all-devouring flames, yet where shall Truth find rest from cruel persecutions?

Peace. Oh! will not the authority of holy scriptures, the commands and declarations of the Son of God, therein produced by thee, together with all the lamentable experiences of former and present slaughters, prevail with the sons of men, especially with the sons of peace, to depart from the dens of lions, and mountains of leopards, and to put on the bowels, if not of Christianity, yet of humanity each to other?

Truth. Dear Peace, Habakkuk’s fishes keep their constant bloody game of persecutions in the world’s mighty ocean; the greater taking, plundering, swallowing up the lesser. Oh! happy he whose portion is the God of Jacob! who hath nothing to lose under the sun; but hath a state, a house, an inheritance, a name, a crown, a life, past all the plunderers’, ravishers’, murderers’ reach and fury!

Peace. But lo! Who’s there?

Truth. Our sister Patience, whose desired company is as needful as delightful. It is like the wolf will send the scattered sheep in one: the common pirate gather up the loose and scattered navy: the slaughter of the witnesses[364] by that bloody beast unite the independents and presbyterians.

The God of peace, the God of truth, will shortly seal this truth, and confirm this witness, and make it evident to the whole world,—

That the doctrine of persecution for cause of conscience, is most evidently and lamentably contrary to the doctrine of Christ Jesus, the Prince of peace. Amen.











This Letter I acknowledge to have received from Mr. Cotton, whom for his personal excellencies I truly honour and love: yet at such a time of my distressed wanderings amongst the barbarians, that being destitute of food, of clothes, of time, I reserved it, though hardly, amidst so many barbarous distractions, and afterward prepared an answer to be returned.

Mr. Cotton’s reluctancy in himself concerning the way of persecution.

In the interim, some friends being much grieved, that one, publicly acknowledged to be godly, and dearly beloved, should yet be so exposed to the mercy of a howling wilderness in frost and snow, &c.: Mr. Cotton, to take off the edge of censure from himself, professed both in speech and writing, that he was no procurer of my sorrows.

Some letters then passed between us, in which I proved and expressed, that if I had perished in that sorrowful winter’s flight, only the blood of Jesus Christ could have washed him from the guilt of mine.

An unmerciful speech from a merciful man.

His final answer was, “Had you perished, your blood had been on your own head; it was your sin to procure it, and your sorrow to suffer it.”

Here I confess I stopped, and ever since suppressed mine answer; waiting, if it might please the Father of[368] mercies, more to mollify and soften, and render more humane and merciful, the ear and heart of that otherwise excellent and worthy man.

God’s wisdom in the season of publishing this letter.

It cannot now be justly offensive, that finding this letter public (by whose procurement I know not) I also present to the same public view, my formerly intended answer.

Times of inquiry after Christ.

I rejoice in the goodness and wisdom of him who is the Father of lights and mercies, in ordering the season both of mine own present opportunity of answer: as also and especially of such protestations and resolutions of so many fearing God, to seek what worship and worshippers are acceptable to him in Jesus Christ.

A golden speech of a parliament man.

Mine own ears were glad and late witnesses of a heavenly speech of one of the most eminent of that high assembly of parliament; viz., “Why should the labours of any be suppressed, if sober, though never so different? We now profess to seek God, we desire to see light,” &c.

Times when seeking of God comes too late.

I know there is a time when God will not be found, though men seek him early, Prov. i. [28.]

There is a time when prayer and fasting come too late, Jer. xiv. [10.]

There is a seeking of the God of Israel with a stumbling-block, according to which God giveth his Israel an answer, Ezek. xiv. [4.]

Lastly, there is a proud refusal of the mind of God returned in answer by the prophet, Jer. xlii. [13.]

Wholehearted seekers the only seekers of Christ Jesus.

Love bids me hope for better things. God’s promise assures us, that his people returning from captivity, shall seek him, and pray, and find him, when they seek him with their whole heart, Jer. xxix. [13.] And God’s angel comforts those against all fears that seek Jesus that was crucified, Mark xvi. [6].

Christ Jesus, whom he saveth he teacheth.

Thy soul so prosper, whoever thou art, worthy reader,[369] as with thy whole heart thou seekest that true Lord Jesus, who is holiness itself, and requires a spiritual and holy bride like to himself, the pure and spotless lamb. He alone, as he is able to save thee to the utmost from thy sins and sorrows by his blood, so hath he brought his Father’s counsel from his bosom, and every soul is bound, on pain of eternal pains, to attend alone [to] his laws and ordinances, commands and statutes, Heb. vii., Acts iii. [23].

The true Lord Jesus studied humility and self-denial.

That Lord Jesus, who purposely chose to descend of mean and inferior parents, a carpenter, &c.:—

Who disdained not to enter this world in a stable, amongst beasts, as unworthy the society of men: who passed through this world with the esteem of a madman, a deceiver, a conjuror, a traitor against Cæsar, and destitute of an house wherein to rest his head: who made choice of his first and greatest ambassadors out of fishermen, tent-makers, &c.: and at last chose to depart on the stage of a painful, shameful gibbet:—

Seekers of Christ are sure of a gracious answer, 2 Thess. v.

If Him thou seekest in these searching times, makest him alone thy white [robe] and soul’s beloved, willing to follow, and be like him in doing [and] in suffering; although thou findest him not in the restoration of his ordinances, according to his first pattern:—

Yet shalt thou see him, reign with him, eternally admire him, and enjoy him, when he shortly comes in flaming fire to burn up millions of ignorant and disobedient.

Your most unworthy country-man,





Mr. Cotton. “Beloved in Christ.”

Answer. Though I humbly desire to acknowledge myself unworthy to be beloved, and most of all unworthy of the name of Christ, and to be beloved for his sake: yet since Mr. Cotton is pleased to use such an affectionate compellation and testimonial expression, to one so afflicted and persecuted by himself and others, whom for their personal worth and godliness I also honour and love, I desire it may be seriously reviewed by himself and them, and all men, whether the Lord Jesus be well pleased that one, beloved in him, should, for no other cause than shall presently appear, be denied the common air to breathe in, and a civil cohabitation upon the same common earth; yea, and also without mercy and human compassion, be exposed to winter miseries in a howling wilderness?[230]


Mr. Cotton expecting more light, must, according to his way of persecution, persecute Christ Jesus if he bring it.

And I ask further, Whether, since Mr. Cotton elsewhere professeth to expect far greater light than yet shines, upon the same grounds and practice, if Christ Jesus in any of his servants shall be pleased to hold forth a further light, Christ Jesus himself shall find the mercy and humanity of a civil and temporal life and being with them?

Mr. Cotton. “Though I have little hope, when I consider the uncircumcision of mine own lips, that you will hearken to my voice, who have not hearkened to the body of the whole church of Christ with you, and the testimony and judgment of so many elders and brethren of other churches: yet I trust my labour will be accepted of the Lord; and who can tell but that he may bless it to you also, if, by his help, I endeavour to show you the sandiness of those grounds, out of which you have banished yourself from the fellowship of all the churches in these countries?”

Will-worship varnished over with the glittering show of humility. Spiritual pride may swell, out of the sense of a man’s humility. Humility most unseasonable in setting up will-worship, or persecuting others.

Answer. First, I acknowledge it a holy character of a heavenly spirit, to make ingenuous true acknowledgment of an uncircumcised lip: yet that discerning spirit, which God graciously vouchsafeth to them that tremble at his word, shall not only find, that not only the will-worships of men may be painted and varnished over with the glittering show of humility, Col. ii., but also God’s dearest servants, eminent for humility and meekness, may yet be troubled with a swelling of spiritual pride out of the very sense of their humility. It pleased God to give Paul himself preventing physic against this distemper, in the midst of[372] God’s gracious revelation to him. And what an humble argument doth David use, when himself, advised by Nathan, went about an evil work out of a holy intention, to wit, a work of will-worship, in building the temple unbidden? Behold, I dwell in a house of Cedar, but the ark of God in a tent, 2 Sam. vii. 2. Humility is never in season to set up superstition, or to persecute God’s children.


Secondly, I observe his charge against me for not hearkening to a twofold voice of Christ: first, of the whole church of Christ with me.[232]

Public sins the cause of public calamities; must be faithfully discovered by spiritual watchmen.

Unto which I answer, according to my conscience and persuasion, I was then charged by office with the feeding of that flock: and when in the apprehension of some public evils, the whole country professed to humble itself and seek God, I endeavoured, as a faithful watchman on the walls, to sound the trumpet and give the alarm: and upon a fast day, in faithfulness and uprightness, as then and still I am persuaded, I discovered eleven public sins, for which I believed (and do) it pleased God to inflict, and further to threaten public calamities. Most of which eleven (in not all) that church then seemed to assent unto: until afterward in my troubles the greater part of that church was swayed and bowed, whether for fear of persecution or otherwise, to say and practise what, to my knowledge, with sighs and groans, many of them mourned under.


Col. iv. [16.] Faithfulness to God and man (though for present censured) will give rejoicing in day of death and judgment.

I know the church of Colosse must say to Archippus, Take heed to thy ministry, &c., which he may negligently and proudly refuse to hearken to; but let my case be considered, and the word of the Lord examined, and the difference of my case will shine forth, and my faithfulness and uprightness to God and the souls of that people will witness for me, when my soul comes to Hezekiah’s case on his death-bed, and in that great day approaching.

The popish argument from multitudes. David and the princes and thirty thousand of Israel, a type of God’s best servants reforming, yet not after the due order. An excellent confession of the papists concerning scripture.

For my not hearkening to the second voice, the testimony of so many elders and brethren of other churches: because I truly esteem and honour the persons of which the New English churches are constituted, I will not answer the argument of numbers and multitudes against one, as we use to answer the popish universality, that God sometimes stirs up one Elijah against eight hundred of Baal’s priests,[233] one Micaiah against four hundred of Ahab’s prophets, one Athanasius against many hundreds of Arian bishops, one John Huss against the whole council of Constance, Luther and the two witnesses against many thousands, &c. Let this I may truly say, that David himself, and the princes of Israel, and thirty thousand Israel, carrying up the ark, were not to be hearkened to nor followed in their (as I may say) holy rejoicings and triumphings, the due order of the Lord yet being wanting to their holy intentions and affections, and the Lord at last sending in a sad stop and breach of Uzzah amongst them (Perez Uzzah), as he hath ever yet done, and will do in all the reformations that have been hitherto made by his Davids which are not after the due order. To which purpose, it is maintained by the papists themselves, and by their councils, that scripture only must be heard: yea, one scripture in the mouth of one simple mechanic before the[374] whole council. By that only do I desire to stand or fall in trial or judgment; for all flesh is grass, and the beauty of flesh, the most wisest, holiest, learnedest, is but the flower or beauty of grass: only the word of Jehovah standeth fast for ever.


Thirdly, Mr. Cotton endeavoureth to discover the sandiness of those grounds out of which, as he saith, I have banished myself, &c.

Good intentions and affections in God’s people, accepted with God, when their endeavours perish and burn like stubble, &c. Many grounds seemed sandy to Mr. Cotton in Old England, which now he confesseth to be rocky.

I answer, I question not his holy and loving intentions and affections, and that my grounds seem sandy to himself and others. Those intentions and affections may be accepted, as his person, with the Lord, as David of his desires to build the Lord a temple, though on sandy grounds. Yet Mr. Cotton’s endeavours to prove the firm rock of the truth of Jesus to be the weak and uncertain sand of man’s invention, those shall perish and burn like hay or stubble. The rocky strength of those grounds shall more appear in the Lord’s season, and himself may yet confess so much, as since he came into New England he hath confessed the sandiness of the grounds of many of his practices in which he walked in Old England, and the rockiness of their grounds that witnessed against them and himself in those practices, though for that time their grounds seemed sandy to him.

Mr. Cotton formerly persuaded to practise Common Prayer; but since hath written against it.

When myself heretofore, through the mercy of the Most High, discovered to himself and other eminent servants of God my grounds against their using of the Common Prayer, my grounds seemed sandy to them, which since in New England Mr. Cotton hath acknowledged[375] rocky, and hath seen cause so to publish to the world, in his discourse to Mr. Ball against set forms of prayer.[234]

But because the reader may ask, both Mr. Cotton and me, what were the grounds of such a sentence of banishment against me, which are here called sandy, I shall relate in brief what those grounds were, some whereof he is pleased to discuss in this letter, and others of them not to mention.[235]

After my public trial and answers at the general court, one of the most eminent magistrates, whose name and speech may by others be remembered, stood up and spake:

The four particular grounds of my sentence of banishment.

“Mr. Williams,” said he, “holds forth these four particulars;

“First, That we have not our land by patent from the king, but that the natives are the true owners of it, and that we ought to repent of such a receiving it by patent.

“Secondly, That it is not lawful to call a wicked person to swear, [or] to pray, as being actions of God’s worship.

“Thirdly, That it is not lawful to hear any of the ministers of the parish assemblies in England.

“Fourthly, that the civil magistrate’s power extends only to the bodies, and goods, and outward state of men,” &c.

I acknowledge the particulars were rightly summed up,[376] and I also hope, that, as I then maintained the rocky strength of them to my own and other consciences’ satisfaction, so, through the Lord’s assistance, I shall be ready for the same grounds not only to be bound and banished, but to die also in New England, as for most holy truths of God in Christ Jesus.

Yea; but, saith he, upon those grounds you banished yourself from the society of the churches in these countries.

Christ Jesus speaketh and suffereth in his witnesses. The dragon’s language in a lamb’s lip. God’s children persecuted are charged by their enemies to be the authors of their own persecution.

I answer, if Mr. Cotton mean my own voluntary withdrawing from those churches resolved to continue in those evils, and persecuting the witnesses of the Lord presenting light unto them, I confess it was mine own voluntary act; yea, I hope the act of the Lord Jesus sounding forth in me, a poor despised ram’s horn, the blast which shall in his own holy season cast down the strength and confidence of those inventions of men in the worshipping of the true and living God:—And lastly, His act in enabling me to be faithful, in any measure, to suffer such great and mighty trials for his name’s sake. But if by banishing myself he intend the act of civil banishment from their common earth and air, I then observe with grief the language of the dragon in a lamb’s lip. Among other expressions of the dragon, are not these common to the witnesses of the Lord Jesus, rent and torn by his persecutions?—“Go now:—say, you are persecuted, you are persecuted for Christ, suffer for your conscience: no, it is your schism, heresy, obstinacy, the devil hath deceived thee, thou hast justly brought this upon thee, thou hast banished thyself,” &c. Instances are abundant in so many books of martyrs, and the experience of all men, and therefore I spare to recite in so short a treatise.

A national church, the silent commonweal or world, silently confessed by Mr. Cotton to be all one.

Secondly, if he mean this civil act of banishing, why should he call a civil sentence from the civil state, within[377] a few weeks’ execution, in so sharp a time of New England’s cold—Why should he call this a banishment from the churches? except he silently confess, that the frame or constitution of their churches is but implicitly national, which yet they profess against: for otherwise why was I not yet permitted to live in the world, or commonweal, except for this reason, that the commonweal and church is yet but one, and he that is banished from the one must necessarily be banished from the other also.


Mr. Cotton. “Let not any prejudice against my person, I beseech you, forestal either your affection or judgment, as if I had hasted forward the sentence of your civil banishment; for what was done by the magistrates in that kind was neither done by my counsel nor consent.”

Persecutors of men’s bodies seldom or never do those men’s souls good. An excellent observation of a worthy parliament man.

Answ. Although I desire to hear the voice of God from a stranger, an equal, an inferior, yea, an enemy; yet I observe how this excellent man cannot but confess how hard it is for any man to do good, to speak effectually to the soul or conscience of any whose body he afflicts and persecutes, and that only for their soul and conscience’ sake. Hence, excellent was the observation of a worthy gentleman in the parliament against the bishops, viz., That the bishops were far from the practice of the Lord Jesus, who, together with his word preached to the souls of men, showed their bodies so much mercy and loving-kindness; whereas the bishops on the contrary persecute, &c.

God’s children are not so free in persecuting God’s children, as persecutors whose professed nature and trade it is.

Now to the ground from whence my prejudice might arise, he professeth my banishment proceeded not with his counsel or consent. I answer, I doubt not but that what[378] Mr. Cotton and others did in procuring my sorrows, was not without some regret and reluctancy of conscience and affection—as like it is that David could not procure Uriah’s death, nor Asa imprison the prophet, with a quiet and free conscience. Yet to the particular, that Mr. Cotton consented not, what need he, being not one of the civil court? But that he counselled it, and so consented, beside what other proof I might produce, and what himself hereunder expresseth, I shall produce a double and unanswerable testimony.

Mr. Cotton by teaching persecution cannot but consent to it, &c.

First, he publicly taught, and teacheth, except lately Christ Jesus hath taught him better, that body-killing, soul-killing, and state-killing doctrine of not permitting but persecuting all other consciences and ways of worship but his own in the civil state, and so consequently in the whole world, if the power or empire thereof were in his hand.

Mr. Cotton privately satisfied the consciences of some that questioned, whether persecution for conscience was lawful.

Secondly, as at that sentence divers worthy gentlemen durst not concur with the rest in such a course, so some that did consent have solemnly testified, and with tears since to myself confessed, that they could not in their souls have been brought to have consented to the sentence, had not Mr. Cotton in private given them advice and counsel, proving it just and warrantable to their consciences.

I desire to be as charitable as charity would have me, and therefore would hope that either his memory failed him, or that else he meant, that in the very time of sentence passing he neither counselled nor consented—as he hath since said, that he withdrew himself and went out from the rest—probably out of that reluctation which before I mentioned; and yet if so, I cannot reconcile his own expression: for thus he goes on:—



Mr. Cotton. “Although I dare not deny the sentence passed to be righteous in the eyes of God, who hath said, that he that withholdeth the corn, which is the staff of life, from the people, the multitude shall curse him, Prov. xi. 26, how much more shall they separate such from them as do withhold and separate them from the ordinances, or the ordinances from them, which are in Christ the bread of life.”

Prov. xi. 26. The scripture produced by Mr. Cotton to prove my banishment lawful, discussed.

Answ. I desire to inform the reader why it pleaseth Mr. Cotton to produce this scripture. One of our disputes was concerning the true ministry appointed by the Lord Jesus. Another was concerning the fitness and qualification of such persons as have right, according to the rules of the gospel, to choose and enjoy such a true ministry of the Lord Jesus. Hence because I professed, and do, against the office of any ministry but such as the Lord Jesus appointeth, this scripture is produced against me.

Mr. Cotton satisfies all men concerning the chief cause of my banishment. The word of the Lord is the soul’s corn; yet must it be dispensed according to the word of the Lord.

Secondly, let this be observed for satisfaction to many who inquire into the cause of my sufferings, that it pleaseth Mr. Cotton only to produce this scripture for justifying the sentence as righteous in the eyes of God, implying what our chief difference was, and consequently what it was for which I chiefly suffered, to wit, concerning the true ministry of Christ Jesus. But to the scripture, let the people curse such as hoard up corporal or spiritual corn, and let those be blessed that sell it: will it therefore follow, that either the one or the other may lawfully be sold or bought but with the good will, consent, and authority of the true owner?[236]


To some parts the apostles were forbidden to preach, and from others to depart, shaking off the dust, &c. All the Lord’s corn must be sold according to the Lord’s ordinance.

Doth not even the common, civil market abhor and curse that man, who carries to market and throws about good corn against the owner’s mind and express command?—who yet is willing and desirous it should be sold plenteously, if with his consent, according to his order, and to his honest and reasonable advantage? This is the case of the true and false ministry. Far be it from my soul’s thought to stop the sweet streams of the water of life from flowing to refresh the thirsty, or the bread of life from feeding hungry souls: and yet I would not, and the Lord Jesus would not, that one drop, or one crumb or grain, should be unlawfully, disorderly, or prodigally disposed of; for, from the scorners, contradicters, despisers, persecutors, &c., the apostles, messengers of the Lord Jesus, were to turn and to shake off the dust of their feet: yea, it pleased the Spirit of the Lord to forbid the apostles to preach at all to some places, at some times: so that the whole dispose of this spiritual corn, for the persons selling, their qualifications, commissions, or callings, the quantities and qualities of the corn, the price for which, the persons to whom, the place where, and time when, the great Lord of the harvest must express his holy will and pleasure, which must humbly and faithfully be attended on.

Mr. Cotton himself choosing rather to sell no spiritual corn, than to yield to some ceremonies.

In which regard Mr. Cotton deals most partially: for would Mr. Cotton himself have preached in Old, or will he in New England, with submission but to some few ceremonies, as the selling of this spiritual corn in a white coat, a surplice? Did he not rather choose, which I mention to the Lord’s and Mr. Cotton’s honour, to have shut up his sack’s mouth, to have been silenced (as they call it) and imprisoned, than to sell that heavenly corn otherwise than as he was persuaded the Lord appointed? Yea, hath he not in New England refused to admit the children of godly parents to baptism, or the parents themselves unto[381] the fellowship of the supper, until they came into that order which he conceived was the order of the Lord’s appointing?

In civil things nothing lawful but what is according to law and order. In England now, not persons fit, but also truly authorized, are true officers.

Again, to descend to human courses, do not all civil men throughout the world, forbid all building, planting, merchandizing, marrying, execution of justice, yea, all actions of peace or war, but by a true and right commission and in a right order? Is it not, in this present storm of England’s sorrows, one of the greatest queries in all the kingdom, who are the true officers, true commanders, true justices, true commissioners, which is the true seal? And doubtless as truth is but one, so but the one sort is true, and ought to be submitted to, and the contrary resisted; although it should be granted that the officers questioned and their actions were noble, excellent, and beyond exception.

The curse of death in Israel of old, is spiritual death, and spiritual cutting off, in the church of Christ and Christian Israel now.

I judge it not here seasonable to entertain the dispute of the true power and call of Christ’s ministry: I shall only add a word to this scripture, as it is brought to prove a righteous sentence of banishment on myself or any that plead against a false office of ministry. It is true in the national church of Israel, the then only church and nation of God, he that did aught presumptuously was to be accursed and to be put to death, Deut. xvii. [12,] a figure of the spiritual putting to death an obstinate sinner in the church of Christ, who refusing to hear the voice of Christ is to be cut off from Christ and Christians, and to be esteemed as a heathen, that is, a Gentile, or publican, Matt. xviii. [17.] Hence, consequently, the not selling, or the withholding of corn presumptuously, was death in Israel. But Mr. Cotton cannot prove that every wilful withholding of corn, in all or any state in the world, and that in time of plenty, is death; for as for banishment, we never hear of any such course in Israel.

Such as are excellently fitted to sell the spiritual corn of the word of the Lord, and yet find not their call to the ministry, are not to be put to death or banished.

And secondly, least of all can he prove, that in all civil[382] states of the world, that man that pleadeth against a false ministry, or that being able to preach Christ and doubting of the true way of the ministry since the apostacy of anti-christ, dares not practise a ministry. Or that many excellent and worthy gentlemen, lawyers, physicians, and others, as well gifted in the knowledge of the scripture, and furnished with the gifts of tongues and utterance, as most that profess the ministry, and yet are not persuaded to sell spiritual corn, as questioning their true calling and commission—I say, Mr. Cotton doth not, nor will he ever prove that these, or any of these, ought to be put to death or banishment in every land or country.[237]

Spiritual offences are only liable to a spiritual censure. Paul not to be banished or killed by Nero, for not preaching the gospel.

The selling or withholding of spiritual corn, are both of a spiritual nature, and therefore must necessarily in a true parallel bear relation to a spiritual curse.[238] Paul wishing himself accursed from Christ for his countrymen’s sake, Rom. ix. [3,] he spake not of any temporal death or banishment. Yet nearer, being fitly qualified and truly called by Christ to the ministry, he cries out, 1 Cor. ix. [16,] Woe to me if I preach not the gospel! yet did not Paul intend, that therefore the Roman Nero, or any subordinate power under him in Corinth, should have either banished or put Paul to death, having committed nothing against the civil state worthy of such a civil punishment: yea, and Mr. Cotton himself seemeth to question the sandiness of such a ground to warrant such proceedings, for thus he goes on:—



Mr. Cotton. “And yet it may be they passed that sentence against you, not upon that ground: but for aught I know, for your other corrupt doctrines, which tend to the disturbance both of civil and holy peace, as may appear by that answer which was sent to the brethren of the church of Salem and yourself.”

Mr. Cotton himself ignorant of the cause of my sufferings.

[Answer.] I answer, it is no wonder that so many having been demanded the cause of my sufferings have answered, that they could not tell for what, since Mr. Cotton himself knows not distinctly what cause to assign; but saith, it may be they passed not that sentence on that ground, &c. Oh! where was the waking care of so excellent and worthy a man, to see his brother and beloved in Christ so afflicted, he knows not distinctly for what![239]

He allegeth a scripture to prove the sentence righteous, and yet concludeth it may be it was not for that, but for other corrupt doctrines which he nameth not, nor any scripture to prove them corrupt, or the sentence righteous for that cause. Oh! that it may please the Father of lights to awaken both himself and other of my honoured countrymen, to see how though their hearts wake, in respect of personal grace and life of Jesus, yet they sleep, insensible of much concerning the purity of the Lord’s worship, or the sorrows of such, whom they style brethren and beloved in Christ, afflicted by them.

Civil peace and civil magistracy blessed ordinances of God.

But though he name not these corrupt doctrines, a little[384] before I have, as they were publicly summed up and charged upon me, and yet none of them tending to the breach of holy or civil peace, of which I have ever desired to be unfeignedly tender, acknowledging the ordinance of magistracy to be properly and adequately fitted by God to preserve the civil state in civil peace and order, as he hath also appointed a spiritual government and governors in matters pertaining to his worship and the consciences of men; both which governments, governors, laws, offences, punishments, are essentially distinct, and the confounding of them brings all the world into combustion. He adds:


Mr. Cotton. “And to speak freely what I think, were my soul in your soul’s stead, I should think it a work of mercy of God to banish me from the civil society of such a commonweal, where I could not enjoy holy fellowship with any church of God amongst them without sin. What should the daughter of Sion do in Babel, why should she not hasten to flee from thence?”

Answer. Love bids me hope, that Mr. Cotton here intended me a cordial to revive me in my sorrows:[240] yet, if the ingredients be examined, there will appear no less than dishonour to the name of God, danger to every civil state, a miserable comfort to myself, and contradiction within itself.

A land cannot be Babel, yet a church of Christ.

For the last first. If he call the land Babel, mystically,[385] which he must needs do or else speak not to the point, how can it be Babel, and yet the church of Christ also?

Famous civil states where yet no sound of Jesus Christ.

Secondly, it is a dangerous doctrine to affirm it a misery to live in that state, where a Christian cannot enjoy the fellowship of the public churches of God without sin. Do we not know many famous states wherein is known no church of Jesus Christ? Did not God command his people to pray for the peace of the material city of Babel, Jer. xxix. [7,] and to seek the peace of it, though no church of God in Babel, in the form and order of it? Or did Sodom, Egypt, Babel, signify material Sodom, Egypt, Babel? Rev. xi. 8, and xviii. 2.

A true church of Jesus Christ in material Babylon.

There was a true church of Jesus Christ in material Babel, 1 Pet. v. 13. Was it then a mercy for all the inhabitants of Babel to have been banished, whom the church of Jesus Christ durst not to have received to holy fellowship? Or was it a mercy for any person to have been banished the city, and driven to the miseries of a barbarous wilderness, him and his, if some bar had lain upon his conscience that he could not have enjoyed fellowship with the true church of Christ?

The mercy of a civil state distinct from mercies of a spiritual nature.

Thirdly, for myself, I acknowledge it a blessed gift of God to be enabled to suffer, and so to be banished for his name’s sake: and yet I doubt not to affirm, that Mr. Cotton himself would have counted it a mercy if he might have practised in Old England what now he doth in New, with the enjoyment of the civil peace, safety, and protection of the state.[241]

Old and New England, for the countries and civil government incomparable.

Or should he dissent from the New English churches, and join in worship with some other, as some few years since he was upon the point to do in a separation from the[386] churches there as legal,[242] would he count it a mercy to be plucked up by the roots, him and his, and to endure the losses, distractions, miseries that do attend such a condition? The truth is, both the mother and the daughter, Old and New England—for the countries and governments are lands and governments incomparable: and might it please God to persuade the mother to permit the inhabitants of New England, her daughter, to enjoy their conscience to God, after a particular congregational way, and to persuade the daughter to permit the inhabitants of the mother, Old England, to walk there after their conscience of a parishional way (which yet neither mother nor daughter is persuaded to permit), I conceive Mr. Cotton himself, were he seated in Old England again, would not count it a mercy to be banished from the civil state.

Mr. Cotton not having felt the miseries of others can be no equal judge of them.

And therefore, lastly, as he casts dishonour upon the name of God, to make Him the author of such cruel mercy, so had his soul been in my soul’s case, exposed to the miseries, poverties, necessities, wants, debts, hardships of sea and land, in a banished condition, he would, I presume, reach forth a more merciful cordial to the afflicted. But he that is despised and afflicted, is like a lamp despised in the eyes of him that is at ease, Job xii. 5.



Mr. Cotton. Yea; but he speaks not these things to add affliction to the afflicted, but if it were the holy will of God to move me to a serious sight of my sin, and of the justice of God’s hand against it. “Against your corrupt doctrines it pleased the Lord Jesus to fight against you, with the sword of his mouth, as himself speaketh, Rev. ii., in the mouths and testimonies of the churches and brethren, against whom, when you overheat yourself in reasoning and disputing against the light of his truth, it pleased him to stop your mouth by a sudden disease, and to threaten to take breath from you: but you, instead of recoiling, as even Balaam offered to do in the like case, chose rather to persist in the way, and protest against all the churches and brethren that stood in your way: and thus the good hand of Christ that should have humbled you to see and turn from the error of your way, hath rather hardened you therein, and quickened you only to see failings, yea, intolerable errors, in all the churches and brethren rather than in yourself.”

Answer. In these lines, an humble and discerning spirit may espy:—first, a glorious justification and boasting of himself and others concurring with him. Secondly, an unrighteous and uncharitable censure of the afflicted.

The lantern of God’s word must alone try who fights with the sword of God’s mouth, the same word of God. Whether Mr. Cotton persecuting, or the answerer persecuted, be likest to Balaam.

To the first I say no more, but let the light of the holy lantern of the word of God discover and try with whom the sword of God’s mouth, that is, the testimony of the holy scripture for Christ against anti-christ, abideth. And whether myself and such poor witnesses of Jesus Christ in Old and New England, Low Countries, &c., desiring in meekness and patience to testify the truth of[388] Jesus against all false callings of ministers, &c., or Mr. Cotton, however in his person holy and beloved, swimming with the stream of outward credit and profit, and smiting with the fist and sword of persecution such as dare not join in worship with him:—I say, whether of either be the witnesses of Christ Jesus, in whose mouth is the sword of his mouth, the sword of the Spirit, the holy word of God, and whether is most like to Balaam?

The answerer’s profession concerning his sickness, which Mr. Cotton upbraids to him. Scripture, history, experience can witness the censures upon God’s servants in their afflictions.

To the second: his censure. It is true, it pleased God by excessive labours on the Lord’s days, and thrice a week at Salem: by labours day and night in my field with my own hands, for the maintenance of my charge: by travels also by day and night to go and return from their court, and not by overheating in dispute, divers of themselves confessing publicly my moderation, it pleased God to bring me near unto death; in which time, notwithstanding the mediating testimony of two skilful in physic, I was unmercifully driven from my chamber to a winter’s flight.[243] During my sickness, I humbly appeal unto the Father of spirits for witness of the upright and constant, diligent search my spirit made after him, in the examination of all passages, both my private disquisitions with all the chief of their ministers, and public agitations of points controverted; and what gracious fruit I reaped from that sickness, I hope my soul shall never forget. However, I mind not to number up a catalogue of the many censures[389] upon God’s servants in the time of God’s chastisements and visitations on them, both in scripture, history, and experience. Nor retort the many evils which it pleased God to bring upon some chief procurers of my sorrows, nor upon the whole state immediately after them, which many of their own have observed and reported to me; but I commit my cause to him that judgeth righteously, and yet resolve to pray against their evils, Ps. cxli.


Mr. Cotton. “In which course, though you say you do not remember an hour wherein the countenance of the Lord was darkened to you: yet be not deceived, it is no new thing with Satan to transform himself into an angel of light, and to cheer the soul with false peace, and with flashes of counterfeit consolation. Sad and woeful is the memory of Mr. Smith’s strong consolation on his death-bed, which is set as a seal to his gross and damnable Arminianism and enthusiasm delivered in the confession of his faith,[244] prefixed to the story of his life and death. The countenance of God is upon his people when they fear him, not when they presume of their own strength, and his consolations are not found in the way of precedence and error, but in the ways of humility and truth.”

Answer. To that part which concerns myself, the speech hath reference either to the matter of justification, or else matter of my affliction for Christ, of both which I remember I have had discourse.


A soul at peace with God may yet endure great combats concerning sanctification.

For the first, I have expressed in some conference, as Mr. Cotton himself hath also related concerning some with whom I am not worthy to be named, that after first manifestations of the countenance of God, reconciled in the blood of his Son unto my soul, my questions and trouble have not been concerning my reconciliation and peace with God, but concerning sanctification, and fellowship with the holiness of God, in which respect I desire to cry, with Paul, in the bitterness of my spirit, O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

Affliction for Christ sweet. Two cautions for any in persecution for conscience.

Secondly, it may have reference to some conference concerning affliction for his name’s sake, in which respect I desire to acknowledge the faithfulness of his word and promise, to be with his in six troubles and in seven, through fire and water, making good a hundred-fold with persecution to such of his servants as suffer aught for his names’-sake: and I have said and must say, and all God’s witnesses that have borne any pain or loss for Jesus must say, that fellowship with the Lord Jesus in his sufferings is sweeter than all the fellowship with sinners in all the profits, honours, and pleasures of this present evil world. And yet two things I desire to speak to all men and myself, Let every man prove his work, Gal. vi. 4., and then shall he have rejoicing in himself, and not in another. Secondly, if any man love God, that soul knows God, or rather is known of God, 1 Cor. viii. 3. Self-love may burn the body; but happy only he whose love alone to Christ constrains him to be like unto him, and suffer with him.

Mr. Smith godly, and a light to Mr. Cotton and others, though left to himself in some things. God’s infinite compassions toward those whose hearts are upright with him. The opinion of putting Uriah to death, the vilest of all opinions. As the weights of the sanctuary were double, so must there be double pondering in all the affairs of God’s worship.

To that which concerneth Mr. Smith, although I knew him not, and have heard of many points in which my conscience tells me it pleased the Lord to leave him to himself: yet I have also heard by some, whose testimony Mr.[391] Cotton will not easily refuse, that he was a man fearing God.[245] And I am sure Mr. Cotton hath made some use of those principles and arguments on which Mr. Smith and others went, concerning the constitution of the Christian church.[246] The infinite compassions of God, which lay no sin to David’s charge but the sin of Uriah, 1 Kings xv. 5, have graciously comforted the souls of his on their death-bed, accepting and crowning their uprightness and faithfulness, and passing by what otherwise is grievous and offensive to him. And indeed from the due consideration of that instance, it appears that no sin is comparably so grievous in God’s David as a treacherous slaughter of the faithful, whom we are forced to call beloved in Christ. That opinion in Mr. Cotton, or any, is the most grievous to God or man, and not comparable to any that ever Mr. Smith could be charged with. It is true, the countenance and consolations of God are found in the ways of humility and truth, and Satan transformeth him like to an angel of light in a counterfeit of both: in which respect I desire to work out salvation with fear and trembling, and to do nothing in the affairs of God and his worship but (like the weights of the sanctuary) with double care, diligence, and consideration, above all the affairs of this vanishing[392] life. And yet Christ’s consolations are so sweet, that the soul that tasteth them in truth, in suffering for any truth of his, will not easily part with them, though thousands are deceived and deluded with counterfeits.


Mr. Cotton. “Two stumbling blocks, I perceive, have turned you off from fellowship with us. First, the want of fit matter of our church. Secondly, disrespect of the separate churches in England under affliction, ourselves practising separation in peace.”

“For the first, you acknowledge, as you say with joy, that godly persons are the visible members of these churches; but yet you see not that godly persons are matter fitted to constitute a church, no more than trees or quarries are fit matter proportioned to the building. This exception seemeth to me to imply a contradiction to itself, for if the matter of the churches be as you say godly persons, they are not then as trees unfelled, and stones unhewn: godliness cutteth men down from the former root, and heweth them out of the pit of corrupt nature, and fitteth them for fellowship with Christ and with his people.”

“You object, first, a necessity lying upon godly men before they can be fit matter for church fellowship, to see, bewail, repent, and come out of the false churches, worship, ministry, government, according to scriptures, Isa. lxii. 11, 2 Cor. vi. 17; and this is to be done not by a local removal or contrary practice, but by a deliverance of the soul, understanding, will, judgment and affection.”

Answer. First, we grant that it is not local removal[393] from former pollution, nor contrary practice, that fitteth us for fellowship with Christ and his church; but that it is necessary also that we repent of such former pollutions wherewith we have been defiled and enthralled.”

“We grant further, that it is likewise necessary to church fellowship we should see and discern all such pollutions as do so far enthral us to anti-christ as to separate us from Christ. But this we profess unto you, that wherein we have reformed our practice, therein have we endeavoured unfeignedly to humble our souls for our former contrary walking. If any through hypocrisy are wanting herein, the hidden hypocrisy of some will not prejudice the sincerity and faithfulness of others, nor the church estate of all.”

Answer. That which requireth answer in this passage, is a charge of a seeming contradiction, to wit, That persons may be godly, and yet not fitted for church estate, but remain as trees and quarries, unfelled, &c.: Contrary to which it is affirmed, that godly persons cannot be so enthralled to anti-christ, as to separate them from Christ.

For the clearing of which let the word of truth be rightly divided, and a right distinction of things applied, there will appear nothing contradictory, but clear and satisfactory to each man’s conscience.

The state of godly persons in gross sins. Godly persons falling into gross sins, are to express repentance before they can be admitted to the church.

First, then, I distinguish of a godly person thus: In some acts of sin which a godly person may fall into, during those acts, although before the all-searching and tender eye of God, and also in the eyes of such as are godly, such a person remaineth still godly, yet to the eye of the world externally such a person seemeth ungodly, and a sinner. Thus Noah in his drunkenness; thus Abraham, Lot, Samson, Job, David, Peter, in their lying, whoredoms, cursings, murder, denying and foreswearing[394] of Christ Jesus, although they lost not their inward sap and root of life, yet suffered they a decay and fall of leaf, and the show of bad and evil trees. In such a case Mr. Cotton will not deny, that a godly person falling into drunkenness, whoredom, deliberate murder, denying and forswearing of Christ, the church of Christ cannot receive such persons into church fellowship, before their sight of humble bewailing and confessing of such evils, notwithstanding that love may conceive there is a root of godliness within.

God’s children long asleep in respect of God’s worship, though alive in the grace of Christ.

Secondly, God’s children, Cant. v. 2, notwithstanding a principle of spiritual life in their souls, yet are lulled into a long continued sleep in the matters of God’s worship: I sleep, though my heart waketh. The heart is awake in spiritual life and grace, as concerning personal union to the Lord Jesus, and conscionable endeavours to please him in what the heart is convinced: yet asleep in respect of abundant ignorance and negligence, and consequently gross abominations and pollutions of worship; in which the choicest servants of God, and most faithful witnesses of many truths have lived in more or less, yea, in main and fundamental points, ever since the apostacy.

Mr. Cotton now professes to practise what thousands of God’s people for many ages have not seen.

Not to instance in all, but in some particulars which Mr. Cotton hath in New England reformed: I earnestly beseech himself and all well to ponder how far he himself now professeth to see and practise, that which so many thousands of godly persons of high note, in all ages, since the apostacy, saw not: as,

First, concerning the nature of a particular church, to consist only of holy and godly persons.

Secondly, of a true ministry called by that church.

Thirdly, a true worship free from ceremonies, common-prayer, &c.

Fourthly, a true government in the hands only of such[395] governors and elders as are appointed by the Lord Jesus. Hence God’s people not seeing their captivity in these points, must first necessarily be enlightened and called out from such captivity before they can be nextly fitted and prepared for the true church, worship, ministry, &c.


The Jews of old in the type could not build the altar and temple in Babel, but first they must come forth and then build at Jerusalem. God’s mystical Israel in the antitype must also come forth of Babel before they can build the temple at Jerusalem.

Secondly, this will be more clear, if we consider God’s people and church of old, the Jews, captivated in material Babel, they could not possibly build God’s altar and temple at Jerusalem, until the yoke and bonds of their captivity were broken, and they set free to return with the vessels of the Lord’s house, to set up his worship in Jerusalem: as we see in the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Daniel, Haggai, &c. Hence in the antitype, God’s people, the spiritual and mystical Jews, cannot possibly erect the altar of the Lord’s true worship, and build the temple of his true church, without a true sight of their spiritual bondage in respect of God’s worship, and a power and strength from Jesus Christ to bring them out, and carry them through all difficulties in so mighty a work. And as the being of God’s people in material Babel, and a necessity of their coming forth before they could build the temple, did not in the least deny them to be God’s people: no more now doth God’s people being in mystical Babel, (Rev. xviii.) nor the necessity of their coming forth, hinder or deny the godliness of their persons, or spiritual life within them.

Luther and other famous witnesses very gross concerning God’s worship, though eminent for personal grace.

Thirdly, how many famous servants of God and witnesses of Jesus, lived and died and were burnt for other truths of Jesus, not seeing the evil of their anti-christian[396] calling of bishops, &c.! How did famous Luther himself continue a monk, set forth the German mass, acknowledge the pope, and held other gross abominations concerning God’s worship, notwithstanding the life of Christ Jesus in him, and wrought in thousands by his means.

Mr. Cotton refuseth godly persons except they be convinced of their church covenant.

Fourthly, Mr. Cotton must be requested to remember his own practice, as before; how doth he refuse to receive persons eminent for personal grace and godliness to the Lord’s supper, and other privileges of Christians, according to the profession of their church estate, until they be convinced of the necessity of making and entering into a church covenant with them, with a confession of faith, &c.; and if any cannot be persuaded of such a covenant and confession, notwithstanding their godliness, yet are they not admitted.[247]

Mr. Cotton and the English elders refuse to permit eminent ministers and people of Old England to live in New England (notwithstanding he confessed their godliness above his own) if they join not in his church fellowship. Godly persons living trees and living stones, yet need much hewing and cutting to bring them from false to true worship. The coming forth of false worship a second kind (as it were) of regeneration to God’s people. Return from the land of the north.

Lastly, how famous is that passage of that solemn question put to Mr. Cotton and the rest of the New English elders, by divers of the ministers of Old England, eminent for personal godliness, as Mr. Cotton acknowledgeth, viz., whether they might be permitted in New England to enjoy their consciences in a church estate different from the New English; unto which Mr. Cotton and the New English elders return a plain negative, in effect thus much, with the acknowledgment of their worth and godliness above their own, and their hopes of agreement; yet in conclusion, if they agree not, which they are not like to do, and submit to that way of church-fellowship and worship which in New England is set up, they cannot only not enjoy church-fellowship together, but not permit them to live and breathe in the same air and commonweal together;[248] which was my case, although it pleased Mr.[397] Cotton and others most incensed to give myself a testimony of godliness, &c.[249] And this is the reason why, although I confess with joy the care of the New English churches that no person be received to fellowship with them, in whom they cannot first discern true regeneration and the life of Jesus, yet I said, and still affirm, that godly and regenerate persons, according to all the former instances and reasons, are not fitted to constitute the true Christian church, until it hath pleased God to convince their souls of the evil of the false church, ministry, worship, &c. And although I confess that godly persons are not dead but living trees, not dead but living stones, and need no new regeneration (and so in that respect need no felling nor digging out), yet need they a mighty work of God’s Spirit to humble and ashame them, and to cause them to loathe themselves for their abominations or stinks in God’s nostrils, as it pleaseth God’s Spirit to speak of false worships. Hence, Ezek. xliii. 11: God’s people are not fit for God’s house until holy shame be wrought in them for what they have done. Hence God promiseth to cause them to loathe themselves, because they have broken him with their whorish hearts, Ezek. vi. 9. And hence it[398] is that I have known some precious godly hearts confess, that the plucking of their souls out from the abominations of false worship, hath been a second kind of regeneration. Hence was it, that it pleased God to say concerning his people’s return from their material captivity, a figure of our spiritual and mystical, that they should not say, Jehovah liveth who brought them from the land of Egypt—a type of first conversion as is conceived; but, Jehovah liveth who brings them from the land of the north—a type of God’s people’s return from spiritual bondage to confused and invented worships.


Now whereas Mr. Cotton addeth, that godly persons are not so enthralled to anti-christ as to separate them from Christ, else they could not be godly persons:—

Christ considered two ways, first, personally, and so God’s people can never be separated from him.

I answer, this comes not near our question, which is not concerning personal godliness or grace of Christ, but the godliness or Christianity of worship. Hence the scripture holds forth Christ Jesus first personally, as that God-man, that one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, whom all God’s people by faith receive, and in receiving become the sons of God, John i. 12, although they yet see not the particular ways of his worship. Thus was it with the centurion, the woman of Canaan, Cornelius, and most, at their first conversion.

Secondly, as head of his church, and so he is often lost and absent from his spouse.

Secondly, the scripture holdeth forth Christ as head of his church, formed into a body of worshippers, in which respect the church is called Christ, 1 Cor. xii. 12: and the description of Christ is admirably set forth in ten several[399] parts of a man’s body, fitting and suiting to the visible profession of Christ in the church, Cant. v.

God’s people cannot serve a false Christ and the true together.

Now in the former respect, anti-christ can never so enthral God’s people as to separate them from Christ, that is, from the life and grace of Christ, although he enthral them into never so gross abominations concerning worship: for God will not lose his in Egypt, Sodom, Babel. His jewels are most precious to him though in a Babylonish dunghill, and his lily sweet and lovely in the wilderness commixed with briars. Yet in the second respect, as Christ is taken for the church, I conceive that anti-christ may separate God’s people from Christ, that is, from Christ’s true visible church and worship.[250] This Mr. Cotton himself will not deny, if he remember how little a while it is since the falsehood of a national, provincial, diocesan, and parishional church, &c., and the truth of a particular congregation, consisting only of holy persons, appeared unto him.

The church before Luther. Rev. xiii.

The papists’ question to the protestant, viz., where was your church before Luther? is thus well answered, to wit, that since the apostacy, truth and the holy city, according to the prophecy, Rev. xi. and xiii., have been trodden under foot, and the whole earth hath wondered after the beast: yet God hath stirred up witnesses to prophesy in sackcloth against the beast, during his forty-two months’ reign: yet those witnesses have in their times, more or less submitted to anti-christ and his church, worship, ministry, &c.,[251] and so consequently have been ignorant of[400] the true Christ, that is, Christ taken for the church in the true profession of that holy way of worship, which he himself at first appointed.


Mr. Cotton. “Secondly, we deny that it is necessary to church fellowship, that is, so necessary that without it a church cannot be, that the members admitted thereunto should all of them see and expressly bewail all the pollutions which they have been defiled with in the former church fellowship, ministry, worship, government, &c., if they see and bewail so much of their former pollutions, as did enthral them to anti-christ so as to separate them from Christ, and be ready in preparation of heart, as they shall see more light, so to hate more and more every false way; we conceive it is as much as is necessarily required to separate them from anti-christ, and to fellowship with Christ and his churches. The church of Christ admitted many thousand Jews that believed on the name of Christ, although they were still zealous of the law, and saw not the beggarly emptiness of Moses’s ceremonies, Acts xxi. 20; and the apostle Paul directeth the Romans to receive such unto them as are weak in the faith, and see not their liberty from the servile difference of meats and days, but still lie under the bondage of the law; yea, he wisheth them to receive such upon this ground, because Christ hath received them, Rom. xiv. 1 to the 6th.”


“Say not, there is not the like danger of lying under bondage to Moses as to anti-christ: for even the bondage under Moses was such, as if continued in after instruction and conviction, would separate them from Christ, Gal. v. 2, and bondage under anti-christ could do no more.”

Answ. Here I desire three things may be observed:—

Mr. Cotton confessing the true and false constitution of the church.

First, Mr. Cotton’s own confession of that twofold church estate, worship, &c., the former false, or else why to be so bewailed and forsaken? the second true, to be embraced and submitted to.

Mr. Cotton confessing to hold what he censureth in the answerer.

Secondly, his own confession of that which a little before he would make so odious in me to hold, viz., that God’s people may be so far enthralled to anti-christ, as to separate them from Christ: for, saith he, “If they see and bewail so much of their former pollutions, as did enthral them to anti-christ, so as to separate them from Christ.”[252]

Fallacy in Mr. Cotton’s generals. A godly person remaining a member of a false church, is therein a member of a false Christ.

Thirdly, I observe how easily a soul may wander in his generals, for thus he writes: “Though they see not all the pollutions wherewith they have been defiled in the former church fellowship.” Again, “if they see so much as did enthral them to anti-christ, and separate them from Christ.” And yet he expresseth nothing of that, “all the pollutions,” nor what so much is as will separate them from Christ. Hence upon that former distinction that Christ in visible worship is Christ, I demand, whether if a godly person remain a member of a falsely constituted church, and so consequently, in that respect, of a false Christ,[402] whether in visible worship he be not separate from the true Christ?

Separation from false Christ absolutely necessary before there can be union to the true. A sequestration or separation of the soul from the world in the idolatrous and invented worships of it, before it can be presented to Christ Jesus, as a chaste virgin into the chaste bed of his own most holy institutions.

Secondly, I ask, whether it be not absolutely necessary to his uniting with the true church, that is, with Christ in true Christian worship, that he see and bewail, and absolutely come out from that former false church or Christ, and his ministry, worship, &c., before he can be united to the true Israel—must come forth of Egypt before they can sacrifice to God in the wilderness. The Jews come out of Babel before they build the temple in Jerusalem. The husband of a woman [must] die, or she be legally divorced, before she can lawfully be married to another; the graft cut off from one before it can be ingrafted into another stock. The kingdom of Christ, that is, the kingdom of the saints, Dan. ii. and vii., is cut out of the mountain of the Roman monarchy. Thus the Corinthians, 1 Cor. vi. 9-11, uniting with Christ Jesus, they were washed from their idolatry, as well as other sins. Thus the Thessalonians turned from their idols before they could serve the living and true God, 1 Thess. i. 9; and as in paganism, so in anti-christianism, which separates as certainly, though more subtilly, from Christ Jesu.


Yea; but it is said, that Jews, weak in Christian liberties, and zealous for Moses’s law, they were to be received.

I answer, two things must here carefully be minded:—

Difference between God’s own holy institutions to the Jews, and Satan’s paganish, or anti-christian institution to the Gentiles, as concerning the manner of coming forth of them.

First, although bondage to Moses would separate from Christ, yet the difference must be observed between those ordinances of Moses which it pleased God himself to ordain and appoint, as his then only worship in the world,[403] though now in the coming of his Son he was pleased to take away, yet with solemnity; and on the other side, the institutions and ordinances of anti-christ, which the devil himself invented, were from first to last never to be received and submitted to one moment, nor with such solemnity to be laid down, but to be abhorred and abominated for ever.

A comparison between the Jewish and Christian ordinances.

The national church of the Jews, with all the shadowish, typical ordinances of kings, priests, prophets, temple, sacrifices, were as a silver candlestick, on which the light of the knowledge of God and the Lord Jesus, in the type and shadow, was set up and shined. That silver candlestick it pleased the Most Holy and Only Wise to take away, and instead thereof to set up the golden candlesticks of particular churches (Rev. i.) by the hand of the Son of God himself. Now the first was silver,—the pure will and mind of God, but intended only for a season; the second of a more precious, lasting nature, a kingdom not to be shaken, that is, abolished as the former, Heb. xii. 28.

Moses’s ordinances at one time precious and holy, at another time beggarly and deadly. The first Christians communicated in the Jewish synagogues until the Jews contradicted and spoke evil, &c., then they separated.

Therefore, secondly, observe the difference of time, which Mr. Cotton himself confesseth: “after instruction and conviction,” saith he, “Moses’s law was deadly, and would separate from Christ;” therefore, there was a time when they were not deadly, and did not separate from Christ, to wit, until Moses was honourably fallen asleep, and lamented for—as I conceive—in the type and figure thirty days, Deut. xxxiv. [8.] Therefore, at one season, not for Timothy’s weak conscience, but for the Jews’ sake, Paul circumcised Timothy: at another time, when the Jews had sufficient instruction, and obstinately would be circumcised, and that necessarily to salvation, Paul seasonably cries out, that if they were circumcised Christ should profit them nothing, Gal. v. [2.] Hence, the Christians at[404] Ephesus conversed with the Jewish synagogue until the Jews contradicted and blasphemed, and then were speedily separated by Paul, Acts xix. [9.] But to apply, Paul observed a vow, and the ceremonies of it, circumcised Timothy, &c.; may therefore a messenger of Christ now, as Paul, go to mass, pray to saints, perform penance, keep Christmas and other popish feasts and fasts? &c.

A member of a true church falling into any idolatrous practice, not presently to be excommunicated.

Again, is there such a time allowed to any man, uniting or adding himself to the true church now, to observe the unholy holy days of feasting and fasting invented by anti-christ? Yea, and, as Paul did circumcision, to practise the popish sacraments? I doubt not; but if any member of a true church or assembly of worshippers, shall fall to any paganish or popish practice, he must be instructed and convinced before excommunication: but the question is, whether still observing and so practising, a person may be received to the true Christian church, as the Jews were, although they yet practised Moses’s ceremonies?

These things duly pondered, in the fear and presence of God, it will appear how vain the allegation is, from that tender and honourable respect to God’s ordinances now vanishing from the Jews, and their weak consciences about the same, to prove the same tenderness to Satan’s inventions, and [to] the consciences of men in the renouncing of paganical, Turkish, anti-christian, yea, and I add Judaical worships now, when once the time of their full vanishing was come.

Not one degree of sight of, or sorrow for anti-christian abominations; yet a necessity of cutting off from the false before union to the true church, ministry, worship, &c.

To conclude, although I prescribe not such a measure of sight of, or sorrow for anti-christian abominations—I speak in respect of degrees, which it pleaseth the Father of lights to dispense variously, to one more, to another less—yet, I believe it absolutely necessary to see and bewail so much as may amount to cut off the soul from the false church, whether national, parishional, or any[405] other falsely constituted church, ministry, worship, and government of it.[253]


Mr. Cotton. “Ans. 3. To places of scripture which you object, Isa. lii. 11; 2 Cor. vi. 17; Rev. xviii. 4, we answer, two of them make nothing to your purpose: for that of Isaiah and the other of the Revelation, speak of local separation, which yourself know we have made, and yet you say, you do not apprehend that to be sufficient. As for that place of the Corinthians, it only requireth coming out from idolaters in the fellowship of their idolatry. No marriages were they to make with them, no feasts were they to hold with them in the idol’s temple: no intimate familiarity were they to maintain with them, nor any fellowship were they to keep with them in the unfruitful works of darkness; and this is all which that place requireth. But what makes all this to prove, that we may not receive such persons to church fellowship as yourself confess to be godly, and who do professedly renounce and bewail all known sin, and would renounce more if they knew more, although it may be they do not see the utmost skirts of all that pollution they have sometimes been defiled with: as the patriarchs saw not the pollution of[406] their polygamy. But that you may plainly see this place is wrested beside the apostle’s scope when you argue from it, that such persons are not fit matter for church fellowship as are defiled with any remnants of anti-christian pollution, nor such churches any more to be accounted churches as do receive such amongst them: consider, I pray you, were there not at that time in the church of Corinth such as partook with the idolaters in the idol’s temple? And was not this the touching of an unclean thing? And did this sin reject these members from church fellowship before conviction? Or did it evacuate their church estate for not casting out such members?”

Answ. The scriptures, or writings of truth, are those heavenly righteous scales wherein all our controversies must be tried, and that blessed star that leads all those souls to Jesus that seek him. But, saith Mr. Cotton, two of those scriptures alleged by me, Isa. lii. 11, Rev. xviii. 4, which I brought to prove a necessity of leaving the false before a joining to the true church, they speak of local separation, which, saith he, yourself know we have made.[254]

Mr. Cotton cannot make both comings forth of Babel, both in the type and antitype, to be local.

For that local and typical separation from Babylon, Isa. lii. [11,] I could not well have believed that Mr. Cotton or any would make that coming forth of Babel in the antitype, Rev. xviii. 4, to be local and material also. What civil state, nation, or country in the world, in the antitype, must now be called Babel? Certainly, if any, then Babel itself properly so called; but there we find, as before, a true church of Jesus Christ, 1 Pet. v. [13.]

If a local Babel, then also now a local Judea and temple, &c., come out of Babel, not material, but mystical.

Secondly, if Babel be local now whence God’s people are called, then must there be a local Judea, a land of[407] Canaan also, into which they are called; and where shall both that Babel and Canaan be found in all the comings forth that have been made from the church of Rome in these last times? But Mr. Cotton having made a local departure from Old England in Europe to New England in America, can he satisfy his own soul, or the souls of other men, that he hath obeyed that voice, “Come out of Babel, my people, partake not of her sins,” &c? Doth he count the very land of England literally Babel, and so consequently Egypt and Sodom, Rev. xi. 8, and the land of New England Judea, Canaan? &c.

The Lord Jesus hath broken down the difference of places and persons. Two chiefest causes of God’s indignation against England. These two particulars I should be humbly ready to make proof of.

The Lord Jesus, John iv., clearly breaks down all difference of places, and, Acts x., all difference of persons; and for myself, I acknowledge the land of England, the civil laws, government, and people of England, not to be inferior to any under heaven. Only two things I shall humbly suggest unto my dear countrymen, whether more high and honourable at the helm of government, or more inferior, who labour and sail in this famous ship of England’s commonwealth, as the greatest causes, fountains, and top roots of all the indignation of the Most High against the state and country; first, that the whole nation and generations of men have been forced, though unregenerate and unrepentant, to pretend and assume the name of Christ Jesus, which only belongs, according to the institution of the Lord Jesus, to truly regenerate and repenting souls. Secondly, that all others dissenting from them, whether Jews or Gentiles, their countrymen especially, for strangers have a liberty, have not been permitted civil cohabitation in this world with them, but have been distressed and persecuted by them.[255]


The soul’s captivity to false worship is not local, but a guilt, and not only so, but a habit or disposition of spiritual sleep, whoredom, drunkenness, &c.

But to return; the sum of my controversy with Mr. Cotton is, whether or no that false worshipping of the true God be not only a spiritual guilt liable to God’s sentence and plagues, but also an habit, frequently compared in the prophets, and Rev. xvii., to a spirit and disposition of spiritual drunkenness and whoredom, a soul-sleep and a soul-sickness: so that as by the change of a chair, chamber, or bed, a sick or sleepy man, whore or drunkard, are not changed, but they remain the same still, until that disposition of sickness, sleepiness, drunkenness, whoredom be put off, and a new habit of spiritual health, watchfulness, sobriety, chastity be put on.


Now concerning that scripture, 2 Cor. vi., Mr. Cotton here confesseth it holdeth forth five things that the repenting Corinthians were called out in, from the unrepenting:

First, in the fellowship of their idolatry.

2. From making marriages with them.

3. From feasting in their idols’ temples.

4. From intimate familiarity with them.

5. From all fellowship in the unfruitful works of darkness.

The benefits of the repenting English, their coming forth from the impenitent English in those former five particulars mentioned by Mr. Cotton.

Answ. If regenerate and truly repenting English thus come forth from the unregenerate and unrepenting, how would the name of the Lord Jesus be sanctified, the jealousy of the Lord pacified, their own souls cleansed, judgments prevented, yea, and one good means practised toward the convincing and saving of the souls of such from whom in these particulars they depart, and dare not[409] have fellowship with: especially when in all civil things they walk unblameably, in quiet and helpful cohabitation, righteous and faithful dealing, and cheerful submission to civil laws, orders, levies, customs, &c.

Yea; but Mr. Cotton demands, what makes all this to prove that godly persons, who professedly renounce all known sin, may not be received to church fellowship, although they see not the utmost skirts of their pollution, as the patriarchs saw not the pollution of their polygamy?

The sins of God’s people are sometimes reputed to be of ignorance, when they are of negligence, and yet ignorance excuseth not wholly.

Answ. I repeat the former distinction of godly persons, who possibly may live in ungodly practices, especially of false worship, and then, according to Mr. Cotton’s own interpretation of this place to the Corinthians, they came not forth. And I add, if there be any voice of Christ in the mouths of his witnesses against these sins, they are not then of ignorance, but of negligence, and spiritual hardness, against the ways of God’s fear, against Isa. lxiii. [17,] &c.

A case put to Mr. Cotton. No cause of more shame for whoredom against an husband’s bed, than against the bed of God’s worship. The case of polygamy, or many wives of the fathers.

Moreover, our question is not of the utmost skirts of pollution, but the substance of a true or false bed of worship, Cant. i. 16, in respect of coming out of the false, before the entrance into the true. And yet I believe that Mr. Cotton being to receive a person to church fellowship, who formerly hath been infamous for corporal whoredom, he would not give his consent to receive such an one without sound repentance for the filthiness of her skirts, Lam. i. [9,] not only in actual whoredoms, but also in whorish speeches, gestures, appearances, provocation. And why should there be a greater strictness for the skirts of common whoredom than of spiritual and soul whoredom, against the chastity of God’s worship? And therefore to that instance of the fathers’ polygamy, I answer: first, by observing what great sins godly persons may possibly live and long continue in, notwithstanding[410] godliness in the root. Secondly, I ask if any person, of whose godliness Mr. Cotton hath had long persuasion, should believe and maintain, as questionless the fathers’ had grounds satisfying their consciences for what they did, that he ought to have many wives, and accordingly so practised:—I say, I ask, whether Mr. Cotton would receive such a godly person to church fellowship? yea, I ask, whether the church of the Jews, had they seen this evil, would have received such a proselyte from the Gentiles? and when it was seen, whether any persons so practising would have been suffered amongst them? But, lastly, what was this personal sin of these godly persons? Was it any matter of God’s worship, any joining with a false church, ministry, worship, government, from whence they were to come, before they could constitute his true church, and enjoy his worship, ministry, government? &c.

Mr. Cotton concludeth this passage thus: “The church of Corinth had such as partook with idolaters in their idols’ temple, and was not this,” saith he, “touching of an unclean thing, and did this reject these members from church fellowship before conviction? and did it evacuate their church estate for not casting out such members?”

Answ. This was an unclean thing indeed, from which God calls his people in this place, with glorious promises of receiving them: and Mr. Cotton confesseth that after conviction any member, obstinate in these unclean touches, ought to be rejected; for, said he, did this sin reject these members from church fellowship before conviction?

It lesseneth not a rebellion that it is in a multitude: hence a city in Israel idolatrous was to be destroyed.

And upon the same ground, that one obstinate person ought to be rejected out of church estate, upon the same ground, if a greater company or church were obstinate in such unclean touches, and so consequently in a rebellion against Christ, ought every sound Christian church to[411] reject them, and every sound member to withdraw from them.

Obstinacy that casteth out, will keep out from communion with the Lord Jesus in his church.

And hence further it is clear, that if such unclean touches obstinately maintained, as Mr. Cotton confesseth and practiseth, be a ground of rejection of a person in the church, questionless it is a ground of rejection when such persons are to join unto the church. And if obstinacy in the whole church after conviction be a ground for such a church’s rejection, questionless such a church or number of persons obstinate in such evils cannot congregate, nor become a true constituted church of Jesus Christ.

The church of Corinth, and every true church, separate from idols as a chaste virgin to Christ.

The greatest question here would be, whether the Corinthians in their first constitution were separate or no from such idol temples? and this Mr. Cotton neither doth nor can deny, a church estate being a state of marriage unto Jesus Christ; and so Paul professedly saith, he had espoused them as a chaste virgin to Christ Jesus, 2 Cor. xi. [2.]


Mr. Cotton proceeds to answer some other allegations which I produced from the confession of sin made by John’s disciples, and the proselyte Gentiles before they were admitted into church fellowship, Matt. iii. 6; Acts xix. 18, unto which he returneth a threefold answer: “The first is grounded upon his apparent mistake of my words in a grant of mine, viz., such a confession and renunciation is not absolutely necessary, if the substance of true repentance be discerned. Whence,” saith he, “according to your own confession, such persons as have the substance of true repentance may be a true church.”


The substance of true general repentance in all God’s children, though living in many gross abominations of false worship, ministry, &c. Not the same measure and degrees of repentance in all.

I answer, it is clear in the progress of the whole controversy, that I ever intend by the substance of true repentance, not that general grace of repentance which all God’s people have, as Luther, a monk, and going to, yea, publishing the German mass, and those famous bishops burnt for Christ in Queen Mary’s days; but that substance of repentance for those false ways of worship, church, ministry, &c., in which God’s people have lived, although the confessing and renouncing of them be not so particularly expressed, and with such godly sorrow and indignation as some express, and may well become: And indeed the whole scope of that caution was for Christian moderation and gentleness toward the several sorts of God’s people, professing particular repentance for their spiritual captivity and bondage; during which captivity also, I readily acknowledge the substance of repentance, and of all the graces of Christ in general.

Mr. Cotton.

In his second answer, Mr. Cotton saith, I “grant with the one hand, and take away with the other; for he denies it necessary to the admission of members, that every one should be convinced of the sinfulness of every sipping of the whore’s cup, ‘for,’ saith he, ‘every sipping of a drunkard’s cup is not sinful.’”

Some have drunk deep of the whore’s cup, and some but sipped yet intoxicated.

Answer. First he doth not rightly allege my words; for a little before he confesseth my words to be, that anti-christian drunkenness and whoredom is to be confessed of all such as have drunk of the whore’s cup, or but sipped of it. In which words I plainly distinguished between such as have drunk deeper of her cup, as papists, popish priests, &c., and such, as in comparison have but sipped, as God’s own people; who yet by such sipping have been so intoxicated, as to practice spiritual whoredom against Christ, in submitting to false churches, ministry, worship, &c.

Secondly, whereas he saith every sipping of a drunkard’s cup is not sinful:—


I answer: neither the least sipping, nor constant drinking out of the cup which a drunkard useth to drink in, is sinful; but every drunken sip, which is our question, is questionless sinful, and so consequently to be avoided by the sober, whether the cup of corporal or spiritual drunkenness.


Mr. Cotton.

Mr. Cotton. “Yea; but,” saith he, “the three thousand Jews were admitted when they repented of their murdering of Christ, although they never saw all the superstitious leavenings wherewith the Pharisees had bewitched them: and so no doubt may godly persons now, although they be not yet convinced of every passage of anti-christian superstition, &c.; and that upon this ground, that spiritual whoredom and drunkenness is not so soon discerned as corporal.”

[Answer.] I answer, it is not indeed so easily discerned, and yet not the less sinful, but infinitely transcendent, as much as spiritual sobriety exceeds corporal, and the bed of the most high God, exceeds the beds of men, who are but dust and ashes.

The first Christians the best pattern for all Christians now. The power of true repentance for killing of Christ.

Secondly, I answer, the converted Jews, although they saw not all the leavenings of the Pharisees, yet they mourned for killing of Christ, and embraced him in his worship, ministry, government, and were added to his church: and oh! that the least beams of light and sparkles of heat were in mine own, and others’ souls, which were kindled by the Holy Spirit of God in those famous converts at the preaching of Peter, Acts ii. The true Christ now in his worship, ministry, &c. being discerned, and repentance[414] for persecuting and killing of him being expressed, there necessarily follows a withdrawing from the church, ministry, and worship of the false Christ, and submission unto the true: and this is the sum and substance of our controversy.

Mr. Cotton.

Concerning the confession of sins unto John, he grants the disciples of John confessed their sins, the publicans theirs, the soldiers theirs, the people theirs; but, saith he, “it appears not that they confessed their pharisaical pollution.”

And concerning the confession Acts xix. 18, [19,] he saith, it is not expressed “that they confessed all their deeds.”

Answer. If both these confessed their notorious sins, as Mr. Cotton expresseth, why not as well their notorious sins against God, their idolatries, superstitious worships, &c? Surely throughout the whole scripture, the matters of God and his worship are first and most tenderly handled; his people are ever described by the title of his worshippers, and his enemies by the title of worshippers of false gods, and worshipping the true after a false manner; and to prove this were to bring forth a candle to the bright shining of the sun at noon day.


Mr. Cotton. His third answer is; “But to satisfy you more fully, and the Lord make you willing in true meekness of spirit to receive satisfaction, the body of the members do in general profess, that the reason of their coming over to us was that they might be freed from the bondage of human inventions and ordinances, as their souls[415] groaned under, for which also they profess their hearty sorrow, so far as through ignorance or infirmity they have been defiled. Beside, in our daily meetings, and specially in the times of our solemn humiliations, we generally all of us bewail all our former pollutions wherewith we have defiled ourselves and the holy things of God, in our former administrations and communions; but we rather choose to do it than talk of it. And we can but wonder how you can so boldly and resolutely renounce all the churches of God, for neglect of that which you know not whether they have neglected or no, and before you have admonished us of our sinfulness in such neglect, if it be found amongst us.”

How can a soul truly oppose anti-christ, that endures not to have his name questioned.

Answer. I answer, with humble desires to the Father of lights for the true meekness and wisdom of his Spirit, here is mention of human inventions and ordinances, and defiling themselves and holy things of God in former administrations and communions, and yet no mention what such inventions and ordinances, what such administrations and communions were. “We rather choose to do it,” saith he, “than to talk of it;” which makes me call to mind an expression of an eminent and worthy person amongst them in a solemn conference, viz., What need we speak of anti-christ, can we not enjoy our liberties without inveighing against anti-christ? &c.

Mr. Cotton witnessing against a national church, and yet holding fellowship with it.

The truth is, I acknowledge their witness against ceremonies and bishops; but that yet they see not the evil of a national church, notwithstanding they constitute only particular and independent [congregations,] let their constant practice speak, in still joining with such churches and ministers in the ordinances of the word and prayer, and their persecuting of myself for my humble, and faithful, and constant admonishing of them, of such unclean walking between a particular church, which they[416] only profess to be Christ’s, and a national [one], which Mr. Cotton professeth to separate from.[256]

Impossible for the answerer to be ignorant of their church estate, as Mr. Cotton pretendeth.

But how could I possibly be ignorant, as he seemeth to charge me, of their state, when being from first to last in fellowship with them, an officer amongst them, had private and public agitations concerning their state and condition with all or most of their ministers, and at last suffered for such admonitions to them, the misery of a winter’s banishment amongst the barbarians? and yet, saith he, “You know not what we have done, neither have you admonished us of our sinfulness.”


Mr. Cotton.

A third scripture which I produced was Haggai ii. 13, 14, 15, desiring that the place might be thoroughly weighed, and that the Lord might please to hold the scales himself, the prophet there telling the church of the Jews, that if a person unclean by a dead body touch holy things, those holy things become unclean unto them: and so, saith he, in this nation, and so is every work of their hands and that which they offer is unclean; whence I inferred, that even church covenants made, and ordinances practised, by persons polluted through spiritual deadness, and filthiness of communion, such covenants and ordinances become unclean unto them, and are profaned by them.


Mr. Cotton. Mr. Cotton answers, “your purpose was to prove that churches cannot be constituted by such persons as are unclean by anti-christian pollutions; or if they be so constituted they are not to be communicated with, but separated from. But the prophet acknowledgeth the whole church of the Jews to be unclean, and yet neither denies them to be a church truly constituted, nor stirs up himself or others to separate from them.”

The church of the Jews a national church truly constituted, therefore not to be separated from.

Answer. I acknowledge the true constitution of the church of the Jews, and affirm that this their true constitution was the reason why they were not to be separated from: for being a national church, ceremonial and typical, their excommunication was either putting to death in, or captivity out of that ceremonial Canaan. Hence Shalmaneser’s carrying the ten tribes captive out of this land, is said to be the casting of them out of God’s sight, 2 Kings xvii. [18,] which was their excommunication.

Death and captivity in the national church, typed out spiritual death and captivity in the particular.

Accordingly in the particular Christian churches, Christ Jesus cuts off by spiritual death, which is excommunication: or for want of due execution of justice by that ordinance in his kingdom, he sells the church into spiritual captivity, to confused, Babylonish lords and worships, and so drives them out of his sight.

Ceremonial uncleanness in the national church, typed out moral uncleanness in the particular.

Now from the consequent of this place in Haggai mine argument stands good; and Mr. Cotton here acknowledgeth it, that holy things may be all unclean to God’s people, when they lie in their uncleanness, as this people did. Those scriptures, Lev. xvi. and Num. xix., which discourse of typical and ceremonial uncleanness, he acknowledgeth to type out in the gospel the moral uncleanness either of dead works, Eph. v. 11, or dead persons, 2 Cor. vi. 14, or dead world, Gal. vi. 14. And in this place of Haggai, he acknowledgeth that God’s people, prince and people, were defiled by worldliness, in which[418] condition, saith he, their oblations, their bodily labours, were all unclean, and found neither acceptance nor blessing from the Lord.

Therefore saith he afterward: “In the church godly Christians themselves, while they attend to the world more than to the things of God, are unclean in the sight of God; therefore the church cannot be constituted of such; or if it be constitute of such, the people of God must separate from them.” And, lastly, he saith, “the church of Christ and members thereof must separate themselves from their hypocrisy, and worldliness, else they and their duties will [still] be unclean in the sight of God, notwithstanding their church estate.”

Answ. What have I more spoken than Mr. Cotton himself hath uttered in this his explication and application of this scripture? As,

First, that godly persons may become defiled and unclean by hypocrisy and worldliness.

Mr. Cotton’s own confession concerning unclean worships, even of godly persons.

Secondly, while they lie in such a condition of uncleanness all their offerings, persons, labours, are unclean in the sight of God, and have neither acceptance nor blessing from him; but they and their duties are unclean in his sight, notwithstanding their church estate.

Thirdly, the church of Christ cannot be constituted of such godly persons, when defiled with such worldliness.

Fourthly, the church consisting of such worldly persons, though otherwise godly and Christian, the people of God must separate from them.

Inferences from Master Cotton’s grant.

These are Mr. Cotton’s own express words which justify:[257]


First, my former distinction of godly persons in their personal respect, between God and themselves; and yet becoming ungodly in their outward defilements.

Secondly, they justify my assertion of a necessity of cleansing from anti-christian filthiness, and communions with dead works, dead worships, dead persons in God’s worship, if the touches of the dead world, or immoderate love of it, do so defile, as Mr. Cotton here affirmeth.

Thirdly, if, as he saith, the church cannot be constituted of such godly persons as are defiled by immoderate love of the world, much less can it be constituted of godly persons defiled with the dead inventions, worships, communions of unregenerate and ungodly persons.

Fourthly, he justifies a separation from such churches, if so constituted, or so constituting; because though worldliness be adultery against God, James iv. [4,] yet not comparable to spiritual adultery of a false bed of worship, ministry, &c.


Mr. Cotton proceedeth: “The second stumbling block or offence which you have taken at the way of these churches, is that you conceive us to walk between Christ and anti-christ. First, in practising separation here, and not repenting of our preaching and printing against it in our own country. Secondly, in reproaching yourself at Salem, and others for separation. Thirdly, in particular, that myself have conceived and spoken, that separation is a way that God hath not prospered; yet, say you, the truth of the church’s way depends not upon the countenance of men, or upon outward peace and liberty.”


Unto this he answers, “that they halt not; but walk in the midst of two extremes, the one of being defiled with the pollution of other churches, the other of renouncing the churches for the remnant of pollutions.”

This moderation he, with ingenuous moderation, professeth he sees no cause to repent of, &c.

Answ. With the Lord’s gracious assistance, we shall prove this middle walking to be no less than halting; for which we shall show cause of repentance, beseeching Him that is a Prince and a Saviour to give repentance unto his Israel, Acts v. 31.

First, Mr. Cotton himself confesseth, that no national, provincial, diocesan, or parish church, wherein some truly godly are not, are true churches. Secondly, he practiseth no church estate, but such as is constituted only of godly persons, nor admitteth any unregenerate or ungodly person.[258] Thirdly, he confesseth a church of Christ cannot be constituted of such godly persons who are in bondage to the inordinate love of the world. Fourthly, if a church consist of such, God’s people ought to separate from them.[259]

Mr. Cotton extenuates and minceth the root, mass, and substance of the matter of national churches, which he acknowledgeth to be unregenerate, not yet born again, by naming only a remnant of pollutions. The estate of the godly mingled with the ungodly in worships. The state of men must be faithfully discovered unto them.

Upon these his own confessions, I earnestly beseech Mr. Cotton, and all that fear God, to ponder how he can say he walks with an even foot between two extremes, when, according to his own confession, national churches, parish churches, yea, a church constituted of godly persons given to inordinate love of the world, are false and to be separated from: and yet he will not have the parish church to be separated from for the remnant of pollution, I conceive he meaneth ceremonies and bishops, notwithstanding[421] that he also acknowledged that the generality of every parish in England consisteth of unregenerate persons, and of thousands inbondaged, not only to worldliness, but also ignorance, superstition, scoffing, swearing, cursing, whoredom, drunkenness, theft, lying. What are two or three or more of regenerate and godly persons in such communions, but as two or three roses or lilies in a wilderness? a few grains of good corn in a heap of chaff? a few sheep among herds of wolves or swine, or (if more civil) flocks of goats? a little good dough swallowed up with a whole bushel of leaven? or a little precious gold confounded and mingled with a whole heap of dross? The Searcher of all hearts knows I write not this to reproach any, knowing that myself am by nature a child of wrath, and that the Father of mercies shows mercy to whom and when he will; but for the name of Christ Jesus, in loving faithfulness to my countrymen’s souls, and [in] defence of truth, I remember my worthy adversary of that state and condition from which his confessions say he must separate, his practice in gathering of churches seems to say he doth separate; and yet he professeth there are but some remnants of pollution amongst them, for which he dares not separate.[260]



Mr. Cotton. “Secondly,” saith he, “I know no man that reproacheth Salem for their separation, nor do I believe that they do separate; howsoever, if any do reproach them for it, I think it a sin meet to be censured, but not with so deep a censure as to excommunicate all the churches, or to separate from them before it do appear that they do tolerate their members in such their causeless reproachings. We confess the errors of men are to be contended against, not with reproaches, but the sword of the Spirit; but on the other side, the failings of the churches are not forthwith to be healed by separation. It is not chirurgery but butchery to heal every sore in a member with no other but abscission from the body.”

Answ. The church of Salem was known to profess separation, and was generally and publicly reproached, and I could mention a case wherein she was punished for it implicitly.[261]

Mr. Cotton seems to be both for and yet against separation.

Mr. Cotton here confesseth these two things, which I leave to himself to reconcile with his former profession here and elsewhere against separation. First, saith he, if any reproach them for separation it is a sin meet to be censured. Secondly, the churches themselves may be separated from, who tolerate their members in such causeless reproachings. In these latter passages he seems, as in other his confessions and practices mentioned to be[423] for it, sensible of shame, disgrace, or reproach to be cast on it.

Mr. Cotton’s own confessions are sufficient answers to himself.

I grant with him the failings of churches are not forthwith to be healed by separation; yet himself, within a few lines, confesseth there is a lawful separation from churches that do but tolerate their members in causeless reproaches.

Not for a sore of infirmity, but a leprosy or gangrene of obstinacy, ought a person to be cut off. Mr. Cotton deeply guilty of cruelty both against consciences and bodies in persecuting of them, yet cries out against the appearance of due severity in the church of Christ.

I confess also that it is not chirurgery but butchery, to heal every sore with no other medicine but with abscission from the body: yet himself confesseth before, that even churches of godly persons must be separated from, for immoderate worldliness: and again here he confesseth they may be separated from, when they tolerate their members in such their causeless reproachings. Beside, it is not every sore of infirmity or ignorance, but an ulcer or gangrene of obstinacy, for which I maintained that a person ought to be cut off, or a church separated from. But if he call that butchery, conscientiously and peaceably to separate from a spiritual communion of a church or society, what shall it be called by the second Adam, the Lord Jesus, who gives names to all creatures and all actions, to cut off persons, them and theirs, branch and root, from any civil being in their territories; and consequently from the whole world, were their territories so large, because their consciences dare not bow down to any worship but what they believe the Lord Jesus appointed, and being also otherwise subject to the civil state and laws thereof.[262]



Thirdly, whereas I urged a speech of his own, viz. that God had not prospered the way of separation, and conceives that I understood him of outward prosperity: he affirms the puritans to have been worse used in England than the separatist, and thus writes: “The meeting of the separatists may be known to the officers in court and winked at, when the conventicles of the puritans, as they call them, shall be hunted out with all diligence, and pursued with more violence than any law can justify.”

God’s controversy for persecution.

Answer. Doubtless the controversy of God hath been great with this land, that either of both have been so violently pursued and persecuted. I believe they are both the witnesses of several truths of Jesus Christ, against an impenitent and unchristian profession of the name of the Lord Jesus.

The sufferings of the separatists and puritans in England compared. Mr. Udall, Mr. Penry, Mr. Barrow, Mr. Greenwood.

Now for their sufferings: as the puritans have not comparably suffered, as but seldom congregating in separate assemblies from the common,[263] so have not any of them suffered unto death for the way of nonconformity to ceremonies, &c. Indeed the worthy witness Mr. Udall,[264] was near unto death for his witness against bishops and ceremonies;[265] but Mr. Penry,[266] Mr. Barrow, Mr. Greenwood[425] followed the Lord Jesus with their gibbets on their shoulders, and were hanged with him and for him, in the way of separation:[267] many more have been condemned to die, banished and choaked in prisons, I could produce upon occasion.

Few conscientious separatists, but first were puritans. The nonconformist’s grounds enforce separation.

Again, I believe that there hardly hath ever been a conscientious separatist, who was not first a puritan: for, as Mr. Canne hath unanswerably proved,[268] the grounds and principles of the puritans against bishops and ceremonies, and profaneness of people professing Christ, and the necessity of Christ’s flock and discipline, must necessarily, if truly followed, lead on to and enforce a separation from such ways, worships, and worshippers, to seek out the true way of God’s worship according to Christ Jesus.

But what should be the reason, since the separatist witnesseth against the root of the church constitution itself, that yet he should find, as Mr. Cotton saith, more favour than the puritan or nonconformist?

Most of the separation of the lower sort of people.

Doubtless the reasons are evident: first, most of God’s servants who, out of sight of the ignorance, unbelief, and profaneness of the body of the national church, have separated and durst not have longer fellowship with it:—I say, most of them have been poor and low, and not such gainful customers to the bishops, their courts and officers.

The poverty of Mr. Ainsworth. The nonconformists have been a fair booty for bishops.

That worthy instrument of Christ’s praise, Mr. Ainsworth, during some time, and some time of his great labours in Holland, lived upon ninepence per week, with[426] roots boiled, &c.[269] Whereas on the other side, such of God’s servants as have been nonconformists have had fair estates, been great persons, have had rich livings and benefices, of which the bishops and theirs, like greedy wolves, have made the more desirable prey.

The separatists have been professed enemies; but the puritans in many things professed friends and subjects to the bishops.

Secondly, it is a principle in nature to prefer a professed enemy, before a pretended friend. Such as have separated have been looked at by the bishops and theirs, as known and professed enemies: whereas the puritans professed subjection, and have submitted to the bishops, their courts, their officers, their common prayer and worships: and yet, as the bishops have well known, with no greater affection than the Israelites bore their Egyptian cruel taskmasters.

Mr. Cotton.

He saith, “God hath not prospered the way of separation with peace amongst themselves, and growth of grace.”

A false church may enforce a present peace greater (though false) grace than the true spouse of Christ Jesus. God’s people have found infinite sweetness and peace in some times of their holy communion. Breaches have been and must be among all God’s people, to make them celebrate the Lord’s holy ordinances according to due order.

Answer. The want of peace may befal the truest churches of the Lord Jesus [as] at Antioch, Corinth, Galatia, who were exercised with great distractions. Secondly, it is a common character of a false church, maintained by the smith’s and cutler’s shop, to enjoy a quiet calm and peaceable tranquillity, none daring, for fear of civil punishment, to question, object, or differ from the common road and custom. Thus sings that great whore, the anti-christian church, Rev. xviii. [7,] I sit as a queen, am no widow, see no[427] sorrow: while Christ’s dearest complains she is forsaken, sits weeping as a widow, Lam. i. [1.] Thirdly, God’s people in that way, have sometimes long enjoyed sweet peace and soul contentment in England, Holland, New England, and other places, and would not have exchanged a day of such an holy and peaceable harmony for thousands in the courts of princes, seeing no other, and in sincerity seeking after the Lord Jesus. And yet, I humbly conceive, that as David with the princes, and thirty thousand Israelites, carrying the ark on the shoulders of the oxen, leaped and danced with great rejoicing, until God smote Uzzah for his error and disorder, and made a breach, and a teaching monument of Perez Uzzah, the breach of Uzzah: so in like manner all those celebrations of the spiritual ark or ordinances, which yet I have known, although for the present accompanied with great rejoicing and triumphing, yet as they have not been after the due order, so have they all met with, and still must, a Perez Uzzah, breaches and divisions, until the Lord Jesus discover, direct, and encourage his servants in his own due holy order and appointment.

Many graceless Judases amongst God’s people. Multitudes of gracious and holy persons that have professed separation.

And for growth in grace, notwithstanding that amongst all sorts of God’s witnesses some false brethren creep in as cheaters, and spies, and Judases, dishonouring the name of Christ Jesus, and betraying his witnesses: yet Satan himself, the accuser of the saints, cannot but confess that multitudes of God’s witnesses, reproached with the names of Brownists, and anabaptists, have kept themselves from the error of the wicked, and grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus, endeavouring to cleanse themselves from all filthiness both of flesh and spirit, and to finish holiness in the fear of God. I will not make odious and envious comparisons, but desire[428] that all that name the name of the Lord Jesus may depart wholly and for ever from iniquity.


Mr. Cotton.

Lastly he addeth, “That such as erring through simplicity and tenderness, have grown in grace, have grown also to discern their lawful liberty in the hearing of the word from English preachers.”[270]

Four sorts of backsliders from separation far from growth in grace.

Answer. I will not question the uprightness of some who have gone back from many truths of God which they have professed: yet mine own experience of four sorts who have backslidden I shall report, for a warning to all into whose hands these may come, to be like Antipas, Rev. ii. [13,] a faithful witness to the death, to any of the truths of the Lord Jesus, which he shall please to betrust them with:

Some backsliding turn to familism.

First, I have known no small number of such turn to absolute Familism, and under their pretences of great raptures of love deny all obedience to, or seeking after the pure ordinances and appointments of the Lord Jesus.

Some to profaneness.

Secondly, others have laid the reins upon the necks of their consciences, and like the dog licked up their vomit of former looseness and profaneness of lip and life; and have been so far from growing in grace, that they have turned the grace of God into wantonness.

Some to persecuting of others.

Thirdly, others backsliding have lost the beauty and shining of a tender conscience toward God, and of a[429] merciful compassion toward men, becoming most fierce persecutors of their own formerly fellow-witnesses, and of any other who have differed in conscience from them.

Some to languishing in sorrow and sadness, &c.

Lastly, others although preserved from familism, profaneness, and persecuting of others, yet the leaf of their Christian course hath withered, the latter beauty and savour of their holiness hath not been like their former; and they have confessed and do, their sin, their weakness, their bondage, and wish they were at liberty in their former freedom; and some have gone with little peace, but sorrow to their graves, confessing to myself and others, that God never prospered them, in soul or body, since they sold away his truth, which once they had bought and made profession of it never to sell it.


Mr. Cotton.

Yea; but, saith he, “they have grown to discern their lawful liberty, to return to the hearing of the word from English preachers.”

Mr. Canne’s answer to Mr. Robinson’s liberty of hearing.

Answer. Here I might engage myself in a controversy, which neither this treatise will permit, nor is there need, since it hath pleased the Father of lights to stir up the spirit of a faithful witness of his truth in this particular, Mr. Canne, to make a large and faithful reply to a book, printed in Mr. Robinson’s name, tending to prove such a lawful liberty.[271]


Mr. Cotton’s confession concerning the ministry.

For such excellent and worthy persons whom Mr. Cotton here intends by the name of English preachers, I acknowledge myself unworthy to hold the candle to them: yet I shall humbly present what Mr. Cotton himself professeth in three particulars:

First, concerning this title, English preachers.

Secondly, hearing the word from such English preachers.

Thirdly, the lawful calling of such to the ministry or service, according to Christ Jesus.

ποίμενες διδασκαλοὶ ἐπισκοποὶ πρεσβυτεροὶ Matt. xxviii. μαθητέυειν. Preachers and pastors far different.

For the first, he acknowledgeth, that the ordinary ministers of the gospel are pastors, teachers, bishops, overseers, elders, and that their proper work is to feed and govern a truly converted, holy, and godly people, gathered into a flock or church estate; and not properly preachers to convert, beget, make disciples, which the apostles and evangelists professedly were. Now then, that man that professeth himself a minister, and professeth to feed a flock or church with the ordinances of word and prayer, he must needs acknowledge that his proper work is not to preach for conversion, which is most preposterous amongst a converted Christian people, fed up with ordinances in church estate. So that, according to Mr. Cotton’s confession, English preachers are not pastors, teachers, bishops, elders, but preachers of glad news, evangelists, men sent to convert, and gather churches, apostles, ambassadors, trumpeters, with proclamation from the King of kings, to convert, subdue, bring in rebellious, unconverted, unbelieving, unchristian souls to the obedience and subjection of the Lord Jesus.

Conversion in a church accidental.

I readily confess that at the pastor’s, or shepherd’s feeding of his flock, and the prophet’s prophecying in the church, an unbeliever coming in is convinced, falls on his face and acknowledgeth God to be there: yet this is accidental[431] that any unbeliever should come in; and the pastor’s work is to feed his flock, Acts xx. [28,] and prophecy is not for unbelievers, but for them that believe, to edify, exhort, and comfort the church, 1 Cor. xiv. 3, 22.

Personal repentance wrought in thousands by godly persons in popish ministries.

I also readily acknowledge, that it hath pleased God to work a personal repentance in the hearts of thousands in Germany, England, Low Countries, France, Scotland, Ireland, &c., yea, and who knows but in Italy, Spain, Rome, not only by such men who decline the name of bishops, priests, deacons, the constituted ministry of England hitherto; but also by such as have owned them, as Luther remaining a monk, and famous holy men remaining and burning Lord Bishops. For all this hath been under the notion of ministers feeding their flocks, not of preachers sent to convert the unconverted and unbelieving.

To preach mainly for conversion of that people to whom a man stands shepherd, as to a converted people and flock of Christ, a dangerous disorder. God’s people must seek after a ministry sent by Christ to convert.

This passage I present for two reasons; First because so many excellent and worthy persons mainly preach for conversion, as conceiving, and that truly, the body of the people of England to be in a natural and unregenerate estate; and yet account they themselves fixed and constant officers and ministers to particular parishes or congregations, unto whom they also administer the holy things of God, though sometimes few, and sometimes none regenerate or new born have been found amongst them; which is a matter of high concernment touching the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the souls of men. Secondly, that in these great earthquakes, wherein it pleaseth God to shake foundations civil and spiritual, such a ministry of Christ Jesus may be sought after whose proper work is preaching, for converting and gathering of true penitents to the fellowship of the Son of God.



Mr. Cotton.

The second thing which Mr. Cotton himself hath professed concerning English preachers is, that “although the word, yet not the seals may be received from them: because,” saith he, “there is no communion in hearing, and the word is to be preached to all, but the seals,” he conceives, and that rightly, “are profaned in being dispensed to the ungodly, &c.”

The communion or fellowship of the word taught in a church estate.

Answer. Mr. Cotton himself maintaineth, that “the dispensing of the word in a church estate, is Christ’s feeding of his flock, Cant. i. 8: Christ’s kissing of his spouse, or wife, Cant. i. 2: Christ’s embracing of his spouse in the marriage bed, Cant. i. 16: Christ’s nursing of his children at his wife’s breast, Cant. iv.:” and is there no communion between the shepherd and his sheep? the husband and his wife in chaste kisses and embraces? and the mother and her child at the breast?

Besides, he confesseth, that that fellowship in the gospel, Phil. i. 5, is a fellowship or communion in the apostles’ doctrine, community, breaking of bread, and prayer, in which the first church continued, Acts ii. 46. All which overthrows that doctrine of a lawful participation of the word and prayer in a church estate, where it is not lawful to communicate in the breaking of bread or seals.[272]



Eminent ministers, so accounted in Old England, profess themselves private Christians in New England.

Thirdly, concerning the lawful commission or calling of English preachers. Mr. Cotton himself, and others most eminent in New England, have freely confest, that notwithstanding their former profession of ministry in Old England, yea, in New England, until they received a calling from a particular church, that they were but private Christians.[273]

Secondly, that Christ Jesus hath appointed no other calling to the ministry, but such as they practise in New England; and therefore consequently, that all other which is not from a particular congregation of godly persons, is none of Christ’s.[274]

False callings or commissions for the ministry.

As first, a calling or commission received from the bishops.

Secondly, from a parish of natural and unregenerate persons.

Thirdly, from some few godly persons, yet remaining in church fellowship after the parish way.

Lastly, that eminent gifts and abilities are but qualifications fitting and preparing for a call or office,[434] according to 1 Tim. iii. Tit. i. All which premises duly considered, I humbly desire of the Father of lights, that Mr. Cotton, and all that fear God, may try what will abide the fiery trial in this particular, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed in flaming fire, &c.


Mr. Cotton.

The close of his letter is an answer to a passage of mine, which he repeateth in an objection thus: “But this you fear is to condemn the witnesses of Jesus, the separate churches in London and elsewhere, and our jealous God will visit us for such arrearages: yea, the curse of the angel to Meroz will fall upon us, because we come not forth to help Jehovah against the mighty: we pray not for them, we come not at them, (but at parishes frequently); yea, we reproach and censure them.”

To which he answereth, “that neither Christ nor his apostles after him, nor prophets before him, ever delivered that way. That they fear not the angel’s curse, because it is not to help Jehovah but Satan, to withdraw people from the parishes where they have found more presence of Christ, and evidence of his Spirit, than in separated churches: that they pray not for them, because they cannot pray in faith for a blessing upon their separation: and that it is little comfort to hear of separated churches, as being the inventions of men; and blames them, that being desirous of reformation, they stumble not only at the inventions of men, but for their sakes at the ordinances of the Lord: because they separate not only from the parishes, but from the church at Plymouth, and of that[435] whereof Mr. Lathrop was pastor,[275] who, as he saith, not only refuse all the inventions of men, but choose to serve the Lord in his own ordinances. Only, lastly, he professeth his inward sorrow that myself help erring, though zealous souls, against the mighty ordinances of the Lord, which whosoever stumble at shall be broken, because whosoever will not kiss the Son, that is, will not hear and embrace the words of his mouth, shall perish in their way.”

Answer. However Mr. Cotton believes and writes of this point, yet hath he not duly considered these following particulars.

The garden of the churches of both Old and New Testament, planted with an hedge or wall of separation from the world. When God’s people neglect to maintain that hedge or wall, God hath turned his garden into a wilderness.

First, the faithful labours of many witnesses of Jesus Christ, extant to the world, abundantly proving, that the church of the Jews under the Old Testament in the type, and the church of the Christians under the New Testament in the antitype, were both separate from the world; and that when they have opened a gap in the hedge, or wall of separation, between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world, God hath ever broke down the wall itself, removed the candlestick, &c. and made his garden a wilderness, as at this day. And that therefore if he will ever please to restore his garden and paradise again, it must of necessity be walled in peculiarly unto himself from the world, and that all that shall be saved out of the world are to be transplanted out of the wilderness of the world, and added unto his church or garden.[276]


The nonconformist’s grounds necessarily enforce a separation of the church from the unclean, in clean and holy things.

Secondly, that all the grounds and principles leading to oppose bishops, ceremonies, common prayer, prostitution of the ordinances of Christ to the ungodly, and to the true practice of Christ’s own ordinances, do necessarily, as before I intimated, and Mr. Canne hath fully proved, conclude a separation of holy from unholy, penitent from impenitent, godly from ungodly, &c; and that to frame any other building upon such grounds and foundations, is no other than to raise the form of a square house upon the keel of a ship, which will never prove a soul saving true ark or church of Jesus Christ, according to the pattern.

The great suffering for this cause.

Thirdly, the multitudes of holy and faithful men and women, who since Queen Mary’s days have witnessed this truth by writing, disputing, and in suffering loss of goods and friends, in imprisonments, banishments, death, &c.—I confess the nonconformists have suffered also; but they that have suffered for this cause, have far exceeded, in not only witnessing to those grounds of the nonconformists, but to those truths also, the unavoidable conclusions of the nonconformists’ principles.

Mr. Cotton’s and others’ zealous practice of separation in New England. Mr. Cotton allowing liberty to frequent those parishes in Old England: which parishes he himself persecutes in New England.

Fourthly, what is that which Mr. Cotton and so many hundreds fearing God in New England walk in, but a way of separation? Of what matter do they profess to constitute their churches, but of true godly persons? In what form do they cast this matter, but by a voluntary uniting, or adding of such godly persons, whom they carefully examine, and cause to make a public confession of sin, and profession of their knowledge and grace in Christ?[277] Nay;[437] when other English have attempted to set up a congregation after the parishional way, have they not been suppressed? Yea; have they not professedly and lately answered many worthy persons, whom they account godly ministers and people, that they could not permit them to live in the same commonwealth together with them, if they set up any other church and worship than what themselves practise?[278] Let their own souls, and the souls of others seriously ponder in the fear of God, what should be the reason why themselves so practising, should persecute others for not leaving open a gap of liberty to escape persecution and the cross of Christ, by frequenting the parishes in Old England, which parishes themselves persecute in New England, and will not permit them to breathe in the common air amongst them.

A great mystery in the escaping of the cross of Christ.

Fifthly, in the parishes, which Mr. Cotton holds but the inventions of men,[279] however they would have liberty to frequent the worship of the word, yet they separate from the sacraments; and yet, according to Mr. Cotton’s own principles, as before, there is as true communion in the ministration of the word in a church estate as in the seals: what mystery should be in this, but that here also[438] the cross or gibbet of Christ may be avoided in a great measure, if persons come to church, &c.

The New English churches pretended by some to be purer than the first established by the apostles.

Lastly, however, he saith, he hath not found such presence of Christ, and evidence of his Spirit in such churches, as in the parishes: what should be the reason of their great rejoicings and boastings of their own separations in New England, insomuch that some of the most eminent amongst them have affirmed that even the apostles’ churches were not so pure? Surely if the same New English churches were in Old England, they could not meet without persecution, which therefore in Old England they avoid by frequenting the way of church worship, which in New England they persecute—the parishes.

The reformation desired now had been accounted heresy in Edward the Sixth’s days.

Upon these considerations, how can Mr. Cotton be offended that I should help (as he calls them) any zealous souls, not against the mighty ordinances of the Lord Jesus, but to seek after the Lord Jesus without halting? Yea; why should Mr. Cotton, or any desirous to practise reformation, kindle a fire of persecution against such zealous souls, especially considering that themselves, had they so inveighed against bishops, common prayer, &c., in Edward the Sixth’s days, had been accounted as great heretics, in those reforming times, as any now can be in these? yet would it have been then, and since hath it been, great oppression and tyranny to persecute their consciences, and still will it be for them to persecute the consciences of others in Old or New England.

Persecution is unjust oppression wheresoever.

How can I better end than Mr. Cotton doth, by warning, that all that will not kiss the Son, that is, hear and embrace the words of his mouth, shall perish in their way, Ps. ii. 12. And I desire Mr. Cotton, and every soul to whom these lines may come, seriously to consider in this controversy, if the Lord Jesus were himself in person in[439] Old or New England, what church, what ministry, what worship, what government he would set up, and what persecution he would practise toward them that would not receive Him?[280]


[1] Bancroft’s Hist. of U. S. i. 342. Knowles’ Life of R. Williams, p. 31.

[2] See Broadmead Records, Introd. p. xxii.

[3] Neal’s Hist. of N. England, i. 141, 144. Baillie’s Dissuasive, p. 66. Mather’s Magnalia, i. 19.

[4] Neal, i. 144. Bancroft, i. 350. Cotton Mather’s Magnalia, book i. p. 19. Backus’ Hist. of Baptists in New England, i. 45.

[5] Knowles, p. 37.

[6] Bancroft, i. 367.

[7] Knowles, p. 23, 391. Backus, i. 508.

[8] “Master Cotton may call to mind that the discusser [Williams], riding with himself and one other of precious memory, Master Hooker, to and from Sempringham, presented his arguments from scripture, why he durst not join with them in their use of Common Prayer.” Bloody Tenent more Bloody, p. 12. See also pp. 43 and 374 of the present volume. Baillie’s Dissuasive, p. 55.

[9] In his letter to Major Mason, he refers to “King James, whom I have spoke with.” Knowles, p. 31.

[10] Such is Governor Winthrop’s testimony. Knowles, p. 46.

[11] Welde’s Answer to W. R. p. 10. 4to. 1644.

[12] Backus, i. 54, 57.

[13] See pp. 287, 247, 353. Knowles, pp. 45, 49. Backus, i. 49. Bancroft, i. 360. At Taunton, the minister, Mr. Streete, “publicly and earnestly persuaded his church members to give land to none but such as might be fit for church members: yea, not to receive such English into the town.” Bloody Tenent more Bloody, p. 283. By a subsequent law no church could be constituted without the sanction of the magistrates: and the members of any church formed without it, were deprived of the franchise. Backus, i. 77.

[14] See pp. 247, 287, 353, &c. “Mr. Cotton effectually recommended, that none should be elected nor electors therein, except such as were visible subjects of our Lord Jesus Christ, personally confederated in our churches.” Mather’s Magnalia, b. iii. p. 21.

[15] Backus, i. 54. Knowles, p. 50.

[16] Knowles, p. 53. Mr. Cotton, in his Answer to Roger Williams, tells us that “elder Brewster warned the whole church of the danger of his spirit, which moved the better part of the church to be glad of his removal from them into the Bay.” Cotton’s Answer, p. 4.

[17] Mather’s Magnalia, iii. 20. Cotton’s Way of Cong. Churches, pp. 16, 30.

[18] Knowles, pp. 42, 43. “It was requested of Mr. Cotton,” says his descendant Cotton Mather, “that he would from the laws wherewith God governed his ancient people, form an abstract of such as were of a moral and lasting equity; which he performed as acceptably as judiciously.... He propounded unto them, an endeavour after a theocracy, as near as might be to that which was the glory of Israel, the peculiar people.” Magnalia, iii. 20. Backus, i. 79.

[19] Knowles, p. 57, 61. Master John Cotton’s Answer to Master Roger Williams, p. 4. This is usually bound up with the “Bloudy Tenent Washed,” and cited as part II.: it is, however, a separate piece, and separately paged, and is Cotton’s Answer to the second treatise in this volume.

[20] Cotton’s Answer, p. 4. Knowles, p. 61. Mather, vii. 7. Backus, i. 57.

[21] Knowles, p. 66.

[22] So Winthrop. Knowles, pp. 68-70. Backus, i. 67, 68. See also p. 422 of this volume. Cotton’s Answer, p. 4.

[23] See p. 372. Cotton’s Answer, pp. 5, 9. Cotton treats his sickness as a “check from the hand of God,” p. 56.

[24] See pp. 387, 388. Bancroft, i. 373.

[25] Knowles, pp. 71, 72. The sentence was as follows:—“Whereas Mr. Roger Williams, one of the elders of the church of Salem, hath broached and divulged divers new and dangerous opinions, against the authority of magistrates; as also writ letters of defamation, both of the magistrates and churches here, and that before any conviction, and yet maintaineth the same without any retractation; it is therefore ordered that the said Mr. Williams shall depart out of this jurisdiction within six weeks, now next ensuing, which, if he neglect to perform, it shall be lawful for the governor and two of the magistrates to send him to some place out of this jurisdiction, not to return any more without licence from the Court.” Backus, i. 69, 70.

[26] Cotton’s Answer, p. 26.

[27] Cotton’s Answer, pp. 27-30.

[28] Bloody Tenent more Bloody, p. 276.

[29] Bancroft, i. 327.

[30] See pp. 249, 257, 262. Mr. Cotton pleads that anabaptists and others were not compelled against conscience; nor were they punished for conscience’ sake; but for sinning against conscience. Tenent Washed, pp. 165, 189; Backus, i. 98.

[31] See pp. 186, 331; Bloody Tenent more Bloody, p. 122. By the law of September 6, 1638, the time was extended to six months. Backus, i. 45, 98; Bancroft, i. 349.

[32] “The Lady Moody, a wise and amiable religious woman, being taken with the error of denying baptism to infants, was dealt withal by many of the elders and others, and admonished by the church at Salem.” To avoid more trouble, she went amongst the Dutch; but was excommunicated. In 1651, the Rev. J. Clarke and Mr. O. Holmes, of Rhode Island, for visiting a sick baptist brother in Massachusetts, were arrested, fined, imprisoned, and whipped. At an earlier period, they had been compelled to leave Plymouth for their opinions. Mr. Cotton approved of this. Backus, i. 146, 207, 225.

[33] Williams’s Letter to Endicot. Bloody Tenent more Bloody, p. 305. See p. 245.

[34] “Whilst he lived at Salem, he neither admitted, nor permitted any church members but such as rejected all communion with the parish assemblies, so much as in hearing the word amongst them.” Cotton’s Answer, p. 64. See p. 397 of this volume.

[35] “The substance of the true estate of churches abideth in their congregational assemblies.” Cotton’s Answer, p. 109. Cotton refers here to the parish congregations.

[36] See pp. 243, 244, 392. Mather’s Magnalia, i. 21.

[37] Cotton charges Williams with attempting to draw away the Salem church from holding communion with all the churches of the Bay, “because we tolerated our members to hear the word in the parishes of England.” Tenent Washed, p. 166.

[38] See p. 246. Bloody Tenent more Bloody, p. 230.

[39] It must have reached Williams after his settlement at Providence. Cotton, in 1647, says he wrote it about “half a score years ago,” which would give the date of 1637.

[40] See p. 377. Cotton’s Answer, p. 8, 9, 13, 36-39. “I did never intend to say that I did not consent to the justice of the sentence when it was passed.”

[41] Cotton says, “Some of his friends went to the place appointed by himself beforehand, to make provision of housing and other necessaries against his coming.” Answer p. 8. This, however, is very doubtful.

[42] See p. 388. Knowles, p. 73. Backus, i. 70. Governor Winthrop had privately advised him to leave the colony. The friendship of this eminent man was of frequent service to our exile. Cotton declares that the officer who served the warrant saw “no sign of sickness upon him.” Answer, p. 57. This he might not choose to see.

[43] See p. 370. Knowles, p. 395.

[44] Now called Rehoboth.

[45] Quoted from his “Key,” &c., by Knowles, p. 101.

[46] The land at this spot still bears the designation of “What Cheer.”

[47] The vivid and dramatic poem of Judge Durfee, entitled “What Cheer?” is founded on the supposed events of his journey through this howling wilderness, and amid its savage inhabitants.

[48] Letter to Major Mason. Knowles p. 394, Benedict, p. 449.

[49] This view has been ably advocated by General Fessenden, from whose manuscript some of the above particulars are taken by Benedict, in the new edition of his Hist. of the Baptists, p. 449.

[50] Knowles, p. 103, 112. Backus, i. 90, 94.

[51] Letter to Mason. Knowles, p. 398.

[52] Backus, i. 95, 115. Knowles, p. 148.

[53] Knowles, p. 149, 395.

[54] Knowles, p. 165. Benedict, p. 441. Backus, i. 105.

[55] Backus, i. 107. Knowles, p. 176. Hanbury, iii. 571.

[56] Backus, i. 107, 108. Knowles, p. 170.

[57] As p. 40. Cotton says, he fell “from all ordinances of Christ dispensed in any church way, till God shall stir up himself, or some new apostles, to recover and restore all ordinances, and churches of Christ out of the ruins of anti-christian apostacy.” Cotton’s Answer, p. 2. The insinuation in this passage is both unjust and untrue.

[58] Pp. 4, 379. Knowles, p. 172. Callender’s Historical Discourse, by Dr. R. Elton, p. 101.

[59] Cotton’s Answer, p. 9.

[60] Knowles, p. 181. Callender, p. 159. Backus, i. 112. Bancroft, i. 380. The attachment of the Rhode Islanders to this great principle receives a curious illustration in the case of one Joshua Verin, who was deprived for a time of his franchise for refusing to his wife liberty of conscience, in not permitting her to go to Mr. Williams’s meeting as often as requisite. Backus, i. 95.

[61] Backus, i. 147.

[62] Backus, i. 148. Knowles, p. 198.

[63] Elton, in notes to Callender, p. 230. Knowles, p. 208.

[64] See p. 36.

[65] See Tracts on Liberty of Conscience, pp. 214-225.

[66] Bloudy Tenent Washed, p. 1.

[67] Bloody Tenent yet more Bloody, pp. 4, 290. The only edition known to us of the prisoner’s arguments with Mr. Cotton’s reply, is of the date 1646, with the following title: “The Controversie concerning Liberty of Conscience in Matters of Religion, truly stated, and distinctly and plainly handled by Mr. John Cotton of Boston in New England. By way of answer to some arguments to the contrary sent unto him, wherein you have, against all cavils of turbulent spirits, clearly manifested wherein liberty of conscience in matters of religion ought to be permitted, and in what cases it ought not, by the said Mr. Cotton. London. Printed for Thomas Banks. 1646.” It is a quarto pamphlet of fourteen pages, and signed John Cotton, and agrees with Williams’s copy of it in the “Bloudy Tenent.”

[68] See p. 189.

[69] Bloody Tenent Washed, pp. 150, 192.

[70] Bloody Tenent more Bloody, pp. 222, 291.

[71] Mather’s Magnalia, iii. 128, v. 22.

[72] Backus, i. 66.

[73] Bloody Tenent more Bloody, p. 38.

[74] Tracts on Liberty of Conscience and Persecution, 1614-1661. Hanserd Knollys Society, 1846.

[75] The Second Part of the Vanity and Childishness of Infants’ Baptism. By A. R. p. 27. London, 1642.

[76] In “M. S. to A. S. with a Plea for Liberty of Conscience in a Church Way, &c.” London, 1644. 4to. pp. 110. Also in “Θεομαχία; or, the grand imprudence of fighting against God,” &c., 4to. 1644.

[77] London, 4to. 1644, p. 13. Cotton’s Answer, p. 2. Orme’s Life of Owen, p. 100.

[78] Tracts on Lib. of Conscience, p. 270.

[79] These differences are stated by Mr. Gammell in his Life of Williams, p. 215, to exist in the two copies he has seen in America. The only copies we have seen in this country, are those in the Bodleian Library, and the British Museum; both of which have the table of errata.

[80] Baillie’s Dissuasive. Epist. Introd. ed. 1645. Hanbury’s Memorials, ii. 403; iii. 110, 127.

[81] Bloody Tenent more Bloody, p. 38.

[82] The two parts of this work are quoted in the notes to this volume, as “Cotton’s Reply,” and “Cotton’s Answer.”

[83] [See Tracts on Liberty of Conscience and Persecution, p. 217. Hanserd Knollys Society, 1846.]

[84] Essay of Religion. [Eos qui conscientias premi, iisque vim inferri suadent, sub illo dogmate, cupiditates suas subtexere, illamque rem sua interesse, putare. De Unitate Ecclesiæ.]

[85] It is rarely seen that ever persons were persecuted for their conscience, but by such persecution they were confirmed and hardened in their conscience.

[86] [See Tracts on Liberty of Conscience, pp. 214-224.]

[87] Sozom. lib. 1. Eccles. Hist. chap. 19, 20. [Fleury, Eccles. Hist. Liv. xi. c. 23. “The impious Arius was banished into one of the remote provinces of Illyricum.... The emperor had now imbibed the spirit of controversy, and the angry, sarcastic style of his edicts was designed to inspire his subjects with the hatred which he had conceived against the enemies of Christ.” Gibbon, Decline and Fall, p. 317. 8vo. edit.]

[88] In Epist. 166. [Tunc Constantinus prior contrá partem Donati severissimam legem. Hunc imitati filii ejus talia præceperunt. Quibus succedens Julianus deserto Christi et inimicus, supplicantibus vestris Rogatiano et Pontio libertatem perditioni partis Donati permisit—Huic successit Jovianus—Deinde Valentinianus, legite quam contra vos jusserit. Inde Gratianus et Theodosius—Veri Christiani non pro heretico errore pœnas justissimas sicut vos, sed pro catholica veritate passiones gloriosissimas pertulerunt. S. Aug. Opera, Tom. ii. fol. 156. Ed. Venetiis, 1552.]

[89] [Igitur et scintilla statim ut apparuerit, extinguenda est, et fermentum a massæ vicinia se movendum, secandæ putridæ carnes, et scabiosum animalia caulis ovium repellendum, ne tota domus, massa, corpus, et pecora ardeat, corrumpatur, putrescat, intereant. Arius in Alexandria una scintilla fuit, sed quia non statim oppressa est, totum orbem ejus flamma populata est. S. Hieronymi Opera. Tom. iii, p. 927. Parisiis, 1609. ed.]

[90] [Sunt duo libri mei, quorum titulos est contra partem Donati. In quorum primo libro dixi non mihi placere ullius seculari potestatis impetu schismaticos ad communionem violenter arctari. Quod (et) vere mihi non placebat, qua nondum expertus eram, vel quantum mali eorum auderet impunitas, vel quantum eis in melius mutandis conferre posset diligentia disciplinæ. Retract. ii. Opera, tom. i. fol. 10. To the same effect in Epist. 48, 50, tom. ii. fol. 35, 45. Quid enim non isti juste patiuntur, cum ex altissimo dei presidentis, et ad cavendum ignem æternum flagellis talibus admonentis judicio patiuntur, et merito criminum, et ordine potestatum? Contra Epist. Parmen. tom. vii. fol. 4. Tract xi. in Evang. Joann. tom. ix.]

[91] [Vindicavit (diximus) Moyses, vindicavit Helias, vindicavit Phinees. Vindicavit Macarius. Si nihil offenderant, qui occisi esse dicuntur, fit Macarius reus, in eo quod solus nobis nescientibus, et vobis provocantibus fecit. S. Optati Opera, p. 75. Parisiis, 1679.]

[92] [Melius proculdubio gladio coercentur, illius videlicet qui non sine causa gladium portat, quam in suum errorem multos trajicere permittantur. Dei enim minister ille est, vindex in iram ei qui male agit. Opera, tom. iii. p. 369. edit. Parisiis, 1836.]

[93] [Fidelis expositio errorum Mich. Serveti et brevis eorundem refutatio, ubi docetur, jure gladii coercendos esse hæreticos. Calvini Tract. Theol. p. 686. edit. 1597.]

[94] [Beza Tract. Theol. tom. i. p. 85. edit. 1582.]

[95] [Aretius. Hist. Val. Gentilis. Geneva, 1567.]

[96] [“Thus a man may find a knot in a bulrush, yea, thus a man that were disposed might find fault with the comforts of God for not being full and complete.” Reply of Cotton in The Bloudy Tenent Wash’d and made White in the Bloud of the Lambe, p. 4, edit. 1647.]

[97] [“Fundamental doctrines are of two sorts: some hold forth the foundation of Christian religion—others concern the foundation of the church. I speak of the former sort of these only—the other sort I look at as less principal, in comparison of these.” Cotton’s Reply, p. 5.]

[98] [“It is not truly said, that the Spirit of God maketh the ministry one of the foundations of Christian religion, for it is only a foundation of church order, not of faith, or religion.” Cotton’s Reply, p. 8.]

[99] [In his Reply, Mr. Cotton affects to have forgotten these admonitions and arguments; but Mr. Williams, in his rejoinder, reminds him that once, when riding together in company with Mr. Hooker to and from Sempringham, Mr. Williams did thus address Mr. Cotton, whose reply was to the effect, “that he selected the good and best prayers in his use of that book, as the author of the Council of Trent used to do.” Cotton’s Reply, p. 8; Williams’ Bloudy Tenent made yet more Bloudy, p. 12.]

[100] It pleaseth God sometimes, beyond his promise, to convey blessings and comfort to His, in false worships.

[101] [“Though I say, that it is not lawful to persecute any, though erring in fundamental and weighty points, till after once or twice admonition, I do not therefore say, that after once or twice admonition, then such consciences may be persecuted. But that if such a man, after such admonition, shall still persist in the error of his way, and be therefore punished, he is not persecuted for cause of conscience, but for sinning against his conscience.... It was no part of my words or meaning, to say, that every heretic, though erring in some fundamental and weighty points, and for the same excommunicated, shall forthwith be punished by the civil magistrate; unless it do afterwards appear that he break forth further, either into blasphemy, or idolatry, or seducement of others to his heretical pernicious ways.” Cotton’s Reply, p. 27.]

[102] [“In alleging that place, I intended no other persecution, but the church’s against such an heretic by excommunication.... Verily excommunication is a persecution, and a lawful persecution, if the cause be just offence; as the angel of the Lord is said to persecute the wicked, Psal. xxxv. 6.... Sure it is the Lord Jesus accounteth it a persecution to his disciples, to be delivered up into the synagogues, and to be cast forth out of the synagogues, Luke xxi. 12, with John xvi. 2.” Cotton’s Reply, p. 32.]

[103] [“And for the civil state, we know no ground they have to persecute Jews, or Turks, or other pagans, for cause of religion, though they all err in fundamentals. No, nor would I exempt anti-christians neither from toleration, notwithstanding their fundamental errors, unless after conviction they still continue to seduce simple souls into their damnable and pernicious heresies: as into the worship of false gods, into confidence of their own merits for justification, into seditious conspiracies against the lives and states of such princes as will not submit their consciences to the bishop of Rome.” Cotton’s Reply, p. 33.]

[104] [“This is too vast an hyperbole: as if murderers, seditious persons, rebels, traitors, were none of them such as did break the city’s or kingdom’s peace at all; but they only who are too sharp against corruptions in religion.” Cotton’s Reply, p. 36.]

[105] [“What hurt do they get by being caught? Hypocrites, and corrupt doctrines and practices, if they be found like unto good Christians, or sound truths, what hurt do they catch when I say such are to be tolerated to the end of the world? But—I acknowledge—that by tares are meant such kind of evil persons as are like unto the good.” Cotton’s Reply, p. 37.]

[106] [“If the Discusser had cast his eye a little lower, he might have found that Christ interpreteth the tares not only to be persons, but things, πάντα τὰ σκάνδαλα, all things that offend, as well as those that do iniquity. But I shall not stick upon that at all. Let the tares be persons, whether hypocrites, like unto true Christians, or holders forth of scandalous and corrupt doctrines and practices like unto sound.” Cotton’s Reply, p. 38.]

[107] Hence were the witnesses of Christ, Wickliff and others, in Henry the Fourth’s reign, called Lollards, as some say, from Lolia, weeds known well enough, hence taken for sign of barrenness: Infelix lolium et steriles dominantur avenæ. Others conceive they were so called from one Lollard, &c.; but all papists accounted them as tares because of their profession.

[108] [“It is not true that ζιζάνια signifieth all those weeds that grow up with the corn. For they be a special weed, growing up chiefly amongst the wheat, more like to barley.... Neither is it true, that tares are commonly and generally known as soon as they appear.... Yea, the servants of the husbandman did not discern the tares from the wheat, till the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit. It is like enough, they did not suspect them at all by reason of the great likeness that was between them whilst they were both in the blade.” Cotton’s Reply, p. 40.]

[109] [“1. It is true, Christ expoundeth the field to be the world; but he meant not the wide world, but, by an usual trope, the church scattered throughout the world.... 2. If the field should be the world, and the tares anti-christians and false Christians: it is true, Satan sowed them in God’s field, but he sowed them in the church.... 3. It is not the will of Christ, that anti-christ and anti-christians, and anti-christianity, should be tolerated in the world, until the end of the world. For God will put it into the hearts of faithful princes, in fulness of time, to hate the whore, to leave her desolate and naked, &c. Rev. xvii. 16, 17.” Cotton’s Reply, pp. 41, 42.]

[110] [“It is no impeachment to the wisdom of Christ to call his elect churches and saints throughout the world, by the name of the world.... It is no more an improper speech, to call the church the world, than to speak of Christ as dying for the world, when he died for his church.” Ib. p. 43.]

[111] [“1. Did not Christ preach and sow the seed of the word to all those four sorts of hearers? And yet he was the minister of the circumcision, and preached seldom to any, but to church members, members of the church of Israel.... 2. If the children of church members be in the church, and of the church, till they give occasion of rejection, then they growing up to years become some of them like the highway side, others like the stony, &c.... 3. It is the work of the church to seek the changing of the bad into the good ground. For is it not the proper work of the church, to bring on the children to become the sincere people of God?... 4. There is not such resemblance between highway-side ground and good ground, as is between tares and wheat. Nor would the servants ever ask the question, whether they should pluck up weeds out of the highway-side, &c.” Cotton’s Reply, pp. 44, 45.]

[112] [“1. These tares are not such sinners as are contrary to the children of the kingdom; for then none should be opposite to them but they. 2. The tares were not discerned at first till the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit.” Cotton’s Reply, p. 45.]

[113] [“Neither is it true that anti-christians are to be let alone by the ordinance of Christ, till the end of the world. For what if the members of a Christian church shall some of them apostate to anti-christian superstition and idolatry, doth the ordinance of Christ bind the hands of the church to let them alone? Besides, what if any anti-christian persons, out of zeal to the catholic cause, and out of conscience to the command of their superiors, should seek to destroy the king and parliament, should such an one by any ordinance of Christ be let alone in the civil state?” Cotton’s Reply, p. 47.]

[114] [“Let it be again denied, that hypocrites, when they appear to be hypocrites, are to be purged out by the government of the church. Otherwise they may soon root out, sometime or other, the best wheat in God’s field, and the sweetest flowers in the garden, who sometimes lose their fatness and sweetness for a season.” Cotton’s Reply, p. 48.]

[115] [“Not every hypocrite, but only such, who either walk inordinately without a calling, or idly and negligently in his calling.” Ib. p. 49.]

[116] [“But what if their worship and consciences incite them to civil offences? How shall then the civil state keep itself safe with a civil sword?” Cotton’s Reply, p. 50.]

[117] [“But if their members be leavened with anti-christian idolatry and superstition, and yet must be tolerated—will not a little leaven, so tolerated, leaven the whole lump? How then is the safety of the church guarded?” Ib. p. 50.]

[118] [“The elect of God shall be saved: but yet if idolaters and seducers be tolerated—the church will stand guilty before God of the seduction and corruption of the people of God.” Ib. p. 50.]

[119] [“There is no fear of plucking up the wheat, by rooting out idolaters and seducers—the censures inflicted (upon God’s people), would be blessed of God to their recovery and healing.” Cotton’s Reply, p. 51.]

[120] [“It would as well plead for the toleration of murderers, robbers, adulterers, extortioners, &c., for all these will the mighty angels gather into bundles, &c.” Cotton’s Reply, p. 51.]

[121] [“Certain it is from the word of truth, that the anti-christian kingdom shall be destroyed and rooted up by Christian princes and states long before the great harvest of the end of the world.... And either such princes must perform this great work without prayer, and then it were not sanctified to God, or if it be a sacrifice sanctified to God, they must pray for their desolation before they inflict it.” Cotton’s Reply, p. 53.]

[122] [“It might as truly be said the ministers of Christ are forbidden to denounce present or speedy destruction to any murderers, &c.” Cotton’s Reply, p. 54.]

[123] [“It is moral equity, that blasphemers, and apostate idolaters seducing others to idolatry, should be put to death, Levit. xxiv. 16.... The external equity of that judicial law of Moses was of moral force, and bindeth all princes to express that zeal and indignation, both, against blasphemy in such as fall under their just power, which Ahab neglected; and against seduction to idolatry, which Ahab executed, or else Elijah, or some others, by his consent.” Cotton’s Reply, p. 55.]

[124] [“It was no just cause for the civil magistrate to punish the Pharisees, for that they took unjust offence against Christ’s wholesome doctrine. For neither was the doctrine itself a fundamental truth; nor was their offence against it a fundamental error, though it was dangerous. Besides, the civil magistrates had no law established about doctrines, or offences of that nature. And therefore, they could take no judicial cognizance of any complaint presented to them about the same.” Cotton’s Reply, p. 57.]

[125] [“Paul’s appeal to Cæsar, was about the wrongs done unto the Jews. The wrongs to them were not only civil, but church offences, which Paul denied.... A man may be such an offender in matters of religion, against the law of God, against the church, as well as in civil matters against Cæsar, as to be worthy of death.... Paul, or any such like servant of Christ, if he should commit any such offence, he would not refuse judgment unto death.” Ib. p. 59.]

[126] [“We do not say, It is the holy will and purpose of God to establish the doctrine and kingdom of his Son only this way, to wit, by the help of civil authority. For it is his will also to magnify his power in establishing the same ... by the sufferings of his saints, and by the bloody swords of persecuting magistrates: ... but it is the duty of magistrates to know the Son, acknowledge his kingdom, and submit their thrones and crowns to it, &c.” Cotton’s Reply, p. 61.]

[127] [“We do not allege that place in Isaiah, to prove kings and queens to be judges of ecclesiastical causes; but to be providers for the church’s well-being, and protectors of it.” Cotton’s Reply, p. 61.]

[128] [“We do not hold it lawful for a Christian magistrate to compel by civil sword either Pharisee, or any Jew, or pagan, to profess the religion, or doctrine, of the Lord Jesus, much less do we think it meet for a private Christian to provoke either Jewish or pagan magistrates to compel Pharisees to submit to the doctrine or religion of Christ Jesus.” Cotton’s Reply, p. 64. On this Mr. Williams observes, that Mr. Cotton believes “it is no compulsion to make laws with penalties for all to come to church and to public worship.” Bloudy Tenent yet more Bloudy, p. 87.]

[129] [“When the corruption, or destruction of souls, is a destruction also of lives, liberties, estates of men, lex talionis calleth for, not only soul for soul, but life for life.” Cotton’s Reply, p. 64.]

[130] [“Yet it is not only every man’s duty, but the common duty of the magistrates to prevent infection, and to preserve the common health of the place, by removing infectious persons into solitary tabernacles.” Ib. p. 65.]

[131] [“That hindereth not the lawful and necessary use of a civil sword for the punishment of some such offences, as are subject to church censure.... It is evident that the civil sword was appointed for a remedy in this case, Deut. xiii.... For he (the angel of God’s presence) did expressly appoint it in the Old Testament: nor did he ever abrogate it in the New.... The reason is of moral, i. e., of universal and perpetual equity to put to death any apostate seducing idolater, or heretic ... the magistrate beareth not the sword in vain, to execute vengeance on such an evil doer.” Cotton’s Reply, pp. 66, 67.]

[132] [“It is a carnal and worldly, and indeed an ungodly imagination, to confine the magistrates’ charge to the bodies and goods of the subject, and to exclude them from the care of their souls.... They may and ought to procure spiritual help to their souls, and to prevent such spiritual evils, as that the prosperity of religion amongst them might advance the prosperity of the civil state.” Cotton’s Reply, p. 68.]

[133] [“The matter of this answer, it is likely enough, was given by me; for it suiteth with my own apprehension, both then and now. But some expressions in laying it down, I do not own, nor can I find any copy under my own handwriting, that might testify how I did express myself, especially in a word or two, wherein the discusser observeth, in cap. 38, some haste, and light, sleepy attention.” Cotton’s Reply, p. 74. Mr. Williams replies, “It is at hand for Master Cotton or any to see that copy which he gave forth and corrected in some places with his own hand, and every word verbatim here published.” Bloody Tenent yet more Bloody, p. 114. See ante, p. 22.]

[134] [“It is far from me to say, that it is lawful for civil magistrates to inflict corporal punishments upon men contrary-minded, standing in the same state the Samaritans did. No such thought arose in my heart, nor fell from my pen—that it is lawful for a civil magistrate to inflict corporal punishments upon such as are contrary-minded in matters of religion.” Cotton’s Reply, p. 76. To this Mr. Williams expresses his surprise as to the meaning Mr. Cotton puts upon the words contrary-minded, seeing the whole argument of his book is to show that heretics may be lawfully punished by the civil magistrate. P. 115.]

[135] [“Let it not seem strange to hear tell of unconverted Christians or unconverted converts. There is no contradiction at all in the words. When the Lord saith, that Judah turned unto him, not with all her heart, but feignedly, was she not then an unconverted convert? converted in show and profession, but unconverted in heart and truth?” Cotton’s Reply, p. 78.]

[136] [“I have not yet learned that the children of believing parents born in the church, are all of them pagans, and no members of the church: or that being members of the church, and so holy, that they are all of them truly converted. And if they be not always truly converted, then let him not wonder, nor stumble at the phrase of unconverted Christians.” Ib. p. 78.]

[137] [“If opposition rise from within, from the members of the church, I do not believe it to be lawful for the magistrate to seek to subdue and convert them to be of his mind by the civil sword; but rather to use all spiritual means for their conviction and conversion. But if the opposition still continue in doctrine and worship, and that against the vitals and fundamentals of religion, whether by heresy of doctrine or idolatry in worship, and shall proceed to seek the seduction of others, I do believe the magistrate is not to tolerate such opposition against the truth in church members, or in any professors of the truth after due conviction from the word of truth.” Cotton’s Reply, p. 81.]

[138] [“Yet it is not more than befell the church of Judah, in the days of Ahaz and Hezekiah, Manasseh and Josiah; yet the prophets never upbraided them with the civil magistrate’s power in causes of religion, as the cause of it.” Cotton’s Reply, p. 82.]

[139] [“A civil magistrate ought not to draw out his civil sword against any seducers till he have used all good means for their conviction, and thereby clearly manifested the bowels of tender commiseration and compassion towards them. But if after their continuance in obstinate rebellion against the light, he shall still walk towards them in soft and gentle commiseration, his softness and gentleness is excessive large to foxes and wolves; but his bowels are miserably straitened and hardened against the poor sheep and lambs of Christ.” Cotton’s Reply, p. 83.]

[140] [Eusebii Eccles. Hist. lib. iv. c. xiii. The rescript is also found appended to the second apology of Justin Martyr, Opera, tom. i. p. 100, edit. Coloniæ, 1686. By modern writers it is deemed spurious, although in spirit consonant with the well known temper of the emperor. Neander Ch. Hist. i. p. 141. Gieseler, i. 130. Clark’s For. and Theol. Lib.]

[141] [“Though the same arm may with a staff beat a wolf, yet it will not with the same staff beat a sheep. The same voice from heaven that calleth the sheep by name into the sheepfold, and leadeth them by still waters, the same voice hath said, that anti-christian wolves and seducers shall drink of blood, for they are worthy.” Cotton’s Reply, p. 86. To this Mr. Williams replies, that if civil power may force out of the church, it may also force in. “If civil power, to wit, by swords, whips, prisons, &c., drives out the spiritual or mystical wolf, the same undeniably must drive in the sheep.” The Bloody Tenent yet more Bloody, p. 128.]

[142] [“If those be peaceable and quiet subjects, that withdraw subjects from subjection to Christ: if they be loving and helpful neighbours, that help men on to perdition: if they be fair and just dealers, that wound the souls of the best, and kill and destroy the souls of many, if such be true and loyal to civil government, that subject it to the tyranny of a foreign prelate, then it will be no advantage to civil states, when the kingdoms of the earth shall become the kingdoms of our Lord; and they may do as good service to the civil state, who bring the wrath of God upon them by their apostasy, as they that bring down blessings from heaven by the profession and practice of the true religion in purity.” Cotton’s Reply, pp. 87, 88.]

[143] [“Magistrates ought to be so well acquainted with matters of religion, as to discern the fundamental principles thereof, and the evil of those heresies and blasphemies as do subvert the same. Their ignorance thereof is no discharge of their duty before the Lord. Such wolfish oppressors, and doctrines, and practices as they cannot discern with their own eyes, it will be their sin to suppress them, because they cannot do it of faith: or to tolerate them, because they are destructive to the souls of the people.” Cotton’s Reply, p. 89.]

[144] [“It is no dishonour to Christ, nor impeachment of the sufficiency of the ordinances left by Christ, that in such a case his ministers of justice in the civil state, should assist his ministers of the gospel in the church state.” Ib. p. 91.]

[145] [“Elders must keep within the bounds of their calling; but killing, and dashing out of brains, which is all one with stoning, was expressly commanded in such a case to the people of God, by order from the judges. Deut. xiii. 10.” Cotton’s Reply, p. 91.]

[146] [“Nor is it a frustrating of the sweet end of Christ’s coming, which was to save souls, but rather a direct advancing of it, to destroy (if need be) the bodies of those wolves, who seek to destroy the souls of those for whom Christ died.” Cotton’s Reply, p. 93.]