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God,' for his pains. And I think, a distinction of persons secular and ecclesiastical will do no advantage for an escape, because even the secular power, if it be Christian, and a servant of God, must not be πληκτικός. Δούλος Κυρίου ού δεί MáxeoJai I mean, in those cases u bere meekness of instruction is the remedy: or if the case be irremediable, abscission by censures is the penalty.
13. Tenthly: and if yet in the nature of the thing it were neither unjust nor unreasonable, yet there is nothing, under God Almighty, that hath power over the soul of man, so as to command a persuasion, or to judge a disagreeing. Human positive laws direct all external acts in order to several ends, and the judges take cognizance accordingly; but no man can command the will, or punish him that obeys the law against his will: for because its end is served in external obedience, it neither looks after more, neither can it be served by more, nor take notice of any more. And yet possibly the understanding is less subject to human power than the will : for that human power hath a command over external acts, which naturally and regularly flow from the will,‘et ut plurimùm' suppose a direct act of will, but always either a direct or indirect volition, primary or accidental; but the understanding is a natural faculty subject to no command, but where the command is itself a reason fit to satisfy and persuade it. And therefore God, commanding us to believe such revelations, persuades and satisfies the understanding by his commanding and revealing: for there is no greater probation in the world, that a proposition is true, than because God hath commanded us to believe it. But because no man's command is a satisfaction to the understanding, or a verification of the proposition; therefore the understanding is not subject to human authority. They may persuade, but not enjoin where God hath not; and where God hath, if it appears so to him, he is an infidel if he does not believe it. And if all men have no other efficacy or authority on the understand. ing but by persuasion, proposal, and entreaty, then a man is bound to assent but according to the operation of the argument, and the energy of persuasion; neither indeed can he, though he would never so fain: and he that out of fear, and too much compliance, and desire to be safe, shall desire
to bring his understanding with some luxation to the belief of human dictates and authorities, may as often miss of the truth as hit it, but is sure always to lose the comfort of truth, because he believes it upon indirect, insufficient, and incompetent arguments: and as his desire it should be so, is his best argument that it is so, so the pleasing of men is his best reward, and his not being condemned and contradicted, all the possession of a truth.
SECTION XIV. Of the Practice of Christian Churches towards Persons disagree
ing, and when Persecution first came in. And thus this truth hath been practised in all times of Christian religion, when there were no collateral designs on foot, nor interests to be served, nor passions to be satisfied. In St. Paul's time, though the censure of heresy were not so loose and forward as afterward, and all that were called heretics, were clearly such and highly criminal, yet as their crime was, so was their censure, that is, spiritual. They were first admonished, once at least; for so Irenæus", Tertullian, Cyprian", Ambrose", and Jerome', read that place of Titus iii. But since that time all men, and at that time some read it, “Post unam et alteram admonitionem” reject a heretic: “Rejection from the communion of saints after two warnings,” that is the penalty. St. John expresses it by not 'eating with them,' not 'bidding them God speed; but the persons against whom he decrees so severely, are such as denied Christ to be come in the flesh, direct anti-christs. And let the sentence be as high as it lists in this case, all that I observe is, that since in so damnable doctrines nothing but spiritual censure, separation from the communion of the faithful was enjoined and prescribed, we cannot pretend to an apostolical precedent, if in matters of dispute and innocent question, and of great uncertainty and no malignity, we shall proceed to sentence of death.
2. For it is but absurd and illiterate arguing, to say that · Lib. 3. cap. 3.
De præscript. u Lib. ad Qairinum.
excommunication is a greater punishment,-and killing, a léss; and therefore whoever may be excommunicated, may also be put to death : which indeed is the reasoning that Bellarmine uses. For, first, excommunication is not directly and of itself a greater punishment than corporal death, because it is indefinite and incomplete, and in order to a farther punishment; which if it happens, then the excommunication was the inlet to it; if it does not, the excommunication did not signify half so much as the loss of a member, much less death. For it
may be totally ineffectual, either by the iniquity of the proceeding, or repentance of the person : and in all times and cases it is a medicine, if the man please; if he will not, but perseveres in his impiety, then it is himself that brings the censure to effect, that actuates the judgment, and gives a sting and an energy upon that, which otherwise would be xưip ákupos. Secondly, but when it is at worst, it does not kill the soul; it only consigns it to that death which it had deserved, and should have received independently from that sentence of the church. Thirdly, and yet excommunication is to admirable purpose: for whether it refers to the person censured, or to others, it is prudential in itself, it is exemplary to others, it is medicinal to all. For the person censured is by this means threatened into piety, and the threatening made the more energetical upon him, because by fiction of law, or, as it were, by a sacramental representment, the pains of hell are made presential to him, and so becomes an act of
prudent judicature, and excellent discipline, and the best instrument of spiritual government; because the nearer the threatening is reduced to matter, and the more present and circumstantiate it is made, the more operative it is upon our spirits while they are immerged in matter. And this is the full sense and power of excommunication in its direct intention : consequently and accidentally other evils might follow it; as in the times of the apostles the censured persons were buffeted by Satan, and even at this day there is less security even to the temporal condition of such a person, whom his spiritual parents have anathematized. But besides this, I know no warrant to affirm any thing of excommunication; for the sentence of the church does but declare, not effect, the final sentence of damnation. Whoever deserves excommunication, deserves damnation; and he that repents shall
be saved, though he die out of the church's external communion; and if he does not repent, he shall be damned, though he was not excommunicate.
3. But suppose it greater than the sentence of corporal death, yet it follows not, because heretics may be excommunicate, therefore killed; for from a greater to a less in a several kind of things the argument concludes not. It is a greater thing to make an excellent discourse than to make a shoe; yet he that can do the greater, cannot do this less. An angel cannot beget a man; and yet he can do a greater matter in that kind of operations, which we term spiritual and angelical. And if this were concluding, that whoever may be excommunicate, may be killed,—then, because of excommunications, the church is confessed the sole and entire judge, she is also an absolute disposer of the lives of persons. I believe this will be but ill doctrine in Spain: for in ‘Bulla Cænæ Domini' the King of Spain is every year excommunicated on Maunday-Thursday; but if by the same power he might also be put to death (as upon this ground he may), the Pope might with more ease be invested in that part of St. Peter's patrimony, which that King hath invaded and surprised. But besides this, it were extreme harsh doctrine in a Roman consistory, from whence excommunications issue for trifles, for fees, for not suffering themselves infinitely to be oppressed, for any thing: if this be greater than death, how great a tyranny is that which doth more than kill men for less than trifles! or else how inconsequent is that argument, which concludes its purpose upon so false pretence and supposition !
4. Well, however zealous the apostles were against heretics, yet none were by them, or their dictates, put to death. The death of Ananias and Sapphira, and the blindness of Elymas the sorcerer, amount not to this, for they were miraculous inflictions: and the first was a punishment to vowbreach and sacrilege, the second of sorcery and open contestation against the religion of Jesus Christ; neither of them concerned the case of this present question. Or if the case were the same, yet the authority is not the same: for he that inflicted these punishments, was infallible, and of a power competent; but no man at this day is so. But as yet people were converted by miracles, and preaching, and disputing,
and heretics by the same means were redargued, and all men instructed, none tortured for their opinion. And this continued till Christian people were vexed by disagreeing persons, and were impatient and peevish by their own too much confidence, and the luxuriancy of a prosperous fortune : but then they would not endure persons that did dogmatise any thing, which might intrench upon their reputation or their interest. And it is observable that no man nor no age did ever teach the lawfulness of putting heretics to death, till they grew wanton with prosperity. But when the reputation of the governors was concerned, when the interests of men were endangered, when they had something to lose, when they had built their estimation upon the credit of disputable questions, when they began to be jealous of other men, when they overvalued themselves and their own opinions, when some persons invaded bishopricks upon pretence of new opinions ; then they, as they thrived in the favour of emperors, and in the success of their disputes, solicited the temporal power to banish, to fine, to imprison, and to kill, their adversaries.
5. So that the case stands thus : In the best times, amongst the best men, when there were fewer temporal ends to be served, when religion and the pure and simple designs of Christianity were only to be promoted, in those times and amongst such men no persecution was actual nor persuaded, nor allowed, towards disagreeing persons. But as men had ends of their own and not of Christ, as they receded from their duty and religion from its purity, as Christianity began to be compounded with interests and blended with temporal designs, so men were persecuted for their opinions. This is most apparent, if we consider when persecution first came in, and if we observe how it was checked by the holiest and the
6. The first great instance I shall note, was in Priscillian and his followers, who were condemned to death by the ty, rant Maximus. Which instance, although St. Jerome observes as a punishment and judgment for the crime of beresy, yet is of no use in the present question, because Maximus put some Christians of all sorts to death promiscuously, ca, tholic and heretic, without choice; and therefore the Priscillianists might as well have called it a judgment upon the catholics, as the catholics upon them.