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had cheated them into subje&tion, took upon them the care and oversight of all Religious things : among our selves wé reap the advantage of our Kings and Princeś care and concern in that enjoyment we have of the Protestant Religion. Now this Assertion of that learned Gentleman is evidently true; but then it happens here as it useth in the other Discourses for Tolerati. on : When the Evidence of Truth hath forced from them one reasonable Concession, that one Concession doth plainly give away from them nothing less than their whole Cause : For, pray tell me, Constantine and the Christian Emperours are here commended for their care and oversight in Religous things; and so our own Kings for securing to us the Protestant Religion : Now was not all this done by Laws and Penalties, and the Civil Sword, and was there any poffibility of having it done any other way?
This being premised, as to the Exceptions themfelves, I briefly say this; If no force is to be used in matters of Religion, because it is an incompe
tent Method, as being able to reach only to the Body and Estate, but is by much too weak to reach unto the Mind ; this is a Difficulty not at all peculiar to the Gospel, but common to that with all other Dispensations. The Mind of a Man was as much a Spirit under the Law as it can be now; and the Sword was made of as meer Matter in those days, as it can be in these : and therefore thus far the Care is one and the same. As to the Second Exception, That all Force is now unlawful, because Christ hath not commanded it, they have been told, and have had it proved to them too in many parts of the Puritan Controversie, that many things are lawful which there is no particular Command for; that a thing becomes unlawful, not by being not commanded, but by being forbidden : And this leads me directly to the Third Exception, That all Force is plainly forbidden by St. Paul, when he says, 2 Cor. 10.v. 4. that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal. Now this saying of the Apostle is so far from being a
hibition of all Coercion in the Affairs of Religion, that it doth plainly refer to a very great Coercion, which himself did in these very words threaten for to use, viz. the Censures of the Church in such a manner as to carry temporal Penalties along with them, in manner miraculous , visible and extraordinary : And therefore it fol. loweth in the next words, that those Weapons which in themselves might be supposed weak, yet if they were better looked into would be found to have a strength from God, which they had not from themselves; for they were not meerly carnal, but mighty through God for the bringing down strong holds : Ånd to render it clear that these words have a penal meaning in them, it follows, that these Weapons are able to cast down imaginations, and every high thought that exalteth it self against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ : And to put it out of all doubt, that those Weapons had a coercive power in them, the Apostle
adds, adds, in a stile much beyond exhor. tation and advice, nay, much beyond a bare reproof, that in the strength of them he would revenge all ence. And as for the last most preffing and convincing Consideration, That if Force was to be used in any affair of Religion at all, it was of all others the most to be justified in order to the pulling down of Antichrist, the greatelt of all other Gospel enemies : But even in that Case it ought not to be used, and therefore most certainJy not in any other; The Sword of the Spirit being the only Weapon by which Christ will destroy Antichrist, the greateft Gospel-enemy which the World bath produced. I shall not here take an ad. vantage which I have already mentioned, that the Sword of the spirit doth in Scripture signifie something which carries Coercion along with it; but shall be contented that that word be understood in the common meaning of it : And upon that Supposition I believe that this Affertion of this learned Gentleman will scarce pass for true Doctrine in the Separated Con
gregations; I am sure that there was a time when it would not have done fo, and I never yet heard that in this Point their Minds were altered : How unlawful foever it may be for the Magistrate to make use of the Civil Sword in a Cause of Religion; I am sure that it hath been often preached as a great Gospel Duty, though in a Rebellion, to make use of the Military one. We have not forgot how often the Zeal of the Common People was in. flamed against the King , by telling them that the Cause then fought for was the Cause of God, that their Per. fons and Estates were all too little to be sacrificed in this concern of Religion , and the question really was, whether Christ or Anti Christ should be King? And so I return to our Author.
Amongst all the Arguments which are brought to prove the Compulsory Power of the Magistrate under the Gospel, the greatest weight is laid upon the practice of the Kings of Israel and Judah, and what they did under the Lam in compelling men to the Worship of God then