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*« He that soweth the good feed is the Son of Man; « the field is the world; the good seed are the children c of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of " the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the si devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the C reapers are the angels.”
- This patience, this long-suffering, and great forbearance belonging to my kingdom and the subjects < of it, my doctrine speaks it, and mine example, con
firms it ; and this can have no possible agreement (with imposition and persecution for conscience. It • is true I once whipped out the profaners of my Fa" ther's ternple; but I never whipped any in. I called, "I cried to every one that thirsted to come, and freely • offered my assistance to the weary and heavy-laden; .but I never imposed my help, or forced any to re<ceive me ; for I take not my kingdom by violence,
but by suffering. And that I might fufficiently deter ! my followers froin any such thing, as I profets myself
to be Y their Lord and Master, so have I commanded « them to love one another in a more especial manner. < But if, instead thereof, any shall grow proud, high( minded, and beat or abuse their fellow-fervants in
my religious family, when I come to take an account s of my houshold, he shall be cut asunder, and aps pointed his portion among the unbelievers. Behold
the recompence I appoint to imposing lordly persons, < such as count others infidels; and, to make them such « believers as themselves, will exercise violence toir wards them, and if they prevail not, will call for
fire from heaven to devour them; and if heaven re- fuse to gratify their rage, will fall a beating and « killing, and think, it may be, they do God good
service too; but their lot shall be with unbelievers • for ever. 1. Nay, I have so effectually provided against all e mastery, that I exprefly charged them, not to be many o masters; for one was their master: I told them, the
* Mat. xiii. 37, 38, 39. .
~ John xv. 12.
greatest - greatest amongst them was to be servant to the rest, o not to impose upon the rest : nay, that to be great in s my kingdom, they must become as gentle and harm« less as little children, and such cannot force and punish , in matters of religion. In fine, I strictly com The apostle Peter is of the same mind;. « Feed? says he, or the flock of God, not by constraint, &c. «' neither as being lords over God's heritage.” The heritage of God is free; they have but One Lord in and of their religion, Christ Jesus, and they are brethren. • The apostle Paul says, “ That where the Spirit of o the Lord is, there is liberty ;" but where coercion, fines, and gaols are, there is no liberty. Is it to be fupposed that men in these days are instructed by the Spirit of the Lord to destroy people in this world for their faith about the other world ? That cannot possibly be; such mock at it. Again, says that apoftle to the Christians of his time, d You are called to liberty;" from what, I pray ? « Sin and the ceremonies of the “ law?" And shall the end of that call be the en, thralling of conscience to human edicts in religion, yea, about mere ceremonies of religion, under the Gospel? This would make our case worse than the Jews, for their worship stood on divine authority; and if Christ came to make men free from them, and that those yery ordinances are by the apostle called beggarly elements and a burdensome yoke, is it reasonable that we must be subject to the injunctions of men in the worship of God, that are not of equal authority with them?
manded them to love one another, as I have loved ' tbem, who am ready to lay down my life for the
ungodly, instead of taking away godly mens lives. ' for opinions. And this is the great maxim of my "holy religion,' " He that would be my disciple, s must (not crucify other men, but) take up his cross « and follow me, who am meek and lowly;” and < such as endure to the end, shall find eternal rest to o their souls: this is the power I use, and this is the < power I give.'
How much this agrees with the language, doctrine, and example of Jesus Christ, the Son and Lamb of God, I shall leave them to consider that read and beJieve scripture. But some, affected to present churchpower, and desiring their ruin that conform not to her worship and discipline, will object, · That Christ did I give his church power to bind and loose, and bid ( any persons aggrieved tell the church.'
I grant it; but what binding was that? Was it, I pray, with outward chains and fetters, in nasty holes and dungeons ? Nothing less ? or was it that his church had that true discerning in her, and power with him, that what she bound, that is, condemned, or loosed, that is remitted, should stand so in God's sight, and Christ's account?
But tell the church; and what then? Observe Christ's extent in the punishment of the offender: “ If the « offender will neither receive private admonition, nor « hear the church, then,” says Christ, « let him be to " thee as an heathen,” &c. Here is not one word of fines, whips, stocks, pillories, gaols, and the like inftruments of cruelty, to punish the heretick: for the purport of his words seems to be no more than this;
If any member of the church refuse thy private exhortation, and the church's admonition, look upon
• such a person as obftinate and perverse; have no more
What think you of this? Here are warfares, weapons, oppositions and conformity, and not only no external force about matters of religion used or countenanced, but the most express and pathetical exclusion and disclaiming of any fuch thing that can be given.
It was this great apostle that asked that question, a “ Who art thou that judgest the servant of another? « To his own lord he standeth or falleth: but he shall * ftand; for God is able to make him stand.” Can we think that imposition or persecution is able to answer him this question in the day of judgment? Do we with reason deny it to the papacy? with what reason then can we assure it to ourselves ? Let us remember who said, “ Not that we have dominion over your faith, « but are helpers of your joy." Helpers, then not impofers nor persecutors. What joy can there be in that to the persecuted? But if Paul had no such commis. Gon or power over conscience, I would fain know by what authority more inferior ministers and Christians do claim and use it.
% Mat. xxvi, 52. Eph. vi. 12 to the 18. 1 Tim. i. 18. * Rom. xiv. 4.
2 Cor. x. 3, 4, s.
The apostle yet informs us, « For this end,” says he, « Chrift both died and rose again, that he might be « Lord both of the dead and living: but why doft thou o judge thy brother?” Than which nothing can more exprelly oppose the imposition, excommunication, and persecution that are among us: it is as if he had faid,Christ is Lord of Chriftians; by what authority « dost thou pretend to judge his servants? Thou also • art but one of them: a brother at most. Thou hast sao dominion over their faith, nor haft thou commis* Gon to be lord over their consciences; it is Christ's
right, his purchase, he has paid for it :' “ for this
<< end he both died and rose again, that he might be « Lord of dead and living ;" that he might rescue o them from the jaws of oppression, from those that r usurp over their consciences, and make a prey of their < fouls,' " But why dost thou judge thy brother?” If not judge, then not perfecuté, plunder, beat, imprison to death, our brethren; that must needs follow. Come, let us Protestants look at home, and view our actions, if we are not the men.
In short, « Let every man be fully persuaded in his « own mind; and if any thing be short, God will re« veal it.'”. let us but be patient. It was not fejl and blood that revealed Christ to Peter; they are Christ's words; therefore let us leave off the consultation and weapons of Aesh and blood, and trust Christ with his own kingdom: he hath said, that the “ gates of hell 66 shall not prevail against it ;” and we cannot think that he would have us feek to hell's gates to maintain it: and if it is not of this world, then not to be maintained by force and policy, which are the props of the kingdoms of this world. “God,” the apostle tells us, “ has chosen the weak things of this world, « to confound the mighty :" therefore he has not chosen the strength and power of this world, to suppress conscientious people, that, as to human force, are justly accounted weakest and most destitute, in all ages, of defence.
I will here conclude my scripture-proofs with this exhortation, or injunction rather, of the apostle. « Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants « of men.” The subject here is not buman, wherein human ordinances are to be obeyed ; that is not the question; but divine ; and those that for fear or favour of men desert their principles, and betray their con. sciences, they renounce their Lord, deny him that bought them, and tread his blood, the price of their souls, under their feet: “ Ye are bought with a price;" Christ has purchased you; you are not your own, but