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not the dexterity to choose the national religion whereever you are, I doubt not but that you would think so too if you were in France, though there were none but moderate penalties laid on you, to bring you, even against your own inclination, to act according to what they there call reason and sound judgment.
That paragraph and mine, to which it is an answer, run thus :
But thus you
L. II. p. 128. L. III. p. 67.
“ But it seems "I do neither you you have not done with this yet: nor the magistrate for you say, you do neither me injury when I say nor the magistrate injury, when that the power you say that the power I give the you give the ma- magistrate, of punishing men to gistrate of pu- make them consider reasons and nishing men to arguments proper and sufficient to make them consi. convince them, is to convince them der reasons and of the truth of his religion, whatarguments proper ever that be, and to bring them to and sufficient to it. Which seems a little strange convince them, is and pleasant too. to convince them prove it : "For men will never, in of the truth of his opinion, act according to reason his religion, and and sound judgment, till they emto bring them to brace his religion. it. For men will have the brow of an honest man, never, in his opi- you will not say the magistrate nion, act accord- will ever punish you, to bring you ing to reason and to consider any other reasons and sound judgment, arguments but such as are proper which is the thing to convince you of the truth of you here say men his religion, and to bring you to should be brought that. Which (besides the pleasant to by the magis- talk of such reasons and argutrate, even against ments as are proper and sufficient their own inclina. to convince men of the truth of the tion, till they em- magistrate's religion,' though it brace his religion. be a false one) is just as much as And if you have to say, It is so, because in the
And if you
the brow of an magistrate's opinion it is so; and honest man, you because it is not to be expected will not say the that he will act against his opimagistrate will nion. As if the magistrate's opiever punish you, nion could change the nature of to bring you to things, and turn a power to proconsider any other mote the true religion into a power reasons and argu- to promote a false one. No, sir, ments, but such the magistrate's opinion has no as are proper to such virtue. It may indeed keep convince you of him from exercising the power he the truth of his has to promote the true religion ; religion, and to and it may lead him to abuse the bring you to that. pretence of it to the promoting a Thus you shift for- false one: but it can neither dewards and back- stroy that power, nor make it any wards. You say, thing but what it is. And therethe magistrate has fore, whatever the magistrate's no power to pu- opinion be, his power was given nish men to com- him (as the apostles' power was to pel them to his them) for edification only, not for religion; but only destruction: and it may always be to compel them said of him (what St. Paul said of to consider rea- himself) that he can do nothing
and argu- against the truth, but for the truth. ments proper to And therefore, if the magistrate convince them of punishes me to bring me to a false the truth of his religion, it is not his opinion that religion; which is will excuse him, when he comes all one as to say, to answer for it to his Judge. For nobody bas power certainly men are as accountable to choose your for their opinions (those of them, way for you to Je. I mean, which influence their rusalem; but yet practice) as they are for their acthe lord of the tions. manor has power “ Here is, therefore, no shifting to punish you, to forwards and backwards, as you bring you to con- pretend; nor any circle, but in sider reasons and your own imagination. For though arguments proper it be true that I say, “the magiand sufficient to strate has no power to punish men, convince you. Of to compel them to his religion,' what? that the yet I nowhere say, nor will it way he goes in is follow from any thing I do say, the right, and so • That he has power to compel them to make you join to consider reasons and arguments in company, and proper to convince them of the go along with him. truth of his religion. But I do So that, in effect, not much wonder that you endeawhat is all your vour to put this upon me.' For I going about, but think by this time it is pretty plain, to come at last that otherwise you would have but to the same place little to say: and it is an art very again; and put a much in use amongst some sort of power into the ma- learned men, when they cannot gistrate's hands, confute what an adversary does under another pre. say, to make him say what he does tence, to compel not; that they may have somemen to his reli- thing which they can confute.” gion? which use of force the author has sufficiently overthrown, and you yourself have quitted. But I am tired to follow you so often round the same circle.”
The beginning of this answer is part of the old song of triumph. “ What! reasons and arguments proper and sufficient to convince men of the truth of falsehood?” Yes, sir, the magistrate may use force to make men consider those reasons and
arguments, which he thinks proper and sufficient to convince men of the truth of his religion, though his religion be a false one. And this is as possible for him to do, as for a man as learned as yourself to write a book, and use such arguments as he thinks proper and sufficient to convince
men of the truth of his opinion, though it be a falsehood.
As to the remaining part of your answer, the question is not, whether the “ magistrate's opinion can change the nature of things, or the power he has, or excuse him to his Judge for misusing of it?" But this, that since all magistrates, in your opinion, have commission, and are obliged to promote the true religion by force, and they can be guided in the discharge of this duty by nothing but their own opinion of the true religion, what advantage can this be to the true religion, what benefit to their subjects, or whether it amounts to any more than a commission to every magistrate to use force for the promoting his own religion? To this question, therefore, you will do well to apply your answer, which a man of less skill than you will be scarce able to do.
You tell us indeed, that “whatever the magistrate's opinion be, his power was given him (as the apostles' power was to them) for edification only, and not for destruction.” But if the apostles' power had been given them for one end, and St. Paul, St. Peter, and nine other of the twelve had nothing to guide them but their own opinion, which led them to another end; I ask you whether the edification of the church could have been carried on as it was ?
You tell us farther, that " it may always be said of the magistrate (what St. Paul said of himself) that he can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.” Witness the king of France. If you say this in the same sense that St. Paul said it of himself, who, in all things requisite for edification, had the immediate direction and guidance of the unerring Spirit of God, and so was infallible, we need not go to Rome for an infallible guide; every country has one in their magistrate. If you apply these words to the magistrate in another sense than what St. Paul spoke them in of himself, sober men will be apt to think you have a great care to insinuate into others a high veneration for the magistrate; but
that you yourself have no over-great reverence for the Scripture, which
you thus use; nor for truth, which you thus defend.
To deny the magistrate to have a power to compel men to his religion; but yet to say the magistrate has a power, and is bound to punish men to make them consider, till they cease to reject the true religion; of which true religion he must be judge, or else nothing can be done in discharge of this his duty; is so like going round about to come to the same place, that it will al. ways be a circle in mine and other people's imagination, and not only there, but in your hypothesis.
All that you say turns upon the truth or falsehood of this proposition : " That whoever punishes any one in matters of religion to make him consider, takes upon him to be judge for another what is right in matters of religion.” This you think plainly involves a contradiction; and so it would, if these general terms had in your use of them their ordinary and usual meaning. But, sir, be but pleased to take along with you, that whoever punishes any man your way in matters of religion, to make him consider, as you use the word consider, takes upon him to be judge for another what is right in matters of religion: and you will find it so far from a contradiction, that it is a plain truth. For your way of punishing is a peculiar way, and is this: that the magistrate, where the national religion is the true religion, should punish those who dissent from it, to make them consider as they ought, i.e. till they cease to reject, or, in other words, till they conform to it. If therefore he punishes none but those who dissent from, and punishes them till they conform to that which he judges the true religion, does he not take on him to judge for them what is the true religion?
It is true indeed what you say, there is no other reason to punish another to make him consider, but that he should judge for himself: and this will always hold true amongst those who, when they speak of considering, mean considering, and nothing else. But then these things will follow from thence : 1. That in in