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the ordering of such matters. Or, last of all, is it more eligible to all mankind ? And are the magistrates of the world so careful or so lucky in the choice of their religion, that it would be an advantage to mankind, that they should have a right to do what in them lies, i.e. to use all the force they have, if they think convenient, to bring men to the religion they think true? When you have told us to which of these, or what other, it is more eligible; I suppose the reader will, without my contradicting it, see how little truth there is in it, or how little to your purpose.
If you will pardon me for not having contradicted that passage
of yours we have been considering, I will endeavour to make you amends in what you say in reply to my answer to it, and tell you, that, notwithstanding all you say to the contrary, such a power as you would have to be vested in the magistrate, takes away the care of men's souls from themselves, and places it in the inagistrate, rather than in themselves; for if, when men have examined, and upon examination embrace what appears to them the true religion, the magistrate has a right to treat them as misled by prejudice, humour, or seducers; if he may use what force, and inflict what punishments, he shall think convenient till they conform to the religion the magistrate judges the true; I think you will scarce deny, but that the care of their souls is by such a power placed rather in the magistrate than in themselves, and taken as much from them as by force and authority it can be. This, whatever you pretend, is the power
which your system places in the magistrate. Nor can he upon your prin. ciples exercise it otherwise, as I imagine I have showed.
You speak here, as if this power, which you would have to be vested in the magistrate, did not at all discharge, but assist the care every one has or ought to have of his own soul. I grant, were the power you would place in the magistrate such as every man has to take care of his neighbour's soul, which is to express itself only by counsel, arguments, and persuasion, it left him still the free liberty of judging for himself; and so the care of his soul remained still in his own
hands. But if men be persuaded, that the wise and good God has vested a power in the magistrate, to be so far judge for them, what is the true religion, as to punish them for rejecting the religion which the magistrate thinks the true, when offered with such evidence as he judges sufficient to convince them; and to punish them on till they consider so as to embrace it; what remains, but that they render themselves to the care and conduct of a guide that God in his goodness has appointed them, who having authority and commission from God to be judge for them which is the true religion, and what are arguments proper and sufficient to convince any one of it; and he himself being convinced of it; why should they be so foolish as to suffer punishments in opposition to a power which is in the right, and they ought to submit to? To what purpose should they, under the weight of penalties, waste time and pains iu examining, since whatever they should judge upon examination, the magistrate judging the arguments and reasons he offers for the truth of his religion proper and sufficient to convince them, they must still lie under the punishment the magistrate shall think convenient till they do comply?
Besides, when they are thus punished by their magistrate for not conforming, what need they examine ? since you tell them, “ It is not strictly necessary to salvation, that all that are of the true religion should understand the grounds of it.” The magistrate, being of the one only true religion, knows it to be so; and he knows that that religion was tendered to them with sufficient evidence, and therefore is obliged to punish them for rejecting it. This is that which men must upon your scheme suppose; for it is what you yourself must suppose, before the magistrate can exercise that power you contend to be vested in him, as is evident to any one who will put your system together, and particularly weigh what you say.
When, therefore, men are put into such a state as this, that the magistrate may judge what is the true religion, the magistrate may judge what is sufficient
evidence of its truth ; the magistrate may be judge to whom it is tendered with sufficient evidence, and punish them that reject it so proposed with such penalties as he also shall judge convenient; and all this by God's appointment, and an authority received from the wise and benign Governor of all things; I ask, whether the care of men's souls is not taken out of their own hands, and put into the magistrate's? Whether in such a state they can or will think there is any need, or that it is to any purpose for them to examine? And whether this be a cure for the natural aversion that is in men to consider and weigh matters of religion; and the way to force, or so much as encourage them to examine?
But, say you, “the salvation of all men's souls is better provided for, if, besides the obligation that every man has to take care of his own soul, the magistrate also be intrusted and obliged to see that no man neglect his own soul, than it would be if every man were left to himself in that matter." Whatever ground another may have to say this, you can have none: you who give so good reason why conformists, though ever so ignorant and negligent in examining matters of religion, cannot yet be punished to make them consider, must acknowledge that “all men's salvation is not the better provided for by a power vested in the magistrate,” which cannot reach the far greatest part of men, which are every where the conformists to the national religion. You that plead so well for the magistrate's not examining whether those that conform do it upon reason and conviction, but say it is ordinarily presumable they do so; wherein, I beseech you, do you put this care of men's salvation that is placed in the magistrate ? even in bringing them to outward conformity to the national religion, and there leaving them. And are the souls of all mankind the better provided for, if the magistrates of the world are vested with a power to use force to bring men to an outward profession of what they think the true religion, without any other care of their salvation ? For thither, and no farther, reaches their use of force in your way
of applying it.
Give me leave therefore to trifle with you once again, and to desire you to lay your hand upon your heart, and tell me what mankind shall gain by the change? For I hope by this time it is not so much a paradox to you, that if the magistrate be commissioned by God to take care of men's souls in your way, it takes away the care of men's souls from themselves in all those who have need of this assistance of the magistrate, i, e. all those who neglect to consider, and are averse to examination.
One thing more give me leave to observe to you, and that is, that taking care of men's souls, or taking care that they neglect not their souls, and laying penalties on them to bring them in outward profession to the national religion, are two very different things; though in this place and elsewhere you confound
them, and would have penal laws, requiring church-conformity, pass under the name of care of men's souls; for that is the utmost your way of applying force does or can reach to; and what care is therein taken of men's souls, may be seen by the lives and knowledge observable in not a few conformists. This is not said to lay any blame on conformity, but to show how improperly you speak, when you call penal laws made to promote conformity, and force used to bring men to it, a care of men's souls; when even the exactest observers and most zealous advancers of conformity may be as irreligious, ignorant, and vicious, as any other men.
In the first treatise we heard not a syllable of any other use or end of force in matters of religion, but only to make men consider. But in your second, being forced to own bare-faced the punishing of men for their religion, you call it“ a vice to reject the true faith, and to refuse to worship God in decent ways prescribed by those to whom God has left the ordering it;' and tell us, that “it is a fault which may justly be punished by the magistrate, not to be of the national religion, where the true is the national religion. To make this doctrine of persecution seem limited, and go down the better, to your telling us it must be
only where the national religion is the true, and that the penalties must be moderate and convenient,-both which limitations having no other judge but the magistrate, as I have showed elsewhere, are no limitations at all, -you in words add a third, that in effect signifies just as much as the other two; and that is, “ If there be sufficient means of instruction provided for all for instructing them in the truth of it;' of which provision the magistrate also being to be judge, your limitations leave him as free to punish all dissenters from his own religion as any persecutor can wish: for what he will think sufficient means of instruction, it will be hard for you to say.
In the mean time, as far as may be gathered from what you say in another place, we will examine what you think sufficient provision for instructing men, which you have expressed in these words : “ For if the magistrate provides sufficiently for the instruction of all his subjects in the true religion, and then requires them all, under convenient penalties, to hearken to the teachers and ministers of it, and to profess and exercise it with one accord under their direction in public assemblies.”—That which stumbles one at the first view of this your method of instruction is, that you leave it uncertain whether dissenters must first be instructed, and then profess; or else first profess, and then be instructed in the national religion. This you will do well to be a little more clear in the next time; for your mentioning no instruction but in public assemblies, and perhaps meaning it for a country where there is little other pains taken with dissenters but the confutation and condemnation of them in assemblies, where they are not; they must cease to be dissenters before they can partake of this sufficient means of instruction.
And now for those who do with one accord put themselves under the direction of the ministers of the national, and hearken to these teachers of the true religion: I ask whether one-half of those whereof most of the assemblies are made up do or can, so ignorant as