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but only his own persuasion, to point out to him which is the true religion, if he be satisfied it is his duty to use force to promote the true religion, it will inevitably follow, that he must always use it to promote his own. To which you answer, That a persuasion of a low degree is not sufficient to point out that religion to the magistrate which he is to promote by force; but that a “firmness and stability of persuasion, a full assurance, is that which is to point out to the magistrate that religion, which he is by force to promote.” Where if by firmness and stability of persuasion and full assurance, you mean what the words import; it is plain you confess the magistrate's duty is to promote his own religion by force; for that is the religion which his firm persuasion and full assurance points out to him. If by full assurance you mean any thing but the strength of persuasion, you contradict all that you have said about firmness and stability, and degrees of persuasion; and having in that sense allowed the sufficiency of my division, where I say, “knowledge or opinion must point out that religion to him, which he is by force to promote,” retract it again, and instead thereof, under the name of full assurance, you substitute and put in true religion; and so firmness of persuasion is in effect laid by, and nothing but the name made use of: for pray tell me, is firmness of persuasion, or being of the true religion, either of them by itself sufficient to point out to the magistrate that religion which it is his duty to promote by force? For they do not always go together. If being of the true religion by itself may do it, your mentioning firmness of persuasion, grounded on solid proof that leaves no doubt, is to no purpose, but to mislead your reason;

for every one that is of the true religion does not arrive at that high degree of persuasion that full assurance which approaches that which is very near to that which is produced by demonstration. And in this sense of full assurance, which you say men may have of the true religion, and can never have of a false one, your answer amounts to this; that full assurance, in him that embraces the true religion, will point out the religion he is by force

to promote : where it is plain, that by fulness of assurance you do mean not the firmness of his persuasion that points out to him the religion which he is by force to promote, (for any lower degree of persuasion to him that embraces the true religion would do it as certainly, and to one that embraces not the true religion, the highest degree of persuasion would even in your opinion do nothing at all) but his being of the true religion, is that which alone guides him to his duty of promoting the true religion by force. So that to my question, how shall a magistrate, who is persuaded that it is his and every magistrate's duty to promote the true religion by force, be determined in his use of force; you seem to say his firm persuasion or full assurance of the truth of the religion he so promotes must determine him; and presently, in other words, you seem to lay the stress upon his actually being of the true religion. The first of these answers is not true; for I have shown, that firmness of persuasion may and does point out to magistrates false religions as well as the true: and the second is much what the same, as if to one, who should ask what should enable a man to find the right way who knows it not, it should be answered, the being in it. One of these must be your meaning, choose which you please of them ; if you have any meaning at all in your sixth, and beginning of the seventh page, to which I refer the reader; where, if he find nothing else, he cannot fail to find a specimen of school-play, of talking nncertainly in the utmost perfection, nicely and artificially worded, that it may serve for a specimen of a masterpiece in that kind ; but a specimen of the answerableness of my Letter will require, as I imagine, a little more plain dealing. And to satisfy readers, that have not attained to the admiration of skilfully saying nothing, you must directly inform them, whether firmness of persuasion be or be not sufficient in a magistrate to enable him to do his duty in promoting the true religion by force; or else this you have pitched on will scarce be a sample of the answerableness of all I have said.

But you stand positive in it, and that is like a master,

that it cannot be inferred from the magistrate's being obliged to promote by force the true religion, that every magistrate is obliged to promote by force his own religion; and that for the same reason you had given before, more perplexed and obscurely, viz." Because there is this perpetual advantage on the side of the true religion, that it may and ought to be believed on clear and solid grounds, such as will appear the more so, the more they are examined: whereas no other religion can be believed so, but upon such appearances only as will not bear a just examination.”

This would be an answer to what I have said, if it were so that all magistrates saw the preponderancy of the grounds of belief, which are on the side of the true religion ; but since it is not the grounds and reasons of a truth that are not seen, that do or can set the magistrate upon doing his duty in the case,—but it is the persuasion of the mind, produced by such reasons and grounds as do affect it, that alone does, or is capable to determine the magistrate in the use of force, for performing of his duty,-it necessarily follows, that if two magistrates have equally strong persuasions concerning the truth of their religions respectively, they must both be set on work thereby, or neither; for though one be of a false, and the other of the true religion, yet the principle of operation, that alone which they have to determine them, being equal in both, they must both be determined by it; unless it can be said, that one of them must act according to that principle, which alone can determine, and the other must act against it; that is, do what he cannot do,-be deternin to one thing, by what at the same time determines him to another. From which incapacity in magistrates to perform their duty by force to promote the true religion, I think it may justly be concluded, that to use force for the promoting any religion cannot be their duty.

You tell us, it is by the law of nature magistrates are obliged to promote the true religion by force. It must be owned, that if this be an obligation of the law of nature, very few magistrates overlook it; so forward

are they to promote that religion by force which they take to be true. This being the case, I beseech you tell me what was Huaina Capac, emperor of Peru, obliged to do? who, being persuaded of his duty to promote the true religion, was not yet within distance of knowing or so much as hearing of the Christian religion, which really is the true (so far was he from a possibility to have his belief grounded upon the solid and clear proofs of the true religion.) Was he to promote the true religion by force? That he neither did nor could know any thing of; so that was morally impossible for him to do. Was he to sit still in the neglect of his duty incumbent on him? That is in effect to suppose it a duty and no duty at the same time. If, upon his not knowing which is the true religion, you allow it not his duty to promote it by force, the question is at an end: you and I are agreed, that it is not the magistrate's duty by force to promote the true religion. If you hold it in that case to be his duty; what remains for him to do, but to use force to promote that religion which he himself is strongly, nay, perhaps to the highest degree of firmness, persuaded is the true? Which is the granting what I contend for, that, if the magistrate be obliged to promote by force the true religion, it will thence follow, that he is obliged to promote by force that religion which he is persuaded is the true; since, as you will have it, force was given him to that end, and it is his duty to use it ; and he hath nothing else to determine it to that end but his own persuasion. So that one of these two things must follow, either that in that case it ceases to be his duty, or else he must promote his own religion; choose you which you please






Articles (of the church of England)

the 13th argued from against
force in religion,

the 17th argued from to the
same purpose,

Athanasius's Creed, of the damna-
tory sentence in it,

Atheism, charged by some, upon all
who differ from thein, 414

is not to be tolerated by



Bentley, (Dr.) his judgment of the
cause of infidelity,

Briars. Vid. Thorns.


Castration, as justly to be used by

the magistrates to make chaste,

as force to promote religion, 81
Ceremonies, of the Jews, were beg-

garly elements, and much more

those which are human, 157
Christians, some so called are of
different religions,

Christianity, prevailing without

force, a mark of its truth, 63, 64
Church, wbat it is,

13, 26
none born a member of it,


of it, 32
has no authority to perse-

magistrates have no power
to enforce its decrees,

30, 33
is to determine indifferent
circumstances of worship,

magistrates have not
power to prohibit in it what is

lawful in the commonwealth, 34
Civil interests, what they are, 10

the duty of magistrates to se-
cure them,


Careless of their salvation, such

not to be neglected, 125, 296

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