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nations' must be slaughtered, that he may be drunk with blood. He sends whole armies to crucify Christ afresh, he gives every one of his soldiers a cross; hence followed cruel sights, bloody battles, wasting of kingdoms, raging against the names, ashes, sepulcbres of the dead, with more than heathenish cruelty: such evil fruits hath this bitter root sent forth, the streams of this fountain have all been blood; so that it cannot be denied, but that a judicature of truth, and the contrary assumed, with a forcible backing of the sentence, was the bottom stone in the foundation, and highest in the corner of the tower of Babel: and I believe upon that search it will appear, that error hath not been advanced by any thing in the world so much, as by usurping a power for its suppression. In divers contests that the pope had wit others, the truth was on his side (as in the business of Athanasius, and others in the east deposed by the Arians"); now who would not have thought, that his standing up with all earnestness for the truth, would not have been the ruin of the devil's kingdom of darkness, and almost have spoiled the plot of the mystery of iniquity; when the truth is, the largest steps that ever the man of sin took towards his throne, was by usurping of power to suppress errors and heresies. It would be a great encouragement to use that way for the extirpation of errors (if any such be, besides the preaching of the gospel, and convictions from thence), which, any one could produce and give assurance that it hath not been tried, or been tried and proved ineffectual for the supplantation of truth; and if such a way be not produced, what if both should grow together until harvest?
9. Let us not be too hasty in pressing any opinion arising and divulged with odious consequences of sedition, turbulency, and the like, because tumults and troubles happen in the commonwealth, where it is asserted : a coincidence of events is one of the principal causes of error and misjudgings in the world : because errors and tumults arise together, therefore one is the cause of the other, may be an argument, ‘a baculo ad angulum.' It is a hard thing to charge them with sedition, who protest against it; and none can make it appear, that it is contraria factis,' by any of their actions, but only because it is fit they should bear the blame of what 1 Albigenses, Waldenses, Bohemians.
m Socrat. lib. 2. cap. 11.
happeneth evilly in their days. Upon every disaster in the empire, the noise of old was, Christianos ad leones:'for our parts we ought to remember, that we were strangers in Egypt; it is but little more than a hundred years since all mouths were opened and filled with reproaches against that glorious reformation, wherein we rejoice. Was it not the unanimous voice of all the adversaries thereof, that a new religion was brought in, tending to the immediate ruin of all states and commonwealths, attended with rebellion, the mother of sedition? Have we not frequent apologies of our divines for the confutation of such false, malicious, and putid criminations? It is true indeed, the light of the gospel breaking out, was accompanied with war and not peace (aecording to the prediction of our Saviour), whereof the gospel was no more the cause, than John Diazius was of that horrible murder, when his brains were chopped out with an axe by his brother Alphonsus, because he professed the gospel. Hence Luther, the vehemency of whose spirit gave no way to glosses and temporizing excuses, plainly affirms those tumults to be such necessary appendixes of the preaching of the gospel, that he should not believe the word of God to be abroad in the world, if he saw it not accompanied with tumults, which he had rather partake in, than perish under the wrath of God in an eternal tumult :P the truth must go on, though thereby the world should be reduced to its primitive chaos and confusion. Were it not a perpetual course for men of every persuasion to charge sedition, and the like, upon that which they would have suppressed, knowing that no name is more odious unto them who have power to effect their desire; and did I not find that some, who have had much ado, whilst they were sheep, to keep off that imputation from themselves, within a few years, becoming lions, have laid it home upon others, as peaceable as they ; I might perhaps be more rigid than now these discoveries will suffer me to be: far be it from me to apologize for truth itself, if seditious; only I abhor those false, malicious criminations, whereby God's people in these days wherein we live, have exceedingly suffered. It hath pleased God so to order n Arnob.
o Sleid. Com. Ego nisi tumultus istos viderem, verbum Dei in mundo non esse dicerem. Præeligimus temporali tumultu collidi, quam æterno tumultu sub ira Dei conteri. Lath. de Ser. Art. cap. 32---34.
things in this kingdom, that the work of recovering his worship. to its purity, and restoring the civil state to its liberty, should be both carried on at the same time by the same persons.
Are there none now in this kingdom, to whom this reforming is an almost everting of God's worship? And are there none that have asserted that our new religion hath caused all those tumults and bloodshed? And doth not every unprejudiced man see, that these are hellish lies, and malicious accusations, having indeed neither ground nor colour, but only their coincidence in respect of time? Is any wise man moved with their clamours ? Are their aspersions considerable? Are we the only men that have been thus injuriously traduced ? Remember the difference be
een Elijah and Ahab; what was laid to the charge of Paul; see the apologies of the old Christians, and speak what you find.
Much might here be added concerning the qualifications, carriages, humility, peaceableness, of erring persons; all which ought to be considered, and our proceedings towards them to be, if not regulated, yet much swayed by such considerations. Some I have known myself, that I dare say the most curious inquirer into their ways, that sees with eyes of flesh, would not be able to discover any thing but mere conviction and tenderness of conscience, that causeth them to own the opinions which different from others they do embrace. Others again so exceeding supercilious, scorning, proud, selfish, so given to contemning of all others, reviling and undervaluing of their adversaries, that the blindest pity cannot but see much carnalness and iniquity in their ways. These things then deserve to be weighed, all passion and particular interest being set aside. And then, if the die be cast, and we must forward, let us take along with us these two cautions.
(1.) So to carry ourselves in all our censures, every one in his sphere (ecclesiastical discipline being preserved as pure and unmixed from secular power as possible) that it may appear to all that it is the error which men maintain which is so odious unto us, and not the consequent or their dissent from us, whether by subducting themselves from our power, or withdrawing from communion ; for if this latter be made the cause of our proceeding against any, there must be one law for them all, all that will not bow to the fiery furnace; recusancy is the fault, and that being the same in all must have the same punishment, which would be such an unrighteous inequality as is fit for none but antichrist to own.
(2.) That nothing be done to any, but that the bound and farthest end of it be seen at the beginning, and not leave way and room for new persecution upon new pretences. • Cedo alteram et alteram,' one stripe sometimes makes way for another, and how know I that men will stay at thirty-nine? Principiis obsta.
All these things being considered, I cannot so well close with them who make the least allowance of dissent to be the mother of abominations : words and hated phrases may easily be heaped up to a great number, to render any thing odious which we have a mind to oppose; but the proving of an imposed evil or absurdity, is sometimes a labour too difficult for every undertaker. And so I hope I have said enough to warrant my own hesitancy in this particular. Some might now expect that I should here positively set down what is my judgment concerning errors and erroneous persons, dissenting from the truth received and acknowledged by authority, with respect unto their toleration: unto whom I answer, That to consider the power of the magistrate about things of religion, and over consciences; the several restraints that have been used in this case, or are pleaded for; the difference between dangerous fundamental errors, and others; the several interests of men, and ways of disengaging; the extent of communion, and the absolute necessity of a latitude to be allowed in some things : with such other things as would be requisite for a full handling of the matter in hand; ask a longer discourse, and more exactness, than the few hours allotted to this appendix can afford. Only for the present I ask, if any will take the pains to inform me: 1. What they mean by a non-toleration? Whether only a not countenancing, nor holding communion with them; or if crushing and punishing them, then how? to what degree? by what means? where they will undoubtedly bound ? 2. What the error is concerning which the inquiry is made? the clear opposition thereof to the word of God ? the danger of it? the repugnancy that is in it to peace, quietness, and the power of godliness ? 3. What, or who are the erring per
sons ? how they walk ? in what manner of conversation ? What is their behaviour towards others, not of their own persuasion? What gospel means have been used for their conviction? What may be supposed to be their prejudices, motives, interests, and the like? And then, if it be worth asking, I shall not be backward to declare my opinion. And truly without the consideration of these things, and other such circumstances, how a right judgment can be passed in this case I see not.
And so hoping the courteous reader will look with a candid eye upon these hasty lines, rather poured out than written; and consider that a day's pains in these times may serve for that, which is but for a day's use; the whole is submitted to his judgment by him who professeth his all in this kind to be, the love of truth and peace.