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good a plea as yours; which is what you argue against in your next paragraph, in the words following, wherein you examine the likeness of your new method to this plea. You tell me, “I say, by your rule, the dissenters (from the true religion, for you speak of no other) must be punished (or, if I please, subjected to moderate penalties, such as shall make them uneasy, but neither destroy nor undo them): for what?” Indeed I thought by your first book you meant not for their religion, but to make them consider; but here you ask me “where it is you say that dissenters from the true religion are not to be punished for their religion? So then, it seems in your opinion now, dissenters from the true religion are to be punished,” or, as you are pleased to mollify the expression, for the thing is the same, “subjected to moderate penalties for their religion.” I think I shall not need to prove, to any one but one of your nice style, that the execution of penal laws, let the penalties be great or small, are punishments.
If therefore the religion of dissenters from the true, be a fault to be punished by the magistrate; who is to judge who are guilty of that fault? Must it be the magistrate every where; or the magistrate in some countries, and not in others; or the magistrate nowhere? If the magistrate nowhere is to be judge who are dissenters from the true religion, he can nowhere punish them. If he be to be every where judge; then the king of France, or the great Turk, must punish those whom they judge dissenters from the true religion, as well as other potentates. If some magistrates have a right to judge, and others not; that yet, I fear, how absurd soever it be, should I grant it, will not do your business. For besides that they will hardly agree to make you their infallible umpire in the case, to determine who of them have, and who have not, this right to judge which is the true religion; or if they should, and you should declare the king of England had that right, viz. whilst he complied to support the orthodoxy, ecclesiastical polity, and those ceremonies which you approve of; but that the king of France, and the great Turk, had it
not, and so could have no right to use force on those they judged dissenters from the true religion ; you ought to bethink yourself what you will reply to one that should use your own words: “If such a degree of outward force, as has been mentioned, be really of great and even necessary use, for the advancing of the true religion and salvation of souls; then it must be acknowledged, that in France and Turkey, &c. there is a right somewhere to use it, for the advancing those ends; unless we will say (what without impiety cannot be said), that the wise and benign Disposer and Governor of all things has not in France and Turkey furnished mankind with competent means for the promoting his own honour, and the good of souls."
You go on, and tell us they are to be punished, not for following the light of their own reason, nor for obeying the dictates of their own consciences, “but rather for the contrary. For the light of their own reason and the dictates of their own conscience (if their reason and their consciences were not perverted and abused) would undoubtedly lead them to the same thing, to which the method you speak of is designed to bring them ;" i. e. to the same thing to which your reason and your conscience leads
For if you were to argue with a papist, or a presbyterian, in the case, what privilege have you to tell him, that his reason and conscience is perverted, more than he has to tell
yours is so ? Unless it be this insupportable presumption, that your reason and conscience ought to be the measure of all reason and conscience in all others; which how you can claim, without pretending to infallibility, is not easy to discern.
The diversion you give yourself about the likeness and unlikeness of two pleas, I shall not trouble myself with ; since, when your fit of mirth was over, you were forced to confess, That “as I have made your plea for you, you think there is no considerable difference, as to the fairness of them ; excepting what arises from the different degrees of punishment, in the French discipline and your method. But if the French plea be not true; and that which I make to be yours be
not yours;'-I must beg your pardon, sir ; I did not think it was your opinion, nor do I yet remember that you any where said in your Argument, &c. that men were to be punished for their religion; but that it was purely to make men "examine the religion they had embraced, and the religion that they had rejected." And if that were of moment, I should think myself sufficiently justified for this my mistake, by what you say in your Argument, &c. from p. 6 to 12. But since you explain yourself otherwise here, I am not unwilling to take your hypothesis, as you from time to time shall please to reform it. You answer then, that “ to make them examine is indeed the next end for which they are to be punished.” But what is that to my question? Which, if it be pertinent, demands for what fault, not for what end, they are to be punished: as appears even by my next words.
“So that they are punished, not for having offended against a law, i. e. not for any fault; for there is no law in England that requires them to examine." This, I must confess, was to show, that here, as in France, whatever was pretended, yet the true reason why people were punished was their religion. And it was for this agreement, that in both places religion was meant, though something else was talked of, that I said your plea was like that made use of in France. But I see I might have spared my pains to prove that you punish dissenters for their religion, since you here own it.
You tell me, in the same place, I was impertinent in my question; which was this, “ For what then are they to be punished ?" that I demanded for what end, and not for what fault, they are to be punished. In good earnest, sir, I was not so subtile as to distinguish them. I always thought that the end of all laws was to amend those faults which were forbidden; and that when any one was punished, the fault for which he was punished was the transgression of the law, in that particular which was by the law commanded or forbidden; and the end of the punishment was the amendment of that fault for the future. For example ; if the law commanded to hear, not hearing was the fault punished;
and the end of that punishment was to make the offenders hear. If the law commanded to examine, the fault punished, when that law was put in execution, was not examining ; and the end of the punishment, to make the offenders examine. If the law commanded conformity, the fault was non-conformity; and the end of it to make men conform.
This was my apprehension concerning laws, and ends of punishments. And I must own myself still so dull as not to distinguish otherwise between “the fault for which men are to be punished, and the end for which they are to be punished;" but only as the one is past, the other future. The transgression, or fault, is an omission or action that a man is already guilty of; the end of the punishment, that it be not again repeated. So that if a man be punished for the religion he professes, I can see no other end for which he is punished, but to make him quit that religion. No other immediate end I mean ; for other remote ends, to which this is subordinate, it may have. So that if not examining the religion which men have embraced, and the religion they have rejected, be not the fault for which men are punished; I would be glad you would show me how it can be the next end, as you say it is, of their being punished. And that you may not think my dulness gives you a labour without ground, I will tell you the reason why I cannot find any other next end of punishment, but the amendment of the fault forbidden; and that is, because that seems to me to be the end, the next end, of any action; which, when obtained, the action is to cease, and not cease till it be attained. And thus, I think, it is in punishments ordained by the law. When the fault forbidden is amended, the punishment is to cease, and not till then. This is the only way I have to know the end or final cause for which any action is done. If
you have any other, you will do me a kindness to instruct me. This it is which makes me conclude (and I think with me all those who have not had the leisure and happiness to attain the utmost refining of the schools), that if their religion be the fault for which dissenters are punished, examining is not the end
for which they are punished, but the change of their religion: though examining may, perhaps, in some men, precede their change, and help to it. But that is not necessary. A man may change his religion without it: and when he has changed, let the motive be what it will, the end the law aims at is obtained, and the punishment ceases. So, on the other side, if not hearing, not examining, be the fault for which men are punished; conformity is not the next end for which they are punished, though it may perhaps, in some, be a consequence of it; but hearing and examining must be understood to be the ends for which they are punished. If they are not the ends, why does the punishment cease when those ends are attained? And thus you have my thoughts concerning this matter, which perhaps will not be very pertinent, as mine have not the good luck always to be to you, to a man of nicer distinctions.
But let us consider your hypothesis as it now stands, and see what advantage you have got to your cause by this new explication.“ Dissenters from the true religion are to be punished, say you, for their religion.” Why? because it is a fault. Against whom? Against God. Thence it follows indeed, that God, if he pleases, may punish it. But how will you prove that God has given the magistrates of the earth a power to punish all faults against himself? Covetousness, or not loving our neighbour as ourselves, are faults or sins against God. Ought the magistrate to punish these ? But I shall not need to trouble you much with that question. This matter, I think, will be decided between us without going so far.
If the magistrate may punish any one for not being of the true religion, must the magistrate judge what is that true religion, or no? If he must not, what must guide him in the punishing of some, and not of others ? For so it is in all places where there is a national religion established by penal laws. If the magistrate be com. missioned by the same law of nature (for that is all the commission you pretend to) to judge what is the true religion, by which he is authorized to punish those who