Front Page Titles (by Subject) General Council 1 at Whitehall, 14th December 1648 b - Puritanism and Liberty, being the Army Debates (1647-9) from the Clarke Manuscripts with Supplementary Documents
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General Council 1 at Whitehall, 14th December 1648 b - Arthur Sutherland Pigott Woodhouse, Puritanism and Liberty, being the Army Debates (1647-9) from the Clarke Manuscripts with Supplementary Documents 
Puritanism and Liberty, being the Army Debates (1647-9) from the Clarke Manuscripts with Supplementary Documents, selected and edited with an Introduction A.S.P. Woodhouse, foreword by A.D. Lindsay (University of Chicago Press, 1951).
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[Summary of Questions Debated and Methods to be Used]
Whether the magistrate have, or ought to have, any compulsive and restrictive power in matters of religion?c
Whether to have [in the Agreement of the People] any reserve to except religious things, or only to give power in natural and civil things and to say nothing of religion?2
Orders for the discussing of this question:
(1) That those who are of opinion in the affirmative begin (if they will) to lay down the grounds; (2) That the discussion be alternate, viz., that when one hath reasoned for the affirmative, the next admitted to speak be such as will speak for the negative, and after one hath spoke for the negative, the next admitted to speak be for the affirmative; (3) That if none arguing in the affirmative give grounds for a compulsive power, then none in the negative to speak against any other than the restrictive power.
[Meeting of a committee with divines ordered]:3
Col. Rich, Col. Deane, Mr. Wildman, Mr. Stapleton,d Mr. John Goodwin, Mr. Taylor, Mr. Collier, Capt. Clarke, to meet at Col. Tichborne’s to-morrow, at four of the clock in the afternoon, with Mr. Calamy, Mr. Ashe, Mr. Seaman, Mr. Burgess, Mr. Cordwell, Mr. Marshall, Mr. Nye, Mr. Russell, Mr. Ayres, Mr. Brinsley, about the particulars this day debated.e
The first reserve as in relation to matters of religion read.4
The question [stated]:1
Whether the civil magistrate had a power given him from God [in matters of religion]?
How far the civil magistrate had power from God?
That] the law is, that what a man would have done to himself he may do to another, and that according to that rule he did not understand the magistrate to have power.
Mr. Jo[hn] Goodwin offereda to consideration:
That God hath not invested any power in a civil magistrate in matters of religion. And I think if he had he might more properly be called an ecclesiastical or church officer than a civil; for denominations are given from those [things] that are most considerable in an office. There is no difference [between the two] in that [case]. That the magistrate hath [not] in any way a concession from God for punishing any man for going along with his conscience, I conceive that is not necessary to be argued upon.
That [which], I suppose, is [necessary to be argued upon, is]: whether it be proper or conducing to your ends, whether it be like to be of good resentment of the wisest, or [even the] generality, of the people, [or whether it will not be held] but a subjecting of them, that a business of this nature should be of your cognizance [at all], it being that which hath taken up the best wits to determine, whether the magistrate hath power in matter of religion or no. [And if in policy you may proceed], yet it being a matter of that profound and deep disputation as men have made it, [I question] whether it will be a matter appropriate to the cognizance of you to interpose [in] to determine, and to decide a question which hath been the great exercise of the learning and wits and judgment of the world. And I conceive, though there be reasons upon reasons of very great weight, commanding why it should be inserted [in the Agreement, that the magistrate has no coercive power in matters of religion, that yet your competence to decide the matter may be questioned]. Certainly if so be the inserting of it could carry it, if it could obtain [support] and be likely to prevail in the kingdom, I think it would bless the nation with abundance of peace, and [be] the preventing of many inconveniencies and troubles and heart-burnings, that are [otherwise] like to arise. But inasmuch as I do not apprehend that it is a matter proper for you to take notice of, to intermeddle in, [I recommend you not to insert it, or at least not here. For it is either a question of conscience or of civil right]. It being a matter of conscience and matter of religion, whether you will [or no], you must, [if you insert it], do ita as [a sort of] magistrates, and then you go against your own principles, [for] you do assume and interpose in matters of religion. [On the other hand], if it be no matter of conscience, but only matter of civil right, it will fall into those articles which concern the civil power of the magistrate.
Every poor man [that] does understand what he does, and is willing that the commonwealth should flourish, hath as real an hand here as the greatest divine, and [for] all [the] divinity [you] have had from reading, if you had as many degrees [as there are hours] of time since the creation, learning is but the tradition of men.1 He is [as] properly concernedb as [any] one [man] of England, and therefore [is as likely] to know, whether you give him any power or no.
Those men that are [most truly] religious, they are those men that havec the greatest spirits and fittest for public service, and to have religion given under the hand of a magistrate or two, and [for] all the noble spirits of the poor, to turn them out of the commonwealth [is tyranny to them and robbery of the commonwealth]. Therefore if we do honour the commonwealth of England, it is best to let them be free, that they be not banished or injured for matters of conscience, but that they may enjoy [and serve] the commonwealth.
I suppose the difference is concerning the stating of the question. For what that learned gentleman was pleased to say, [that he doubted] whether it were proper for this Council [to judge of the question, I am unable] to conceive [that it should be so], whether it were matter of conscience [or of civil right]. Through the judgment of God upon the nation all authority hath been broken to pieces, or at least it hath been our misery that it hath been uncertain whetherd the supreme authority hath been [here or there], [so] that none have known where the authority of the magistrate is, or [how far] his office [extends]. For the remedy of this your Excellency hath thought fit to propound a new way of settling this nation, which is a new constitution. Your Excellency thinks it [evident] that therea can be no other way for to govern the people than this way.
And though this Agreement were resolved [upon] here, [yet it must be submitted to the people]. And therefore the question is now what power the people will agree to give to the magistrates that they will set over them to be their governors. Now the great misery of our nation hath been the magistrates’ trust not being known.b We being about settling the supreme power, I think it is [necessary] clearly to declare what this power is; and therefore I think the question will be: [first], whether we shall entrust the magistrate [with power] in matters of religion or not; [and secondly], whether it be necessary to expressc it or not.d Then the question must be thus: whether it be [not] necessary,e after we have had a war for the power, to show what power we do give them, and what not. And I desire that the question may be stated: Whether it is [not] necessary clearly to determinef in this constitution whether to entrust the magistrate [with any power] in matters of religion or not; [and] whether it be necessary to express it or not?
No man hath said that in this Agreement nothing hath been [granted to the magistrate, save that which hath been] expressed. The main thing is not whether he should be entrusted, but what should be reserved. I think that’s sufficient. For to trust him,h if they have a power in themselves either to bind or not to bind, I think that will be a thing questionable still.1 Buti that’s doubted by many, whether the people can tie up themselves to any particular measure of their obedience. Now if so, if they have not this power in themselves, then for them to say they reserve it from others, which they have not themselves——
I think the greatest cause of the lengthening of the debate is the mistake of the question in hand, and I have heard difference[s] in opinion, several, about the question. As to that the gentleman that spoke last asserted, that if we did not give him this power expressly, impliedly he has it not, I refer it to your Excellency whether or no the [not] empowering the civil magistrate doesg reserve it, and therefore to consider whether it be [not] a necessary reserve. If it be a reserve that concerns the conscience of any of those faithful friends that have gone along with your Excellency—and this is a reserve that does not concern us but them—[they have a right to expect it]. Even for that I refer it to your Excellency, whether it ought not to be inserted.
But as to the equity and reason of the thing, whether he hath this [power over consciences] from God, or whether he can have it, that is so clear that no man will argue for it. [But there is another question.] That is, whether the civil magistrate hath a power to be exercised upon the outward man for [other than] civil things. It has been said: we may entrust the civil magistrate with our lives and our estates, but to entrust the civil magistrate with a compulsive power for religious ends, this does implicitly signify that we will submit [our consciences] to such a power. Now the question is [not] whether we can empower him over our consciences; it’s impossible. But this is that which sticks with me: whether we ought to countenance the magistrate, much less give him a power over the persons of men, for doing or not doing religious things according to his judgment.
Lieutenant-Colonel [John] Lilburne:
To my understanding, [in] all that hath been said to reach [an end of] this business, that which hath been principally aimed at [is] to state the question. According to [the] Commissary-General’s first stating of it, [it] is this: [Whether the civil magistrate hath a power given him from God]?a Seeing there hath been a great war about breach of trust (and that unlimited trust), and seeing we are now about to [seek a way to] avoid those miseries that hitherto have happened, I conceive the substance of the question will be this: Whether it be [not] necessary to represent [in the Agreement] the trust that is reposed in the magistrates—that I conceive, that is the principal thing that will reach our end, whether it be requisite to express their trust positively in this Agreement, yea or no?
I have heard so many things, and so many mistakes, that it makes me think of some other method, and that is to find out the persons of [those adhering to] the several opinions that are started amongst us, that [they] may apply themselves to answer [each other]: not many to speak together of one part, and that which they have saidb go without answer, but immediately, as one hath spoken anything of one part, that it may be answered of the other part. Otherwise we shall, as far as my reason goes, perplex ourselves and all that hear us.
My memory is not able to reach to those many mistakes that I have found in the debate hitherto, but I’ll speak a word to the last because it is very material. I perceive by this gentleman that the foundation of the necessity—the ground of the necessity—of the determination of this point now, is fixed upon this: that we have had wars and troubles in the nation, and that hath been for want of ascertaining the power in which men should have acquiesced in the nation, and for that men have not known where to acquiesce. If the meaning of this be that it hath been for want of knowing what power magistracy hath had, I must needs say that it hath been a clear mistake, [to say] that this was the ground of the wars.a The grounds have been these. That whereas it is well and generally known what is the matter of the supreme trust (that is all things necessary for the preserving of peace), [it is not so well known] what is the end of civil society and commonwealths. If I did look [chiefly] at liberty, I would mind no such thing [as a commonwealth]; for then I am most free when I have nobody to mind me. Nor do I find anything else that’s immediately necessary, not [as the cause] of making any power amongst men, butc [only] the preserving of human society in peace. But withal to look at such a trust.d You commit the trust to persons for the preserving of peace in such a way as may be most suitable in civil society. [And they are persons] that are most probable and hopeful for [preserving] liberty, and not [like] to make us slaves. [For] as it may be most hopeful for common and equal right among us, soe may [it] be most hopeful to provide for the prosperity and flourishing state of the nation. Butf the necessary thing, that which necessarily leads all men into civil agreements or contracts, or to make commonwealths, is the necessity of it for preserving peace. Because otherwise, if there were no such thing, but every man [were] left to his own will, men’s contrary wills, lusts, and passions would lead every one to the destruction of another, and [every one] to seek all the ways of fencing himself against the jealousies of another.
Andg that which hath occasioned the controversies [in this nation] heretofore hath been this, [the placing of the supreme power, in which men must acquiesce for peace’ sake]. All civil power whatsoever, eitherh in natural or civil things,i is not [able] to bind men’s judgments, [but only their actions]. The judgment of the Parliament, [which] is the supremest council in the world, cannot bind my judgment in anything. [Whatever power you give the magistrate], and whether you limit it to civil things or natural things, the effect of that power is that he hath not power to conclude your inward, but [only] your outward man; the effect of all is but the placing of a power in which we would acquiesce for peace’ sake.a This being taken for granted,b that which hath occasioned the war in this nation is not the not knowing what the limitations [of that power] are, or of what [nature] is the supreme trust, but [only] that we have not known in what persons, or what parties, or what council, the trust hath lain. The King he hath claimed it as his right, as in the case of ship-money, but the people thought they had another right then. There was a Parliament called, and it was then clear and undenied; the King could not deny it—that it was the right of the kingdom, that they should not be bound and concluded but by common consent of their deputies or representatives in Parliament. It [not] being thus far made clear where the supreme trust did lie,c [nevertheless] thus much was clear, that the King could not do anything alone. Then he insists upon it, that the Parliament could not do anything without him; this was the [next] difference, because they did assume to do something without him, which they thought necessary for the safety of the kingdom. So that the ground of the war was not what difference [might arise regarding the extent of power] in the supreme magistracy, [but only] whether [it was] in the King alone. Now we are, all that are here, I suppose, unanimous that this bone of contention should be taken away, that it should be determined in what persons, or succession of persons, the supreme trust doth lie.
[But] the [other] question is [also] with us: what kind of power we should commit with those that have the supreme trust. Since it is clear in this question [that] it is not intended [to determine] whether we shall commit [to them] a trust of our judgments or consciences, the question is: whether we should give a trust to them for the outward man, and [the extent of that trust], with acquiescence but for peace’ sake. Take that for granted then. To come [now] to consider whether as to the [magistrate’s] proceeding to the outward man, and our acquiescence unto him for peace’ sake, it be fit for us to commit a trust to the civil magistrate, for this purpose,d concerning spiritual things as concerning civil things.
Now the ground [of the dispute] is this. There are two pretences of conscience [involved]. There aree many men who do claim a right to the civil commonwealth with you, and have not forfeited that right. They say: ‘We think, though it be in your power to determine who shall be the supreme magistrate, that,f that being determined, there is something of divine institution that does tell him what is his duty to do,a [and] gives him rules [of right] in point of acting between man and man in civil things, [and that] he ought to have regard to that right.’ Secondly, they say that that same word or witness of God left to us, which gives him directions in this case in civil things, [which tells him] what is right and what is wrong, and so must be the guide of his judgment—that same [word or witness] does tell him that in some things [that concern religion] he ought to restrain. This is truly the pretence of conscience on one part. That which is said against this. First, many men do not believe that there is by the word of God, by the scripture, any such direction or power or duty laid upon the magistrate, that he should exercise any such power in things that concern religion. They differ in that point. And secondly, they say:b ‘Though it were so, to your satisfaction that are of that opinion, yet we being not satisfied in it, that we ought to think so, it is not fit for us to commit a power to him, which God hath not entrusted him withal.’ That’s the [counter-]argument; for otherwise it would follow, if there be a pretence of conscience, and some probable grounds and reasons on the one side, that the magistrate should not be bound in matters of religion, but that he may exercise this power in this case. When we are upon the business [of settlement], or upon agreement, it will be necessary [that] we should leave this out. Let us go on to make an agreement for our civil rights upon those things wherein we are agreed, and let us not make such a thing necessary to the agreement as will inevitably exclude one of us from the agreement, but let us make such a distribution of the public trust in such hands as shall give every one an equal share, an equal interest and possibility; and let us submit ourselves to these future Representatives, and if wec be not satisfied in one Representative, it may be [we shall be] satisfied in the next. This would certainly be the most reasonable way in all those that have not admitted this Agreement, [and might satisfy all men], seeingd that [as] it’s alleged on one hand, ‘If you put this [reserve] into the Agreement you necessarily exclude me from it, as my conscience [is that the magistrate should have that power]’; so says the other, ‘If you have not this in the Agreement you do exclude me from the Agreement for my conscience’ sake, for my conscience is that the magistrate should not have that power.
Then, sir—for truly I think it has been offered to the end we may come to the nearest possibility, that I can see, ofe an agreement—thisf hath been offered: that you cannot conscientiously entrust the magistrate with a power which by the rule of God he ought not to exercise, but if you find it is alleged to give him a power to all things but those that are reserved, and [if we do] not reserve this from him, then we give him the power of that. To that it hath been [further] offered: that, in your general clause concerning the power of the supreme magistracy of the people’s Representative,a we should [make it] extend [only] to all civil and natural things. Then [the magistrate], ifb having [in his own opinion] right to [such] a power from him[self],c will exercise his power without claiming it from somebody else, [but, if not having right to such a power in himself, he cannot claim it from the Agreement]. If he have it in him of God, then your Agreement cannot take it from him; if he have it not [of God], then it is not [given him] in the Agreement.
For that, for a settling of the power, there are no rightful foundations of this trust [save] either divine institution or designation of the person, or else an human placing of them.1 Now though it be in man (where God doth not designated ) rightfully to elect and designate the persons, yet when the persons are elected and instituted, what is their duty to do in point of justice, and what is their duty in point of those things of religion whereof they are to judge, [those are things] that are not to be determined by those that commit the trust to them. Certainly [by] the same reason as we in only making our choice of the persons and of the time of their continuance (that are clearly in our power) dof leave it to themg according to theirh judgment to determine and proceed in matters of civil right and civil things—we may upon the same ground, without further prejudice to the inwardi man, refer to them a power of determining as to the outward man what theym will allow or suffer in matter of religion.
And thus I have endeavoured as clearly as I can to state the question and the several questions that are in this business.
Colonel [Edward] Whalley:
My Lord, we are about preparing an Agreement for the people and truly, my Lord, it is high time that we did agree. If we now vary, it is a ready way to common ruin and destruction. My Lord, I do perceive in this paper which is prepared for the people to be [adopted] by agreement, there is one articlej which hath been so much spokenk of, tol the great stumbling of many. It causes a great difference amongst us. If so, we cannot but expect that it will cause a greater in the kingdom, and so great as doubtless will occasion a new commotion. Since it is so apparent to us, I must think it were a very necessary question to put: Whether this ought not to be left out of this paper, yea or no? For how can we term that to be an Agreement of the People which is neither an agreement of the major part of the people, and truly for anything I can perceive—I speak out of my own judgment and conscience—not [an agreement of] the major part of the honest party of the kingdom? If the question were whether the magistrate should have coercive power over men’s consciences, I think it is a very necessary thing to put. We have been necessitated to force the Parliament, and I should be very unwilling we should force the people to an agreement.
I agree to that motion of the Commissary-General, that there might be some of contrary principles or parties chosen out to agree upon the stating of our question, that we may not spend so much time in [determining] that which we are to debate upon.
Mr. [Joshua] Sprigge:
My Lord, I should be loath to tax any here with mistakes, though I have not a better word to call it by, and it hath been used oft already. I conceive there are many mistakes have passed in bringing forth the state of the question. There has been a mistake, I conceive, of the true subject that is to be entitled to this business, and a mistake of the capacity that you are in to act in this business, and a mistake of the opportunity that lies before you, and of the fruit and end of your actions. I conceive, my Lord, that he hath not been entitled to this thing who ought to be entitled, and that is our Lord Jesus Christ, who is heir of all things; and as he was God’s delight before the world was made, why, so God did bring forth all things by him in a proportion and conformity to him, to that image of his delight and content, his Son; and so retaining this proportion, and acting in this conformity to him, have all states and kingdoms stood that have stood, and expect to stand; and declining from this proportion, it hath been the ruin of all governments [that have done so]. It is God’s design, I say, to bring forth the civil government, and all things here below, in the image and resemblance of things above; and whenas those things that are but of [a temporary] and representative nature have clashed with that which hath been their end, and have either set up themselves, or set up things that are of this world like themselves, as their end, and so have made all things (I mean the things of the other world) to stoop and vail to these ends, and have measured religion and the appearances of God according to rules and ends of policy, it hath been the ruin of all states.g I conceive that that is the account that is to be given of the condition that this kingdom is brought into at this time.
Now, my Lord, God having thus taken us apieces, and that righteously, because our government did not stand in God in its pattern, why, he hath only by his providence now brought forth the government of the sword, being that which we are only capable of, and which we have brought ourselves into a condition of needinga and acquiring. Now, my Lord, I conceive that this same goodwill which is in your Excellency and in the Armyb to promote the spiritual liberties of the Saints, as well as the civil liberties of men, it cannot but be taken well. It is that which certainly you shall not fare the worse for at the hands of God, who will award unto you according to your doings, and according to your intentions. But this we must also profess, that the kingdom of Christ does not stand in [need of help from] any power of man; and that Christ will grow up in the world, let all powers whatsoever combine never so much against him. So that I conceive the question is not so much to be put in the interest of Christ and of the truth—I mean in the interest of the need of Christ of your restraining of the magistrate, of your providing against such coercion. Butc if it should be, now that the magistrate is despoiled of all power to oppose the Saints, thatd you should go to lay an opportunity before him again, and offer such a thing to him, certainly that were to lay a great snare before magistrates,e and, by thrusting them on, to [have them] break their own necks the faster. For thusf I look upon [it], that magistrates and all the powers of the world, unless they were in the immediate hand and guidance of God, unless he does superact, they will dash against this stone. And it is natural to them not to retain themselves in that subordination wherein they are, unto God and unto Christ, who are but to represent [him] in this sphere of theirs in a lower way, and to be subservient to him. But there is an enmity in all these, there is an enmity in the powers of the world [against God], and therefore Christ must be put down [by them], as we have it at this day. God is in the kingdom, and he is growing up, and men shall not be able to hinder him. So that here’s all the question that I conceive can be made, and all that is concerned in it: whether you will declare your goodwill or no to Jesus Christ. For I say, Christ depends not either upon this or that, or the truth upon it, as if it should suffer or die if such a power do not appear for it, but whether you will hinder the magistrate [from persecuting Christ and the truth] or as much as you cana [further him therein, they shall prevail. Yet] there may be something else concerned than [the truth, namely] the flesh of the Saints, which God is tender of; for he is tender of all of us in our several administrations and under our several dispensations; and if so be that [the] Saints are not prepared sob to suffer, or enabled to commit themselves to him in well-doing without such defenceg as your sword [or] your arm, to restrain and keep back persecutors, it may be God may in mercy put this into your hearts to accommodate the weakness of his people so. But I conceive, my Lord, that this thing is not at all essential unto your work; for the powerh of the sword, and all other power whatsoever, being extinct righteously because it stood not and did not act in God, I conceive that which you have to do is to wait upon God until he shall show you some way, and not to be too forward to settle.c I perceive by this Agreement of the People there is a going on to settle presently, and [to] make a new constitution, which I think we are not in such a capacity [as] to do. God will bring forth a New Heaven and a New Earth. In the meantime your work is to restrain [all], indeed to restrain the magistrate, from such a power [to persecute; for it is evident] that the people of God, and that [other] men too, that all men that are, ought to live within such bounds as may be made manifest to them to be such boundsd that they may not suffer wrong by might. And certainly, if so be you shall so manage your opportunity, I conceive you shall fully answer your end, waiting upon God until he shall [direct you], who certainly is growing up amongst us; and if we could have but patience to wait upon him, we should see he would bring us out of this labyrinth wherein we are.
My Lord, that that I wase about to say was only this. I shall not take upon me to dispute the question, [but] only tell you, I fear I shall go away with the same opinion [that] I came [with]: that it was the question, it is the question, and it will be the question to the ending of the world, whether the magistrate have any power at all [in matters of religion], and what thati power is. And, my Lord, I offer it to yourself and everybody, whether your affairs will admit of so much delay as to determine the question, whether [yea] or no.f This that is termed the Agreement of the People, [I would know] whether you do always expect to uphold it by the power of the sword. Otherwise you must have something suitable to the affections of the people, something to correspond with [their will, in] it. Truly, my Lord, I should be glad [that] all men might be satisfied, and I think, if I know my heart, I could suffer for their satisfaction. But since it is upon these terms [we must act], that we cannot go together in all things, I desire we may be so good-natured as to go [together] as far as we can, and I hope, before that [time for parting] comes, God will find out a way to keep us together. [I think, we may go on together] if the other things which are civil may so be termed the Agreement by us, [and] if they may be gone through withal. And if we can express anything to let the world know we do not go about to give the magistrate power in that [in] which he hath no power, truly, my Lord, this will show that we go not about to give him more than [in right] he has, [and yet] if he have it [in right] at all, we take it not away. Certainly what we do here does not conclude against right, [for] we may be mistaken. If we give it not, certainly we restrain [not from the power, but] from that usurpation [of power] hitherto [experienced]. Though I could think it a great deal of happiness that every man had as much liberty as I desire I may have, not to be restrained [in matters of conscience; yet I will venture something for unity], and [the more readily] since I venture nothing but a persecution of the flesh. And [if we preserve not unity], instead of bringing ease to the kingdom [by the Agreement] I should [think we shall] lay it out [for the kingdom’s destruction], and to that which lies upon us of destroying Kings and Parliaments and all that, we shall [add that we] destroy a people of our own; we shall not be thought agreers, but disturbers of the peace.a Therefore I shall desire we may go on to other things and leave this till that time [when God shall give us further guidance]. And truly it is something to me that the Spirit of God has not [yet] thought fit to determine [for us the power of the magistrate over matters of religion] in this world, as we are to live upon such incomingsb from God; and though it be a very pleasing thing to have God appear in power to us in it, yet God hath been as much glorified in the suffering of Saints as in their doing. And therefore I desire we may go on to other things and not stick at this.
May it please your Lordship. I think we havec hardly time enough to spend about those things that are very essentially and certainly before us to be done out of hand.
First of all, I do not find anything at all is put to the question; sod we do not know any one’s mind.e For if any one of these three or four [propositions] were put to the question we might [at least] have no question [on that score]. I know without all controversy, there hath been dispute, and will be a great while, [about this], and I know not in what country this will be first decided. Not that God and nature havea left it so [doubtful], but from Diotrephes1 to this day there hath been a spirit of dominating. There are two things upon which I will raise the conclusion. (1) I am marvellous tender that there shall be nothing done about religion in England (and I am only tender in England; if I were in another country I would not say so) because the interest of England is religion. I say it looks like the interest of the kingdom; and I believe you will find that [religion is the cause of] those contests that have been in the kingdom. And though that gentleman and others are enabled to know if [it be] so [better than I am, I ask], why do we march with our swords by our sides? From first to the last we might have suffered under Kings, or Bishops, or Parliament or anybody, and we that [speak] know what it is to suffer and to be banished a thousand miles. You shall know, all the disputes all along have been upon this very point.b It was the old question in Pharaoh’s days, whether the people should worship or no. Yet [though] I think, in truth, [that] though we all sat still, yet the work of God will go on,c I am not in the mind we should put our hands in our pockets and wait what will come. We have been drawn to this work; we have not been persuading ourselves [to it]. I should spit him out that would look for any plantations of his own from the other side; let that be cursed from heaven, to mind the things of that [worldly] kingdom. I only offer these two thoughts. First, God seems to call for something at our hands about religion, and that only because we are Englishmen. [(2)] And then the second thing is this: that I think we should not be too much perplexed about it. And therefore my thought is this, if I find it move upon other spirits that it is a matter of great intricacy or trouble among Christians: Do but tame that old spirit of domination, of trampling upon yourd brethren, and giving law, and the like; [and all may be well]. Witness the country next from us, that hath all the marks of a flourishing state upon it—I mean the Low Countries: theye are not so against, or afraid of, this toleration. And I am not so against [or afraid of it as some] on the other side that are [wont] to fear some [damage to religion by] sufferingf [it]. That which I would hint is, that now we are come here to settle something for magistrates [we may settle something for the Church too]. ‘If she be a wall,’ says [Solomon, of] the Church, ‘we will build a silver palace upon her, and if she be a door we will have her of boards of cedar.’1 For the present case I think this: that that last motion made by that noble friend and some others [should be agreed to]. I wish we would do as all other republics would do when we come to such a rub as this is, I wish that this thought about this reserve may be hung forth in every market town. If men will write or speak about it, give it a time [for that]—it may have a month or twoa —before you [attempt to settle it. Meanwhile] go on with your other work, and those things that can be agreed to, and the affairs of the kingdom [shall benefit, for] from such time they may not [need to] have long debates. And so you have my thoughts.
We are now about an Agreement of the People, and I perceive one clause in it is, that if we have this Agreement we will acquiesce. I conceive, if you leave this [power to the magistrate] I can never comfortably [acquiesce in it], nor any man breathing, and this surely will be [a cause of disagreement], if he be not restrained in his power.
Mr. [Richard Overton]:2
That gentleman hath mentioned it three or four times as if it might be taken for granted, [that] the magistrate hath power over the outward man [but none over the inward man]. In some case it may be done. [But] if he hath power over my body, he hath power to keep me at home when I should go abroad to serve God. And concerning [yourselves] one word I would speak. God has pleased by your means [to give us what liberty we have], which we look at as from himself, by whom we have had all the comforts we enjoy—I say God hath made you instruments of liberty. In matters of religion that’s preferred by us before life. Let’s have that or nothing. Now God hath by your means trodden upon that power which should [otherwise] have trodden upon us. [Let us agree] to prevent any [new] authority from coming upon us. If you never agree in your judgments, it’s no matter, [if you] keep but authority from beating of us and killing of us, and the like. And whereas that gentleman spake of [leaving] this concerning [their own powers to] a Representative, concerning what power they should have hereafter, we have this to say. If you your own selves cannot help us [to freedom] in matters of opinion, we do not look for it while we breathe. The Lord hath been pleased to inform you as [well as] many other men. If you cannot agree upon it, then Ia shall conclude, for my part, never to expect freedom whiles I live.
Colonel [Thomas] Harrison:
May it please your Excellency. I would not trouble you save thatb it may save you trouble. I do wish that which was offered at first might be entertained to save time, that you would put the business in such a way [as] to have [us proceed immediately to] the statingc of the question.d If it be so long before you come to the question, it will be longer before you come to a resolution in it. I offer this (because this is that which sticks upon the consciences of [so many] men, [and] I would not have it taken notice of by any that you would so slight them as not to do that now):g that some of all interests may have the consideration of this, and therein you may have confidence that God will bless the issue.e For what expedient there may be found in it, that may be left to their consideration, and the blessing of God upon their endeavours. Whether they should have assistance from some out of London, or those that would be willing to meet [them from] elsewhere upon it, [I know not, but I think it] would be an happy thing to guide them to the right of it. [And I move]: That then you would please to go [on] with the rest of the things that, I think, you may more generally concur in.
I should make this motion: Whether we might not find something at this time might satisfy all, and whether in that foregoing clause, ‘That in all civil things,’ [&c.],f we might not [by the words ‘civil and natural’] satisfy all interests?1
That will lead you to a consideration of the merit of the thing, and will spend much time in debate pro and con; and if it please God to guide the hearts of some few [gathered in a committee], it may be a satisfaction.
I shall take the boldness to offer one word or two. That gentleman that spoke last [but one] was pleased to offer this as an expedient to satisfy all: that if the word[s] ‘civil and natural’ [were inserted, it] might suffice to satisfy all. I suppose [they will] not [satisfy all], because that all punishments, though for matters of religion, are merely civil for the punishment of the body, and whatsoever the sentence of the church [may be], if they do sentence any person, they send him to the secular power. So that will [hardly] be as himself has spoken.
But I shall add one word. This Army by the blessing of God hath done very great things for the nation, and it’s the honour of the nation that it hath been a shelter to honest people that had otherwise been hammered to dust, and as long as God makes us a shelter to them [it will be an honour to us]. We are now closing up the day, and I think every one here is willing to see an end of the day, yea, [the] years [of his life], were it to see that freedom so often spoken of, and that common right so often desired, clearly brought forth to the people. Your Lordship, and the Army under your command, hath taken upon you to interpose in those times of straits, to see if you could find out such a way as might settle the people in forms of common right and freedom. You have remonstrated this to the world; and to that end you have hinted unto a petition of [the] eleventh of September,1 wherein (if your Lordship please to look upon that it doth aim at) the thing principally spoken of [is] that there may not be a restriction to the opinions of men for matters of religion, [or] to the[ir] consciences [therein]. We all conclude, men cannot master [their opinions as they should their] passions. I refer this to be considered: whethera this be not our common right and our common freedom, to live under a civil magistrate, to live by our neighbours, but as touching religion [to be free from the interference of either, and] why any people should [then for their religion] be punished. I think, my Lord, that every one here, when he speaks his conscience, will say plainly [that they should not]. And [I ask] now, whether we for prudence or policy should [not] protest. Let us do that which is right, and trust God with the rest. No man or magistrate on the earth hath power to meddle in these cases. As for meum and tuum, and right between man and man, he hath right [to interfere], but as between God and man he hath not. And therefore I desire [that] though all agreeb that the magistrate hath no power to do so, and we have no power to give him, yet seeing he hath in all ages usurped it, and in these late years, and in this last age (almost as [fresh as ever] in the remembrance of [all), he, under pretence of] errors and blasphemies, had made most of them here to fall to the ground—thatc since that is so, we have great reason to reserve it so. We might be willing to reserve it [hereafter], when we cannot.
Truly, my Lord, I should not trouble you again, but that I see we are fallen upon an argument; and from the convincing of one another with light and reason we are fallen to an eager catching at that which is our own opinion, and dictating that which is our apprehension, as if it were the mind of all, and indeed of God himself, anda studying to preconclude one another by consequence, as especially the gentleman did that spoke last. He tells us that we are bound by the Remonstrance1 to do this thing that now we are questioning about, whether we should do [it] or no; and one ground is because ini our Remonstrance we had referred so to a petitionc of the eleventh of September,d that we had desired all things [in it] to be granted. But if so, it had been an ill use of it; if there had been generally good things in it, and one thing prejudicial, though we did stand upon all things [good] that were in it we were false to our engagement. When we had desired the whole we did not insist upon every particle of it. And I desire we may not proceed upon mistakes of this kind. This conduces [not to foster agreement, but] only to stifle it, and I wish we may not go about to set such things upon men’s minds. For I must clearly mind that gentleman, that all that is said in the Remonstrance concerning the [petition of the] eleventh of Septemberj is but this. When we have prosecuted our desire concerning justice, and our desires to a general settlement, and amongst the rest, a dissolving of this [present] Parliament, [we then desire] that this Parliament would apply themselves for the remainder of the[ir] time to such things as are of public consideration, and lay aside particular matters that have interrupted them hitherto,e and [we urge them] for the further time they shall sit, not meddling with private matters,k to consider those things that are proper for Parliaments.f And [this is all we say] ing relation to laws in that kind and for providing better for the well-government of the nation; and we move this as to advice [in regard] to matters of justice and of the [settlement of the] kingdom,h [that they ought] to hearken to what hath been offered to them by persons well-affected for the public good; and amongst the rest [we mention] that petition of the eleventh of September. Now because we saw very many and great dream[s] of good things, and therefore have desired they would take into consideration with this Agreement, and [in the] settlement, things of that nature, and [that petition] amongst the rest—that therefore ita should be concluded because of that, that we should not now have anything in this Agreement that shall not provide for that which the petition does [demand, is unreasonable].
Another thing we have declared [for]: to have a settlement upon grounds of common right and freedom. It is [in] the title of the Agreement. ’Tis true, but I do not altogether remember that it is in our declaration. Let it be so that it is a common right—it is dictated to us by that gentleman to be a common right and freedom—[that any man] submitting to the civil government of the nation should have liberty to serve God according to his conscience. This is a right, I will agree to that. That is not the question amongst us. For if that were the question, I should be sure to give my no to the allowance of any man [to be punished] for his conscience, and if I had a thousand noes [in one] I should give it, and that as loud as any man.
Here’s a[nother] gentleman that does speak for what is to be done in this business, [as being] a matter that is not necessary to God and Jesus Christ, but a thing wherein we must show our goodwill to him, in preserving his people from sufferings for that which is his work, his act. If that were the thing in question, I should think that we of this Army, above all others, should walk most unworthy of the mercies we have found, if we should not endeavour [it].
But here’s the case. The question is now: Whether you shall make such a provision for men that are conscientious, [in order] that they may serve God according to their light and conscience, as shall necessarily debar any kind of restraint onb anything that any man will call religion? That’s the very question; truly, it is so, or else you will make no question. If you could bring it to such a restraint for [the power of] the magistrate to punish, only [in the case of] men that are members and servants of Jesus Christ, all that are here would give an ayc to it.1 But whether, admitting that to be never so good, as I think it is, [and] our great duty and our great interest to endeavour [to secure it]—yet whether we shall make our provision for that in such a way as shall give to all men their latitude, without any power to restrain them, [though they were] to practise idolatry, to practise atheism, and anything that is against the light of God? [That is the question.]
It is not the question; but [whether] that clause may be in the Agreement or not?
[I ask] whether this be not the question [really at issue]: that [all that] will join with you in civil things [shall be free from any restraint in spiritual things]? Now I come to tell you of what kind those things are that conscientious men do think the magistrate ought to restrain. I do not think any man conscientious [that says] that the magistrate ought to restrain a man from that which Jesus Christ does teach him; but men have consciences to say that there are many things that men may own and practise under pretence of religion, that there may, nay there ought to be the restraint of them in; and that is the ground of our question. But if I have mistaken this, I shall willingly be mistaken. However, I am sure of this in general, that there is no exception to the putting of this in this Agreement but this: that you cannot so provide for such a reserve as this is for men really conscientious, that they shall not be persecuted, but you will by that debar the magistrate of a power that he ought to have to restrain.
There is something offered in that which I made bold to speak of. The question that I conceived to be canvassed was: Whether your Excellency should improve this opportunity to restrain any power whatsoever from oppressing or vexing any man for the things that he does conscientiously?
That’s not the question.
I suppose it will be resolved in this,b though the terms may be different.
Do you make that [clear], that they shall [do right] not [to] punish for anything but that [which is against conscience], and we shall stand to it.
I conceive that there is a supposition, all along, of a provision to be made to prevent heresies in the world, besides that same which is (as I conceive) the only means of suppressing them and eradicating them, and that is the breaking forth of him who is the Truth, the breaking forth of Christ, in the minds and spirits of men. This is that which does only root up and destroy those heresies, those false conceptions and imaginations; and I conceive that this same is altogether omitted and forgotten in the discourse [of the Commissary-General]. For this is the extremity that we are reduced toa look upon: how we shall avoid, say you, but that the kingdom may be over-run with such things as idolatry, and the grossest things that are. I conceive that it is not proper for magistracy to be applied unto this [task at all]; and therefore if you do reserveb [from the magistrate] this power to apply himself this way to the restraint of these [evils], you do not reserve [from] him that which is his right, that to which he bears any proportion, neither do you withhold any means that is proper for the suppressing and preventing of these things. And [to look to the magistrate for] it, isc showing a great diffidence in the Spirit of God, and in Christ, as if he would not provide for the maintaining his own truth in the world.
I will only trouble you in a word. We are not yet resolved upon a question. [The Commissary-General] and the gentleman that spoke last there [differ] which ought to be the question;d though in the issue it will be this: Whether this clause concerning religion ought to be in [the Agreement, or no]? Yet to the end that you may come to such a period, [I desire] that you would first take this into consideration: whether the magistrate, in matters of religion, hath any inspection at all. And when you have concluded that, it will fall under your consideration how much [power] will be needful for you, upon any considerations, to give to him. And therefore, if you will fall into the debate of the business, I do humbly offer this to your Excellency as the first question: Whether the magistrate hath any power or no?
I would not have spoken in this kind, but that I have heard divers men speaking, and yet in my own sense they do not come to that which I apprehend concerning the thing. The gentleman that spoke last spoke well: that he would have a question [stated: Whether the magistrate hath any power or no?]e All that I would add [is, that the question be]: Whether they have any power to restrain men in their own consciences acting to civil peace and civil honesty? Whether Jesus Christ under the New Testament hath given any power to the civil magistrate to restrain men professing their consciences before God, while they walk orderly according to civil peace and civil honesty?
It is good to keep to the question which was first drawn; and, as it is last, it is a catching question: Whether Jesus Christ hath given such power? It was not the business of Jesus Christ, when he came into the world, to erect kingdoms of the world, and magistracy or monarchy, or to give the rule of them, positive or negative. And therefore if you would consider this question, whether the magistrate have anything to do in anything which men will call religion (for you must go so large), you must not confine it [to the inquiry] whether Jesus Christ have under the Gospel given it, but you must look to the whole scripture. As there is much in the Old Testament which hath lost much, yet there are some things of perpetual and natural right, that the scripture of the Old Testament doth hold forth, wherein it does bear a clear witness to that light that every man hath left in him by nature, if he were not depraved by lust. There are some things of perpetual right in the Old Testament, that the magistrate had a power in before the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. And unless you can show us that those things are not a perpetual right, nor had not their perpetual end, but had only their temporarya end, so as to determinate by his coming in the flesh, you must give us leave to think that the magistrate ought according to the old institution to follow that right.
I desire your Excellency to consider whether it tends [not to give to magistrates an unlimited power]. If it be a question tending to that, then consider what you do in putting it to the question. Either you resolveb that they have a power [and trust] or not. I would fain learn, if it be resolved [that they have], whether that trust be infallible. If it be liable to a mistake, then we may build a very great foundation [of future mischief].
Lo[rd] General [Fairfax]:
Now is only to dispute the question.
Mr. [Philip] Nye:
My Lord, [I desire] that your Lordship would be pleased to state the question. There is one thing that I have observed, that words of a near significancy [sometimes lead to confusion], and I conceive these two words do. It is one word of ‘matters of religion,’ and another ‘matters of conscience.’ ‘Matters of conscience’ is larger than ‘mattersc of religion.’ It concerns that of the Second Table [as well]. Now if it be the power of the civil magistrate over consciences [that is denied, the consequences are dangerous], for a man may make conscience of some things [that are contrary to common morality]. There was a gentleman cast into Newgate,d to be executed for having two wives,e and he had this case of conscience. He sent for several divines, and amongst the rest I had this dispute. All the arguments [he advanced were] about persecution for conscience: ‘Those that were of nearest affinity, to set them farthest off,’ [&c.]. [Say], such matters [of conscience] as concern the First Table; then you come to distinct terms.
Mr. [Edward] Walford:
As a servant to your Excellency I desire to speak a word. There is none concerned more in liberty than the Lord himself. I know nothing but that Kings and Armies and Parliaments might have been quiet at this day if they would have let Israel alone. For men to give away God, how well they will answer it I do not know. The Lord is a transcendent thing. There is a seed gone forth from Goda [‘which is Christ’1 ]. It was not the Saints [only], but God himself, [that the world persecuted. Christ can say (and the Saints with him)]: ‘Whiles I am in bonds here you will punish me, [but] when I shall come to return in [the glory of] my Spirit, [I shall rule the earth.’ For he alone is Lord.]b And therefore all that I shall say to [the question is] this: if you can make by your power a magistrate a Lord,c let him be set up as soon as you will. I have no more to say.
I should desire the question if I thought the question would do the business.c I am afraid we are gotten into the ocean again. I should desire that [you] might be minded to save the time. It was moved awhile since, and that by the way, to put it to [the question as the only way to discover] such a thing as may be satisfactory; for I do not think that words can satisfy the hearts of men. But if your Lordship shall take such a course that men of all interests shalld be [thereby brought] together, let the world know you will bring them into their civil quiet. We do not know but that they will be all agreed in this; and when it is declared to the world [nothing more may be necessary, and] all God’s people may be free.
Major [Nathaniel] Barton:
An’t please your Lordship, for aught I perceive there are many presumptions [in what has been offered against the reserve]. Many think there are great presumptions. I desire there may be tenderness had [of all different opinions amongst us], but (and that is first) that justice may be executed. I fear stating this [question of the magistrate’s power] so highe does something put a demur upon that; and upon what ground [we can proceed against the King if we do so], I do not know. I shall desire that the merit of the Remonstrance may be considered, and no other thing offered that may intermingle [other arguments therewith], and [I] desire that as it is of that tender consideration as to blood or peace, [so you will seek to give it effect]. I hear of something that hath been spoken here, that there have been divers invited that as yet do not appear; and [I move] what was by one gentleman offered to your Lordship, [that] the place and time may be so determined, as to this particular [matter of the reserve], that they may have a further invitation, and so be invited that they may come. I shall desire that we do not lay a foundation of distractions [by acting without them].
I shall desire to move this. That when we do put it to the question, first,a you would propose here what shall be the questions in the debate, and then [take steps] to refer it to some [select] persons [for debate], and [finally set] some time wherein you may take the concurrence of all persons that do concur; and in the meantime that the rest may be [busied] in the mattersb that concern the whole.
I have observed that there hath been much controversy about this point, and several motions concerning the matters [of procedure]. One thing [has been] offered by Colonel Harrison,c and some others might be offered, that some of all parties might be chosen. [But] I humbly conceive the same thing hath been already done; for there hath been four of several parties chosen for the drawing up of this Agreement,1 which they have done to try who will agree, and who will not agree. For it is a thing not of force, but of agreement. And I presume that there is no man here but is satisfied in his own judgment what to agree to, and what not to agree to. I desire [therefore], it may pass to the question, [yea] or no.
I should be as free as any man to have a catch of his own Agreement. There was little difference in those that drew this up.
(All calling for the question.)
My Lord, the question that men do call for is not as to [what shall be stated in] the Agreement, but [what is] to be debated in relation to our judgments. [The question was not]: Whether that clause may be fitly in or no, or anything to that purpose. The question was: Whether the magistrate have any power in matters of religion, that is, those things concerned under the First Table?
I shall offer one word to the question—
Ireton [interrupting him to repeat the question]:
Whether the magistrate have, or ought to have, any power in matters of religion,e by which we understand the things concerned under the First Table?
My Lord, I find that there is a general agreement by every person that hath spoken, that it is not his desire that the civil magistrate should exercise af power to persecute any honest man that walks according to his conscience in those things that are really religious, and not pretended so. And what is represented in opposition to this is: that we cannot find out any way to discriminate this from thata exorbitant liberty which those that are not religious, but would pretend to be so, would take. If you please I should offer my sense to the question [moved by Dr. Parker]: Whether or no the civil magistrate is to exercise any power, restrictive or compulsive, upon the persons of men in matters of religion, they walking inoffensive to the civil peace?
My Lord, I still say that whoever is eager to catch advantages for his own opinion does not further agreement. That which is propounded, I did offer it [with no such intention]. That there may be an advantage gained on the other hand, that men under pretence of religion may break the peace [and do] things that are civilly evil, [that may be considered in due course; but] now, my Lord, I suppose that that is not at all necessary to be considered in this which is the first and main question. Whetherb a man do walk civilly and inoffensively or no, yet it may still be [necessary to decide] the question that is here propounded: Whether in some things which he may call religionc the magistrated may [not] have a restrictive power? But if you will have it put, whether [a] compulsive or restrictive power, you may take it [after the main question]: Whether you will [concede him any power at all]?
One word more I added, that word ‘civil peace’ or ‘civil honesty.’
Make it what you will, according to ‘civil peace’ or ‘civil honesty’; yet still it remains to be debated: Whether [the magistrate is to exercise any power] whatsoever [in matters of religion]?
My Lord, I do perceive—as I judge, and speak it with submission—that there are some here that are too inclinable to follow the course of corrupt committees formerly, that were forward to put the question before there be satisfaction given.
Captain [Richard] Hodden:
Here have been very many disputes [as to] what shoulda be the question. And if these words be not further explained, in those terms the question is still, and hath been,b I think most men’s spirits here have from the beginning [been] satisfied to [have it] be: Whether you will restrain magistrates from that tyranny of compelling or enforcing men, and persecuting men for doing those things they do out of conscience,c as to the worship of God?
Ireton reads the question:
Whetherd [the magistrate have, or ought to have, any power in matters of religion, by which we understand the things concerned under the First Table]?
Any restrictive power.]1
I desire the word ‘compulsive’ may be [also] added, for ‘restrictive’ will not be large enough. If [the words] ‘any power’ be not precisee enough, [I desire that] then you will take both ‘compulsive’ and ‘restrictive.’
My Lord, I perceive it’s every man’s opinion, that the magistrate hath a protective power; and if you will apply ‘matters of religion’ [only] to the First Table, it will be granted [that he should also have a] compulsive. ‘Thou shalt have no other Gods but me.’ ‘Thou shalt make no graven image,’ &c.; ‘Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain.’ And then for the fourth, ‘Thou shalt not do any manner of work [on the sabbath day].’ [Repeating the question]: Whether the magistrate have or ought to have any power in matters of religion?
I do apprehendh there hath been much time taken up about the restrictive power anda the compulsive power; that is, concerning the power of the magistrate in matters appertaining to the Kingdom of Heaven, and the Kingdom of God. And they have been debated: first,b whether he have power;c and secondly,d what is that power that he hath; and so whether the power that he hath be either compulsive or restrictive? Now I do conceive that any other power [than that] which is purely protective he hath not; and I do give this account [why] the other question, [which] is whether his power be restrictive or compulsive, [is not necessary to be debated at all]. The whole power of the magistrate is said to be the power of the sword, an outward power. I do apprehend [that] really all matters relating to the Kingdom of Godf are purely and altogether spiritual; and therefore I conceive [that] to allow the magistrate any other power than that which is purely protective of men to live quietly, is to put a power into the hands of the magistrate whichg is not at all given him by God. I speak something as a man, and [now] I crave leave to speak a word only as a Christian, as touching affairs of this nature, which I do confess is a matter to be acknowledged as the great and wonderful work of God. To wit, that there is a time [of] coming forth of captives, according as the scripture speaks, ‘I will take off every yoke and remove every heavy burden from off the people, because of the anointing,’1 that is, because of Christ. Now, sir—give me leave in this thing—the great matter is [that we still conform ourselves to this wonderful work of God], and [that] the care of the honourable Council and all the good people of the nation [be directed to that end].h It is the glory of the nationi that we have lived to [see so much of] it [accomplished; and our care must be] how we are [to] secure the people of the nation from [ever coming again into] the like thraldom they have been in in times past. I will lay down only this one position as the ground of all that enmity that hath been of men one against another, and of the universal enmity that hath been in all sorts of men against God: I conceive this hath been [due to] the state of ignorance, and darkness, and pretence of religion, that hath been amongst us,j so that,k not having [had] the faith itself which we have pretended to, we have [had] rather the form of godliness than the power of it. And [yet] God hath been pleased to bring forth [his work of deliverance], as we have heard. There are certain men in the Army, that, having tasted of the good work of God and the powers of the world to come,l have been in the land, in such a scattered time,a [witnesses of God’s working. Now] we all, having [some] light come [to us, should take example by them], that the land may have her sabbath in a good sense after six or seven years’ disturbance or trouble now taken away. And therefore the Lord fill the nation with men of [such] upright spirits! [But to return to the question], whatsoever you do appoint for the restraining of men [gives] the magistrate [a power]; his hands will not be bound,b but he will [be able to] keep up his power against that religion that is contrary to himself. And therefore that’s to be prevented at this time [only by limiting him to a protective capacity, which may be safely conceded] as long as we go no further.
[I would hint] a caution, that you would use [only] such words as concern a restrictive power. [The question is]: Whether the magistrate have or ought to have any compulsive or restrictive power in matters of religion? [And our procedure should be]:
1. That those who are of the opinion in the affirmative,c begin to lay down their grounds, and that the discussion be alternate;
2. That if no man give grounds for a compulsive power, theng those that do speak against the power of the magistrate will speak only to the restrictive power.
If there be no man here to speakd [for a compulsive power, I would speak for a restrictive, and] that I should offer to consideration is this. When Israel had renewed their Covenant with God so that God accepted them, [they] having beene at a loss a long time,f he was pleased to deliver his mind to them (and not only to them but to all the sons of men) in those ten words, commonly called the Ten Commandments. Now as your good Apostle saith, they consist of two Tables, and the commands of the First Table are all negatives. Now God never gave any rules to the sons of men but he gave them to be in force. For my own part I apprehend that they are moral, and so a rule to all the sons of men as well as to Israel, but especially to those who are zealous for their God. That there is a compulsive power left to the magistrate, that I cannot allege; but that there is a restrictive [power from the very] nature of the Commandments, that I do hold necessary. Neither did Israel itself go about to compel any man, but were very watchful and shy whom they did admit into communion with them; but we have observed that they have restrained, as it concerns every magistrate [to do]. We must not look toa pagans and heathens that are revolted from their duties to God, and yet God hath left those impressions upon the sons of men that you shall not find any people but they worship some God. Now the command of God in that kind is that they should worship no other God but him.b This is that which I think lies upon all powers, to suffer no other God to be worshipped but Jehovah. And so the Second Commandmentc does restrain idolatry. But as he is pure in himself, so he will have such a worship as himself hath instituted and appointed; he will not have the sacred name taken in vain. Now, any that shall break the Second or Third Commandment comes under the cognizance of the civil magistrate. And so for the Fourth: though there be a prologue leading to it, yet it is restrictive. So that though I have nothing to say for compulsive power, yet thus much I have to say, that [the magistrate ought to have a restrictive power].d God delivered these things to Moses, that was a prince in Israel, and it is a rule to this day, and it is a rule [also] by the light of nature; and therefore it properly concerns the princes of the people, especially those that know God, to restrain corrupt worship.
I speak to this.e There is no ground from the nature of the meeting to conclude every man [as agreeing] that says nothing. If your end be, by the suffrage of silence, to second your own judgments, to stamp your own judgments [upon the meeting],f these have [surely] a better foundation than silence. But lest silence should be so far thought of [as unqualified assent, I will tell you to what I assent]. Truly as the question is stated I think a man may assent to it, [that the magistrate ought not to have any power in matters of religion] if you will take the words [to mean]g ‘those things that are truly religious.’h If the contesti that is between us and [the] Bishops were by way [either] of compulsion [or restriction], they have assumed so much as this, that even in that which is truly religious, the worship and service of God, they have put such restrictionsj as these are: that men shall not preach though they be called of God; and so likewise [of] compulsion, that such a form of prayer [should be be used], that was [a matter] truly religious. In this sense your question ought to be understood; and so [it is, if one is] to take [in their correct meaning] the words in your proper speech, and that is [‘matters of] religion.’ For if you say ‘religion’ simply, by it you understand true religion; and if you speak of any other thing you will give its adjunct, ‘false’ religion; and so a man may easily stand to it, and yet not come to what is the [second] drift of the question: Whether a false religion, or such matters as these, are [matters which] the magistrate hath to do withal? If it be understood in that strict sense, I must stand with you in it.a I do not think that the civil magistrate hath anything to do determinatively to enforce anything that is matterb of religion; to enforce the thinga is that I do extremely question. But for the other [question], whether the magistrate have anything to do [with religion] under any notion or consideration whatsoever, either of setting up the false God, which is no religion indeed, [or of other practices contrary to God’s Commandments],a for my own part I must profess that I do think the magistrate may have something to do in that. And so I shall deliver my judgment, that no man [may] shipwreck himself in this thing.
Mr. Wildman’s Question:
Whether the magistrate have any restrictive or compulsive power in the time or manner of God’s worship, or [as to] faith or opinion concerning him?
Whether the magistrate have or ought to have any power of restraining men, by penalties or otherwise, from the profession or practice of anything the evil or good whereof relates to God only?
You will leave [thereby] the judgment to the civil magistrate [to decide] whether the doing of such a thing be [relating] to God [only] or no. [I would know] whether, [when the magistrate punishes] error or heresy, he do not [always profess to] punish itf as it relates to the neighbour; and whether, if so, weg do not leave them to be punished [by using those words].
I take it for granted, whether there be any here that assenti [or not, that] in those words which we call the four first Commandmentsj are matters of religion, the fault or non-performance whereof relates to God only, the duty and satisfaction if a man do observe them relates to God only. I speak concerning such things. As to them I give my ground thus, that as to those things the magistrate hath a power to restrain men, and ought to do it; and I argue first from the possibility of the thing.a Those are things against which there is a testimony in the light of nature, and consequently they are things that men as men are in some capacity [to judge of], unless they are perverted—indeed a man perverted in his own lusts cannot judge of anything, even matters of common honesty. Secondly, those who are subject[s] and not the judges, they are likewise in [a] capacity to judge of the evil of those things even by the light of nature. And in that respect I account it proper and not unsuitable to the judgment of men as men, and of magistrates as magistrates, because—if anybody will take notes of it in writing hea may—becauseh in such things the magistrate, by the light that he hath as a man, may judge, and the subject may, by that light that he hath as a man,i be convinced.
In the next place I go to grounds of scripture, and show that this is the magistrate’s duty. And first I will take it for granted, till somebody give me reason to the contrary,b that ’tis the injunction [of the Old Testament], and likewise it hath been the practice of magistrates in all the time of the Old Testament till the coming of Christ in the flesh, to restrain such things. If any doubt it they shall have proofs: [first], that the magistrates of the Jews as magistrates were commanded to restrain such things; secondly, that they were commended when they did it; thirdly, that they were reproved when they did [it] not. This is clear through the current of the Old Testament.
And first, because I see the answer[s] to these are obvious, I shall speak to the two chief [answers], and show you what is objected.c That is first, [that] what the magistrates of the Jews might or ought to do is no rule to others, for they were to do it as [ecclesiastical] magistrates, church matters concerning them; [that by] the punishment of death, or such other punishments, they did but allude to excommunication ind the time of the Gospel; and that you can make no [such] inference from what they ought to do as to conclude a perpetual duty of magistrates, but [only] a duty allegorically answered in the duty of ecclesiastical [officers in ecclesiastical] things. This I have heard to be one answer; and to this I shall but apply one reason to show the inconveniency of this answer [to] those grounds that we give from scripture, and that is thus. If it do appear that those that were the magistrates among the Jews, whether they were ecclesiastical or civil magistrates,e were to exercise this power,f not onlyg to persons within the church, but [to persons] without the church [and] professedly no way within the compass of the church, then that objection is taken away. But I think [it is clear that] they were to extend this power to those that were out of the church. They were commanded to beat down the idols and groves and images of the land whither they went; they were commanded that they should not suffer the stranger that was within the gate to work on the sabbath, [and not] to suffer swearers or idolaters of any kind. And if any man doubt that, it is an easy matter to produce scripture for that purpose. So that it is clear to me, they did [it], considereda as civil magistrates, as magistrates having an authority civil or natural, and not as [ecclesiastical] magistrates or as persons signifyingb or typifying the power of ecclesiastical officers under the Gospel; and therefore what was a rule of duty to them (unless men can show me a ground of change) [should] bec a rule and duty of magistrates now.
And that rule or duty to them leads me to the next evasion: that what was a rule to them under the Law as magistrates does not hold under the Gospel. Now to this I answer—and I do these things because I would give men grounds against the next meeting to consider of some things—I say that I will acknowledge as to those things enjoined, the practice whereof was commanded, the neglect whereof was reproved in the magistrates of the Jews, whose end was typical and determinative, to end at the coming of Christ—to all those [things] the duty of the magistrate doth cease either as to restriction or compulsion. [It] doth cease because it relates [not] to the things themselves. But for those things themselves for which they had a perpetual ground in relation of the duty to God, a perpetual rule by the law written in men’s hearts, and a [perpetual] testimony left in man by nature, and so consequently for those things whereof the ground of duty towards God is not changed—for those things I account that what was sin before is sin still, what was sin to practise [before] remains sin still, what was the duty of a magistrate to restrain before remains his duty to restrain still.
And thus I have given my grounds why we ought [not] to bind the hands of the magistrate[s so] that they shall not restrain men from evils, though against God only, that are given as breaches of the First Table.d
I shall crave leave to speak a few words to what the Commissary-General hath said.e
You were pleased to lay this for your ground, that the magistrate ought to have a restrictive power in matters of religion, becausef matters of false worship (or at least of idolatry) are matters comprehended within the light of nature, such as may be perceived by natural men. I conceive, first, that it is not whatsoever may be made out, may be drawng out by much meditation or discourse or inference, [that is said to be known] by the light of nature. You will not call thesea matters of the light of nature, [but at most matters of inference therefrom].b There are abundance of things that may be made out by the light of nature, which are not [fit to be assumed in] laws or constitutions; for then every man that is to obey your laws ought to be a student and by contemplationc find [out] those things that liek remote from men’s first apprehensions.l All law[s] ought to be [based, not upon such] things [as may be derived perhaps] by [inference from] the light of nature, but [upon] such things as ought to be known by the light of nature without inquiry, without meditation. So, [let me ask, what] things [can be known by the light of nature] as to the being [of God, or] as to the creation of the world? It is an hard thing for any man to come to frame a notion [even] byd meditation of such a being as is in God. You must put in infiniteness of wisdom, &c. It will require much of a man’s time to frame such a notion ase will [at all] answer the being of God. For this is not [to know God]: to believe that there is a God, to say [that] there is a being which is more than men [and] from above that which is of men. But to know God is to believe that there is a true God. ‘This is life eternal, to believe thee the only true God.’1 That was [said] for that [very] thing, that though it be [possible] by the light of nature to make out [that there is a God, that though] men are capable by the light of nature to conceive that there is a God, yet to conceive this in a right and true manner, it is in the profundities, in the remotest part, amongst those conclusions which lie farthest off from the presence of men, [even] though it should be [admitted to be grounded] in the light of nature.
And then again, [with regard to] what you were pleased to observe concerning the Old Testament2 and the power of the magistrate, I shall desire to suggest these two things by way of answer.f My ground is: that there is not the same reason for the power,g and the exercise of power, [under the] Gospel [as there was] under the Law.h My first reason is this:i we know that the magistracy of the Old Testament was appointed, instituted, and directed by God himself. The magistracy under the Gospelj is chosen [by men], and they are vested with that power which they have from men. Now God, he may be his own carver: if he will create and set up magistrates, he may give them what power he pleases, and give them in charge to exercise such a power as he shall confer upon them. And then further there is this: that there is a peculiar and special reason whya magistrates under the Law should be invested with such a power in matters of religion, and that reason being changed under the New Testament, the consideration will not hold; it will not parallel here. The reason is this. We know the land of Canaan, and indeed all things in it, not only those that were [described poetically],b but the land and nation and people, was typical of churches and [typical] of the Churches of Christ under the Gospel, of the the purity of them and holiness of them. Canaan is the Kingdom of Heaven, as we all generally know. There was a necessity, that land being a type of perfect holiness and of the Kingdom of Heaven, that there should be laws and ordinances of that nature which should keep all things as pure and [as] free [from corruption as] to worship, as possibly might be. Otherwise the visage, the loveliness of the type, would have been defaced. It would not have answered God’s design in it. Now unless we shall suppose [that] the lands and state[s] under the Gospelc are typical also, there is no reason that we should think to reduce them to those terms, for matter of freeness [from corruption, that obtained in the land of Canaan], or by such ways; that is by forcible means, by [a] strong hand, as God did then order and then use for the clearing of that land, [and the shaping] of that naked piece which he intended should be a type of that whole estate of things in his Kingdom and his Church. And there’sd another thing. Inasmuch as [all] magistrates, now in [being under] the Gospel, [are instituted by man (as] they are from the first, and so consequently [from the highest] to the lowest—for they have all their descent from him): if so be we shall conceive [that] they have [their] power [solely] from man,e it should be [by virtue] of that power which is put into him [by God], andf vested ing him, who [in turn] made them and set [them] up in the place of magistrates. [The magistrates’ power is bestowed by man, by the people.] For that you were pleased to suggest in another part of your discourse, that there is a certain power [inherent] in magistrates—for man [but] makes the case and God puts in the jewel, men present and God empowers—I do not conceive there is any such thing in it. For then there wereh a necessity that the extent of the magistratical power should be the same throughout the world; whereas if you look into the state of all nations, [you will see] that the power that is put into the hands of kings and princes is moulded and fashioned by the people, and there is scarce any two places in the world where the power[s] of the rulers are the same.a Magistrates, [I say], have so much power as the people are willing to give them. If [it be] so,b then if a body of people, as the commonalty of this land,c have not a power in themselves to restrain such and such things, [as] matters concerning false worship, amongst themselves, certain it is that they cannot derive any such power to the magistrate;d but he does act it, [if at all], of himself, and by an assuming unto [himself of] that which was never given unto him. There is much more to be spoken in this point.
I should [not] have made bold to suggest my thoughts this way before. But now I shall do it [because I disagree] upon a ground or two [with the last speaker’s reasons against what was previously urged, though]f I do not [thereby] profess it to be [wholly conformable with] my opinion.g Under favour, I think your resolution at first was to propose some objections [and counter-objections] now and leave them to consideration, [and therefore I speak].h
The arguments [advanced] to abate what the Commissary-General said are many. I shall speak but to one branch, and [that] the last thing mentioned: that the magistrate hath no other power but what is conveyed to him by the people; for that truly,i I think, is the [great] consideration. [I am not satisfied with the rebuttal] of what the Commissary was pleased to say as in relation to the Jews. We do not believe that all that was there was butj typical; much [was] rather moral [and] judicial; butk such a thing was then in practice as [seemed] to put a power in the magistrate to have something to do about religion, about matters of God. [I] will [not] take up this consideration [however, but will assume] that that [is a] fundamental principle of a commonwealth, [for the people] to act what they are pleased to act, in [the most as in] the least. [Freedom of action] does not lie [then] in the ministerial power but in the legislative power. And if it lie[s] in the people,l then [I would ask] whether it do not lie in the power of the people to consider anything that may tend to the public weal and public good, and make a law for it, or give a power [for it]. Whatsoever a company of people gathered together may judge tending to the public good, or the common weal, [that] they have a liberty [to do], so long as it is not sinful, [and] they may put this into the ministerial power, to attend [to] it. Now, sir, [this argument extends to matters of religion; for] suppose this be laid down as another principle, that [religion] (the things of our God), it is that which is of [greatest] public good and public concernment, ora [even that] among all the other comforts of life I look upon this as one, as well as my house and food and raiment. Thenb may not a company conclude together and sit down in a commonwealth to do what may be done in a lawful way for the preservingf [of their religion as well as for the] feeding of the[ir] bodies, to their [own] good?
A second consideration may be this: that there may be such [and such] sins ofc which God will take account and [for which he will] make miserable this commonwealth, those [who compose it] being Christians, or [even] if they have the light of nature [only]. By the light of nature we are able to say [that] for such things God will plague a nation, and judge a nation. A company of men, met together to consult for common good, do pitch upon such things as do concern the commonwealth.d They would do what they can to prevent such sins or provocations as may [make judgments] come down upon their heads. In this case I do not go about to saye that a magistrate, as if he had an edict from heaven, should oppose this [or that sin], but that the people, [in whose power lies the] making of [laws, should oppose] them. If it be lawful for them to make such conclusions or constitutionsg to avoid such evils, that which they may lawfully make the magistrate may lawfully exercise. And therefore I say [of the magistrate’s power in matters of religion now, that it may be as lawfully exercised as] it was once exercised under the Jewish commonwealth.
Then [if the end of a commonwealth be to provide] for common good, and if the things of God, [and blessings] appertaining to them, be a good to be wished; if they do not [only] tend to that [common good], but preventh evil and [the attendant] judgments of God, I know nothing but in conclusion there may be some power made up in the magistrate as may [at]tend to it.
I suppose the gentleman that spoke last mistakes the question. He seems to speak as in relation to the people’s giving [the magistrate] that [very] power [that] the gentleman [who] spoke before [proved they could not lawfully give]. But to that which he spoke this may be answered, [and indeed was answered] de futuro. It is not lawful to entrust the magistrate with such a power. [You cannot deduce that power from the Jewish magistrate unless you can prove] that it was not merely typical. The question was whether it were [also] moral. If it were not moral, it were [not] perpetual. If it were moral, it must go to all magistrates in the world. That the magistrate should act to his conscience [might mean that he would] destroy and kill all men that would not come to such a worship as he had. [Accordingly] God hath not given a command to all magistrates to destroy idolatry, for in consequence it would destroy the world. But to that which the gentleman said, that the people might confer such a power upon the magistrate in relation to a common good, to that I answer: that matters of religion or the worship of God are not a thing trustable, so that either a restrictive or a compulsive power should make a man to sin. To the second thing, that [there might be such a power] not only in relation to a common good, but to the prevention of evil, because by the magistrate’s preventing such things as are contrary to the light of nature [punishment might be turned aside, and] to that end there might be such a power—to that I answer, it is not easily determinable what is sin by the light of nature.a If the gentleman speak of things between man and man, of things that tend to [destroy] human society, he is besideb the question; if concerning matters of the worship of God, it is an hard thing to determine [by the light of nature]. It is not easy by the light of nature to determine [more than that] there is a God. The sun may be that God. The moon may be that God. To frame a right conception or notion of the First Being, wherein all other things had their being, is not [possible] by the light of nature [alone]. Indeed, if a man consider there is a will of the Supreme Cause, it is an hard thing for [him by] the light of nature to conceive how there can be any sin committed. And therefore the magistrate cannot easily determine what sins are against the light of nature, and what not. And to both of those considerations together it may be said:c Supposing bothd these things were [satisfactorily proved to be] thus, yet [to give him this power]e is but to put the magistrate in a probable condition to do good, or in a capacity probably to prevent the sin; [but] because the magistrate must be conceived to be as erroneous as the peoplef whom he is to restrain,g and more probable to err than the people that have no power in their hands, the probability is greater that he will destroy what is good than [that he will] prevent what is evil. So that [it is sufficient reply] to both of them, [that] they do not put the commonwealth into so much as a probability of any good [from magistrates] by such a trust committed to them.
I shall desire but a word or two. Truly I did endeavour, when I began, to go in the way that men might judge whether there was weight in what was said in the reply; and I perceive there was no other ground laid than what I said, [or] than what Mr. Nye did add further as a rational satisfaction to men, why such a thing might be entrusted. But I suppose, [since this is so], the grounds [which we urged] of this [power] are such as to lay a ground whya upon conscience it is or should be the duty of magistrates in a commonwealth to use what power they have for the restraining of such things asb sins against the First Table, [as are] practices forbidden in the First Table; and I would very fain once hear somebody to answer to these grounds that I lay to that. I have heard an answer to one of those grounds: that [such] things are subject to men’s judgments,c to the judgment of the magistrates and to the conviction of the subject, [and that hence they cannot in reason or with safety be made matter of compulsion]. But I have heard none upon the scripture ground, and I would hear something of that. [I argued]d that in the state of the Jewse the magistrate there as a magistrate, and as a magistrate not of a church only but as a magistrate of a nation,f had [the] power and [the] right [to restrain such things]—nay, it was a duty upon him; he was enjoined to it, and when he did it he was commended for it, and when he neglected it he was condemned and brought to ruin for itg —and [it was] to be exercised to others than to those that were members of the church only.h This, therefore, which was the rule then, is a rule to a magistrate as a magistrate [now], and as the magistrate of a kingdom or a nation: that [which] was then a rule to them that were then [magistrates], to deserve this commendation if they did it, and reproof if they did it not, is a rule to magistrates under the Gospel, unless in such things the evil or good whereof as then was taken away [by the coming of Christ]. If the thing which he had a power to restrain [were temporarily or typically evil], then I agree that by the coming of Christ in the flesh it was taken away. But if the thing were morally and perpetually evil, and so that which was the ground of the duty [then] will remain the ground of the duty still, then I conceive the duty as to such things remains the same still. I would I could express it shorter—but men may take it shorter. But I would have some [persons] answer [these grounds]; that is, to deny that the magistrates hadi power to restrain, or [to assert that they exercised it not] as civil magistratesj of a civil society,k and [that it] extended only over the members of anl ecclesiastical society;m and if it were a duty then, to show me some grounds why it should be altered now, and ben subject to men to [be] judge[d] of.
The business, [as] you seem to state [it], is thus: that in the state of the Jews there was a magistrate, and that magistrate did this and that [to them] that did not act according to the Jewish religion?
Why should not the civil magistrate in this time punish any man for walking contrary to those rules for [walking contrary to] which the Jews were punished?
Those things which the magistrates of the Jews did punish as evil, if they be of the grounds and evil as they were then—
Why will you not destroy the Turk and the Jews, and all others as they did the Canaanites?
I would offer this to the consideration of our worthy friends that are here. You say that which was commanded to the civil magistrates of the Jews, that is of [moral] right, [and] that is also to be continued amongst us. I shall offer this objection as to that. Those things that are of moral right as youc conceive, and that they did practise in their religion,d were commanded immediately from God [and that was the ground why they were to be practised]. If they were commanded to them immediately from God,e with anf injunction [that they were] to be practised by their successors and that they should practise the same thing, then your argument holds good; otherwise not.g My meaning is this. We know it was of moral right, that no man should kill his own son. Abraham had an injunction to the contrary. God may give out injunctions to his own will and pleasure, face to face, to any particular person, and to be obeyed by that particular person, [even if contrary to] those things that are of moral right.h It is of moral right, [that] I should preserve my child and do him all the good I can do. Yet because God did command a contrary thing it was practised, [but not by others not so commanded]. So on the other side, if God will command things to be done [by particular magistrates], they do not conclude all successors of [those] magistrates, that are in the same power ori not.
The Doctor says, if we can show that those commands are now binding upon magistrates he’ll grant us the question as for his part. Truly I have this to offer. It will be much in compliance with whata the Commissary-General [said]. There were three laws among the Jews, the Ceremonial, Judicial, and Moral Laws. I suppose the Judicial Law, as to the painsb of it, was a fencec and guard to the Ceremonial and Moral Law. [In the first place] the [Judicial] Law doth aim at obedience to it, and in the second place [at] a punishment to its disobedience. I conceived the punishment [for infringement] of the Ceremonial Law was not [part] of the Law itself, but [a fence] of the purity of the Jews, [and] the punishment [for infringement] of the Moral Law was not [part] of the Moral Law, [but a fence to it].e So far as the Judicial [Law] was a fence and outwork to the Ceremonial Law [it] is fallen with the Ceremonialf Law. So far as it was a fence and outwork to the Moral Law it stands with the Moral Law, and that still binds upon men. So [that part of] the Judicial Law that was a fence to that, is still the duty of magistrates.
Mr [Thomas] Collier:
As far as I remember, the Commissary-General offered two things. And the first was: whetherl [the commands of] this Judicial Law for the magistrate to punish things which were sin, sin against God, those things in the Old Testament mentioned, are not commanded by God? And the second: whether they are taken away, and so have no relation to the magistrates under the Gospel? Now to the first, I shall give you the ground why those laws or commands and that Judicial Law, given under the time of the Law, haveg no reference to us under the Gospel. And I might give you particular grounds; but one principal ground [of] that I shall give you, [and it] is this, as one ground of that which is given already. Ifh it is moral, it should have been given to all states as well as to the Jews. But the ground [I would now urge] is this: that the law of the Jews is not binding to us under the Gospel; [for] if it be, I shall then thus infer, that the magistrate hath his power from Divine institution, and so hath his power from God and not from the Agreement of the People, and if so, then hei must come to have [by] the same claim [all his power] from God.j If he have his commission from God let him show it—so say I; if he have his commission from God we have nothing to do to limit him.k
The second thing that I would mind you then—it is that we generally agree in, [as we have been] often minded this day, but I shall offer [it] in the second place—is that the Judicial Law to the Jews is abrogated to us in the Gospel; I mean in respect of the circumstances of it, though in respect of the truth of it there is a judicial law to be executed upon the people not in the way the Jews did. I shall give you the grounds of it. One ground is this: that there are some things mentioned with which magistratesa in the New Testamentb have nothing to do, [and] yetc [it] was given as commandd to magistrates in the Judicial Law to punish [them]; and I shall mind [you of] two in particular. The first is that [sin] of idolatry, which was punished with death in the Olde Testament: idolaters are to be put to death. Yetf under the Gospel, the Gospel is so far from denyingg [even to] that [a] liberty or toleration (much less [giving] power unto a magistrate to punish an idolater with death), that if a man or woman had a wife or husband that was an idolater, they were to live with them and not to punish them according to the law of the Jews.h To me it’s very clear in these words of the Apostle ini 1 Corinthians 7.j The second thing I shall mind to you is that of adultery. Adultery was to be punished with death, [and] if we look to the Judicial Law we must be exact as to every particular of it. [But] we shall find that this law was done away. The woman that was taken in adultery, I look upon it to be mystical. The womank was taken in adultery and was brought to Christ, and they told him that Moses’ law was to put her to death. Christ answers: ‘He that is without sin, let him throw the first stone at her.’ Now to me it was this: that the Gospel would admit of no such thing as this [judicial law], but that there was a new law; and in the Epistles, there werel rules given for the excommunication of adulterers, and [persons guilty of] incest, and the like [offences]; which gives me ground to judge that the appointing of death under the Old Testament [to these] and the like [sins] doth relate to excommunicationm [of] those which commit such offences.
I am not satisfied as to the thing, and therefore I shall not use any argument as from myself; but having heard some [use an] argument that is not answered, I shall desire to hint it again. I shall gather it up in few words. That which in the Moral Law is enjoined unto the Jews is still of perpetual use amongst us under the Gospel. But restriction in the Moral Law is enjoined unto the Jews, as in the Fourth Commandment. Therefore restriction is in perpetual use now under the Gospel. This I conceive to be the sum of what you have from the Fourth Commandment. To me it seems to be of some force. There is something hinted of that which was typical, and the like, but nothing as to this argument from the Moral Law.
Because this gentleman doth relate an argument from me, I’ll tell you how I put it. That which was evil in the time of the Jews, and remains as evil now, and hath the same ground of evil now that it had then—and especially if such a thinga was evilf even before that law [was] given; for such a thing, what was the duty of a magistrate to restrain then [remains his duty to restrain now], though I cannot say to restrain it with the same penalty. For the imposing of a penalty was judicial, but the imposing of a restriction was not judicial but perpetual. This I take for granted. That [which] was evil then and remains upon the same ground equally evil now,b if the Jewish magistrate ought to restrain that even in persons not under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction, so ought Christian magistrates to restrain it, if they be Christians, even in those that are not under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction.
Though it be supposed and granted, that the same things, [which] are evil now as they were under the Law, [are] to be punished now as they were [then], but if God hath ordained new kind of punishments [for them] to be punished with,c we cannot suppose that they are punishable with both punishments. The latter does disannul the former. If he that blasphemes is to be cast out to Satan that he may learn not to blaspheme, it is impossible that this commandment of God should be put in execution if a blasphemer should be put to death.
I think if we were now upon the question of what an ecclesiastical judicature or church magistrate should do, it would very well bed that that should be the rule that Mr. Goodwin says: that such punishments should be used by the ecclesiastical officers (and only such) as are warranted by the Gospel, upon which the outward calling of the church hath its ground; but it is concerning a civil magistrate, or a magistrate of a mere civil constitution. I say this. If any man do but consider, in the Gospel there is nothing that is to be called and taken as a positive institution, but that [which is expressly so designated]. I will desire that it may note be taken any advantage of. But [for] the Gospel, the parts of it are either historical, expressing what Christ did when he was in the flesh and how he was brought to death, as the four Evangelists, and the Acts of the Apostles; or else they are exhortatory, written by way of advice to the churches of the Saints in the several parts of the world; and they are written to them, [partly] as applied to what was in general to be the condition of all Saints in all ages to the world’s end, and partly [as applied to] what things were the condition of all the Saints to whom these Epistles were written.a As for the historical part of the Gospel—or [the] prophetical, that’s the Revelation—I suppose no man from the historical part will go to make it necessary that in the historical part there should be anything of [the] institution of ecclesiastical or other magistrates. In the epistolary part, if we first consider that all the Saints or churches to whom these Epistles were written were all under a condition of persecution under heathen magistrates, ratherb than having a power of magistracy in their own hands, we have no reason to think that the Epistles written to them should be intended as to give the rules concerning magistracy. But since there was a rule concerning magistracy, that is [a rule] by whichc the magistrated might judge what was evil and what was good—first, [a rule] had from the light of nature, [and] secondly, [a rule which] had a more clear foundation in the Moral Law (as they call it), that gave grounds which way the magistrate[s] might go—e the Epistlesf do as well leave the magistrate[s free] in the punishment of those things that are in the First Table, upon prudential grounds, not tying them up to the judicial grounds of the Jewish commonwealth, but, when there should be any magistrates Christian[s], leaving them to those foundations and rules of their proceeding which they had a ground for in nature, leaving [to their decision] that which was good or evil, to restrain or not. I conceive the whole drift of the Gospel hath been to apply [restraint] in that kind eitherg to what things are [un]fit to be used amongst men in society as Christians, or else [to] things that [it] were the common duty of men, not [merely of Christian] magistrates, [to restrain]—though [indeed] it says something of that, and if any will say [that he will seek the ground of this action in the Gospel itself], I shall think it to be very good. But this I shall wish to be considered: whether in relation to what is said in the Gospel, if the penalty does cease, then the punishment of it at all does cease. Then I would fain know whether, by the same ground that idolatry should [not] be punished [with death],h murder [also] should not be punished with death. And what should exempt the magistrate under the Gospel fromi punishing idolaters—what you can imagine should excuse the magistrate under the Gospel, or should deter him from punishing them, with death or other punishment, which under the Judicial Law area punishable with death—[I would know] whether the same thing will not serve to this [end]: that now even for murder, for theft, for all those things that are evils against men, which in that law had their particulars [of punishment] prescribed—whether it would not hold as well for these,b that now there ought to be a liberty under the Gospel, [for] it is a time of mercy, and that we ought not to punish those things.
Those punishments of murder by death, and the like, the[ir] original is [a rule of] the equity and justice [which] was not [given] to the Jews [alone], but [to all men]. They are from the Law of Nature. [The Old Testament says]: ‘By whom man’s blood is shed,’ [&c.]. . [But] long before this [murder was punished by death].
We shall desire no more [than this]: that if the ground of that which made it sin, and the ground of the punishment, do remain the same now, then the sin is to be restrained as it was then, and that which was sin then is sin now.
Blasphemy may be punished with two punishments, ifc a sin may be punished with two punishments; as for example, theft: if a man were a church member he might be excommunicated first, and hanged afterwards. That was not a fallacy.
There were two places that Mr. Collier had [alleged]. They must not punish idolatersd then because the magistrate was so.1 But for the woman taken in adultery, this was the reason that Christ did not judge her, because he would not meddle with magistratical matters. All the while Christ lived no Jewish rite was abolished.
I humbly conceive that, while there is a new-seeming question [made], whether such things be nulled by the Gospel, the ground [of your argument is still that] which the Commissary-General says: that which was sin then is sin now.e This is your argument: that what was sin then, and is sin now, and ought to be punished then, it ought to be punished now. I suppose there is no consequence at all [in this argument],a if it were punished then, it ought to be punished now; because it was [punished then] upon a judicial law which was [indeed]b moral, but not naturally moral, and [you] yourself said that the [ground of] punishment was not [alone] naturally [moral].c If so, I would desire to know how we should distinguish whatd part of it was naturally moral and what was not. The Decalogue contains the whole Law. If you will extend it beyond that,e I would know where you will terminate it. Besides, if it were [true that the Judicial Law was] naturally moral, you should find [the whole of] it [in] natural [law]. If it had been given as a thing naturally moral, and [to the magistrate] as a magistrate, then it must belong to every magistrate that was in the world;f and then you must hold that God had ordained such a power to them [all, such a power] in every magistrate.g I must confess [my conviction] that what was given to them was as Jewish magistrates, but not quatenus magistrates. Not determining what a magistrate shall be, you leave us to an uncertainty. We find no such power at all in any magistrate.
If this power should have been destinated in all magistrates, then every magistrate in the world had been boundi to have put all his subjects to death.
If I should reply to what was said, and then adjourn the court, it would be thought not fair; and therefore I shall say nothing in the world to answer to this, but leave men to judge whether that which hath been said be an answer [to my argument] or no.
 i.e. the Council of Officers, not the General Council of the Army, which held its last meeting on 8th January 1648 (see Introduction, pp. [30-1]).
 Debated below. Decided at meeting of 21st December; see pp. 467-8.
 Search has failed to discover the minutes of the debate of this committee. They would be of great interest.
 The first reserve attached to Article VII of the draft Agreement of the People. See pp. 361-2.
 Presumably by Ireton (see below, p. 129).
 Firth quotes from Mercurius Pragmaticus, 12th-19th December: ‘On Saturday the two politic pulpit-drivers of Independency, by name Nye and Goodwin, were at the debate of settling the kingdom, in the mechanic council at Whitehall, and one main question was concerning the extent of magistracy, which Nye and Goodwin requested them not to determine before advice had with some learned divines. Which saying of theirs turned the debate into a quarrel; for the mechanics took snuff, told them they thought themselves as divine as any divines in the kingdom, which a brother standing by undertook to prove, and pretended a sudden revelation for the purpose, by which means both Nye and Goodwin were once again made silenced ministers.’
 Report appears defective. Probably what follows belongs to another speaker, and was followed in turn by the unreported speech to which Rich refers.
 i.e. the power and trust.
 3 John 9.
 Song of Solomon, 8. 9.
 The speaker is, clearly, a layman, a Leveller, not a member of the Army, and one whose name the reporter does not at the moment know. Of those recorded as being present only Overton can fulfil all these requirements (for Wildman has already had speeches ascribed to him).
 The final form of the Agreement (Article VIII) adopted this suggestion, conceding to the people’s Representative ‘the highest and final judgment concerning all natural or civil things, but not concerning things spiritual or evangelical.’ (See p. 361, n. 25.)
 See pp. 338-42.
 See pp. 456-65, especially p. 464.
 This is the point beyond which the official Independent Party, and its clerical representatives, the Dissenting Brethren, were loath to go, whereas the more advanced advocates of toleration saw that to gain this end you must establish liberty for all. See Introduction, pp. [81-2].
 Gal. 3. 16.
 On the drawing up of the draft Agreement see pp. 347-9.
 This is the minimum addition necessary to preserve continuity; for Harrison clearly does not reply to Ireton’s reading of the question, but to a suggested addition of the word ‘restrictive.’ Indeed there is some suggestion in the speeches which immediately follow Harrison’s, that several speeches have been omitted from the report.
 Isa. 10. 27.
 In view of the argument advanced, no other name (of one known to have taken part in the debate) seems possible.
 ‘This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God’ (John 17. 3).
 On the distinction drawn between the Law and the Gospel, and related questions, see Introduction, pp. [40-1], [65-7].
 i.e. the magistrate was himself an idolater. Collier (in a part of his speech unreported) had probably urged the example of Gallio, who refused to interfere in matters of religion and gratify the Jews by punishing St. Paul (Acts 18. 12-16)—a favourite example with the exponents of toleration. Nye scornfully replies that Gallio, a pagan, is no model for the Christian magistrate.
[(b-e)] This summary of the measures discussed and passed at this meeting is from Firth, 2. 71-2; where it is printed from a second and fragmentary account of the Whitehall Debates in Clarke MSS. vol. 16;
[(c)] + resolutions of adjournment, &c.;
[(f)] After heading (place, date, etc.), transferred to opening line above, + Present, Lo: Generall Fairfax + blank (for remaining names). For list of officers present, see Clarke Papers, ed. Firth, 2 270-81.
[127. (a)] + either than;
[(b)] + and;
[(d)] In MS. one word written over another: the final word may be where.
[(b)] + now;
[(d)] + That + blank (half-line);
[(e)] + that;
[(g)] + nott;
[129. (a)] + that;
[(b)] + may.
[130. (a)] + butt;
[(d)] + that;
[(g)] + in;
[(i)] + itt.
[131. (a-b)] tr controversies heretofore hath bin this;
[(c)] + butt;
[(d)] + as;
[(e)] + some;
[132. (a)] + what in matter of acting;
[(b)] + that;
[(f)] tr hath bin offer’d.
[133. (a)] + that;
[(b)] + nott;
[(c)] + if hee;
[(j)] + in itt as that;
[(b)] + for;
[(c)] + if so bee and;
[(g)] + and.
[136. (a)] + and itt may bee;
[(c)] + as;
[(d)] + as are manifest in them;
[(e)] + going;
[(f)] + that;
[(h)] + beeing the power;
[(i)] tr power.
[137. (a)] + and;
[(c)] + nott;
[(b)] + and;
[(c)] + butt;
[(f)]sufferinges + butt.
[139. (a)] + that.
[(b)] + that;
[(d)] + and;
[(e)] + however;
[(f)] + whether;
[(g)] + butt.
[141. (a)] + if;
[(b)] + to itt;
[142. (a)] + indeed;
[(c-d)] tr because in [that] our Remonstrance;
[(e-f)] tr to matters of Justice and of the Kingedome;
[(h)] + and;
[(i)] + that;
[(j)] + itt;
[(k)] + butt.
[144. (a)] + that;
[(b)] + and.
[145. (a)] + for to;
[(b)] + itt;
[(c)] + a;
[(d)] + and;
[(e)] + butt.
[(b)] + itt;
[(d-e)] tr and hee had this case of conscience.
[147. (a-b)]and whiles I am in Bonds heere you will punish mee, when I shall come to Returne to my Spirit, Itt was nott the Saints but God himself: scattered fragments whose reconstruction is purely conjectural;
[(c)] + and;
[(e)] + itt.
[148. (a)] + that;
[(c)]Hewson; Col. Harrison had offered a reason for referring the question of the reserve to a committee [p. 140]; Col. Tichborne had urged it without offering particular reasons; Col. Hewson is not reported as speaking on the subject of a committee;
[(b)] + iff;
[(e)] + that;
[(f)] + civill.
[(b)] + that wch.;
[(c)] + and;
[(d)] + blank;
[(b-c)] (d-e) mutually transposed;
[(f)] + they;
[(g)] + I conceive;
[(h)] + and;
[(i)] + how;
[(j-k)] tr wee have pretended to;
[(l-152 a)]that have bin in the good land have bin in such a scattered time.
[152. (b)] + uppe;
[(c)] + or ought to bee;
[(d)] + blank (half-line), + that;
[(e-f)]a losse at a longe time;
[(b)] + now;
[(c)] + itt;
[(d)] + blank (one line) + and;
[(e)] + that;
[(f)] + butt;
[(g-h)] tr shall nott preach though they bee called of God;
[154. (a)] + that;
[(h)] + 1.;
[(j)] + that they.
[(b)] + 1.;
[(c)] + and;
[(e)] + that they;
[(f-g)] tr were to exercise;
[(h)] + that;
[(i)] + may.
[156. (a-b)]as Magistrates & nott as civill Magistrates, as Magistrates having an aucthority Civill or naturall or as persons signifying;
[(d)] + only. There follows in MS. a fragment ascribed to Nye, which is probably the first part of his speech on p. 159, and is transposed to that place [see 159 e-h];
[(e)] + blank (half line) + that whereas;
[(f)] + that;
[(b)] + for;
[(d)] + such a;
[(f)] + first;
[(g-h)]and the exercise of the samenesse of power for the Exercise of the Gospell under the Law;
[(i)] + First;
[(j)] + itt;
[(k)] + as;
[(l)] + butt.
[158. (a)] + that;
[(b)] Two words are indecipherable. Firth reads the second poetically. It is better to mark the whole phrase as conjectural;
[(c)] + that they;
[159. (a)] + and;
[(b)] + now;
[(c)] + if they;
[(e-h)] tr from after Ireton’s speech [see 156 d], where it makes no sense, purporting to introduce an argument which, in fact, is not introduced. Again, Nye is too nearly in agreement with Ireton to be likely to reply to him. Finally (if it is argued that the rest of Nye’s speech has been omitted), Goodwin ignores him and refers only to Ireton;
[(f-g)] tr suggest my thoughts this way before;
[(i)] tr to him by the people;
[(j)] tr typicall;
[(k)] + that;
[(l)] + and if so.
[(d)] + that;
[(e)] + this;
[(f)] + and;
[(f-g)] tr to avoide such Evills;
[(h)] + the.
[161. (a)] + and;
[(c)] + this, however;
[(d)] tr thinges were;
[(e)] + itt;
[(f-g)]by whome hee is restrain’d.
[162. (a)] tr uppon Conscience;
[(c)] + blank;
[(d)] + 1.;
[(e)] + and;
[(f)] + hee;
[(g-h)] tr and as the Magistrate of a Kingdome or a Nation;
[(h)] + and that;
[(i)] + nott;
[(j-k)] tr the Members of any Ecclesiasticall Society [as];
[(m)] + as;
[163. (a)] + that;
[(d)] + they;
[(g)] + and;
[(h)] + as;
[164. (a)] tr itt will bee much;
[(c)]sense, which appears to have been (indistinctly) altered to fence;
[(d-e)]the punishmt. of the Ceremoniall Law was nott of the Morall Law itt self, the punishment of the Morall Law was not of the Morall Law itt self, butt of the purity of the Jewes;
[(j-k)] tr often minded this day;
[(l)] + that.
[165. (a-b)] tr some thinges mentioned;
[(h-j)] tr wch. was punished with death in the New [i.e. Old] Testament;
[(i-j)]the 1. Corinthians 1. 7;
[(k)] + that;
[(m)] + and the like.
[166. (a)] + as;
[(b)] + that;
[(c)] + and;
[(d)] + the same;
[(e)] tr I will;
[(f)] + before.
[167. (a)] + and;
[(b)] tr were written were all under;
[(g)] tr to what thinges are;
[(h)] + that;
[(c)] tr Nye;
[(e)] + blank (1½ lines).
[169. (a)] + because;
[(b)] + nott;
[(c)] + and;
[(e)]itts (selfe, scored out);
[(f-g)] tr butt nott quatenus Magistrates;
[(h)] + that;
[(i)] Almost illegible; possibly tide;