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Separatist Position From Roger Williams, The Bloody Tenent of Persecution 1 (1644) a - 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 Contents and Contentions]b
* * * Pregnant scriptures and arguments are throughout the work proposed against the doctrine of persecution for cause of conscience. * * * All civil states with their officers of justice, in their respective constitutions and administrations, are proved essentially civil, and therefore not judges, governors, or defenders of the spiritual, or Christian, state and worship. It is the will and command of God that, since the coming of his Son the Lord Jesus, a permission of the most paganish, Jewish, Turkish, or Antichristian consciences and worships be granted to all men in all nations and countries; and they are only to be fought against with that sword which is only, in soul matters, able to conquer, to wit, the sword of God’s Spirit, the word of God. The state of the land of Israel (the kings and people thereof, in peace and war) is proved figurative and ceremonial, and no pattern nor precedent for any kingdom or civil state in the world to follow. God requireth not an uniformity of religion to be enacted and enforced in any civil state; which enforced uniformity, sooner or later, is the greatest occasion of civil war, ravishing of conscience, persecution of Christ Jesus in his servants, and of the hypocrisy and destruction of millions of souls. * * * An enforced uniformity of religion throughout a nation or civil state confounds the civil and religious, denies the principles of Christianity and civility, and that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. The permission of other consciences and worships than a state professeth only can, according to God, procure a firm and lasting peace; good assurance being taken, according to the wisdom of the civil state, for uniformity of civil obedience from all sorts. True civility and Christianity may both flourish in a state or kingdom, not withstanding the permission of divers and contrary consciences, either of Jew or Gentile. * * *
[Religion and the Civil Peace]c
* * * First for civil peace, what is it but pax civitatis, the peace of the city? . . . Thus it pleased the Father of Lights to define it. Jer. 29. 7: Pray for the peace of the city. Which peace of the city, or citizens so compacted in a civil way of union, may be entire, unbroken, safe, &c., notwithstanding so many thousands of God’s people, the Jews, were there in bondage and would neither be constrained to the worship of the city Babel, nor restrained from so much of the worship of the true God as they then could practise, as is plain in the practice of the three worthies, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, as also of Daniel (Dan. 3; and 6)—the peace of the city or kingdom being a far different peace from the peace of the religion, or spiritual worship, maintained and professed of the citizens. This peace of their worship (which worship also in some cities being various) being a false peace, God’s people were and ought to be nonconformitants, not daring either to be restrained from the true or constrained to false worship; and yet without breach of the civil or city peace, properly so called.
Hence it is that so many glorious and flourishing cities of the world maintain their civil peace; yea, the very Americans and wildest pagans keep the peace of their towns or cities, though neither in one nor the other can any man prove a true church of God in those places, and consequently no spiritual and heavenly peace—the peace spiritual, whether true or false, being of a higher and far different nature from the peace of the place or people, [that] being merely and essentially civil and human.
* * * To illustrate this. The church, or company of worshippers, whether true or false, is like unto a body or college of physicians in a city, like unto a corporation, society, or company of East India or Turkey merchants, or any other society or company in London; which companies may hold their courts, keep their records, hold disputations, and in matters concerning their society may dissent, divide, break into schisms and factions, sue and implead each other at the law, yea, wholly break up and dissolve into pieces and nothing, and yet the peace of the city not be in the least measure impaired or disturbed; because the essence or being of the city, and so the well-being and peace thereof, is essentially distinct from those particular societies; the city courts, city laws, city punishments, distinct from theirs. The city was before them, and stands absolute and entire when such a corporation or society is taken down. For instance further. The city or civil state of Ephesus was essentially distinct from the worship of Diana in the city, or of the whole city. Again the church of Christ in Ephesus, which were God’s people, converted and called out from the worship of that city unto Christianity or worship of God in Christ, was distinct from both. Now suppose that God remove the candlestick from Ephesus, yea, though the whole worship of the city of Ephesus should be altered; yet, if men be true and honestly ingenuous to city covenants, combinations, and principles, all this might be without the least impeachment or infringement of the peace of the city of Ephesus. * * *
[Parable of the Tares (Matt. 13. 24-30) Interpreted]a
I shall make it evident, that by these tares in this parable are meant persons in respect of their religion and way of worship, open and visible professors, as bad as briars and thorns,1 not only suspected foxes, but as bad as those greedy wolves which Paul speaks of (Acts 20. ), who with perverse and evil doctrines labour spiritually to devour the flock, and to draw away disciples after them, whose mouths must be stopped, and yet no carnal force or weapon to be used against them; but their mischief to be resisted with those mighty weapons of the holy armoury of the Lord Jesus, wherein there hangs a thousand shields (Cant. 4. ).
That the Lord Jesus intendeth not doctrines, or practices, by the tares in this parable, is clear. For . . . the Lord Jesus expressly interpreteth the good seed to be persons, and those the children of the kingdom; and the tares also to signify men, and those the children of the wicked one (ver. 38). * * *
Again, hypocrites were not intended by the Lord Jesus in this famous parable.
First, the original word ζιζάνια, signifying all those weeds which spring up with the corn, as cockle, darnel, tares, &c., seems to imply such a kind of people as commonly and generally are known to be manifestly different from, and opposite to, the true worshippers of God, here called the children of the kingdom: as these weeds, tares, cockle, darnel, &c., are commonly and presently known by every husbandman to differ from the wheat, and to be opposite, and contrary, and hurtful unto it. * * *
The second reason why these tares cannot signify hypocrites in the church, I take from the Lord Jesus his own interpretation of the field in which both wheat and tares are sown, which, saith he, is the world, out of which God chooseth and calleth his Church.
The world lies in wickedness, is like a wilderness, or a sea of wild beasts innumerable, fornicators, covetous, idolaters, &c.; with whom God’s people may lawfully converse and cohabit in cities, towns, &c., else must they not live in the world, but go out of it. In which world, as soon as ever the Lord Jesus had sown the good seed, the children of the kingdom, true Christianity, or the true Church, the enemy Satan presently . . . sowed also these tares, which are Antichristians or false Christians. These strange professors of the name of Jesus the ministers and prophets of God beholding, they are ready to run to heaven to fetch fiery judgments from thence to consume these strange Christians, and to pluck them by the roots out of the world. But the Son of Man, the meek Lamb of God—for the Elect’s sake which must be gathered out of Jew and Gentile, pagan, Antichristian—commands a permission of them in the world, until the time of the end of the world, when the goats and sheep, the tares and wheat, shall be eternally separated each from other. * * *
Such, then, are the good seed, good wheat, children of the kingdom as are the disciples, members, and subjects of the Lord Jesus Christ, his Church and kingdom; and therefore, consequently, such are the tares as are opposite to these, idolaters, will-worshippers, not truly but falsely submitting to Jesus, and in especial, the children of the wicked one, visibly so appearing. * * *
Secondly, it is manifest that the Lord Jesus in this parable intends no other sort of sinners, ofa whom he saith, Let them alone, in church or state; for then he should contradict other holy and blessed ordinances for the punishment of offenders, both in Christian and civil state.
First in civil state. From the beginning of the world, God hath armed fathers, masters, magistrates, to punish evil-doers; that is, such, of whose actions fathers, masters, magistrates are to judge, and accordingly to punish such sinners as transgress against the good and peace of their civil state, families, towns, cities, kingdoms—their states, governments, governors, laws, punishments, and weapons being all of a civil nature; and therefore neither disobedience to parents or magistrates, nor murder, nor quarrelling, uncleanness nor lasciviousness, stealing nor extortion, neither aught of that kind, ought to be let alone either in lesser or greater families, towns, cities, kingdoms (Rom. 13), but seasonably to be suppressed, as may best conduce to the public safety.
Again, secondly, in the kingdom of Christ Jesus, whose kingdom, officers, laws, punishments, weapons, are spiritual and of a soul nature, he will not have Antichristian idolaters, extortioners, covetous, &c., to be let alone; but the unclean and lepers to be thrust forth, the old leaven purged out, the obstinate in sin spiritually stoned to death, and put away from Israel; and this by many degrees of gentle admonition in private and public, as the case requires.
Therefore, if neither offenders against the civil laws, state, and peace ought to be let alone, nor the spiritual estate, the Church of Jesus Christ, ought to bear with them that are evil (Rev. 2. ), I conclude that these are sinners of another nature—idolaters, false worshippers, Antichristians, who without discouragement to true Christians must be let alone and permitted in the world to grow and fill up the measure of their sins, after the image of him that hath sown them, until the great harvest shall make the difference. * * *
Now if any imagine that the time or date is long, that in the mean season they may do a world of mischief before the world’s end, as by infection, &c.;a first, I answer that as the civil state keeps itself with a civil guard, in case these tares shall attempt aught against the peace and welfare of it, let such civil offences be punished; and yet, as tares, opposite to Christ’s kingdom, let their worship and consciences be tolerated. Secondly, the Church, or spiritual state, city or kingdom, hath laws and orders and armouries, . . . weapons and ammunition, able to break down the strongest holds (2b Cor. 10. ), and so to defend itself against the very gates of earth or hell. Thirdly, the Lord himself knows who are his, and his foundation remaineth sure; his elect or chosen cannot perish nor be finally deceived.
Lastly, the Lord Jesus here, in this parable, lays down two reasons, able to content and satisfy our hearts to bear patiently this their contradiction and Antichristianity, and to permit or let them alone.
First, lest the good wheat be plucked up and rooted up also out of this field of the world. If such combustions and fightings were as to pluck up all the false professors of the name of Christ, the good wheat also would enjoy little peace, but be in danger to be plucked up and torn out of this world by such bloody storms and tempests. And, therefore, as God’s people are commanded (Jer. 29. ) to pray for the peace of material Babel, wherein they were captivated, and (1 Tim. 2. [1, 2]) to pray for all men, and specially [for] kings and governors, that in the peace of the civil state they may have peace: so, contrary to the opinion and practice of most, drunk with the cup of the Whore’s fornication, yea, and of God’s own people fast asleep in Antichristian Delilah’s lap, obedience to the command of Christ to let the tares alone will prove the only means to preserve their civil peace, anda without obedience to this command of Christ, it is impossible (without great transgression against the Lord in carnal policy, which will not long hold out) to preserve the civil peace. Beside, God’s people, the good wheat, are generally plucked up and persecuted, as well as the vilest idolaters, whether Jews or Antichristians; which the Lord Jesus seems in this parable to foretell.
The second reason noted in the parable, which may satisfy any man from wondering at the patience of God, is this. When the world is ripe in sin, in the sins of Antichristianism (as the Lord spake of the sins of the Amorites, Gen. 15.b ), then those holy and mighty officers and executioners, the angels, with their sharp and cutting sickles of eternal vengeance, shall down with them, and bundle them up for the everlasting burnings. Then shall that man of sin (2 Thess. 2. ) be consumed by the breath of the mouth of the Lord Jesus; and all that worship the Beast and his picture, and receive his mark into their forehead or their hands, shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God; which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation, and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment shall ascend up for ever and ever (Rev. 14. 10, 11). * * *
I conceive this charge of the Lord Jesus to his messengers, the preachers and proclaimers of his mind, is a sufficient declaration of the mind of the Lord Jesus if any civil magistrate should make question what were his duty concerning spiritual things.
The Apostles, and in them all that succeed them, being commanded not to pluck up the tares, but let them alone, received from the Lord Jesus a threefold charge. First, to let them alone, and not to pluck them up by prayer to God for their present temporal destruction. * * * Secondly, God’s messengers are herein commanded not to prophesy, or denounce, a present destruction or extirpation of all false professors of the name of Christ, which are whole towns, cities, and kingdoms full. * * * Thirdly, I conceive God’s messengers are charged to let them alone, and not pluck them up by exciting and stirring up civil magistrates, kings, emperors, governors, parliaments, or general courts or assemblies, to punish and persecute all such persons out of their dominions and territories as worship not the true God according to the revealed will of God in Christ Jesus. * * * And therefore saith Paul expressly (1 Cor. 5. 10), we must go out of the world in case we may not company in civil converse with idolaters, &c. * * *
I shall conclude this controversy about this parable, in this brief sum and recapitulation of what hath been said.
I hope, by the evident demonstration of God’s Spirit to the conscience, I have proved, negatively: . . . that the tares in this parable cannot signify doctrines or practices, as was affirmed, but persons; . . . the tares cannot signify hypocrites in the church, either undiscovered or discovered; . . . the tares here cannot signify scandalous offenders in the church, . . . nor scandalous offenders in life and conversation against the civil state; . . . the field in which these tares are sown is not the church.
Again, affirmatively: . . . The field is properly the world, the civil state or commonwealth; . . . the tares here intended by the Lord Jesus are Antichristian idolaters, opposite to the good seed of the kingdom, true Christians; . . . the ministers or messengers of the Lord Jesus ought to let them alone to live in the world, and neither seek by prayer or prophecy to pluck them up before the harvest; . . . this permission or suffering of them in the field of the world is not for hurt, but for common good, even for the good of the good wheat, the people of God. Lastly, the patience of God is that, that the patience of men ought to be exercised toward them; and yet notwithstanding, their doom is fearful at the harvest, even gathering, bundling, and everlasting burnings, by the mighty hand of the angels in the end of the world. * * *
[The Blind Pharisee, Matt. 15. 14]a
* * * Beside, let it be seriously considered by such as plead for present corporal punishment, as conceiving that such sinners though they break not civil peace, should not escape unpunished—I say, let it be considered, though for the present their punishment is deferred, yet the punishment inflicted on them will be found to amount to a higher pitch than any corporal punishment in the world beside. . . . First by just judgment from God, false teachers are stark blind. God’s sword hath struck out the right eye of their mind and spiritual understanding, ten thousand times a greater punishment than if the magistrate should command both the right and left eye of their bodies to be bored or plucked out. . . . Secondly, how fearful is that wound that no balm in Gilead can cure! How dreadful is that blindness which for ever to all eye-salve is incurable! For if persons be wilfully and desperately obstinate, after light shining forth, Let them alone, saith the Lord. * * * Thirdly, their end is the ditch, that bottomless pit of everlasting separation from the holy and sweet presence of the Father of Lights, Goodness, and Mercy itself—endless, easeless, in extremity, universality, and eternity of torments. * * * Fourthly, of those that fall into this dreadful ditch, both leader and followers, how deplorable in more especial manner is the leader’s case, upon whose neck the followers tumble—the ruin not only of his own soul being horrible, but also the ruin of the followers’ souls eternally galling and tormenting.
Some will say, these things are indeed full of horror; yet such is the state of all sinners, and of many malefactors, whom yet the state is bound to punish, and sometimes by death itself.
I answer, the civil magistrate beareth not the sword in vain, but to cut off civil offences, yea, and the offenders too in case. But what is this to a blind Pharisee, resisting the doctrine of Christ, who haply may be as good a subject, and as peaceable and profitable to the civil state as any? And for his spiritual offence against the Lord Jesus in denying him to be the true Christ, he suffereth the vengeance of a dreadful judgment, both present and eternal, as before.
Yea, but it is said that the blind Pharisees, misguiding the subjects of a civil state, greatly sin against a civil state, and therefore justly suffer civil punishment; for shall the civil magistrate take care of outsides only, to wit, of the bodies of men, and not of souls, in labouring to procure their everlasting welfare?
I answer, it is a truth. The mischief of a blind Pharisee’s blind guidance is greater than if he acted treasons, murders, &c.; and the loss of one soul by his seduction is a greater mischief than if he blew up parliaments, and cuta the throats of kings or emperors; so precious is that invaluable jewel of a soul above all the present lives and bodies of all the men in the world! And therefore I affirm that justice, calling for eye for eye, tooth for tooth, life for life, calls also [for] soul for soul; which the blind-guiding, seducing Pharisee shall surely pay in that dreadful ditch which the Lord Jesus speaks of. But this sentence against him the Lord Jesus only pronounceth in his Church, his spiritual judicature, and executes this sentence in part at present, and hereafter to all eternity. Such a sentence no civil judge can pass; such a death no civil sword can inflict.
I answer, secondly, dead men cannot be infected. The civil state, the world, being in a natural state, dead in sin (whatever be the state-religion unto which persons are forced), it is impossible it should be infected. Indeed the living, the believing, the Church and spiritual state, that and that only is capable of infection; for whose help we shall presently see what preservatives and remedies the Lord Jesus hath appointed.
Moreover, as we see in a common plague or infection the names are taken how many are to die, and not one more shall be struck than the destroying angel hath the names of: so here, whatever be the soul-infection breathed out from the lying lips of a plague-sick Pharisee, yet the names are taken; not one elect or chosen of God shall perish. God’s sheep are safe in his eternal hand and counsel, and he that knows his material, knows also his mystical stars, their numbers, and calls them every one by name. None fall into the ditch on the blind Pharisee’s back but such as were ordained to that condemnation, both guide and followers (1 Pet. 2. 8; Jude 4). The vessels of wrath shall break and split, and only they—to the praise of God’s eternal justice (Rom. 9. 22). * * *
[Romans 13. Examined]a
The next scripture produced against such persecution is 2 Cor. 10. 4: The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. * * *
I acknowledge that herein the spirit of God denieth not civil weapons of justice to the civil magistrate, which . . . Rom[ans] 13. abundantly testifie[s]. * * *
I . . . observe that there being in this scripture [2 Cor. 10. 4] held forth a twofold state, a civil state and a spiritual, civil officers and spiritual, civil weapons and spiritual weapons, civil vengeance and punishment and a spiritual vengeance and punishment—although the Spirit speaks not here expressly of civil magistrates and their civil weapons—yet, these states being of different natures and considerations, as far differing as spirit from flesh, I . . . observe that civil weapons are most improper and unfitting in matters of the spiritual state and kingdom, though in the civil state most proper and suitable. * * *
Now, in the second place, concerning that scripture (Rom[ans] 13.) . . . my humble request . . . is for your care . . . to enlighten and clear this scripture.
First, then, upon the serious examination of this whole scripture it will appear that from the ninth verse of the twelfth chapter to the end of this whole thirteenth chapter, the Spirit handles the duties of the Saints in the careful observation of the Second Table in their civil conversation or walking towards men, and speaks not at all of any point or matter of the First Table concerning the kingdom of the Lord Jesus. For having in the whole Epistle handled that great point of free justification by the free grace of God in Christ, in the beginning of the twelfth chapter he exhorts the believers to give and dedicate themselves unto the Lord both in soul and body; and unto the ninth verse of the twelfth chapter he expressly mentioneth their conversation in the kingdom or body of Christ Jesus, together with the several officers thereof. And from the ninth verse to the end of the thirteenth [chapter], he plainly discourseth of their civil conversation and walking one toward another, and with all men, from whence he hath fair occasion to speak largely concerning their subjection to magistrates in the thirteenth chapter.
Hence it is that [at] verse 7 of this thirteenth chapter, Paul exhorts to performance of love to all men, magistrates and subjects . . .: Render, therefore, to all their due; tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. * * *
The Spirit of God here commands subjection and obedience to higher powers, even to the Roman emperors and all subordinate magistrates; and yet the emperors and governors under them were strangers from the life of God in Christ, yea, most averse and opposite, yea, cruel and bloody persecutors of the name and followers of Jesus: and yet unto these is this subjection and obedience commanded. * * * Now then, I argue, if the Apostle should have commanded this subjection unto the Roman emperors and Roman magistrates in spiritual causes . . .: I say, if Paul should have, in this scripture, put this work upon these Roman governors and commanded the churches of Christ to have yielded subjection in any such matters, he must, in the judgment of all men, have put out the eye of faith and reason and sense, at once. * * *
I dispute from the nature of the magistrate’s weapons (ver. 4). He hath a sword, which he bears not in vain, delivered to him, as I acknowledge, from God’s appointment in the free consent and choice of the subjects for common good.
We must distinguish of swords. We find four sorts of swords mentioned in the New Testament: First, the sword of persecution . . .; secondly, the sword of God’s Spirit, expressly said to be the word of God (Eph. 6. ), a sword of two edges . . . piercing . . . between the soul and the spirit (Heb. 4. ); thirdly, the great sword of war and destruction, given to him that rides that terrible red horse of war, so that he takes peace from the earth, and men kill one another, as is most lamentably true in the slaughter of so many hundred thousand souls within these few years in several parts of Europe, our own and others. None of these three swords are intended in this scripture. Therefore, fourthly, there is a civil sword, called the sword of civil justice, which being of a material, civil nature, for the defence of persons, estates, families, liberties of a city or civil state, and the suppressing of uncivil or injurious persons or actions by such civil punishment, it cannot, according to its utmost reach and capacity, now under Christ when all nations are merely civil, without any such typical, holy respect upon them as was upon Israel, a national church—I say, [it] cannot extend to spiritual and soul-causes, spiritual and soul-punishment, which belongs to that spiritual sword with two edges, the soul-piercing (in soul-saving, or soul-killing), the word of God. * * *
Lastly, that the Spirit of God never intended to direct or warrant the magistrate to use his power in spiritual affairs and religious worship, I argue from the term or title it pleaseth the wisdom of God to give such civil officers, to wit (ver. 6) God’s ministers.
Now at the very first blush, no man denies a double ministry. The one appointed by Christ Jesus in his Church, to gather, to govern, receive in, cast out, and order all the affairs of the Church, the house, city, or kingdom of God (Eph. 4; 1 Cor. 12). Secondly, a civil ministry or office, merely human and civil, which men agree to constitute, called therefore a human creation (1 Pet. 2. ), and is as true and lawful in those nations, cities, kingdoms, &c., which never heard of the true God, nor his holy Son Jesus, as in any part of the world beside, where the name of Jesus is most taken up.
From all which premises, viz., that the scope of the Spirit of God in this chapter is to handle the matters of the Second Table (having handled the matters of the First in the twelfth); since the magistrates of whom Paul wrote were natural, ungodly, persecuting, and yet lawful magistrates, and to be obeyed in all lawful civil things; since all magistrates are God’s ministers, essentially civil, bounded to a civil work, with civil weapons or instruments, and paid or rewarded with civil rewards;—from all which, I say, I undeniably collect that this scripture is generally mistaken, and wrested from the scope of God’s Spirit and the nature of the place, and cannot truly be alleged by any for the power of the civil magistrate to be exercised in spiritual and soul-matters. * * *
Against this, I know, many object, out of the fourth verse of this chapter, that the magistrate is to avenge or punish evil: from whence is gathered that heresy, false Christs, false churches, false ministries, false seals, being evil, ought to be punished civilly, &c.
I answer, that the word κακὸν is generally opposed to civil goodness or virtue in a commonwealth, and not to spiritual good or religion in the Church.
Secondly, I have proved from the scope of the place, that here is not intended evil against the spiritual or Christian estate handled in the twelfth chapter, but evil against the civil state in this thirteenth, properly falling under the cognizance of the civil minister of God, the magistrate, and punishable by that civil sword of his, as an incivility, disorder, or breach of that civil order, peace, and civility, unto which all the inhabitants of a city, town, or kingdom, oblige themselves. * * *
[‘Christ Jesus the deepest politician that ever was’]a
* * * It is evil, saith he [Cotton], to tolerate notorious evil-doers, seducing teachers, scandalous livers. In which speech I observe two evils.
First, that this proposition is too large and general, because the rule admits of exception, and that according to the will of God. (1) It is true that evil cannot alter its nature but it is alway evil, as darkness is alway darkness; yet (2) it must be remembered that it is one thing to command, to conceal, to counsel, to approve evil, and another thing to permit and suffer evil with protestation against it or dislike of it—at least without approbation of it. Lastly, this sufferance or permission of evil is not for its own sake, but for the sake of good, which puts a respect of goodness upon such permission.
Hence it is that for God’s own glory’s sake, which is the highest good, he endures (that is, permits or suffers) the vessels of wrath (Rom. 9. ). And therefore, although he be of pure eyes and can behold no iniquity, yet his pure eyeb patiently and quietly beholds and permits all the idolatries and profanations, all the thefts and rapines, all the whoredoms and abominations, all the murders and poisonings; and yet, I say, for his glory’s sake he is patient and long permits.
Hence for his people’s sake (which is the next good, in his Son), he is oftentimes pleased to permit and suffer the wicked to enjoy a longer reprieve. * * *
It may be said, this is no pattern for us, because God is above law, and an absolute sovereign.
I answer, although we find him sometime dispensing with his law, yet we never find him deny himself, or utter a falsehood. And therefore, when it crosseth not an absolute rule, to permit and tolerate—as in the case of the permission of the souls and consciences of all men in the world, I have shown, and shall show further, it doth not—it will not hinder our being holy as he is holy, in all manner of conversation. * * *
This ground, to wit, for a common good of the whole, is the same with that of the Lord Jesus’ commanding the tares to be permitted in the world because, otherwise, the good wheat should be endangered to be rooted up out of the field or world also, as well as the tares. And therefore, for the good’ sake, the tares, which are indeed evil, were to be permitted: yea, and for the general good of the whole world, the field itself, which, for want of this obedience to that command of Christ, hath been and is laid waste and desolate with the fury and rage of civil war, professedly raised and maintained, as all states profess, for the maintenance of one true religion—after the pattern of that typical land of Canaan—and to suppress and pluck up these tares of false prophets and false professors, Antichristians, heretics, &c., out of the world.
Hence illae lachrymae: hence Germany’s, Ireland’s, and now England’s tears and dreadful desolations, which ought to have been, and may be for the future, by obedience to the command of the Lord Jesus concerning the permission of tares to live in the world, though not in the Church—I say, ought to have been, and may be, mercifully prevented.
I pray descend now to the second evil which you observe in the answerer’s position, viz., that it would be evil to tolerate notorious evil-doers, seducing teachers, &c.
I say, the evil is that he most improperly and confusedly joins and couples seducing teachers with scandalous livers. * * *
First, it is not an homogeneal (as we speak), but an heterogeneal commixture or joining together of things most different in kinds and natures, as if they were both of one consideration. For who knows not but that many seducing teachers, either of the paganish, Jewish, Turkish, or Antichristian religion, may be clear and free from scandalous offences in their life, as also from disobedience to the civil laws of a state? * * * Again, who knows not that a seducing teacher properly sins against a church or spiritual estate and laws of it, and therefore ought most properly and only to be dealt withal in such a way, and by such weapons, as the Lord Jesus himself hath appointed; gainsayers, opposites, and disobedients—either within his Church or without—to be convinced, repelled, resisted, and slain withal? Whereas scandalous offencea against parents, against magistrates in the Fifth Command[ment], and so against the life, chastity, goods, or good name in the rest, is properly transgression against the civil state and commonweal, or the worldly state of men. And therefore, consequently, if the world or civil state ought to be preserved by civil government or governors, such scandalous offenders ought not to be tolerated, but suppressed according to the wisdom and prudence of the said government.
Secondly, as there is a fallacious conjoining and confounding together persons of several kinds and natures, differing as much as spirit and flesh, heaven and earth, each from other: so is there a silent and implicit justification to all the unrighteous and cruel proceedings of Jews and Gentiles against all the prophets of God, the Lord Jesus himself, and all his messengers and witnesses, whom their accusers have ever so coupled and mixed with notorious evil-doers and scandalous livers. * * *
Yea, but he produceth scriptures against such toleration, and for persecuting men for the cause of conscience: ‘Christ,’ saith he, ‘had something against the angel of the church of Pergamos, for tolerating them that held the doctrine of Balaam, and against the church of Thyatira, for tolerating Jezebel to teach and seduce (Rev. 2. 14, 20).’
* * * From this perverse wresting of what is writ to the church and the officers thereof, as if it were written to the civil state and officers thereof, all may see how, since the apostasy of Antichrist, the Christian world (so-called) hath swallowed up Christianity; how the church and civil state, that is, the Church and the world, are now become one flock of Jesus Christ. Christ’s sheep, and the pastors or shepherds of them, all one with the several unconverted, wild, or tame beasts and cattle of the world, and the civil and earthly governors of them: the Christian Church, or kingdom of the Saints, that stone cut out of the mountain without hands (Dan. 2. ) now made all one with the mountain or civil state, the Roman empire, from whence it is cut or taken; Christ’s lilies, garden, and love, all one with the thorns, the daughters and wilderness of the world, out of which the spouse or church of Christ is called—and amongst whom in civil things, for a while here below, she must necessarily be mingled and have converse, unless she will go out of the world before Christ Jesus, her Lord and husband, send for her home into the heavens (1 Cor. 5. 10). * * *
I affirm that the state-policy and state-necessity, which, for the peace of the state and preventing of rivers of civil blood, permits the consciences of men, will be found to agree most punctually with the rules of the best politician that ever the world saw, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, in comparison of whom Solomon himself had but a drop of wisdom compared to Christ’s ocean, and was but a farthing candle compared with the all- and ever-glorious Sun of Righteousness. That absolute rule of this great politician for the peace of the field which is the world, and for the good and peace of the Saints who must have a civil being in the world, I have discoursed of in his command of permitting the tares, that is, Antichristians, or false Christians, to be in the field of the world, growing up together with the true wheat, true Christians. * * *
[Toleration for Roman Catholics]a
‘As for the testimony of the popish book,’ saith he [Cotton], ‘we weigh it not, as knowing whatever they speak for toleration of religion where themselves are under hatches, when they come to sit at stern they judge and practise quite contrary, as both their writings and judicial proceedings have testified to the world these many years.’
I answer, although both writings and practices have been such, yet the scriptures and expressions of truth alleged and uttered by them, speak loud and fully for them when they are under the hatches, that for their conscience and religion they should not there be choked and smothered, but suffered to breathe and walk upon the decks, in the air of civil liberty and conversation in the ship of the commonwealth, upon good assurance given of civil obedience to the civil state.
Again, if this practice be so abominable in his eyes from the papists, viz., that they are so partial as to persecute when they sit at helm, and yet cry out against persecution when they are under the hatches, I shall beseech the Righteous Judge of the whole world to present, as in a water or glass where face answereth to face, the faces of the Papist to the Protestant, answering to each other in the sameness of partiality, both of this doctrine and practice. When Mr. Cotton and others have formerly been under hatches, what sad and true complaints have they abundantly poured forth against persecution! How have they opened that heavenly scripture (Cant. 4. 8) where Christ Jesus calls his tender wife and spouse from the fellowship with persecutors in their dens of lions and mountains of leopards! But coming to the helm, as he speaks of the papists, how, both by preaching, writing, printing, practice, do they themselves—I hope in their persons lambs—unnaturally and partially express towards others the cruel nature of such lions and leopards! Oh that the God of Heaven might please to tell them how abominable in his eyes are a weight and a weight, a stone and a stone, in the bag of weights—one weight for themselves when they are under hatches, and another for others when they come to helm! Nor shall their confidence of their being in the truth, which they judge the papists and others are not in—no, nor the truth itself—privilege them to persecute others, and to exempt themselves from persecution. * * *
[‘A Model of Church and Civil Power’ Examined]
. . . I observe that although the kingdom of Christ, the Church, and the civil kingdom or government be not inconsistent, but that both may stand together; yet that they are independent according to that scripture [My kingdom is not of this world (John 18. 36)]; and that therefore there may be, as formerly I have proved, flourishing commonweals and societies of men where no church of Christ abideth. And secondly, the commonweal may be in perfect peace and quiet, notwithstanding the Church, the commonweal of Christ, be in distractions and spiritual oppositions, both against their religions and sometimes amongst themselves (as the church of Christ in Corinth, troubled with divisions, contentions, &c.).
Secondly, I observe, it is true, the Church helpeth forward the prosperity of the commonweal by spiritual means (Jer. 29. 7). The prayers of God’s people procure the peace of the city where they abide; yet that Christ’s ordinances and administrations of worship are appointed and given by Christ to any civil state, town, or city, as is implied by the instance of Geneva, that I confidently deny.
The ordinances and discipline of Christ Jesus, though wrongfully and profanely applied to natural and unregenerate men, may cast a blush of civility and morality upon them, as in Geneva and other places—for the shining brightness of the very shadow of Christ’s ordinances casts a shame upon barbarism and incivility—yet withal I affirm that the misapplication of ordinances to unregenerate and unrepentant persons hardens up their souls in a dreadful sleep and dream of their own blessed estate and sends millions of souls to hell in a secure expectation of a false salvation. * * *
* * * If the powers of the world or civil state are bound to propose external peace in all godliness for their end, and the end of the Church be to preserve internal peace in all godliness, I demand, if their end (godliness) be the same, is not their power and state the same also; unless they make the Church subordinate to the commonwealth’s end, or the commonweal subordinate to the Church’s end, which—being the governor and setter-up of it, and so consequently the judge of it—it cannot be? * * *
I ask further, what is this internal peace in all godliness? Whether intend they internal, within the soul, which only the eye of God can see, opposed to external or visible, which man also can discern? Or else, whether they mean internal, that is spiritual soul-matters, matters of God’s worship? And then I say, that peace, to wit, of godliness or God’s worship, they had before granted to the civil state.
The truth is, as I now perceive, the best and most godly of that judgment declare themselves never to have seen a true difference between the Church and the world, and the spiritual and civil state; and howsoever these worthy authors seem to make a kind of separation from the world, and profess that the Church must consist of spiritual and living stones, Saints, regenerate persons, and so make some peculiar enclosed ordinances, as the Supper of the Lord, which none, say they, but godly persons must taste of; yet by compelling all within their jurisdiction to an outward conformity of the church worship, of the word and prayer, and maintenance of the ministry thereof, they evidently declare that they still lodge and dwell in the confused mixtures of the unclean and clean, of the flock of Christ and herds of the world together—I mean, in spiritual and religious worship. * * *
I confess that without godliness, or a true worshipping of God with an upright heart according to God’s ordinances, neither subjects nor magistrates can please God in Christ Jesus, and so be spiritually or Christianly good. Which, few magistrates and few men either come to, or are ordained unto, God having chosen a little flock out of the world, and those generally poor and mean (1 Cor. 1. ; James 2. ).
Yet this I must remember you of: that when the most high God created all things of nothing, he saw and acknowledged divers sorts of goodness, which must still be acknowledged in their distinct kinds—a good air, a good ground, a good tree, a good sheep, &c. I say the same in artificials, a good garment, a good house, a good sword, a good ship. I also add, a good city, a good company or corporation, a good husband, father, master. Hence also we say, a good physician, a good lawyer, a good seaman, a good merchant, a good pilot for such or such a shore or harbour; that is, morally, civilly, good in their several civil respects and employments.
Hence (Psalm 122a ) the Church, or city of God, is compared to a city compact within itself; which compactness may be found in many towns and cities of the world where yet hath not shined any spiritual or supernatural goodness. Hence the Lord Jesus (Matt. 12 ) describes an ill state of an house or kingdom, viz., to be divided against itself, which cannot stand.
These I observe to prove that a subject, a magistrate, may be a good subject, a good magistrate, in respect of civil or moral goodness (which thousands want, and where it is it is commendable and beautiful), though godliness, which is more beautiful, be wanting, and which is only proper to the Christian state, the commonweal of Israel, the true Church, the holy nation (Eph. 2; 1 Pet. 2). * * *
* * * Whereas they say that the civil power may erect and establish what form of civil government may seem in wisdom most meet, I acknowledge the proposition to be most true, both in itself, and also considered with the end of it, that a civil government is an ordinance of God to conserve the civil peace of people so far as concerns their bodies and goods, as formerly hath been said.
But from this grant I infer, as before hath been touched, that the sovereign original and foundation of civil power lies in the people, whom they must needs mean by the civil power distinct from the government set up. And if so, that a people may erect and establish what form of government seems to them most meet for their civil condition. It is evident that such governments as are by them erected and established, have no more power, nor for no longer time, than the civil power, or people consenting and agreeing, shall betrust them with. This is clear not only in reason, but in the experience of all commonweals where the people are not deprived of their natural freedom by the power of tyrants.
And if so—that the magistrates receive their power of governing the Church from the people—undeniably it follows that a people as a people, naturally considered—of what nature or nation soever, in Europe, Asia, Africa, or America—have fundamentally and originally as men, a power to govern the Church, to see her do her duty, to correct her, to redress, reform, establish, &c. And if this be not to pull God and Christ and Spirit out of heaven, and subject them unto natural, sinful, inconstant men, and so consequently to Satan himself, by whom all peoples naturally are guided, let heaven and earth judge!
It cannot, by their own grant, be denied but that the wildest Indians in America ought (and in their kind and several degrees do) to agree upon some forms of government, some more civil compact in towns, &c., some less; as also, that their civil and earthly governments be as lawful and true as any governments in the world. And therefore, consequently, their governors are keepers of the Church, or both Tables, if any church of Christ should arise or be amongst them. And therefore, lastly, if Christ have betrusted and charged the civil power with his Church, they must judge according to their Indian or American consciences, for other consciences it cannot be supposed they should have.
Again, whereas they say that outward civil peace cannot stand where religion is corrupted (and quote for it 2 Chron. 15. 3, 5, 6; and Judges 8), I answer with admiration how such excellent spirits as these authors are furnished with, not only in heavenly but earthly affairs, should so forget and be so fast asleep in things so palpably evident, as to say that outward civil peace cannot stand where religion is corrupt, when so many stately kingdoms and governments in the world have long and long enjoyed civil peace and quiet, notwithstanding their religion is so corrupt as that there is not the very name of Jesus Christ amongst them. And this every historian, merchant, traveller in Europe, Asia, Africa, America, can testify. For so spake the Lord Jesus himself (John 16. ): The world shall sing and rejoice.
Secondly, for that scripture, 2 Chron. 15. 3, &c., relating the miseries of Israel and Judah, and God’s plagues upon that people for corruption of their religion, it must still have reference to that peculiar state unto which God called the seed of one man, Abraham, in a figure, dealing so with them as he dealt not with any nation in the world (Psalm 147a ; Rom. 9). The antitype to this state I have proved to be the Christian Church, which consequently hath been and is afflicted with spiritual plagues, desolations, and captivities, for corrupting of that religion which hath been revealed unto them. This appears by the seven churches, and [by] the people of God, now so many hundred years in woeful bondage and slavery to the mystical Babel, until the time of their joyful deliverance. * * *
Their fifth head is concerning the magistrates’ power in making of laws.
‘First, they have power to publish and apply such civil laws in a state as either are expressed in the word of God in Moses’ judicials—to wit, so far as they are of general and moral equity, and so binding all nations in all ages—[or are] to be deduceda by way of general consequence and proportion from the word of God. For in a free state no magistrate hath power over the bodies, goods, lands, liberties of a free people but by their free consents. And because free men are not free lords of their own estates, but are only stewards under God, therefore they may not give their free consents to any magistrate to dispose of their bodies, goods, lands, liberties at large, as themselves please, but as God, the sovereign Lord of all, alone. And because the Word is a perfect rule, as well of righteousness as of holiness, it will be therefore necessary that neither the people give consent nor that the magistrate take power to dispose of the bodies, goods, lands, liberties of the people, but according to the laws and rules of the word of God.
‘Secondly, in making laws about civil and indifferent things about the commonweal: first, he hath no power given him of God to make what laws he please, either in restraining from or constraining to the use of indifferent things; because that which is indifferent in its nature, may sometimes be inexpedient in its use, and consequently unlawful (1 Cor. 2. 5), it having been long since defended upon good ground, Quicquid non expedit, quatenus non expedit, non licet. Secondly, he hath no power to make any such laws about indifferent things wherein nothing good or evil is shown to the people, but only or principally the mere authority or will of the imposer, for the observance of them (Col. 2. 21, 22; 1 Cor. 7. 23, compared with Eph. 6. 6).
‘It is a prerogative proper to God, to require obedience of the sons of men because of his authority and will. The will of no man is regula recti, unless first it be regula recta. It is an evil speech of some, that in some things the will of the law, not the ratio of it, must be the rule of conscience to walk by; and that princes may forbid men to seek any other reason but their authority, yea, when they command frivola et dura. And therefore it is the duty of the magistrate, in all laws about indifferent things, to show the reasons, not only the will; to show the expediency as well as the indifferency of things of that nature. For, we conceive, in laws of this nature it is not the will of the lawgiver only, but the reason of the law, which binds. Ratio est rex legis, et lex est rex regis. * * *’
In this passage these worthy men lay down such a ground as the gates of hell are not able to shake, concerning the magistrates’ walking in indifferent things; and upon which ground that tower of Lebanon may be raised, whereon there hang a thousand shields and bucklers (Cant. 4. ), to wit, that invincible truth, that no man is to be persecuted for cause of conscience. The ground is this: ‘The magistrate hath not power to make what laws he please, either in restraining [from] or constraining to the use of indifferent things.’ * * *
Hence I argue, if the civil magistrate have no power to restrain or constrain hisa subjects in things in their own nature indifferent, as in eating of meats, wearing this or that garment, using this or that gesture, but that they are bound to try and examine his commands, and satisfy their own reason, conscience, and judgment before the Lord, and that they shall sin if they follow the magistrate’s command, not being persuaded in their own soul and conscience that his commands are according to God: it will be much more unlawful and heinous in the magistrate to compel the subjects unto that which according to their consciences’ persuasion is simply unlawful, as unto a falsely constituted church, ministry, worship, administration, and they shall not escape the ditch by being led blindfold by the magistrate. * * *
[V]bTruth [in the course of proving in great detail that Israel is merely a prophetic type of the Christian Church, and not a model for the Christian state, explains that ‘the dispute lies not concerning the monarchical power of the Lord Jesus . . . but concerning a deputed and ministerial power,’ and proceeds]:
There are three great competitors for this deputed or ministerial power of the Lord Jesus.
First, the arch-vicar ofc Satan, the pretended vicar of Christ on earth, who sits as God over the temple of God, exalting himself not only above all that is called God, but over the souls and consciences of all his vassals. * * *
The second great competitor to this crown of the Lord Jesus is the civil magistrate, whether emperors, kings, or other inferior officers of state, who are made to believe by the false prophets of the world that they are the antitypes of the kings of Israel and Judah, and wear the crown of Christ.
Under the wing of the civil magistrate do three great factions shelter themselves, and mutually oppose each other, striving as for life who shall sit down under the shadow of that arm of flesh.
First, the Prelacy: who, though some extravagants of late have inclined to waive the king, and to creep under the wings of the pope, yet so far depends upon the king that it is justly said they are the king’s bishops.
Secondly, the Presbytery: who, though in truth they ascribe not so much to the civil magistrate as some too grossly do, yet they give so much to the civil magistrate as to make him absolutely the head of the church. For if they make him the reformer of the church, the suppressor of schismatics and heretics, the protector and defender of the church, &c., what is this in true plain English but to make him the judge of the true and false church, judge of what is truth and what error, who is schismatical, who heretical? Unless they make him only an executioner, as the pope doth in his punishing of heretics.
I doubt not but the aristocratical government of Presbyterians may well subsist in a monarchy, not only regulated but also tyrannical; yet doth it more naturally delight in the element of an aristocratical government of state, and so may properly be said to be (as the prelates the king’s, so these) the state’s bishops.
The third (though not so great, yet growing) faction is that so-called Independent. (I prejudice not the personal worth of any of the three sorts.) This latter, as I believe this discourse hath manifested, jumps with the Prelates, and, though not more fully, yet more explicitly than the Presbyterians, cast[s] down the crown of the Lord Jesus at the feet of the civil magistrate. And although they pretend to receive their ministry from the choice of two or three private persons in church-covenant, yet would they fain persuade the mother,a Old England, to imitate her daughter New England’s practice, viz. to keep out the Presbyterians, and only to embrace themselves both as the state’s and the people’s bishops.
The third competition for this crown and power of the Lord Jesus is of those that separate both from one and the other, yet divided also amongst themselves into many several professions. Of these, they that go furthest profess they must yet come nearer to the ways of the Son of God. And doubtless so far as they have gone, they bid the most and make the fairest plea for the purity and power of Christ Jesus—let the rest of the inhabitants of the world be judges. Let all the former well be viewed in their external state, pomp, riches, conformity to the world, &c. And on the other side, let the latter be considered in their more thorough departure from sin and sinful worship, their condescending (generally) to the lowest and meanest contentments of this life, their exposing of themselves for Christ to greater sufferings, and their desiring no civil sword nor arm of flesh, but the two-edged sword of God’s Spirit to try out the matter by. And then let the inhabitants of the world judge which come nearest to the doctrine, holiness, poverty, patience, and practice of the Lord Jesus Christ; and whether or no these latter deserve not so much of humanity and the subjects’ liberty, as (not offending the civil state) in the freedom of their souls to enjoy the common air to breathe in. * * *
But to your last proposition, whether the kings of Israel and Judah were not types of civil magistrates? Now I suppose by what hath been already spoken, these things will be evident.
First, that those former types of the land, of the people, of their worships, were types and figures of a spiritual land, spiritual people and spiritual worship under Christ. Therefore consequently their saviours, redeemers, deliverers, judges, kings, must also have their spiritual antitypes, and so consequently [be] not civil but spiritual governors and rulers, lest the very essential nature of types, figures and shadows be overthrown.
Secondly, although the magistrate by a civil sword might well compel that national church, to the external exercise of their nationala worship; yet it is not possible, according to the rule of the New Testament, to compel whole nations to true repentance and regeneration, without which (so far as may be discerned true) the worship and holy name of God is profaned and blasphemed. An arm of flesh and sword of steel cannot reach to cut the darkness of the mind, the hardness and unbelief of the heart, and kindly operate upon the soul’s affections to forsake a long-continued father’s worship, and to embrace a new, though the best and truest. This work performs alone that sword out of the mouth of Christ, with two edges (Rev. 1; and 3).
Thirdly, we have not one tittle in the New Testament of Christ Jesus, concerning such a parallel, neither from himself nor from his ministers with whom he conversed forty days after his resurrection, instructing them in the matters of his kingdom (Acts 1. ). Neither find we any such commission or direction given to the civil magistrate to this purpose, nor to the Saints for their submission in matters spiritual, but the contrary (Acts 4; and 5; 1 Cor. 7. 23; Col. 2. 18).
Fourthly, we have formerly viewed the very matter and essence of a civil magistrate, and find it the same in all parts of the world, wherever people live upon the face of the earth, agreeing together in towns, cities, provinces, kingdoms—I say the same, essentially civil, both from (1) the rise and fountain whence it springs, to wit, the people’s choice and free consent, [and] (2) the object of it, viz., the common weal or safety of such a people in their bodies and goods, as the authors of this model have themselves confessed. This civil nature of the magistrate we have proved to receive no addition of power from the magistrate being a Christian, no more than it receives diminution from his not being a Christian, even as the commonweal is a true commonweal although it have not heard of Christianity; and Christianity professed in it, as in Pergamos, Ephesus, &c., makes it ne’er thea more a commonweal; and Christianity taken away, and the candlestick removed, makes it ne’er the less a commonweal.
Fifthly, the Spirit of God expressly relates the work of the civil magistrate under the Gospel (Rom. 13), expressly mentioning as the magistrates’ object, the duties of the Second Table concerning the bodies and goods of the subject. * * *
Sixthly, since the civil magistrate[s], whether kings or parliaments, states and governors, can receive no more in justice than what the people give, and are therefore but the eyes and hands and instruments of the people, simply considered, without respect to this or that religion, it must inevitably follow, as formerly I have touched, that if magistrates have received their power from the people, then the greatest number of the people of every land have received from Christ Jesus a power to establish, correct, reform his Saints and servants, his wife and spouse, the Church. And she that, by the express word of the Lord (Psalm 149. ), binds kings in chains and nobles in links of iron, must herself be subject to the changeable pleasures of the people of the world, which lies in wickedness (1 John 5. ), even in matters of heavenly and spiritual nature. Hence, therefore, in all controversies concerning the church, ministry and worship, the last appeal must come to the bar of the people or commonweal, where all may personally meet, as in some commonweals of small number, or in greater, by their representatives. Hence, then, no person esteemed a believer, and added to the church; no officer chosen and ordained; no person cast forth and excommunicated: but as the commonweal and people please. And in conclusion, no Church of Christ in this land or world, and consequently no visible Christ the head of it; yea, yet higher, consequently no God in the world worshipped according to the institutions of Christ Jesus: except the several peoples of the nations of the world shall give allowance. * * *
I may, therefore, here seasonably add a seventh, which is a necessary consequence of all the former arguments, and an argument itself: viz., we find expressly a spiritual power of Christ Jesus in the hands of his Saints, ministers, and churches, to be the true antitype of those former figures in all the prophecies concerning Christ his spiritual power (Isa. 9; Dan. 7; Mic. 4; &c., compared with Luke 1. 32; Acts 2. 30; 1 Cor. 5; Matt. 18; Mark 13. 34, &c.) * * *
Secondly, concerning the laws themselves: it is true the Second Table contains the law of nature, the law moral and civil; yet such a law was also given to this people as never to any people in the world. Such was the law of worship (Psalm 147) peculiarly given to Jacob, and God did not deal so with other nations; which laws for the matter of the worship . . . were never to be paralleled by any other nation, but only by the true Christian Israel established by Jesus Christ amongst Jews and Gentiles throughout the world.
Thirdly, the law of the ten words (Deut. 10), the epitome of all the rest, it pleased the most high God to frame and pen twice with his own most holy and dreadful finger, upon Mount Sinai, which he never did to any other nation before or since, but only to that spiritual Israel, the people and the Church of God, in whose hearts of flesh he writes his laws, according to Jer. 31; Heb. 8 and 10.* * *
In the fifth place, consider we the punishments and rewards annexed to the breach or observation of these laws.
First, those which were of a temporal and present consideration, of this life: blessings and curses of all sorts, opened at large (Lev. 26; and Deut. 28), which cannot possibly be made good in any state, country, or kingdom, but in a spiritual sense in the Church and kingdom of Christ. The reason is this. Such a temporal prosperity of outward peace and plenty of all things, of increase of children, of cattle, of honour, of health, of success, of victory, suits not temporally with the afflicted and persecuted estate of God’s people now; and therefore spiritual and soul-blessedness must be the antitype: . . . in the midst of revilings and all manner of evil speeches for Christ’s sake, soul-blessedness, in the midst of afflictions and persecutions, soul-blessedness (Matt. 5; and Luke 6); and yet herein the Israel of God should enjoy their spiritual peace (Gal. 6. 16).
Out of that blessed temporal estate to be cast or carried captive, was their excommunication or casting out of God’s sight (2 Kings 17. 23). Therefore was the blasphemer, the false prophet, the idolater, to be cast out or cut off from this holy land; which punishment cannot be paralleled by the punishment of any state or kingdom in the world, but only by the excommunicating or out-casting of person or church from the fellowship of the Saints and churches of Christ Jesus in the Gospel. And therefore, as before I have noted, the putting away of the false prophet by stoning him to death (Deut. 13) is fitly answered, and that in the very same words, in the antitype: when, by the general consent or stoning of the whole assembly, any wicked person is put away from amongst them; that is, spiritually cut off out of the land of the spiritually living, the people or Church of God (1 Cor. 5; Gal. 5).
Lastly, the great and high reward or punishment of the keeping or breach of these laws to Israel, was such as cannot suit with any state or kingdom in the world beside. The reward of the observation was life, eternal life; the breach of any one of these laws was death, eternal death, or damnation from the presence of the Lord (so Rom. 10; James 2). Such a covenant God made not before nor since with any state or people in the world. For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to every one that believeth (Rom. 10. 4). And he that believeth in that Son of God, hath eternal life; he that believeth not hath not life, but is condemned already (John 3; and 1 John 5). * * *
What state, what kingdom, what wars and combats, victories and deliverances, can parallel this people but the spiritual and mystical Israel of God in every nation and country of the world, typed out by that small typical handful in that little spot of ground, the land of Canaan? The Israel of God now, men and women, fight under the great Lord-General, the Lord Jesus Christ: their weapons, armour, and artillery area like themselves, spiritual, set forth from top to toe (Eph. 6), so mighty and so potent that they break down the strongest holds and castles, yea in the very souls of men, and carry into captivity the very thoughts of men, subjecting them to Christ Jesus. * * *
This glorious army of white troopers, horses and harness—Christ Jesus and his true Israelb —gloriously conquer and overcome the Beast, the false prophet, and the kings of the earth, up in arms against them (Rev. 19). And lastly, reigning with Christ a thousand years, they conquer the devil himself, and the numberless armies, like the sand on the sea-shore, of Gog and Magog. And yet not a tittle of mention of any sword, helmet, breast-plate, shield, or horse, but what is spiritual and of a heavenly nature. All which wars of Israel have been, may be, and shall be, fulfilled mystically and spiritually. * * *
I have in part, and might further discover that, from the king and his throne to the very beasts, . . . their civils, morals, and naturals were carried on in types. And however I acknowledge that what was simply moral, civil, and natural in Israel’s state, in their constitutions, laws, punishments, may be imitated and followed by the states, countries, cities, and kingdoms of the world; yet who can question the lawfulness of other forms of government, laws and punishments, which differ—since civil constitutions are men’s ordinances or creation (2 Pet. 2. 13), unto which God’s people are commanded even for the Lord’s sake to submit themselves, which if they were unlawful they ought not to do? * * *
I dare not assent to that assertion, that even original sin remotely hurts the civil state. ’Tis true some do, as inclinations to murder, theft, whoredom, slander, disobedience to parents and magistrates; but blindness of mind, hardness of heart, inclination to choose or worship this or that God, this or that Christ, beside the true, these hurt not remotely the civil state, as not concerning it, but the spiritual. * * *
But to wind up all. As it is most true that magistracy in general is of God (Rom. 13) for the preservation of mankind in civil order and peace—the world otherwise would be like the sea wherein men, like fishes, would hunt and devour each other, and the greater devour the less—so also it is true that magistracy in special, for the several kinds of it, is of man (1 Pet. 2. 13). Now what kind of magistrate soever the people shall agree to set up, whether he receive Christianity before he be set in office, or whether he receive Christianity after, he receives no more power of magistracy than a magistrate that hath received no Christianity. For neither of them both can receive more than the commonweal, the body of people and civil state, as men, communicate unto them and betrust with them. All lawful magistrates in the world, both before the coming of Christ Jesus and since, excepting those unparalleled typical magistrates of the church of Israel, are but derivatives and agents, immediately derived and employed as eyes and hands, serving for the good of the whole. Hence they have and can have no more power than fundamentally lies in the bodies or fountains themselves, which power, might or authority is not religious, Christian, &c., but natural, human, and civil. * * *
MODELS OF A FREE CHURCH
 Though the dispute with Cotton originated in New England, Williams wrote in England, and with frequent reference to the situation there.
 ‘Briars and thorns’ signify for Williams natural or unconverted persons; ‘tares’ signify heretics and false worshippers. Both groups are to be tolerated in the world (so long as they do not infringe the civil peace); neither is to be tolerated in the church.
[266. (a)]The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution for Cause of Conscience, discussed in a conference betweene Truth and Peace. Who in all tender affection present to the High Court of Parliament . . . these, among other passages of highest consideration. Printed in the year 1644 [July 15]. Chapter numbers and marginal gloss omitted; headings, and under the last heading section numbers, supplied;
[(b)] Numbering omitted;
[(c)] Chap. 6.
[268. (a)] Chaps. 19-28.
[270. (a)] + Truth;
[271. (a)] + that;
[272. (a)] Chaps. 31-3.
[274. (a)] Chaps. 44-52.
[277. (a)] Chaps. 53 (wrongly numbered 54)-60; heading is from chap. 60;
[280. (a)] Chap. 74.
[281. (a)] Chap. 83.
[282. (a)] Chaps. 86-91.
[(b)] Chaps. 92-3.
[(b)] Chap. 94.
[(b)] Chaps. 120-3, 128, 131;
[(b)] + Rev. 19.