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called, compiled between the Sub-planters of a West-Indian Island; whereof the first Article of constipulation, firmely provides free stable-room and litter for all kinde of consciences, be they never so dirty or jadish ; making it actionable, yea, treasonable, to disturbe any man in his Religion, or to discommend it, whatever it be. Wee are very sorry to see such professed profanenesse in English Professors, as industriously to lay their Religious Foundations on the ruine of true Religion ; which strictly binds every conscience to contend earnestly for the Truth : to preserve unity of spirit, faith and Ordinances, to be all like-minded, of one accord; every man to take his brother into his Christian care : to stand fast with one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the Gospel: and by no meanes to permit Heresies or erroneous opinions : But God abhorring such loathsome beverages, hath in his righteous judgement blasted that enterprize, which might otherwise bave prospered well, for ought I know; I presume their case is generally knowne ere this.
“If the devill might have his free option, I believe he would ask nothing else, but liberty to enfranchize all false Religions, and to embondage the true ; nor should he need : It is much to bee feared, that lare Tolerations upon State pretences and planting necessities, will be the next subtle Stratagem he will spread, to distate the Truth of God and supplant the peace of the Churches. Tolerations in things tolerable, exquisitely drawn out by the lines of the Scripture, and pensill of the Spirit, are the sacred favours of Truth, the due latitudes of Love, the faire Compartiments of Christian fraternity: but irregular dispensations, dealt forth by the facilities of men, are the frontiers of errour, the redoubts of Schisme, the perillous irritaments of carnall and spirituall enmity.
“My heart hath naturally detested foure things : The standing of the Apocrypha in the Bible; Forrainers dwelling in my Countrey, to crowd our native Subjects into the corners of the Earth ; Alchymized coines; Tolerations of divers Religions, or of one Religion in segregant shapes : He that willingly assents to the last, if he examines his heart by day-light, his conscience will tell him, he is either an Atheist, or an Heretique, or an Hypocrite, or at best a captive to some lust: Poly-piety is the greatest impiety in the world. True Religion is Ignis probationis, which doth congregare homogonea of segregare heterogenea.
“Not to tolerate things meerly indifferent to weak consciences, argues a conscience too strong : pressed uniformity in these, causes much disunity : To tolerate more than indifferents, is not to deale indifferently with God; He that doth it, takes his Scepter out of his hand, and bids him stand by. Who hath to doe to institute Religion but God. The power of all Religion and Ordinances, lies in their purity: their purity in their simplicity : then are mixtures pernicious. J lived in a City, where a Papist preached in one Church, a Lutheran in another, a Calvinist in a third ; a Lutheran one part of the day, a Calvinist the other, in the same Pulpit: the Religion of that place was but motly and meagre, their affections Leopardlike.
“ If the whole Creature should conspire to doe the Creator a mischiefe, or offer him an insolency, it would be in nothing more, than in erecting untruths against his Truth, or by sophisticating his Truths with humane medleyes; the removing of some one iota in Scripture, may draw out all the life, and traverse all the Truth of the whole Bible: but to authorize an untruth, by a Toleration of State, is to build a Sconce against the walls of heaven, to batter God out of his Chaire : To tell a practicall lye, is a great sin, but yet transient; but to set up a Theoricall untruth, is to warrant every lye that lies from its root to the top of every branch it hath, which are not a few.
“That State is wise, that will improve all paines and patience rather to compose, then tolerate differences in Religion. There is no divine Truth, but hath much Celestial fire in it from the Spirit of Truth: nor no irreligious untruth, without its proportion of Antifire from the Spirit of Error to contradict it: the zeale of the one, the virulency of the other, must necessarily kindle Combustions. Fiery diseases seated in the spirit, embroile the whole frame of the body : others more externall and coole, are lesse dangerous. They which divide in Religion divide in God; they who divide in him, divide beyond Genus Generalissimum, where there is no reconciliation, without atonement; that is, without uniting in bim, who is One, and in his Truth, which is also one.
“ Wise are those men who will be perswaded rather to live within the pale of Truth where they may bee quiet, than in the perliev's, where they are sure to be hunted ever and anon, doe Authority what it can. Every singular Opinion, hath a singular opinion of it self; and he that holds it a singular opinion of himself, and a simple opinion of all contra-sentients : he that confutes them, must confute all three at once, or else he does nothing ; which will not be done without more stir than the peace of the State or Church can indure.
“ And prudent are those Christians, that will rather give what may be given, then hazzard all by yeelding nothing. To sell all peace of Country, to buy some peace of Conscience unseasonably, is more avarice than thrift, imprudence than patience: they deale not equally, that set any truth of God at such a rate; but they deale wisely that will stay till the Market is fallen.
"My prognosticks deceive me not a little, if once within three seven years, peace prove not such a penny-worth at most Marts in Christendome, that hee that would not lay down his money, his lust, his opinion, his will, I had almost said the best flower of his
Crown for it, while he might have had it ; will tell his own heart he plaid the very ill husband.
Concerning Tolerations I may further assert. “ That persecution of True Religion, and Toleration of false, are the Jannes and Jambres to the Kingdome of Christ, whereof the last is farre the worst. Augustines tongue had not owed his mouth one penny-rent though it had never spake one word more in it, but this, Nullum malum pejus libertate errandi.
“ Frederick Duke of Saron, spake not one foote beyond the mark when he said. He had rather the Earth should swallow him up quick, then he should give a toleration to any opinion against any truth of God.
“He that is willing to tolerate any Religion, or discrepant way of Religion, besides his own, unlesse it be in matters meerly indifferent, either doubts of his own, or is not sincere in it.
“ He that is willing to tolerate any unsound Opinion, that his own may also be tolerated, though never so sound, will for a need hang Gods Bible at the Devils girdle.
Every Toleration of false Religions, or Opinions hath as many Errours and sins in it, as all the false Religions and Opinions it tolerates, and one sound one more.
“ That State that will give Liberty of Conscience in matters of Religion, must give Liberty of Conscience and Conversation in their Morall Laws, or else the Fiddle will be out of tune, and some of the strings cracke.
“ He that will rather make an irreligious quarrell with other Religions, then try the truth of his own by valuable Arguments, and peaceable Sufferings; either his Religion or himselfe is irreligious.
Experience will teach Churches and Christians, that it is farre better to live in a State united, though a little Corrupt, then in a State, whereof some Part is incorrupt, and all the rest divided.
"I am not altogether ignorant of the eight Rules given by Orthodox Divines about giving Tolerations, yet with their favour I dare affirme,
“ That there is no Rule given by God for any State to give an Affirmative Toleration to any false Religion, or Opinion whatsoever ; they must connive in some cases, but may not concede in any.
“ That the State of England (so farre as my Intelligence serves) might in time have prevented with ease, and may yet without any great difficulty deny both Toleration, and irregular Connivences, salva Republica.
“That if the State of England shall either willingly Tolerate, or weakly connive at such Courses, the Church of that Kingdom will sooner become the Devills Dancing-Schoole, then Gods-Temple; The Civill State a Beare-garden, then an Exchange : The whole Realme a Pais base, then an England. And what pity it is, that that Country which hath been the Staple of Truth to all Christendome, should now become the Aviary of Errors to the whole World, let every fearing heart judge.
“I take Liberty of Conscience to bee nothing but a freedome from sinne, and error. Conscientia in tantum libera, in quantum ab errore liberata. And liberty of Error nothing but a Prison for Conscience. Then small will bee the kindnesse of a State to build such Prisons for their Subjects.
"The Scripture saith, there is nothing makes free but Truth, and Truth saith, there is no Truth but One: If the States of the World would make it their sumoperous Care to preserve this One
Truth in ils purity and Authority it would ease them from all other Politicall cares. I am sure Satan makes it his grand, if not onely taske, to adulterate Truth ; Falsehood is his sole Scepter, whereby he first ruffled, and ever since ruined the World.
“If truth be but One, me thinks all the Opinionists in England should not be all in that One Truth, some of them I doubt are out. He that can extract an unity out of such a disparity, or contract such a disparity into an unity ; had need be a better Artist, then ever was Drebell.
“If two Centers (as we may suppose) be in one Circle, and lines drawn from both to all the points of the Compasse, they will certainly crosse one another, and probably cut through the Centers themselves.
“ There is talke of an universall Toleration, I would talke as loud as I could against it, did J know what more apt and reasonable Sacrifice England could offer to God for his late performing all his heavenly Truths, then an universall Toleration of all hellish Errors, or how they shall make an universall Reformation, but by making Christs Academy the Devills University, where any man may commence Heretique per saltumn ; where he that is filius Diabolicus, or simpliciter pessimus, may have his grace to goe to hell cum Publico Privilegio; and carry as many after him, as he can.
“ Religio docenda est, non coercenda is a pretty piece of album Latinum for some kinde of throats that are willingly sore, but Hæresis dedocenda est non permittenda, will be found a farre better Diamoron for the Gargarismes this Age wants, if timely and thoroughly applyed.” — pp. 3. - 11.
This is very much to the purpose. But our Cobler continues :
“ It is said, Though a man have light enough himselfe to see the Truth, yet if he hath not enough to enlighten others, he is bound to tolerate them, I will engage my self, that all the Devills in Britanie shall sell themselves to their shirts, to purchase a Lease of his Position for hree of their Lives, under the Seale of the Pare liament. “ It is said, That Men ought to have Liberty of their Conscience,
VOL. II. NO. III.
and that it is Persecution to debarre them of it: I can rather stand amazed then reply to this: it is an astonishment to think that the braines of men should be parboyl'd in such impious ignorance; Let all the wits under the Heavens lay their heads together and finde an Assertion worse than this (one excepted) I will Petition to be chosen the universal Ideot of the world.
“ It is said, That Civill Magistrates ought not to meddle with Ecclesiasticall matters.
“ I would answer to this so well as I could, did I not know that some Papers lately brought out of New England, are going to the Presse, wherein the Opinions of the Elders there in a late Synod, concerning this point are manifested, which I suppose will give clearer satisfaction then I can.
“ The true English of all this their false Latine, is nothing but a generall Toleration of all Opinions; which motion if it be like to take, it were very requisite, that the City would repaire Pauls with all the speed they can, for an English Pantheon, and bestow it upon the Sectaries, freely to assemble in, then there may be some hope that London will be quiet in time.
“Thirdly, That all Christian States, ought to disavow and decry all such Errours, by some peremptory Statutary Act, and that in time, that Subjects knowing fully the minde of the State, might not delude themselves with vaine hopes of unsufferable Liberties. It is lesse to say Statuatur veritas, ruat Regnum, than Fiat justitia, ruat Cælum ; but there is no such danger in either of them. Feare nothing Gentlemen, Rubiconem transiistis, jacta est alea, ye have turned the Devill out of doores; fling all his old parrell after him out at the windows, lest he makes an errand for it againe. Quæ relinquuntur in morbis post indicationem, recidivas facere consucvere. Christ would have his Church without spot or wrinckle; They that help make it so, shall lose neither honour nor labour :
yee be wise, suffer no more thorns in his sides or your owne. When God kindles such fires as these, hee doth not usually quench them, till the very scum on the pot sides be boyled cleane away, Ezek. 24. 10, 11. Yee were better to doe it your selves, then leave it to him : the Arme of the Lord is mighty, his band very heavy; who can dwell with his devouring fire, and long lasting burnings?
“Fourthly, to make speedy provision against Obstinates and disseminaries : where under favor, two things will be found requisite. First, variety of penaltyes, I meane certaine, not indefinite : I am a Crabbat against Arbitrary Government. Experience hath taught us here, that politicall, domesticall
, and personall respects, will not admit one and the same remedy for all, without sad inconveniences. Secondly, just severity: persecution hath ever spread Truth, prosecution scattered Errour : Ten of the most Christian Emper