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The blovdy tenent, of persecution, for cause of conscience, discussed, in a conference betweene trvth and peace vvho, in all tender affection, present to the high court of Parliament, as the result of their discourse, these, amongst other passages, of highest consideration.
Williams, Roger, 1604?-1683.; Cotton, John, 1584-1652.
Wing W2758; ESTC R2405
for with a word to his Father he could have 12 legions of Angels 3 The councell of God to be fulfilled in the Scripture Thus it ought to be Peace It is much questioned by some what should be the meaning of Christ Iesus in that speech All that take the sword shall perish by the sword Truth There is a threefold taking of the sword First by murtherous crueltie either of private persons or secondly publike States or Societies in wrath or revenge each against other Secondly a just and righteous taking of the sword in punishing offenders against the Civill peace either more personall private and ordinary or more publike Oppressors Tyrants Ships Navies c. Neither of these can it be imagined that Christ Iesus intended to Peter Thirdly There is therefore a 3. taking of the sword forbidden to Peter that is for Christ and the Gospels cause when Christ is in danger which made Peter strike c. Peace It seemes to some most contrary to all true Reason that Christ Iesus ãâã it selfe should not be defended Truth The foolishnes of God is wiser then the wisedome of Man It is not the purpose of God that the Spirituall battailes of his Son shall be fought by carnall weapons and persons It is not his pleasure that the World shall flame on fire with civill combustions for his Sons sake It is directly contrary to the nature of Christ Iesus his Saints and Truths that throats of men which is the highest contrarietie to civill converse should be torne out for his sake who most delighted to converse with the greatest sinners It is the councell of God that his servants shall overcome by 3 weapons of a spirituall nature Revel 12. 11. And that all that take the sword of steele shall perish Lastly it is the Councell of God that Christ Iesus shall shortly appeare a most glorious Iudge and Revenger against all his Enemies when the Heavens and the Earth shall ãâã before his most glorious presence Peace I shall propose the last Scripture much insisted on by many for carnall weapons in spirituall cases Revel 17. 16. The 10 hornes which thou fawest upon the Beast these shall hate the whore and shall make her desolate and naked and shall eat her flesh and shall burne her with fire Truth Not to controvert with some whether or no the Beast be yet risen and extant Nor secondly whether either the Beast or the Hornes or the Whore may be taken literally for any corporall Beast or Whore Or thirdly whether these 10 Hornes be punctually and exactly 10 Kings Or fourthly whether those 10 Hornes signifie those many Kings Kingdomes and Governments who have bowed down to the Popes yoake and have committed fornication with that great Whore the Church of Rome Let this last be admitted which yet will cost some work to cleer against all opposites Yet First can the Time be now cleerly demonstrated to be come c Secondly how will it be proved that this âatred of this Whâre shall be a true chaste Christian hatred against Antichristian whorish practices c Thirdly or rather that this hating and desolating and making naked and burning shall arise not by way of an ordinance waranted by the institution of Christ Iesus but by way of providence when as it useth to be with all whores and their lovers the Church of Rome and her great lovers shall fall out and by the righteous vengeance of God upon her drunke with the blood of Saints or holy Ones these mighty fornicators shall turne their love into hatred which hatred shall make her a poore desolate naked Whore torne and consumed c. Peace You know it is a great controversie how the Kings of the Earth shall thus deale with the Whore in the 17 Chap. and yet so bewaile her in the 18 Chapter Truth If we take it that these Kings of the Earth shall first hate and plunder and teare and burne this Whore and yet afterward shall relent and bewaile their cruell dealing toward her Or else that as some Kings deale so terribly with her yet others of those Kings shall bewaile her If either of these two answers stand or a better be given yet none of them can prove it lawfull for people to give power to their Kings and Magistrates thus to deale with them their subjects for their conscience nor for Magistrates to assume a title more then the people betrust them with nor for one people out of conscience to God and for Christ his sake thus to kill and slaughter and burne each other However it may please the Righteous Judge according to the famous types of Gideous and Iehosaphats battells to permit in Iustice and to order in Wisdome these mighty and mutuall slaughters each of other Peace We have now deare Truth through the gracious hand of God clambered up to the top of this our tedious Discourse Truth O 't is mercy unexpressible that either Thou or I have had so long a breathing time and that together Peace If English ground must yet be drunk with English blood O where shall Peace repose her wearied head and heavy heart Truth Deare Peace if thou finde welcome and the God of peace miraculously please to quench these all-devouring flames yet where shall Truth finde rest from cruell persecutions Peace Oh will not the Authority of holy Scriptures the Commands and Declarations of the Sonne of God therein produced by thee together with all the lamentable experiences of former and present slaughters prevaile with the Sons of Men especially with the Sons of Peace to depart from the dens of Lyons and mountaines of Leopards and to put on the bowels if not of Christianitie yet of Humanitie each to other Truth Deare Peace Habacacks Fishes keep their constant bloody game of Persecutions in the Worlds mighty Ocean the greater taking plundring swallowing up the lesser O happy he whose portion is the God of Iacob who hath nothing to lose under the Sun but hath a State a House an Inheritance a Name a Crowne a Life past all the Plunderers Ravishers Murtherers reach and furie Peace But loe Who 's here Truth Our Sister Patience whose desired company is as needfull as delightfull 'T is like the Wolfe will send the scattered Sheep in one the common Pirate gathers up the loose and scattered Navie the slaughter of the Witnesses by that bloody Beast unite the Independents and Presbyterians The God of Peace the God of Truth will shortly seale this Truth and confirme this Witnes and make it evident to the whole World That the Doctrine of Persecution for cause of Conscience is most evidently and lamentably contrary to the doctrine of Christ Iesus the Prince of Peace Amen FINIS Errata PAge 23. line 28. for this reâd that p. 31. l. ult his soule p. 32. l. 12. read month âbid r. person p. 35. l. 16. r. turned off or loosed from p. 37. l. 8. for to read doc p. 38. l. 2. dele affirme p. 41.
of State policy tolerate what suits not with Christianity and out of State necessity tolerate âs David did Ioab against their wils To which I answer First that although with him in the first I confesse that Princes may tolerate that out of State policy which will not stand with Christianity yet in the second he must acknowledge with me that there is a necessity sometime of State Toleration as in the case of Ioab and so his former affirmation generally laid downe viz. that it is evill to tolerate seducing Teachers or scandalous livers was not duly waighed in the Balance of the Sanctuary and is too light Secondly I affirme that that State policy and State necessity which for the peace of the State and preventing of Rivers of civill Blood permits the Consciences of men will bee found to agree most punctually with the Rules of the best Politician that ever the World saw the King of Kings and Lord of Lords in comparison of whom Salomon himselfe had but a drop of wisedome compared to Christs Ocean and was but a Farthing Candle compared with the All and Ever glorious Son of Righteousnesse 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 civill 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 CHAP. LXI Peace HIs third Answer is this For those three Princes named by you who tolerated Religion we can name you more and greater who have not tolerated Heretickes and Schismatickes notwithstanding their pretence of Conscience and their arrogating the Crowne of Martyrdome to their sufferings Constantine the Great at the request of the Generall Councell at Nice banished Arrius with some of his Fellowes Sozom. lib. 1. Eccles hist. cap 19 20. The same Constantine made a severe Law against the Donatists and the like proceedings against them were used by Valentinian Gratian and Theodosius as Augustine reports in Ep. 166. Onely Iulian the Apostate granted liberty to Heretickes as well as to Pagans that he might by tolerating all weeds to grow choake the vitals of Christianity which was also the practice and sinne of Valens the Arrian Queene Elizabeth as famous for her Government as most of the former it is well knowne what Lawes she made and executed against Papists yea and K. Iames one of your owne Witnesses though he was slow in proceeding against Papists as you say for Conscience sake yet you are not ignorant how sharply and severely he punished those whom the malignant World calls Puritans men of more Conscience and better Faith then the Papists whom he tolerated Truth Unto this I answer First that for mine owne part I would not use an argument from the number of Princes witnessing in profession of practice against Persecution for cause of Conscience for the truth and faith of the Lord Iesus must not bee received with respect of faces be they never so high princely and glorious Precious Pearles and Iewels and farre more precious Truth are found in muddy shells and places The rich Mines of golden Truth lye hid under barren hills and in obscure holes and corners The most High and Glorious God hath chosen the poore of the World and the Witnesses of Truth Rev. 11. are cloathed in sackcloth not in Silke or Sattin Cloth of Gold or Tissue and therefore I acknowledge if the number of Princes professing persecution bee considered it is rare to finde a King Prince or Governour like Christ Iesus the King of Kings and Prince of the Princes of the Earth and who tread not in the steps of Herod the Fox or Nero the Lyon openly or secretly persecuting the name of the Lord Iesus such were Saul Ieroboam Ahab though under a maske or pretence of the name of the God of Israel To that purpose was it a noble speech of Buchanan who lying on his death-bed sent this Item to King Iames Remember my humble service to his Majestie and tell him that Buchanan is going to a place where few Kings come CHAP. LXII Truth SEcondly I observe how inconsiderately I hope not willingly he passeth by the Reasons and Grounds urged by those three Princes for their practices for as for the bare examples of Kings or Princes they are but like shining Sands or guilded Rockes giving no solace to such as make wofull shipwrack on them In K. Iames his Speech he passeth by that Golden Maxime in Divinity that God never loves to plant his Church by Blood Secondly that Civill Obedience may be performed from the Papists Thirdly in his observation on Revel 20. that true and certaine note of a false Church to wit persecution The wicked are besiegers the faithfull are besieged In K. Steven of Poland his Speech hee passeth by the true difference betweene a Civill and a Spirituall Government I am said Steven a Civill Magistrate over the bodies of men not a spirituall over their soules Now to confound these is Babel and Jewish it is to seek for Moses and bring him from his grave which no man shall finde for God buried him in setting up a Nationall state or Church in a land of Canaan which the great Messiah abolished at his comming Thirdly he passeth by in the speech of the King of Bohemia that foundation in Grace and Nature to wit that Conscience ought not to be violated or forced and indeed it it is most true that a Soule or spirituall Rape is more abominable in Gods eye then to force and ravish the Bodies of all the Women in the World Secondly that most lamentably true experience of all Ages which that King observeth viz. that persecution for cause of Conscience hath ever proved pernicious being the causes of all those wonderfull innovations of or changes in the Principalitiesâ and mightiest Kingdomes of Christendome He that reads the Records of Truth and Time with an impartiall eye shall finde this to be the Launcet that hath pierc'd the veines of Kings and Kingdomes of Saints and Sinners and fill'd the streames and Rivers with their blood Lastly that Kings observation of his own time viz. that Persecution for cause of Conscience was practised most in England and such places where Popery raigned implying as I conceive that such practises commonly proceed from that great whore the Church of Rome whose Daughters are like their Mother and all of a bloody nature as most commonly all Whores be CHAP. LXIII NOw thirdly in that the Answerer observeth that amongst the Romane Emperours they that did not persecute were Iulian the Apostate and Valens the Arrian whereas the good Emperours Constantine Gratian Valentinian and Theodosius they did persecute the Arrians Donatists c. Answ. It is no new thing for godly and eminently godly men