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for which they are punished, but the change of their religion: though examining may, perhaps, in some men, precede their change, and help to it. But that is not necessary. A man may change his religion without it: and when he has changed, let the motive be what it will, the end the law aims at is obtained, and the punishment ceases. So, on the other side, if not hearing, not examining, be the fault for which men are punished; conformity is not the next end for which they are punished, though it may perhaps, in some, be a consequence of it; but hearing and examining must be understood to be the ends for which they are punished. If they are not the ends, why does the punishment cease when those ends are attained? And thus you have my thoughts concerning this matter, which perhaps will not be very pertinent, as mine have not the good luck always to be to you, to a man of nicer distinctions.

But let us consider your hypothesis as it now stands, and see what advantage you have got to your cause by this new explication. "Dissenters from the true religion are to be punished, say you, for their religion.” Why? because it is a fault. Against whom? Against God. Thence it follows indeed, that God, if he pleases, may punish it. But how will you prove that God has given the magistrates of the earth a power to punish all faults against himself? Covetousness, or not loving our neighbour as ourselves, are faults or sins against God. Ought the magistrate to punish these? But I shall not need to trouble you much with that question, This matter, I think, will be decided between us without going so far.

If the magistrate may punish any one for not being of the true religion, must the magistrate judge what is that true religion, or no? If he must not, what must guide him in the punishing of some, and not of others? For so it is in all places where there is a national religion established by penal laws. If the magistrate be commissioned by the same law of nature (for that is all the commission you pretend to) to judge what is the true religion, by which he is authorized to punish those who

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dissent from it; must not all magistrates judge, and accordingly punish those who dissent from that, which they judge the true religion, i. e. in effect, those who dissent from theirs? And if all magistrates have a power to punish those who are not of their religion; I ask you, whether it be of more use or disadvantage to the promoting true religion, and salvation of souls? And when you have resolved that question, you will then be able to tell me, whether the usefulness of it, which must be determined by the greater good or harm it is like to do, is such as to justify your doctrine about it, or the magistrate's use of it.

Besides, your making the dissenting from the true religion a fault to be punished by the magistrate, puts an end to your pretence to moderate punishments; which, in this place, you make use of to distinguish yours from the French method; saying, that "your method punishes men with punishments which do not deserve to be called so, when compared with those of the French discipline." But if the dissenting from the true religion be a fault that the magistrate is to punish, and a fault of that consequence, that it draws with it the loss of a man's soul; I do not see how other magistrates, whose duty it is to punish faults under their cognizance, and by punishing to amend them, can be more remiss than the king of France has been, and forbear declaring that they will have all their people saved, and endeavour by such ways as he has done to effect it: especially since you tell us, that "God now leaves religion to the care of men, under his ordinary providence, to try whether hey will do their duties in their several capacities or not, leaving them answerable for all that may follow from their neglect." In the correcting of faults, "malo nodo malus cuneus," is not only what is justifiable, but what is requisite. But of this more fully in another place.

In the next place, I do not see how, by your method, as you explain it here, the magistrate can punish any one for not being of the true religion, though we should grant him to have a power to do it; whilst you tell us, that "your method punishes men for rejecting the true religion, proposed to them with sufficient evidence;

which certainly is a fault." By this part of your scheme it is plain, that you allow the magistrate to punish none but those to whom the true religion is proposed with sufficient evidence; and sufficient evidence, you tell us, "is such as will certainly win assent whereever it is duly considered." Now by this rule there will be very few that the magistrate will have a right to punish; since he cannot know whether those who dissent do it for want of due consideration in them, or want of sufficient evidence in what is proposed; unless you mean by due consideration, such consideration that always does bring men actually to assent; which is in effect to say nothing at all. For then your rule amounts to thus much," that sufficient evidence is such as will certainly win assent wherever it is considered duly," i. e. so as to win assent. This being like some of those other rules we have met with, and ending in a circle; which after you have traced, you at last find yourself just where you were at setting out; I leave it to you to own as you think fit: and tell you, if by duly considering, you mean considering to his utmost; that then, that which is proposed to one with sufficient evidence to win assent, may not be so to another.

There are propositions extant in geometry, with their demonstrations annexed; and that with such sufficient evidence to some men of deep thought and penetration, as to make them see the demonstration, and give assent to the truth: whilst there are many others, and those no novices in mathematics, who, with all the consideration and attention they can use, are never able to attain unto it. It is so in other parts of truth. That which hath evidence enough to make one man certain, has not enough to make another so much as guess it to be true; though he has spared no endeavour or application in examining it. And therefore, if the magistrate be to punish none but those who reject the true religion, when it has been offered with sufficient evidence; I imagine he will not have many to punish, if he will, as he ought, distinguish between the innocent and the guilty.


Upon your forwardness to encourage the magistrate's use of force in matters of religion, by its usefulness, even so far as to pretend advantages from what yourself acknowledge the misapplication of it, I say that "So instead of disheartening from, you give encouragement to the mischief; which upon your principle, joined to the natural thirst in man after arbitrary power, may be carried to all manner of exorbitancy, with some pretence of right." To which your reply is, That you speak nowhere but of the use and necessity of force." What think you in the place mentioned, of the gain that you tell the sufferers they shall make by the magistrate's punishing them to bring them to a wrong religion? You do not, as I remember, there say, that force is necessary in that case; though they gaining, as you say, by it this advantage, "that they know better than they did before where the truth does lie," you cannot but allow, that such a misapplication of force "may do some service, indirectly and at a distance, towards the salvation of souls.'


But that you may not think, whilst I had under consideration the dangerous encouragement you gave to men in power to be very busy with their force in matters of religion, by all the sorts of usefulness you could imagine of it, however applied, right or wrong, that I declined mentioning the necessity you pretend of force, because it would not as well serve to the purpose for which I mention its usefulness; I shall here take it so, that the reader may see what reason you had to complain of my not doing it before.

Thus then stands your system: "The procuring and advancing any way of the spiritual and eternal interests of men is one of the ends of civil society." And force is put into the magistrate's hands, as necessary for the attaining those ends, where no other means are left, "Who then upon your grounds may quickly find reason, where it suits his inclination, or serves his turn, to punish men directly to bring them to his religion.' For if he may use force, because it is necessary, as being the only means left to make men consider those reasons


and arguments, which otherwise they would not consider; why may he not by the same rule use force, as the only means left to procure men degrees of glory, which otherwise they would not attain, and so to advance their eternal interests? For St. Paul assures us, that "the afflictions of this life work for us a far more exceeding weight of glory." So that whether the magistrate may not, when it may serve his turn, argue thus from your principles, judge you: dissenters from my religion must be punished, if in the wrong, to bring them into the right way; if in the right, to make them by their sufferings gainers of a far more exceeding weight of glory.


But you say," unless it be as necessary for men to attain any greater degree of glory, as it is to attain glory, it will not follow, that if the magistrate may use force, because it may be indirectly, &c. useful towards the procuring any degree of glory, he may by the same rule use it where it may be in that manner useful towards the procuring a greater degree of glory. But that there is the same necessity of men's attaining a greater degree of glory, as there is of their attaining glory, no man will affirm. For without attaining glory, they cannot escape the damnation of hell; which yet they may escape, without any greater degree of glory. One of the ends of a commonwealth is, say you, the advancing men's eternal interests. The procuring greater degrees of glory, is the advancing a man's eternal interest. The use of force to make men suffer for the truth, what otherwise they would not suffer, is as necessary for the attaining a higher degree of glory, as using force to make men consider, what otherwise they would not consider, is necessary for the attaining any degree of glory. But you will say, Attaining glory is absolutely necessary, but the attaining any greater degree of glory, however desirable, is not so necessary. Now if there be not the same necessity of the one of these, as there is of the other; there can be no pretence to say, that whatever is lawful in respect of one of them, is likewise so in respect of the other." But there will always be a just pre

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