Friday, November 13, 2015
Isabella Marshall Graham, (1742-1814), teacher & early charitable worker, the daughter of John & Janet (Hamilton) Marshall, was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland, & grew up on an estate at Eldersley near Paisley. Her father, a landowner, raised Isabella & her brother in comfort, & a legacy from her grandfather, spent at her own request on a “finished education.” At 17, she became a communicant of the Church of Scotland under the ministry of Dr. John Witherspoon, later president of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton).
Isabella Marshal Graham from the Library of Congress
She was married in 1765 to Dr. John Graham of Paisley, a widower & a “gentleman of liberal education, & of respectable standing.” Planning to settle in America, they sailed 2 years later to Canada, where Graham was physician to a British army regiment, the Royal Montreal, & Fort Niagara. They left behind in Scotland an infant son who died within the year; in North America their other 4 children were born. Mrs. Graham enjoyed life at Fort Niagara raising her babies, although she found the soldiers’ lack of religion appalling. Her own faith enabled her to accept with devout resignation the death of both her infant son & of her husband in Antigua, where they had recently been transferred in 1773, just before the birth of their 5th child.
Left almost penniless, Mrs. Graham sailed with her large family back to the security of her father in Scotland, only to find that he, too, was in need. He was not prepared to support himself, much less his daughter & her 5 young children.
For 3 years she lived in a thatched cottage at Cartside, in such poverty, that she & her children sometimes had only porridge & potatoes to eat. Unable to support her father & children on her meager military widow’s pension, she opened a small school in Paisley. Around 1780, on the invitation of some “friends of religion,” she founded a boarding school for young ladies in Edinburgh. As her situation improved, she was able to indulge in charity, becoming “ingenious in contrivances to do good.” She used some of her income from tuitions to help people in small businesses, taking payment in their manufactured articles, & she also organized a mutual-benefit Society for the Relief of the Destitute Sick.
Her desire to return to North America, which she thought “the country where the Church of Christ would eventually flourish,” was encouraged by Dr. Witherspoon of New York. In 1789, she came to New York City with her daughters & established a girls’ school that soon had more than 50 students plus a distinguished list of patrons.
Uniting with the Cedar Street Scotch Presbyterian Church, Mrs. Graham found herself in a congenial religious & social climate. Her daughters all married New York merchants. Once they were comfortably settled, she retired from teaching, lived with one or another of them, & devoting herself to philanthropy.
In 1797, Mrs. Graham joined with her daughter Joanna & her friends Sarah (Ogden) Hoffman (1742-1821) & Elizabeth Bayley Seton, who later became a Saint in the Catholic church, in organizing the Society for the Relief of Poor Widows with Small Children - one of the earliest charitable associations in the United States & one of the first instances of women taking organized action on their own.
David F. Bloom, ed. Memoirs of Eminently Pious Women of Britain and America (Hartford, 1833), detail
Under her frugal management, the society aided 98 widows with 223 children during the winter of 1797-98, & the number increased during the years following. In 1802, the society was given a New York State charter. With money from legislative grants, they purchased food & distributed it to needy widows. The society also sought employment for the widows. Buying a house for the purpose, Mrs. Graham & her associates took orders for needlework. During the winter of 1807-08, when work was scarce, they gave out flax & spinning wheels, & paid for the products. They employed widows to teach schools in different parts of the city. Some of Mrs. Graham’s former pupils, under her supervision, conducted a school for the widows’ children. The society also opened two Sunday schools for the instruction of adults, one of which Mrs. Graham herself taught.
When her daughter Joanna Bethune organized the Orphan Asylum Society in 1806, Mrs. Graham became a trustee. With her daughter, she gave regular religious instruction at the school as well as to children in the public almshouse.
She called on female inmates of the Lunatic Asylum & sick women prisoners. In her final year, at 71, she established an adult school for young people working in factories, which met on Sundays, & presided over the organization of her daughter’s society for establishing a female House of Industry to provide employment for needy women.
No longer strong enough for extensive visiting, Mrs. Graham spent much of her last 2 years in prayer & meditation. She died in New York City, in 1814.
This posting based, in part, on information from Notable American Women edited by Edward T James, Janet Wilson James, Paul S Boyer, The Belknap Press of Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 1971
Paul Revere Print of Submersion Baptism
The Palmer Movement of Southern Free Will Baptists,
Southern Free Will Baptists have generally traced their ancestry back to the ministry of Paul Palmer, who in 1727 established the first known Free Will Baptist church in America in Chowan County, North Carolina. Very little is known about Palmer except that he organized North Carolina's 1st Baptist Church in 1727 in what is now Shiloh. A loose network of Baptist churches spread throughout North Carolina, numbering some 40 churches by the time of the American Revolution. In 1812, these mostly Southern churches organized into the Free Will Baptists, so called because of their belief that Jesus died so that all people, not just the elect, might come to salvation. Thus the organization of the Free Will Baptists marks an important moment in the evolution of Baptist theology which, up until then, had been strongly Calvinist.
The Earliest General Baptists in North Carolina
America’s first Free Will Baptists were called, like their English brethren, General Baptists. General stood for “general atonement,” their strong belief in the universality of the atonement—that Christ died for all men—& its attending doctrines. Both the General Baptists in England & America were nicknamed “Freewillers,” & the name caught on & began to be officially used by southern Free Will Baptists in the late 1700s. Though there were Baptists in North Carolina as early as 1685, the 1st organized church was not begun until around 1727, under the ministry of Paul Palmer. Palmer married into an English General Baptist family. Palmer’s father-in-law, Benjamin Laker, had been an active General Baptist layman who had apparently established an informal gathering of General Baptists in the Perquimans Precinct of North Carolina.
Laker had emigrated to Carolina from England, where he had been an active General Baptist who signed the 1663 edition of the 1660 English General Baptist Confession of Faith. In North Carolina, Laker, deputy to one of the Lords Proprietors of Carolina, member of the governor's Council, judge, and Baptist leader, was in 1664 a resident of Betchworth Parish, Surrey County, England, and a member of the family of that name living in southern Surrey County in the vicinity of the towns of Guildford, Dorking, and Reigate. As a local political leader & prosperous farmer, Laker had lived in Perquimans as early as 1685. It is known from Laker’s will that he owned many English General Baptist books. Among the books he left in his will was a book called Christianismus Primitivus. This was the standard doctrinal text for the English General Baptists & was written by Thomas Grantham, the foremost leader of the English General Baptists in the 1600s.
Grantham’s book outlined the doctrine of the English General Baptists, who taught, among other things, that Christ died for the sins of all mankind; that, though the sin of Adam had been imputed to man, he could be set free & saved by the righteousness of Jesus Christ which could be obtained by faith alone; that a saved person could renounce his faith in Christ & hence come out of union with Christ, never to be redeemed again; that believer’s baptism was the only way to constitute a local church; that local churches should be self-governing; that God granted everyone liberty of conscience, & thus the king should allow every individual the freedom to practice his religion without fear of persecution & that individual Christians had the right to be involved in government & to keep & bear arms for the protection of family & freedom. These doctrines had been stated in the 1660 English General Baptist Confession of Faith, which was used by Laker & Palmer, & in turn the Southern Free Will Baptists until 1812, when it was condensed into the 1812 Former Articles.
There seem to be no records to support the presence of an organized General Baptist church in North Carolina before 1727 [the year Palmer’s church was organized], but Laker’s important social & political status would have given him a unique opportunity to spread his General Baptist faith. When Paul Palmer began to preach in 1726, he found an eager audience for his General Baptist doctrine. Baptist churches in North Carolina before 1755 were of the General Baptist persuasion.
Paul Palmer & His Followers
Little is known about the early life of Paul Palmer. In the late spring of 1717, Palmer was living in York County, Virginia, but soon moved to North Carolina. In March 1719, Palmer married a 33-year-old woman, who was already twice widowed, Joanna Taylor Jeffreys Peterson. Mrs. Peterson was a woman of some prominence, the step-daughter of the General Baptist Benjamin Lake. By 1720, Laker had settled in Perquimans Precinct, where by 1729, he had an estate of 964 acres. Palmer became a respected landowner & political figure in Perquimans Precinct. When he arrived in Carolina in 1719, he joined the local Quaker meeting. However, he remained a Quaker only until 1722, when he asked for a certificate of dismissal from the meeting. His influence allowed him a hearing to proclaim his General Baptist doctrine, & he began evangelistic work in 1726. In 1727, he established a General Baptist Church in Chowan County.
By October, 1729, a 2nd congregation had been started & a young man named William Burgess was ordained to lead it. That same month, North Carolina's governor complained to the Anglican bishop of London about Palmer’s nefarious activities. Palmer, he said, was holding daily meetings & making hundreds of converts all over the area. As a result of Palmer’s activity the Baptists were flourishing. The governor pleaded that he was powerless to prevent this tide of religious enthusiasm which was sweeping the province as a result of Palmer’s preaching.
A few early followers were to be of great importance to the young American Free Will Baptist movement. William Sojourner, Josiah Hart, & Joseph Parker were instrumental in establishing & pastoring the first few churches. Sojourner (also spelled “Surginer”) was an English General Baptist from Virginia who moved to North Carolina in 1742, & became involved in the Palmer work. Hart, a physician, was greatly influenced by Sojourner & became a successful evangelist for the early Free Will Baptists, planting churches in Craven & Beaufort counties in North Carolina.
Joseph Parker was born into a General Baptist family in 1705. In 1730, Parker & his wife, Sarah, went into Indian Territory in North Carolina to establish General Baptist works. These early ministers & their followers labored at a time when it was difficult to be a Baptist dissenter from the Anglican (Episcopal) Church, the established church.
Their work was made easier by the Act of Toleration. A 1738 court document states: Permission is hereby granted to Paul Palmer of Edenton, a Protestant minister, to teach or preach the Word of God in any part of the said province (he having qualified himself as such) pursuant to an Act of Parliament made in the first year of King William & Queen Mary entitled an “Act of Tolerating Protestant Dissenters.”
In a span of 25 years, these men established 20 or more General Baptist churches, & the movement grew rapidly. Palmer eventually learned of other Free Will Baptist churches beyond North Carolina & Virginia, & determined to avail himself of them. He decided to visit the New England churches in person. He seems to have visited churches in Massachusetts, Connecticut, & Rhode Island. Upon his return, he visited churches in New Jersey & perhaps Virginia & Maryland too.
The Coming of the Calvinists
This growth, however, would not last long. In the 1750s, the Calvinists intruded. The Particular (Calvinistic) Baptists, also called “New Lights,” felt that the General Baptists needed reforming, which basically meant that they needed to be converted from Arminianism to Calvinism. These Calvinistic Baptists criticized the Free Will Baptists for not requiring what they called an “experience of grace” as a basis for baptism & church membership. What they meant by this was not simply conversion or a personal experience of the grace of God in one’s life, but rather a “long & often ridiculous account of how one came to know he was elected to grace & was one of the sheep.” The General Baptists, on the other hand, simply required repentance & faith in Christ as the only requirement for baptism & membership in the church. In addition to this, the Calvinists claimed that the General Baptist churches were worldly & lax in their discipline. There is no way, however, to know whether this was the case or not. Old-fashioned strict Calvinists held such a low view of Arminianism that they tended to associate it with heresy or unorthodox doctrine.
Thus the Calvinistic Particular Baptists took it upon themselves to raid these early General Baptists & attempt to proselytize as many of the ministers & members to Calvinism as they could. While they were successful in converting a good many of the ministers to Calvinism, they had less success with the actual members of these early Free Will Baptist churches. A case in point is the Pasquotank Church, which had around 200 members before it was reorganized as a Calvinist Baptist church & only 12 members after.
Woodcut from Morgan Edwards, Materials Towards A History of the American Baptists.
The Growth of the General Baptist Movement into Early America
By the 1640s, the English General Baptists had begun to establish numerous churches in England, & soon local associations began to spring up. Growth was steady, & by the 1650s, a “national association” of General Baptists was formed. The 1650s also saw the appearance of several General Baptist confessions of faith, doctrinal statements drawn up by local associations.
Such local doctrinal confessions as The Faith & Practice of Thirty Congregations (1651) & The True Gospel Faith (1654) served to give stability to the General Baptist associations by offering a unified set of doctrinal beliefs.
The 1660 English General Baptist Confession of Faith, however, was to become for General Baptists the most widely used confession in England. Later known as the Standard Confession of 1660, this confession was used by the Free Will Baptists in the American South until 1812, when it was condensed & revised.
Thomas Grantham was the most outstanding leader of the English General Baptists during the middle & later 1600s, & he delivered the 1660 Confession to King Charles II on July 26, 1660.20 Grantham was the most able theologian of the General Baptists, having written numerous books & tracts, primarily on believer’s baptism. His most extensive work was entitled Christianismus Primitivus or the Ancient Christian Religion. In this book, Grantham outlined the theology of the English General Baptists, especially as it relates to the doctrine of the church. Grantham reprinted the 1663 edition of the Confession in Christianismus Primitivus, along with quotations from early Christian fathers, to prove that it contained nothing novel. Besides outlining the doctrinal beliefs of the English General Baptists, the 1660 Confession attempted to halt the persecution that the General Baptists had suffered at the hands of the Anglican Church & the English government by affirming their loyalty to England.
The Confession was signed mostly by men in & around London, but representatives from other areas of England were also present to sign the document. One such representative was William Jeffrey of Kent. Jeffrey & the General Baptists of Kent were the most insistent of all the General Baptists on maintaining the doctrine of feet washing as an ordinance. Jeffrey was author of a doctrinal work, The Whole Faith of Man, which by 1660 was already a standard work of reference & appeal for General Baptists.
The English General Baptists went through many changes in the late 1600s & early 1700s. Many General Baptists left behind their traditional theology—some opting for mild Calvinism & others for unorthodox ideas. Not until later in the 1700s would the movement experience doctrinal cohesion & growth.
Despite this period of doctrinal controversy & decline, the General Baptist faith & practice that had been articulated in the 1660 Confession was proclaimed & preserved in the New World by General Baptists who migrated to the American colonies.
Richard Day, A Booke of Christian prayers 1581 - Infant Baptism woodcut
John Smyth (c. 1570-1612) was an early Baptist (Puritan, Separatist, Mennonite) minister from England and a defender of the principle of religious liberty. Some historians consider John Smyth as a founder of the Baptist denomination. Smyth was ordained as an Anglican priest in 1594 in England. Soon after his ordination, he broke with the Church of England & left for Holland where he with a small congregation began to study the Bible ardently.
Smyth insisted that true worship was from the heart & that any form of reading from a book in worship was an invention of sinful man. Prayer, singing & preaching had to be completely spontaneous. He introduced a twofold church leadership, that of pastor and deacon. This was in contrast to the Catholic/Anglican hierarchy of bishop, priest. He thought that believers baptised as infants would have to be re-baptized. He briefly returned to England, but died in Holland. By the time of his death, Smyth moved away from his Baptist views & began trying to bring his flock into the Mennonite church. Although he died before this happened, most of his congregation did join with the Mennonite church after his death.
John Smyth / John Smith - Often referred to as the father of the Baptist groups as they grew in the USA.
A Short Confession of Faith IN TWENTY ARTICLES BY JOHN SMYTH -1609 WE BELIEVE WITH THE HEART AND WITH THE MOUTH CONFESS:
(1) That there is one God, the best, the highest, and most glorious Creator and Preserver of all; who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
(2) That God has created and redeemed the human race to his own image, and has ordained all men (no one being reprobated) to life.
(3) That God imposes no necessity of sinning on any one; but man freely, by Satanic instigation, departs from God.
(4) That the law of life was originally placed by God in the keeping of the law; then, by reason of the weakness of the flesh, was, by the good pleasure of God, through the redemption of Christ, changed into justification of faith; on which account, no one ought justly blame God, but rather, with his inmost heart, to revere, adore, and praise his mercy, that God should have rendered that possible to man, by his grace, which before, since man had fallen, was impossible by nature.
(5) That there is no original sin (lit;, no sin of origin or descent), but all sin is actual and voluntary, viz., a word, a deed, or a design against the law of God; and therefore, infants are without sin.
(6) That Jesus Christ is true God and true man; viz., the Son of God taking to himself, in addition, the true and pure nature of a man, out of a true rational soul, and existing in a true human body.
(7) That Jesus Christ, as pertaining to the flesh, was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, afterwards was born, circumcised, baptized, tempted; also that he hungered, thirsted, ate, drank, increased both in stature and in knowledge; he was wearied, he slept, at last was crucified, dead buried, he rose again, ascended into heaven; and that to himself as only King, Priest, and Prophet of the church, all power both in Heaven and earth is given.
(8) That the grace of God, through the finished redemption of Christ, was to be prepared and offered to all without distinction, and that not feignedly but in good faith, partly by things made, which declare the invisible things of God, and partly by the preaching of the Gospel.
(9) That men, of the grace of God through the redemption of Christ, are able (the Holy Spirit, by grace, being before unto them grace prevement) to repent, to believe, to turn to God, and to attain to eternal life; so on the other hand, they are able themselves to resist the Holy Spirit, to depart from God, and to perish for ever.
(10) That the justification of man before the Divine tribunal (which is both the throne of justice and of mercy), consists partly of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ apprehended by faith, and partly of inherent righteousness, in the holy themselves, by the operation of the Holy Spirit, which is called regeneration or sanctification. since any one is righteous, who doeth righteousness.
(11) That faith, destitute of good works, is vain; but true and living faith is distinguished by good works.
(12) That the church of Christ is a company of the faithful; baptized after confession of sin and of faith, endowed with the power of Christ.
(13) That the church of Christ has power delegated to themselves of announcing the word, administering the sacraments, appointing ministers, disclaiming them, and also excommunicating; but the last appeal is to the brethren of body of the church.
(14) That baptism is the external sign of the remission of sins, of dying and of being made alive, and therefore does not belong to infants.
(15) That the Lord’s Supper is the external sign of the communion of Christ, and of the faithful amongst themselves by faith and love.
(16) That the ministers of the church are, not only bishops (“Episcopos”), to whom the power is given of dispensing both the word and the sacraments, but also deacons, men and widows, who attend to the affairs of the poor and sick brethren.
(17) That brethren who persevere in sins known to themselves, after the third admonition, are to be excluded from the fellowship of the saints by excommunication.
(18) That those who are excommunicated are not to be avoided in what pertains to worldly business (civile commercium).
(19) That the dead (the living being instantly changed) will rise again with the same bodies; not the substance but the qualities being changed.
(20) That after the resurrection, all will be borne to the tribunal of Christ, the Judge, to be judged according to their works; the pious, after sentence of absolution, will enjoy eternal life with Christ in heaven; the wicked, condemned, will be punished with eternal torments in hell with the devil and his angels.
A PLEA FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY by Roger Williams
Roger Williams (ca. 1603-83), religious leader and one of the founders of Rhode Island, was the son of a well-to-do London businessman. Educated at Cambridge (A.B., 1627) he became a clergyman and in 1630 sailed for Massachusetts. He refused a call to the church of Boston because it had not formally broken with the Church of England, but after two invitations he became the assistant pastor, later pastor, of the church at Salem. He questioned the right of the colonists to take the Indians' land from them merely on the legal basis of the royal charter and in other ways ran afoul of the oligarchy then ruling Massachusetts. In 1635 he was found guilty of spreading "new authority of magistrates" and was ordered to be banished from the colony. He lived briefly with friendly Indians and then, in 1636, founded Providence in what was to be the colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. His religious views led him to become briefly a Baptist, later a Seeker. In 1644, while he was in England getting a charter for his colony from Parliament, he wrote the work from which this dialogue is taken. During much of his later life he was engaged in polemics on political and religious questions. He was an important figure in the intellectual life of his time.
First, that the blood of so many hundred thousand souls of Protestants and Papists, spilt in the wars of present and former ages, for their respective consciences, is not required nor accepted by Jesus Christ the Prince of Peace.
Secondly, pregnant scriptures and arguments are throughout the work proposed against the doctrine of persecution for cause of conscience.
Thirdly, satisfactory answers are given to scriptures, and objections produced by Mr. Calvin, Beza, Mr. Cotton, and the ministers of the New English churches and others former and later, tending to prove the doctrine of persecution for cause of conscience.
Fourthly, the doctrine of persecution for cause of conscience is proved guilty of all the blood of the souls crying for vengeance under the altar.
Fifthly, 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.
Sixthly, 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.
Seventhly, 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 president for any kingdom or civil state in the world to follow.
Eighthly, God requireth not a 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.
Ninthly, in holding an enforced uniformity of religion in a civil state, we must necessarily disclaim our desires and hopes of the Jew's conversion to Christ.
Tenthly, 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.
Eleventhly, 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 forts).
Twelfthly, lastly, true civility and Christianity may both flourish in a state or kingdom, notwithstanding the permission of divers and contrary consciences, either of Jew or Gentile....
TRUTH. I acknowledge that to molest any person, Jew or Gentile, for either professing doctrine, or practicing worship merely religious or spiritual, it is to persecute him, and such a person (whatever his doctrine or practice be, true or false) suffereth persecution for conscience.
But withal I desire it may be well observed that this distinction is not full and complete: for beside this that a man may be persecuted because he holds or practices what he believes in conscience to be a truth (as Daniel did, for which he was cast into the lions' den, Dan. 6), and many thousands of Christians, because they durst not cease to preach and practice what they believed was by God commanded, as the Apostles answered (Acts 4 & 5), I say besides this a man may also be persecuted, because he dares not be constrained to yield obedience to such doctrines and worships as are by men invented and appointed....
Dear TRUTH, I have two sad complaints:
First, the most sober of the witnesses, that dare to plead thy cause, how are they charged to be mine enemies, contentious, turbulent, seditious?
Secondly, shine enemies, though they speak and rail against thee, though they outrageously pursue, imprison, banish, kill thy faithful witnesses, yet how is all vermilion'd o'er for justice against the heretics? Yea, if they kindle coals, and blow the flames of devouring wars, that leave neither spiritual nor civil state, but burn up branch and root, yet how do all pretend an holy war? He that kills, and he that's killed, they both cry out: "It is for God, and for their conscience."
'Tis true, nor one nor other seldom dare to plead the mighty Prince Christ Jesus for their author, yet (both Protestant and Papist) pretend they have spoke with Moses and the Prophets who all, say they (before Christ came), allowed such holy persecutions, holy wars against the enemies of holy church.
TRUTH. Dear PEACE (to ease thy first complaint), 'tis true, thy dearest sons, most like their mother, peacekeeping, peacemaking sons of God, have borne and still must bear the blurs of troublers of Israel, and turners of the world upside down. And 'tis true again, what Solomon once spake: "The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water, therefore (saith he) leave off contention before it be meddled with. This caveat should keep the banks and sluices firm and strong, that strife, like a breach of waters, break not in upon the sons of men."
Yet strife must be distinguished: It is necessary or unnecessary, godly or Ungodly, Christian or unchristian, etc.
It is unnecessary, unlawful, dishonorable, ungodly, unchristian, in most cases in the world, for there is a possibility of keeping sweet peace in most cases, and, if it be possible, it is the express command of God that peace be kept (Rom. 13).
Again, it is necessary, honorable, godly, etc., with civil and earthly weapons to defend the innocent and to rescue the oppressed from the violent paws and jaws of oppressing persecuting Nimrods 2 (Psal. 73; Job 29).
It is as necessary, yea more honorable, godly, and Christian, to fight the fight of faith, with religious and spiritual artillery, and to contend earnestly for the faith of Jesus, once delivered to the saints against all opposers, and the gates of earth and hell, men or devils, yea against Paul himself, or an angel from heaven, if he bring any other faith or doctrine....
PEACE. I add that a civil sword (as woeful experience in all ages has proved) is so far from bringing or helping forward an opposite in religion to repentance that magistrates sin grievously against the work of God and blood of souls by such proceedings. Because as (commonly) the sufferings of false and antichristian teachers harden their followers, who being blind, by this means are occasioned to tumble into the ditch of hell after their blind leaders, with more inflamed zeal of lying confidence. So, secondly, violence and a sword of steel begets such an impression in the sufferers that certainly they conclude (as indeed that religion cannot be true which needs such instruments of violence to uphold it so) that persecutors are far from soft and gentle commiseration of the blindness of others....
For (to keep to the similitude which the Spirit useth, for instance) to batter down a stronghold, high wall, fort, tower, or castle, men bring not a first and second admonition, and after obstinacy, excommunication, which are spiritual weapons concerning them that be in the church: nor exhortation to repent and be baptized, to believe in the Lord Jesus, etc., which are proper weapons to them that be without, etc. But to take a stronghold, men bring cannons, culverins, saker, bullets, powder, muskets, swords, pikes, etc., and these to this end are weapons effectual and proportionable.
On the other side, to batter down idolatry, false worship, heresy, schism, blindness, hardness, out of the soul and spirit, it is vain, improper, and unsuitable to bring those weapons which are used by persecutors, stocks, whips, prisons, swords, gibbets, stakes, etc. (where these seem to prevail with some cities or kingdoms, a stronger force sets up again, what a weaker pull'd down), but against these spiritual strongholds in the souls of men, spiritual artillery and weapons are proper, which are mighty through God to subdue and bring under the very thought to obedience, or else to bind fast the soul with chains of darkness, and lock it up in the prison of unbelief and hardness to eternity....
PEACE. 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 evildoers, seducing teachers, etc.
TRUTH. I say the evil is that he most improperly and confusedly joins and couples seducing teachers with scandalous livers.
PEACE. But is it not true that the world is full of seducing teachers, and is it not true that seducing teachers are notorious evildoers?
TRUTH. I answer, far be it from me to deny either, and yet in two things I shall discover the great evil of this joining and coupling seducing teachers, and scandalous livers as one adequate or proper object of the magistrate's care and work to suppress and punish.
First, it is not an homogeneal (as we speak) but an hetergeneal 3 commixture or joining together of things most different in kinds and natures, as if they were both of one consideration....
TRUTH. I answer, in granting with Brentius 4 that man hath not power to make laws to bind conscience, he overthrows such his tenent and practice as restrain men from their worship, according to their conscience and belief, and constrain them to such worships (though it be out of a pretense that they are convinced) which their own souls tell them they have no satisfaction nor faith in.
Secondly, whereas he affirms that men may make laws to see the laws of God observed.
I answer, God needeth not the help of a material sword of steel to assist the sword of the Spirit in the affairs of conscience, to those men, those magistrates, yea that commonwealth which makes such magistrates, must needs have power and authority from Christ Jesus to fit judge and to determine in all the great controversies concerning doctrine, discipline, government, etc.
And then I ask whether upon this ground it must not evidently follow that:
Either there is no lawful commonw earth nor civil state of men in the world, which is not qualified with this spiritual discerning (and then also that the very commonweal hath more light concerning the church of Christ than the church itself).
Or, that the commonweal and magistrates thereof must judge and punish as they are persuaded in their own belief and conscience (be their conscience paganish, Turkish, or antichristian) what is this but to confound heaven and earth together, and not only to take away the being of Christianity out of the world, but to take away all civility, and the world out of the world, and to lay all upon heaps of confusion? . ..
PEACE. The fourth head is the proper means of both these powers to attain their ends.
First, the proper means whereby the civil power may and should attain its end are only political, and principally these five.
First, the erecting and establishing what form of civil government may seem in wisdom most meet, according to general rules of the world, and state of the people.
Secondly, the making, publishing, and establishing of wholesome civil laws, not only such as concern civil justice, but also the free passage of true religion; for outward civil peace ariseth and is maintained from them both, from the latter as well as from the former.
Civil peace cannot stand entire, where religion is corrupted (2 Chron. 15. 3. 5. 6; and Judges 8). And yet such laws, though conversant about religion, may still be counted civil laws, as, on the contrary, an oath cloth still remain religious though conversant about civil matters.
Thirdly, election and appointment of civil officers to see execution to those laws.
Fourthly, civil punishments and rewards of transgressors and observers of these laws.
Fifthly, taking up arms against the enemies of civil peace.
Secondly, the means whereby the church may and should attain her ends are only ecclesiastical, which are chiefly five.
First, setting up that form of church government only of which Christ hath given them a pattern in his Word.
Secondly, acknowledging and admitting of no lawgiver in the church but Christ and the publishing of His laws.
Thirdly, electing and ordaining of such officers only, as Christ hath appointed in his Word.
Fourthly, to receive into their fellowship them that are approved and inflicting spiritual censures against them that o end.
Fifthly, prayer and patience in suffering any evil from them that be without, who disturb their peace.
So that magistrates, as magistrates, have no power of setting up the form of church government, electing church officers, punishing with church censures, but to see that the church does her duty herein. And on the other side, the churches as churches, have no power (though as members of the commonweal they may have power) of erecting or altering forms of civil government, electing of civil officers, inflicting civil punishments (no not on persons excommunicate) as by deposing magistrates from their civil authority, or withdrawing the hearts of the people against them, to their laws, no more than to discharge wives, or children, or servants, from due obedience to their husbands, parents, or masters; or by taking up arms against their magistrates, though he persecute them for conscience: for though members of churches who are public officers also of the civil state may suppress by force the violence of usurpers, as Iehoiada did Athaliah, yet this they do not as members of the church but as officers of the civil state.
TRUTH. Here are divers considerable passages which I shall briefly examine, so far as concerns our controversy.
First, 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 consider (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, etc. 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....
PEACE. Some will here ask: What may the magistrate then lawfully do with his civil horn or power in matters of religion?
TRUTH. His horn not being the horn of that unicorn or rhinoceros, the power of the Lord Jesus in spiritual cases, his sword not the two-edged sword of the spirit, the word of God (hanging not about the loins or side, but at the lips. and proceeding out of the mouth of his ministers) but of an humane and civil nature and constitution, it must consequently be of a humane and civil operation, for who knows not that operation follows constitution; And therefore I shall end this passage with this consideration:
The civil magistrate either respecteth that religion and worship which his conscience is persuaded is true, and upon which he ventures his soul; or else that and those which he is persuaded are false.
Concerning the first, if that which the magistrate believeth to be true, be true, I say he owes a threefold duty unto it:
First, approbation and countenance, a reverent esteem and honorable testimony, according to Isa. 49, and Revel. 21, with a tender respect of truth, and the professors of it.
Secondly, personal submission of his own soul to the power of the Lord Jesus in that spiritual government and kingdom, according to Matt. 18 and 1 Cor. 5.
Thirdly, protection of such true professors of Christ, whether apart, or met together, as also of their estates from violence and injury, according to Rom. 13.
Now, secondly, if it be a false religion (unto which the civil magistrate dare not adjoin, yet) he owes:
First, permission (for approbation he owes not what is evil) and this according to Matthew 13. 30 for public peace and quiet's sake.
Secondly, he owes protection to the persons of his subjects (though of a false worship), that no injury be offered either to the persons or goods of any....
...The God of Peace, the God of Truth will shortly seal this truth, and confirm this witness, 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 Jesus the Prince of Peace. Amen.