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authority in any case proper for his cognizance. For the magistrate might well say, The action is such as I am concerned to inquire into; conscience I have nothing to do with ; it does not lie before me, and therefore I shall not attend to its pretences. Nor indeed is it possible that he should, since it is in every man's power in all cases to plead conscience; which is never more easily pretended to than by those who have none. A man under a criminal accusation might as well refer himself to what was done in the Mogul's country as to what passed at that time in his own unsearchable heart; and the magistrate might with much more reason admit the evidence in one case than in the other, where there is no possibility of knowing the truth.
It may be thought perhaps by some that I have been pleading all this while for the magistrate's right to persecute the subject on account of religion ; and so I have, if there be any religion which indispensably obliges men to disturb the public peace, to pervert the ways of justice, to be injurious to their brethren, either in their life, or property, or good name; for these things certainly the magistrate ought to punish and correct. But if this be what all religions universally disclaim and abhor, there is no danger that any man should suffer merely for his religion, because the magistrate has a right to punish sedition and rebellion, and to do justice in cases of private injury and oppression. One may be mistaken in his notions of religion, and yet in his political capacity, as touching the laws of his country, he may be blameless; and as long as he continues so, his mistakes are out of the reach of the magistrate's power.
The reason of the case extends as well to doctrines as to practices : the magistrate has a right to suppress all such as are pernicious to the state. In Queen Elizabeth's time there were some who maintained, as a point of religion, the unlawfulness of women's government: should the doctrine be revived at this day, I imagine that the plea of religion would not atone for the malignancy of the opinion.
What has been said may serve to mark out to us the just limits of spiritual and civil power.
The ministers of Christ are not of this world, and therefore they have no right to extend their Master's kingdom by the exercise of worldly or temporal
power. The civil magistrate is of this world, and the affairs of it are his proper care; from which he ought not to be excluded by any pretences or pleas of religion : nor will this bring any man under difficulty on the account of pure religion, which never interferes with the magistrate's right; but where' men build on religious doctrines or practices destructive of civil government, they must answer to God for perverting religion, and to the magistrate for disturbing the public.
Lastly, it remains only that we apply what has been said to the occasion of this day. There are but two things which the church of Rome can insist on, both of which are determined against them by the doctrine of the text. For, first, whatever differences in religion there are between us, yet they are unjustifiable in the methods they use for our conversion. And, secondly, notwithstanding all their pleas of religion, the civil power has a right to punish their practices, and did justly exercise that right in bringing the contrivers and actors of the bloody tragedy of this day to an open and a shameful death, These are but the necessary consequences of what has been already discoursed, and therefore I shall not trouble you with enlarging on them.
How justly then may we expostulate with the church of Rome the cruelty of this day, in which they outdid even themselves! Deposing a king which they have often attempted, was not their work; enslaving the nobility, which is their common practice, was not their aim; they had prepared a richer sacrifice to the triple crown, and intended to expiate the offence of the nation against the pope, by the noblest blood which it ever produced.
Could they have buried our laws and our constitutions in one general ruin, they had then hopes of succeeding in their attempt. These children of the world are wise in their generation, and rightly judge, that to confound the peace of the state and the purity of the church, is their only way to prevail against both; since nothing can make their dominion tolerable but anarchy and confusion ; nothing their religion, but atheism and infidelity.
But God prevented their malice, and turned their mischief on their own heads. In memory of which blessing this day was deservedly distinguished in the English calendar; which piety of our ancestors has descended on us their posterity in new blessings ; and this day has been again consecrated by the deliverance of these kingdoms out of the hands of the same implacable enemies.
There is nothing an Englishman has more to fear than the prevailing power of popery; and so universally it is dreaded, that popery must ever be a millstone to the neck of
any cause to which it is but so much as generally suspected to be allied ; and this, I presume, has been well understood by those who have always been laboring to infuse the fears and jealousies of it into the minds of the people, and to clog the work of the government with the suspicions of it. If there be any aspersion which men should make a conscience of casting on their rulers, it is this, which contains whatever can be thought on to render a man odious. To design the advancement of popery
is to design the ruin of the state and the destruction of the church ; it is to sacrifice the nation to a double slavery, to prepare chains both for their bodies and their minds.
What interest is to be served by fomenting these jealousies, is, I think, hard to be understood : the protestant succession is established by the law, and what farther security can be had, must rise. out of the affections of the people; which will not be increased by persuading them that they stand suspected in the opinion of those who may be one day their governors. Should these jealousies so far prevail (as we trust they cannot) as to render one great part of the people of England suspected to the princes abroad, what strength would the protestant succession gain by these means? Would not the consequence be, that this part of the people would begin to imagine their cause prejudged, and think with less pleasure on the security, which now they esteem as their great blessing? What may grow out of such mutual distrusts in length of time, should they once prevail, I cannot tell; but no good, I am sure. They who heartily wish well to the succession will endeavor that there may be a mutual confidence and good opinion between the people and the princes of the blood ; that whenever the time comes, which must rob us of our dearest blessing, they may ascend the throne neither suspecting nor suspected,
may be received with as much joy as the circumstances of that sad (and I hope far distant) day will admit of. Let the people be told how fully they inherit the virtues of their royal ancestors, that no distance of time or place can ever efface their love for our common country; but let none but theirs and their country's enemies insinuate that there is any cause for mutual fears and jealousies between them.
But whatever our fears are, let them be so far suspended at least, that we may enjoy the ease and tranquillity which the present auspicious reign affords. Let not all our zeal for our holy religion be spent in quarrelling and disputing about it; but some of it be shown in our dutiful behavior to our governors, in mutual love and charity. Let the purity of our religion be expressed in the innocence of our lives; that whenever God shall be pleased to deliver us from the scourge of war, we may be in such a disposition to receive the blessing, that mercy and truth may meet together, and righteousness and peace
kiss each other.' Above all, let us earnestly contend with God in prayer for mercies on our good Queen; that she may be long continued to us; that he would give peace in her time; that no demerit of ours may rob us of the invaluable blessings we enjoy in her ; that whenever she, ripe for glory and immortality, shall be called to everlasting peace and a better crown, that then he would with a more especial eye of mercy and tenderness regard these orphan kingdoms, and hide them under the shelter of his wings, till the danger be overpast.
SUMMARY OF DISCOURSE IV.
II SAMUEL, CHAP. XXIII.-VERSES 3. 4.
The words of the text are said to be the last of David, uttered by the Spirit of the Lord, whose word was in his tongue. In whatever light they may be considered, they show the true art of governing, by which a prince may render himself and his people happy. The words shown to be applicable to the state of the nation ; whence arise two considerations : I. the character of a good prince expressed in them : II. the great blessing which a just prince is to his people.-I. The nature of justice described, in the limited notion of the word, and in its more extended sense as measured by the fear of God; which makes princes to become true fathers of their people : this topic enlarged on. This view carried through the particulars of government; whence the happy influence of such a religious principle is discovered. Character of the queen delineated; and the principle just laid down applied to her executive government.--II. The great blessing which arises to his people from a just prince. It is shown, first, that good laws, duly executed, are as much the happiness of the people as they are the support of the crown : secondly, how the very example of such a ruler has a natural tendency to promote the peace and welfare of the kingdom ; and how the virtue which shines from the throne, warms the hearts of all below it: lastly, that the blessing and protection of Heaven attend the government of a just prince; and that as kings are the immediate ministers of God, so are they his immediate care. The virtues of the