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to say nothing to the purpose, nor nothing that is true. Not true ; because St. Cyprian's error was condemned by Pope Stephen, which, in the present sense of the prevailing party in the church of Rome, is to be condemned by the church. Not to the purpose; because it is nothing else but to say, that the church did tolerate their errors. For since those opinions were open

and manifest to the world, that the church did not condemn them, it was either because those opinions were by the church not thought to be errors; or if they were, yet she thought fit to tolerate the error and the erring person. And if she would do so still, it would in most cases be better than now it is. And yet if the church had condemned them, it had not altered the case as to this question; for either the persons upon the condemnation of their error should have been persecuted, or not. If not, why shall they now, against the instance and precedent of those ages who were confessedly wise and pious, and whose practices are often made to us arguments to follow? If yea, and that they had been persecuted, it is a thing which this argument condemns, and the loss of the church had been invaluable in the losing or the provocation and temptation of such rare personages; and the example and the rule of so ill consequence, that all persons might upon the same ground have suffered ; and though some had escaped, yet no man could have any more security from punishment than from error.

9. Sixthly: either the disagreeing person is in error, or. not, but a true believer : in either of the cases to persecute him is extremely imprudent. For if he be a true believer, then it is a clear case that we do open violence to God, and his servants, and his truth. If he be in error, what greater folly and stupidity than to give to error the glory of martyrdom, and the advantages which are accidentally consequent to a persecution ? For as it was true of the martyrs, Quoties morimur, toties nascimur,' and the increase of their trouble was the increase of their confidence and the establishment of their persuasions ; so it is in all false opinions; for that an opinion is true or false, is extrinsical or accidental to the consequents and advantages it gets by being afflicted. And there is a popular pity that follows all persons in misery, and that compassion breeds likeness of affections, and that very often produces likeness of persuasion ; and so much the ra

ther, because there arises a jealousy and pregnant suspicion that they who persecute an opinion, are destitute of sufficient arguments to confute it, and that the hangman is the best disputant. For if those arguments which they have for their own doctrine, were a sufficient ground of confidence and persuasion, men would be more willing to use those means and arguments, which are better compliances with human understanding, which more naturally do satisfy it, which are more humane and Christian, than that way is which satisfies none, which destroys many, which provokes more, and which

for their opinion, leave in all men great arguments of the heartiness of their belief, of the confidence of their persuasion, of the piety and innocency of their persons, of the purity of their intention and simplicity of purposes, that they are persons totally disinterested and separate from design. For no interest can be so great as to be put in balance against a man's life and his soul; and he does very imprudently serve his ends, who, seeingly and foreknowingly, loses his life in the prosecution of them. Just as if Titius should offer to die for Sempronius upon condition he might receive twenty talents, when he had done his work. It is certainly an argument of a great love, and a great confidence, and a great sincerity, and a great hope, when a man lays down his life in attestation of a proposition. “Greater love than this hath no man, than to lay down his life,” saith our blessed Saviour. And although laying of a wager is an argument of confidence more than truth; yet laying such a wager, staking of a man's soul, and pawning his life, give a hearty testimony that the person is honest, confident, resigned, charitable, and noble. And I know not whether truth can do a person or a cause more advantages than these can do to an error. And therefore, besides the impiety, there is great imprudence in canonizing a heretic, and consecrating an error by such means, which were better preserved as encouragements of truth, and comforts to real and true martyrs. And it is not amiss to observe, that this very advantage was given by heretics, who were ready to shew and boast their catalogues of martyrs : in particular the Circumcellians did so, and the Donatists; and yet the first were heretics, the second schismatics. And it was remarkable in the scholars of Priscillian, who as they

had their master in the reputation of a saint while he was living, so when he was dead, they had him in veneration as a martyr; they with reverence and devotion carried his and the bodies of his slain companions to an honourable sepulture, and counted it religion to swear by the name of Priscillian. So that the extinguishing of the person gives life and credit to his doctrine, and when he is dead, he yet speaks more effectually.

10. Seventhly: it is unnatural and unreasonable to persecute disagreeing opinions. Unnatural; for understanding, being a thing wholly spiritual, cannot be restrained, and therefore neither punished by corporal afflictions. It is in aliena republica,' a matter of another world. You may as well cure the cholic by brushing a man's clothes, or fill a man's belly with a syllogism. These things do not communicate in matter, and therefore neither in action nor passion. And since all punishments in a prudent government punish the offender to prevent a future crime, and so it proves more medicinal than vindictive, the punitive act being in order to the cure and prevention ; and since no punishment of the body can cure a disease in the soul; it is disproportionable in nature, and in all civil government, to punish where the punishment can do no good. It may be an act of tyranny, but never of justice. For is an opinion ever the more true or false for being persecuted? Some men have believed it the more, as being provoked into a confidence, and vexed into a resolution ; but the thing itself is not the truer: and though the hangman may confute a man with an explicable dilemma, yet not convince his understanding; for such premises can infer no conclusion but that of a man's life: and a wolf may as well give laws to the understanding, as he whose dictates are only propounded in violence, and writ in blood : and a dog is as capable of a law as a man, if there be no choice in his obedience, nor discourse in his choice, nor reason to satisfy his discourse. And as it is unnatural, so it is unreasonable, that Sempronius should force Caius to be of his opinion, because Sempronius is consul this year and commands the lictors. As if he that can kill a man, cannot but be infallible: and if he be not, why should I do violence to my conscience, because he can do violence to my person?

11. Eighthly: force in matters of opinion can do no

good, but is very apt to do hurt; for no man can change his opinion when he will, or be satisfied in his reason that his opinion is false, because discountenanced. If a man could change his opinion when he lists, he might cure many inconveniences of his life : all his fears and his sorrows would soon disband, if he would but alter his opinion, whereby he is persuaded that such an accident that afflicts him is an evil, and such an object formidable : let him but believe himself impregnable, or that he receives a benefit when he is plundered, disgraced, imprisoned, condemned, and afflicted, neither his steps need to be disturbed, nor his quietness discomposed. But if a man cannot change his opinion when he lists, nor ever does heartily or resolutely but when he cannot do otherwise, then to use force may make him a hypocrite, but never to be a right believer; and so, instead of erecting a trophy to God and true religion, we build a monument for the devil. Infinite examples are recorded in church-story to this very purpose. But Socrates instances in one for all : for when Eleusius bishop of Cyzicum was threatened by the emperor Valens with banishment and confiscation, if he did not subscribe to the decree of Ariminum,-at last he yielded to the Arian opinion, and presently fell into great torment of conscience, openly at Cyzicum recanted the error, asked God and the church forgiveness, and complained of the emperor's injustice: and that was all the good the Arian party got by offering violence to bis conscience. And so many families in Spain, which are (as they call them) new Christians, and of a suspected faith, into which they were forced by the tyranny of the inquisition, and yet are secret Moors, are evidence enough of the 9 inconvenience of preaching a doctrine ' in ore gladii cruentandi.' For it either punishes a man for keeping a good conscience, or forces him into a bad; it either punishes sincerity, or persuades hypocrisy; it persecutes a truth, or drives into error: and it teaches a man to dissemble and to be safe, but never to be honest.

12. Ninthly: it is one of the glories of Christian religion, that it was so pious, excellent, miraculous, and persuasive, that it came in upon its own piety and wisdom, with no other

? Ejusmodi fuit Hipponensium conversio, cujus quidem species decepit August. ità ut opinaretur bæreticos, licèt non niorte trucidandos, vi tamen coercendos. Experientia enim demonstravit eos tam facilè ad Arianismum transiisse atque ad caibolicismum, cùm Ariani principes reram in ea eivitate potirentur.

force but a torrent of arguments and demonstration of the Spirit; a mighty rushing wind to beat down all strong holds, and every high thought and imagination; but towards the persons of men it was always full of meekness and charity, compliance and toleration, condescension and bearing with one another, “restoring persons overtaken with an error, in the spirit of meekness, considering lest we also be tempted.” The consideration is as prudent, and the proposition as just, as the precept is charitable, and the precedent was pious and holy. Now things are best conserved with that which gives it the first being, and which is agreeable to its temper and constitution. That precept which it chiefly preaches in order to all the blessedness in the world, that is, of meekness, mercy, and charity, should also preserve itself and promote its own interest. For indeed nothing will do it so well, nothing doth so excellently insinuate itself into the understandings and affections of men, as when the actions and persuasions of a sect, and every part and principle and promotion, are univocal. And it would be a mighty disparagement to so glorious an institution, that in its principle it should be merciful and humane, and in the promotion and propagation of it so inhuman: and it would be improbable and unreasonable that the sword should be used in the sion of one proposition, and yet in the persuasion of the whole religion nothing like it. To do so may serve the end of a temporal prince, but never promote the honour of Christ's kingdom ; it may secure a design of Spain, but will very much disserve Christendom, to offer to support it by that which good men believe to be a distinctive cognizance of the Mahometan religion from the excellency and piety of Christianity, whose sense and spirit are described in those excellent words of St. Paul; “The servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle unto all men, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging the truth".” They that oppose themselves, must not be stricken by any of God's servants; and if yet any man will smite these who are his opposites in opinion, he will get nothing by that, he must quit the title of being 'a servant of

r 2 Tim, ii. 24.


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