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gretft care of their fouls. But what, I befeeeh you, fhall become of thofe
of the i^tiOnal church, ever^ where, which iftake fii" the greater part bf"
mankind) Who have nb fuch puniflimentsf to tnake them conjtder ; whb hiV^
A(ol ehls vyily remedy pro'^^ided for them ; but are left in thai deplorable coh-
dition yb« meftfion, d^ hieing Jufferd quietly, and withoiit rholejiatidn, to take no "P- ij
iare at all <f their fitiii, or in doing of it tofoVonif. their own prijitdicei, ha*
mtirs, offoihe erafiy fediteers f Need riot thbfeof the national ^A'tirch, as well
a.i others, bring their religidri ib the bar of reafon, and give it a fd'r trial
there f Arid if they he6d to do fo, as they muft, if afl national religions can-
not be foppofed triie, ^ey v^ill always need that which, you fey, is the dnty P. 12
Means 16 maketh^m do €0. So thai ifyoU are fur e, as you tell us, that theh
is need ^ y^r Method; I ani fore there is as much need of it in national
churches, as any other. And fo, for ought I c£tn fie, you muft either pii-
iiifli them, or let others alone -, urilefs you think it reafonable that the far
gteater ^art of rnankind fhbuld coriftaritly be without that foVerei'gn aiid only
remedy, which they ftand in need of equally with othei: people.

Sonietimes the end for which men mufl be puniflied is, to difpdjl them fo^- '3
fubmit to inJiruSiion, and to give afAtr hearing to the reafms are offif'dfor thi
hiiighthing their minds, and difcov&hg the truth to ihefii. If their own
words may be taken for iti there are as few diflenters as conformifts, in any
country, who will not profefs they hav^ dbrit, and do this. And if their own
words may not be taken ; who, Ifw^ay muft be judge ? You and your magif-
trateS ? If fo, th€n it is plain you puhifli them not to difpofe them fo fubmit td
inflru6fion, h\itto yoxir in/trU^h ; not to difpofe them to give a fair hearing to
teafifts offer' d for the mlighthihg their minds, but to give an obedient hearing
to your reafohs. If jrou mean this j it had been faiirfer and fhorter to have
^ken out plainly, than thus in fair words, of indefinite fignification, to fay
fhat which amounts to nothirig. For what fenfe is it, to punifh a man to
dijpofi hint to fubmit fo-infruSliohy and give a fair hearing tareafons offer-' d for
the thhghthing his mhtdl and difcovering truth to' him, who goes two or three
times^a w«<^ feveral miles on purpofd to do it, and that with the hazard of
his liberty or jMirfe ? Urilefs you rhean your infruBions, -^aat reafohs, your
truth: whith brings us but back to what you have difclaimed, plain perfe-
cutiori for^ differing in re^dn.

Sometimes this is^ tb^ bfe A&iit,- to prevail with men to weigh matters of reli-
gion care/jdllfi mdiif^l^iizlfyi Difcbtmtenahde and punifhment put into one P. 14

N 2 fcale,


fcale, with impunity and hopes of preferment put Into the others is as fure a
way to make a man ijveigb impartially, as it would be for a prince to bribe
and threaten a judge to make him judge uprightly. •

P. 20 Sometimes it is, to make men bethink them/elves^ and put it out of the power

of any foolijh humour i or, unreafonable prejudice, to alienate them from truth and
their own happinefs. Add but this, to put it out of the power of any humour'
or prejudice of their own, or other mens j and. I grant the end is good, if
you can find the means to procure it. But why it fhould not be put out of
the power of other mens >j^«;^fl«r, or prejudice, iis, well as their own, wants,
and will always want, a reafon to prove. Would it not, I befeech you, to
an indifferent by-flander, appear humour ox prejudice, or fomething as bad;
tq fee men, who profefs a religion revealed from heaven, and which they
own contains all in it neceffary to falvation, exclude men from their com-,
munion, and perfecute them with the penalties of the civil law* for not
joining in the ufe of ceremonies which are no where to be found in that
revealed religion ? Would it not appear humour or prejudice, or fonie fuch
thing, .to a fober impartial Heathen -, to fee Chriftians exclude and perfecute
one of the iame faith, for things which they themfelves confefs to be indif-

P. 6, 7, 8, ferent, and not worth the contending for ? Prejudice, humour, pajjion,, lujis'i
9> 10 imprejjians of education, reverence and admiration of perfons, worldly refpeSls,
love of their own choice, and the like, to v/hich. you juftly impute many mens
taking, up, and perfifting in their religion, are indeed good words; and fo,
on the other fide, are thefe following j /r«/>&, the right way, inlightning
reafon, found judgment ^ .but they fignify nothing at all to your purpofe, till
you can evidently and -unqueftionably fhew the world that the latter, viz.
truth and the right way, etc. are always, and in all countries, to be found
only in the, national church ; and the former, viz. pajpon and prejudice, etc.
only amongfl the diffenters. But tago on : '

?. 22 Sometimes it is, tp bring men to take fuch care as they ought of their falva-

tion.. What care, is fuch as. men, ought to take, : whilft they are out of your
church, will be hard for you to tell me. But you endeavour to explain *ypur^,
felf, in the . following words,; that they rmy not blindly leave it to the choice
neither of , any other perfon, nor yet of their own lujls and pajjions, to ptefcribe to:
thejn what faith or what worjlnp they Jhdll imbr ace. You do well to make
ufe of punishment to fhut,/»fl/5i?« out of the choice : becaufe you, know fear
of fuffering is no pajim. But let that pafs, You.would have men punifhed,
to bring them to take fuch care of their falvation, that they may not blindly, leave
it to the .choice of any other perfon taprefcribe to them. Are you fincere .? Are
you in earneft ? Tell me then truly : did the magiftrate or national church,
any where, or yours in particular, ever punifli any man, to bring him io have
this care which, you fay, he ought to take of his falvation? Did you ever
punifli any man, that he might not blindjy leave it to the choice oi his pari flb^"
prieft, or bi/hop, or the convocation, what faith or worfiiip h^ fhould imbrace .2
It will be fufpedted care of a party, or any thing el(e rather than care
of the falvation of mem. fouls ; if, having found out fo ufefal, fo neceffary a

P. 12 remedy, the only method there is room left for , you will apply it but partially,-



and make trial of it only on thofe whom you have truly^ leaft klndnefs for.
This will, unavoidably, give one reafon to .imagine, you do not think fb
well of your remedy as you pretend, who are fo ifparing of it to your friends ;
but are very free of it to ftrangers, who in other things are ufed very much
like enemies. But your remedy is like the helleborajieri that grew in the
woman's garden for the cure of worms in her neighbour's children; for
truly it wrought too roughly, to give it to any of her own. Methinks
y®ur charity, in your prefent pe'rfecutioh, is much what as prudent, as '
juftifiahl'e, as that good woman's. I hope I have done you no injury, that
I here fuppofe you of the church' of England. If I have, I beg your pardon.
It is no offence of malice, I afTure you : for I fuppofe no worfe of you,
than I confefs of myfelf.

Soinetimes this punifliment that you contend for, is to bring men to aSi P. 22
according to rei^on and found judgment: '

1 Tertius^ e coelo cecidit Gato,

This is reformation indeed. If you can help us to it, you will deferve
flatues to be ered:ed. to you, as to the reftorer of decayed religion. , But if
alb men have not reafon and found judgment, w\\\ punifhmentput it into
therri ? Befides, concerning this matter,: mankind is fo divided, ithat he aSis
according to reafon and found- judgment zt Augsburg, who would be judged to
do the" qiiite' contrary at £^z«(^ar^^. Will punifhment make men know
what is reafon and found judgment f If it will not, it is impoffible it fliould
make them c^ according to it. Reafon and fund judgment are the elixir it-
felf, the univerfal remedy: and ybii may as reafonably punifh men to bring
them to have the Philofopher's ftone, as to bring tbem toaSi according to
reafon and found judgment. . , -. ■■

Sometimes it is. To put men upon aferious and impartial examina^tion of the P. 26
controverjy between the magijirate. and themi,^. which is the naayfor them to come
to the knowledge of the truth. But what if the truth be on neither fide, as I
am, apt to imagine you will think it is not, where neither the magiftrate
nor the^diffenter is either of them of your church ; how, will the examining
the controverfy between the magijirate and him be the way to come to the know-
ledge of the truths Suppofe the controverfy between a Lutheran and a Pa- ^
pift ; or, if you pleaie, betvveen a Prefbyterian magiftrate and a Quaker
fubjeft. Will the examining the controverjy ' between the magiftrate and the
dijfenting fubjeSi, in this cafe, bring' him to the knowledge of the truth ? If
you fay yes, .'thea you grant one of thefe to h^ve the truth on his fide.
For the examining the controverfy between a Prefbyterian and a Quaker,
leaves the controverfy either of them has with the church oi Englandt or
any other church, untouched. And fo one, at leaft, of thofe being already
come to the knowledge of the truth, ought not to be put under your difcipline of
punifliment ; which is only to bring him to. the truth. If you fay no, and
that the examning::the controverjy between the magiftrate and the diftenter, in
this cafe,: will x\bi bring him to the knowledge of the truth ; you confefs your
rule to be falfe, and your method to no purpofe.



To condUde, your fyftera is, in fhort, this. You would have all men*
kyjng vifid^frefudice, humour, pt^/im, etc. examine the grsmdirf their reW-,
gh^t and fiarcb far the truth.' Tl^, I confefs, is heartily to be wifliedj
The means that yo*i propofe to make men do this, is that diflenters £hould
be panifeed to make them do Co. It is as if you bad faid : Men gewcndlj?
»re guilty of a fault j therefore let one fed:, who have thie ill luck to be of
«n.opinion different from the nsagiftrate, be puniftied. This at firft ii^
ibooks any who hw the leaft Ipark of foifc, reafon, or juftice. But having
ipokea of this already, and concluding that upon £©cond thoughts, fo\x
jnmrfelf will fee afliamed of it ; let us confider it put fo as to be conMesat
with conmiQO kaSa, aad with all the advantage it can bear ; and then let
us fee what you can make of it. Men are negligent in examining the rdigkrn
th^ mirace, r^ufe, or perj^ im ; therefore it k Jit they Jhoidd be fancied ta
make them dn it. This is a confequence iisdeed which may, without ckfianes
to common fenfe, be drawn from it. This is; the ufe, the only ufe, which
jroit think puoiihment can inSre&fy^ and at a Sftancft haw, iff matters of
celigttin. Ymt would have men by puniflimeots dsriven. to examioe. What f
Meiigim^ Towhatead? To &rmg them ta the knowledge of 6he truth. But
I an^ver. i. Every one has not the ability to do this.

2. Every one has not the opportunity to db it.
Would yoa haye every pocr Proteftant, for example, in the Falatinate^
examine threugbfy whether the Pope be iti^ihle, or head of the church j
whed}:i»: there be a pui^tory ; wheldier &inta are to be prayed to, or das
4e^ prayed for ; whether the fcripture be the only rule of ^th ;, whether •
there, he no ialvatioa out of the church ; and whether there be no church
without bifhops ; and an hundred other queflions in controversy between
the Papifts and thoie Proteilants ; and' when he had maftered' thefe, go on
to fortify him&lfagainft the opinions and objeiAtons of other churches he

^ differs from ? This, which is no finall tafk, mufl be done j before a man
can have brmght his religion to. the bar of reefon, and given it a fair trial
there.. And if you will punifhmen till this be done ; the countryman mufl
leave off plowing and fowingv .and betake himfelf to the fludy of Greek and
Latin; and the artifan muft fell his tools, to buy fathers and fchoolmen,
and leave his family to flarwe. If fomething lefs than this will fatisfy youj
pray tell me what is enough. Have they confidered and examined enough^
if they i are fatisfied themfdves where the truth lies ? If this be the limits of
their examination,^ you will find few to punifh; unlefs you will punifh
them to make them do what they have done already. For, however he
came by his religion, there is fcarce any one to be found who does not own
feimfelf fatisfied that he is in. the right. Or elfci' mufl they be punifhcd to
make i them cimfiden 2x16. examine till th^ imbrace that which ywu choofe
for truth ? If this be fo^ what do you but in effe6l choofe for them,, when

P. aiyet you wouU have men punifhed, to hiring them to fuck a care ^ their Jbubi
that no. other perfon mighi: choofi for them I If it be truth in general yoa
would have them by puniflunentt& driven to feek.i that is to offer matter of



4a%itev and not a role of difGipline. For to ^nifti any one ta make hirti
&<k till he find troth, without' a judge of truth, is to punifti for yon know
not what ; and is all one as if you ^ould whip a fcbolar to iftake him fffird
out the iqoare root of a nunftber yoa do .not know. I wander not therefore^
^3M a|Jou c<xdd not refolv© with yourfelf what degree of feverity you would
have, uilbd, nor bow long continaed j when you dar« not fpeak out dfredtly
whom ycxu would have puniflied, and are far from being clear to what e&d
l^nsyi fhouM be under penalties.

Conibnant to this uncertainty, of whom, or what to be ptmUbiiet; jrou
t^ usi, fbat there is m queflhn of the Jtuccefs of this- method. Pofce taoill eer- P. la
tainly^ dffr if dulypfspm-timed to the. dejign of rf.i

Whati I pray, isthe/g^« ofit^ I challenge you, or any mart living, otft
ef what you have faid in your book, to teU me direcSiy what it is. In all
0ther punishments that ever I beatd of yet, till now that yoir hate fat^t the
stoiM method, the defign of them has-been to' cure the- crime they are
denounced again^j and fo I think it ought to be hene. What I befeedh yoi*
ia die crime here ? Diffenting ? That yoii fay not, any where, is' a fault,
fiefides yoU' tell us, that the magif rate hath hot aathority: to compel any oWe P. tx
ta ins re^iom: and that yau do not r^uirt. thai- meriflmiM hwoe no rule but the P. 25
religion ^ the country. And t he power you afcribe to the ma^Jfrafe is gimen Mm P. aS
it^ Bring men, not to hi^ own, hui to the true religien: Jf diflenting be" not
the fault; is it that a man does not examine his own religion, and' the
grounds of it? Is that the crime your puniihments; are defigned to>cure*?
Neither that dare you> fay; left jfou- diipleafe'. more than you" fatisiy ,wi^
your newi difcipline. And then againi as I laid" befisrei you muft tetf us
bow fer you would have them examine, before jroa puniiflb" tiiem" for not
doing^it. AndUi imagine^ if that were all we required of you, it would be
long enough before you would trouble us with^ a law, that fliould prefcribe
toe^jery one how far he was- to examine matters of religiosi ; wherein if he
feilediandtcame fhort, he was* to be puni(hed ; if he performed; and went irt
his examination to- the bounds fet- by the law; he was acquitted and" freei
Sir,- when you confider it again,, you will ^perhaps* thinlt this a cafe refer-ved
to the great day, when thefecrets of dl hearts' fhair be laid open. Fort
imagine itis beyond the power or judgment of man, in that variety of cir-
cunaftances^ in pefped? of partsj tempers, opportttnities, helps, etc: menard
in, in this world, to determine what is every one'sduty in this- grearbufiiJell;
©f fearch, enquiryi examination *. or to knowwhewany one has dooeitl That
wiiich makes me believe you will be of this- mind, is, tbaj where yoa nn~
disstsk.&^&ix the fueeefs of thk^ method, if rigStiy ufedl it;is with a limititiori,
upoafu&h as are mtmlto^tbep ineuraUe. So^ that when your remedy is pre- p. 12
pMediaccording to art, which art is yet unknown, and' rightly applied; and
gijvi^v ins a due dofe, all' which are- fecretsi it will then infallibly cure.
Whom ? All that are not incurable by it. And fo will-'a pippin psisffet;
«Btn^»fifh in>Z,«?8if, or a Presbyterian leaijre, certainly cure all that are not
iacutabile- by. them. For I- am fure- you do not mean it will cure all, but
tbofe. who ajfeabfdtttely incurable i l^caufe you yourfdf allow one means



left of cure, when yours will not do, viz. the grace lof God^ Your words

P. 10 .are, -what means is there left f except the grace of GodJ^ to reduce them, but to
lay thorns and briars in their way. And here alfo, in the place we were

P, 12 .confidering, you tell us, the' incurable are to be left to Gad. Whereby, if
jou mean they are to be left to thofe means he ha« ordained for mens con-
^ye^flon and falvation, yours muft never be made ufe of: for. he indeed has
prefcribed preaching and hearing of his word ; but as for thofe who will not
hear, I do not find any where that he has commanded they fhould be com-
pfilled or beaten to it. .

There is a third thing that you. are as tender and referved in, as either
naming the criminals to be puniflied, or pofitively telling us the end for
which they fhould be punifhed : and that is with what fort of penalties,
what degree of punifhment they fhould be forced. You are indeed fb gra-*
cious to them, that you renounce the feijerities and penalties- hitherto made

P. 24 ufe of. You tell us, they fhould be but moderate penalties. But if .we afk
you what are moderate penalties, you confefs you cannot tell us. So, that 1^

P- ^S moderate i here, you yet mean nothing. You te\\ us, the outward force to be
" . apply d Jhould be duly tempefd. But what that due temper is, you do not, or

\ cannot fay ; and fo in effedt, it fignifies jufl nothing. Yet if in this you are
not plain and diredl, all the refl of your defign will fignify nothing. . For it
being to have fome men, and to fome end, punifhed -, yet if it cannot > be
found what punifhment is to be ufed, it is, nptwithftanding.all you havefaid,

P. 12 utterly ufelefs. You tell us modejily, that to determine prectjely thejuji meafure
of the punijhment, "will require fame confderation . If thp faul ts were precifely
'determined, and could be proved, it would require no more confideration to
determine the. meafure of the punifhment, in, this, thaji it would in any other
cafe, where thofe were known. But where the fault is undefined, and the
, guilt not to be proved, as I fuppofe it will be found in this, prefent bufxnefs
oi examining^ it will without doubt require confideration to proportion the
force to the defign. Jufl fo much confideration as it will require to fit a coat
to the moon, or proportion a fhoe to the fqet of thofe who inhabit her. For
to proportion a punifhment to a^fault that you do not na^ne, isnd fo we in
charity ought to think you do not yet know, and a fault that when you
have named it, will be impoffible to be proved who are or are not guilty
of it ; will I fuppofe require as mufch confideration, as to fit a fhoe to feet
whofe fize and fliape are not known. - .

However, you offer fom^meafures whereby, to regulate your punifhmentsj
which when they are looked into, will be found to bejurt as good as none;

P. 14 they being impoffible to be any^ule in the cafe. The firfl is, fo muchforce,^
orfiich penalties as, are ordinarily' fufficient to prevail with men of common difcre^
tion, and not ^ defperately perverfe and obfiinate, to weigh matters of religmi.
carefully and impartially, and without which ordinarily they will not do this.
Where it is to be obferved :

I. That who are thefe men oi common difcretion, is as hard to know, as to
know what is a fit degree of punifhment in the cafe j and fo you do but re-
gulate one uncertainty by another. Some men will be apt to think,; that he



who will not weigh matters of religion, which are of infinite concernment to
him, without punifhment, cannot in reafon be thought a man of common dif-
cretipn. Many women of common difcretion enough to manage the ordinary
affairs of their families, are not able to read a page in an ordinary author, or
to underftand and give an account what it means, when read to them.
Many men oi common difcretion in their callings, are not able to judge when
aft argument is concliifive or no ; much lefs to trace it through a long train
of confequences. What penalties Jhall be fufficient to prevail ■with, fuch, who
upon examination, I fear, will not be found to make the leaft part of man-
kind, to examine and weigh matters of religion carefully and impartially ? The
law allows all to have common difcretion^ for whom it has not provided guar-
dians or Bedlam. So that, in effe6t, your men of common difcretion are all
men, not judged ideots or madmen : zndi penalties fufficient to prevail with men
of common difcretion, are penalties fufficient to prevail with all men, but ideots
and madmen.. Which what a meafure it is to regulate penalties by, let all
men of common difcretion judge.

2. You may be pleafed to confider, that all men of the fame degree of
difcretion, are not apt to be moved by the fame degree of penalties. Some
are of a more yielding, fome of a more ftiff temper ; and what is fufficient to
prevail on one, is not half enough to move the other ; though both men of
common difcretion. So that common difcretion will be here of no ufe to deter-
mine. the meafure of punifhment : efpecially when in the fame claufe you
except men defperately perver/e and objiinate, who are as hard to be known,
as what you feek : viz. the jufl proportions of punilhments necefTary to pre-
vail with men to confider, examine, and weigh matters of religion; wherein, if
a man tells you he has confderd, he has weigh" d, he has examind, and fo goes
on in his former courfe, it is impoffible for you ever to know whether he
has done his duty, or whether he be defperately perverfe and objiinate. So that
this exception fignifies juft nothing.

There are many things^ in your ufe of force and penalties, different from
any I ever met with elfewhere. One of them, this claufe of yours, concern-
ing the meafure of punifhments, now under confideration, offers me :
wherein you proportion your punifliments only to the yielding and corri-
gible, not to the perverfe and obftinate ; contrary to the common difcretion
which has hitherto made laws in other cafes, which levels the punifliments
againfl refradtory offenders, and never fpares them becaufe they are obfli-
nate. This however I will not blame, as an overfight in you. Your new
method, which aims at fuch impradticable and inconfiflent things as laws
cannot bear, nor penalties be ufeful to, forced you to it. The ufelefnefs, ab-
furdity, and unreafonablenefs of gr eztfeverities, you had acknowledged in the
foregoing paragraphs. Diffenters you would have brought to confder by mo- p. 13, ij.
derate penalties. They lie under them j but whether they have confidered
or no, for that you cannot tell, they flill continue diffenters. What is to
be done now ? Why, f/6^ incurable are to be left to God, as you tell us, p. 12.
Your punifhments were not meant to prevail on the defperately perverfe and

O objiinate^


ebJHmte, as you tell us here. And fo whatever be the fuceefs, ycajr punish-
ments are however juftified.

You have given us in another place, fomething like another boundary to
yaax moderate penakks : but when examined, it prosres juft like the reft,
trifling only, in good words, fa put together as to have no dir^<ft meaning ;
an art very much in ufe amongft fome fort of learned men. The words are
P- 26 thefe ; fuch penakks as may. not tempt perfom who. have any. concern for th&n?
eternal Jalvationt (and tboje mho. have none^ ought, not to he coist^evedj to re-^
nounce a reUgipn which they bdic^e to be true, or profefs one wbichi they do not
beiieve to be Jo. If by any concern, you mean a true concern for their eternal
Jahation, by this rule you may make your punishments as great as you pleafe j
and all the feverities you have difclaimed may be brought in play again : for
none of thofe will be able to make a man, who is truly concern d for his eter->
" nalfalvation, renounce a neligian be believes to be trt^e, or profefs one he do$&

Online LibraryJohn LockeLetters concerning toleration → online text (page 13 of 54)