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imagine. The Constitutions of Clarendon were asserted by ART. both king and parliament, and by the whole body of the XXXVII. clergy, as the ancient customs of the kingdom. These relate to the clergy, and were submitted to by them all, Becket himself not excepted, though he quickly went off from it.
It is true, the papacy got generally the better of the temporal authority in a course of several ages; but at last the popes living long at Avignon, together with the great schism that followed upon their return to Rome, did very much sink in their credit, and that stopped the progress they had made before that time: which had probably subdued all, if it had not been for those accidents. Then the councils began to take heart, and resolved to assert the freedom of the church from the papal tyranny. Pragmatic sanctions were made in several nations to assert their liberty. That in France was made with great solemnity: in these the bishops did not only assert their own jurisdiction, independent in a great measure of the papacy, but they likewise carried it so far as to make themselves independent on the civil authority, particularly in the point of elections. This disposed princes generally to enter into agreements with the popes; by which the matter was so transacted, that the popes and they made a division between them of all the rights and pretensions of the church. Princes yielded a great deal to the popes, to be protected by them in that which they got to be reserved to themselves. Great restraints were laid both on the clergy, and likewise on the see of Rome, by the appeals that were brought into the secular courts, from the ordinary judgments of the ecclesiastical courts, or from the bulls or powers that legates brought with them. A distinction was found that seemed to save the ecclesiastical authority, at the same time that the secular court was made the judge of it. The appeal did lie upon a pretence that the ecclesiastical judge had committed some abuse in the way of proceeding, or in his sentence. So the appeal was from that abuse, and the secular court was to examine the matter according to the rules and laws of the church, and not according to the principles or rules of any other law: but upon that they did either confirm or reverse the sentence. And even those princes that acknowledge the papal authority, have found out distinctions to put such stops to it as they please; and so to make it an engine to govern their people by, as far as they think fit to give way to it; and to damn such bulls, or void such powers, as they are afraid of.
Thus it is evident, that both according to scripture, and the practice of all ages and countries, the princes of Christendom have an authority over their subjects in matters ecclesiastical. The reason of things makes also for this; for if any rank of men are exempted from their jurisdiction, they must thereby cease to be subjects: and if any sort of causes, spiritual ones in particular, were put out of their authority, it were an easy
ART. thing to reduce almost every thing to such a relation to spiXXXVII. rituals, that if this principle were once received, their autho
rity would be very precarious and feeble. Nothing could give princes stronger and juster prejudices against the Christian religion, than if they saw that the effect of their receiving it must be the withdrawing so great a part of their subjects from their authority; and the putting as many checks upon it as those that had the management of this religion should think fit to restrain it by. In a word, all mankind must be under one obedience and one authority. It remains that the measures and the extent of this power be rightly stated.
It is certain, first, that this power does not depend upon the prince's religion; whether he is a Christian, or not; or whether he is of a true or a false religion: or is a good or a bad man. By the same tenure that he holds his sovereignty, he holds this likewise. Artaxerxes had it as well as either David or Solomon, when the Jews were once lawfully his subjects; and the Christians owed the same duty to the emperors while heathen, that they paid them when Christian. The relations of nature, such as that of a parent and child, husband and wife, continue the same that they were, whatsoever men's persuasions in matters of religion may be : so do also civil relations, master and servant, prince and subject : they are neither increased nor diminished by the truth of their sentiments concerning religion. All persons are subject to the prince's authority, and liable to such punishments as their crimes fall under by law. “Every soul is subject to the higher powers :' neither is treason less treason, because spoke in a pulpit or in a sermon: it may be more treason for that than otherwise it would be, because it is so public and deliberate, and is delivered in the way in which it may probably have the worst effect. So that, as to persons, no great difficulty can lie in this, since every soul' is declared to be “subject to the higher powers.'
As to ecclesiastical causes, it is certain, that as the magistrate cannot make void the laws of nature, such as the authority of parents over their children, or of husbands over their wives, so neither can he make void the law of God: that is from a superior authority, and cannot be dissolved by him. Where a thing is positively commanded or forbid by God, the magistrate has no other authority but that of executing the laws of God, of adding his sanctions to them, and of using his utmost industry to procure obedience to them. He cannot alter any part of the doctrine, and make it to be either truer or falser than it is in itself; nor can he either take away or alter the sacraments, or break any of those rules that are given in the New Testament about them; because in all these the authority of God is express, and is certainly superior to his. The only question that can be made, is concerning indifferent things : for instance, in the canons or other rules of the church, how far they are in the magistrate's ART. power, and in what cases the body of Christians, and of the XXXVII., pastors of the church, may maintain their union among themselves, and act in opposition to his laws. It seems very clear, that in all matters that are indifferent, and are determined by no law of God, the magistrate's authority must take place, and is to be obeyed. The church has no authority that she can maintain in opposition to the magistrate, but in the executing the laws of God and the rules of the gospel : in all other things, as she acts under his protection, so it is by his permission. But here a great distinction is to be made between two cases that may happen: the one is, when the magistrate acts like one that intends to preserve religion, but commits errors and acts of injustice in his management; the other is, when he acts like one that intends to destroy religion, and to divide and distract those that profess it. In the former case, every thing that is not sinful of itself, is to be done in compliance with his authority; not to give him umbrage, nor provoke him to withdraw his protection, and to become, instead of a nursing father, a persecutor of the church. But on the other hand, when he declares, or it is visible, that his design is to destroy the faith, less regard is to be had to his actions. The people may adhere to their pastors, and to every method that may fortify them in their religion, even in opposition to his invasion. Upon the whole matter, the power of the king in ecclesiastical matters among us is expressed in this Article under those reserves, and with that moderation, that no just scruple can lie against it; and it is that which all the kings, even of the Roman communion, do assume, and in some places with a much more unlimited authority. The methods of managing it may differ a little; yet the power is the same, and is built upon the same foundations. And though the term head is left out by the Article, yet even that is founded on an expression of Samuel's to Saul, as was formerly cited. It is a figure, and all figures may be used either more loosely or more strictly. In the strictest sense, as the head communicates vital influences to the whole body, Christ is the only head of his church; he only ought to be in all things obeyed, submitted to, and depended on; and from him all the functions and offices of the church derive their usefulness and virtue. But as head may in a figure stand for the fountain of order and government, of protection and conduct, the king or queen may well be called the head of the church.
The next paragraph in this Article is concerning the lawfulness of capital punishments in Christian societies. It has an appearance of compassion and charity, to think that men ought not to be put to death for their crimes, but to be kept alive, that they may repent of them. Some, both ancients and moderns, have thought that there was a cruelty in all
ART. capital punishments that was inconsistent with the gentleness XXXVII. of the gospel; but when we consider that God, in that law
which he himself delivered to the Jews by the hand of Moses, did appoint so many capital punishments, even for offences against positive precepts, we cannot think that these are contrary to justice or true goodness; since they were dictated by God himself, who is eternally the same, unalterable in his perfections. This shews that God, who knows most perfectly our frame and disposition, knows that the love of life is planted so deep in our natures, and that it has such a root there, that nothing can work so powerfully on us, to govern and restrain us, as the fear of death. And therefore, since the main thing that is to be considered in government is the good of the whole body; and since a feeble indulgence and impunity may set mankind loose into great disorders, from which the terror of severer laws, together with such examples as are made on the incorrigible, will naturally restrain them; it seems necessary, for the preservation of mankind and of society, to have recourse sometimes to capital punishments.
The precedent that God set in the Mosaical law seems a full justification of such punishments under the gospel. The charity, which the gospel prescribes, does not take away the rules of justice and equity, by which we may maintain our possessions, or recover them out of the hands of violent aggressors : only it obliges us to do that in a soft and gentle manner, without rigour or resentment. The same charity, though it obliges us, as Christians, not to keep up hatred or anger in our hearts, but to pardon, as to our own parts, the wrongs that are done us; yet it does not oblige us to throw up the order and peace of mankind, and abandon it to the injustice and violence of wicked men. We owe to human society, and to the safety and order of the world, our endeavours to put a stop to the wickedness of men ; which a good man may do with great inward tenderness to the souls of those whom he prosecutes. It is highly probable, that as nothing besides such a method could stop the progress of injustice and wickedness, so nothing is so likely a mean to bring the criminal to repent of his sins, and to fit him to die as a Christian, as to condemn him to die for his crimes; if any thing can awaken his conscience, and strike terror in him, that will do it. Therefore, as capital punishments are necessary to human society, so they are often real blessings to those on whom they fall; and it may be affirmed very positively, that a man who can harden himself against the terrors of death, when they come upon him so solemnly, so slowly, and so certainly, he being in full health, and well able to reflect on the consequences of it, is not like to be wrought on by a longer continuance of life, or by the methods of a natural death.
It is not possible to fix rules, to which capital punishments
ought to be proportioned. It is certain, that, in a full ART. equality, life only can be set against life: but there may be *** many other crimes, that must end in the ruin of society, and in the dissolution of all order, and all the commerce that ought to be among men, if they go unpunished. In this all princes and states must judge according to the real exigencies and necessities that appear to them. Nor can any general rule be made, save only this, that since man was made after the image of God, and that the life of man is precious, and when once extinguished it ceases for evermore; therefore all due care and tenderness ought to be had in preserving it; and since the end of government is the preservation of mankind, therefore the lives of men ought not to be too lightly taken, except as it appears to be necessary for the preservation and safety of the society.
Under the Gospel, as well as under the Law, the magistrate is the minister of God, and has the sword put in his hand; Rom. xiii. which he beareth not in vain,' for he is appointed to be 'a * revenger, to execute wrath on him that doeth evil. The natural signification of his carrying the sword is, that he has an authority for punishing capitally; since it is upon those occasions only that he can be said to use the sword as a revenger. Nor can Christian charity oblige a man, whom the law has made to be the avenger of blood, or of other crimes, to refuse to comply with that obligation which is laid upon him by the constitution under which he is born; he can only forgive that of which he is the master, but the other is a debt which he owes the society; and his private forgiving of the wrong done himself, does not reach to that other obligation, which is not in his own power to give away.
The last paragraph in this Article is concerning the lawfulness of wars. Some have thought all wars to be contrary to Christian charity, to be inhuman and barbarous; and that therefore men ought, according to the rule set us by our Saviour, ‘not to resist evil;' but when one injury is done, Matt.v. 39. not only to bear it, but to shew a readiness rather to receive new ones; turning the other cheek to him that smites us on the one; going two miles with him that shall compel us to go Ver. 40. one with him; and giving our cloak to him that shall take away our coat. It seems just, that, by a parity of reason, societies should be under the same obligations to bear from other societies, that single persons are under to other single persons. This must be acknowledged to be a very great difficulty; for as, on the one hand, the words of our Saviour seem to be very express and full; so, on the other hand, if they are to be understood literally, they must cast the world loose, and expose it to the injustice and insolence of wicked persons, who would not fail to take advantages from such a compliance and submission. Therefore these words must be considered, first, as addressed to private persons; then, as