The Casting Down of the Last and Strongest Hold of Satan (7) - Theses XIX & XX, by Thomas Edwards.ed
October 13, 2018
Besides all the Old Testament proofs both of commands and approved examples before the Law, and under the Law, before the Captivity of Babylon and after, for the Magistrates coercive power in the matters of the First Table, laid down in this treatise, together with answers to all the evasions brought against such commands and examples, as also to that of proofs out of the Old Testament, I desire the Reader to consider this Thesis, that place of Scripture speaking of the days of the New Testament and what should be then done, approves of and commands this power of the Magistrate, as among other these three places of Scripture: Psalm 2. 10-12, & Isa 49. 23, & Zech. 13. 2, 3.
Psalm 2. 10, 11, 12
That the second Psalm is a Prophecy of the days of the Gospel, after Christ’s coming into the world is clearly demonstrated by Act. 4. 24, 25, 26, 27 where by Peter and John tis applied to those times, in which the Psalmist King David, foreseeing in Spirit that Heathen Kings would hand themselves and assemble together against the Lord and his Christ, extends the same charge to the Gentiles which the Kings of Jewry received before, and warned them all at once, Be wise ye Kings, understand ye Judges of the world: Serve the Lord; and tis to be observed in that second Psalm that Kings and Judges quatomes tales are to serve the Lord and kiss the Son, upon which words Austin writes thus, All men ought to serve God: in one sort by common condition as men; in another sort by several gifts and offices, by the which some do this some do that; no private persons could command Idols to be punished clean from among men, which was so long before prophesied, therefore Kings, besides their duty to serve God common with all other men, have in that they be Kings how to serve the Lord in such sort as none can do which are not Kings. For in this Kings (in respect they be Kings) serve the Lord (as God by David warns them) if in their Kingdoms they command that which is good, and prohibit that which is evil, not in civil affairs only, but in matters also concerning divine Religion.
Isaiah 49. 23
That Isa 49. 23 is a prophecy to the Gentiles under the New Testament, as is evident by verse 22, Behold I will lift up my hand to the Gentiles, and Kings shall be thy nursing fathers, &c now they could not be called the nurses of the Church if they had no care of Religion; but those of whom this prophecy was meant, and in whom fulfilled, did care for Religion did care for the faith, as Constantine, Gratian, Theodosius, and others, who by public edicts did prohibit false doctrines and did command all throughout the whole Empire, to embrace the true faith; tis confessed by Master Burroughs himself, The protection of their civil peace is not sufficient to give them such a denomination of nursing fathers and mothers. Upon which place Bilson writes thus with this endeavour of Christian Princes God comforts his Church by the mouth of Isaiah, Kings shall be thy nursing fathers, &c what Isaiah saith Princes shall do, that I conclude Princes must do, because God would not promise they should usurp another man’s office but discharge their own. If you take the milk of Princes for temporal honours, lands, and goods, the very children will laugh you to scorn. The Church of Christ is no wanton Church, she lusteth for no worldly wealth, which is rather harmful poison than wholesome food, God's provision for her is spiritual, not carnal, her delights are not outward in flesh, but inward in grace: the Prophet good man had no leisure to think on your farms, houses and revenues; no remedy, you must needs yield us that Christian Princes, in respect of their office, not of their riches, have received an express commandment from God to show themselves nurses to his Church. Now nurses by nature must provide for their infants and defend them from danger, ergo Kings and Queens in the New Testament, are bound to tender the Church of Christ, and by their princely power and public laws to defend the same from infection of heresies, invasions of schisms, and all other apparent corruptions of faith and good manners.
Zechariah 13. 2, 3
This is a prophecy of the times and days of the Gospel, as the context is clear and is confessed by some patrons of toleration, though put off and evaded that tis allegorical and figurative, and meant of some one particular time only under the Gospel, with other such like, as the postscript to Hagiomastix writes page 21-22, all which evasions I had thought at this time to have fully taken of, and to have cleared this text by many passages and phrases in the context, besides several reasons that it must needs be understood literally, and of all times under the Gospel, but the troubles of the times call me of from my intended thoughts and preparations in this kind, and shall reserve them (if God will) for a second part, only I shall add that divers learned interpreters ancient and modern as Theodoret, Calvin, and others hold the Prophet here alludes to Deut. 13, where God required such strictness in maintaining pure doctrine, that the father should rise up against the son whom he begat. God would have all the godly to burn with such a zeal of defending the true worship of God and piety, that no affinity nor consanguinity, nor any other carnal respect should prevail to hinder the requiring of punishment upon their nearest friends in cases of violating the worship of God and corrupting sound doctrine. This was the prescript of the Law: but whereas for a time, Religion had been neglected, yea trodden under foot, Zechariah saith that when the faithful should repent, they should be endowed with such a desire of true piety, as neither father nor mother should suffer wicked errors in their sons. And here tis to be observed that this zeal is approved of under the Kingdom of Christ; for Zechariah does not here restrain this doctrine to the time of the Law, but shows what shall be when Christ is come, namely that then again that zeal shall burn in the hearts of all the godly which was almost extinct. It follows therefore this Law was not given only to the Jews, as many fanatical men imagine, who would have a leave of disturbing the world, but that this Law extends to us also. Musculus speaking of things appertaining to the classis of moral commands, shows that many things in the Prophets writings belong thereunto, and he gives this reason; That in most things they were Interpreters of the Mosaical Law; And therefore Zechariah does here interpret that Law in Deut. 13, concerning false Prophets and Seducers, to be in force under the Gospel. The Prophets in their writings do interpret and explain Moses writings, as the Books of Moses do the Decalogue, written by God in two tables of stone and delivered unto Moses, Deut. 5. 22. That in Deut. 13 is to be compared with this Zach. 13. 3 where we find the same things, almost the same words used in a prophecy of the times of the Gospel, the meaning of which is not that his father or mother should presently run a knife into him, but that though they begat him, yet they should be the means to bring him unto condign punishment, even the taking away of his life, and so Master Cartwright speaking of this prophecy writes thus. No power is given to one private man to kill another, nor for the private man to kill his children, but this manner of speech is grounded on Deut, 17. 7, where tis proved the witness who accused should throw the first stone against the convicted persons, ergo they ascribe the killing of the guilty person, as belonging to the duty of the accuser.
In the Scriptures of the New Testament, there are clear grounds and full proofs, that heretics and false teachers, corrupters of Religion, deserve to be punished corporally, as well as spiritually by excommunication, and that Magistrates ought to punish in cases of Idolatry, Heresy and such like, as well as for transgressions against the Second Table; Now among many I shall lay down these following:
1. That Christ and his Apostles being accused before Magistrates about matters of Religion, as blasphemy, being against the Law of Moses, and such like, they never pleaded for themselves that it was not lawful to punish any man for matters of Religion, but they defended their causes, that they had not taught any thing against the word of God and the Law of Moses, were not guilty of Blasphemy or Heresy, so that they granted the major proposition, namely that is was lawful for the Magistrate to punish Heretics who taught against the Word of God, but they denied the minor that they were Heretics: for out of the word of God they showed they were not Heretics, in that they taught nothing against the Word of God, yea nothing but what had a proof in the Word of God. But of this the Reader may see more in Zanchits Miscellanies De Magistratu, page 173.
2. Christ in John 2. 14, 15, 16 made a scourge, and drove out of the Temple those that made his Father’s house a house of merchandise, which now false teachers are said to do, 2 Pet. 2. 3 and tis the more observable that Christ who let the woman taken in adultery go away and did not punish her; that would not divide an inheritance because his Kingdom was not of this world; yet in the matter of his Father’s house did exercise coercive power with a high hand, scourging and driving out of the Temple those that sold oxen, &c. and this he is said to do out of zeal, the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up: and though this be not recorded for Ministers to use a material whip, yet certainly this was an act of righteousness that should have been done by the Magistrates of that time, and it had been a glorious action if they had done it, and however there might be something heroical in it, yet doubtless tis an act of righteousness and zeal that ought to be done by some in their ordinary calling, viz. by Magistrates.
3. Rom. 13. 4, Magistrates bear not the sword in vain for them that do evil, and they are revengers to execute wrath upon them that do evil: now Blasphemers, Heretics, False Teachers do evil and are evil workers, Phil. 3. 2. 2 John v. 11. Revel. 2. 2, and non distinguendum est ubi Scriptura non distinguit: upon which place Master Bilson writes thus, Princes in the New Testament be God’s Ministers to revenge malefactors, as they were in the Old, and the greater the wickedness, the rather to be punished, ergo, the greatest (as Heresies Idolatries and Blasphemies) are soonest of all other vices to be repressed by Christian Magistrates, whose zeal for Christ’s glory must not decrease, Christ’s care for their Scepters being increased.
4. 1 Cor. 12. 10. 29, the Apostle shows us that when Christian Magistrates were wanting, besides miracles, gifts of healing, &c. Christ gave a special gift to the Church of restraining Seducers and obstinate Heretics by corporal punishment; there were some that had a special gift of coercing ungodly men; this Paul exercised upon Elymas the False Prophet and Seducer, Acts 13. 11 upon which place Peter Martyr writes fully, The Church then had not the sword of the Magistrate by which offences might be restrained, therefore a power was given of punishing them corporally. The best Interpreters Ancient and Modern, as Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Calvin, Beza, Peter Martyr, Pareus, and divers others do understand by powers, those who had such a gift, upon which place I intended to have insisted largely by comparing other Scriptures with it, and to have demonstrated from it, the necessity and lawfulness of a power of punishing corporally obstinate Heretics and Seducers, but I must take off.
5. Gal. 5. 12, Paul wishes that false teachers and troublers of the Church were cut off: which place I intended to have enlarged upon to prove it meant of bodily cutting off, but cannot now.
6. 1 Tim. 2. 2, Paul shows Kings and those that are in authority are to be prayed for, that we may lead a quiet and a peaceable life in all godliness and honesty, in all godliness, as well as honesty: This is the end of prayers to be made for Magistrates, now that which is the end of prayers poured out for Magistrates ought to be the end propounded by the Magistrate in his duty, but the Apostle commands prayers to be made for Magistrates for that end, ergo it lies upon the Magistrate to see to it, of which the Reader may see more in Meisner. Polit. de Magistratu; and tis confessed by Master Thomas Goodwin in his Return of Prayers, this was a command to pray, that God would give Christian Magistrates to the Church, the answer of which was in giving Constantine a Christian Emperor, who as the Ecclesiastical Histories show, did by Laws and Edicts command the Christian Religion, as also establish the Nicene Creed touching the faith of one Substance, banishing by his Edict Arius and his adherents.
7. Revel. 17. 16, John prophecies, and speaks of it as an acceptable work to God, for Christian Kings and States by their civil temporal power to destroy the Romish Religion: now if the Romish Seducers and corrupters of Religion (upon that ground called the Whore) may be punished by Civil Magistrates, and dealt with by other weapons than preaching, admonition, excommunication, then such as are certainly worse then they, as Antitrinitarians, Socinians, Libertines, may be also by Magistrates restrained. Master Robinson writing against the Anabaptists, one Helwisse who interprets this place of spiritual weapons, answers him this is a prophecy of Kings and Magistrates whose weapons and power are other besides that of prayers which is common to all Christians, tis spoken what they shall do as Kings: besides tis contrary to the clear meaning of the Holy Ghost, which is, that Kings should first use their civill power for the Beast and Whore, and after against them to their destruction, they shall give their power to the Lamb, as they before gave it against the Lamb: now we know they used their civil power under Popery, as a means by which to suppress the true Religion, and therefore Princes and States shall establish the true by that means and destroy the false, of which I had thought to have enlarged further, as also upon the other New Testament quotations, to have answered the evasions brought against them, especially of Hagiomastix against Rom. 13. 4 and to have proved it cannot be restrained only against evils of the Second Table, but is to be understood of evil against the First, but I must reserve these things, and divers more to another opportunity, and for a Second Part. If God will.
To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ. Amen.